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Title: Abroad at Home - American Ramblings, Observations, and Adventures of Julian Street
Author: Street, Julian, 1879-1947
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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ABROAD AT HOME

by

JULIAN STREET

       *       *       *       *       *

     THE NEED OF CHANGE

     Fifth Anniversary Edition. Illustrated by James Montgomery Flagg.
     Cloth, 50 cents net. Leather, $1.00 net.

     PARIS À LA CARTE

     "Gastronomic promenades" in Paris. Illustrated by May Wilson
     Preston. Cloth, 60 cents net.

     WELCOME TO OUR CITY

     Mr. Street plays host to the stranger in New York. Illustrated by
     James Montgomery Flagg and Wallace Morgan. Cloth, $1.00 net.

     SHIP-BORED

     Who hasn't been? Illustrated by May Wilson Preston. Cloth, 50 cents
     net.

     ABROAD AT HOME

     Cheerful ramblings and adventures in American cities
     and other places. Illustrated by Wallace Morgan. Cloth, $2.50 net.

     For Children

     THE GOLDFISH

     A Christmas story for children between six and sixty.
     Colored Illustrations and page Decorations. Cloth, 70 cents net.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: The St. Francis at tea-time.--With her hotels San
Francisco is New York, but with her people she is San Francisco--which
comes near being the apotheosis of praise]

ABROAD AT HOME

American Ramblings, Observations, and Adventures of Julian Street

With Pictorial Sidelights by Wallace Morgan



[Illustration]

New York
The Century Co.
1915

Copyright, 1914, by
The Century Co.

Copyright, 1914, by
P. F. Collier & Son, Inc.

Published, November, 1914



  TO MY FATHER
  the companion of my first railroad journey



The Author takes this opportunity to thank the old friends, and the new
ones, who assisted him in so many ways, upon his travels. Especially, he
makes his affectionate acknowledgment to his wise and kindly companion,
the Illustrator, whose admirable drawings are far from being his only
contribution to this volume.

--J. S.

New York,
October, 1914.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                        PAGE

  STEPPING WESTWARD


        I STEPPING WESTWARD                         3

       II BIFURCATED BUFFALO                       21

      III CLEVELAND CHARACTERISTICS                40

       IV MORE CLEVELAND CHARACTERISTICS           48


  MICHIGAN MEANDERINGS

        V DETROIT THE DYNAMIC                      65

       VI AUTOMOBILES AND ART                      77

      VII THE MÆCENAS OF THE MOTOR                 91

     VIII THE CURIOUS CITY OF BATTLE CREEK        105

       IX KALAMAZOO                               121

        X GRAND RAPIDS THE "ELECT"                127


  CHICAGO

       XI A MIDDLE-WESTERN MIRACLE                139

      XII FIELD'S AND THE "TRIBUNE"               150

     XIII THE STOCKYARDS                          164

      XIV THE HONORABLE HINKY DINK                173

       XV AN OLYMPIAN PLAN                        181

      XVI LOOKING BACKWARD                        187


  "IN MIZZOURA"

     XVII SOMNOLENT ST. LOUIS                     201

    XVIII THE FINER SIDE                          221

      XIX HANNIBAL AND MARK TWAIN                 237

       XX PIKE AND POKER                          253

      XXI OLD RIVER DAYS                          267


  THE BEGINNING OF THE WEST

     XXII KANSAS CITY                             275

    XXIII ODDS AND ENDS                           291

     XXIV COLONEL NELSON'S "STAR"                 302

      XXV KEEPING A PROMISE                       313

     XXVI THE TAME LION                           323

    XXVII KANSAS JOURNALISM                       337

   XXVIII A COLLEGE TOWN                          345

     XXIX MONOTONY                                365


  THE MOUNTAINS AND THE COAST

      XXX UNDER PIKE'S PEAK                       379

     XXXI HITTING A HIGH SPOT                     400

    XXXII COLORADO SPRINGS                        417

   XXXIII CRIPPLE CREEK                           434

    XXXIV THE MORMON CAPITAL                      439

     XXXV THE SMITHS                              454

    XXXVI PASSING PICTURES                        465

   XXXVII SAN FRANCISCO                           474

  XXXVIII "BEFORE THE FIRE"                       488

    XXXIX AN EXPOSITION AND A "BOOSTER"           498

       XL NEW YORK AGAIN                          507



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


   The St. Francis at tea-time.--With her hotels
   San Francisco is New York, but with her people
   she is San Francisco--which comes near being      FACING
   the apotheosis of praise.      _Frontispiece_     PAGE

   I was moving about my room, my hands full of
   hairbrushes and toothbrushes and clothes
   brushes and shaving brushes; my head full of
   railroad trains, and hills, and plains, and
   valleys                                                5

   A dusky redcap took my baggage                        12

   What scenes these black, pathetic people had
   passed through--were passing through! Why did
   they not look up in wonderment?                       17

   We made believe we wanted to go out and
   smoke. And as we left our seats she made
   believe she didn't know that we were going.           23

   The gentleman who favored linen mesh was a
   fat, prosperous-looking person, whose
   gold-rimmed spectacles reflected flying lights
   from out of doors                                     26

   In a few hours there was enough shame around
   us to have lasted all the reformers and
   muckrakers I know a whole month                       32

   My companion and I made excuses to go
   downstairs and wash our hands in the public
   washroom, just for the pleasure of doing so
   without fear of being attacked by a swarthy
   brigand with a brush                                  35

   I was prepared to take the field against all
   comers, not only in favor of simplicity, but
   in favor of anything and everything which was
   favored by my hostess                                 38

   Chamber of Commerce representatives were with
   us all the first day and until we went to our
   rooms, late at night                                  43

   It is an Elizabethan building, with a heavy
   timbered front, suggesting some ancient,
   hospitable, London coffee house where wits of
   old were used to meet                                 46

   In this charming, homelike old building,
   with its grandfather's clock, its Windsor
   chairs, and its open wood fires, a visitor
   finds it hard to realize that he is in the
   "west"                                                53

   Down by the docks we saw gigantic, strange
   machines, expressive of Cleveland's lake
   commerce--machines for loading and unloading
   ships in the space of a few hours                     60

   In midstream passes a continual parade of
   freighters ... and in their swell you may see,
   teetering, all kinds of craft, from proud
   white yachts to canoes                                71

   The automobile has not only changed Detroit
   from a quiet old town into a rich, active
   city, but upon the drowsy romance of the old
   days it has superimposed the romance of modern
   business                                              74

   Of course there was order in that place, of
   course there was system--relentless
   system--terrible "efficiency"--but to my mind it
   expressed but one thing, and that thing was
   delirium                                              97

   Never, since then, have I heard men jeering
   over women as they look in dishabille, without
   wondering if those same men have ever seen
   themselves clearly in the mirrored washroom
   of a sleeping car                                    112

   "Can that stuff," admonished Miss Buck in her
   easy, offhand manner                                 117

   She was saying to herself (and, unconsciously,
   to us, through the window): "If _I_ had played
   that hand, I never should have done
   it _that_ way!"                                      124

   Rodin's "Thinker"                                    145

   Chicago's skyline from the docks.... A city
   which rebuilt itself after the fire; in the
   next decade doubled its size; and now has a
   population of two million, plus a city of about
   the size of San Francisco                            160

   Two rabbis, old bearded men, performed the
   rites with long, slim, shiny blades                  177

   As I stood there, studying the temperament of
   pigs, I saw the butcher looking up at me.... I
   have never seen such eyes                            192

   The bold front of Michigan Avenue along Grant
   Park ... great buildings wreathed in whirling
   smoke and that allegory of infinity which
   confronts one who looks eastward                     196

   The dilapidation of the quarter has continued
   steadily from Dickens's day to this, and the
   beauty now to be discovered there is that of
   decay and ruin                                       205

   The three used bridges which cross the
   Mississippi River at St. Louis are privately
   controlled toll bridges                              212

   The skins are handled in the raw state ... with
   the result that the floor of the exchange is
   made slippery by animal fats, and that the
   olfactory organs encounter smells not to be
   matched in any zoo                                   221

   St. Louis needs to be taken by the hand and
   led around to some municipal-improvement
   tailor, some civic haberdasher                       225

   We came upon the "Mark Twain House."... And
   to think that, wretched as this place was,
   the Clemens family were forced to leave it for
   a time because they were too poor to live there      240

   At one side is an alley running back to the
   house of Huckleberry Finn, and in that alley
   stood the historic fence which young Sam
   Clemens cajoled the other boys into
   whitewashing for him                                 244

   Never outside of Brittany and Normandy have
   I seen roads so full of animals as those of
   Pike County                                          253

   Mr. Roberts is a wonder--nothing less. There's
   a book in him, and I hope that somebody will
   write it, for I should like to read that book        268

   Looking down from Kersey Coates Drive, one
   sees ... the appalling web of railroad tracks,
   crammed with freight cars, which seen through
   a softening haze of smoke, resemble a relief
   map--strange, vast and pictorial                     289

   Colonel Nelson is a "character." Even if he
   didn't own the "Star," ... he would be a
   "character."... I have called him a volcano;
   he is more like one than any other man I have
   ever met                                             304

   Mr. Fish informed me that the waters of
   Excelsior Springs resemble the waters of
   Homburg, the favorite watering place of the
   late King Edward--or, rather, I think he put
   it the other way round                               322

   We strolled in the direction of the old house,
   that house of tragedy in which the family lived
   in the troublous times.... It was there that
   the Pinkertons threw the bomb                        328

   It was Frank James.... He looks more like a
   prosperous farmer or the president of a rural
   bank than like a bandit. In his manner
   there is a strong note of the showman                335

   The campus seems to have "just
   growed."... Nevertheless, there is a sort of
   homely charm about the place, with its
   unimposing, helter-skelter piles of brick and
   stone                                                353

   Even at sea the great bowl of the sky had
   never looked to me so vast                           368

   The little towns of western Kansas are far
   apart and have, like the surrounding scenery,
   an air of sadness and desolation                     373

   In the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel we saw
   several old fellows, sitting about, looking
   neither prosperous nor busy, but always
   talking mines. A kind word, or even a pleasant
   glance, is enough to set them off                    380

   "Ain't Nature wonderful!"                            405

   I was by this time very definitely aware that
   I had my fill of winter motoring in the
   mountains. The mere reluctance I felt as we
   began to climb had now developed into a
   passionate desire to desist                          412

   The homes of Colorado Springs really explain
   the place and the society is as cosmopolitan
   as the architecture                                  417

   On the road to Cripple Creek we were always
   turning, always turning upward                       432

   We were invited to meet the President of the
   Mormon Church and some members of his family
   at the Beehive House, his official residence         452

   The Lion House--a large adobe building in
   which formerly resided the rank and file of
   Brigham Young's wives                                461

   The Cliff House has a Sorrento setting and
   hectic turkey-trotting nights                        468

   The Salt-water pool, Olympic Club, San Francisco     477

   The switchboard of the Chinatown telephone
   exchange is set in a shrine and the operators
   are dressed in Chinese silks                         496

   We believed we had encountered every kind of
   "booster" that creeps, crawls, walks, crows,
   cries, bellows, barks or brays, but it remained
   for the Exposition to show us a new specimen         504

   New York--Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is
   dodging everyone else. Everyone is trying to
   keep his knees from being knocked by
   swift-passing suitcases                              513



STEPPING WESTWARD



ABROAD AT HOME



CHAPTER I

STEPPING WESTWARD


     "_What, you are stepping westward?_"--"_Yea._"
     --'Twould be a wildish destiny,
     If we, who thus together roam
     In a strange Land, and far from home,
     Were in this place the guests of Chance:
     Yet who would stop or fear to advance,
     Though home or shelter he had none,
     With such a sky to lead him on?

          --WORDSWORTH.


For some time I have desired to travel over the United States--to ramble
and observe and seek adventure here, at home, not as a tourist with a
short vacation and a round-trip ticket, but as a kind of privateer with
a roving commission. The more I have contemplated the possibility the
more it has engaged me. For we Americans, though we are the most
restless race in the world, with the possible exception of the Bedouins,
almost never permit ourselves to travel, either at home or abroad, as
the "guests of Chance." We always go from one place to another with a
definite purpose. We never amble. On the boat, going to Europe, we talk
of leisurely trips away from the "beaten track," but we never take them.
After we land we rush about obsessed by "sights," seeing with the eyes
of guides and thinking the "canned" thoughts of guidebooks.

In order to accomplish such a trip as I had thought of I was even
willing to write about it afterward. Therefore I went to see a publisher
and suggested that he send me out upon my travels.

I argued that Englishmen, from Dickens to Arnold Bennett, had "done"
America; likewise Frenchmen and Germans. And we have traveled over there
and written about them. But Americans who travel at home to write (or,
as in my case, write to travel) almost always go in search of some
specific thing: to find corruption and expose it, to visit certain
places and describe them in detail, or to catch, exclusively, the comic
side. For my part, I did not wish to go in search of anything specific.
I merely wished to take things as they might come. And--speaking of
taking things--I wished, above all else, to take a good companion, and I
had him all picked out: a man whose drawings I admire almost as much as
I admire his disposition; the one being who might endure my presence for
some months, sharing with me his joys and sorrows and collars and
cigars, and yet remain on speaking terms with me.

The publisher agreed to all. Then I told my New York friends that I was
going.

[Illustration: I was moving about my room, my hands full of hairbrushes
and toothbrushes and clothesbrushes and shaving brushes; my head full of
railroad trains, and hills, and plains, and valleys]

They were incredulous. That is the New York attitude of mind. Your
"typical New Yorker" really thinks that any man who leaves Manhattan
Island for any destination other than Europe or Palm Beach must be
either a fool who leaves voluntarily or a criminal taken off by force.
For the picturesque criminal he may be sorry, but for the fool he has
scant pity.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a farewell party which they gave us on the night before we left, one
of my friends spoke, in an emotional moment, of accompanying us as far
as Buffalo. He spoke of it as one might speak of going up to Baffin Land
to see a friend off for the Pole.

I welcomed the proposal and assured him of safe conduct to that point in
the "interior." I even showed him Buffalo upon the map. But the sight of
that wide-flung chart of the United States seemed only to alarm him.
After regarding it with a solemn and uneasy eye he shook his head and
talked long and seriously of his responsibilities as a family man--of
his duty to his wife and his limousine and his elevator boys.

It was midnight when good-bys were said and my companion and I returned
to our respective homes to pack. There were many things to be put into
trunks and bags. A clock struck three as my weary head struck the
pillow. I closed my eyes. Then when, as it seemed to me, I was barely
dozing off there came a knocking at my bedroom door.

"What is it?"

"Six o'clock," replied the voice of our trusty Hannah.

As I arose I knew the feelings of a man condemned to death who hears the
warden's voice in the chilly dawn: "Come! It is the fatal hour!"

When, fifteen minutes later, doubting Hannah (who knows my habits in
these early morning matters) knocked again, I was moving about my room,
my hands full of hairbrushes and toothbrushes and clothes brushes and
shaving brushes; my head full of railroad trains, and hills, and plains
and valleys, and snow-capped mountain peaks, and smoking cities and
smoking-cars, and people I had never seen.

The breakfast table, shining with electric light, had a night-time
aspect which made eggs and coffee seem bizarre. I do not like to
breakfast by electric light, and I had done so seldom until then; but
since that time I have done it often--sometimes to catch the early
morning train, sometimes to catch the early morning man.

Beside my plate I found a telegram. I ripped the envelope and read this
final punctuation-markless message from a literary friend:

     _you are going to discover the united states dont be afraid to say
     so_

That is an awful thing to tell a man in the very early morning before
breakfast. In my mind I answered with the cry: "But I _am_ afraid to say
so!"

And now, months later, I am still afraid to say so, because, despite a
certain truth the statement may contain, it seems to me to sound
ridiculous, and ponderous, and solemn with an asinine solemnity.

It spoiled my last meal at home--that well-meant telegram.

I had not swallowed my second cup of coffee when, from her switchboard,
a dozen floors below, the operator telephoned to say my taxi had
arrived; whereupon I left the table, said good-by to those I should miss
most of all, took up my suit case and departed.

Beside the curb there stood an unhappy-looking taxicab, shivering as
with malaria, but the driver showed a face of brazen cheerfulness which,
considering the hour and the circumstances, seemed almost indecent. I
could not bear his smile. Hastily I blotted him from view beneath a pile
of baggage.

With a jerk we started. Few other vehicles disputed our right to the
whole width of Seventy-second Street as we skimmed eastward. Farewell, O
Central Park! Farewell, O Plaza! And you, Fifth Avenue, empty, gray,
deserted now; so soon to flash with fascinating traffic. Farewell!
Farewell!

Presently, in that cavern in which vehicles stop beneath the overhanging
cliffs of the Grand Central Station, we drew up. A dusky redcap took my
baggage. I alighted and, passing through glass doors, gazed down on the
vast concourse. Far up in the lofty spaces of the room there seemed to
hang a haze, through which--from that amazing and audacious ceiling,
painted like the heavens--there twinkled, feebly, morning stars of
gold. Through three arched windows, towering to the height of six-story
buildings, the eastern light streamed softly in, combining with the
spaciousness around me, and the blue above, to fill me with a curious
sense of paradox: a feeling that I was indoors yet out of doors.

The glass dials of the four-faced clock, crowning the information bureau
at the center of the concourse, glowed with electric light, yellow and
sickly by contrast with the day which poured in through those windows.
Such stupendous windows! Gargantuan spider webs whose threads were
massive bars of steel. And suddenly I saw the spider! He emerged from
one side, passed nimbly through the center of the web, disappeared,
emerged again, crossed the second web and the third in the same way, and
was gone--a two-legged spider, walking importantly and carrying papers
in his hand. Then another spider came, and still another, each black
against the light, each on a different level. For those windows are, in
reality, more than windows. They are double walls of glass, supporting
floors of glass--layer upon layer of crystal corridor, suspended in the
air as by genii out of the Arabian Nights. And through these corridors
pass clerks who never dream that they are princes in the modern kind of
fairy tale.

As yet the torrent of commuters had not begun to pour through the vast
place. The floor lay bare and tawny like the bed of some dry river
waiting for the melting of the mountain snows. Across the river bed
there came a herd of cattle--Italian immigrants, dark-eyed, dumb,
patient, uncomprehending. Two weeks ago they had left Naples, with
plumed Vesuvius looming to the left; yesterday they had come to Ellis
Island; last night they had slept on station benches; to-day they were
departing; to-morrow or the next day they would reach their destination
in the West. Suddenly there came to me from nowhere, but with a
poignance that seemed to make it new, the platitudinous thought that
life is at once the commonest and strangest of experiences. What scenes
these black, pathetic people had passed through--were passing through!
Why did they not look up in wonderment? Why were their bovine eyes
gazing blankly ahead of them at nothing? What had dazed them so--the
bigness of the world? Yet, after all, why should they understand? What
American can understand Italian railway stations? They have always
seemed to me to express a sort of mild insanity. But the Grand Central
terminal I fancy I do understand. It seems to me to be much more than a
successful station. In its stupefying size, its brilliant
utilitarianism, and, most of all, in its mildly vulgar grandeur, it
seems to me to express, exactly, the city to which it is a gate. That is
something every terminal should do unless, as in the case of the
Pennsylvania terminal in New York, it expresses something finer. The
Grand Central Station _is_ New York, but that classic marvel over there
on Seventh Avenue is more: it is something for New York to live up to.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I had bought my ticket and moved along to count my change there
came up to the ticket window a big man in a big ulster who asked in a
big voice for a ticket to Grand Rapids. As he stood there I was
conscious of a most un-New-York-like wish to say to him: "After a while
I'm going to Grand Rapids, too!" And I think that, had I said it, he
would have told me that Grand Rapids was "_some town_" and asked me to
come in and see him, when I got there,--"at the plant," I think he would
have said.

As I crossed the marble floor to take the train I caught sight of my
traveling companion leaning rigidly against the wall beside the gate. He
did not see me. Reaching his side, I greeted him.

He showed no signs of life. I felt as though I had addressed a waxwork
figure.

"Good morning," I repeated, calling him by name.

"I've just finished packing," he said. "I never got to bed at all."

At that moment a most attractive person put in an appearance. She was
followed by a redcap carrying a lovely little Russia leather bag. A few
years before I should have called a bag like that a dressing case, but
watching that young woman as she tripped along with steps restricted by
the slimness of her narrow satin skirt, it occurred to me that modes in
baggage may have changed like those in woman's dress and that her
little leather case might be a modern kind of wardrobe trunk.

My companion took no notice of this agitating presence.

"Look!" I whispered. "_She_ is going, too."

Stiffly he turned his head.

"The pretty girl," he remarked, with sad philosophy, "is always in the
other car. That's life."

"No," I demurred. "It's only early morning stuff."

And I was right, for presently, in the parlor car, we found our seats
across the aisle from hers.

Before the train moved out a boy came through with books and magazines,
proclaiming loudly the "last call for reading matter."

I think the radiant being believed him, for she bought a magazine--a
magazine of pretty girls and piffle: just the sort we knew she'd buy. As
for my companion and me, we made no purchases, not crediting the
statement that it was really the "last call." But I am impelled to add
that having, later, visited certain book stores of Buffalo, Cleveland,
and Detroit, I now see truth in what the boy said.

For a time my companion and I sat and tried to make believe we didn't
know that some one was across the aisle. And she sat there and played
with pages and made believe she didn't know we made believe. When that
had gone on for a time and our train was slipping silently along beside
the Hudson, we felt we couldn't stand it any longer, so we made believe
we wanted to go out and smoke. And as we left our seats she made believe
she didn't know that we were going.

Four men were seated in the smoking room. Two were discussing the merits
of flannel versus linen mesh for winter underwear. The gentleman who
favored linen mesh was a fat, prosperous-looking person, whose
gold-rimmed spectacles reflected flying lights from out of doors.

"If you'll wear linen," he declared with deep conviction--"and it wants
to be a union suit, too--you'll never go back to shirt and drawers
again. I'll guarantee that!" The other promised to try it. Presently I
noticed that the first speaker had somehow gotten all the way from linen
union suits to Portland, Me., on a hot Sunday afternoon. He said it was
the hottest day last year, and gave the date and temperatures at certain
hours. He mentioned his wife's weight, details of how she suffered from
the heat, the amount of flesh she lost, the name of the steamer on which
they finally escaped from Portland to New York, the time of leaving and
arrival, and many other little things.

I left him on the dock in New York. A friend (name and occupation given)
had met him with a touring car (make and horsepower specified). What
happened after that I do not know, save that it was nothing of
importance. Important things don't happen to a man like that.

[Illustration: A dusky redcap took my baggage]

Two other men of somewhat Oriental aspect were seated on the leather
sofa talking the unintelligible jargon of the factory. But, presently,
emerged an anecdote.

"I was going through our sorting room a while back," said the one
nearest the window, "and I happened to take notice of one of the girls.
I hadn't seen her before. She was a new hand--a mighty pretty girl, with
a nice, round figure and a fine head of hair. She kept herself neater
than most of them girls do. I says to myself: 'Why, if you was to take
that girl and dress her up and give her a little education you wouldn't
be ashamed to take her anywheres.' Well, I went over to her table and I
says: 'Look at here, little girl; you got a fine head of hair and you'd
ought to take care of it. Why don't you wear a cap in here in all this
dust?' It tickled her to death to be noticed like that. And, sure
enough, she did get a cap. I says to her: 'That's the dope, little girl.
Take care of your looks. You'll only be young and pretty like this once,
you know.' So one thing led to another, and one day, a while later, she
come up to the office to see about her time slip or something, and I
jollied her a little. I seen she was a pretty smart kid at that, so--"
At that point he lowered his voice to a whisper, and leaned over so that
his thick, smiling lips were close to his companion's ear. The motion of
the train caused their hat brims to interfere. Disturbed by this, the
raconteur removed his derby. His head was absolutely bald.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, I am not sure that I should have liked to hear the rest. I shifted
my attention back to the apostle of the linen union suit, who had talked
on, unremittingly. His conversation had, at least, the merit of entire
frankness. He was a man with nothing to conceal.

"Yes, sir!" I heard him declare, "every time you get on to a railroad
train you take your life in your hands. That's a positive fact. I was
reading it up just the other day. We had almost sixteen thousand
accidents to trains in this country last year. A hundred and thirty-nine
passengers killed and between nine and ten thousand injured. That's not
counting employees, either--just passengers like us." He emphasized his
statements by waving a fat forefinger beneath the listener's nose, and I
noticed that the latter seemed to wish to draw his head back out of
range, as though in momentary fear of a collision.

For my part, I did not care for these statistics. They were not pleasant
to the ears of one on the first leg of a long railroad journey. I rose,
aimed the end of my cigar at the convenient nickel-plated receptacle
provided for that purpose by the thoughtful Pullman Company, missed it,
and retired from the smoking room. Or, rather, I emerged and went to
luncheon.

Our charming neighbor of the parlor car was already in the diner. She
finished luncheon before we did, and, passing by our table as she left,
held her chin well up and kept her eyes ahead with a precision almost
military--almost, but not quite. Try as she would, she was unable to
control a slight but infinitely gratifying flicker of the eyelids, in
which nature triumphed over training and femininity defeated feministic
theory.

A little later, on our way back to the smoking room, we saw her seated,
as before, behind the sheltering ramparts of her magazine. This time it
pleased our fancy to take the austere military cue from her. So we filed
by in step, as stiff as any guardsmen on parade before a princess seated
on a green plush throne. Resolutely she kept her eyes upon the page. We
might have thought she had not noticed us at all but for a single sign.
She uncrossed her knees as we passed by.

In the smoking room we entered conversation with a young man who was
sitting by the window. He proved to be a civil engineer from Buffalo. He
had lived in Buffalo eight years, he said, without having visited
Niagara Falls. ("I've been meaning to go, but I've kept putting it
off.") But in New York he had taken time to go to Bedloe Island and
ascend the Statue of Liberty. ("It's awfully hot in there.") Though my
companion and myself had lived in New York for many years, neither of us
had been to Bedloe Island. But both of us had visited the Falls. The
absurd humanness of this was amusing to us all; to my companion and me
it was encouraging as well, for it seemed to give us ground for hope
that, in our visits to strange places, we might see things which the
people living in those places fail to see.

When, after finishing our smoke, we went back to our seats, the being
across the way began to make believe to read again. But now and then,
when some one passed, she would look up and make believe she wished to
see who it might be. And always, after doing so, she let her eyes trail
casually in our direction ere they sought the page again. And always we
were thankful.

As the train slowed down for Rochester we saw her rise and get into her
slinky little coat. The porter came and took her Russia leather bag.
Meanwhile we hoped she would be generous enough to look once more before
she left the car. Only once more!

But she would not. I think she had a feeling that frivolity should cease
at Rochester; for Rochester, we somehow sensed, was home to her. At all
events she simply turned and undulated from the car.

That was too much! Enough of make-believe! With one accord we swung our
chairs to face the window. As she appeared upon the platform our noses
almost touched the windowpane and our eyes sent forth forlorn appeals.
She knew that we were there, yet she walked by without so much as
glancing at us.

We saw a lean old man trot up to her, throw one arm about her shoulders,
and kiss her warmly on the cheek. Her father--there was no mistaking
that. They stood there for a moment on the platform talking eagerly; and
as they talked they turned a little bit, so that we saw her smiling up
at him.

[Illustration: What scenes these black, pathetic people had passed
through--were passing through! Why did they not look up in wonderment?]

Then, to our infinite delight, we noticed that her eyes were slipping,
slipping. First they slipped down to her father's necktie. Then sidewise
to his shoulder, where they fluttered for an instant, while she tried to
get them under control. But they weren't the kind of eyes which are
amenable. They got away from her and, with a sudden leap, flashed up at
us across her father's shoulder! The minx! She even flung a smile! It
was just a little smile--not one of her best--merely the fragment of a
smile, not good enough for father, but too good to throw away.

Well--it was not thrown away. For it told us that she knew our lives had
been made brighter by her presence--and that she didn't mind a bit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pushing on toward Buffalo as night was falling, my companion and I
discussed the fellow travelers who had most engaged our notice: the
young engineer from Buffalo, keen and alive, with a quick eye for the
funny side of things; the hairless amorist; the genial bore, whose wife
(we told ourselves) got very tired of him sometimes, but loved him just
because he was so good; the pretty girl, who couldn't make her eyes
behave because she was a pretty girl. We guessed what kind of house each
one resided in, the kind of furniture they had, the kind of pictures on
the walls, the kind of books they read--or didn't read. And I believed
that we guessed right. Did we not even know what sort of underwear
encased the ample figure of the man with the amazing memory of
unessential things? And, while touching on this somewhat delicate
subject, were we not aware that if the alluring being who left the
train, and us, at Rochester possessed the once-so-necessary garment
called a petticoat, that petticoat was hanging in her closet?

All this I mention because the thought occurred to me then (and it has
kept recurring since) that places, no less than persons, have characters
and traits and habits of their own. Just as there are colorless people
there are colorless communities. There are communities which are strong,
self-confident, aggressive; others lazy and inert. There are cities
which are cultivated; others which crave "culture" but take "culturine"
(like some one drinking from the wrong bottle); and still others almost
unaware, as yet, that esthetic things exist. Some cities seem to fairly
smile at you; others are glum and worried like men who are ill, or
oppressed with business troubles. And there are dowdy cities and
fashionable cities--the latter resembling one another as fashionable
women do. Some cities seem to have an active sense of duty, others not.
And almost all cities, like almost all people, appear to be capable
alike of baseness and nobility. Some cities are rich and proud like
self-made millionaires; others, by comparison, are poor. But let me
digress here to say that, though I have heard mention of "hard times" at
certain points along my way, I don't believe our modern generation knows
what hard times really are. To most Americans the term appears to
signify that life is hard indeed on him who has no motor car or who
goes without champagne at dinner.

       *       *       *       *       *

My contacts with many places and persons I shall mention in the
following chapters have, of necessity, been brief. I have hardly more
than glimpsed them as I glimpsed those fellow travelers on the train.
Therefore I shall merely try to give you some impressions, from a sort
of mental sketchbook, of the things which I have seen and done and
heard. There is one point in particular about that sketchbook: in it I
have reserved the right to set down only what I pleased. It has been
hard to do that sometimes. People have pulled me this way and that,
telling me what to see and what not to see, what to write and what to
leave out. I have been urged, for instance, to write about the varied
industries of Cleveland, the parks of Milwaukee, and the enormous red
apples of Louisiana, Mo. I may come to the apples later on, for I ate a
number of them and enjoyed them; but the varied industries of Cleveland
and the Milwaukee parks I did not eat.

I claim the further right to ignore, when I desire to, the most
important things, or to dwell with loving pen upon the unimportant.
Indeed, I reserve all rights--even to the right to be perverse.

Thus I shall mention things which people told me not to mention: the
droll Detroit Art Museum; the comic chimney rising from the center of a
Grand Rapids park; horrendous scenes in the Chicago stockyards; the
Free Bridge, standing useless over the river at St. Louis for want of
an approach; the "wettest block"--a block full of saloons, which marks
the dead line between "wet" Kansas City, Mo., and "dry" Kansas City,
Kas. (I never heard about that block until a stranger wrote and told me
not to mention it.)

As for statistics, though I have been loaded with them to the point of
purchasing another trunk, I intend to use them as sparingly as possible.
And every time I use them I shall groan.



CHAPTER II

BIFURCATED BUFFALO


Alighting from the train at Buffalo, I was reminded of my earlier
reflection that railway stations should express their cities. In Buffalo
the thought is painful. If that city were in fact, expressed by its
present railway stations, people would not get off there voluntarily;
they would have to be put off. And yet, from what I have been told, the
curious and particularly ugly relic which is the New York Central
Station there, to-day, does tell a certain story of the city. Buffalo
has long been torn by factional quarrels--among them a protracted fight
as to the location of a modern station for the New York Central Lines.
The East Side wants it; the West Side wants it. Neither has it. The old
station still stands--at least it was standing when I left Buffalo, for
I was very careful not to bump it with my suit case.

This difference of opinion between the East Side and the West with
regard to the placing of a station is, I am informed, quite typical of
Buffalo. Socially, commercially, religiously, politically, the two sides
disagree. The dividing line between them, geographically, is not, as
might be supposed, Division Street. (That, by the way, is a peculiarity
of highways called "Division Street" in most cities--they seldom divide
anything more important than one row of buildings from another.) The
real street of division is called Main.

Main Street! How many American towns and cities have used that name, and
what a stupid name it is! It is as characterless as a number, and it
lacks the number's one excuse for being. If names like Tenth Street or
Eleventh Avenue fail to kindle the imagination they do not fail, at all
events, to help the stranger find his way--although it should be added
that strangers do, somehow, manage to find their way about in London,
Paris, and even Boston, where the modern American system of numbering
streets and avenues is not in vogue. But I am not agitating against the
numbering of streets. Indeed, I fear I rather believe in it, as I
believe in certain other dull but useful things like work and government
reports. What I am crying out about is the stupid naming of such streets
as carry names. Why do we have so many Main Streets? Do you think we
lack imagination? Then look at the names of Western towns and Kansas
girls and Pullman cars! The thing is an enigma.

Main Street is not only a bad name for a thoroughfare; the quality which
it implies is unfortunate. And that quality may be seen in Main Street,
Buffalo. On an exaggerated scale that street _is_ like the Main Street
of a little town, for the business district, the retail shopping
district, all the city's activities string along on either side. It is
bad for a city to grow in that elongated way just as it is bad for a
human being. To either it imparts a kind of gawky awkwardness.

[Illustration: We made believe we wanted to go out and smoke. And as we
left our seats she made believe she didn't know that we were going]

The development of Main Street, Buffalo, has been natural. That is just
the trouble; it has been too natural. Originally it was the Iroquois
trail; later the route followed by the stages coming from the East. So
it has grown up from log-cabin days. It is a fine, broad street; all
that it lacks is "features." It runs along its wide, monotonous way
until it stops in the squalid surroundings of the river; and if the
river did not happen to be there to stop it, it would go on and on
developing, indefinitely, and uninterestingly, in that direction as well
as in the other.

The thing which Buffalo lacks physically is a recognizable center; a
point at which a stranger would stop, as he stops in Piccadilly Circus
or the Place de l'Opéra, and say to himself with absolute assurance:
"Now I am at the very heart of the city." Every city ought to have a
center, and every center ought to signify in its spaciousness, its
arrangement and its architecture, a city's dignity. Buffalo is,
unfortunately, far from being alone in her need of such a thing. Where
Buffalo is most at fault is that she does not even seem to be thinking
of municipal distinction. And very many other cities are. Cleveland is
already attaining it in a manner which will be magnificent; Chicago has
long planned and is slowly executing; Denver has work upon a splendid
municipal center well under way; so has San Francisco; St. Louis,
Milwaukee, and Grand Rapids have plans for excellent municipal
improvements. Even St. Paul is waking up and widening an important
business street.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every one knows that what is called "a wave of reform" has swept across
the country, but not every one seems to know that there is also surging
over the United States a "wave" of improved public taste. I shall write
more of this later. Suffice it now to say that it manifests itself in
countless forms: in municipal improvements of the kind of which the
Cleveland center is, perhaps, the best example in the country; in
architecture of all classes; in household furniture and decoration; in
the tendency of art museums to realize that modern American paintings
are the finest modern paintings obtainable in the world to-day; in the
tendency of private art collectors not to buy quite so much rubbish as
they have bought in the past; in the Panama-Pacific Exposition, which
will be the most beautiful exposition anybody ever saw; and in
innumerable other ways. Indeed, public taste in the United States has,
in the last ten years, taken a leap forward which the mind of to-day
cannot hope to measure. The advance is nothing less than marvelous, and
it is reflected, I think, in every branch of art excepting one: the
literary art, which has in our day, and in our country, reached an
abysmal depth of degradation.

With Cleveland so near at hand as an example, and so many other
American cities thinking about civic beauty, Buffalo ought soon to begin
to rub her eyes, look about, and cast up her accounts. Perhaps her
trouble is that she is a little bit too prosperous with an olden-time
prosperity; a little bit too somnolent and satisfied. There is plenty to
eat; business is not so bad; there are good clubs, and there is a
delightful social life and a more than ordinary degree of cultivation.
Furthermore, there may be a new station for the New York Central some
day, for it is a fact that there are now some street cars which actually
_cross_ Main Street, instead of stopping at the Rubicon and making
passengers get out, cross on foot, and take the other car on the other
side! That, in itself, is a startling state of things. Evidently all
that is needed now is an earthquake.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have remarked before that cities, like people, have habits. Just as
Detroit has the automobile habit, Pittsburgh the steel habit, Erie, Pa.,
the boiler habit, Grand Rapids the furniture habit, and Louisville the
(if one may say so) whisky habit, Buffalo had in earlier times the
transportation habit. The first fortunes made in Buffalo came originally
from the old Central Wharf, where toll was taken of the passing
commerce. Hand in hand with shipping came that business known by the
unpleasant name of "jobbing." From the opening of the Erie Canal until
the late seventies, jobbing flourished in Buffalo, but of recent years
her jobbing territory has diminished as competition with surrounding
centers has increased.

The early profits from docks and shipping were considerable. The
business was easy; it involved comparatively small investment and but
little risk. So when, with the introduction of through bills of lading,
this business dwindled, it was hard for Buffalo to readjust herself to
more daring ventures, such as manufacturing. "For," as a Buffalo man
remarked to me, "there is only one thing more timid than a million
dollars, and that is two million." It was the same gentleman, I think,
who, in comparing the Buffalo of to-day with the Buffalo of other days,
called my attention to the fact that not one man in the city is a
director of a steam railroad company.

From her geographical position with regard to ore, limestone, and coal
it would seem that Buffalo might well become a great iron and steel city
like Cleveland, but for some reason her ventures in this direction have
been unfortunate. One steel company in which Buffalo money was invested,
failed; another has been struggling along for some years and has not so
far proved profitable. Some Buffalonians made money in a land boom a
dozen or so years since; then came the panic, and the boom burst with a
loud report, right in Buffalo's face.

Back of most of this trouble there seems to have been a streak of real
ill luck.

[Illustration: The gentleman who favored linen mesh was a fat,
prosperous-looking person, whose gold-rimmed spectacles reflected flying
lights from out of doors]

There is a great deal of money in Buffalo, but it is wary
money--financial wariness seems to be another Buffalo habit. And there
are other cities with the same characteristic. You can tell them
because, when you begin to ask about various enterprises, people will
say: "No, we haven't this and we haven't that, but this is a safe town
in times of financial panic." That is what they say in Buffalo; they
also say it in St. Louis and St. Paul. But if they say it in Chicago, or
Minneapolis, or Kansas City, or in those lively cities of the Pacific
slope, I did not hear them. Those cities are not worrying about
financial panics which may come some day, but are busy with the things
which are.

If you ask a Buffalo man what is the matter with his city, he will, very
likely, sit down with great solemnity and try to tell you, and even call
a friend to help him, so as to be sure that nothing is overlooked. He
may tell you that the city lacks one great big dominating man to lead it
into action; or that there has been, until recently, lack of coöperation
between the banks; or that there are ninety or a hundred thousand Poles
in the city and only about the same number of people springing from what
may be called "old American stock." Or he may tell you something else.

If, upon the other hand, you ask a Minneapolis man that question, what
will he do? He will look at you pityingly and think you are demented.
Then he will tell you very positively that there is nothing the matter
with Minneapolis, but that there is something definitely the matter with
any one who thinks there is! Yes, indeed! If you want to find out what
is the matter with Minneapolis, it is still necessary to go for
information to St. Paul. As you proceed westward, such a question
becomes increasingly dangerous.

Ask a Kansas City man what is wrong with his town and he will probably
attack you; and as for Los Angeles--! Such a question in Los Angeles
would mean the calling out of the National Guard, the Chamber of
Commerce, the Rotary Club, and all the "boosters" (which is to say the
entire population of the city); the declaring of martial law, a trial by
summary court-martial, and your immediate execution. The manner of your
execution would depend upon the phrasing of your question. If you had
asked: "Is there anything wrong with Los Angeles?" they'd probably be
content with selling you a city lot and then hanging you; but if you
said: "What _is_ wrong with Los Angeles?" they would burn you at the
stake and pickle your remains in vitriol.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this juncture I find myself oppressed with the idea that I haven't
done Buffalo justice. Also, I am annoyed to discover that I have written
a great deal about business. When I write about business I am almost
certain to be wrong. I dislike business very much--almost as much as I
dislike politics--and the idea of infringing upon the field of friends
of mine like Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Miss Tarbell, Samuel
Hopkins Adams, Will Irwin, and others, is extremely distasteful to me.
But here is the trouble: so many writers have run a-muckraking that,
now-a-days, when a writer appears in any American city, every one assumes
that he is scouting around in search of "shame." The result is that you
don't have to hunt for shame. People bring it to you by the cartload.
They don't give you time to explain that you aren't a shame
collector--that you don't even know a good piece of shame when you see
it--they just drive up, dump it at your door, and go back to get another
load.

My companion and I were new at the game in Buffalo. As the loads of
shame began to arrive, we had a feeling that something was going wrong
with our trip. We had come in search of cheerful adventure, yet here we
were barricaded in by great bulwarks of shame. In a few hours there was
enough shame around us to have lasted all the reformers and muckrakers I
know a whole month. We couldn't see over the top of it. It hypnotized
us. We began to think that probably shame _was_ what we wanted, after
all. Every one we met assumed it was what we wanted, and when enough
people assume a certain thing about you it is very difficult to buck
against them. By the second day we had ceased to be human and had begun
to act like muckrakers. We became solemn, silent, mysterious. We would
pick up a piece of shame, examine it, say "_Ha!_" and stick it in our
pockets. When some white-faced Buffalonian would drive up with another
load of shame I would go up to him, wave my finger under his nose and,
trying to look as much like Steffens as I could, say in a sepulchral
voice: "Come! Out with it! What are you holding back? Tell me all! Who
tore up the missing will?" Then that poor, honest, terrified Buffalonian
would gasp and try to tell me all, between his chattering teeth. And
when he had told me all I would continue to glare at him horribly, and
ask for more. Then he would begin making up stories, inventing the most
frightful and shocking lies so as not to disappoint me. I would print
some of them here, but I have forgotten them. That is the trouble with
the amateur muckraker or reformer. His mind isn't trained to his work.
He is constantly allowing it to be diverted by some pleasant thing.

For instance, some one pointed out to me that the water front of the
city, along the Niagara River, is so taken up by the railroads that the
public does not get the benefit of that water life which adds so much to
the charm of Cleveland and Detroit. That situation struck me as
affording an excellent piece of muck to rake. For isn't it always the
open season so far as railroads are concerned?

I ought to have kept my mind on that, but in my childlike way I let
myself go ambling off through the parks. I found the parks delightful,
and in one of them I came upon a beautiful Greek temple, built of marble
and containing a collection of paintings of which any city should be
proud. Now that is a disconcerting sort of thing to find when you have
just abandoned yourself to the idea of becoming a muckraker! How can
you muckrake a gallery like that? It can't be done.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the possible exception of the Chicago Art Institute my companion
and I did not see, upon our entire journey, any gallery of art in which
such good judgment had been shown in the selection of paintings as in
the Albright Gallery in Buffalo. Though the Chicago Art Institute is
much the larger and richer museum, and though its collection is more
comprehensive, its modern art is far more heterogeneous than that of
Buffalo. One admires that Albright Gallery not only for the paintings
which hang upon its walls, but also for those which do not hang there.
Judgment has been shown not only in selecting paintings, but (one
concludes) in rejecting gifts. I do not know that the Albright Gallery
has rejected gifts, but I do know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York and the Chicago Art Institute have, at times, failed to reject
gifts which should have been rejected. Almost all museums fail in that
respect in their early days. When a rich man offers a bad painting, or a
roomful of bad paintings, the museum is afraid to say "No," because rich
men must be propitiated. That has been the curse of art museums; they
have to depend on rich men for support. And rich men, however generous
they may be, and however much they may be interested in art, are, for
the most part, lacking in any true and deep understanding of it. That
is one trouble with being rich--it doesn't give you time to be much of
anything else. If rich men really did _know_ art, there would not be so
many art dealers, and so many art dealers would not be going to
expensive tailors and riding in expensive limousines.

Those who control the Albright Gallery have been wise enough to
specialize in modern American painting. They have not been impressed, as
so many Americans still are impressed, by the sound of the word
"Europe." Nor have they attempted to secure old masters.

Does it not seem a mistake for any museum not possessed of enormous
wealth to attempt a collection of old masters? A really fine example of
the work of an old master ties up a vast amount of money, and, however
splendid it may be, it is only one canvas, after all; and one or two or
three old masters do not make a representative collection. Rather, it
seems to me, they tend to disturb balance in a small museum.

To many American ears "Europe" is still a magic word. It makes little
difference that Europe remains the happy hunting ground of the advanced
social climber; but it makes a good deal of difference that so many
American students of the arts continue to believe that there is some
mystic thing to be gotten over there which is unobtainable at home.
Europe has done much for us and can still do much for us, but we must
learn not to accept blindly as we have in the past. Until quite
recently, American art museums did, for the most part, buy European
art which was in many instances absolutely inferior to the art produced
at home. And unless I am very much mistaken a third-rate portrait
painter, with a European name (and a clever dealer to push him) can
still come over here and reap a harvest of thousands while Americans
with more ability are making hundreds.

[Illustration: In a few hours there was enough shame around us to have
lasted all the reformers and muckrakers I know a whole month]

One of the brightest signs for American painting to-day is the fact that
it is now found profitable to make and sell forgeries of the works of
our most distinguished modern artists--even living ones. This is a new
and encouraging situation. A few years ago it was hardly worth a
forger's time to make, say, a false Hassam, when he might just as well
be making a Corot--which reminds me of an amusing thing a painter said
to me the other day.

We were passing through an art gallery, when I happened to see at the
end of one room three canvases in the familiar manner of Corot.

"What a lot of Corots there are in this country," I remarked.

"Yes," he replied. "Of the ten thousand canvases painted by Corot, there
are thirty thousand in the United States."

       *       *       *       *       *

There are two interesting hotels in Buffalo. One, the Iroquois, is
characterized by a kind of solid dignity and has for years enjoyed a
high reputation. It is patronized to-day at luncheon time by many of
Buffalo's leading business men. Another, the Statler, is more
"commercial" in character. My companion and I happened to stop at the
latter, and we became very much interested in certain things about it.
For one thing, every room in the hotel has running ice water and a
bath--either a tub or a shower. Everywhere in that hotel we saw signs.
At the desk, when we entered, hung a sign which read: _Clerk on duty,
Mr. Pratt_.

There were signs in our bedrooms, too. I don't remember all of them, but
there was one bearing the genial invitation: _Criticize and suggest for
the improvement of our service. Complaint and suggestion box in lobby._

While I was in that hotel I had nothing to "criticize and suggest," but
I have been in other hotels where, if such an invitation had been
extended to me, I should have stuffed the box.

Besides the signs, we found in each of our rooms the following: a
clothes brush; a card bearing on one side a calendar and on the other
side a list of all trains leaving Buffalo, and their times of departure;
a memorandum pad and pencil by the telephone; a Bible ("Placed in this
hotel by the Gideons"), and a pincushion, containing not only a variety
of pins (including a large safety pin), but also needles threaded with
black thread and white, and buttons of different kinds, even to a
suspender button.

[Illustration: My companion and I made excuses to go downstairs and wash
our hands in the public washroom, just for the pleasure of doing so
without fear of being attacked by a swarthy brigand with a brush]

But aside from the prompt service we received, I think the thing which
pleased us most about that hotel was a large sign in the public wash
room, downstairs. Had I come from the West I am not sure that sign would
have startled me so much, but coming from New York--! Well, this is what
it said:

     _Believing that voluntary service in washrooms is distasteful to
     guests, attendants are instructed to give no service which the
     guest does not ask for._

Time and again, while we were in Buffalo, my companion and I made
excuses to go downstairs and wash our hands in the public washroom, just
for the pleasure of doing so without fear of being attacked by a swarthy
brigand with a brush. We became positively fond of the melancholy
washroom boy in that hotel. There was something pathetic in the way he
stood around waiting for some one to say: "Brush me!" Day after day he
pursued his policy of watchful waiting, hoping against hope that
something would happen--that some one would fall down in the mud and
really need to be brushed; that some one would take pity on him and let
himself be brushed anyhow. The pathos of that boy's predicament began to
affect us deeply. Finally we decided, just before leaving Buffalo, to go
downstairs and let him brush us. We did so. When we asked him to do it
he went very white at first. Then, with a glad cry, he leaped at us and
did his work. It was a real brushing we got that day--not a mere slap on
the back with a whisk broom, meaning "Stand and deliver!" but the kind
of brushing that takes the dust out of your clothes. The wash room was
full of dust before he got through. Great clouds of it went floating up
the stairs, filling the hotel lobby and making everybody sneeze. When he
finished we were renovated. "How much do you think we ought to give him
for all this?" I asked of my companion.

"If the conventional dime which we give the washroom boys in New York
hotels," he replied, "is proper payment for the services they render, I
should say we ought to give this boy about twenty-seven dollars."

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many other things about Buffalo which should be mentioned.
There is the Buffalo Club--the dignified, solid old club of the city;
and there is the Saturn Club, "where women cease from troubling and the
wicked are at rest." And there is Delaware Avenue, on which stand both
these clubs, and many of the city's finest homes.

Unlike certain famous old residence streets in other cities, Delaware
Avenue still holds out against the encroachments of trade. It is a wide,
fine street of trees and lawns and residences. Despite the fact that
many of its older houses are of the ugly though substantial architecture
of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, and many of its newer ones lack
architectural distinction, the general effect of Delaware Avenue is
still fine and American.

My impression of this celebrated street was necessarily hurried, having
been acquired in the course of sundry dashes down its length in motor
cars. I recall a number of its buildings only vaguely now, but there is
one which I admired every time I saw it, and which still clings in my
memory both as a building and as a sermon on the enduring beauty of
simplicity and good, old-fashioned lines--the office of Spencer Kellogg
& Sons, at the corner of Niagara Square.

       *       *       *       *       *

It happened that just before we left New York there was a newspaper talk
about some rich women who had organized a movement of protest against
the ever-increasing American tendency toward show and extravagance. We
were, therefore, doubly interested when we heard of a similar activity
on the part of certain fashionable women of Buffalo.

Our hostess at a dinner party there was the first to mention it, but
several other ladies added details. They had formed a few days before a
society called the "Simplicity League," the members of which bound
themselves to give each other moral support in their efforts to return
to a more primitive mode of life. I cannot recall now whether the topic
came up before or after the butler and the footman came around with
caviar and cocktails, but I know that I had learned a lot about it from
charming and enthusiastic ladies at either side of me before the sherry
had come on; that, by the time the sauterne was served, I was deeply
impressed, and that, with the roast and the Burgundy, I was prepared to
take the field against all comers, not only in favor of simplicity, but
in favor of anything and everything which was favored by my hostess.
Throughout the salad, the ices, the Turkish coffee, and the
Corona-coronas I remained her champion, while with the port--ah!
nothing, it seems to me, recommends the old order of things quite so
thoroughly as old port, which has in it a sermon and a song. After
dinner the ladies told us more about their league.

"We don't intend to go to any foolish extremes," said one who looked
like the apotheosis of the Rue de la Paix. "We are only going to scale
things down and eliminate waste. There is a lot of useless show in this
country which only makes it hard for people who can't afford things. And
even for those who can, it is wrong. Take the matter of dress--a dress
can be simple without looking cheap. And it is the same with a dinner. A
dinner can be delicious without being elaborate. Take this little dinner
we had to-night--"

"_What?_" I cried.

"Yes," she nodded. "In future we are all going to give plain little
dinners like this."

"_Plain?_" I gasped.

Our hostess overheard my choking cry.

"Yes," she put in. "You see, the league is going to practise what it
preaches."

"But I didn't think it had begun yet! I thought this dinner was a kind
of farewell feast--that it was--"

[Illustration: I was prepared to take the field against all comers, not
only in favor of simplicity, but in favor of anything and everything
which was favored by my hostess]

Our hostess looked grieved. The other ladies of the league gazed at me
reproachfully.

"Why!" I heard one exclaim to another, "I don't believe he noticed!"

"Didn't you notice?" asked my hostess.

I was cornered.

"Notice?" I asked. "Notice _what_?"

"That we didn't have champagne!" she said.



CHAPTER III

CLEVELAND CHARACTERISTICS


Before leaving home we were presented with a variety of gifts, ranging
all the way from ear muffs to advice. Having some regard for the
esthetic, we threw away the ear muffs, determining to buy ourselves fur
caps when we should need them. But the advice we could not throw away;
it stuck to us like a poor relation.

In the parlor car, on the way from Buffalo to Cleveland, our minds got
running on sad subjects.

"We have come out to find interesting things--to have adventures," said
my blithe companion. "Now supposing we go on and on and nothing happens.
What will we do then? The publishers will have spent all this money for
our traveling, and what will they get?"

I told him that, in such an event, we would make up adventures.

"What, for instance?" he demanded.

I thought for a time. Then I said:

"Here's a good scheme--we could begin now, right here in this car. You
act like a crazy man. I will be your keeper. You run up and down the
aisle shouting--talk wildly to these people--stamp on your hat--do
anything you like. It will interest the passengers and give us something
nice to write about. And you could make a picture of yourself, too."

Instead of appreciating that suggestion he was annoyed with me, so I
ventured something else.

"How would it be for you to beat a policeman on the helmet?"

He didn't care for that either.

"Why don't you think of something for yourself to do?" he said, somewhat
sourly.

"All right," I returned. "I'm willing to do my share. I will poison you
and get arrested for it."

"If you do that," he criticized, "who will make the pictures?"

I saw that he was in a humor to find fault with anything I proposed, so
I let him ramble on. He had a regular orgy of imaginary disaster,
running all the way from train wrecks, in which I was killed and he was
saved only to have the bother and expense of shipping my remains home,
to fires in which my notebooks were burned up, leaving on his hands a
lot of superb but useless drawings.

After a time he suggested that we make up a list of the things we had
been warned of. I did not wish to do it, but, acting on the theory that
fever must run its course, I agreed, so we took paper and pencil and
began. It required about two hours to get everything down, beginning
with _Aches_, _Actresses_, _Adenoids_, _Alcoholism_, _Amnesia_, _Arson_,
etc., and running on, through the alphabet to _Zero weather_,
_Zolaism_, and _Zymosis_.

After looking over the category, my companion said:

"The trouble with this list is that it doesn't present things in the
order in which they may reasonably be expected to occur. For instance,
you might get zymosis, or attempt to write like Zola, at almost any
time, yet those two dangers are down at the bottom of the list. On the
other hand, things like actresses, alcoholism, and arson seem remote. We
must rearrange."

I thought it wise to give in to him, so we set to work again. This time
we made two lists: one of general dangers--things which might overtake
us almost anywhere, such as scarlet fever, hardening of the arteries,
softening of the brain, and "road shows" from the New York Winter
Garden; another arranged geographically, according to our route. Thus,
for example, instead of listing Elbert Hubbard under the letter "H," we
elevated him to first place, because he lives near Buffalo, which was
our first stop.

I didn't want to put down Hubbard's name at all--I thought it would
please him too much if he ever heard about it. I said to my companion:

"We have already passed Buffalo. And, besides, there are some things
which the instinct of self-preservation causes one to recollect without
the aid of any list."

"I know it," he returned, stubbornly, "but, in the interest of science,
I wish this list to be complete."

So we put down everything: Elbert Hubbard, Herbert Kaufman, Eva
Tanguay, Upton Sinclair, and all.

[Illustration: Chamber of Commerce representatives were with us all the
first day and until we went to our rooms, late at night]

A few selected items from our geographical list may interest the reader
as giving him some idea of the locations of certain things we had to
fear. For example, west of Chicago we listed _Oysters_, and north of
Chicago _Frozen Ears_ and _Frozen Noses_--the latter two representing
the dangers of the Minnesota winter. So our list ran on until it reached
the point where we would cross the Great Divide, at which place the word
"_Boosters_" was writ large.

I recall now that, according to our geographical arrangement, there
wasn't much to be afraid of until we got beyond Chicago, and that the
first thing we looked forward to with real dread was the cold in
Minnesota. We dreaded it more than arson, because if some one sets fire
to your ear or your nose, you know it right away, and can send in an
alarm; but cold is sneaky. It seems, from what they say, that you can go
along the street, feeling perfectly well, and with no idea that anything
is going wrong with you, until some experienced resident of the place
touches you upon the arm and says: "Excuse me, sir, but you have dropped
something." Then you look around, surprised, and there is your ear,
lying on the sidewalk. But that is not the worst of it. Before you can
thank the man, or pick your ear up and dust it off, some one will very
likely come along and step on it. I do not think they do it purposely;
they are simply careless about where they walk. But whether it happens
by accident or design, whether the ear is spoiled or not, whether or
not you be wearing your ear at the time of the occurrence--in any case
there is something exceedingly offensive, to the average man, in the
idea of a total stranger's walking on his ear.

I mention this to point a moral. However prepared we may be, in life, we
are always unprepared. However informed we may be, we are always
uninformed. We gaze up at the sky, dreading to-morrow's rain, and slip
upon to-day's banana peel. We move toward Cleveland dreading the
Minnesota winter which is yet far off, having no thought of the
"booster," whom we believe to be still farther off. And what happens? We
step from the train, all innocent and trusting, and then, ah, then----!

       *       *       *       *       *

If it be true, indeed, that the "booster" flourishes more furiously the
farther west you find him, let me say (and I say it after having visited
California, Oregon, and Washington) that Cleveland must be newly located
upon the map. For, if "boosting" be a western industry, Cleveland is not
an Ohio city, nor even a Pacific Slope city, but is an island out in the
midst of the Pacific Ocean.

Nor is this a mere opinion of my own. Upon the mastodonic brow of the
Cleveland Chamber of Commerce there hangs an official laurel wreath. The
New York Bureau of Municipal Research invited votes from the secretaries
of Chambers of Commerce and similar organizations in thirty leading
cities, as to which of these bodies had accomplished most for its city,
industrially, commercially, etc. Cleveland won.

No one who has caromed against the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce will
wonder that Cleveland won. All other Chambers of Commerce I have met,
sink into desuetude and insignificance when compared with that of
Cleveland. Where others merely "boost," Cleveland "boosts" intensively.
She can raise more bushels of statistics to the acre than other cities
can quarts. And the more Cleveland statistics you hear, the more you
become amazed that you do not live there. It seems reckless not to do
so. The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce can prove this to you not merely
with figures, but also with figures of speech.

Take the matter of population. Everybody knows that Cleveland is the
"Sixth City" in the United States, but not everybody knows that in 1850
she was forty-third. The Chamber of Commerce told me that, but I have
prepared some figures of my own which will, perhaps, give the reader
some idea of Cleveland's magnitude. Cleveland is only a little smaller
than Prague, while she has about 50,000 more people than Breslau.

If that does not impress you with the city's size, listen to this:
Cleveland is actually twice as great, in population, as either Nagoya or
Riga! Who would have believed it? The thing seems incredible! I never
dreamed that such a situation existed until I looked it up in the "World
Almanac." And some day, when I have more time, I intend to look up
Nagoya and Riga in the atlas and find out where they are.

A Chamber of Commerce booklet gives me the further information that
"Cleveland is the fifth American city in manufactures, and that she
comes first in the manufacture of steel ships, heavy machinery, wire and
wire nails, bolts and nuts, vapor stoves, electric carbons, malleable
castings, and telescopes"--a list which, by the way, sounds like one of
Lewis Carroll's compilations.

The information that Cleveland is also the first city in the world in
its record, per capita, for divorce, does not come to me from the
Chamber of Commerce booklet--but probably the fact was not known when
the booklet was printed.

Besides being first in so many interesting fields, Cleveland is the
second of the Great Lake cities, and is also second in "the value of its
product of women's outer wearing apparel and fancy knit goods."

It is, furthermore, "the cheapest market in the North for pig iron."

There are other figures I could give (saving myself a lot of trouble, at
the same time, because I only have to copy them from a book), but I want
to stop and let that pig-iron statement sink into you as it sank into me
when I first read it. I wonder if you knew it before? I am ashamed to
admit it, but _I_ did not. I didn't consider where I could get my pig
iron the cheapest. When I wanted pig iron I simply went out and bought
it, at the nearest place, right in New York. That is, I bought it in
New York unless I happened to be traveling when the craving came upon
me. In that case I would buy a small supply wherever I happened to
be--just enough to last me until I could get home again. I don't know
how pig iron affects you, but with me it acts peculiarly. Sometimes I go
along for weeks without even thinking of it; then, suddenly, I feel that
I must have some at once--even if it is the middle of the night. Of
course a man doesn't care what he pays for his pig iron when he feels
like that. But in my soberer moments I now realize that it is best to be
economical in such matters. The wisest plan is to order enough pig iron
from Cleveland to keep you for several months, being careful to notice
when the supply is running low, so that you can order another case.

[Illustration: It is an Elizabethan building, with a heavy timbered
front, suggesting some ancient, hospitable, London coffee house where
wits of old were used to meet]

Apropos of this let me say here, in response to many inquiries as to
what the nature of this work of mine would be, that I intend it to be
"useful as well as ornamental"--to quote the happy phrase, coined by
James Montgomery Flagg. That is, I intend not only to entertain and
instruct the reader but, where opportunity offers, to give him the
benefit of good sound advice, such as I have just given with regard to
the purchasing of pig iron.



CHAPTER IV

MORE CLEVELAND CHARACTERISTICS


Because I have told you so much about the Chamber of Commerce you must
not assume that the Chamber of Commerce was with us constantly while we
were in Cleveland, for that is not the case. True, Chamber of Commerce
representatives were with us all the first day and until we went to our
rooms, late at night. But at our rooms they left us, merely taking the
precaution to lock us in. No attempt was made to assist us in undressing
or to hear our prayers or tuck us into bed. Once in our rooms we were
left to our own devices. We were allowed to read a little, if we wished,
to whisper together, or even to amuse ourselves by playing with the
fixtures in the bathroom.

On the morning of the second day they came and let us out, and took us
to see a lot of interesting and edifying sights, but by afternoon they
had acquired sufficient confidence in us to turn us loose for a couple
of hours, allowing us to roam about, at large, while they attended to
their mail.

We made use of the freedom thus extended to us by presenting several
letters of introduction to Cleveland gentlemen, who took us to various
clubs.

Almost every large city in the country has one solid, dignified old
club, occupying a solid, dignified old building on a corner near the
busy part of town. The building is always recognizable, even to a
stranger. It suggests a fine cuisine, an excellent wine cellar, and a
great variety of good cigars in prime condition. In the front of such a
club there are large windows of plate glass, back of which the passer-by
may catch a glimpse of a trim white mustache and a silk hat. Looking at
the outside of the building, you know that there is a big, high-ceiled
room, at the front, dark in color and containing spacious leather
chairs, which should (and often do) contain aristocratic gentlemen who
have attained years of discretion and positions of importance. One feels
cheated if, on entering, one fails to encounter a member carrying a
malacca stick and wearing waxed mustaches, spats, and a gardenia. The
Union Club of New York is such a club; so is the Pacific Union of San
Francisco; so is the Chicago Club; and so, I fancy, from my glimpse of
it, is the Union Club of Cleveland.

In the larger cities there is usually another club, somewhat less formal
in architecture, decoration, and spirit, and given over, broadly
speaking, to the younger men--though there is often a good deal of
duplication of membership between the first mentioned type of club and
the second. The Tavern of Cleveland is of the second category; so is the
Saturn Club of Buffalo, of which I spoke in a former chapter. Almost
every good-sized city has, likewise, its university club, its athletic
club, and its country club. University clubs vary a good deal in
character, but athletic clubs and country clubs are in general pretty
true to type.

Besides such clubs as these, one finds, here and there, in the United
States, a few clubs of a character more unusual. Cleveland has three
unusual clubs: the Rowfant, a book collector's club; the Chagrin Valley
Hunt Club, at Gates Mills, near the city, and the Hermit Club.

Were it not for the fact that I detest the words "artistic" and
"bohemian," I should apply them to the Hermit Club. It is one of the few
clubs outside New York, Chicago, and San Francisco possessing its own
house and made up largely of men following the arts, or interested in
them. Like the Lambs of New York, the Hermits give shows in their
clubhouse, but the Lambs' is a club of actors, authors, composers, stage
managers, etc., while the Hermit Club is made up, so far as the theater
is concerned, of amateurs--amateurs having among them sufficient talent
to write and act their own shows, design their own costumes, paint their
own scenery, compose their own music, and even play it, too--for there
is an orchestra of members. I have never seen a Hermits' show, and I am
sorry, for I have heard that they are worth seeing. Certainly their
clubhouse is. It is an Elizabethan building, with a heavy timbered
front, suggesting some ancient, hospitable, London coffee house where
wits of old were used to meet. This illusion is enhanced by the
surroundings of the club, for it stands in an alley--or perhaps I had
better say a narrow lane--and is huddled down between the walls of
taller buildings.

The pleasant promise of the exterior is fulfilled within. The ground
floor rooms are low and cozy, and have a pleasant "rambling" feeling--a
step or two up here or down there. The stairway, leading to the floor
above, is narrow, with a genial kind of narrowness that seems to say:
"There is no one here with whom you'll mind rubbing elbows as you pass."
Ascending, you reach the main room, which occupies the entire upper
floor. This room is the Hermit Club. It is here that members gather and
that the more intimate shows are given. Large, with dark panels, and
heavy beams which spring up and lose themselves in warm shadows
overhead, it is a room combining dignity with gracious informality. And
let me add that, to my mind, such a combination is at once rare and
desirable in a club building--or, for the matter of that, in a home or a
human being. A club which is too informal is likely to seem trivial; a
club too dignified, austere. A club should neither seem to be a joke,
nor yet a mausoleum. If it be magnificent, it should not, at least,
overwhelm one with its magnificence; it should not chill one with its
grandeur, so that one lowers one's voice to a whisper and involuntarily
removes one's hat.

In some clubs a man leaves his hat upon his head or takes it off, as he
prefers. In others custom demands that he remove it. Some men will argue
that if you give a man his choice in that matter he feels more at home;
others contend that if he takes his hat off he will, at all events,
_look_ more at home, whereas, if he leaves it on he will look more as
though he were in a hotel. These are matters of opinion. There are many
pleasant clubs which differ on this minor point. But I do not think that
any club may be called pleasant in which a man is inclined to take off
his hat instinctively because of an air of grim formality which he
encounters on entering the door. To make an Irish bull upon this
subject, one of the nicest things that I remember of the Hermit Club is
that I don't remember whether we wore our hats while there or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Chagrin Valley Hunt Club lies in a pleasant valley which acquired
its name through the error of a pioneer (General Moses Cleveland
himself, if I remember rightly) who, when sailing up Lake Erie, landed
at this point, mistaking it for the site of Cleveland, farther on, and
was hence chagrined. Here, more than a hundred years ago, the little
village of Gates Mills was settled by men whose buildings, left behind
them, still proclaim their New England origin. If ever I saw a
Connecticut village outside the State of Connecticut, that village is
Gates Mills, Ohio. Low white farmhouses, with picturesque doorways and
small windows divided into many panes, straggle pleasantly along on
either side of the winding country road, and there is even an old
meeting house, with a spire such as you may see in many a New England
hamlet.

[Illustration: In this charming, homelike old building, with its
grandfather's clock, its Windsor chairs, and its open wood fires, a
visitor finds it hard to realize that he is in the "west"]

The old Gates house, which was built in 1812 by the miller from whom the
place took its name, is passing a mellow old age as the house of the
Hunt Club. In this charming, homelike old building, with its
grandfather's clock, its Windsor chairs, and its open wood fires, a
visitor finds its hard to realize that he is actually in a portion of
the country which is still referred to, in New York, as "the west."

The Connecticut resemblance is accounted for by the fact that all this
section of the country was in the Western Reserve, which belonged to,
and was settled by, Connecticut. Thus travel teaches us! I knew
practically nothing, until then, of the Western Reserve, and even less
of hunt clubs. I had never been in a hunt club before, and my
impressions of such institutions had been gleaned entirely from short
stories and from prints showing rosy old rascals drinking. Probably
because of these prints I had always thought that "horsey"
people--particularly the "hunting set"--were generally addicted to the
extensive (and not merely external) use of alcohol. As others may be of
the same impression it is perhaps worth remarking that, while in the
Hunt Club, we saw a number of persons drinking tea, and that only two
were drinking alcoholic beverages--those two being visitors: an
illustrator and a writer from New York.

I mentioned that to the M. F. H., and told him of my earlier impression
as to hunt-club habits.

"Lots of people have that idea," he smiled, "but it is wrong. As a
matter of fact, few hunting people are teetotalers, but those who ride
straight are almost invariably temperate. They have to be. You can't be
in the saddle six or eight hours at a stretch, riding across country,
and do it on alcohol."

I also learned from the M. F. H. certain interesting things regarding a
fox's scent. Without having thought upon the subject, I had somehow
acquired the idea that hounds got the scent from the actual tracks of
the animal they followed. That is not so. The scent comes from the body
of the fox and is left behind him suspended in the air. And, other
conditions being equal, the harder your fox runs the stronger his scent
will be. The most favorable scent for following is what is known as a
"breast-high scent"--meaning a scent which hangs in suspension at a
point sufficiently high to render it unnecessary for the hounds to put
their heads down to the ground. Sometimes a scent hangs low; sometimes,
on the other hand, it rises so that, particularly in a covert, the
riders, seated upon their horses, can smell it, while the hounds cannot.

But I think I have said enough about this kind of thing. It is a
dangerous topic, for the terminology and etiquette of hunting are even
more elaborate than those of golf. Probably I have made some mistake
already; indeed, I know of one which I just escaped--I started to write
"dogs" instead of "hounds," and that is not done. I have a horror of
displaying my ignorance on matters of this kind. For I take a kind of
pride--and I think most men do--in being correct about comparatively
unimportant things. It is permissible to be wrong about important
things, such as politics, finance, and reform, and to explain them,
although you really know nothing about them. But with fox hunting it is
different. There are some people who really _do_ know about that, and
they are likely to catch you.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two other Cleveland organizations should be mentioned.

Troop A of the Ohio National Guard is known as one of the most capable
bodies of militia in the entire country. It has been in existence for
some forty years, and its membership has always been recruited from
among the older and wealthier families of the city. The fame of Troop A
has reached beyond Ohio, for under its popular title, "The Black Horse
Troop," it has gone three times to Washington to act as escort to
Presidents of the United States at the time of their inauguration.
Cleveland is, furthermore, the headquarters for trotting racing. The
Cleveland Gentlemen's Driving Club is an old and exceedingly active
body, and its president, Mr. Harry K. Devereux, is also president of the
National Trotting Association.

       *       *       *       *       *

A curious and characteristic thing which we encountered in no other city
is the Three-Cent Cult--a legacy left to the city by the late Tom
Johnson. Cleveland's street railway system is controlled by the city
and the fare is not five cents, but three. But that is not all. A
municipal lighting plant is, or soon will be, in operation, with charges
of from one to three cents per kilowatt hour. Also the city has gone
into the dance-hall business. There, too, the usual rate is cut: fifteen
cents will buy five dances in the municipal dance halls, instead of
three. No one will attempt to dispute that dancing, to-day, takes
precedence over the mere matter of eating, yet it is worth mentioning
that the Three-Cent Cult has even found its way into the lunch room.
Sandwiches may be purchased in Cleveland for three cents which are not
any worse than five-cent sandwiches in other cities.

Perhaps the finest thing about the Three-Cent Cult is the fact that it
runs counter to one of the most pronounced and pitiable traits of our
race: wastefulness. Sometimes it seems that, as a people, we take less
pride in what we save than in what we throw away. We have a "There's
more where that came from!" attitude of mind. A man with thousands a
year says: "Hell! What's a hundred?" and a man with hundreds imitates
him on a smaller scale. The humble fraction of a nickel is despised. All
honor, then, to Cleveland--the city which teaches her people that two
cents is worth saving, and then helps them to save it. Two points, in
this connection, are interesting:

One, that Cleveland has been trying to induce the Treasury Department to
resume the coinage of a three-cent piece; another, that the percentage
of depositors in savings banks in Cleveland, in proportion to the
population, is higher than in most other cities. And, by the way, the
savings banks pay 4 per cent.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were taken in automobiles from one end of the city to the other. Down
by the docks we saw gigantic, strange machines, expressive of
Cleveland's lake commerce--machines for loading and unloading ships in
the space of a few hours. One type of machine would take a regular steel
coal car in its enormous claws and turn that car over, emptying the load
of coal into a ship as you might empty a cup of flour with your hand.
Then it would set the car down again, right side up, upon the track,
only to snatch the next one and repeat the operation.

Another machine for unloading ore would send its great steel hands down
into the vessel's hold, snatch them up filled with tons of the precious
product of the mines, and, reaching around backward, drop the load into
a waiting railroad car. The present Great Lakes record for loading is
held by the steamer _Corry_, which has taken on a cargo of 10,000 tons
of ore in twenty-five minutes. The record for unloading is held by the
_George F. Perkins_, from which a cargo of 10,250 tons of ore was
removed in two hours and forty-five minutes.

Some of the largest steamers of the Great Lakes may be compared, in
size, with ocean liners. A modern ore boat is a steel shell more than
six hundred feet long, with a little space set aside at the bows for
quarters and a little space astern for engines. The deck is a series of
enormous hatches, so that practically the entire top of the ship may be
removed in order to facilitate loading and unloading. As these great
vessels (many of which are built in Cleveland, by the way) are laid up
throughout the winter, when navigation on the Great Lakes is closed, it
is the custom to drive them hard during the open season. Some of them
make as many as thirty trips in the eight months of their activity, and
an idea of the volume of their traffic may be gotten from the statement
that "the iron-ore tonnage of the Cleveland district is greater than the
total tonnage of exports and imports at New York Harbor." One of the
little books about Cleveland, which they gave me, makes that statement.
It does not sound as though it could be true, but I do not think they
would dare print untruths about a thing like that, no matter how anxious
they might be to "boost." However, I feel it my duty to add that the
same books says: "Fifty per cent. of the population of the United States
and Canada _lies_ within a radius of five hundred miles of Cleveland."

       *       *       *       *       *

I find that when I try to recall to my mind the picture of a city, I
think of certain streets which, for one reason or another, engraved
themselves more deeply than other streets upon my memory. One of my
clearest mental photographs of Cleveland is of endless streets of
homes.

Now, although I saw many houses, large and small, possessing real
beauty--most of them along the boulevards, in the Wade Park Allotment or
on Euclid Heights, where modern taste has had its opportunity--it is
nevertheless true that, for some curious reason connected with the
workings of the mind, those streets which I remember best, after some
months of absence, are not the streets possessed of the most charm.

I remember vividly, for instance, my disappointment on viewing the decay
of Euclid Avenue, which I had heard compared with Delaware, in Buffalo,
and which, in reality, does not compare with it at all, being rather run
down, and lined with those architectural monstrosities of the 70's
which, instead of mellowing into respectable antiquity, have the unhappy
faculty of becoming more horrible with time, like old painted harridans.
Another vivid recollection is of a sad monotony of streets, differing
only in name, containing blocks and blocks and miles and miles of humble
wooden homes, all very much alike in their uninteresting duplication.

These memories would make my mental Cleveland picture somewhat sad, were
it not for another recollection which dominates the picture and
glorifies the city. This recollection, too, has to do with squalid
thoroughfares, but in a different way.

Down near the railroad station, where the "red-light district" used to
be, there has long stood a tract of several blocks of little buildings,
dismal and dilapidated. They are coming down. Some of them have come
down. And there, in that place which was the home of ugliness and vice,
there now shows the beginning of the city's Municipal Group Plan. This
plan is one of the finest things which any city in the land has
contemplated for its own beautification. In this country it was, at the
time it originated, unique; and though other cities (such as Denver and
San Francisco) are now at work on similar improvements, the Cleveland
plan remains, I believe, the most imposing and the most complete of its
kind.

When an American city has needed some new public building it has been
the custom, in the past, for the politicians to settle on a site, and
cause plans to be drawn (by their cousins), and cause those plans to be
executed (by their brothers-in-law). This may have been "practical
politics," but it has hardly resulted in practical city improvement.

No one will dispute the convenience of having public buildings "handy"
to one another, but there may still be found, even in Cleveland, men
whose feeling for beauty is not so highly developed as their feeling for
finance; men who shake their heads at the mention of a group plan; who
don't like to "see all that money wasted." I met one or two such. But I
will venture the prophecy that, when the Cleveland plan is a little
farther advanced, so that the eye can realize the amazing
splendor of the thing, as it will ultimately be, there will be no one
left in Cleveland to convert.

[Illustration: Down by the docks we saw gigantic, strange machines,
expressive of Cleveland's lake commerce--machines for loading and
unloading ships in the space of a few hours]

It is a fine and unusual thing, in itself, for an American city to be
planning its own beauty fifty years ahead. Cleveland is almost
un-American in that! But when the work done--yes, and before it is
done--this single great improvement will have transformed Cleveland from
an ordinary looking city to one of great distinction.

Fancy emerging from a splendid railway station to find yourself facing,
not the little bars and dingy buildings which so often face a station,
but a splendid mall, two thousand feet long and six hundred wide, parked
in the center and surrounded by fine buildings of even cornice height
and harmonious classical design. At one side of the station will stand
the public library; at the other the Federal building; and at the far
extremity of the mall, the county building and the city hall.

Three of these buildings are already standing. Two more are under way.
The plan is no longer a mere plan but is already, in part, an actuality.

When the transformation is complete Cleveland will not only have re-made
herself but will have set a magnificent example to other cities. By that
time she may have ceased to call herself "Sixth City"--for population
changes. But if a hundred other cities follow her with group plans, and
whether those plans be of greater magnitude or less, it must never be
forgotten that Cleveland had the appreciation and the courage to begin
the movement in America, not merely on paper but in stone and marble,
and that, without regard to population, she therefore has a certain
right, to-day, to call herself "First City."



MICHIGAN MEANDERINGS



CHAPTER V

DETROIT THE DYNAMIC


Because Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit are, in effect, situated upon
Lake Erie, and because they are cities of approximately the same size,
and because of many other resemblances between them, they always seem to
me like three sisters living amicably in three separate houses on the
same block.

As I personify them, Buffalo, living at the eastern end of the block, is
the smallest sister. She has, I fear, a slight tendency to be anemic.
Her husband, who was in the shipping business, is getting old. He has
retired and is living in contentment in the old house, sitting all day
on the side porch, behind the vines, with his slippers cocked up on the
porch rail, smoking cigars and reading his newspapers in peace.

Cleveland is the fat sister. She is very rich, having married into the
Rockefeller family. She is placid, satisfied, dogmatically religious,
and inclined to platitudes and missionary work. Her house, in the middle
of the block, is a mansion of the seventies. It has a cupola and there
are iron fences on the roof, as though to keep the birds from falling
off. The lawn is decorated with a pair of iron dogs. But there are
plans in the old house for a new one.

The first two sisters have a kind of family resemblance which the third
does not fully share. Detroit seems younger than her sisters. Indeed,
you might almost mistake her for one of their daughters. The belle of
the family, she is married to a young man who is making piles of money
in the automobile business--and spending piles, too. Their house, at the
western end of the block, is new and charming.

I am half in love with Detroit. I may as well admit it, for you are sure
to find me out. She is beautiful--not with the warm, passionate beauty
of San Francisco, the austere mountain beauty of Denver, nor the
strange, sophisticated, destroying beauty of New York, but with a sweet
domestic kind of beauty, like that of a young wife, gay, strong, alert,
enthusiastic; a twinkle in her eye, a laugh upon her lips. She has
temperament and charm, qualities as rare, as fascinating, and as
difficult to define in a city as in a human being.

Do you ask why she is different from her sisters? I was afraid you might
ask that. They tell a romantic story. I don't like to repeat gossip,
but--They say that, long ago, when her mother lived upon a little farm
by the river, there came along a dashing voyageur, from France, who
loved her. Mind you, I vouch for nothing. It is a legend. I do not
affirm that it is true. But--_voila_! There is Detroit. She is
different.

If you will consider these three fictitious sisters as figures in a
cartoon--a cartoon not devoid of caricature--you will get an impression
of my impression of three cities. My three sisters are merely symbols,
like the figures of Uncle Sam and John Bull. A symbol is a kind of
generalization, and if you disagree with these generalizations of mine
(as I think you may, especially if you live in Buffalo or Cleveland),
let me remind you that some one has said: "All generalizations are
false--including this one." One respect in which my generalization is
false is in picturing Detroit as young. As a matter of fact, she is the
oldest city of the three, having been settled by the Sieur de la Mothe
Cadillac in 1701, ninety years before the first white man built his hut
where Buffalo now stands, and ninety-five years before the settlement of
Cleveland. This is the fact. Yet I hold that there is about Detroit
something which expresses ebullient youth, and that Buffalo and
Cleveland, if they do not altogether lack the quality of youth, have it
in a less degree.

       *       *       *       *       *

So far as I recall, Chicago was the first American city to adopt a
motto, or, as they call it now, a "slogan."

I remember long ago a rather crude bust of a helmeted Amazon bearing
upon her proud chest the words: "I Will!" She was supposed to typify
Chicago, and I rather think she did. Cleveland's slogan is the
conservative but significant "Sixth City," but Detroit comes out with a
youthful shriek of self-satisfaction, declaring that: "In Detroit Life
is Worth Living!" Doesn't that claim reflect the quality of youth?
Doesn't it remind you of the little boy who says to the other little
boy: "My father can lick your father"? Of course it has the
patent-medicine flavor, too; Detroit, by her "slogan," is a cure-all.
But that is not deliberate. It is exaggeration springing from natural
optimism and exuberance. Life is doubtless more worth living in Detroit
than in some other cities, but I submit that, so long as Mark Twain's
"damn human race" retains those foibles of mind, morals, and body for
which it is so justly famous, the "slogan" of the city of Detroit
guarantees a little bit too much.

I find the same exuberance in the publications issued by the Detroit
Board of Commerce. Having just left the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, I
sedulously avoided contact with the Detroit body--one can get an
overdose of that kind of thing. But I have several books. One is a
magazine called "The Detroiter," with the subtitle "Spokesman of
Optimism." It is full of news of new hotels and new factories and new
athletic clubs and all kinds of expansion. It fairly bursts from its
covers with enthusiasm--and with business banalities about Detroit's
"onward sweep," her "surging ahead," her "banner year," and her
"efficiency." "Be a Booster," it advises, and no one can say that it
does not live up to its principles. Indeed, as I look it over, I wonder
if I have not done Detroit an injustice in giving to Cleveland the blue
ribbon for "boosting." The Detroit Board of Commerce even goes so far in
its "boosting" as to "boost" Detroit into seventh place among American
cities, while the "World Almanac" (most valuable volume on the one-foot
shelf of books I carried on my travels) places Detroit ninth.

Like Cleveland, I find that Detroit is first in the production of a
great many things. In fact, the more I read these books issued by
commercial bodies, the more I am amazed at the varied things there are
for cities to be first in. It is a miserable city, indeed, which is
first in nothing at all. Detroit is first in the production of overalls,
stoves, varnish, soda and salt products, automobile accessories, adding
machines, pharmaceutical manufactures, aluminum castings, in
shipbuilding on the Great Lakes and, above all, in the manufacture of
motor cars. And, as the Board of Commerce adds significantly, "That's
not all!"

But it is enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

The motor-car development in Detroit interested me particularly. When I
asked in Buffalo why Detroit was "surging ahead" so rapidly in
comparison with certain other cities, they answered, as I knew they
would: "It's the automobile business."

But when I asked why the automobile business should have settled on
Detroit as a headquarters instead of some other city (as, for instance,
Buffalo), they found it difficult to say. One Buffalonian informed me
that Detroit banks had been more liberal than those of other cities in
supporting the motor industry in its early days. This was, however,
vigorously denied in Detroit. When I mentioned it to the president of
one of the largest automobile concerns he laughed.

"Banks don't do business that way," he declared. "The very thing banks
do not do is to support new, untried industries. After you have proved
that you can make both motor cars and money they'll take care of you.
Not before. On the other hand, when the banks get confidence in any one
kind of business they very often run to the opposite extreme. That was
the way it used to be in the lumber business. Most of the early fortunes
of Detroit were made in lumber. The banks got used to the lumber
business, so that a few years ago all a man had to do was to print
'Lumber' on his letterhead, write to the banks and get a line of credit.
Later, when the automobile business began to boom, the same thing
happened over again: the man whose letterhead bore the word
'Automobiles' was taken care of." The implication was that sometimes he
was taken care of a little bit too well.

"Then why did Detroit become the automobile center?" I asked.

The question proved good for an hour's discussion among certain learned
pundits of the "trade" who were in the president's office at the time I
asked it.

[Illustration: In midstream passes a continual parade
of freighters ... and in their swell you may see, teetering, all kinds
of craft, from proud white yachts to canoes]

First, it was concluded, several early motor "bugs" happened to live in
or near Detroit. Henry Ford lived there. He was always experimenting
with "horseless carriages" in the early days and being laughed at for
it. Also, a man named Packard built a car at Warren, Ohio. But the first
gasoline motor car to achieve what they call an "output" was the funny
little one-cylinder Oldsmobile which steered with a tiller and had a
curved dash like a sleigh. It is to the Olds Motor Company, which built
that car, that a large majority of the automobile manufactories in
Detroit trace their origin. Indeed, there are to-day no less than a
dozen organizations, the heads of which were at some time connected with
the original Olds Company. This fifteen-year-old forefather of the
automobile business was originally made in Lansing, Mich., but the plant
was moved to Detroit, where the market for labor and materials was
better. The Packard plant was also moved there, and for the same
reasons, plus the fact that the company was being financed by a group of
young Detroit men.

It was not, perhaps, entirely as an investment that these wealthy young
Detroiters first became interested in the building of motor cars. That
is to say, I do not think they would have poured money so freely into a
scheme to manufacture something else--something less picturesque in its
appeal to the sporting instinct and the imagination. The automobile,
with its promise, was just the right thing to interest rich young men,
and it did interest them, and it has made many of them richer than they
were before.

It seems to be an axiom that, if you start a new business anywhere, and
it is successful, others will start in the same business beside you. One
of the pundits referred me, for example, to Erie, Pa., where life is
entirely saturated with engine and boiler ideas simply because the Erie
City Iron Works started there and was successful. There are now sixteen
engine and boiler companies in Erie, and all of them, I am assured, are
there either directly or indirectly because the Erie City Iron Works is
there. In other words, we sat in that office and had a very pleasant
hour's talk merely to discover that there is truth in the familiar
saying about birds of a feather.

When we got that settled and the pundits began to drift away to other
plate-glass rooms along the mile, more or less, of corridor devoted to
officials' offices, I became interested in a little wooden box which
stood upon the president's large flat-top desk. I was told it was a
dictagraph. Never having seen a dictagraph before, and being something
of a child, I wished to play with it as I used to play with typewriters
and letter-presses in my father's office years ago. And the president of
this many-million-dollar corporation, being a kindly man with, of
course, absolutely nothing to do but to supply itinerant scribes with
playthings, let me toy with the machine. Sitting at the desk, he pressed
a key. Then, without changing his position, he spoke into the air:

"Fred," he said, "there's some one here who wants to ask you a
question."

Then the little wooden box began to talk.

"What does he want to ask about?" it said.

That put it up to me. I had to think of something to ask. I was
conscious of a strange, unpleasant feeling of being hurried--of having
to reply quickly before something happened--some breaking of
connections.

I leaned toward the machine, but the president waved me back: "Just sit
over there where you are."

Then I said: "I am writing articles about Buffalo, Cleveland, and
Detroit. How would you compare them?"

"Well," replied the Fred-in-the-box, "I used to live in Cleveland. I've
been here four years and I wouldn't want to go back."

After that we paused. I thought I ought to say something more to the
box, but I didn't know just what.

"Is that all you want to know?" it asked.

"Yes," I replied hurriedly. "I'm much obliged. That's all I want to
know."

Of course it really wasn't all--not by any means! But I couldn't bring
myself to say so then, so I said the easy, obvious thing, and after that
it was too late. Oh, how many things there are I want to know! How many
things I think of now which I would ask an oracle when there is none to
ask! Things about the here and the hereafter; about the human spirit;
about practical religion, the brotherhood of man, the inequalities of
men, evolution, reform, the enduring mysteries of space, time, eternity,
and woman!

A friend of mine--a spiritualist--once told me of a séance in which he
thought himself in brief communication with his mother. There were a
million things to say. But when the medium requested him to give a
message he could only falter: "Are you all right over there?" The answer
came: "Yes, all right." Then my friend said: "I'm so glad!" And that was
all.

"It is the feeling of awful pressure," he explained to me, "which drives
the thoughts out of your head. That is why so many messages from the
spirit world sound silly and inconsequential. You have the one great
chance to communicate with them, and, because it _is_ your one great
chance, you cannot think of anything to say." Somehow I imagine that the
feeling must be like the one I had in talking to the dictagraph.

       *       *       *       *       *


Among the characteristics which give Detroit her individuality is the
survival of her oldtime aristocracy; she is one of the few
middle-western cities possessing such a social order. As with that of
St. Louis, this aristocracy is of French descent, the Sibleys, Campaus,
and other old Detroit families tracing their genealogies to forefathers
who came out to the New World under the flag of Louis XIV. The early
habitants acquired farms, most of them with small frontages on the river
and running back for several miles into the woods--an arrangement which
permitted farmhouses to be built close together for protection against
Indians. These farms, handed down for generations, form the basis of a
number of Detroit's older family fortunes.

[Illustration: The automobile has not only changed Detroit from a quiet
old town into a rich, active city, but upon the drowsy romance of the
old days it has superimposed the romance of modern business]

To-day commerce takes up the downtown portion of the river front, but
not far from the center of the city the shore line is still occupied by
residences. Along Jefferson Avenue are many homes, surrounded by
delightful lawns extending forward to the street and back to the river.
Most of these homes have in their back yards boathouses and docks--some
of the latter large enough to berth seagoing steam yachts, of which
Detroit boasts a considerable number. Nor is the water front reserved
entirely for private use. In Belle Isle, situated in the Detroit River,
and accessible by either boat or bridge, the city possesses one of the
most unusual and charming public parks to be seen in the entire world.
And there are many other pleasant places near Detroit which may be
reached by boat--among them the St. Clair Flats, famous for duck
shooting. All these features combine to make the river life active and
picturesque. In midstream passes a continual parade of freighters, a
little mail boat dodging out to meet each one as it goes by. Huge
side-wheel excursion steamers come and go, and in their swell you may
see, teetering, all kinds of craft, from proud white yachts with shining
brasswork and bowsprits having the expression of haughty turned-up
noses, down through the category of schooners, barges, tugs, motor
yachts, motor boats, sloops, small sailboats, rowboats, and canoes. You
may even catch sight of a hydroplane swiftly skimming the surface of
the river like some amphibious, prehistoric animal, or of that natty
little gunboat, captured from the Spaniards at the battle of Manila Bay,
which now serves as a training ship for the Michigan Naval Reserve.

A good many of the young aristocrats of Detroit have belonged to the
Naval Reserve, among them Mr. Truman H. Newberry, former Secretary of
the Navy, about whom I heard an amusing story.

According to this tale, as it was told me in Detroit, Mr. Newberry was
some years ago a common seaman in the Reserve. It seems that on the
occasion of the annual cruise of this body on the Great Lakes, a regular
naval officer is sent out to take command of the training ship. One day,
when common seaman Newberry was engaged in the maritime occupation of
swabbing down the decks abaft the bridge, a large yacht passed
majestically by.

"My man," said the regular naval officer on the bridge to common seaman
Newberry below, "do you know what yacht that is?"

Newberry saluted. "The _Truant_, sir," he said respectfully, and resumed
his work.

"Who owns her?" asked the officer.

Again Newberry straightened and saluted.

"I do, sir," he said.



CHAPTER VI

AUTOMOBILES AND ART


Within the last few years there has come to Detroit a new life. The vast
growth of the city, owing to the development of the automobile industry,
has brought in many new, active, able business men and their families,
whom the old Detroiters have dubbed the "Gasoline Aristocracy." Thus
there are in Detroit two fairly distinct social groups--the Grosse
Pointe group, of which the old families form the nucleus, and the North
Woodward group, largely made up of newcomers.

The automobile has not only changed Detroit from a quiet old town into a
rich, active city, but upon the drowsy romance of the old days it has
superimposed a new kind of romance--the romance of modern business.
Fiction in its wildest flights hardly rivals the true stories of certain
motor moguls of Detroit. Every one can tell you these stories. If you
are a novelist all you have to do is go and get them. But, aside from
stories which are true, there have developed, in connection with the
automobile business, certain fictions more or less picturesque in
character. One of these, which has been widely circulated, is that "90
per cent. of the automobile business of Detroit is done in the bar of
the Pontchartrain Hotel." The big men of the business resent that yarn.
And, of course, it is preposterously false. Neither 90 per cent. nor 10
per cent. nor any appreciable per cent. of the automobile business is
done there. Indeed, you hardly ever see a really important
representative of the business in that place. Such men are not given to
hanging around bars.

I do not wish the reader to infer that I hung around the bar myself in
order to ascertain this fact. Not at all. I had heard the story and was
apprised of its untruth by the president of one of the large motor car
companies who was generously showing me about. As we bowled along one of
the wide streets which passes through that open place at the center of
the city called the Campus Martius, I was struck, as any visitor must
be, by the spectacle of hundreds upon hundreds of automobiles parked,
nose to the curb, tail to the street, in solid rows.

"You could tell that this was an automobile city," I remarked.

"Do you know why you see so many of them?" he asked with a smile.

I said I supposed it was because there were so many automobiles owned in
Detroit.

"No," he explained. "In other cities with as many and more cars you will
not see this kind of thing. They don't permit it. But our wide streets
lend themselves to it, and our Chief of Police, who believes in the
automobile business as much as any of the rest of us, also lends
himself to it. He lets us leave our cars about the streets because he
thinks it a good advertisement for the town."

As he spoke he was forced to draw up at a crossing to let a funeral
pass. It was an automobile funeral. The hearse, black and terrible
as only a hearse can be, was going at a modest pace for a motor,
but an exceedingly rapid pace for a hearse. If I am any judge of
speed, the departed was being wafted to his final resting place at
the somewhat sprightly clip of twelve or fifteen miles an hour.
Behind the hearse trailed limousines and touring cars. Two humble
taxicabs brought up the rear. There was a grim ridiculousness
about the procession's progress--pleasure cars throttled down,
trying to look solemn--chauffeurs continually throwing out their
clutches in a commendable effort to keep a respectful rate of speed.

Is there any other thing in the world which epitomizes our times as does
an automobile funeral? Yesterday such a thing would have been deemed
indecorous; to-day it is not only decorous, but rather chic, provided
that the pace be slow; to-morrow--what will it be then? Will hearses go
shooting through the streets at forty miles an hour? Will mourners
scorch behind, their horns shrieking signals to the driver of the hearse
to get out of the road and let the swiftest pass ahead, where there
isn't all that dust? I am afraid a time is close at hand when, if
hearses are to maintain that position in the funeral cortège to which
convention has in the past assigned them, they will have to hold it by
sheer force of superior horsepower!

       *       *       *       *       *

Detroit is a young man's town. I do not think the stand-pat, sit-tight,
go-easy kind of business man exists there. The wheel of commerce has
wire spokes and rubber tires, and there is no drag upon the brake band.
Youth is at the steering wheel--both figuratively and literally. The
heads of great Detroit industries drive their own cars; and if the fact
seems unimportant, consider: do the leading men of your city drive
theirs? Or are they driven by chauffeurs? Have they, in other words,
reached a time of life and a frame of mind which prohibit their taking
the wheel because it is not safe for them to do so, or worse yet,
because it is not dignified? Have they that energy which replaces
worn-out tires--and methods--and ideas?

I have said that the president of a large automobile company showed me
about Detroit. I don't know what his age is, but he is under
thirty-five. I don't know what his fortune is, but he is suspected of a
million, and whatever he may have, he has made himself. I hope he is a
millionaire, for there is in the entire world only one other man who, I
feel absolutely certain, deserves a million dollars more than he
does--and a native modesty prevents my mentioning this other's name.

Looking at my friend, the president, I am always struck with fresh
amazement. I want to say to him: "You can't be the president of that
great big company! I know you sit in the president's office, but--look
at your hair; it isn't even turning gray! I refuse to believe that you
are president until you show me your ticket, or your diploma, or
whatever it is that a president has!"

Becoming curious about his exact age, I took up my "Who's Who in
America" one evening ("Who's Who" is another valued volume on my
one-foot shelf) with a view to finding out. But all I did find out was
that his name is not contained therein. That struck me as surprising. I
looked up the heads of half a dozen other enormous automobile
companies--men of importance, interest, reputation. Of these I
discovered the name of but one, and that one was not (as I should have
rather expected it to be) Henry Ford. (There is a Henry Ford in my
"Who's Who," but he is a professor at Princeton and writes for the
_Atlantic Monthly_!)[1]

Now whether this is so because of the newness of the automobile
business, or because "Who's Who" turns up its nose at "trade," in
contradistinction to the professions and the arts, I cannot say.
Obviously, the compilation of such a work involves tremendous
difficulties, and I have always respected the volume for the ability
with which it overcomes them; but when a Detroit dentist (who invented,
as I recollect, some new kind of filling) is included in "Who's Who,"
and when almost every minor poet who squeaks is in it, and almost every
illustrator who makes candy-looking girls for magazine covers, and
almost every writer--then it seems to me time to include, as well, the
names of men who are in charge of that industry which is not only the
greatest in Detroit, but which, more than any industry since the
inception of the telephone, has transformed our life.

The fact of the matter is, of course, that writers, in particular, are
taken too seriously, not merely by "Who's Who" but by all kinds of
publications--especially newspapers. Only opera singers and actors can
vie with writers in the amount of undeserved publicity which they
receive. If I omit professional baseball players it is by intention;
for, as a fan might say, they have to "deliver the goods."

[Footnote 1: "Who's Who" for 1913-1914. The more recent volume, which
has come out since, contains a biographical sketch of Mr. Henry Ford of
Detroit.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Baedeker's United States, a third volume in the condensed library I
carried in my trunk, sets forth (in small type!) the following: "The
finest private art gallery in Detroit is that of Mr. Charles L. Freer.
The gallery contains the largest group of works by Whistler in existence
and good examples of Tryon, Dewing, and Abbott Thayer as well as many
Oriental paintings and potteries."

But in the case of the Detroit Museum of Art, Baedeker bursts into
black-faced type, and even adds an asterisk, his mark of special
commendation. Also a considerable reference is made to various
collections contained by the museum: the Scripps collection of old
masters, the Stearns collection of Oriental curiosities, a painting by
Rubens, drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo, and a great many works
attributed to ancient Italian and Dutch masters. "The museum also
contains," says Baedeker, "modern paintings by Gari Melchers, Munkacsy,
Tryon, F. D. Millet, and others."

I have quoted Baedeker as above, because it reveals the bald fact with
regard to art in Detroit; also because it reveals the even balder fact
that our blessed old friend Baedeker, who has helped us all so much,
can, when he cuts loose on art, make himself exquisitely ridiculous.

The truth is, of course, that Mr. Freer's gallery is not merely the
"finest private gallery in Detroit"; not merely the finest gallery of
any kind in Detroit; but that it is one of the exceedingly important
collections of the world, just as Mr. Freer is one of the world's
exceedingly important authorities on art. Indeed, any town which
contains Mr. Freer--even if he is only stopping overnight in a
hotel--becomes by grace of his presence an important art center for the
time being. His mere presence is sufficient. For in Mr. Freer's head
there is more art than is contained in many a museum. He was the man
whom, above all others in Detroit, we wished to see. (And that is no
disparagement of Henry Ford.)

Once in a long, long time it is given to the average human being to make
contact for a brief space with some other human being far above the
average--a man who knows one thing supremely well. I have met six such
men: a surgeon, a musician, an author, an actor, a painter, and Mr.
Charles L. Freer.

I do not know much of Mr. Freer's history. He was not born in Detroit,
though it was there that he made the fortune which enabled him to retire
from business. It is surprising enough to hear of an American business
man willing to retire in the prime of life. You expect that in Europe,
not here. And it is still more surprising when that American business
man begins to devote to art the same energy which made him a success
financially. Few would want to do that; fewer could. By the time the
average successful man has wrung from the world a few hundred thousand
dollars, he is fit for nothing else. He has become a wringer and must
remain one always.

Of course rich men collect pictures. I'm not denying that. But they do
it, generally, for the same reason they collect butlers and
footmen--because tradition says it is the proper thing to do. And I have
observed in the course of my meanderings that they are almost invariably
better judges of butlers than of paintings. That is because their
butlers are really and truly more important to them--excepting as their
paintings have financial value. Still, if the world is full of so-called
art collectors who don't know what they're doing, let us not think of
them too harshly, for there are also painters who do not know what they
are doing, and it is necessary that some one should support them.
Otherwise they would starve, and a bad painter should not have to do
that--starvation being an honor reserved by tradition for the truly
great.

Very keenly I feel the futility of an attempt to tell of Mr. Freer in a
few paragraphs. He should be dealt with as Mark Twain was dealt with by
that prince of biographers, Albert Bigelow Paine; some one should live
with him through the remainder of his life--always sympathetic and
appreciative, always ready to draw him out, always with a notebook. It
should be some one just like Paine, and as there isn't some one just
like Paine, it should be Paine himself.

Probably as a development of his original interest in Whistler, Mr.
Freer has, of late years, devoted himself almost entirely to ancient
Oriental art--sculptures, paintings, ceramics, bronzes, textiles,
lacquers and jades. The very rumor that in some little town in the
interior of China was an old vase finer than any other known vase of the
kind, has been enough to set him traveling. Many of his greatest
treasures he has unearthed, bargained for and acquired at first hand, in
remote parts of the globe. He bearded Whistler in his den--that is a
story by itself. He purchased Whistler's famous Peacock Room, brought
it to this country and set it up in his own house. He traveled on
elephant-back through the jungles of India and Java in search of buried
temples; to Egypt for Biblical manuscripts and potteries, and to the
nearer East, years ago, in quest of the now famous "lustered glazes." He
made many trips to Japan, in early days, to study, in ancient temples
and private collections, the fine arts of China, Corea and Japan, and
was the first American student to visit the rock-hewn caves of central
China, with their thousands of specimens of early sculpture--sculpture
ranking, Mr. Freer says, with the best sculpture of the world.

The photographs and rubbings of these objects made under Mr. Freer's
personal supervision have greatly aided students, all over the globe.
Every important public library in this country and abroad has been
presented by Mr. Freer with fac-similes of the Biblical manuscripts
discovered by him in Egypt about seven years ago, so far as these have
been published. The original manuscripts will ultimately go to the
National Gallery, at Washington.

Mr. Freer's later life has been one long treasure hunt. Now he will be
pursuing a pair of mysterious porcelains around the earth, catching up
with them in China, losing them, finding them again in Japan, or in New
York, or Paris; now discovering in some unheard-of Chinese town a
venerable masterpiece, painted on silk, which has been rolled into a
ball for a child's plaything. The placid pleasures of conventional
collecting, through the dealers, is not the thing that Mr. Freer loves.
He loves the chase.

You should see him handle his ceramics. You should hear him talk of
them! He _knows_. And though you do not know, you know he knows. More,
he is willing to explain. For, though his intolerance is great, it is
not directed so much at honest ignorance as against meretricious art.

The names of ancient Chinese painters, of emperors who practised art
centuries ago, of dynasties covering thousands of years, of Biblical
periods, flow kindly from his lips:

     "This dish is Grecian. It was made five hundred years before the
     birth of Christ. This is a Chinese marble, but you see it has a
     Persian scroll in high relief. And this bronze urn: it is perhaps
     the oldest piece I have--about four thousand years--it is Chinese.
     But do you see this border on it? Perfect Greek! Where did the
     Chinese get that? Art is universal. We may call an object Greek, or
     Roman, or Assyrian, or Chinese, or Japanese, but as we begin to
     understand, we find that other races had the same thing--identical
     forms and designs. Take, for example, this painting of Whistler's,
     'The Gold Screen.' You see he uses the Tosa design. The Tosa was
     used in Japan in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and down to
     about twenty years ago. But there wasn't a single example of it in
     Europe in 1864, when Whistler painted 'The Gold Screen'; and
     Whistler had not been to the Orient. Then, where did he get the
     Tosa design? He invented
     it. It came to him because he was a great artist, and art is
     universal."

It was like that--the spirit of it. And you must imagine the words
spoken with measured distinctness in a deep, resonant voice, by a man
with whom art is a religion and the pursuit of it a passion. He has a
nature full of fire. At the mention of the name of the late J. P.
Morgan, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or of certain Chinese
collectors and painters of the distant past, a sort of holy flame of
admiration rose and kindled in him. His contempt is also fire. A minor
eruption occurred when the automobile industry was spoken of; a Vesuvian
flare which reddened the sky and left the commercialism of the city in
smoking ruins. But it was not until I chanced to mention the Detroit
Museum of Art--an institution of which Mr. Freer strongly
disapproves--that the great outburst came. His wrath was like an
overpowering revolt of nature. A whirlwind of tempestuous fire mounted
to the heavens and the museum emerged a clinker.

He went to our heads. We four, who saw and heard him, left Mr. Freer's
house drunk with the esthetic. Even the flooding knowledge of our own
barbarian ignorance was not enough to sober us. Some of the flame had
gotten into us. It was like old brandy. We waved our arms and cried out
about art. For there is in a truly big human being--especially in one
old enough to have seemed to gain perspective on the universe--some
quality which touches something in us that nothing else can ever reach.
It is something which is not admiration only, nor vague longing to
emulate, nor a quickened comprehension of the immensity of things;
something emotional and spiritual and strange and indescribable which
seems to set our souls to singing.

The Freer collection will go, ultimately, to the Smithsonian Institution
(the National Gallery) in Washington, a fact which is the cause of deep
regret to many persons in Detroit, more especially since the City Plan
and Improvement Commission has completed arrangements for a Center of
Arts and Letters--a fine group plan which will assemble and give
suitable setting to a new Museum of Art, Public Library, and other
buildings of like nature, including a School of Design and an Orchestra
Hall. The site for the new gallery of art was purchased with funds
supplied by public-spirited citizens, and the city has given a million
dollars toward the erection of the building. Plans for the library have
been drawn by Cass Gilbert.

It seems possible that, had the new art museum been started sooner, and
with some guarantee of competent management, Mr. Freer might have
considered it as an ultimate repository for his treasures. But now it is
too late. That the present art museum--the old one--was not to be
considered by him, is perfectly obvious. Inside and out it is unworthy.
It looks as much like an old waterworks as the new waterworks out on
Jefferson Avenue looks like a museum. Its foyer contains some
sculptured busts, forming the most amazing group I have ever seen. The
group represents, I take it, prominent citizens of Detroit--among them,
according to my recollection, the following: Hermes, Augustus Cæsar, Mr.
Bela Hubbard, Septimus Severus, the Hon. T. W. Palmer, Mr. Frederick
Stearns, Apollo, Demosthenes, and the Hon. H. P. Lillibridge.

I do not want to put things into people's heads, but--the old museum is
not fire-proof. God speed the new one!



CHAPTER VII

THE MÆCENAS OF THE MOTOR


The great trouble with Detroit, from my point of view, is that there is
too much which should be mentioned: Grosse Pointe with its rich setting
and rich homes; the fine new railroad station; the "Cabbage Patch"; the
"Indian Village" (so called because the streets bear Indian names) with
its examples of modest, pleasing, domestic architecture. Then there are
the boulevards, the fine Wayne County roads, the clubs--the Country
Club, the Yacht Club, the Boat Club, the Detroit Club, the University
Club, all with certain individuality. And there is the unique little
Yondatega Club of which Theodore Roosevelt said: "It is beyond all doubt
the best club in the country."

Also there is Henry Ford.

I suppose there is no individual having to do with manufacturing of any
kind whose name is at present more familiar to the world. But in all
this ocean of publicity which has resulted from Mr. Ford's development
of a reliable, cheap car, from the stupefying growth of his business and
his fortune, and more recently from his sudden distribution among his
working people of ten million dollars of profits from his business--in
all this publicity I have seen nothing that gave me a clear idea of
Henry Ford himself. I wanted to see him--to assure myself that he was
not some fabulous being out of a Detroit saga. I wanted to know what
kind of man he was to look at and to listen to.

The Ford plant is far, far out on Woodward Avenue. It is so gigantic
that there is no use wasting words in trying to express its vastness; so
full of people, all of them working for Ford, that a thousand or two
more or less would make no difference in the looks of things. And among
all those people there was just one man I really wanted to see, and just
one man I really wanted not to see. I wanted to see Henry Ford and I
wanted not to see a man named Liebold, because, they say, if you see
Liebold first you never do see Ford. That is what Liebold is for. He is
the man whose business in life it is to know where Henry Ford _isn't_.

To get into Mr. Ford's presence is an undertaking. It is not easy even
to find out whether he is there. Liebold is so zealous in his protection
that he even protects Mr. Ford from his own employees. Thus, when the
young official who had my companion and me in charge, received word over
the office telephone that Mr. Ford was not in the building, he didn't
believe it. He went on a quiet scouting expedition of his own before he
was convinced. Presently he returned to the office in which he had
deposited us.

"No; he really isn't here just now," he said. "He'll be in presently.
Come on; I'll take you through the plant."

       *       *       *       *       *

The machine shop is one room, with a glass roof, covering an area of
something less than thirty acres. It is simply unbelievable in its size,
its noise and its ghastly furious activity. It was peopled when we were
there by five thousand men--the day shift in that one shop alone. (The
total force of workmen was something like three times that number.)

Of course there was order in that place, of course there was
system--relentless system--terrible "efficiency"--but to my mind,
unaccustomed to such things, the whole room, with its interminable
aisles, its whirling shafts and wheels, its forest of roof-supporting
posts and flapping, flying, leather belting, its endless rows of
writhing machinery, its shrieking, hammering, and clatter, its smell of
oil, its autumn haze of smoke, its savage-looking foreign population--to
my mind it expressed but one thing, and that thing was delirium.

Fancy a jungle of wheels and belts and weird iron forms--of men,
machinery and movement--add to it every kind of sound you can imagine:
the sound of a million squirrels chirking, a million monkeys quarreling,
a million lions roaring, a million pigs dying, a million elephants
smashing through a forest of sheet iron, a million boys whistling on
their fingers, a million others coughing with the whooping cough, a
million sinners groaning as they are dragged to hell--imagine all of
this happening at the very edge of Niagara Falls, with the everlasting
roar of the cataract as a perpetual background, and you may acquire a
vague conception of that place.

Fancy all this riot going on at once; then imagine the effect of its
suddenly ceasing. For that is what it did. The wheels slowed down and
became still. The belts stopped flapping. The machines lay dead. The
noise faded to a murmur; then to utter silence. Our ears rang with the
quiet. The aisles all at once were full of men in overalls, each with a
paper package or a box. Some of them walked swiftly toward the exits.
Others settled down on piles of automobile parts, or the bases of
machines, to eat, like grimy soldiers on a battlefield. It was the lull
of noon.

I was glad to leave the machine shop. It dazed me. I should have
liked to leave it some time before I actually did, but the agreeable
young enthusiast who was conducting us delighted in explaining
things--shouting the explanations in our ears. Half of them I could not
hear; the other half I could not comprehend. Here and there I recognized
familiar automobile parts--great heaps of them--cylinder castings, crank
cases, axles. Then as things began to get a little bit coherent, along
would come a train of cars hanging insanely from a single overhead rail,
the man in the cab tooting his shrill whistle; whereupon I would
promptly retire into mental fog once more, losing all sense of what
things meant, feeling that I was not in any factory, but in a
Gargantuan lunatic asylum where fifteen thousand raving, tearing maniacs
had been given full authority to go ahead and do their damnedest.

In that entire factory there was for me but one completely lucid spot.
That was the place where cars were being assembled. There I perceived
the system. No sooner had axle, frame, and wheels been joined together
than the skeleton thus formed was attached, by means of a short wooden
coupling, to the rear end of a long train of embryonic automobiles,
which was kept moving slowly forward toward a far-distant door. Beside
this train of chassis stood a row of men, and as each succeeding chassis
came abreast of him, each man did something to it, bringing it just a
little further toward completion. We walked ahead beside the row of
moving partially-built cars, and each car we passed was a little nearer
to its finished state than was the one behind it. Just inside the door
we paused and watched them come successively into first place in the
line. As they moved up, they were uncoupled. Gasoline was fed into them
from one pipe, oil from another, water from still another.

Then as a man leaped to the driver's seat, a machine situated in the
floor spun the back wheels around, causing the motor to start; whereupon
the little Ford moved out into the wide, wide world, a completed thing,
propelled by its own power.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a glass shed of the size of a small exposition building the members
of the Ford staff park their little cars. It was in this shed that we
discovered Mr. Ford. He had just driven in (in a Ford!) and was standing
beside it--the god out of the machine.

"Nine o'clock to-morrow morning," he said to me in reply to my request
for an appointment.

I may have shuddered slightly. I know that my companion shuddered, and
that, for one brief instant, I felt a strong desire to intimate to Mr.
Ford that ten o'clock would suit me better. But I restrained myself.

Inwardly I argued thus: "I am in the presence of an amazing man--a
prince of industry--the Mæcenas of the motor car. Here is a man who,
they say, makes a million dollars a month, even in a short month like
February. Probably he makes a million and a quarter in the
thirty-one-day months when he has time to get into the spirit of the
thing. I wish to pay a beautiful tribute to this man, not because he has
more money than I have--I don't admit that he has--but because he
conserves his money better than I conserve mine. It is for that that I
take off my hat to him, even if I have to get up and dress and be away
out here on Woodward Avenue by 9 A. M. to do it."

Furthermore, I thought to myself that Mr. Ford was the kind of business
man you read about in novels; one who, when he says "nine," doesn't mean
five minutes after nine, but nine sharp. If you aren't there your chance
is gone. You are a ruined man.

[Illustration: Of course there was order in that place, of course there
was system--relentless system--terrible "efficiency"--but to my mind it
expressed but one thing, and that thing was delirium]

"Very well," I said, trying to speak in a natural tone, "we will be on
hand at nine."

Then he went into the building, and my companion and I debated long as
to how the feat should be accomplished. He favored sitting up all night
in order to be safe about it, but we compromised at last on sitting up
only a little more than half the night.

The cold, dismal dawn of the day following found us shaved and dressed.
We went out to the factory. It was a long, chilly, expensive, silent
taxi ride. At five minutes before nine we were there. The factory was
there. The clerks were there. Fourteen thousand one hundred and
eighty-seven workmen were there--those workmen who divided the ten
millions--everything and every one was there with a single exception.
And that exception was Mr. Henry Ford.

True, he did come at last. True, he talked with us. But he was not there
at nine o'clock, nor yet at ten. Nor do I blame him. For if I were in
the place of Mr. Henry Ford, there would be just one man whom I should
meet at nine o'clock, and that man would be Meadows, my faithful valet.

Apropos of that, it occurs to me that there is one point of similarity
between Mr. Ford and myself: neither of us has a valet just at present.
Still, on thinking it over, we aren't so very much alike, after all, for
there is one of us--I shan't say which--who hopes to have a valet some
day.

Mr. Ford's office is a room somewhat smaller than the machine shop. It
is situated in one corner of the administration building, and I am told
that there is a private entrance, making it unnecessary for Mr. Ford to
run the gantlet of the main doorway and waiting room, where there are
almost always persons waiting to ask him for a present of a million or
so in money; or, if not that, for four or five thousand dollars' worth
of time--for if Mr. Ford makes what they say, and doesn't work overtime,
his hour is worth about four thousand five hundred dollars.

He wasn't in the office when we entered. That gave us time to look
about. There was a large flat-top desk. The floor was covered with an
enormous, costly Oriental rug. At one end of the room, in a glass case,
was a tiny and very perfect model of a Ford car. On the walls were four
photographs: one of Mr. James Couzens, vice-president and treasurer of
the Ford Company; another, a life-size head of "_Your friend, John
Wanamaker_," and two of Thomas A. Edison. Under one of the latter, in
the handwriting of the inventor--handwriting which, oddly enough,
resembles nothing so much as neatly bent wire--was this inscription:

     _To Henry Ford, one of a group of men who have helped to make U. S.
     A. the most progressive nation in the world._

     _Thomas A. Edison._

Presently Mr. Ford came in--a lean man, of good height, wearing a
rather shabby brown suit. Without being powerfully built, Mr. Ford looks
sinewy, wiry. His gait is loose-jointed--almost boyish. His manner, too,
has something boyish about it. I got the feeling that he was a little
bit embarrassed at being interviewed. That made me sorry for him--I had
been interviewed, myself, the day before. When he sat he hunched down in
his chair, resting on the small of his back, with his legs crossed and
propped upon a large wooden waste-basket--the attitude of a lanky boy.
And, despite his gray hair and the netted wrinkles about his eyes, his
face is comparatively youthful, too. His mouth is wide and determined,
and it is capable of an exceedingly dry grin, in which the eyes
collaborate. They are fine, keen eyes, set high under the brows, wide
apart, and they seem to express shrewdness, kindliness, humor, and a
distinct wistfulness. Also, like every other item in Mr. Ford's physical
make-up, they indicate a high degree of honesty. There never was a man
more genuine than Mr. Ford. He hasn't the faintest sign of that veneer
so common to distinguished men, which is most eloquently described by
the slang term "front." Nor is he, on the other hand, one of those men
who (like so many politicians) try to simulate a simple manner. He is
just exactly Henry Ford, no more, no less; take it or leave it. If you
are any judge at all of character, you know immediately that Henry Ford
is a man whom you can trust. I would trust him with anything. He didn't
ask me to, but I would. I would trust him with all my money. And,
considering that I say that, I think he ought to be willing, in common
courtesy, to reciprocate.

He told us about the Ford business. "We've done two hundred and five
millions of business to date," he said. "Our profits have amounted to
about fifty-nine millions. About twenty-five per cent. has been put back
into the business--into the plant and the branches. All the actual cash
that was ever put in was twenty-eight thousand dollars. The rest has
been built up out of profits. Yes--it has happened in a pretty short
time; the big growth has come in the last six years."

I asked if the rapid increase had surprised him.

"Oh, in a way," he said. "Of course we couldn't be just sure what she
was going to do. But we figured we had the right idea."

"What is the idea?" I questioned.

Then with deep sincerity, with the conviction of a man who states the
very foundation of all that he believes, Mr. Ford told us his idea. His
statement did not have the awful majesty of an utterance by Mr. Freer.
He did not flame, although his eyes did seem to glow with his
conviction.

"It is _one model_!" he said. "That's the secret of the whole doggone
thing!" (That is exactly what he said. I noted it immediately for
"character.")

Having revealed the "secret," Mr. Ford directed our attention to the
little toy Ford in the glass case.

"There she is," he said. "She's always the same. I tell everybody that's
the way to make a success. Every manufacturer ought to do it. The thing
is to find out something that everybody is after and then make that one
thing and nothing else. Shoemakers ought to do it. They ought to get one
kind of shoe that will suit everybody, instead of making all kinds.
Stove men ought to do it, too. I told a stove man that just the other
day."

That, I believe, is, briefly, the business philosophy of Henry Ford.

"It just amounts to specializing," he continued. "I like a good
specialist. I like Harry Lauder--he's a great specialist. So is Edison.
Edison has done more for people than any other living man. You can't
look anywhere without seeing something he has invented. Edison doesn't
care anything about money. I don't either. You've got to have money to
use, that's all. I haven't got any job here, you know. I just go around
and keep the fellows lined up."

I don't know how I came by the idea, but I was conscious of the thought
that Mr. Ford's money worried him. He looks somehow as though it did.
And it must, coming in such a deluge and so suddenly. I asked if wealth
had not compelled material changes in his mode of life.

"Do you mean the way we live at home?" he asked.

"Yes; that kind of thing."

"Oh, that hasn't changed to any great extent," he said. "I've got a
little house over here a ways. It's nothing very much--just comfortable.
It's all we need. You can have the man drive you around there on your
way back if you want. You'll see." (Later I did see; it is a very
pleasant, very simple type of brick suburban residence.)

"Do you get up early?" I ventured, having, as I have already intimated,
my own ideas as to what I should do if I were a Henry Ford.

"Well, I was up at quarter of seven this morning," he declared. "I went
for a long ride in my car. I usually get down to the plant around
eight-thirty or nine o'clock."

Then I asked if the change had not forced him to do a deal of
entertaining.

"No," he said. "We know the same people we knew twenty years ago. They
are our friends to-day. They come to our house. The main difference is
that Mrs. Ford used to do the cooking. Lately we've kept a cook. Cooks
try to give me fancy food, but I won't stand for it. They can't cook as
well as Mrs. Ford either--none of them can."

I wish you could have heard him say that! It was one of his deep
convictions, like the "one model" idea.

"What are your hobbies outside your business?" I asked him.

It seemed to me that Mr. Ford looked a little doubtful about that.
Certainly his manner, in replying, lacked that animation which you
expect of a golfer or a yachtsman or an art collector--or, for the
matter of that, a postage-stamp collector.

"Oh, I have my farm out at Dearborn--the place where I was born," he
replied. "I'm building a house out there--not as much of a house as they
try to make out, though. And I'm interested in birds, too."

Then, thinking of Mr. Freer, I inquired: "Do you care for art?"

The answer, like all the rest, was definite enough.

"I wouldn't give five cents for all the art in the world," said Mr. Ford
without a moment's hesitation.

I admired him enormously for saying that. So many people feel as he does
in their hearts, yet would not dare to say so. So many people have the
air of posturing before a work of art, trying to look intelligent,
trying to "say the right thing" before the right painting--the right
painting as prescribed by Baedeker. True, I think the man who declares
he would not give five cents for all the art in the world thereby
declares himself a barbarian of sorts. But a good, honest, openhearted
barbarian is a fine creature. For one thing, there is nothing false
about him. And there is nothing soft about him either. It is the poseur
who is soft--soft at the very top, where Henry Ford is hard.

I saw from his manner that he was becoming restless. Perhaps we had
stayed too long. Or perhaps he was bored because I spoke about an
abstract thing like art.

I asked but one more question.

"Mr. Ford," I said, "I should think that when a man is very rich he
might hardly know, sometimes, whether people are really his friends or
whether they are cultivating him because of his money. Isn't that so?"

Mr. Ford's dry grin spread across his face. He replied with a question:

"When people come after _you_ because they want to get something out of
you, don't you get their number?"

"I think I do," I answered.

"Well, so do I," said Mr. Ford.



CHAPTER VIII

THE CURIOUS CITY OF BATTLE CREEK


It was on a chilly morning, not much after eight o'clock, that we left
Detroit. I recall that, driving trainward, I closed the window of the
taxicab; that the marble waiting room of the new station looked
uncomfortably half awake, like a sleeper who has kicked the bedclothes
off, and that the concrete platform outside was a playground for cold,
boisterous gusts of wind.

Our train had come from somewhere else. Entering the Pullman car, we
found it in its night-time aspect. The narrow aisle, made narrower by its
shroud of long green curtains, and by shoes and suit cases standing
beside the berths, looked cavernous and gloomy, reminding me of a great
rock fissure, the entrance to a cave I had once seen. Like a cave, too,
it was cold with a musty and oppressive cold; a cold which embalmed the
mingling smells of sleep and sleeping car--an odor as of Russia leather
and banana peel ground into a damp pulp.

Silently, gloomily, without removing our overcoats or gloves, we seated
ourselves, gingerly, upon the bright green plush of the section nearest
to the door, and tried to read our morning papers. Presently the train
started. A thin, sick-looking Pullman conductor came and took our
tickets, saying as few words as possible. A porter, in his sooty canvas
coat, sagged miserably down the aisle. Also a waiter from the dining
car, announcing breakfast in a cheerless tone. Breakfast! Who could
think of breakfast in a place like that? For a long time, we sat in
somber silence, without interest in each other or in life.

To appreciate the full horror of a Pullman sleeping car it is not
necessary to pass the night upon it; indeed, it is necessary _not_ to.
If you have slept in the car, or tried to sleep, you arise with blunted
faculties--the night has mercifully anesthetized you against the scenes
and smells of morning. But if you board the car as we did, coming into
it awake and fresh from out of doors, while it is yet asleep--then, and
then only, do you realize its enormous ghastliness.

Our first diversion--the faintest shadow of a speculative interest--came
with a slight stirring of the curtains of the berth across the way. For,
even in the most dismal sleeping car, there is always the remote chance,
when those green curtains stir, that the Queen of Sheba is all radiant
within, and that she will presently appear, like sunrise.

Over our newspapers we watched, and even now and then our curiosity was
piqued by further gentle stirrings of the curtains. And, of course, the
longer we were forced to wait, the more hopeful we became. In a low
voice I murmured to my companion the story of the glorious creature I
had seen in a Pullman one morning long ago: how the curtains had stirred
at first, even as these were stirring now; how they had at last been
parted by a pair of rosy finger tips; how I had seen a lovely face
emerge; how her two braids were wrapped about her classic head; how she
had floated forth into the aisle, transforming the whole car; how she
had wafted past me, a soft, sweet cloud of pink; how she--Then, just as
I was getting to the interesting part of it, I stopped and caught my
breath. The curtains were in final, violent commotion! They were parting
at the bottom! Ah! Slowly, from between the long green folds, there
appeared a foot. No filmy silken stocking covered it. It was a foot.
There was an ankle, too--a small ankle. Indeed, it was so small as to be
a misfit, for the foot was of stupendous size, and very knobby. Also it
was cold; I knew that it was cold, just as I knew that it was attached
to the body of a man, and that I did not wish to see the rest of him. I
turned my head and, gazing from the window, tried to concentrate my
thoughts upon the larger aspects of the world outside, but the picture
of that foot remained with me, dwarfing all other things.

I did not mean to look again; I was determined not to look. But at the
sound of more activity across the way, my head was turned as by some
outside force, and I did look, as one looks, against one's will, at some
horror which has happened in the street.

He had come out. He was sitting upon the edge of his berth, bending over
and snorting as he fumbled for his shoes upon the floor. Having secured
them, he pulled them on with great contortions, emitting stertorous
sounds. Then, in all the glory of his brown balbriggan undershirt, he
stood up in the aisle. His face was fat and heavy, his eyes half closed,
his hair in tussled disarray. His trousers sagged dismally about his
hips, and his suspenders dangled down behind him like two feeble and
insensate tails. After rolling his collar, necktie, shirt, and waistcoat
into a mournful little bundle, he produced from inner recesses a few
unpleasant toilet articles, and made off down the car--a spectacle
compared with which a homely woman, her face anointed with cold cream,
her hair done in kid curlers, her robe a Canton-flannel nightgown, would
appear alluring!

Never, since then, have I heard men jeering over women as they look in
dishabille, without wondering if those same men have ever seen
themselves clearly in the mirrored washroom of a sleeping car.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the railroad journey between Detroit and Battle Creek we passed two
towns which have attained a fame entirely disproportionate to their
size: Ann Arbor, with about fifteen thousand inhabitants, celebrated as
a seat of learning; and Ypsilanti, with about six thousand, celebrated
as, so to speak, a seat of underwear.

One expects an important college town to be well known, but a
manufacturing town with but six thousand inhabitants must have done
something in particular to have acquired national reputation. In the
case of Ypsilanti it has been done by magazine advertising--the
advertising of underwear. If you don't think so, look over the list of
towns in the "World Almanac." Have you, for example, ever heard of
Anniston, Ala.? Or Argenta, Ark.? Either town is about twice the size of
Ypsilanti. Have you ever heard of Cranston, R. I., Butler, Pa., or
Belleville, Ill.? Each is about as large as Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor put
together.

Then there is Battle Creek. Think of the amount of advertising that town
has had! As Miss Daisy Buck, the lady who runs the news stand in the
Battle Creek railroad station, said to us: "It's the best advertised
little old town of its size in the whole United States."

And now it is about to be advertised some more.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were total strangers. We knew nothing of the place save that we had
heard that it was full of health cranks and factories where breakfast
foods, coffee substitutes, and kindred edibles and drinkables were made.
How to see the town and what to see we did not know. We hesitated in the
depot waiting room. Then fortune guided our footsteps to the station
news stand and its genial and vivacious hostess. Yes, hostess is the
word; Miss Buck is anything but a mere girl behind the counter. She is
a reception committee, an information bureau, a guide, philosopher, and
friend. Her kindly interest in the wayfarer seems to waft forth from the
precincts of the news stand and permeate the station. All the boys know
Miss Daisy Buck.

After purchasing some stamps and post cards as a means of getting into
conversation with her, we asked about the town.

"How many people are there here?" I ventured.

"Thirty-five," replied Miss Buck.

"_Thirty-five?_" I repeated, astonished.

Though Miss Buck was momentarily engaged in selling chewing gum (to some
one else), she found time to give me a mildly pitying look.

"Thousand," she added.

The "World Almanac" gives Battle Creek but twenty-five thousand
population. That, however, is no reproach to Miss Buck; it is, upon the
contrary, a reproach to the cold-hearted statisticians who compiled that
book. And had they met Miss Buck I think they would have been more
liberal.

"What is the best way for us to see the town?" I asked the lady.

She indicated a man who was sitting on a station bench near by, saying:

"He's a driver. He'll take you. He likes to ride around."

"Thanks," I replied, gallantly. "Any friend of yours--"

"Can that stuff," admonished Miss Buck in her easy, offhand manner.

I canned it, and engaged the driver. His vehicle was a typical town
hack--a mud-colored chariot, having C springs, sunken cushions, and a
strong smell of the stable. Riding in it, I could not rid myself of the
idea that I was being driven to a country burial, and that hence, if I
wished to smoke, I ought to do it surreptitiously.

Presently we swung into Main Street. I did not ask the name of the
street, but I am reasonably certain that is it. There was a policeman on
the corner. Also, a building bearing the sign "Old National Bank."

Old! What a pleasant, mellow ring the word has! How fine, and
philosophical, and prosperous, and hospitable it sounds. I stopped the
carriage. Just out of sentiment I thought I would go in and have a check
cashed. But they did not act hospitable at all. They refused to cash my
check because they did not know me. Well, it was their loss! I had a
little treat prepared for them. I meant to surprise them by making them
realize suddenly that, in cashing the check, they were not merely
obliging an obscure stranger but a famous literary man. I was going to
pass the check through the window, saying modestly: "It may interest you
to know whose check you have the honor of handling." Then they would
read the name, and I could picture their excitement as they exclaimed
and showed the check around the bank so that the clerks could see it.
The only trouble I foresaw, on that score, was that probably they had
not ever heard of me. But I was going to obviate that. I intended to
sign the check "Rudyard Kipling." That would have given them something
to think about!

But, as I have said, the transaction never got that far.

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal street of Battle Creek may be without amazing
architectural beauty, but it is at least well lighted. On either curb is
a row of "boulevard lights," the posts set fifty feet apart. They are
good-looking posts, too, of simple, graceful design, each surmounted by
a cluster of five white globes. This admirable system of lighting is in
very general use throughout all parts of the country excepting the East.
It is used in all the Michigan cities I visited. I have been told that
it was first installed in Minneapolis, but wherever it originated, it is
one of a long list of things the East may learn from the West.

After driving about for a time we drew up. Looking out, I came to the
conclusion that we had returned again to the railway station.

It was a station, but not the same one.

"This is the Grand Trunk Deepo," said the driver, opening the carriage
door.

"I don't believe we'll bother to get out," I said.

But the driver wanted us to.

[Illustration: Never, since then, have I heard men jeering over women as
they look in dishabille, without wondering if those same men have ever
seen themselves clearly in the mirrored washroom of a sleeping car]

"You ought to look at it," he insisted. "It's a very pretty station."

So we got out and looked at it, and were glad we did, for the driver was
quite right. It was an unusually pretty station--a station superior to
the other in all respects but one: it contained no Miss Daisy Buck.

After some further driving, we returned to the station where she was.

"I suppose we had better go to the Sanitarium for lunch?" I asked her.

"Not on your life," she replied. "If you go to the 'San,' you won't feel
like you'd had anything to eat--that is, not if you're good feeders."

"Where else is there to go?" I asked.

"The Tavern," she advised. "You'll get a first-class dinner there. You
might have larger hotels in New York, but you haven't got any that's
more homelike. At least, that's what I hear. I never was in New York
myself, but I get the dope from the traveling men."

However, not for epicurean reasons, but because of curiosity, we wished
to try a meal at the Sanitarium. Thither we drove in the hack, passing
on our way the office of the "Good Health Publishing Company" and a
small building bearing the sign, "The Coffee Parlor"--which may signify
a Battle Creek substitute for a saloon. I do not know how coffee
drinkers are regarded in that town, but I do know that, while there, I
got neither tea nor coffee--unless "Postum" be coffee and "Kaffir Tea"
be tea.

It was at the Sanitarium that I drank Kaffir Tea. I had it with my
lunch. It looks like tea, and would probably taste like it, too, if they
didn't let the Kaffirs steep so long. But they should use only fresh,
young, tender Kaffirs; the old ones get too strong; they have too much
bouquet. The one they used in my tea may have been slightly spoiled. I
tasted him all afternoon.

The "San" is an enormous brick building like a vast summer hotel. It has
an office which is utterly hotel-like, too, even to the chairs,
scattered about, and the people sitting in them. Many of the people look
perfectly well. Indeed, I saw one young woman who looked so well that I
couldn't take my eyes off from her while she remained in view. She was
in the elevator when we went up to lunch. She looked at me with a
speculative eye--a most engaging eye, it was--as though saying to
herself: "Now there's a promising young man. I might make it interesting
for him if he would stay here for a while. But of course he'd have to
show me a physician's certificate stating that he was not subject to
fits." My companion said that she looked at him a long while, too, but I
doubt that. He was always claiming that they looked at him.

The people who run the Sanitarium are Seventh-Day Adventists, and as we
arrived on Saturday it was the Sabbath there--a rather busy day, I take
it, from the bulletin which was printed upon the back of the dinner
menu:

            7.20 A. M. Morning Worship in the Parlor.
    7.40 to 8.40 A. M. BREAKFAST.
            9.45 A. M. Sabbath School in the Chapel.
              11 A. M. Preaching Service in the Chapel.
      12.30 to 2 P. M. DINNER.
            3.30 P. M. Missionary talk.
       5.30 to 6 P. M. Cashier's office open.
       6 to 6.45 P. M. SUPPER.
            6.45 P. M. March for guests and patients only.
               8 P. M. In the Gymnasium. Basket Ball Game. Admission
                       25 cents.

No food to be taken from the Dining Room.

The last injunction was not disobeyed by us. We ate enough to satisfy
our curiosity, and what we did not eat we left.

The menu at the Sanitarium is a curious thing. After each item are
figures showing the proportion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
contained in that article of food. Everything is weighed out exactly.
There was no meat on the bill of fare, but substitutes were provided in
the list of entrees: "Protose with Mayonnaise Dressing," "Nuttolene with
Cranberry Sauce," and "Walnut Roast."

Suppose you had to decide between those three which would you take?

My companion took "Protose," while I elected for some reason to dally
with the "Nuttolene." Then, neither of us liking what we got, we both
tried "Walnut Roast." Even then we would not give up. I ordered a
little "Malt Honey," while my companion called for a baked potato,
saying: "I know what a _potato_ is, anyhow!"

After that we had a little "Toasted Granose" and "Good Health Biscuit,"
washed down in my case by a gulp or two of "Kaffir Tea," and in his by
"Hot Malted Nuts." I tried to get him to take "Kaffir Tea" with me, but,
being to leeward of my cup, he declined. As nearly as we could figure it
out afterward, he was far ahead of me in proteins and fats, but I was
infinitely richer in carbohydrates. In our indigestions we stood
absolutely even.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are some very striking things about the Sanitarium. It is a great
headquarters for Health Congresses, Race Betterment Congresses, etc.,
and at these congresses strange theories are frequently put forth. At
one of them, recently held, Dr. J. H. Kellogg, head of the Sanitarium,
read a paper in which, according to newspaper reports, he advocated
"human stock shows," with blue ribbons for the most perfectly developed
men and women. At the same meeting a Mrs. Holcome charged that:
"Cigarette-smoking heroes in the modern magazine are, I believe,
inserted into the stories by the editors of publications controlled by
the big interests."

To this Mr. S. S. McClure, the publisher, replied: "I have never
inserted cigarettes in heroes' mouths. I have taken them out lots of
times. But generally the authors use a pipe for their heroes."

[Illustration: "Can that stuff," admonished Miss Buck in her easy,
offhand manner]

There was talk, too, about "eugenic weddings." And a sensation was
caused when a Southern college professor made a charge that graduates of
modern women's colleges are unfitted for motherhood. The statement, it
may be added, was vigorously denied by the heads of several leading
women's colleges.

Rather wild, some of this, it seems to me. But when people gather
together in one place, intent on some one subject, wildness is almost
certain to develop. One feels, in visiting the Sanitarium, that, though
many people may be restored to health there, there is yet an air of mild
fanaticism over all. Health fanaticism. The passionate light of the
health hunt flashes in the stranger's eye as he looks at you and wonders
what is wrong with you. And whatever may be wrong with you, or with him,
you are both there to shake it off. That is your sole business in life.
You are going to get over it, even if you have to live for weeks on
"Nuttolene" or other products of the diet kitchen.

"Nuttolene!"

It is always an experience for the sophisticated palate to meet a
brand-new taste. In "Nuttolene" my palate encountered one, and before
dinner was over it met several more.

"Nuttolene" is served in a slab, resembling, as nearly as anything I can
think of, a good-sized piece of shoemaker's wax. In flavor it is
confusing. Some faint taste about it hinted that it was intended to
resemble turkey; an impression furthered by the fact that cranberry
sauce was served on the same plate. But what it was made of I could not
detect. It was not unpleasant to taste, nor yet did I find it
appetizing. Rather, I should classify it in the broad category of
uninteresting food. However, after such a statement, it is but fair to
add that the food I find most interesting is almost always rich and
indigestible. Perhaps, therefore, I shall be obliged to go to Battle
Creek some day, to subsist on "Nuttolene" and kindred substances as
penance for my gastronomic indiscretions. Better men than I have done
that thing--men and women from all over the globe. And Battle Creek has
benefited them. Nevertheless, I hope that I shall never have to go
there. My feeling about the place, quite without regard to the cures
which it effects, is much like that of my companion:

At luncheon I asked him to save his menu for me, so that I might have
the data for this article. He put it in his pocket. But he kept pulling
it out again, every little while, throughout the afternoon, and
suggesting that I copy it all off into my notebook.

Finally I said to him:

"What is the use in my copying all that stuff when you have it right
there in print? Just keep it for me. Then, when I get to writing, I will
take it and use what I want."

"But I'd rather not keep it," he insisted.

"Why not?"

"Well, there might be a railroad wreck. If I'm killed I don't want this
thing to be found on me. When they went through my clothes and ran
across this they'd say: 'Oh, this doesn't matter. It's all right. He's
just some poor boob that's been to Battle Creek.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

When we got out of the hack at the station before leaving Battle Creek,
I asked the hackman how the town got its name. He didn't know. So, after
buying the tickets, I went and asked Miss Daisy Buck.

"I suppose," I said, "there was some battle here, beside some creek,
wasn't there?"

But for once Miss Buck failed me.

"You can search _me_," she replied. Then: "Did you lunch at the 'San'?"

We admitted it.

"How did you like it?"

We informed her.

"What did you eat--Mercerized hay?"

"No; mostly Nuttolene."

She sighed. Then:

"What town are you making next?" she asked.

"Kalamazoo," I said.

"Oh, Ka'zoo, eh? What line are you gen'l'men travelling in?"

"I'm a writer," I replied, "and my friend here is an artist. We're going
around the country gathering material for a book."

In answer to this statement, Miss Buck simply winked one eye as one who
would say: "You're some little liar, ain't you?"

"It's true," I said.

"Oh, sure!" said Miss Buck, and let one eyelid fall again.

"When the book appears," I continued, "you will find that it contains an
interview with you."

"Also a picture of you and the news stand," my companion added.

Then we heard the train.

Taking up our suit cases, we thanked Miss Buck for the assistance she
had rendered us.

"I'm sure you're quite welcome," she replied. "I meet all kinds
here--including kidders."

That was some months ago. No doubt Miss Buck may have forgotten us by
now. But when she sees this--as, being a news-stand lady, I have reason
to hope she will--I trust she may remember, and admit that truth has
triumphed in the end.



CHAPTER IX

KALAMAZOO


I had but one reason for visiting Kalamazoo: the name has always
fascinated me with its zoölogical suggestion and even more with its
rich, rhythmic measure. Indian names containing "K's" are almost always
striking: Kenosha, Kewanee, Kokomo, Keokuk, Kankakee. Of these, the last
two, having the most "K's" are most effective. Next comes Kokomo with
two "K's." But Kalamazoo, though it has but one "K," seems to me to take
first place among them all, phonetically, because of the finely assorted
sound contained in its four syllables. There is a kick in its "K," a
ring in its "L," a buzz in its "Z," and a glorious hoot in its two final
"O's."

I wish here to protest against the abbreviated title frequently bestowed
upon the town by newspapers in Detroit and other neighboring cities.
They call it "Ka'zoo."

Ka'zoo, indeed! For shame! How can men take so fine a name and treat it
lightly? True, it is a little long for easy handling in a headline, but
that does not justify indignity. If headline writers cannot handle it
conveniently they should not change the name, but rather change their
type, or make-up. If I owned a newspaper, and there arose a question of
giving space to this majestic name, I should cheerfully drop out a
baseball story, or the love letters in some divorce case, or even an
advertisement, in order to display it as it deserves to be displayed.

Kalamazoo (I love to write it out!) Kalamazoo, I say, is also sometimes
known familiarly as "Celery Town"--the growing of this crisp and
succulent vegetable being a large local industry. Also, I was informed,
more paper is made there than in any other city in the world. I do not
know if that is true, I only know that if there is not more _something_
in Kalamazoo than there is in any other city, the place is unique in my
experience.

From my own observations, made during an evening walk through the
agreeable, tree-bordered streets of Kalamazoo, I should have said that
it led in quite a different field. I have never been in any town where
so many people failed to draw their window shades, or owned green
reading lamps, or sat by those green-shaded lamps and read. I looked
into almost every house I passed, and in all but two, I think, I saw the
self-same picture of calm, literary domesticity.

One family, living in a large and rather new-looking house on Main
Street, did not seem to be at home. The shades were up but no one was
sitting by the lamp. And, more, the lamp itself was different. Instead
of a plain green shade it had a shade with pictures in the glass, and
red bead fringe. Later I found out where the people were. They were
playing bridge across the street. They must have been the people from
that house, because there were two in all the other houses, whereas
there were four in the house where bridge was being played.

I stood and watched them. The woman from across the street--being the
guest, she was in evening dress--was dummy. She was sitting back
stiffly, her mouth pursed, her eyes staring at the cards her partner
played. And she was saying to herself (and, unconsciously, to us,
through the window): "If _I_ had played that hand, I never should have
done it _that_ way!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Kalamazoo has a Commercial Club. What place hasn't? And the Commercial
Club has issued a booklet. What Commercial Club hasn't? This one bears
the somewhat fanciful title "The Lure of Kalamazoo."

"The Lure of Kalamazoo" is written in that peculiarly chaste style
characteristic of Chamber of Commerce "literature"--a style comparable
only with that of railway folders and summer hotel booklets. It is the
"Here-all-nature-seems-to-be-rejoicing" school. Let me present an
extract:

     Kalamazoo is peculiarly a city of homes--homes varying in cost from
     the modest cottage of the laborer to the palatial house of the
     wealthy manufacturer.

The only place in which the man who wrote that slipped up, was in
referring to the wealthy manufacturer's "house." Obviously the word
called for there is "mansion." However, in justice to this man, and to
Kalamazoo, I ought to add that the town seemed to be rather free from
"mansions." That is one of the pleasantest things about it. It is just a
pretty, unpretentious place. Perhaps he actually meant to say "house,"
but I doubt it. I think he missed a trick. I think he failed to get the
right word, just as if he had been writing about brooks, and had
forgotten to say "purling."

But if I saw no "mansions," I did see one building in Kalamazoo the
architecture of which was distinguished. That was the building of the
Western Michigan Normal School--a long, low structure of classical
design, with three fine porticos.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having a Commercial Club, Kalamazoo quite naturally has a "slogan," too.
(A "slogan," by the way, is the war cry or gathering cry of a Highland
clan--but that makes no difference to a Commercial Club.) It is: "In
Kalamazoo We Do."

This battle cry "did" very well up to less than a year ago; then it
suddenly began to languish. There was a company in Kalamazoo called the
Michigan Buggy Company, and this company had a very sour failure last
year, their figures varying from fact to the extent of about a million
and a half dollars. Not satisfied with dummy accounts and padded
statements, they had, also, what was called a "velvet pay roll." And,
when it all blew up, the whole of Michigan was shaken by the shock.
Since that time, I am informed, the "slogan" "In Kalamazoo We Do" has
not been in high favor.

[Illustration: She was saying to herself (and, unconsciously, to us,
through the window): "If _I_ had played that hand, I never should have
done it _that_ way!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the "lures" presented in the Commercial Club's booklet are four
hundred and fifty-six lakes within a radius of fifty miles of the city.
I didn't count the lakes myself. I didn't count the people either--not
all of them.

The "World Almanac" gives the population of the place as just under
forty thousand, but some one in Kalamazoo--and I think he was a member
of the Commercial Club--told me that fifty thousand was the correct
figure.

Now, I ask you, is it not reasonable to suppose that the Commercial
Club, being right _in_ Kalamazoo, where it can count the people every
day, should be more accurate in its figures than the Almanac, which is
published in far-away New York? Errors like this on the part of the
Almanac might be excused, once or twice, on the ground of human
fallibility or occasional misprint, but when the Almanac keeps on
cutting down the figures given by the Commercial Clubs and Chambers of
Commerce of town after town, it begins to look like wilful
misrepresentation if not actual spitework.

That, to tell the truth, was the reason I walked around and looked in
all the windows. I decided to get at the bottom of this matter--to find
out the cause for these discrepancies, and if I caught the Almanac in
what appeared to be a deliberate lie, to expose it, here. With this in
view, I started to count the people myself. Unfortunately, however, I
did not start early enough in the evening. When I had only a little more
than half of them counted, they began to put out their lights and go
upstairs to bed. And, oddly enough, though they leave their parlor
shades up, they have a way of drawing those in their bedrooms. I was,
therefore, forced to stop counting.

I do not attempt to explain this Kalamazoo custom with regard to window
shades. All I can say is that, for whatever reason they follow it, their
custom is not metropolitan. New Yorkers do things just the other way
around. They pull down their parlor shades, but leave their bedroom
shades up. Any one who has lived in a New York apartment house in summer
can testify to that. Probably it is all accounted for by the fact that
in a relatively small city, like Kalamazoo, the census takers go around
and count the people in the early evening, whereas in New York it is
necessary for those who make the reckoning to work all night in order
to--as one might say--get all the figures.



CHAPTER X

GRAND RAPIDS THE "ELECT"


I know a man whose wife is famous for her cooking. That is a strange
thing for a prosperous and charming woman to be famous for to-day, but
it is true. When they wish to give their friends an especial treat, the
wife prepares the dinner; and it _is_ a treat, from "pigs in blankets"
to strawberry shortcake.

The husband is proud of his wife's cooking, but I have often noticed,
and not without a mild amusement, that when we praise it past a certain
point he begins to protest that there are lots of other things that she
can do. You might think then, if you did not understand him, that he was
belittling her talent as a cook.

"Oh, yes," he says, in what he intends to be a casual tone, "she can
cook very well. But that's not all. She's the best mother I ever
saw--sees right into the children, just as though she were one of them.
She makes most of their clothes, too. And in spite of all that, she
keeps up her playing--both piano and harp. We'll get her to play the
harp after dinner."

People are like that about the cities that they live in. They are like
that in Detroit. They are afraid that in considering the vastness of the
automobile industry, you'll overlook the fact that Detroit has a lot of
other business. And in Grand Rapids they're the same; only there, of
course, it's furniture.

"Yes," they say almost with reluctance, "we do make a good deal of
furniture, but we also have big printing plants and plaster mills, and a
large business in automobile accessories, and the metal trades."

They talked that way to me. But I kept right on asking about furniture,
just as, when the young husband talks to me about his wife's harp
playing, I keep right on eating shortcake. That is no reflection on her
music (or her arms!); it is simply a tribute to her cooking.

       *       *       *       *       *

Grand Rapids is one of those exceedingly agreeable, homelike American
cities, which has not yet grown to the unwieldy size. It is the kind of
city of which they say: "Every one here knows every one else"--meaning,
of course, that members of the older and more prosperous families enjoy
all the advantages and disadvantages of a considerable intimacy.

To the visitor--especially the visitor from New York, where a close
friend may be bedridden a month without one's knowing it--this sort of
thing makes a strong appeal at first. You feel that these people see one
another every day; that they know all about one another, and like one
another in spite of that. It is nice to see them troop down to the
station, fifteen strong, to see somebody off, and it must be nice to be
seen off like that; it must make you feel sure that you have friends--a
point upon which the New Yorker, in his heart, has the gravest doubts.

Consider, for example, my own case. In the course of my residence in New
York, I have lived in four different apartment houses. In only two of
these have I had even the slightest acquaintance with any of the other
tenants. Once I called upon some disagreeable people on the floor below
who had complained about the noise; once I had summoned a doctor who
lived on the ground floor. In the other two buildings I knew absolutely
no one. I used to see occasionally, in the elevator of one building, a
man with whom I was acquainted years ago, but he had either forgotten me
in the interim, or he elected to do as I did; that is, to pretend he had
forgotten. I had nothing against him; he had nothing against me. We were
simply bored at the idea of talking with each other because we had
nothing in common.

Any New Yorker who is honest will admit to you that he has had that same
experience. He passes people on the street--and sometimes they are
people he has known quite well in times gone by--yet he refrains from
bowing to them, and they refrain from bowing to him, by a sort of tacit
understanding that bowing, even, is a bore.

That is a sad sort of situation. But sadder yet is the fact that in New
York we lose sight of so many people whom we should like to see--friends
of whom we are genuinely fond, but whose evolutions in the whirlpool of
the city's life are such that we don't chance to come in contact with
them. At first we try. We paddle toward them now and then. But the very
act of paddling is fatiguing, so by and by we give it up, and either
never see them any more, or, running across them, once in a year or two,
on the street or in a shop, lament at the broken intimacy, and make new
resolves, only to see them melt away again in the flux and flow of New
York life.

I thought of all this at a Sunday evening supper party in Grand
Rapids--a neighborhood supper party at which a dozen or more people of
assorted ages sat around a hospitable table, arguing, explaining,
laughing, and chaffing each other like members of one great glorious
family. It made me want to go and live there, too. Then I began to
wonder how long I'd really want to live there. Would I always want to?
Or would I grow tired of that, just as I grow tired of the contrasting
coldness of New York? In short, I wondered to myself which is the worst:
to know your neighbors with a wonderful, terrible, all-revealing
intimacy, or--not to know them at all. I have thought about it often,
and still I am not sure.

The Grand Rapids "Press" fearing that I might fail to notice certain
underlying features of Grand Rapids life, printed an editorial at the
time of my visit, in which attention was called to certain things. Said
the "Press":

     It isn't immediately revealed to the stranger that this is one of
     the clearest-thinking communities in the country. The records of
     the public library show the local demand for books on sociology, on
     political economy, on the relations of labor and capital, on
     taxation, on art, on the literature that has some chance of
     permanency. The topics discussed in the lecture halls, in the
     social centers, and in the Sunday gatherings, which are so
     pronounced a feature of church life here, add to the testimony. Ida
     M. Tarbell noticed that on her first visit. Her impression deepened
     on her second.... Without tossing any bouquets at ourselves it can
     be said that we are thinking some thoughts which only the elect in
     other cities dream of thinking.

I should like to make some intelligent comment on this. I feel, indeed,
that something very ponderous, and solemn, and authoritative, and
learned, and wise, and owlish, and erudite, ought to be said.

But the trouble is that I am utterly unqualified to speak in that way. I
am not one of the elect. If some one called me that, I would knock him
down if I could, and kick him full of holes. That is because I think
that the elect almost invariably elect themselves. They are intellectual
Huertas, and as such I generally detest them. I merely print the
"Press's" statement because I think it is interesting, sometimes, to see
what a city thinks about itself. For my own part, I should think more of
Grand Rapids if, instead of sitting tight and thinking these
extraordinary thoughts, it had done more to carry out the plan it had
for its own beautification.

That is not to say that it is not a pretty city. It is. But its beauty
is of that unconscious kind which comes from hills, and pleasant homes,
and lawns, and trees. The kind of beauty that it lacks is conscious
beauty, the creation of which requires the expenditure of thought,
money, and effort. And if it does nothing else to indicate its
intellectual and esthetic soarings, I should say that it might do well
to discard the reading lamp in favor of the crowbar, if only for long
enough to take the latter instrument, go down to the park, and see what
can be done about that chimney which rises so absurdly there.

       *       *       *       *       *

The lack of coherent municipal taste is all the more a reproach to Grand
Rapids for the reason that taste, perhaps above all other qualities, is
the essential characteristic of the city's leading industry.

I used to have an idea that "cheap" furniture came from Grand Rapids.
Perhaps it did. Perhaps it still does. I do not know. But I do know that
the tour I made through the five acres, more or less, of rooms which
make up the show house of Berkey & Gay, afforded me the best single bit
of concrete proof I met, in all my travels, of the positive growth of
good taste in this country.

Just as the whole face of things has changed architecturally in the last
ten or fifteen years, furnishings have also changed. The improved
appreciation which makes people build sightly homes makes them fill
those homes with furniture of respectable design. People are beginning
to know about the history of furniture, to recognize the characteristics
of the great English furniture designers and to appreciate the beauty
which they handed down.

We went through the warerooms with Mr. Gay, and as I feasted my eyes
upon piece after piece, set after set, of Chippendale, Sheraton,
Heppelwhite, and Adam, I asked Mr. Gay about the renaissance which is
upon us. One thing I was particularly curious about: I wanted to know
whether the improvement in furniture sprang from popular demand or
whether it had been in some measure forced upon the public by the
manufacturers.

Mr. Gay told me that the change was something which originated with the
people. "We have always wanted to make beautiful furniture," he said,
"and we have helped all we could, but a manufacturer of furniture cannot
force either good taste or bad taste upon those who buy. He has to offer
them what they are willing to take, for they will not buy anything else.
I know that, because sometimes we have tried to press matters a little.
Now and then we have indulged ourselves to the extent of turning out
some fine pieces, of one design or another, a little in advance of
public appreciation, but there has never been any considerable sale for
such things." He indicated a fine Jacobean library table of oak. "Take
that piece for instance. We made some furniture like that twenty or
twenty-five years ago, but could sell very little of it. People weren't
ready for it then. Or this Adam set--as recently as five years ago we
couldn't have hoped for anything more than a few nibbles on that kind
of thing, but there's a big market for it now."

I asked Mr. Gay if he had any theories as to what had caused the
development in popular appreciation.

"It is a great big subject," he said. "I think the magazines have done
some of it. There have been quantities of publications on house
furnishing. And the manufacturers' catalogues have helped, too. And as
wealth and leisure have increased, people have had more time to give to
the study of such things."

On the train going to Chicago I fell into conversation with a man whom I
presently discerned to be a furniture manufacturer. I don't know who he
was but he told me about the furniture exposition which is held in Grand
Rapids in January and July each year. There are large buildings with
many acres of floor space which stand idle and empty all the year
around, excepting at the time of these great shows. Last year more than
two hundred and fifty separate manufacturers had exhibitions, a large
number of them being manufacturers whose factories were not located in
Grand Rapids, but who nevertheless found it profitable to ship samples
there and rent space in the exhibition buildings in order to place their
wares before the buyers who gather there from all over the country.

Before we parted, this gentleman told me a story which, though he said
it was an old one, I had never heard before.

According to this story, there was, in Grand Rapids, a very inquisitive
furniture manufacturer, who was always trying to find out about the
business done by other manufacturers. When he would meet them he would
question them in a way they found exceedingly annoying.

One day, encountering a rival manufacturer upon the street, he stopped
him and began the usual line of questions. The other answered several,
becoming more and more irritated. But finally his inquisitor asked one
too many.

"How many men are working in your factory now?" he demanded.

"Oh?" said the other, as he turned away, "about two-thirds of them."



CHICAGO



CHAPTER XI

A MIDDLE-WESTERN MIRACLE


Imagine a young demigod, product of a union between Rodin's "Thinker"
and the Wingèd Victory of Samothrace, and you will have my symbol of
Chicago.

Chicago is stupefying. It knows no rules, and I know none by which to
judge it. It stands apart from all the cities in the world, isolated by
its own individuality, an Olympian freak, a fable, an allegory, an
incomprehensible phenomenon, a prodigious paradox in which youth and
maturity, brute strength and soaring spirit, are harmoniously confused.

Call Chicago mighty, monstrous, multifarious, vital, lusty, stupendous,
indomitable, intense, unnatural, aspiring, puissant, preposterous,
transcendent--call it what you like--throw the dictionary at it! It is
all that you can do, except to shoot it with statistics. And even the
statistics of Chicago are not deadly, as most statistics are.

First, you must realize that Chicago stands fourth in population among
the cities of the world, and second among those of the Western
Hemisphere. Next you must realize that there are people still alive who
were alive when Chicago did not exist, even as a fort in a swamp at the
mouth of the Chicago River--the river from which, by the way, the city
took its name, and which in turn took its own name from an Indian word
meaning "skunk."

I do not claim that there are many people still alive who were alive
when Chicago wasn't there at all, or that such people are feeling very
active, or that they remember much about it, for in 102 years a man
forgets a lot of little things. Nevertheless, there _are_ living men
older than Chicago.

Just one hundred years ago Fort Dearborn, at the mouth of the river, was
being rebuilt, after a massacre by the Indians. Eighty-five years ago
Chicago was a village of one hundred people. Sixty-five years ago this
village had grown into a city of approximately the present size of
Evanston--a suburb of Chicago, with less than thirty thousand people.
Fifty-five years ago Chicago had something over one hundred thousand
inhabitants. Forty-five years ago, at the time of the Chicago fire, the
city was as large as Washington is now--over three hundred thousand. In
the ten years which followed the disaster, Chicago was not only entirely
rebuilt, and very much improved, but also it increased in population to
half a million, or about the size of Detroit. In the next decade it
actually doubled in size, so that, twenty-five years ago, it passed the
million mark. Soon after that it pushed Philadelphia from second place
among American cities. So it has gone on, until to-day it has a
population of two million, plus a city of about the size of San
Francisco for full measure.

There are the statistics in a capsule paragraph. I hope you will feel
better in the morning. And just to take the taste away, here's another
item which you may like because of its curious flavor: Chicago has more
Poles than any other city except Warsaw.

       *       *       *       *       *

One knows in advance what a visitor from Europe will say about New York,
just as one knows what an American humorist will say about Europe. But
one never knows what any visitor will say about Chicago. I have heard
people damn Chicago--"up hill and down" I was about to say, but I
withdraw that, for the highest hill I remember in Chicago is that
ungainly little bump, on the lake front, which is surmounted by Saint
Gaudens' statue of General Logan.

As I was saying, I have heard people rave against Chicago and about it.
Being itself a city of extremes, it seems to draw extremes of feeling
and expression from outsiders. For instance, Canon Hannay, who writes
novels and plays under the name of George A. Birmingham, was quoted, at
the time of his recent visit to this country, as saying: "In a little
while Chicago will be a world center of literature, music, and art.
British writers will be more anxious for her verdict than for that of
London. The music of the future will be hammered out on the shores of
Lake Michigan. The Paris Salon will be a second-rate affair."

Remembering that the Canon is an Irishman and a humorist--which is
tautology--we may perhaps discount his statement a little bit for
blarney and a little more for fun. His "prophecy" about the Salon seems
to stamp the interview with waggery, for certainly it is not hard to
prophesy what is already true--and, as everybody ought to know by now,
the Salon has for years been second-rate.

The Chicago Art Institute has by all odds the most important art
collection I visited upon my travels. The pictures are varied and
interesting, and American painters are well represented. The presence in
the institute of a good deal of that rather "tight" and "sugary"
painting which came to Chicago at the time of the World's Fair, is to be
regretted--a fact which is, I have no doubt, quite as well known to
those in charge of the museum as to anybody else. But as I remarked in a
previous chapter, most museums are hampered, in their early days, by the
gifts of their rich friends. It takes a strong museum indeed to risk
offending a rich man by kicking out bad paintings which he offers. Even
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has not always been so brave
as to do that.

"Who's Who" (which, by the way, is published in Chicago) mentions
perhaps a score of Chicago painters and sculptors, among the former
Lawton S. Parker and Oliver Dennett Grover, and among the latter Lorado
Taft.

There are, however, many others, not in "Who's Who," who attempt to
paint--enough of them to give a fairly large and very mediocre
exhibition which I saw. One thing is, however, certain: the Art
Institute has not the deserted look of most other art museums one
visits. It is used. This may be partly accounted for by its admirable
location at the center of the city--a location more accessible than that
of any other museum I think of, in the country. But whatever the reason,
as you watch the crowds, you realize more than ever that Chicago is
alive to everything--even to art.

Years ago Chicago was musical enough to support the late Theodore Thomas
and his orchestra--one of the most distinguished organizations of the
kind ever assembled in this country. Thomas did great things for
Chicago, musically. He started her, and she has kept on. Besides
innumerable and varied concerts which occur throughout the season, the
city is one of four in the country strong enough to support a first-rate
grand opera company of its own.

About twenty-five musicians of one sort and another are credited to
Chicago by "Who's Who," the most distinguished of them, perhaps, being
Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, the concert pianist. But it is the writers of
Chicago who come out strongest in the fat red volume, among followers of
the arts. With sinking heart I counted about seventy of these, and I
may be merely revealing my own ignorance when I add that the names of a
good two-thirds of them were new to me. But this is dangerous ground.
Without further comment let me say that among the seventy I found such
names as Robert Herrick, Henry B. Fuller, Hamlin Garland, Emerson Hough,
Henry Kitchell Webster, Maud Radford Warren, Opie Read, and Clara Louise
Burnham--a hatful of them which you may sort and classify according to
your taste.

       *       *       *       *       *

Canon Hannay said he felt at home in Chicago. So did Arnold Bennett.
Canon Hannay said Chicago reminded him of Belfast. Arnold Bennett said
Chicago reminded him of the "Five Towns," made famous in his novels.
Even Baedeker breaks away from his usual nonpartizan attitude long
enough to say with what, for Baedeker, is nothing less than an outburst
of passion: "Great injustice is done to Chicago by those who represent
it as wholly given over to the worship of Mammon, as it compares
favorably with a great many American cities in the efforts it has made
to beautify itself by the creation of parks and boulevards and in its
encouragement of education and the liberal arts."

[Illustration: Rodin's "Thinker"]

Baedeker is quite right about that. He might also have added that the
"Windy City" is not so windy as New York, and that the old legend, now
almost forgotten, to the effect that Chicago girls have big feet is
equally untrue. There is still some wind in Chicago; thanks to it and to
the present mode in dress, I was able to assure myself quite definitely
upon the size of Chicago feet. I not only saw them upon the streets; I
saw them also at dances: twinkling, slippered feet as small as any in
the land; and, again owing to the present mode, I saw not only pretty
feet, but also--However, I am digressing. That is enough about feet. I
fear I have already let them run away with me.

       *       *       *       *       *

A friend of mine who visited Chicago for the first time, a year ago,
came back appreciative of her wonders, but declaring her provincial.

"Why do you say provincial?" I asked.

"Because you can't pick up a taxi in the street," he said.

And it is true. I was chagrined at his discovery--not so much because of
its truth, however, as because it was the discovery of a New Yorker. I
always defend Chicago against New Yorkers, for I love the place, partly
for itself and partly because I was born and spent my boyhood there.

I know a great many other ex-Chicagoans who now live in New York, as I
do, and I have noticed with amusement that the side we take depends upon
the society in which we are. If we are with Chicagoans, we defend New
York; if with New Yorkers, we defend Chicago. We are like those people
in the circus who stand upon the backs of two horses at once. Only
among ourselves do we go in for candor.

The other day I met a man and his wife, transplanted Chicagoans, on the
street in New York.

"How long have you been here?" I asked.

"Three years," said the husband.

"Why did you come?"

"For business reasons."

"How do you like the change?"

The husband hesitated. "Well, I've done a great deal better here than I
ever did in Chicago," he said.

"How do you like it?" I asked the wife.

"New York gives us more advantages," she said, "but I prefer Chicago
people."

"Would you like to go back?"

The wife hesitated, but the husband shook his head.

"No," he replied, "there's something about New York that gets into your
blood. To go back to Chicago would seem like retrograding."

       *       *       *       *       *

Among my notes I find the record of a conversation with a New York girl
who married a Chicago man and went out there to live.

"I was very lonely at first," she said. "One day a man came around
selling pencils. I happened to see him at the door. He said: 'I'm an
actor, and I'm trying to raise money to get back to New York.' As I was
feeling then I'd have given him anything in the house just because that
was where he wanted to go. I gave him some money. 'Here,' I said, 'you
take this and go on back to New York.' 'Why,' he inquired, 'are you from
New York, too?' I said I was. Then he asked me: 'What are you doing away
out here?' 'Oh,' I told him, 'this is my home now. I live here.' He
thanked me, and as he put the money in his pocket he shook his head and
said: 'Too bad! Too bad!'

"That will show you how I felt at first. But when I came to know Chicago
people I liked them. And now I wouldn't go back for anything."

There is testimony from both sides.

With the literary man the situation is, perhaps, a little different. New
York is practically his one big market place. I was speaking about that
the other day with an author who used to live in Chicago.

"The atmosphere out there is not nearly so stimulating for a writer," he
assured me. "Here, in New York, even a pretty big writer is lost in the
shuffle. There, he is a shining mark. The Chicago writers are likely to
be a little bit self-conscious and naive. They have their own local
literary gods, and they're rather inclined to sit around and talk
solemnly about 'Art with a capital A.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Necessarily, when the adherents of two cities start an argument, they
are confined to concrete points. They talk about opera and theaters and
buildings and hotels and stores, and seldom touch upon such subtle
things as city spirit. For spirit is a hard thing to deal with and a
harder thing to prove. Yet "greatness knows itself." Chicago
unquestionably knows that it is great, and that its greatness is of the
spirit. But the Chicagoan, debating in favor of his city, is unable to
"get that over," and is therefore obliged to fall back upon two last,
invariable defenses: the department store of Marshall Field & Co. and
the Blackstone Hotel.

The Blackstone he will tell you, with an eye lit by fanatical belief, is
positively the finest hotel in the whole United States. Mention the
Ritz, the Plaza, the St. Regis, the Biltmore, or any other hotel to him,
and it makes no difference; the Blackstone is the best. As to Marshall
Field's, he is no less positive: It is not merely the largest but also
the very finest store in the whole world.

I have never stopped at any of those hotels with which the New Yorker
would attempt to defeat the Blackstone. But I have stopped at the
Blackstone, and it is undeniably a very good hotel. One of the most
agreeable things about it is the air of willing service which one senses
in its staff. It is an excellent manager who can instil into his
servants that spirit which causes them to seem to be eternally on
tiptoe--not for a tip but for a chance to serve. Further, the Blackstone
occupies a position, with regard to the fashionable life of Chicago,
which is not paralleled by any single hotel in New York. Socially it is
preëminently the place.

General dancing in such public restaurants as Rector's--the original
Rector's is in Chicago, you know--and in the dining rooms of some
hotels, was started in Chicago, but was soon stopped by municipal
regulation. Since that time other schemes have been devised. Dances are
held regularly in the ballrooms of most of the hotels, but are managed
as clubs or semi-private gatherings. This arrangement has its
advantages. It would have its advantages, indeed, if it did nothing more
than put the brakes on the dancing craze--as any one can testify who has
seen his friends offering up their business and their brains as a
sacrifice to Terpsichore. But that is not what I started to say. The
advantage of the system which was in vogue at the Blackstone, when I was
there, is that, to get into the ballroom people must be known; wherefore
ladies who still have doubts as to the propriety of dancing in a public
restaurant need not, and do not, hesitate to go there and dance to their
toes' content.



CHAPTER XII

FIELD'S AND THE "TRIBUNE"


Of course we visited Marshall Field's.

The very obliging gentleman who showed us about the inconceivably
enormous buildings, rushing from floor to floor, poking in and out
through mysterious, baffling doors and passage-ways, now in the public
part of the store where goods are sold, now behind the scenes where they
are made--this gentleman seemed to have the whole place in his
head--almost as great a feat as knowing the whole world by heart.

"How much time can you spare?" he asked as we set out from the top
floor, where he had shown us a huge recreation room, gymnasium, and
dining room, all for the use of the employees.

"How long should it take?"

"It can be done in two hours," he said, "if we keep moving all the
time."

"All right," I said--and we did keep moving. Through great rooms full of
trunks, of brass beds, through vast galleries of furniture, through
restaurants, grilles, afternoon tea rooms, rooms full of curtains and
coverings and cushions and corsets and waists and hats and carpets and
rugs and linoleum and lamps and toys and stationery and silver, and
Heaven only knows what else, over miles and miles of pleasant, soft,
green carpet, I trotted along beside the amazing man who not only knew
the way, but seemed even to know the clerks. Part of the time I tried to
look about me at the phantasmagoria of things with which civilization
has encumbered the human race; part of the time I listened to our
cicerone; part of the time I walked blindly, scribbling notes, while my
companion guided my steps.

Here are some of the notes:

Ten thousand employees in retail store----Choral society, two hundred
members, made up of sales-people----Twelve baseball teams in retail
store; twelve in wholesale; play during season, and, finally, for
championship cup, on "Marshall Field Day"----Lectures on various topics,
fabrics, etc., for employees, also for outsiders: women's clubs,
etc.----Employees' lunch: soup, meat, vegetables, etc., sixteen
cents----Largest retail custom dressmaking business in the
country----Largest business in ready-made apparel----Largest retail
millinery business----Largest retail shoe business----Largest branch of
Chicago public library (for employees)----Largest postal sub-station in
Chicago----Largest--largest--largest!

Now and then when something interested me particularly we would pause
and catch our breath. Once we stopped for two or three minutes in a fine
schoolroom, where some stock-boys and stock-girls were having a lesson
in fractions--"to fit them for better positions." Again we paused in a
children's playroom, where mothers left their youngsters while they went
to do their shopping, and where certain youngsters, thus deposited, were
having a gorgeous time, sliding down things, and running around other
things, and crawling over and under still other things. Still again we
paused at the telephone switchboard--a switchboard large enough to take
care of the entire business of a city of the size of Springfield, the
capital of Illinois. And still again we paused at the postal
sub-station, where fifty to sixty thousand dollars' worth of stamps are
sold in a year, and which does as great a postal business, in the
holiday season, as the whole city of Milwaukee does at the same period.

At one time we would be walking through a great shirt factory, set off
in one corner of that endless building, all unknown to the shoppers who
never get behind the scenes; then we would pop out again into the
dressed-up part of the store, just as one goes from the kitchen and the
pantry of a house into the formality of dining room and drawing room.
And as we appeared thus, and our guide was recognized as the assistant
manager of all that kingdom, with its population of ten thousand,
saleswomen would rise suddenly from seats, little gossiping groups would
disperse quickly, and floor men, who had been talking with saleswomen,
would begin to occupy themselves with other matters. I remember coming
upon a "silence room" for saleswomen--a large, dark, quiet chamber, in
which was an attendant; also a saleswoman who was restlessly resting by
rocking herself in a chair. And as we moved through the store we kept
taking off our hats as we went behind the scenes, and putting them on as
we emerged into the public parts. Never before had I realized how much
of a department store is a world unseen by shoppers. At one point, in
that hidden world, a vast number of women were sewing upon dresses. I
had hardly time to look upon this picture when, rushing through a little
door, in pursuit of my active guide, I found myself in a maze of glass,
and long-piled carpets, and mahogany, and electric light, and pretty
frocks, disposed about on forms. Also disposed about were many "perfect
thirty-sixes," with piles of taffy-colored hair, doing the "débutante
slouch" in their trim black costumes, so slinky and alluring. Here I had
a strong impulse to halt, to pause and examine the carpets and woodwork,
and one thing and another. But no! Our guardian had a professional pride
in getting us through the store within two hours, according to his
promise. I would gladly have allowed him an extra ten minutes if I could
have spent it in that place, but on we went--my companion and I dragging
behind a little and looking backward at the Lorelei--I remember that,
because I ran into a man and knocked my hat off.

At last we came to the information bureau, and as there was a
particularly attractive young person behind the desk, it occurred to me
that this would be a fine time to get a little information.

"I wonder if I can stump that sinuous sibyl," I said.

"Try it," said our conductor.

So I went over to her and asked: "How large is this store, please?"

"You mean the building?"

"Yes."

"There is fifty acres of floor space under this roof," she said. "There
are sixteen floors: thirteen stories rising two hundred and fifty-eight
feet above the street, and three basements, extending forty-three and a
half feet below. The building takes up one entire block. The new
building devoted exclusively to men's goods is just across Washington
Street. That building is--"

"Thank you very much," I said. "That's all I want to know about that.
Can you tell me the population of Chicago?"

"Two million three hundred and eighty-eight thousand five hundred," she
said glibly, showing me her pretty teeth.

Then I racked my brains for a difficult question.

"Now," I said, "will you please tell me where Charles Towne was born?"

"Do you mean Charles A. Towne, the lawyer; Charles Wayland Towne, the
author; or Charles Hanson Towne, the poet?" she demanded.

I managed to say that I meant the poet Towne.

"He was born in Louisville, Kentucky," she informed me sweetly. She
even gave me the date of his birth, too, but as the poet is a friend of
mine, I will suppress that.

"Is that all?" she inquired presently, seeing that I was merely gazing
at her.

"Yes, you adorable creature." The first word of that sentence is all
that I really uttered. I only thought the rest.

"Very well," she replied, shutting the book in which she had looked up
the Townes.

"Thanks very much," I said.

"Don't mention it," said she--and went about her business in a way that
sent me about mine.

       *       *       *       *       *

Aside from its vastness and the variety of its activities, two things
about Marshall Field's store interested me particularly. One is the
attitude maintained by the company with regard to claims made in the
advertising of "sales." When there is a "sale" at Field's comparisons of
values are not made. It may be said that certain articles are cheap at
the price at which they are being offered, but it is never put in the
form: "Was $5. Now $2.50." Field's does not believe in that.

"We take the position," an official explained to me, "that things are
worth what they will bring. For instance, if some manufacturer has made
too many overcoats, and we are able to get them at a bargain, or if
there is a mild winter and overcoats do not sell well, we may place on
sale a lot of coats which were meant to be sold at $40, but which we are
willing to sell at $22.50. In such a case we never advertise 'Worth
$40.' We just point out that these are exceptionally good coats for the
money. And, when we say that, it is invariably true. This advertising is
not so sensational as it could be made, of course, but we think that in
the long run it teaches people to rely upon us."

Another thing which interested me in Field's was the appearance of the
saleswomen. They do not look like New York saleswomen. In the aggregate
they look happier, simpler, and more natural. I saw no women behind the
counters there who had the haughty, indifferent bearing, the
nose-in-the-air, to which the New York shopper is accustomed. Among
these women, no less than among the rich, the Chicago spirit seemed to
show itself. It is everywhere, that spirit. I admit that, perhaps, it
does not go with omnipresent taxicabs. I admit that there are more
effête cities than Chicago. The East is full of them. But that any city
in the country has more sterling simplicity, greater freedom from sham
and affectation among all classes, more vigorous cultivation, or more
well-bred wealth, I respectfully beg to doubt.

No, I have _not_ forgotten Boston and Philadelphia.

       *       *       *       *       *

In an earlier chapter I told of a man I met upon a train who, though he
lived in Buffalo, had never seen Niagara Falls. In Chicago it occurred
to me that, though I had worked on a newspaper, I had never stood as an
observer and watched a newspaper "go through." So, one Saturday night
after sitting around the city room of the Chicago "Tribune"--which is
one of the world's great newspapers--and talking with a group of men as
interesting as any men I ever found together, I was placed in charge of
James Durkin, the world's most eminent office boy, who forthwith took me
to the nether regions of the "Tribune" Building.

With its floor of big steel plates, its towering presses, vast and
incomprehensible, and its grimy men in overalls, the pressroom struck me
as resembling nothing so much as the engine room of an ocean liner.

The color presses were already roaring, shedding streams of printed paper
like swift waterfalls, down which shot an endless chain of Mona
Lisas--for the Mona Lisa took the whole front page of the "Tribune"
colored supplement that week. At the bottom, where the "folder" put the
central creases in them, the paper torrents narrowed to a disappearing
point, giving the illusion of a subterranean river, vanishing beneath
the floor. But the river didn't vanish. It was caught, and measured, and
folded, and cut, and counted by machinery, as swift, as eye-defying, as
a moving picture; machinery which miraculously converted a cataract into
prim piles of Sunday newspapers, which were, in turn, gathered up and
rushed away to the mailing room--whither, presently, we followed.

In the mailing room I made the acquaintance of a machine with which, if
it had not been so busy, I should have liked to shake hands, and sit
down somewhere for a quiet chat. For it was a machine possessed of the
Chicago spirit: modest, businesslike, effective, and highly intelligent.
I did not interrupt it, but watched it at its work. And this is what it
did: It took Sunday papers, one by one, from a great pile which was
handed to it every now and then, folded them neatly, wrapped them in
manila paper, sealed them up with mucilage, squeezed them, so that the
seal would hold, addressed them to out-of-town subscribers and dropped
them into a mail sack. There was a man who hovered about, acting as a
sort of valet to this highly capable machine, but all he had to do was
to bring it more newspapers from time to time, and to take away the mail
bags when they were full, or when the machine had finished with all the
subscribers in one town, and began on another. Nor did it fail to serve
notice of each such change. Every time it started in on a new town it
dipped its thumb in some red ink, and made a dab on the wrapper of the
first paper, so that its valet--poor human thing--would know enough to
furnish a new mail bag. I noted the name to which one red-dabbed paper
was addressed: _E. J. Henry, Bosco, Wis._, and I wondered if Mr. Henry
had ever wondered what made that florid mark.

It was near midnight then. All Bosco was asleep. Was Mr. Henry dreaming?
And however wonderful his dream, could it surpass, in wonder, this
gigantic organization which, for a tiny sum, tells him, daily,
everything that happens everywhere?

Think of the men and the machines that work for Mr. E. J. Henry,
resident of Bosco, in the Badger State! Think of the lumbermen who cut
the logs; of the Eastern rivers down which those logs float; of the
great pulp mills which convert them into paper. Think of the railroad
trains which bring that paper to Chicago. Think of the factories which
build presses for the ultimate defacement of that paper; and the other
factories which make the ink. Think of the reporters working everywhere!
Think of the men who laid the wires with which the world is webbed, that
news may fly; and the men who sit at the ends of those wires, in all
parts of the globe, ticking out the story of the day to the "Tribune"
office in Chicago, where it is received by other men, who give it to the
editors, who prepare it for the linotypers, who set it for the
stereotypers, who make it into plates for the presses, which print it
upon the paper, which is folded, addressed, and dropped into a mail bag,
which is rushed off in a motor through the midnight streets and put
aboard a train, which carries it to Bosco, where it is taken by the
postman and delivered at the residence of Mr. E. J. Henry, who, after
tearing the manila wrapper, opening the paper, and glancing through it,
remarks: "Pshaw! There's no news to-day!" and, forthwith, rising from
the breakfast table, takes up an old pair of shoes, wraps them in his
copy of the Chicago "Tribune," tucks them under his arm and takes them
down to the cobbler to be half-soled.

_Sic transit gloria!_

Up-stairs, on the roof of the "Tribune" Building, in a kind of
deck-house, is a club, made up of members of the staff, and here,
through the courtesy of some of the editors, my companion and I were
invited to have supper. When I had eaten my fill, I had a happy thought.
Here, at my mercy, were a lot of men who were engaged in the business of
sending out reporters to molest the world for interviews. I decided to
turn the tables and, then and there, interview them--all of them. And I
did it. And they took it very well.

I had heard that the "Column"--that sometimes, if not always, humorous
newspaper department, which now abounds throughout the country,
threatening to become a pestilence--originated with the "Tribune." I
asked about that, and in return received, from several sources, the
history of "Columns," as recollected by these men.

Probably the first regular humorous column in the country--certainly the
first to attract any considerable attention,--was conducted for the
"Tribune" by Henry Ten Eyck White, familiarly known as "Butch" White. It
started about 1885, under the heading, "Lakeside Musings." After running
this column for some five years, White gave it up, and it was taken
over, under the same heading, by Eugene Field, who made it even better
known than it had been before.

Field had started as a "columnist" on the Denver "Tribune," where he had
run his "Tribune Primer"; later he had been brought to Chicago by
Melville E. Stone (now general manager of the Associated Press) and
Victor F. Lawson, who had together established the Chicago "Daily News,"
of which Mr. Lawson is the present editor and publisher. Field's column
in the "News" was known as "Sharps and Flats." In it appeared his free
translations of the Odes of Horace, and much of his best known verse.
Also he printed gossip of the stage and of literary matters--the latter
being gathered by him at the meetings of a little club, "The
Bibliophiles," composed of prominent Chicagoans. This club used to meet
in the famous old McClurg bookstore.

[Illustration: Chicago's skyline from the docks.... A city which rebuilt
itself after the fire; in the next decade doubled its size; and now has
a population of two million, plus a city of about the size of San
Francisco]

In 1890 George Ade came from Indiana, and after having been a reporter
on the Chicago "Record" for one year, started his famous "Stories of the
Street and Town," under which heading much of his best early work
appeared. This department was illustrated by John T. McCutcheon, another
Indiana boy. At about this time, Roswell Field, a brother of Eugene, was
conducting a column called "Lights and Shadows" in the Chicago "Evening
Post," in which paper Finley Peter Dunne was also beginning his
"Dooleys." Dunne was born in Chicago and was a reporter on several
Chicago papers before he found his level. He got the idea for "Dooley"
from Jim McGarry, who had a saloon opposite the "Tribune" building, and
employed a bartender named Casey, who was a foil for him. McGarry was
described to me by a "Tribune" man who knew him, as "a crusty old
cuss."

After some years Dunne left the "Post" and became editor of the Chicago
"Journal," to which paper came (from Vermont by way of Duluth) Bert
Leston Taylor. Taylor ran a department on the "Journal" which was called
"A Little About Everything," and one of his "contribs" was a young
insurance man, Franklin P. Adams. Later, when Taylor left the "Journal"
to take a position on the "Tribune," Adams left the insurance business
and went at "columning" in earnest, replacing Taylor on the "Journal."
Some years since Adams migrated to the metropolis, where he now conducts
a column called "The Conning Tower" in the New York "Tribune."

Taylor, in the meantime, had started his famous column known as "A
Line-o'-Type or Two." This he ran for three years, after which he moved
to New York and became editor of "Puck." Before Taylor left the
"Tribune," Wilbur D. Nesbit, who had been running a column which he
signed "Josh Wink," in the Baltimore "American," came to Chicago and
started a column called "The Top o' the Morning," which, for a time,
alternated with Taylor's "Line-o'-Type." Later Nesbit moved over to the
"Post," where he conducted a department called "The Innocent Bystander,"
leaving the "Tribune," for a time, without a "column."

In the next few years two other "columns" started in Chicago,
"Alternating Currents," conducted by S. E. Kiser, for the
"Record-Herald," and "In the Wake of the News," which was started in the
"Tribune" by the late "Hughey" Keough, who is still remembered as an
exceptionally gifted man. When Keough died, Hugh S. Fullerton ran the
column for a time, after which it was taken up by R. W. Lardner, who, I
believe, continues to conduct it, although he has recently written
baseball stories which have been published in "The Saturday Evening
Post," and have attracted much attention. Kiser also continues his
column in the "Record-Herald." Another column, which started a year or
so ago is "Breakfast Food" in the Chicago "Examiner," conducted by
George Phair, formerly of Milwaukee.

The Chicago "Tribune" now has two "columns," for, five years since, it
recaptured Bert Leston Taylor, and brought him back to revive his
"Line-o'-Type." He has been there ever since, and, so far as I know
"columns," his is the best in the United States. It has been widely
imitated, as has also been the work of the "Tribune's" famous
cartoonist, John T. McCutcheon. But something that a "Tribune" man said
to me of McCutcheon, is no less true, I think, of Taylor: "They can
imitate his style, but they cannot imitate his mind."



CHAPTER XIII

THE STOCKYARDS


It is rather widely known, I think, that Chicago built the first
steel-frame skyscraper--the Tacoma Building--but I do not believe that
the world knows that Kohlsaat's in Chicago was the first quick-lunch
place of its kind, or that the first "free lunch" in the country was
established, many years since, in the basement saloon at the corner of
State and Madison Streets. Considering the skyscrapers and quick lunches
and free lunches that there are to-day, it is hard to realize that there
ever was a first one anywhere. But the origin of things which have
become national institutions, as these things have, seems to me to be
worth recording here. It may be added that the loyal Chicagoan who told
of these things seemed to be prouder of the "free lunch" and the quick
lunch than of the skyscraper.

Of two things I mentioned to him he was not proud at all. One was the
famous pair of First Ward aldermen who have attained a national fame
under their nick-names, "Hinky Dink" and "Bathhouse John." The other was
the stockyards.

"Why is it," he asked in a bored and irritated tone, "that every one who
comes out here has to go to the stockyards?"

"Are you aware," I returned, "that half the bank clearings of Chicago
are traceable to the stockyards?"

He answered with a noncommittal grunt.

His was not the attitude of the Detroit man who wants you to know that
Detroit does something more than make automobiles, or of the Grand
Rapids man who says: "We make lots of things here besides furniture." He
was really ashamed of the stockyards, as a man may, perhaps, be ashamed
of the fact that his father made his money in some business with a smell
to it. And because he felt so deeply on the subject, I had the half idea
of not touching on the stockyards in this chapter.

However the news that my companion and myself were there to "do" Chicago
was printed in the papers, and presently the stockyards began to call us
up. It didn't even ask if we were coming. It just asked _when_. And as I
hesitated, it settled the whole matter then and there by saying it would
call for us in its motor car, at once.

I may say at the outset that, to quote the phrase of Mr. Freer of
Detroit, the stockyards "has no esthetic value." It is a place of mud,
and railroad tracks, and cattle cars, and cattle pens, and overhead
runways, and great ugly brick buildings, and men on ponies, and raucous
grunts, and squeals, and smells--a place which causes the heart to sink
with a sickening heaviness.

Our first call was at the Welfare Building, where we were shown some of
the things which are being done to benefit employees of the packing
houses. It was noon-time. The enormous lunch room was well occupied. A
girl was playing ragtime at a piano on a platform. The room was clean
and airy. The women wore aprons and white caps. A good lunch cost six
cents. There were iron lockers in the locker room--lockers such as one
sees in an athletic club. There were marble shower baths for the men and
for the women. There were two manicures who did nothing but see to the
hands of the women working in the plant. There were notices of classes
in housekeeping, cooking, washing, house furnishing, the preparation of
food for the sick--signs printed in English, Russian, Slovak, Polish,
Bohemian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Croatian,
Italian, and Greek. Obviously, the company was doing things to help
these people. Obviously it was proud of what it was doing. Obviously I
should have rejoiced, saying to myself: "See how these poor, ignorant
foreigners who come over here to our beautiful and somewhat free country
are being elevated!" But all I could think of was: "What a horrible
place the stockyards is! How I loathe it here!"

On the North Side of Chicago there is an old and exclusive club, dating
from before the days of motor cars, which is known as the Saddle and
Cycle Club. The lunch club for the various packing-house officials, at
the stockyards, has a name bearing perhaps some satirical relation to
that of the other club. It is called the Saddle and Sirloin Club, and in
that club I ate a piece of sirloin the memory of which will always
remain with me as something sacred.

After lunching and visiting the offices of a packing company where, we
were told, an average daily business of $1,300,000 is done--and the
place looks it--we visited the Stockyards Inn, which is really an
astonishing establishment. The astonishing quality about it is that it
is a thing of beauty which has grown up in a place as far removed from
beauty as any that I ever looked upon outside a mining camp. A charming,
low, half-timbered building, the Inn is like something at
Stratford-on-Avon; and by some strange freak of chance the man who runs
it has a taste for the antique in furniture and chinaware. Inside it is
almost like a fine old country house--pleasant cretonnes, grate fires,
old Chippendale chairs, mahogany tables, grandfather's clocks, pewter,
and luster ware. All this for cattlemen who bring their flocks and herds
into the yards! The only thing to spoil it is the all-pervasive smell of
animals.

From there we went to the place of death.

Through a small door the fated pigs enter the final pen fifteen or
twenty at a time. They are nervous, perhaps because of the smell coming
from within, perhaps because of the sounds. A man in the pen loops a
chain around the hind foot of each successive pig, and then slips the
iron ring at the other end of the chain over a hook at the outer margin
of a revolving drum, perhaps ten feet in diameter. As the drum revolves
the hook rises, slowly, drawing the pig backward by the leg, and
finally lifting it bodily, head downward. When the hook reaches the top
of its orbit it transfers the animal to a trolley, upon which it slides
in due course to the waiting butcher, who dispatches it with a knife
thrust in the neck, and turns to receive the next pig.

The manners of the pigs on their way to execution held me with a horrid
fascination. Pigs look so much alike that we assume them to be minus
individuality. That is not so. The French Revolution--of which the
stockyards reminded Dr. George Brandes, the literary critic, who
recently visited this country--scarcely could have brought out in its
victims a wider range of characteristics than these pigs show. I have
often noticed, of course, that some people are like pigs, but I had
never before suspected that all pigs are so very much like people. Some
of them come in yelling with fright. Others are silent. They shift about
nervously, and sniff, as though scenting death. "It's the steam they
smell," said a man in overalls beside me. Well, perhaps it is. But I
could smell death there, and I still think the pigs can smell it, too.
Some of the pigs lean against each other for companionship in their
distress. Others merely wait with bowed heads, giving a curious effect
of porcine resignation. When they feel the tug of the chain, and are
dragged backward, some of them set up a new and frightful squealing;
others go in silence, and with a sort of dignity, like martyrs dying for
a cause.

As I stood there, studying the temperament of pigs, I saw the butcher
looking up at me as he wiped his long, thin blade. He was a rawboned
Slav with a pale face, high cheek bones, and large brown eyes, holding
within their somber depths an expression of thoughtful, dreamy
abstraction. I have never seen such eyes. Without prejudice or pity they
seemed to look alike on man and pig. Being upon the platform above him,
right side up, and free to go when I should please, I felt safe for the
moment. But suppose I were not so--suppose I were to come along to him,
hanging by one leg from the trolley--what would he do then? Would he
stop to ask why they had sent another sort of animal, I wondered? Or
would he do his work impartially?

I should not wish to take the chance.

The progress of the pig is swift--if the transition from pig to pork may
be termed "progress." The carcass travels presently through boiling
water, and emerges pink and clean. And as it goes along upon its
trolley, it passes one man after another, each with an active knife,
until, thirty minutes later, when it has undergone the government
inspection, it is headless and in halves--mere meat, which looks as
though it never could have been alive.

From the slaughter-house we passed through the smoke-house, where ham
and bacon were smoking over hardwood fires in rows of ovens big as
blocks of houses. Then through the pickling room with its enormous
hogs-heads, giving the appearance of a monkish wine cellar. Then
through the curing room with its countless piles of dry salt pork,
neatly arranged like giant bricks.

The enthusiastic gentleman who escorted us kept pointing out the
beauties of the way this work was done: the cleanliness, the system by
which the rooms are washed with steam, the gigantic scale of all the
operations. I heard, I noticed, I agreed. But all the time my mind was
full of thoughts of dying pigs. Indeed, I had forgotten for the moment
that other animals are also killed to feed carnivorous man. However, I
was reminded of that, presently, when we came upon another building,
consecrated to the conversion of life into veal and beef.

The steers meet death in little pens. It descends upon them unexpectedly
from above, dealt out by a man with a sledge, who cracks them between
the horns with a sound like that of a woodman's ax upon a tree. The
creatures quiver and quickly crumple.

It is swift. In half a minute the false bottom of the pen turns up and
rolls them out upon the floor, inert as bags of meal. Only after death
do these cattle find their way to an elevated trolley line, like that
used for the pigs. And, as with the pigs, they move along speedily;
shortly they are to be seen in the beef cooler, where they hang in
tremendous rows, forming strange vistas--a forest of dead meat.

The scene where calves were being killed according to the Jewish law,
for kosher meat, presented the most sanguinary spectacle with which my
eyes have ever burned. Two rabbis, old bearded men, performed the rites
with long, slim, shiny blades. Literally they waded in a lake of gore.
Even the walls were covered with it. Looking down upon them from above,
we saw them silhouetted on a sheet of pigment utterly beyond
comparison--for, without exaggeration, fire would look pale and cold
beside the shrieking crimson of that blood--glistening, wet, and warm in
the electric light.

I shall not attempt to conceal the fact that I was glad to leave the
stockyards.

       *       *       *       *       *

When, a short time later, the motor car was bearing us smoothly down the
sunlit boulevard, the Advertising Gentleman who had conducted us through
all the carnage put an abrupt question to me.

"Do you want to be original?" he demanded.

"I suppose all writers hope to be," I answered.

"Well," he replied, tapping me emphatically upon the knee, "I'll tell
you how to do it. When you write about the Yards, don't mention the
killing. Everybody's done that. There's nothing more to say. What you
want to do is to dwell on the other side. That's the way to be
original."

"The other side?" I murmured feebly.

"Sure!" he cried. "Look at this." As he spoke, he produced from a pocket
some proofs of pen-and-ink drawings--pictures of sweet-faced girls,
encased in spotless aprons, wearing upon their heads alluring caps, and
upon their lips the smiles of angels, while, with their dainty
rose-tipped fingers, they packed the luscious by-products of
cattle-killing into tins--tins which shone as only the pen of the
"commercial artist" can make tins shine.

"There's your story!" he exclaimed. "The poetic side of packing! Don't
write about the slaughter-houses. Dwell on daintiness--pretty girls in
white caps--everything shining and clean! Don't you see that's the way
to make your story original?"

Of course I saw it at once. Original? Why, original is no name for it! I
could never have conceived such originality! It isn't in me! I should no
more have thought of writing only of pretty girls and pretty cans, after
witnessing those bloody scenes, than of describing the battle at Liège
in terms of polish used on soldiers' buttons.

But original as the idea is, you perceive I have not used it. I could
not bear to. He thought of it first. It belonged to him. If I used it,
the originality would not be mine, but his. So I have deliberately
written the story in my own hackneyed way.



CHAPTER XIV

THE HONORABLE HINKY DINK


Has it ever struck you that our mental attitude toward famous men varies
in this respect: that while we think of some of them as human beings
with whom we might conceivably shake hands and have a chat, we think of
others as legendary creatures, strange and remote--beings hardly to be
looked upon by human eyes?

Some years since, in the courtyard of a hotel in Paris, I met a friend
of mine. He was hurrying in the direction of the bar.

"Come on," he beckoned. "There are some people here you'll want to
meet."

I followed him in and to a table at which two men were seated. One
proved to be Alfred Sutro; the other Maurice Maeterlinck.

To meet Mr. Sutro was delightful, but it was conceivable. Not so
Maeterlinck. To shake hands with him, to sit at the same table, to see
that he wore a black coat, a stiff collar (it was too large for him), a
black string tie, a square-crowned derby hat; to see him seated in a bar
sipping beer like any man--that was not conceivable.

I sat there speechless, trying to convince myself of what I saw.

"That man over there is actually Maeterlinck!" I kept assuring myself.
"I am looking at Maeterlinck! Now he nods the head in which 'The
Bluebird' was conceived. Now he lifts his beer glass in the hand which
indited 'Monna Vanna!'"

Nor was my amazement due entirely to the surprise of meeting a
much-admired man. It was due, most of all, to a feeling which I must
have had--although I was never before conscious of it--a feeling that no
such man as Maeterlinck existed in reality; that he was a purely
legendary being; a figure in white robes and sandals, harping and
singing in some Elysian temple.

       *       *       *       *       *

I experienced a somewhat similar emotion in Chicago on being introduced
to Hinky Dink. In saying that, I do not mean to be irreverent. I only
mean that I had always thought of Hinky Dink as a fictitious personage.
He and his colleague, Bathhouse John, have figured in my mind as a pair
of absurd, imaginary figures, such as might have been invented by some
whimsical son of a comic supplement like Winsor McCay.

Now, as I soon discovered, the Hinky Dink of the newspapers is, as a
matter of fact, to a large extent fictitious. He is a legend, built up
out of countless comic stories and newspaper cartoons. The real Hinky
Dink--otherwise Alderman Michael Kenna--is a very different person, for
whatever may be said against him--and much is--he is a very real human
being.

I clip this brief summary of his life from the Chicago "Record-Herald."

    Born on the West Side, August 18, 1858.
    Started life as a newsboy.
    "Crowned" as Alderman of the First Ward in 1897.
    Reëlected biennially ever since.
    Owner in fief of various privileges in the First Ward.
    Lord of the Workingmen's Exchange.
    Overlord of floaters, voters, and other liege subjects.

The Workingmen's Exchange, referred to above, is one of two saloons
operated by the Alderman, on South Clark Street, and it is a show place
for those who wish to look upon the darker side of things. It is a very
large saloon, having one of the longest bars I ever saw; also one of the
busiest. Hardly anything but beer is served there; beer in schooners
little smaller than a man's head. These are known locally as "babies,"
and, by a curious custom, the man who removes his fingers from his glass
forfeits it to any one who takes it up. Nor are takers lacking.

"I'll tell you a funny thing about this place," said my friend the
veteran police reporter, who was somewhat apologetically doing the
honors. (Police reporters are always apologetic when they show you over
a town that has been "cleaned up.")

"What?" I asked.

"No one has ever been killed in here," he said.

I had to admit that it was a funny thing. After looking at the faces
lined up at the bar I should not have imagined it possible. Presently
we crossed the street to the Alderman's other saloon; a very different
sort of place, shining with mirrors, mahogany, and brass, and frequented
by a better class of men. Here we met Hinky Dink.

He is a slight man, so short of stature that when he leans a little,
resting his elbow on the bar, his arm runs out horizontally from the
shoulder. He wore an extremely neat brown suit (there was even a white
collarette inside the vest!) a round black felt hat, and a heavy watch
chain, from which hung a large circular charm with a star and crescent
set in diamonds. Though it was late at night, he looked as if he had
just been washed and brushed.

His face is exceedingly interesting. His lips are thin; his nose is
sharp, coming to a rather pronounced point, and his eyes are remarkable
for what they see and what they do not tell. They are poker
eyes--gray-blue, cold, penetrating, unrevealing. My companion and I felt
that while we were "getting" Hinky Dink, he was not failing to "get" us.

Far from being tough or vicious in his manner or conversation, the
little Alderman is very quiet. There is, indeed, a kind of gentleness
about him. His English is, I should say, quite as good as that of the
average man, while his thinking is much above the average as to
quickness and clearness. As between himself and Bathhouse John, the
other First Ward fixture on the Board of Aldermen, it is generally
conceded that Hinky Dink is the more able and intelligent. On this
point, however, I was unable to draw my own conclusions. The Bathhouse
was ill when I was in Chicago.

[Illustration: Two rabbis, old bearded men, performed the rites with
long, slim, shiny blades]

In the ordinary conversation of the Honorable Hinky Dink there is no
trace of brogue, but a faint touch of brogue manifests itself when he
speaks with unwonted vehemence--as, for example, when he told us about
the injustices which he alleged were perpetrated upon the poor voters
who live in lodging houses in his ward.

The little Alderman is famous for his reticence.

"Small wonder!" said my friend the police reporter. "Look at what the
papers have handed him! I'll tell you what happens: some city editor
sends a kid reporter to get a story about Hinky Dink. The kid comes and
sees Kenna, and doesn't get anything out of him but monosyllables. He
goes back to the office without any story, but that doesn't make any
difference. Hinky Dink is fair game. The kid sits down to his typewriter
and fakes a story, making out that the Alderman didn't only talk, but
that he talked a kind of tough-guy dialect--'deze-here tings'--'doze
dere tings'--all that kind of stuff. Can you blame the little fellow for
not talking?"

I could not.

But he talked to us, and freely. The police reporter told him we were
"right." That was enough.

As the "red-light district" of Chicago used to be largely in the First
Ward before it was broken up, I asked the Alderman for his views on the
segregation of vice versus the other thing, whatever it may be. (Is it
dissemination?)

"I'll tell you what I think about it," he replied, "but you can't print
it."

"Why not?" I asked, disappointed.

"Well," he returned, "I believe in a segregated district, but if I'm
quoted as saying so, why the woman reformers and everybody on the other
side will take it up and say I'm for it just because I want vice back in
the First Ward again. I don't. It doesn't make any difference to me
where you have it. Put it out by the Drainage Canal or anywheres you
like. But I believe you can't stamp vice out; not the way people are
made to-day. They never have been able to stamp it out in all these
thousands of years. And, as long as they can't, it looks to me like it
was better to get it together all in one bunch than to scatter it all
over town.

"Now I know there's a whole lot of good people that think segregation is
a bad thing. Well, it _is_ a bad thing. _Vice_ is a bad thing. But there
it is, all the same. A lot of these good people don't understand
conditions. They don't understand what lots of other men and women are
really like. You got to take people as they are and do what you can.

"One thing that shocks a lot of these high-minded folks that live in
comfortable homes and never have any trouble except when they have to
get a new cook, is the idea of commercialized vice that goes with
segregation. Of course it shocks them. But show me some way to stop it.
Napoleon believed in segregation and regulation, and a lot of other wise
people have, too.

"Here's the way I think they ought to handle it: they ought to have a
district regulated by the Police Department and the Health Department.
Then there ought to be restrictions. No bright lights for one thing. No
music. No booze. Cut out those things and you kill the place for
sightseers. Then there ought to be a law that no woman can be an inmate
without going and registering with the police, having her record looked
up, and saying she wants to enter the house. That would prevent any
possibility of white slavery. Personally, I think there's a lot of bunk
about this white-slave talk. But this plan would fix it so a girl
couldn't be kept in a house against her will. Any keeper of a house who
let in a girl that wasn't registered would be put out of business for
good and all. Men ought not to be allowed to have any interest, directly
or indirectly, in the management of these places.

"Now, of course, there's objections to any way at all of handling this
question. The minute you say 'cut out the booze' that opens a way to
police graft. But is that any worse than the chance for graft when the
women are just chased around from place to place by the police?
Segregation gives them some rights, anyhow.

"Some people say 'segregation doesn't segregate,' Well, that's true,
too. But segregation keeps the worst of it from being scattered all over
town, doesn't it? When you scatter these women you have them living in
buildings alongside of respectable families, or, worse yet, you run them
onto the streets. That's persecution, and they're bad enough off without
that.

"Say, do you think Chicago is really any more moral this minute because
the old red-light district is shut down? A few of the resort keepers
left town, and maybe a hundred inmates, but most of them stuck. They're
around in the residence districts now, running what they call 'buffet
flats.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Listening to the little Alderman I was convinced of two things. First, I
felt sure that, without thought of self-interest, he was telling me what
he really believed. Second, as he is undeniably a man of broad
experience among unfortunates of various kinds, his views are
interesting.

"I wish you'd let me print what you have said," I urged as we were
leaving his saloon.

He shook his head.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," I persisted. "I'll write it out. Perhaps I
can put it in such a way that people will see that you were playing
square. Then I'll send it to you, and, if it doesn't misrepresent you,
perhaps you'll let me print it after all."

"All right," he agreed as we shook hands.



CHAPTER XV

AN OLYMPIAN PLAN


In city planning, as in other things, Chicago has thought and plotted on
an Olympian scale, and it is characteristic of Chicago that her plan for
her own beautification should be so much greater than the plan of any
other city in the country, as to make comparisons unkind. For that
reason I have eliminated Chicago from consideration, when discussing the
various group plans, park and boulevard systems, and "civic centers,"
upon which other American cities are at work.

The Chicago plan is, indeed, too immense a thing to be properly dealt
with here. It is comparable with nothing less than the Haussman plan for
Paris, and it is being carried forward, through the years, with the same
foresight, the same patience and the same indomitable aspiration.
Indeed, I think greater patience has been required in Chicago, for the
French people were in sympathy with beauty at a time when the broad
meaning of the word was actually not understood in this country. Here it
has been necessary to educate the masses, to cultivate their city pride,
and to direct that pride into creative channels. It is hardly too much
to say that the minds of American city-dwellers (and half our race
inhabits cities) have had to be re-made, in order to prepare them to
receive such plans as the Chicago plan.

The World's Columbian Exposition, at Chicago, exerted a greater
influence upon the United States than any other fair has ever exerted
upon a country. It came at a critical moment in our esthetic history--a
moment when the sense of beauty of form and color, which had hitherto
been dormant in Americans, was ready to be aroused.

Fortunately for us, the Chicago Fair was worthy of the opportunity; and
that it was worthy of the opportunity was due to the late Daniel Hudson
Burnham, the distinguished architect, who was director of works for the
Exposition. In the perspective of the twenty-one years which have passed
since the Chicago Fair, the figure of Mr. Burnham, and the importance of
the work done by him, grows larger. When the history of the American
Renaissance comes to be written, Daniel H. Burnham and the men by whom
he was surrounded at the time the Chicago Fair was being made, will be
listed among the founders of the movement.

The Fair awoke the American sense of beauty. And before its course was
run, a group of Chicago business men, some of whom were directors of the
exposition, determined to have a plan for the entire city which should
so far as possible reflect the lessons of the Fair in the arrangement of
streets, parks and plazas, and the grouping of buildings.

After the Fair, the Chicago Commercial Club commissioned Mr. Burnham to
proceed to re-plan the city. Eight years were consumed in this work. The
best architects available were called in consultation. After having
spent more than $200,000, the Commercial Club presented the plan to the
city, together with an elaborate report.

To carry out the plan, the Chicago City Council, in 1909, created a Plan
Commission, composed of more than 300 men, representing every element of
citizenship under the permanent chairmanship of Mr. Charles H. Wacker,
who had previously been most active in the work. Under Mr. Wacker's
direction, and with the aid of continued subscriptions from the
Commercial Club, the work of the Commission has gone on steadily, and
vast improvements have already been made.

The Plan itself has to do entirely with the physical rearrangement of
the city. It is designed to relieve congestion, facilitate traffic, and
safeguard health.

Instead of routing out the Illinois Central Railroad which disfigures
the lake front of the whole South Side, the plan provides for the making
of a parkway half a mile wide and five miles long, beyond the tracks,
where the lake now is. This parkway will extend from Grant Park, at the
center of the city, all the way to Jackson Park, where the World's Fair
grounds were. Arrangements have also been made for immense forest areas,
to encircle the city outside its limits, occupying somewhat the relation
to it that the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes do to Paris.
New parks are also to be created within the city.

It is impossible to go into further details here as to these parks, but
it should be said that, when the lake front parkway system, above
mentioned, is completed, practically the whole front of Chicago along
Lake Michigan will be occupied by parks and lagoons, and that Chicago
expects--and not without reason--to have the finest waterfront of any
city in the world.

Michigan Avenue, the city's superb central street which already bears
very heavy traffic, now has a width of 130 feet at the heart of the
city, excepting to the north, near the river, where it becomes a narrow,
squalid street, for all that it is the principal highway between the
North and South Sides. This portion of the street is not only to be
widened, but will be made into a two-level thoroughfare (the lower level
for heavy vehicles and the upper for light) crossing the river on a
double-deck bridge.

It is a notorious fact that the business and shopping district of
Chicago is at present strangled by the elevated railroad loop, which
bounds the center of the city, and it is essential for the welfare of
the city that this area be extended and made more spacious. The City
Plan provides for a "quadrangle" to cover three square miles at the
heart of Chicago, to be bounded on the east by Michigan Avenue, on the
north by Chicago Avenue, on the west by Halsted Street, and on the south
by Twelfth Street. When this work is done these streets will have been
turned into wide boulevards, and other streets, running through the
quadrangle, will also have been widened and improved, principal among
these being Congress Street, which though not at present cut through,
will ultimately form a great central artery, leading back from the lake,
through the center of the quadrangle, forming the axis of the plan, and
centering on a "civic center," which is to be built at the junction of
Congress and Halsted Streets and from which diagonal streets will
radiate in all directions.

Nor does the plan end here. A complete system of exterior roadways will
some day encircle the city; the water front along the river will be
improved and new bridges built; also two outer harbors will be
developed.

By an agreement with the city, no major public work of any description
is inaugurated until the Plan Commission has passed upon its harmonious
relationship with the general scheme. The Commission further considers
the comprehensive development of the city's steam railway and street
transportation systems; very recently it successfully opposed a railroad
union depot project which was inimical to the Plan of Chicago, and it
has generally succeeded in persuading the railroads to work in harmony
with the plan, when making immediate improvements.

One of the most interesting and intelligently conducted departments
under the Commission has to do with the education of the people of
Chicago with regard to the Plan. A great deal of money and energy has
been expended in this work, with the result that city-wide
misapprehension concerning the Plan has given place to city-wide
comprehension. Lectures are given before schools and clubs with the idea
of teaching Chicago what the plan is, why it is needed, and what great
European cities have accomplished in similar directions. Books on the
subject have been published and widely circulated, and one of these,
"Wacker's Manual," has been adopted as a textbook by the Chicago Public
Schools, with the idea of fitting the coming generations to carry on the
work.

If the plan as it stands at present has been accomplished within a long
lifetime, Chicago will have maintained her reputation for swift action.
Two or three lifetimes would be time enough in any other city. However,
Chicago desires the fulfillment of the prophecy she has on paper. Work
is going on, and the extent to which it will go on in future depends
entirely upon the ability of the city to finance Plan projects. And when
a thing depends upon the ability of the city of Chicago, it depends upon
a very solid and a very splendid thing.



CHAPTER XVI

LOOKING BACKWARD


The Chicago Club is the rich, substantial club of the city, an
organization which may perhaps be compared with the Union Club of New
York, although the inner atmosphere of the Chicago Club seems somehow
less formal than that of its New York prototype. However, that is true
in general where Chicago clubs and New York clubs are compared.

The University Club of Chicago has a very large and handsome building in
the Gothic style, with a dining room said to be the handsomest club
dining room in the world: a Gothic hall with fine stained-glass windows.
Between this clubhouse and the great Gothic piles of the Chicago
University there exists an agreeable, though perhaps quite accidental,
architectural harmony.

Excepting Washington University, in St. Louis, Chicago University is the
one great American college I have seen which seems fully to have
anticipated its own vastness, and prepared for it with comprehensive
plans for the grouping of its buildings. Architecturally it is already
exceedingly harmonious and effective, for its great halls, all of gray
Bedford stone, are beginning to be toned by the Chicago smoke into what
will some day be Oxonian mellowness. Even now, by virtue of its ancient
architecture, its great size and massiveness, it is not without an
effect of age--an effect which is, however, violently disputed by the
young trees of the campus. Though these trees have grown as fast as they
could, they have not been able to keep up with the growth of the great
institution of learning, fertilized, as it has been, by Mr.
Rockefeller's millions. Instead of shading the university, the campus
trees are shaded by it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The South Shore Country Club is an astonishing resort: a huge pavilion,
by the lake, on the site of the old World's Fair grounds. It is a
pleasant place to which to motor for meals, and is much used, especially
for dining, in the summer time. The building of this club made me think
of Atlantic City; I felt that I was not in a club at all, but in the
rotunda of some vast hotel by the sea.

I had no opportunity to visit The Little Room, a small club reported to
be Chicago's artistic holy of holies, but I did have luncheon at the
Cliff Dwellers, which is the larger and, I believe, more active
organization. The Cliff Dwellers is a fine club, made up of writers and
artists and their friends and allies. I know of no single club in New
York where one may meet at luncheon a group of men more alive, more
interesting, or of more varied pursuits, and I may add that I absorbed
while there a very definite impression that between men following the
arts, and those following business, the line is not so sharply drawn in
Chicago as in New York.

At the Cliff Dwellers I met a gentleman, a librarian, who gave me some
interesting information about the management of libraries in Chicago.

"Chicago is a business city, dominated by business men," he said. "We
have three large public libraries, one the Chicago Public Library,
belonging to the city, and two others, the Newberry and the Crerar,
established by rich men who left money for the purpose.

"The system of interlocking directorates, elsewhere pronounced
pernicious, has worked very beautifully in affecting coöperation instead
of competition between these institutions.

"About twenty years ago, at the time of the Crerar foundation, the
boards of the three libraries met and formed a gentleman's agreement,
dividing the field of knowledge. It was then arranged that the Chicago
Public Library should take care of the majority of the people, and that
the Newberry and the Crerar should specialize, the former in what is
called the 'Humanities'--philosophy, religion, history, literature, and
the fine arts; the latter in science, pure and applied. At that time the
Newberry Library turned over to the Crerar, at cost, all books it
possessed which properly belonged in the scientific category. And since
that time there has been practically no duplication among Chicago
libraries. That is what comes of having public-spirited business men on
library boards. They run these public institutions as they would run
their own commercial enterprises. The Harvester Company, for example,
wouldn't duplicate its own plant right in the same territory. That would
be waste. But in many cities possessing more than one library,
duplication of an exactly parallel kind goes on, because the libraries
do not work together. Boston affords a good example. Between the Boston
Public Library, the Athenæum, and the library of Harvard University,
there is much duplication. Of course a university library is obliged to
stand more or less alone, but it is possible even for such a library to
coöperate to some extent with others, and, wherever it is possible to do
so, the library of the University of Chicago does work with others in
Chicago. Even the Art Institute is in the combination."

I do not quote this information because the arrangement between the
libraries of Chicago strikes me as a thing particularly startling, but
for precisely the opposite reason: it is one of those unstartling
examples of uncommon common sense which one might easily overlook in
considering the Plan of Chicago, in gazing at great buildings wreathed
in whirling smoke, or in contemplating that allegory of infinity which
confronts one who looks eastward from the bold front of Michigan Avenue
along Grant Park.

The automobile, which has been such an agency for the promotion of
suburban and country life, seems to have the habit of invading, for its
own commercial purposes, those former residence districts, in cities,
which it has been the means of depopulating. I noticed that in
Cleveland. There the automobile offered the residents of Euclid Avenue a
swift and agreeable means of transportation to a pleasanter environment.
Then, having lured them away, it proceeded to seize upon their former
lands for showrooms, garages, and automobile accessory shops. The same
thing has happened in Chicago on Michigan Avenue, where an "automobile
row" extends for blocks beyond the uptown extremity of Grant Park,
through a region which but a few years since was one of fashionable
residences.

I do not like to make the admission, because of loyal memories of the
old South Side, but--there is no denying it--the South Side has run
down. In its struggle with the North Side, for leadership, it has come
off a sorry second. In point of social prestige, as in the matter of
beauty, it is unqualifiedly whipped. Cottage Grove Avenue, never a
pleasant street, has deteriorated now into something which, along
certain reaches, has a painful resemblance to a slum.

It hurt me to see that, for I remember when the little dummy line ran
out from Thirty-ninth Street to Hyde Park, most of the way between
fields and woods and little farms. I had forgotten the dummy line until
I saw the place from which it used to start. Then, back through
twenty-eight or thirty years, I heard again its shrill whistle and saw
the conductor, little "Mister Dodge," as he used to come around for
fares, when we were going out to Fifty-fifth Street to pick violets.
There are no violets now at Fifty-fifth Street. I saw nothing there but
rows of sordid-looking buildings, jammed against the street.

Everywhere, as I journeyed about the city how many memories assailed me.
When I lived in Chicago the Masonic Temple was the great show building
of the town: the highest building in the world, it was, then. The Art
Institute was in the brown stone pile now occupied by the Chicago Club.
The turreted stone house of Potter Palmer, on the Lake Shore Drive was
the city's most admired residence--a would-be baronial structure which,
standing there to-day, is a humorous thing: a grandiose attempt, falling
far short of being a good castle, and going far beyond the architectural
bounds of a good house. Then there was the old Palmer House hotel, with
its great billiard and poolroom, and its once-famous barbershop, with a
silver dollar set at the corner of each marble tile in its floor, to
amaze the rural visitor. The Palmer House is still there, looking no
older than it used to look. And most familiar of all, the toy suburban
trains of the Illinois Central Railroad continue to puff, importantly,
along the lake front, their locomotives issuing great clouds of steam
and smoke, which are snatched by the lake wind, and hurled like giant
snowballs--dirty snowballs, full of cinders--at the imperturbable stone
front of Michigan Avenue.

[Illustration: As I stood there, studying the temperament of pigs, I saw
the butcher looking up at me.... I have never seen such eyes]

Chicago has talked, for years, of causing the Illinois Central Railroad
to run its trains by electricity. No doubt they should be run in that
way. No doubt the decline of the South Side and the ascendancy of the
North Side has been caused largely by the fact that the South Side
lakefront is taken up with tracks and trains, while the North Side
lakefront is taken up with parks and boulevards. Still, I love the
Chicago smoke. In some other city I should not love it, but in Chicago
it is part of the old picture, and for sentimental reasons, I had rather
pay the larger laundry bills, than see it go.

One day I went down to the station at Van Buren Street, and took the
funny little train to Oakland, where I used to live. One after the
other, I passed the old, dilapidated stations, looking more run down
than ever. Even the Oakland Station was unchanged, and its surroundings
were as I remembered them, except for signs of a sad, indefinite decay.

Strange sensations, those which come to a man when he visits, after a
long lapse of years, the places he knew best in childhood. The changes.
The things which are unchanged. The familiar unfamiliarity. The vivid
recollections which loom suddenly, like silent ships, from out the fog
of things forgotten. In that house over there lived a boy named Ben
Ford, who moved away--to where? And Gertie Hoyt, his cousin, lived next
door. She had a great thick braid of golden hair. But where is Guy
Hardy's house? Where is the Lonergans'--the Lonergans who used to have
the goat and wagon? How can those houses be so completely gone? Were
they not built of timber? And what is memory built of, that it should
outlast them? Mr. Rand's house--there it is, with its high porch! But
where are the cherry trees? Where is the round flower bed? And what on
earth have they been doing to the neighborhood? Why have they moved all
the houses closer to the street and spoiled the old front yards? Then
the heartshaking realization that they _hadn't_ moved the houses; that
the yards were the same; that they had always been small and cramped;
that the only change was in the eye of him who had come back.

No; not the only change, but the great one. Almost all the linden trees
that formed a line beside my grandfather's house are gone. The four
which remain aren't large trees, after all.

The vacant lot next door is blotted out by a row of cheap apartment
houses. But there is the Borden house standing stanch, solid, austere as
ever, behind its iron fence. How afraid we used to be of Mr. Borden! Can
he be living still? And has he mellowed in old age?--for the spite fence
is torn down! Next door, there, is the house in which I went to my first
party--in a velveteen suit and wide lace collar. There was a lady at
that party; she wore a velvet dress and was the most beautiful lady
that I ever saw. She is several times a grandmother now--still
beautiful.

The gentleman who owns the house in which I used to live had heard I was
in town, and was so kind as to think that it would interest me to see
the place again.

I never was more grateful to a man!

The house was not so large as I had thought it. The majestic "parlor"
had shrunk from an enormous to a normal room. But there was the wide
hardwood banister rail, down which I used to slide, and there was the
alcove, off the big front bedroom, where they put me when I had the
accident; and there was the place where my crib stood. I had forgotten
all about that crib, but suddenly I saw it, with its inclosing sides of
walnut slats. However, it was not until I mounted to the attic that the
strangest memories besieged me. The instant I entered the attic I knew
the smell. In all the world there is no smell exactly like the smell
which haunts the attic of that house. With it there came to me the
picture of old Ellen and the recollection of a rainy day, when she set
me to work in the attic, driving tacks into cakes of laundry soap. That
was the day I fell downstairs and broke my collarbone.

Leaving the house I went out to the alley. Ah! those beloved back fences
and the barns in which we used to play. Where were the old colored
coachmen who were so good to us? Where was little Ed, ex-jockey, and
ex-slave? Where was Artis? Where was William? William must be getting
old.

At the door of his barn I paused and, not without some faint feeling of
fear, knocked. The door opened. A young colored man stood within. He
wore a chauffeur's cap. So the old surrey was gone! There was a motor
now.

"Where's William?" I asked.

"William ain't here no more," he said.

"But where is he?"

"Oh, he's most generally around the alley, some place, or in some of the
houses. He does odd jobs."

"Thanks," I said and, turning, walked up the alley, fearing lest I
should not be able to find the old colored man who, perhaps more than
any one outside my family, was the true friend of my boyhood.

Then, as I moved along, I saw him far away and recognized him by the
familiar, slouching step. And as I walked to meet him, and as we drew
near to each other in that long narrow alley, it seemed to me that here
was another allegory in which the alley somehow represented life.

How glad we were to meet! William looked older, his close-cropped wool
was whiter, he stooped a little more, but he had the same old solemn
drawl, the same lustrous dark eye with the twinkle in it, even the same
old corncob pipe--or another like it, burned down at the edge.

We stood there for a long time, exchanging news. Ed had gone down South
with the Bakers when they moved away. Artis was on "the force."

[Illustration: The bold front of Michigan Avenue along Grant Park ...
great buildings wreathed in whirling smoke and that allegory of infinity
which confronts one who looks eastward]

"The neighborhood's changed a good bit since you was here. Lots of the
old families have gone. I'm almost a stranger around the alley myself
now. I must be a pretty tough old nut, the way I keep hangin' on." He
smiled as he said that.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Of course I'll see you when I come out to Chicago again," I said as we
shook hands at parting.

William looked up at the sky, much as a man will look for signs of rain.
Then with another smile he let his eyes drift slowly downward from the
heavens.

"Well," he said in his nasal drawl, "I guess I'll see you again some
time--some place."

I turned and moved away.

Then, of a sudden, a back gate swung open with a violent bang against
the fence, and four or five boys in short trousers leaped out and ran,
yelling, helter-skelter up the alley.

I had the curious feeling that among them was the boy I used to be.



"IN MIZZOURA"



CHAPTER XVII

SOMNOLENT ST. LOUIS


     "The moderation of prosperous people comes from the
     calm which good fortune gives to their temper."

          --LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.


Some years ago, while riding westward through the Alleghenies in an
observation car of the Pennsylvania Limited, a friend of mine fell into
conversation with an old gentleman who sat in the next chair.

"Evidently he knew a good deal about that region," said my friend, in
telling me of the incident later. "We must have sat there together for a
couple of hours. He did most of the talking; I could see that he enjoyed
talking, and was glad to have a listener. Before he got off he shook
hands with me and said he was glad to have had the little chat. Then,
when he was gone, the trainman came and asked me if I knew who he was. I
didn't. Come to find out, it was Andrew Carnegie."

I asked my friend how Mr. Carnegie impressed him.

"Oh," he replied, "I was much surprised when I found it had been he. He
seemed a nice old fellow enough, kindly and affable, but a little
commonplace. I should never have called him an 'inspired millionaire.'
I've been reconstructing him in my mind ever since."

I am reminded of my friend's experience by my own meeting with the city
of St. Louis; for it was not until after I had left St. Louis that I
found out "who it is." That is, I failed to focus, while there, upon the
fact that it is America's fourth city. And now, in looking back, I feel
about St. Louis as my friend felt about the ironmaster: I do not think
it looks the part.

St. Louis leads the world in shoes, stoves, and tobacco; it is the
world's greatest market for hardware, lumber, and raw furs; it is the
principal horse and mule market in America; it builds more street and
railroad cars than any other city in the country; it distributes more
coffee; it makes more woodenware, more native chemicals, more beer. It
leads in all these things. But what it does not do is to _look_ as
though it led. Physically it is a great, overgrown American town, like
Buffalo or St. Paul. Its streets are, for the most part, lacking in
distinction. There is no center at which a visitor might stop, knowing
by instinct that he was at the city's heart. It is a rambling,
incoherent place, in which one has to ask which is the principal retail
shopping corner. Fancy having to ask a thing like that!

I do not mean by this that St. Louis is much worse, in appearance, than
some other American cities. For American cities, as I have said before,
have only recently awakened to the need of broadly planned municipal
beauty. All I mean is that St. Louis seems to be behind in taking action
to improve herself.

Almost every city presents a paradox, if you will but find it. The St.
Louis paradox is that she is a fashionable city without style. But that
is not, in reality, the paradox, it seems. It only means that being an
old, aristocratic city, with a wealthy and cosmopolitan population, and
an extraordinarily cultivated social life, St. Louis yet lacks municipal
distinction. It is a dowdy city. It needs to be taken by the hand and
led around to some municipal-improvement tailor, some civic haberdasher,
who will dress it like the gentleman it really is.

I remember a well-to-do old man who used to be like that. His daughters
were obliged to drag him down to get new clothes. Always he insisted
that the old frock coat was plenty good enough; that he couldn't spare
time and the money for a new one. Nevertheless, he could well afford new
clothes, and so can St. Louis. The city debt is relatively small, and
there are only two American cities of over 350,000 population which have
a lower tax-rate. These two are San Francisco and Cleveland. And either
one of them can set a good example to St. Louis, in the matter of
self-improvement. San Francisco, with a population hardly more than half
that of St. Louis, is yet an infinitely more important-looking city;
while Minneapolis or Denver might impress a casual visitor, roaming
their streets, as being equal to St. Louis in commerce and population,
although the Missouri metropolis is, in reality, considerably greater
than the two combined. However, in considering the foibles of an old
city we should be lenient, as in considering those of an old man.

Old men and old cities did not enjoy, in their youth, the advantages
which are enjoyed to-day by young men and young cities. Life was harder,
and precedent, in many lines, was wanting. Excepting in a few rare
instances, as, for example, in Detroit and Savannah, the laying out of
cities seems to have been taken care of, in the early days, as much by
cows as men. Look at Boston, or lower New York, or St. Paul, or St.
Louis. How little did the men who founded those cities dream of the
proportions to which they would some day attain! With cities which have
begun to develop within the last fifty or sixty years, it has been
different, for there has been precedent to show them what is possible
when an American city really starts to grow. To-day all American cities,
even down to the smallest towns, have a sneaking suspicion that they may
some day become great, too--great, that is, by comparison with what they
are. And those which are not altogether lacking in energy are prepared,
at least in a small way, to encounter greatness when, at last, it comes.

Baedeker says St. Louis was founded as a fur-trading station by the
French in 1756. "All About St. Louis," a publication compiled by the St.
Louis Advertising Men's League, gives the date 1764. Pierre Laclede was
the founder, and it is interesting to note that some of his descendants
still reside there.

When Louis XV ceded the territory to the east of the Mississippi to the
English, he also ceded the west bank to Spain by secret treaty. Spanish
authority was established in St. Louis in 1770, but in 1804 the town
became a part of the United States, as a portion of the Louisiana
Purchase.

[Illustration: The dilapidation of the quarter has continued steadily
from Dickens's day to this, and the beauty now to be discovered there is
that of decay and ruin]

In the old days the city had but three streets: the Rue Royale, one
block back from the levee (now Main Street); the Rue de l'Eglise, or
Church Street (now Second); and the Rue des Granges, or Barn Street (now
Third).

Though a few of the old French houses, in a woeful state of
dilapidation, may still be seen in this neighborhood, it is now for the
most part given over to commission merchants, warehouses, and slums.

Charles Dickens, writing of St. Louis in 1842, describes this quarter:

    "In the old French portion of the town the thoroughfares are narrow and
    crooked, and some of the houses are very quaint and picturesque: being
    built of wood, with tumble-down galleries before the windows,
    approachable by stairs or rather ladders from the street. There are
    queer little barbers' shops and drinking houses, too, in this quarter;
    and abundance of crazy old tenements with blinking casements, such as
    may be seen in Flanders. Some of these ancient habitations, with high
    garret gable windows perking into the roofs, have a kind of French
    shrug about them; and, being lopsided with age, appear to hold their
    heads askew, besides, as if they were grimacing in astonishment at the
    American improvements.

    "It is hardly necessary to say that these consist of wharves and
    warehouses and new buildings in all directions; and of a great
    many vast plans which are still 'progressing.' Already, however,
    some very good houses, broad streets, and marble-fronted shops
    have gone so far ahead as to be in a state of completion, and the
    town bids fair in a few years to improve considerably; though it
    is not likely ever to vie, in point of elegance or beauty, with
    Cincinnati.... The Roman Catholic religion, introduced here by
    the early French settlers, prevails extensively. Among the public
    institutions are a Jesuit college, a convent for 'the Ladies of
    the Sacred Heart,' and a large chapel attached to the college,
    which was in course of erection at the time of my visit.... The
    architect of this building is one of the reverend fathers.... The
    organ will be sent from Belgium.... In addition to these
    establishments there is a Roman Catholic cathedral.

    "No man ever admits the unhealthiness of the place he dwells in
    (unless he is going away from it), and I shall therefore, I have
    no doubt, be at issue with the inhabitants of St. Louis in
    questioning the perfect salubrity of its climate.... It is very
    hot...."

The cathedral of which Dickens wrote remains, perhaps the most sturdy
building in the section which forms the old town. It is a
venerable-looking pile of gray granite, built to last forever, and
suggesting, with its French inscriptions and its exotic look, a bit of
old Quebec. But for the most part the dilapidation of the quarter has
continued steadily from Dickens's day to this, and the beauty now to be
discovered there is that of decay and ruin--pathetic beauty to charm the
etcher, but sadden the lover of improvement, whose battle cry invariably
involves the overworked word "civic."

An exception to the general slovenliness of this quarter is to be seen
in the old Merchants' Exchange Hall on Main Street. Built nearly sixty
years ago, this building, now disused and dilapidated, nevertheless
shows a façade of a distinction rare in structures of its time. I was
surprised to discover that this old hall was not better known in St.
Louis, and I cheerfully recommend it to the notice of those who esteem
the architecture of the Jefferson Memorial, the bulky new cathedral on
Lindell Boulevard, or that residence, suggestive of the hanging gardens
of Babylon, at Hortense Place and King's Highway. Take the old
Merchants' Exchange Hall away from dirty, cobbled Main Street, set it
up, instead, in Venice, beside the Grand Canal, and watch the tourist
from St. Louis stop his gondola to gaze!

But what city has respected its ruins? Rome used her palaces as mines
for building material. St. Louis destroyed the wonderful old mound which
used to stand at the corner of Mound Street and Broadway, forming one of
the most interesting archeological remains in the country and, together
with smaller mounds near by, giving St. Louis her title of "Mound City."

With Dickens's statements concerning the St. Louis summer climate, the
publication, "All About St. Louis," does not, for one moment, agree. In
it I find an article headed: "St. Louis has Better Weather than Other
Cities," the preamble to which contains the following solemn truth:

     The weather question is purely local and individual. Every person
     forms his own opinion about the weather by the way it affects him,
     wherever he happens to be.

Having made that clear, the writer becomes more specific. He informs us
that, in St. Louis, "the prevailing winds in summer blow over the Ozark
Mountains, insuring cool nights and pleasant days." Also that "during
the summer the temperature does not run so high, and warm spells do not
last so long as in many cities of the North." The latter statement is
supported--as almost every statement in the world, it seems to me, can
be supported--by statistics. What wonderful things statistics are! How I
wish Charles Dickens might have seen these. How surprised he would have
been. How surprised I was--for I, too, have visited St. Louis in the
middle of the year. Yes, and so has my companion. He went to St. Louis
several years ago to attend the Democratic National Convention, but he
is all right again now.

I showed him the statistics.

"Why!" he cried. "I ought to have been told of this before!"

"What for?" I demanded.

"If I had had this information at the time of the convention," he
declared, "I'd have known enough not to have been laid up in bed for six
weeks with heat prostration."

       *       *       *       *       *

Though the downtown portion of St. Louis is, as I have said, lacking in
coherence and distinction, there are, nevertheless, a number of
buildings in that section which are, for one reason or another, notable.
The old Courthouse, on Chestnut and Market Streets, between Fourth and
Fifth, is getting well along toward its centennial, and is interesting,
both as a dignified old granite pile and as the scene of the whipping
post, and of slave sales which were held upon its steps during the Civil
War.

Not far from the old Courthouse stands another building typifying all
that is modern--the largest office building in the world, a highly
creditable structure, occupying an entire city block, built from designs
by St. Louis architects: Mauran, Russell & Crowell. Another building,
notable for its beauty, is the Central Public Library, a very simple,
well-proportioned building of gray granite, designed by Cass Gilbert.

The St. Louis Union Station is interesting for several reasons. When
built, it was the largest station in the world--one of the first great
stations of the modern type. It contains, under its roof, five and a
half miles of track, and though it has been surpassed, architecturally,
by some more recent stations, it is still a spectacular building--or
rather it would be, were it not for its setting, among narrow streets,
lined with cheap saloons, lunch rooms, and lodging houses. That any city
capable of building such a splendid terminal could, at the same time, be
capable of leaving it in such environment is a thing baffling to the
comprehension. It must, however, be said that efforts have been made to
improve this condition. Six or seven years ago the Civic League proposed
to buy the property facing the station and turn it into a park. St.
Louis somnolence defeated this project. The City Plan Commission now has
a more elaborate suggestion which, if accepted, will not only place the
station in a proper setting, but also reclaim a large area, in the
geographical center of the city, which has suffered a blight, and which
is steadily deteriorating, although through it run the chief lines of
travel between the business and residence portions of the city.

This project, if put through, will be a fine step toward the creation,
in downtown St. Louis, of some outward indication of the real importance
of the city. The plan involves the gutting of a strip, one block wide
and two miles long; the tearing out of everything between Market and
Chestnut Streets, all the way from Twelfth Street, which is the eastern
boundary of the City Hall Square, to Grand Avenue on the west. Here it
is proposed to construct a Central Traffic Parkway, which will pass
directly in front of the station, connecting it with both the business
and residence districts, and will also pass in front of the Municipal
Court Building and the City Hall, located farther downtown. The plan
involves an arrangement similar to that of the Champs-Elysées, with a
wide central drive, parked on either side, for swift-moving vehicles,
and exterior roads for heavy traffic.

An expert in such work has said that "city planning has few functions
more important than the restoration of impaired property values."
American cities are coming to comprehend that investment in
intelligently planned improvements, such as this, have to do not only
with city dignity and city self-respect, but that they pay for
themselves. If St. Louis wants to find that out, she has but to visit
her western neighbor, Kansas City, where the construction of Paseo
boulevard did redeem a blighted district, transforming it into an
excellent neighborhood, doubling or trebling the value of adjacent
property, and, of course, yielding the city increased revenue from
taxes.

A matter more deplorable than the setting of the station is the
unparalleled situation which exists with regard to the Free Bridge.
Though the echoes of this scandal have been heard, more or less,
throughout the country, it is perhaps necessary to give a brief summary
of the matter as it stands at present.

The three used bridges which cross the Mississippi River at St. Louis
are privately controlled toll bridges. Working people, passing to and
fro, are obliged to pay a five-cent toll in excess of car fare. Goods
are also taxed. It was with the purpose of defeating this monopoly that
the Free Bridge was constructed. But after the body of the bridge was
built, factional fights developed as to the placing of approaches, and
as a result, the approaches have never been built. Thus, the bridge
stands to-day, as it has stood for several years, a thing costly,
grotesque, and useless, spanning the river, its two ends jutting out,
inanely, over the opposing shores. In the meantime the city is paying
interest on the bridge bonds at the rate of something over $300 per day.
The question of approaches has come before the city at several
elections, but the people have so far failed to vote the necessary
bonds. The history of the voting on this subject plainly shows
indifference. In one election the Twenty-eighth Ward, which is the rich
and fashionable ward, cast only 2,325 votes, on the bridge question, out
of a possible 6,732. Had the eligible voters of this ward, alone, done
their duty, the issue would have been carried at the time, and the
bridge would now be in operation.

One becomes accustomed to exhibitions of municipal indifference upon
matters involving questions like reform, which, though they are not
really abstract, often seem so to the average voter. Reforms are,
relatively at least, invisible things. But the Free Bridge is not
invisible. Far from it! There it stands above the stream, a grim,
gargantuan joke, for every man to see--a tin can tied to a city's tail.

[Illustration: The three used bridges which cross the Mississippi River
at St. Louis are privately controlled toll bridges]

In writing of St. Louis I feel, somehow, like a man who has been at a
delightful house party where people have been very kind to him, and who,
when he goes away, promulgates unpleasant truths about bad plumbing in
the house. Yet, of course, St. Louis is a public place, to which I went
with the avowed purpose of writing my impressions. The reader may be
glad, at this point, to learn that some of my impressions are of a
pleasant nature. But before I reach them I must rake a little further
through this substance, which, I am becoming very much afraid, resembles
"muck."

St. Louis has, for some time, been involved in a fight with the United
Railways Company, a corporation controlling the street car system of the
city. In one quarter I was informed that this company was paying
dividends on millions of watered stock, and that it had been reported by
the Public Service Commission as earning more than a million a year in
excess of a reasonable return on its investment. In another quarter,
while it was not denied that the company was overburdened with
obligations representing much more than the actual value of the present
system, it was explained that the so-called "water" represented the cost
of the early horse-car system, discarded on the advent of the cable
lines, and also the cost of the cable lines which were, in turn,
discarded for the trolley. It was furthermore contended that, in the
days before the formation of the United Railways Company, when several
companies were striving for territory, the street railroads of St.
Louis were overbuilt, with the result that much money was sunk.

In an article on St. Louis, recently published in "Collier's Weekly," I
made the statement that the street car service of St. Louis was as bad
as I had ever seen; that the tracks were rough, the cars run-down and
dirty, and that an antediluvian heating system was used, namely, a
red-hot stove at one end of the car, giving but small comfort to those
far removed from it, and fairly cooking those who sat near.

This statement brought some protest from St. Louis. Several persons
wrote to me saying that the cars were not dirty, that only a few of them
were heated with stoves, and that the tracks were in good condition.
With one of these correspondents, Mr. Walter B. Stevens, I exchanged
several letters. I informed him that I had ridden in five different
cars, that all five were heated as mentioned, that they were dirty and
needed painting, and that I recalled distinctly the fact that the
rail-joints caused a continual jarring of the car.

Mr. Stevens replied as follows:

"In your street car trip to the southwestern part of the city you saw
probably the worst part of the system. Some of the lines, notably those
in the section of the city mentioned by you, have not been brought up to
the standard that prevails elsewhere. I have traveled on street cars in
most of the large cities of this country, north and south, and according
to my observation, the lines in the central part of St. Louis,
extending westward, are not surpassed anywhere."

As I have reason to know that Mr. Stevens is an exceedingly fair-minded
gentleman, I am glad of the opportunity to print his statement here. I
must add, however, that I think a street car system on which a stranger,
taking five different cars, finds them all heated by stoves, leaves
something to be desired. Let me say further that I might not have been
so critical of the St. Louis street railways and its cars, had I not
become acquainted, a short time before, with the Twin City Rapid Transit
Company, which operates the street railways of Minneapolis and St. Paul:
a system which, as a casual observer, I should call the most perfect of
its kind I have seen in the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What is the matter with St. Louis?" I inquired of a wide-awake citizen
I met.

"Oh, the Drew Question," he suggested with a smile.

"The Drew Question?" I repeated blankly.

"You don't know about that? Well, the question you asked was put to the
city, some years ago, by Alderman Drew, so instead of asking it outright
any more, we refer to it as 'the Drew Question,' Every one knows what it
means."

The man who asks that question in St. Louis will receive a wide variety
of answers.

One exceedingly well-informed gentleman told me that St. Louis had the
"most aggressive minority" he had ever seen. "Start any movement here,"
he declared, "and, whatever it may be, you immediately encounter strong
objection."

In other quarters I learned of something called "The Big Cinch"--an
intangible, reactionary sort of dragon, said to be built of big business
men. It is charged that this legendary monster has put the quietus upon
various enterprises, including the construction of a new and first-class
hotel--something which St. Louis needs. In still other quarters I was
informed that the city's long-established wealth had placed it in
somewhat the position of Detroit before the days of the automobile, and
that much of the money and many of the big business enterprises were
controlled by elderly men; in short, that what is needed is young blood,
or, as one man put it, "a few important funerals."

"It is conservatism," explained another. "The trouble with St. Louis is
that nobody here ever goes crazy." And said still another: "About
one-third of the population of St. Louis is German. It is German
lethargy that holds the city back."

Whatever truth may lurk in these several statements, I do not,
personally, believe in the last one. If the Germans are sometimes
stolid, they are upon the other hand honest, thoughtful, and steady. And
when it comes to lethargy--well, Chicago, the most active great city in
the country, has a large German population. And, for the matter of that,
so has Berlin! Some of the best citizens St. Louis has are Germans, and
one of her most public-spirited and nationally distinguished men was
born in Prussia--Mr. Frederick W. Lehmann, former Solicitor General of
the United States and ex-president of the American Bar Association. Mr.
Lehmann (who served the country as a commissioner in the cause of peace
with Mexico, at the Niagara Falls conference) drew up a city charter
which was recommended by the Board of Freeholders of St. Louis in 1910.
This charter was defeated. However, another charter, embodying many even
more progressive elements than those contained in the charter proposed
by Mr. Lehmann, has lately been accepted by the city, and there can be
little doubt that the earlier proposals paved the way for this one. The
new charter had not been passed at the time of my visit. The St. Louis
newspapers which I have seen since are, however, most sanguine in their
prophecies as to what will be accomplished under it. All seem to agree
that its acceptance marks the awakening of the city.

German emigration to St. Louis began about 1820 and increased at the
time of the rebellion of 1848, so that, like Milwaukee, St. Louis has
to-day a very strong German flavor. By the terms of the city charter all
ordinances and municipal legal advertising are printed in both English
and German, and the "Westliche Post" of St. Louis, a German newspaper
founded by the late Emil Pretorius and now conducted by his son, is a
powerful organ. The great family beer halls of the city add further
Teutonic color, and the Liederkranz is, I believe, the largest club in
the city. This organization is not much like a club according to the
restricted English idea; it suggests some great, genial public gathering
place. The substantial German citizens who arrive here of a Sunday
night, when the cook goes out, do not come alone, nor merely with their
sons, but bring their entire families for dinner, including the mother,
the daughters, and the little children. There is music, of course, and
great contentment. The place breathes of substantiality, democracy, and
good nature. You feel it even in the manner of the waiters, who, being
first of all human beings, second, Germans, and waiters only in the
third place, have an air of personal friendliness with those they serve.

       *       *       *       *       *

Aside from his municipal and national activities, Mr. Lehmann has found
time to gather in his home one of the most complete collections of
Dickens's first editions and related publications to be found in the
whole world. It is, indeed, on this side--the side of cultivation--that
St. Louis is most truly charming. She has an old, exclusive, and
delightful society, and a widespread and pleasantly unostentatious
interest in esthetic things. In fact, I do not know of any American
city, to which St. Louis may with justice be compared, possessing a
larger body of collectors, nor collections showing more individual
taste. The most important private collections in the city are, I
believe, those of Mr. William K. Bixby, who owns a great number of
valuable paintings by old masters, and a large collection of rare books
and manuscripts. As a book collector, Mr. Bixby is widely known
throughout the country, and he has had, if I mistake not, the honor of
being president of that Chicago club of bibliolatrists, known as the
"Dofobs," or "damned old fools over books."

An exhibition of paintings owned in St. Louis is held annually in the
St. Louis Museum of Art, and leaves no doubt as to the genuineness of
the interest of St. Louis citizens in painting. Nor can any one,
considering the groups of canvases loaned to the museum for the annual
exhibition, doubt that certain art collectors in St. Louis (Mr. Edward
A. Faust, for example) are buying not only names but paintings.

The Art Museum is less accessible to the general citizen than are
museums in some other cities. Having been originally the central hall of
the group of buildings devoted to art at the time of the Louisiana
Purchase Exposition, it stands in that part of Forest Park which was
formerly the Fair ground. Posed, as it is, upon a hill, in a commanding
and conspicuous position, it reveals, somewhat unfortunately, the fact
that it is the isolated fragment of a former group. Nevertheless, it
must take a high place among the secondary art museums of the United
States. For despite the embarrassment caused by the possession of a good
deal of mediocre sculpture, a legacy from the World's Fair, which is
packed in its central hall; and despite the inheritance, from twenty or
twenty-five years since, of vapid canvases by Bouguereau, Gabriel Max,
and other painters of past popularity, whose works are rapidly coming to
be known for what they are--despite these handicaps, the museum is now
distinctly in step with the march of modern art. The old collection is
being weeded out, and good judgment is being shown in the selection of
new canvases. Like the Albright Gallery in Buffalo, the St. Louis Museum
of Art is rapidly acquiring works by some of the best American painters
of to-day, having purchased within the last four or five years canvases
by Redfield, Loeb, Symons, Waugh, Dearth, Dougherty, Foster, and others.

Another building saved from the World's Fair is the superb central hall
of Washington University, a red granite structure in the English
collegiate style, designed by Cope & Stewardson. The dozen or more
buildings of this university are very fine in their harmony, and are
pronounced by Baedeker "certainly the most successful and appropriate
group of collegiate buildings in the New World."

It is curious to note in this connection that there are eight colleges
or universities in the United States in which the name of "Washington"
appears; among them, Washington University at St. Louis; Washington
College at Chestertown, Md.; George Washington University at Washington,
D. C.; Washington State College at Pullman, Wash., and the University of
Washington at Seattle.

[Illustration: The skins are handled in the raw state ... with the
result that the floor of the exchange is made slippery by animal fats,
and that the olfactory organs encounter smells not to be matched in any
zoo]



CHAPTER XVIII

THE FINER SIDE


Before making my transcontinental pilgrimage I used to wonder,
sometimes, just where the line dividing East from West in the United
States might be. When I lived in Chicago, and went out to St. Louis, I
felt that I was going, not merely in a westerly direction, but that I
was actually going out into the "West." I knew, of course, that there
was a vast amount of "West" lying beyond St. Louis, but I had no real
conception--and no one who has not seen it can have--of what a
stupendous, endless, different kind of land it is. St. Louis west? It is
not west at all. To be sure, it is the frontier, the jumping-off place,
but it is no more western in its characteristics than the city of
Boulogne is English because it faces England, just across the way. From
every point of view except that of geography, Chicago is more western
than St. Louis. For Chicago has more "wallop" than St. Louis, and
"wallop" is essentially a western attribute. "Wallop" St. Louis has not.
What she has is civilization and the eastern spirit of laissez-faire.
And that of St. Louis which is not of the east is of the south. Her
society has a strong southern flavor, many of her leading families
having come originally from Kentucky and Virginia. The Southern
"colonel" type is to be found there, too--black, broad-brimmed hat,
frock coat, goatee, and all--and there is a negro population big enough
to give him his customary background.

Much negro labor is employed for the rougher kind of work; colored
waiters serve in the hotels, and many families employ colored servants.
As is usual in cities where this is true, the accent of the people
inclines somewhat to be southern. Or, perhaps, it is a blending of the
accent of the south with the sharper drawl of the west. Then, too, I
encountered there men bearing French names (which are pronounced in the
French manner, although the city's name has been anglicized, being
pronounced "Saint Louiss") who, if they did not speak with a real French
accent, had, at least, slight mannerisms of speech which were
unmistakably of French origin. I noted down a number of French family
names I heard: Chauvenet, Papin, Vallé, Desloge, De Menil, Lucas,
Pettus, Guion, Chopin, Janis, Benoist, Cabanné, and Chouteau--the latter
family descended, I was told, from Laclede himself. And again, I heard
such names as Busch, Lehmann, Faust, and Niedringhaus; and still again
such other names as Kilpatrick, Farrell, and O'Fallon--for St. Louis,
though a Southern city, and an Eastern city, and a French city, and a
German city, by being also Irish, proves herself American.

It is in all that has to do with family life that St. Louis comes off
best. She has miles upon miles of prosperous-looking, middle-class
residence streets, and the system of residence "places" in her more
fashionable districts is highly characteristic. These "places" are in
reality long, narrow parkways, with double drives, parked down the
center, and bordered with houses at their outer margins. The oldest of
them is, I am told, Benton Place, on the South Side, but the more
attractive ones are to the westward, near Forest Park. Of these the
first was Vandeventer Place, which still contains some of the most
pleasant and substantial residences of the city, and it may be added
that while some of the newer "places" have more recent and elaborate
houses than those on Vandeventer Place, the general average of recent
domestic architecture in St. Louis is behind that of many other cities.
Portland Place seemed, upon the whole, to have the best group of modern
houses. Westmoreland and Kingsbury Places also have agreeable homes. But
Washington Terrace is not so fortunate; its houses, though they plainly
indicate liberal expenditure of money, are often of that
"catch-as-catch-can" kind of architecture which one meets with but too
frequently in the middle west. If St. Louis is western in one thing more
than another it is the architecture of her houses. Not that they lack
solidity but that on the average they are not to be compared,
architecturally, with houses of corresponding modernness in such cities
as Chicago or Detroit. The more I see of other cities the more, indeed,
I appreciate the new domestic architecture of Detroit. And I cannot help
feeling that it is curious that St. Louis should be behind Detroit in
this particular when she is, as a city, so far superior in her evident
understanding and love of art.

Nevertheless, St. Louis has one architect whom she cannot honor too
highly--Mr. William B. Ittner, who, as a designer of schools, stands
unsurpassed.

If ever I have seen a building perfect for its purpose, that building is
the Frank Louis Soldan High School, designed by this man. It is the last
word in schools; a building for the city of St. Louis to be proud of,
and for the whole country to rejoice in. It has everything a school can
have, including that quality rarest of all in schools--sheer beauty. It
is worth a whole chapter in itself, from its great auditorium, which is
like a very simple opera house, seating two thousand persons, to its
tiled lunch rooms with their "cafeteria" service. An architect could
build one school like that, it seems to me, and then lie down and die
content, feeling that his work was done. But Mr. Ittner apparently is
not satisfied so easily as I should be, for he goes gaily on building
other schools. If there isn't one to be built in St. Louis at the moment
(and the city has an extraordinary number of fine school buildings), he
goes off to some other city and puts a school up there. And for every
one he builds he ought to have a crown of gold.

[Illustration: St. Louis needs to be taken by the hand and led around
to some municipal-improvement tailor, some civic haberdasher]

Mr. John Rush Powell, the principal of the high school, was so good as
to take my companion and me over the building. We envied Mr. Powell the
privilege of being housed in such a palace, and Mr. Powell, in his turn,
tried to talk temperately about the wonders of his school, and was so
polite as to let us do the raving.

Do you remember, when you went to school, the long closet, or dressing
room, where you used to hang your coat and hat? The boys and girls of
the Soldan School have steel lockers in a sunlit locker room. Do you
remember the old wooden floors? These boys and girls have wooden floors
to walk on, but the wood is quarter-sawed oak, and it is laid in asphalt
over concrete, which makes the finest kind of floor. Do you remember the
ugly old school building? The front of this one looks like Hampden Court
Palace, brought up to date. Do you remember the big classroom that
served almost every purpose? This school has separate rooms for
everything--a greenhouse for the botanists, great studios, with
skylights, for those who study art, a music hall, and private offices,
beside the classrooms, for instructors. Oh, you ought to see this school
yourself, and learn how schools have changed! You ought to see the
domestic science kitchen with its twenty-four gas ranges and the model
dining room, where the girls give dinner parties for their parents; the
sewing room and fitting rooms, and the laundries, with sanitary
equipment and electric irons--for every girl who takes the
domestic-science course must know how to do fine laundry work, even to
the washing of flannels.

You should see the manual-training shops, and the business college, and
the textile work, and the kilns for pottery, and the very creditable
drawings and paintings of the art students (who clearly have a competent
teacher--again an unusual thing in schools), and the simple beauty of
the corridors, so free from decoration, and the library--like that of a
club--and the lavatories, as perfect as those in fine hotels, and the
pictures on the classroom walls--good prints of good things, like
Whistler's portrait of his mother, instead of the old hideosities of
Washington and Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, which used to hang
on classroom walls in our school days. Oh, it is good to merely breathe
the air of such a school--and why shouldn't it be, since the air is
washed, and screened, and warmed, and fanned out to the rooms and
corridors? Just think of that one thing, and then try to remember how
schools used to smell--that rather zoölogical odor of dirty little boys
and dirty little slates. That was one thing which struck me very
forcibly about this school: it didn't smell like one. Yet, until I went
there, I should have wagered that if I were taken blindfold to a school,
led inside, and allowed a single whiff of it, I should immediately
detect the place for what it was. Ah, memories of other days! Ah, sacred
smells of childhood! Can it be that the school smell has gone forever
from the earth--that it has vanished with our youth--that the rising
generation may not know it? There is but little sadness in the thought.

Having thus dilated upon the oldtime smell of schools, I find myself
drifting, perhaps through an association of ideas, to another
subject--that of furs; raw furs.

The firm of Funsten Brothers & Co. have made St. Louis the largest
primary fur market in the world. They operate a fur exchange which,
though a private business, is conducted somewhat after the manner of a
produce exchange. That is to say, the sales are not open to all buyers,
but to about thirty men who are, in effect, "members," it being required
that a member be a fur dealer with a place of business in St. Louis.
These men are jobbers, and they sell in turn to the manufacturers.

Funsten Brothers & Co. work direct with trappers, and are in
correspondence, I am informed, with between 700,000 and 800,000 persons,
engaged in trapping and shipping furs, in all parts of the world. Their
business has been considerably increased of late years by the
installation of a trappers' information bureau and supply department for
the accommodation of those who send them furs, and also by the marketing
of artificial animal baits. In this way, and further by making it a rule
to send checks in payment for furs received from trappers, on the same
day shipments arrive, this company has built up for itself an enormous
good will at the original sources of supply.

The furs come from every State in the Union, from every Province in
Canada, and from Alaska, being shipped in, during the trapping season,
at the rate of about two thousand lots a day, these lots containing
anywhere from five to five hundred pelts each.

The lots are sorted, arranged in batches according to quality, and
auctioned off at sales, which are held three days a week. Even
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas supply furs, but the
furs from the north are in general the most valuable. This is not true,
however, of muskrat, the best of which comes from the central and
eastern States.

The sales are conducted in the large hall of the exchange, where the
lots of furs are displayed in great piles. The skins are handled in the
raw state, having been merely removed from the carcass and dried before
shipment, with the result that the floor of the exchange is made
slippery by animal fats, and that the olfactory organs encounter smells
not to be matched in any zoo--or school--the blended fragrance of
raccoon, mink, opossum, muskrat, ermine, ringtail, house cat, wolf, red
fox, gray fox, cross fox, swift fox, silver fox, badger, otter, beaver,
lynx, marten, bear, wolverine, fisher--a great orchestra of odors, in
which the "air" is carried most competently, most unqualifiedly, by that
master virtuoso of mephitic redolence, the skunk.

I was told that about sixty-five per cent of all North American furs
pass through this exchange; also I received the rather surprising
information that the greatest number of skins furnished by this
continent comes from within a radius of five hundred miles of St.
Louis.

It was in this Fur Exchange that the first auction of government seal
skins ever held by the United States on its own territory, occurred last
year. Before that time it had been the custom of the government to send
Alaskan sealskins to Europe, where they were cured and dyed. Such of
these skins as were returned to the United States, after having
undergone curing and dyeing, came back under a duty of 20 per cent., or
more recently, by an increase in the tariff--30 per cent. And all but a
very few of the skins did come back. It was by action of Secretary of
Commerce Redfield that the seal sale was transferred from London to St.
Louis, and a member of the firm of Funsten Brothers & Co. informed me
that the ultimate result will be that seal coats now costing, say,
$1,200, may be bought for about $400 three years hence, when the seals
will no longer be protected according to the present law.

Some interesting information with regard to sealing was published in the
St. Louis "Republic" at the time of the sale. Quoting Mr. Philip B.
Fouke, president of the Funsten Co., the "Republic" says:

"Under the present policy of the Government the United States will get
the dyeing, curing, and manufacturing establishments from London,
Amsterdam, Nizhni Novgorod, and other great centers. The price of
sealskins will be reduced two-thirds to the wearer. Seals have been
protected for the past two years, and will be protected for three years
more, but during the period of protection it is necessary for the
Government hunters to kill some of the 'bachelor seals'--males, without
mates, who fight with other male seals for the possession of the
females, destroying the young, and causing much trouble. Also a certain
amount of seal meat must go to the natives for food.

"Each female produces but one pup a year, and each male demands from
twenty to one hundred females. Fights between males for the possession
of the females are fearful combats.

"In addition to protecting the seals on the Pribilof Islands, the United
States has entered into an agreement with Japan, Russia, and England,
that there shall be no sealing in the open seas for fifteen years. This
open sea, or pelagic sealing did great harm. Only the females leave the
land, where they can be protected, and go down to the open sea.
Consequently the poachers got many females, destroying the young seals
as well as the mothers, cutting off the source of supply, and leaving a
preponderance of 'bachelors,' or useless males."

What a chance for the writer of sex stories! Why dally with the human
race when seals are living such a lurid life? Here is a brand-new field:
The heroine a soft-eyed female with a hide like velvet; the hero a
dashing, splashing male. Sweet communions on the rocks at sunset, and
long swims side by side. But one night on the cliffs, beneath the moon
comes the blond beast of a bachelor, a seal absolutely unscrupulous and
of the lowest animal impulses. Then the climax--the Jack London stuff:
the fight on the edge of the cliff; the cry, the body hurtling to the
rocks below. And, of course, a happy ending--love on a cake of ice.

Old John Jacob Astor, founder of the Astor fortune, was a partner in the
American Fur Company of St. Louis of which Pierre Chouteau was
president. A letter written to Chouteau by Astor just before his
retirement from the fur business gives as the reason for his withdrawal
the following:

     I very much fear beaver will not sell very well very soon unless
     very fine. It appears that they make hats of silk in place of
     beaver.

Beaver was at that time the most valuable skin, and had been used until
then for the making of tall hats; but the French were beginning to make
silk hats, and Astor believed that in that fact was presaged the
downfall of the beaver trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

Club life in St. Louis is very highly developed. There are of course the
usual clubs which one expects to find in every large city: The St. Louis
Club, a solid old organization; the University Club, and a fine new
Country Club, large and well designed. Also there is a Racquet Club, an
agreeable and very live institution now holding the national
championship in double racquets, which is vested in the team of Davis
and Wear. The Davis of this pair is Dwight F. Davis, an exceedingly
active and able young man who, aside from many other interests, is a
member of the City Plan Commission, commissioner in charge of the very
excellent parks of St. Louis, and giver of the famous Davis Cup,
emblematic of the world's team tennis championship.

But the characteristic club note of St. Louis is struck by the very
small, exclusive clubs. One is the Florissant Valley Country Club, with
a pleasant, simple clubhouse and a very charming membership. But the
most famous little club of the city, and one of the most famous in the
United States, is the Log Cabin Club. I do not believe that in the
entire country there is another like it. The club is on the outskirts of
the city, and has its own golf course. Its house is an utterly
unostentatious frame building with a dining room containing a single
table at which all the members sit at meals together, like one large
family. The membership limit is twenty-five, and the list has never been
completely filled. There were twenty-one members, I was told, at the
time we were there, and besides being, perhaps, the most prominent men
in the city, these gentlemen are all intimates, so that the club has an
air of delightful informality which is hardly equaled in any other club
I know. The family spirit is further enhanced by the fact that no checks
are signed, the expense of operation being divided equally among the
members. Here originated the "Log Cabin game" of poker, which is now
known nationally in the most exalted poker circles. I should like to
explain this game to you, telling you all the hands, and how to bet on
them, but after an evening of practical instruction, I came away quite
baffled. Missouri is, you know, a poker State. Ordinary poker, as played
in the east, is a game too simple, too childlike, for the highly
specialized Missouri poker mind. I played poker twice in Missouri--that
is, I tried to play--but I might as well have tried to juggle with the
lightnings of the gods. No man has the least conception of that game
until he goes out to Missouri. There it is not merely a casual pastime;
it is a rite, a sacrament, a magnificent expression of a people. The Log
Cabin game is a thing of "kilters," skip-straights, around-the-corner
straights, and other complications. Three of a kind is very nearly
worthless. Throw it away after the draw if you like, pay a dollar and
get a brand-new hand.

But those are some simple little points to be picked up in an evening's
play, and a knowledge of the simple little points of such a game is
worse than worthless--it is expensive. To really learn the Log Cabin
game, you must give up your business, your dancing, and your home life,
move out to St. Louis, cultivate Log Cabin members (who are the high
priests of poker) and play with them until your family fortune has been
painlessly extracted. And however great the fortune, it is a small price
to pay for such adept instruction. When it is gone you will still fall
short of ordinary Missouri poker, and will be as a mere babe in the
hands of a Log Cabin member, but you will be absolutely sure of winning,
_anywhere outside the State_.

It seems logical that the city, which is beyond doubt the poker center
of the universe, should also have attained to eminence in drinks. It was
in St. Louis that two great drinks came into being. In the old days of
straight whisky, the term for three fingers of red liquor in a whisky
glass was a "ball." But there came from Austria a man named Enno
Sanders, who established a bottling works in St. Louis, and manufactured
seltzer. St. Louis liked the seltzer and presently it became the
practice to add a little of the bubbling water to the "ball." This
necessitated a taller glass, so men began to call for a "_high_ ball."

The weary traveler may be glad to know that the highball has not been
discontinued in St. Louis.

Another drink which originated in St. Louis is the gin rickey. Colonel
Rickey was born in Hannibal, Mo., of which town I shall write presently.
Later he moved to St. Louis and invented the famous rickey, which
immortalized his name--preserving it, as it were, in alcohol. The drink
was first served in a bar opposite the old Southern Hotel--a hotel
which, by the way, I regretted to see standing empty and deserted at the
time of my last visit, for, in its prime, it was a hotel among hotels.

I have tried to lead gradually, effectively to a climax. From clubs,
which are pleasant, I progressed to poker, which is pleasanter; from
poker I stepped ahead to highballs and gin rickeys. And now I am
prepared to reach my highest altitude. I intend to tell the very nicest
thing about St. Louis. And the nicest thing about St. Louis is the
nicest thing that there can be about a place.

It discounts primitive street cars, an ill-set railway station, and an
unfinished bridge. It sinks the parks, the botanical gardens, the art
museum into comparative oblivion. Small wonder that St. Louis seems to
ignore her minor weaknesses when she excels in this one thing--as she
must know she does.

The nicest thing about St. Louis is St. Louis girls.

In the first place, fashionable young women in St. Louis are quite as
gratifying to the eye as women anywhere. In the second place, they have
unusual poise. This latter quality is very striking, and it springs, I
fancy, from the town's conservatism and solidity. The young girls and
young men of the St. Louis social group have grown up together, as have
their parents and grandparents before them. They give one the feeling
that they are somehow rooted to the place, as no New Yorker is rooted to
New York. The social fabric of St. Louis changes little. The old
families live in the houses they have always lived in, instead of moving
from apartment to apartment every year or two. One does not feel the
nervous tug of social and financial straining, of that eternal
overreaching which one senses always in New York.

One day at luncheon I found myself between two very lovely
creatures--neither of them over twenty-two or twenty-three; both of them
endowed with the aplomb of older, more experienced, women--who endeared
themselves to me by talking critically about the works of Meredith--and
Joseph Conrad--and Leonard Merrick. Fancy that! Fancy their being pretty
girls yet having worth-while things to say--and about those three men!

And when the conversation drifted away from books to the topic which my
companion and I call "life stuff," and when I found them adept also in
that field, my appreciation of St. Louis became boundless.

It just occurs to me that, in publishing the fact that St. Louis girls
have brains I may have unintentionally done them an unkindness.

Once I asked a young English bachelor to my house for a week-end.

"I want you to come this week," I said, "because the prettiest girl I
know will be there."

"Delighted," he replied.

"She's a most unusual girl," I went on, "for, besides being a dream of
loveliness, she's clever."

"Oh," he said, "if she's clever, let me come some other time. I don't
like 'em clever. I like 'em pretty and stupid."



CHAPTER XIX

HANNIBAL AND MARK TWAIN


If black slaves are no longer bought and sold there, if the river
trade has dwindled, if the railroad and the factory have come,
bringing a larger population with them, if the town now has a
hundred-thousand-dollar city hall, a country club, and "fifty-six
passenger trains daily," it is, at all events, a pleasure to record the
fact that Hannibal, Missouri, retains to-day that look of soft and
shambling picturesqueness suitable to an old river town, and essential
to the "St. Petersburg" of fiction--the perpetual dwelling place of
those immortal boys, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Should this characterization of the town fail to meet with the approval
of the Hannibal Commercial Club, I regret it, for I honor the Commercial
Club because of its action toward the preservation of a thing so
uncommercial as the boyhood home of Mark Twain. But, after all, the club
must remember that, in its creditable effort to build up a newer and
finer Hannibal, a Hannibal of brick and granite, it is running counter
to the sentimental interests of innumerable persons who, though most of
them have never seen the old town and never will, yet think of it as
given to them by Mark Twain, with a peculiar tenderness, as though it
were a Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn among the cities--a ragged, happy boy of
a town, which ought never, never to grow up.

There is no more charming way of preserving the memory of an artist than
through the preservation of the house in which he lived, and that is
especially true where the artist was a literary man and where the house
has figured in his writings. What memorial to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, for
example, could equal the one in Portsmouth, N. H., where is preserved
the house in which the "Bad Boy" of the "Diary" used to live, even to
the furniture and the bedroom wall paper mentioned in the book? And what
monuments to Washington Irving could touch quite the note that is
touched by that old house in Tarrytown, N. Y., or that other old house
in Irving Place, in the city of New York, where the Authors' League of
America now has its headquarters?

With the exception of Stratford-on-Avon, I do not know of a community so
completely dominated by the memory of a great man of letters as is the
city of Hannibal by the memory of Mark Twain. There is, indeed, a
curious resemblance to be traced between the two towns. I don't mean a
physical resemblance, for no places could be less alike than the garden
town where Shakespeare lived and the pathetic wooden village of the
early west in which nine years of Mark Twain's boyhood were spent. The
resemblance is only in the majestic shadows cast over them by their
great men.

Thus, the hotel in Stratford is called The Shakespeare Hotel, while that
in Hannibal is The Mark Twain. Stratford has the house in which
Shakespeare was born; Hannibal the house in which Mark Twain lived--the
house of Tom Sawyer. Stratford has the cottage of Anne Hathaway;
Hannibal that of Becky Thatcher. And Hannibal has, furthermore, one
possession which lovers of the delightful Becky will hope may long be
spared to it--it possesses, in the person of Mrs. Laura Hawkins Frazer,
who is now matron of the Home for the Friendless, the original of Becky.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is said that a memorial tablet, intended to mark the birthplace of
Eugene Field in St. Louis, was placed, not only upon the wrong house,
but upon a house in the wrong street. Mark Twain unveiled the tablet;
one can fancy the spirits of these two Missouri literary men meeting
somewhere and smiling together over that. But if the shade of Mark Twain
should undertake to chaff that of the poet upon the fact that mortals
had erred as to the location of his birthplace, the shade of Field would
not be able to retort in kind, for--thanks partly to the fact that Mark
Twain was known for a genius while he was yet alive, and partly to the
indefatigable labors of his biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine--a vast
fund of accurate information has been preserved, covering the life of
the great Missourian, from the time of his birth in the little hamlet of
Florida, Mo., to his death in Reading, Conn. No; if the shade of Field
should wish to return the jest, it would probably call the humorist's
attention to a certain memorial tablet in the Mark Twain house in
Hannibal. But of that presently.

I have said that the Commercial Club honored Mark Twain's memory. That
is true. But the Commercial Club would not be a Commercial Club if it
did not also wish the visitor to take into consideration certain other
matters. In effect it says to him: "Yes, indeed, Mark Twain spent the
most important part of his boyhood here. But we wish you to understand
that Hannibal is a busy, growing town. We have the cheapest electric
power in the Mississippi Valley. We offer free factory sites. We--"

"Yes," you say, "but where is the Mark Twain house?"

"Oh--" says Hannibal, catching its breath. "Go right on up Main to Hill
Street; you'll find it just around the corner. Any one will point it out
to you. There's a bronze tablet in the wall. But put this little
pamphlet in your pocket. It tells all about our city. You can read it at
your leisure."

You take the pamphlet and move along up Main Street. And if there is a
sympathetic native with you he will stop you at the corner of Main and
Bird--they call it Wildcat Corner--and point out a little wooden shanty
adjoining a nearby alley, where, it is said, Mark Twain's father, John
Marshall Clemens, had his office when he was Justice of the Peace--the
same office in which Samuel Clemens in his boyhood saw the corpse lying
on the floor, by moonlight, as recounted in "The Innocents Abroad."

[Illustration: We came upon the "Mark Twain House".... And to think
that, wretched as this place was, the Clemens family were forced to
leave it for a time because they were too poor to live there!]

It was at Wildcat Corner, too, that the boys conducted that famous piece
of high finance: trading off the green watermelon, which they had
stolen, for a ripe one, on the allegation that the former had been
purchased.

Also near the corner stands the building in which Joseph Ament had the
office of his newspaper, the "Missouri Courier," where young Sam Clemens
first went to work as an apprentice, doing errands and learning to set
type; and there are many other old buildings having some bearing on the
history of the Clemens family, including one at the corner of Main and
Hill Streets, in the upper story of which the family lived for a time, a
building somewhat after the Greek pattern so prevalent throughout the
south in the early days. Once, when he revisited Hannibal after he had
become famous, Mark Twain stopped before that building and told Mr.
George A. Mahan that he remembered when it was erected, and that at the
time the fluted pilasters on the front of it constituted his idea of
reckless extravagance--that, indeed, the ostentation of them startled
the whole town.

Turning into Bird Street and passing the old Pavey Hotel, we came upon
the "Mark Twain House," a tiny box of a cottage, its sagging front so
taken up with five windows and a door that there is barely room for the
little bronze plaque which marks the place. At one side is an alley
running back to the house of Huckleberry Finn, on the next street (Huck,
as Paine tells us, was really a boy named Tom Blankenship), and in that
alley stood the historic fence which young Sam Clemens cajoled the other
boys into whitewashing for him, as related in "Tom Sawyer."

Inside the house there is little to be seen. It is occupied now by a
custodian who sells souvenir post cards, and has but few Mark Twain
relics to show--some photographs and autographs; nothing of importance.
But, despite that, I got a real sensation as I stood in the little
parlor, hardly larger than a good-sized closet, and realized that in
that miserable shanty grew up the wild, barefoot boy who has since been
called "the greatest Missourian" and "America's greatest literary man,"
and that in and about that place he gathered the impressions and had the
adventures which, at the time, he himself never dreamed would be made by
him into books--much less books that would be known as classics.

In the front room of the cottage a memorial tablet is to be seen. It is
a curious thing. At the top is the following inscription:

     THIS BUILDING PRESENTED TO THE
           CITY OF HANNIBAL,
             MAY 7, 1912,
                 BY
     MR. AND MRS. GEORGE A. MAHAN
           AS A MEMORIAL TO
             MARK TWAIN

Beneath the legend is a portrait bust of the author in bas relief. At
the bottom of the tablet is another inscription. From across the room I
saw that it was set off in quotation marks, and assuming, of course,
that it was some particularly suitable extract from the works of the
most quotable of all Americans, I stepped across and read it. This is
what it said:

     "MARK TWAIN'S LIFE TEACHES THAT POVERTY IS AN INCENTIVE RATHER THAN
     A BAR: AND THAT ANY BOY, HOWEVER HUMBLE HIS BIRTH AND SURROUNDINGS,
     MAY BY HONESTY AND INDUSTRY ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS."

          --GEORGE A. MAHAN.

That inscription made me think of many things. It made me think of
Napoleon's inscription on the statue of Henri IV, and of Judge
Thatcher's talk with Tom Sawyer, in the Sunday school, and of Mr.
Walters, the Sunday school superintendent, in the same book, and of
certain moral lessons drawn by Andrew Carnegie. And not the least thing
of which it made me think was the mischievous, shiftless, troublesome,
sandy-haired young rascal who hated school and Sunday school and yet
became the more than honest, more than industrious man, commemorated
there.

If I did not feel the inspiration of that place while considering the
tablet, the back yard gave me real delight. There were the old
outhouses, the old back stair, the old back fence, and the little window
looking down on them--the window of Tom Sawyer, beneath which, in the
gloaming, Huckleberry Finn made catcalls to summon forth his fellow
bucaneer. And here, below the window, was the place where Pamela
Clemens, Sam's sister, the original of Cousin Mary in "Tom Sawyer," had
her candy pull on that evening when a boy, in his undershirt, came
tumbling from above.

And to think that, wretched as this place was, the Clemens family were
forced to leave it for a time because they were too poor to live there!
Of a certainty Mark Twain's early life was as squalid as his later life
was rich. However, it was always colorful--he saw to that, straight
through from the barefoot days to those of the white suits, the Oxford
gown, and the European courts.

Not far back of the house rises the "Cardiff Hill" of the stories; in
reality, Holliday's Hill, so called because long ago there lived, up at
the top, old Mrs. Holliday, who burned a lamp in her window every night
as a mark for river pilots to run by. It was down that hill that the
boys rolled the stones which startled churchgoers, and that final,
enormous rock which, by a fortunate freak of chance, hurdled a negro and
his wagon instead of striking and destroying them. Ah, how rich in racy
memories are those streets! Somewhere among them, in that part of town
which has come to be called "Mark-Twainville," is the very spot,
unmarked and unknown, where young Sam Clemens picked up a scrap of
newspaper upon which was printed a portion of the tale of Joan of
Arc--a scrap of paper which, Paine says, gave him his first literary
stimulus. And somewhere else, not far from the house, is the place where
Orion Clemens, Sam's elder brother, ran the ill-starred newspaper on
which Sam worked, setting type and doing his first writing. It was,
indeed, in Orion's paper that Sam's famous verse, "To Mary in Hannibal,"
was published--the title condensed, because of the narrow column, to
read: "To Mary in H--l."

[Illustration: At one side is an alley running back to the house of
Huckleberry Finn, and in that alley stood the historic fence which young
Sam Clemens cajoled the other boys into whitewashing for him]

Along the crest of the bluffs, overlooking the river, the city of
Hannibal has made for itself a charming park, and at the highest point
in this park there is to be unveiled, in a short time, a statue of
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, which, from its position, will command a view
of many leagues of mile-wide Mississippi. It is peculiarly fitting that
the memorial should be stationed in that place. Mark Twain loved the
river. Even though it almost "got" him in his boyhood (he had "nine
narrow escapes from drowning") he adored it; later, when his youthful
ambition to become a river pilot was attained, he still adored it; and
finally he wrote his love of it into that masterpiece, "Life on the
Mississippi," of which Arnold Bennett has said: "I would sacrifice for
it the entire works of Thackeray and George Eliot."

Looking up the river from the spot where the statue will be placed, one
may see Turtle Island, where Tom and Huck used to go and feast on
turtle's eggs--rowing there in that boat which, after they had so
"honestly and industriously" stolen it, they painted red, that its
former proprietor might not recognize it. Below is Glascox Island, where
Nigger Jim hid. Glascox Island is often called Tom Sawyer's Island, or
Mark Twain's Island, now. Not far below the island is the "scar on the
hill-side" which marks the famous cave.

"For Sam Clemens," says Paine in his biography, "the cave had a
fascination that never faded. Other localities and diversions might
pall, but any mention of the cave found him always eager and ready for
the three-mile walk or pull that brought them to the mystic door."

I suggested to my companion that, for the sake of sentiment, we, too,
approach the cave by rowing down the river. And, having suggested the
plan, I offered to take upon myself the heaviest responsibility
connected with it--that of piloting the boat in these unfamiliar waters.
All I required of him was the mere manual act of working the oars. To my
amazement he refused. I fear that he not only lacks sentiment, but that
he is becoming lazy.

We drove out to the cave in a Ford car.

Do you remember when Tom Sawyer took the boys to the cave at night, in
"Huckleberry Finn"?

"We went to a clump of bushes," says Huck, "and Tom made everybody swear
to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, right in
the thickest part of the bushes. Then we lit candles and crawled in on
our hands and knees. We went about two hundred yards, and then the cave
opened up. Tom poked about among the passages, and pretty soon ducked
under a wall where you wouldn't 'a' noticed there was a hole. We went
along a narrow place and got into a kind of room, all damp and sweaty
and cold, and there we stopped. Tom says: 'Now we'll start this band of
robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join has
got to take an oath and write his name in blood.'"

That is the sort of cave it is--a wonderful, mysterious place, black as
India ink; a maze of passage-ways and vaulted rooms, eaten by the waters
of long ago through the limestone cliffs; a seemingly endless cavern
full of stalactites and stalagmites, looking like great conical masses
of candle grease; a damp, oppressive labyrinth of eerie rock formations,
to kindle the most bloodcurdling imaginings.

As we moved in, away from the daylight, illuminating our way, feebly,
with such matches as we happened to have with us, and with newspaper
torches, the man who had driven us out there told us about the cave.

"They ain't no one ever explored it," he said. "'S too big. Why, they's
a lake in here--quite a big lake, with fish in it. And they's an arm of
the cave that goes away down underneath the river. They say they's
wells, too--holes with no bottoms to 'em. Prob'ly that's where them
people went to that's got lost in the cave."

"Have people gotten lost in here?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," he said cheerfully. "They say there's some that's gone in and
never come out again. She's quite a cave."

I began to walk more gingerly into the blackness.

"I suppose," I said to him presently, "there are toads and snakes and
such things here?"

He hastened to set my mind at rest on that.

"Oh, Lord bless you, yes!" he declared. "Bats, too."

"And I suppose some of those holes you speak of are full of snakes?"

"Most likely." His voice reverberated in the darkness. "But I can't be
sure. Nobody that's ever been in them holes ain't lived to tell the
tale."

By this time we had reached a point at which no glimmer of light from
the mouth of the cave was visible. We were feeling our way along,
running our hands over the damp rocks and putting our feet before us
with the utmost caution. I knew, of course, that it would add a good
deal to my story if one of our party fell into a hole and was never
again heard from, but the more I thought about it the more advisable it
seemed to me that I should not be that one. I had an engagement for
dinner that evening, and besides, if I fell in, who would write the
story? Certainly the driver of the auto-hack, for all his good will,
could hardly do it justice; whereas, if he fell in I could at a pinch
drive the little Ford back to the city.

I dropped behind. But when I did that he stopped.

"I just stopped for breath," I said. "You can keep on and I'll follow in
a minute."

"No," he answered, "I'll wait for you. I'm out of breath, too. Besides,
I don't want you to get lost in here."

At this juncture my companion, who had moved a little way off, gave a
frightful yell, which echoed horribly through the cavern.

I could not see him. I did not know what was the matter. Never mind! My
one thought was of him. Perhaps he had been attacked by a wildcat or a
serpent. Well, he was my fellow traveler, and I would stand by him! Even
the chauffeur of the hack seemed to feel the same way. Together we
turned and ran toward the place whence we thought the voice might have
come--that is to say, toward the mouth of the cave. But when we reached
it he wasn't there.

"He must be back in the cave, after all," I said to the driver.

"Yes," he agreed.

"Now, I tell you," I said. "We mustn't both go in after him. One of us
ought to stay here and call to the others to guide them out. I'll do
that. I have a good strong voice. And you go in and find out what's the
matter. You know the cave better than I do."

"Oh, no I don't," said the man.

"Why certainly you do!" I said.

"I wasn't never into the cave before," he said. "Leastways not nowhere
near as far as we was this time."

"But you live right here in Hannibal," I insisted. "You _must_ know more
about it than I do. I live in New York. What could I know about a cave
away out here in Missouri?"

"Well, you know just as much as I do, anyhow," he returned doggedly.

"Look here!" I said sharply. "I hope you aren't a coward? The idea! A
great big fellow like you, too!"

However, at that juncture, our argument was stopped by the appearance of
the missing man. He strolled into the light in leisurely fashion.

"What happened?" I cried.

"Happened?" he repeated. "Nothing happened. Why?"

"You yelled, didn't you?"

"Yes," he said, "I wanted to hear the echoes."

       *       *       *       *       *

Before leaving Hannibal that afternoon, we had the pleasure of meeting
an old school friend of Samuel Clemens's, Colonel John L. RoBards--the
same John RoBards of whom it is recorded in Paine's work that "he wore
almost continually the medal for amiability, while Samuel Clemens had a
mortgage on the medal for spelling."

Colonel RoBards is still amiable. He took us to his office, showed us a
scrap-book containing clippings in which he was mentioned in connection
with Mark Twain, and told us of old days in the log schoolhouse.

Seeing that I was making notes, the Colonel called my attention politely
to the spelling of his name, requesting that I get it right. Then he
explained to me the reason for the capital B, beginning the second
syllable.

"I may say, sir," he explained in his fine Southern manner, "that I
inserted that capital B myself. At least I converted the small B into a
capital. I am a Kentuckian, sir, and in Kentucky my family name stands
for something. It is a name that I am proud to bear, and I do not like
to be called out of it. But up here I was continually annoyed by the
errors of careless persons. Frequently they would fail to give the
accent on the final syllable, where it should be placed, sir--Ro_Bards_;
that is the way it should be pronounced--but even worse, it happened now
and then that some one called me by the plebeian appellation, Roberts.
That was most distasteful to me, sir. _Most_ distasteful. For that
reason I use the capital B for emphasis."

I was glad to assure the Colonel that in these pages his name would be
correctly spelled, and I call him to witness that I spoke the truth. I
repeat, the name is RoBards. And it is borne by a most amiable
gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. F. W. Hixson of St. Louis has in his possession an autograph book
which belonged to his mother when she was a young girl (Ann Virginia
Ruffner), residing in Hannibal. In this book, Sam Clemens wrote a verse
at the time when he was preparing to leave the town where he had spent
his youth. I reproduce that boyish bit of doggerel here, solely for the
value of one word which it contains:

     Good-by, good-by,
     I bid you now, my friend;
     And though 'tis hard to say the word,
     To destiny I bend.

Never, in his most perfect passages, did Samuel Clemens hit more
certainly upon the one right word than when in this verse he wrote the
second word in the last line.

And what a destiny it was!

[Illustration: Never outside of Brittany and Normandy have I seen roads
so full of animals as those of Pike County]



CHAPTER XX

PIKE AND POKER


It was before we left St. Louis that I received a letter inviting us to
visit in the town of Louisiana, Mo. I quote a portion of it:

     Louisiana is in Pike County, a county famous for its big red
     apples, miles of rock roads, fine old estates, Rhine scenery,
     capons, rare old country hams, and poker. Pike County means more to
     Missouri than Missouri does to Pike.

     Do you remember "Jim Bludso of the 'Prairie Belle'"?

       _He weren't no saint--them engineers
         Is pretty much all alike--
       One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill
         And another one here in Pike._

     We can show you "the willer-bank on the right," where Bludso ran
     the 'Prairie Belle' aground and made good with his life his old
     promise:

       _I'll hold her nozzle agin the bank
       Till the last galoot's ashore._

     We can also show you the home of Champ Clark, and the largest
     nursery in the world, and a meadow where, twenty-five years ago, a
     young fellow threw down his hayfork and said to his companion:
     "Sam, I'm going to town to study law with Champ Clark. Some day I'm
     going to be Governor of this State." He was Elliott W. Major, and
     he is Governor to-day.

The promise held forth by this letter appealed to me. It is always
interesting to see whether a man like Champ Clark lives in a house with
ornamental iron fences on the roof and iron urns in the front yard;
likewise there is a sort of fascination for a man of my extensive
ignorance, in hearing not merely how the Governor of Missouri decided to
become Governor, but in finding out his name. Then those hams and
capons--how many politicians can compare for interest with a tender
capon or a fine old country ham? And perhaps more alluring to me than
any of these was the idea of going to visit in a strange State, and a
strange town, and a strange house--the house of a total stranger.

We accepted.

Our host met us with his touring car and proceeded to make good his
promises about the nursery, and the scenery, and the roads, and the
estates, and as we bowled along he told us about "Pike." It is indeed a
great county. And the fact that it was originally settled by Virginians,
Kentuckians, and Carolinians still stamps it strongly with the qualities
of the South. Though north of St. Louis on the map, it is south of St.
Louis in its spirit. Indeed, Louisiana is the most Southern town in
appearance and feeling that we visited upon our travels. The broad black
felt hats one sees about the streets, the luxuriant mustaches and
goatees--all these things mark the town, and if they are not enough, you
should see "Indy" Gordon as she walks along puffing at a bulldog pipe
black as her own face.

Never outside of Brittany and Normandy have I seen roads so full of
animals as those of Pike County. From the great four-horse teams,
drawing produce to and from the beautiful estate called "Falicon," to
the mule teams and the saddle horses and the cows and pigs and chickens
and dogs, all the quadrupeds and bipeds domesticated by mankind were
there upon the roads to meet us and to protest, by various antics,
against the invasion of the motor car. Dogs hurled themselves at the car
as though to suicide; chickens extended themselves in shrieking dives
across our course; pigs arose from the luxurious mud with grunts of
frantic disapproval, and cantered heavily into the fields; cows trotted
lumberingly before us, their hind legs and their fore legs moving, it
seemed, without relation to each other; a goat ran round and round the
tree to which he was attached; mules pointed their ears to heaven, and
opened their eyes wide in horror and amazement; beautiful saddle horses
bearing countrymen, or rosy-cheeked young women from the farms, tried to
climb into the boughs of wayside trees for safety, and four-horse teams
managed to get themselves involved in a manner only rivaled by a ball of
yarn with which a kitten is allowed to work its own sweet will.

Our host took all these matters calmly. When a mule protested at our
presence on the road, it would merely serve as a reminder that, "Pike
County furnished most of the mules for the Spanish war"; or, when a
saddle horse showed signs of homicidal purpose, it would draw the calm
observation, "Pike is probably the greatest county in the whole United
States for saddle horses. 'Missouri King,' the undefeated champion
saddle horse of the world, was raised here."

So we progressed amid the outraged animals.

My feeling as I alighted at last on the step before our host's front
door was one of definite relief. For dinner is the meal I care for most,
and man, with all his faults, the animal I most enjoy.

The house was genial like its owner--it was just the sort of house I
like; large and open, with wide halls, spacious rooms, comfortable beds
and chairs, and ash trays everywhere.

"I've asked some men in for dinner and a little game," our host informed
us, as he left us to our dressing.

Presently we heard motors arriving in the drive, beneath our windows.
When we descended, the living room was filled with men in dinner suits.
(Oh, yes; they wear them in those Mississippi River towns, and they fit
as well as yours does!)

When we had been introduced we all moved to the dining room.

At each place was a printed menu with the heading "At Home Abroad"--a
hospitable inversion of the general title of these chapters--and with
details as follows:

A COUNTRY DINNER

         Old Pike County ham,
         Pike County capons
     and other Pike County essentials,
       with Pike County Colonels.

At the bottom of the card was this--shall I call it warning?

     Senator Warner once said to Colonel Roosevelt: "_Pike County babies
     cut their teeth on poker chips_."

I have already said that Pike is a county with a Southern savor, but I
had not realized how fully that was true until I dined there. I will not
say that I have never tasted such a dinner, for truth I hold even above
politeness. All I will say is that if ever before I had met with such a
meal the memory of it has departed--and, I may add, my memory for famous
meals is considered good to the point of irritation.

The dinner (save for the "essentials") was entirely made up of products
of the county. More, it was even supervised and cooked by county
products, for two particularly sweet young ladies, members of the
family, were flying around the kitchen in their pretty evening gowns,
helping and directing Molly.

Molly is a pretty mulatto girl. Her skin is like a smooth, light-colored
bronze, her eye is dark and gentle, like that of some domesticated
animal, her voice drawls in melodious cadences, and she has a sort of
shyness which is very fetching.

"Ah cain't cook lak they used to cook in the ole days," she smiled in
response to my tribute to the dinner, later. "The Kuhnel was askin' jus'
th' othah day if ah could make 'im some ash cake, but ah haid to tell
'im ah couldn't. Ah've seen ma gran'fatha make it lots o' times, but
folks cain't make it no mo', now-a-days."

Poor benighted Northerner that I am, I had to ask what ash cake was. It
is a kind of corn cake, Molly told me, the parent, so to speak, of the
corn dodger, and the grandparent of hoecake. It has to be prepared
carefully and then cooked in the hot ashes--cooked "jes so," as Molly
said.

Having learned about ash cake, I demanded more Pike County culinary
lore, whereupon I was told, partly by my host, and partly by Molly,
about the oldtime wedding cooks.

Wedding cooks were the best cooks in the South, supercooks, with
state-wide reputations. When there was a wedding a dinner was given at
the home of the bride, for all the wedding guests, and it was in the
preparation of this repast that the wedding cook of the bride's family
showed what she could do. That dinner was on the day of the wedding. On
the next day the entire company repaired to the home of the groom's
family, where another dinner was served--a dinner in which the wedding
cook belonging to this family tried to outdo that of the day before.
This latter feast was known as the "infair." But all these old Southern
customs seem to have departed now, along with the wedding cooks
themselves. The latter very seldom came to sale, being regarded as the
most valuable of all slaves. Once in a while when some leading family
was in financial difficulties and was forced to sell its wedding cook
she would bring as much as eight or ten times the price of an ordinary
female slave.

       *       *       *       *       *

After dinner, when we moved out to the living room, we found a large,
green table all in place, with the chips arranged in little piles. But
let me introduce you to the players.

First, there was Colonel Edgar Stark, our host, genial and warm-hearted
over dinner; cold and inscrutable behind his spectacles when poker chips
appeared.

Then Colonel Charlie Buffum, heavily built, but with a similar dual
personality.

Then Colonel Frank Buffum, State Highway Commissioner; or, as some one
called him later in the evening, when the chips began to gather at his
place, State "highwayman."

Then Colonel Dick Goodman, banker, raconteur, and connoisseur of edibles
and "essentials."

Then Colonel George S. Cake, who, when not a Colonel, is a Commodore:
commander of the "Betsy," flagship of the Louisiana Yacht Club, and the
most famous craft to ply the Mississippi since the "Prairie Belle."
(Don't "call" Colonel Cake when he raises you and at the same time
raises his right eyebrow.)

Then Colonel Dick Hawkins, former Collector of the Port of St. Louis,
and more recently (since there has been so little in St. Louis to
collect) a gentleman farmer. (Colonel Hawkins always wins at poker. The
question is not "Will he win?" but "How much?")

Only two men in the game were not, so far as I discovered, Colonels.

One, Major Dave Wald, has been held back in title because of time
devoted to the pursuit of literature. Major Wald has written a book. The
subject of the book is Poker. As a tactician, he is perhaps unrivaled in
Missouri. He will look at a hand and instantly declare the percentage of
chance it stands of filling in the draw, according to the law of chance.
One hand will be, to Major Wald, a "sixteen-time hand"; another a
"thirty-two time hand," and so on--meaning that the player has one
chance in sixteen, or in thirty-two, of filling.

The other player was merely a plain "Mister," like ourselves--Mr. John
W. Matson, the corporation lawyer. At first I felt sorry for Mr. Matson.
It seemed hard that the rank of Colonel had been denied him. But when I
saw him shuffle and deal, I was no longer sorry for him, but for myself.
With the possible exception of General Bob Williams (who won't play any
more now that he has been appointed postmaster), and Colonel Clarence
Buell, who used to play in the big games on the Mississippi boats, Mr.
Matson can shuffle and deal more rapidly and more accurately than any
man in Missouri.

Colonel Buell was present, as was Colonel Lloyd Stark, but neither
played. Colonel Buell had intended to, but on being told that my
companion and I were from New York he declined to "take the money." The
Colonel--but to say "the Colonel" in Pike County is hardly
specific--Colonel Buell, I mean, is the same gentleman who fought the
Indians, long ago, with Buffalo Bill, and who later acted as treasurer
of the Wild West Show on its first trip to Europe. Some one informed me
that the Colonel--Colonel Buell, I mean--was a capitalist, but the
information was beside the mark, for I had already seen the diamond ring
he wears--a most remarkable piece of landscape gardening.

During the evening Colonel Buell, who stood for an hour or two and
watched the play, spoke of certain things that he had seen and done
which, as I estimated it, could not have been seen or done within the
last sixty years. "How old is Colonel Buell?" I asked another Colonel.

"Colonel," asked the Colonel, "how old are you?"

"Colonel," replied the Colonel, "I am exactly in my prime."

"I know that, Colonel," said the Colonel, "but what is your age?"

"Colonel," returned the Colonel suavely, "I have forgotten my exact age.
But I know that I am somewhere between eighty and one hundred and
forty-two."

It was Mr. Matson's deal. He dealt. The cards passed through the air and
fell, one on the other, in neat piles. (If you prefer it, Mr. Matson can
drop a fan-shaped hand before you, all ready to pick up.) And from the
time that the first hand was played I knew that here, as in St. Louis,
my companion and I were babes among the lions. I do not know how he
played, but I do know that I played along as best I could, only trying
not to lose too much money at once.

But why rehearse the pathetic story? I spoke in a former chapter of
Missouri poker, and Pike County is a county in Missouri. Bet on a good
pat hand and some one always holds a better one. Bluff and they call
you. Call and they beat you. There is no way of winning from Missouri.
Missouri poker players are mahatmas. They have an occult sense of cards.
Babes at their mothers' breasts can tell the difference between a
straight and a flush long before they have the power of speech. Once,
while in Pike County, I asked a little boy how many brothers and sisters
he had. "One brother and three sisters," he replied, and added: "A full
house."

The Missouri gentlemen, so gay, so genial, at the dinner table, take on
a frigid look when the cards and chips appear. They turn from gentle,
kindly human beings into relentless, ravening wolves, each intent upon
the thought of devouring the other. And when, over a poker game, some
player seems to enter into a pleasant conversation, the other players
know that even that is a bluff--a blind to cover up some diabolic plot.

Once during the game, for instance, Colonel Hawkins started in to tell
me something of his history. And I, bland simpleton, believed we were
conversing _sans_ ulterior motive.

"I used to be in politics," he said. "Then I was in the banking
business. But I've gone back to farming now, because it is the only
honest business in the world. In fact--"

But at that juncture the steely voices of half the other players at the
table interrupted.

"Ante!" they cried. "Ante, farmer!"

Whereupon Colonel Hawkins, who by that time had to crane his neck to see
the table over his pile of chips--a pile of chips like the battlements
of some feudal lord--anted suavely.

By midnight Colonel Buell, who had stood behind me for a time and
watched my play, showed signs of fatigue and anguish. And a little
later, after having seen me try to "put it over" with three sixes, he
sighed heavily and went home--a fine, slender, courtly figure, straight
as a gun barrel, walking sadly out into the night. Next Major Wald
ceased to play for himself, but began to take an interest in my hand.
Under his supervision during the last fifteen minutes of the game I made
a tiny dent in Colonel Hawkins's stacks of chips. But it is only just to
Colonel Hawkins to say that, by that time, the Missourians were so sorry
for us that they were making the most desperate efforts not to win from
us any more than they could help.

When the game broke up, Major Wald and Colonel Hawkins showed concern
about our future.

"How far are you young men going, did you say?" asked Colonel Hawkins.

"To the Pacific Coast," I answered.

At that the two veteran poker players looked at each other solemnly, in
silence, and shook their heads.

"All the way to the coast, eh?" demanded Major Wald. Then: "Do you
expect to play cards much as you go along?"

I wished to uphold the honor of New York as best I could, so I tried to
reply gamely.

"Oh, yes," I said. "Whenever anybody wants a game they'll find us
ready."

Again I saw them exchange glances.

"You tell him, Major," said Colonel Hawkins, walking away.

"Young man," said Major Wald, placing his hand kindly on my shoulder, "I
played poker before you were born. I know a good deal about it. You
wouldn't take offense if I gave you a pointer about your game?"

"On the contrary," I said, thinking I was about to hear the inner
secrets of Missouri poker, "I shall be most grateful."

"If I advise you," he pursued, "will you agree to follow my advice?"

"Certainly."

"Well," said the Major, "don't you play poker any more while you're in
the West. Wait till you get back to New York."

       *       *       *       *       *

Seeing the houses of the players next day as I drove about the county, I
suspected that even these had been built around the game of poker, for
each house has ample accommodations for the "gang" in case the game
lasts until too late to go home. In the winter the games occur at the
houses of the different Colonels, and there is always a dinner first.
But it is in summer that the greatest games occur, for then it is the
immemorial custom for the Colonels (and Major Wald and Mr. Matson, too,
of course) to charter a steamer and go out on the river. These
excursions sometimes last for the better part of a week. Sometimes they
cruise. Sometimes they go ashore upon an island and camp. "We take a
tribe of cooks and a few cases of 'essentials,'" one of the Colonels
explained to me, "and the game never stops at all."

My companion and I were tired. The mental strain had told upon us. Soon
after the Colonels, the Major, and Mr. Matson went, we retired. It
seemed to me that I had hardly closed my eyes when I heard a faint rap
at my bedroom door. But I must have slept, for there was sunlight
streaming through the window.

"What is it?" I called.

The voice of our host replied.

"Breakfast will be ready any time you want it," he declared. "Will you
have your toddy now?"

Ah! Pike is a great county!

And what do you suppose we had for breakfast? At the center of the table
was a pile of the most beautiful and enormous red apples--fragrant
apples, giving a sweet, appetizing scent which filled the room. I had
thought before that I knew something about apples, but when I tasted
these I became aware that no merely good apple, no merely fine apple,
would ever satisfy my taste again. These apples, which are known as the
"Delicious," are to all other apples that I know as Missouri poker is to
all other poker. They are in a class absolutely alone, and, in case you
get some on a lucky day, I want to tell you how to eat them with your
breakfast. Don't eat them as you eat an ordinary apple, but either fry
them, with a slice of bacon, or cut them up and take them as you do
peaches--that is, with cream and sugar. Did you ever see an apple with
flesh white and firm, yet tender as a pear at the exact point of perfect
ripeness? Did you ever taste an apple that seemed actually to melt upon
your tongue? That is the sort of apple we had for breakfast.



CHAPTER XXI

OLD RIVER DAYS


Later we motored to the town of Clarksville, some miles down the
river--a town which huddles along the bank, as St. Louis must have in
her early days. Being a small, straggling village which has not, if one
may judge from appearances, progressed or even changed in fifty years,
Clarksville out-Hannibals Hannibal. Or, perhaps, it is to-day the kind
of town that Hannibal was when Mark Twain was a boy. In its decay it is
theatrically perfect.

Our motor stopped before the bank, and we were introduced to the editor
of the local paper, which is called "The Piker."

The bank is, in appearance, contemporary with the town. The fittings are
of the period of the Civil War--walnut, as I recall them. And there are
red glass signs over the little window grilles bearing the legends
"Cashier" and "President."

In the back room we met the president, Mr. John O. Roberts, a gentleman
over eighty years of age, who can sit back, with his feet upon his desk,
smoke cigars, and, from a cloud of smoke, exude the most delightful
stories of old days on the Mississippi. For Mr. Roberts was clerk on
river boats more than sixty years ago, in the golden days of the great
stream. There, too, we had the good fortune to meet Professor M. S.
Goodman, who was born in Missouri in 1837, and founded the Clarksville
High School in 1865. The professor has written the history of Pike
County--but that is a big story all by itself.

In the old days Pike County embraced many of the other present counties,
and, running all the way from the Mississippi to the Missouri River, was
as large as a good-sized State. Pike has colonized more Western country
than any other county in Missouri; or, as Professor Goodman put it, "The
west used to be full of Pike County men who had pushed out there with
their guns and bottles."

"Yes," added Mr. Roberts in his dry, crackling tone, "and wherever they
went they always wanted office."

I asked Mr. Roberts about the famous poker games on the river boats.

"I antedate poker," he said. "The old river card game was called 'Brag.'
It was out of brag that the game of poker developed. A steward on one of
the boats once told me that he and the other boys had picked up more
than a hundred dollars from the floor of a room in which Henry Clay and
some friends had been playing brag."

Golden days indeed!--and for every one. The steamboat companies made
fabulous returns on their investments.

[Illustration: Mr. Roberts is a wonder--nothing less. There's a book in
him, and I hope that somebody will write it, for I should like to read
that book]

"In '54 and '55," said Mr. Roberts, "I worked for the St. Louis & Keokuk
Packet Company, a line owning three boats, which weren't worth over
$75,000. That company cleaned up as much as $150,000 clear profit in one
season. And, of course, a season wasn't an entire year, either. It would
open about March first and end in December or, in a mild winter,
January.

"But I tell you we used to drive those boats. We'd shoot up to the docks
and land our passengers and mail and freight without so much as tying up
or even stopping. We'd just scrape along the dock and then be off again.

"The highest fare ever charged between St. Louis and Keokuk was $4 for
the 200 miles. That included a berth, wine, and the finest old Southern
cooking a man ever tasted. The best cooks I've ever seen in my life were
those old steamboat cooks. And we gave 'em good stuff to cook, too. We
bought the best of everything. You ought to see the steaks we had for
breakfast! The officers used to sit at the ladies' end of the table and
serve out of big chafing dishes. I tell you those were _meals_!

"There was lots going on all the time on the river. I remember one trip
I made in '52 in the old 'Di Vernon'--all the boats in the line were
named for characters in Scott's novels. We were coming from New Orleans
with 350 German immigrants on deck and 100 Californians in the cabin.
The Californians were sports and they had a big game going all the time.
We had two gamblers on board, too--John McKenzie and his partner, a man
named Wilburn. They used to come on to the boats at different places,
and make out to be farmers, and not acquainted with each other, and
there was always something doing when they got into the game.

"Well, this time cholera broke out among the immigrants on the deck.
They began dying on us. But we had a deckload of lumber, so we were well
fixed to handle 'em. We took the lumber and built coffins for 'em, and
when they'd die we'd put 'em in the coffins and save 'em until we got
enough to make it worth stopping to bury 'em. Then we'd tie up by some
woodyard and be loading up with wood for the furnaces while the burying
was going on. Some twenty-five or thirty of 'em died on that trip, and
we planted 'em at various points along the way. And all the while, up
there in the cabin, the big game was going on--each fellow trying to
cheat the other.

"After we got to St. Louis there was a report that we'd buried a man
with $3,500 sewed into his clothes. Of course we didn't know which was
which or where we'd buried this man. Well, sir, that started the
greatest bunch of mining operations along the river bank between New
Orleans and St. Louis that anybody ever saw! Every one was digging for
that German. Far as I heard, though, they never found a dollar of him."

Some one in Clarksville (in my notes I neglected to set down the origin
of this particular item) told me that the term "stateroom" originated
on the Mississippi boats, where the various rooms were named after the
States of the Union, a legend which, if true, is worth preserving.

Another interesting item relates to the origin of the slang term
"piker," which, whatever it may have meant originally, is used to-day to
designate a timid, close-fisted gambler, a "tightwad" or "short sport."

When one inquires as to the origin of this term, Pike County, Missouri,
begins to remember that there is another Pike County--Pike County,
Illinois, just across the river, which, incidentally, is I think, the
"Pike" referred to in John Hay's poem.

A gentleman in Clarksville explained the origin of the term "piker" to
me thus:

"In the early days men from Pike County, Missouri, and Pike County,
Illinois, went all through the West. They were all good men. In fact,
they were such a fine lot that when any crooks would want to represent
themselves as honest men they would say they were from Pike. As a result
of this all the bad men in the West claimed to be from our section, and
in that way Pike got a bad name. So when the westerners suspected a man
of being crooked, they'd say: 'Look out for him; he's a Piker.'"

In St. Louis I was given another version. There I was told that long ago
men would come down from Pike to gamble. They loved cards, but
oftentimes hadn't enough money to play a big game. So, it was said, the
term "Piker" came to indicate more or less the type it indicates to-day.

No bit of character and color which we met upon our travels remains in
my mind more pleasantly than the talk we had with those fine old men
around the stove in the back room of the bank of Mr. John O. Roberts,
there at Clarksville. Mr. Roberts is a wonder--nothing less. There's a
book in him, and I hope that somebody will write it, for I should like
to read that book.

As we were leaving the bank another gentleman came in. We were
introduced to him. His name proved also to be John O. Roberts--for he
was the banker's son.

"Yes," the elder Mr. Roberts explained to me, "and there's another John
O. Roberts, too--my grandson. We're all John O. Robertses in this
family. We perpetuate the name because it's an honest name. No John O.
Roberts ever went to the penitentiary--or to the legislature."



THE BEGINNING OF THE WEST



CHAPTER XXII

KANSAS CITY


If you will take a map of the United States and fold it so that the
Atlantic and Pacific coast lines overlap, the crease at the center will
form a line which runs down through the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas.
That is not, however, the true dividing line between East and West. If I
were to try to draw the true line, I should begin at the north, bringing
my pencil down between the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, leaving
the former to the east, and the latter to the west, and I should follow
down through the middle of Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri, so that St.
Louis would be included on the eastern map and Kansas City and Omaha on
the western.

My companion and I had long looked forward to the West, and had
speculated as to where we should first meet it. And sometimes, as we
traveled on, we doubted that there really was a West at all, and feared
that the whole country had become monotonously "standardized," as was
recently charged by a correspondent of the London "Times."

I remember that we discussed that question on the train, leaving St.
Louis, wondering whether Kansas City, whither we were bound, would prove
to be but one more city like the rest--a place with skyscrapers and
shops and people resembling, almost exactly, the skyscrapers and shops
and people of a dozen other cities we had seen.

Morning in the sleeping car found us less concerned about the character
of cities than about our coffee. Coffee was not to be had upon the
train. In cheerless emptiness we sat and waited for the station.

While my berth was being turned into its daytime aspect, I was forced to
accept a seat beside a stranger: a little man with a black felt hat, a
weedy mustache of neutral color, and an Elk's button. I had a feeling
that he meant to talk with me; a feeling which amounted to dread.
Nothing appeals to me at seven in the morning; least of all a
conversation. At that hour my enthusiasm shows only a low blue flame,
like a gas jet turned down almost to the point of going out. And in the
feeble light of that blue flame, my fellow man becomes a vague shape,
threatening unsolicited civilities. I do not like the hour of seven in
the morning anywhere, and if there is one condition under which I loathe
it most, it is before breakfast in a smelly sleeping car. I saw the
little man regarding me. He was about to speak. And there I was,
absolutely at his mercy, without so much as a newspaper behind which to
shield myself.

"Are you from New York?" he asked.

With about the same amount of effort it would take to make a long
after-dinner speech, I managed to enunciate a hollow: "Yes."

"I thought so," he returned.

It seemed to me that the remark required no answer. He waited; then,
presently, vouchsafed the added information: "I knew it by your shoes."

Mechanically I looked at my shoes; then at his. I felt like saying:
"Why? Because my shoes are polished?" But I didn't. All I said was,
"Oh."

"That's a New York last," he explained. "Long and flat. You can't get a
shoe like that out in this section. Nobody'd buy 'em if we made 'em."
Then he added: "I'm in the shoe line, myself."

He paused as though expecting me to state my "line." However, I didn't.
Very likely he thought it something shameful. After a moment's silence,
he asked: "Travel out this way much?"

"Never," I said.

"Never been in Kansas City?"

I shook my head.

"Well," he volunteered, "it's a great town. Greatest farm implement
market in the world." (He drawled "world" as though it were spelled with
a double R.) "Very little manufacturing but a great distributing point.
All cattle and farming out here. Everything depends on the crops.
Different from the East."

I looked out of the window.

It _was_ different from the East. Even through the smoky fog I saw
that.

"Kansas City!" called the negro porter.

I arose with a sigh, said good-by to the little man, and made my way
from the car.

The heavy mist was laden with a smoky smell like that of an incipient
London fog. Through it I discerned, dimly, a Vesuvian hill, piling up to
the left, while, to the right, a maze of tracks and trains lost
themselves in the gray blur. Immediately before me stood as disreputable
a station as I ever saw, its platforms oozing mud, and its doorways
oozing immigrants and other forlorn travelers. Of all the people there,
I observed but two who were agreeable to the eye: a young girl,
admirably modish, and her mother. But even looking at this girl I
remained depressed. "_You_ don't belong here," I wished to say to her,
"that's clear enough. No one like you could live in such a place. You
needn't think _I_ live here, either; for I don't! Most decidedly I
don't!"

We got into a taxi, my companion and I, and the taxi started immediately
to climb with us, like a mountain goat, ascending a steep hill in leaps,
over an atrocious pavement, and between vacant lots and shabby buildings
which seemed to me to presage an undeveloped town and, worse yet, a bad
hotel.

My companion must have thought as I did, for I remember his saying in a
somber tone: "I guess we're in for it this time, all right!"

Those are the first words that I recall his having spoken that morning.

After ascending for some time, we began to coast down again, still
through unprepossessing thoroughfares, until at last we slid up in the
mud to the door of the Hotel Baltimore--one of the busiest hotels in the
whole United States.

On sight of the hotel I took a little heart. Breakfast was near and the
hostelry looked promising. It was, indeed, the first building that I saw
in Kansas City, that seemed to justify "City."

The coffee at the Baltimore proved good. We saw that we were in a large
and capably conducted caravansary--a metropolitan hotel with a dining
room like some interior in the capitol of Minnesota, and a Pompeian
room, the very look of which bespoke a cabaret performance at a later
hour. From the window where we sat at breakfast we saw wagons with
brakes set, descending the hill, and streams of people hurrying on their
way to work: sturdy-looking men and healthy-looking girls, the latter
stamped with that cheap yet indisputable style so characteristic of the
young American working woman--a sort of down-at-the-heels showiness in
dress, which, combined with an elaborate coiffure and a fine, if
slightly affected carriage, makes her at once a pretty and pathetic
object.

In Kansas City one is well within the borders of the land of silver
dollars. Dollar bills are scarce. Pay for a cigar with a $5 bill, and
your change is more than likely to include four of those silver
cartwheels which, though merely annoying in ordinary times, must be a
real source of danger when the floods come, as one understands they
sometimes do in Kansas City. Not only are small bills scarce but, I
fancy, the humble copper cent is viewed in Kansas City with less respect
than in the East. I base this conclusion upon the fact that a dignified
old negro, wearing a bronze medal suspended from a ribbon tied about his
neck, charged me five cents at the door of the dining room for a
one-cent paper--a rate of extortion surpassing that of New York hotel
news stands. However, as that paper was the Kansas City "Star," I raised
no objection; for the "Star" is a great newspaper. But of that
presently.

Later I found fastened to the wall of my bathroom something which, as I
learned afterward, is quite common among hotels in the West, but which I
have never seen in an eastern hotel--a slot machine which, for a
quarter, supplies any of the following articles: tooth paste, listerine,
cold cream, bromo lithia, talcum powder, a toothbrush, a shaving stick,
or a safety razor.

Counterbalancing this convenience, however, I found in my room but one
telephone instrument, although Kansas City is served by two separate
companies. This proved annoying; calls coming by the Missouri & Kansas
Telephone Company's lines reached me in my room, but those coming over
the wires of the Home Telephone Company had to be answered downstairs,
whither I was summoned twice that morning--once from my bath and once
while shaving. I had not been in Kansas City half a day before
discovering that monopoly--at least in the case of the telephone--has
its very definite advantages. A double system of telephones is a
nuisance. Even where, as for instance in Portland, Oregon, there are two
instruments in each room, one never knows which bell is ringing.
Duplication is unnecessary, and where there are two companies, lack of
duplication is annoying. Every home or office in Kansas City provided
with but one instrument is cut off from communication with many other
homes and offices having the other service, while those having both
instruments have to pay the price of two.

It always amuses me to hear criticisms by foreigners of the telephone as
perfected in this country. And our sleeping cars and telephones are the
things they invariably do criticize. As to the sleeping car there may be
some justice in complaints, although it seems to me that, under the
conditions for which it is designed, the Pullman car would be hard to
improve upon. It is the necessity of going to bed while traveling by
rail that is at the bottom of the trouble. But when a foreigner
criticizes the American telephone the very thing he criticizes is its
perfection. If we had bad telephone service, and didn't use the
telephone much, it would be all right, according to the European point
of view. But as it is, they say we are the instrument's "slaves."

That was the complaint of Dr. George Brandes, the Danish literary
critic. "The telephone is the worst instrument of torture that ever
existed," he declared. "The medieval rack and thumb-screws were
playthings compared with it."

Arnold Bennett, in his "Your United States," tells of having permanently
removed the receiver from the telephone in his bedroom in a Chicago
hotel. His action, he declares, caused agitation, not merely in the
hotel, but throughout the city.

"In response to the prayer of a deputation from the management," he
writes, "I restored the receiver. On the horrified face of the
deputation I could read the unspoken query: 'Is it conceivable that you
have been in this country a month without understanding that the United
States is primarily nothing but a vast congeries of telephone cabins?'"

Now, the thing which Mr. Bennett, Dr. Brandes, and many other
distinguished visitors from Europe seem to fail to comprehend is this:
that, being distinguished visitors, and therefore sought after, they are
the telephone's especial victims, and consequently gain a wrong
impression of it. They themselves use it little as a means of calling
others; others use it much as a means of calling them. Furthermore,
being strangers to this highly perfected instrument, they are also,
quite naturally strangers to telephonic subtleties. Mr. Bennett proved
his entire lack of knowledge of the new science of telephone tact when
he tried to stop the instrument by removing the receiver. Any American
could have told him that all he need have done was to notify the
operator, at the switchboard, downstairs, not to permit him to be
disturbed until a certain hour. Or, if he had wished to do so, he could
have asked her to sift his messages, giving him only those she deemed
desirable. He would have found her, I feel sure, as capable, on that
score, as a well-trained private secretary, for, among the many
effective services of the telephone, none is finer than that given by
those capable, intelligent, quick-thinking young women who act as
switchboard operators in large hotels and offices. I am glad of this
opportunity to make my compliments to them.

If an American wishes to appreciate the telephone, as developed in this
country, he has but to try to use the telephone in Europe. In London the
instrument is a ridiculous, cumbersome affair, looking as much like an
enormous metal inkwell as any other thing--the kind of inkwell in which
some emperor might dip his pen before signing his abdication. To call,
you wind the crank violently for a time, then taking up the receiver and
mouthpiece which are attached to the main instrument by a cord, you
begin calling: "Are you there, miss? Are you there? I say, miss, _are_
you there?" And the question is quite reasonable, for half the time
"miss" does not seem to be there. In Paris it is worse. Once, while
residing in that city, I had a telephone in my apartment. It was
intended as a convenience, but it turned out to be an irritating kind of
joke. The first time I tried to call my house, from the center of town,
it took me three times as long to get the connection as it took me to
get New York from Kansas City. In the beginning I thought myself the
victim of ill luck, but I soon came to understand that was not the
case--or, rather, that the ill luck was of a kind experienced by all
users of the telephone in Paris. The service there is simply chaotic. It
is actually true that I once dispatched a messenger on a bicycle,
calling my house on the phone, immediately afterward, and that the
messenger had arrived with the note, after having ridden a good two
miles, through traffic, by the time I succeeded in talking over the
wire. However, in the interim I had talked with almost every other
residence in Paris.

The telephones in France and England are controlled by the government.
If that accounts for the service given, then I hope the government in
this country will never take them over. Bureaucracy makes the
Continental railroads inferior to ours, and I have no doubt it is
equally responsible for telephone conditions. Bureaucracy, as I have
experienced it, feels itself intrenched in office, and is consequently
likely to be indifferent to complaint and to the requirements of
progress. When I called New York from Kansas City I was talking within
ten minutes, and when, later on, I called New York from Denver, it took
but little longer, and I heard, and made myself heard, almost as though
conversing with some one in the next room. As I reflect upon the
countless services performed for me by the telephone, upon these
travels, and upon the very different sort of service I should have had
abroad, I bless the American Telephone and Telegraph Company with
fervent blessings. And if I said about it all the things I really think,
I fear the reader might suspect me of having received a bribe. For I am
aware that, in speaking well of any corporation I am flying in the face
of precedent and public opinion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Toward noon, the pall of smoke and fog which had blanketed the city,
vanished on a fresh breeze from the prairies, and my companion and I,
much inspirited, set forth on foot to see what the downtown streets of
Kansas City had to offer. We had gone hardly a block before we realized
that our earlier impressions of the place had been ill-founded. We had
arrived in the least agreeable portion of the city, and had not,
hitherto, seen any of the built-up, well-paved streets. "Petticoat
Lane"--the fashionable shopping district on Eleventh Street between Main
Street and Grand Avenue--has a metropolitan appearance, and the wider
avenues, with their well-built skyscrapers, tell a story of
substantiality and progress. But the most striking thing to us, upon
that walk, lay not in the great buildings already standing, but in the
embryonic structures everywhere. All over Kansas City old buildings are
coming down to make place for new ones; hills of clay are being gouged
away and foundations dug; steel frames are shooting up. Never, before or
since, have I sensed, as I sensed that day, a city's growth. It seemed
to me that I could feel expansion in the very ground beneath my feet.
Looking upon these multifarious activities was like looking through an
enormous magnifying glass at some gigantic ant hill, where thousands
upon thousands of workers were rushing about, digging, carrying,
constructing, all in breathless haste. Nor was the incidental music
lacking; the air was ringing with the symphony of work--the music of
brick walls falling, of drills digging at the earth, and of automatic
riveters clattering their swift, metallic song, high up among the tall,
steel frames, where presently would stand desks, and filing cabinets,
and typewriter machines.

"Did you ever feel a city growing so?" I asked of my companion.

"Grow!" he repeated. "Why it has grown so fast they haven't had time to
name their streets."

The statement appeared true. We had looked for street signs at all
corners, but had seen none. Later, however, we discovered that the
streets did have names. But as there are no signs, I conclude that the
present names are only tentative, and that when Kansas City gets through
building, she will name her streets in sober earnest, and mark them in
order that strangers may more readily find their way.

The "slogan" of Kansas City suggests that of Detroit. Detroit says: "In
Detroit life is worth living." Kansas City is less boastful, but more
aspiring. "Make it a good place to live in," she says.

As nearly as I can like the "slogan" of any city, I like that one. I
like it because it is not vainglorious, and because it does not attempt
cheap alliteration. It is not "smart-alecky" at all, but has, rather,
the sound of something genuinely felt. And I believe it is felt. There
is every evidence that Kansas City's "slogan" is a promissory note--a
note which, it may be added, she is paying off in a handsome manner, by
improving herself rapidly in countless ways.

Perhaps the first of her improvements to strike the visitor is her
system of parks. I am informed that the parked boulevards of Kansas City
exceed in mileage those of any other American city. These boulevards,
connecting the various parks and forming circuits running around and
through the town, do go a long way toward making it "a good place to
live in." Kansas City has every right to be proud, not only of her
parks, but of herself for having had the intelligence and energy to make
them. What if assessments have been high? Increased property values take
care of that; the worst of the work and the expense is over, and Kansas
City has lifted itself by its own bootstraps from ugliness to beauty.
How much better it is to have done the whole thing quickly--to have made
the gigantic effort and attained the parks and boulevards at what
amounts to one great municipal bound--than to have dawdled and dreamed
along as St. Louis and so many other cities have done.

The Central Traffic Parkway of St. Louis is, as has been said in an
earlier chapter, still on paper only. But the Paseo, and West Pennway,
and Penn Valley Park, in Kansas City, are all splendid realities,
created in an amazingly brief space of years. To make the Paseo and West
Pennway, the city cut through blocks and blocks, tearing down old houses
or moving them away, with the result that dilapidated, disagreeable
neighborhoods have been turned into charming residence districts. In the
making of Penn Valley Park, the same thing occurred: the property was
acquired at a cost of about $800,000, hundreds of houses were removed,
drives were built, trees planted. The park is now a show place; both
because of the lesson it offers other cities, and the splendid view,
from its highest point, of the enterprising city which created it.

Another spectacular panorama of Kansas City is to be seen from
Observation Point on the western side of town, but the finest views of
all (and among the finest to be seen in any city in the world) are those
which unroll themselves below Scaritt Point, the Cliff Drive, and Kersey
Coates Drive. Much as the Boulevard Lafayette skirts the hills beside
the Hudson River, these drives make their way along the upper edge of
the lofty cliffs which rise majestically above the Missouri River
bottoms. Not only is their elevation much greater than that of the New
York boulevard, but the view is infinitely more extensive and dramatic,
though perhaps less "pretty." Looking down from Kersey Coates Drive, one
sees a long sweep of the Missouri, winding its course between the sandy
shores which it so loves to inundate. Beyond, the whole world seems to
be spread out--farms and woodland, reaching off into infinity.

[Illustration: Looking down from Kersey Coates Drive, one sees ... the
appalling web of railroad tracks, crammed with freight cars, which seen
through a softening haze of smoke, resemble a relief map--strange, vast,
and pictorial]

Below, in the nearer foreground, at the bottom of the cliff, is the mass
of factories, warehouses and packing houses, and the appalling web of
railroad tracks, crammed with freight cars, which form the Kansas City
industrial district, and which, reduced by distance, and seen through a
softening haze of smoke, resemble a relief map--strange, vast, and
pictorial. Beyond, more distant and more hazy, lies the adjoining city,
Kansas City, Kas., all its ugliness converted into beauty by the smoke
which, whatever sins it may commit against white linen, spreads a poetic
pall over the scenes of industry--yes, and over the "wettest block,"
that solid wall of saloons with which the "wet" state of Missouri so
significantly fortifies her frontier against the "dry" state, Kansas.

So far, Kansas City has been too busy with her money-making and her
physical improvement, to give much thought to art. However, the day will
come, and very soon, when the question of mural decoration for some
great public building will arise. And when that day does come I hope
that some one will rise up and remind the city that the decorations
which, figuratively, adorn her own walls, may well be considered as a
subject for mural paintings. I should like to see a great room which,
instead of being surrounded by a frieze of symbolic figures, very much
like every other frieze of symbolic figures in the land, should show the
splendid sweep of the Missouri River, and the great maze of the freight
yards, and the wonderful vistas to be seen from the cliffs, and the
rich, rolling farm land beyond. How much better that would be than one
of those trite things representing Justice or Commerce, as a female
figure, enthroned, with Industry, a male figure, brown and half-naked,
wearing a leather apron, and beating on an anvil, at one side, and
Agriculture, working with a hoe, at the other. Yes, how much better it
would be; and how much harder to find the painter who could do it as it
should be done.

In view of the enormous activity with which Kansas City has pursued the
matter of municipal improvement, and in view of the contrasting
somnolence of St. Louis, it is amusing to reflect upon the somewhat
patronizing attitude assumed by the latter toward the former. Being the
metropolis of Missouri, St. Louis has the air, sometimes, of patting
Kansas City on the back, in the same superior manner that St. Paul
assumed, in times gone by, toward Minneapolis. It will be remembered,
however, that one day St. Paul woke up to find herself no longer the
metropolis of Minnesota. Young Minneapolis had come up behind and passed
her in the night. As I have said before, Kansas City bears more than one
resemblance to Minneapolis. Like Minneapolis, she is a strong young
city, vying for State supremacy with another city which is old, rich,
and conservative. Will the history of the Minnesota cities be repeated
in Missouri? If some day it happens so, I shall not be surprised.



CHAPTER XXIII

ODDS AND ENDS


The quality in Kansas City which struck Baron d'Estournelles de
Constant, the French statesman and peace advocate, was the enormous
growth and vitality of the place. "Town Development" quotes the Baron as
having called Kansas City a "_cité champignon_," but I am sure that in
saying that he had in mind the growth of the mushroom rather than its
fiber; for though Kansas City grew from nothing to a population of
250,000 within a space of fifty years, her fiber is exceptionally firm,
and her prosperity, having been built upon the land, is sound.

That feeling of nearness to the soil that I met there was new to me. I
felt it in many ways. Much of the casual conversation I heard dealt with
cattle raising, farming, the weather, and the promise as to crops.
Business men and well-to-do women in the shopping districts resemble
people one may see in any other city, but away from the heart of town
one encounters numerous farmers and their wives who have driven into
town in their old buggies, farm wagons, or little motors to shop and
trade, just as though Kansas City were some little county seat, instead
of a city of the size of Edinburgh.

In earlier chapters I have referred to likenesses between cities and
individuals. Cities not only have traits of character, like men, but
certain regions have their costumes. Collars, for example, tend to
become lower toward the Mississippi River, and black string ties appear.
Missouri likes black suits--older men in the smaller towns seem to be in
a perpetual state of mourning, like those Breton women whose men are so
often drowned at sea that they never take the trouble to remove their
black.

Western watch chains incline to massiveness, and are more likely than
not to have dangling from them large golden emblems with mysterious
devices. Likewise the western buttonhole is almost sure to bloom with
the insignia of some secret order.

Many western men wear diamond rings--pieces of jewelry which the east
allots to ladies or to gamblers and vulgarians. When I inquired about
this I heard a piece of interesting lore. I was informed that the
diamond ring was something more than an adornment to the western man;
that it was, in reality, the survival of a fashion which originated for
the most practical reasons. A diamond is not only convenient to carry
but it may readily be converted into cash. So, in the wilder western
days, men got into the way of wearing diamond rings as a means of
raising funds for gambling on short notice, or for making a quick
getaway from the scene of some affray.

Whether they are entirely aware of it or not, the well-dressed men of
eastern cities are, in the matter of costume, dominated to a large
extent by London. The English mode, however, does not reach far west.
Clothing in the west is all American. Take, for example, coats. The
prevailing style, at the moment, in London and in the eastern cities of
this country happens to run to a snugness of fit amounting to actual
tightness. Little does this disturb the western man. His coat is cut
loose and is broad across the shoulders. And let me add that I believe
his vision is "cut" broader, too. Westerners, far more than easterners,
it seems to me, sense the United States--the size of it and what it
really is. Time and again, talking with them, it has come to me that
their eyes are focused for a longer range: that, looking off toward the
horizon, they see a thousand miles of farms stretched out before them or
a thousand miles of mountain peaks.

And even as coats and comprehension seem to widen in the west, so hats
and hearts grow softer. The derby plays an unimportant part. In Chicago,
to be sure, it makes a feeble effort for supremacy, but west of there it
dies an ignominious death beneath an avalanche of soft felt hats. Felt
hats around Chicago seem, however, to lack full-blown western opulence.
Compared with hats in the real middle west, they are stingy little
headpieces. When we were in Chicago that city seemed to be the center of
a section in which a peculiar style of hat was prominent--a blue felt
with a velvet band. But that, of course, was merely a passing fashion.
Not so the hats a little farther west. The Mississippi River marks the
beginning of the big black hat belt. The big black hat is passionately
adored in Missouri and Kansas. It never changes; never goes out of
fashion. And it may be further noted that many of these somber,
monumental, soft black hats, with their high crowns and widespread
brims, have been sent from these two western states to Washington, D. C.

At Kansas City there begins another hat belt. The Missouri hat remains,
but its supremacy begins to be disputed by an even larger hat, of
similar shape but different color. The big black, tan or putty-color hat
begins to show at Kansas City. Also one sees, now and again, upon the
streets a cowboy hat with a flat brim. When I mentioned that to a Kansas
City man he didn't seem to like it. With passionate vehemence he
declared that cowboy hats were never known to adorn the heads of Kansas
City men--that they only came to Kansas City on the heads of itinerant
cattlemen. Well, that is doubtless true. But I did not say the Mayor of
Kansas City wore one. I only said I saw such hats upon the street.
And--however they got there, and wherever they came from--those hats
looked good to me!

Some of the bronzed cattlemen one sees in Kansas City, though they yield
to civilization to the extent of wearing shirts, have not yet sunk to
the slavery of collars. They do not wear "chaps" and revolvers, it is
true, but they are clearly plainsmen, and some of them sport colored
handkerchiefs about their necks, knotted in the back, and hanging in
loose folds in front. Once or twice, upon my walks, I saw an Indian as
well, though not a really first-class moving-picture Indian. That is too
much to expect. Such Indians as one may meet in Kansas City are
civilized and citified to a sad degree. Nor are the Mexicans, many of
whom are employed as laborers, up to specifications as to
picturesqueness.

I feel it particularly necessary to state these truths, disillusioning
though they may be to certain youthful readers who may treasure fond
hopes of finding, in Kansas City, something of that wild and woolly
fascination which the cinematograph so often pictures. True, a large
gray wolf was killed by a Kansas City policeman last winter, after it
had run down Linwood Boulevard, biting people, but that does not happen
every day, and it is recorded that the youth who recently appeared on
the Kansas City streets, dressed in "chaps" and carrying a revolver with
which he shot at the feet of pedestrians, to make them dance, declared
himself, when taken up by the police, to have recently arrived from
Philadelphia, where he had obtained his ideas of western manners from
the "movies."

I mention this incident because, after having labeled Kansas City
"Western," I wish to leave no loopholes for misunderstanding. The West
of Bret Harte and Jesse James is gone. All that is left of it is legend.
When I speak of a western city I think of a city young, not altogether
formed, but full of dauntless energy. And when I speak of western people
I think of people who possess, in larger measure than any other people
I have met, the solid traits of character which make human beings
admirable.

Kansas City is said to be more American than any other city of its size
in the United States. Eighty per cent. of its people are American born,
of either native or foreign parents. Its inhabitants are either
pioneers, descendants of pioneers, or young people who have moved there
for the sake of opportunity. This makes for sturdy stock as inevitably
as close association with the soil makes for sturdy simplicity of
character. The western man, as I try to visualize him as a type, is
genuine, generous, direct, whole-hearted, sympathetic, energetic,
strong, and--I say it not without some hesitation--sometimes a little
crude, with a kind of crudeness which has about it something very
lovable. I fear that Kansas City may not like the word "crude," even as
I have qualified it, but, however she may feel, I hope she will not
charge the use of it to eastern snobbishness in me, for that is a
quality that I detest as much as anybody does--a quality compared with
which crudeness becomes a primary virtue. No; when I say "crude" I say
it respectfully, and I am ready to admit in the same breath that I
dislike the word myself, because it seems to imply more than I really
wish to say, just as such a word as "unseasoned" seems to imply less.

You see, Kansas City is a very young and very great center of business.
It is still engrossed in making money, but, being so exceptionally
sturdy, it has found time, outside of business hours, as it were, to
create its parks and boulevards--much as some young business man comes
home after a hard day's work and cuts the grass in his front yard, and
waters it, and even plants a little garden for his wife and children and
himself. He attends to the requirements of his business, his family, his
lawn and garden, and to his duties as a citizen. And that is about all
that he has time to do. He has the Christian virtues, but none of the
un-Christian sophistications. Art, to him, probably signifies a "fancy
head" by Harrison Fisher; literature, a book by Harold Bell Wright or
Gene Stratton Porter; music, a sentimental ballad or a ragtime tune
played on the Victor; architecture--well, I think that means his own
house.

And what is his own house like? If he be a young and fairly successful
Kansas City business man, it is, first of all, probably a solid,
well-built house. Very likely it is built of brick and is
"detached"--just barely detached--and faces a parked boulevard or a
homelike residence street which is lined with other solid little houses,
like his own. Now, while the homes of this class are, I think, better
built and more attractive than homes of corresponding cost in some older
cities--Cleveland, for example--and while the streets are pleasanter,
there is a sort of standardized look about these houses which is, I
think, unfortunate. The thing they lack is individuality. Whole rows of
them suggest that they were all designed by the same altogether honest,
but somewhat inartistic, architect, who, having hit on one or two good
plans, kept repeating them, ad infinitum, with only minor changes, such
as the use of vari-colored brick, for "character." True, they are
monuments to the esthetic, compared with the old brownstone blocks of
New York City, or the Queen Anne blocks of cities such as Cleveland, but
it must be remembered that New York's brownstone period, and the wooden
Queen Anne period, date back a good many years, whereas these Kansas
City houses are new. And it is in our new houses that we Americans have
had a chance to show (and are showing) the improvement in our national
taste. I do not complain that the domestic architecture of Kansas City
represents no improvement; I complain only that the improvement shown is
not so great as it should be--that Kansas City residences, of all
classes, inexpensive and expensive, in town and in the suburban
developments, are generally characterized by solidity, rather than
architectural merit. The less expensive houses lack distinction in about
the same way that rows of good ready-made overcoats may be said to lack
it, when compared with overcoats made to order by expensive tailors. The
more costly houses are for the most part ordinary--and some of them are
worse than that.

I am well aware of the fact that the foregoing statements are altogether
likely to surprise and annoy Kansas City, for if there is one thing,
beyond her parks and boulevards, upon which she congratulates herself
peculiarly, it is her homes. I could detect that, both in the pride
with which the homes were shown to me and in the sad silences with which
my very mildly critical comments on some houses, were received.
Nevertheless, it is quite true that Kansas City very evidently needs a
good domestic architect or two; and if she does not pardon me just now
for saying so, I must console myself with the thought that, ten or
fifteen years hence, she will admit that what I said was true.

Kansas City ought to be a good place for architects. There is a lot of
money there, and, as I have already said, a great amount of building is
in progress. One of the most interesting real estate developments I have
ever seen is taking place in what is called the Country Club District,
where a tract of 1,200 acres, which, only five or six years ago, was
farm land, has been attractively laid out and very largely built up on
ingenious, restricted lines. In the portion of this district known as
Sunset Hill, no house costing less than $25,000 may be erected. As a
matter of fact, a number of houses on Sunset Hill show an investment, in
building alone, of from $50,000 to $100,000. In other portions of the
tract restrictions are lower, and still lower, until finally one comes
to a suburban section closely built up with homes, some of which cost as
little as $3,000--which is the lowest restriction in the entire
district.

       *       *       *       *       *

I visited the new Union Station, which will be in operation this winter.
It is as fine as the old station is atrocious. I was informed that it
cost between six and seven millions, and that it is exceeded in size
only by the Grand Central and Pennsylvania terminals in New York. The
waiting room will, however, be the largest in the world. The gentleman
who showed me the station gave me the curious information that Kansas
City does the largest Pullman business of any American city, and that it
also handles the most baggage. He attributed these facts to the great
distances to be traveled in that part of the country and also to the
prosperity of the farmers.

"You see," he said, "Kansas City has the largest undisputed tributary
trade territory of any city in the country. We are not, in reality, a
Missouri city so much as a Kansas one. Indeed Kansas City was originally
intended to be in Kansas and was really diverted into Missouri when the
government survey established the line between the two states. We reach
out into Missouri for some business, but Kansas is our real territory,
as well as Oklahoma and Arkansas. We get a good share of business from
Nebraska and Iowa, too. These facts, plus the fact that we are in the
very center of the great American feed lot, account for our big bank
clearings. In bank clearings we come sixth, St. Louis being fifth,
Pittsburgh seventh, and Detroit eighth. And we are not to be compared in
population with any of those cities.

"Almost all our greatest activities have to do with farms and produce.
We are first as a market place for hay and yellow pine; second as a
packing center and a mule market; third in lumber, flour, poultry, and
eggs, in the volume of our telegraph business, and in automobile sales.
And, of course, you probably know that we lead in the sale of
agricultural implements and in stockers and feeders."

At that my companion, who, because he resided for a long time in Albany,
N. Y., prides himself upon his knowledge of farming, broke in.

"I suppose," said he, "that instead of drawing stockers and feeders with
horses, they use gasoline motors now-a-days?"

"Oh, no," said the Kansas City man, "they walk."

"Walk?" exclaimed my companion. "They _have_ made an advance in
agricultural implements since my day if they have succeeded in making
them _walk_!"

"I'm not speaking of agricultural implements," said our informant. "I'm
speaking of stockers and feeders."

"What are stockers and feeders?" I asked.

"Cattle," he said. "There are three kinds of cattle marketed here;
first, fat cattle, for slaughter; second, stockers, which are young cows
used for stocking farms and ranches; third, feeders, or grassfed steers,
which are sold to be fattened on grain, for killing. In stockers and
feeders we lead the world; in fat cattle we are second only to
Chicago."



CHAPTER XXIV

COLONEL NELSON'S "STAR"


"What do you expect to see in Kansas City?" I was asked by the president
of a trust company.

"I want to see the new Union Station," I said, "and I hope also to meet
Colonel Nelson."

He smiled. "One's as big as the other," was his comment.

That is a mild statement of the case. The power of Colonel Nelson is
something unique, and his newspaper, the Kansas City "Star," is, I
believe, alone in the position it holds among American dailies.

Like all powerful newspapers, it is the expression of a single
individuality. The "Star" expresses Colonel William Rockhill Nelson as
definitely as the New York "Sun" used to express Charles A. Dana, as the
New York "Tribune" expressed Horace Greeley, as the "Herald" expressed
Bennett, as the Chicago "Tribune" expressed Medill, as the
"Courier-Journal" expresses Watterson, as the Pulitzer papers continue
to express the late Joseph Pulitzer, and as the Hearst papers express
William Randolph Hearst.

Besides circulating widely throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and
western Missouri, the "Star" so dominates Kansas City that last year it
sold, in the city, many thousand papers a day in excess of the number of
houses there. Other papers have been started to combat it, but without
appreciable effect. The "Star" continues upon its majestic course,
towing the wagon of Kansas City.

To me the greatest thing about the "Star" is its entire freedom from
yellowness. Its appearance is as conservative as that of the New York
"Evening Post." It prints no scareheads and no half-tone pictures, such
pictures as it uses being redrawn in line, so that they print sharply.
Another characteristic of the paper is its highly localized flavor. It
handles relatively little European news, and even the doings of New York
and Chicago seem to impress it but slightly. It is the organ of the
"feed lot," the "official gazette" of the capital of the Southwest.

While contemplating the "Star" I was reminded of a conversation held
many weeks before in Buffalo with a very thoughtful gentleman.

"The great trouble with the American people," he declared, "is that they
are not yet a thinking people."

"What makes you believe that?" I asked.

"The first proof of it," he returned, "is that they read yellow
journals."

It is a notable and admirable fact that the people of Kansas--the State
which Colonel Nelson considers particularly his own--do not read the
"yellows" to any considerable extent. ("I might stop publishing this
paper," Colonel Nelson said, "but it will never get yellow." And later:
"Anybody can print the news, but the 'Star' tries to build things up.
That is what a newspaper is for.")

Even the "Star" building is highly individualized. It is a great solid
pile of tapestry brick, suggesting a castle in Siena. In one end are the
presses; in the other the business and editorial departments. The
editorial offices are in a single vast room, in a corner of which the
Colonel's flat-top desk is placed. There are no private offices. The
city editor and his reporters have their desks at the center, under a
skylight, and the editorial writers, telegraph editor, Sunday editor,
and all the other editors are distributed about the room's perimeter.

Before talking with Colonel Nelson I inquired into some of the reforms
brought about through the efforts of the "Star." The list of them is
formidable. Many persons attributed the existence of the present park
and boulevard system to this great newspaper; among other things
mentioned were the following: the improvement of schools; the abolition
of quack doctors, medical museums and fortune tellers; the building of
county roads; the elimination of bill-boards from the boulevards; the
boat line navigating the Missouri River; the introduction of commission
government in Kansas City, Kas. (which, I was informed, was the first
city of its size to have commission government); the municipal ownership
of waterworks in both Kansas Cities. More recently the "Star" has been
fighting for what it terms "free justice"--that is, the dispensing of
justice without costs or attorneys' fees, as it is already dispensed in
the "small debtors" courts of Kansas City and through the free legal-aid
bureau. Colonel Nelson says: "'Free justice' would take the judicial
administration of the law out of the hands of privately paid attorneys
and place it wholly in the hands of courts officered by the public's
servants.

[Illustration: Colonel Nelson is a "character." Even if he didn't own
the "Star," ... he would be a "character."... I have called him a
volcano; he is more like one than any other man I have ever met]

"In the great majority of cases justice is still not free. A man must
hire his lawyer. So justice is not only not free but not equal. A poor
owner of a legal right gives a $5 fee to a $5 lawyer. A rich defender of
a legal wrong gives a $5,000 fee to a $5,000 lawyer. The scales of a
purchased justice tip to the wrong side. Or, even if the owner of the
legal right gets his right established by the court, he still must
divide the value of it with his attorney. The administration of justice
should be as free as the making of laws. It should be as free as police
service."

The "Star" has been hammering away at this idea for months, precisely as
it has been hammering at political corruption, wherever found. Another
"Star" crusade is for a 25-acre park opposite the new Union Station,
instead of the small plaza originally planned--the danger in the case of
the latter being that, although it does provide some setting for the
station, it yet permits cheap buildings to encroach to a point
sufficiently near the station to materially detract from it.

Many lawyers disapprove of the "free justice" idea; all the politically
corrupt loathe the "Star" for obvious reasons; and some taxpayers may be
found who cry out that Colonel Nelson pushes Kansas City into
improvements faster than she ought to go. Nevertheless, as with the
"Post-Dispatch" in St. Louis, the "Star" is read alike by those who
believe in it and those who hate it bitterly.

As an outsider fascinated by the "Star's" activities, I came away with
the opinion that Colonel Nelson's power was perhaps greater than that of
any other single newspaper publisher in the country; that it was perhaps
too great for one man to wield, but that, exercised by such a pure
idealist as the Colonel unquestionably is, it has been a blessing to the
city. Nor can I conceive how even the bitterest enemies of Colonel
Nelson can question his motives.

Will Irwin, who knows about newspapers if anybody does, said to me: "The
'Star' is not only one of the greatest newspapers in the world, but it
is a regular club. I know of no paper anywhere where the personnel of
the men is higher. I will give you a letter to Barton. He will introduce
you around the office, and the office will do the rest."

I found these prognostications true. Inside a few hours I felt as though
I, too, had been a "Star" man. "Star" men took me to "dinner"--meaning
what we in the East call "luncheon"; took me to see the station, put me
in touch with endless stories of all sorts--all with the kindliest and
most disinterested spirit. They told me so much that I could write half
a dozen chapters on Kansas City.

Take, for example, the story of the Convention Hall. It is a vast
auditorium, taking up, as I recall it, a whole block. It was built for
the Democratic National Convention in 1900, but burned down immediately
after having been completed; whereupon Kansas City turned in, raised the
money all over again, and in about ten weeks' time completely rebuilt
it. There Bryan was nominated for the second time. Or, consider the
story of the "Harvey System" of hotels and restaurants on the Santa Fé
Road. The headquarters of this eating-house system is in Kansas City,
and offers a fine field for a story all by itself, for it has been the
biggest single influence in civilizing hotel life and in raising
gastronomic standards throughout the west.

But these are only items by the way--two among the countless things that
"Star" men told me of, or showed me. And, of course, the greatest thing
they showed me was right in their own office: their friend, their
"boss," that active volcano, seventy-three years old, who comes down
daily to his desk, and whose enthusiasm fires them all.

Colonel Nelson is a "character." Even if he didn't own the "Star," even
if he had not the mind he has, he would be a "character," if only by
virtue of his appearance. I have called him a volcano; he is more like
one than any other man I have ever met. He is even shaped like one,
being mountainous in his proportions, and also in the way he tapers
upward from his vast waist to his snow-capped "peak." Furthermore, his
face is lined, seamed, and furrowed in extraordinary suggestion of those
strange, gnarled lava forms which adorn the slopes of Vesuvius. Even the
voice which proceeds from the Colonel's "crater" is Vesuvian: hoarse,
deep, rumbling, strong. When he speaks, great natural forces seem to
stir, and you hope that no eruption may occur while you are near, lest
the fire from the mountain descend upon you and destroy you.

"Umph!" rumbled the volcano as it shook hands with my companion and me.
"You're from New York? New York is running the big gambling house and
show house for the country. It doesn't produce anything. It doesn't take
any more interest in where the money comes from than a gambler cares
where you get the money you put into his game.

"Kansas is the greatest state in the Union. It thinks. It produces
things. Among other things, it produces crazy people. It is a great
thing to have a few crazy people around! Roosevelt is crazy. Umph! So
were the men who started the Revolution to break away from England.

"Most of the people in the United States don't think. They are
indifferent and apathetic. They don't want to work. One of our 'Star'
boys went to an agricultural college to see what was going on there.
What did he find out? Why, that instead of making farmers they were
making professors. Yes. Pretty nearly the entire graduating class went
there to learn to teach farming. That's not what we want. We want
farmers."

The Colonel's enemies have tried, on various occasions, to "get" him,
but without distinguished success. The Colonel goes into a fight with
joy. Once, when he was on the stand as a witness in a libel suit which
had been brought against his paper, a copy of the editorial containing
the alleged libel was handed to him by the attorney for the prosecution.

"Colonel Nelson," said the attorney, menacingly, "did you write this?"

"No, sir!" bristled the Colonel with apparent regret at the forced
negation of his answer, "but I subscribe to every word of it!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Once the Colonel's enemies almost succeeded in putting him in jail.

A "Star" reporter wrote a story illustrating the practice of the Jackson
County Circuit Court in refusing to permit a divorce case to be
dismissed by either husband or wife until the lawyers in the case had
received their fees. The "Star" contended that such practice, where the
couple had made up their quarrel, made the court, in effect, a
collection agency. Through a technical error the story, as printed,
seemed to refer to the judge of one division of the court when it should
have applied to another. The judge who was, through this error,
apparently referred to, seized the opportunity to issue a summons
charging Colonel Nelson with contempt of court.

Colonel Nelson, who had known nothing of the story until he read it in
print, not only went to the front for his reporter, but caused the story
to be reprinted, with the added statement that it was true and that he
had been summonsed on account of it.

When he appeared in court the judge demanded an apology. This the
Colonel refused to give, but offered to prove the story true. The judge
replied that the truth of the story had nothing to do with the case. He
permitted no evidence upon that subject to be introduced, but, drawing
from his pocket some typewritten sheets, proceeded to read from them a
sentence, condemning the Colonel to one day in jail. This sentence he
then ordered the sheriff to execute.

However, before the sheriff could do so, a lawyer, representing the
Colonel, ran upstairs and secured from the Court of Appeals, in the same
building, a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the decision of the
lower judge had been prepared before he heard the evidence. This the
latter admitted. Thus the Colonel was saved from jail--somewhat, it is
rumored, to his regret. Later the case was dismissed by the Supreme
Court of Missouri.

       *       *       *       *       *

An attorney representing the gas company, against which the "Star" had
been waging war, called on the Colonel one day to complain of injustices
which he alleged the company was suffering at the hands of the paper.

"Colonel Nelson," he said, "your young men are not being fair to the gas
company."

"Let me tell you," said the Colonel, "that if they were I'd fire them!"

"Why, Colonel Nelson!" said the dismayed attorney. "Do you mean to say
you don't want to be fair?"

"Yes, sir!" said the Colonel. "When has your company been fair to Kansas
City? When you are fair my young men will be fair!"

       *       *       *       *       *

If there is one thing about the "Star" more amazing than another, it is
perhaps the effect it can produce by mere negative action--that is, by
ignoring its enemies instead of attacking them. In one case a man who
had made most objectionable attacks on Colonel Nelson personally, was
treated to such a course of discipline, with the result, I was informed,
that he was ultimately ruined.

The "Star" did not assail him. It simply refused to accept advertising
from him and declined to mention his name or to refer to his
enterprises.

When the victim of this singular reprisal was writhing under it, a
prominent citizen called at Colonel Nelson's office to plead with the
Colonel to "let up."

"Colonel," he protested, "you ought not to keep after this man. It is
ruining his business."

"Keep after him?" repeated the Colonel. "I'm not keeping after him. For
me he doesn't exist."

"That's just the trouble," urged the mediator. "Now, Colonel, you're
getting to be an old man. Wouldn't you be happier when you lay down at
night if you could think to yourself that there wasn't a single man in
Kansas City who was worse off because of any action on your part?"

At that occurred a sudden eruption of the old volcano.

"By God!" cried the Colonel. "I couldn't sleep!"



CHAPTER XXV

KEEPING A PROMISE


     _The shades of night were falling fast,
     As through a western landscape passed
     A car, which bore, 'mid snow and ice,
     Two trav'lers taking this advice:
                     Visit Excelsior Springs!_


Have you ever heard of the city of Excelsior Springs, Missouri? I never
had until the letters began to come. The first one reached me in
Detroit. It told me that Excelsior Springs desired to be "written up,"
and offered me, as an inducement to come there, the following arguments:
paved streets, beautiful scenery, three modern, fire-proof hotels,
flourishing lodges, live churches, fine saddle horses, an eighteen-hole
golf course ("2d to none," the letter said) four distinct varieties of
mineral water, and--Frank James.

The mention of Frank James stirred poignant memories of my youth:
recollections of forbidden "nickel novels" dealing with the wild deeds
alleged to have been committed by the James Boys, Frank and Jesse, and
their "Gang." I used to keep these literary treasures concealed behind a
dusty furnace pipe in the cellar of the old house in Chicago. On rainy
days I would steal down and get them, and, retiring to some
out-of-the-way corner of the attic, would read and re-read them in a
kind of ecstasy of horror--a horror which was enhanced by the eternal
fear of being discovered with such trash in my possession.

I had not thought of the James Boys in many years. But when I got that
letter, and realized that Frank James was still alive, the old stories
came flooding back. As with Maeterlinck and Hinky Dink, the James Boys
seemed to me to be fictitious figures; beings too wonderful to be true.
The idea of meeting one of them and talking with him seemed hardly less
improbable than the idea of meeting Barbarossa, Captain Kidd, Dick
Turpin, or Robin Hood. I began to wish to visit Excelsior Springs.

Before I had a chance to answer the first letter others came. Mr. W. E.
Davy, Chief Correspondent of the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, wrote
that, "Excelsior Springs is one of the most picturesque and interesting
spots in that portion of the country." Ban B. Johnson, president of the
American Baseball League, also wrote, declaring, "I believe Excelsior
Springs to be the greatest watering place on the American continent."
Then came letters from business men, Congressmen and Senators, until it
began to seem to me that the entire world had dropped its work and taken
up its pen to impress upon me the vital need of a visit to this little
town. The letters came so thick that, from St. Louis, I telegraphed the
Secretary of the Excelsior Springs Commercial Club to say that, if he
would let up on me, I would agree to come. After that the letters
stopped as though by magic. Until I reached Kansas City I heard no more
about Excelsior Springs. There, however, a deputation called to remind
me of my promise, and a few days later the same deputation returned and
escorted my companion and me to the interurban car, and bought our
tickets, and checked our trunks, and put us in our seats, and sat beside
us watchfully, like detectives taking prisoners to jail. For though I
had promised we would come, it must not be forgotten that they were from
Missouri.

       *       *       *       *       *

Excelsior Springs is a busy, pushing little town of about five thousand
inhabitants, situated in Clay County, Missouri, about thirty miles from
Kansas City. The whole place has been built up since 1880, on the
strength of the mineral waters found there--and when you have tasted
these waters you can understand it, for they are very strong indeed. But
that is putting the thing bluntly. Listen, then, to the booklet issued
by the Excelsior Springs Commercial Club:

     Even as 'truth is stranger than fiction,' so the secrets of Nature
     are even more wonderful than the things wrought by the hands of
     man. Just why it pleased the Creator of the Universe to install one
     of His laboratories here and infuse into its waters curative powers
     which surpass the genius and skill of all the physicians in
     Christendom is a question which no one can answer. Like the stars,
     the flowers, and the ocean, it is merely one of the
     great eternal verities with which we are surrounded. Whither and
     whence no man knows.

Having paid this fitting compliment to the Creator, the pamphleteer
proceeds to expatiate upon the joys of the place:

     There are cool, shaded parks and woodlands, where you can sit under
     the big, spreading trees which shut out the hot summer's sun--where
     you can loll on blankets of thickly matted blue grass and read and
     sleep to your heart's content--far from the madding crowd and the
     world's fierce strife and turmoil.... Here the golf player will
     find one of the finest golf links his heart would desire. The
     fisherman will find limpid streams where the wary black bass lurks
     behind moss-covered rocks.... Here you and your wife can vie at
     tennis, bowling, horseback riding, and a dozen other wholesome
     exercises, and when the shadows of the night have fallen there are
     orchestras which dispense sweet music and innumerable picture shows
     and other forms of entertainment which will while away the fleeting
     moments until bedtime.

Though the writer of the above prose-poem chose to assume that the
imaginary being to whom he addresses himself is a married man, the
reader must not jump to the conclusion that Excelsior Springs is a
resort for married couples only, that the married are obliged to run in
pairs, or that those who have been joined in matrimony are, for any
reason, in especial need of healing waters. If unmarried persons are not
so welcome at the Springs as married couples, that is only because a
couple spends more money than an individual. The unmarried are cordially
received. And I may add, from personal observation, that the married
man or woman who arrives alone can usually arrange to "vie at tennis,
bowling, horseback riding, and a dozen other wholesome exercises" with
the husband or the wife of some one else. In short, Excelsior Springs is
like most other "resorts." But all this is by the way. The waters are
the main thing. The paved streets, the parks, the golf links, even Frank
James, sink into comparative insignificance compared with the natural
beverages of the place. The Commercial Club desires that this be clearly
understood, and seems, even, to resent the proximity of Frank James, as
a rival attraction to the waters, as though under an impression that no
human being could stomach both. Before I departed from the Springs some
members of the Commercial Club became so alarmed at the interest I was
showing in the former outlaw that they called upon me in a body and
exacted from me a solemn promise that I should on no account neglect to
write about the waters. I agreed, whereupon I was given full information
regarding the waters by a gentleman bearing the appropriate name of
Fish.

Mr. Fish informed me that the waters of Excelsior Springs resemble, in
their general effect, the waters of Homburg, the favorite watering place
of the late King Edward--or, rather, I think he put it the other way
round: that Homburg waters resembled those of Excelsior Springs. The
famous Elizabethbrunnen of Homburg is like a combination of two waters
found at the Missouri resort--a saline water and an iron water, having,
together, a laxative, alterative, and tonic effect. Mr. Fish, who has
made a study of waters, says that Excelsior Springs has the greatest
variety of valuable mineral waters to be found in this country, and that
the town possesses two among the half dozen iron-manganese springs being
used, commercially, in the entire world. Duplicates of these springs are
to be found at Schwalbach and Pyrmont, in Germany; Spa, in Belgium, and
St. Moritz, in Switzerland. The value of manganese when associated with
iron is that it makes the iron more digestible.

Another type of water found at the Springs is of a saline-sulphur
variety, such as is found at Saratoga, Blue Lick (Ky.), Ems, and
Baden-Baden. Still another type is the soda water similar to that of
Manitou (Colo.), Vichy, and Carlsbad, while a fourth variety of water is
the lithia.

In 1881 the present site of the town was occupied by farms, one of them
that of Anthony Wyman, on whose land the original "Siloam" iron spring
was discovered. This spring, the water of which left a yellow streak on
the ground as it flowed away, had been known for years among the negro
farm hands as the "old pizen spring," and it is said that when they were
threshing wheat in the fields, and became thirsty, none of them dared
drink from it.

Rev. Dr. Flack, a resident of the neighborhood, having heard about the
spring, took a sample of the water and sent it to be analyzed--as my
informant put it, "to find out what was the matter with it." The
analysis showed the reason for the yellow streak, and informed Dr. Flack
of the spring's value.

From that time on people began to drive to the Springs in the
stagecoaches that passed through the region. First there were camps, but
in 1882 a few houses were built and the town was incorporated. In 1888
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad began to operate a line
through Excelsior Springs, and in 1894 the Wabash connected with the
Springs by constructing a spur line. The Milwaukee & St. Paul tracks
pass at a distance of about one mile from the town, and this fact
finally caused the late Sam F. Scott to build a dummy line to the
station.

I was told that Mr. Scott had handsome passes engraved, and that he sent
these to the presidents of all the leading railroad companies of the
country, requesting an exchange of courtesies. According to this story,
Mr. Scott received a reply from Alexander Cassatt, then president of the
Pennsylvania system, saying that he was unable to find Mr. Scott's road
in the Railroad Directory, and asking for further information. To this
letter, it is said, Mr. Scott replied: "My road is not so long as yours,
but it is just as wide." Perhaps I should add that, later, I heard the
same story told of the president of a small Colorado line, and that
still later I heard it in connection with a little road in California.
It may be an old story, but it was new to me, and I hereby fasten it
upon the town where I first heard it.

Excelsior Springs is the headquarters of the Bill Club, which has come
in for humorous mention, from time to time, in newspapers throughout the
land. The Bill Club is a national organization, the sole requirement for
membership having originally consisted in the possession of the cognomen
"William" and the payment of a dollar bill. Bill Sisk of Excelsior
Springs is president of the Bill Club, Bill Hyder is secretary, and Bill
Flack treasurer. By an amendment of the Bill Club constitution, "any
lady who has been christened Willie, Wilena, Wilhelmine, or Williamette,
may also join the Bill Club." The pass word of the organization is
"Hello, Bill," and among the honorary members are ex-President Bill
Taft, Secretary of State Bill Bryan, Senators Bill Warner and Bill Stone
of Missouri, Bill Hearst, Colonel Bill Nelson, publisher of the Kansas
City "Star," and Bill Bill, a hat manufacturer, of Hartford, Conn.

       *       *       *       *       *

The head waiter at our hotel was a beaming negro. As my companion and I
came down to breakfast on our first morning there, he met us at the
door, led us across the dining room, drew out our chairs, and, as we sat
down, inquired, pleasantly:

"Well, gentamen, how did you enjoy yo' sleep?"

We both assured him that we had slept well.

"Yes, suh; yes, suh," he replied. "That's the way it most gen'ally is
down here. People either sleeps well or they don't."

After breakfast we were taken in a motor to the James farm, nine miles
distant from the town. Never have I seen more charming landscapes than
those we passed upon this drive. An Englishman at Excelsior Springs told
me that the landscapes reminded him of home, but to me they were not
English, for they had none of that finished, gardenlike formality which
one associates with the scenery of England. The country in that part of
Missouri is hilly, and spring was just commencing when we were there,
touching the feathery tips of the trees with a color so faint that it
seemed like a light green mist. It was a warm, sunny day, and the breeze
sweet with the smell of growing things. There was no haze, the air was
clear, yet by some subtle quality in the light, colors, which elsewhere
might have looked raw, were strangely softened and made to blend with
one another. Blatant red barns, green houses, and the bright blue
overalls worn by farm hands in the fields, did not jump out of the
picture, but melted into it harmoniously, keeping us in a constant state
of amazement and delight.

"If you think it's pretty now," our guardians told us, "you ought to see
it in the summer when the trees are at their best."

Of course such landscapes must be fine in summer, but the beauty of
summer is an obvious kind of beauty, like that of some splendid opulent
woman in a rich evening gown. Summer seems to me to be a little bit too
sure of her beauty, a little too well aware of its completeness. The
beauty of very early spring is different; there is something frail
about it; something timid and faltering, which makes me think of a young
girl, delicate and sweet, who, knowing that she has not reached
maturity, looks forward to her womanhood and remains unconscious of her
present virgin loveliness. No, I am sure that I should never love that
Missouri landscape as I loved it in the early spring, and I am sure that
such a painter as W. Elmer Schofield would have loved it best as I saw
it, and that Edward Redfield or Ernest Lawson would prefer to paint it
in that aspect than in any other which it could assume. I should like to
see them paint it, and I should also like to see their paintings shown
to Kansas and Missouri.

What would Kansas and Missouri make of them? Very little, I fear. For
(with the exception of St. Louis) those two States seem to be devoid of
all feeling for art. I doubt that there is a public art gallery in the
whole State of Kansas, or a private collection of paintings worth
speaking of. As for western Missouri, I could learn of no paintings
there, save some full-sized copies, in oil, of works of old masters,
which were presented to Kansas City by Colonel Nelson. These copies are
exceptionally fine. They might form the nucleus for a municipal gallery
of art--a much better nucleus than would be formed by one or two actual
works of old masters--but Kansas City hasn't "gotten around to art," as
yet, apparently. The paintings are housed in the second story of a
library building, and several people to whom I spoke had never heard of
them.

[Illustration: Mr. Fish informed me that the waters of Excelsior Springs
resemble the waters of Homburg, the favorite watering place of the late
King Edward--or, rather, I think he put it the other way round]



CHAPTER XXVI

THE TAME LION


The James farm occupies a pretty bit of rolling land, at one corner of
which, near the road, Frank James has built himself a neat, substantial
frame house.

Before the house is a large gate, bearing a sign as follows:

    JAMES FARMS
    HOME OF THE JAMES'
    JESSE AND FRANK
    ADMISSION 50C.
    KODAKS BARED

That word "bared" is not bad proofreading; it was spelled like that on
the sign.

As we moved in the direction of the house a tall, slender old man with a
large hooked nose and a white beard and mustache walked toward us. He
was dressed in an exceedingly neat suit and wore a large black felt hat
of the type common throughout Missouri. Coming up, he greeted our escort
cordially, after which we were introduced. It was Frank James.

The former outlaw is a shrewd-looking, well preserved man, whose
carriage, despite his seventy-one years, is notably erect. He looks more
like a prosperous farmer or the president of a rural bank than like a
bandit. In his manner there is a strong note of the showman. It is not
at all objectionable, but it is there, in the same way that it is there
in Buffalo Bill. Frank James is an interesting figure; on meeting him
you see, at once, that he knows he is an interesting figure and that he
trades upon the fact. He is clearly an intelligent man, but he has been
looked at and listened to for so many years, as a kind of curiosity,
that he has the air of going through his tricks for one--of getting off
a line of practised patter. It is pretty good patter, as patter goes,
inclining to quotation, epigram, and homely philosophy, delivered in an
assured "platform manner."

It may be well here to remind the reader of the history of the James
Gang.

The father and mother of the "boys" came from Kentucky to Missouri. The
father was a Baptist minister and a slaveholder. He died before the war,
and his widow married a man named Samuels, by whom she had several
children.

From the year 1856 Missouri, which was a slave state, warred with
Kansas, which was a free state, and there was much barbarity along the
border. The "Jayhawkers," or Kansas guerrillas, would make forays into
Missouri, stealing cattle, burning houses, and committing all manner of
depredations; and lawless gangs of Missourians would retaliate, in kind,
on Kansas. Among the most appalling cutthroats on the Missouri side was
a man named Quantrell, head of the Quantrell gang, a body of guerrillas
which sometimes numbered upward of a thousand men. The James boys were
members of this gang, Frank James joining at the opening of the Civil
War, and Jesse two years later, at the age of sixteen. In speaking of
joining Quantrell, Frank James spoke of "going into the army." Quantrell
was, however, a mere border ruffian and was disowned by the Confederate
army.

According to Frank James, Quantrell, who was born in Canal Dover, Ohio,
went west, with his brother, to settle. In Kansas they were set upon by
"Jayhawkers" and "Redlegs," with the result that Quantrell's brother was
killed and that Quantrell himself was wounded and left for dead. He was,
however, nursed to life by a Nez Perce Indian. When he recovered he
became determined to have revenge upon the Kansans. To that end, he
affected to be in sympathy with them, and joined some of their marauding
bands. When he had established himself in their confidence he used to
get himself sent out on scouting expeditions with one or two other men,
and it was his amiable custom, upon such occasions, to kill his
companions and return with a story of an attack by the enemy in which
the others had met death. At last, when he had played this trick so
often that he feared detection, he determined to get himself clear of
his fellows. A plan had been matured for an attack upon the house of a
rich slaveholder. Quantrell went to the house in advance, betrayed the
plan, and arranged to join forces with the defenders. This resulted in
the death of his seven or eight companions. At about this time the war
came on, and Quantrell became a famous guerrilla leader, falling on
detached bodies of Northern troops and massacring them, and even
attacking towns--one of his worst offenses having been the massacre of
most of the male inhabitants of Lawrence, Kas. He gave as the reason for
his atrocities his desire for revenge for the death of his brother, and
also used to allege that he was a Southerner, though that was not true.

I asked Frank James how he came to join Quantrell, when the war broke
out, instead of enlisting in the regular army.

"We knew he was not a very fine character," he explained, "but we were
like the followers of Villa or Huerta: we wanted to destroy the folks
that wanted to destroy us, and we would follow any man that would show
us how to do it. Besides, I was young then. When a man is young his
blood is hot; there's a million things he'll do then that he won't do
when he's older. There's a story about a man at a banquet. He was
offered champagne to drink, but he said: 'I want quick action. I'll take
Bourbon whisky.' That was the way I felt. That's why I joined Quantrell:
to get quick action. And I got it, too. Jesse and I were with Quantrell
until he was killed in Kentucky."

John Samuels, a half brother of the James boys, told me the story of how
Jesse James came to join Quantrell.

"Jesse was out plowing in a field," he said, "when some Northern
soldiers came to the place to look for Frank. Jesse was only sixteen
years old. They beat him up. Then they went to the house and asked where
Frank was. Mother and father didn't know, but the soldiers wouldn't
believe them. They took father out and hung him by the neck to a tree.
After a while they took him down and gave him another chance to tell. Of
course he couldn't. So they hung him up again. They did that three
times. Then they took him back to the house and told my mother they were
going to shoot him. She begged them not to do it, but they took him off
in the woods and fired off their guns so she'd hear, and think they'd
done it. But they didn't shoot him. They just took him over to another
town and put him in jail. My mother didn't know until the next day that
he hadn't been shot, because the soldiers ordered her to remain in the
house if she didn't want to get shot, too.

"That was too much for Jesse. He said: 'Maw, I can't stand it any
longer; I'm going to join Quantrell.' And he did."

After the war the wilder element from the disbanded armies and guerrilla
gangs caused continued trouble. Crime ran rampant along the border
between Kansas and Missouri. And for many crimes committed in the
neighborhood in which they lived, the James boys, who were known to be
wild, were blamed.

"Mother always said," declared Mr. Samuels, "that Frank and Jesse wanted
to settle down after the war, but that the neighbors wouldn't let them.
Everything that went wrong around this region was always charged to
them, until, finally, they were driven to outlawry."

"How much truth is there in the different stories of bank robberies and
train robberies committed by them?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "Of course they did a lot of things. But we
never knew. They never said anything. They'd just come riding home,
every now and then, and stop for a while, and then go riding away again.
We never knew where they came from or where they went."

It has been alleged that even after a reward of $10,000 had been offered
for either of the Jameses, dead or alive, the neighbors shielded them
when it was known that they were at home. I spoke about that to an old
man who lived on a nearby farm.

"Yes," he said, "that's true. Once when the Pinkertons were hunting them
I met Frank and some members of the gang riding along the road, not far
from here. I could have told, but I didn't want to. I wasn't looking for
any trouble with the James Gang. Suppose they had caught one or two of
them? There'd be others left to get even with me, and I had my family to
think of. That is the way lots of the neighbors felt about it. They were
afraid to tell."

I spoke to Frank James about the old "nickel novels."

"Yes," he said, "some fellows printed a lot of stuff. I'd have stopped
it, maybe, if I'd had as much money as Rockefeller. But what could I
do? I tell you those yellow-backed books have done a lot of harm to the
youth of this land--those and the moving pictures, showing robberies.
Such things demoralize youth. If I had the job of censoring the moving
pictures, they'd say I was a reg'lar Robespierre!"

[Illustration: We strolled in the direction of the old house, that house
of tragedy in which the family lived in the troublous times.... It was
there that the Pinkertons threw the bomb.]

"How about some of the old stories of robberies in which you were
supposed to have taken part?" I asked.

"I neither affirm nor deny," Frank James answered, with the glibness of
long custom. "If I admitted that these stories were true, people would
say: 'There is the greatest scoundrel unhung!' and if I denied 'em,
they'd say: 'There's the greatest liar on earth!' So I just say
nothing."

According to John Samuels, Frank James and Cole Younger were generally
acknowledged to be the brains of the James Gang. "It was claimed," he
said, "that Frank planned and Jesse executed. Frank was certainly the
cool man of the two, and Jesse was a little bit excitable. He had the
name of being the quickest man in the world with a gun. Sometimes when
he was home for a visit, when I was a boy, he'd be sitting there in the
house, and there'd come some little noise. Then he'd whip out his pistol
so quick you couldn't see the motion of his hand."

As we conversed we strolled in the direction of the old house, that
house of tragedy in which the family lived in the troublous times. On
the way we passed Frank James's chicken coop, and I noticed that on it
had been painted the legend: "Bull Moose--T. R."

"The wing, at the back, is the old part of the house," James explained.
"It was there that the Pinkertons threw the bomb."

I asked about the bomb throwing and heard the story from John Samuels,
who was there when it occurred.

"I was a child of thirteen then," he said, "and I was the only one in
the room who wasn't killed or crippled. It happened at night. We had
suspected for a long time that a man named Laird, who was working as a
farm hand for a neighbor of ours named Askew on that farm over
there"--he indicated a farmhouse on a nearby hill--"was a Pinkerton
man, and that he was there to watch for Frank and Jesse. Well, one night
he must have decided they were at home, for the house was surrounded
while we were asleep. A lot of torches were put around in the yard to
give light. Then the house was set on fire in seven places and a bomb
was thrown in through this window." He pointed to a window in the side
of the old log wing. "It was about midnight. My mother and little
brother and I were in the room. Mother kicked the bomb into the
fireplace before it went off. The fuse was sputtering. Maybe she even
thought of throwing the thing out of the window again. Anyhow, when it
exploded it blew off her forearm and killed my little brother."

"Come in the house," invited Frank James. "We've got a piece of the bomb
in there."

We entered the old cabin. In the fireplace marks of the explosion are
still visible. The piece of the bomb which they preserve is a
bowl-shaped bit of iron, about the size of a bread-and-butter plate.

"What was their idea in throwing the bomb?" I asked.

"As near as we know," replied Frank James, "the Pinkertons figured that
Jesse and I were sleeping in the front part of the house. You see,
there's a little porch running back from the main house to the door of
the old cabin. They must have figured that when the bomb went off we
would run out on the porch to see what was the matter. Then they were
going to bag us."

"Well, did you run out?"

"Evidently not," said Frank James.

"Were you there?" I asked.

"Some think we were and some think not," he said.

An old man who had been constable of the township at the time the James
boys were on the warpath had come up and joined us.

"How about Askew?" I suggested. "I should have thought he would have
been afraid to harbor a Pinkerton man."

The old man nodded. "You'd of thought so, wouldn't you?" he agreed.
"Askew was shot dead three months after the bomb throwing. He was
carrying a pail of milk from the stable to the house when he got three
bullets in the face."

"Who killed him?" I asked.

The old constable allowed his eyes to drift ruminatively over the
neighboring hillsides before replying. Frank James and his half brother,
who were standing by, also heard my question, and they, too, became
interested in the surrounding scenery.

"Well-l," said the old constable at last, "that's always been a
question."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Samuels told me details concerning the death of Jesse James.

"Things were getting pretty hot for the boys," he said. "Big rewards had
been offered for them. Frank was in hiding down South, and Jesse was
married and living under an assumed name in a little house he had rented
in St. Joe, Mo. That was in 1882. There had been some hints of trouble
in the gang. Dick Little, one of the boys, had gotten in with the
authorities, and it had been rumored that he had won the Ford boys over,
too. Jesse had heard that report, but he had confidence in Charlie Ford.
Bob Ford he didn't trust so much. Well, Charlie and Bob Ford came to St.
Joe to see Jesse and his wife. They were sitting around the house one
day, and Jesse's wife wanted him to dust a picture for her. He was
always a great hand to help his wife. He moved a chair over under the
picture, and before getting up on it to dust, he took his belt and
pistols off and threw them on the bed. Then he got up on the chair.
While he was standing there Bob Ford shot him in the back.

"Well, Bob died a violent death a while after that. He was shot by a
man named Kelly in a saloon in Creede, Colo. And Charlie Ford brooded
over the killing of Jesse and committed suicide about a year later. The
three Younger boys, who were members of the gang, too, were captured a
while after, near Northfield, Minn., where they had tried to rob a bank.
They were all sent up for life. Bob Younger died in the penitentiary at
Stillwater, but Cole and Jim were paroled and not allowed to leave the
State. Jim fell in love with a woman, but being an ex-convict, he
couldn't get a license to marry her. That broke his heart and he
committed suicide. Cole finally got a full pardon and is now living in
Jackson County, Missouri. He and Frank are the only two members of the
Gang who are left and the only two that didn't die either in the
penitentiary or by violence. Frank was in hiding for years with a big
price on his head. At last he gave himself up, stood trial, and was
acquitted."

Adherents of Bob Ford told a different story of the motives back of the
killing of Jesse James. They contend that Jesse James thought Ford had
been "telling things" and ought to be put out of the way, and that in
killing Jesse, Ford practically saved his own life.

Whatever may be the truth, it is generally agreed that the action of
Jesse James in taking off his guns and turning his back on the Ford boys
was unprecedented. He had never before been known to remove his weapons.
Some people think he did it as a piece of bravado. Others say he did it
to show the Ford boys that he trusted them. But whatever the occasion
for the action it gave Bob Ford his chance--a chance which, it is
thought, he would not have dared take when Jesse James was armed.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the course of our visit Frank James "lectured," more or less
constantly, touching on a variety of subjects, including the Mexican
situation and woman suffrage.

"The women ought to have the vote," he affirmed. "Look what we owe to
the women. A man gets 75 per cent. of what goodness there is in him from
his mother, and he owes at least 40 per cent. of all he makes to his
wife. Yes, some men owe more than that. Some of 'em owe 100 per cent. to
their wives."

Ethics and morality seem to be favorite topics with the old man, and he
makes free with quotations from the Bible and from Shakespeare in
substantiation of his opinions.

"City people," I heard him say to some other visitors who came while we
were there, "think that we folks who live on farms haven't got no sense.
Well, we may not know much, but what we do know we know darn well. We
farmers _feed_ all these smart folks in the cities, so they ought to
give us credit for knowing _some_thing."

He can be dry and waggish as he shows himself off to those who come and
pay their fifty cents. It was amusing to watch him and listen to him.
Sometimes he sounded like an old parson, but his air of piety sat upon
him grotesquely as one reflected on his earlier career. A prelate with
his hat cocked rakishly over one ear could have seemed hardly more
incongruous.

[Illustration: It was Frank James.... He looks more like a prosperous
farmer or the president of a rural bank than like a bandit. In his
manner there is a strong note of the showman]

At some of his virtuous platitudes it was hard not to smile. All the
time I was there I kept thinking how like he was to some character of
Gilbert's. All that is needed to make Frank James complete is some
lyrics and some music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are almost as many stories of the James Boys and their gang to be
heard in Excelsior Springs as there are houses in the town. But as Frank
James will not commit himself, it is next to impossible to verify them.
However, I shall give a sample.

I was told that Frank and Jesse James were riding along a country road
with another member of the gang, and that, coming to a farmhouse shortly
after noon, they stopped and asked the woman living there if she could
give them "dinner"--as the midday meal is called in Kansas and Missouri.

The woman said she could. They dismounted and entered. Then, as they sat
in the kitchen watching her making the meal ready, Jesse noticed that
tears kept coming to her eyes. Finally he asked her if anything was
wrong. At that she broke down completely, informing him that she was a
widow, that her farm was mortgaged for several hundred dollars, and that
the man who held the mortgage was coming out that afternoon to collect.
She had not the money to pay him and expected to lose her property.

"That's nothing to cry about," said Jesse. "Here's the money."

To the woman, who had not the least idea who the men were, their visit
must have seemed like one from angels. She took the money, thanking them
profusely, and, after having fed them well, saw them ride away.

Later in the day, when the holder of the mortgage appeared upon the
scene, fully expecting to foreclose, he was surprised at receiving
payment in full. He receipted, mounted his horse, and set out on his
return to town. But on the way back a strange thing befell him. He was
held up and robbed by three mysterious masked men.



CHAPTER XXVII

KANSAS JOURNALISM


Everything I had ever heard of Kansas, every one I had ever met from
Kansas, everything I had ever imagined about Kansas, made me anxious to
invade that State. With the exception of California, there was no State
about which I felt such a consuming curiosity. Kansas is, and always has
been, a State of freaks and wonders, of strange contrasts, of
individualities strong and sometimes weird, of ideas and ideals, and of
apocryphal occurrences.

Just think what Kansas has been, and has had, and is! Think of the
border warfare over slavery which began as early as 1855; of settlers,
traveling out to "bleeding Kansas" overland, from New England, merely to
add their abolition votes; of early struggles with the soil, and of the
final triumph. Kansas is to-day the first wheat State, the fourth State
in the value of its assessed property (New York, Pennsylvania, and
Massachusetts only outranking it), and the only State in the Union which
is absolutely free from debt. It has a more American population, greater
wealth and fewer mortgages per capita, more women running for office,
more religious conservatism, more political radicalism, more students
in higher educational institutions in proportion to its population, more
homogeneity, more individualism, and more nasal voices than any other
State. As Colonel Nelson said to me: "All these new ideas they are
getting everywhere else are old ideas in Kansas." And why shouldn't that
be true, since Kansas is the State of Sockless Jerry Simpson, William
Allen White, Ed Howe, Walt Mason, Stubbs, Funston, Henry Allen, Victor
Murdock, and Harry Kemp; the State of Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Nation,
and Mary Ellen Lease--the same sweet Mary Ellen who remarked that
"Kansas ought to raise less corn and more hell!"

Kansas used to believe in Populism and free silver. It now believes in
hot summers and a hot hereafter. It is a prohibition State in which
prohibition actually works; a State like nothing so much as some
scriptural kingdom--a land of floods, droughts, cyclones, and enormous
crops; of prophets and of plagues. And in the last two items it has
sometimes seemed to actually outdo the Bible by combining plague and
prophet in a single individual: for instance, Carrie Nation, or again,
Harry Kemp, "the tramp poet of Kansas," who is by way of being a kind of
Carrie Nation of convention. Only last year Kansas performed one of her
biblical feats, when she managed, somehow, to cause the water, in the
deep well supplying the town of Girard, to turn hot. But that is nothing
to what she has done. Do you remember the plague of grasshoppers? Not in
the whole Bible is there to be found a more perfect pestilence than
that one, which occurred in Kansas in 1872. One day a cloud appeared
before the sun. It came nearer and nearer and grew into a strange,
glistening thing. At midday it was dark as night. Then, from the air,
the grasshoppers commenced to come, like a heavy rain. They soon covered
the ground. Railroad trains were stopped by them. They attacked the
crops, which were just ready to be harvested, eating every green thing,
and even getting at the roots. Then, on the second day, they all arose,
making a great cloud, as before, and turning the day black again. Nor
can any man say whence they came or whither they departed.

Among the homely philosophers developed through Kansas journalism
several are widely known, most celebrated among them all being Ed Howe
of the Atchison "Globe," William Allen White of the Emporia "Gazette,"
and Walt Mason of the same paper.

Howe is sixty years of age. He was owner and editor of the "Globe" for
more than thirty years, but four years ago, when his paper gave him a
net income of sixty dollars per day, he turned it over to his son and
retired to his country place, "Potato Hill," whence he issues occasional
manifestos.

Some of Howe's characteristic paragraphs from the "Globe" have been
collected and published in book form, under the title, "Country Town
Sayings." Here are a few examples of his homely humor and philosophy:

     So many things go wrong that we are tired of becoming indignant.

     Watch the flies on cold mornings; that is the way you will feel and
     act when you are old.

     There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect
     something for nothing, but we all do and call it hope.

     When half the men become fond of doing a thing, the other half
     prohibit it by law.

     Sometimes I think that I have nothing to be thankful for, but when
     I remember that I am not a woman I am content. Any one who is
     compelled to kiss a man and pretend to like it is entitled to
     sympathy.

     Somehow every one hates to see an unusually pretty girl get
     married. It is like taking a bite out of a very fine-looking peach.

     What people say behind your back is your standing in the community
     in which you live.

     A really busy person never knows how much he weighs.

Walt Mason is another Kansas philosopher-humorist. Recently he published
in "Collier's Weekly" an article describing life, particularly with
regard to prohibition and its effects, in his "hum town," Emporia.

Emporia is probably as well known as any town of its size in the land.
It has, as Mason puts it, "ten thousand people, including William Allen
White." Including Walt Mason, then, it must have about eleven thousand.
Mason's article told how Stubbs, on becoming Governor of Kansas,
enforced the prohibition laws, and of the fine effect of actual
prohibition in Emporia. "No town in the world," he declares, "wears a
tighter lid. There is no drunkenness because there is nothing to drink
stiffer than pink lemonade. You will see a unicorn as soon as you will
see a drunken man in the streets of the town. Emporia has reared a
generation of young men who don't know what alcohol tastes like, who
have never seen the inside of a saloon. Many of them never saw the
outside of one. They go forth into the world to seek their fortunes
without the handicap of an acquired thirst. All Emporia's future
generations of young men will be similarly clean, for the town knows
that a tight lid is the greatest possible blessing and nobody will ever
dare attempt to pry it loose."

Having spent a year in the prohibition State of Maine, I was skeptical
as to the feasibility of a practical prohibition. Prohibition in Maine,
when I was there, was simply a joke--and a bad joke at that, for it
involved bad liquor. Every man in the State who wanted drink knew where
to get it, so long as he was satisfied with poor beer, or whisky of
about the quality of spar varnish. Never have I seen more drunkenness
than in that State. The slight added difficulty of getting drink only
made men want it more, and it seemed to me that, when they got it, they
drank more at a sitting than they would have, had liquor been more
generally accessible.

In Kansas it is different. There the law is enforced. Blind pigs hardly
exist, and bootleggers are rare birds who, if they persist in
bootlegging, are rapidly converted into jailbirds. The New York
"Tribune" printed, recently, a letter stating that prohibition is a
signal failure in Kansas, that there is more drinking there than ever
before, and that "under the seats of all the automobiles in Kansas there
is a good-sized canteen." Whether there is more drinking in Kansas than
ever before, I cannot say. I do know, however, both from personal
observation and from reliable testimony, that there is practically no
drinking in the portions of the State I visited. As I am not a
prohibitionist, this statement is nonpartizan. But I may add, after
having seen the results of prohibition in Kansas, I look upon it with
more favor. Indeed, I am a partial convert; that is, I believe in it for
you. And whatever are your views on prohibition, I think you will admit
that it is a pretty temperate State in which a girl can grow to
womanhood and say what one Kansas girl said to me: that she never saw a
drunken man until she moved away from Kansas.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three religious manifestations occurred while I was in Kansas. A negro
preacher came out with a platform declaring definitely in favor of a
"hot hell," another preacher affirmed that he had the answer to the "six
riddles of the universe," and William Allen White came out with the news
that he had "got religion."

Now, if William Allen White of the Emporia "Gazette" really has done
that, a number of consequences are likely to occur. For one thing, a
good many Americans who follow, with interest, Mr. White's opinions, are
likely also to follow him in this; and if they fail to do so
voluntarily, they are likely to get religion stuffed right down their
throats. If White decides that it is good for them, they'll get it,
never fear! For White's the kind of man who gives us what is good for
us, even if it kills us. Another probable result of White's coming out
in the "Gazette" in favor of religion would be the simultaneous
appearance, in the "Gazette," of anti-religious propaganda by Walt
Mason. That is the way the "Gazette" is run. White is the proprietor and
has his say as editor, but Walt Mason, who is associated with him on the
"Gazette," also has _his_ say, and his say is far from being dictated by
the publisher. White, for instance, favors woman suffrage; Mason does
not. White is a progressive; Mason is a standpatter. White believes in
the commission form of government, which Emporia has; Mason does not.
Mason believes in White for Governor of Kansas, whereas White, himself,
protests passionately that the "Gazette" is against "that man White."

Says a "Gazette" editorial, apropos of a movement to nominate White on
the Progressive ticket:

     We are onto that man White. Perhaps he pays his debts. He may be
     kind to his family. But he is not the man to run for Governor. And
     if he is a candidate for Governor or for any other office, we
     propose to tell the truth about him--how he robbed the county with
     a padded printing bill, how he offered to trade off his support to
     a Congressman for a Government building, how he blackmailed good
     citizens and has run a bulldozing, disreputable newspaper in this
     town for twenty years, and has grafted off business men and sold
     fake mining stock and advocated anarchy and assassinations.

     These are but a few preliminary things that occur to us as the
     moment passes. We shall speak plainly hereafter. A word to the wise
     gathers no moss.

That is the way they run the Emporia "Gazette." It is a kind of forum in
which White and Mason air their different points of view, for, as Mason
said to me: "The only public question on which White and I agree is the
infallibility of the groundhog as a weather prophet."

White and Colonel Nelson of the Kansas City "Star" are great friends and
great admirers of each other. One day they were talking together about
politics.

"I hear," said Colonel Nelson, "that Shannon (Shannon is the Democratic
boss of Kansas City) says he wants to live long enough to go to the
State Legislature and get a law passed making it only a misdemeanor to
kill an editor."

"Colonel," replied White, "I think such a law would be too drastic. I
think editors should be protected during the mating season and while
caring for their young. And, furthermore, I think no man should be
allowed to kill more editors at any time than he and his family can
eat."



CHAPTER XXVIII

A COLLEGE TOWN


It was about one o'clock in the afternoon when my companion and I
alighted from the train in Lawrence, Kas., the city in which the
Quantrell massacre occurred, as mentioned in a preceding chapter, and
the seat of the University of Kansas.

An automobile hack, the gasoline equivalent of the dilapidated
horse-drawn station hack of earlier times, was standing beside the
platform. We consulted the driver about luncheon.

"You kin get just as good eating at the lunch room over by the other
station," he said, "as you kin at the hotel, and 't won't cost you so
much. They charge fifty cents for dinner at the Eldridge, and the lunch
room's only a quarter. You kin get anything you want to eat there--ham
and eggs, potatoes, all such as that."

Somehow we were suspicious of the lunch room, but as we had to leave our
bags at the other station, we told him we would look it over, got in,
and drove across the town. The lunch room proved to be a one-story
wooden structure, painted yellow, and supporting one of those "false
fronts," representing a second story, which one sees so often in little
western towns, and which of all architectural follies is the worst,
since it deceives no one, makes only for ugliness, and is a sheer waste
of labor and material.

We did not even alight at the lunch room, but, despite indications of
hurt feelings on the part of our charioteer, insisted on proceeding to
the Eldridge House and lunching there, cost what it might.

The Eldridge House stands on a corner of the wide avenue known as
Massachusetts, the principal street, which, like the town itself,
indicates, in its name, a New England origin. Lawrence was named for
Amos Lawrence, the Massachusetts abolitionist, who, though he never
visited Kansas, gave the first ten thousand dollars toward the
establishment of the university.

Alighting before the hotel, I noticed a building, diagonally opposite,
bearing the sign, Bowersock Theater. Billboards before the theater
announced that Gaskell & McVitty (Inc.) would present there a
dramatization of Harold Bell Wright's "Shepherd of the Hills." As I had
never seen a dramatization of a work by America's best-selling author,
nor yet a production by Messrs. Gaskell & McVitty (Inc.), it seemed to
me that here was an opportunity to improve, as at one great bound, my
knowledge of the theater. One of the keenest disappointments of my trip
was the discovery that this play was not due in Lawrence for some days,
as I would even have stopped a night in the Eldridge House, if
necessary, to have attended a performance--especially a performance in a
theater bearing the poetic name of Bowersock.

Rendered reckless by my disappointment, I retired to the Eldridge House
dining room and ordered the fifty-cent luncheon. If it was the worst
meal I had on my entire trip, it at least fulfilled an expectation, for
I had heard that meals in western hotels were likely to be poor. It is
only just to add, however, that a number of sturdy men who were seated
about the room ate more heartily and vastly than any other people I have
seen, excepting German tourists on a Rhine steamer. I envy Kansans their
digestions. For my own part, I was less interested in my meal than in
the waitresses. Has it ever struck you that hotel waitresses are a race
apart? They are not like other women; not even like other waitresses.
They are even shaped differently, having waists like wasps and bosoms
which would resemble those of pouter pigeons if pouter pigeons' bosoms
did not seem to be a part of them. Most hotel waitresses look to me as
though, on reaching womanhood, they had inhaled a great breath and held
it forever after. Only the fear of being thought indelicate prevents my
discussing further this curious phenomenon. However, I am reminded that,
as Owen Johnson has so truly said, American writers are not permitted
the freedom which is accorded to their Gallic brethren. There is, I
trust, however, nothing improper in making mention of the striking
display of jewelry worn by the waitresses at the Eldridge House. All
wore diamonds in their hair, and not one wore less than fifty thousand
dollars' worth. These diamonds were set in large hairpins, and the show
of gems surpassed any I have ever seen by daylight. Luncheon at the
Eldridge suggests, in this respect, a first night at the Metropolitan
Opera House in New York, and if it is like that at luncheon, what must
it be at dinner time? Do they wear tiaras and diamond stomachers? I
regret that I am unable to say, for, immediately after luncheon, I kept
an appointment, previously made, with the driver of the auto hack.

"Where do you boys want to go now?" he asked my companion and me as we
appeared.

"To the university," I said.

"Students?" he asked, with kindly interest.

Neither of us had been taken for a student in many, many years; the
agreeable suggestion was worth an extra quarter to him. Perhaps he had
guessed as much.

The drive took us out Massachusetts Avenue, which, when it escapes the
business part of town, becomes an agreeable, tree-bordered thoroughfare,
reminiscent of New England. Presently our rattle-trap machine turned to
the right and began the ascent of a hill so steep as to cause the driver
to drop back into "first." It was a long hill, too; we crawled up for
several blocks before attaining the plateau at the top, where stands the
University of Kansas.

The setting of the college surprised us, for, if there was one thing
that we had expected more than another, it was that Kansas would prove
absolutely flat. Yet here we were on a mountain top--at least they call
it Mount Oread--with the valley of the Kaw River below, and what seemed
to be the whole of Kansas spread round about, like a vast panoramic
mural decoration for the university--a maplike picture suggesting those
splendid decorations of Jules Guerin's in the Pennsylvania Terminal in
New York.

I know of no university occupying a more suitable position or a more
commanding view, although it must be recorded that the university has
been more fortunate in the selection of its site than in its
architecture and the arrangement of its grounds. Like other colleges
founded forty or fifty years ago, the University of Kansas started in a
small way, and failed entirely to anticipate the greatness of its
future. The campus seems to have "just growed" without regard to the
grouping of buildings or to harmony between them, and the architecture
is generally poor. Nevertheless there is a sort of homely charm about
the place, with its unimposing, helter-skelter piles of brick and stone,
its fine trees, and its sweeping view.

It was principally with the purpose of visiting the University of Kansas
that we stopped in Lawrence. We had heard much of the great, energetic
state colleges, which had come to hold such an important place
educationally, and in the general life of the Middle West and West, and
had planned to visit one of them. Originally we had in mind the
University of Wisconsin, because we had heard so much about it; later,
however, it struck us that everybody else had heard a good deal about
it, too, and that we had better visit some less widely advertised
college. We hit on the University of Kansas because Kansas is the most
typical American agricultural state, and also because a Kansan, whom we
met on the train, informed us that "In Kansas we are hell on education."

In detail I knew little of these big state schools. I had heard, of
course, of the broadening of their activities to include a great variety
of general state service, aside from their main purpose of giving some
sort of college education, at very low cost, to young men and women of
rural communities who desire to continue beyond the public schools. I
must confess, however, that, aside from such great universities as those
of Michigan and Wisconsin, I had imagined that state universities were,
in general, crude and ill equipped, by comparison with the leading
colleges of the East.

If the University of Kansas may, as I have been credibly informed, be
considered as a typical western state university, then I must confess
that my preconceptions regarding such institutions were as far from the
facts as preconceptions, in general, are likely to be. The University of
Kansas is anything but backward. It is, upon the contrary, amazingly
complete and amazingly advanced. Not only has it an excellent equipment
and a live faculty, but also a remarkably energetic, eager student body,
much more homogeneous and much more unanimous in its hunger for
education than student bodies in eastern universities, as I have
observed them.

The University of Kansas has some three thousand students, about a
thousand of them women. Considerably more than half of them are either
partly or wholly self-supporting, and 12 per cent. of them earn their
way during the school months. The grip of the university upon the State
may best be shown by statistics--if I may be forgiven the brief use of
them. Out of 103 counties in Kansas only seven were not represented by
students in the university in the years 1910-12--the seven counties
being thinly settled sections in the southwest corner of the State.
Seventy-three percent. of last year's students were born in Kansas; more
than a third of them came from villages of less than 2,000 population;
and the father of one out of every three students was a farmer.

Life at the university is comfortable, simple, and very cheap, the
average cost, per capita, for the school year being perhaps $200,
including school expenses, board, social expenses, etc., nor are there
great social and financial gaps between certain groups of students, as
in some eastern colleges. The university is a real democracy, in which
each individual is judged according to certain standards of character
and behavior.

"Now and again," one young man told me, with a sardonic smile, "we get a
country boy who eats with his knife. He may be a mighty good sort, but
he isn't civilized. When a fellow like that comes along, we take him in
hand and tell him that, aside from the danger of cutting his mouth, we
have certain peculiar whims on the subject of manners at table, and
that it is better for him to eat as we do, because if he doesn't it
makes him conspicuous. Inside a week you'll see a great change in a boy
of that kind."

Not only is the cost to the student low at the University of Kansas, but
the cost of operating the university is slight. In the year 1909-10 (the
last year on which I have figures) the cost of operating sixteen leading
colleges in the United States averaged $232 per student. The cost per
student at the University of Kansas is $175. One reason for this low per
capita cost is the fact that the salaries of professors at the
University of Kansas are unusually small. They are too small. It is one
of the reproaches of this rich country of ours that, though we are
always ready to spend vast sums on college buildings, we pay small
salaries to instructors; although it is the faculty, much more than the
buildings, which make a college. So far as I have been able to
ascertain, Harvard pays the highest maximum salaries to professors, of
any American university--$5,500 is the Harvard maximum. California,
Cornell, and Yale have a $5,000 maximum. Kansas has the lowest maximum I
know of, the greatest salary paid to a professor there, according to
last year's figures, having been $2,500.

Before leaving New York I was told by a distinguished professor in an
eastern university that the students he got from the West had, almost
invariably, more initiative and energy than those from the region of the
Atlantic seaboard.

[Illustration: The campus seems to have "just growed."... Nevertheless
there is a sort of homely charm about the place, with its unimposing,
helter-skelter piles of brick and stone]

"Just what do you mean by the West?" I asked.

"In general," he replied, "I mean students from north and west of
Chicago. If I show an eastern boy a machine which he does not
understand, the chances are that he will put his hands in his pockets
and shake his head dubiously. But if I show the same machine to a
western boy, he will go right at it, unafraid. Western boys usually have
more 'gumption,' as they call it."

Brief as was my visit to the University of Kansas, I felt that there,
indeed, was "gumption." And it is easy to account for. The breed of men
and women who are being raised in the Western States is a sturdier breed
than is being produced in the East. They have just as much fun in their
college life as any other students do, but practically none of them go
to college just "to have a good time," or with the even less creditable
purpose of improving their social position. Kansas is still too near to
first principles to be concerned with superficialities. It goes to
college to work and learn, and its reason for wishing to learn are, for
the most part, practical. One does not feel, in the University of
Kansas, the aspiration for a vague culture for the sake of culture only.
It is, above all, a practical university, and its graduates are notably
free from the cultural affectations which mark graduates of some eastern
colleges, enveloping them in a fog of pedantry which they mistake for an
aura of erudition, and from which many of them never emerge.

Directness, sincerity, strength, thoughtfulness, and practicality are
Kansas qualities. Even the very young men and women of Kansas are not
far removed from pioneer forefathers, and it must be remembered that the
Kansas pioneer differed from some others in that he possessed a strain
of that Puritan love of freedom which not only brought his forefathers
to Plymouth, but brought him overland to Kansas, as has been said, to
cast his vote for abolition. Naturally, then, the zeal which fired him
and his ancestors is reflected in his children and his grandchildren.
And that, I think, is one reason why Kansas has developed "cranks."

Contrasting curiously with Kansas practicality, however, there must be
among the people of that State another quality of a very different kind,
which I might have overlooked had I not chanced to see a copy of the
"Graduate Magazine," and had I not happened to read the list of names of
graduates who returned to the university for the last commencement. The
list was not a very long one, yet from it I culled the following
collection of given names for women: Ava, Alverna, Angie, Ora, Amida,
Lalia, Nadine, Edetha, Violetta, Flo, Claudia, Evadne, Nelle, Ola,
Lanora, Amarette, Bernese, Minta, Juanita, Babetta, Lenore, Letha, Leta,
Neva, Tekla, Delpha, Oreta, Opal, Flaude, Iva, Lola, Leora, and Zippa.

Clearly, then, Kansas has a penchant for "fancy" names. Why, I wonder?
Is it not, perhaps, a reaction, on the part of parents, against the
eternal struggle with the soil, the eternal practicalities of farm life?
Is it an expression of the craving of Kansas mothers for poetry and
romance? It seems to me that I detect a wistful something in those names
of Kansas' daughters.

Much has been heard, in the last few years, of the "Wisconsin idea" of
linking up the state university with the practical life of the people of
the State. This idea did not originate in Wisconsin, however, but in
Kansas, where as long ago as 1868 a law was passed making the chancellor
of the university State Sealer of Weights and Measures. Since that time
the connection between the State and its great educational institutions
has continued to grow, until now the two are bound together by an
infinite number of ties.

For example, no municipality in Kansas may install a water supply,
waterworks, or sewage plant without obtaining from the university
sanction of the arrangements proposed. The dean of the University School
of Medicine, Dr. S. J. Crumbine, is also secretary of the State Board of
Health. It was Dr. Crumbine who started the first agitation against the
common drinking cup, the roller towel, etc., and he succeeded in having
a law passed by the State Legislature in Kansas abolishing these. He
also accomplished the passage of a law providing for the inspection of
hotels, and requiring, among other things, ten-foot sheets. All water
analysis for the State is done at the university, as well as analysis in
connection with food, drugs, etc., and student work is utilized in a
practical way in connection with this state service, wherever possible.

Passing through the laboratories, I saw many examples of this activity,
and was shown quantities of samples of foods, beverages, and patent
medicines, which had failed to comply with the requirements of the law.
There was an artificial cider made up from alcohol and coal-tar dye; a
patent medicine called "Spurmax," sold for fifty cents per package, yet
containing nothing but colored Epsom salts; another patent medicine sold
at the same price, containing the same material plus a little borax;
bottles of "SilverTop," a beer-substitute, designed to evade the
prohibition law--bottles with sly labels, looking exactly alike, but
which, on examination, proved, in some cases, to have mysteriously
dropped the first two letters in the word "unfermented." All sorts of
things were being analyzed; paints were being investigated for
adulteration; shoes were being examined to see that they conformed to
the Kansas "pure-shoe law," which requires that shoes containing
substitutes for leather be stamped to indicate the fact.

"This law," remarks "The Masses," "is being fought by Kansas shoe
dealers who declare it unconstitutional. Apparently the right to wear
paper shoes without knowing it is another of our precious heritages."

The same department of the university is engaged in showing different
Kansas towns how to soften their water supply; efforts are also being
made to find some means of softening the fiber of the Yucca plant--a
weed which the farmers of western Kansas have been trying to get rid
of--so that it may be utilized for making rope. The Kansas state flower
is also being put to use for the manufacture of sunflower oil, which, in
Russia, is burned in lamps, and which Kansas already uses, to some
extent, as a salad dressing and also as a substitute for linseed oil.

The university has also given attention to the situation with regard to
natural gas in Kansas, Professor Cady having recently appeared before
the State Board of Utilities recommending that, as natural gas varies
greatly as to heat units, the heat unit, rather than the measured foot,
be made the basis for all charges by the gas companies.

In one room I came upon a young man who was in charge of a machine for
the manufacture of liquid air. This product is packed in vacuum cans and
shipped to all parts of the world. I had never seen it before. It is
strange stuff, having a temperature of 300 degrees below zero. The young
man took a little of it in his hand (it looked like a small pill made of
water), and, after holding it for an instant, threw it on the floor,
where it evaporated instantly. He then took some in his mouth and blew
it out in the form of a frosty smoke. He was an engaging young man, and
seemed to enjoy immensely doing tricks with liquid air.

In the department of entomology there is also great activity. Professor
S. J. Hunter has, among other researches, been conducting for the last
three years elaborate experiments designed to prove or disprove the
Sambon theory with regard to pellagra.

"Pellagra," Professor Hunter explained to me, "has been known in Italy
since 1782, but has existed in the United States for less than thirty
years, although it is now found in nearly half our States and has become
most serious in the South. Its cause, character, and cure are unknown,
although there are several theories. One theory is that it is caused by
poisoning due to the excessive use of corn products; another attributes
it to cottonseed products; and the Sambon theory, dating from 1910,
attributes it to the sand fly, the theory being that the fly becomes
infected through sucking the blood of a victim of pellagra, and then
communicates the infection by biting other persons. In order to
ascertain the truth or untruth of this contention, we have bred
uncontaminated sand flies, and after having allowed them to bite
infected persons, have let them bite monkeys. The result of these
experiments is not yet complete. One monkey is, however, sick, at this
time, and his symptoms are not unlike certain symptoms of pellagra."

The university's Museum of Natural History contains the largest single
panoramic display of stuffed animals in the world. This exhibition is
contained in one enormous case running around an extensive room, and
shows, in suitable landscape settings, American animals from Alaska to
the tropics. The collection is valued at $300,000, and was made, almost
entirely, by members of the faculty and students.

The Department of Physical Education is in charge of Dr. James Naismith,
who can teach a man to swim in thirty minutes, and who is famous as the
inventor of the game of basketball. Dr. Naismith devised basketball as a
winter substitute for football, and gave the game its name because,
originally, he used peach baskets as his goals.

A very complete system of university extension is operated, covering an
enormous field, reaching schools, colleges, clubs, and individuals, and
assisting them in almost all branches of education; also a Department of
Correspondence Study, covering about 150 courses. Likewise, in the
Department of Journalism a great amount of interesting and practical
work is being done on the editorial, business, and mechanical sides of
newspaper publishing. Following the general practice of other
departments of the university, the Department of Journalism places its
equipment and resources at the service of Kansas editors and publishers.
A clearing house is maintained where buyers and sellers of newspaper
properties may be brought together, printers are assisted in making
estimates, cost-system blanks are supplied, and job type is cast and
furnished free to Kansas publishers in exchange for their old worn-out
type.

These are but a few scattered examples of the inner and outer activities
of the University of Kansas, as I noted them during the course of an
afternoon and evening spent there. For me the visit was an education. I
wish that all Americans might visit such a university. But more than
that, I wish that some system might be devised for the exchange of
students between great colleges in different parts of the country.
Doubtless it would be a good thing for certain students at western
colleges to learn something of the more elaborate life and the greater
sophistication of the great colleges of the East, but more particularly
I think that vast benefits might accrue to certain young men from
Harvard, Yale, and similar institutions, by contact with such
universities as that of Kansas. Unfortunately, however, the eastern
students, who would be most benefited by such a shift, would be the very
ones to oppose it. Above all others, I should like to see young eastern
aristocrats, spenders, and disciples of false culture shipped out to the
West. It would do them good, and I think they would be amazed to find
out how much they liked it. However, this idea of an exchange is not
based so much on the theory that it would help the individual student as
on the theory that greater mutual comprehension is needed by Americans.
We do not know our country or our fellow countrymen as we should. We are
too localized. We do not understand the United States as Germans
understand Germany, as the French understand France, or as the British
understand Great Britain. This is partly because of the great distances
which separate us, partly because of the heterogeneous nature of our
population, and partly because, being a young civilization, we flock
abroad in quest of the ancient charm and picturesqueness of Europe. The
"See America First" idea, which originated as the advertising catch line
of a western railroad, deserves serious consideration, not only because
of what America has to offer in the way of scenery, but also because of
what she has to offer in the way of people. I found that a great many
thoughtful persons all over the United States were considering this
point.

In Detroit, for example, the Lincoln National Highway project is being
vigorously pushed by the automobile manufacturers, and within a short
time streams of motors will be crossing the continent. As a means of
making Americans better acquainted with one another the automobile has
already done good work, but its service in that direction has only
begun.

Mr. Charles C. Moore, president of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, whom I
met, later, in San Francisco, told me that the authorities of the
exposition had been particularly interested in the idea of promoting
friendliness between Americans.

"We Americans," said Mr. Moore, "are still wondering what America really
is, and what Americans really are. One of the greatest benefits of a
fair like ours is the opportunity it gives us to form friendly ties with
people from all over the country. We shall have a great series of
congresses, conferences, and conventions, and will provide the use of
halls without charge. The railroads are coöperating with us by making
low round-trip rates which enable the visitor to come one way and
return by another route, so that, besides seeing the fair, they can see
the country. The more Americans there are who become interested in
seeing the country, the better it is for us and for the United States.
Any one requiring proof of the absolute necessity of a closer mutual
understanding between the people of this country has but to look at the
condition which exists in national politics. What do the Atlantic Coast
Congressmen and the Pacific Coast Congressmen really know of one
another's requirements? Little or nothing as a rule. They reach
conclusions very largely by exchanging votes: 'I'll vote for your measure
if you'll vote for mine.' That system has cost this country millions
upon millions. If I had my way, there would be a law making it necessary
for each Congressman to visit every State in the Union once in two
years."

In an earlier chapter I mentioned Quantrell's gang of border ruffians,
of which Frank and Jesse James were members, and referred to the
Lawrence massacre conducted by the gang.

In all the border trouble, from 1855-6 to the time of the Civil War,
Lawrence figured as the antislavery center. That and the ill feeling
engendered by differences of opinion along the Missouri border with
regard to slavery, caused the massacre. It occurred on August 21, 1863.
Lawrence had been expecting an attack by Quantrell for some time before
that date, and had at one period posted guards on the roads leading to
the eastward. After a time, however, this precaution was given up,
enabling Quantrell to surprise the town and make a clean sweep. He
arrived at Lawrence at 5.30 in the morning with about 450 men. Frank
James told me that he himself was not present at the massacre, as he had
been shot a short time before and temporarily disabled.

Lawrence, which then had a population of about 1,200, was caught
entirely unawares, and was absolutely at the mercy of the ruffians. A
good many of the latter got drunk, which added to the horror, for these
men were bad enough when sober. They burned down almost the entire
business section of the town, as well as a great many houses, and going
into the homes, dragged out 163 men, unarmed and defenseless, and
cold-bloodedly slaughtered them in the streets, before the eyes of their
wives and children. Very few men who were in the town at the time,
escaped, but among the survivors were twenty-five men who were in the
Free State Hotel, the proprietor of which had once befriended Quantrell,
and was for that reason spared together with his guests. Some forty or
fifty persons living in Lawrence at the present time remember the
massacre, most of these being women who saw their husbands, fathers,
brothers, or sons killed in the midst of the general orgy. Many stories
of narrow escapes are preserved. In one instance a woman whose house had
been set on fire, wrapped her husband in a rug, and dragged him, thus
enveloped, in the yard as though attempting to save her rug from the
conflagration. There he remained until, on news that soldiers were on
the way to the relief of the stricken town, the Quantrell gang
withdrew.



CHAPTER XXIX

MONOTONY


We left Lawrence late at night and went immediately to bed upon the
train. When I awoke in the morning the car was standing still. In the
ventilators overhead, I heard the steady monotonous whistling of the
wind. As I became more awake I began to wonder where we were and why we
were not moving. Presently I raised the window shade and looked out.

How many things there are in life which we think we know from hearsay,
yet which, when we actually encounter them, burst upon us with a new and
strange significance! I had believed, for example, that I realized the
vastness of the United States without having actually traveled across
the country, yet I had not realized it at all, and I do not believe that
any one can possibly realize it without having felt it, in the course of
a long journey. So too, with the interminable rolling desolation of the
prairies, and the likeness of the prairies to the sea: I had imagined
that I understood the prairies without having laid eyes upon them, but
when I raised my window shade that morning, and found the prairies
stretching out before me, I was as surprised, as stunned, as though I
had never heard of them before, and the idea came to me like an original
thought: How perfectly _enormous_ they are! And how like the sea!

I had discovered for myself the truth of another platitude.

For a long time I lay comfortably in my berth, gazing out at the
appalling spread of land and sky. Even at sea the great bowl of the sky
had never looked so vast to me. The land was nothing to it. In the
foreground there was nothing; in the middle distance, nothing; in the
distance, nothing--nothing, nothing, nothing, met the eye in all that
treeless waste of brown and gray which lay between the railroad line and
the horizon, on which was discernible the faint outlines of several
ships--ships which were in reality a house, a windmill and a barn.

Presently our craft--for I had the feeling that I was on a ship at
anchor--got under way. On we sailed over the ocean of land for mile upon
mile, each mile like the one before it and the one that followed, save
only when we passed a little fleet of houses, like fishing boats at sea,
or crossed an inconsequential wagon road, resembling the faintly
discernible wake of some ship, long since out of sight.

Presently I arose and joining my companion, went to the dining car for
breakfast. He too had fallen under the spell of the prairies. We sat
over our meal and stared out of the window like a pair of images. After
breakfast it was the same: we returned to our car and continued to gaze
out at the eternal spaces. Later in the morning, we became restless and
moved back to the observation car as men are driven by boredom from one
room to another on an ocean liner.

Now and then in the distance we would see cattle like dots upon the
plain, and once in a long time a horseman ambling along beneath the sky.
The little towns were far apart and had, like the surrounding scenery,
an air of sadness and of desolation. The few buildings were of primitive
form, most of them one-story structures of wood, painted in raw color.
But each little settlement had its wooden church, and each church its
steeple--a steeple crude and pathetic in its expression of effort on the
part of a poor little hamlet to embellish, more than any other house,
the house of God.

Even our train seemed to have been affected by this country. The
observation car was deserted when we reached it. Presently, however, a
stranger joined us there, and after a time we fell into conversation
with him as we sat and looked at the receding track.

He proved to be a Kansan and he told us interesting things about the
State.

Aside from wheat, which is the great Kansas crop, corn is grown in
eastern Kansas, and alfalfa in various parts of the State. Alfalfa stays
green throughout the greater part of the year as it goes through several
sowings. Fields of alfalfa resemble clover fields, save that the former
grows more densely and is of a richer, darker shade of green. After
alfalfa has grown a few years the roots run far down into the ground,
often reaching the "underflow" of western Kansas. This underflow is very
characteristic of that part of the State, where it is said, there are
many lost rivers flowing beneath the surface, adding one more to the
list of Kansas phenomena. Some of these rivers flow only three or four
feet below the ground, I am told, while others have reached a depth of
from twenty to a hundred feet. Alfalfa roots will go down twenty feet to
find the water. The former bed of the Republican River in northwestern
Kansas is, with the exception of a narrow strip in the middle where the
river runs on the surface in flood times, covered with rich alfalfa
fields. Excepting at the time of spring and summer rains, this river is
almost dry. The old bridges over it are no longer necessary except when
the rains occur, and the river has piled sand under them until in some
places there is not room for a man to stand beneath bridges which, when
built, were ten and twelve feet above the river bed. Now, I am told,
they don't build bridges any more, but lay cement roads through the
sand, clearing their surfaces after the freshets.

The Arkansas River once a mighty stream, has held out with more success
than the Republican against the winds and drifting sands, but it is
slowly and certainly disappearing, burying itself in the sand and earth
it carries down at flood times--a work in which it is assisted by the
strong, persistent prairie winds.

[Illustration: Even at sea the great bowl of the sky had never looked
to me so vast]

The great wheat belt begins somewhere about the middle of the State and
continues to the west. In the spring the wheat is light green in color
and is flexible in the wind so that at that time of year, the
resemblance of the prairies to the sea is much more marked, and
travelers are often heard to declare that the sight of the green billows
makes them seasick. The season in Kansas is about a month earlier than
in the eastern states; in May and June the wheat turns yellow, and in
the latter part of June it is harvested, leaving the prairies brown and
bare again.

The prairie land which is not sown in wheat or alfalfa, is covered with
prairie grass--a long, wiry grass, lighter in shade than blue grass,
which waves in the everlasting wind and glistens like silver in the sun.

Rain, sun, wind! The elements rule over Kansas. People's hearts are
light or heavy according to the weather and the prospects as to crops.
My Kansan friend in the observation car pointed out to me the fact that
at every railroad siding the railroad company had paid its respects to
the Kansas wind by the installation of a device known as a "derailer,"
the purpose of which is to prevent cars from rolling or blowing from a
siding out onto the main line. If a car starts to blow along the siding,
the derailer catches it before it reaches the switch, and throws one
truck off the track.

"I suppose you've seen cyclones out here, too?" I asked the Kansan.

"Oh, yes," he said.

"Do the people out in this section of the State all have cyclone
cellars?"

"Oh, some," he said. "Some has 'em. But a great many folks don't pay no
attention to cyclones."

Last year, during a bad drought in western Kansas, the wind performed a
new feat, adding another item to Kansas tradition. A high wind came in
February and continued until June, actually blowing away a large portion
of the top-soil of Thomas County, denuding a tract of land fifteen by
twenty miles in extent. It was not a mere surface blow, either. In many
places two feet of soil would be carried away; roads were obliterated,
houses stood like dreary, deserted little forts, the earth piled up
breast high around their wire-enclosed dooryards, and fences fell
because the supporting soil was blown away from the posts. During this
time the air was full of dust, and after it was over the country had
reverted to desert--a desert not of sand, but of dust.

This story sounded so improbable that I looked up a man who had been in
Thomas County at the time. He told me about it in detail.

"I have spent most of my life in the Middle West," he said, "but that
exhibition was a revelation to me of the power of the wind. A quarter of
the county was stripped bare. The farmers had, for the most part, moved
out of the district because they couldn't keep the wheat in the ground
long enough to raise a crop. But they were camped around the edges,
making common cause against the wind. You couldn't find a man among
them, either, who would admit that he was beaten. The kind of men who
are beaten by things like that couldn't stand the racket in western
Kansas. The fellows out there are the most outrageously optimistic folks
I ever saw. They will stand in the wind, eating the dirt that blows into
their mouths, and telling you what good soil it is--they don't mean good
to eat, either--and if you give them a kind word they are up in arms in
a minute trying to sell you some of the cursed country.

"The men I talked to attributed the trouble to too much harrowing; they
said the surface soil was scratched so fine that it simply wouldn't
hold. There were wild theories, too, of meteorological disturbances, but
I think those were mostly evolved in the brains of Sunday editors.

"The farmers fought the thing systematically by a process they called
'listing': a turning over of the top-soil with plows. And after a while
the listing, for some reason known only to the Almighty and the
Department of Agriculture, actually did stop the trouble and the land
stayed put again. Then the farmers planted Kaffir corn because it grows
easily, and because they needed a network of roots to hold down the
soil. Most of that land was reclaimed by the end of last summer."

The little towns along the line are almost all alike. Each has a
watering tank for locomotives, a grain elevator, and a cattle pen,
beside the track. Each has a station made of wide vertical boards, their
seams covered by wooden strips, and the whole painted ochre. Then there
is usually a wide, sandy main street with a few brick buildings and
more wooden ones, while on the outskirts of the town are shanties,
covered with tar paper, and beyond them the eternal prairie. You can see
no more reason why a town should be at that point on the prairie than at
any other point. And it is a fact, I believe, that, in many instances,
the railroad companies have simply created towns, arbitrarily, at even
distances. The only town I recall that looked in any way different from
every other town out there, was Wallace, where a storekeeper has made a
lot of curious figures, in twisted wire, and placed them on the roof of
his store, whence they project into the air for a distance of twenty or
thirty feet.

I think, though I am not sure, that it was before we crossed the
Colorado line when we saw our first 'dobe house, our first sage brush,
and our first tumbleweed. Mark Twain has described sagebrush as looking
like "a gnarled and venerable live oak tree reduced to a little shrub
two feet high, with its rough bark, its foliage, its twisted boughs, all
complete." In "Roughing It" he writes two whole pages about sagebrush,
telling how it gives a gray-green tint to the desert country, how hardy
it is, and how it is used for making camp fires on the plains and he
winds up with this characteristic paragraph:

"Sagebrush is very fair fuel, but as a vegetable it is a distinguished
failure. Nothing can abide the taste of it but the jackass and his
illegitimate child, the mule. But their testimony to its nutritiousness
is worth nothing, for they will eat pine knots, or anthracite coal, or
brass filings, or lead pipe, or old bottles, or anything that comes
handy, and then go off looking as grateful as if they had had oysters
for dinner."

[Illustration: The little towns of Western Kansas are far apart and
have, like the surrounding scenery, an air of sadness and desolation]

Though Mark Twain tells about coyotes and prairie dogs--animals which I
looked for, but regret to say I did not see--he ignores the tumbleweed,
the most curious thing, animal, vegetable, or mineral, that crossed my
vision as I crossed the plains. I cannot understand why Mark Twain did
not mention this weed, because he must have seen it, and it must have
delighted him, with its comical gyrations.

Tumbleweed is a bushy plant which grows to a height of perhaps three
feet, and has a mass of little twigs and branches which make its shape
almost perfectly round. Fortunately for the amusement of mankind, it has
a weak stalk, so that, when the plant dries, the wind breaks it off at
the bottom, and then proceeds to roll it, over and over, across the
land. I well remember the first tumbleweed we saw.

"What on earth is that thing?" cried my companion, suddenly, pointing
out through the car window. I looked. Some distance away a strange,
buff-colored shape was making a swift, uncanny progress toward the east.
It wasn't crawling; it wasn't running; but it was traveling fast, with a
rolling, tossing, careening motion, like a barrel half full of whisky,
rushing down hill. Now it tilted one way, now another; now it shot
swiftly into some slight depression in the plain, but only to come
bounding lightly out again, with an air indescribably gay, abandoned and
inane.

Soon we saw another and another; they became more and more common as we
went along until presently they were rushing everywhere, careering in
their maudlin course across the prairie, and piled high against the
fences along the railroad's right of way, like great concealing
snowdrifts.

We fell in love with tumbleweed and never while it was in sight lost
interest in its idiotic evolutions. Excepting only tobacco, it is the
greatest weed that grows, and it has the advantage over tobacco that it
does no man any harm, but serves only to excite his risibilities. It is
the clown of vegetation, and it has the air, as it rolls along, of being
conscious of its comicality, like the smart _caniche_, in the dog show,
who goes and overturns the basket behind the trainer's back; or the
circus clown who runs about with a rolling gait, tripping, turning
double and triple somersaults, rising, running on, tripping, falling,
and turning over and over again. Who shall say that tumbleweed is
useless, since it contributes a rare note of drollery to the tragic
desolation of the western plains?

As I have said, I am not certain that we saw the tumbleweed before we
crossed the line from Kansas into Colorado, but there is one episode
that I remember, and which I am certain occurred before we reached the
boundary, for I recall the name of the town at which it happened.

It was a sad-looking little town, like all the rest--just a main street
and a few stores and houses set down in the midst of the illimitable
waste. Our train stopped there.

I saw a man across the aisle look out of the window, scowl, rise from
his seat, throw up his arms, and exclaim, addressing no one in
particular: "God! How can they stand living out here? I'd rather be
dead!"

My companion and I had been speaking of the same thing, wondering how
people could endure their lives in such a place.

"Come on," he said, rising. "This is the last stop before we get to
Colorado. Let's get out and walk."

I followed him from the car and to the station platform.

Looking away from the station, we gazed upon a foreground the principal
scenic grandeur of which was supplied by a hitching post. Beyond lay the
inevitable main street and dismal buildings. One of them, as I recall
it, was painted sky-blue, and bore the simple, unostentatious word,
"Hotel."

My companion gazed upon the scene for a time. He looked melancholy.
Finally, without turning his head, he spoke.

"How would you like to get off and spend a week here, some day?" he
asked me.

"You mean get off some day and spend a week," I corrected.

"No, I mean get off and spend a week some day."

I was still cogitating over that when the train started. We scrambled
aboard and, resuming our seats in the observation car, looked back at
the receding station. There, in strong black letters on a white sign, we
saw, for the first time, the name of the town:

Monotony!



THE MOUNTAINS AND THE COAST



CHAPTER XXX

UNDER PIKE'S PEAK


What a curious thing it is, that mental process by which a first
impression of a city is summed up. A railway station, a taxicab, swift
glimpses through a dirty window of streets, buildings, people, blurred
together, incoherently, like moving pictures out of focus; then a quick
unconscious adding of infinitesimal details and the total: "I like this
city," or: "I do not like it."

It was late afternoon when the train upon which we had come from eastern
Kansas stopped at the Denver station--a substantial if not distinguished
structure, neither new nor very old, but of that architectural period in
which it was considered that a roof was hardly more essential to a
station than a tower.

Passing through the building and emerging upon the taxi stand, we found
ourselves confronted by an elaborate triple gateway of bronze, somewhat
reminiscent of certain city gates of Paris, at which the _octroi_ waits
with the inhospitable purpose of collecting taxes. However, Denver has
no _octroi_, nor is the Denver gate a barrier. Indeed, it is not even a
gate, having no doors, but is intended merely as a sort of formal portal
to the city--a city proud of its climate, of the mountain scenery, and
of its reputation for thoroughgoing hospitality. Over the large central
arch of this bronze monstrosity the beribboned delegate (arriving to
attend one of the many conventions always being held in Denver) may
read, in large letters, the word "Welcome"; and when, later, departing,
he approaches the arch from the city gate, he finds Denver giving him
godspeed with the word "Mizpah."

Passing beneath the central arch, our taxi swept along a wide, straight
street, paved with impeccably smooth asphalt, and walled in with
buildings tall enough and solid enough to do credit to the business and
shopping district of any large American city.

All this surprised me. Perhaps because of the unfavorable first
impression I had received in Kansas City, I had expected Denver, being
farther west, to have a less finished look. Furthermore, I had been
reading Richard Harding Davis's book, "The West Through a Car Window,"
which, though it told me that Denver is "a smaller New York in an
encircling range of white-capped mountains," added that Denver has "the
worst streets in the country." Denver is still by way of being a
miniature New York, with its considerable number of eastern families,
and its little replica of Broadway café life, as well; but the Denver
streets are no longer ill paved. Upon the contrary, they are among the
best paved streets possessed by any city I have visited. That caused me
to look at the copyright notice in Mr. Davis's book, whereupon I
discovered, to my surprise, that twenty-two years (and Heaven only
knows how many steam rollers) had passed over Denver since the book was
written. Yet, barring such improvements, the picture is quite accurate
to-day.

[Illustration: In the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel my companion and I
saw several old fellows, sitting about, looking neither prosperous nor
busy, but always talking mines. A kind word, or even a pleasant glance,
is enough to set them off.]

Another feeling of my first ten minutes in Denver was one of wonder at
the city's flatness. That part of it through which we passed on the way
to the Brown Palace Hotel was as flat as Chicago, whereas I had always
thought of Denver as being in the mountains. However, if flat, the
streets looked attractive, and I arrived at the proudly named
caravansary with the feeling that Denver was a fine young city.

Meeting cities, one after another, as I met them on this journey, is
like being introduced, at a reception, to a line of strangers. A glance,
a handshake, a word or two, and you have formed an impression of an
individuality. But there is this difference: the individual at the
reception is "fixed up" for the occasion, whereas the city has but one
exterior to show to every one.

That the exterior shown by Denver is pleasing has been, until recently,
a matter more or less of accident. The city was laid out by pioneers and
mining men, who showed their love of liberality in making the streets
wide. There is nothing close about Denver. She has the open-handed, easy
affluence of a mining city. She spends money freely on good pavements
and good buildings. Thus, without any brilliant comprehensive plan she
has yet grown from a rough mining camp into a delightful city, all in
the space of fifty years.

A little more than a hundred years ago Captain Zebulon Pike crossed the
plains and visited the territory which is now Colorado, though it was
then a part of the vast country of Louisiana. Long, Frémont, Kit Carson,
and the other early pioneers followed, but it was not until 1858 that
gold was found on the banks of Cherry Creek, above its juncture with the
South Platte River, causing a camp to be located on the present site of
Denver. The first camp was on the west side of Cherry Creek and was
named Auraria, after a town in Georgia. On the east side there developed
another camp, St. Charles by name, and these two camps remained, for
some time, independent of each other. The discovery of gold in
California brought a new influx of men to Colorado--though the part of
Colorado in which Denver stands was then in the territory of Kansas,
which extended to the Rockies. Many of the pioneers were men from
eastern Kansas, and hence it happened that when the mining camps of
Auraria and St. Charles were combined into one town, the town was named
for General James W. Denver, then Governor of Kansas.

Kansas City and Denver are about of an age and are comparable in many
ways. The former still remains a kind of capital to which naturally
gravitate men who have made fortunes in southwestern oil and cattle,
while the latter is a mining capital. Of her "hundred millionaires,"
most have been enriched by mines, and the story of her sudden fortunes
and of her famous "characters" makes a long and racy chapter in
American history, running the gamut from tragedy to farce. And, like
Kansas City, Denver is particularly American. Practically all her
millionaires, past and present, came of native stock, and almost all her
wealth has been taken from ground in the State of Colorado.

J. M. Oskison, in his "Unconventional Portrait," published in
"Collier's" a year or so ago, told a great deal about Denver in a few
words:

     Last October a frock-coated clergyman of the Episcopal Church stood
     up in one of the luxurious parlors of Denver's newest hotel and
     said: "I am an Arapahoe Indian; when I was a little boy my people
     used to hunt buffalo all over this country; we made our camps right
     on this place where Denver is now." There is not very much gray in
     that man's hair.

     In the summer of 1867, when Vice-President Colfax came to Denver
     from Cheyenne, after a stage ride of twenty-two hours, he found it
     a hopeful city of 5,000. Denver had just learned that Cherry Creek
     sometimes carried a great deal of water down to the Platte River,
     and that it wasn't wise to build in its bed.

     Irrigation has made a garden of the city and lands about. There are
     240,000 people who make Denver their home to-day. The city under
     the shadow of the mountains is spread over an area of sixty square
     miles; a plat of redeemed desert with an assessed valuation of
     $135,000,000.

In 1870, three years after the visit of Colfax, Denver got its first
railroad: a spur line from Cheyenne; in the 80's it got street cars;
to-day it has the look of a city that is made--and well made. But, as I
have said before, that has, hitherto, been largely a matter of good
fortune. Denver's youth has saved her from the municipal disease which
threatens such older cities as St. Louis and St. Paul: hardening of the
arteries of traffic. Also, nature has given her what may be termed a
good "municipal complexion," wherein she has been more fortunate than
Kansas City, whose warts and wens have necessitated expensive operations
by the city "beauty doctor."

Now, a city with the natural charm of Denver is, like a woman similarly
endowed, in danger of becoming oversure. Either is likely to lie back
and rest upon Nature's bounty. Yet, to Denver's eternal credit be it
said, she has not fallen into the ways of indolent self-satisfaction.
Indeed, I know of no American city which has done, and is doing, more
for herself. Consider these few random items taken from the credit side
of her balance: She is one of the best lighted cities in the land. She
has the commission form of government. (Also, as you will remember, she
has woman suffrage, Colorado having been the first State to accept it.)
Her Children's Court, presided over by Judge Ben B. Lindsey, is famous.
She has no bread line, and, as for crime, when I asked Police Inspector
Leonard De Lue about it, he shook his head and said: "No; business is
light. The fact is we ain't got no crime out here." Denver owns her own
Auditorium, where free concerts are given by the city. Also, in one of
her parks, she has a city race track, where sport is the only
consideration, betting, even between horse owners, having been
successfully eliminated. Furthermore, Denver has been one of the first
American cities to begin work on a "civic center." Several blocks before
the State Capitol have been cleared of buildings, and a plaza is being
laid out there which will presently be a Tuileries Garden, in miniature,
surrounded by fine public buildings, forming a suitable central feature
for the admirable system of parks and boulevards which already exists.

Curiously enough, however, by far the smallest part of Denver's parks
are within the confines of the city. About five years ago Mr. John
Brisben Walker proposed that mountain parks be created. Denver seized
upon the idea with characteristic energy, with the result that she now
has mountain parks covering forty square miles in neighboring counties.
These parks have an area almost as great as that of the whole city, and
are connected with the Denver boulevards by fine roads, so that some of
the most spectacular motor trips in the country are within easy range of
the "Queen City of the Plains."

But though the mountains give Denver her individuality, and though she
has made the most of them, they have not proved an unmixed blessing. The
riches which she has extracted from them, and the splendid setting that
they give her, is the silver lining to her commercial cloud. The
mountains directly west of Denver form a barrier which has forced the
main lines of trancontinental travel to the north and south, leaving
Denver in a backwater.

To overcome this handicap the late David Moffat, one of Denver's early
millionaires, started in to build the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad,
better known as the Moffat Road. This railway strikes almost due west
from Denver and crosses the continental divide at an altitude of over
two miles. While it is one of the most astonishing pieces of railroad in
the world, its windings and severe grades have made operation difficult
and expensive, and the road has been built only as far as Craig, Colo.,
less than halfway to Salt Lake City. The great difficulty has always
been the crossing of the divide. The city of Denver has now come forward
with the Moffat tunnel project, and has extended her credit to the
extent of three million dollars, for the purpose of helping the railroad
company to build the tunnel. It will be more than six miles long, and
will penetrate the Continental Divide at a point almost half a mile
below that now reached by the road, saving twenty-four miles in distance
and over two per cent. in grade. The tunnel is now under construction,
and will, when completed, be the longest railroad tunnel in the Western
Hemisphere. The railroad company stands one-third of the cost, while the
city of Denver undertakes two-thirds. When completed, this route will be
the shortest between Denver and Salt Lake by many miles.

Nor is Denver giving her entire attention to her railway line. The
good-roads movement is strong throughout the State of Colorado. Last
year two million dollars was expended under the direction of the State
Highway Commission--a very large sum when it is considered that the
total population of the State is not a great deal larger than that of
the city of St. Louis.

The construction of roads in Colorado is carried on under a most
advanced system. Of a thousand convicts assigned to the State
Penitentiary at Cañon City, four hundred are employed upon road work. In
traveling through the State I came upon several parties of these men,
and had I not been informed of the fact, I should never have known that
they were convicts. I met them in the mountains, where they live in
camps many miles distant from the penitentiary. They seemed always to be
working with a will, but as we passed, they would look up and smile and
wave their hands to us. They appeared healthy, happy, and--respectable.
They do not wear stripes, and their guards are unarmed, being selected,
rather, as foremen with a knowledge of road building. When one considers
the ghastly mine wars which have, at intervals, disgraced the State, it
is comforting to reflect upon Colorado's enlightened methods of handling
her prisons and her prisoners.

Denver, in her general architecture, is more attractive than certain
important cities to the eastward of her. Her houses are, for the most
part, built solidly of brick and stone, and more taste has been
displayed in them, upon the whole, than has been shown in either St.
Louis or Kansas City. Like Kansas City, Denver has many long,
tree-bordered streets lined with modest homes which look new and which
are substantially built, but there is less monotony of design in
Denver.

As in Kansas City, the wonder of Denver is that it has all happened in
such a short time. This was brought home to me when, dining in a
delightful house one evening, I was informed by my hostess that the land
on which is her home was "homesteaded," in '64 or '65, by her father;
that is to say, he had taken it over, gratis, from the Government. That
modest corner lot is now worth between fifteen and twenty thousand
dollars.

Though Denver has no art gallery, she hopes to have one in connection
with her new "civic center." In the meantime, some paintings are shown
in the Public Library and in the Colorado Museum of Natural History--a
building which also shelters a collection of stuffed animals (somewhat
better, on the whole, than the paintings) and of minerals found in the
State.

A symphony hall is planned along with the new art gallery, for Denver
has a real interest in music. Indeed, I found that true of many cities
in the Middle West and West. In Kansas City, for instance, important
concerts are patronized not only by residents of the place, but by
quantities of people who come in from other cities and towns within a
radius of thirty or forty miles.

Denver has her own symphony orchestra, one which compares favorably with
many other large orchestras in various parts of the country. The Denver
organization is led by Horace Tureman, a very capable conductor, and its
seventy musicians have been gathered from theater and café orchestras
throughout the city. Six or eight programs of the highest character are
given each season, and in order that all music lovers may be enabled to
attend the concerts, seats are sold as low as ten cents each.

"If some of the big concert singers who come out here could hear one of
our symphony programs," one Denver woman said to me, "I think they might
revise their opinion of us. A great many of them must think us less
advanced, musically, than we are, for they insist on singing 'The
Suwanee River' and 'Home, Sweet Home'--which we always resent."

The one conspicuous example of sculpture which I saw in Denver--the
Pioneer's Fountain, by Macmonnies--is not entirely Denver's fault. When
a city gives an order to a sculptor of Macmonnies's standing, she shows
that she means to do the best she can. It is then up to the sculptor.

The Pioneer's Fountain, which is intended to commemorate the early
settlers, could hardly be less suitable. It is large and exceedingly
ornate. Surmounting the top of it is a rococo cowboy upon a pony of the
same extraction. The pony is not a cow-pony, and the cowboy is not a
cowboy, but a theatrical figure: something which might have been modeled
by a Frenchman whose acquaintance with this country had been limited to
the reading of bad translations of Fenimore Cooper and Bret Harte. At
the base of the fountain are figures which, I was informed, represent
pioneers. If western pioneers had been like these, there never would
have been a West. They are soft creatures, almost voluptuous, who would
have wept in face of hostile Indians. The whole fountain seems like
something intended for a mantel ornament in Dresden china, but which,
through some confusion, had gotten itself enlarged and cast in bronze.

Society in Denver has several odd features. For one thing, it is the
habit of fashionables, and those who wish to gaze upon them, to attend
the theaters on certain nights, which are known as "society night."
Thus, the Broadway Theater has "society night" on Mondays, the Denham on
Wednesdays, and the Orpheum on Fridays.

"Society," of course, means different things to different persons. In
Denver the word, used in its most restricted, most elegant, most
_recherché_, and most exclusive sense, means that group of persons who
are celebrated in the society columns of the Denver newspapers, as "The
Sacred Thirty-six."

If it is possible for newspapers anywhere to outdo in idiocy those of
New York in the handling of "society news," I should say that the Denver
newspapers accomplished it. Having less to work with, they have to make
more noise in proportion. Thus the arrival in Denver, at about the time
I was there, of Lord and Lady Decies caused an amount of agitation the
like of which I have never witnessed anywhere. The Denver papers were
absolutely plastered over with the pictures and doings and sayings of
this English gentleman and his American wife, and the matter published
with regard to them revealed a delight in their presence which was
childlike and engaging.

I have a copy of one Denver paper, containing an interview with Lord and
Lady Decies, in which the reporter mentions having been greeted "like I
was a regular caller," adding: "The more I looked the grander everything
got." The same reporter referred to Decies as "the Lord," which must
have struck him as more flattering than when, later, he was mentioned as
"His Nibs." The interviewer, however, finally approved the visitors,
stating definitely that "they are Regular Folks and they don't
four-flush about anything."

When it comes to publicity there is one man in Denver who gets more of
it than all the "Sacred Thirty-six" put together, adepts though they
seem to be.

It is impossible to consider Denver without considering Judge B.
Lindsey--although I may say in passing that I was urged to perform the
impossible in this respect.

Opinion with regard to Judge Lindsey is divided in Denver. It is
passionately divided. I talked not only with the Judge himself, but with
a great many citizens of various classes, and while I encountered no one
who did not believe in the celebrated Juvenile Court conducted by him, I
found many who disapproved more or less violently of certain of his
political activities, his speech-making tours, and, most of all, of his
writings in the magazines which, it was contended, had given Denver a
black eye.

Denver is clearly sensitive about her reputation. As a passing observer,
I am not surprised. With Denver, I believe that she has had to take more
than a fair share of criticism. She thoroughly is sick of it, and one
way in which she shows that she is sick of it is by a billboard
campaign.

"Denver has no bread line," I read on the bill-boards. "Stop knocking.
Boost for more business and a bigger city."

The charge that the Judge had injured Denver by "knocking" it in his
book was used against him freely in the 1912 and 1914 campaign, but he
was elected by a majority of more than two to one. He is always elected.
He has run for his judgeship ten times in the past twelve years--this
owing to certain disputes as to whether the judgeship of the Juvenile
Court is a city, county, or state office. But whatever kind of office it
is, he holds it firmly, having been elected by all three.

At present the Judge is engaged in trying to complete a code of laws for
the protection of women and children, which he hopes will be a model for
all other States. This code will cover labor, juvenile delinquency, and
dependency, juvenile courts, mothers' compensation, social insurance
(the Judge's term for a measure guaranteeing every woman the support of
her child, whether she be married or unmarried), probation, and other
matters having to do with social and industrial justice toward mother
and child. It is the Judge's general purpose to humanize the law, to
cause temptations and frailties to be considered by the law, and to make
society responsible for its part in crime.

The Judge is also trying to get himself appointed a Commissioner of
Child Welfare for the State, without salary or other expense.

Of all these activities Denver, so far as I could learn, seemed
generally to approve. A number of women, two corporation presidents, a
hotel waiter, and a clerk in an express office, among others, told me
they approved of Lindsey's work for women and children. A barber in the
hotel said that he "guessed the Judge was all right," but added that
there had been "too much hollering about reform," considering that
Denver was a city depending for a good deal of her prosperity upon
tourists.

In the more intelligent circles the great objections to the Judge seemed
to rest upon the florid methods he has used to promote his causes, upon
the diversity of his interests, and upon the allegation that he had
become a demagogue.

One gentleman described him to me as "the most hated citizen of Colorado
in Colorado, and the most admired citizen of Colorado everywhere outside
the State."

"Lindsey has done the State harm, perhaps," said this gentleman, "by
what he has said about it, but he has done us a lot of good with his
reforms. The great trouble is that he has too many irons in the fire.
His court is a splendid thing; we all admit that. And he is peculiarly
suited to his work. But he has gotten into all kinds of movements and
has been so widely advertised that he has become a monumental egotist.
He believes in his various causes, but, more than anything else, he
believes in himself, in getting himself before the public and keeping
himself there. He has posed as a little god, and, as Shaw says: 'If you
pose as a little god, you must pose for better or for worse.'"

The Judge is a very small, slight man, with a high, bulging white
forehead, thin hair, a sharp, aquiline nose, a large, rolling black
mustache and very fine eyes, brown almost to blackness. The most
striking things about him are the eyes, the forehead, and the waxy
whiteness of his skin. He looks thin-skinned, but he seems to have
proved that, in the metaphorical sense at least, he is not.

He speaks of his causes quietly but very earnestly, and you feel, as you
listen to him, that he hardly ever thinks of other things. There is
something strange and very individual about him.

"The story of one American city," he said to me, "is the story of every
American city. Denver is no worse than the rest. Indeed, I believe it is
a cleaner and better city than most, and I have been in every city in
every State in this Union."

It has been said that "the worst thing about reform is the reformer."
You can say the same thing about authorship and authors, or about
plumbing and plumbers. It is only another way of saying that the human
element is the weak element. I have met a number of reformers and have
come to classify them under three general heads. Without considering the
branch of reform in which they are interested, but only their
characteristics as individuals, I should say that all professional
reformers might be divided as follows: First, zealots, or "inspired"
reformers; second, cold-blooded, theoretical, statistical reformers;
third, a small number of normal human beings, capable alike of feeling
and of reasoning clearly.

About reformers of the first type there is often something abnormal.
They are frequently of the most radical opinions, and are likely to be
impatient, intolerant, and suspicious of the integrity of those who do
not agree with them. They take to the platform like ducks to water and
their egos are likely to be very highly developed. Reformers of the
second type are repulsive, because reform, with them, has become
mechanical; they measure suffering and sin with decimals, and regard
their fellow men as specimens. What the reformer of the third class will
do is more difficult to say. It is possible that, blowing neither hot
nor cold, he will not accomplish so much as the others, but he can reach
groups of persons who consider reformers of the first class unbalanced
and those of the second inhuman.

I have a friend who is a reformer of the third class. His temperate
writings, surcharged with sanity and a sense of justice, have reached
many persons who could hardly be affected by "yellow" methods of
reform. Becoming deeply interested in his work, he was finally tempted
to take the platform. One day, when he had come back from a lecture
tour, I chanced to meet him, and was surprised to hear from him that,
though he had been successful as a lecturer, he nevertheless intended to
abandon that field of work.

I asked him why.

"I'll tell you," he said. "At first it was all right. I had certain
things I wanted to say to people, and I said them. But as I went on, I
began to feel my audiences more and more. I began to know how certain
things I said would affect them. I began to want to affect them--to play
upon them, see them stirred, hear them applaud. So, hardly realizing it
at first, I began shifting my speeches, playing up certain points, not
so much because those points were the ones which ought to be played up,
but because of the pleasure it gave me to work up my listeners. Then,
one night while I was talking, I realized what was happening to me. I
was losing my intellectual honesty. Public speaking had been stealing it
from me without my knowing it. Then and there I made up my mind to give
it up. I'm not going to Say it any more; I'm going to Write it. When a
man is writing, other minds are not acting upon his, as they are when he
is speaking to an audience."

Personally, I think Judge Lindsey would be stronger with the more
critical minds of Colorado if he, too, had felt this way.

A number of odd items about Denver should be mentioned.

Elitch's Garden, the city's great summer amusement place, is famous all
through the country. It was originally a farm, and still has a fine
orchard, besides its orderly Coney Island features. Children go there in
the afternoons with their nurses, and all of Denver goes there in the
evenings when the great attraction is the theater with its stock company
which is of a very high order.

The Tabor Opera House in Denver is famous among theatrical people
largely because of the man who built it. Tabor was one of Denver's most
extraordinary mining millionaires. After he had struck it rich he
determined to build as a monument to himself, the finest Opera House in
the United States, and "damn the expense."

While the building was under construction he was called away from the
city. The story is related that on his return he went to see what
progress had been made, and found mural painters at work, over the
proscenium arch. They were painting the portrait of a man.

"Who's that?" demanded Tabor.

"Shakespeare," the decorator informed him.

"Shakespeare--shake hell!" responded the proprietor. "He never done
nothing for Denver. Paint him out and put me up there."

Though there have been no Tabors made in Denver in the last few years,
mining has not gone out of fashion. In the lobby of the Brown Palace
Hotel my companion and I saw several old fellows, sitting about, looking
neither prosperous nor busy, but always talking mines. A kind word, or
even a pleasant glance is enough to set them off. Instantly their hands
dive into their pockets and out come nuggets and samples of ore, which
they polish upon their coat sleeves, and hold up proudly, turning them
to catch the light.

"Yes, sir! I made the doggondest strike up there you ever saw! It's all
on the ground. Come over here and look at this!"

To which the answer is likely to be:

"No, I haven't time."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Denver Club is a central rallying place for the successful business
men of the city. It is a splendid club, with the best of kitchens, and
cellars, and humidors. All over the land I have met men who had been
entertained there and who spoke of the place with something like
affection.

One night, several weeks after we had left Denver, we were at the
Bohemian Club in San Francisco, and fell to talking of Denver and her
clubs.

"It was in a club in Denver," one man said, "that I witnessed the most
remarkable thing I saw in Colorado."

"What was that?" we asked.

"I met a former governor of the State there one night," he said. "We sat
around the fire. Every now and then he would hit the very center of a
cuspidor which stood fifteen feet away. The remarkable thing about it
was that he didn't look more than forty-five years old. I have always
wondered how a man of that age could have carried his responsibility as
governor, yet have found time to learn to spit so superbly."



CHAPTER XXXI

HITTING A HIGH SPOT


An enthusiastic young millionaire, the son of a pioneer, determined that
my companion and I ought to see the mountain parks.

It was winter, and for reasons all too plainly visible from Denver, no
automobiles had attempted the ascent since fall, for the mountain
barrier, rearing itself majestically to the westward, glittered
appallingly with ice and snow.

"We can have a try at it, anyway," said our friend.

So, presently, in furs, and surrounded by lunch baskets and thermos
bottles, we set out for the mountains in his large six-cylinder machine.

Emerging from the city, and taking the macadamized road which leads to
Golden, we had our first uninterrupted view of the full sweep of that
serrated mountain wall, visible for almost a hundred miles north of
Denver, and a hundred south; a solid, stupendous line, flashing as
though the precious minerals had been coaxed out to coruscate in the
warm surface sunshine.

There was something operatic in that vast and splendid spectacle. I felt
that the mountains and the sky formed the back drop in a continental
theater, the stage of which is made up of thousands of square miles of
plains.

Striking a pleasant pace we sped toward the barrier as though meaning to
dash ourselves against it; for it seemed very near, and our car was like
some great moth fascinated by the flash of ice and snow. However, as is
usual where the air is clear and the altitude great, the eye is deceived
as to distances in Colorado, and the foothills, which appear to be not
more than three or four miles distant from Denver, are in reality a
dozen miles away.

Denver has many stock stories to illustrate that point. It is related
that strangers sometimes start to walk to the mountains before
breakfast, and the tale is told of one man who, having walked for hours,
and thus discovered the illusory effect of the clear mountain air, was
found undressing by a four-foot irrigation ditch, preparatory to
swimming it, having concluded that, though it looked narrow, it was,
nevertheless in reality a river.

Nor is optical illusion regarding distances the only quality contained
in Denver air. Denver and Colorado Springs are of course famous resorts
for persons with weak lungs, but one need not have weak lungs to feel
the tonic effect of the climate. Denver has little rain and much
sunshine. Her winter air seems actually to hold in solution Colorado
gold. My companion and I found it difficult to get to sleep at night
because of the exhilarating effect of the air, but we would awaken in
the morning after five or six hours' slumber, feeling abnormally lively.

I spoke about that to a gentleman who was a member of our automobile
mountain party.

"There's no doubt," he replied, as we bowled along, "that this altitude
affects the nerves. Even animals feel it. I have bought a number of
eastern show horses and brought them out here, and I have found that
horses which were entirely tractable in their habitual surroundings,
would become unmanageable in our climate. Even a pair of Percherons
which were perfectly placid in St. Louis, where I got them, stepped up
like hackneys when they reached Denver.

"I think a lot of the agitation we have out here comes from the same
thing. Take our passionate political quarreling, or our newspapers and
the way they abuse each other. Or look at Judge Lindsey. I think the
altitude is partly accountable for him, as well as for a lot of things
the rest of us do. Of course it's a good thing in one way: it makes us
energetic; but on the other hand, we are likely to have less balance
than people who don't live a mile up in the air."

As we talked, our car breezed toward the foothills. Presently we entered
the mouth of a narrow cañon and, after winding along rocky slopes,
emerged upon the town of Golden.

Golden, now known principally as the seat of the State School of Mines,
used to be the capital of Colorado. Spread out upon a prairie the place
might assume an air of some importance, but stationed as it is upon a
slope, surrounded by gigantic peaks, it seems a trifling town clinging
to the mountainside as a fly clings to a horse's back.

The slope upon which Golden is situated is a comparatively gentle one,
but directly back of the city the angle changes and the surface of the
world mounts abruptly toward the heavens, which seem to rest like a
great coverlet upon the upland snows.

Rivulets from the melting white above, were running through the streets
of Golden, turning them to a sea of mud, through which we plowed
powerfully on "third." As we passed into the backyard of Golden, the
mountain seemed to lean out over us.

"That's our road, up there," remarked the Denver gentleman who sat in
the tonneau, between my companion and myself. He pointed upward,
zig-zagging with his finger.

We gazed at the mountainside.

"You don't mean that little dark slanting streak like a wire running
back and forth, do you?" asked my companion.

"Yes, that's it. You see they've cut a little nick into the slope all
the way up and made a shelf for the road to run on."

"Is there any wall at the edge?" I asked.

"No," he said. "There's no wall yet. We may have that later, but you see
we have just built this road."

"Isn't there even a fence?"

"No. But it's all right. The road is wide enough."

Presently we reached the bottom of the road, and began the actual
ascent.

"Is this it?" asked my companion.

"Yes, this is it. You see the pavement is good."

"But I thought you said the road was wide?"

"Well, it is wide--that is, for a mountain road. You can't expect a
mountain road to be as wide as a city boulevard, you know."

"But suppose we should meet somebody," I put in. "How would we pass?"

"There's room enough to pass," said the Denver gentleman. "You've only
got to be a little careful. But there is no chance of our meeting any
one. Most people wouldn't think of trying this road in winter because of
the snow."

"Do you mean that the snow makes it dangerous?" asked my companion.

"Some people seem to think so," said the Denver gentleman.

Meanwhile the gears had been singing their shrill, incessant song as we
mounted, swiftly. My seat was at the outside of the road. I turned my
head in the direction of the plains. From where I sat the edge of the
road was invisible. I had a sense of being wafted along through the air
with nothing but a cushion between me and an abyss. I leaned out a
little, and looked down at the wheel beneath me. Then I saw that several
feet of pavement, lightly coated with snow, intervened between
the tire, and the awful edge. Beyond the edge was several hundred feet
of sparkling air, and beyond the air I saw the roofs of Golden.

[Illustration: "Ain't Nature wonderful!"]

One of these roofs annoyed me. I do not know the nature of the building
it adorned. It may have been a church, or a school, or a town hall. I
only know that the building had a tower, rising to an acute point from
which a lightning rod protruded like a skewer. When I first caught sight
of it I shuddered and turned my eyes upward toward the mountain. I did
not like to gaze up at the heights which we had yet to climb, but I
liked it better on the whole than looking down into the depths below.

"What mountain do you call this?" I asked, trying to make diverting
conversation.

"Which one?" asked the Denver gentleman.

"The one we are climbing."

"This is just one of the foothills," he declared.

"Oh," I said.

"If this is a foothill," remarked my companion, "I suppose the
Adirondacks are children's sand piles."

"See how blue the plains are," said the Denver gentleman sweeping the
landscape with his arm. "People compare them with the sea."

I did not wish to see how blue the plains were, but out of courtesy I
looked. Then I turned my eyes away, hastily. The spacious view did not
strike me in the sense of beauty, but in the pit of the stomach. In
looking away from the plains, I tried to do so without noticing the
town below. I did not wish to contemplate that pointed tower, again. But
a terrible curiosity drew my eyes down. Yes, there was Golden, looking
like a toy village. And there was the tower, pointing up at me. I could
not see the lightning rod now, but I knew that it was there. Again I
looked up at the peaks.

For a time we rode on in silence. I noticed that the snow on the slope
beside us, and in the road, was becoming deeper now, but it did not seem
to daunt our powerful machine. Up, up we went without slackening our
pace.

"Look!" exclaimed the Denver gentleman after a time. "You can see Denver
now, just over the top of South Table Mountain."

Again I was forced to turn my eyes in the direction of the plains. Yes,
there was Denver, looking like some dream island of Maxfield Parrish's
in the sea of plain.

I tried to look away again at once, but the Denver man kept pointing and
insisting that I see it all.

"South Table Mountain, over the top of which you are now looking," he
said, "is the same hill we skirted in coming into Golden. We were at the
bottom of it then. That will show you how we have climbed already."

"We must be halfway up by now," said my companion hopefully.

"Oh, no; not yet. We are only about--" There he broke off suddenly and
clutched at the side of the tonneau. Our front wheels had slipped
sidewise in the snow, upon a turn, and had brought us very near the
edge. Again something drew my eyes to Golden. It was no longer a toy
village; it was now a map. But the tower was still there. However far we
drove we never seemed to get away from it.

Where the brilliant sunlight lay upon the snow, it was melting, but in
shaded places it was dry as talcum powder. Rounding another turn we came
upon a place of deep shadow, where the riotous mountain winds had blown
the dry snow into drifts. One after the other we could see them reaching
away like white waves toward the next angle in the road.

My heart leaped with joy at the sight, and as I felt the restraining
grip of the brakes upon our wheels, I blessed the elements which barred
our way.

"Well," I cried to our host as the car stood still. "It has been a
wonderful ride. I never thought we should get as far as this."

"Neither did I!" exclaimed my companion rising to his feet. "I guess
I'll get out and stretch my legs while you turn around."

"So will I," I said.

Our host looked back at us.

"Turn around?" he repeated. "I'm not going to turn around."

My companion measured the road with his eye.

"It is sort of narrow for a turn, isn't it?" he said. "What will you
do--back down?"

"Back nothing!" said our host "I'm going through."

The pioneer in him had spoken. His jaw was set. The joy that I had felt
ebbed suddenly away. I seemed to feel it leaking through the soles of my
feet. We had stopped in the shadow. It was cold there and the wind was
blowing hard. I did not like that place, but little as I liked it, I
fairly yearned to stop there.

I heard the gears click as they meshed. The car leaped forward, struck
the drift, bounded into it with a drunken, slewing motion, penetrated
for some distance and finally stopped, her headlights buried in the
snow.

Again I heard a click as our host shifted to reverse. Then, with a
furious spinning of wheels, which cast the dry snow high in air, we made
a bouncing, backward leap and cleared the drift, but only to charge it
again.

This time we managed to get through. Nor did we stop at that. Having
passed the first drift, we retained our momentum and kept on through
those that followed, hitting them as a power dory hits succeeding waves
in a choppy sea, churning our way along with a rocking, careening, crazy
motion, now menaced by great boulders at the inside of the road, now by
the deadly drop at the outside, until at last we managed, somehow, to
navigate the turning, after which we stopped in a place comparatively
clear of snow.

Our host turned to us with a smile.

"She's a good old snow-boat, isn't she?" he said.

With great solemnity my companion and I admitted that she was.

Even the Denver gentleman who occupied the tonneau with us, seemed
somewhat shaken.

"Of course the snow will be worse farther up," he said to our host. "Do
you think it is worth going on?"

"Of course it is," our host replied. "I want these boys to see the main
range of the Rockies. That's what we came up for, isn't it?"

"Yes," said my companion, "but we wouldn't want you to spoil your car on
our account."

It was an unfortunate remark.

"Spoil her!" cried our host. "Spoil this machine? You don't know her.
You haven't seen what she can do, yet. Just wait until we hit a real
drift!"

The cigar which I had been smoking when I left Denver was still in my
mouth. It had gone out long since, but I had been too much engrossed
with other things to notice it. Instead of relighting it, I had been
turning it over and over between my teeth, and now in an emotional
moment, I chewed at it so hard that it sagged down against my chin. I
removed it from my mouth, and tossed it over the edge. It cleared the
road and sailed out into space, down, down, down, turning over and over
in the air, as it went. And as I watched its evolutions, my blood
chilled, for I thought to myself that the body of a falling man would
turn in just that way--that my body would be performing similar aerial
evolutions, should our car slew off the road in the course of some mad
charge against a drift.

I was by this time very definitely aware that I had my fill of winter
motoring in the mountains. The mere reluctance I had felt as we began to
climb had now developed into a passionate desire to desist. I am no
great pedestrian. Under ordinary circumstances the idea of climbing a
mountain on foot would never occur to me. But now, since I could not
turn back, since I must go to the top to satisfy my host, I fairly
yearned to walk there. Indeed, I would have gladly crawled there on my
hands and knees, through snowdrifts, rather than to have proceeded
farther in that touring car.

Obviously, however, craft was necessary.

"I believe I'll get out and limber up a little," I said, rising from my
seat.

My companions of the tonneau seemed to be of the same mind. All three of
us alighted in the snow.

"How far is it to the top?" I asked our host.

"A couple of miles," he said.

"Is that all?" I replied. "Couldn't we walk it, then?"

I was touched by the avidity with which my two companions seized on the
suggestion. Only our host objected.

"What's the matter?" he demanded in an injured tone. "Don't you think my
car can make it? If you'll just get in again you'll soon see!"

"Heavens, no!" I answered. "That's not it. Of course we _know_ your car
can do it."

"Yes; oh, yes, of course!" the other two chimed in.

"All I was thinking of," I added, "was the exercise."

"That's it," my companion cried. "Exercise. We haven't had a bit of
exercise since we left New York."

"I need it, too!" put in the Denver man. "My wife says I'm getting fat."

"Oh, if it's exercise you want," said our host, "I'm with you."

Even the spirits of the chauffeur seemed to rise as his employer
alighted.

"I think I had better stay with the car, sir," he said.

"All right, all right," said our host indifferently. "You can be turning
her around. We'll be back in a couple of hours or so."

The chauffeur looked at the edge.

"Well," he said, "I don't know but what the exercise will do me good,
too. I guess I'll come along if you don't mind, sir."

On foot we could pick our way, avoiding the larger drifts, so that, for
the most part, we merely trudged through snow a foot deep. But it was
uphill work in the sun, and before long overcoats were removed and
cachéd at the roadside, weighted down against the wind with stones. Now
and then we left the road and took a short cut up the mountainside,
wading through drifts which were sometimes armpit deep and joining the
road again where it doubled back at a higher elevation. Presently our
coats came off, then our waistcoats, until at last all five of us were
in our shirts, making a strange picture in such a wintry landscape.

Now that the dread of skidding was removed I began to enjoy myself,
taking keen delight in the marvelous blue plains spread out everywhere
to the eastward, and inhaling great drafts of effervescent air.

When we had struggled upward for perhaps two hours we left the road and
assailed a little peak, from the top of which our host believed the main
range of the Rockies would be visible. The slope was rather steep, but
the ground beneath the snow was fairly smooth, giving us moderately good
footing. By making transverse paths we zigzagged without much difficulty
to the top, which was sharp, like the backbone of some gigantic animal.

I must admit that I had not been so anxious to see the main range as my
Denver friends had been to have me see it. It did not seem to me that
any mountain spectacle could be much finer than that presented by the
glittering wall as seen from Denver. I had expected to be disappointed
at the sight of the main range, and I am glad that I expected that,
because it made all the greater the thrill which I felt when, on topping
the hill, I saw what was beyond.

I do not believe that any experience in life can give the ordinary
man--the man who is not a real explorer of new places--the sense of
actual discovery and of great achievement, which he may attain by
laboring up a slope and looking over it at a vast range of mountains
glittering, peak upon peak, into the distance. The sensation is
overwhelming. It fills one with a strange kind of exaltation, like that
which is produced by great music played by a splendid orchestra. The
golden air, vibrating and shimmering, is like the tremolo of violins; the
shadows in the abysses are like the deep throbbing notes of violoncellos
and double basses; while the great peaks, rising in their might and
majesty, suggest the surge and rumble of pipe organs echoing to the
vault of heaven.

[Illustration: I was by this time very definitely aware that I had my
fill of winter motoring in the mountains. The mere reluctance I felt as
we began to climb had now developed into a passionate desire to
desist]

I had often heard that, to some people, certain kinds of music suggest
certain colors. Here, in the silence of the mountains, I understood that
thing for the first time, for the vast forms of those jewel-encrusted
hills seemed to give off a superb symphonic song--a song with an air
which, when I let my mind drift with it, seemed to become definite, but
which, when I tried to follow it, melted into vague, elusive harmonies.

There is no place in the world where Man can get along for more than two
or three minutes at a time without thinking of himself. Everything with
which he comes in contact suggests him to himself. Nothing is too small,
nothing too stupendous, to make man think of man. If he sees an ant he
thinks: "That, in its humble way, is a little replica of me, doing my
work." But when he looks upon a mountain range he thinks more salutary
thoughts, for if his thoughts about himself are ever humble, they will
be humble then. Indeed, it would be like man to say that that was the
purpose with which mountains were made--to humble him. For it is man's
pleasure to think that everything in the universe was created with some
definite relation to himself.

However that may be, it is man's habit, when he looks upon the
mountains, to endeavor to make up for the long vainglorious years with a
brief but complete orgy of self-abnegation. And that, of course, is a
good thing for him, although it seems a pity that he cannot spread it
thinner and thereby make it last him longer. But man does not like to
take his humility that way. He prefers to take it like any other
sickening medicine, gulping it down in one big draft, and getting it
over with. That is the reason man can never bear to stay for any length
of time upon a mountain top. Up there he finds out what he really is,
and for man to find that out is, naturally, painful.

As he looks at the mountains the ego, which is 99 per cent. of him,
begins to shrivel up. He may not feel it at first. Probably he doesn't.
Very likely he begins by writing his own name in the eternal snows, or
scratching his initials on a rock. But presently he gazes off into space
and remarks with the Poet Towne: "Ain't Nature wonderful!" And, of
course, after that he begins to think of himself again, saying with a
great sense of discovery: "What a little thing I am!" Then, as his ego
shrinks farther, the orgy of humility begins.

"What am I," he cries, "in the eyes of the eternal hills? I am
relatively unimportant! By George, I shouldn't be surprised if I were a
miserable atom! Yes, that's what I am! I am a frail, wretched thing,
created but to be consumed. My life is but a day. I am a poor,
two-legged nonentity, trotting about the surface of an enormous ball. I
am filled with egotism and self-interest. I call myself civilized--and
why? Because I have learned to make sounds through my mouth, and have
assigned certain meanings to these sounds; because I have learned to
mark down certain symbols, to represent these sounds; and because, with
my sounds and symbols, I can maintain a ragged interchange of ragged
thought with other men, getting myself, for the most part, beautifully
misunderstood.

"Of what else is my life composed? Of the search for something I call
'pleasure' and something else I call 'success,' which is represented by
piles of little yellow metal disks that I designate by the
silly-sounding word, 'money.' I spend six days in the week in search of
money, and on the seventh day I relax and read the Sunday newspapers, or
put on my silk hat and go to church, where I call God's attention to
myself in every way I can, praying to Him with prayers which have to be
written for me because I haven't brains enough to make a good prayer of
my own; singing hymns to Him in a voice which ought never to be raised
in song; telling Him that I know He watches over me; putting a little
metal disk, of small denomination, in the plate for Him; then putting on
my shiny hat again--which I know pleases Him very much--going home and
eating too much dinner."

That is the way man thinks about himself upon a mountain top. Naturally
he can only stand it for a little while before his contracting ego
begins to shriek in pain.

Then man says: "I have enjoyed the view. I will note the fact in the
visitors' book if there happens to be one, after which I will retire
from this high elevation to the world below."

Going down the mountain he begins to say to himself: "What wonderful
thoughts I have been thinking up there! I have had thoughts which very
few other men are capable of thinking! I have a remarkable mind if I
only take the time to use it!"

So, as he goes down, his ego keeps on swelling up again until it not
only reaches its normal size, but becomes larger than ever, because the
man now believes that, in addition to all he was before, he has become a
philosopher.

"I must write a book!" he says to himself. "I must give these remarkable
ideas of mine to the world!"

And, as you see, he sometimes does it.

[Illustration: The homes of Colorado Springs really explain the place
and the society is as cosmopolitan as the architecture]



CHAPTER XXXII

COLORADO SPRINGS


In a certain city that I visited upon my travels, I met one night at
dinner, one of those tall, pink-cheeked, slim-legged young polo-playing
Englishmen, who proceeded to tell me in his positive, British way,
exactly what the United States amounted to. He said New York was
ripping. He said San Francisco was ripping. He said American girls were
ripping.

"But," said he, "there are just two really civilized places between your
Atlantic and Pacific coasts."

The idea entertained me. I asked which places he meant.

"Chicago," he said, "and Colorado Springs."

"But Colorado Springs is a little bit of a place, isn't it?" I asked
him.

"About thirty thousand."

"Why is it so especially civilized?"

"It just _is_, y'know," he answered. "There's polo there."

"But polo doesn't make civilization," I said.

"Oh, yes, it does," he insisted. "I mean to say wherever you find polo
you find good clubs and good society and--usually--good tea."

This, and further rumors of a like nature, plus some pleasant letters
of introduction, caused my companion and me to remove ourselves, one
afternoon, from Denver to the vaunted seat of civilization, some miles
to the south.

Colorado Springs is somewhat higher than Denver and seems to nestle
closer to the mountains. The moment you alight from the train and see
the park, facing the station and the pleasant façade of the Antlers
Hotel, beyond, you feel the peculiar charm of the little city. It is
well laid-out, with very wide streets, very good public buildings and
office buildings, and really remarkable homes.

The homes of Colorado Springs really explain the place. They are of
every variety of architecture, and are inhabited by a corresponding
variety of people. You will see half-timbered English houses, built by
Englishmen and Scots; Southern colonial houses built by people from the
South Atlantic States; New England colonial houses built by families who
have migrated from the regions of Boston and New York; one-story houses
built by people from Hawaii, and a large assortment of other houses
ranging from Queen Anne to Cape Cod cottages, and from Italian villas to
Spanish palaces. There is even the Grand Trianon at Broadmoor, and an
amazing Tudor castle at Glen Eyre.

The society is as cosmopolitan as the architecture. It has been drawn
with perfect impartiality from the well-to-do class in all parts of the
country and has been assembled in this charming garden town with, for
the most part, a common reason--to fight against tuberculosis. This
does not mean, of course, that the majority of people in Colorado
Springs are victims of tuberculosis, but only that, in many instances,
families have moved there because of the affliction of one member.

I say "affliction." Literally, I suppose the word is justified. But
perhaps the most striking thing about society in Colorado Springs is its
apparent freedom from affliction. One goes to the most delightful dinner
parties, there, in the most delightful houses, and meets the most
delightful people. Every one seems very gay. Every one looks well. Yet
one knows that there are certain persons present who are out there for
their health. The question is, which? It is impossible to tell.

In the case of one couple I met, I decided that the wife who was slender
and rather pale, had been the cause of migration from the East. But
before I left, the stocky, ruddy husband told me, in the most cheerful
manner that he had arrived there twenty years before with "six months to
live." That is the way it is out there. There is no feeling of
depression. There is no air of, "Shh! Don't speak of it!" Tuberculosis
is taken quite as a matter of course, and is spoken of, upon occasion,
with a lightness and freedom which is likely to surprise the visitor.
They even give it what one man designated as a "pet name," calling it
"T. B."

Club life in Colorado Springs is highly developed. The El Paso Club is
not merely a good club for such a small city, but would be a very good
club anywhere. One has only to penetrate as far as the cigar stand to
discover that--for a club may always be known by the cigars it keeps.
So, too, with the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club at Broadmoor, a suburb
of the Springs. It isn't one of those small-town country clubs, in
which, after ringing vainly for the waiter, you go out to the kitchen
and find him for yourself, in his shirtsleeves and minus a collar. Nor,
when he puts in his appearance, is he wearing a spotted alpaca coat that
doesn't fit. Without being in the least pretentious, it is a real
country club, run for men and women who know what a real club is.

When you sit at luncheon at the large round table in the men's café you
may find yourself between a famous polo-player from Meadowbrook, and a
bronzed young ranch-owner, who will tell you that cattle rustling still
goes on in his section of the country. The latter you will take for a
perfect product of the West, a "gentleman cowboy," from a novel. But
presently you will learn that he is a member of that almost equally
fictitious thing, an "old New York family," that he has been in the West
but a year or two, and that he was in "Tark's class" at Princeton. So on
around the table. One man has just arrived from Paris; another from
Honolulu, or the Philippines, or China or Japan. And when, as we were
sitting there, a man came in whom I had met in Rome ten years before, I
said to myself: This is not life. It is the beginning of a short story
by some disciple of Mrs. Wharton: A group of cosmopolitans seated
around a table in a club. Casual mention of Bombay, Buda-Pesth and
Singapore. Presently some man will flick his cigarette ash and say, "By
the way, De Courcey, what ever became of the queer little chap we used
to see at the officer's mess in Simla?" Whereupon De Courcey, late of
the Lancers, and second son of Lord Thusandso, will light a fresh Corona
and recount, according to the accepted formula, the story of The Queer
Little Chap.

I could even imagine the illustrations for the story. They would be by
Wenzell, and would show us there, in the club, like a group of sleek
Greek statues, clothed in full afternoon regalia of the most
unbelievable smoothness--looking, in short, not at all like ourselves,
or anybody else.

However, the story of The Queer Little Chap was not told. That is the
trouble with trying to live short stories. You can get them started,
sometimes, but they never work out. If the setting is all right, the
story somehow will not "break," whereas, on the other hand, when the
surroundings are absolutely wrong, when the wrong people are present,
when the conditions are utterly impossible, your short story will break
violently and without warning, and will very likely cover you with
spots. The trouble is that life, in its more fragmentary departments,
lacks what we call "form" and "composition." There is something
amateurish about it. Nine editors out of ten would reject a short story
written by the Hand of Fate, on this ground, and would probably advise
Fate to go and take a course in short-story-writing at some university.
No; Fate has not the short story gift. She writes novels--rather long
and rambling, most of them, like those of De Morgan or Romaine Rolland.
But even her novels are not popular. People say they are too long. They
can't be bothered reading novels which consume a whole lifetime.
Besides, Fate seldom supplies a happy ending, and that's what people
want, now-a-days. So, though Fate's novels are given away, they have no
vogue.

Having somehow digressed from clubs to authorship I may perhaps be
pardoned for wandering still further from my trail here to mention Andy
Adams.

A long time ago, ex-Governor Hunt expressed lack of faith in the future
of Colorado Springs because, at that time, there was not much water to
be found there, and further because the town had "too many writers of
original poetry." So far as I could judge, from a brief visit, things
have changed. There is plenty of water, and I did not meet a single
poet. However, I did meet an author, and he is a real one. Andy Adams'
card proclaims him author, but more than this, his books do, also.
Himself a former cowboy, he writes cowboy stories which prove that
cowboy stories need not be as false, and as maudlinly romantic as most
cowboy stories manage to be. You don't have to know the plains to know
that Mr. Adams' tales are true, any more than you have to know anatomy
to understand that a man can't stand without a backbone. Truth is the
backbone of Mr. Adams' writings, and the body of them has that rare kind
of beauty which may, perhaps, be likened to the body of some
cowboy--some perfect physical specimen from Mr. Adams' own pages.

I have not read all his books, and the only reason why I have not is
that I have not yet had time. But so far as I have read I have not found
one false note in them. I have not come upon a "lone horseman" riding
through the gulch at eventide. I have not encountered the daughter of an
eastern millionaire who has ridden out to see the sunset. Nor have I
stumbled on a romantic meeting or a theatrical rescue.

So far as I know, Mr. Adams' book "The Log of a Cowboy," is preëminently
the classic of the plains. One of its greatest qualities is that of
ceaseless movement. Three thousand head of cattle are driven through
those chapters, from the Mexican frontier to the Canada border, and
those cattle travel with a flow as irresistible as the unrelenting flow
of De Quincey's Tartar tribe.

The author is one of those absolutely basic things, a natural story
teller, and the fine simplicity of his writing springs not from
education ("All the schooling I ever had I picked up at a cross-roads
country school house"), not from an academic knowledge of "literature,"
but from primary qualities in his own nature, and the strong, ingenuous
outlook of his own two eyes.

Mr. Henry Russell Wray tells of a request from eastern publishers for a
brief sketch of Adams' life. He asked Adams to write about two hundred
words about himself, as though dealing with another being. The next day
he received this:

     A native of Indiana; went to Texas during his youth; worked over
     ten years on cattle ranches and on the trail, rising from common
     hand on the latter to a foreman. Quit cattle fifteen years ago,
     following business and mining occupations since. When contrasted
     with the present generation is just beginning to realize that the
     old days were romantic, though did not think so when sitting a
     saddle sixteen to twenty-four hours a day in all kinds of weather.
     His insight into cattle life was not obtained from the window of a
     Pullman car, but close to the soil and from the hurricane deck of a
     Texas horse. Even to-day is a better cowman than writer, for he can
     yet rope and tie down a steer with any of the boys, though the loop
     of his rope may settle on the wrong foot of the rhetoric
     occasionally. He is of Irish and Scotch parentage. Forty-three
     years of age, six feet in height and weighs 210 pounds.

Though I met Mr. Adams at Colorado Springs, I shall, for obvious
reasons, let my description of him rest at that.

       *       *       *       *       *

When writing of clubs I should have mentioned the Cooking Club, which is
one of the most unique little clubs of the country. The fifteen members
of this club are the gourmets of Colorado Springs--not merely passive
gourmets who like to have good things set before them, but active ones
who know how to prepare good things as well as eat them. Every little
while, throughout the season, the Cooking Club gives dinners, to which
each member may invite a guest or two. Each takes his turn in acting as
host, his duties upon this occasion being to draw up the menu, supply
materials, appoint members to prepare certain courses, and, wearing the
full regalia of a chef, superintend the preparation of the meal, which
is cooked entirely by men belonging to the club. Wine is not served at
Cooking Club dinners, the official beverage being the club Rum Brew,
which has a considerable local reputation, and is everywhere pronounced
adequate. Not a few of the members learned to cook in the course of
prospecting tours in the mountains, and the Easterner who, with this
fact in mind, attends a Cooking Club dinner is led to revise,
immediately, certain preconceived ideas of the hard life of the
prospector. No man has a hard life who can cook himself such dishes.
Indeed, one is forced to the conclusion that Colorado is full of
undiscovered mines, which would have been uncovered long ago, were it
not that prospectors go up into the mountains for the primary purpose of
cooking themselves the most delightful meals, and that mining is--as
indeed it should be--a mere side issue. For myself, while I have no
taste for the hardy life of the mountaineer, I would gladly become a
prospector, even if it were guaranteed in advance that I should discover
nothing, providing that Eugene P. Shove would go along with me and make
the biscuits.

Aside from its clubs Colorado Springs has all the other things which go
to the making of a pleasant city. The Burns Theater is a model of what a
theater should be. The Antlers Hotel would do credit to the shores of
Lake Lucerne. Where the "antlers" part of it comes in, I am unable to
say, but as nothing else was lacking, from the kitchen, down stairs, to
Pike's Peak looming up in the back yard, I have no complaint to make.

I suppose that every one who has heard of Colorado Springs at all,
associates it with the famous Garden of the Gods.

Before I started on my travels I was aware of the fact that the two
great natural wonders of the East are Niagara Falls and the insular New
Yorker. I knew that the great, gorgeous, glittering galaxy of American
wonders was, however, in the West, but the location and character of
them was somewhat vague in my mind. I knew, of course, that Pike's Peak
was a large mountain. I knew that the giant redwoods were in California.
But for the rest, I had the Grand Cañon, the Royal Gorge, and the Garden
of the Gods associated in my mind together as rival attractions. I do
not know why this was so, excepting that I had been living on Manhattan
Island, where information is notoriously scarce.

Now, though I saw the Royal Gorge, though I rode through it in the cab
of a locomotive, with my hair standing on end, and though I found it "as
advertised," I have no idea of trying to describe it, more than to say
that it is a great cleft in the pink rocks through which run a river and
a railroad, and that how the latter managed to keep out of the former
was a constant source of wonder to me.

As for the Grand Cañon of the Colorado, it affects those who behold it
with a kind of literary asthma. They desire to describe it; some try,
passionately; but they only wheeze and look as though they might
explode. Since it is generally admitted that no one who has seen it can
describe it, the task would manifestly devolve upon some one who has not
seen it, and that requirement is filled by me. I have not seen it. I am
not impressed by it at all. I am able to speak of it with coherence and
restraint. But even that I shall not do.

With the Garden of the Gods it is different. The place irritated me. For
if ever any spot was outrageously overnamed, it is that one. As a little
park in the Catskills it might be all well enough, but as a natural
wonder in the Rocky Mountains, with Pike's Peak hanging overhead, it is
a pale pink joke. If I had my way I should take its wonder-name away
from it, for the name is too fine to waste, and a thousand spots in
Colorado are more worthy of it.

The entrance to the place, between two tall, rose-colored sandstone
rocks may, perhaps, be called imposing; the rest of it might better be
described as imposition. Guides will take you through, and they will do
their utmost, as guides always do, to make you imagine that you are
really seeing something. They will point out inane formations in the
sandstone rock, and will attempt to make you see that these are
"pictures." They will show you the Kissing Camels, the Bear and Seal,
the Buffalo, the Bride and Groom, the Preacher, the Scotsman, Punch and
Judy, the Washerwoman, and other rock forms, sculptured by Nature into
shapes more or less suggesting the various objects mentioned. But what
if they do? To look at such accidentals is a pastime about as
intelligent as looking for pictures in the moon, or in the patterns of
the paper on your wall. As nearly as Nature can be altogether silly she
has been silly here, and I think that only silly people will succeed in
finding fascination in the place--the more so since Colorado Springs is
a prohibition town.

The story of prohibition there is curious. In 1870, N. C. Meeker,
Agricultural Editor of the New York "Tribune," under Horace Greeley,
started a colony in Colorado, bringing a number of settlers from the
East, and naming the place Greeley. With a view to eliminating the
roughness characteristic of frontier towns in those days, Mr. Meeker
made Greeley a prohibition colony.

When, a year after, General William J. Palmer and his associates started
to build the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad from Denver to Colorado
Springs, a land company was formed, subsidiary to the railway project,
and desert property was purchased on the present site of the Springs.
The town was then laid out and the land retailed to individuals of "good
moral character and strict, temperate habits."

In each deed given by the land company there was incorporated an
anti-liquor clause, whereby, in the event of intoxicating liquors being
"manufactured, sold or otherwise disposed of in any place of public
resort on the premises," the deed should become void and the property
revert to the company. Shortly after the formation of the colony the
validity of this clause was tested. The suit was finally carried to the
United States Supreme Court, where the rights of the company, under the
prohibition clause, were upheld.

General Palmer, later, in discussing the history of Colorado Springs,
explained that the prohibitory clause was not inserted in the deeds for
moral reasons, but that "the aim was intensely practical--to create a
habitable and successful town."

The General and his associates had had ample experience of new western
railroad towns, and wished to eliminate the disagreeable features of
such towns from Colorado Springs. Even then, though the prohibition
movement had not been fairly launched in this country these practical
men recognize the fact that Meeker had recognized; namely that with
saloons, dance halls and gambling places, gunfighting and lynchings went
hand in hand.

It is recorded that the restriction seemed to work against the town at
first, but, on the other hand, such growth as came was substantial, and
Colorado Springs attracted a better class of settlers than the wide open
towns nearby. The wisdom of this arrangement is amply proven, to-day,
by a comparison of Colorado Springs with the neighboring town of
Colorado City, which has not had prohibition.

Even before Colorado Springs existed, General Palmer had fallen in love
with the place and determined that he would some day have a home at the
foot of the mountains in that neighborhood. In the early seventies he
purchased a superb cañon a few miles west of the city, and the Tudor
Castle which he built there, and which he named Glen Eyrie, because of
the eagles' nests on the walls of his cañon, remains to-day one of the
most remarkable houses on this continent.

Every detail of the house as it stands, and every item in the history of
its construction expresses the force and originality which were such
strong attributes of its late proprietor.

The General was an engineer. In the Civil War he was colonel of the 15th
Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was breveted a general. After the war he went
into the West and became a railroad builder. Evidently he was one of
those men, typical of his time, who seem to have had a craving to
condense into one lifetime the experiences and achievements of several.
He was, so to speak, his own ancestor and his own descendant; there
were, in effect, three generations of him: soldier, railroad builder,
and landed baron. In his castle at Glen Eyrie one senses very strongly
this baronial quality. Clearly the General could not be content with a
mere modern house. He wanted a castle, and above all, an old castle.
And, as Colorado is peculiarly free of old castles, he had to build one
for himself. That is what he did, and the superb initiative of the man
is again reflected in the means he used. The house must be of old
lichen-covered stone, but, being already past middle age, the General
could not wait on Nature. Therefore he caused the whole region to be
scoured for flat, weathered stones which could be cut for his purpose.
These he transported to his glen, where they were carefully cut and set
in place, so that the moment the new wall was up it was an old wall.
Finding the flat stones was easy, however, compared with finding those
presenting a natural right angle, for the corners of the house.
Nevertheless, all were ultimately discovered and laid, and the desired
result was attained. After the house was done the General thought the
roof lacked just the proper note of color, so he caused it to be torn
off, and replaced with tiles from an old church in England.

Perhaps the most splendid thing about the place is an enormous hall,
paneled in oak, with a gallery and a beamed barrel ceiling, but there
are other features which make the house unusual. On the roof is a great
Krupp bell, which can be heard for miles, and which was used to call the
General's guests home for meals. There is a power plant, a swimming
pool, a complicated device for recording meteorological conditions in
the mountains. And of course there are fireplaces in which great logs
were burned; yet there are no chimneys on the house. The General did
not want chimneys issuing smoke into his cañon, so he simply did not
have them. Instead, he constructed a tunnel which runs up the
mountainside behind the house and takes care of the smoke, emitting it
at an unseen point, far above.

Meanwhile the General played Santa Claus to Colorado Springs, giving her
parks and boulevards. One day, while riding on his place, he was thrown
from his horse and a vertebra was fractured, with the result that he was
permanently prostrated. After that he lay for some time like a wounded
eagle in his eyrie, his mind as active as ever. He was still living in
1907, when the time for the annual reunion of his old regiment came
around. Unable to go East, he invited the remaining veterans to come to
him by special train, as his guests. So they came--the remnants of that
old cavalry regiment, and passed in review, for the last time, before
their Colonel, lying helpless with a broken neck.

[Illustration: On the road to Cripple Creek--We were always turning,
always turning upward]

In its mountain setting, with the pink sandstone cliffs rising abruptly
behind it, this castle of the General's is one of the most dramatic
homes I have ever seen. There is a superb austerity about it, which
makes it very different from the large homes of Broadmoor, at the other
side of Colorado Springs. As I have already mentioned, one of these is a
replica of the Grand Trianon; others are Elizabethan and Tudor, and many
of them are very fine, but the house of houses at Colorado Springs is
"El Pomar," the residence of the late Ashton H. Potter. I do not know a
house in the United States which fits its setting better than this
one, or which is a more perfect thing from every point of view. It is a
one-story building of Spanish architecture--a style which, to my mind,
fits better than any other, the sort of landscape in which plains and
mountains meet. Houses as elaborate as the Grand Trianon, always seem to
me to lend themselves best to a rather formal, park-like country which
is flat, or nearly so; while Elizabethan and adapted Tudor houses of the
kind one sees at Broadmoor, seem to cry out for English lawns, and great
lush-growing trees to soften the hard lines of roof and gable. Such
houses may be set in rolling country with good effect, but in the face
of the vast mountain range which dominates this neighborhood, the most
elaborate architecture is so completely dwarfed as to seem almost
ridiculous. Architecture cannot compete with the Rocky Mountains; the
best thing it can do is to submit to them: to blend itself into the
picture as unostentatiously as possible. And that is what "El Pomar"
does.



CHAPTER XXXIII

CRIPPLE CREEK


One day, during our stay at Colorado Springs, we were invited to take a
trip to Cripple Creek.

Driving to the station a friend, a resident of the Springs, pointed out
to me a little clay hillock, beside the road.

"That," he said, "is what we call Mount Washington."

"I don't see the resemblance," I remarked.

"Well," he explained, "the top of that little hump has an elevation of
about six thousand three hundred feet, which is exactly the height of
Mount Washington. You see our mountains, out here, begin where yours, in
the East, leave off."

Presently, on the little train, bound for Cripple Creek, the fact was
further demonstrated. I had never imagined that anything less than a
cog-road could ascend a grade so steep. All the way the grade persisted.
Never had I seen such a railroad, either for steepness or for sinuosity.
The train crawled slowly along ledges cut into the mountain-sides, now
burrowing through an obstruction, now creeping from one mountain to
another on a spindly bridge of the most shocking height, below which a
wild torrent dashed through a rocky cañon; now slipping out upon a
sky-high terrace commanding a view of hundreds of square miles of
plains, now winding its way gingerly about dizzy cliffs which seemed to
lean out over chasms, into which one looked with admiring terror; now
coming out upon the other side, the main chain of the Rockies was
revealed a hundred miles to the westward, glittering superbly with
eternal ice and snow. It is an unbelievable railroad--the Cripple Creek
Short Line. It travels fifty miles to make what, in a straight line,
would be eighteen, and if there is, on the entire system, a hundred
yards of track without a turn, I did not see the place. We were always
turning; always turning upward. We would go into a tunnel and presently
emerge at a point which seemed to be directly above the place where we
had entered; and at times our windings, our doublings back, our
writhings, were conducted in so limited an area that I began to fear our
train would get tied in a knot and be unable to proceed.

However, we did get to Cripple Creek, and for all its mountain setting,
and all the three hundred millions of gold that it has yielded in the
last twenty years or so, it is one of the most depressing places in the
world. Its buildings run from shabbiness to downright ruin; its streets
are ill paved, and its outlying districts are a horror of smokestacks,
ore-dumps, shaft-houses, reduction-plants, gallows-frames and squalid
shanties, situated in the mud. It seemed to me that Cripple Creek must
be the most awful looking little city in the world, but I was informed
that, as mining camps go, it is unusually presentable, and later I
learned for myself that that is true.

Cripple Creek is not only above the timber-line; it is above the
cat-line. I mean this literally. Domestic cats cannot live there. And
many human beings are affected by the altitude. I was. I had a headache;
my breath was short, and upon the least exertion my heart did
flip-flops. Therefore I did not circulate about the town excepting
within a radius of a few blocks of the station. That, however, was
enough.

After walking up the main street a little way, I turned off into a side
street lined with flimsy buildings, half of them tumble-down and
abandoned. Turning into another street I came upon a long row of tiny
one story houses, crowded close together in a block. Some of them were
empty, but others showed signs of being occupied. And instead of a
number, the door of each one bore a name, "Clara," "Louise," "Lina," and
so on, down the block. For a time there was not a soul in sight as I
walked slowly down that line of box-stall houses. Then, far ahead, I saw
a woman come out of a doorway. She wore a loose pink wrapper and carried
a pitcher in her hand. I watched her cross the street and go into a
dingy building. Then the street was empty again. I walked on slowly. As
I passed one doorway it opened suddenly and a man came out--a shabby man
with a drooping mustache. He did not look at me as he passed. The
window-shade of the crib from which he had come went up as I moved by.
I looked at the window, and as I did so, the curtains parted and the
face of a negress was pressed against the pane, grinning at me with a
knowing, sickening grin.

I passed on. From another window a white woman with very black hair and
eyes, and cheeks of a light orchid-shade, showed her gold teeth in a
mirthless automatic smile, and added the allurement of an ice-cold wink.

The door of the crib at the corner stood open, and just before I reached
it a woman stepped out and surveyed me as I approached. She wore a white
linen skirt and a middy blouse, attire grotesquely juvenile for one of
her years. Her hair, of which she had but a moderate amount, was light
brown and stringy, and she wore gold-rimmed spectacles. She did not look
depraved but, upon the contrary resembled a highly respectable, if
homely, German cook I once employed. As I passed her window I saw
hanging there a glass sign, across which, in gold letters, was the
title, "Madam Leo."

"Madam Leo," she said to me, nodding and pointing at her chest. "That's
me. Leo, the lion, eh?" She laughed foolishly.

I paused and made some casual inquiry concerning her prosperity.

"Things is dull now in Cripple Creek," she said. "There ain't much
business any more. I wish they'd start a white man's club or a dance
hall across the street. Then Cripple Creek would be booming."

I think I remarked, in reply, that things did look rather dull. In the
meantime I glanced in at her little room. There was a chair or two, a
cheap oak dresser, and an iron bed. The room looked neat.

"Ain't I got a nice clean place?" suggested Madam Leo. Then as I
assented, she pointed to a calendar which hung upon the wall. At the top
of it was a colored print from some French painting, showing a Cupid
kissing a filmily draped Psyche.

"That's me," said Madam Leo. "That's me when I was a young girl!" Again
she loosed her laugh.

I started to move on.

"Where are you from?" she asked.

"I came up from Colorado Springs," I said.

"Well," she returned, "when you go back send some nice boys up here.
Tell them to see Madam Leo. Tell them a middle-aged woman with
spectacles. I'm known here. I been here four years. Oh, things ain't so
bad. I manage to make two or three dollars a day."

As I passed to leeward of her on the narrow walk I got the smell of a
strong, brutal perfume.

"Have you got to be going?" she asked.

"Yes," I answered. "I must go to the train."

"Well, then--so long," she said.

"So long."

"Don't forget Madam Leo," she admonished, giving utterance, again, to
her strident, feeble-minded laugh.

"I won't," I promised.

And I never, never shall.



CHAPTER XXXIV

THE MORMON CAPITAL


I think it was in Kansas City that I first became conscious of the fact
that, without my knowing it, my mind had made, in advance, imaginary
pictures of certain sections of the country, and that, in almost every
instance, these pictures were remarkable for their untruthfulness.
Kansas City itself surprised me with its hills, for I had been thinking
of it in connection with the prairies. With Denver it was the other way
about. Thinking of Denver as a mountain city, instead of a city near the
mountains, I expected hills, but did not find them. And when I crossed
the Rockies, they too afforded a surprise, not because of their height,
but because of their width. Evidently I must have had some vague idea
that a train, traveling west from Denver, would climb very definitely up
the Rocky Mountains, cross the Great Divide, and proceed very definitely
down again, upon the other side, whither a sort of long, sloping plain
would lead to California. Denver itself I thought of as being placed
further west upon the continent than is, in reality, the case. I did not
realize at all that the city is, in fact, only a few hundred miles west
of the halfway point on an imaginary line drawn from coast to coast;
nor was I aware that, instead of being for the most part sloping plain,
the thousand miles that intervenes between Denver and the Pacific Ocean,
is made up of series after series of mountain ranges and valleys, their
successive crests and hollows following one another like the waves of
the sea.

In short, I had imagined that the Rockies were the whole show. I had not
the faintest recollection of the Cordilleran System (of which the
Rockies and all these other ranges are but a part), while as for the
Sierra Nevadas, I remembered them only when I came to them and then much
as one will recall a slight acquaintance who has been in jail for many
years.

Are you shocked by my ignorance--or my confession of it? Then let me ask
you if you know that the Uintah Mountain Range, in Utah, is the only
range in the entire country which runs east and west? And have you ever
heard of the Pequop Mountains, or the Cedar Mountains, or the Santa
Roasas, or the Egans, or the Humboldts, or the Washoes, or the Gosiutes,
or the Toyales, or the Toquimas, or the Hot Creek Mountains? And did you
know that in California as well as in New Hampshire there are the White
Mountains? And what do you know of the Wahsatch and Oquirrh Ranges?

Not wishing to keep the class in geography after school, I shall not
tell you about all these mountains, but will satisfy myself with the
statement that, in an amphitheater formed between the two last mentioned
ranges, at the head of a broad, irrigated valley, is situated Salt Lake
City.

The very name of Salt Lake City had a flat sound in my ears; and in that
mental album of imaginary photographs of cities, to which I have
referred, I saw the Mormon capital as on a sandy plain, with the Great
Salt Lake on one side and the Great Salt Desert on the other. Therefore,
upon arriving, I was surprised again, for the lake is not visible at
all, being a dozen miles distant, and the desert is removed still
farther, while instead of sandy plains the mountains rise abruptly on
three sides of the city, and on the fourth is the sweet valley, covered
with rich farms and orchards, and dotted here and there with minor
Mormon settlements.

Like Mark Twain, who visited Salt Lake many years ago, before the
railroad went there, I managed to forget the lake entirely after I had
been there for a little while. I made no excursion to Saltair Beach, the
playground of the neighborhood, and only saw the lake when our train
crossed a portion of it after leaving the city.

I do not know that the great pavilion at Saltair Beach, of which every
one has seen pictures, is a Mormon property, but it well may be, for the
Mormons have never been a narrow-minded sect with regard to decent
gaieties. They approve of dancing, and the ragtime craze has reached
them, for, as I was walking past the Lion House, one evening, I heard
the music and saw a lot of young people "trotting" gaily, in the place
where formerly resided most of the twenty odd known wives of the late
Brigham Young. Later a Mormon told me that dances are held in Mormon
meeting-houses and that they are always opened with prayer.

Also in the café of the Hotel Utah there was dancing every night, and
when the members of the "Honeymoon Express" Company put in an appearance
there one night, we might have been on Broadway. The hotel, I was
informed, is owned by Mormons; it is an excellent establishment. They do
not stare at you as though they thought you an eccentric if you ask for
tea at five o'clock, but bring it to you in the most approved fashion,
with a kettle and a lamp, and the neatest silver tea service I have ever
seen in an American hotel. But that is by the way, for I was speaking of
the frivolities of Mormondom, and afternoon tea is, with me at least, a
serious matter.

Salt Lake City was, until a few years ago, a "wide open town." The
"stockade" was famous among the red-light institutions of the country.
But that is gone, having been washed away by our national "wave of
reform," and the town has now a rather orderly appearance, although it
is not without its night cafés, one of them being the inevitable
"Maxim's," without which, it would appear, no American city is now
complete.

One of the first things the Mormons did, on establishing their city, was
to build an amusement hall, and as long as fifty years ago, this was
superseded by the Salt Lake Theatre, a picturesque old playhouse which
is still standing, and which looks, inside and out, like an old wartime
wood-cut of Ford's Theatre in Washington. Even before the railroads came
the best actors and actresses in the country played in this theater,
drawn there by the strong financial inducements which the Mormons
offered, and it is interesting to note that many stage favorites of
to-day made their first appearances in this playhouse. If I am not
mistaken, Edwin Milton Royle made his début as an actor there, and both
Maude Adams and Ada Dwyer were born in Salt Lake City, and appeared upon
the stage for the first time at the Salt Lake Theatre. Yes, it is an
interesting and historic playhouse, and I hope that when it burns up, as
I have no doubt it ultimately will, no audience will be present, for I
think that it will go like tinder. And although I still bemoan the money
which I spent to see there, a maudlin entertainment called "The
Honeymoon Express," direct from that home of banal vulgarities, the New
York Winter Garden, I cannot quite bring myself to hope that when the
Salt Lake Theatre burns, the man who wrote "The Honeymoon Express," the
manager who produced it, and the company which played it, will be
rehearsing there. For all their sins, I should not like to see them
burned, though as to being roasted--well, that is a different thing.

Whatever may be one's opinion of the matrimonial industry of Brigham
Young, the visitor to Salt Lake City will not dispute that the late
leader of the Mormons knew, far better than most men of his day, how a
town should be laid out. The blocks of Salt Lake City are rectangular;
the lots are large, the streets wide and admirably paved with asphalt,
almost all the houses are low, and stand in their own green grounds, and
perhaps the most characteristic note of all is given by the poplars and
box elders which grow everywhere, not only in the city, but throughout
the valley.

Besides my preconceptions as to the city, I arrived in Salt Lake City
with certain preconceptions as to Mormons. I expected them to be
radically different, somehow, from all other people I had met. I
anticipated finding them deceitful and evasive: furtive people,
wandering in devious ways and disappearing into mysterious houses, at
dead of night. I wanted to see them, I wanted to talk with them, but I
wondered, nervously, whether one might speak to them about themselves
and their religion, and more especially, whether one might use the words
"Mormon" and "polygamy" without giving offense.

It was not without misgivings, therefore, that my companion and I went
to keep an appointment with Joseph F. Smith, head of the Mormon
Church--or, to give it its official title, the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints. We found the President, with several high officials
of the church, in his office at the Lion House--the large adobe building
in which, as I have said, formerly resided the rank and file of Brigham
Young's wives; although Amelia lived by herself, in the so called
"Amelia Palace," across the street.

Mr. Smith is a tall, dignified man who comes far from looking his full
seventy-six years. The nose upon which he wears his gold rimmed
spectacles is the dominant feature of his face, being one of those
great, strong, mountainous, indomitable noses. His eyes are dark, large
and keen, and he wears a flowing gray beard and dresses in a black
frock-coat. He and the men around him looked like a group of strong,
prosperous, dogmatically religious New Englanders, such as one might
find at a directors' meeting in the back room of some very solid old
bank in Maine or Massachusetts. Clearly they were executives and men of
wealth. As for religion, had I not known that they were Mormons, I
should have judged them to be either Baptists, Methodists or
Presbyterians.

The occasion did not prove to be a gay one. I tried to explain to the
Mormons that I was writing impressions of my travels and that I had
desired to meet them because, in Salt Lake City, the Mormons seemed to
supply the greatest interest.

But even after I had explained my mission, a frigid air prevailed, and I
felt that here, at least, I would get but scant material. Their attitude
perplexed me. I could not believe they were embarrassed, although I knew
that I was.

Then presently the mystery was cleared up, for President Smith launched
out upon a statement of his opinion regarding "Collier's Weekly"--the
paper in which many of these chapters first appeared--and I became
suddenly and painfully aware that I was being mistaken for a
muckraker.

The President's opinion of "Collier's" was more frank than flattering,
and though one or two of the other Mormons, who seemed to understand our
aims, tried to smooth matters over in the interests of harmony, he would
not be mollified, but insisted vigorously that "Collier's" had printed
outrageous lies about him. This was all news to me, for, as it happened,
I had not read the articles to which he referred, and for which, as a
representative of "Collier's," I was now, apparently, being held
responsible. I explained that to the President of the Church, whereupon
he simmered down somewhat, but I think he still regarded my companion
and me with suspicion, and was glad to see us go.

Thus did we suffer for the sins of Sarah Comstock.

It may not seem necessary to add that the subject of polygamy was not
mentioned in that conversation.

In thinking over our encounter with these leading Mormons I could not
feel surprised, for all that I have read about this sect has been in the
nature of attacks. Mark Twain tells about what was called a "Destroying
Angel" of the Mormon Church, stating that, "as I understand it, they are
Latter Day Saints who are set apart by the Church to conduct permanent
disappearances of obnoxious citizens." He characterizes the one he met
as "a loud, profane, offensive old blackguard." But Mormon Destroying
Angels are things of the past, as, I believe, are Mormon visions of
Empire, and Mormon aggressions of all kinds. Another book, Harry Leon
Wilson's novel, "The Lions of the Lord," was not calculated to soothe
the Mormon sensibilities, and of the numerous articles in magazines and
newspapers which I have read--most of them with regard to polygamy--I
recall none that has not dealt with them severely.

Now, remembering that whatever we may believe, the Mormons believe
devoutly in their religion, what must be their point of view about all
this? Their story is not different from any other in that it has two
sides. If they did commit aggressions in the early days, which seems to
have been the case, they were also the victims of persecution from the
very start, and it is difficult to determine, at this late day, whether
they, or those who made their lives in the East unbearable, were most at
fault.

According to Mormon history the church had its very beginnings in
religious dissension. It is recounted by the Mormons that Joseph Smith,
Jr., founder of the church (he was the uncle of the present President),
attended revival meetings in Manchester, Vermont, and was so confused by
the differences of opinion and the ill-feeling between different sects
that he prayed to the Lord to tell him which was the true religion. In
regard to this, Smith wrote that after his prayer, "a mysterious power
of darkness overcame me. I could not speak and I felt myself in the
grasp of an unseen personage of darkness. My soul went up in an
unuttered prayer for deliverance, and as I was about despairing, the
gloom rolled away and I saw a pillar of light descending from heaven,
approaching me."

Smith then tells of a vision of a Glorious Being, who informed him that
none of the warring religious sects had the right version. Then: "The
light vanished, the personages withdrew and recovering myself, I found
myself lying on my back gazing up into heaven."

Apropos of this, and of other similar visions which Smith said he had,
it is interesting to note that there is a theory, founded upon a
considerable investigation, that Smith was an epileptic.

After his first vision Smith had others, and according to the Mormon
belief, he finally had revealed to him the Hill Cumorah (twenty-five
miles southwest of Rochester, N. Y.) where he ultimately found, with the
aid of the Angel Moroni, the gold plates containing the Book of Mormon,
together with the Urim and Thummim, the stone spectacles through which
he read the plates and translated them. After making his translation,
Smith returned the plates to the angel, but before doing so, showed them
to eight witnesses who certified to having seen them.

As time went on Smith had more visions until at last the Mormon Church
was organized in 1830. Revelations continued. The church grew. Branches
were established in various places, but according to their history, the
Mormons were persecuted by members of other religious sects and driven
from place to place. For a time they were in Kirtland, Ohio. Later they
went to Jackson County, Mo., but their houses were burned and they were
driven on again. In 1838 "the Lord made known to him (Smith) that Adam
had dwelt in America, and that the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson
County, Mo." For a time they were in Nauvoo, Ill., where it seems their
political activities got them into trouble, and at last Joseph Smith and
his brother Hiram were shot and killed by a mob, at Carthage, Ill. That
was in 1844. There were then 10,000 Mormons, over whom Brigham Young
became the leading power. Soon after this the westward movement began.
They established various settlements in Iowa, and in 1847 Young and his
pioneer band of 143 men, 3 women and 2 children, entered the valley of
Salt Lake, where they immediately set up tents and cabins and began to
plow and plant, and where they started what the Mormons say was the
first irrigation system in the United States.

Certainly there were good engineers among them. Their early buildings
show it--especially the famous Tabernacle in the great square they own
at the center of the city. The vast arched roof of the Tabernacle is
supported by wooden beams which were lashed together, no nails having
been used. This building is not beautiful, but is very interesting. It
contains among other things a large pipe organ which was, in its day,
probably the finest in this country, although there are better organs
elsewhere, now. The Mormon Trails are also recognized in the West as the
best trails, with the lowest levels, and there are many other evidences
of unusual engineering and mechanical skill on the part of the early
settlers, including a curious wooden odometer (now in the museum at Salt
Lake City) which worked in connection with the wheel of a prairie
schooner, and which was marvelously accurate.

The revelation as to the practice of polygamy was made to Brigham Young,
and was promulgated in Utah in 1852, soon becoming a subject of
contention between the Mormons and the Government. The practice was
finally suspended by a manifesto issued by President Wilford Woodruff,
in 1890, and the "History of the Church," written by Edward H. Anderson,
declares that "a plurality of wives is now neither taught nor
practised."

Speaking of polygamy I was informed by Prof. Levi Edgar Young, a nephew
of Brigham Young, a Harvard graduate and an authority on Mormon History,
that not over 3 per cent. of men claiming membership in the Mormon
Church ever had practised it. These figures surprised me, as I had
imagined polygamy to be the rule, rather than the exception. Professor
Young, however, assured me that a great many leading Mormons had refused
from the first to accept the practice.

It must be remembered that the day of Brigham Young was not this day. He
was a powerful, far-seeing and very able man, and it does seem probable
that he had the idea of founding an Empire in the West. However the
discovery of gold in '48, flooded the West with settlers and brought a
preponderance of "gentiles" (as the Mormons call those who are not
members of their church) into all that country, making the realization
of Young's dream impossible. What the Mormon Church needed, in those
early times, was increase--more men to do its work, more women to bear
children--and viewed entirely from a practical standpoint, polygamy was
a practice calculated to bring about this end. I met, in Salt Lake City
men whose fathers had married anywhere from five or six to a dozen
wives, and so far as sturdiness goes, I may say that I am convinced that
plural marriages brought about no deterioration in the stock.

I am informed that the membership of the church, to-day, is between
500,000 and 600,000, and that less than 1 per cent. of the Mormon
families are at present polygamous. It is not denied that some few
polygamous marriages have been performed since the issuance of the
manifesto against the practice, but these have been secret marriages
without the sanction of the church, and priests who have performed such
marriages have, when detected, been excommunicated.

I was told in Salt Lake City that, in the cases of some of the older
Mormons, who had plural wives long before the manifesto, there was
little doubt that polygamy was still being practised. Some of these men
are the highest in the church, and it was explained to me that, having
married their wives in good faith, they proposed to carry out what they
regard as their obligations to those wives. However, these are old men,
and with the rise of another generation there can be little doubt that
these last remnants of polygamy will have been finally stamped out.

The modern young Mormon man or woman seems to be a perfectly normal
human being with a normal point of view concerning marriage.
Furthermore, the Mormons believe in education. The school buildings
scattered everywhere throughout the valley are very fine, and I was
informed that 80 per cent. of the whole tax income of the State of Utah
was expended upon education, and that in educational percentages Utah
compares favorably with Massachusetts.

What effect a broad education might have upon succeeding generations of
Mormons it is difficult to say. From a literary point of view, the Book
of Mormon will not bear close scrutiny. Mark Twain described it
accurately when he said, in "Roughing It":

     The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history,
     with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious
     plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his
     words and phrases the quaint old-fashioned sound and structure of
     our King James's translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a
     mongrel--half modern glibness and half ancient simplicity and
     gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural,
     but grotesque by contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too
     modern--which was about every sentence or two--he ladled in a few
     such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass,"
     etc., and made things satisfactory again.... The Mormon Bible is
     rather stupid and tiresome to read, but there is nothing vicious in
     its teachings. Its code of morals is unobjectionable--it is
     "smouched" from the New Testament and no credit given.

[Illustration: We were invited to meet the President of the Mormon
Church and some members of his family at the Beehive House, his official
residence]

Certainly there is no need to prove that education is death on dogma.
That fact has been proving itself as scientific research has come more
and more into play upon various dogmatic creeds. I was told, however,
that the Mormon Church schools were liberal; that instead of restricting
knowledge to conform to the teachings of the church, the church was
showing a tendency to adapt itself to meet new conditions.

If it is doing that it is cleverer than some other churches.



CHAPTER XXXV

THE SMITHS


Before going to Salt Lake City I had heard that the Mormons were in
complete control of politics and business in the State of Utah, and that
it was their practice to discriminate against "gentiles," making it
impossible for them to be successful there. I asked a great many
citizens of Salt Lake City about this, and all the evidence indicated
that such rumors are without foundation, and that, of recent years,
Mormons and "gentiles" have worked harmoniously together, socially and
in business. The Mormons have a strong political machine and pull
together much as the Roman Catholics do, but the idea that they dominate
everything in Salt Lake City seems to be a mistaken one. Time and again
I was assured of this by both Mormons and "gentiles," and an officer of
the Commercial Club went so far as to draw up figures, supporting the
statement, as follows:

Of the city's fourteen banks and trust companies, nine are not under
Mormon control; of five department stores, four are non-Mormon; all
skyscrapers except one are owned by "gentiles"; likewise four-fifths of
the best residence property. Furthermore, neither the city government
nor the public utilities are run by Mormons, nor are the Mayor and the
President of the Board of Education members of that church.

This is not to say that Mormon business interests are not enormous, but
only that there has been exaggeration on these points, as on many others
concerning this sect. The heads of the church are big business men, and
President Smith is, among other things, a director of the Union Pacific
Railroad Company.

Among other well-informed men with whom I talked upon this subject was
the city-editor of a leading newspaper.

"I am not a Mormon," he said, "although my wife is one. You may draw
your own conclusions as to the Mormon attitude when I tell you that the
paper on which I work is controlled by them, yet that, as it happens
just now, I haven't a Mormon reporter on my staff. Here and there there
may be some old hard-shell Mormon who won't employ any one that isn't a
member of the church, but cases of that kind are as rare among Mormons
as among other religious sects."

Every business man with whom I talked seemed anxious to impress me with
this fact, that I might pass it on in print.

"For heaven's sake," said one impassioned citizen, "tell people that we
raise something out here besides Mormons and hell!"

One of the most level-headed men I met in Salt Lake City was a Mormon,
though not orthodox. His position with regard to the church was
precisely the same as that of a man who has been brought up in any other
church, but who, as he grows older, cannot accept the creed in its
entirety. His attitude as to the Mormon Bible was one of honest doubt.
In short, he was an agnostic, and as such talked interestingly.

"Of course," he said, "out here we are as used to the Mormon religion
and to the idea that some men have a number of wives, as you are to the
idea that men have only one wife. It doesn't seem strange to us. I can't
adjust my mind to the fact that it is strange, and I only become
conscious of it when I go to other parts of the country and find that,
when people know I'm a Mormon, they become very curious, and want me to
tell them all about the Mormons and polygamy.

"Now, in trying to understand the Mormons, the first thing to remember
is that they are human beings, with the same set of virtues and failings
and feelings as other human beings. There are some who are dogmatically
religious; some with whom marriage--even plural marriage--is just as
pure and spiritual a thing as it is with any other people in the world.
On the other hand, some Mormons, like some members of other sects, have
doubtless had lusts. The family life of some Mormons is very beautiful,
and as smoking, drinking and other dissipations are forbidden, orthodox
Mormon men lead very clean lives. In this they are upheld by our women,
for many Mormon women will not marry a man excepting in our Temple, and
no man who has broken the rules of the church may be married there.

"Among the younger generation of Mormons you will see the same general
line of characteristics as among young people anywhere. Some of them
grow up into strict Mormons, while others--particularly some of the sons
of rich Mormons--are what you might call 'sports.' Human nature is no
different in Utah than elsewhere.

"My father had several wives and I had a great number of brothers and
sisters. We didn't live like one big family, and the half-brothers and
half-sisters did not feel towards each other as real brothers and
sisters do. When my father was a very old man he married a young wife,
and we felt about it just as any other sons and daughters would at
seeing their father do such a thing. We felt it was a mistake, and that
it was not just to us, for father had not many more years to live, and
it appeared that on his death we might have his young wife and her
family to look after.

"My views are such that in bringing up my own children I have not had
them baptized as Mormons at the age of eight, according to the custom of
the church. This has grieved my people, but I cannot help it. I am
bringing my children up to fear God and lead clean lives, but I do not
think I have the right to force them into any church, and I propose to
leave the matter of joining or not joining to their own discretion,
later on."

Another Mormon, this one orthodox, and a cultivated man, told me he
thought that in most cases the old polygamous marriages were entered
into with a spirit of real religious fervor.

"My father married two wives," he said. "He loved my mother, who was his
first wife, very dearly, and they are as fine and contented a couple as
you ever saw. But when the revelation as to polygamy was made, father
took a second wife because he believed it to be his duty to do so."

"How did your mother feel about it?" I asked.

"I have no doubt," said he, "that it hurt mother terribly, but she was
submissive because she believed it was right. And later, when the
manifesto against polygamy was issued, it hurt father's second wife,
when he had to give her up, for he had two children by her. However, he
obeyed implicitly the law of the church, supporting his second wife and
her children, but living with my mother."

Later this gentleman took me to call at the home of this old couple. The
husband, more than eighty years of age, was a professional man with a
degree from a large eastern university. He was a gentleman of the old
school, very fine, dignified, and gracious, and there was an air about
him which somehow made me think of a sturdy, straight old tree. As for
his wife she was one of the two most adorable old ladies I have ever
met.

Very simply she told me of the early days. Her parents had been
well-to-do Pennsylvania Dutch and had left a prosperous home in the East
and come out to the West, not to better themselves, but because of their
religion. (One should always remember that, in thinking of the Mormons:
whatever may have been the rights and wrongs of their religion, they
have believed in it and suffered for it.) She, herself, was born in
1847, in a prairie schooner, on the banks of the Missouri River, and in
that vehicle she was carried across the plains and through the passes,
to where Salt Lake City was then in the first year of its settlement.
Some families were still living in tents when she was a little girl, but
log cabins were springing up. Behind her house, I was shown, later, the
cabin--now used as a lumber shed--in which she dwelt as a child.

Fancy the fascination that there was in hearing that old lady tell, in
her simple way, the story of the early Mormon settlement. For all her
gentleness and the low voice in which she spoke, the tale was an epic in
which she herself had figured. She was not merely the daughter of a
pioneer, and the wife of one; she was a pioneer herself. She had seen it
all, from the beginning. How much she had seen, how much she had
endured, how much she had known of happiness and sorrow! And now, in her
old age, she had a nature like a distillation made of everything there
is in life, and whatever bitterness there may have been in life for her
had gone, and left her altogether lovable and altogether sweet.

I did not wish to leave her house, and when I did, and when she said she
hoped that I would come again, I was conscious of a lump in my throat. I
do not expect you to understand it, for I do not, quite, myself. But
there it was--that kind of lump which, once in a long time, will rise up
in one's throat when one sees a very lovely, very happy child.

       *       *       *       *       *

When our friend Professor Young asked us whether we had met President
Joseph F. Smith, we told him of our unfortunate encounter with that
gentleman, in the Lion House, a day or two before. This information led
to activities on the part of the Professor, which in turn led to our
being invited, on the day of our departure, to meet the President and
some members of his family at the Beehive House--the official residence
of the head of the church.

The Beehive House is a large old-fashioned mansion with the kind of
pillared front so often seen in the architecture of the South. Its
furnishings are, like the house itself, old-fashioned, homelike, and
unostentatious.

I have forgotten who let us in, but I have no recollection of a maid,
and I rather think the door was opened by the President himself. At all
events we had no sooner entered than we met him, in the hall. His manner
had changed. He was most hospitable, and walked through several rooms
with us, showing us some plaster casts and paintings, the work of Mormon
artists. Most of the paintings were extremely ordinary, but the work
of one young sculptor was remarkable, and as the story of him is
remarkable as well, I wish to mention him here.

[Illustration: The Lion House--a large adobe building in which formerly
resided the rank and file of Brigham Young's wives]

He is a boy named Arvard Fairbanks, a grandson of Mormon pioneers, on
both sides, and he is not yet twenty years of age. At twelve he started
modeling animals from life. At thirteen he took a scholarship in the Art
Students' League, in New York, and exhibited at the National Academy of
Design. At fourteen he took another scholarship and also got an art
school into trouble with the sometimes rather silly Gerry Society, for
permitting a child to model from the nude. Work done by this boy at the
age of fifteen is nothing short of amazing. I have never seen such
finished things from the hand of a youth. His subjects--Indians,
buffalo, pumas, etc.--show splendid observation and understanding, and
are full of the feeling of the West. And if the West is not very proud
of him some day, I shall be surprised.

After showing us these things, and talking upon general subjects for a
time, the President went to the foot of the stairs and called:

"Mamma!"

Whereupon a woman's voice answered, from above, and a moment later Mrs.
Smith--one of the Mrs. Smiths--appeared. She was most cordial and
kindly--a pleasant, motherly sort of woman who made you feel that she
was always in good spirits.

After we had enjoyed a pleasant little talk with her, one of her sons
and his wife came in: he a strong young farmer, she pretty, plump and
rosy. They had with them their little girl, who played about upon the
floor. Later appeared President Penrose (there are several Presidents in
the Mormon Church, but President Smith is the leader) who has red cheeks
and brown hair in spite of the fact that he is eighty-two years old, and
considerably married.

Here in the midst of this intimate family group I kept wishing that, in
some way, the matter of polygamy might be mentioned. By this time I had
heard so many Mormons talk about it freely that I understood the topic
was not taboo; still, in the presence of Mrs. Smith I hardly knew how to
begin, or indeed, whether it was tactful to begin--although I had been
informed in advance that I might ask questions.

But how to ask? I couldn't very well say to this pleasant lady: "How do
you like being one of five or six wives, and how do you think the others
like it?" And as for: "How do you like being married?" that hardly
expressed the question that was in my mind--besides which, it was
plainly evident that the lady was entirely content with her lot.

It did not seem proper to inquire of my hostess: "How can you be
content?" That much my social instinct told me. What, then, could I ask?

At last the baby granddaughter gave me a happy thought. "Certainly," I
said to myself, "it cannot be bad form to make polite inquiries about
the family of any gentleman."

I tried to think how I might best ask the President the question. "Have
you any children?" would not do, because there was his son, right in the
room, and other sons and daughters had been referred to in the course of
conversation. Finally, as time was getting short, I determined to put it
bluntly.

"How many children and grandchildren have you?" I asked President Smith.

He was not in the least annoyed by the inquiry; only a little bit
perplexed.

"Let's see," he answered ruminatively, fingering his long beard, and
looking at the ceiling. "I don't remember exactly--but over a hundred."

"Why!" put in Mrs. Smith, proudly, "you have a lot over a hundred."
Then, to me, she explained: "I am the mother of eleven, and I have had
thirty-two grandchildren in the last twelve years. There is forty-three,
right there."

"Oh, you surely have a hundred and ten, father," said young Smith.

"Perhaps, perhaps," returned the modern Abraham, contentedly.

"I beat you, though!" laughed President Penrose.

"I don't know about that," interposed young Smith, sticking up for the
family. "If father would count up I think you'd find he was ahead."

"How many have you?" President Smith inquired of his coadjutor.

President Penrose rubbed his hands and beamed with satisfaction.

"A hundred and twenty-odd," he said.

After that there was no gainsaying him. He was supreme. Even Mrs. Smith
admitted it.

"Yes," she said, smiling and shaking a playful finger at him, "you're
ahead just now; but remember, you're older than we are. You just give us
time!"



CHAPTER XXXVI

PASSING PICTURES


As our train crossed the Great Salt Lake the farther shores were
glistening in a golden haze, half real, half mirage, like the shores of
Pæstum as you see them from the monastery at Amalfi on a sunny day.
Beyond the lake a portion of the desert was glazed with a curious thin
film of water--evidently overflow--in which the forms of stony hills at
the margin of the waste were reflected so clearly that the eye could not
determine the exact point of meeting between cliff and plain. Farther
out in the desert there was no water, and as we left the hills behind,
the world became a great white arid reach, flat as only moist sand can
be flat, and tragic in its desolation. For a time nothing, literally,
was visible but sky and desert, save for a line of telegraph poles,
rising forlornly beside the right-of-way.

I found the desert impressive, but my companion, whose luncheon had not
agreed with him, declared that it was not up to specifications.

"Any one who is familiar with Frederick Remington's drawings," he said,
"knows that there must be skeletons and buffalo skulls stuck around on
deserts."

I was about to explain that the Western Pacific was a new railroad and
that probably they had not yet found time to do their landscape
gardening along the line, when, far ahead, I caught sight of a dark dot
on the sand. I kept my eye on it. As our train overtook it, it began to
assume form, and at last I saw that it was actually a prairie schooner.
Presently we passed it. It was moving slowly along, a few hundred yards
from the track. The horses were walking; their heads were down and they
looked tired. The man who was driving was the only human being visible;
he was hunched over, and when the train went by, he never so much as
turned his head.

The picture was perfect. Even my companion admitted that, and ceased to
demand skulls and skeletons. And when, two or three hours later, after
having crossed the desert and worked our way into the hills, we saw a
full-fledged cowboy on a pinto pony, we felt that the Western Pacific
railroad was complete in its theatrical accessories.

The cowboy did his best to give us Western color. When he saw the train
coming, he spurred up his pony, and waving a lasso, set out in pursuit
of an innocent old milch cow, which was grazing nearby. That she was no
range animal was evident. Her sleek condition and her calm demeanor
showed that she was fully accustomed to the refined surroundings of the
stable. As he came at her she gazed in horrified amazement, quite as
some fat, dignified old lady might gaze at a bad little boy, running at
her with a pea-shooter. Then, in bovine alarm, she turned and lumbered
heavily away. The cowboy charged and cut her off, waving his rope and
yelling. However, no capture was made. As soon as the train had passed
the cowboy desisted, and poor old bossy was allowed to settle down again
to comfortable grazing.

After a good dinner in one of those admirable dining cars one always
finds on western roads, and a good smoke, my companion and I were ready
for bed. But as we were about to retire, a fellow-passenger with whom we
had been talking, asked, "Aren't you going to sit up for Elko?"

"What is there at Elko?" inquired my companion, with a yawn.

"Oh," said the other, "there's a little of the local color of Nevada
there. You had better wait."

"I don't believe we'll be able to see anything," I put in, glancing out
at the black night.

"It is something you couldn't see by daylight," said the stranger.

That made us curious, so we sat up.

As the train slowed for Elko, and we went to get our overcoats, we
observed that one passenger, a woman, was making ready to get off. We
had noticed her during the day--a stalwart woman of thirty-three or
four, perhaps, who, we judged, had once been very handsome, though she
now looked faded. Her hair was a dull red, and her complexion was of
that milky whiteness which so often accompanies red hair. Her eyes were
green, cold and expressionless, and her mouth, though well formed,
sagged at the corners, giving her a discontented and rather hard look. I
remember that we wondered what manner of woman she was, and that we
could not decide.

The train stopped, and with our acquaintance of the car, my companion
and I alighted. It was a long train, and our sleeper, which was near the
rear, came to a standstill some distance short of the station building,
so that the part of the platform to which we stepped was without light.
Beyond the station we saw several buildings looming like black shadows,
but that was all; we could make out nothing of the town.

"I don't see much here," I remarked to the man who had suggested sitting
up.

"Come on," he said, moving back through the blackness, towards the end
of the train.

As I turned to follow him I saw the red-haired woman step down from the
car and hand her suitcase to a man who had been awaiting her; they stood
for a moment in conversation; as I moved away I heard their low voices.

Reaching the last car our guide descended to the track and crossed to
the other side. We followed. My first glimpse of what lay beyond gave me
the impression that a large railroad yard was spread out before me, its
myriad switch-lights glowing red through the black night. But as my eyes
became accustomed to the darkness, I saw that here was not a maze of
tracks, but a maze of houses, and that the lights were not those of
switches, but of windows and front doors: night signs of the traffic to
which the houses were dedicated.

[Illustration: The Cliff House has a Sorrento setting and hectic
turkey-trotting nights]

"There," said our acquaintance. "A few years back you'd have seen this
in almost any town out here, but things are changing; I don't know
another place on this whole line that shows off its red light district
the way Elko does."

After looking for a time at the sinister lights, we re-crossed the
railroad track. As we stepped up to the platform, two figures coming in
the opposite direction rounded the rear car and, crossing the rails,
moved away towards the illuminated region. I heard their voices; they
were the red haired woman and the man who had met her at the train.

Was she a new arrival? I think not, for she seemed to know the man, and
she had, somehow, the air of getting home. Was she an "inmate" of one of
the establishments? Again I think not, for, with her look of hardness,
there was also one of capability, and more than any one thing it is
laziness and lack of capability which cause sane women to give up
freedom for such "homes." No; I think the woman from the train was a
proprietor who had been away on a vacation, or perhaps a "business
trip."

Suppose that to be true. Suppose that she had been away for several
weeks. What was her feeling at seeing, again, the crimson beacon in her
own window? What must it be like to get home, when home is such a
place? Could one's mental attitude become so warped that one might
actually look forward to returning--to being greeted by the "family"?
Could it be that, at sight of that red light, flaring over there across
the tracks, one might heave a happy sigh and say to oneself: "Ah! Home
again at last! There's no place like home"--?

       *       *       *       *       *

One thing the Western Pacific Railroad does that every railroad should
do. It publishes a pamphlet, containing a relief map of its system, and
a paragraph or two about every station on the line, giving the history
of the place (if it has any), telling the altitude, the distance from
terminal points, and how the town got its name.

From this pamphlet I judge that some one who had to do with the building
of the Western Pacific Railroad, or at least with the naming of stations
on the line, possessed a pleasantly catholic literary taste. Gaskell,
Nevada, one stopping place, is named for the author of "Cranford";
Brontë, in the same State, for Charlotte Brontë; Poe, in California, for
Edgar Allan Poe; Twain for Mark Twain; Harte for Bret Harte, and Mabie
for Hamilton Wright Mabie. Other stations are named for British Field
Marshals, German scientists, American politicians and financiers, and
for old settlers, ranches, and landmarks.

Had there not been washouts on the line shortly before we journeyed
over it, I might not have known so much about this little pamphlet, but
during the night, when I could not sleep because of the violent rocking
of the car, I read it with great care. Thus it happened that when,
towards morning, we stopped, and I raised my curtain to find the ground
covered with a blanket of snow, I was able to establish myself as being
in the Sierras, somewhere in the region of the Beckwith Pass--which, by
the way, is by two thousand feet, the lowest pass used by any railroad
entering the State of California.

Some time before dawn the roadbed became solid and I slept until
summoned by my companion to see the cañon of the Feather River.

Dressing hurriedly, I joined him at the window on the other side of the
car (I have observed that, almost invariably, that is where the scenery
is), and looked down into what I still remember as the most beautiful
cañon I have ever seen.

The last time I had looked out it had been winter, yet here, within the
space of a few hours, had come the spring. It gave me the feeling of a
Rip Van Winkle: I had slept and a whole season had passed. Our train was
winding along a serpentine shelf nicked into the lofty walls of a gorge
at the bottom of which rushed a mad stream all green and foamy. Above,
the mountains were covered with tall pines, their straight trunks
reaching heavenward like the slender columns of a Gothic cathedral, the
roof of which was made of low-hung, stone-gray cloud--a cathedral
decked as for the Easter season, its aisles and altars abloom with green
leaves, and blossoms purple and white.

Throughout the hundred miles for which we followed the windings of the
Feather River Cañon, our eyes hardly left the window. Now we would crash
through a short, black tunnel, emerging to find still greater loveliness
where we had thought no greater loveliness could be; now we would
traverse a spindly bridge which quickly changed the view (and us) to the
other side of the car. Now we would pass the intake of a power plant;
next we would come upon the plant itself, a monumental pile, looking
like some Rhenish castle which had slipped down from a peak and settled
comfortably beside the stream.

Once the flagman who dropped off when the train stopped, brought us back
some souvenirs: a little pink lizard which, according to its captor,
suited itself to a vogue of the moment with the name of Salamander; and
a piece of glistening quartz which he designated "fools' gold." And
presently, when the train was under way again, we saw, far down at the
water's edge, the "fools" themselves in search of gold--two old
gray-bearded placer-miners with their pans.

At last the walls of the cañon began to melt away, spreading apart and
drifting down into the gentle slope of a green valley starred with
golden poppies. Spring had turned to summer--a summer almost tropical,
for, at Sacramento, early in the afternoon, we saw open street-cars,
their seats ranged back-to-back and facing outwards, like those of an
Irish jaunting-car, running through an avenue lined with a double row of
palms, beneath which girls were coming home from school bareheaded and
in linen sailor suits.

Imagine leaving New York on a snowy Christmas morning, and arriving that
same afternoon in Buffalo, to find them celebrating Independence Day,
and you will get the sense of that transition. We had passed from furs
to shirtsleeves in a morning.

Late that afternoon, we left the valley and began to thread our way
among the Coast Range hills--green velvet hills, soft, round and
voluptuous, like the "Paps of Kerry." We were still amongst them when
the sun went down, and it was night when we arrived at the terminal in
Oakland.



CHAPTER XXXVII

SAN FRANCISCO


Leaving the train in Oakland, one is reminded of Hoboken or Jersey City
in the days before the Hudson Tubes were built. There is the train shed,
the throng headed for the ferry, the baggage trucks, and the ferryboat
itself, like a New York ferryboat down to its very smell. Likewise the
fresh salt wind that blows into your face as you stand at the front of
the boat, in crossing San Francisco Bay, is like a spring or summer wind
in New York Harbor. So, if you cross at night, you have only the lights
to tell you that you are not indeed arriving in New York.

The ferry is three miles wide. There are no skyscrapers, with lighted
windows, looming overhead, as they loom over the Hudson. To the right
the myriad lamps of Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda are distributed along
the shore, electric trains dashing in front of them like comets; and
straight ahead lies San Francisco--a fallen fragment of the Milky Way,
draped over a succession of receding hills.

Crossing the ferry I tried to remember things I had been told of this
city of my dreams, and to imagine what it would be like. Of course I had
been warned time and again not to refer to it as "'Frisco," and not to
speak of the Earthquake, but only of the Fire. I had those two points
well in mind, but there were others out of which I endeavored to
construct an imaginary town.

San Francisco was, as I pictured it in advance, a city of gaiety, gold
money, twenty-five cent drinks, flowers, Chinamen, hospitality, night
restaurants, mysterious private dining rooms, the Bohemian Club,
openhearted men and unrivaled women--superb, majestic, handsomely
upholstered, six-cylinder self-starting blondes, with all improvements,
including high-tension double ignition, Prestolite lamps, and four
speeds forward but no reverse.

That is the way I pictured San Francisco, and that, with some slight
reservations, is the way I found it.

Several times in the course of these chapters, I have been conscious of
an effort to say something agreeable about this city or that, but in the
case of San Francisco, I find it necessary to restrain, rather than
force my appreciation, lest I be charged with making noises like a
Native Son.

The Native Sons of the Golden West is a large and semi-secret
organization of men born in California who, I was informed, are banded
together to help one another and the State. Its activities are largely
political and vocal.

It was a Native Son who, when asked by an Englishman, visiting the
United States for the first time, to name the Seven Wonders of America,
replied: "Santa Barbara, Coronado, Del Monte, San Francisco, Yosemite,
Lake Tahoe and Mount Shasta."

"But," objected the visitor, "all those places are in California, aren't
they?"

"Of _course_ they're in California!" cried the Native Son. "Where else
would they be?"

That is the point of view of the Native Son and the native Californian
in general. Meeting Californians outside their State, I have been
inclined to think them boasters, but now, after a visit to California, I
have come to understand that they are nothing of the kind, but are, upon
the contrary, adherents of cold truth. They want to tell the truth about
their State, they try to tell it, and if they do not succeed it is only
because they lack the power of expression. When it comes to California
everybody does--a fact which I shall now assist in demonstrating
further.

Take, for instance, the climate. The exact nature of the California
climate had been a puzzle to me. I had been in the habit of considering
certain parts of the country as suited for winter residence, and certain
other parts for summer; but, in the East, when I asked people about
California, I found some who advised it as a winter substitute for
Florida, and others who recommended it as a summer substitute for Maine.

Therefore, on reaching San Francisco, I took pains to cross-examine
natives as to what they meant by "climate."

[Illustration: The salt-water pool, Olympic Club, San Francisco]

As I did not visit Southern California I shall leave the climate of that
section to the residents, who are not only willing to describe it, but
who, from all accounts, can come as near doing it adequately as anybody
can. But in San Francisco and the surrounding country I think I know
what climate means.

There are two seasons: spring, beginning about November and running on
into April; autumn, beginning in April and filling out the remaining six
months. Winter and summer are simply left out. There is no great cold
(snow has fallen but six times in the history of the city) and no great
heat (84 degrees was the highest temperature registered during an
unusual "hot spell" which occurred just before our visit). It is,
however, a celebrated peculiarity of the San Francisco climate that
between shade and sun there is a difference so great as to make light
winter clothing comfortable on one side of the street, and summer
clothing on the other. The most convenient clothing, upon the whole, I
found to be of medium weight, and as soon as the sun had set I sometimes
felt the need of a light overcoat.

One of the finest things about the California weather is its absolute
reliability. In the rainy season of spring, rain is expected and people
go prepared for it; but with the arrival of the sunny season, the rain
is really over, and thereafter you need not fear for your straw hat or
your millinery, as the case may be.

Small wonder that the Californian loves to talk about his climate. He
loves to discuss it for the same reason the New Yorker loves to discuss
money: because, with him, it is the fundamental thing. All through the
West, but particularly on the Pacific Coast, men and women alike lead
outdoor lives, compared with which the outdoor lives of Easterners are
labored and pathetic. The man or woman in California who does not know
what it is to ride and camp and shoot is an anomaly. Apropos of this
love of outdoors, I am reminded that the head of a large department
store informed me that, in San Francisco, rainy days bring out the
largest shopping crowds, because people like to spend the sunny ones in
the open. Also, I noticed for myself, that small shopkeepers think so
much of the climate that in many instances they cannot bear to bar it
out, even at night, but have permanent screen fronts in their stores.

All the year round, flowers are for sale at stands on corners, in the
San Francisco streets, and if you think we have no _genre_ in America,
if you think there is nothing in this country to compare with your
memories of picturesque little scenes in Europe--scenes involving such
things as the dog-drawn wagons of Belgium; Dutch girls in wooden shoes,
bending at the waist to scrub a sidewalk; embroidered peasants at a
Breton pardon; proud beggars at an Andalusian railway station;
mysterious hooded Arabs at Gibraltar; street singers in Naples; flower
girls in the costume of the _campagna_, at the Spanish Steps in Rome--if
you think we cannot match such bits of color, then you should see the
flower stands of San Francisco upon some holiday, when Chinese girls
are bargaining for blooms.

But I am talking only of this one part of California. When one considers
the whole State, one is forced to admit that it is a natural
wonder-place. It is everything. In its ore-filled mountains it is
Alaska; to the south it is South America; I have looked out of a train
window and seen a perfect English park, only to realize suddenly that it
had not been made by gardeners, but was the sublimated landscape
gardening which Nature gave to this state of states. I have eaten
Parisian meals in San Francisco and drunk splendid wines, and afterwards
I have been told that our viands and beverages had, without exception,
been produced in California--unless one counts the gin in the cocktail
which preceded dinner. But that is only part of it. With her hills San
Francisco is Rome; with her harbor she is Naples; with her hotels she is
New York. But with her clubs and her people she is San Francisco--which,
to my mind, comes near being the apotheosis of praise.

So far as I know American cities San Francisco stands out amongst them
like some beautiful, fascinating creature who comes suddenly into a
roomful of mediocrities. She is radiant, she has charm and allure, those
qualities which are gifts of the gods, and which, though we recognize
them instantly when we meet them, we are unable to describe.

I have not forgotten the charm of Detroit, nor the stupendousness of
Chicago, but--there is only one Paris and only one San Francisco. San
Francisco does not look at all like Paris, and while it has a large
foreign population the people one meets are, for the most part,
pure-blooded Americans, yet all the time I was there, I found myself
thinking of the place as a city that was somehow foreign. It is full of
that splendid vigor which one learns to expect of young American cities;
yet it is full of something else--something Latin. The outlook upon life
even of its most American inhabitants is touched with a quality that is
different. The climate works its will upon them as climate does on
people everywhere. Here it makes them lively and spontaneous. They are
able to do more (including more sitting up at night) than people do in
New York, and it seems to tell upon them less. They love good times and,
again owing to the climate, they are able to have them out of doors.

The story of the Portola fête, as told me by a San Franciscan, nicely
illustrates that, and also shows the San Francisco point of view.

"In 1907," he informed me, "we decided to put over a big outdoor New
Year's fête, with dancing in the streets, the way they have it in Paris
on the Fourteenth of July. But at the last minute it rained and spoiled
the outdoor part of the fun. Once in a while, you see, that can happen
even in San Francisco.

"Everybody agreed that we ought to have a regular established festival,
and as we didn't want to have it spoiled a second time, we hunted up the
weather records and found that in the history of the city there had
never been rain between October seventeenth and twenty-ninth. That
established the time for our fête; the next thing was to discover an
excuse for it. That was not so easy. After digging through a lot of
history we found that Don Caspar de Portola discovered San Francisco Bay
October twenty-second, 1679--or maybe it was 1769--that doesn't matter.
Nobody had ever heard of Portola until then, but now we have dragged him
out of oblivion and made quite a boy of him, all as an excuse to have a
good time."

"Then you don't celebrate New Year's out here?" I asked.

"Don't we though!" he exclaimed. "You ought to be here for our New
Year's fête. It is one of the most spontaneous shows of the kind you'll
see anywhere. It's not a tough orgy such as you have on Broadway every
New Year's Eve, with a lot of drunks sitting around in restaurants under
signs saying 'Champagne Only'--I've seen that. We just have a lot of
real fun, mostly in the streets.

"One thing you can count on out here. We celebrate everything that can
be celebrated, and the beauty of a lot of our good times is that they
have a way of just breaking loose instead of being cooked-up in advance.
It has often happened that on Christmas Eve some great singer or
musician would appear in the streets and sing or play for the crowds. A
hundred thousand people heard Tetrazzini when she did that four years
ago. Bispham and a lot of other big singers have done the same thing,
and three years ago, on Christmas Eve, Kubelik played for the crowds in
the streets. Somehow I think that musicians and artists of all kinds
have a warm feeling for San Francisco, and want to show us that they
have."

There can be no doubt that that is true. Many artists have inhabited San
Francisco, and the city has always been beloved by them; especially, it
sometimes seems, by the writing group. Mark Twain records that on his
arrival he "fell in love with the most cordial and sociable city in the
Union," and countless other authors, from Stevenson down, have paid
their tribute.

As might be expected of a country so palpitantly beautiful and alive,
California has produced many artists in literature and the other
branches, and has developed many others who, having had the misfortune
to be born elsewhere, possessed, at least, the good judgment to move to
California while still in the formative period.

Sitting around a table in a café, one night, with a painter, a novelist
and a newspaper man, I set them all to making lists, from memory, of
persons following the arts, who may be classified as Californians by
birth or long residence.

The four most prominent painters listed were Arthur F. Mathews, Charles
Rollo Peters, Charles J. Dickman and Francis McComas, all of them men
standing very high in American art. Among sculptors were mentioned
Robert Aitken, Arthur Putnam, Haig Patigian and Douglas Tilden. Of
writers there is a deluge. Besides Mark Twain and Stevenson, the names
of Bret Harte, Frank Norris, and Joaquin Miller are, of course, historic
in connection with the State. Among living writers born in California
were listed Gertrude Atherton, Jack London, Lloyd Osbourne, Austin
Strong, Ernest Peixotto and Kathleen Norris; while among those born
elsewhere who have migrated to California, were set down the names of
Harry Leon Wilson, Stewart Edward White, James Hopper, Mary Austin,
Grace MacGowan Cooke, Alice MacGowan, Rufus Steele and Bertha Runkle.
Still another group of writers who do not now reside in California are,
nevertheless, associated with the State because of having lived there in
the past. Among these are Wallace and Will Irwin, Gelett Burgess,
Eleanor Gates, Kate Douglas Wiggin, Edwin Markham, George Sterling,
Richard Tully, Jack Hines and Arno Dosch.

At this juncture it occurs to me that, quite regardless of the truth, I
had better say that I have not set down these names according to any
theories of mine about the order of their importance, but that I have
copied them off as they came to me on lists made by other persons, who
shall be sheltered to the last by anonymity.

All the names so far mentioned were furnished by the painter and the
novelist. The newspaper man kept me waiting a long time for his list. At
last he gave it to me, and lo! Harrison Fisher's name led all the rest.
Henry Raliegh and Rae Irvin, illustrators, were also listed, but the
formidable California showing came with the category of cartoonists and
"comic artists" employed on New York newspapers. Of these the following
were set down as products of the Golden State: Bud Fisher, Igoe, and
James Swinnerton of the "American"; Tom McNamara, Hal Cauffman, George
Harriman, Hershfield, and T. A. Dorgan ("Tad") of the "Journal";
Goldberg of the "Evening Mail"; R. E. Edgren of the "World"; Robert
Carter of the "Sun"; and Ripley of the "Globe." The late Homer Davenport
of the "American" also came to New York from San Francisco. This list,
covering as it does all but a handful of the cartoonists and "funny men"
of the New York papers, seems to me hardly less remarkable than this
further list of "artists" of another variety who trace back to
California: James J. Corbett, Jim Jeffries, Joe Choynski, Jimmy Britt,
Abe Attell, Willie Ritchie, Eddie Hanlon and Frankie Neil; with Jack
Johnson and Stanley Ketchell added for the reason that, although not
actual native products, they "developed" in California.

Perhaps after having given California her artistic due in this handsome
manner, and being, myself, well out of the State, this may be the best
time to touch upon a sensitive point. As the reader may have observed, I
always try to evade responsibility when playing with fire, and if one
does that with fire, it becomes all the more necessary to observe the
same rule in the case of earthquakes.

In this instance the best way out of it for me seems to be to put the
blame on Baedeker, who, in his little red book, declares that
"earthquakes occur occasionally in San Francisco, but have seldom been
destructive," after which he recites that in 1906 "a severe earthquake
lasting about a minute" visited the city, that "the City Hall became a
mass of ruins but, on the whole, few of the more solid structures were
seriously injured."

San Francisco is notoriously sensitive upon this subject, and her
sensitiveness is not difficult to understand. For one thing,
earthquakes, interesting though they may be as demonstrations of the
power of Nature, are not generally considered a profitable form of
advertising for a city, although, curiously enough, they seem, like
volcanic eruptions, to visit spots of the greatest natural beauty. For
another thing San Francisco feels that "earthquake" is really a misnomer
for her disaster, and that this fact is not generally understood in such
remote and ill-informed localities as, for instance, the Island of
Manhattan.

There is not a little justice in this contention. However the city may
have been "shaken down" in the past, by corrupt politicians, the quake
did no such thing. All the damage done by the actual trembling of the
ground might have been repaired at a cost of a few millions, had not the
quake started the fire and at the same time destroyed the means of
fighting it. Baedeker, always conservative, estimates the fire loss at
three hundred and fifty millions.

Furthermore, it is contended in San Francisco that the city is not
actually in the earthquake belt. Scientists have examined the
earthquake's fault-line, and have declared that it comes down the coast
to a point some miles north of the city, where it obligingly heads out
to sea, passing around San Francisco, and coming ashore again far to the
south.

While, to my mind, this seems to indicate an extraordinary degree of
good-nature on the part of an earthquake, I have come, through a
negative course of reasoning, to accept it as true. For it so happens
that I have discussed literature with a considerable number of
scientific men, and I cannot but conclude from the experience that they
must know an enormous amount about other matters. Therefore, on
earthquakes, I am bound entirely by their decisions, and I believe that
all well-ordered earthquakes will be so bound, and that the only chance
of future trouble from this source, in San Francisco, might arise
through a visit from some irresponsible, renegade quake which was not a
member of the regular organization.

As to San Francisco's "touchiness" upon the subject there is this much
more to be said. A cow is rumored to have kicked over a lamp and started
the Chicago Fire. An earthquake kicked over a building and started the
San Francisco Fire. People do not refer to the Chicago Fire as the
"Cow." Why then should they refer to the San Francisco Fire as the
"Earthquake"? That is the way they reason at the Golden Gate. But
however that may be, the important fact is this: the Chicago Fire taught
that city a lesson. When Chicago was rebuilt in brick and stone, instead
of wood, another cow could kick over another lamp without endangering
the whole town. The same story is repeated in San Francisco. The city
has been magnificently reconstructed. Another quake might kick over
another building, but the city would not go as it did before, because,
aside from the fact that the main part of it is now unburnable, as
nearly as that may be said of any group of buildings, the most elaborate
system of fire-protection has been installed, so that if, in future,
water connections are broken at one point, or two points, or several
points, there will still be plenty of water from other sources.

As an outsider, in love with San Francisco, who has yet had the temerity
to mention the forbidden word, I may perhaps venture a little farther
and suggest that it is time for sensitiveness over the word "earthquake"
to cease.

Let us use what word we like: the fact remains that the disaster brought
out magnificent qualities in San Francisco's people; they were
victorious over it; they have fortified themselves against a repetition
of it; they transformed catastrophe into opportunity. Already, I think,
many San Franciscans understand that the cataclysm was not an unmixed
evil, and I believe that, strange though it may seem, there will
presently come a time when, for all their half-melancholy "before the
fire" talk, they will admit that on the whole it was a good thing. For
it is granted to but few cities and few men to really begin life anew.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

"BEFORE THE FIRE"


San Fransiscans love to show their city off. Nevertheless they take a
curious delight in countering against the enthusiasm of the alien with a
solemn wag of the head and the invariable:

                              {seen   }
                              {felt   }
     "Ah, but you should have {tasted } it before the Fire!"
                              {smelled}
                              {heard  }

They say that about everything, old and new. They say it
indiscriminately, without thought of what it means. They love the sound
of it, and have made it a fixed habit. They say it about districts and
buildings, about hotels, and the Barbary Coast (which is much like the
old Bowery, in New York, and where ragtime dancing is said to have
originated), and the Presidio (the military post, overlooking the sea),
and Golden Gate Park (a semitropical wonder-place, built on what used to
be sand dunes, and guarded by Park Policemen who carry lassos with which
to stop runaways), and Chinatown, and the Fish Market (which resembles a
collection of still-life studies by William M. Chase), and the Bank
Exchange (which is not a commercial institution, but a venerable bar,
presided over by Duncan Nicol, who came around the Horn with his
eye-glasses over his ear, where he continues to wear them while mixing
Pisco cocktails). They say it also of "Ernie" and his celebrated "Number
Two" cocktail, with a hazelnut in it; and of the St. Francis Hotel
(which is one of the best run and most perfectly cosmopolitan hotels in
the country), and of the Fairmont Hotel (a wonderful pile, commanding
the city and the bay as Bertolini's commands the city and the bay of
Naples), and the Palace Hotel (where drinks are twenty-five cents each,
as in the old days; where ripe olives are a specialty, and where, over
the bar, hangs Maxfield Parrish's "Pied Piper," balancing the continent
against his "Old King Cole," in the Knickerbocker bar, in New York).
They say it about the Cliff House, (with its Sorrento setting, its seals
barking on the rocks below, and its hectic turkey-trotting nights),
about Tait's, and Solari's, and the Techau, and Frank's, and the Poodle
Dog, and Marchand's, and Coppa's, and all the other restaurants; about
the private diningrooms (which are a San Francisco specialty), about
the pretty girls (which are another specialty), about the clubs (which
are still another), about cable-cars, taxicabs, flowers, shrimps, crabs,
sand-dabs (which are fish almost as good as English sole), and about
everything else. They use it instead of "if you please," "thank you,"
"good-morning," and "good-night." If there are no strangers to say it to
they say it to one another. If you admire a man's wife and children he
will say it, and the same thing occurs if you approve of his new hat.

If the old San Francisco was indeed so far superior to the new, then
Bagdad in the days of Haroun-al-Raschid would have been but a dull
prairie town, compared with it.

But was it?

The San Francisco attitude upon this subject reminds me of that of the
old French Royalists.

A friend of mine, an American living in Paris, happened to inquire of a
venerable Marquis concerning the _Palais de Glace_, where Parisians go
to skate.

"Ah, yes," replied the ancient aristocrat, raising his shoulders
contemptuously, "one hears that the world now goes to skate under a
roof, upon ice manufactured. Truly, all is changed, my friend. I assure
you it was not like this under the Empire. In those times the lakes in
the Bois used to freeze. But they do so no longer. It is not to be
expected. Bah! This _sacré_ Republic!"

       *       *       *       *       *

While in San Francisco, I noted down a number of odd items, some of them
unimportant, which, when added together, have much to do with the flavor
of the town. Having used the word "flavor," I may as well begin with
drinks.

Drinks cut an important figure in San Francisco life, as is natural in a
wine-producing country. The merit of the best California wines is not
appreciated in the East. Some of them are very good--much better,
indeed, than a great deal of the imported wine brought from Europe. I
have even tasted a California champagne which compares creditably with
the ordinary run of French champagne, though when it comes to special
vintages, California has not attained the French level.

It is a general custom, in public bars and clubs to shake dice for
drinks, instead of clamoring to "treat," according to the silly eastern
custom, which as every one knows, often causes men to drink more than
they wish to, just to be "good fellows." The free lunch, in connection
with bars, is developed more highly in San Francisco than in any other
city that I know of; also, Easterners will be surprised to find small
onions, or nuts, in their cocktails, instead of olives. A popular
cocktail on the Coast is the "Honolulu," which is like the familiar
"Bronx," excepting that pineapple juice is used in place of orange
juice.

When my companion and I were in San Francisco a prohibition wave was
threatening. Such a movement in a wine-producing country engenders very
strong feeling, and I found, attached to the bills-of-fare in various
restaurants, earnest pleas, addressed to voters, to turn out and cast
their ballots against the temperance menace.

Of prohibition the town had already had a taste--if one may use the
expression. The reform movement had struck the Barbary Coast, the rule,
at the time of our visit, being that there should be no dancing where
alcoholic drinks were served, and no drinks where there was dancing.
This law was enforced and it made the former region of festivity a sad
place. Even the sailors and marines sitting about the dance-halls,
consuming beer-substitutes, at a dollar a bottle, were melancholy
figures, appearing altogether unresponsive to the sirens who surrounded
them.

Ordinary drinks at most bars in San Francisco are fifteen cents each, or
two for a quarter, as in most other cities. That is to say, two drinks
for "two bits."

Like the American mill, or the English Guinea, the "bit," familiar on
the Pacific Slope, is not a coin. The Californian will ask for change
for a "quarter," or a "half," as we do in the East, but in making small
purchases he will ask for two, or four, or six "bits' worth," a "bit"
representing twelve-and-a-half cents. In the old days there were also
"short bits" and "long bits," meaning, respectively ten cents, and
fifteen cents, but these terms with their implied scorn of the copper
cent, have died out.

The humble penny is, however, still regarded contemptuously in San
Francisco. Until quite recently all newspapers published there sold at
five cents each, and that is still true of the morning papers, the
"Chronicle" and the "Examiner." Lately the "Call" and the "Bulletin,"
evening papers, have dropped in price to one cent each, but when the
princely Son of the Golden West buys them, he will frequently pay the
newsboy with a nickel, ignoring the change. Nor is the newsboy to be
outdone in magnificence: when a five-cent customer asks for one paper
the boy will very likely hand him both. They understand each other,
these two, and meet on terms of a noble mutual liberality.

As to Chinatown, those who knew it before the fire declare that its
charm is gone, but my companion and I found interest in its shops, its
printing offices and, most of all, in its telephone exchange.

The San Francisco Telephone Directory has a section devoted to
Chinatown, in which the names of Chinese subscribers are printed in both
English and Chinese characters. Thus, if I wish to telephone to Boo Gay,
Are Too, Chew Chu & Co., Doo Kee, Fat Hoo, the Gee How Tong, Gum Hoo,
Hang Far Low, Jew Bark, Joke Key, King Gum, Shee Duck Co., Tin Hop &
Co., To To Bete Shy, Too Too Guey, Wee Chun, Wing On & Co., Yet Bun
Hung, Yet Ho, Yet You, or Yue Hock, all of whom I find in the
directory--if I wish to telephone to them, I can look them up in English
and call "China 148," or whatever the number may be. But if a Chinaman
who cannot read English wishes to call, he calls by name only, which
makes it necessary for operators to remember not merely the name and
number of each Chinese subscriber, but to speak English and
Chinese--including the nine Chinese provincial dialects.

The operators are, of course, Chinese girls, and the exchange, which has
over a thousand subscribers, representing about a tenth of the
population of the Chinese district, is under the management of Mr. Loo
Kum Shu, who was born in California and educated at the University of
California. His assistant, Mr. Chin Sing, is also a native of the
State, and is a graduate of the San Francisco public schools.

For a "soulless corporation" the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company
has shown a good deal of imagination in constructing and equipping its
Chinatown exchange. The building with its gaily decorated pagoda roof
and balconies, makes a colorful spot in the center of Chinatown. Inside
it is elaborately frescoed with dragons and other Chinese designs, while
the woodwork is of ebony and gold. The switchboard is carved and is set
in a shrine, and this fascinating incongruity, with the operators, all
dressed in the richly colored silk costumes of their ancient
civilization, poking in plugs, pulling them out, chattering now in
English, now in Chinese, teaches one that anachronism may, under some
conditions, be altogether charming.

       *       *       *       *       *

One rumor concerning San Francisco restaurants appealed to my sinful
literary imaginings. I had heard that these establishments resembled
those of Paris, not only in cuisine, but because, as in Paris, the
proprietors did not deem it necessary to stipulate that private
diningrooms should never be occupied save by parties of more than two.

Of one of these restaurants, in particular, I had been told the most
amazing tales: A taxi would drive into the building by a sort of tunnel;
great doors would close instantly behind it; it would run onto a large
elevator and be taken bodily to some floor above, where the occupants
would alight practically at the door of their clandestine
meeting-place--an exquisite little apartment, decorated like the boudoir
of some royal favorite. If it were indeed true that such a picturesquely
shocking place existed, I intended--entirely in the interest of my
readers, you will understand--to see it; and honesty forces me to add
that I hoped, with journalistic immorality, that it did exist.

One night I went there. True, the conditions were somewhat prosaic. It
was quite late; my companion and I were tired, but we were near the end
of our stay in San Francisco, and I insisted upon his accompanying me to
the mysterious café, although he protested violently--not on moral
grounds, but because he is sufficiently sophisticated to know that there
is no subject upon which exaggeration gives itself _carte blanche_ as it
does when describing gilded vice.

The taxi did drive in through a kind of tunnel--a place suggesting coal
wagons--but there were no massive, silent doors to close behind it.
Passing into an inner court, which was like an empty garage, it stopped
beside a little door.

"Where is the elevator?" I asked the taxi driver.

"In there," he answered, indicating the door.

"But," I complained, "I heard that there was a big elevator here, that
took taxis right up stairs."

"There ain't," he said, succinctly.

Telling him to wait, we entered the door and came upon an elevator and a
solitary waiter, whom we informed of our desire to see the place.

Obligingly he took us to an upper floor and opening the door of an
apartment, showed us in.

"Of course," he said, "all of them are not so fine as this."

Alas for my imaginings, here was no rose-pink boudoir, no scene for a
romantic meeting, but a room like one of those frightful parlor "sets"
one sometimes sees in the cheapest moving pictures. However, in the
movies one is spared the color of such a room; one may see that the
wallpaper is of hideous design, but one cannot see its ghastly scrambled
browns and greens and purples. As I glanced at the various furnishings
it seemed to me that each was uglier than the last, and when finally my
eye fell upon an automatic piano in a sort of combination of dark oak
and art nouveau, with a stained glass front and a nickel in the slot
attachment, my dream of a setting for sumptuous and esthetic sin was
dead. It was a room in which adventure would taste like stale beer.

My companion placed a nickel in the slot that fed the terrible piano.
There was a whirring sound, succeeded, not by low seductive strains, but
by a sudden din of ragtime which crashed upon our ears as the
decorations had upon our eyes.

Hastily I moved towards the door. My companion followed.

[Illustration: The switchboard of the Chinatown telephone exchange is
set in a shrine and the operators are dressed in Chinese silks]

"If the gentlemans would wish to see some other apartments--?" suggested
the obliging waiter, as we closed the door.

"Oh, no thanks," I said. "This gives us a good idea of it."

As we moved towards the elevator the waiter asked politely: "The
gentlemans have never been in here before?"

"No," I said, "we don't live in San Francisco. We had heard about this
place and wanted to see it before we went away."

"It is a famous place," he said. Then, with a shake of the head, he
added, "But before the Fire----Ah, the gentlemans should have seen it
then!"



CHAPTER XXXIX

AN EXPOSITION AND A "BOOSTER"


The Panama Pacific Exposition will unquestionably be the most beautiful
exposition ever held in the world. Its setting is both accessible and
lovely, for it has the city upon one side and the bay and the Golden
Gate upon the other.

Instead of being smooth and white like those of previous World's Fairs,
the buildings have the streaked texture of travertine stone, with a
general coloring somewhat warmer than that of travertine. Domes,
doorways and other architectural details are rich in soft greens and
blues, and the whole group of buildings, viewed from the hills behind,
resembles more than anything else a great architectural drawing by Jules
Guérin, made into a reality. And that, in effect, is what it is, for
Guérin has ruled over everything that has to do with color, from the
roads which will have a warm reddish tone, to the mural decorations and
the lighting.

The exposition will hold certain records from the start. It will be the
first great exposition ever held in a seaport. It will be, if I mistake
not, the first to be ready on time. It will be the first held to
celebrate a contemporaneous event, and its contemporaneousness will be
reflected in its exhibitions, for, with the exception of a loan
collection of art, nothing will be shown which has not been produced
since the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. Also, I am informed, it is the
first American exposition to have an appropriation for mural paintings.
True, there were mural paintings at the Chicago World's Fair, but they
were not provided for by appropriation, having been paid for by the late
Frank Millet, with money saved from other things.

Of the painters who will have mural decorations at the Exposition, but
one, Frank Brangwyn, is not an American. Also, but one is a Californian,
that one being Arthur F. Mathews.

The only mural decorations in the Fine Arts Building will be eight
enormous panels by Robert Reid, in the interior of the dome, eighty feet
above the floor. Four of the panels symbolize Art; the others the "four
golds of California": poppies, citrus fruits, metallic gold and golden
wheat. Among the various excursions to the Exposition, I hope there will
be one for old-school mural decorators--men who paint stiff central
figures in brick-red robes, enthroned, and surrounded by cog-wheels,
propellers, and bales of cotton, with the invariable male figures
petrified at a forge upon one side, and the invariable inert mothers and
children upon the other--I hope there will be an excursion to take such
painters out and show them the brave swirl and sweep of line, the light,
and the nacreous color which this artist has thrown into his decorations
at the Fair.

Aside from the work of Mr. Reid, Edward Simmons has done two large
frieze panels of great beauty, Frank Vincent Du Mond, two others, Childe
Hassam, a lunette in most exquisite tones, and William de Leftwich
Dodge, Milton H. Bancroft and Charles Holloway, other canvases, so that,
the finished exposition will be fairly jeweled with mural paintings.

It is hard to write about expositions and mural paintings, without
seeming to infringe upon the prerogatives of Baedeker, and it is
particularly difficult to do so if one has happened to be shown about by
a professional shower-about of the singularly voluble type we
encountered at the Exposition.

To the reader who has followed my companion and me in our
peregrinations, now drawing to a close, it will be unnecessary to say
that by the time we reached the Pacific Coast, we believed we had
encountered every kind of "booster" that creeps, crawls, walks, crows,
cries, bellows, barks or brays.

But we had not. It remained for the San Francisco Exposition to show us
a new specimen, the most amazing, the most appalling, the most
unbelievable of all: the booster who talks like a book.

It was on the day before we left for home that we were delivered up to
him. We had been keeping late hours, and were tired in a happy, drowsy
sort of way, so that the prospect of being wafted through the morning
sunshine to the exposition grounds, in an open automobile, and cruising
about, among the buildings, without alighting, and without care or
worry, was particularly pleasing to us.

The automobile came at the appointed hour, and with it the being who was
to be our pilot. Full of confidence and trust, we got into the car, but
we had not proceeded more than a few blocks, and heard our cicerone
speak more than a few hundred thousand words, before our bosoms became
filled with that "vague unrest" which, though you may never have
experienced it yourself, you have certainly read about before.

I had not planned to have any vague unrest in this book, but it stole in
upon me, unexpectedly, out there by the Golden Gate, just at the end of
my journey, when I was off my guard, believing that the perils of the
trip were past.

We had driven in that automobile but a few minutes, and had heard our
guide speak not more than two hundred and fifty or three hundred
thousand words, when my first vague feeling turned into a certainty that
all was not for the best; and when I caught the eye of my companion and
saw that its former drowsy look had given place to one of wild alarm, I
knew that he shared my apprehension.

By the time we reached the fair grounds I had become so perturbed that I
hardly knew where we were.

"Stop here," I heard our captor say to the chauffeur.

The car drew up between two glorious terracotta palaces. Directly ahead
was the blue bay, and beyond it rose Mount Tamalpais in a gray-green
haze. Our custodian arose from his seat, stepped to the front of the
tonneau, and turning, fixed first one of us and then the other with a
gaze that seemed to eat its way into our vitals. Through an awful moment
of portentous silence we stared back at him like fascinated idiots. He
raised one arm and swept it around the horizon. Then, of a sudden, he
was off:

"Born a drowsy Spanish hamlet, fed on the intoxicants of man's lust for
gold, developed by an adventurous and a baronial agriculture, isolated
throughout its turbulent history from the home lands of its diverse
peoples, and compelled to the outworking of its own ethical and social
standards, the sovereign City of San Francisco has developed within her
confines an individuality and a versatility, equaled by but few other
cities, and surpassed by none."

At that point he took a breath, and a fresh start:

"It mellowed the sternness of the Puritan and disciplined the dashing
Cavalier. It appropriated the unrivaled song and pristine art of the
Latin. Every good thing the Anglo-Saxon, Celt, Gaul, Iberian, Teuton or
almond-eyed son of Confucius had to offer, it seized upon and made part
of its life."

Another breath, and it began again:

"Here is no thralldom of the past, but a trying of all things on their
merits, and a searching of every proposal or established institution by
the one test: Will it make life happier?"

As he went on I was becoming conscious of an over-mastering desire to
do something to stop him. I felt that I must interrupt to save my
reason, so I pointed in the direction of Mount Tamalpais, and cried:

"What is that, over there?"

His eyes barely flickered towards the mountain, as he answered:

"That is Mount Tamalpais which may be reached by a journey of nineteen
miles by ferry, electric train and steam railroad. This lofty height
rears itself a clean half-mile above the sparkling waters of our
unrivaled bay. The mountain itself is a domain of delight. From its
summit the visitor may see what might be termed the ground plan of the
greatest landlocked harbor on the Pacific Ocean, and of the region
surrounding it--a region destined to play so large a part in the affairs
of men."

"Good God!" I heard my companion ejaculate in an agonized whisper.

But if our tormentor overheard he paid not the least attention.

"We know," he continued in his sing-song tone, "that you will find here
what you never found, and never can find, elsewhere. We shall try to
augment your pleasure by indicating something of its origin in the
city's romantic past. We shall give you your bearings in time and place.
We shall endeavor to make smooth your path. We shall tell you what to
seek and how to find it, and mayhap, what it means. We shall endeavor to
endow you with the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to
understand. In short, it is to help the visitor to comprehend,
appreciate and enjoy 'the City Loved Around the World,' with its
surpassingly beautiful environs, that this little handbook is issued."

"That _what_?" shrieked my companion.

The human guidebook calmly corrected himself.

"That I am here with you to-day," he said.

Through two interminable hours the thing went on and on like that.
Several times, in the first hour, we tried to stop him by this means or
that, but after awhile we learned that interruptions only opened other
floodgates, and that it was best, upon the whole, to try to cultivate a
state of inner numbness, and let his voice roll on.

Sometimes I fancied that I was becoming passive and resigned. Then
suddenly a wave of hate would come boiling up inside me, and my fingers
would itch to be at the man's throat: to strangle him, not rapidly, but
slowly, so that he would suffer. I wanted to see his tongue hang out,
his eyes bulge, and his face turn blue; to see him swell up, as he kept
generating words, inside, until at last, being unable to emit them, he
should burst, like an overcharged balloon.

Once or twice I was on the verge of leaping at him, but then I would
think to myself: "No; I must not consider my own pleasure. If I kill him
it will get into the New York papers, and my family and friends will not
understand it, because they have not heard him talk."

[Illustration: We believed we had encountered every kind of "booster"
that creeps, crawls, walks, crows, cries, bellows, barks or brays, but
it remained for the Exposition to show us a new specimen]

Somehow or other my companion and I managed to survive until lunch time,
but then we insisted upon being taken back to the St. Francis. He did
not want to take us. He did not like to let us escape, even for an hour,
for it was only too evident that several five-foot-shelves of books were
still inside him, eager to get out.

At the door of the hotel he said: "I could stop and lunch with you. In
that way we would lose no time. Ah, there is so much to be told! What
city in the world can vie with San Francisco either in the beauty or the
natural advantages of her situation? Indeed there are but two places in
Europe--Constantinople and Gibraltar--that combine an equally perfect
landscape with what may be called an equally imperial position. Yes, I
think we had better remain together during this brief midday period at
which, from time immemorial, it has been the custom of the human race to
minister to the wants of the inner man, as the great bard puts it."

"Thank you," said my companion, firmly. "We appreciate the offer, but we
have an engagement to lunch, to-day, with several friends who are
troubled with bubonic plague and Asiatic cholera."

"So be it," said our warden. "I shall return for you within the hour. It
shall be my pleasure, as well as my duty, to show you all points of
interest, to give you a brief historical sketch of this coveted Mecca of
men's dreams, to tell you of its awakening, of the bringing of order out
of chaos, of...."

It was still going on as we entered the hotel, and from a window, we saw
that he was sitting alone in the tonneau, talking to himself, as the
motor drove away.

"How long will it take you to pack?" my companion asked me.

"About an hour," I said.

"There's a train for New York at two," said he.

We moved over to the porter's desk, and were arranging for tickets and
reservations when the Exposition Official, who had assigned our guide to
us, passed through the lobby.

"Did you enjoy your morning?" he inquired.

We gazed at him for a moment, in silence. Then, in a hoarse voice, I
managed to say: "We shall not go out with him this afternoon."

"But he is counting on it," protested the Official.

"_We shall not go out with him this afternoon!_" said my companion, in a
voice that caused heads to turn.

"Why not?" inquired the other.

I was afraid that my companion might say something rude, so I replied.

"We are going away from here," I declared.

"Oh," said the Official, "if you have to leave town, it can't be helped.
But if you should stay in San Francisco and refuse to go out with him
again, it might hurt his feelings."

"Good!" returned my companion. "We won't go until to-morrow."



CHAPTER XL

NEW YORK AGAIN


On my first night in San Francisco I sat up late, unpacking and
distributing my things about my room; it was early morning when I was
ready to retire, and it occurred to me that I had better leave a call.

"Please call me at nine," I said to the telephone operator.

"Nine o'clock," she repeated, and in a voice like a caress, added:
"Good-night."

It was very pleasant to be told good-night, like that, even though the
sweet voice was strange, and came over a wire; for my companion and I
had been traveling for a long, long time, and though the strangers we
had met had been most hospitable, and though many of them had soon
ceased to be strangers, and had become friends, and though we had often
said--and not without sincerity--that we "felt very much at home," we
had now reached a state of mind in which we realized that, to say one
"feels at home" when one is not actually at home, is, after all, to
stretch the truth a little.

I must have gone to sleep immediately and I knew nothing more until I
was awakened in the morning by the tinkle of the telephone.

I jumped out of bed and answered.

"Good-morning, Mr. Street," came a voice even sweeter than that of the
night before. "Nine o'clock."

As I may have mentioned previously, I do not, as a rule, feel cheerful
on the moment of arising, especially in a strange room, a strange hotel,
and a strange city. But the pleasant personal note contained in that
morning greeting, the charming tone in which it was delivered, and
perhaps, in addition, the great warm patch of melted California gold
which lay upon the carpet near my window--these things combined to make
me feel awake, alive and happy, at the beginning of the day.

Every night, after that, I left a call, whether I really wished to be
called, or not, just for the sake of the "good-night," and the
"good-morning" with my name appended. For it is very pleasant to be
known, in a great hotel, as something more than a mere number.

I said to myself, "That morning operator has learned from the papers
that I am here. She has probably read things I have written, and is
interested in me. Doubtless she boasts to her friends: 'Julian Street,
the author, is stopping down at the hotel. I call him every morning. He
has a pleasant voice. I wish I could see him, once.'"

Because of modesty I did not mention this flattering attention to my
companion until the day before we left San Francisco, and then I was
only induced to speak of it by something which occurred when we were
shopping.

It was at Gump's--that most fascinating Oriental store--and having made
a purchase which I wished them to deliver, I mentioned my name and
address to the clerk who, however, seemed to have some difficulty in
getting it correctly, setting me down at first as "Mr. Julius Sweet."

When my companion chose to taunt me about that, dwelling with apparent
delight upon the painfully evident fact that my name meant nothing to
the clerk, I retorted:

"That makes no difference. The telephone operator at the St. Francis
calls me by name every morning."

"So she does me," he returned.

I did not believe him. I could not think that this beautiful young
girl--I was sure that any girl with such a voice must be young and
beautiful--would cheapen her vocal favors by dispensing them broadcast.
For her to coo my name to me each morning was merely a delicate
attention, but for her to do the same to him seemed, somehow, brazen.

I pondered the matter as I went to bed that night, and in the morning,
when the bell rang, I thought of it immediately.

"Hello."

"Good-morning, Mr. Street. Eight o'clock," came the mellifluous
cadences.

"Good-morning," I replied. "This is the last time you will call me, so I
want to say good-by, and thank you. You and the other operator always
say 'good-night' and 'good-morning' very pleasantly and I wish you to
know I have appreciated it. And when _you_ call me you always do so by
name. That has pleased me too."

"Thank you," she said--and oh! the dulcet tone in which she spoke the
words.

"How did you happen to know my name?" I asked.

"Oh," she replied--and seemed to hesitate for just an instant--"Mr.
Woods has given us instructions always to call by name."

"You mean in my case?" I asked, somewhat nervously.

"In making all morning calls," she explained. "At night, when the night
operator isn't busy, she takes the call list, gets the names of the
people, and notes them down opposite the room numbers so that I can read
them off, when I ring, in the morning. Mr. Woods says that it makes
guests feel more at home."

"It does," I assured her sadly. Then, in justice, I added: "Nevertheless
you have a most agreeable voice."

"It's very kind of you to speak of it," she returned.

"Not at all," said I. "I am writing something about San Francisco, and I
want to know your name so that I can mention you as the owner of the
voice."

"Oh," she said, "are you a writer?"

"I am," I declared firmly.

"And you're really going to mention me?"

"I am if you will give me your name."

"It's Lulu Maguire," she said. "Will you let me know when it comes out?"

"I will," said I.

"Thank you very much," she answered. "I hope you'll come again."

"I hope so too."

Then we said good-by. And though I cannot say of the angel-voiced Miss
Maguire that she taught me about women, she did teach me something about
writers, and something else about hotels.

       *       *       *       *       *

I had always fancied that an unbroken flight across the continent would
prove fatiguing and seem very, very long, but however others may have
found it, it seemed short to me.

Looking back over the run from the Pacific Coast to Chicago I feel as
though it had consumed but a night and one long, interesting day--a day
full of changing scenes and episodes. The three things I remember best
about the journey are the beauty of the Bad Lands, the wonderful squab
guinea chicken I had, one night, for dinner, in the dining car, and the
pretty girl with the demure expression and the mischievous blue eyes,
who, before coming aboard at a little western station, kissed a handsome
young cattleman good-by, and who, having later made friends with a gay
young blade upon the train, kissed him good-by, also, when they parted
on the platform in Chicago.

Railroad travel in the West does not seem so machine-like as in the
East. That is true in many ways. West of Chicago you do not feel that
your train is sandwiched in between two other trains, one just ahead,
the other just behind. You run for a long time without passing another
train, and when you do pass one, it is something in the nature of an
event, like passing another ship, at sea. So, also, on the train, the
relations between passengers and crew are not merely mechanical. You
feel that the conductor is a human being, and that the dining-car
conductor is distinctly a nice fellow.

But once you pass Chicago, going east, the individuality of train
officials ceases to be felt. They become automatons, very efficient, but
cold as cogs in a machine. As for you, you are a unit, to be transported
and fed, and they do transport and feed you, doing it all impartially
and impersonally, performing their duties with the most rigid decorum,
and the most cold-blooded correctness.

Even the food in the dining-car seems to be standardized. The dishes
look differently, and vary mildly in flavor, but there is one taste
running through everything, as though the whole meal were made from some
basic substance, colored and flavored in different ways, to create a
variety of courses. The great primary taste of eastern dining-car food
is, as nearly as I can hit on it, that of wet paper. The oysters seem to
be made of slippery wet paper with oyster-flavor added. The soup is a
sort of creamy essence of manilla. The chicken is damp paper, ground up,
soaked with chicken-extract, and pressed into the form of a deceased
bird. And, above all, the salad is green tissue-paper, soaked in
vinegar and water.

[Illustration: New York--Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is dodging
everyone else. Everyone is trying to keep his knees from being knocked
by swift-passing suitcases]

As with the officials, so with the passengers. They become frigid, too.
If, forgetting momentarily that you are no longer in the West, you speak
to the gentleman who has the seat beside you in the buffet smoker, after
dinner, he takes a long appraising look at you before replying. Then,
after answering you briefly, and in such a way as to give you as little
information as possible, and to impress upon you the idea that you have
been guilty of gross familiarity in speaking to a social superior
without having first been spoken to by him--then the gentleman will rise
from his chair and move to another seat, feeling, the while, to make
sure that you have not got his watch.

That, gentle reader, is the sweet spirit of the civilized East.
Easterners regard men with whom they are not personally acquainted as
potential pickpockets; and men with whom they are acquainted as
established thieves.

On you rush towards the metropolis. The train is crowded. The farms,
flying past, are small, and are divided into little fields which look
cramped after the great open areas of the West. Towns and cities flash
by, one after another, in quick succession, as the floors flash by an
express elevator, shooting down, its shaft in a skyscraper; and where
there are no towns there are barns painted with advertisements, and
great advertising signboards disfiguring the landscape. There are four
tracks now. A passenger train roars by, savagely, on one side, and is
gone, while on the other, a half-mile freight train tugs and squeaks and
clatters.

When the porter calls you in the morning, and you raise your window
shade, you see no plains or mountains, but the backs of squalid suburban
tenements, with vari-colored garments fluttering on their clothes lines,
like the flags of some ship decked for a gala day.

Gathering yourself and your dusty habiliments together, you sneak
shamefully to the washroom. Already it is full of men: men in trousers
and undershirt, men with tousled hair and stubble chins, men with bags
and dressing-cases spread out on the seats, splattering men, who immerse
their faces in the swinging suds of the nickel-plated washbowl, and
snort like seals in the aquarium.

Ah, the East! The throbbing, thriving, thickly-populated East!

Presently you get your turn at a sloppy washbowl, after which you slip
into the stale clothing of the day before, and return to the body of the
car, feeling half washed, half dressed and half dead.

Outside are factories, and railroad yards, and everywhere tall black
chimneys, vomiting their heavy, muddy smoke. But always the train glides
on like some swift, smooth river. Now the track is elevated, now
depressed. You run over bridges or under them, crossing streets and
other railroads. At last you dive into a tunnel and presently emerging,
coast slowly along beside an endless concrete platform raised to the
level of the car floor.

Your bags have long since been carried away by the Pullman porter, and
you have sat for many minutes in the hot car, wearing the overcoat and
hat into which he insisted upon putting you when you were yet many miles
outside New York.

Before the train stops you are in the narrow passage-way at the end of
the car, lined-up with others eager to escape. The Redcaps run beside
the vestibule. That is one good thing: there are always plenty of
porters in New York.

The Pullman porter hands your bags to a station porter, and you hand the
Pullman porter something which elicits a swift: "Thank you, boss."

Then, through the crowd, you make your way, behind your Redcap, towards
the taxi-stand. In the great concourse, people are rushing hither and
thither. Every one is in a hurry. Every one is dodging every one else.
Every one is trying to keep his knees from being knocked by
swift-passing suitcases. You feel dazed, rushed, jostled.

It is always the same, the arrival in New York. The stranger setting
foot there for the first time may, perhaps, sense more keenly than the
returning resident, the magnificent fury of the city. But, upon reaching
the metropolis after a period of exile, the most confirmed New Yorker
must, unless his perceptions are quite ossified, feel his imagination
quicken as he is again confronted by the whirling, grinding, smashing,
shrieking, seething, writhing, glittering, hellish splendor of the City
of New York.

Never before, it seemed to me, had I felt the impact of the city as when
I moved through the crowded concourse of the Pennsylvania Terminal with
my companion--the comrade of so many trains and tickets, so many miles
and meals.

We were at our journey's end. We were in New York again at last and
would be in our respective homes as soon as taxicabs could take us to
them. But, eager as I was to reach my home, it was with a kind of pang
that I realized that now, for the first time in months, we would not
drive away together in the same taxicab, but would part here, at the
taxi-stand, and go our separate ways; that we would not dine together
that night, nor sup together, nor visit in each other's rooms to talk
over the day's doings, before turning in, nor breakfast together in the
morning, nor match coins to determine who should pay for things.

When the first taxi came up there were politenesses between us as to
which should take it--that in itself bespoke the change already coming
over us.

I persuaded him to get in. We shook hands hurriedly through the window.
Then, with a jerk, the taxi started.

As I watched it drive away, I thought: "What a fine thing to know that
man as I know him! Have I always been as considerate of him, on this
trip, as I should have been? Was it right for me to insist on his
staying up that night, in San Francisco, when he wanted to go to bed?
Was it right for me to insist on his going to bed that night, in
Excelsior Springs, when he wanted to stay up? Shouldn't I have taken
more interest in his packing? And if I had done so, would he have left
his razor in one hotel, and his pumps in another, and his bathrobe in
another, and his kodak in another, and his umbrella in another, and his
silver shoehorn in another, and his trousers in another, and his pajamas
in every hotel we stopped in?"

Then my taxi drove up and I got in, and as we scurried out into the
congested street, I kept on ruminating over my treatment of my traveling
companion.

"I never treated him badly," I thought. "Still, if I had it all to do
over again I should treat him better. I should tuck him in at night. I
should send his shoes to be polished and his clothes to be pressed. I
should perform all kinds of little services for him--not because he
deserves such treatment, but because that would get him under
obligations to me. And it is a most desirable thing to get a man under
obligations to you when he knows as much about you as that man knows
about me!"





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software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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