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Title: London Days - A Book of Reminiscences
Author: Warren, Arthur
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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[Frontispiece: Arthur Warren]



LONDON DAYS

A BOOK OF REMINISCENCES


BY

ARTHUR WARREN



BOSTON

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

1920



_Copyright, 1920_,

BY ARTHUR WARREN.


_All rights reserved_

Published September, 1920



Norwood Press

Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co.

Norwood, Mass., U. S. A.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                        PAGE

    I  First Glimpses of London  . . . . . . .    1
   II  London in the Late Seventies  . . . . .    9
  III  A Norman Interlude  . . . . . . . . . .   18
   IV  I Take the Plunge . . . . . . . . . . .   28
    V  Browning and Moscheles  . . . . . . . .   42
   VI  Patti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   57
  VII  John Stuart Blackie . . . . . . . . . .   79
 VIII  Lord Kelvin . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   96
   IX  Tennyson  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  114
    X  Gladstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  138
   XI  Whistler  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  157
  XII  Henry Drummond  . . . . . . . . . . . .  170
 XIII  Sir Henry Irving  . . . . . . . . . . .  185
  XIV  Henry M. Stanley  . . . . . . . . . . .  205
   XV  George Meredith . . . . . . . . . . . .  222
  XVI  Parnell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  240
 XVII  "Le Brav' Général"  . . . . . . . . . .  260
       Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  275



{1}

LONDON DAYS



CHAPTER I

FIRST GLIMPSES OF LONDON

One day at dusk, in the autumn of 1878, when I was eighteen, I arrived
at the heart of the world.

I was fresh from New England, and had left Boston, my native city,
seventeen days before, embarking at New York on the Anchor liner
_Alsatia_ three days later; disembarking at Tilbury after a turbulent
voyage that lasted two weeks to the hour.  What was left of me passed
from the Fenchurch Street Station into Leadenhall Street, the least of
three passengers in a four-wheeled cab.  Through the cab windows, and
the ghost of fog which simmered over gas lamps, flashed glimpses of the
city, splashes of light on the pavements illuminated windows bound in
brass, cumbrous drays and 'busses, and great grey horses, and
glistening pubs.  The air was heavy with smoke.  I heard the tramp of
thousands and thousands of persons, all homeward bound, and all wearing
top hats.  And, of all names, there at the right on a clothier's sign,
the enamelled legend: "Dombey and Son!"  My head was packed with
Dickens, and in a pocket was a linen-backed map.

{2}

In one way and another, by books and maps and imagination, I was
already on familiar terms with the world-city which I had never seen.
I had read it up, studied it, knew intricate maps of it, and stories of
its traditions.  At a time when the youth of my country and generation
were expected to follow Horace Greeley's advice, "Go West and grow up
with the country" or, as interpreted by the cynics, "Go West and start
a graveyard"--I made a chance to go East across the Atlantic.  And I
went.  So I beheld the Old World.  But I had chances enough, that is, I
made them, to see the New World later.  And I saw it.  History in the
making is interesting,--sometimes, and if you survive.  History already
made and rounded and woven into legend, the scenes among which men have
lived and wrought through centuries, shaping the rich past on which we
build the present, hold a fascination which did not seem to come to me
from regions where man was pioneering.  London was the magnet that
first drew me.  And as the cab turned south from Leadenhall Street and
moved slowly along the noisy streams of traffic, I exclaimed presently,
to the disappointment of my companions who knew the town and were
prepared to point out its places of celebrity:

"London Bridge at last!"

"At last?" said they.  "Why, this is quick work for the time of day.
How many minutes?"

"But I've been eighteen years on the way," said I.

I managed to keep awake and hungry till we got to the Wiltshire Road in
Brixton, where my guides {3} from Fenchurch Street were staying.  The
stagger and strain of the sea voyage had left me stupidly weary, so
that as soon as possible after dinner I went to bed.  Although I stayed
three weeks in that house, all recollection of a dining room has
vanished.  That may be attributed to the zeal of youth and its
indifference to the art of dining, an art acquired speedily enough
later on.  But never in the subsequent years have I been able to revive
a single memory of that Brixton house.  And the only recollection of
the first three weeks in England is that on the first morning, at an
office in the City, I was violently seasick.

Atlantic passengers who begin their voyaging nowadays in luxuriously
fitted vessels of fifty thousand tons, and coddled within an inch of
their lives, lack the remotest notion of the sea travel of forty years
ago.  The _Alsatia_, of the Anchor Line, was one of the largest and
finest ships afloat in 1878.  She had a single smokestack and a single
screw, no covered deck for passengers, no barber shop, no electric
lights, not even an electric bell.  Deck chairs were unknown, but later
you could buy them ashore and store them in the Company's baggage room
against your return.  No meal could be served on deck without the
permission of the captain.  The first mate was a surly ass who
threatened passengers with irons if he caught them infringing some
stupid rule, long since abolished; and although the steamer was fairly
new she belonged to the age when seamen hated fresh air in a hull, and
the smells from her bilges would have asphyxiated an ox.  She was one
{4} tenth the size of the big liners of to-day, five thousand tons
being registered to her credit in the advertisements where she was
described as "a giant."  She was a worthy sea craft, but she hopped,
skipped, and jumped all the way from New York to London, used fourteen
days in getting there, ten being made against head gales and heavy
seas, one of which threw a sailor from the maintop to the deck, killing
him, and sweeping overboard two hundred sheep which we carried on the
foredeck.  Nearly all liners in those days carried sail and were
square-rigged.  Their canvas was stained with soot and smoke, but it
had a steadying effect on the ship when spread to a favouring quarter.
Whether the _Alsatia_ carried sail I never knew for I was ten days
helpless and agonised in my cabin, and for three days more the
mastheads seemed to scrape the scudding clouds with a fore-and-aft
motion that tore your eyes if you looked skyward.  It was only after we
had passed well up Channel, near Dover, that the wind eased and we
could venture on deck without clinging to life lines.

This horror of seasickness was as unexpected as it was distressing,
for, if I had not been brought up on the sea, I had been accustomed to
it long enough, and had sailed an eighteen-foot catboat up and down
Massachusetts Bay, where there is rough water much of the time and
scope for seamanlike work all the time.  Whether on long rollers, or on
choppy water, I had never been troubled by the sea's motion until the
_Alsatia_ tumbled across the Atlantic, and then it was my head that
bore distress, and not my {5} centreboard.  It seemed as if the
fragment of brain still remaining in me broke loose and rattled from
skull to toes, bounding back with a hideous roar and horrid pressure
which found no relief till we got into quiet water.  I vowed never to
go to sea again.  Since then I have made more than fifty voyages on the
North Atlantic alone.

There was a man aboard who had a salty sailor's fondness for a howling
sea, and we became amazing friendly.  And he was amazing fat, so that
he took very short steps.  As I was no thicker than a lath, and
six-feet-an-inch-and-a-half tall, there was contrast enough as he
paddled alongside me.  Creeping from the hated stateroom where ten
nearly foodless and acutely torturing days had been passed in a damp
melancholy, I saw a dozen or fifteen passengers--our full
strength--seated at a long table on the starboard side of the saloon,
listening to Mr. Pickwick reading "Othello."  He was as round as
Pickwick, not quite so cherubic as Phiz's immortal drawing, and minus
the spectacles.  In the tossing night, when we had forgotten that any
portion of the universe was ever still, he was declaiming Othello's
speech to the Senate.

The figure and the fact were incongruous, but the effect of the
declamation was not.  He read all the tragedy, barring a few cuts.  I
supposed him a comic actor with an ambition for tragic parts.  Some
sailors staring through a deck light took him for a "sky pilot" reading
the burial service for their fellow, but thought him over-long about
it.  His name was Henry Murray.  He was a Scotsman {6} retired from the
Chinese trade.  He was also a Free Mason, Past District Grand Master
for China.  He was returning to England with the intention of becoming
a public reader.  He intended even to become an actor of Falstaff and
he had long been a capable amateur.  His father had been a famous actor
in Edinburgh; his brother commanded the Guion liner _Arizona_, and
later, the _Alaska_.

Henry Murray was a good judge of acting.  But his fondness for acting
was fatal to his fortunes and his life.  The first he spent in efforts
to establish himself; the second he wore out in disappointment over the
failure of his plans.  I remember him with genuine affection, because
he was the first to open to me any door in the mighty and mysterious
world of London.

Plans had no place in my baggage, at least no plans requiring space.  I
had practically worked my way to London where I was to join the staff
of an American engineering concern who were introducing an invention.
Though lacking years I had sufficient application, and I had learned
enough of the business to justify my appointment.  That, in fact, had
been my purpose, and I worked hard to achieve it and uphold it.  But I
wanted to write.  And, being in London, why not write about London?  I
knew that Mrs. Glasse's recipe for cooking hare had begun, "First catch
your hare", and so the prescription for my own case ran, "First learn
your London."  Meantime I had my vocation to lean on.  During the
business hours of four years I ran with my vocation, and, out of
business hours, followed my hobby.

{7}

Old Mother London gave me the key to her streets, and diligently I used
it.  Into every old church I wandered, and into every old building that
had given shelter to Fame when she touched a poet, a philosopher, a
painter, a literary man, a tragedian, a soldier, sailor, or a king.
And I knew the burial places of those she cherished, and those she
flouted, or those she flirted with, no less than the living places of
those who still pursued her on any of the grey mornings in which I
rambled.  They became as familiar to me as any 'bus line, and I became
a walking directory to the odd corners where she had preened her
feathers for an hour or for a space of years.  I became saturated with
her legends, and occasionally an arbiter in cases of suspected masonry
whose identity rumour and record had disputed or concealed.  That was
one form of amusement.  The play was another.

I was at home in London from the moment of my arrival at Fenchurch
Street.  It had been a far cry to Fenchurch Street, and when a lad made
it in company with a rotund gentleman of Pickwickian build, the chances
were sure to be amusing.  After trying two or three boarding houses, I
settled in chambers just out of Queen Square in Bloomsbury.  Murray was
in apartments half a mile away, in Marchmont Street.  Marchmont Street
was shabby in those days, whatever it may be now.  On the west side of
it, over a tailor's shop kept by her husband, was the shabby, but clean
and shining house of Mrs. Floyth, a melancholy woman who had been maid
or housekeeper to John Stuart Mill when {8} the manuscript of Carlyle's
"French Revolution" was burned to light the fires!  I have always
wondered if the old lady herself were responsible for that
conflagration.  It might have accounted for her settled melancholy.

My chambers near Queen Square were in a spacious old house which was
panelled and carved from roof to entrance hall.  There soon began to
meet here, once or twice a month, a congenial group, smoking
churchwarden pipes.  It called itself the "Quill Club", talked
politics, the drama, and books, and the members disagreed as heartily
as any human beings could on all the topics of life.

There would have been no interest in listening to another fellow's talk
had you been in agreement with him.  There were but two rules in the
Club: the first that a man should say what he thought; the second--give
his reasons for thinking so.  When a man failed to sustain his opinion
by his reasons he paid for the tobacco.  The Quills, as may be
supposed, were chiefly of a trade, quill drivers.  But they were not
entirely so: one was "by way of being" an artist, another was a
solicitor, a third was inclined to surgery, a fourth made musical
boxes, the fifth was a dentist, and the others pursued literature, at
greater or smaller distances, and incidentally contributed small feed
to the presses in Fleet Street, or elsewhere.  Of a dozen, ten are
dead.  Some made goals, some fell by the way.  But they all enjoyed
life and work, for all were young.  And sometimes they could pay their
bills.



{9}

CHAPTER II

LONDON IN THE LATE SEVENTIES

London was a more livable place in the late seventies than it is now,
or so it seems to me, as it seems to many others who knew the town in
that earlier time.  There were not so many means for getting everywhere
as there are now, and yet we got everywhere,--everywhere, that is, that
we wished to go.  We were not in a hurry then, and there was more
consideration for the old and the lame than there is now.  Now there is
none at all in the streets or under them.  The electric age was
prophesied, but nothing more.  Nobody in England believed in
prophecies.  There were arc lights on Holborn Viaduct and the Thames
Embankment, nowhere else, but the incandescent lamp had not appeared.
There was nothing electrical, in our modern sense, except the
telegraph.  The telephone was unknown.  It is almost unknown to-day, if
London's use of it be compared with New York's.  There was no electric
traction, and the petrol age was nearly a quarter of a century distant.
But for all these drawbacks, as I daresay they may be regarded by the
youth of the present hour, London was the most livable place in the
world, if you loved cities; it had a charm, a fascination all its own.

{10}

That charm is not to be described.  How can it be described, any more
than the charm of a charming woman?  You are conscious of it, you know
that there is nothing like it, you are sorry for those who must live
elsewhere and cannot come under its spell; they have missed that much
out of life.  You experience a certain largeness of heart, and would
like to give everybody a June in London, but reluctantly acknowledge
that every one must take the will for the deed.

But if you attempt to analyse London it will baffle your effort.  It is
at once so splendid and so mean, so spacious and so meagre, so
beautiful and so ugly, so noisy and so quiet, so restless and restful,
that the farther you go the more puzzled you become, unless having
begun by questioning it you end by accepting.  Take it in its own way
and you will see that it is in itself a problem that cannot be solved
by a study of weeks or months; it is a study for a lifetime, for many
lifetimes.  For instance: architecturally it is too often saddening and
mean.

Some one will fly into a rage when he reads the preceding sentence.  He
will ask resentfully if I think Westminster Abbey, the Parliament
Buildings, St. Paul's Cathedral sad, or mean, or shabby.  Of course I
do not.  Their nobility and beauty almost redeem the hundreds of square
miles of common-place and melancholy builders' work that encumbers
London.  Yet how the mean shops press upon St. Paul's and shut it in!
Could anything be uglier than the National Gallery?  Could any
important thoroughfare be more conducive to depression of {11} spirits
than Victoria Street?  It's not the old London that is architecturally
ugly and mean; it is the modern London, and usually the more modern the
greater the affliction to the eye.  Somebody said, I think it was
Schelling, "Architecture is frozen music."  Would not anybody say that
the Methodist mountain in Westminster is frozen pudding?

London in the late seventies was architecturally less saddening than
now, because less that was pretentious and defiant of good taste had
been undertaken.  Its public buildings of later date are the worst in
Europe, excepting those that have arisen in Germany.  Squat, heavy, out
of proportion, lacking in dignity, in beauty, they seem to have been
erected for the purpose of proving that in architecture the modern
Briton will neither imitate nor aspire.  "The finest site in Europe" is
almost the meanest sight.  The marvel is that a capital and a country
having so many fine models of earlier date do not repeat them, improve
upon them, or attempt even a finer taste.  The opportunities have been
unrivalled, but about the achievements the less said the better.  Acres
of slums have been swept away to be superseded by miles of masonry
which serve mainly to prevent an acquaintance with good taste.  What
public "improvement" could be shabbier than Shaftsbury Avenue, meaner
than newer Whitehall, or more commonplace than Kingsway and Aldwych?
What department of a Government could have blocked a vista so
remorselessly as the Admiralty has done, or have betrayed a contempt
for beauty more disheartening than the County {12} Council has shown in
its latest horror at Westminster Bridge?

The majestic beauties of London seem to have developed by accident
rather than by design.  The view down Waterloo Place to the Abbey and
the Victoria Tower and the view eastward from the Serpentine Bridge in
Hyde Park have certainly done so.  The view down the river from
Waterloo Bridge, or Westminster, was never planned; it grew slowly,
being first blessed by every natural advantage that a patient
Providence could bestow.  In its buildings of a private character, its
domestic architecture, London still has much to seek; monotony has been
the rule, but the style has not deteriorated.  In some respects and
localities it has much improved; there is evidence that imagination has
been allowed to exercise itself, that all house owners do not, in these
times, think alike, and are not content with dwellings which, outwardly
at least, seem, class by class, to have been run from one mould.
Individuality begins to express itself as if, at last, some Londoners
were beginning to lose their fear of becoming conspicuous.  An advance
in taste has run concurrently with the decline of the top hat and frock
coat.

But the interiors of English buildings of all kinds, public as well as
private, churches as well as theatres, offices no less than railway
stations, clubs, homes, hotels, all are draughty, as lacking in warmth
as they were when I first knew them.  The exceptions are so few that
they are advertised.  Central heating is still regarded as a fad,
constant hot water is a {13} novelty; there is a superstitious regard
for cold air as pure air, and a fear of warm air as impure.  But the
worst cold is that of dampness, and many houses are never dry.  Mildew
is common in their closets, chill in the bedrooms, and their halls are
rheumatic.  Rheumatism, and its allies lumbago, influenza, pneumonia,
and consumption are the customary ills.  When the Briton is cold
indoors he goes out for a walk and warms his blood.  The theory is that
artificial warmth is unhealthful; the truth is that it is an expense to
which the Briton objects, and that he has not learned how to warm his
house.  The tough survive.  The delicate, the aged, the invalid, or the
sedentary take their chances, and while they live do so with an
unbelievable lack of comfort.  Consequently the English complain of
cold when the American would think the temperature moderate; but the
American uses heat to keep his house dry as well as warm.  He often
overdoes it; he often goes as far in one direction as the Briton in the
other.  But an English house warmed in the American way, not
necessarily to the usual American degree, is always appreciated by the
Briton, although he may be far from understanding the reason of his
content.  London had a charm in the late seventies that it lost when
the Twentieth Century was still young,--the charm of leisure.  The
internal-combustion engine drove leisure from the land.  The old
two-horse 'bus was a leisurely thing.  Even the four-horse express
'busses that plied between the Swan at Clapham to Gracechurch Street,
and similar urban and suburban centres, were leisurely enough, {14}
compared with the electric trains and motor 'busses that now rush the
city man to and fro.  They were not comfortable, those horse-drawn
caravans with their knifeboard roofs and perilous scaling ladders, that
is, they were not comfortable excepting on the box seats to which every
man's ambition soared.  There, sheltered by great leathery aprons, the
lucky passenger braved the weather, beheld the passing world, and
exchanged small talk with the driver who condescended affably to
discourse, with his "regulars", the news of the day.  The smart hansom
disappeared long ago.  Smart as it was it was leisurely compared with
the flashing taxi and motor which have superseded "London's gondola",
as Disraeli called it.  And, Heaven knows, the sulphurous underground
was leisurely beyond words.

Everybody rushes now.  London has no more time to spare than New York
has.  It seems a dream that, when I first entered an English train, the
custom was for the railway guards to call, "Take your time, take your
time!"  But that was their call forty years ago.

Gradually the street cries have lessened in variety, in character, and
in interest.  The simple trades that announced their wares by a snatch
of something that passed for song have disappeared one by one.  Even
the muffin man is vocal no longer, and his bell is silent.  Whatever
may have caused the other merchants of the curb to vanish, the war and
short rations removed the muffin man.  He was almost the last, perhaps
actually the last of the creatures who gave to London streets an
old-world sound or savour.

{15}

When the late seventies were still on the calendar, and for long after,
the silk hat was an unrelenting tyrant, and in the City, among
stockbrokers, it bore a special gloss.  Every male above the age and
status of an office boy or a labouring man wore a silk hat.  Without
that ugly and inconvenient headgear you would not call upon your
solicitor, or appear at your banker's, or negotiate a contract, much
less intrude upon an official person.  The silk hat was a sign of
respectability.  In the House of Commons it seemed a symbol of the
majesty of the British Constitution.  There, to this day, the head must
be covered, as if the members were in a synagogue.  In summer time
straw hats were unknown, excepting for the sex that was gentler then,
and invariably the sex wore furs with its straws.  A man who ventured
in a straw hat incurred the risk of obloquy.  At any rate, he was as
marked and ridiculous an object as Jonas Hanway when, in an earlier
century, he raised an umbrella in Oxford Street.

Temple Bar was standing where Fleet Street joins the Strand; the new
Law Courts which now overlook its site were in process of construction;
the Griffin was undreamed of.  Northumberland Avenue had been opened
but was incomplete.  The modern hotels had yet to be promoted.  The
Grand was the first of these, but its fortunes were thought hazardous.
There was no Metropole, or Victoria, although their walls were going
up.  Rimmel's perfumery warehouse stood where the Savoy is now, and
that sordid adventurer Hobbs (or was it Jabez Balfour?) had not
preëmpted the site of the Cecil which was {16} then covered with
lodging houses, chambers, and private hotels.  There was no Carlton, no
Ritz, no Waldorf; even the Great Central was not in being, and the only
restaurants of consequence were the Criterion, St. James', Gatti's old
Adelaide Gallery, half its present size, the Café Royal, Very's, and
the stuffy predecessor of the present Holborn.

The first run of "Pinafore" had not ended, the revival of Old Drury's
prosperous days had not begun; "Our Boys" had been running for nearly
five thousand nights at the Vaudeville; Sothern was making his last
appearances in the last season of the unremodelled Haymarket; there was
the Alhambra but no Empire, no Hippodrome, no Coliseum; St. James'
Hall, but no Queen's Hall; the Albert Hall was mostly empty, the
old-style music halls were mostly full; Mr. Pinero was acting small
parts in Irving's company and had not written so much as the scenario
of a one-act play; Henry Arthur Jones had not been heard of; Bernard
Shaw was unknown, Adelaide Neilson was at the height of her brief
career, Forbes Robertson had begun his, and Buckstone's days were
ending.  The era of the Kendals and John Hare at the St. James' was yet
to come, but the happy reign of the Bancrofts, at the old Prince of
Wales', behind the Tottenham Court Road, where the Scala now stands,
had yet to close.

George Meredith was not only "caviare to the general" but "the general"
were a little shocked when they learned that he was still a reader for
a publishing house and a writer when he had the time.  "The general"
found delight in the fiction of Miss {17} Braddon and Mrs. Henry Wood,
and, of course, Ouida, as they would delight now if these ladies were
spinning copy; Kipling was at school, and Barrie dreaming in the north.
We had William Black and Walter Besant and James Rice, but no Society
of Authors, and no literary knights.  If the world is small now it was
very large then, but "sausage and mashed" were cheap at the top of
London Bridge, threepence for a pair of hulking sausages and a liberal
plate of mashed potato, a penny more for a great hunk of bread, and
tu'ppence more for half a tankard of beer.

A certain splendid swagger departed from London Streets when the
regiments quartered in town abandoned their gorgeous uniforms and
dressed less like magnificos and more like fighting men.  They were
fighting men though, they and their successors who held back the
outnumbering German rush from the Channel ports of France in 1914, as
all the world knows, and none know better than the Huns.  But they were
dandies too, those earlier men, and they filled the eye.  Their saucy
scarlet, short-waisted jackets, their jaunty fatigue caps, their tight
trousers with broad red stripes, on shapely legs which seemed
tremendous in length, were at once the admiration of nursemaids and the
envy of small boys, lending, as they did, colour and form to these dun
streets.  Will the glorious colossi who strode thus habited be seen
again this side of Charon's ferry; or will their successors lead the
simple life in khaki and puttees?



{18}

CHAPTER III

A NORMAN INTERLUDE

After a winter in London I went to Paris for a part of the spring,
stopping on the way a day in Rochester (I had the Dickens fever then),
and another day in Canterbury for the Cathedral's sake.  A night boat,
the ancient Wave, or the antediluvian Foam, took me to Calais, and
through some delay on the line there was a wait of hours.  But the
night was fine, and I spent it roaming through and beyond the old town,
getting forty winks afterward in the station, and a breakfast of hot
chocolate and bread at a place facing the harbour where I watched the
fishing boats put out on a convenient tide.  In Paris I knew only one
person, an American friend who was studying art, taking his lessons at
Julian's, and slowly, yet certainly, learning that art was not for him.
He introduced me to a lot of men who knew their way about, and soon I
knew my way about as well as they did, possibly, in some directions, a
little better, for, with one or two exceptions, I cannot remember any
who were gifted with a faculty for anything but good-fellowship and for
spending their allowances from home.  They knew the jargon of the
studios, but as Paris seemed full {19} of men who could paint as well
as they and were threatening to do it, the charming group dissolved in
a year or two, one after another, returning to their homes in various
parts of the world.  Not one that I know of is living now, and nearly
all whom I could trace in later years had gone into trade, and
flourished there.

But my acquaintance with Paris had begun.  It was to be extended in
subsequent years.  What chiefly remains in my recollection concerning
those early days is that for the first time I had the consciousness of
being in a foreign country.  I never had that in England, no, not for a
minute, and no one, then or since, ever tried to make me feel it there.
Of course, part of the difference was due to language, but not all the
difference.  There were subtle differences in France, and some plain,
outstanding ones.  The English are kindly people, hospitable, and, if I
must say so--and I think I must, having lived through three years of
the great war with them, to say nothing of many preceding years--they
are naïve.  The Englishman, if he liked you, took you to his home, but
he said that the Frenchman did not.  But he did, I found.  And I found
that the Frenchman, if less kindly, was more polite.  The Frenchman had
either clearer ideas or none at all about other nationalities; the
Englishman--but really, these reflections do not belong in this book,
but in another, if anywhere.  I will not prolong them here, but say
only that I was in Paris fairly often after that first visit and that I
liked it the more the more I knew it.

{20}

But I am forgetting my friend Monsieur Raoul de St. Ange.  I would not
willingly forget my friend St. Ange.  In fact, I could not forget him.
He was a delightful man of fifty or thereabouts, a dear and gracious
person.  I had met him in London where he was giving lessons in French,
and trying to make a French weekly paper pay its way and earn him
something over.  He was of Norman birth, and had lived fairly well in
Paris up to the time of the Commune, when he had been ruined.  He
emigrated to London.  He had a wife and two small sons.  The boys were
about ten and twelve respectively.  This little family lived in a
little house at Shepherd's Bush.  The house was very simple, but it was
as neat as wax.  I used to help St. Ange a little with the English
section of his paper, and in return he gave me lessons in French.

One day he said to me: "I must go to Normandy; a week there.  It will
give me the greatest pleasure if you come."  And so I arranged to meet
him at Amiens on my return from Paris.  He had some family affairs to
settle, something to do with the children, and a bit of property that
had been left in trust for them.  In Normandy we would see some of his
people, a bit of France from the inside not the outside.  I jumped at
the chance.  We met at Amiens, and explored the Cathedral before doing
anything else.  He knew somebody there, or somebody knew of him, and we
were taken all over the wonderful Cathedral, from roof to crypt.  We
were so long at this that we concluded to spend the night in Amiens,
and push on, next morning, by train to {21} a village some thirty miles
or more away, which was one of the objectives of his visit.

The name of that village I have clean forgotten.  It has passed like
many other names that were supposed to be fixed there.  But forgotten
it is, although the place itself is associated with memories of rustic
hospitality more generous than anything that has ever come my way.
Well, we arrived at the village of the forgotten name, and we put up at
the house of the station master, in the station building itself.  There
was no inn.  The station master was somehow, somewhere, within St.
Ange's circle of friends.  He took charge of our kits and showed me to
what I am sure was the best bedroom.  I had a guilty feeling that the
occupants must have turned out for my benefit; but one can only defer
to the custom of the country.

Presently Monsieur Station Master, and Madame Station Master, and
little Station Master _fils_ appeared, each in best bib and tucker, and
led the way across the fields, to a little thatched farmhouse two miles
distant.  The railway contingent evidently were making holiday.  All
the way we walked through fields of grain, in a wide path which came,
by and by, to a little bridge over a chattering stream, and then to a
road, and around a bend in the road to the farmhouse, thatched, moss
and flowers growing in the thatch, and a family growing in the door,
for the doorway was filled with humans of ages from eight to eighty, in
rows and tiers.  As we drew near there was such a display of waving
handkerchiefs and joyous shouts as would have {22} gratified William
the Conqueror himself had he been passing.

St. Ange was smothered in embraces, and I was bidden in, not to the
embraces, but to a seat in the fireside, after salutations all round.
St. Ange had not been in these parts for twenty years.  He was trustee
for some of these younkers, and had now come to be relieved of his
trust, as the younkers were of age in the eyes of the law.  You would
have thought that I was a benefactor, so generous were their
attentions.  Food and wine were pressed upon me.  What the good folk
were saying did not enter my comprehension; the twists of the Norman
tongue were beyond me.  But smiles are translatable in any language and
so are hearty courtesies.  Presently what appeared to be the whole
population of the neighbouring countryside streamed in, and St. Ange
and his American friend had to meet them all.  We met like old friends.
Then St. Ange took me to call upon some old folk in a cottage not far
away.  We must have been a couple of hours calling about.  When we
returned to the first place a dinner was ready for us, and we for it.

The fat of the land was before us.  There was every kind of good thing
that grew in Normandy.  And there was wine of the country, and plenty
of it.  The triumph of the occasion was duck,--duck such as I never ate
before, and have not eaten since, not even in Paris, where they have a
subtle skill in cooking these things.  I could write rhapsodies about
that duck.  When, even nowadays, I am seeking to whet appetite, I think
of the ducks I ate in Norman {23} cottages.  No one has eaten duck who
has not eaten it in Normandy where every housewife seemed to me a
marvel of a cook.  I was in Normandy a week, lunched and dined and
supped in a different house each day--they were chiefly the homes of
cottage folk--and, for abundance and good feeding, I still regard it as
a land of miracle.

How I praised the duck at that first dinner, and extolled Madame's
skill in cookery!  Madame was pleased.  Have I conveyed the impression
that these were wealthy folk?  It was not my intention to do so.  They
were Normandy peasants, which may mean anything or little as far as
well-being goes.  The room in which we ate was the living room,
cooking-washing-eating-room.  I daresay that behind a panel, or a
curtain, there was an alcove with a bed.  Anyhow, there was one in an
adjoining room.  And over the dining table was a loft to which you
mounted by a ladder which was slung against the ceiling, when not
wanted, by rope and pulley.  The dining-room floor was of earth, hard
packed, hard as nails, clean as the proverbial whistle.  Everything
shone with cleanliness--windows, napery, brass, pewter, plates,
kettles--if all the belongings of the room had whistled there would
have been a bellow as if the siren of a big liner had blown.  Such
cleanliness and such cooking I have not found in all the years that
followed in the many English cottages I have known, but I met the
combination three or four times a day for six or seven days, each time
beneath a different roof.

St. Ange and I walked back across the fields by {24} moonlight,
Monsieur, Madame, and Toddlekins Station Master, and two from our
feasting house, accompanying us.  That night I slept like a top.  At
noon what was my surprise and joy to find another duck, duly prepared
and cooked by our hostess of the preceding day, waiting for me on the
station master's table.  It had been brought by one of her small fry
with the lady's compliments.  There was a compliment fit for a prince!
Have I mentioned the wine that graced the basket, and the miraculous
green peas that were to melt in the mouth?  Ah, well, it was long ago,
and it was hospitality.

In that way did Normandy receive us at every halt, whether we called at
farm, or cottage, or château.  Was there ever such a country for eating
and drinking, I wondered.  At last we arrived at Rouen.  We had driven
in from the country, and somewhat wearied and dusty with the journey,
we were hurried by a stout and jolly man, a gigantic person who was in
waiting on the road, to a delightful dwelling in the town where three
generations of St. Ange's relatives welcomed us and would have haled us
forthwith to the seats of honour, but that we pleaded for a wash and a
change.

It was twelve o'clock when we gathered at table.  It was four when we
rose.  And when we rose, something else was served in the next room.
And I was told that we must dine at another house, at seven; I think
seven was the hour.  And we were to sup at a third party at eleven!
But I had become accustomed to this splendour of generosity.  St. Ange
had warned me at Amiens that it was inevitable, {25} and could n't be
shirked.  And so, after the first heroic occasion, the memorable affair
of duck at the cottage, I made a great show of eating and drinking, so
that these valiant Norman trenchermen would not think me rude and
neglectful, and speedily I learned how to keep up the appearance of
feasting and of still having a wee-bit appetite at the end.  That was
doing pretty well, I think, for a novice.  And it required some skill
in calculation, for at each table there was everything, and abundance
of everything, that gourmets or gourmands could desire to eat and
drink.  In seven days there were twenty-one such feasts!

When we reached London, on our homeward journey, I called for sausage
and mashed, and a tankard of bitter, by way of return to the simple
life.

But the kindness of it all, the generous hospitality; the opening of
hearts to a stranger who comes with an old friend or relative,--in
forty years I have seen nothing to equal it.  The gentleman who killed
the fatted calf offered but a Barmecide feast in comparison with the
provender of my Norman friends.

A few days after the return from France a telegram came to me from St.
Ange, saying that his boy was seriously ill, and asking me to come at
once.  In the evening I went as quickly as I could to Shepherd's Bush.
The little chap had taken a chill, pneumonia had supervened.  The
doctor was in the house when I arrived.  "Can't live through the
night," he said.  The parents were with the little fellow.  I dozed
below in an armchair, knowing that there was need {26} of sleep if I
were to see these good people through the crest of their trouble.  An
hour after midnight the mother came and said: "It is finished!  Yes,
dead.  I am anxious for _mon mari_.  He will not move, or speak.  He
sits staring--_comme ça_.  Please go to him."

I aroused St. Ange and made him come with me.  All night till dawn I
walked him, through Shepherd's Bush, through Hammersmith, across the
Bridge, across Barnes Common, through Mortlake and Richmond, and back
again, making him talk and tiring him out.  That was the object, to
counter his nervous excitement by physical fatigue and to divert his
mind.  I brought him home at sunrise, limp, exhausted.  He slept for
ten hours.

I had to make him see that the world had not come to a standstill, that
there was no "copy" for his paper, and so on.  I saw his printers, his
publishers, and some other people he knew who turned out "copy."
Between them all they saw him through the worst of his problems.  This
brought me in a practical way into connection with the outer fringes of
Fleet Street and London journalism, and in my odd hours I learned how
"copy" was prepared for the compositors, how proofs were corrected, how
"forms" were made up, and before long was able to assist some of my new
acquaintances when they were pressed for time at these games.

It was natural enough that in following these lines as a joyous amateur
I should drift into journalism.  I never intended to stay in it, I
preferred to write books; but in those days that seemed a mad {27}
thing to do,--to write books and expect to earn money by them.  In
journalism, if one got his "stuff" printed, he got paid, and, if one
knew the ropes, he had n't to wait forever for the payment.  There was
a certain attractiveness about being paid for work one liked to do, and
I liked writing better than anything else.  And I liked the rush and
pressure of journalism as I saw these things manifested in the
experience of my friends.  They had adventures too; I also would have
them.  It seemed possible to know everybody, go everywhere, see
everything, and, if one worked the ropes with skill, he might remain
his own master.  One saw it all through rose-coloured glasses.  How
else should youth see anything?

Even to-day I see St. Ange through the rose-coloured glasses of memory.
It is the only way possible, for except in memory I have not seen him
in all these years since we returned from Normandy and his boy died.
Within a month from the funeral Raoul St. Ange and his wife vanished.
They had returned to France, 't was said, but no one knew.  His pupils
did not know, his printers did not know, his paper was dying.  I
suppose he had n't the heart to face the obsequies.  He merely
vanished.  No inquiry revealed him.  Never a letter, never a wire,
never a trace of any kind in forty years.



{28}

CHAPTER IV

I TAKE THE PLUNGE

I have never been so old as I was during my first three or four years
in London.  It is, or at any rate it used to be, a common delusion of
youth that the mantle of years has descended upon its shoulders.  In my
case the shoulders could have carried a large mantle.  I was tall and
big framed, earning my living in a foreign country, where, by the way,
I felt completely at home; my habits of thought were far beyond those
which custom fixes for the 'teens, and all my associates were older
than myself, most of them much older.  In the work which circumstances
and I laid out, youth was by others supposed to be a disadvantage, so
that it might have been natural had I assumed the merit of a maturity
which I did not possess.  But I was not compelled to assume it.  It was
attributed to me.  Nobody supposed that I was under nineteen.  I was
supposed to be at least half a dozen years older.

My first editor was George Parsons Lathrop, of the _Boston Courier_.
He was a son-in-law of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and he achieved the honour
of editing my copy by the alacrity with which he published it for
nothing.  As the suggestion was {29} my own the acceptance of
non-compensated work was entirely fair.  If his paper could stand it, I
could.  I wanted practise, and Lathrop wanted copy.  He was perfectly
willing that I should practise in his columns.  I did n't know him from
Adam, but had written to him enclosing a "London Letter" which
solicited his acceptance on gratuitous terms.  Beneath my generosity
was a design.  Not only did I need practice but I wanted to be known as
the London Correspondent of an American paper, in order to have the
_entrée_ at theatres, concerts, political gatherings, and other public
functions.  After sufficient practice with Lathrop, I would endeavour
to sell copy in other quarters.  The plan succeeded.

When the period of gratuitous service had stretched far enough, a
Boston journal of much interest and overwhelming respectability,
deigned graciously to pay five dollars a letter for my London "stuff."
The magnitude of this offer did not shock me, but five dollars meant a
sovereign, and the addition of twenty shillings to one's weekly income
suggested wealth to a young scribbler in London.  Three or four letters
had been despatched when, one evening, an expensive acquaintance who
had rooms above mine, near Queen Square, dropped in at my snug chambers
and spun a yarn.  He had "seen Leighton, you know, President of the
Royal Academy, good sort, dev'lish good fellow.  What do you suppose he
's done now?  Taken up a sculptor in Paris, French of course, poor as I
am, poorer, if it 's possible to be poorer than I am, and has had a
piece of the chap's work sent over here for exhibit at the {30}
Academy.  Sculptor could n't send it.  No money.  Not even a studio.
Devilled for years in other men's studios.  Leighton saw, says fellow
must become known in London.  Got artist chaps to pay expenses of
sending over.  Good fellow, Leighton.  Go see it, you!  Press
Day--Royal Academy--next week.  Forgot French chap's name!"

This brought to my recollection the fact that in Paris, the previous
Easter, when haunting Bohemia with a pack of student friends, I had
heard of a needy sculptor who was doing things of strange power, and
was hard up because he would not work in accepted forms, but persisted
in carving things that nobody wanted.  And who, in those days, would
buy sculpture from an "artist unknown"?  My friends promised that I
should meet the man, but I was called away from Paris before this could
be arranged.

I went to the Royal Academy on Press Day, and saw the specimen of the
"new man's" work.  I was quite alone with it.  One is always sure to be
alone in the Statuary Room of the Royal Academy.  An article came out
of the silence.  It went to my five-dollar editor.  He responded with
this note:


"Sorry we can't pay for any more of your letters.  We printed the last
one, but, really, we don't want articles about unknown sculptors,
especially French ones."


The unknown sculptor, whose name, of course, I gave, was Auguste Rodin!

I subsequently heard that the article was the {31} first about Rodin to
be published in America, and that an artist and fellow townsman of
mine, Henry Bacon, then in Paris, brought it to his attention.  Months
afterward, having followed me half around the world, there arrived by
post a big and battered parcel.  It contained a photograph of the
sculpture I had seen, the bust of Rodin's "St. John Preaching", and the
large mount bore Auguste Rodin's autograph with a grateful message to
me.  I had the trophy framed and hung over the fireplace in my
chambers, and there, whether the fireplace were in England or America,
it has hung ever since.  If I were the first to give Auguste Rodin
public recognition in my country, he was the first anywhere to
acknowledge my stumbling work.

Vocation was pressing its claims more heavily than usual about that
time and there was little opportunity to pursue a project I had formed
for writing a series of articles upon "The London of Disraeli."
Everybody in pendom had written of "Dickens' London", and "Thackeray's
London", and after "Endymion" had made its loudly trumpeted appearance,
it occurred to me that Disraeli had a London which the makers of
articles had not seized upon and which would yield "material" for
interesting copy.  This, if well illustrated, might appeal to some
magazine editor in America and subsequently become a book.  At the same
time I was gathering notes and impressions for a series of papers which
might be called "Odd Corners of London."  For things of this kind
America seemed to promise an especially good market, and I believed
{32} that I could supply it fairly well.  One thing after another
delayed this little plan.  Vocation was taking up more time and at
higher pressure than is compatible with hobby-riding.  It has a habit
of doing so.  Then a visit to America intervened, for the purpose of
spending my twenty-first birthday, and the following five or six
months, at home.  The return to England was followed by a rush of work
in the City, and this by an illness of some weeks' duration.  All the
while the Disraeli subject lay untouched until, one day in 1882, I met
a character in a Disraeli novel, who was much more of a character
outside it.

It was a day of powerful rain.  The Pullman Company were to run their
first train in England over the Brighton line from Victoria Station.
They had invited a regiment of celebrities and a few odd sticks.  Among
the latter I was included by some official of my acquaintance who
thought I might write an article for some overseas paper.  Taking a
place in a smoking car I was solitary for but a minute, when George
Augustus Sala entered hurriedly and plumped himself down beside me,
saying: "What a beastly, blowy, wet morning!"

"The worst since Noah's time," said I.

"If this train gets to Brighton and returns through the flood, it will
be another case not only of pull man, but also of pull devil, pull
baker," said Sala.

"There 's copy for you," said I.

"Oh, are you a journalist?" asked Sala.

"I 'm hoping to be.  It's an aspiration."

"Desperation, more likely," he said.  "Don't do {33} it, young man, not
if there 's a good crossing to sweep in your neighbourhood.  Journalism
is the worst trade in the world."

"Every man says that of his own profession," I replied.

"Profession be hanged!  What do we profess?  We stain paper, and look
as wise as owls, and know a damned sight more than we ever tell.  Most
of us bleat in our folds like sheep; few of us have the chance to go
about the world and see things, and even they work like slaves to
entertain the public while their owners take the profits.  The worst
trade in the world, sir; work harder, know more than any other--about
human nature, anyhow--and get less for it than any other; what we write
is forgotten the day after it's printed, and when we can't grind out
any more, when they 've squeezed our brains dry, we 're thrown on the
dust-heap to be buried by a benevolent association.  Don't go into
journalism unless you own the paper!  That's where the profits are--big
circulation and advertising revenue, politics and peerages!  I 'm too
old for aiming at ownership now; besides, I 'm a writer, not a screw!
Journalism be hanged.  If I 'd been a _chef_ in a millionaire's palace,
or a fashionable hotel, I 'd have done better."

Possibly.  At any rate he would have been the prince of _chefs_ as he
was "the prince of journalists", or was it the king the public called
him?  He was supposed to earn fabulous sums with his pen.  If he earned
them he spent them, for he left nothing when he had "gone west."  He
was an artist in {34} cookery, had a knowing taste in wines; he had
been everywhere, seen everything, knew everybody, and on the shortest
possible notice could write an article upon anything or nothing.  He
had a flaming face, small, glittering eyes, a build and frontage not
unlike that of Pierpont Morgan of later fame, and a reputation for wit
and story-telling.  He had also a reputation for geniality.  He was as
genial as a thunderstorm.  His rumblings and clatters might pass quite
harmless, or sear you with a flash.  His familiar signature was "G.A.S."

"I see you don't believe it," said he, "but you will.  Don't say I did
n't warn you."

"Thanks," said I.

"Not in the least," said he.  "Go to your doom!  What's your paper?"

I said I had written for two or three papers at home, in America, and I
told him the story of the editor who did n't want Rodin.  He laughed
until his white waistcoat nearly burst its buttons.  "I had an editor
once," said he, "who didn't know the date of the Battle of Waterloo but
was certain that Nelson had saved the day.  Journalism a 'profession',
eh?  And editors are the High Board of Examiners.  But don't mind me.
I 'm like this on wet mornings."

Just then a wet prelate in a shaggy coat shook himself at the door, as
if he were a huge dog that had soaked in the rain.  His prelacy was
revealed by the purple at his throat.

"Monsignor Capel," exclaimed Sala.  "How are you?  And did you come in
a boat?"

{35}

"The voyage from Kensington was rough," said the prelate, "but this
seems a snug harbour."

"Make fast to moorings here, and to-morrow the envious will say that
G.A.S. is travelling Rome-wards with you on an American train."

"Undreamed-of felicity," said the prelate.  "But I think we shall not
go far toward Rome to-day.  This train has no 'through connection', as
they say in America.  This is my first experience in an American train,
but not, of course, your first, Mr. Sala.  Possibly your first, sir,"
he said, turning to me, as he took a seat beside Sala.

"Oh, no, I 'm an American," said I.

"Then I am doubly fortunate," said the Monsignor.  "Because I am going
to America and you can tell me how to get about, if you will be so
good."  This was a pleasant way to break the ice, and as the train
filled, presently we had a pleasant company and were speedily at
Brighton, where the Pullman people entertained their trainload at
luncheon.  On the return journey Monsignor Capel sat opposite me at a
table built for two, and talked about America.  That is to say, he
asked questions and I answered them, as we smoked the Pullman cigars.
As we parted at Victoria, he invited me to dine at his house, making an
appointment for the following week.

He was not only a clever man and "striking", as they say, in
appearance, but he had great charm, and being a Jesuit of brilliant and
varied accomplishments, could adapt himself easily to any company.  As
a preacher he was eloquent; as a man of the world he was brilliant and
fascinating; as an {36} ecclesiastic distinguished and influential; as
a maker of titled, wealthy, and in the worldly sense "important"
converts to Rome he was famous, but as the administrator of a college
or university he proved a failure.  He was a prominent figure in London
life; he was the Monsignor Catesby of "Lothair", as Manning was the
Cardinal Grandison.  If his fortunes had begun to ebb at the time I
knew him, the glamour of his successes was still about him.

Disraeli had described Catesby as "a fascinating man who talked upon
all subjects except high mass, and knew everything that took place at
Court without being present there himself.  He led the conversation to
the majestic theme, and while he seemed to be busied in breaking an egg
with delicate precision, and hardly listening to the frank expression
of opinions which he carelessly encouraged, obtained a not insufficient
share of Lothair's views and impressions of human beings and affairs in
general."

I dined with Monsignor Capel on several occasions at Scarsdale Lodge,
in Wright's Lane, Kensington.  Scarsdale Lodge has for many years known
a succession of celebrated tenants, of whom Dundreary Sothern was one.
Sothern had also lived at Cedar Villa, next door, and Capel had
succeeded him there.  Now, and for many years, Scarsdale Lodge has been
the town home of H. Hughes-Stanton, R.A., whom I have known from almost
the beginning of things.  Up to the year preceding the Pullman
excursion Monsignor Capel had lived in Cedar Villa.  Sothern had made
that place famous for breakfasts and suppers and practical jokes.  {37}
Capel's breakfasts had been quite as famous without the practical
jokes.  Capel had transformed Sothern's billiard room into a chapel.
The dining room in which the actor had "exposed" the "feats" of the
Davenport brothers, and where the lights of Bohemia had twinkled, had,
under the prelate's tenancy, been noted for its hospitality to pilgrims
from the polite world who were on the way to Rome.  But the line was
not drawn at hungry hearts.  Palates that were used to dainty feasts
were tickled there, and brilliant table talk of politics and art, of
literature and science and society had rippled there.  Capel's
hospitality was wide; his guests were, as likely as not,
non-conformists--if they dared to come--Anglicans who dared
anything--and political men of all shades of opinion, especially
anti-Gladstonian opinion.  But disciples of the G.O.M. were welcome if
they were good talkers.  They might be converted to other politics; at
any rate they would hear them.

Monsignor Capel at home was in purple-edged cassock, with purple
buttons and broad purple sash.  If in his shaggy overcoat he had
suggested bulk, in his cassock and biretta he was a dignified, even an
imposing figure.  He received me in his study at the twilight hour.
The fire-glow played over the room, while the papal chamberlain
submitted to the processes of an interview.  But "submitted" is
scarcely the right word; it is merely the word that custom applies to
the extraction of copy from a willing subject.  He had invited the
interviewer and did not pretend that the interview {38} was torture.
We sat by the fire and spun.  The room was on the ground floor of the
house and in the rear, overlooking the garden.  His writing desk was in
a bay window, and above it a crucifix was suspended.  Near it, on the
left wall, hung a large photograph of Pope Pius IX and his household.
The Monsignor himself was not inconspicuous in this.  About the room
were a dozen or more photographs of celebrities.  Among these was a
photograph of Gladstone.  "I keep that here as a penance," said Capel,
to whom the name of the "Grand Old Man" was anathema.

Capel alluded to himself as a "lamb" in politics, but his allusion to
politicians opposed to his way of thinking were anything but lamblike
that early evening.  He had published a pamphlet called "Great Britain
and Rome, or Ought the Queen to Hold Diplomatic Relations with the
Sovereign Pontiff?"  Of course he held that she ought, and he said so
to the immense disapproval of the majority of his fellow countrymen.
He had also produced a pamphlet on the Irish Question which, then as
now, could be counted on for enraging and puzzling half the population.
The solution proposed by him, was, I believe, more Roman Catholicism,
but why and how to get more of what was already in excess one did not
see then, and sees now even less than before.

But Capel's star was dimming.  His Catholic college, or university, or
whatever it was, had failed for lack of support and faults of
administration, and the financial troubles were soon to drive him to
the {39} bankruptcy court, if they had not already done so.  And His
Eminence Cardinal Manning had thrown his influence against the
captivating Monsignor.  The Cardinal had his reasons, and, I suppose,
they were good reasons.  At any rate, like Shylock's, they were
sufficient.  When the Cardinal was against a man in his flock, that
man's chances for preferment, and even for holding his own, were not
worth discussing.  Capel went to America in 1883.  He sailed on the
_Arizona_ whose captain was the brother of my friend, Henry Murray.
The Monsignor made a meteoric flash over the American continent.  I saw
him there.  And then the continent swallowed him.  He died in
California, if not unknown then practically forgotten.

The sequel to my visit at Scarsdale Lodge was an article, and the
article was sent, on chance, to the _Boston Herald_, then the leading
newspaper in New England and of almost metropolitan importance.  I did
not know any one connected with the paper, not even the editor's name.
But the article was printed, although I did not know that until some
months later, at the end of 1882, when I turned up in Boston, at the
_Herald_ office, and asked for the editor, sending him my card with a
message of inquiry about the article which I had posted to him from
London some months earlier.

I intended to ask him for a job, for I had decided to settle awhile in
Boston and turn my London experiences to account if the opportunity
could be made.

A boy came to the room where I had waited on the anxious seat for an
unhappy quarter of an hour.

{40}

"Mr. Holmes will see you," he said.  "Come this way."

Holmes was the man's name, was it!  Yes, John H.  I had learned that
much, and I followed the boy to an inner office.  A dark-haired,
slender, agreeable-mannered man, who looked rather like the Whitelaw
Reid of that time, rose from his desk.  As he did so I said:

"Mr. Holmes, I believe."

"Yes," said he, "and you are the writer of that article?" naming it.

"Yes," said I.

He held out his hand, and smiled.  We shook hands, and I tried to look
as if it were my daily occupation to be welcomed by the editors of
powerful journals.  Naturally, I did n't feel that way, and was
nervously wondering what to say next.  That anxiety vanished as the
editor asked:

"Are you at liberty to do any more work of that kind, or of any special
kind, for us?"

"Yes," said I, concealing, I hoped, my eagerness and delight.

"Then I will take as much as you are willing to write," said he, "and
pay you ten dollars a column, and when you go anywhere for us, your
expense bill."

This seemed a fair beginning, particularly as I had not been compelled
to ask for it, as I had expected to do.  When I closed the door behind
me and descended the stairs, I felt an elation of spirit that was
natural enough in a young chap who was more than five months short of
his twenty-third birthday.

{41}

And so, with the beginning of 1883, I took the plunge into journalism.
There followed five more or less adventurous years which carried me
from one end of the country to the other and across the Atlantic and
back again.  Then in 1888, I was appointed London correspondent of the
same paper, a position which I held for nine years until called
elsewhere.  It is with memories and impressions of the London Days of
that time, and of some of their celebrated personages, that the
following pages are concerned.



{42}

CHAPTER V

BROWNING AND MOSCHELES

You will look in vain now for the old brown-brick bungalow that stood,
for the most part concealed by trees and shrubs, within the railings of
the park-like enclosure halfway down Sloane Street, on the left-hand
side, as you go from Knightsbridge.  It stood there till the end of the
eighties.  If you walked there in the days of my early acquaintance
with it, or glided through Sloane Street in a hansom, the chances were
that the bungalow would still escape your glance, sheltered as it was
by foliage.  But from the top of any 'bus you could make it out
readily, and you would wonder, as most 'bus fares did, what lucky or
eccentric fellow lived within the very plain walls and had all that
Cadogan enclosure as a back garden.  Probably your neighbour on the
'bus top would tell you, 'bus neighbours being at all times well
stocked with misinformation, that the favoured dwelling was the home of
the gardener of the enclosure.  But it was not.  It was the home of my
delightful friend, Felix Moscheles, and there you could find Robert
Browning almost any Sunday afternoon when he was in London.

{43}

Felix Stone Moscheles was the son of Ignaz Moscheles, composer and
pianist, whose intimate friendship with Mendelssohn is revealed in the
latter's published correspondence.  Felix was born in London February
8, 1833, at Number 3 Chester Place, Regent's Park, and Mendelssohn
acted as his godfather at the christening in St. Pancras Church.  Felix
died at Tunbridge Wells, December 22, 1917.  He was as kind a man as
ever lived.  He was an artist by profession, fond of music and
musicians, as you might expect him to be; he spoke several languages
fluently and with equal charm--English, French, German, Esperanto, and
I know not what else--and he was passionately attached to movements for
world peace.  We know that nothing made for the peace of the world down
to mid-1914; that while Germany had been deceiving it, the world had
lulled itself to sleep with "drowsy syrups" and ecstatic daydreams.  I
think the awakening killed my dear old friend.  That is not surprising.
He was over eighty-one when the war broke out, and almost eighty-five
when he died.  Down to 1913, when I saw him last, I used to say that he
was the youngest man of my acquaintance.  He had the optimism of youth,
its buoyant spirit, its gallant outlook.

When I first knew Moscheles he was only fifty-five or fifty-six, and he
was passing cakes to the ladies, while his wife poured tea, and a
stoutish man in a grey checked suit, and with grey moustache and
chin-beard, was talking something which seemed like philosophy, and was
certainly not {44} poetry, to a mixed group in a cosy corner.  It was
one of the happy points about Moscheles' Sunday afternoons that if you
cared to continue talking with another caller and the other caller
cared to continue to listen, or to talk with you, you were not routed
up to exchange commonplaces about the weather with somebody else who
needed to be assured that it rained, or that the sun was shining.  You
could flit from group to group, and find a place where you fitted, and
the host or hostess would contrive, if you were unknown, to make you
known to some one without interrupting some one else's story, so that
no one was left adorning the wall.

The stoutish, grey man in the grey checked suit was Robert Browning
whose afternoon-tea manner was quite simple, as unaffected as that of a
bank-chairman contemplating dividends or deposits.  He was not in the
least a posing poet.  He had been a great friend of Moscheles for a
long time, and the latter spoke of him as "my literary godfather."
Moscheles, at this time, was preparing for publication "Felix
Mendelssohn's letters to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles."  I had
something to do with persuading him to write "In Bohemia with George Du
Maurier."  I had been looking in his studio through a mass of autograph
letters and sketches relating to his years in Paris as an art student,
the "Trilby" years, and, as Du Maurier's book and the play adapted from
it were the rage of the time, Felix was encouraged to write around the
letters he had, and Du Maurier's early sketches, and about the
characters in the romance of the hour, and to {45} send some of the
chapters to the _Century Magazine_, and afterward to produce the whole
as a book.

Moscheles was brought up among celebrities, and was surrounded by the
famous all his life.  Mendelssohn, Joachim, Malibran, Lablache were, in
his boyhood, family friends.  He attracted distinguished persons as
long as he lived.  When he was thirteen the family moved from London to
Leipzig, at Mendelssohn's instigation.  Mendelssohn was eager that his
friend, Moscheles' father, should become a professor in the
Conservatoire which he was founding at Leipzig.  And so the move was
made, Ignaz Moscheles relinquishing his London career and its worldly
advantages in order to live near his friend.  Felix, who at ten had
begun his education at King's College, London, had, at thirteen, to
find it in Germany.  But not for long; when he was seventeen,
determined to become an artist, he began studying drawing and painting
in Paris, at the Atelier Gleyre.  Having seen something of the troubles
of Germany in 1848, he was now to see the troubles of France which led
to and followed the flight of Louis Philippe, and attended the _coup
d'état_.

It was during the Atelier Gleyre period that he met George du Maurier
and had the amusing experiences he described afterwards in the book to
which I have alluded.  From Paris he went to Antwerp, where he studied
under Van Lorino at De Keyser's Academy, and where he had as fellow
students Laurens Alma-Tadema, Maris, and Heyermans.  I don't know when
he returned to London {46} to settle down, but when he did so he began
a career that was to be rich in friendships, helpful to all, and
productive in portraiture.

As a portrait painter he was at his best, I think.  As long ago as
1862, in his studio at Cadogan Gardens, he painted a portrait of
Mazzini which, after Mazzini's death, he offered to present to Italy.
But official Italy at that time was not desiring portraits of Mazzini
and the offer was declined.  Now, after the painter's death, the
portrait goes to a museum at Milan.  In 1882, Moscheles visited
America, accompanying his friends Henry Irving and Ellen Terry on their
first journey over the Atlantic.  He painted Grover Cleveland, during
the week when Cleveland was first elected to the Presidency, and talked
with him of the subjects which absorbed the artist,--International
Arbitration and Universal Peace.  His portrait of Browning went to the
Armour Institute, Chicago.  Other portraits of his which were quite
remarkable, which linger in the memory, were of his mother, Charlotte
Moscheles, Rubinstein, H. M. Stanley, Gounod, Sarasate, Tom Mann,
Israels, Stepniak, George Jacob Holyoake (at the age of eighty); he
made beautiful water colours of Venice, of Spain, of Sicily, of Cairo,
of Tunis, of Algerian subjects; and later was quite fascinated by his
scheme of painting a series of "Pictures with a Purpose."

But the "Pictures with a Purpose" did not, I think, attract persons
less purposeful than the painter.  They were socialistic pictures,
reforming, philanthropic, propagandist, as if the painter were {47}
preaching by paint and canvas.  I think his oral preaching was
preferred.

I have mentioned the old brown-brick bungalow where Moscheles lived in
Cadogan Gardens, where I first knew him, and first saw Robert Browning.
Moscheles had lived there for I know not how many years, but when his
lease expired, in the early nineties, the bungalow expired too.  The
march of "improvement" was coming down Sloane Street, and the bungalow
was doomed.  It disappeared from the gaze of surrounding and jealous
neighbours who might have keys to the gardens but could not live in
those pleasant demesnes.  In the Elm Park Road, near the borders of
Chelsea and Fulham, Moscheles found a house with an unusually large
garden.  He transformed the house and built a studio which he connected
with it, and there one went to so many melodious evenings and artistic
afternoons that through the years of recollection I seem to behold him
hospitably dispensing tea and bread and butter, attended by swarms of
musicians who were, or were to become, famous; by poets and painters
who had found, or still were seeking, celebrity; by dreamers who were
going to free Russia; or zealous gentlemen, like Baron d'Estournelles
de Constant, who were not only labouring for the Hague Conferences but
for the Parliament of Man.

It was there that Mark Hambourg first played when he came to London.  I
remember the occasion well enough, but not the music, for I cannot
forget that phenomenally ugly youngster.  He was then {48} only a boy.
But the music rippled and thundered from his fingers, while that
amazing head with its torrential hair cast shivering shadows over the
magical keyboard.  The unprepossessing youth was then unknown.  He
became known soon enough and he ran quickly to the fame that waits upon
pianists of remarkable gifts.

Moscheles was a citizen of the world, which he regarded as his native
country, so it was natural enough that he should take a lively interest
in Esperanto in the days when people thought it a fad, and he became,
as he remained, President of the London Esperanto Club.  He was
constantly corresponding with congenial folk in remote countries with
the object of spreading the merits of Esperanto as an auxiliary
language for international intercourse.  "Even now," he said a
generation ago, "I can go anywhere with it, and by its aid find
somebody who will make me feel at home."  He was a tireless
propagandist.  I would venture to say that he loved "propaganding" more
than art.  At any rate he could seldom avoid diluting his painting with
propaganda in the contented Victorian era when little wars were fought
every six months and trouble looked for between whiles.  How easy it
seemed in those days, when most of us were credulous, to achieve
Liberty by lecturing!

Partly through his zeal for Esperanto and partly through his passion
for a "Free Russia", he was particularly keen to meet Stepniak.  I had
known the latter for some years, having as long ago as 1885 or 1886
written an article about him for the _New {49} York Tribune_.  The
meeting with Moscheles was brought about one night at a "Smoke Talk" in
my home in Cheyne Walk, and from that moment the two men became fast
friends, remaining so until Stepniak's tragic death.  Whether Stepniak
had or had not killed an official in Russia I don't know, and I do not
care much.  If he had killed him I dare say the man deserved it, for,
of all the plundering and oppressive gangs of officialdom, the Russians
of that era had about the worst; they robbed like desperados and they
ruled their land with lies, torture, and corruption.  In a country
capable of producing the "Revolution" of 1917 and the later Bolshevism,
anything was possible in the mid-eighties,--anything except the shadow
of freedom.  The tall dark Russian with the thin beard and the thin
squeaky voice was a striking contrast to Moscheles, who was grey, and
rather short than tall, and whose quiet geniality was the bloom on a
trustful, generous character that invited confidence.  Stepniak used to
say that he never became quite accustomed to the liberty of English
life.  The opposite character of Russian habits had bitten too deeply
into him.  I remember that when he first came to London he would look
around furtively when in the street, and if we stopped at a corner to
talk he would ask: "Will the police allow this?  In Russia they would
not after dark."  If he had lived to see London during the Great War he
might have felt much more at home.

No one was ever bored at the Moscheles' afternoons.  How could one be
bored when host and {50} hostess gave no thought to themselves but all
their thought to their guests?  Even the Swami I met there did not
depress my spirits as many Swamis have done.  I forget his name.  I
have met regiments of them in one country and another.  Mostly they
blazed, not with humility but importance.  He, I say, had a worldly
air, as if he were an Anglican bishop.  He had also a sense of humour
which was not entirely subdued as he listened to an American lady
expounding the doctrine of "Votes for Women."  "Madame," said he, "may
I ask a question?"

The lady looked assent.

"Your husband: does he share these views?"

"Not yet," she replied.

"Ah," said the Swami.  And there were gusts of laughter.

"I may add," said the lady, "that I am not yet married."

Then the laughter came in shrieks, and the Swami smiled.  But this, of
course, was a generation before the suffragettes were brandishing
hatchets like the Redmen, and burning churches and slashing paintings
like the Huns.

But I have alluded to Browning, and have done so because whenever I
think of Moscheles, I always think of him in association with Browning.
Their friendship was very intimate, and that is one fact which shows
the kind of man Moscheles was.  After that glimpse and
how-d'ye-do-good-bye at the old brown-brick bungalow which the Earl of
Cadogan was so glad to destroy when the chance arrived to do so, it had
been arranged by Moscheles and the {51} poet that we should meet again
with another friend of the three at a little lunch of four.  But fate,
or, to be precise, politics, which may be another name for fate,
decided otherwise, and I had to go far afield to chronicle the results.
Never again did that little company come together unless it were at
Browning's open grave, on the midday of the dying year.  The reaper
Death had mown quickly.

When the scene shifted to Westminster Abbey, I waited at the cloister
doors till I could pass to a seat in the Poets' Corner.  While waiting
at the door, I heard from the pressing throng behind me the voice of an
Irish writer whom I had known and had lost from sight five years
before.  While looking for the familiar face that belonged to the
delicious brogue, there came the sound of a great key turning an
ancient lock, and then the door swung open.  "Come," said another
friend, and we went in, getting separated before we had gone far, but
taking seats near the draped grave.

Browning's son was chief mourner.  The poet had died in his son's home,
the Palazzo Rezzonico, in Venice.  And now, this day at Westminster was
the last day of 1889.  The great bell of the Abbey began tolling; its
deep notes floated down from its tower as they sought lodgment in the
hearts of the assembling throng, and with every stroke some face
appeared that all England, or the world, knew well.  After thirty years
I can recall many of the faces that the grey light of the dull day,
softened by the colouring of the Abbey windows, fell upon.  There were
tiers of people.  Even the openings in {52} the triforium revealed
them, and by the great western doors they were packed, though they
could catch but glimpses of the chancel, and most of them not that.
Huxley's was the first face I saw.  I had first seen it in the same
place, almost on the same spot, years before, at Darwin's funeral.  Max
Muller and George Meredith were near him now.  One thought that England
sent her celebrated living men that day to meet the famous multitudes
whose bodies have been laid away beneath the Abbey pavement for
centuries upon centuries.  There were Lord Wolseley and the Lord Chief
Justice, Lord (then Professor) Bryce, Frederic Harrison, Holman Hunt,
Henry Irving, Sidney Colvin, Whistler and Poynter and Alma-Tadema and
Sir John Lubbock (afterwards Lord Avebury).

London was covered with a thickening fog.  You could scarcely see the
Abbey from Dean's Yard.  Within the Abbey the arches aloft dissolved in
mist, a mist of copper and pale gold where the light glanced through
rose windows.  Slipping into one's memory came Mrs. Browning's lines:

  "--view the city perish in the mist
  Like Pharaoh's armaments in the deep Red Sea,
  The chariots, horsemen, footmen, all the host
  Sucked down and choked to silence."


Candles from the choir places, and long-chained lamps, sent their soft,
yellow gleams eerily through the veil which seemed to hang above us.
And as the high noon drew near my glances fell upon the historians
Kinglake, Lecky, and Froude.  Would {53} any one of the three ever
write of this scene in England's history, I wondered?  Bret Harte,
Burne-Jones, George du Maurier, Leslie Stephen, William Black,
Bancroft, and John Hare, and the publishers Blackwood, Macmillan,
Murray, and Spottiswoode, ambassadors and ministers, the heads of
universities, of learned societies, were shown to their places, singly
or in groups, or took positions where they could find them, standing
against the monuments.  And when no more people could find space, the
Abbey clock struck twelve, and the great west doors swung open, and
down the long central aisle came the funeral train.  Then arose the
choral music which for one hundred and seventy years has risen at every
burial within the Abbey, the burial office composed and played by Croft
and Purcell when they were organists at Westminster.

Sir Frederick Bridge is playing it now, as Robert Browning, all there
is of him on earth, is carried on his bier through the dense throng, to
pause a while at the foot of the chancel steps beneath the central
lantern.  Choir and clergy precede him.  On either side of him walk
Hallam Tennyson, Doctor Butler (of Trinity College, Cambridge), Sir
James Fitzjames Stephen, Sir Theodore Martin, Archdean Farrar,
Professor Masson, Professor Jowett (master of Balliol), Sir Frederick
Leighton, Sir James Paget, Sir George Grove, George Murray Smith
(Browning's publisher), and Professor Knight (of the University of St.
Andrews).  Then as the service proceeds (the Archbishop of Canterbury
is here, Dean Vaughan, and others eminent in the {54} Church) the
choristers sing a "Meditation" which Sir Frederick Bridge has composed
to Mrs. Browning's poem:

  "What would we give to our beloved?
  The hero's heart to be unmoved,
    The poet's star-tuned harp to sweep,
  The patriot's voice to teach and rouse,
  The monarch's crown to light the brows?
    'He giveth His beloved sleep.'

  "O earth, so full of dreary noises!
  O men, with wailing in your voices!
    O delved gold, the wailers heap!
  O strife, O curse that o'er it fall!
  God strikes a silence through you all,
    And 'giveth His beloved sleep.'

  "His dews drop mutely on the hill,
  His cloud above it saileth still,
    Though on its slopes men sow and reap,
  More softly than the dew is shed,
  Or cloud is floated overhead,
    'He giveth His beloved sleep.'"


The organ and the choir paused; all sounds died away.  God struck a
silence through us all.  It fell upon a throng that faced the world's
loss as if suddenly confronted by the flight of the soul for whose
absence all mourned.  And just then there fell a shaft of sunlight,
golden, magical, touching the bier, and then it faded slowly away.  To
many, very many among the silent company, the loss by this death was a
personal one; to all it had more than a touch of that.  It must be so
when a great poet dies.  What I remember as vividly as all else {55}
was the great number of young faces in the Abbey, as if the rising
generation did reverence to him who had passed.

By and by the last hymn had been sung, the Dean had pronounced the
benediction, and Bridge, at the great organ, made the old Abbey thrill
to its inmost stones with the vibrating tones of the Dead March from
"Saul."  Now the coffin had been lowered into its grave at the foot of
Chaucer's tomb.  Before us and at each hand were monuments, tablets,
inlaid stones, marking the burial places of Spenser, Dryden, Gay, of
Butler and Casaubon, Ben Jonson, Addison and Cowley, Prior, Macaulay
and Grote; of Handel, Campbell, Sheridan, and Garrick.  I stood on the
grave of Dickens.  And the throng passed slowly, reverently gazing into
the dark grave where Browning's body had been laid as the old year was
dying.  Pealing through nave and transepts and the chapels of Kings,
above the altar and the tombs of soldiers, sailors, statesmen--the
brood who had made England and sung of her--the rumbling and trumpeting
of the Dead March.  Might not Shakespeare and Milton, Doctor Johnson,
and Goldsmith and Gray have come to the Poets' Corner that day at noon
to join the company, and to greet, from their own memorials, this other
man who had helped to make England?  It seemed quite probable as we
passed from that real world into the world of fog, and the closing door
of the Poets' Corner shut in behind us the now tremulous notes of the
organ.

How often have I heard Sir Frederick stir the {56} slumbering majesty,
beauty, and solemnity that lie within the Abbey organ, stir them to
living wonder on occasions like this?  More times than I can easily
recall.  In capitals and churches and cathedrals, in many parts of the
world, that March from "Saul" has awakened memories within me.  My
earliest memory of music concerns itself with a military band, marching
slowly, slowly down a hill, troops following with reversed arms, a gun
carriage carrying something that was not a gun, covered with a flag;
horses whose riders moved very slowly; coaches that young eyes saw as
beyond number; and then a hole-in-the-ground.  Men carried something on
their shoulders from the gun carriage and lowered it into the hole;
other men fired guns at the sky.  A hawk flew full circle in the blue.
And some one said, "My boy, take a last look where your father lies."
Then the Dead March rolled and moaned again, and fixed itself on one of
the pins of memory.

The solemn notes always bring back those moments, as a vision in which
a small boy made his first acquaintance with Death.  But they have
never seemed to humble and exalt, moan and triumph and sob and
victoriously march to the rhythm of the winds, so charged with majesty,
as when Sir Frederick touched the heart of his instrument at the Abbey.
The occasion, the place drenched with memories, the simple ceremony,
the music's magic, and the mystery of it all make of this tribute to
Death one of the rich experiences of living.



{57}

CHAPTER VI

PATTI

One broiling afternoon--it was in August, 1893--a Great Western train
from London left me at a wee-bit station on the top of a Welsh
mountain.  The station was called "Penwylt."  It overlooked the Swansea
Valley, and stood about halfway between Brecon and the sea.  When a
traveller alighted at Penwylt there was no need to ask why he did so.
He could have but one destination, and that was Craig-y-Nos Castle, the
home of Madame Patti.  She was then Madame Patti-Nicolini; she
afterward became the Baroness Cederström.  I shall use here the name by
which, for sixty years, she has been known to an adoring world.  A
carriage from the castle was awaiting me, and quickly it bore me down
the steep road to the valley, a sudden turn showing the Patti palace
there on the banks of the Tawe.  The Castle was two miles distant and a
thousand feet below the railway.  An American flag was flying on the
tower.  It flew there through the week of my visit, for was I not an
ambassador from the American Public to the Queen of Song?

Mr. Gladstone once told Madame Patti that he would like to make her
Queen of Wales.  But she {58} was that already, and more.  She was
Queen of Hearts the world over, and every soul with an ear was her
liege.  And, literally, in Wales Patti was very like a queen.  She
lived in a palace; people came to her from the ends of the earth; she
was attended with "love, honour, troops of friends"; and whenever she
went beyond her own immediate gardens the country folk gathered by the
roadside, dropping curtseys and throwing kisses to her bonny majesty.

Her greeting of me was characteristic of this most famous and fortunate
of women, this unspoiled favourite of our whirling planet.  A group of
her friends stood merrily chatting in the hall, and, as I approached, a
dainty little woman with big brown eyes came running out from the
centre of the company, stretched forth her hands, spoke a hearty
welcome, and accompanied it with the inimitable smile which had made
slaves of emperors.  She had the figure and vivacity of a girl.  She
was fifty that year, but, there in broad daylight, looked fifteen or
twenty years younger.  This is not an illusion of gallantry, but a
statement of fact.

There was a kind of family party at Craig-y-Nos.  Stiffness and
dullness, and the usual country-house talk about horses and guns, golf
and fishing, did not prevail there.  _La Diva's_ guests were intimate
friends, and chiefly a company of English girls who were passing the
summer with her.  In the evening, when all assembled in the
drawing-room before going in to dinner, I found that we represented
five nationalities,--Italian, Spanish, French, English, {59} and
American.  While we awaited the appearance of our hostess, the
gathering seemed like a polyglot congress.

As the chimes in the tower struck the hour of eight, a fairy vision
appeared at the drawing-room door,--Patti, royally gowned and jewelled.
The defects of the masculine intellect leave me incapable of describing
the costume of that radiant little woman.  It belonged to one of her
operatic characters, I forget which one.  But my forgetfulness does n't
matter.  The sight brought us to our feet, bowing as if we had been a
company of court gallants in the "spacious days of great Elizabeth",
and we added the modern tribute of applause, which our queen
acknowledged with a silvery laugh.  I remember only that the gown was
white and of some silky stuff, and that about _La Diva's_ neck were
loops of pearls, and that above her fluffy chestnut hair were
glittering jewels.  With women it may be different, but mere man cannot
give a list of Patti's adornments on any occasion; he can know only
that they became her, and that he saw only her happy face.  Before our
murmurs had ceased, Patti, who had not entered the room, but had merely
stood in the portal, turned, taking the arm of the guest who was to sit
at her right, and away we marched in her train, as if she were truly
the queen, through the corridors to the conservatory, where dinner was
served.

It was my privilege at the Castle table to sit at Madame Patti's left.
At her right was one whose friendship with her dated from the instant
of her {60} first European triumph.  Heavens!--How many years ago?  But
it was a quarter of a century less than it now is at the time of which
I am writing.  The delight of those luncheons and dinners at
Craig-y-Nos is unforgettable.  There was a notion abroad that these
meals were held "in state"; but they were not.  There was merely the
ordinary dinner custom of an English mansion.  The menu, though, was
stately enough, for the art of cookery was practised at Craig-y-Nos by
a master who had earned the right to prepare dinners for Patti.  The
dining room was seldom used in summer for, handsome though that
apartment is, Patti, and her guests, too, for that matter, preferred to
be served in the great glass room which was formerly the conservatory
and was still called so.  There we sat, as far as outlook goes, out of
doors; in whatever direction we gazed we looked up or down the Swansea
Valley, across to the mountains, and along the tumbling course of the
river Tawe.  I was risking some neglect of my dinner, for I sat gazing
at the wood-covered cliffs of Craig-y-Nos (Rock-of-the-Night) opposite,
and listening to the ceaseless prattle of the mountain stream.  Patti,
noticing my admiration of the view, said, "You see what a dreadful
place it is in which I bury myself."

"'Bury' yourself!  On the contrary, here you are at the summit of
Paradise, and you have discovered the fountain of perpetual youth.  A
'dreadful place', indeed!  It's the nearest thing to fairy-land."

"But one of your countrymen says that I 'hide {61} far from the world
among the ugly Welsh hills.'  He writes it in an American journal of
fabulous circulation, and I suppose people believe the tale."

Patti laughed at the thought of a too credulous public, and then she
added:

"Really, they write the oddest things about my home, as if it were
either the scene of Jack-the-Giant-Killer's exploits on the top of the
Beanstalk, or a prison in a desolate land."

After visiting Patti at Craig-y-Nos I wondered no more why this
enchanting woman sang "Home, Sweet Home" so that she fascinated
millions.  Her own home was far from being "humble", but it was before
all things, a home.  And she had earned it.  There is not anywhere a
lovelier spot, nor was there elsewhere a place so remote and at the
same time so complete in every resource of civilization.

Dinner passed merrily.  Merrily is exactly the word to describe it.  Up
and down the table good stories flew, sometimes faster than one could
catch them.  Nobody liked a good joke better than Patti, and when she
heard one that particularly pleased her she would interpret it to some
guest who had not sufficiently mastered the language in which it was
told.  It was all sheer comedy, and after watching it, and hearing _La
Diva_ speak in a variety of tongues, I asked:

"I wonder if you have what people call a native tongue, or whether all
of them came to you as a gift of the gods."

"Oh, I don't know so many languages," she {62} replied, "only--let's
see--English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian."

"And which do you speak best, or like best?"

"I really don't know.  To me there is no difference, as far as
readiness goes, and I suppose 'the readiness is all.'"

"Not quite all.  But what is your favourite, if you have a favourite
among them?"

"Oh, Italian!  Listen!"

And then she recited an Italian poem.  Next to hearing Patti sing, the
sweetest sound was her Italian speech.  Presently she said:

"Speaking of languages, Mr. Gladstone paid me a pretty compliment a
little while ago--nearly three years ago.  I will show you his letter
to-morrow, if you care to see it."

Patti forgot nothing.  The next day she brought me Mr. Gladstone's
letter.  The Grand Old Man had been among her auditors at Edinburgh,
and after the performance he went on the stage to thank her for the
pleasure she had given him.  He complained a little of a cold which had
been troubling him, and Patti begged him to try some lozenges which she
found useful.  That night she sent him a little box of them.  The old
statesman acknowledged the gift with this letter:


6, Rothesay Terrace,
  Edinburgh.
    October 22, 1890.

Dear Madame Patti:

I do not know how to thank you enough for your charming gift.  I am
afraid, however, that the use {63} of your lozenges will not make me
your rival.  _Voce quastata di ottante' anni non si ricupera_.

It was a rare treat to hear from your Italian lips last night the songs
of my own tongue, rendered with a delicacy of modulation and a fineness
of utterance such as no native ever in my hearing had reached or even
approached.  Believe me,

Faithfully yours,
  W. E. GLADSTONE.


This letter, naturally enough, gave conversation a reminiscent turn.
After some talk of great folk she had known, I asked Madame Patti what
had been the proudest experience in her career.

"For a great and unexpected honour most gracefully tendered," said she,
"I have known nothing that has touched me more deeply than a compliment
paid by the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII) and a
distinguished company, at a dinner given to the Duke of York and the
Princess May (the present King and Queen), a little while before their
wedding.  The dinner was given by Mr. Alfred Rothschild, one of my
oldest and best friends.  There were many royalties present and more
dukes and duchesses than I can easily remember.  During the ceremonies
the Prince of Wales arose, and to my astonishment, proposed the health
of his 'old and valued friend, Madame Patti.'  He made _such_ a pretty
speech, and in the course of it said that he had first seen and heard
me in Philadelphia in 1860, when I sang in 'Martha', and that since
then his own attendance at what he was good enough to call my
'victories in the realm of song' had been among his pleasantest {64}
recollections.  He recalled the fact that on one of the occasions, when
the Princess and himself had invited me to Marlborough House, his wife
had held up little Prince George, in whose honour we were this night
assembled, and bade him kiss me, so that in after life he might say
that he had 'kissed the famous Madame Patti.'  And then, do you know,
that whole company of royalty, nobility, and men of genius rose and
cheered me and drank my health.  Don't you think that any little woman
would be proud, and ought to be proud, of a spontaneous tribute like
that?"

It is difficult, when repeating in this way such snatches of biography,
to suggest the modest tone and manner of the person whose words may be
recorded.  It is particularly difficult in the case of Madame Patti,
who was absolutely unspoiled by praise.  Autobiography such as hers
must read a little fanciful to most folk; it is so far removed from the
common experiences of us all and even from the extraordinary
experiences of the renowned persons we hear about usually.  But there
was not a patch of vanity in Patti's sunny nature.  Her life had been a
long, unbroken record of success,--success to a degree attained by no
other woman.  No one else has won and held such homage; no one else had
been so wondrously endowed with beauty and genius and sweet simplicity
of nature,--a nature unmarred by flattery, by applause, by wealth, by
the possession and exercise of power.  Patti at fifty was like a girl
in her ways, in her thoughts, her spirit, in her disinterestedness, in
her enjoyments.  {65} Time had dimmed none of her charms, it had not
lessened then her superb gifts.  She said to me one day:

"They tell me I am getting to be an old woman, but I don't believe it.
I don't feel old.  I feel young.  I am the youngest person of my
acquaintance."

That was true enough, as they knew who saw Patti from day to day.  She
had all the enthusiasm and none of the affectations of a young girl.
When she spoke of herself it was with most delicious frankness and lack
of self-consciousness.  She was perfectly natural.

She promised to show me the programme of that Philadelphia performance
before the Prince of Wales so long ago, and the next day she put it
before me.  It was a satin programme with gilt fringe, and it was
topped by the Prince of Wales's feathers.  At that Philadelphia
performance Patti made her first appearance before royalty.  In the
next year she made her London début at Covent Garden, as Amina in "La
Somnambula."  The next morning Europe rang with the fame of the new
prima donna from America.

"I tried to show them that the young lady from America was entitled to
a hearing," said she, as we looked over the old programmes.

"And has 'the young lady from America' kept her national spirit, or has
she become so much a citizen of the world that no corner of it has any
greater claim than another upon her affections?"

"I love the Italian language, the American people, {66} the English
country, and my Welsh home," she said.

"Good!  The national preferences, if you can be said to own any, have
reason on their side.  Your parents were Italian, you were born in
Spain, you made your first professional appearance in America, you
first won international fame in England, and among these Welsh hills
you have planted a paradise."

"How nice of you!  That evening at Mr. Alfred Rothschild's, the Prince
of Wales asked me why I do not stay in London during 'the season', and
take some part in its endless social pleasures.  'Because, your Royal
Highness,' I replied, 'I have a lovely home in Wales, and whenever I
come away from it I leave my heart there.'  'After all,' said the
prince, 'why should you stay in London when the whole world is only too
glad to make pilgrimages to Craig-y-Nos?'  Was n't that nice of him?"

I despair of conveying any impression of the _naïveté_ with which the
last five words were uttered.  The tone expressed the most innocent
pleasure in the world.  When Patti spoke in that way she seemed to be
wondering why people should say and do so many pleasant things on her
account.  There was an air of childish surprise in her look and voice.

I said: "All good republicans have a passion for royalty.  I find that
an article about a King, or a Queen, or a Prince is in greater demand
in the United States than anywhere else in the world.  So tell me
something more about the Prince and Princess of Wales.  I promise, as a
zealous democrat, that {67} no one on the far side of the Atlantic will
skip a word.  Have the Prince and Princess visited Craig-y-Nos?"

"No.  But they were coming here a couple of years ago.  See--here is
the Prince's letter fixing the date.  But it was followed by the death
of the Duke of Clarence, their eldest son, and then for many months
they lived in quiet and mourning, only appearing in their usual way
just before the wedding of the Duke of York (King George V).  They sent
me an invitation to the wedding festivities.  But alas!  I could not
go.  I had just finished my season and was lying painfully ill with
rheumatism.  You heard of that?  For weeks I suffered acutely.  It's an
old complaint.  I have had it at intervals ever since I was a child.
But about that royal wedding.  When the Prince and Princess of Wales
learned that I was too ill to accept their gracious invitation,
they--well, what do you suppose they did next?"

"Something kind and graceful."

"They sent me two large portraits of themselves, bearing their
autographs and fitted into great gilt frames.  You shall see the
portraits after dinner.  They have the places of honour at Craig-y-Nos."

We had reached the coffee stage of dinner, and the cigars were being
passed.  The ladies did not withdraw, according to the mediæval (and
shall I say popular?) habit, but the company remained unbroken, and
while the gentlemen smoked, the ladies kept them in conversation.
Nowadays you would say they all smoked.  Presently, some one {68}
proposed Patti's health, and we all stood, singing, "For She 's a Jolly
Good Fellow."

That put the ball of merriment in motion again.  One of the young
ladies, a goddaughter of the hostess, carolled a stanza from a popular
ditty.  At first I thought it audacious that any one should sing in the
presence of _La Diva_.  It seemed sacrilege.  But in another instant we
were all at it, piping the chorus, and Patti leading off.  The fun of
the thing was infectious.  The song finished, we ventured another, and
Patti joined us in the refrains of a medley of music-hall airs,
beginning with London's latest mania, "Daisy Bell, or a Bicycle Built
for Two", and winding up with Chevalier's "Old Kent Road" and the
"Coster's Serenade", Coborn's "Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo",
and somebody else's "Daddy Would n't Buy me a Bow-Wow."

Patti turned with an arch look.  "You will think our behaviour
abominable."

"No, I don't.  I think it jolly.  Besides, it's not everybody who has
heard you sing comic songs."

Her answer was a peal of laughter, and then she sat there, singing very
softly a stanza of "My Old Kentucky Home", and as we finished the
chorus she lifted a clear, sweet note, which thrilled us through and
through and stirred us to excited applause.

"What have I done?"  Patti put the question with a puzzled air.

The reply came from the adjoining library: "High E."  One of our number
had run to the piano.

{69}

Then I recalled what Sir Morell Mackenzie had told me a little while
before he died.  We were chatting in that famous room of his in Harley
Street, and we happened to mention Madame Patti.  "She has the most
wonderful throat I have ever seen," said Sir Morell.  "It is the only
one I have ever seen with the vocal cords in absolutely perfect
condition after many years of use.  They are not strained, or warped or
roughened, but as I tell you, they are perfect.  There is no reason why
they should not remain so ten years longer, and with care and health
twenty years longer."

Remembering this, I asked Patti if she had taken extraordinary care of
her voice.

"I have never tired it," said she; "I never sing when I am tired, and
that means I am never tired when I sing.  And I have never strained for
high notes.  I have heard that the first question asked of new
vocalists nowadays is 'How high can you sing?'  But I have always
thought that the least important matter in singing.  One should sing
only what one can sing with perfect ease."

"But in eating and drinking?  According to all accounts, you are the
most abstemious person in the world."

"No, indeed!  I avoid very hot and very cold dishes, otherwise I eat
and drink whatever I like.  My care is chiefly to avoid taking cold and
to avoid indigestion.  But these are the ordinary precautions of one
who knows that health is the key to happiness."

"And practising?  Have you rigid rules for that?  One hears of
astounding exercise and self-denial."

{70}

"Brilliant achievements in fiction.  For practising I run a few scales
twenty minutes a day.  After a long professional tour I let my voice
rest for a month and do not practise at all during that time."

During my visit to Craig-y-Nos we usually spent our evenings in the
billiard rooms.  There were two, an English room and a French one.  In
the French room there was a large orchestrion which had been built in
Geneva for Madame Patti.  It was operated by electricity and was said
to be the finest instrument of its kind.  Our hostess would start it of
an evening, and the ingenious contrivance would "discourse most
eloquent music" from a repertoire of one hundred and sixteen pieces,
including arias from grand operas, military marches and simple ballads.
Music, of course, is the fascinator that Patti cannot resist.  The
simplest melody stirs her to song.  In the far corner from the
orchestrion she would sit in a big easy-chair, and hum the air that
rolled from the organ pipes, keeping time with her dainty feet, or
moving her head as the air grew livelier.  Or she would send forth some
lark-like trill, or urge the young people to a dance, or a chorus, and
when every one was tuned to the full pitch of melody and merriment, she
would join in the fun as heartily as the rest.  I used to sit and watch
her play the castanets, or hear her snatch an air or two from "Martha",
"Lucia", or "Traviata."

One night the younger fry were chanting negro melodies, and Patti came
into the room, warbling as if possessed by an ecstasy.  "I love those
darky songs," said she, and straightway she sang to us, {71} with that
inimitable clarity and tenderness which were hers alone, "Way Down upon
the Suwanee River", "Massa's in the Col', Col' Ground", and after that
"Home, Sweet Home", while all of us listeners felt more than we cared
to show.

Guests at Craig-y-Nos were the most fortunate of mortals.  If the guest
were a man, a valet was told off to attend him; if the guest were a
lady, a maid was placed at her service.  Breakfast was served in one's
room at any hour one chose.  Patti never came down before high noon.
She rose at half-past eight, but remained until twelve in her
apartments, going through her correspondence with her secretary and
practising a little music.  At half-past twelve luncheon was served in
the glass pavilion.  After that hour a guest was free to follow his own
devices until dinner time.  He might go shooting, fishing, riding,
walking, or he might stroll about the lovely demesne, and see what
manner of heavenly nook nature and Patti had made for themselves among
the hills of Wales.  Patti's castle is in every sense a palatial
dwelling.  She saw it fifteen years before I did, fell in love with it,
purchased it, and subsequently expended great sums in enlarging it.
The castellated mansion, with the theatre at one end and the pavilion
and winter garden at the other, has a frontage of fully a thousand feet
along the terraced banks of the Tawe.  But the place has been so often
described that it is unnecessary to repeat that oft-told story, or to
give details of the gasworks, the electric-lighting station, the ice
plant and cold-storage rooms, the steam {72} laundry, the French and
English kitchens, the stables, the carriage houses, the fifty servants,
or of the watchfulness, care, devotion, which surrounded the melodious
mistress of this miniature kingdom.  Those matters are a part of the
folklore of England and America.

But I must say something of Patti's little theatre.  It was her special
and particular delight.  She got more pleasure from it than from any
other of the many possessions at Craig-y-Nos.  It was a gem of a
theatre, well proportioned and exquisitely decorated.  Not only could
the sloping floor be quickly raised, so that the auditorium might
become a ballroom, but the appurtenances of the stage were elaborate
and complete.  For this statement I had the authority of the stage
manager of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.  This expert was
supervising certain alterations at the Patti theatre while I was at
Craig-y-Nos, and he told me that the house then contained every
accessory for the production of forty operas!

Patti sang occasionally at concerts in her theatre.  All her life she
treasured her voice for the public; she had never exhausted it by
devising an excess of entertainment for her personal friends.  And so
most of the performances in the little theatre were pantomimic.
Although Patti seemed to me always to be humming and singing while I
was at the Castle, yet there was nothing of the "performing" order in
what she did.  She merely went singing softly about the house, or
joining in our choruses, like a happy child.

{73}

One morning, while a dozen of us were sitting in the shade of the
terrace, the ladies with their fancy work, the men with their papers,
books, and cigars, we heard, from an open window above, a burst of
song, full-throated like a bird's.  It was for all the world like the
song of a skylark, of glorious ecstasy, as if the bird were mounting in
the air, the merrier as it soared the higher, until it poured from an
invisible height a shower of joyous melody.  No one amongst us stirred,
or made a sound.  _La Diva_ thought us far away up the valley, where we
had planned an excursion, but we had postponed the project to a cooler
day.  We remained silent, listening.  Our unseen entertainer seemed to
be flitting about her boudoir, singing as she flitted, snatching a bar
or two from this opera and that, revelling in the fragment of a ballad,
or trilling a few notes like our friend the lark.  Presently she
ceased, and we were about to move, when she began to sing "Comin' Thro'
the Rye."  She was alone in her room, but she was singing as gloriously
as if to an audience of ten thousand in the Albert Hall.  The
unsuspected group of listeners on the terrace slipped then from their
own control, and took to vigorous applause and cries of "_brava,
brava_."

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried the birdlike voice above.

We looked up, and saw Patti leaning out at the casement.

"Oh," said she, "I couldn't help it, really I could n't.  I 'm so
happy!"

At luncheon she proposed an entertainment in the theatre for the
evening of the following day.  {74} We were to have "Camille" in
pantomime.  The preparations moved swiftly.  Among the guests were
several capable amateur actors.  The performance began a little after
ten.  Some musicians were brought from Swansea.  A dozen gentlefolk
hastily summoned from the valley, those among the guests who were not
enrolled for the pantomime, and a gallery full of cottagers and
servants made up the audience.  We had "an opera" in five acts of
pantomime, with orchestra, and all together it was fun.  Of course,
Patti carried off the honours.  There was supper after the play, and
the sunlight crept into the Swansea Valley within two hours after we
had risen from table.

I said to Patti after the pantomime, "You don't seem to believe that
change of occupation is the best possible rest.  You seem to work as
hard at rehearsing and acting in your little theatre as if you were 'on
tour.'"

"Not quite!  Besides, it is n't work, it's play," replied the
miraculous little woman.  "I love the theatre.  And, then, there is
always something to learn about acting.  I find these pantomime
performances useful as well as amusing."

Every afternoon about three o'clock Patti and her guests went for a
drive, a small procession of landaus and brakes rattling along the
smooth country roads.  You could see at once that this was Pattiland.
The cottagers came to their doors and saluted her Melodious Majesty,
and the children of the countryside ran out and threw kisses.

"Oh! the dears," exclaimed the kind-hearted {75} Queen, as we were
driving toward the village of Ystradgynlais (they call it something
like "Ist-rag-dun-las"), one afternoon.  "I would like to build another
castle and put all those mites into it, and let them live there with
music and flowers!"  And I believe she would have given orders for such
a castle straightway, had there been a builder in sight.

On the way home Patti promised me "a surprise" for the evening.  I
wondered what it might be, and when the non-appearance of the ladies
kept the gentlemen waiting in the drawing-room at dinner time, I was
the more puzzled.  The men, to pass the time, inspected the "trophies"
of the prima donna.  It would be impossible to enumerate them because
Craig-y-Nos Castle was another South Kensington Museum in respect to
the treasures it held.  Every shelf, table, and cabinet was packed with
gifts which Patti had received from all parts of the earth, from
monarchs and millionaires, princes and peasants, old friends and
strangers.  There was Marie Antoinette's watch, to begin with, and
there were portraits of the Prince and Princess of Wales, to end with.
There was a remarkable collection of portraits of royal personages,
presented to Patti by the distinguished originals on the occasion of
her marriage to M. Nicolini.  Photographs of the Grand Old Man of
Politics and the Grand Old Man of Music rested side by side on a little
table presented by some potentate.  Gladstone's likeness bore his
autograph and the inscription, "_Con tanti e tanti Complimenti_";
Verdi's, his autograph and a fervent tribute written at Milan.  There
were crowns and {76} wreaths and rare china; there were paintings and
plate, and I know not what, wherever one looked.

If one were to make Patti a gift, and he had a King's ransom to
purchase it, he would find it difficult to give her anything that would
be a novelty, or that would be unique in her eyes.  She had everything.
For my part, I would pluck a rose from her garden, or gather a nosegay
from a hedgerow, and it would please her as much as if it were a
diadem.  She valued the thought that prompted the giving, rather than
the gift itself.  She never forgot even the smallest act of kindness
that was done for her sake.  And she was always doing kindnesses for
others.  I have heard from the Welsh folk many tales of her generosity.
And to her friends she was the most open-handed of women.

There was one dark, drizzly day during the visit to Craig-y-Nos.  It
mattered little to the men.  The wet did not interfere with their
amusements.  But every lady wore some precious jewel that Patti had
given her that morning,--a ring, a brooch, a bracelet, as the case
might be.  For the generous creature thought her fair friends would be
disappointed because they could not get out of doors.  How could she
know that every one in the Castle welcomed the rain because it meant a
few hours more with Patti?

The "surprise" she had spoken of was soon apparent.  The ladies came
trooping into the drawing-room wearing the gowns and jewels of Patti's
operatic roles.  Patti herself came last, in "Leonora's" white and
jewels.  What a dinner-party we {77} had that night,--we men, in the
prim black and white of evening dress, sitting there with "Leonora" and
"Desdemona" and "Marguerite" and "Rachel" and "Lucia" and "Carmen" and
"Dinorah", and I know not how many more!  Nobody but Patti would have
thought of such merry masquerading, or, having thought of it, would or
could have gone to the trouble of providing it.

Of course, we talked of her favourite characters in opera, and then of
singers she had known.  She said it would give her real pleasure to
hear Mario and Grisi again, or, coming to later days, Scalchi and Annie
Louise Carey.  The latter, being an American and a friend, I was glad
to hear this appreciation of her from the Queen of Song.  "Carey and
Scalchi were the two greatest contraltos I have known; and I have sung
with both of them.  I remember Annie Louise Carey as a superb artist
and a sweet and noble woman."

I said "Hear, hear," in the parliamentary manner, and then Patti added:

"Now we will go to the theatre again.  There is to be another
entertainment."  It was, of all unexpected things, a lantern show.
Patti's arrangement for that was, like everything else at Craig-y-Nos,
from her piano to her pet parrot, the only one of its kind.  It was
capable of giving, with all sorts of "mechanical effects", a two hours'
entertainment every night for two months without repeating a scene.
Patti invited me to sit beside her and watch the dissolving views.  It
seemed to me that it would be like this to sit beside Queen Victoria
{78} during a "State performance" at Windsor, only not half so much
fun!  Here was Patti Imperatrice, dressed like a queen, wearing a crown
of diamonds, and attended by her retinue of brilliantly attired women
and attentive gentlemen of the court.  And it was so like her to cause
the entertainment to end with a series of American views and to sing
for me "Home, Sweet Home", as we looked out on New York harbour from a
steamship inward bound.

The next morning I started from Craig-y-Nos for America.  As the
dogcart was tugged slowly up the mountain side, the Stars and Stripes
saluted me from the Castle tower, waving farewell as I withdrew from my
peep at Paradise.



{79}

CHAPTER VII

JOHN STUART BLACKIE

The wind was from the east, the Scotch "mist" from everywhere, but
Professor Blackie had a sunny heart that made one forget the raw
weather.  I thought the sun was shining and the skies blue when I went
to lunch at Number 9 Douglas Crescent, Edinburgh, one November day in
the early nineties.

Almost any day in half a century you might have seen Professor Blackie
striding through Edinburgh as strong as an athlete, hearty as a young
hunter.  One morning I encountered him as he was beating eastward
against half a gale, his cape flying, his cloud of white hair tossing
against his big-brimmed, soft black hat, his cheeks rosy with the
winter wind, and his kind eyes dancing with the delight he felt in
exercise.  He was eighty-five!

I told him of reading somewhere that he loved to play the peripatetic
philosopher.  How he laughed!  "Do they say that of me?  Ho, ho, ho!"
And then he trolled a "Hi-ti-rumty-tum", snatching an air, as his habit
was, from a half-forgotten song, and ending with an exclamatory line of
Greek.  He looked like a prophet apostrophising the gods.

"And they say I speak 'a confusion of tongues.' {80} Don't mind that,"
said he.  "Greek, Latin, Gaelic, German, English--all are one to me.  I
borrow the words that come readiest for the thought.  But Greek is the
great language."  And he strode down the hill.

He was the most picturesque figure then living in Edinburgh, and many
thought him the greatest man in the Scotland of those times.  He was
the "Grand Old Man" of that northern kingdom, and in vitality and
spirits and capacity for work he was at eighty-five the youngest man I
knew.  He was packed with wisdom and overflowing with music and
merriment.  If he had not been so musical and so merry you might have
called him Scotland incarnate.  Doubtless he was that, with the music
and merriment added.  As for character, even Scotland never produced a
nobler one, nor set it in a more imposing figure, or in a grander head.
Scholar, poet, philosopher, teacher, learner, political writer, lover
of the classics, strenuous believer in modern progress, he was sure
that the world was never better than in his day, the Victorian day, and
that it was growing better steadily.  They were all optimists then.
Lord Salisbury, when prime minister, added that they were all
socialists.  Professor Blackie drew the line at that.  Perhaps
Salisbury was quoting Harcourt.

Visiting in Glasgow, I received one morning a note from him inviting me
to lunch at his house in Edinburgh.  On the lower, left-hand corner of
the envelope he had written a line of Greek, as his custom was.  This
time it was an adjuration: {81} "Speak the truth in love."  But who
could speak of him in other words than those of love?  In his note he
had written "Come and talk."  But he did all the talking.  What an
inspiring flood it was!

No sooner was I in his hall than I heard, to my disappointment, the
sound of what seemed lively conversation from an adjoining room.  I had
hoped to find him alone.  The prospect of a luncheon party dampened my
ardour.  But when the maid conducted me to the presence, there sat the
Scottish sage alone, declaiming a Gaelic poem.  At least he told me it
was Gaelic!

"Laugh," cried he, "laugh.  'T will do ye good.  Ah, y' are one o' the
laughin' men!  I like them.  Try a man; will he no' laugh, or smile,
don't tie to him.  There 's too much gloom in the world."

What a picture he was in that hour.  Yes, and hours after, when I left
him.  The tall old man with strong, smooth-shaven face, like one of the
traditional gods of his favourite lore, but in no other respect
resembling a mythological being.  His head was crowned, not with
laurel, but with a wide-brimmed Panama or leghorn hat, beneath which
streamed his long white hair.  And his body was lost in the embraces of
a blue dressing-gown which came to his heels; and around his waist were
yards of red silk sash, the ends of which trailed behind him.

"Punctual," said he.  "You are sharp to the minute.  Came by the eleven
train, eh?  An hour and five minutes on the rail.  Wonderful how we
live now!  Glasgow to Edinburgh and return, {82} ninety-six miles for
seven shillings and sixpence, first class.  The quickest travelling in
the world, and the cheapest.  That's one thing the auld Greeks could
na' do.  Fol-de-rol-de-rol-de-ri.  Progress, progress; I believe in it.
I 'm a marching man.  There's nae such thing as standin' still; you go
forward, or you fall back.  Will ye ring the bell?  I thank ye!
Bachelor's hall the day.  My wife is in the country, but we will try to
be comfortable."

While we ate Professor Blackie talked, burst into snatches of melody,
rippled in Greek, or thundered in German, or gave the dear twist of
Scotland to his words, or, when he thought there had been enough of
that, drew from the "well of English, pure and undefiled."  And all the
time he wore his hat!

"You won't mind, I know," he said.  "Eighty-five and no glasses to my
eyes.  There 's protection in the shade of a hat's brim.  Eighty-five
and no glasses!  The only proof I 'm eighty-five is the almanac.  There
's no proof in my body.  I 'm as young as ever there."  And then he
turned the Greek tap so that Aristotle larded the lunch.

He had been in love with Greek for more than sixty years; he taught it
for thirty or forty years; he knew it as well as he knew English; he
read modern Greek newspapers; he had the best Greek library in the
kingdom; I daresay he dreamed in Greek.  I said: "You talk as if, in
spirit, you were more a Greek than a Scotsman."

"Not that"--he half sang the words--"Oh, {83} bonny Scotland for me.  A
man should stick to the land where God put him!"

He drew the knife along the breast of a chicken.  "My wife won't let me
carve when she 's at home," he said.  He looked threateningly at a
joint.  "Never mind, never mind," said he, and then in a chant, "hey
nonny, hi nonny."  Pause.  Then "Come off, old boy," and a wing and a
leg clattered to the platter.  "The nearer the bone the sweeter the
meat," said he.  "But statesmen have carved empires more easily."

"Mr. Gladstone, for example," said I, referring to the Home Rule Bill.

"Ho, there; but he has n't performed the amputation!"

"You don't agree with your old friend about that policy?"

"No, nor about Greek.  But we are friends still.  As for discussion, we
began that when we first met.  How many tens of years ago was that?  We
have been discussing ever since.  Yes, forty years!  We met at Dean
Ramsey's house.  Gladstone was a splendid man to disagree with even
then."

As Professor Blackie talked of his friends, the names of nearly all his
contemporaries in England, Scotland, and Germany came hurrying forth.
But he would n't tell anecdotes about them for two reasons; first, he
never remembered good stories; second, "I don't live in the past," he
said.  He was not a good talker, if good talk means keeping up your end
in conversation.  He kept up more than his end.  He was always ready
for a monologue.  {84} He did n't converse, he exploded.  His
utterances were volcanic.  There would come an eruption of short
sentences blazing with philosophy; then a kindly glow over it all, and
the discharge would subside quickly with a gentle rumty-tum, or a
snatch from some old Scotch ballad.  We had been talking of education.
Suddenly the table shook under a smiting hand, and these words were
shot at me:

"Teaching!  We are teaching our young men everything except this: to
teach themselves, and to look the Lord Jesus Christ in the face!  You
are doing it in America, too.  You are as bad as we are in Britain."
And then immediately, and with a seraph's smile, "May I pass you a
wing?"

He quoted from one of his books, a recent one: "Of all the chances that
can befall a young man at his first start in the race of life, the
greatest unquestionably is to be brought into contact, and, if
possible, to enter into familiar relations with a truly great man.  For
this is to know what manhood means, and a manly life, not by grave
precept, or wise proverb, or ideal picture; but to see the ideal in
complete equipment and compact in reality before you, as undeniably and
as efficiently as the sun that sheds light from the sky, or the
mountain that sheds waters into the glen."

Strong influences were about Blackie's life in his youth, and he
became, in his turn, a great influence in other lives.  He was the son
of a Scotch banker, and was born in Glasgow.  He had his first
schooling in Aberdeen, and he entered college at twelve and the
University of Edinburgh at fifteen.  At {85} the latter place he
studied under John Wilson ("Christopher North").  At Aberdeen he had
the best Latin instruction of his time.  There they were famous
Latinists.  At the University of Edinburgh it was mainly religion with
him, and the Bible his favourite reading.  At twenty he went to
Germany, the Germany that is dead.  His strong grave face would light
up when he spoke of the men he had known there.

"Niebuhr was the biggest man Germany has produced, but Bunsen was the
greatest all round.  Bunsen looked like Goethe.  I told him so, and
found that others thought so.  But Bunsen had a sweeter mouth than
Goethe.  My father's teaching, the nature that God gave me, and
Bunsen's influence, have been the shaping forces of my life.

"I returned to Scotland, was called to the bar at twenty-five, and ran
away from it at thirty.  I was not meant for a lawyer.  Aberdeen
University made me its Professor of Latin Literature, and I kept at
that till 1852, when Edinburgh appointed me Professor of Greek.  I was
thirty years at that time.  A few years ago I retired.  There is the
story of my life."

No.  Only the story of the shell of his life.  It said nothing of what
he had done.

"Done!" exclaimed the old man.  "If you live to be as old as John
Blackie, you 'll find it less important to know what a man has done
than to know what he is.  Done?  I 've taught Greek, written a little,
preached a good deal!"

But many men teach Greek, and everybody writes {86} nowadays, and the
globe is a vast pulpit from which all who are not dumb try to preach,
while only the deaf long to listen.  John Stuart Blackie's achievements
are not to be measured by phrases.  He was one of the strong teachers
of men.  Many men now celebrated have told me that they studied under
him and learned little Greek but more wisdom than an entire faculty
could teach them, or any number of books.  "The art of the teacher is
to teach the student to teach himself", the old man was fond of saying.

Blackie was a marching man, you will remember.  For years he marched
across Scotland, and up and down, lecturing the people.  If Scotland
had a hall in which he did not lecture on Burns, on Goethe, on Scottish
Song, Education, Government--to his list of themes there was no end--it
must have been built since his death.  No wonder they called him a
"peripatetic philosopher."

He said to me: "I think I can do more good by speaking to people than
by writing to them.  I have written thirty or forty volumes, if you
count the little ones, but I don't know how to write books to please
the public."

"How can that be?" I asked.  "A bookseller told me that your
'Self-Culture' has already run to thirty editions."

"Oh, that was not written for the public, but for my students; and the
public happened to like it."

"A distinction without much difference then."  And I thought of his
"Essays on Social Subjects", "Four Phases of Morals", "Homer and the
Iliad", {87} and the book "On Beauty"; of his "Songs of Religion and
Life", "The Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands", "Musa
Burschicosa", "Songs and Legends of Ancient Greece", "Scottish Song",
"Poetical Tracts", and so on.  The public had seemed to like them.  And
the public of Edinburgh must have found some attraction in his novel
"Altavona", for, he said, "They made a great row over it here, thought
they had identified one of the characters, and went buzzing about over
their discovery.  But I 'm not a novelist.  I was trying to effect
reform in the Scottish Land Laws.  I believe in Home Rule for
Scotland," he added.

"Why not, then, for Ireland?"  This was putting one's head into the
lion's mouth.  But he purred gently: "I don't know Ireland!  I've been
there only once!"  That was a fair hit at Gladstone.  "Scotland I do
know!"  The last words came like a blast from the mountains.

Once on a time Professor Blackie printed a list of one hundred and
twelve Scottish songs, and he declared that every Scotsman should know
them all.  I suppose it was patriotism even more than a love of
learning that impelled him to raise £10,000 by four years' labour, and
endow with it, at Edinburgh, a Professorship of Celtic Literature.

He lived on an edge of Edinburgh, and his house overflowed with books
and pictures.  It commanded a northerly outlook, and the country rolled
up almost to the windows.  "Look there," said he, pointing to the big
window of the dining room, "the sun's out, and you can see the Fife
Hills.  I see them about {88} three times a month when our mists lift.
The Forth Bridge is yonder"--pointing.  "Wonderful thing that Forth
Bridge.  You whiz through towards Perth in five minutes!"

Above the fireplace was a large portrait of himself, painted years
before by James Archer, of the Royal Scottish Academy.  It represented
its subject gazing, with head uncovered, at a mountainous landscape.
"That's the poetic Blackie," said the original, "the Blackie who loves
to roam hills and glens.  Yon is Blackie militant," pointing to a
severer portrait on the opposite wall.  "A very different person, as
you see.  A painter can show only one aspect of a character in a single
portrait, and the public, seeing but one portrait, will see but one
side of the character.  That's why there are several Blackies on these
walls.  Come and see my friends as they hang."

He led the way to the entrance hall whose walls were hung with
paintings, engravings, photographs, old prints.  A bust of "Christopher
North" occupied a pedestal at the foot of the stairs.  "And there's
Nolly," sang the Professor, pointing to an oil likeness of Cromwell.
We would take a step or two, and then pause to look at a portrait,
while my energetic host threw out an explanatory phrase whimsically
abbreviating the names of the men he liked best.  "Tom," said he, "Tom
Carlyle, a tyrannical genius who did a lot of good in a hard way.
Bobbie," and he stopped before a portrait of Burns, "Bobbie was a
ploughman, but the artist here made him a dandy, and he never was
that." {89} We must have stopped twenty times on the first flight of
stairs, and at each pause the old man would shoot a remark.  At the
drawing-room door he paused again, exclaiming: "Aristotle, Shakespeare,
Goethe, and the Apostle Paul--these are my heroes!"

The drawing-room was a national, or rather an international portrait
gallery in little.  We began with a line of faces at one end of which
was Goethe, at the other end Bunsen.  There were portraits everywhere,
on the walls, in the chairs, on the tables; some of them rested on the
floor.  Sir Henry Irving as Becket had a chair.  Blackie stopped in
front of him.  "That's a man who has done a great work," said he.  "The
people require amusement, and Irving has amused them nobly.  Ah, you
see Mary Anderson over there.  A marvellous sweet woman.  Scott's next
to her on that wall, now.  Ah, no, I never saw him.  I wish I had known
him.  'Green grow the rushes, O!'  Here are some preachers--Chalmers,
John Knox, Guthrie, Norman Macleod, Cardinal Manning.  Ye 'll think it
a queer assortment, maybe, John Knox and Manning.  Well, the five o'
them were men, man, men!"

"Dear, dear, who has done this thing?" he cried, as if startled.  We
stood before an easel which held a portrait of himself.  An engraving
of Gladstone stood beneath, on the floor.  "Wrong!  It's the wrong
order," said he.  "We must change it.  Down goes Blackie; up goes
Gladdy.  He belongs above me."  He suited the action to the word and
shifted the portraits.

{90}

Presently we marched up another flight of stairs to his study, which
consisted of three connecting rooms lined with books.  "This is where I
live," he said.  "Seven thousand volumes hereabout.  See the Greek
here, here, everywhere.  Man, man, Greek is the only living bridge
between the present and the past!"

Then, snatching up a handful of newspapers from Athens, he continued,
"Some folks call Greek a dead language.  Poor souls!  They don't know
any better.  These things should interest you.  They are fresh from
Athens; not a week old."  And then he read aloud from them, a bit of
politics, an advertisement, lines from the bargain counter, as if to
show that one touch of shopping makes the whole world kin.  "But no
heroes, man, no heroes!  There's no Aristotle now, no Shakespeare, no
Goethe, no Apostle Paul!"

We sat awhile in the study, and Blackie "surveyed mankind from China to
Peru" in lightning flashes.  He always left one panting behind,
breathless, trying to keep pace with his rushing thoughts.  He had done
that sort of thing all his teaching life, and that was why men said
they learned but little Greek from him, but absorbed streams of wisdom.
They would say that when teaching, he never stuck to his text.  The
best you could do was quietly to watch and listen, remember and apply.
After all, that was what he wanted men to do--to learn to teach
themselves.

There are men, very distinguished men, who are much more easily
described than John Stuart Blackie.  {91} What he said of the portrait
painter is equally true of the portrait writer.  I might borrow his own
phrase and say that there was the preacher, there was the teacher, the
patriot, the man of merry soul; and there was the Blackie of odd
moments who was all these in one, as I saw him, with straw hat, blue
dressing-robe, and trailing red sash.  If I picture him as I saw him
then, going about the house in his queer gear and genially nicknaming
great folk in the intervals of snatches of song, you are not to think
of him as merely an eccentric and entertaining old gentleman.  He was
very much at his ease, and he made me feel happily so.  He was natural
man without a pose, without an affectation.  He never posed.  He did
not care what others thought or said about him, what he cared for was
what they thought and said about his subject, whatever that might
be--country, or religion, or song--and it all led to manliness.  "Be a
man!  Be God's man!"  That was the burden of his teaching, preaching,
writing, scholarship, philosophy, religion.  He wrought great things
for the manhood of Scotland.

I remember his coming to Glasgow one night while I visited there.  He
lectured for some society of young men.  His theme was Love.  When he
had finished, a minister jumped up and shouted this invitation:

"Put that into a sermon, sir, and come and preach it to us next
Sabbath.  A guinea and a bed!"

"What?" roared Blackie.  "D'ye think I'd preach the Gospel for money?
I 'll preach it for nothing if ye 'll come and listen!"

{92}

Sometimes they said he was a droll person who went about Scotland
cracking jokes.  And I have heard them say that he "played too much to
the gallery."  But the men who said those things liked their sermons
delivered by long-faced folk, and wanted their lectures peppered with
piety.  They had their suspicions of laughter.  Blackie bubbled over
with good spirits.  Others might make the public sigh and weep; he knew
that it is better to make them laugh; that if you make them "feel good"
they will like you well enough to listen to what you have to say and
think about it.  As for "playing to the gallery" one has only to recall
Blackie's life-long admonitions to Democracy in order to see the error
of that assumption.

The best word-picture of John Stuart Blackie was unknown to the public
at the time of which I write.  It was unknown even to Blackie himself
at that time.  It was written by one of his pupils, Robert W. Barbour,
a brilliant and scholarly man.  His "Letters, Poems, and Pensées"
appeared subsequently in a volume edited by Professor Drummond, a
memorial volume circulated privately.  It was with Professor Drummond's
permission that I published, years ago, an extract from one of
Barbour's letters.  Barbour, when it was written, was in charge of a
school somewhere in the Highlands.  One day his old master, Blackie,
came up from Edinburgh for a blow of the mountain air and a visit to
Barbour, who thus described the occasion:

"Then follow minutes of Elysium, were life only the Academy, and the
world made for students and {93} Professors!  I hear Professor Blackie
talk of foreign travel, of the pictures it gives to hang forever in
one's after-study; and as the brave old snowy head falls back against
the claret of the sofa, he brings me out, one by one, the
pictures--Rome, Florence, Milan, Gottingen--latest hung therein.

"After dinner the Professor and I have an hour and a half's stroll to
the school, while I drink in the delightful desultoriness of his talk,
and try to stop just when he does--which is not always easy; for you
cannot tell why this crystus should seize his fancy, or that
'potentilla' interrupt his thought.  But it only breaks to flower forth
again more beautiful, as he talks first of Italy, its grace we lack so
in Scotland, its lack of sternness we could so well supply; its few
great hearts alive and active, its multitudes asleep and slow; then of
its new literature; then the political parties; then what poets should
do now, not to be so sundered from their time as Browning (who walked
these roads), nor so bound to the mere accident of rhyme.  Let poets
write short, sympathetic lives of men; let them write history, not
stories.

"And so we come to the school where the Professor has half an hour of
cross-questioning the best scholar, to the advantage of the whole
school; and such happy definitions, and such funny 'pokes' with the
mind and the walking-stick, and such instructive similes and amusing
information.  They are rather annoyed when I tell them how great a man
my master is.  Then they sing to him in good Scotch to his heart's
desire....

{94}

"At last he rises, and asking them something in a Gaelic too good, or
bad, or both (or rather book-born), to be understanded of them, he
breaks into a beautiful Gaelic lament, while the whole little audience
stands open-mouthed, eyed, and eared, and hardly recovers to whisper
'Good-bye, sir', ere he and I are out into the air again.

"I apologise for having given him such little work for so long, and he
hums out something in German, which he breaks half sternly to say:
'There are four things a man must love--children, flowers, woman,' and,
must I say it? 'wine.'  He went on to tell me how hateful and horrible
a nature Napoleon's always had seemed to him.  Napoleon said: 'I love
nothing, I love not woman, I love not dice, I love not wine, I love not
politics.'

"Then the hill came, and with the hill our thoughts could not help
climbing.  Was I licensed?  No, not ordained yet, of course.  Would I
preach the splendid possibilities in man, to sink to the beasts which
perish, or to rise to heaven itself?  He did not deny that the heart
was deceitful and desperately wicked, but should we not call on men to
realise for what they were made....  No man understands others, he
said, who does not leave himself more behind, and go and sit by others,
wherever they may be.

"He could not say what Greek one should read who had few books and less
time.  'No, read only where the heart runs; read nothing except that
about which you are passionate...' So I got no lists of authors or
works.  'Read where you are {95} thinking; don't read where you are not
feeling.'  This and much more on war, churches, architecture, youth and
new opinions in theology, and materialism (he had read some of the
latter; he could n't for the life of him remember it) and philosophy.

"He talked," continues Barbour, "and I treasured up.  But most on the
three tongues, and what was work for poets.  Then came afternoon tea
and raillery between him and my mother.  Then they packed into the pony
phaeton--my professor a perfect picture, his broad leghorn bright with
a flower, scarlet of seedum, fringed by golden yew, and the ladies a
good background."

So you see, it was the same John Stuart Blackie years and years before.
"Do stay to tea, man!" he urged, when I said I must be going, that
there would be just time to catch such-and-such a train for Glasgow
where an appointment was to be kept.

"Ah, then punctuality's the word.  Be late and be nothing."  He came
down to the front door with me, his leghorn flapping, his sash-ends
trailing on the stairs.  There were volcanic salutations to portraits
which we had missed when going up.  I said good-bye to the Grand Old
Man of Scotland.

"Good-bye," said he, "and dinna forget--Aristotle, Shakespeare, Goethe,
and the Apostle Paul--my heroes!"

In the gathering dusk I descended the steps, as he stood in the open
doorway, singing, and gazing towards the Corstorphine Hill.



{96}

CHAPTER VIII

LORD KELVIN

He sat on the lower stair, near the front door of his house, making
difficult calculations and strange diagrams in a little book bound in
green morocco.  It would be five minutes before the carriage started,
and he recollected that fact just as he reached the door and had put on
his overcoat.  Another man, almost any other, would have idled while
the five minutes passed, and most men, especially busy men, would have
fussed nervously at having to wait when they were ready.  But Lord
Kelvin, being the busiest of men, never wasted time by fussing, and
never lost it in idling.  Having five minutes he would solve a problem,
so he pulled the memorandum book from his coat pocket, where he always
carried it, and sat on the stair and worked.

He was seventy then, but his spirits were as young as those of the
youngest of his students.  They say that a man is as old as his
arteries.  The saying might have originated with him, if it ever
occurred to him that he had arteries.  But I am not sure that the
customary anatomy was not, in his case, reinforced by an ingenious
system of electrical conductors through which a mysterious energy was
driven by {97} his dynamic mind.  Like all great teachers he was ever
learning.  But it would be difficult to say when he began to learn, for
he was only ten years old when he entered the university!  And he was
thoroughly equipped for entering upon his student work even at that
age.  At twenty-two he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy,
and he held that professorship for the rest of his life!

Lord Kelvin was the greatest master of natural science in the
nineteenth century.  The twentieth century has not, thus far, produced
his superior.  He was born in 1824, he died in 1908.  It was my
privilege to know him during the last fifteen years of his life.  A
kinder man, one more considerate of the abysmal ignorance of the fellow
creatures with whom he came into contact, could not be imagined.  He
was a plain Scotsman without a pose, without even a Scottish pose, and
it would be difficult, maybe impossible, to find a better embodiment of
life than that.  Scottish he was, though born in Ireland.  And his fame
was associated with that of Glasgow University which had the honour of
receiving him into student life and which received the greater honour
of his distinguished services for a period almost as long as the
psalmist allots to the life of a man.

When he was eighty-three he outlined, as, probably, he had often
outlined before, the plan of a boy's education.  "By the age of
twelve," said he, "a boy should have learned to write his own language
with accuracy and some elegance; he should have a reading knowledge of
French, should be able to {98} translate Latin and easy Greek authors,
and should have some acquaintance with German.  Having learned the
meaning of words, a boy should study Logic.  I never found that the
small amount of Greek I learned was a hindrance to my acquiring some
knowledge of Natural Philosophy."  Some knowledge of it!  There,
indeed, was modesty.  For who had more knowledge of natural philosophy,
or so much, as Lord Kelvin?

Is it necessary to say that he was not born to baronies?  Surely, that
much all readers may be presumed to know, some wiseacre will remark.
But if one were painting a portrait instead of writing it, nothing
would be more futile than to omit the subject's nose on the presumption
that the public knew he had one.  William Thomson, who became Lord
Kelvin, was born in Belfast, the younger of two brothers.  The elder
brother was James, and he became famous as a professor of engineering.
He died, however, some fifteen years before his brother.  James was
named for his father, and that James, the father, was born on a farm
near Ballynahinch, County Down.  His Scotch ancestors had planted
themselves in Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
That farmer's boy had a huge hunger for knowledge.  When he was eleven
or twelve years old he taught himself, having no teacher to aid him,
the principles of the sundial, so that he could make dials for any
latitude.  Also, from books which he contrived to get, he learned the
elements of mathematics.  By and by he began teaching in a little
school.  He taught in the summers, and in {99} the winters he studied
at Glasgow University, continuing to do so for five years, and then he
was appointed a teacher in the Royal Academic Institute of Belfast.
When his son William had reached the age of eight, the scholarly parent
was appointed to the Professorship of Mathematics at Glasgow
University, a position he held for twenty years.  His scientific
attainments were high, and his classical scholarship was distinguished.
He educated his sons himself, until each was ten, and then sent each to
the university.  Lord Kelvin said to me once, when we were talking of
those early days: "I had a great father."

The Kelvin is a little stream that winds through the grounds of Glasgow
University.  When Queen Victoria bestowed a peerage upon Sir William
Thomson (she had knighted him many years before that) he chose for his
title the name of the little stream by whose side he had spent his
fruitful and illustrious life.  His had been a life of labour, but it
had been congenial labour.  He had contributed vastly to the sum of
human knowledge; he had invented useful things, to the amazement of
pedantic men who think that science should remain with scientific
persons and never be applied to the wants of the world; at least, not
applied by the scientific discoverer of the principles or things.  But
with all his theories he was a practical man, and he prospered.  That
day when he sat on the stair for five minutes, and concentrated the
training of sixty years upon the page of a notebook, we went to White's.

{100}

Once upon a time there was a White, a James White, who, in Glasgow,
made instruments of precision which found their way all over the world.
And so he became the maker of various things that Sir William Thomson,
afterward Lord Kelvin, had invented.  When White died, or retired, or
possibly before that, Kelvin acquired his business and establishment
and continued the manufacture of instruments of precision, the
establishment being conducted under White's name, as before, and as
possibly it may be to this day.  Anyhow, we went to White's, where Lord
Kelvin took me into his laboratory and showed me, among other things,
his "Siphon Recorder" which was very interesting, albeit very puzzling
to the non-technical mind.  I asked him what it did.  The technical
descriptions I had read were rather baffling.  His answer was: "The
electric current in an under-sea cable, say an Atlantic cable, is very
weak and weary.  This reaches out from the shore, and helps it along,
and writes down what it says."  It was for this invention that he was
knighted in 1866.  He had connected the hemispheres.

He was one of the courageous and hopeful band that laid and worked the
first Atlantic cables.  Submarine telegraphy had been first employed in
1850 when a line was laid across the English Channel between Dover and
Calais.  But the scientific camps were divided in opinion about the
practicability of working across thousands of miles of ocean-bed.  One
faction declared it "beyond the resources of human skill."  Robert
Stephenson said the project could end only in failure.  Of course, the
{101} moneyed men were timid.  Most of them were more than timid; they
were scared.  Faraday had found that the transmission of signals by
submarine cable, on a line from Harwich to Holland, was not
instantaneous.  "The line leaked," said the financial men, "and most of
the electricity that was pumped into it spilled into the sea.  This
does not occur on land lines," they said; "we will not invest."

William Thomson discovered and formulated "the law which governs the
retardation of electrical signals in submarine lines."  Whitehouse
found that with a line 1125 miles long, a signal required a second and
a half for transmission.  Thomson's law showed that on a line long
enough to connect Ireland with Newfoundland the transmission of a
signal would require six seconds.  This meant a dismally limited
service.  Only a few words could be cabled in an hour.  The croakers
were pleased.  The men whose habit it is to say "I told you so" were
joyous.  The financiers would use their capital for other purposes.
But Cyrus Field of New York found the money, and William Thomson found
the way to utilize his own law to make success out of what had seemed
to others to be defeat.  He invented the "Siphon Recorder."  Then the
cable was laid under the Atlantic, and on August 17, 1858, Thomson's
instruments sent and received this message:

"Europe and America are united by telegraph.  Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men."

Two weeks later the cable broke.  The world jeered and lost faith,
according to its habit.  Some {102} called the cable undertaking "a
swindle", some "a hoax", some a silly toy.  These were thoughtful
critics.  Eight years passed, eight years of effort to make and
submerge a cable that would endure.  In 1866 the difficulties were
overcome.  The world congratulated itself and the men who had worked
the "miracle."  Lord Kelvin told me the story as if it had been a
little affair of the day before.  "There has been so much to think of
since then," said he, "and there is so much more to be done!
Harnessing Niagara is one thing."  The men who plan things and do them
were already planning for that, and as in the cable project, they
called in Lord Kelvin to help.

"How far can we transmit electricity for power and lighting purposes?"
they asked.

"Three hundred miles," said he.

They laid their plans for a much shorter distance, within a hundred
miles, and they thought that Kelvin was dreaming.  Years later, when
power and lighting current had been successfully conveyed over much
greater distances than Kelvin had suggested, an acquaintance of mine
asked him: "Why did n't you tell us that electric power can be
conducted over these greater distances?  I thought three hundred miles
was the limit."

"The limit is not known," replied Lord Kelvin.  "In the case you refer
to, I answered a specific question regarding a specific plan undertaken
for commercial purposes.  The limit was improved by time and
circumstance, not by Nature.  Ten years ago we could not build the
machinery that is built {103} to-day, nor, on a great scale, employ the
conductors that are used to-day.  My suggestion concerned the means
then known, not the means that might be developed in a decade."

"Well, I lost a chance," said the would-be investor, who was also a
Scot.

"So, I imagine, did the capitalists of Archimedes' day.  You will
remember that they failed to provide him with a fulcrum," said Lord
Kelvin dryly.

Lord Kelvin, when a young man, became permanently lame as the result of
a skating accident, but his lameness did not retard his physical
activity.  Sir William Ramsay, the celebrated chemist who had been a
pupil of Kelvin, said that it "lent emphasis to his amusing class
demonstration of 'uniform velocity' when he, Kelvin, marched back and
forth behind his lecture-bench with as even a movement as his lameness
would permit; and the class generally burst into enthusiastic applause
when he altered his pace, and introduced them to the meaning of the
word 'acceleration.'"

Ramsay's opinion was that Kelvin "was not what would be called a good
lecturer; he was too discursive."  Ramsay doubted whether any man "with
a brain so much above the ordinary, so much more rapid in action than
the average, can be a first-rate teacher....  But Kelvin never allowed
the interest of his students to flag.  His aptness in illustration and
his vigour of language prevented that.  Lecturing one day on 'Couples',
he explained how forces must be applied to constitute a Couple and
illustrated the direction of the forces by turning around the {104}
gas-bracket.  This led to a discussion on the miserable quality of
Glasgow coal-gas and how it might be improved.  Following again the
main idea, he caught hold of the door and swung it to and fro; but
again his mind diverged to the difference in the structure of English
and Scottish doors.  We never forgot what a 'Couple' was--but the idea
might have been conveyed more succinctly."  Yes, and ten to one the
receivers of it would have forgotten what a "Couple" was!

I heard Kelvin address the Royal Society in London while he was
president of that body.  He had invited me to come, and I was curious
enough to see the most distinguished scientific body in the world
learning something from the world's most distinguished mathematician,
electrician, and natural philosopher.  The hall in Burlington House was
filled.  Had an earthquake swallowed the hall then, the world would
have been deprived instantaneously of dozens of men who were doing its
thinking for it.  The subject of the discourse was not thrilling, nor
could the lecturer have been accused of an attempt to pander to
popularity.  The subject was "The Homogeneous Division of Space."
There shot through the hour's talk a stream of descriptive phrases such
as "tetrakaidekahedronal cells", "parallelepipedal partitionings",
"enantiomorphs ", and their progeny.

The genial old gentleman on the platform would rest his weight upon his
hands on the table, or the lecture-desk, and lean forward towards his
audience, and tell some puzzling facts about nature's puzzles, {105}
pouring streams of numbers and their multiplications and divisions into
their ears while they floundered in the mathematical deluge.  He would
see that he had them puzzled, that his mind was working too fast for
them; he must have surmised it from the expressions on their faces, for
while he announced theories, discoveries, and drew conclusions, they,
with all their knowledge and experience, would look as blank or
bewildered as schoolboys, and he would step back from the table and,
with a winning smile, remark, "It's this way", or "After all, it's
simpler than it seems", or "I think it would be demonstrated so", and
turning swiftly on one heel would face the blackboard and draw upon it
in strokes that were like flashes, a diagram which made it all so clear
that his hearers chuckled, or laughed outright; then swiftly he would
turn again and face them with that winning smile which seemed to mean,
"See how simple it is!"  Then they would applaud him, which is very
difficult for the Royal Society to do.

Lord Kelvin's was the first house in the world to be lighted by
electricity throughout.  He utilized the current in every nook and
corner, in attics and cellars, in cupboards, closets and wardrobes,
long before anybody else had attempted to do so.  This was when
everybody else thought electric lighting a luxury, but his purpose was
to prove it a necessity.  That was his way.  Whenever he acquired new
knowledge he applied it forthwith to the betterment of the human lot.
He thought that science for the sake of science, or scientists, was as
stupid a formula as "art for art's sake."  Cheese for cheese's sake
{106} would be quite as useful to mankind.  Of what use was knowledge
if it were not applied to the needs of man?

He was a yachtsman, but not for sporting purposes, or faddishness, or
luxurious idleness.  He loved the sea, and his yacht, a schooner named
_Lalla Rookh_, enabled him to wrest from the sea some of its secrets.
For twenty years he went sailing every summer, living aboard weeks at a
time.  He held the certificate of a master navigator.  It was on board
the _Lalla Rookh_ that he invented his famous apparatus for taking
soundings and his no less famous compass.  These things became
necessities for navigators.

The first pair of telephonic instruments that Alexander Graham Bell
brought to Europe were presented by him to Lord Kelvin, who immediately
put them to use by connecting his house with that of his brother-in-law
and assistant, Doctor J. T. Bottomley.  The first electrically lighted
house in the world was the first in the old world to be connected by
telephone for purposes professional, social, personal, and domestic.
For how could Kelvin, who was always peering into the future, be afraid
of new things?  He peered into the past, too, for you remember how he
startled the orthodox mind by his calculations regarding the age of the
earth.

Lord Salisbury, just before he became Prime Minister for the last time
(his long term of 1895-1902) was Chancellor of the University of Oxford
and at the same time President of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science.  At Oxford, {107} in a memorable year, and in
behalf of the University of which he was chancellor, he welcomed the
association of which he was president, and he reminded his learned
listeners that Lord Kelvin, whom he alluded to as "the greatest living
master of natural science amongst us", was the first to point out that
the amount of time required by the advocates of the Darwinian theory
for the working out of the process of evolution which they had imagined
"could not be conceded without assuming the existence of a totally
different set of natural laws from those with which we are acquainted."
Hot things cool.  The once seething earth has cooled and is cooling.
So many million years ago it must have been hotter than now by
calculable degrees.  "But if at any time it was hotter at the surface
by fifty degrees Fahrenheit than it is now, life would then have been
impossible on this planet."

Lord Kelvin assured us that organic life on earth cannot have existed
more than a hundred million years ago.  So if you believed in
Archbishop Ussher's chronology, and niggardly dealt out to the earth an
age of only six thousand years, or went so far as Professor Tait with
his ten million, you had, by Kelvin's figuring, a tremendous margin to
fill up somehow.  Of course the orthodox jumped and squealed.  But the
geologists and biologists stamped and yelled.  Some of them wanted more
than Kelvin's stingy allowance; they wanted not one hundred million
years, but hundreds of millions.  And there was a pretty ferment in the
camps!

Sir William Ramsay I have quoted on Kelvin's {108} illustration, in the
class room, of the term "acceleration."  Kelvin maintained speed when
he had got it up.  Remember that he was lame, and consider his energy.
He would dart at an object that stood a few feet from him, on his
lecture-bench, use it for whatever demonstration was required, and then
dart at another, or at the blackboard, or at the pointer, as if he were
a busy bee extracting honey from the flowers.  There was certainty
about everything he did; no hesitation, no floundering, no hemming and
hawing for a word, or the next act.  His lameness merely lent emphasis
to the fact that he was walking; it did not prevent his swiftness of
movement.  Across the grounds of the university I toiled after him like
"panting time."  He gave the impression of readiness for a race, and
might challenge you at any minute.  His gown was always streaming
behind him, his mortar-board cap in imminent danger of blowing off in
the breeze stirred by his advance.  Well, he had raced the world many
years and had always won.

Some great men are so impressed by their own greatness that their
manner becomes ponderous and vast as if they lived in a belief that
they cast shadows on the sun.  Not so Lord Kelvin, who never seemed to
think that great men thought him a greater than themselves.  His manner
was simple, gentle, courteous, and direct.  He was easy to talk with,
and yet he had no small talk.  But it was not easy to answer his
questions.  There was never such a man as he for asking questions
unless it were the Chinese Viceroy, Li Hung Chang.  Whatever your
profession, {109} trade, interests in life, he would put questions that
went to the roots of your matter and revealed on his part a greater
knowledge of the problems involved than you dreamed existed.  By
tireless questioning he learned.  But where Li Hung Chang turned the
results of his questioning to his own benefit, Kelvin applied them to
the good of the world.  Yet when, in 1896, they celebrated the fiftieth
anniversary of his professorship at Glasgow he was, I take it, the most
surprised man in all the galaxy of the famous.  The dear old gentleman
with the domed head, the white hair, and generous white beard seemed to
be asking himself, "What next?  Why all this fuss and feathers?"  But
he was apparently genuinely pleased, too, for all the tributes bespoke
honest admiration of achievement and character.  Fifty-one learned
societies, twelve colleges, and twenty-eight universities were
represented.  They were of all countries.  That day the world, and all
that was therein, lifted its hat to Lord Kelvin.

I may slip in here a quotation from Emerson.  "In Newton," said
Emerson, "science was as easy as breathing; he used the same wit to
weigh the moon that he used to buckle his shoes; and all his life was
simple, wise, and majestic.  So it was in Archimedes--always self-same,
like the sky.  In Linnæus, in Franklin, the like sweetness and
equality--no stilts, no tiptoe; and their results are wholesome and
memorable to all men."

What Lord Kelvin had done, and was still to do, could not be described
by any writing of less than encyclopaedic scope, and a knowledge as
wide and {110} deep as his own.  Helmholtz may be quoted, as he has
been quoted by many who attempted the larger task from a scientific
standpoint.  Helmholtz was his intimate friend.  Helmholtz said: "He is
an eminent mathematician, but the gift to translate real facts into
mathematical equations, and vice versa, is, by far, more rare than to
find a solution of a given mathematical problem, and in this direction
he is most eminent and original."

Kelvin's first published paper was a defence of the mathematician,
Fourier.  His second was on "The Uniform Motion of Heat in Homogeneous
Solid Bodies, and Its Connection With The Mathematical Theory of
Electricity."  I think he was eighteen then.  He was certainly showing
the bent of his mind.  Fifty or sixty years later he said, in a
presidential address to the Royal Society: "Tribulation, not
undisturbed progress, gives life and soul, and leads to success where
success can be reached."  I do not know what his tribulations were, but
they may have been the tribulations of defeat.  He may have faced many
defeats, but he won more successes.  And the world was more concerned
with scientific discoveries during his career than it had been in the
time of Count Rumford and Humphry Davy, whose work in disproving that
heat is a material body had been forgotten because nobody seemed to
think it more important than curious.  Sometime in the eighteen-forties
James Prescott Joule ascertained the dynamical equivalent of heat, and
settled the fact that heat is a mode of motion.  Kelvin may be said to
have leaped to the side of his friend.

{111}

Lord Kelvin was the first to appreciate the importance of Joule's
discovery, and it was not long before he placed the whole subject of
thermodynamics on a scientific basis.  He put his conclusions into
these easily understandable words: "During any transformation of energy
of one form into energy of another form, there is always a certain
amount of energy rendered unavailable for further useful application.
No known process in nature is exactly reversible: that is to say, there
is no known process by which we can convert a given amount of energy of
one form into energy of another form, and then, reversing the process,
reconvert the energy of the second form thus obtained into the original
quantity of energy of the first form.  In fact, during any
transformation of energy from one form into another, there is always a
certain portion of energy changed into heat in the process of
conversion, and the heat thus produced becomes dissipated and diffused
by radiation and conduction.  Consequently there is a tendency in
nature for all the energy in the universe, of whatever kind it be,
gradually to assume the form of heat, and having done so to become
equally diffused.  Now, were all the energy of the universe converted
into uniformly diffused heat, it would cease to be available for
producing mechanical effort, since, for that purpose, we must have a
hot source and a cooler condenser.  This gradual degradation of energy
is perpetually going on, and, sooner or later, unless there be some
restorative power of which we have, at present, no knowledge whatever,
the present state of things must come to an end."

{112}

He revealed the Electrodynamics of Qualities of Metals; the size of
atoms, the horse-power of the sun; he determined the rigidity of the
earth, the laws of the tides, made far-reaching discoveries in
electricity, in vortex motion; it might be said of him that he took the
universe for his field.

But in a chapter like this one is tempted to dwell too long on high
achievements.  What attracted one more than the achievements was the
man, the kindly, sympathetic man who loved truth not celebrity, and
work more than its rewards.  He was ever the same, whether one met him
in Glasgow, London, at sea, or in America, the same simple,
straightforward, kindly character.  He retained his mental activity to
the end.  He died at eighty-four, and seemed only to be departing on
another journey in quest of truth and friendship.

On one of the afternoons when I sat with him in his study, within the
precincts of the university, he said, "Patience, great patience is the
need of this generation.  It asks results before it earns them.  Man is
too wasteful of the resources he finds in the earth.  The most of our
coal is lost in smoke; the most of our heat is dissipated in the air.
We need patience not less than courage in dealing with our problems."
The study was lined with engravings and photographs.  Darwin and Joule
and Faraday looked down from the walls, and there were pictures of the
cable-laying ships, the _Hooper_, and the _Great Eastern_.  There were
trophies of travel,--from specimens of sea-bottom along the African
coast, to quite personal mementos of his lectures at {113} Johns
Hopkins University and other places in America.

A typical day of Lord Kelvin's was, in outline, this: After breakfast
he would, at nine, face his class in the university and lecture for an
hour.  I heard him in such an hour lecture on "Kepler's Laws."  He
lectured to his class three days a week.  After the lecture he would go
to White's where he was perfecting an electric metre.  After White's he
would return to the university and lecture until one o'clock, say, on
the "Higher Mathematics."  Then home to lunch.  After lunch consulting
work on the lighting of a town by electricity.  After that an hour in
Lady Kelvin's drawing-room, taking tea with friends.  Then work in the
study over the laws governing the formation of crystals.  Then dinner.
Then calculations in the study, or writing a paper for one of the
numerous societies of which he was a working member.  In the intervals,
with his secretary's aid, he would attend to his correspondence.  And,
if waiting for his secretary, out of a coat pocket would come the
little green book, and into it would go notes, calculations, or
diagrams, perhaps all three.  That little green book would come out
whenever he had a minute to spare, in his dressing-room, or on the
stairs, or in a train, or a cab, wherever he happened to be, and the
thought flashed.  I often wondered what his thoughts were on the
conservation of personal energy.



{114}

CHAPTER IX

TENNYSON

Freshwater is an overgrown village which sprawls about the western end
of the lovely Isle of Wight.  The meanness of much of its masonry is
compensated by its remarkably wholesome air.  Man has done his best to
spoil Freshwater, but he has not wholly succeeded--yet.  Give him time,
and more radicalism, and he will make it one of the ugly spots of
earth.  I made its acquaintance in the early spring of 1882, and
subsequently have visited it many times.

When I first made acquaintance with Freshwater, there was no railway
within eleven miles, Newport being the terminus of the island lines
which were as drolly inconvenient as they are now.  The fiddling,
amateurish railway, which has come in since then, has not only robbed
Freshwater of its seclusion but has saddled parts of the rolling
country with shabby streets of mean houses worthy of a Montana mining
town.  Towards the downs and the sea much of the old charm remains.
About Farringford it is undisturbed.  And it was at Farringford, that
lovely estate, that Tennyson lived.

I had quarters in a house that faced the sea.  And these quarters were
mine whenever, in the {115} thirty-six years since that delightful May,
I returned to Freshwater.  They are mine no longer.  The house has
become an hotel.  Now, in the thirty-eighth year of my Freshwatering, I
have lodgment elsewhere.  The house that sheltered me so long is
scarcely a quarter of a mile from Tennyson's Lane, and many of the
poet's friends have stayed in it, and friends of Watts, for that great
artist also lived in Freshwater, first at a house which is now called
Dimbola, and subsequently at "The Briary", a charming home built by the
Prinseps and facing Tennyson's "noble Down."  In the rooms to which I
have so often retreated, and where I so often watched the blue Channel
dancing in the sunshine, there are, or were, many mementos of past
days.  Some of them were photographs, and, as any one who knows the
Freshwater legends may guess, they were taken by Mrs. Cameron, the
first of the artist photographers, and, in her day, the celebrator of
all the celebrated who came to Freshwater to visit the poet.

Mrs. Cameron lived at Dimbola which is at the southeastern corner of
the Farringford estate.  "She were a concentric lady who wore velvet
gowns a-trailin' in the dusty roads," as one old-timer described her to
me.  Her photography was not professional but amateur, and her skill in
it was quite remarkable.  So was her persistence.  She would not permit
a possible "subject" to escape without "taking" him or her.  She was
quite intimate with the Tennysons, and always called the poet by his
Christian name.  One day, while there was a smallpox scare about, she
rushed to Farringford, {116} with a stranger in tow, and finding
Tennyson within, she opened the door of the room where he was sitting,
and bidding the stranger follow, cried, "Alfred, I 've brought a doctor
to vaccinate you.  You must be vaccinated!"

Tennyson, horrified, fled to an adjoining room and bolted the door
after him.

"Alfred, Alfred," Mrs. Cameron called, "I've brought a doctor.  You
must be vaccinated; you really must!"

There was no reply.

"Oh, Alfred, you 're a coward!  Come and be vaccinated!"

She won.

When Garibaldi visited Tennyson, he planted a tree in the Farringford
grounds.  And Mrs. Cameron planted herself before him, and begged him
to come and be photographed.  Rather eccentric, as my old-timer had
tried to convey, she had that morning hastened to Farringford without
hat, or gloves, and with her sleeves rolled up, just as she came from
her "dark room", and her hands were stained with photographic
chemicals.  Garibaldi seems to have taken her for a beggar and was
turning away, when she knelt before him and implored him to let her
photograph him.

Again she won.  She always won in such contests.

Mrs. Cameron's day was before the days of dry plates and films.  The
accumulation of negatives that she left when, with her husband, she
returned to Ceylon, where they had formerly lived for many years,
passed into the possession of a son.  I do not {117} know what has been
their subsequent fate; but if uninjured they would be very interesting
now, and a collection of prints from them would have a value all its
own.  She made a number, I daresay many photographs of Tennyson and the
members of his family; and when Longfellow came to Farringford, the
good lady triumphantly proclaimed him a captive.

She was a kind-hearted, good-natured soul, but when she wanted to carry
a point she could be as imperious and decisive as any one that ever
lived in the Isle.  The neighbourhood children she would persuade by
"sweeties", or, failing these, by main force, to "come and be
photographed" in this character or that, and there were maid servants
with classic faces and ploughmen with fine heads who posed for her as
characters in plays and poems, in costumes which she would improvise.
Mrs. Cameron was a generous, interesting, impulsive woman.  Much of
Freshwater legend gathers about her, and her camera, and her diligence
in amateur theatricals.

In my island study there hung for many years the two best photographs
of Tennyson that I ever saw.  They were taken by Mrs. Cameron.  The
first was, I believe, taken about 1870, or '72.  It represents the poet
seated, and holding with both hands a book half opened in his lap.  He
wears a black morning coat, closely buttoned, cut in the fashion of the
time.  Instead of the big rolling collar usually shown in his
portraits, here is the stiff "dickey" of Piccadilly; the cuffs, too,
are in the mode, and over the coat a {118} monocle hangs.  It is quite
out of the style of other Tennyson portraits with which I am reasonably
familiar, but on that account it has a special interest of its own.
The second photograph, to which I have alluded, is not only thoroughly
characteristic but has achieved some fame as "The Dirty Monk", and is
thus autographed by its original:

  "_I prefer 'The Dirty Monk'
      to the others of me.
            A. Tennyson.
    Except one by Mayall._"


When I returned to Freshwater for three or four months in 1913, after
several years' absence, I looked, as usual, for this precious pair.
But they had gone, and no one could tell, or would tell, when or where.
Some souvenir hunter must have loved them too well.

There are, or were, some Morland prints, too.  George Morland lived and
painted in Freshwater, in a bit cottage that stood in front of the site
of this house, but which disappeared nearly a century ago.  Mrs.
Cameron, could she revisit the glimpses of the moon, would find her
quiet old village developed into a sprawling, country town.  It had
five hundred inhabitants when Tennyson first came to it in a sailboat
from the mainland, in 1852, or 1853; it has between five and ten
thousand now, west of the Yar.  The number shifts with the summer
visitors, and the military cannot be counted, for they come and go in a
variable stream.  Ever since the war began, the fit and the wounded,
the trained and the {119} untrained have passed through in large
numbers, or have stayed for longer or shorter terms.  A war town has
grown up on a border of the old town.  Golden Hill is now an expanse of
barrack huts and not of yellow gorse.

Mrs. Cameron believed in getting things done, not in talking about
them.  She transformed the coal shed at Dimbola into a dark room for
developing her negatives; and the poultry house became a studio.  When
her husband, a recluse who had n't so much as seen the beach for a
dozen years, wanted a lawn, she had turf dug by night and laid in the
garden.  Calling her husband to the window next morning, she pointed to
the expanse of new-laid turf and said, "There 's your lawn!" as if any
one would deny her power to work miracles.

Farringford, of course, is enclosed by hedges and trees, literally
surrounded by them.  The house itself is still further protected from
the gaze of the outer world by an inner circle of trees and shrubbery.
The estate is bisected by the lovely lane which has been described in
every account ever written of Tennyson, and photographed a thousand
times.  It, in turn, has a hedgerow on each side and is over-arched by
elms.  It is really an approach to the farm which is attached to the
home acres, and through it, for walking purposes, the public has a
right-of-way.  At the crest of the rising ground is a little green
door, set in the high-banked hedge which guards the home lawns, and by
this green door the poet would pass to the down along another lane
which runs at right angles to the one associated with his {120} name
and immediately opposite the green door.  A few feet beyond this, a
rustic bridge overhead spans Tennyson's Lane, and by this bridge the
poet could cross into a woodland without having to enter the Lane,
where his privacy might be disturbed, and so walk to Maiden's Croft,
where a little green summerhouse stands under the trees and where he
often wrote and meditated.  From this summerhouse he had the best view
of the beautiful and noble down.  From the windows of Farringford there
are exquisite views of seascape and landscape, with lush fields in the
foreground,--a view, on sunny days, of quite un-English colour.  In the
distance St. Catherine's Point and above it the white crown of the
Landslip, and above that the dark shape of St. Boniface Down, lifting
its head eight hundred feet toward the clouds; in the middle distance a
tumble of green hills, and to the right the sea dappled with shafts of
light and colour ever changing,--mauves and blues and greens, splashed
with browns and reds, shifting and playing there under the sun.  It
might be Italian sea and Italian landscape.  And Tennyson called it his
"bit of Italy."  You can see it just as he saw it, if you pause at an
iron gate on your left, near the top of the rise in the Lane, and you
will have in the foreground a group of Italian-like trees beyond which
Stag Rock and Arched Rock stand with their feet in the tiny bay.  It is
of all bits of English land and water one of the most memorable for
form and colour,--this little Italy.  And it drew Tennyson to
Farringford and held him there.

{121}

Tennyson was not seen much in the village, but he often walked to the
bay.  Here is my first glimpse of him: a tall man looking like a
cloaked brigand; his head was swallowed by a great hat, soft and black,
and he was pointing with a stick.

"Making yourself at home here, aren't you?" he was understood to say in
something between a rumble and growl.

An artist friend of mine was seated on a sketching stool at the iron
gate, making a study of the "bit of Italy."  Before the stool was an
easel, a palette, and a box of water colours.  Tennyson, who was
near-sighted, saw at first only the seated figure on the camp stool,
leaning back against the open gate and gazing at the unique view.

"Very much at home," continued the poet.

The right-of-way was for walking only, not for sitting in chairs and
encumbering the earth with easels and general impedimenta of the fine
arts.  My friend, who was a stranger in the land, had probably not
thought of this, and, having a sudden consciousness of intrusion,
whispered to me, around the hedge:

"Tennyson!  O Lord!"

The great man drew nearer, and then, taking in the situation, said:

"Ah, painting!  Brothers in art.  Good morning!"

This was perhaps tender treatment as compared with what we had heard a
pair of strangers might have expected.  But my friend, although
flurried because Jove had passed, remained at work.  I forget, though,
whether the sketch was ever completed.  {122} I was curious enough,
however, to pass on, by a detour, in the hope of seeing Jove on his
homeward stroll.  But he had vanished, and there were no thunderings,
near or far.

Mrs. Cameron and her household, after years at enlivening and
photographing Freshwater, returned to Ceylon.  The departure was an
occasion for a liberal distribution of photographs among the
inhabitants of the West Wight; and where there was a souvenir to be
given or a tip to be left, mounted portraits of celebrities, or of
models dressed as characters in fiction or poetry, were handed out.
Thus it happened that many of the pleasant lodging-houses in the
vicinity became galleries of Cameron art.

"Ideal" Ward had built a country mansion within a mile of Farringford.
It was called Weston Manor.  The eminent Catholic scholar and writer
was, of course, a friend of Tennyson.  And the two would dispute, of
course, about religion, or, rather, about theology, without the
slightest effect upon each other's opinions.  The house is still in the
possession of the Ward family, but is not occupied by them.  For some
years the private chaplain at Weston Manor was Father Peter
Haythornthwaite, a most agreeable and hard-working man.  Father Peter,
as they called him in the island, was also a friend of Tennyson and
frequently a companion of his walks.  He told me an amusing story
connected with his first dinner at Farringford.  Tennyson had an Irish
maid, Mary by name.  The family were very fond of her; her devotion to
them was equalled only by her zeal in serving them, which she would
{123} sometimes do in a domineering, if loyal manner, to which the poet
bowed submissively.  Tennyson disliked formality and stiffness, and was
uncomfortable in a dress suit and starched shirt.  Dressing for dinner
he avoided whenever he could.  Mary had laid out his most ceremonious
clothes.

"Put them away," said he.  "I 'll not wear them!"

Mary insisted.

"Now, I see," said Tennyson.  "I am to wear them for that priest, eh?"

"Plaze, sir!"

"Will he come in his altar robes and stole?"

"The saints forbid!" said she.

"If they forbid him, why should they compel me?" he asked.

"It 's I, yer Honour, that tell ye, for the sake of the house!  And he
's a man of God."

"I could n't resist that, could I?" the poet asked of Father Peter.
"And so," said he, "I dressed."

At the table one evening, Tennyson, being in a humorous mood, composed
rhyming epitaphs upon every name that occurred to him.

"What would you say of me?" asked Father Peter.

Instantly this couplet rolled from the lips of the host:

  "Here lies P. Haythornthwaite,
  Human by nature, Roman by fate."


A letter of Mrs. Cameron's came under my observation one day, and I was
permitted to make a note from it.  "Tennyson," she wrote, "was very
violent with the girls on the subject of the rage for {124} autographs.
He said he believed every crime and every vice in the world was
connected with the passion for autographs and anecdotes and records;
that the desiring of anecdotes and acquaintance with the lives of great
men was treating them like pigs to be ripped open for the public; and
that he knew he himself should be ripped open like a pig; that he
thanked God Almighty with his whole heart and soul that he knew
nothing, and would know nothing, of Jane Austen; and that there were no
letters preserved, either of Shakespeare's, or of Jane Austen's; and
that they had not been ripped open like pigs.  Then he said that the
post for two days had brought him no letters, and that he thought there
was a sort of syncope in the world as to him and his fame."

That last touch is delicious.  Tennyson did not like to be ignored.  He
was proud, and justly proud, of his fame.  Sir Edwin Arnold said:
"Tennyson had a noble vanity, a proud pleasure in the very notoriety
which brought strangers peeping and stealing about his gates."  Perhaps
so, but it was a case of "It needs be that offences come, but woe be to
him through whom the offence cometh."  He hated to have tributes thrust
upon him; he hated intrusions upon his privacy, and had suffered too
much from that sort of thing at Farringford when summer visitors
overran Freshwater.  He liked to be recognised along the country roads;
he liked to have people lift their hats to him; he liked to know that
his work meant something to the passer by.  But he shunned the merely
curious stranger.

{125}

And so it was natural enough that he should have built a summer home on
the mainland, Aldworth, where there was no summer resort and no plague
of the curious.  His friend, James Knowles, of the _Nineteenth
Century_, designed the house, and there Tennyson passed many happy
summers and autumns.  And there, on a moonlit night in the autumn of
1892, he died.  Whether he loved Farringford more, or Aldworth more, I
do not know.  But probably he was as much attached to one as to the
other, for each had its special associations.

The Tennysonian cloak, the Tennysonian hat, the rolling collar, and the
touzled beard and hair were not unique.  There lived at one time in
Freshwater a brother of the poet.  He resembled the poet and dressed
like him.  At the same time there was another resident of the place who
not only resembled Lord Tennyson but "got himself up" in close
imitation of his dress and manner.  He was a warm admirer of Tennyson,
and was immensely flattered to be mistaken for him by strangers.  Small
boys of the neighbourhood learned speedily to extract penny tips from
this adoring person by pretending to mistake him for their celebrated
townsman.  On the whole it was rather a good thing to have three
figures in the place, any one of which might be looked upon or followed
by the summer visitor as the famous poet.  It might be puzzling if the
stranger met two or three Tennysons in a mile, but two of them could
easily divert attention from the third, who was skilled in avoiding
strangers.

There was an aged man who had been a gardener {126} at Farringford and
was living on a little pension from that quarter.  One morning he heard
that the Poet Laureate had died.  Meeting Father Peter in the road he
expressed his grief that "his pore ludship have passed away."  Then,
with much concern for the succession, he asked:

"D'ye think likely Mr. Hallam will follow his father's business?"

Father Peter thought it quite unlikely.

"Ah," said the pensioner, much relieved.  "I think nowt on 't, nowt!"

I have seen Farringford described as "a beautifully wooded gentleman's
park."  It must, at least, be acknowledged that if the gentleman were
not beautifully wooded, he lived there, and that he lived a beautiful
and serene life, a noble life, adding greatly to the fame of England,
and no less to the human lot.  Forty of his eighty-three years were
Farringford years.  Never was poet more happily placed than in this
earthly paradise.  Every circumstance of loyalty and love, of
understanding and devotion, surrounded him here and at Aldworth.  And
never had genius a more devoted aid than Tennyson had in his son
Hallam, the present Lord Tennyson, shield and buckler to his father and
to his gentle mother, the dear lady who seemed like a spirit held on
earth only by the devotion of husband and son.  A family life richer
and more tender one does not know among all the lives that one has
seen, or ever heard of.  To write more about it now would be impious.

Shortly after Tennyson had been buried in Westminster {127} Abbey, on
an October day in 1892, a committee of his neighbours in Freshwater was
formed for the purpose of erecting some memorial in the rural region
where half his life had been passed.  The memorial was meant to be a
local and neighbourly undertaking, and it was thought, naturally
enough, that it might be carried out in the form of a monument, tablet,
or window, in the village church.  But a more fitting idea was adopted.

There stood on the summit of the High Down, "Tennyson's Down" as it is
more generally known, a great beacon of heavy, blackened timber
surmounted by a cresset, in which, on old nights, long ago, fire had
blazed when alarms were signalled from hill to hill along the coast.
This beacon had been taken over by the Lighthouse Board and had served
through decades as a mark for navigation for the endless processions of
ships passing up and down the English Channel and through the Solent by
the Needles.  Six or seven hundred feet above the sea, and near the
edge of a long white cliff, it was easily seen by navigators bound
inward or outward.  For forty years Tennyson had made it a point of
call in his almost daily walks.  The committee believed that in the
place of the old wooden structure a granite shaft could be erected,
serving at once as a memorial to Tennyson and a beacon to seamen.

The Reverend Doctor Merriman, Rector of Freshwater, Colonel Crozier,
Doctor Hollis, and others, invited me to join the committee, and I did
so, suggesting that Americans would wish to share in {128} erecting the
proposed memorial, but that it would be scarcely possible for them to
participate were the object undertaken purely as a village or
neighbourhood tribute.  The broader suggestion was adopted.  A Celtic
cross in Cornish granite was designed by Mr. J. L. Pearson, of the
Royal Academy, and the Brethren of Trinity House (the Lighthouse Board)
consented to preserve it in perpetuity if the committee would provide
for its erection.  I communicated with my old friend, Mrs. James T.
Fields of Boston, the widow of Tennyson's American publisher, and she
brought together an American committee for the purpose of coöperating
with the one in Freshwater.  Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes became her
first associate and the first American subscriber.  The daughters of
Longfellow and Lowell were members of the American committee, and so
were Mrs. Agassiz, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mrs. Margaret Deland, Miss
Sarah Orne Jewett, Professor Charles Eliot Norton, Mr. Thomas Bailey
Aldrich, Mr. H. O. Houghton, Mr. George H. Mifflin, and others.
Several American newspapers courteously drew attention to the proposed
memorial, and Mr. George W. Smalley made an appeal through the New York
Tribune, as I did through other papers.  Subscriptions were purposely
confined to small amounts so that the humblest lover of Tennyson could
contribute his mite.  I remember that among the first to come were
twenty-five cents "from a bricklayer", and "a dollar from a proof
reader."

The cross was erected and now, a quarter of a century later, it shows
scarcely a sign of weather, {129} though it fronts the sun, and the
storms beat upon it, seven hundred feet above the sea.  It bears this
inscription:

     IN MEMORY
     OF ALFRED
   LORD TENNYSON
   THIS CROSS IS
  RAISED A BEACON
   TO SAILORS BY
   THE PEOPLE OF
   FRESHWATER AND
   OTHER FRIENDS
    IN ENGLAND
    AND AMERICA


Cliff-erosion causes the precipitous brink to creep slowly toward the
cross.  By or before the middle of the present century it may become
necessary to remove the Beacon Cross some yards to the north.

It was, I think, on the day of Tennyson's burial that the following
letter appeared in the _Times_, over the signature P.L.I.


"Perhaps the following anecdotes may be of interest, related as they
were in a paper read privately by the late James T. Fields, in 1872,
during my stay in Boston.

"Mr. Fields said that while staying with the poet at Farringford,
Tennyson said at midnight, 'Fields, let 's take a walk!'  It was a dark
and wild night, the sea breaking at the foot of the cliffs.  Knowing
the dangers of the place and his near-sightedness, I feared for his
safety; however, he trudged on through the thick grass with his stick,
I also using the one he had lent me on setting out.

{130}

"Presently he dropped on hands and knees in the grass.  Alarmed I
asked, 'What is the matter?'  He answered in a strong, Lincolnshire
accent, 'Violets, man, violets!  Get thee down and have a smell; it
will make thee sleep the better!'  He had detected them by his acute
sense of smell, aided by his strong love of nature.  I dropped down,
and the sense of the ridiculous struck me forcibly,--in such a position
at midnight lying in the thick grass.  He joined in my laughter, and we
started for home.

"He was egotistical to an extreme, but it was superb, and deeply
impressed one.  An old lady once, sitting next to Tennyson while some
of his poems were being read, exclaimed, 'Oh! how exquisite!'  'I
should say it was,' replied the poet.  At another time he said no one
could read 'Maud' but himself.  'Fields, come and see me, and I will
give you "Maud" so that you will never forget it.'  This was perfectly
true.  I felt I could have listened to him forever, and would go any
distance to hear it as he gave it."


There was much more to the same purpose.  But Mr. Fields, like several
others who have written about Tennyson, may have over-emphasised the
poet's "egotism."  Tennyson was an absolutely honest man.  He said what
he thought.  If another said that his work was "exquisite" or "superb",
or this, or that, he would not affect a self-depreciation which he did
not feel.  That would have been dishonest.  If the work were fine, he
knew it and said so.  If it were over-praised, he said that too.  He
was not imposed upon by flattery, and he hated that and detected it
easily enough.  The "violet" incident above has been quoted frequently.
It is quoted here because Mr. Fields was mistaken about {131} "the
thick grass."  That does not grow on the down.  Besides the furze
bushes, there is only close-cropped turf.  If he walked through "thick
grass" it may have been on the way to and from the down, perhaps, by
the way of Maiden's Croft.  And on the down the poet would have been in
no peril through his short-sightedness.  He was a countryman, and knew
every inch of the way.  A countryman can tell by the slope of the
ground, by "the lie of the land" under his feet, whether or not the
down is leading him astray.  If he is sure-footed, far sight will not
help him much in the dark.  But Fields, although a kindly soul, was a
publisher, and he might easily have felt "ridiculous" when kneeling at
the feet of a poet.

A diligent antiquary lived at Freshwater in Tennyson's time.  He lived
in Easton Cottage, nearly opposite the road-end of Tennyson's Lane.
His name was Robert Walker, and he was well advanced in age.  When I
knew him, in the nineties, he was very deaf, so that talking with him
was tiresome.  But he had interesting talk to give, even if he received
none in return.  He had been a dealer in antiques, I forget where, but
I remember that he told me he had made and lost two fortunes, and was
sheltering his last years under the shreds of the second.  He told me,
too, that he had been offered the curatorship of a well-known museum,
but had declined, preferring retirement in Freshwater.  I have a vague
recollection of being shown the correspondence.  But, at any rate, the
old man promised to confer new fame on Freshwater by proving that it
{132} had very ancient fame, indeed, as a harbourage and stage in the
overland route to the tin mines of Cornwall in the time of the
Phoenicians!

His argument was something like this: In the obscure past there were
Phoenicians.  So much we grant.  They conducted with the world at
large, or with as much of it as was then known, a trade in tin.  Strabo
tells us so.  Whence came their tin?  From Cornwall.  And how did they
get to Cornwall?  By the Isle of Wight, which seems a roundabout way,
but was not so.  The "ships" of the Phoenicians "were little more than
open boats, partly decked, and liable to be swamped by the dash of the
waves over their sides and prows.  They were propelled by rowers,
numbering from thirty to fifty; if wind served they stepped a single
mast and hoisted a single sail."  They avoided the heavy seas of the
Bay of Biscay, and came by the rivers of France.  Up from the
Mediterranean they would proceed by the Rhone to where Lyons is now.
There they would leave their vessels.  From there overland to the
Seine, where they had another fleet awaiting them.  Then down the Seine
to where Havre, or Barfleur, or Cherbourg stand now, and thence across
the Channel to the Isle of Wight, the nearest front of barbarian
England.

Freshwater was then an island.  It is almost an island now.  The little
tidal river, Yar, rises within a few yards of the Channel and flows
north, to the Solent.  In those days there was probably no beach at
Freshwater Bay; the present beach was formed after modern man had
constructed a causeway {133} there.  In those days the waters of the
Channel flowed into the Yar, making a shallow estuary sufficient for an
anchorage, where the Phoenician craft could lie while their adventurous
crews were following the Cornish trail, a feat easily performed,
because, in those days, the Isle of Wight was doubtless joined to the
mainland at Hurst Castle.  If it were not it should have been, in order
to add interest to the story.

About the beginning of the eighteen-nineties workmen were widening and
lowering the road which skirts Farringford and the Briary, and gives an
entrance to the rear of Weston Manor.  They dug so closely into a
Weston hedge that, in going below the subsoil of it, they discovered
the remains of ancient structures containing pottery, ash, charcoal,
lime, enamelled bricks, and so on.  Walker declared the remains were
Phoenician, and the site that of a crematorium and a pottery.  He cited
evidence which I have not space to record.  Being an antiquary he
turned on other antiquaries.  He wrote a pamphlet.  The Antiquary
magazine took up the case and cited similar discoveries, undoubtedly
Phoenician, in South Devon.  Warm arguments for and against the
Phoenician theory were thrown back and forth.  And Freshwater laughed.
It was sure, and is sure still, that the anti-Phoenicians had the best
of it, and Neighbour Walker the worst of it.  A neighbour would have
the worst of it, of course.  But Walker persuaded the Ward of the time
(Granville) to preserve the discoveries and to erect above them two
protecting domes of concrete.  {134} Walker, I think, had the best of
it, for if he could not prove the remains to have been Phoenician, his
adversaries could not prove them to have been anything else.  The
antiquary is dead, and the local cabmen point, with the scorn of their
calling, to "Walker's Pups" in the hedgerow as you drive to Totland or
Alum Bay.

Local prophets, here as elsewhere, may prophesy without excess of
honour.  Tennyson himself used to tell an anecdote which had the run of
the village:

"There 's Farringford," said a cabman to a visiting "fare."

"Ah!" responded the latter, "a great man lives there."

"D' ye call him great?" retorted cabby.  "He only keeps one man, and
_he_ don't sleep in the house!"

Just as I reach this point in this chapter, there comes to me, in
Hampshire, the news of Lady Ritchie's death.  This means the breaking
of almost the last link of that old Island circle.  And it means the
vanishing from life of one of the sweetest and dearest old ladies I
have ever known.  She was Thackeray's eldest daughter.

When my wife and I left the Island, late in 1918, Lady Ritchie was one
of the last friends we saw.  She came to our gate to say good-bye.  She
was then over eighty-one.  How many of my friends are more than eighty!
The most active youth is ninety-three!  He also is an Isle of Wighter.
Lady Ritchie was an Isle of Wighter half of every year.  She had first
visited Freshwater with her father {135} when she was a child, and her
association with it had never ceased since then.  For many years past
she had a little house there.  "The Porch" it was called.  The colder
half of the year she lived in London, in St. Leonard's Terrace,
Chelsea; the warmer half at "The Porch."  In 1918, when Chelsea
Hospital, the home of the red-coated Old Pensioners, was bombed by
German aircraft, she had a narrow escape.  Her house faces the hospital
grounds, and every window pane in the front was shattered.  She was
sitting in her drawing-room at the time, but was unhurt by the flying
glass and unruffled by the flashing and crashing all about her.  She
was then approaching her eighty-first birthday.  But ladies of
eighty-one, however unconquerable, do not go through such an experience
without nerve strain.  When I saw her again, a few weeks later, she,
for the first time, seemed conscious that age was advancing upon her.
The pleasant little gatherings became fewer; she was much fatigued
after them.  But her spirits were as high as ever, and her thought as
kindly.

When the United States entered the war, she came to me with a jubilant
letter from an old friend of hers in New York.  Her friend had written,
"I rejoice that you and I are now fighting together, side by side."

"Yes, yes," said Lady Ritchie, reading the letter to me, "think of it!
Two old ladies of eighty fighting shoulder to shoulder!"  And
straightway she made a little American flag which she hung at "The
Porch" door, alongside a Union Jack.

{136}

She was, I think, the last of that once considerable group whose
members always addressed, and alluded to, the first Lord Tennyson as
"Alfred."  And she was as full of stories of him as an egg is of meat.
The last time we passed Farringford together, she said:

"I like to think of the expression on Alfred's face when he was told
that a new boy-in-buttons, a country lad whom he had just taken into
service, answered the doorbell one day, and saw a tall, sedate
gentleman standing there.

"'Tell your master that the Prince Consort has called,' he said to the
boy.

"'Oh, crickey!' exclaimed the youngster, who fled to the innermost
parts of the house.

"Somehow, I forget how, the message was conveyed to Alfred, who found
the Prince waiting at the door, still laughing at the boy's
consternation.  The Island life was fairly simple in those days."

And what is left of that old life is gracious, kindly, hospitable.  In
no place in any part of the earth have I met with greater kindliness
than in Freshwater.  That is why I am fond of the West Wight and have
been there so often.  I wonder if ever I shall go there again.  Once I
crossed the Atlantic to go there and only there.  And now, to-day that
gracious lady of the old time has gone, never to return.  How kindly
she was, and gentle!  What sweet dignity and thoughtfulness, a manner
that was not put on and off like a gown.  It was innate.  There are few
left in the world like that dear lady.  The present generation calls
them old-fashioned.  {137} Theirs was indeed an old fashion, and the
world is poorer because it does not know how to match it.  Their spirit
was not the spirit of the age as we see it at the dawn of the third
decade of the Twentieth Century.  Farewell, dear lady, you were
Thackeray's finest work!



{138}

CHAPTER X

GLADSTONE

The enthusiasms and antagonisms set alight by Mr. Gladstone in his long
career flame now, a generation after his death, quite as fiercely as
they did before the Great War.  Not that he was a warlike man, except
upon the hustings and in the House.  You would think that everybody
could see now that Gladstone was right about the Turks.  But Woodrow
Wilson and the ex-Kaiser have not seen so much.  They were on the side
of the Turks and Bulgarians.  Wilson was so much on their side that he
would not fight them, and by his abstention contributed to the
situation which made the Armenian massacres a continuous entertainment
for Berlin, and isolated Russia from her Allies.  And there is Ireland,
of course, Ireland with De Valera instead of with Parnell.  And there
is Egypt.  And there is India.  All of these synonymes for trouble, and
debates in the House.  All these troubles to be healed by talk.  But
there is no one now who talks so well as Mr. Gladstone.

When Gladstone died, men did not agree about what he had done in his
more than sixty years of public life,--done, that is, for the United
Kingdom {139} and the Empire.  They do not agree now.  What was the
outstanding achievement of his life, the thing, above all, by which
posterity will remember him?  Was it his devotion to the freedom of
human kind?  Perhaps.  But the main question is so difficult to answer
that I shall not attempt the task, not merely because it is difficult,
but mainly because it is not my intention to tread the mazes of British
politics.

The Nineteenth Century, the despised Victorian Age, if you please, was
an age of great men.  Some of them seem smaller now than they did
before July, 1914.  Bismarck, for example.  Bismarck was a liar.
Gladstone was not.  And yet he had a theological mind.  Gladstone's
stature has not diminished with the shrinking process of time.  But
will it diminish?  Who can tell?  The world salutes his integrity.
Does it salute for integrity and courage any political personage of
to-day?

The world was taught, generation after generation, that the emergency
produces the man.  The year 1914 and its six successors brought
emergency to every country, such emergency as no country had ever known
before.  But the emergencies did not produce the political men.  Only
France produced the political man.  Without him, German intrigue would
have overrun the world, even after the Germans fled from France and
Belgium and the East.  We would have been smothered by words and
machinations, as northern France and Belgium had been smothered by the
Teutonic cloud-bursts.  But there was Clémenceau,--Clémenceau who had
appointed Foch.

{140}

These two men and the Allied commanders brought victory to
civilisation.  If the politicians do not destroy the work and plans,
the "peace" they are making now will endure for a while.  If the
politicians, toying with their new doll, the League of Nations, keep
their heads in the clouds, I believe they will come crashing to earth
within ten years, frightened and amazed by a greater and longer war
than has yet been known.  They sowed its seeds in the Armistice and at
Versailles.  And later when, month after month, they changed their
plans from day to day.

It is sometimes unwise to avoid digressions.  No apology is made, or
considered necessary, for this one.

I was speaking of Mr. Gladstone.  It was my privilege to see him and
hear him frequently during twenty years.  Perhaps it was due to some
defect of nature that I was never much influenced politically by him.
His eloquence was anything you may choose to imagine it, and you would
have admired it, if you could dissociate from it the involved phrases,
the delicate adjustments, the hair-split meanings which might balance
any interpretation that might be put upon them, the contradictions, the
finely-spun arguments which, woven into the texture of his speeches,
would enmesh the unwary,--you would have admired it hugely if you could
have dissociated these things from it.  His majorities probably did not
make the effort.  He had the magic of making them forget.

He could be, and was, eloquent on any subject, {141} and, for that
reason, he could and did unsettle many minds on many themes.  He was a
word-spinner of extraordinary skill and charm, and he made multitudes
think they had opinions of their own when their opinions were what he
had taught them.  That is one of the gifts of leadership.  And it was a
special privilege of Mr. Gladstone's leadership of democracy that he
remained an aristocrat by habit and inclination.  Morley's "Life" of
him contains this passage from a privately printed account of Ruskin at
Hawarden:


"Something like a little amicable duel took place at one time between
Ruskin and Mr. G. when Ruskin directly attacked his host as a
'leveller.'  'You see _you_ think one man is as good as another, and
all men equally competent to judge aright on political questions;
whereas I am a believer in an aristocracy.'  And straight came the
answer from Mr. Gladstone, 'Oh dear, no!  I am nothing of the sort.  I
am a firm believer in the aristocratic principle--the rule of the best.
I am an out-and-out _inequalitarian_,' a confession which Ruskin
treated with intense delight, clapping his hands triumphantly."


Eloquence has not been rated modestly among the arts during some
thousands of years.  Whether it has done more for the advancement or
the retardation of man may be a subject for dispute.  That it has done
both is unquestioned by those who talk less than they think.  It is a
useful accomplishment when the object is to get a body of men to think
and act in unison; it is equally useful in promoting disunion.  It is
therefore of most service to politicians {142} and preachers, the aim
of these gentlemen being to promote unity for their own causes by
promoting disaffection in and with all other causes.  Of all the
statesmen of the nineteenth century, Mr. Gladstone was preëminent in
the promotion of disaffection.  I do not know that he uprooted anything
that deserved to remain among the habits or institutions of mankind; I
do not know that he preserved anything that should have been cast upon
the dust heap; I do not know that he originated anything; but I always
think of him as a great opportunist who was sometimes on the right
side, and quite as likely to be on the wrong.  But he differed from
other conspicuous opportunists in this: he always wrestled with the
devil of unbelief.  Before adopting a policy he would ask himself, "Is
this right?"  If he adopted it, you would know that he was convinced of
the righteousness of his cause.  That he had converted himself,
convinced himself by his own eloquence, did not make his conviction
less sure, but made it perhaps, more clinching because he had talked
himself into belief.  His eloquence, therefore, had effect upon himself
no less than upon others, as Lord Beaconsfield more than implied when,
in a political speech at Knightsbridge, in 1878, he alluded to Mr.
Gladstone as "a sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance
of his own verbosity."

If Mr. Gladstone has been credited too much and too often with all the
qualities of a saint, it was, perhaps, because his opponents were
always ready to attribute to him the traits of a devil.  In our later
time there has been no such adulation and no {143} such hatred as were
poured upon him.  And I take it that these excesses were due to his
absorption in things, or subjects, rather than to interest in men.
Individuals did not interest him; causes did.  The cause, whatever it
might be, filled the universe.  He could not see men, the people were
so conspicuous.

It may have been a fault, it was certainly a characteristic, that when
he had once resolved, he expected his followers to exchange, as quickly
as himself, old ways of thought for new.  It did not occur to him until
after the event that he had struck not only the wrong but the unpopular
note in the American Civil War.  He saw the thing in one way only, and
he was immensely surprised when he learned that there was another side
to the question, and that it was taken by the country most concerned.
But he did what he could and subsequently made a long and almost abject
confession of error, which might have shaken, if it did not, the
general appreciation of his powers of judgment.  It will be said there
was the case of Ireland.  To be sure there was the case of Ireland.  It
is always with Britain, even if the Irish are not,--as in the war
against Germany.  But Mr. Gladstone understood Ireland and the Irish as
little as,--well, as little as the Americans understand them.  Lord
Salisbury, on a certain occasion, said that he (Salisbury) had never
seen Mr. Parnell.  Almost any one, then, might have repeated to him the
famous injunction of Oxenstiern: "Go forth, my son, and see with how
little wisdom the world is governed."

Lord Salisbury did not know Parnell by sight, and {144} he gave
Heligoland to the Kaiser.  Neither Parnell nor Heligoland were
important enough in his opinion to justify even visual acquaintance.
The world has suffered for his superior neglect in one particular,
perhaps in both.  But if he, or if Gladstone, or if Gladstone and
Salisbury had foreseen what would happen, the world might not have
acted any more wisely than it did.  It is always too late to be wise.
Nobody would have believed the oracles; the truth was in opposition to
the world's inclinations.  It is usually so.  And that is why great men
are shunted to the wrong tracks, and so are "great" men only for their
age and hour; it is why prophets are stoned, and mediocrities arise and
talk, prevailing by sound.  Nowadays the eminence of men is fixed by
their capacity for catching votes and the commotion they make in doing
so.

I thought Mr. Gladstone a vindictive old gentleman.  It was not the
fashion to think of him in that way.  You were supposed to insist upon
his more saintly qualities, but there is some difficulty in associating
attributes of saintship with eminent politicians during their lifetime,
and at the same moment keeping your face straight.  The Roman Church,
in its sagacity, defers consideration of saintship until long after the
decease of the candidates for canonisation.  Some centuries, indeed,
are required before the purely human element in man may be superseded
by the purely divine, even in cases where the voting majority is heavy.

If Mr. Gladstone were not vindictive, I do not see how he contrived so
successfully to give that {145} character to his countenance when he
was not speaking.  One does not say when his countenance was in repose.
Repose was unacquainted with his countenance, or with any part of him.
The energy which fully charged his body flowed through his mind in a
restless and surging torrent.  And if he were vindictive, I do not see
anything strange, or much that is derogatory in that.  A leader of
politics must be genuine, or fall far short of greatness.  His
opponents cannot be opposed to him merely in a parliamentary sense.
They may be as genuine as he, but if he hates their acts as evil in
nature and result, he cannot in honesty refrain from distrusting the
men who lead and inspire the acts, though he may pretend as much as he
pleases to do otherwise.  His indignation against men and measures does
not cease with the adjournment of the House, or with the close of an
electioneering campaign, unless he is a hypocrite.  And if he fail to
pursue his public enemy for the purpose of making him ineffective for
public harm, does he not give a too generous interpretation to public
duty?  That a man is to be hated only at certain hours, or when he says
certain things, is conceivable only by the tolerant mass which must
usually be told what to think, and which, nine times out of ten, can be
relied upon to think to order, especially on party matters.  A
political party, in any country, is not intended for thinking purposes,
but, like an army, is for fighting purposes.  If it's in, it fights to
stay in; if it's out, it fights to get in.  It uses speeches and
programmes as military leaders use smoke-screens and gas-discharges,
{146} to obscure the real operations and confound the enemy.  In the
last century we had not learned, although we may have suspected, that
the world must be made safe for hypocrisy.  It remained for the
twentieth century to announce this.

A journalist who gets below the surface of things cannot remain a party
man, for the more useful he is to one party the less useful he is to
journalism.  Sooner or later, and usually sooner than later, he must
come up against the barbed wire which divides proprietary or editorial
interests from the area of his own convictions.  Perhaps the latter are
less important than they seem.  But they may be more important.  At any
rate, like Touchstone's Audrey, they are his, and if he has a
conscience, which is to be presumed, a conflict between his pen and his
principles is bound to occur, unless his chief, or his employer, is a
paragon of courage.

"I can't afford the truth, as you call it," said an editor-proprietor
one day,--it was over an article about Gladstone.  "I must go with my
public."  He went with it, but his contributor did not.  The latter was
given the choice of resigning or writing.  He did both.  He wrote his
resignation.  How Mr. Gladstone heard of this I do not know, but hear
of it he did.  It was to his interest to side with the editor, as he
did politically, but he met later the contumacious subordinate and said
that he was glad to see a junior who stood by his principles and knew
how to do so.

"If I have any advantage over others," said the G.O.M., "it is the
advantage of a long experience {147} which has taught me to value the
quality that Cromwell attributed to his soldiers.  Oliver said, 'They
make some conscience of what they do.'  If we are not ruled by
conscience, we are in anarchy.  Good conscience makes for fair fighting
in politics or war."

"Yes, but, Mr. Gladstone, if the opponent _does n't_ fight fairly?"

"'Bear it that the opposed must beware of thee!'"

That is well as far as it goes.  But we do not "fight by the book of
arithmetic."  Did "the opposed" in Mr. Gladstone's wars beware of him,
or of his England?  One does not seem to recall their wariness.  Not
even the Mahdi's.  Gordon fought with the front door open, so to speak.
Gladstone did not then "make the opposed beware" of his administration,
_i.e._ England, for the time being.  And there were other cases.  Is it
only one's own side that must beware of a policy of dilly-dally?  The
"ecstatic madman", as Lord Acton, in one of his letters, called Gordon,
gave the world furiously to think.  But Gladstone knew what Gordon was
when he sent him out.  And it is more difficult now than it was then to
relieve the venerable statesman of responsibility.  Gladstone hated
war.  But his hatred of it did not make war any the less inevitable or
less necessary.  The enemy rejoiced because the G.O.M. hated war.  Let
the Pacifists note!

Of the many times when I saw Gladstone at close range, I recall at the
moment a night at the Lyceum while Irving was playing "The Merchant of
Venice."  From my seat it was easily possible to observe the {148}
Grand Old Man in his stall.  The eagle eyes had always fascinated me.
It was as interesting to watch his terrific face as to watch Irving.
"Terrific" is not too strong a word.  Gladstone's face during the Tubal
scene reflected every emotion of vengeance that forced itself from
Shylock's soul, and during the Trial scene he glared at Antonio with
inquisitorial ferocity while Shylock whetted his knife.  It would be
the usual and conventional thing to describe this as a tribute to
Irving's acting, and in support of this to quote Gladstone's
appreciation of that distinguished man, "Shylock is his best, I
think"--but the spectator at a play, if we may take Hamlet's word for
it, is readier to show sympathy with the victim than with the
tormentor; and it was not until after Shylock had whetted his blade
that he became changed from the victorious torturer to the abjectly
tortured man.  Up to that point Gladstone's face expressed demoniacal
glee; after it he did not appear to be interested.  The psychologists
and the partisans may quarrel over this as they please.  I think that
non-partisans who had much opportunity to study the old
parliamentarian's face at close range, amid varying conditions, will
not quarrel over this interpretation, or with the adjective employed.

Take another and a very different instance, when Gladstone was the
central figure of a moving scene.  It was a Liberal Conference at
Manchester, in December, 1889.  Gladstone had been ill.  The press had
reported him seriously ill.  It was unlikely, the papers said, that he
could again address a public {149} meeting, unlikely that he would
reappear in the political field.  But he appeared at Manchester, and
his appearance drew the attention of all Liberal Britain, and a good
share of its representative men in person.  The immense hall was
packed.  The seats had been removed from the floor to make room for a
greater throng than could otherwise gather.  So close was the pressure
that it was impossible to move one's arms, even to raise them.  The
audience worked itself, or rather was worked, to a high pitch of
enthusiasm by a skilful organist who played upon them with patriotic
songs and Scottish, Welsh, and English ballads.  When the kettle was
boiling merrily over this fire, and the lid rattling up and down, an
old, grey head, world-famous, was seen rising through the
platform-crowd, and the alert and venerable figure which carried it
moved quickly to the front against a whirlwind of cheers.  The roar was
like that of a gale-driven sea beating against cliffs.  It did not
cease until its idol had raised his hand for silence.  When it had
ceased he sat down, and the chairman called the meeting to order.

A few minutes later, the chairman called upon Mr. Gladstone to speak.
The G.O.M. rose to another outburst of welcome, and, upon obtaining
silence, said: "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen."  And then the
storm of cheering broke anew.  It continued for a quarter of an hour,
gaining constantly in force and volume.  It was taken up in the crowded
streets.  It was a tempest of sound, within, without.  The five words
had started an avalanche!  When had those five words, or any five,
unloosed {150} such clamour?  The voice that uttered them had boomed
through the great hall like the discharges of big guns.  The deep,
strong tones, the alertness of motion, the flash of the eagle eyes,
said to the assemblage more than the words.  Eighty years?  Yes, but
eighty years young, with health, vigour, fighting power undiminished.
The audience could not restrain its joy.  Roar upon roar succeeded,
wave upon wave of emotion rolled over the crowd; it was a demonstration
of thanksgiving, of congratulation, of delight.  I have never seen or
heard its equal in all the pageants, conventions, progresses,
demonstrations of popular enthusiasm that I have witnessed in many
parts of the world.  Above them all this stands alone, unique in
fervour and significance.

"Standing as I do on the verge of four score years"--was the note to
which the audience again responded.  The shouting was a personal
tribute, not merely a political one.  I cannot remember what the G.O.M.
said in his speech, but I remember that there was scarcely anything of
a specific character concerning political measures or men.  Gladstone
was keeping his powder dry.  He dealt in generalities.  He was always
at his best when so dealing.  He lifted his themes to an exalted pitch
and did not wreck himself on details.

It was only his greyness that acknowledged age.  His voice was as deep
and rich as ever it had been, his bearing as alert, his movements as
graceful.  He seemed to say, "It is impossible to grow old, but, as I
cannot live forever, let us get on with the work in {151} hand."  His
capacity for believing that the moon is made of green cheese, and, what
was more important, of making others believe it, was boundless.  What
was the spell he cast upon his hearers?  Even when he was in
Opposition, perhaps because of that, for he was best then, the House of
Commons would be crowded when he spoke.  I have seen him at such a time
switch on his green-cheese oratory and hold the House for an hour or
two, tense, expectant, submissive under the spell.  When he finished,
great cheering would rise from both sides,--from his followers because
they were charmed, or overwhelmed, and, being of his party, believed in
the green-cheese theory and were ready to eat the cheese; from his
opponents because they too were charmed, or all but overwhelmed, and
for the moment forgot that fealty to their own party should have left
the other side of the House to do the cheering.  If a vote could have
been taken when Gladstone ended his speech, the House would have been
unanimous for cheese.  But parliamentary procedure permits, or compels,
a leading opponent to reply, and the reply broke the spell and recalled
several hundred Britons to their partisan duties.

It was always amusing to watch Gladstone's face when he came before an
enthusiastic audience either in the outer world or within the House of
Commons.  As the cheers of welcome increased, he would look about him
in a puzzled way, as if he were wondering what caused the
demonstration, as if he were asking himself, "What have I done to be
dragged from obscurity?"  It has often been said that "he could {152}
have been a great actor."  But he was one.  It has also been said that
he would have been a great archbishop.  But archbishops in his time led
such tame lives that Mr. Gladstone would have been discontented with
the episcopal lot.  It is easy, though, to imagine him cursing
magnificently with bell, book, and candle.  He was a great performer.

His detachments were even more remarkable than the attachments of other
men.  No subject absorbed him save when he was working on it.  That is
another way of saying that his power of concentration was absolutely
under control at all times.  He would turn from the subject which he
had dropped for the day to another subject which he would work at for
half an hour, or six weeks, or six years, or a lifetime, and give all
his energies to the task in hand, and yet be ready to concentrate at a
minute's notice on whatever might turn up.  They say he had no sense of
humour.  Perhaps they mean that he was not witty.  Perhaps he did n't
appreciate jokes.  It is not always easy to know what "they" mean by a
sense of humour.  I have known Gladstone to keep the House of Commons
laughing for a quarter of an hour by sheer exercise of the comic
spirit, although it must be said that he did not often exercise this.
But when he did it, there was purpose in it.  The tragedy, that is to
say, the serious business of the hour, was to follow.  Seeing Gladstone
in his great moments was like seeing Edwin Booth as Richelieu; you had
similar thrills, smiles, and satisfaction.

Very few persons outside his family knew him really well, no matter how
long they might have {153} been associated with him in public work.
All the men who knew him that I knew agreed in one thing, however much
they disagreed in others,--he had the spirit and the manner of command.
A public gathering, a cabinet council, a dinner party were equally his.
It will be remembered that he addressed Queen Victoria as if she were a
public meeting, and she did n't like it.  But that illustrates what I
mean when saying that he was not interested in persons but in causes,
or subjects; he was not interested in a dinner party but in what he had
to tell it.  The other guests--his hosts, too--might have been
disembodied spirits, but it was he who would "communicate" with them,
not they with him.  He would detach himself from them as easily as from
politics.

He made his own "atmosphere", and it was often far removed from
politics.  Thus, at the approach of the political crisis of 1886, just
before the House was to vote on his first Home Rule Bill, he was
staying with his wife at Lord Aberdeen's house at Dollis Hill.  A
friend of mine, not a political personage, was of the house party, and
he told me how the G.O.M. would drive out from town alone, after dark,
in an open carriage, and forget the fate of governments, especially his
own, although that fate was to be decided within a few hours.

Entering the drawing-room, he said, "While driving out here from the
House last evening I counted twenty-eight omnibuses going in one
direction.  To-day being Saturday, I thought the number would be larger
than that, and I estimated thirty-five.  I {154} counted thirty-six."
And then he discoursed on the increasing business of passenger
transportation in the metropolis.  Not a word about politics.

On the following afternoon (Sunday) the members of the Cabinet and
other prominent partisans went out to Dollis Hill for an informal
consultation with the Prime Minister.  They were uneasy in their minds.
The vote would be taken next day, and they might find themselves out of
office,--as indeed they did for the six years following.  The afternoon
being fine, they walked in the garden and discussed the perils of the
situation, and waited for Mr. Gladstone to summon them, or to come and
join them.  They continued to walk and wait.  But Mr. Gladstone did not
appear, nor did he summon any one.  But the Secretary for Ireland
thought that he might be engaged with the Secretary for Foreign
Affairs, and the Home Secretary thought that he might be with the
Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Still Gladstone did not send word, and
the political mountains waited for Mahomet.  Concluding that the old
gentleman was fatigued and had gone to his room for a nap, they began
to retreat homeward.  They left singly, and by twos and threes, after
some hours of vain waiting.  By and by the Gladstones appeared and told
their host that they had had "a charming afternoon."  They had strolled
to the garden gate and had stopped to look at the view.  The country
road enticed them.  They came to a pretty church, and as service was
about to begin, they entered and remained for the benediction.  They
had returned slowly, but highly edified.  The next day Gladstone {155}
met his foes and was cast into the cold shades of opposition.
Doubtless he had expected this, but, doubtless, he had not expected to
be cast so deep,--six years' deep.

I remember what a former ally of his had said to me just before the
Manchester Conference: "No, I am not going to Manchester.  I don't
agree with Gladstone's Irish policy, but I know that if I were to go to
Manchester I would shout with the rest."  Those were days when the
world had sunk far into the morasses of parliamentary talk.  All things
were to be settled by talking and voting and pious intentions.  A
complacent faith in Democracy was to save the world, if, indeed, the
world were not already saved by it.  In English-speaking countries it
had become little short of dishonourable to praise naval and military
valour; and reliance upon force as the defence of a nation was thought
to be unchristian.  Democracy was to be shielded by its own virtue.  We
have heard that since the Great War, too.  It is the old story of an
old dream.  Envy, hatred, and malice had departed from the world.
There would be no more cause for great wars.  The era of perpetual
peace was about to dawn.  Nations were to put their trust in a
parliamentary God, a Deity of Congresses.  When every one voted, there
would be a new heaven on a new earth.  The credulous invented a new
kind of treason of which any one was accused when he expressed,
publicly, doubts of the sanity of a democracy which could not see that
the voter unprepared to defend his "sacred vote" by arms was risking
his privilege, his goods, his kith and {156} kin, was imperilling his
right to live as a freeman.  He had put his faith in words.  Mr.
Gladstone was the nineteenth century's greatest conjuror with words.
But he was incapable of demanding, as Woodrow Wilson did, that a nation
should be "neutral in thought", while freedom, the very right to think,
was being beaten down.  Gladstone would not have blundered like that,
you say.  But it was not a blunder, it was a crime.



{157}

CHAPTER XI

WHISTLER

A familiar voice said, "Come!"

It was Whistler's voice.  I turned and answered, "All right.  Where?"

The slender, dapper figure halted; over the quizzical face a look of
astonishment flashed; the flat-brimmed silk hat lifted perceptibly by
the contortion of an eyebrow; and the immortal monocle dropped into the
right hand as was its habit when punctuating a sentence of its
controller.  The monocle was Whistler's question mark, his exclamation
point, his full stop; it served even as parenthesis when occasion
demanded.

"Where," replied Whistler, "where should an honest Londoner go at this
hour but home to dine?  Come, then!  Escape the awful gaze of the rude
world.  We 're blocking Bond Street.  Let's call a worthy hansom."

A hansom worthy of its fare was found by searching,--varnished,
resplendent; it bore a striped awning, and its driver was smart and
wore a boutonnière; and its horse shone and arched a proud neck.  We
were at Chelsea in ten minutes.  We were {158} neighbours there.
Stopping the cab at the Tower House, in Tite Street, Whistler alighted,
exclaiming:

"And the painter and his bride said 'come.'  We are not out of the
packing cases yet; but come in.  I 've something to show you.  You must
stay and dine, or I won't show you what it is."

And we mounted to his flat.

Mrs. Whistler knew that I was accustomed to "Jimmie's" ways, and so she
affected no surprise when she met us at the door and learned that I had
come to dinner.  She merely said, as if it were all in the day's work:

"We 've just moved in.  Pardon the chairs.  Let's make a housewarming
of it."

It was easy to "pardon the chairs", for there were none to pardon,--in
the drawing-room to which I was shown.  There were only unpacked
packing cases.  And I sat on one.  Whistler turned on the lights and
then darted into another room from which he returned speedily, showing
his roguish smile and carrying in his hands a bundle of printer's
proofs which he laid beside me on my packing case.  Standing over them,
screwing his monocle into his eye, he said:

"There 's the thing I wanted to show you; my _magnum opus_: 'The Gentle
Art of Making Enemies.'  Do you mind looking 'em over, with an eye to
correction, while you wait?  My idea 's a brown paper cover like the
'Ten O'Clock.'"

And with that he darted out again, returning immediately with a box of
cigars and a case filled with cigarettes.

{159}

"Burnt offering to the High Gods," he said.  "I go to prepare the
libations."

And he went.

Mrs. Whistler, after a few gracious words, went also, presumably to
give directions for the table.  I was left to myself, the packing
cases, the proofs, and the cigars.  My watch said seven thirty, and
presently seven forty-five, and, on the heels of that, eight o'clock.
I was interested, but I was also hungry.  But neither of the Whistlers
had yet reappeared.  Meantime I read on and on, admiring immensely and
chuckling every minute or two over the stupidities, the jealousies, the
ridiculous follies of mankind as revealed in "The Gentle Art."  And it
was nine o'clock!  Jimmie came in with a fat bundle of newspaper
clippings.

"Read!" he cried.  "Some of these should be included, don't you think
so?  Hope you are not hungry!"  Then he disappeared again.

I was too hungry to smoke.

There were sounds occasionally from beyond the closed door.  Although
noncommittal, they were encouraging; they at least indicated human
presence and the probability, in an uncertain future, of food.  At nine
forty-five I had reached the end of the proofs, the press clippings,
and almost of patience, when Jimmie came tripping in with pantomimic
action which meant abasement and a plea for mercy.  Then said he:

"I fear the Lord hath made me forgetful of time.  But there 's
atonement toward.  Have you read 'em?  Oh, Sheridan, Sheridan Ford,
thou naughty {160} one, prepare for doom!  Madame, I pray you do the
honours."

And Mrs. Whistler, who had appeared behind him, enchanted me by saying,
"Dinner is served."

It was ten o'clock!  The Whistlerian hour.

I do not know what they had been doing.  Had they been unpacking china
and linen and chairs, while the maid foraged the neighbouring shops?
Had an unpremeditated feast produced itself by Jimmie's conjuring?  Had
Jimmie cooked the dinner while Mrs. Whistler arranged the table with
its dainty ware, and silver, and soft linen, and shaded lights?  Or had
they reversed the parts?  I shall never know.  But there was the
daintiest, most delicious dinner, most charmingly served, and there
were two or three kindly wines, a coffee that the master himself had
prepared, and a soothing _liqueur_ from his beloved Paris.  It was a
dinner that more than reconciled one to perishing on a packing case.
And through it all Whistler summed up his philosophy of life and art,
as previously and subsequently he had set it forth elsewhere.  We sat
till long after midnight in high session, debating selections from
press clippings which had been showered upon him by his "excellent
Romeike."  "Shall I put in this, or omit that?  Here 's something too
good to lose!"  And so, with what he called "infinite jerriment",
another portion of "The Gentle Art" began to take shape.  In its
further progress I had no hand, as I was off to America in a day or
two, and Jimmie needed no aid in goading his solicitors to the pursuit
of Sheridan Ford who had, Whistler {161} said, infringed his literary
rights.  The pursuit of Sheridan was an epic which aroused more than
nine days' wonder; it led from London to Antwerp, from Antwerp to
Paris, from Paris to New York and back to London again.  The
"Extraordinary Piratical Plot" was defeated, the "piratical edition"
was suppressed, and, in the early summer of 1890, there appeared,
published by the graceful, sympathetic, and cordial aid of Mr. William
Heinemann _The Gentle Art of Making Enemies as Pleasingly Exemplified
in Many Instances, Wherein the Serious Ones of this Earth, Carefully
Exasperated, Have Been Prettily Spurred On to Unseemliness and
Indiscretion, While Overcome by an Undue Sense of Right_.  The
dedication was no less characteristic:

"To the rare Few, who, early in Life, have rid Themselves of the
Friendship of the Many, these pathetic Papers are inscribed."

Upon my return from America I found the Whistlers established at Number
21 Cheyne Walk a few steps from my own door.  It was not Whistler's
good fortune to live long in any house, at any rate in those years.  He
had two years, or something less, at Tower House, and something less, I
think, at Cheyne Walk, and, in April or May, 1892, he removed to Paris.
After that I saw him but seldom, for my wanderings upon the face of the
planet were to increase and multiply.  But during the '88-'92 period he
was often in my home.  It was his peculiarity and privilege not to come
when he was asked, or expected, but invariably to arrive as a sudden
gift from the gods, and for the most part {162} he chose the
Sunday-evening "Smoke Talks" rather than the suppers, because at the
latter he would be more likely to encounter some of "the Serious Ones
of this Earth", already "carefully exasperated", in which case he would
be bored, while at the former he would be sure to meet the choicest
talkers at a late hour.  He would drop in at eleven, or at midnight,
and stay till two in the morning with half a dozen congenial beings who
would not only relish his wit, but sparkle with their own, and who were
capable of appreciating him as an artist without requiring explanatory
charts and diagrams.

One such evening we had been talking of Carlyle, who had lived around
the corner in Cheyne Row.  Whistler told some pleasant anecdote of him.

"There!" exclaimed Theodore Wores, a disciple of Whistler's, "I always
thought Carlyle was not so black as he 's painted."

Whistler sprang to his feet, and falling back in mock horror, cried, as
he stared at Wores, "_Et tu, Brute?_"

The room shook with laughter.

On another occasion a well-known critic was laying down the law about
somebody's "technique."  He appealed to Whistler for confirmation.

"My dear fellow," said Whistler, "that's an opinion one would wish to
express _diffidently_."  Among his hearers was an artist accustomed to
illustrate in Punch some of the "Things one would wish to express
differently."

You know what Whistler said to the Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward
VII) at an Exhibition {163} of the Royal Society of British Artists.
Whistler, recently elected president, was showing the Prince around the
galleries.

"What is the history of your Society?" asked the Prince.

"It has none, Sir; its history begins to-day," was the quick reply.  It
fitted like a glove.  There were sleepy years behind; and anything you
like later.  Whistler stirred up the pools of somnolence.  He did not
stir them long, for the British artists of those days, whether or not
they were interested in art, preferred Britons for presidents.  I
daresay they were right.

One afternoon he came to my flat with the tall bamboo wand which he
often used, in Chelsea at any rate, instead of a walking stick.  He was
of a phenomenal slenderness, which was emphasised by the long wand, and
the long, flat-brimmed hat, and the long, black, tight coat.  He had
yellow gloves, and his little soft shoes--his feet were the smallest I
ever saw on a man--were the last word in daintiness.  No London maker
could have produced them.  Jimmie was always, at all points,
fastidious.  He gesticulated more than any Briton, but his
gesticulations were not Parisian, they were Whistlerian.  He pointed
dramatically to the ceiling and murmured, "White, all white."

"White."  Then to the walls--"All white.  And a white you can wash!
Londoners forget that they must live in their houses in winter.  All
their colours are dismal, and there 's no sun."

"Apropos?" I was about to enquire.

{164}

"Didn't you tell me, the other day, that you intended redecorating this
place?"

"Sometime, when my ship comes in."

"It doesn't need a ship.  A navy wouldn't do for Cheyne Walk.  May I
offer a suggestion?"

"The knowledge of a lifetime," said I, quoting his famous hit at the
Ruskin trial.

"Very well then; I 'll come in."

And he went all around the flat, pointing here and there with his
bamboo wand, and saying, "Such-and-such a colour here, and such a line
there.  My dear boy, this is the whole secret,--tone and line.  The
good colour--the right one--and the good line--the right one--cost no
more than the wrong.  People overlook these things; they forget them,
they ignore them altogether, and then have the misfortune to live.
They don't go mad, because they 're British.  And you 'll not, because
you 'll have the right colour and the right line.  Come.  Let's walk.
I 'm free for the evening.  We 'll dine at the Club."

That was Whistler, Whistler the neighbour, the phase of him that I knew
quite as well as any other phase.  Later on, when I "did up" my flat, I
remembered the details of his suggestions, and carried them out.  The
result was that I had one of the most delightful flats in London.

The appreciation of those who understood warmed his heart.  He had had
to fight his way from the beginning against the least imaginative, the
stodgiest, the narrowest, the most unsympathetic criticism, and the
most prejudiced, because the least {165} enlightened public (as to art)
in the world.  But his fighting was not for his own hand merely; he was
the champion of art as against ignorance, complacent or aggressive.

It is difficult to believe now that for many years in the last century
Whistler's work was opposed with rancour, or bitterly derided.  Now the
world salutes his memory as that of a master; then he was called a
coxcomb, a charlatan, an impostor, excepting by "the rare Few" who had
rid themselves of the blighting ignorances of the many.  There were
many pigmies who, because they walked on stilts, were thought to be
giants in those days.  Their stilts warped, or broke long ago, their
lights have dimmed with the passing years, or their names are
remembered merely as having been targets for Whistler's wit.  Had he
not "killed" these men, their existence would have been forgotten.

As I have said already, it was not Whistler the fighter, nor Whistler
the "airy-incomprehensible" whom I saw most frequently in Carlyle
Mansions, but Whistler the neighbour.  I do not remember that any one
has ever written of him in that character.  He used to drop in on
dreary, rainy evenings when, he said, "the world depressed" him, or
when some happy stroke of fortune had gratified him.  Or he would come
on moonlit nights and gaze from my high windows where the views of
Thames were quite remarkable, and drop his fighting mood, his satire,
his butterfly attributes.  I had called him "the butterfly with the
sting."  The phrase pleased him.  "Yes, there you have me," he said.
{166} But he would drop the sting, and the monocle, and the air of the
sprite, and would be quite human, almost "One of the serious of this
Earth."  One night he came jubilantly, and no sooner had he lost
himself in a grandfather's chair by the fireplace, than he said, with a
kind of moan:

"He's gone!"

"Who's gone?" I asked.

"My old friend Thomas Carlyle.  He lived with me many a year, and I
sold him to-day for a base thousand pounds."  This with a touch of
sadness, permitting the monocle to drop into his right hand, and gazing
reflectively at the fire.  Then, with a sudden turn towards me: "The
Mun-eeee-ci-pal Corrrrporration o' Glasgie has purchased it for its
Arrt Museum."  The monocle was thrust to the eye again where it seemed
to flash the question, "What do you think of that?"

I thought very well of it, and said something to the effect that it was
a wise city which knew enough to buy such a masterpiece.

"Surprising, is n't it?" said Whistler, and then he told me that a
committee of braw Scots had called at his studio to conduct the
negotiations for Glasgow.  His mimicry of the baillies I will not try
to reproduce here.  Type cannot present it.  Action, expression,
accent, all are lost.  It was a delightful imitation, and I shouted
with laughter when Whistler mounted the climax of his story:

"'But Mr. Wheestler,' said one of the baillies, by way of expostulation
over the price I had modestly suggested, 'but Mr. Wheestler, this is a
moderrn {167} paainting, an' I ken that moderrn paintings mostly faade.'

"Behold me there," continued Whistler, "the Butterfly Rampant, hotly
retorting, 'Gentlemen; you are mistaken.  It is the damnation of modern
paintings that they do _not_ fade!'"

It was about the same time that France bought that other masterpiece,
the portrait of "The Artist's Mother."  Whistler came to tell me a few
hours after the transfer to Paris had been arranged.  He said quietly,
as if he were touched deeply,

"France gives me honour, and I accept the invitation for Mother.
Mother goes to the Luxembourg, and, after my death, to the Louvre.
They pay her expenses, for what more does the _honorarium_ amount to?
It's only one hundred and twenty pounds.  But one cannot sell one's
Mother.  She will be glad that I am represented in the Luxembourg, and
later in the Louvre.  I am glad it is Mother who will represent me."

And then, probably because he feared that he was dropping into
sentiment, he broke off gaily with a jest about "another ghost who
haunted the pavements of Chelsea", a critic stung to death by the
Butterfly, "the late Harry Q--" still haunting Tite Street.  "The late
Harry", it may be said to children of the present hour, was quite as
much alive as Whistler, and occupied--Whistler said "haunted"--the
house which Jimmie had built and which he had lost in bankruptcy.

I had received from a friend in Boston a letter asking if I would
"sound Whistler" about the {168} probability of his accepting a
commission for the decoration of some part of the Public Library.  The
authorities hesitated about approaching him.  They had an idea that his
attitude toward America was antagonistic, they knew he was "touchy";
they did not wish to submit a proposal, or to invite a suggestion, that
might, ninety-nine chances to one, evoke a scornful reply.  He might
tell them he was not a housepainter.  "You are a friend of his.  Won't
you find out how he would receive a proposal, and advise us how best to
make an approach?"

One day when, like Rosalind, he was in "a coming-on disposition", I
asked, "What is your real attitude towards America?"

"I haven't any," said he.  "How can a man have an attitude toward a
continent?  Oh, there are the discerning; more of them, perhaps, over
there than here.  But there 's no 'public taste' there nor here.  There
never was 'public taste' anywhere.  There's only the relation of beauty
to the discerning.  That's all.  But the American mind is not closed.
The English mind is closed and bound.  England wants art that tells
stories.  I want art that tells of beauty."

"If the discerning in America were to say, 'There's Whistler now, an
American; we wish him to do a great public work'--for instance, a room
in the Boston Library, or something like that,--well, would you accept?"

"Of course!  It would be the evidence of discernment that I 've been
waiting for.  But there's no chance of it."

{169}

"Yes, there is; I assure you there is."

"If that's true, I'd really like it.  I'd like it immensely."

"Hand on heart?"

"Hand on heart!"

The offer came to him, but, as far as I know, he never carried out the
work.

He left Chelsea soon after that, going to Paris to live.  But before
going to Paris he met, at my home, my dearest friend, of whom I shall
write later.  My friend is dead now, but he had produced then two
excellent novels and a successful play.  Whistler expressed an interest
in him, and he looked in one evening to ask me if he might borrow the
books.  I lent them to him.  Here is another aspect of his entertaining
character.  After he had been some months in Paris, I wrote to him
reminding him of the volumes, which, for certain personal reasons, the
author never permitted to be reprinted.

Fatal error!

Whistler never replied.  I never saw him again.  But that was Travel's
fault, not mine.  I never heard again from Whistler.  And he never
returned the books!



{170}

CHAPTER XII

HENRY DRUMMOND

We were smoking churchwarden pipes and telling how Jock This and Sandy
That had made their money.  I hope the Free Kirk folk will not be
scandalised by the revelation, especially by that of the churchwardens.
While Drummond lived I concealed this grievous sin, but now that he has
been dead nigh upon a quarter of a century, I think he will fare no
worse for it in heaven, whatever might have been the case in Glasgow in
the early nineties.  He wore a velvet smoking jacket, too, and we
toasted our toes before his study fire on one of the worst nights it
has ever been my fortune to see in Scotland or elsewhere.  The wind was
lifting roofs and toppling chimneys to the ground, and the rain was
like streams from a thousand fire engines.  There was never a better
night for a fireside.

Jock This and Sandy That got into the conversation (not bodily but in
essence) because their experiences illustrated what Professor Drummond
was saying about "getting on in the world."  And he was saying these
things because he liked talking other men's shop, not his own.  The
point he made was this: it is n't necessary to emigrate in order to
{171} prosper.  He had been talking to a group of young men about this
that very day.  He had a way with him when talking to young men.

"How do men get bored?" he asked.  "I never get bored.  I can be
interested in something always.  Time never drags on my hands.  But
Jock and Sandy can't get interested unless they are making more money,
so they keep at it all the time.  They are lost without their
occupation.  Money is a fine thing--to use.  If you have n't it, the
man who has it uses you as well as his money.  Can we find the way to
make money without becoming its slaves, as almost all men are who make
it?"

In the early nineties Henry Drummond was what they call "one of the
best sellers."  Who reads him now?  I ask for information.  If his
books had been fiction, we could understand that the fashion had
changed in twenty years.  But has the fashion changed in God?

Youth used to follow Drummond in troops.  When he died more than the
youth of Scotland mourned.  But youth does not mourn long.  It has in
that respect the advantage of age, which usually makes new friends only
with difficulty; youth has but to summon them, and they come.  Drummond
had an immense capacity for friendship.  I have said he had a way with
youth; yes, of both sexes and all ages.  But his greatest friends were
young men; and his greatest friend of all was D. L. Moody, the
revivalist.

Drummond was saying, as we sat before the fire, drawing clouds from
churchwardens:

{172}

"I don't believe in old saws, do you?  Now there 's:

  "'Early to bed, and early to rise,
  Make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.'


"What nonsense!  Healthy, if you like, but how wealthy and how wise is
the manual labourer?

  "'Bed at dark,
  Up with the lark.'


"Suppose you work with a night shift?  Try bringing up a generation on
these old wives' tales.  But they 're merely an example of our British
habit of trying to rule by phrases instead of by ideas."

In the hall around the corner, I thought, they might suspect this sort
of thing as inclining toward heresy.  But you never can tell.  "One
man," as a proverb-muddled acquaintance of mine used to say, "one man
may lead a horse to water, but another may not look over the fence."

They were still buying Drummond's books in large quantities,--"Natural
Law in the Spiritual World" and "The Greatest Thing in the World."  I
liked to think that the slender gentleman with longish hair, who was
sartorially British to the _nth_ power, could write things like that in
the morning and in the evening keep me company with a churchwarden, and
these were very long churchwardens, old style, and we smoked "Glasgow
Mild."  Drummond, being a sensible man, wanted, as I say, to talk some
other man's shop.  He wanted to talk mine but could not pin me down.
It was his shop I wanted.  One of his young men with a literary {173}
turn wished to go to America and become a journalist.  Would I advise?

"Why America?" I enquired mildly.  "You have admirable newspapers in
Scotland.  Besides, you were saying that 'it is n't necessary to
emigrate in order to prosper.'"

"It's unkind to remind a man of his inconsistencies," said he.

"I would like to save a good Scot, especially if young, from the
mutilations of American journalism.  More especially if literary.  Tell
him to learn the trade at home first.  He 'll be trained more
thoroughly here.  There they 'll put him 'on space' to the uttermost
ruin of any literary gift he may have.  Space-writing means
word-spinning--the more words the more money, if you have the knack of
escaping the blue pencil.  Space-work will knock seven-ways-for-Sunday
any literary turn he may have.  American journalism will do that,
anyhow."

"Perhaps I 'd better kill him."

"My dear sir, your American experiences have done you good."

"They put me under gas and injected the spirit."

And with that we heard the clock strike the hour when we should start
for the place where he was to lecture that evening on "The Greater
Gratitude."


Professor Drummond, in "Natural Law in the Spiritual World", had
attempted, as a clerical and friendly critic said, "to treat religion
as a fact of nature, no less solid and capable of scientific analysis
than any other fact which science claims for its {174} own."  Everybody
read the book, for it was translated into all the European languages.
And everybody read its successor, "The Greatest Thing in the World."
The volumes, which were small, carried the name of their author around
the globe in a large way, for they came from the press in tens of
thousands.  I suppose he had a million readers, and the most these knew
about him was that he held the professorship of natural science in the
Free Church College at Glasgow, that he was but little over thirty when
he wrote the little books, and that, for a year, he had disappeared in
the wilds of Africa.  He returned to find himself famous, or as some
thought and said, notorious.

He had fluttered the theologians, not flattered them.  He was a
theologian himself.  His object was to stretch theology to man's size.
The champions of a hundred orthodoxies and heterodoxies chattered
fiercely behind their bulwarks of texts.  It seems a very small matter
now, but, after all, it helped us all, for Drummond was a helpful man.
He was a young man's man, and there you have one of the keys to him.

To be a professor of anything in the Free Kirk College might imply that
a man was hampered as to words and views.  It was not so in Drummond's
case, at any rate.  I have said that he was a theologian; I will add
that he was a geologist.  When I knew him, he was famous and forty-two,
and he had recently discovered in Glasgow the remains of a fossil
forest.  He had just returned from America, where he had been lecturing
at the Lowell {175} Institute, in Boston, on "The Evolution of Man."
How he laughed over his Boston surprise!  Of course he knew the Lowell
Institute by name, but he had n't an idea of what it really was.  He
had supposed that he would have an audience of two or three dozen old
fogies and a number of short-haired blue-stockings.  He found the place
crammed with alert human beings, mostly young, and all enthusiastic.
There was a greater crowd outside, hoping vainly to get in.  His
thought was, as he mounted the platform: "My lecture won't do.  I must
popularise it.  There are no Dryasdusts here."  He altered the lecture
as he went along, and when he had finished, he returned to his hotel
and undertook to rewrite all the lectures he had brought from Scotland.
There were no fogies in the throngs that heard him.  He had already
been two or three times to America; now he began to understand what it
really was,--the country of the young.

Drummond lived at Number 3 Park Circus, Glasgow.  He kept bachelor's
hall there, and kept it very well, indeed.  The house was spacious,
"rich not gaudy", the rooms set in carved woods and trophies of ivory,
and everything about them suggesting comfort and agreeable taste.  It
did not in the least suggest the abiding place of a theologian,
Scottish or otherwise, and it did not hint at the granite-like hardness
of the houses of some geologists I have known.  If I say that we had
jolly evenings there, smoking churchwardens and talking of travel, the
life of cities, and Scottish tales, and New England and Old England,
and the Academy, and books, {176} and Gladstone, and Hyde Park, and the
Rocky Mountains, it is only to show that theological-geologists can be
human.  Drummond was more than human; he was companionable.  He had
always the appearance of ease, but he was a persistent worker.  Work
never drove him, though; he held the reins over it and mastered it.  If
you had an appointment with him, the time was yours; he had set it
apart; you were not made to feel that there was any pressure.  This may
seem a simple thing to do; but, as most men live, it is not.

Drummond's person was tall and slender; he had brown hair; his eyes
were--shall I call them brownish-grey?--his moustache and short side
whiskers inclined to a sandy tint; his voice was pleasing, and he shook
hands with a hearty grip.  He attracted you not so much by cordiality
as by sincerity.  He went to the point at once.

I was making a study of British municipal policy and administration,
with a view to certain movements in America.  Drummond was helpful
daily.  He knew the things that had been done and the men who did them;
he knew the practical fellows and the extremists; the men who worked at
reforms and the men who merely talked about them; the originators and
the copyists; the men who were out for politics and party, and the men
who were out for the good they could do.  And so I got at results and
saved time and weariness, though not without much weariness and time.
Down narrow, grimy streets, piloted by Bailie This, or Bailie That, or
Superintendent Thus and So, or Overseer of T'other, {177} I went by day
and night through the densest, soul-rending parts of Glasgow; up
twisting flights of stairs, through murky alleys and through atrocious
smells; people were shovelled there to live as they could.  At every
little distance we would come to spaces where old masonry was being
levelled, and new bright buildings going up; lodging houses, tenements,
model dwellings, bathhouses, feeding places, washing places, drying
places, places where the sunlight and air could enter, could sweep
about,--the municipality was overhauling things.

I would return to Drummond's, rid myself of the everlasting Scotch
mist, have a bath, a nap, a change of clothing, and then tuck my knees
under his mahogany, tell about what I 'd seen, and the drenching,
fatiguing day, and, "as sure as eggs is eggs", his explanations would
bring in Moody.

"That was Moody's doing," he would say; or "Moody started us," or
"Moody collected the money to begin this work, or that," or "Moody
showed us the way."

Moody was "the biggest man I ever knew," he said.

"Then why not talk of him?"

"I 'd like nothing better.  Unless you knew him, and knew him at work,
you could n't half appreciate him."  I feared I never did.  "Well,
then, take him as a manager of men--" and there would begin a run of
anecdote showing that the renowned evangelist was a great organiser,
and would have been as great in the business world, or the political
world, or the military world, had he chosen to enter, as {178} he had
been in the hearts of Scotsmen, Englishmen, and Americans.

Moody had discovered Edinburgh, or Edinburgh had discovered Moody; I
was never quite sure which.  Anyhow, Moody made Drummond discover
himself and his work in life, and that is the most important discovery
a man can make.  Drummond was a Scotsman of the Scots.  He was born
near the field of Bannockburn.  He came of God-fearing folk, or as he
preferred to say, God-loving.  His father was a wealthy merchant, and
meant that his boy should become a minister.  But the boy took his
theology without going in for orders.  He made science his profession,
and taught theology to scientists and science to theologians.

"I would never be wholly off with the one, nor wholly on with the
other," said he.  "I am fond of both.  And I believed that I was better
as a geologist and botanist than I could possibly be as a preacher."

When Moody and Sankey came to Scotland, the latter, with his keen
capacity for selecting staff officers, selected Drummond as one of his.
Drummond shared two years of labour with the American revivalists.
They went through England, Scotland, Ireland.  Then Moody and Sankey
returned to America, and Drummond returned to his studies, religious
and scientific, gained his professorship, taught his classes, wrote his
books, carried on evangelical work among young men, geologised in
Malta, Africa, and the Rocky Mountains, and found this a good world to
live in if you knew how to work.

We were reviewing his experiences one day.  I said:

{179}

"You have omitted to mention a great advantage that you started with
and have kept."

"What's that?" he asked.

"Money.  You never had to work for your living.  You were free to
indulge your bent, your theological-evangelical-scientific bent, free
to help your soul and work for the souls of others, without having to
think about bills, or grind your powers for the taskmaster, Debt!"

"Moody had n't a dollar when he began his work in Chicago," said
Drummond.  "See what he did!"

"Moody was a genius.  He made a business success before he gave himself
to religious work.  He had proved his greatest power--the management of
men.  You or I would have had to grapple with theology, or geology, or
to swim in ink, once we had started and had been left to ourselves."

"Perhaps."

"No doubt about it.  A poor man can be a theologian, or a follower of
science, but he can't be both, and explore the Rocky Mountains and
Darkest Africa, and conduct soup kitchens in Glasgow, and do a
two-years tour with Moody and Sankey."

"That aspect had n't occurred to me.  I am glad I was not compelled to
have it occur to me," said Drummond.

"A man needing money and unable to get it is like a machine without
lubricating oil.  Almost any man who has done much without money could
have done more with it," I said.

{180}

"You think so?"

"Are we to think that friction is the best result?"

"No," Drummond answered.

"Some men can't make money because their work does n't run to it, or
they may have the ability, but not the desire, or they may not be able
to afford to make money; you remember Agassiz's case.  Perhaps he did
n't need it."

"Money-making is a special faculty," said Drummond.  "A man has it or
does n't have it, as he may or may not have a musical ear, an eye for
colour, a delicate sense of smell, and so on.  I know moneyed men, and
I daresay you know others, who are duffers outside their special lines.
Most men are duffers outside their special lines."

"The defect of specialised training, eh?"

"Possibly: like over-specialisation in the trades."

"Cutting threads on screws for thirty years," said I.

"Shall we say the same thing of theology?  Most men may overtrain in
that."

"They do.  Therefore try mixing science with it."

"That must dilute theology.  A little too much science, and the
theology becomes watery.  But in the Roman Church they dilute the
science."

"Don't you think it depressing to listen to Carnegie's cant about his
intention to die poor?" I asked.  "What else could he do?  He says
nothing about _living_ as a poor man.  Poverty is a 'blessing' that we
all recognise in essays, sermons, and speeches, but we use all the
strength we can to avoid the blessing, and we don't delude the poor
with our {181} pretences.  All of us like to use money as a force.
Perhaps you would call it a mode of motion."

"That sounds like Moody," said Drummond.  "There 's the other side," he
went on, "the deadly monotony of the lives of the average rich folk,
deadly monotony, a weary existence dragged along without any interest
in useful things.  Take an interest in things; that is the way to live;
not merely think about them.  No man has a right to postpone his life
for the sake of his thoughts.  This is a real world, not a think world.
Treat it as a real world--act!"

"That is from your 'Programme of Christianity'," said I.

"Yes.  The might of those who build is greater than the might of those
who retard."

We got to talking about socialism.  "Its basis," he said, "is
materialism, not man.  Herbert Spencer said: 'By no political alchemy
can you get golden conduct out of leaden instincts.'  And that's a good
standard for testing politicians.  None better."

Drummond was always looking at the bright side of life, illuminating it
with common sense.  And he loved a joke as well as anybody.  He told
with gusto of the fun he had at the Chicago Exhibition when, one
evening, a dozen Arabs and Turks strode through the grounds, gazing
gravely at the marvels of that western civilisation.

"Marvellous," he repeated.  "We shall never see anything like it again.
Nor like those Arabs.  If you could have seen them, as they passed from
light to darkness at an exit gate, while, choking {182} with laughter,
they removed the sheets and pillow cases, and silk handkerchiefs, and
colored tablecloths which had served them as robes and turbans and
sashes, you would have said they were as marvellous as anything in the
show.  And when they wiped the colour from their faces, you would have
recognised several of the most learned professors in America and one
Scotsman with a smudge on his cheek."  He roared at the recollection.

He was a professor at twenty-five.  And his pupils were university
graduates studying for the ministry.  It was part of their duty to
study natural science, to know something about the world they would
preach in and the stupidity of trying to dig science out of Scripture.
Well, Drummond was the man for his work.  And besides natural science,
his work was for philanthropy and a rousing, liberalising evangelicism.
At the end of his week in the classroom he would run over to Edinburgh
and hold a religious service with a thousand young men attending
earnestly.

"How do you get into personal touch with your college students?" I
asked him.

"There you touch a tender point," he said.  "There is n't enough
personal touch in the colleges of Scotland!  We put too much faith in
lectures.  Young men come but rarely into personal touch with their
professors.  I knew very little of mine.  And that's the rule.  A man
must break through the routine; the professor must, the student must.
Personal touch would open both of them.  Take So-and-So at the
University.  He lectures in the {183} morning to one hundred and fifty
or two hundred students.  In the afternoon to two hundred more.  No
personal touch in that; no opportunity for it.  Youth can't be taught
in droves, or saved in masses.  And yet, if you go in for individual
development, or by small groups, you multiply the work beyond all
possibility.  Our system is wrong.  It neglects character for the sake
of competition.  But what can be done?  Effort, individual effort, is
the only thing worth a bawbee.  All the rest is formulae."

He said that, as far as his own efforts went, he did what he could, in
every way that he could.  The development of personal responsibility
was what he drove at.  "That's the aim and end of life.  If you don't
base education on it, what is the use of education?  Come.  We are
responsible for our physical condition.  Let's go for a walk!"

Even in Scotland there are moments without rain.  Pallid things that
might have been stars peeped through the scudding clouds.  We walked
on, with good, easy strides, and talked,--talked of patriotism for one
thing.  "We don't have to teach that in Scotland," he said.  "We take
it for granted.  Every Scot is born with it.  And there 's no
immigration in Scotland.  We 're luckier than you, in America, where
you have--what is it?  A million a year pouring through the steerages?
I asked about that in my visits, but could n't find that you were
teaching patriotism, except by fits and starts, in widely separated
places.  They were talking of teaching it there in the schools.  What a
funny idea!  School is n't the place to acquire {184} patriotism.  Home
is!  But where you have immigration on a huge scale the conditions
differ, I confess."

The talk swung over to Gladstone.  Drummond was very friendly with him.
I had said that I thought the G.O.M. a vindictive old gentleman.
Drummond laughed: "Oh, but we worship him.  We take him very seriously."

"Yes, and he illustrates your favourite theory about taking an interest
in things."

"Right!  He is interested in things--movements, tendencies of thought,
theology, religion, literature.  I can't, though, quote him as an
authority on science.  But his interest, his active interest in things,
keeps him fresh and young, and out of grooves.  He is interested in
things, in masses, nations, races, mountain ranges, literature, not
art--literature above all, theological literature most of all."

"In Home Rule but not in Home Rulers," I interrupted.

"Does not the greater include the less?"

"Sometimes," said I, "but in politics it does not include even what is
set down in black and white.  Where would you put Gladstone as compared
with your other hero, Moody?  Moody, you say, was the biggest human
being you ever knew."

"I won't retract that.  Gladstone throws a greater spell over his
hearers, and, when one meets him, an incomparable fascination.  Moody's
influence will last the longer, and so will his work."

This was interesting, to say the least of it.  Then we turned home.

Four years later, Drummond died.  Only forty-five!



{185}

CHAPTER XIII

SIR HENRY IRVING

Too much is said about the evanescent nature of an actor's fame.  Is it
so evanescent?  Or are we believing, according to habit, merely what we
have been told?  Burbage's fame has lived as long as Queen Elizabeth's,
and that is long enough.  Suppose the Great Queen's fame eventually
should chance to live longer than that of her subject, what is there
evanescent about the latter since it has lived already through the
three hundred years which separate us from his death?  Betterton's fame
may yet outlive that of the sovereigns under whom he
flourished,--Charles II, William and Mary, and Queen Anne.  What reason
have we to suppose that it will not?  Betterton's name has been one of
the highest, most honoured names in England for two centuries and a
half.  Garrick's fame has lived as long as Doctor Johnson's, and
Garrick had no Boswell.  Mrs. Siddons is as well known to-day as, say
George III, and more favourably known.  Talma's fame has not been
eclipsed by Napoleon's.  Of Rachel we know as much as of the Empress
Josephine.  It is easier to tell offhand who was a famous actor one
hundred and fifty years ago than {186} to say who was Prime Minister at
the same time.  Plunket was a greater orator, by all accounts, than
Gladstone or Canning, Disraeli or Bright.  Tell me--without looking him
up in a Book of Reference--who was Plunket?  Who were the chancellors
of exchequer during Henry Irving's reign?  Who were the leaders of the
House of Commons?  How long must fame last to satisfy all reasonable
requirements?  The names of how many princes, generals, preachers,
statesmen, survive their deaths a hundred years?

An actor's fame, however short it may be, is long enough.  How long has
the fame of Roscius lasted?  An actor has more than fame.  He has the
public's affection, its money, its applause, its cheers.  And he has
these nightly, besides the name that lingers after death.  How will you
prove now that Macready's name is less well known than Macaulay's?  Are
you safe in asserting that Edmund Kean's name will not add another
century to its credit?  Or Kemble's name?  What reason is there for
assuming that Byron's will live longer than that?

Even if the art of acting die, and the acted drama with it, overwhelmed
by the cinema, it does not follow that the names and memories of the
great players who have already lived will perish the more quickly.  We
may cherish them with a lively curiosity as the eminent practisers of a
lost art, cherish them, in fact, because we are no longer able to
replace them.  The cinema could never have given us Sir Henry Irving,
or the Kendals, the Bancrofts, or John Hare, or Edwin Booth, or Joseph
Jefferson, or {187} Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson.  No, not if it
unreeled to a million spectators an hour, and its daily receipts
exceeded the transactions at the Bank of England!

It is something to have lived till the second decade of the twentieth
century turns the corner, and find that Irving still glows in the
memory, Irving and the Lyceum nights.  That glow makes the generation
which has it richer than the generation which has it not.  The Lyceum
with Irving was as different from anything now known to London as was
all Europe before the war.  You cannot make the generation that is
pressing on behind understand this.  Words cannot do it.  Moving
pictures cannot do it.  Imagine a motion picture of "To be or not to
be"!

There was once an art of acting.  It is used now chiefly by
politicians.  But if their parts are more important, their presentation
of them is less interesting than that of Irving and Ellen Terry, and
the others mentioned here.  And it is of no importance at all to art.
The politicians will be remembered only for the troubles they bring to
us and to posterity; the actors are still remembered for the enjoyment
they brought.

We who saw Irving through his long reign know what the world lost in
losing him, for we seek through the world and find nothing to take the
place of that sovereign and his achievements, nothing at this day to
suggest them even remotely.  The lack is a gap in life.

Will the gap ever be filled again?  I doubt it.  What chance is there
of filling it?  To begin with, {188} they tell us every day that public
taste does not run in that direction.  It really does not seem to do
so, that is certain.  And as the survivors of an older tradition die,
their tradition dies with them.  Tradition means more to the theatre
than it means to other callings.  Irving died in 1905.  His tradition
cannot be revived, that is clear.  And it required traditions unbroken
for nearly three hundred years to make the conditions for him.  Broken
now, for the first time in three centuries, who shall replace them?
And how?  It may never be done.  I do not say that it never will be
done, but I do say that all the conditions of modern entertainment are
against it.  And the generation which furnishes the majority of the
playgoers of to-day does not care a button.  It is their affair, after
all.  And they cannot take from us what we have had.

Irving was a kingly possession.  He was as much a national figure as
any statesman, or painter, or warrior, or popular personage of his
time.  He was a great man, and he worked to noble ends.  No one could
be in his presence without the consciousness of being in the presence,
under the spell, if you like, of a great man.  If one appreciates him
more since his death, it is because the world is so much the poorer for
his absence.  We cannot say: "The King is dead; long live the king."
There is no king.  There is not even a pretender.

Irving's declamatory moments were often queer, but his handwriting was
always almost the worst in the world.  It was almost as bad as Horace
Greeley's.  I have letters from him which I cannot read to-day.  {189}
I have forgotten what they were about and appear to have kept no key to
their mystery.  But I connect with them pleasant recollections, for
they never concerned anything that Irving wanted for himself, but
always something that he wanted to do for somebody else,--an invitation
to the play for some distinguished visitor from my own country, a
supper in the Beefsteak Rooms, a Sunday up the river, or something of
the kind.  If, at the time, the hieroglyphics were indecipherable and
could be associated with no known subject, I would take the letter to
my neighbour, Bram Stoker, Irving's business manager and _Fidus
Achates_, and adroitly prevail upon him for a translation.  Usually,
though, the letter from Irving would be followed, next post, by one
from Stoker who would say: "The Chief tells me that you have kindly
consented to so-and-so, or will bring So-and-So, or ask This-and-That;
do you mind my suggesting Thus-and-So?"

Stoker's handwriting was almost as cryptic as Irving's, but not quite.
It could be read by due perseverance.  And, at the worst, one could
always know who wrote the first letter because Irving's signature was
like a flight of stairs, and Stoker's--well, it was different.  Whether
Stoker followed up all the letters of his Chief with a translation I
cannot say, and now that he has followed his Chief Out Beyond there is
no one who can decipher the few remaining letters and so revive in my
memory incidents which I am sure were charming and in every way
delightful.  I must get on without the letters.

I saw the beginning and the end of Irving's {190} management of the
Lyceum Theatre, and nearly all the brilliant achievements between the
beginning and the end.  Management!  It was more than a management; it
was an august and splendid reign!  It lasted more than twenty years; it
made victorious expeditions to America; it seemed likely to end only
with his life.  And it did end only with his life.  But the Lyceum,
which he had made his home, which indeed he had made the chief temple
of the drama in the English-speaking world, passed from his control as
the nineteenth century died.  He made valiant efforts to restore his
kingdom, but the Fates prevailed against him.  He went to Drury Lane
for a while, but it was not _his_ place, not _his_ temple, not the
centre to which _he_ had drawn the world.  He reigned now, but did not
govern.  He felt the change.  Misfortunes had pressed upon him hotfoot.
The splendour and pomp had vanished; he withdrew from London; he became
a king in exile; he died in the provinces.  They gave him a stately
funeral in Westminster Abbey.  If they had supported him as liberally
in his final years as they had in his prosperous ones, I would not be
inclined to scoff as I do sometimes when the Londoners flatter
themselves on their loyalty to old favourites.  And Irving would not
have died, as I think he died, with a broken heart.  But he was valiant
and upstanding to the end.

A public loyalty that can last twenty years is indeed marvellous at any
time.  The marvel is the more interesting in Irving's case.  He served
his public with all his power.  They knew that.  They {191} were
conscious, I suppose, of Irving's limitations, but I am not sure that
he himself was conscious of them.  At any rate, his limitations set no
bounds to his endeavours.  And he achieved everything,--great fame,
adulation, financial success; he was more honoured than any other actor
of his century; his life was dignified, his death became the man.  But
what a marvel it was that this man could have become renowned among
great actors!

He could not conquer his mannerisms, or he did not.  The spectators had
to do that, or ignore them.  His mannerisms were dropped between the
spectator and the performance like a veil.  It was a thin veil, but
none the less a veil.  You saw him through the veil.  Suddenly the veil
would rise, there would be no mannerism; as suddenly it would fall.
And you heard him through strange obstacles.  He could not walk, on the
stage, without frequently strutting.  Sometimes he did not talk, on the
stage, without mouthing, marring the King's English.  If he had
learned, he had not mastered the elements of his calling.  The elements
mastered him.  He had not the strength for what are called "sustained
flights" of passion.  And yet he would thrill you.  There were times
when he thrilled you with the suggestion of his meaning, rather than
with the expression of it.

It is a commonplace of dramatic criticism to assert that there is not,
and that there cannot be, such a thing as intellectual acting, because
acting is concerned wholly with emotions.  But Irving proved that what
is impossible for the critics was possible {192} for him.  There were
three aspects of any character he played which never could escape the
appreciation of an audience: the inner character, his conception of
it--the soul, if you will; the meaning of the man, if you will
not--that was the first aspect.  The second was the picturesque aspect.
Irving was always picturesque.  He understood the appeal to the eye.
Graceful he could not be, but he was always picturesque and always in
the picture.  The third aspect was the dramatic, the action through his
personality.  He could and did express every dramatic instant, every
meaning, expressed them somehow,--by flashes of the mind, by movement,
by simple gesture, by accentuation of line, by lights, by shades.  It
was acting illuminated by intellect.  Whatever he did had behind it a
powerful and searching mind, and you came to regard it for its
operations.  And your admiration of him, if you did admire him, was
intellectual rather than emotional.  You liked him, or you disliked
him.  There was no halfway.  I am speaking of him now as an actor, not
as an actor-manager.  When I first saw him, I thought him the worst
actor there could be in the world.  I was young then, but I had seen
much fine acting, great acting.  I had grown almost to manhood under
the great art of Edwin Booth.  Hamlet was the first part I saw Irving
play.  I suppose that, even then, I knew the lines almost as well as
Irving himself.  I thought he was speaking Choctaw, or Yorkshirese.
His vowels confounded him.  They confused me.  The effect was
distressing.  After Hamlet I had seen him, during '79, in revivals of
{193} "Richelieu" (which did not impress me much), "Charles I" (which
did impress me), "Eugene Aram", "The Bells", and one or two other
parts.  It was on November 1, 1879, that he produced "The Merchant of
Venice."  This was the first of the "great productions" at the Lyceum
under his management.  His reign actually began then, for then he began
fully to exercise his powers.  The Tubal scene revealed all Irving's
defects; they stood between his Shylock and my eyes and ears; they
barked at me, jumped at me like grotesque manikins; I sympathised with
the old lady who is reported to have said, after an hour of Irving's
Hamlet: "Does that young man come on often?  If he does, I'll go home!"

But there were other moments which denied the Tubal scene altogether.
That was forgotten as if it never had been.  Shylock grew under your
eye, inner man and outer man.  The presentation of the entire play felt
the magic of the poet-author, the poetic powers of the manager.  I
began to understand what Irving was--the actor-manager with a poetic
spirit.

Possibly the full impact of the shock of his strange personality had
worn down its effects by this time.  And I had come to know London
better.  I had had a year of it, and in that time had heard all there
was to hear about Irving.  His name and his doings were talked of
everywhere; the Lyceum, where he had acted several years under
Bateman's management, had become a British institution; and Irving was
as much talked of, everywhere, as the Prince of Wales, {194} Mr.
Gladstone, or the weather.  Discussion of his mannerisms was inevitable
at any dinner party or afternoon tea.  Burlesques of him were frequent,
imitations of him were part of the stock-in-trade of weary comedians
and gifted amateurs.  But, in spite of all the skits and all the
laughter, every one respected the man and his work, and knew he was a
genius.

When his Shylock came, the awkwardness of the actor was concealed by
the costume, or what was not so concealed became apparently
characteristic of the Jew.  If the Tubal scene showed him almost
tone-bound and muscle-bound, the other scenes found him free of many of
his afflictions.

Actor-manager with the poetic spirit!  Those Lyceum nights were quite
Arabian.  How fully I realise that as I look back upon them more than
forty years after.  The pit nights at the play were the best nights I
ever knew at the play, wherever the pit, but not, it must be
acknowledged, whatever the play.  When I ceased to be a pitite, and my
connections with the press thrust me a few feet nearer the footlights,
half the pleasure of theatre-going vanished, never to return.  What had
been a joyous zest became plain duty which had to be fulfilled whatever
the conditions.  As a pitite one went to the play for the fun of the
thing; as a stallite he went in quest of "copy."  As a pitite one had
the pleasure of anticipation.  Even the fatigue of waiting hours at the
doors, and going without dinner, had compensations; one knew that at
least he had capacity for endurance.  One had, in brief, {195}
enthusiasm.  One does not have enthusiasm in the stalls, or does not
display it.  In the pit he lets it loose.  There is nothing so
contagious as an expressed enthusiasm for a thing, or against it.  And
the pitite is always conscious of the fact that man is a gregarious
animal.  The stallite has forgotten this, if ever he knew it.  He may
not prefer segregation, but he is the victim of it.  The usages are
stronger than his feelings.  The pitite's feelings come first.  That is
why the pit is important to the London actor, whatever it may be to the
box office.

I have mentioned the first night of Irving's "Merchant of Venice."
That was November 1, 1879.  I was in the very front of the crowd that
waited five hours in the old covered passage that led up from the
Strand.  There were no _queues_ in those days.  Only the strong faced
that struggle at the doors.  You stood hours in the swelter, and then
when the bolts were heard thrusting back from their rings, you thrust
yourself back against the crowd, which surged and pressed behind you,
and was pressed again by the less fortunate beings in the distant rear.
The tactical manoeuvres consisted in avoiding the door frame while you
clung to your half-crown and leaned heavily against your neighbour who
was hurled against your ribs.  The strategy was to know which half of
the door opened first and directly opposite the hole behind which the
ticket seller stood ready for action.  If you lowered your arms you
were helpless in the crowd.  The art was to hold them in front of you,
breast high, with your half-crown clenched in your left hand, because
that was {196} nearer the box office.  If you put your hand in your
pocket, you were lost, the crowd would rush you aside.  If you muddled
for change, they roared at you.  Your left hand slapped your half-crown
on the ledge, your right snatched the pit-check which slid across to
you; you ran past the ticket collector, shoving the check into his hand
and, making a sharp turn to the left, dashed along the benches until
you came to the middle of the pit, and then went over the tops of
bench-backs until you had captured your place in the centre of the
front row!  You had won the best place in the house!  A barrier
separated you by half an inch from the last row of the stalls.  You
were cheek by jowl with the mighty.  You saw the celebrities of London
arrive, you heard them chat; you saw them make others uncomfortable as
they uncomfortably squeezed their way to their seats (for the Lyceum
stalls were set closely) and as they entered your neighbour would tell
you who they were, or you would tell him.

It was in the pit of London's theatres that I first came to know the
London crowd, to understand it, to share its enthusiasms, or the
reverse.  It was in the Lyceum pit that I came to know how the crowd
adored Irving, the place Ellen Terry had in its heart, and the place
traditions held in the heart of the pit.  Are there such pitites now, I
wonder, as there were thirty and forty years ago?

Those first nights with the first favourites dissolved my American
notions of the British character.  I had heard, with the rest of the
outer world, that the British were stolid, phlegmatic, cold, and what
not, {197} that they repressed their emotions, that they would not and
could not let themselves go.  I was to find what everybody finds,
sooner or later,--that the individual and the mass differ as chalk from
cheese.  The pit crowds were not icebergs; they had not the immobility
of mountains.  They laughed, they wept, they cheered; they unlocked
their emotions.  They were the most sentimental, the most enthusiastic,
the most appreciative crowds I had ever seen.  The individual was
dissolved in the mass.  He became natural man.  The crowds always took
fire from a spark.  They received their favourites as if they were
conquering heroes.  Irving, their greatest favourite, they received
like a reigning monarch.  One has to learn this about the British;
their hearts are big and near their skins, and that is why, as
individuals, they armour them.

If you know how to touch them, they respond with such demonstrations of
devotion, of enthusiasm, of loyalty, as no other race ever equals in
our time.  Their loyalty to Irving they expressed with a zeal that was
greater even than their appreciation of his powers, immense as that
appreciation was.  They loved the man.  He embodied for them another
lofty mark in the records of English achievement.  He was great and
would be greater by the integrity, the persistence, the elevation of
his purpose.  Such qualities win the English, and deep is the loyalty
with which England rewards them.  That, at all events, was true in the
Victorian days.

There was a blessed vision called Ellen Terry, in those far-away Lyceum
nights.  Her power was {198} charm.  And she wielded her power almost
to the end of King Henry's reign.  In comedy she was alluring,
audacious, delightful,--as Portia, for instance; as Beatrice; as any
number of arch, graceful, incomparable creatures.  In tragedy,--well,
we forgave her the tragedies, her Lady Macbeth, for example.  As
Ophelia there was nothing to forgive; as Juliet--here was the exception
to her tragic parts; she was a poet's dream, a fragile, loving, playful
thing enmeshed by fate and borne down to death.  Ellen Terry was the
witching consort of Irving's reign.  She won half his battle.  "A star
danced, and under that" she "was born."  When Father Time told her that
she could not play Portia and Beatrice and Juliet any more, half the
attractiveness of the Lyceum was gone, and Irving had to carry the load
alone.

But I have wandered far from the first night of "The Merchant of
Venice."  It was a great occasion.  "Everybody" was there.  To my
gratified eyes the audience was nearly as interesting as the play and
the players.  Celebrities were "as plenty as blackberries."  Now forty
years have gone, and the celebrities have gone with them.  And the
nonentities, too.  Of the two thousand or more persons who saw the
performance that night, it may be that not more than fifty survive.

There is no one in these days to rouse us as we were roused in the late
seventies and to the end of the century.  The playgoer of to-day is fed
on other stuff, on experiences quite unlike those his predecessors
knew.  And he is not fed so well.  He is {199} growing up, or has grown
up, without standards.  All's fish that comes to his net.  I wonder
what he would think of Irving if, by miracle, Irving could return to
the Lyceum with undiminished powers, with Ellen Terry as she was in the
eighties, and all the galaxy and circumstance that surrounded them?  I
think the playgoer of the present would scarcely notice Irving's
mannerisms of speech, of gesture, of gait, he has seen so many
mannerisms almost equally quaint, heard so much speech that is quite as
queer.  What caused Irving's mannerisms?  For the life of me I cannot
tell.  They were not always with him.  They grew upon him with the
seasons.  I do not think he affected them.  He was too honest, too
sincere for affectations.  Besides, he did not need them to attract
attention.  And they injured his work.  They were not caused by
physical defects.  They were entirely absent when he was not acting.
Then his movements and speech were easy, pleasing.  His manner had
great dignity.  I have said that his mannerisms were not with him in
all characters, nor at all times.  Intensity might bring them out.
Declamation did so almost invariably.  But they could not be relied
upon either for coming or for going.  What caused them?
Self-consciousness perhaps, nervousness possibly.  But why should he be
self-conscious or nervous in his own theatre, where he played every
night, and show no trace of either when he spoke at a university, or a
dinner, or a public meeting?  Why should he walk naturally and with
ease in Bond Street, and with constraint, as if he were rheumatic, as
Hamlet, at Elsinore, and why {200} should he speak with perturbed
vowels when he was in costume, and in easy control of them when in
ordinary dress?  The questions are easily asked; they have never been
answered.  If I have dwelt upon his peculiarities, it is partly because
no one could ignore them, but mainly because he was so great a man that
we can measure his powers by the obstacles against which he contended.
His peculiarities of speech and motion may have been the causes which
retarded his advancement for so many years.  And, by the way, he was
born in Somersetshire.  Perhaps it was the Somersetshire dialect that
cropped out at times in his delivery.

Irving's maltreatment of vowels gave much offence to trained ears.  I
do not know when I ceased, if ever I did cease, to wince at some of his
pronunciations, but with time they ceased to present themselves as
crimes for scourging, and came to be regarded as misfortunes, as
penalties that must be endured for seeing him and enjoying him.  When
all is said, this thought remains,--the Lyceum productions were
immensely satisfying; the beauty of them, the appeal to the eye, the
appropriateness of everything that was painted, or woven, or said, or
done; the groupings, the general and particular movement, whether of
principals or supernumeraries, the tone of the thing, the atmosphere of
it.  When was the like known before?  When since?

Seeing through the fog of mannerism took me a year.  After that, as I
have said, I grew gradually to appreciate him, to admire him.  When I
made {201} his acquaintance, ten years after first seeing his Hamlet, I
had long passed from the benches of opposition.  But even then the
wonder grew.  First it had been: how did this man of many mannerisms
ever become an actor and one of the most distinguished actors of his
time?  And then it was: how does he escape from carrying his mannerisms
into private life?  For he did not carry them there.  He was a natural,
unaffected gentleman, distinguished in bearing, courteous, fine in
dignity, without pose.  He walked and talked like a human being
accustomed to the best of intellectual society, accustomed, indeed, to
the ruling of men.  He was then neither tone-bound nor muscle-bound.
He moved with a certain ease, spoke with exquisite courtesy and quiet,
and did not speak too much.  He preferred to listen rather than to
talk.  He could--and did--make excellent speeches after dinner, or
before the curtain.  They would always have a touch of humour and a
touch of pathos.  They would always be in earnest.  He never spent
himself on trivial things; he never trifled about anything.

He had a certain air of authority; he had, at any rate, earned the
right to breathe it.  Besides, it protected him from bores.  It made
him, as a listener, the more gracious by just the suggestion of
deference to an opinion, especially when he had invited the opinion.
He preferred flattering to being flattered.  Perhaps discreet flattery
was an instrument that he knew how to employ better than most men.  It
may have been on that account that {202} when it came his way he did
not care for it.  In all things he preferred giving to receiving.

Next to his work he enjoyed hospitality, that is, the exercise of
hospitality.  He did not like going out, and very seldom went out to
dinners and receptions, those affairs of which one grows weary in
London, because there are so many of them, and the celebrity is so
often a sacrifice.  He enjoyed being the host.  This gave him the right
of selection, with the minimum of sacrifice.

And what a host he was!  You saw him at his best then, I think, his
Majesty in evening dress, presiding at his table, after the play.  You
had seen him crowned and robed and reigning, heard him cheered by his
loyal subjects, the British public, and now you were to sup with him
after the play.  His guests--they might be two, or six, or a
dozen--would be shown to a suite of historic rooms upstairs behind the
scenes, the rooms which in the eighteenth century and later had
belonged to The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks.  Perhaps, that night,
the play had finished at eleven.  The green curtain seldom fell earlier
at the Lyceum.  In fifteen or twenty minutes Irving would come in.  If
Miss Terry were coming, she would be later.  An actress is usually
longer than an actor about "changing."  But whether she came, or not,
and she would not always come, the feast would be a memorable one, both
as to company and to dishes, to coffee and cigars and wines.

In those days teetotalism did not stalk over the world, and arrogantly
claim all the virtues, and cry {203} tyrannically, "You shall not touch
wine!  There are weak souls who cannot drink without drunkenness.  To
protect them we shall deprive you!"  A lot of kindly feeling has
vanished with the rise of Bolshevism, Syndicalism, and Teetotalism.
Are we coming to a time when Shaving will be forbidden because razors
are dangerous?  If there are people who drink to excess, are there none
who eat excessively?  Are dyspepsia and indigestion to reduce the world
to a common level of sallowness and pain, to the pangs and palenesses
that prevail in teetotal regions?  What has all this to do with Henry
Irving?  Nothing, of course, seeing that he died in 1905.  But were he
living and in his prime, I can fancy him saying, as many another man is
saying: "No more America for me.  They won't let me have a pint of wine
with my dinner.  I believe in freedom."

Irving's first nights were famous for their supper parties.  These were
not given in the Beefsteak Rooms but on the stage.  The stage would be
cleared after the play, and at long tables, at the rear of it, the
guests would help themselves, and stroll about, smoking, talking,
munching chicken sandwiches and salad, and sipping champagne, claret,
or whatever was going.  There would be two or three hundred guests,
possibly more, men and women titled and untitled, well known in
politics, science, letters, art, and social leaders, generals, and
admirals, an epitome of that world which is London.  It would be one of
the most enjoyable receptions of the season.  Wearied with conversation
and {204} standing about, the guests would begin to disperse about one
or half-past one in the morning.  By two o'clock, usually, nearly all
of them would be gone.  Then some one would find a few chairs, and half
a dozen of us would sit in a corner talking, and presently Irving would
join us, and the talk would gain in weight and point.  About three
o'clock, I think it was seldom earlier, we would start homeward.
Frequently Irving and I would go together.  My hansom would drop him at
the door of his chambers in Grafton Street, and then I would go on to
Chelsea.  But whether on first nights, or on other nights, this was our
custom for ten years, a custom broken only by my increasing absences
from London.  I might be in New York or Washington, or Rome, but Irving
would know somehow, and we would exchange wires on first nights.  On
his first night in the World Beyond, I was farther away than usual.  I
was in Chicago.  I wondered, when I heard, next morning, that he had
gone, whether he missed the little group that used to foregather with
him, and what hansom had conveyed him after his life's drama, and who
had accompanied him Home.  Always he had seemed to me a lonely man.  He
was a generous man and a great one.  And his fame will last as long as
the English stage retains its fame.



{205}

CHAPTER XIV

HENRY M. STANLEY

Stanley was the most self-contained man imaginable, when he chose to
be.  And when he chose to be otherwise, his anger was terrific.  He had
a hard face and steely-cold grey eyes.  Neither eyes nor face revealed
what he felt, if he wished to conceal feeling.  I have seen him quite
unmoved, rock-like, when, after an African expedition, he met devoted
friends, or faced a cheering multitude, or drove his way through an
angry mob.  All was one to him if he had to get anything, or go
anywhere, or do anything.  None the less he felt, and his feelings were
deep, but he held them in the closest grip.  But when his temper blazed
you wanted to call out the engines.  He could not tolerate blunderers
and fools; he had no patience with reformers, nor with sentimentalists;
and very little with Emin Pasha, whom he came to regard as possessing
the "mushy" qualities.  Perhaps I should say that he had a great deal
of patience with Emin Pasha in view of the fact that Emin, while
willing to be found, did not wish to be "rescued", and so Stanley had
his aches and pains and hardships for his trouble.  It is possible to
sympathise with him.

Stanley returned to London in April, 1890, after {206} the Emin
Expedition.  There were crowds to greet him in the streets, and a big
crowd at the railway station.  I went, with an old friend of his, to
meet him at the train.  We had special cards to the platform at which
the train would arrive, and were fortunate enough to secure places at
the point where Stanley's saloon carriage stopped.  There were about
five hundred holders of similar cards, I should think, and among them
the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who was a very old friend of Stanley.
When the train pulled in, the privileged five hundred broke ranks with
a rush and a roar and a waving of hats and handkerchiefs.  The crowd
beyond the platform barriers took up the cheering.  As everybody on the
platform knew the Baroness by sight, a path to Stanley was promptly
cleared for her, and immediately the explorer advanced and shook hands
with the kindly old lady.  But he did not smile.  He was as grim as a
statue.  He lifted his hat two or three times to the crowd, but he
scarcely looked at it.  He seemed in no way elated or touched by the
popular greeting, but I suppose he was touched.

As soon as he saw the Baroness, he removed his hat, carrying it in his
left hand, and stepping forward quickly, held out his right.  But he
did not speak; nor did she.  Her kind old face quivered a little, and
there were tears in her eyes.  Perhaps if she had spoken, she would
have shown too much emotion.  Stanley, I thought, realised this, and
was silent.  But he kept the old lady's hand in his and shook it a
little every instant or so, while he looked out over the mass of faces
beyond.  When he recognised {207} any one standing near him, he nodded,
but said never a word; he would look again at the venerable lady, and
give her hand another little shake, and then, when all was ready, he
gave her his arm and escorted her to her carriage, her husband
following.  The three entered the carriage, and Stanley stood up,
bareheaded, and bowed to the cheering crowd.  But never a word spoke he.

Out of the station they drove amid a din of cheering, but still he
maintained his silence.  One of them told me afterwards that he was
silent until they reached their door in Stratton Street, Piccadilly.
All the way the crowds cheered.  Sometimes, when the roar was unusually
loud, he would lift his hat.  Then, when the spectators saw that his
close-cut hair had turned white, they would double their cheers.  I
don't know what men think about when they experience such moments.  I
have asked many who have had them.  They seemed to think that they were
gratified, or puzzled, or stunned.  I can imagine Stanley asking
himself: "When can I get out of this?"  But his face might have been
the face of a graven image,--say a Sphinx from the sands of North
Africa.

The next time I saw him in public was at St. James' Hall, about a week
later, when he addressed an audience invited by the Emin Pasha Relief
Committee.  It was a ribboned and jewelled audience; it was composed of
royalties, nobilities, famous commoners and fighting men, diplomats who
sparkled and bishops who did not, men of letters, men of science and
art, not to mention their radiant ladies, {208} an audience which
literally shone, for the affair was an "occasion."  The Prince of Wales
(afterward King Edward VII) presided; his Princess and the present King
sat in the front row.  If I were to give a list of "among those
present" it would exhaust pages of "Debrett" and "Who's Who", to say
nothing of my own pages.  The Emin Pasha Relief Committee had done the
thing handsomely, as well they might, for this was Stanley's first
public appearance since his return from the expedition of which the
world babbled long.  It was all in the day's work for him.  He never
turned a hair.  He was in command of that audience, he told it what he
wished to tell it, quietly, resolutely, and his words went home.  They
would have thought he addressed such audiences every night.  But he had
spoken in circumstances far more difficult.

At the proper moment he took his manuscript in hand and walked to the
edge of the platform.  When the audience had finished its applauding
welcome, he looked about for a reading desk, or a table, on which he
might put his papers.  He seemed puzzled, and I daresay he was, that
the committee of the occasion had not provided something of the kind.
The Prince of Wales was quick to perceive his need, and picking up a
small table that stood in front of his own chair, he carried it to
Stanley and placed it in front of him.  Then the explorer smiled,
bowed, and thanked the Prince, and, turning to his audience, he fitted
a pair of gold-bowed spectacles before his eyes and plunged at once
into his address.

{209}

He told simply, directly, without oratorical flourishes, but as a
courageous man to whom dangers were familiar, the story of that awful
march into the heart of Africa.  It was a famous march then.  The world
has since forgotten it, I daresay, having had, for years, its fill of
deadly suffering.  But it is worth remembering as a tale of heroism,
and I am able to repeat here some of the passages which I preserved at
the time.  Stairs, and Parke, and Jephson, and Nelson, the surviving
officers of his expedition, were with him on the platform.


The little religion that our Zanzibaris knew, said Stanley, was nothing
more than legendary lore, and in their memories floated dimly a story
of a land that grew darker and darker as you travelled toward the end
of the world, and drew nearer to the place where a great serpent lay
supine, coiled round the whole earth.  And the ancients must have
referred to this, where the light is so ghastly, where the woods are
endless, and are so still and solemn and grey, to this oppressive
loneliness amid so much life, this loneliness so chilling to the heart!
And the horror grows darker with their fancies, the cold of early
morning, the comfortless grey of the dawn, the dead white mist, the
ever-dripping tears of the dew, the deluging rains, the appalling
thunder-bursts.  When night comes with its thick, palpable darkness,
our Zanzibaris lie cuddled in their little damp huts, they hear the
tempest, the growling of the winds, the grinding of the storm-tossed
trees, the fall of granite, the shock of the trembling earth, the
roaring and rushing as of a mad, overwhelming sea--and then the horror
is intensified.

It may be, next morning when they hear the shrill sounds of the
whistle, and the officers' voices ring {210} out in the dawn, and the
blare of the trumpet stirs them to preparation and action, that the
morbid thoughts of the night, and the memories of the terrible dreams,
will be effaced for a time.  But when the march has begun once again,
and the files are slowly moving through the woods, they renew their
morbid broodings and ask themselves: "How long is it to last?"

They disappear into the woods by twos and threes and sixes, and, after
the caravan has passed, return to the trail, some to reach Yambruja,
and upset the young officers with their tales of woe, some to stray in
the dark mazes of the forest, hopelessly lost, some to be carved for
the cannibal feast.

Those who remain, committed by fears of greater danger, mechanically
march on, the prey to dread and weakness, the scratch of a thorn, the
puncture of a pointed cane, the bite of an ant, the sting of a wasp.
The smallest thing serves to start an ulcer, which becomes virulent and
eats its way to the bone, and the man dies.


That self-contained man had been the leader in that march of death.
Weeks, months, years of such fighting he had known, fighting not man
but nature, a foe he could not strike in return.  Sometimes man and his
weaknesses aided the enemy, jolly black, or surly black fellows packed
with superstitious fears.  The voice of the demagogue was loud in
England in those days, but not so loud as it is in these days.  Stanley
had been criticised harshly for his "treatment of the natives"; they
were "our black brothers" and all the rest of it; he had even been
criticised for making expeditions at all, since "only by black labour
could expeditions go forward.  What is there in it for the blacks?"
There {211} were other mushy-minded objections similar to those
employed by pacifists in these days.  He had his own way of hitting
back at the mollycoddles.  They had been asking what he got out of the
bold adventure.  That is always the way.  He turned to Stairs and
Parke, Jephson and Nelson, and said quietly to his audience:


These men were volunteers.  What did they "get out of it", save the
dangers they sought, the sport which perhaps they found, such
contribution to general and special knowledge as they might make, and
their consciousness of duty performed?  They are English gentlemen.
Two of them are officers in the British Army.  Mr. Jephson paid a
thousand pounds for the privilege of accompanying the expedition.
Captain Nelson left a comfortable home and the luxuries of civilised
life for the sole purpose of joining in the rescue of one of Gordon's
governors, whom the great soldier's untimely fate had left in a
perilous position in the extreme south of the Soudan.  These volunteers
pledged themselves to be loyal and devoted, and I must confess,
assuming that I am a sufficient judge, being naturally jealous of
anything that is not downright and real, that they have redeemed their
pledge in the noblest and completest manner.

Darkest Africa has been to them a fiery furnace, a crucible, and a
question chamber, which they have tried, each of them to the very
depths of their natures.  They have borne every trial to which they
have been subjected with more than Spartan, with old-English fortitude,
the fortitude that existed before mawkishness and mock sentiment had
made men maudlin.  It is for you who hear me now to do your part toward
recognising the merits of these young gentlemen, or causing them to be
recognised {212} by those who have the power to dispense awards
appropriate to noble and thorough and uncalculating performance of duty.


The gossips used to say, as if they took a peculiar pleasure in saying
it, that Stanley did not recognise loyalty in others.  But if the
remarks just quoted were not recognition, and handsome recognition,
given, as they were, before the most influential audience that could
have been assembled in London, I do not know what recognition could
possibly be.

Of all my memories of Stanley, the most amusing relates to the
"American Dinner" given in London in his honour.  It was not so amusing
at the time, because that was a time of mishap and muddle.  Apart from
the fact that the name of America should be associated, not allied as
Mr. Wilson would insist, with a mismanagement which seemed especially
determined to prove false the tradition that Americans have a natural
and trained capacity for getting things done, the thing was a roaring
farce.  There was a "Committee", of course, but the Committee had
nothing to do with the arrangements.  There were forty "Honorary
Stewards", but I can vouch for the fact that the honorary stewards had
nothing to do with the arrangements.  I was one of the forty.  The
ebullient zeal of one man who undertook to do everything, and who
welcomed the responsibility, because he was a friend of Stanley, was
responsible for the general wreckage of the elaborate plans which
promised a dinner of ceremony and resulted in an informal collation.  I
have always supposed that the kindly gentleman who undertook the whole
{213} thing, and who was really one of the best fellows going, must
have paid a good share of the cost of this entertainment to his friend
Stanley, and insisted, therefore, upon having his own way, or the
members of the Committee must have shirked their duties, which is n't
likely, considering who they were.

Well, here was an American dinner to Stanley.  There were sixteen
speeches, save the mark!  And eleven of the speakers were Englishmen.
There must have been at least three hundred and fifty men at the
dinner, and fully one half of them, possibly more, were not Americans.
Not an American dish was served, and the caterers, whoever they were,
did not serve the first course until an hour and a half, or something
like that, after the dinner should have begun.

There was no one to receive the company.  The chairman was there, but
most of the guests arrived before he did.  There was no reception
committee.  The honorary stewards had no badges or other marks to
distinguish them from anybody else, and no searcher for a guide or for
information knew who they were.  There was no table plan, no list of
guests.  Nobody knew where he was to sit, or who would be his
neighbours.  We heard that the printer's forms had collapsed into
horrible "pi" just at the point of going to press.  Although, as an
"honorary steward", I arrived a quarter of an hour before the time
announced, I could find on the premises none of my companion
honoraries, nor was any list of them available.  I was talking with two
{214} or three arrivals when a familiar voice behind me asked: "Are we
alone in Africa?"

"It looks like it, Mr. Stanley," said I.  "I can't find the huts, or
the bones of the feast, or the chief of the tribe.  But you have come
to the rescue, as usual."

Stanley looked amused.  "Where's our friend ----?  Have you seen him?"
he asked.

I explained what I had heard about the dear fellow's dilemmas, and the
little that I understood of them.

"Then we 'll have to work our passage," Stanley said.  "Will it be all
right if I stand here?  I 'll have to meet everybody, I suppose.  They
won't fear I 'll bite 'em, will they, if there 's no manager to keep me
tied up?"

And so it was to Stanley's good sense and his willingness to enter into
the spirit of the thing that the affair got under weigh.  But it was a
long time in arriving anywhere.  I saw Whistler put his head in at the
door.  I went after him and introduced him to Stanley.  "I say," said
Whistler to me, "are you stewarding?  I 'm a steward, too.  It's all
stew, is n't it?  But I don't know what to do, do you?  Is there
anything to eat?"

"Not yet," said I.

"B-r-r-r-r-h!  What's that?"  It sounded like a crash of china in an
adjoining room.

"The end of all things, I should think," said Stanley.  "I say, there's
the Duke!  No Committee?  Well, I 'll receive him."

"The Duke" was the Duke of Teck, the father {215} of the present Queen.
In a minute he was followed by another Duke, Sutherland.  And there
were Stanley's chief officers, who were to share with him the honours
of the evening.  And very soon the rooms were filled.  But nobody in
authority appeared, or if appearing, no authority was exercised.  For
an hour and a half everybody stood about, accumulating hunger and
getting very tired.  And there was no one to say what was to be done,
or when, or how.

At last somebody cried: "Gentlemen, dinner is served.  This way,
please, and sit where you like!"

We all cheered at this.

And so the royalties, and the guests of honour, and the orators of the
evening followed the hungriest men who were nearest the doors, walked
rapidly into the dining room, and took the first seats they could find.
The affair had become a picnic.  But there was a meal.  That was the
important thing.  After famishing so long, we had a dinner of sorts.
But there were sixteen speeches to follow!  This fact we learned from
the souvenir albums which we found at our plates.  In the course of
time the speeches began.

One of them issued, poured, from a New York lawyer who stood in a far
corner, waving his arms and displaying vast expanses of shirt-cuff.  He
spread-eagled, he made the eagle scream, he Gods-countried till you
could hear the corn grow.  Nothing could stop him.  He ran on till he
ran down.  And then the Grenadier Guards Band, Dan Godfrey {216}
conducting, struck up the "Star Spangled Banner."  That was another
relief.

The American dinner to Stanley was given in the Portman Rooms in Baker
Street.  The Portman Rooms had formerly housed Madame Tussaud's
Waxworks.  Perhaps the hall in which we dined had been the Chamber of
Horrors.  I suspect it.  At any rate, there was a general air of
wonderment as to what might happen next.  We would have liked the
affair more if the Committee, or the Manager of All Things, had given
less of his useful attention to souvenir albums and elaborate trophies,
and more attention to the details of the evening.  Some one had
designed a large, costly, and elaborate silver shield, on which were to
be depicted events in Stanley's career.  It was to be presented with a
flourish of trumpets, that is to say, a speech by the Consul-General.
But the shield was unfinished, although on the spot, and some of the
flourishes had to be omitted.  If the table plans were omitted,
somebody had managed to get up a list of guests, at the last minute.
But that was incomplete, too.  In that dim English way which robs men
of their first names and puts them down with a single initial, even
Cumberland, the mind reader, who was present, could not have guessed,
without seeing him, that "H. Hunt" was Holman-Hunt, and not Helen, or
Henry; that "H. White" was Henry White, the secretary of our Legation,
and later Ambassador at Rome and Paris, still later the unabashed
deliverer of a pro-German speech, and in the Wilsonic course of events,
a member of the American Delegation {217} to the "Peace Conference" of
1918-1919.  But so many names were disguised by the poverty of labour
which denied them all connection with their owners that I must now deny
them space on this page.  I remember that "B. Harte" was Bret Harte,
that "E. Gosse" meant Edmund Gosse, and I remember that "Prof. John S.
Hopkins of Gilman University", as he appeared in the newspapers of the
following morning, was really Professor Gilman of Johns Hopkins
University.  To this day the Briton persists in printing the name of
that university "John S. Hopkins."

We wished to hear the speeches of Stanley and his officers, or, say,
the remarks these gentlemen might make.  Not a button did any one care
for the other speeches, and the less we cared, the more they lapsed
into oratory.  We knew that Stanley and his men would give us plain
talk over our cigars, and that is what they did.  Some of Stanley's
talk that night I can quote from a report that was made at the time.
Did I give the date?  It was May 30, 1890.


On a wintry afternoon, in 1867, just twenty-three years ago, I started
from America for Africa, at the imperial command of one of the
dollar-powers of America.  I was as ignorant as a babe of the land I
was going to.  As I look back upon my stock of resources I am not
unmindful that none could be poorer in what was fitting and necessary,
but I possessed some natural store of good will, fondness for work, and
a wholesome respect for the boss, the employer--the paying power.  I
learned down south what they mean by the saying "Root hog, {218} or
die!"  They mean if you don't work, you shan't eat.  It's another form
of the scriptural saying: "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy
bread."  In the America of my time they understood that.

In Abyssinia I acquired several lessons from English journalists, the
most important being what chaff is, and the second--that black trousers
in the daytime are not suitable.  I learned, also, to distinguish good
soldiers from bad, what kind of men made the best officers....  It
takes longer to know an Englishman than to know any other Christian, or
any pagan, that I ever came across.  He does n't walk up to you, as the
Yankee does, and pester you with questions about your private business
and your conjugal experiences.  He looks at you as if he did not care
whether you lived or died, starved or rotted.  Yet if you do him a
little service, he is so grateful that he will remember it.  Not
effusive, like a Frenchman, nor gushing like a German, he does not
regard you superciliously, as a Madrileno would, or look upon you as
legitimate prey, as is the custom of the Greeks; but he has the knack
of assuming a profound indifference to your existence.

I was sent to Spain to study Spanish war and politics.  I discovered a
defect, and I doubt greatly whether the Spanish leaders have yet become
conscious of that defect.  They could not execute the laws.  They
lacked the courage to do so.  Therefore, the Republic, which could be
sustained only by justice, was impossible.

It was necessary for me to wander further afield, to view cities and
men, great works, great assemblies, many countries--Greece, Egypt,
Palestine, Turkey, Russia, Persia, India, and then, after being well
seasoned with experience, I entered Africa as a leader of men.
According to the rules I was not {219} ripe, judging by what I now know
and what less I knew then.  I was still young and very rash,
headstrong, I relied too much on force.  Fortunately fate was
propitious, I was not prematurely cut off.

Marching eighteen hundred miles into Africa, I had time to think.  It
was reflection I needed.  Yet I was a dull pupil, and my blood was like
molten lava.  I must admit that while with Livingstone I saw no good in
the lands I travelled through.  The negro was precisely what he ought
to be--a born pagan, a most unloving and unlovable savage.
Nevertheless, much of what Livingstone expounded was unanswerable.  I
attempted to parry what he said by lavish abuse of the natives and
their country.

In 1873 I was back again in Africa, on the opposite side of Africa, and
after the brief Ashantee campaign, returned with a few more experiences.

The beginning of my real African education was in 1875 while sailing
along the shores of the greatest lake in Africa.  It came like a
revelation to me.

Now I have shown you what a dull, slow, student I was.  You can well
understand how lightly the abuse and chaff of my brother journalists
sit on my mind.  For there were even duller and slower folk than I.  It
is not one lecture, or one speech, or even a hundred, that will suffice
to infuse a knowledge of the value of Africa into the English mind.  It
took ten years for people to believe thoroughly that I did find
Livingstone!

Only a few days ago one of the most prominent men in England said: "I
do not know what you have been doing lately in Africa, Mr. Stanley, but
if you are to lecture I will gladly go to hear you."  And so I say that
although in this assembly we may know what is going on in Africa, we
must not suppose that the British public, or the journalism which is
its reflection, is any wiser to-day than in the time of Mungo Park.


{220}

Rather neat scoring, I think.  The world does not change much.

Stanley married and went into Parliament.  One day I thought it might
be interesting to see him try conclusions with an election crowd in
London.  He was contesting on the Surrey side of the river.  I think it
was in Lambeth.  He got a new experience.  The crowd heckled him, and
tried to shout him down, just for the mere joy of living.  But they
could n't silence him.  While they bellowed, he would stand calmly and
look at them.  After some minutes of this kind of thing, he managed to
be heard.

"Is this my meeting or yours?" he asked.  They were quite certain the
meeting was their own.  The interruptions were numerous.  I was
thinking what he would do with a mutinous lot in Darkest Africa, and
presently he told them that the savages compared pretty favourably with
"their white brothers in London"!  The crowd yelled, but they couldn't
disconcert him.  He finished his speech; cut it short, no doubt, but
did n't appear to do so.  Only the persons near him could hear what he
said, there was so much noise.  As he left the meeting, the gentle
souls began to throw things.  I saw them trying to overturn his
carriage.  His wife was in it!

Stones flew.  But Stanley lived to fight again.  Knowing him, I think I
know how angry he really was.

"But," said he when we met again, "I longed for a few seconds of
Africa!  My education is n't completed yet.  I am learning about
British {221} electioneering crowds.  When they shout: 'Fair play, fair
play', they mean 'Fair play for our side.'  Come now, that's a fact."

It is unnecessary that I should incriminate myself.

I never could see what satisfaction Stanley got from being a member of
Parliament.  In his heart he would have been glad, once or twice, to
lead them all, Government and Opposition and their followers, into an
African jungle--and lose them.

I see I have not mentioned that he became Sir Henry.  But I knew him as
Mr.



{222}

CHAPTER XV

GEORGE MEREDITH

A bright, warm, summer morning.  I was working under pressure in my
study in Cheyne Walk on an article which had to be finished that
afternoon.  Saturdays were my busiest days and this was Saturday, and
only morning.  The maid rapped at the study door and said, "Mr. John
Burns to see you, Sir."

In came Burns, preceded by his great voice and hearty laugh, making
apology for interruption.  "Can you drop the work and come with me?"
said he.

"Impossible," said I.  "Sorry, but--"

"Well, I 'm off to George Meredith's," said he, laying a post card on
my writing table.  The post card was from Meredith, who appointed the
meeting, and added:

"We 'll have a fine Radical day.  Bring your friend."

"You are the friend," said Burns.

"I 'll come," said I.  "Give me a quarter of an hour, and I 'll finish
this article somehow."  And so I made sacrifice to one of my gods, the
god that dwelt on the sunny slope of Box Hill.  The article {223} was
brought to a quicker turn than it had dreamed of, a hansom was called;
we rushed to Clapham Junction and took train for Burford Bridge.

It was more than a quarter of a century ago, but it seems like
yesterday.  And yet, though it was more than a quarter of a century
ago, the Great Dock Strike had seemed so long before that it was almost
forgotten.  In the dock strike, that is to say, in 1889, I had made
John Burns' acquaintance.  He says I "discovered" him, discovered the
real John Burns under the red-hot agitator who was expected to lead a
hundred thousand men to incendiarism and the sack of London.

I do not remember the year which brought this Meredith day to our
spinning world.  But it must have been in the early nineties, and Burns
on the London County Council, and perhaps for a session or so a member
of Parliament.  The date, however, does n't matter.  If it were not
1892 it may have been 1893 or '94.  Let's get on.

Neither Burns nor I had ever met George Meredith.  Burns and he had had
some correspondence which resulted in the post card and our expedition
to Box Hill that blossomy, fragrant morning when the England of dreams
lay all about us, and the stream that ran by Burford Bridge "babbled o'
green fields" and played with flowers.

We arrived at the little station in Surrey about noon.  Whatever it may
be now, it was then a little station.  We strode off to Box Hill, and
turned a corner, and there, trapping the sunshine, was Flint Cottage,
George Meredith's home, at the bottom of {224} a sloping garden running
over with roses.  Roses, roses everywhere, and higher in the sloping
garden, overlooking a valley that the gods had made for poets to dream
in, was a little chalet where Meredith wrote, and slept, and had the
muses to wait on him.  To the chalet a gardener directed us when we
asked for his master.  We climbed the path.  The chalet door stood
partly open.  Burns knocked on a rose trellis.  "Come in!" cried a
voice.  In we went.  There was George Meredith, in a Morris chair, with
a rug over his knees, and sheets and sheets and sheets of manuscript
over the rug.  If he were to rise, the whole mountain of paper would
tumble helter-skelter to the floor.

"No! don't move," said my companion.  "I'm John Burns."  Then he
introduced me.

"I knew you, John Burns, I knew you.  Your photographs are like you.
The voice is what I imagined it would be.  Sit, gentlemen, sit.  There,
by the window.  No better view in England, I really think.  I comfort
myself with it.  It is good enough for parliament-men and our
scribbling kind," said Meredith, smiling roguishly at me.  The grasp of
his hand was firm and generous.  His voice had rich, deep tones.  But
he looked a fragile being.

"Like the schoolboy, I can say, 'This is n't writin', it's readin','"
and he pointed to the manuscript.

"Chapman and Hall-ing," I ventured to say.

"That's right," said Meredith, "you see the slave bearing his burden."

If John Burns' photographs were faithful, so were Meredith's, or so was
the one with which I had been {225} familiar.  His beard and hair were
grey, almost white then.  He looked older than he was.  He was only
sixty-five.  Only sixty-five, and I thought him old!  He lived to be
eighty-one.  I liked his voice.  I had been told that it was high and
shrill.  It was nothing of the kind.  It was mellow, clear, and his
speech was scholar-like, with quaint shafts of wit.  They used to tell
of his "artificial talk."  I heard none of it.  He was as natural as
his roses.  But there might be prickly thorns under the rose.

Meredith gathered his papers and put them aside.  He leaned back in his
big, comfortable chair, and said "now let's talk" as another man might
say "let's have a drink."  And we three sat, and talked and remade the
world like a lot of youngsters.  We knew better, each of us, knew that
the dreams we were indulging would never be realised, that probably we
would never call them up and look at them again--we would n't
dare--they would be buried with us, no doubt.  Some other youngsters
might dream similar dreams by and by.  No doubt they would.  But to-day
was to-day.  And to-morrow I would be twice as old as Meredith, though
half his years, and know in all my body half as much as his little
finger knew.  That very day he was the youngest of the three.  He
bubbled quietly, like champagne in a hollow-stemmed glass.  The
conversation capered.  We might have been lads out of school, and we
ragged the authorities.  Meredith was the youngest and gayest of the
three, Burns the most enthusiastic, and I came dragging on with not
exactly timorous whoop-hurrahs!  And it was {226} June, and high noon,
with roses everywhere, and still more roses, and the humming of bees.
And the big world was far away--a million miles.

It was "a fine Radical day" no doubt, in more than the limited
political sense.  Burns was the only political Radical of the three.
He called me "a crusted Tory."  I don't remember what he called George
Meredith, who left us guessing, I think, as some of his printed pages
were likely to do.  Anyway, we did n't talk books.  Life was better.
And there was a lot of life to talk about yet, at the end of an age.
Besides, our host was pressing us to stay to luncheon.

Down the garden path we strolled, still talking.  Meredith said, as we
seated ourselves at table: "I 'm here alone at present: you come like a
rescuing expedition.  This talk is a shower on parched land."  After
luncheon the talk went on, under trees, and tea-time had come before we
knew it.  After tea a walk over Box Hill.

You will have gathered by this time that the talking was not about
Meredith or his books.  He guided us from those high pastures where we
would have liked to browse to the lower marshes where we might stumble
as we pleased over politics, Home Rule and no rule, free trade and
protection, dear food and cheap food, municipal administration, the
housing of the poor, socialism, and all those everlasting puzzles which
England is discussing now as she discussed them thirty years ago.  They
were very dear to John Burns.  They seemed interesting to Meredith.  He
enjoyed talking another man's {227} shop; at any rate, he enjoyed
talking Burns' shop so much that the talk scarcely touched on books.
It may be mentioned at this point that John Burns, even at that time,
owned probably more books than Meredith, and knew the insides of them.
Whether or not he knew the insides of more books than did Meredith is
another matter.  Meredith, you know, was a publisher's reader.

I did manage, while we were at tea, to get in a word about "One of Our
Conquerors" and its tribute to good wine, certain passages which could
have been written only by a connoisseur.

"Ah, I 'm that; yes, I 'm that!  Burns would n't appreciate that, but
you do."  And I spoke of a certain description in the same book, a view
from London Bridge, westward, in the late afternoon.  And the man
chasing his hat in a high wind.  I said I had taken an American friend
there recently, and he had had to chase his hat, and then, for solace,
we had gone to the restaurant in the city, the one described by
Meredith, and had had food, and cracked a bottle of the delicate wine
which, with tender ritual, had been opened and served to the two men in
the story.

"And," said I, "although you disguised the restaurant and the label, I
will not disguise from you the fact that my friend is also a
connoisseur of the bright and beautiful, the American celebrator of
choice things and moments--Thomas Bailey Aldrich--and that he rose at a
point in our simple feast and said, with reverence: 'I salute George
Meredith.'"

{228}

Meredith's eyes twinkled.  He rose, lifted his straw hat, bowed, and
said: "The Author of 'Marjorie Daw', I am your obliged and humble
servant."

And so the honours were even between Aldrich and himself.

Burns put in his word here.  "We must go for the five-thirty train.
Good-bye, Mr. Meredith, we have had the--"

"No, no, John Burns!  It 's not to be heard of!  Both of you are to
stay for dinner!  Mark you that, John Burns.  Never, never shall I
forgive you two if you leave a poor lone man of ink without dining at
his table.  The thing is forbidden, forbidden absolutely, John Burns."

Is it strange then that we stayed for dinner, having already taken
luncheon, tea, and a stroll with the magician of Box Hill?  Not only
did we stay, but we stayed till nearly midnight, having just time to
catch the last train for London.

And this is a very pleasant part of my recollections of the day:

Our host, when he had shown us to the dining room, excused himself for
a moment, lighted a candle, and, opening a door in a corner of the
room, descended to the cellar.  In two or three minutes he reappeared,
his delicate face lighted by the candle which he held in his left hand
directly behind a dusty half-bottle of wine, through which the light
shone softly in a ruby glow.  One saw first the wine, then the light,
then the face, as ascending the stairs they entered from below,
mounting slowly with {229} exquisite care lest the wine be shaken.
Slowly, and with great care, Meredith wrapped a napkin around the
bottle, and drew the cork, placing the bottle at my plate and saying,
with the most gracious, old-world courtesy: "For one who knows and
appreciates, from one who appreciates and knows."

There was "approbation from Sir Hubert Stanley!"

"John Burns is a teetotaller, they say," added Meredith.  "Of such is
not the kingdom of my heaven.  Burns says you discovered him.  What do
you think of your discovery?  Tell me how it came about."

"Burns does not embody my idea of a modest man," said I.  "As for that,
there seems to be some doubt, nowadays, whether modest men should be
permitted to live.  What does Gilbert say:

  "'You must stir it, and stump it
  And blow your own trumpet,
  Or, bless me, you have n't a chance!'


"Well, I came upon Burns first, in '89, when he had London scared (of
course London would n't confess that it was scared but it was) and he
was 'stumping it' at the dock gates, and from cart-tails on Tower Hill,
and was listened to by thousands and tens of thousands of hungry men,
and their wives, and youngsters--"

"'Agitating the dregs of London', the newspapers put it," said Meredith.

"All for sixpence an hour," said Burns.

"You have the floor!" said Meredith to me.

{230}

"I told you he is not accurately described as a modest man.  This is
_my_ story," I continued, "the story as I see it.  London had heard of
him--when was it?--in '86, or so, when he led a crowd of East Enders to
Trafalgar Square where mass meetings were not permitted, and the crowd
got out of hand and smashed plate-glass windows, and Burns got his head
broken, or nearly so, and went to gaol."

"'Serve the brute right!'  I remember the run of thoughtful British
opinion," put in Meredith.

"I was not in England at the time, but I remember the verdict," I said.

"The trouble was," said Burns, "I hadn't been introduced to the
authorities.  There I touched a fundamental British prejudice.  The
affair secured me the introduction, and opened Trafalgar Square--"

"To the mob," said Meredith.

"To mass meetings," said Burns.

"I am playing British chorus," was Meredith's rejoinder.

"Second chapter," said I.  "There came the year of the Great Dock
Strike.  The casual labourer swarmed out of chaos, and struck for a
sane, not to say 'civilised' method of hiring, and sixpence an hour."

"And the dock companies, or whatever they were, were not sane, and,
also, they had n't a sixpence, they said"--thus Meredith.

"Which was absurd, Mr. Meredith, as you are on the point of adding," I
went on.  "We don't know how many thousands of men were thrown out
{231} of work.  Nobody knows to this day, but here is what I am coming
at; there were thousands of them, and there was great suffering in
their families.  Well, when I first saw Burns he was organising
kitchens, and feeding women and children, and making ten speeches every
twenty-four hours, and sleeping an hour or two when he could find time
and a place to lie down.  Some nights he did not sleep at all.  The
night before I met him he slept four hours in his clothes and boots.
In three days he made thirty-six speeches; in three weeks he averaged
ten speeches a day, out of doors.  He is hoarse still, no wonder.

"I lost sight of him for a bit, and found him again on Tower Hill,
speaking to a big crowd.  His platform was a dray.  When he stopped
speaking and jumped down from the dray, I introduced myself to him,
said I was mightily interested, and that I wanted to interview him.

"'All right,' said he; 'begin!'

"If he were not modest, I was.  'Not here,' said I, 'let's go where we
can talk in quiet.'  So I tucked him into a hansom and, followed by a
yelling crowd which we soon left out of sight, we drove to a club of
mine in the West End, where we had a long talk.  The immediate results
were--oh, well, some articles in which I tried to show the world the
real John Burns."

"That was the discovery?" asked Meredith.

"Burns calls it so.  He was no more modest about being discovered then
than he is now.  He has a way of telling you straight what he thinks,
or what he 's at, or of telling you that he won't tell you."

{232}

"I 've noticed that.  John Burns, are you under any delusions about
popularity?  I think you are not."

"I 'm not," said Burns.  "When the crowds are cheering their loudest, I
am asking myself how soon they will hang my carcass on the outer walls."

"A cheering and useful inquiry," observed Meredith.  "My impression is
that you have a long course to cover.  But leaders of the people are
wisest when they remember that there _are_ outer walls for the hanging
of carcasses."

"The confessions of Radicals strengthen the soul," said I.

"These are not confessions; they are articles of faith," exclaimed
Burns.

I intimated that my faith in a political sense was as a grain of
mustard seed, human nature being what it was, and political stupidity
unconquerable.  Gladstone being mentioned by our host, I asked Burns to
tell his Gladstone story, that is, what the G.O.M. said to him, and
what he said to the G.O.M. at their first meeting.

"It was in the lobby of the House of Commons," Burns explained, "soon
after my election.  You know I was not what might be called a
worshipper of that wonderful man.  A bit too independent for his
liking, perhaps."

"And the only thing he would dislike, perhaps," said Meredith, smiling.

"Well, you know.  I was in the lobby, talking with a front-bench
Liberal when the great man passed.  The member with whom I was talking
{233} took me up to him and presented me.  The G.O.M. bowed, and we
shook hands.  He said:

"'It gives me pleasure, Mr. Burns, to see you here, to welcome you to
the House of Commons.'

"I replied, 'Believe me, sir, my pleasure is equal to your own!'

"A hit, a palpable hit!" cried Meredith.  "I can see Gladstone drawing
in his horns."

"He stiffened a bit, and we went our ways.  That is all there is of the
story," added Burns.

"The one about the docker and the matches is not bad," said I.

"Let me have it," begged Meredith.

"At one of my meetings near the dock gates, a fellow shouted: 'Burn the
docks; break in and burn the docks!'  He interrupted me two or three
times with that cry.  The crowd was sullen.  It had n't got its
sixpence yet.  I must stop the roaring fellow, or his mates might get
out of control.  I borrowed a box of matches from the nearest man.
'Catch!' I cried to the noisy chap.  He caught it as I flung it over
the heads of the crowd.  'Now, then,' I called to him, 'if you are
crazy, if you don't care what happens to all these men and their wives
and children, and if you want to ruin this strike, go, fire the docks!'
But the man did n't move.  I waited, but still he did n't move.  Then I
said: 'Your hand has n't the courage of your mouth.  Take the matches
from him, men, hand 'em back to me.  Make way for him.  He 's shown
that he 's a braggin' coward.  Out with him!'  He skulked away, hooted
by the crowd.  I suppose that was the {234} origin of the yarn that I
was inciting the mob to burn the docks."

"That's the way history is written, John Burns.  Have you found your
dockers suspicious regarding you?"  Meredith put the question with a
naïve air.

"Of course.  Men of their kind are always suspicious, until they know
you.  Why should n't they be?  Whoever went among 'em before those days
with any other purpose than to get the best of 'em?"

"They suspected your decent clothes," said I.

Burns laughed.  "One morning I appeared in a new suit of blue serge
like this, and a new straw hat, like that.  'Where'd you get 'em,
Burns?' one man shouted.  'He 's makin' more 'n sixpence out o' us,'
yelled another.  Then I had to explain, anyhow, I did explain, that
Madame Tussaud's had given me a new suit, so that they could put my old
one on a wax figure of me.  Tussaud's wanted my old hat, but my wife
would n't part with that.  She wanted it as a trophy."

We sat at table all the evening talking, George Meredith, John Burns,
and I.  Of all the men one had ever heard talk, I can't remember one
who had a charm of voice and speech excelling Meredith's.  I can feel
its fascination now across the interval of nearly thirty years.  It
was, I have said, a musical voice, but it was more than that.  It was
rich and deep and delicate.  The enunciation was perfect with a
perfection that was rare and individual; his voice was an instrument
with many banks of keys.  Charm was its characteristic, charm that no
{235} one could describe, although many have tried to do so.  And his
eyes, you could say, were bluish-grey, or grey-blue, but you could not
say--as they twinkled, or flashed, or seemed at rest like little lakes,
pellucid, undisturbed, or lighted instantly as some humorous or
sympathetic thought moved behind them--you could not say how, or why
they held you, or had the power, a pleasant power, of searching you,
looking through you.  There was nothing that you could describe in so
many words, but there was much that you could feel and like.  Even when
Meredith spoke of man, or woman, or deed that he did not like, and
spoke with dramatic force, his gaze would not blaze or harden.  He
seemed to be searching serenely beyond the surface for the element of
comedy, searching with sympathy and humour for the thing that he could
understand, and understand better than any one else in the world.  You
could always touch him with a sympathetic humour.  He did not like wise
owls, or rather the owlishness which the run of humans take for wisdom.

His strength, George Meredith's strength, was in his perceptions, his
appreciations; physically he was frail, or was frail then!  You would
n't have supposed him ever to have been a great walker and a man of
athletic tendencies.  But he had been.  Now he walked rather slowly,
with a stick, and seemed glad to stop every few minutes.  His face made
me think of a cameo, by the delicacy of its carving.  There was
exquisite beauty in it, and the voice enhanced that.  But even the most
delicate lines {236} were firmly carved.  If you handled him roughly
you might bend him, but you could not break his spirit.  At the time I
speak of, he was beyond his years, far beyond them; physically, but in
no other way, he seemed an old and fragile man.  And yet neither voice
nor eyes suggested anything of the kind.  In spirits and outlook he
retained the keenness of mighty youth.  When he talked with us he was
of no age at all, the agelessness of the eternal; it was only when he
walked with us about his garden, or over Box Hill, that the flesh
betrayed, now and then, its limitations.  If you had had his eyes, you
might have looked through his body.  A strong wind might have carried
him away.  But he lived sixteen years after that, and, for all his
touch of melancholy, they were happy years.

Others could tell other tales of him and have done so; have said, for
one thing, that he was quick and tempery.  What they meant was that his
highly sensitive make-up had n't its times or seasons, but were on and
off quite unexpectedly, as is usually the case with highly sensitive
folk.  Men do not study such sensitive creatures with the object of
avoiding trouble; they blunder and thunder on and then are amazed, when
they have struck a nerve centre, to find that it has its own method of
reacting.  And then George Meredith had been more than half his life a
reader for publishers.  And all his life he was writing poetry and
novels!  Now if there is any act less likely than another to insure
peace of mind, it is the reading of other persons' manuscripts.  And to
do that regularly, professionally, for several {237} decades, while you
prefer to be a poet and love to be a novelist, is to give oneself to
occupations which not only jar upon each other, but upon the nerves of
him that undertakes the triple task.  Meredith must have had a rare
power of concentration to preserve his own authorship from saturation
in the flood of manuscripts in which he swam for forty years.  His
experiences would have paralysed the creative capacity in most men.

I can suppose only that they who found his talk "artificial" must have
touched some spring in him that Burns and I did not press.  We found
him entirely free from artificiality.  No pair of strangers could have
been more agreeably entertained.  And yet we inflicted upon him a long
day.  They say he was "gey ill to live wi'."  Perhaps he was; perhaps
he was not.  But why should n't he have been?  Most writers are.  And
why should n't they be?  They are of a sensitive sort, in greater
degree, or less.  Their business is mainly to observe, to consider, to
speak with ink.  These things require concentration of mind.  And while
the world is running in and out, and kindly intentioned persons are
making suggestions which have no relation to the business in hand, or
wondering why their wish cannot have precedence, or why their opinion
is not the most important thing in the universe, the poet's work, or
train of thought, has to get on, or the novelist's, or the reader of
manuscripts'.  It may be true that no creative gentleman has a right to
moods, but at least he has a right to tenses.  No such plea is put
forth for the rest of mankind.  {238} Probably the fact is that the
person criticising considers his own mood the more important of the
two.  Artistic sensibilities are as difficult for their possessors to
endure all the time as they can possibly be for any one else to
encounter a part of the time.  But who ever thinks of that?

We talked on through the evening, without leaving the dining room.  I
caught Burns looking apprehensively at the clock.  "Yes," said I, "we
can catch it if we go at once.  It's the last train."  There was a
hurried leave-taking, and we were off.  We left the kind old gentleman
standing in the doorway, holding a lamp which lighted us down the path
and shone full upon his face.

"Well?" said Burns, when we were seated in the train.

"A glorious day!" I answered.

"Never a better," said Burns.

Surely we never went through a better day together, and we went through
many.

Late one afternoon in 1907, I was crossing the outer lobby of the House
of Commons just as John Burns was crossing it in the opposite
direction.  He saw me first and called out to me.

"Where have you come from now?" he asked, when we had shaken hands.
"And how long is it since we met?"

"America this time," said I.  "I 've been there four years.  But it
must be seven years since I 've seen you."

"Gadabout!" said he.  "Did you ever have another Meredith day?"

{239}

"No," said I, "nor anything like it.  Let's go again."

"Let's," was his response.

But we did not go again, for, as it turned out, another ten days called
me back to America.  Burns, of course, was already in the Cabinet, but
he wore a blue serge suit, just as of yore.

In 1913 when again I came to England, I did not see him.  I had several
months in the country but only ten days in town, when I fled with an
attentive influenza which Freshwater drove away.

But in 1916, having come the day before from a liner at Liverpool, I
was walking in Victoria Street just as Burns turned a corner.

"The oddest thing," said he.  "I was just thinking of our day with
Meredith.  Let's talk.  But don't talk politics.  Which way are you
going?"

"Any way," I said.  And we strolled into the cloisters of Westminster
Abbey.



{240}

CHAPTER XVI

PARNELL

The man most talked of in '88-'90 was not Mr. Gladstone but Mr.
Parnell.  The Parnell Commission "had shaken the earth", as an Irish
writer said in a moment of unusual restraint.  And during its
long-drawn life, as during the events which immediately had preceded
it, "the uncrowned king of Ireland" was the foremost topic of
conversation and of newspaper attention.  From the ordeal of the
Commission he emerged with triumph, a triumph which in its turn caused
some planetary commotion, only to be met with the divorce suit of
Captain O'Shea, and the subsequent storms, and snarls, and hopeless
desertions of Committee Room Fifteen.  Thence to heartbreak and death
was but a short and rapid decline.

I knew Parnell but slightly; no one knew him well.  Lord Salisbury did
not know him at all, had never taken the trouble to cross the lobbies
between the Houses of Lords and Commons and look at him or listen to
him.  "I have never seen him," said Mr. Gladstone's rival.  And it was
common report that the men who knew Parnell least of all, and least of
all about him, were his own {241} followers.  Even that is possible, if
it seems unlikely.  One of his most conspicuous followers, who wrote
conspicuously and talked about him and about Home Rule, I knew very
well, and for years I wondered if he really knew as little as he said
he did about his chief's ways and work and wisdom.  He made a great
mystery of them, as many of the Irish members did, or pretended to do.
They told you that he kept them at arm's length, scarcely nodded to
them, or, if he nodded, did so in a manner that was cold and distant
beyond belief.  They were the dust beneath his feet.  But they told you
that they did not resent this treatment; it showed the superiority of
the man.

Whether they resented it or not, you may form your own opinion by what
they did to him when they got the chance.  But before the squalls and
gales arose in Committee Room Fifteen, he had held them together; they
were a disciplined body.  No man before his day had been able to hold
them together, to discipline them, to force his will upon them.  No
other parliamentary leader of the Irish before him produced results.
But he produced them.  His followers feared him, and they feared him
because he was so unlike themselves, so un-Irish.  His "mystery" lay in
his immense capacity for holding his tongue; in his aloofness; in his
concentration.  He knew how to get from the rest of the United Kingdom,
from the English and Scotch and so on, what he wanted; as a rule, his
followers did not.  He knew how to play the political game in the
British way, with additions of his own; his {242} followers did not.
They had not the patience; they may have had other qualities more
captivating than his, but they had not the patience or the art of
command.

There was a time when I doubted that he was really so elusive as
political persons said.  And if he were so, why?  It could not be for
the mere pleasure of eluding, or deluding people.  There would be very
little pleasure in that.  Well, one day my doubt was dispelled.

Parnell had made an appointment to see me at the House of Commons.  It
was not for the purposes of a newspaper interview, for he would not
have given himself the trouble on that account.  It was not for any
purpose or interest of my own.  I had conveyed to him a proposal from
an American editor.  It was a proposal which Parnell had not only not
declined, but which he was considering with some favour.  I was to meet
him again and discuss it further.  The time and place were of his
choosing.  I was punctually there, only to be met with the message:
"Mr. Parnell is not in the House."

That may have been technically true, as Mrs. A. may be technically "not
at home" to Mrs. B.  But he was somewhere on the premises, because I
saw him enter them.  There were good reasons for assuming that the
appointment had not slipped his mind, or his memoranda.  And so I
thought that the person who told me Parnell was not in the House might
have invented the reply he gave.  He knew of the appointment, and,
though he did not know its purpose, knew that Parnell had wished to
{243} see me; why, then, should he give a reply which might put his
Chief in the wrong.  But then, why had not Parnell sent word or left
word, making another appointment?  He would scarcely have declined the
proposal from America without the courtesy of another meeting.  Indeed,
he had promised that.

"Very well," I said, "I will wait."

But the agreeable gentleman could not assure me that Mr. Parnell would
be at the House that day.

"Has he been here?"

"I believe so."

It was too early to go away.  Question time was not over.  I decided to
wait.  Mr. Parnell's representative withdrew.  After a while I thought
there had been a mistake somewhere.  Then I remembered that the
emissary "could not assure" me, etc.  I thought this odd, in the
circumstances, and concluded not to wait any longer.  The affair was
Parnell's, not mine.  But if he had decided to decline the proposal
concerning which he had invited me to call upon him, it was not
particularly civil of him to take this offhand way of doing so.  I left
the House and went toward the Westminster Bridge station of the
Underground Railway, just opposite the Clock Tower of St. Stephen's.
Turning the corner by the gates of Palace Yard, I saw Parnell, ahead of
me, cross the street and enter the railway station.  He took an
eastbound train.  I was just in time to catch the same train but not to
catch him.

He alighted at the next station, Charing Cross.  So did I, intent on
overtaking him.  But there was {244} a blocking crowd at the exit
stairs where tickets were collected, and he was away first.  Up
Villiers Street I followed him to the top at the Strand, where he
turned into the South Eastern Railway station.  This was interesting.
Why had n't he, I wondered, taken the outside stairs that led from
Villiers Street into the station?

"Possibly he has caught sight of me," I thought.  "Is he trying to
elude me?  Let's see."

He entered the South Eastern station at the left-hand door.  He left it
presently by the door on the other side of the cab yard and crossed the
Strand to the telegraph office, which at that time was exactly opposite
the cab entrance to the railway.  I withdrew into the tobacconist's
pavilion at the gate and there awaited Parnell's exit from the
telegraph office.  But he didn't recross the Strand to the station.  A
hansom was passing the telegraph office door.  Parnell ran out, hailed
the cab, entered it, and drove eastward along the Strand.  I took
another cab and kept his in sight.  His cab was held up by a block a
little to the west of Wellington Street, where a long stream of traffic
was crossing to Waterloo Bridge.  Parnell left his cab in the crush and
disappeared in the pack of humans and vehicles.  I left my cab, walked
back a short distance along the south side of the Strand, and there
turned down by the Savoy Theatre, lingering a little, and then down the
steps to the Embankment, keeping inside the gardens.  My guess was
right.  Parnell passed within a few feet of me.  He was walking
westward.  I walked inside the gardens, {245} he outside and well in
advance.  He reached the Underground station again, passed through it
to Villiers Street, walked up Villiers Street to the wooden stairs of
the South Eastern, while I remained at the entrance of the Underground.
Then I took a cab to my Club in Piccadilly.

If Parnell thought that he had the best of the chase, that he had given
me "the slip", he had another opinion, probably, when, as he was about
to enter a suburban train, he was approached by a courteous young man
who introduced himself as my assistant and said how fortunate it was
meeting like this, because it gave him the opportunity to ask if Mr.
Parnell would send me the reply which he had promised for that day, as
I wished to cable it to New York.

"Parnell did n't turn a hair," said my assistant, when he reported to
me at the Club a few minutes later.  "If he were surprised, he did n't
show it.  But he narrowed his eyes and said, in a frigid way that
brought down the temperature of that cold station, 'I will write.'  And
then the train started."

"And he with it?" I asked.

"No.  It left both of us on the platform.  I bade him good afternoon
and came here.  I suppose he took the next train."

I made no comment, but calling for a cable form, wrote on it this
message for New York:

    "Parnell declines."


"But he has n't declined," my assistant exclaimed.

{246}

"No, but he will.  You can keep that cable message in your pocket until
he does."

The reason I had not followed Parnell into the South Eastern station
was that in the train from Westminster to Charing Cross I had told my
assistant what to do, and where I thought Parnell was going.

For Parnell's reply I did n't care one way or another.  But I thought
that I was even with him for his evasion of me at the House, of his
treatment of an appointment which he had made, and of a courteous
proposal.  My method of letting him know, without having said so, that
I was not entirely ignorant of his reasons was, in the circumstances,
quite legitimate.  He could not and did not take open exception to it.
And for nearly thirty years I never mentioned it.  I do so now simply
to illustrate what I mean by his elusiveness.  It may interest the few
who remember some of his traits.  It is quite erroneous to suppose, as
many souls not altogether simple seem to do, that a journalist always
tells all that he knows.

But I might throw in here this remark: In all that promenade and hide
and seek in London streets, nobody seemed to recognise Parnell, nobody
turned to look at him.  He was merely a passerby like another.  Crowds
stare, they do not observe.  They see only what is pointed out to them,
what they expect to see,--and not always that.

Two or three days later, in reply to a telegram of inquiry, Parnell
declined the proposal from America.  My assistant sent both the inquiry
and my cable.  Concerning the latter, he asked me:

{247}

"What made you certain in advance?"

"A rule known to astute politicians--2 and 2 make 4.  It is not altered
by Home Rule, or other matters."

I have often observed, with forty years of opportunity for doing so,
that few persons know so little of conditions in Ireland, of Irish
conditions in Parliament, of the "Irish movement", whatever that may be
at any given time, as the Americans, and particularly the Irish in
America.  I have had my share of rebuke for mentioning this.  An
illustration will serve.

During the summer of 1890 I had a few weeks in the United States.  One
evening in Boston I happened to meet, as I was passing his office, a
man whom I knew well, Jeffrey Roche, Editor of _The Pilot_, an Irish
paper and the principal organ of Roman Catholicism in New England.
Roche had been the assistant, and later became the successor, to the
late John Boyle O'Reilly, and like him was a delightful and lovable
fellow and the writer of charming verse.  He hated England, of course,
and as I did not, we had many tilts, in print and out of it, but we
were always good friends.

"Hullo, Jeffrey," said I.

"Hullo, my enemy," said he, laughing as we shook hands.

"Why 'enemy'?" I asked.  "Has poor old Ireland another grievance?"

"You wronged Parnell!"

"Sit down and tell me about it," said I.

And we went to dine at the nearest restaurant where the dear fellow
explained that an article of {248} mine, sent from London and published
in the _Boston Herald_ during the previous February, had "scandalised
all Irishmen" and "imperilled the chances of Home Rule."

"Dear, dear," said I, "that's a lot for one man to do!  How did it
happen?"

"Your article said that an action for divorce had been entered by a
Captain O'Shea who named Parnell as corespondent."

"Well, what of it?  Everybody knows it."

"I don't know it.  We don't know it here.  Nobody knows it."

"And you 're an editor, Jeffrey!  Is that the way you keep the run of
the news?"

"Such a case has never been tried."

"It has not _yet_ been tried, you mean.  Of course not; it has to take
its turn.  It will come on in the autumn."

"Who is O'Shea?"

I stared at Roche in amazement.  And then I laughed.

"Jeffrey," said I, "you do it very well."

"Do what?  No," said he, "it is n't acting.  Who is he?"

I told him, and added that the question had been put differently by the
Irish members of Parliament a long time ago.  They asked at one
time--"Why is he?"  After a while they asked nothing.

"And your article said that the Irish party would turn against Parnell
if the case were tried, and that the English Liberals would throw him
over, and the Home Rule cause would go to pieces."

{249}

"Pardon me, Jeffrey, my article said that those would be some of the
results if O'Shea won his case, not if the case were tried."

"Gladstone would n't turn against Parnell!"

"Jeffrey, if that's all you know about the Irish Question, take my
advice and return to Ireland by the next ship and study it on the spot.
Then go to Westminster and study it there.  Learn what the Unionists
think, what Liberals think, and what Mr. Gladstone, as leader of the
Liberal Party, has to think, and--"

"It's another Piggott trick!  Parnell's defence will show it all up."

"Suppose he should n't defend himself?"

"That's unfair!"

"Let me tell you a thing or two.  Make a note of 'em, and see what
happens within a year!"

In the course of the next two hours Roche heard more of the inside of
Irish and English politics than I would have supposed could previously
have escaped an editor's mind.  It was clear that the comings and
goings of Irish parliamentarians bent on propaganda and money-raising
had not left behind much information that could guide a distant editor
over a course abounding with obstacles.  My experience with Roche that
evening resembled all the experiences I have ever had in the United
States when talking on the Irish question with persons who seemed
really anxious for information.  And the situation is much the same at
this hour, differing only in kind, not in degree.

The events of November and December, 1890, {250} proved to my doubting
friend the truth of all I had told in print or out of it during the
preceding months.  But he was as much surprised at the end of the year
as he had been when I talked with him in May.  Roche died years ago;
perhaps he knew by that time how matters stood.  At all events, perhaps
he knows now.  The Irish in America were not in those days, and have
not been since then much or far behind the scenes of a certain
political stage.  They have paid their money, and, like other
audiences, have remained in front to watch, to listen, to applaud, or
to hiss.  If they have frequently applauded or derided in the wrong
places, other audiences beholding other dramas have done no less.

The conditions in Ireland, and concerning Ireland, are not new to me.
I have known them pretty well for forty years.  If I were an Irishman I
would think, no doubt, on most points political, with other fellow
countrymen of my party.  But what party would that be?  I might answer,
if you could tell me where I would have been born and of what religious
faith.  My sympathy with Ireland is deep; it would be so, if only for
the matchless, the invincible stupidity with which she has been and is
still governed.  But her "injustices" and "woes" have long since been
wiped out.  That is one thing they do not know in America.  But it is
unnecessary to go beyond certain Nationalist speeches in the House of
Commons to learn as much.  John Redmond said a good deal on that point.
But now there are no Nationalist speeches, no Nationalist members to
speak of.  The Nationalist Party is dead.  The {251} Irish seats in the
House of Commons are empty, voluntarily empty.  Had Ireland done her
share in the War, she would have had Home Rule before the Armistice.
But she would not do her share, and she does not appear to desire Home
Rule, and Great Britain did not try to force her.  In America the
meaning of this is not quite understood.  While Great Britain was
sending millions of men to the front, while her manhood was everywhere
conscripted, while her fathers and sons were fighting the malignant
German, while she was depriving herself of money, food, clothing,
economising in the very necessaries of life, not merely in order to
provide for her armies, but to aid her allies, Ireland did nothing.
Ireland's food was not rationed; she had plenty and to spare; plenty to
eat, plenty to drink, plenty to wear; petrol and motor cars were not
forbidden her, they were forbidden to Britain; the luxuries which
Britain denied herself were abundant in Ireland; she was, in fact, the
most favoured country in Europe.  She was never so prosperous as
throughout the war.

But not a hand would she lift to defend her soil against the Germans.
Thousands of Irishmen were at the front; they fought splendidly, but it
was not in accordance with the will of Ireland that they fought.  It
was because they willed it themselves.  Ireland was exempted from
conscription.  Englishmen and Scotsmen, Welshmen and Cornishmen, all
the men and all the women from Land's End to John O'Groat's have long
memories for things like that.  And so have many Americans.

{252}

It is useless, I suppose, to say that Parnell's course had he lived to
and through the war time, still leading Irish politics, would have been
this, or would have been that.  He did not have to face such
conditions; they were not forward in his time, but they were always at
the back of the minds of some British statesmen, and he knew it.  He
knew that the dominant reason which stood between Ireland and
Independence was the need of Great Britain to guard herself against
attacks and invasions from the Continent.  France was thought to be the
potential enemy then, as she had been supposedly since the days of
Napoleon I.  Well, we know what Germany did.  England could no more
allow the island on her western flank to become an independent power
than the United States could permit any of her forty-eight States to
break away from the family roof.  Are arguments for separation based on
racial and religious differences more valid in the case of Ireland than
they are in the case of the United States?  What are the racial
differences between Ireland and Great Britain compared with the racial
differences in the United States, differences which arose through
conquest and purchase, not alone through immigration?  The Indians, the
Mexicans, the Spaniards, the French, the Negroes?  And then the welter
of immigrations on top of these?  And is the argument for majority
rule, based, as it is usually, upon the majority in Ireland, more
valid?  Ireland is, and has been for centuries, an integral part, a
vital part of the political organism known since 1801 as "the United
Kingdom", and {253} of that organism the Irish population, in Ireland,
is but a small minority of the whole!  In an age of democracy shall a
minority rule?  In the United States we know something about secession;
we have clear and firm opinions on it now.  Why should we expect
Britain to permit the secession of Ireland?  And if the Ulster problem
presents such "vast difficulties", what becomes of the famous
panacea--Self-Determination?  Won't the panacea work in Ulster's case?

These points were just as clear in Parnell's day as they are this
morning.  The Home Rule cause was one thing; the Separatist,
Independence case was quite distinctly another thing.  Parnell knew
that he could never satisfy Ireland if Independence were what she
wanted.  The hot-heads in her politics were seeking that and not Home
Rule.  Home Rule was almost won by Parnell; after him it was thrown
away by bitter dissensions within his party.  Thirty years more were
required to bring the factions to a point where they could pull
together.  Then the inevitable dissensions broke out anew.  The power
that had been John Redmond's slipped away, and Redmond's party went to
pieces as Parnell's had done.  It is folly to put the blame on the
Nationalists alone, or on the Ulstermen alone.  The conditions do not
mix.  They are antagonistic.

And, though the ideals of Ulster are not the ideals of the rest of
Ireland, must Ulster be punished for her ideals?  Ulster asks the
privilege of being loyal to Britain.  Must she then be punished for her
{254} loyalty and punished by Britain?  That is a question which
Americans who are so frequently called upon to interfere in the Irish
question never ask themselves, because it is never presented to them.
But if they were to ask it concerning any State in the American Union
in its relation to the Government at Washington, there is no doubt what
their answer would be.

What of the rest of Ireland?  At present the Sinn Feiners have the
floor.  They proclaim openly what the Nationalists, or most of them,
are said to have concealed; their object,--Independence.  But they know
that if Ireland should become an Independent Power, she must meet her
obligations of financial maintenance.  She could not meet them without
drawing upon, or absorbing the revenues of Ulster.  And she might not
be able to meet them then.  Are these matters, and matters such as
these, to be settled, or even helped by pious resolutions passed in
Madison Square Garden, or Faneuil Hall, or the Congress at Washington?

It might be thought that the ingenuity of man, to say nothing of his
justice, could find a way out of this age-long dilemma.  It can be seen
that the dilemma is not quite so simple as at a distance it has been
commonly supposed.  And it can be said that difficult as the problem
is, it has become none the less difficult through the conflict of views
and policies of Sinn Feiners, clericals, Home Rulers, Ulstermen, the
Asquith government, or the Lloyd-George government, politicians in
America, or rhetoricians anywhere.

{255}

I find that thirty years ago I wrote in an American newspaper: "Parnell
puzzles the British mind, because measures proposed in behalf of
Ireland are rejected whether they come from Mr. Gladstone or from Mr.
Balfour.  It has not yet dawned upon the British mind that Parnell
means that Parliament wastes its time over land bills and other
remedial legislation; that the Irish mean to settle the land question,
and all other Irish questions, without English assistance.  What he
wants is Home Rule and not land acts.  What he wants beyond Home Rule
he does not say, and no one is in his confidence."

It was all very well, but he could not prevent the Briton from bringing
gifts, nor could he avoid him.  The world has moved a long way since
Parnell died and has brought changes of which he did not dream.  But
there, stripped of detail, was his object.  If the ultimate object were
not set forth, it was because he wanted Ireland to get Home Rule first.
The difficulties of the step beyond that he knew well and appreciated
thoroughly.  Perhaps it was because he knew the British view so well,
and could understand it so well because he was half-English and
half-American, that his point of view was not limited by Irish
experiences and aspirations.  It may be that he did not expect
Independence in his time, perhaps not really at any time.  But whether
he did or not, he said in the House of Commons, in April, 1890, "We
have not based our claims to nationhood on the sufferings of our
country."  Well, if they were based on other {256} grounds, it is
likely that he saw insurmountable obstacles in their way.

I am far from agreeing with the conventional assertion that Parnell
wrecked his party and postponed Home Rule by a generation.  Such
assertions are made easily, and they are easily accepted by the crowd.
They ignore many other factors, even factors that I have suggested
here.  And they ignore the necessity which all politicians were under,
or supposed themselves to be under, of claiming a virtue, though some
had it not.  I think of some politicians who were professionally
horrified over the O'Shea case, although their own lives would not have
borne the examination of a divorce court, and who had not in their
lives the mitigating circumstance that Parnell had,--an absorbing love.
And I think of the politicians who were professionally "surprised" but
who had had a long preparation for what was coming.  All the forces of
hypocrisy and cant were let loose at that time, all the forces of envy,
hatred, malice, and uncharitableness; and they did not rest until
Parnell was crushed and dead.  The spectacle was enough to make one
nauseated forever with politics--and some other things.

Mrs. Parnell's book on her husband, published in 1916, throws a clear
light upon that chapter in Parnell's life.  I see no reason to doubt
its statements and conclusions; I see many reasons for accepting them.
They confirm the impressions that many of us had thirty years ago, and
relate facts that some of us more than surmised at that {257} time, and
before it.  It is scarcely possible for them to deal with the hypocrisy
and jealousy, revengefulness and cant that broke a man's life and a
nation's cause.  These were not in Ireland alone.  Britain and America
had their share.

Was Parnell a great man?  I am inclined to think that he just missed
greatness.  If he had won, there would be no doubt, I suppose.  That he
was the man for his time there can be no denying.  It is idle, I
suppose, to speculate whether he would have been the man for the time
after Home Rule had been gained, for then the duties would have been
vastly different.  And yet they would have called for qualities not
common among Irishmen, among political Irishmen in Ireland, I
mean,--the qualities that made him eminent and successful as a leader.
He was not eloquent, but eloquence is not essential to greatness.  He
did not inspire affection, devotion.  To this it may be answered that
the people of his country loved him.  So they did.  But a great many
politicians who were his followers did not.  Some of them entertained
for him emotions quite opposite to love.  Of course he inspired
respect; more than that, he instilled fear into the hearts of his
parliamentary army.  They feared him then.  But if his aloofness, his
detachment from the usual, even the unusual, affairs of society and
human interest, was one of his most remarkable characteristics, it was
in his favour rather than against him, it contributed to "the mystery"
in which his personality was shrouded, a mystery cultivated less by
himself than by legend.  {258} An eminent politician whose life is
isolated must be "mysterious" to the crowd.

He did not care for the play, for music, for pictures, or for
literature, excepting when literature bore upon the work in hand.  He
did not care for society, for sport, for games of any kind.  And so he
was a mystery to more countries than one.  He was easily bored; the
ordinary life of politics bored him, his followers bored him; it often
bored him to make a speech.  His power was in his set purpose, his
concentration upon it, his absolute disinterestedness.  Save in one
instance, he ground no axe and was not the cause of axe-grinding by
others.

Although he was not an orator, he could and did put a case plainly,
strongly, indeed with very great strength.  He was cool when it paid to
be cool, vigorous when vigour was required; he was seldom impassioned.
When he was angriest he was least stirred.  Internally he might rage,
as when under general attack, when the assailants were, in a double
sense, offensive, but outwardly he would be calm and pale.  You would
know when he felt the fiercest stress, not by his voice nor by his
actions, but by his pallor.  It was only in the last months of his life
that he gave his temper free rein, let himself go, fiercely lashed his
opponents, hitherto his partisans.  There was something of revenge in
this, of resentful wrath long pent up.  Who shall say it was not
justified, or that it was unnatural?

What he would have been as an administrator we have no means of
knowing.  What he would {259} have been as the leader of an Irish
parliament we may at least imagine.  He had always been in Opposition.
What he would have been in power we may guess but never know.  But his
lot would not have been enviable.  It was never enviable.  His death,
in 1891, was a happy release.



{260}

CHAPTER XVII

"LE BRAV' GÉNÉRAL"

Who _was_ Boulanger?

At the Cheshire Cheese, a year before the war, a young Fleet Streeter
asked the question.  He had heard some of us spinning yarns.  But the
name of Boulanger meant nothing to him.  The world was created in the
year he came to Fleet Street, say in 1908.

There are times when I feel it necessary to apologise for writing of
the days of antiquity.  There will certainly be some one to exclaim,
when he sees the heading of this chapter, "Why drag Boulanger into
_London Days_?"

One answer would be: Because I knew Boulanger in London.

"Was he ever here?  How strange we should have forgotten it!"

Not in the least strange.  Boulanger was forgotten soon after he
arrived.  He arrived at the Hotel Bristol, behind Burlington House, and
was cheered by a few waiters and chambermaids.  It was a murky
afternoon in the summer of '89,--dark, damp, and dreary.  I saw him
alight from his carriage.  Some of the papers next day told of "the
enthusiastic {261} greeting" he had received.  Thus history is made.  A
few waiters, a porter or two, half a dozen chambermaids, and, of
course, a manager.  These were the enthusiasts.

It was a little disappointing to those who love "scenes", or have to
describe them.  Nothing happened.  Of course, it was not disappointing
to realise that one was a prophet.  I had prophesied a scene like this,
months before, when quite another kind of scene was being played in
Paris, when Boulanger had the ball at his feet, or the game in his
hands, if you prefer a choice of metaphors.  He did n't play.  There
was merely an escape of gas from the balloon.  The gas was not
inflammable.

"Le brav' Général" they called him.  Up to the twenty-eighth of
January, 1889, he was the hope of France.  He was to be Head of the
Army, Prime Minister, or President, or King, or Emperor, or Dictator,
whatever he chose.  He was to save France.  She needed saving.
Politically, she was in the dismallest bog.  She needed a MAN, thought
she had found him in Boulanger, and on the twenty-seventh of January,
Paris was to elect him to Parliament.  Paris would give him a backing
so enormous that he would "seize the reins of power."  There would be a
_coup d'état_.  That was what the papers said.  There was quite a
commotion, naturally.

Obviously I must go to Paris before the twenty-seventh; I must see the
_coup d'état_ whose approach was thundering from all the presses of
Europe.  There would be articles by the yard.  In those {262} times,
newspaper reproductions of photographs were even less satisfactory than
they are now.  I looked about for an artist who could go with me and
illustrate my articles.  He must know something about the trick of
drawing for newspaper reproduction, he must be a quick worker, for
there was no time to be lost, and he must not be too well known because
the chances were that a well-known artist would n't be able to cast his
work aside at a day's notice, and bolt with me for Paris.  I sent my
assistant to find the right man.

He returned to me with a dejected look.  "I 've found only one man who
can go," said he.

"One is enough," said I.

"Yes, but--will he do?  I 've only these two specimens of his work to
show you."  And he laid two small drawings before me.

"Capital!" said I.

"He has been in Paris, studied art there.  And he lives in Chelsea."

"Terms all right?" I asked.

"Yes."

"Then I 'll see him to-morrow.  By the way, what is his name?

"L. Raven-Hill."

And so it came about that the young man--he was a very young man then,
under twenty-two--who was to win fame as one of the principal
cartoonists for Punch, went to Paris with me and illustrated the
Boulanger election.  He illustrated for me other subjects in and about
Paris.  And when I went to Ireland, to do a series of articles a little
{263} later, he was the illustrator.  And he drew London subjects for
me.  In fact, he was for about six months my chosen illustrator.  Then
somebody in authority on the other side of the Atlantic wanted the
preference given to certain other artists.  Authority, of course, had
to be obeyed, since it was paymaster.  And in this case it had in its
eye one or two young men who had come abroad, and who had influence
enough to pull strings at headquarters.  They were cousins to the
owner's aunts, or something like that.  Their work was too careless,
grotesque, and altogether weak.  After allowing them sufficient
opportunity to demonstrate this, even to the satisfaction of their
proprietary relatives, they were released from service.  And ever
afterwards I insisted upon choosing my own illustrators.  But meantime
I had lost Raven-Hill, and some foreign mission calling me afield,
there was no opportunity for renewing the connection.  When I returned
to London, Raven-Hill had found his feet, as I knew he would.  The
other day we compared our recollections of that time.  They did not
differ.

His work was admirable, even in those early days.  It lent distinction
to the text.  I daresay that may have been the only distinction the
text had.  Raven-Hill entered into the spirit of the thing, and would
go to any inconvenience to get what I wanted.  And in the Boulanger
campaign, that meant a good deal of inconvenience.  We travelled by
night trains because they were cheapest.  If they were cheapest, they
were also slowest.  But all was grist that came to our mill.

{264}

Paris we reached two days before the election.  We looked for
excitement but found none.  It is not every day that Paris elects a
"Saviour of France."  It was preparing to elect one, and it was certain
that he was to save France.  There was a frenzy of bill-posting, but
that was all.  All the electioneering was done by post and posters.
Not a speech was made.  Posters covered everything, inches deep.  Paris
was smothered by them.  Boulanger posters were covered with Jacques
posters.  Jacques was the candidate opposing "Le brav' Général."
Jacques was a nobody with money.  Only a nobody with money could have
afforded to stand against "Le brav' Général."  Before he offered
himself for the sacrifice, nobody had ever heard of Jacques.  After
election day nobody heard of him again.  He had his little explosion of
glory, and then happy obscurity.  But his account for bill-posting and
printing must have been heavy.  So must have been Boulanger's.

Statuary was covered with bills, and so were cabs.  A Boulangist would
plaster a bill over the nose of a bronze lion.  A Jacquesist would
follow and cover the Boulangist bill.  The lion in the Place de la
Republique was hideous with bills from his snout to the tip of his
tail, a great-coat of paper.  Above the lion a stone shaft was
inscribed:

       A
   LA GLOIRE
     DE LA
   RÉPUBLIQUE
   FRANÇAISE

{265}

The Glory of the French Republic seemed great enough to bear with
equanimity the burden of Boulangist printing.  The men who were posting
Boulangist bills carried ladders.  The Jacques men had no ladders.  And
so the Boulangists had the best of it.  Wherever there was a smooth
surface, and in numerous places where there was not, bills went up.
They were manifestoes, proclamations, election cries.  Nobody made a
speech.  The printer did all.  Arches, façades, trees, cabs, even the
Opera House itself, theatres, shops, were splashed with coloured bills,
Boulanger over Jacques and Jacques over Boulanger.  And only small boys
took notice.

The papers said that large reserves of police were held in readiness;
they said the military had been strengthened.  One of them said that
detachments of cavalry had been shod with rubber so they might come
noiselessly upon rioters and smite them unawares.  An editor applauded
the ingenious device.  He forgot that King Lear, long before, had
thought it

  "... a delicate stratagem
  To shoe a troop of horse with felt."

The London papers were even more excited than the French.  In fact, it
had been the alarmist reports of Paris correspondents and news bureaux
that had incited me to the journey.  I looked for the exciting scenes
these gentlemen had witnessed and foretold.  There was nothing visible
to justify their fears.  Where were the marching crowds that were
singing "The Marseillaise"?  They had not marched, they {266} had not
assembled, they had not sung a note.  It is not easy to describe an
invisible demonstration.

We went wherever a demonstration was possible or probable; we covered
Paris by cab, by bus, on foot.  Excepting for the posters, Paris
carried itself as usual.

"Go to the Fourth Arrondissement if you would see the fun," said a
friendly councillor who knew the ropes.  We went, but "the fun" did not
come.  We found three hundred persons at the _mairie_, half of them
registering, and the other half looking on.  They were as solemn as if
they had been paying taxes.  The next day, Sunday, the voting took
place.  There were 568,697 voters on the registries of Paris.  Of these
32,837 did not vote at all, and 27,118 voted neither for Boulanger nor
for Jacques.  Boulanger won, hands down.

At eleven o'clock on the Sunday morning we were at Boulanger's house,
expecting that the world would be there.  The world was not there, nor
was anybody but ourselves.  The Rue Dumont d'Urville (Boulanger lived
at Number 11) looked deserted.  It was off the _Champs Élysées_, near
the _Arc de Triomphe_.  A thousand persons a day had, for weeks, been
calling on "Le brav' Général."  In the preceding fortnight the number
had doubled.  "To-day the General receives no one," said the boy in
buttons who was sweeping out the hall.  So much the better; if he
receives no one to-day, the more chance of seeing him.  Besides,
Raven-Hill wanted to draw Boulanger from the life.  It would be a fine
thing to have drawn the "Saviour of France" on the {267} day when he
saved France; perhaps while he was in the very act of saving her.

"It is impossible," repeated the boy in buttons, "the General does not
receive to-day."

But the General was a political candidate, and the boy in buttons was a
Jew.  Palm oil passed from one of us to the buttoned youth.  Raven-Hill
sketched him.  Jointly we begged for his autograph.  He wrote it
underneath his portrait--"Joseph."

"Joseph," said I, "you are famous from this hour.  Your portrait will
appear in an American newspaper."  Joseph grinned.  He yielded.  He
disappeared with our cards.  Returning presently, he said that the
General would receive us, and he directed us up the stairs.  On a
landing above stood "Le brav' Général."  He bowed, he shook hands in
the English fashion, he did not embrace us in the French; he smiled, he
bade us enter his study.  Monsieur l'artiste might sketch where he
liked.  And R-H. sat in a corner, which commanded the large room, and
began to draw without losing a minute.

Would M. le Général talk with me a little while the artist drew?

M. le Général begged a thousand pardons, but he was too much occupied;
moreover he was never interviewed.  Would we smoke?  We would.  He
passed cigarettes.

"But, M. le Général, the election?"

"_C'est une chose faite!_"

That was all he would say.  And then it was only eleven in the morning.
But he declared that the {268} thing was done.  And this with a calmly
complacent air.  I admired his "nerve", as we would say in America.
But that was all he would say:

"_C'est une chose faite!_"

He repeated it.  And I took it that France was saved.  And so she was,
but not in the way he had expected; and not by him.

Raven-Hill, whose French was at any rate in better working order than
mine, tried questioning, but "Le brav' Général," with great courtesy,
begged a thousand pardons and deprecated "interviewing."

I begged ten thousand pardons, and R-H. resumed his sketching.  "Le
brav' Général" handed me a small bundle of printed matter,--pamphlets,
proclamations, manifestoes, announcements.  I would find it all there,
he said.  I looked them over, thanking him, and saying that I had
previously read them, which was the case.

"Ah," said he, "_c'est une chose faite._"

As a matter of fact, I was quite content.  I was getting what I wanted,
the drawings.  I did not want political platitudes, and before election
day I had formed the opinion that political platitudes were the
General's stock-in-trade.  He had not a single political idea.  What he
always said was what his backers wanted him to say.

He was "the man-on-horseback", and that was enough.  France had been
looking a long time for the man-on-horseback.  He would ride in and
conquer the internal foes of France; they were numerous enough and to
spare.  He would unite the country, bring it stability, cleanse the
Augean {269} stables, win back Alsace-Lorraine, humble the Germans who
had humiliated them, who had menaced them ever since 1870-1871.  He
would be a MAN, this man-on-horseback.  And Boulanger had been riding a
white horse these three years.  Sometimes he rode a black horse.

At one end of the room, behind the chair where he sat at his writing
table, was a large painting, a very large one, of General Boulanger on
his horse.

The room in which we sat was large, too.  It had been a studio and was
now a study.  A great fireplace occupied one end of it, and the General
on horseback occupied the other end.  The general himself sat below the
portrait, at his writing table, while Raven-Hill drew and I smoked.  He
could not have better suited the artist's purpose.  He was not quite
like the photographs, engravings, paintings, "reproductions" of him
that one had seen, and that filled France.  His hair was not clear
black, and brushed nattily; it was streaked with grey, and worn
shoe-brush fashion.  His beard was tawny, touched with grey.  His face
was a stronger one, his head a better one, than the conventional
portraits prepared you for.  He was between fifty-one and fifty-two at
that time.  A handsome man, but disappointing.  He did n't impress one
as being a man of authority, of decisions.  What his mouth was like,
and what his chin, I do not know.  His beard concealed them.  But I did
not get from him the impression of strength.  And yet he was the most
popular man in France.  And that day the eyes not only of France, but
of Europe, were watching him.

{270}

His face was deeply lined; his eyes were grey; he was in fatigue dress.
May I whisper in your ear?  I do not believe that he was pressed with
work; I believe that he was posing for us.

He was a vain creature.  His vanity had been much indulged during the
three years or more preceding.  He was an ordinary man of showy gifts,
an efficient general in a small way.  He had been a favourite of
fortune, and usually in trouble with his superior officers.  He always
came out of the trouble "at the top of the heap", as they say.
Freycinet made him Minister of War in '86.  The Ministry of War
advertised him up and down the land.  It may be said to have begun his
popularity.  He looked well after the lot of the private soldier.  As
the private soldier came from every home in France, Boulanger had
advocates who carried his name and praises to every fireside.  He
understood that sort of thing.  His star was rising fast.  He glittered
before the eyes of all men.  He was an heroic figure at reviews, a much
sought figure in drawing-rooms; the clericals were zealous in his
favour, purses were at his disposal.  He was the popular hero, without
having done anything heroic.  Powerful partisans played, even paid for
his favour.  His principal backer was the Duchesse D'Uzes.  There was
an abundance of money.

Well, when the artist had got what he wanted, had drawn the room and
Boulanger, we took our leave and went forth for the melancholy Jacques
and election scenes, saying _au revoir_ to Joseph at the door.  Joseph
said--I think he had been {271} instructed to say it--and he said it
with an air of one who whispered confidences:

"The General will dine this evening at the Café Durand."

The Café Durand, of course, was opposite the Madeleine.  We stopped
there on our way about town.  We lunched there, and made friends with
the head waiter, Edmond, a portly personage of manner and renown.
Edmond was enlisted, as Joseph had been.  And he signed his portrait
with a flourish quite royal--Edmond Ulray.

Could R-H. see the private room in which General Boulanger and his
friends would dine that evening?

But certainly.  And Monsieur could draw it if he chose.

Of course, that was what he chose to do.  And when the evening came, it
was quite a simple matter for Edmond to arrange that R-H., without
being seen, should draw "Le brav' Général", and Comte Dillon, and Paul
de Cassagnac, Henri Rochefort, and Paul Deroulade, at the table, in the
front room, up one flight, on the corner overlooking the Madeleine.

Here was the centre of interest that night,--that room in the Café
Durand.  Would "Le brav' Général" press the button there, spring his
_coup d'état_, show himself to the crowd, and proceed triumphantly from
there to the Élysées?  That was what the crowd expected.  That was what
it wanted.  I was outside with the crowd.  R-H. was inside, sketching.
It was marvellous how quickly he worked.

The crowd knew that Boulanger was in the Café {272} Durand; they knew
that Jacques was in a café on the opposite side of the way; they knew
which was the winner.  And the thoroughfares were packed with people.
They wanted to march, they wanted to sing, they wanted to cheer.  But
nobody started them.  There was no demonstration.  Neither side wished
a demonstration to go the wrong way.  Both sides knew that the
government had determined to put down riots, revolutions, and
disorders.  But why did n't somebody _start something_?  Jacques, being
defeated, did not show himself.  Boulanger was victorious, but he did
not show himself.  The crowd moved back and forth, packed within the
boulevards.  But nothing happened.  No hero appeared at a window;
nobody made a speech; not a curtain was drawn aside; not a flag
fluttered.  By midnight the crowd had gone home to bed.

And that is why I prophesied that night Boulanger's utter collapse and
his probable flight for safety.  Little wisdom was required to make the
prophecy.  A man who has the ball at his foot and doesn't kick it is
not the "saviour" of a nation.  Boulanger had lost his chance.  The
next day he was no longer the most popular of Frenchmen.

He "saved France" by his failure.

A little later he fled to Belgium.  A little later still he turned up
in London, as I have said.  But he did not stay long at the Hotel
Bristol.  He took a furnished house, Number 51 Portland Place, brought
his horses from Paris, and gave out that he would ride in the Park at
the fashionable hour.  But he did not ride.  And as he did not keep his
word {273} in so small a matter, London lost what small interest it had
in him when he did ride, or when he received.  One day "a grand
Boulangist demonstration" was announced to take place at the Alexandra
Palace.  Proceedings, more or less elaborate, were advertised, and they
were to end with a "banquet" at five shillings a head.  Covers were to
be laid for twenty-six hundred persons.  Only six hundred persons
appeared.  Boulanger was to be "the lion of the season."  I don't know
who thought so besides himself.  He issued an address "To the People;
My Sole Judge", meaning the people of Paris.  The address was nine
columns long!

It fell to my lot to interview him on two or three occasions.  I did
not wish to do so, but there were requests from headquarters.  Each
time he sang the old songs.  The interview that you had with him one
week would do for another, with the change of a few words.  He really
liked to talk.  He pretended that he disliked being interviewed on
political subjects, but that was mere mock-modesty.  He spoke English
well enough.  In fact, he had been a schoolboy at Brighton, and he had
represented France at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in
1876.  He was merely "layin' low" that day in Paris, like Brer Fox,
only he was not Brer Fox, his one desire being not to have anything
said or done on the twenty-seventh of January that would give the
Government an excuse for a raid on his designs.  I think he was rather
a pitiable object.  Few others thought so before the twenty-eighth of
January, 1889.  He was merely a mechanism for the issue of {274}
promissory notes.  It was about two years after his arrival in London
that he committed suicide on the continent.

How well he illustrated Lincoln's saying about "fooling the people"!
But he did not fool himself.  He was the tool of more designing persons.

    "_C'est une chose faite._"



{277}

INDEX


Aberdeen University, 85

Acting, art of, 187, 188, 191

Admiralty, the, 11

Agassiz, Mrs., 128

_Alaska_ (steamer), 6

Albert Hall, 16

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, anecdote of, 227-228; on Tennyson Memorial
committee, 128

Aldworth, summer home of Tennyson, 125, 126

Aldwych, 11

Alhambra (music hall), 16

Alma-Tadema, Sir Laurens, 45, 52

_Alsatia_ (Anchor Line steamer), 1; description of, 3-4

"Altavona" (by Blackie), 87

Amiens, 24; cathedral of, 20

Anecdotes of Aldrich, 227-228; of Drummond, 181-182; of Gladstone,
232-233; of Tennyson, 121, 122-123, 129-130, 134, 136; of Whistler,
157-160, 162, 163, 164, 166-167

_Antiquary_ (magazine), 133

Architecture of London, 10-13

_Arizona_ (Guion Line steamer), 6, 39

Arnold, Sir Edwin, quoted, 124

Artistic sensibilities, author's comment on, 237-238

Atelier Gleyre, Paris, 45


Bancrofts, The, 16, 53, 186

Barbour, Robert W., description of Professor Blackie, 92-95

Barrie, Sir James, 17

Beaconsfield, Lord, quoted, 142

Bell, Alexander Graham, brings telephone instruments to Europe, 106

Besant, Sir Walter, 17

Betterton, fame of, 185

Bismarck, 139

Black, William, 17, 53

Blackie, John Stuart, 79-95; ancestry and early life, 84-85; as a
teacher, 85-86, 90; Barbour's word picture of, 92-95; comments on
pictures in home, 88-89; compiles anthology of Scottish songs, 87;
conversation of, 83-84; description of, 79-80, 81, 91; endows a
professorship at Edinburgh, 87; home of, 87; lecture in Glasgow, 91;
lecturer in Scotland, 86; love for Greek, 82, 90; novel by, 87;
patriotism of, 87; portraits of, 88; quoted, 79-80, 81, 82-83, 84, 85,
86-87, 89, 90, 91, 95; study of, 90; works of, 86-87

Blackwood, 53

Booth, Edwin, 186; art of, 192

_Boston Courier_, author's first copy published in, 28

_Boston Herald_, author's engagement with, 39-41; author's article
published in, 248

Bottomley, Dr. J. T., assistant to Lord Kelvin, 106

Boulanger, General, 260-274; address of, 273; arrival in London,
260-261; as candidate for French Parliament, 261, 264-265; at café
dinner, 271; author's impressions of, 268, 269, 270, 272, 273-274;
collapse and flight, 272; committed suicide, 274; demonstration for, at
Alexandra Palace, 273; description of, 269-270; drawn by Raven-Hill,
269, 271; elected to Parliament, 266; interviewed, 273; "man on
horseback," 268-269; Minister of War, 270; represented France at
Centennial Exposition, 273

Braddon, Miss, 17

Bridge, Sir Frederick, organist at Westminster Abbey, 53, 55, 56

Brixton (London), 2, 3

Browning, Mrs., quoted, 52, 54

Browning, Robert, burial in Westminster Abbey, 51-56; death of, 51;
friendship with Moscheles, 42, 44, 47, 50; portrait of, 46

Bryce, Lord, 52

Buildings, discomfort of some English, 13; interiors of English, 12-13;
London public, 11, 12; warming of English, 12-13

Burbage, fame of, 185

Burdett-Coutts, Baroness, welcoming Stanley, 206, 207

Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 53

Burns, John, 222; agitator in "Dock Strike," 223, 229-234; anecdote of
Gladstone, 232-233; day with Meredith, 224-234, 238; dress, 234, 239;
hobbies of, 226-227; meetings with author, 223, 229-234, 238, 239

Busses, 13-14

Butler, Doctor (of Trinity College), 53


Cable, first Atlantic, 100; broke, 101; final success of, 102; first
message over, 101; laid, 101; Lord Kelvin's connection with, 100;
operated, 101

Cadogan Gardens, home of Moscheles in, 42, 47, 50

Café Royal, 16

Calais, 18

Cameron, Mrs., 115; anecdote of, 115-116; description of, 115, 116,
117; distributes her photographs, 122; encounter with Garibaldi, 116;
energy of, 119; letter quoted, 123-124; photographs of Tennyson, 117-118

Canterbury, 18; Archbishop of, 54

Capel, Monsignor, 34-39; author's meeting with, 35; visit to, 37-38;
death, 39; description of, 35-36, 37; goes to America, 39; home of, 36;
hospitality of, 37; loss of standing, 38; pamphlet by, 38

Carlton, Hotel, 16

Carlyle, Thomas, 162; Whistler's portrait of, sold, 166-167

Carlyle Mansions, 165

Cecil, Hotel, 15

Cedar Villa (Kensington), tenants of, 36, 37

Cederström, Baroness, _see_ Patti

_Century Magazine_, 45

Chelsea Hospital bombed, 135

Cheshire Cheese, London, 260

Cheyne Walk, Whistler's house in, 161; author's home in, 49, 161, 164,
222

Cinema, limitations of, 186-187

Civil War, American, Gladstone's attitude toward, 143

Clémenceau, 139, 140

Cleveland, Grover, portrait of, 46

Coliseum the, 16

Colvin, Sir Sidney, 52

Committee Room Fifteen, 240, 241

Comparison of English and American heating, 12-13; of French and
English, 19; of sea travel, 3, 4-5

Craig-y-Nos Castle (home of Patti), 57; beauty of, 61; description of,
71-72; entertainments at, 74; evenings at, 70; guests at, 58-59, 71;
lantern show at, 77; life at, 71; meals at, 60, 61, 67; merriment at,
68; orchestrion at, 70; party at, 76-77; salute to author from, 78;
theatre in, 72; treasures of, 75; view from, 60

Criterion (restaurant), 16


Davy, Sir Humphry, 110

De Keyser's Academy (Antwerp), 45

Deland, Margaret, on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

"Dimbola" (home of Watts, and later of Mrs. Cameron), 115, 119

Dollis Hill (Lord Aberdeen's home), 153, 154

"Dombey and Son", clothiers, 1

Drummond, Henry, 170-184; achievements of, 178, 182; anecdote of,
181-182; capacity for friendship, 171; death, 184; description of, 172,
174, 176; financial independence, 179; friendship with D. L. Moody,
171, 178; geologist, 174; home, 175; lecturer at Lowell Institute,
Boston, 175; opinion of Gladstone, 184; optimism, 181; popularity of
books, 171, 172, 174; professor in Free Church College, at Glasgow,
174; quoted, 171, 172, 177, 179-181, 182-183, 184

Drury Lane Theatre ("Old Drury"), 16, 90

Du Maurier, George, 53


Edinburth, 79, 80; University, 85

Electricity, first house in Britain lighted by, 105; transmission of,
102-103

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, quoted, 109

Emin Pasha, 205

Empire (theatre), 16

English discomforts, 13; ills, 13

"Essays on Social Subjects" (by Blackie), 86


Fame, length of an actor's, 186

Faraday, Michael, discovery of, 101

Farrar, Dean, 53

Farringford (home of Lord Tennyson), 114; description of, 119, 126;
views from, 120

"Felix Mendelssohn's letters to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles", 44

Fenchurch Street Station (London), 1, 7

Field, Cyrus, connection with laying American cable, 101

Fields, James T. (publisher), 130, 131

Fields, Mrs. James T., on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Fleet Street, 8, 15, 26

Flint Cottage, Box Hill (Meredith's home), 223-224

Floyth, Mrs., housekeeper to John Stuart Mill, 7-8

Foch, General, 139

Forbes-Robertson, Sir Johnston, 16, 187

Ford, Sheridan, pursuit of, by Whistler, 160-161

"Four Phases of Morals" (by Blackie), 86

France formerly considered England's potential enemy, 252

Free Church College, Glasgow, 174

French and English, comparison of, 19

Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 117, 118, 122; author's fondness for, 114,
115; description of, 114; Lady Ritchie's home at, 134-135; life at,
136; Tennyson's home at, 114; Walker's theory regarding its antiquity,
131-133; Watts' home at, 115

Froude J. A. (historian), 52


Garibaldi at Farringford, 116

Garrick, fame of, 185

"Gentle Art of Making Enemies" (by Whistler), 158, 159, 160, 161

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 138-156; achievements of, 138; attitude
toward American Civil War, 143, toward Irish question, 143; at Lord
Aberdeen's house, 153-154; as an actor, 152; author's opinion of, 140,
141-142, 144, 145, 148, 150; Burns' story of, 232-233; Drummond's
opinion of, 184; eloquence of, 138, 140, 141-142, 156; energy of, 145,
150; face of, 148, 151; influence of, 138, 151, 155; integrity of, 139;
interest in causes, 143, 153; leadership, 141, 151, 153; letter to
Patti, 62-63; object of adulation and hatred, 142-143; opinion of
Turks, 138; power of concentration, 152, 153; quotation from Morley's
"Life" of, 141; quoted, 146-147, 150; tribute at Manchester, 149-150;
unsurpassed as a talker, 138

Glasgow University, 97, 99

Gordon, Gen. C. G., as a fighter, 147

Gounod, portrait of, 46

Grand Hotel, 15

"Great Britain and Rome" (pamphlet by Capel), 38

Great Central Hotel, 16

_Great Eastern_ (cable-laying ship), 112

Greeley, Horace, handwriting of, 188-189

Grove, Sir George, 53


Hambourg, Mark, description of, 47-48

Hanway, Jonas, 15

Hare, John, 16, 53, 186

Harrison, Frederic, 52

Harte, Bret, 53, 217

Hats, 15

Hay market Theatre, 16

Haythornthwaite, Father Peter, friend of Tennyson, 122, 126

Heating, comparison of English and American, 12-13

Helmholtz, quoted, 110

Heyermans (artist), 45

Hippodrome, 16

Holborn Restaurant, 16

Holborn Viaduct, lighting on, 9

Holmes, Doctor Oliver Wendell, on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Holyoake, George Jacob, portrait of, 46

Home Rule cause (Ireland), 251, 252, 253, 256

"Homer and the Iliad" (by Blackie), 86

_Hooper_ (cable-laying ship), 112

Hotels, 15-16

Houghton, H. O., on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Howe, Julia Ward, on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Hughes-Stanton, H., R.A.; home of, 36

Hunt, Holman, 52, 216


"In Bohemia with George du Maurier" (by Moscheles), 44

Individuals and the masses, 197

Ireland, argument for majority rule in, 252-253; attitude in World War,
251; author's views on, 250-257; conditions in, 250; exempted from
conscription, 251; Home Rule in, 251, 252; ideals of, 253; parties in,
254; racial differences with Great Britain, 252; vital part of
England's political organism, 252

Irish question, 138, 143; ignorance of Americans concerning, 247, 249,
250, 254

Irving, Sir Henry, 16, 52, 185-204; air of authority, 201;
achievements, 191; appeal to the eye, 192; as actor-manager, 193, 194;
at Drury Lane, 190; author's opinion of acting, 191, 192, 193; burial
at Westminster Abbey, 190; death, 188, 190, 204; delineation of
character, 192; first-night customs, 204; first visit to America, 46;
handwriting, 188, 189; hospitality, 202; in "Merchant of Venice", 193,
194, 195, 198; in private life, 201-202; limitations, 191; loss of
popularity, 190; loyalty of public, 190-191, 197; management of Lyceum
Theatre, 190; mannerisms, 188, 191, 194, 199-201; national figure, 188;
place as an actor, 187-188, 204; signature, 189; supper parties, 203-204

Israels, portrait of, 46


Jefferson, Joseph, 186

Jephson (Stanley's officer), 209-211

Jewett, Sarah Orne, on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Joachim, violinist, friend of Moscheles, 45

Joule, James Prescott, 110; appreciated by Kelvin, 111

Journalist, as a party man, 146

Jowett, Professor, 53


Kelvin, Lord, 96-113; achievements of, 99, 112; acquires White's
business, 100; addresses Royal Society in London, 104-105; ancestry,
98; appointed professor of Natural Philosophy, at Glasgow University,
97; character of, 97, 98, 108, 112; chooses title, 99; early days, 98;
energy of, 96-97, 113; enters university at ten, 97; fiftieth
anniversary at Glasgow, 109; first published papers, 110; fondness for
asking questions, 108-109; greatest master of natural science of 19th
century, 97, 107; installs telephone in home, 106; introduces electric
lighting in home, 105; inventions of, 100, 106; lameness of, 103, 108;
made a peer, 99; method of conducting classes, 103-104, 108; outlines
plan of boy's education, 97-98; practicality of, 99-100, 103-104, 105;
prophecy regarding electricity, 102-103; quoted, 110, 112, regarding
energy, 111; Sir William Ramsay's opinion of, 103-104; study of, 112;
theory of existence of organic life, 107; typical day of, 113; work on
Atlantic cables, 100; yachtsman and master navigator, 106

Kendals, the, 16, 186

Kinglake, A. W., 52

Kingsway, 11

Kipling, Rudyard, 17

Knight, Professor (of St. Andrews University), 53

Knowles, James, of Nineteenth Century, designer of Tennyson's home at
Aldworth, 125


Lablache, singer, friend of Moscheles, 45

_Lalla Rookh_, Lord Kelvin's yacht, 106

"Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands" (by Blackie), 87

Lathrop, George Parsons, Boston editor, 28

Law Courts, the, 15

Leadenhall Street (London), 1, 2

League of Nations, 140

Lecky (historian), 52

Leighton, Lord, 53

"Letters, Poems, and Pensées" (Barbour), 92

"Life" of Gladstone, Morley's, quoted, 141

Li Hung Chang, as a questioner, 108-109

London, architecture of, 10-13; charm of, 10, 13; description of, 1, 2,
10; drawbacks, 9; Esperanto Club of, 48; "finest site in Europe", 11;
former leisure of travel in, 13-14; hats in, 15; hotels in, 15-16;
improvements of, 11; interiors of buildings, 12-13; in the late
seventies, 9-17; lighting of, 9; most livable place in world, 9; music
halls, 16; public buildings of, 11; regiments in, 17; restaurants, 16;
street cries in, 14; theatre crowds, 194, 195-196, 197; ugliness of
modern, 11; views in, 12; writers in, 16-17

London Bridge, 17

"London Letters" of author, 29, 30

Lowell Institute, Boston, Drummond lectures at, 175

Lubbock, Sir John (Lord Avebury), 52

Lyceum Theatre, 187, 202; author's experiences in attending, 194,
195-196; great productions at, 193, 194, 200; management of Irving, 190


Mackenzie, Sir Morell, description of Patti's throat, 69

Macmillan (publisher), 53

Maiden's Croft, Farringford, Isle of Wight, 120

Malibran, singer, friend of Moscheles, 45

Mann, Tom, portrait of, 46

Manning, Cardinal, 39

Marchmont Street (London), 7

Maris (artist), 45

Martin, Sir Theodore, 53

Masson, Professor, 53

Mazzini, portrait of, 46

Memorial to Lord Tennyson, 127-129; American contributors to, 128;
inscription on, 128, 129

Mendelssohn, friendship with Moscheles, 43, 45

Meredith, George, 16, 52, 222-239; conversation with John Burns and
author, 229-234; day with, 224-234, 238; description of, 224-225,
234-236; publisher's reader, 227, 236-237; sensitiveness, 236; strength
of perception, 235; tribute to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 227; voice, 225,
234

Metropole (hotel), 15

Mifflin, George H., on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128

Moody, D. L. (revivalist), 171; tour with Sankey and Drummond, 178

Morland, George, 118

Moscheles, Charlotte, portrait of, 46

Moscheles, Felix, 42-50; attainments of, 43, 46; birth, 43; celebrated
friends of, 45; death, 43; fellow students, 45; friendship with
Browning, 42, 44, 47, 50; godson of Mendelssohn, 43; home in Cadogan
Gardens, 42, 46, in Elm Park Road, 47; hospitality of, 47, 50; interest
in Esperanto, 48; literary work of, 44-45; meeting with Du Maurier, 45,
with Stepniak, 49; moved to Leipzig, 45; "Pictures with a Purpose",
46-47; portraits painted by, 46; study in Antwerp, 45, in Paris, 45;
Sunday afternoons with, 44, 49-50; visited America with Irving and
Terry, 46; water colours of, 46

Moscheles, Ignaz, 43; friendship with Mendelssohn, 43, 45; moved to
Leipzig, 45

Muller, Max, 52

Murray, Henry, disappointment of, 6; in London, 7, 39; on board the
_Alsatia_, 5

Murray, John, 53

"Musa Burschicosa" (by Blackie), 87


National Gallery, 10

Nationalist Party, 250, 251, 253, 254; death of, 250; speeches of, 250

"Natural Law in the Spiritual World" (by Professor Drummond), 172,
173-174

Neilson, Adelaide, 16

Nelson (Stanley's officer), 209, 211

Newport (Isle of Wight), 114

_New York Tribune_, appeal for Tennyson Memorial in, 128; author's
article in, 49

Niagara, plan to harness, 102

_Ninetetnth Century_, 125

Normandy, cottages of, 23; ducks of, 22-24; hospitality of, 21-22, 24,
25; peasants of, 23

Northumberland Ave., London, 15

Norton, Professor Charles Eliot, on Tennyson Memorial Committee, 128


Old Adelaide Gallery (Gatti's restaurant), 16

"On Beauty" (by Blackie), 87

"One of Our Conquerors" (Meredith), 227

O'Reilly, John Boyle, 247

Organic life, Kelvin's hypothesis concerning, 107

O'Shea, Captain (divorce case of), 240, 248, 256

"Ouida", 17

"Our Boys", run of, 16


Paget, Sir James, 53

Palazzo Rezzonico, Venice, 51

Paris, Election at, 261, 264-266, 271-272

Parke (Stanley's officer), 209, 211

Parliament Buildings, 10

Parnell, Charles Stewart, 138, 143, 240-274; characteristics, 257-258;
eludes author, 242-245; elusiveness of, 242, 246; love affair, 256;
"mystery" of, 241, 257; object of, 255; Parliamentary leader of Irish,
241, 252, 253; tastes, 258; wife's book about, 256-257

Parnell Commission, 240

Patti, Mme. Adelina (Baroness Cederström), 57-78; appreciation of
Scalchi and Annie Louise Carey, 77; ancestry, 66; as a linguist, 61-62;
care of voice, 69-70; collection of photographs, 75; description of,
58, 59, 64-65; first appearance before royalty, 65; generosity of, 76;
gifts to, 75-76; illness, 67; letter from Gladstone, 62-63; London
début at Covent Garden in "La Somnambula", 65; love of theatre, 74;
modesty of, 64, 66; proudest experience, 63-64; Rothschild's dinner to,
63, 66; singing of, 68, 70-71, 72, 73; tribute from Prince of Wales
(Edward VII), 63-64

Pearson, J. L., designer of Tennyson Memorial, 128

Penwylt, Wales, 57

Phoenician remains at Weston Manor, 133-134; route to Cornwall through
Freshwater, 132-133

"Pinafore", run of, 16

Pinero, Sir Arthur, 16

Plays and players, 16

Plunket, Baron, 186

"Poetical Tracts" (by Blackie), 87

Politics, author's views on, 139, 140, 145-146, 155

Portman Rooms, London, 216

Poynter, Sir E. J., 52

Prince of Wales' Theatre, 16

Prince of Wales (Edward VII), tribute to Patti, 63-64

_Punch_, 162, 262


Queen Square, London, author's rooms rear of, 7, 8

Queen's Hall, 16

"Quill Club", 8


Rachel, fame of, 185

Ramsay, Sir William, 107; opinion of Lord Kelvin, 103-104

Raven-Hill, L., cartoonist for _Punch_, 262; draws Boulanger, 267, 270,
271; illustrated author's articles, 262-263; work of, 263

Receptions, Irving's "first-night", 203-204

Redmond, John, on Ireland, 250; power of, 253

Regiments, dress of, 17

Restaurants, 16

Rice, James, 17

Ritchie, Lady, charm of, 136-137; death of, 134; escape from German
bomb, 135; home in Isle of Wight, 134-135; quoted, 135; stories of
Tennyson, 136

Ritz, Hotel, 16

Roche, Jeffrey, 247, 250; learns about Parnell from author, 247-249

Rochester, 18

Rodin, Auguste, 30; first article about, 31; gift to the author, 31

Rothschild, Alfred, dinner to Patti, 63, 66

Rouen, 24

Royal Academic Institute of Belfast, 99

Royal Academy, 30

Royal Society in London, Lord Kelvin's address to, 104-105

Rubinstein, portrait of, 46

Rumford, Count, 110


St. Ange, Raoul de, author's acquaintance with, 20-27; visit to
Normandy with, 20-25

St. Boniface Down, Isle of Wight, 120

St. James Hall, 16

St. James Restaurant, 16

St. Paul's Cathedral, 10

Sala, George Augustus, 32, 33-34; conversation with author, 32-34

Salisbury, Lord, 143, 240; mistake of, 143-144; tribute to Lord Kelvin,
106-107

Sankey, Ira (revivalist), 178; tour with Moody and Drummond, 178

Sarasate, portrait of, 46

Savoy Hotel, 15

Scala (theatre), 16

Scarsdale Lodge (Kensington), famous tenants of, 36

"Scottish Songs" (by Blackie), 87

Separatist Cause (of Ireland), 253

Serpentine Bridge (Hyde Park), 12

Shaftsbury Ave., 11

Siddons, Mrs., fame of, 185

Sinn Feiners, 254

"Siphon Recorder", invented by Lord Kelvin, 100, 101

Smalley, George W., appeal for Tennyson Memorial, 128

Smith, George Murray (Browning's publisher), 53

"Songs and Legends of Ancient Greece" (by Blackie), 87

"Songs of Religion and Life" (by Blackie), 87

Sothern, E. A., 16; homes of, 36; hospitality of, 36, 37

Spottiswoode (publisher), 53

Stairs (Stanley's officer), 209, 211

Stanley, Sir Henry M., 205-221; address at St. James Hall, quoted,
209-210, 211-212; "American dinner" to, 212-220; character of, 205;
experience with an election crowd, 220-221; famous march into Africa,
209, 210; member of Parliament, 220, 221; portrait of, 46; quoted,
217-219, 220-221; return to London, 205-207; temper of, 205; tribute to
his officers, 211

Stephen, Sir James Fitzjames, 53

Stephen, Leslie, 53

Stephenson, Robert, 100

Stepniak, description of, 49; meeting with Moscheles, 49; portrait of,
46

Stoker, Bram (Irving's manager), 189; handwriting of, 189

Strand, 15

Street cries of London, 14

"Sublime Society of Beefsteaks", 202

Submarine telegraphy, 100, 101


Talma (actor), fame of, 185

Telephone brought to Europe, 106; installed in Lord Kelvin's house, 106

Temple Bar, 15

Tennyson, Hallam (second Lord), son of poet, 53, 126

Tennyson, Lord (the poet), anecdotes of, 121, 122-123, 129-130, 134,
136; brother of, 125; buried in Westminster Abbey, 126; description of,
121; devotion of son, 126; "Dirty Monk" photograph of, 117-118; family
life, 126; letter in _Times_ regarding, 129-130; life at Farringford,
126; memorial to, 127-129; peculiarities of, 125; persons who resembled
him, 125; photographs of, 117-118; proud of his fame, 124; sincerity
of, 130; summer home of, 125

"Tennyson's Down", 127

Tennyson's Lane, 115, 119, 120

Terry, Ellen, achievements as actress, 198; art of, 187; at Irving's
supper parties, 202; at Lyceum Theatre, 187; charm of, 197-198; first
visit to America, 46

Thames Embankment, lighting on, 9

"The Artist's Mother" (Whistler), portrait sold to France, 167

"The Briary" (home of Watts), 115

"The Greatest Thing in the World" (Drummond), 172, 174

_The Pilot_, 247

"The Porch", Lady Ritchie's home, 135

"The Uniform Motion of Heat in Homogeneous Solid Bodies, and Its
Connection With The Mathematical Theory of Electricity" (by Lord
Kelvin), 110

Thomson, James, brother to Lord Kelvin, 98

Thomson, James, father of Lord Kelvin, 98; scholarship of, 98-99

Thomson, William, invented the "Siphon Recorder", 101; _see_ also Lord
Kelvin

_Times_, London, quoted, 129-130

Tottenham Court Road, 16

Tower House, Chelsea (Whistler's home), 158, 161

Travel, comparison of sea, 3, 4-5; in London, 13-14

Tussaud, Madame, 216, 234


Ulster, ideals of, 253; problem of, 253


Van Lorino, Moscheles' teacher, 45

Vaudeville, the, 16

Vaughan, Dean, 53

Very's (restaurant), 16

Victoria (hotel), 15

Victoria Street (London), 11

Victoria Tower, 12


Walker, Robert, 131; theory regarding age of Freshwater, 132-133

Ward, "Ideal", in Freshwater, 122

Warren, Arthur, account of "American Dinner" given to Stanley, 212-220;
acquaintances in Paris, 18-19; acquaintance with Henry Murray, 6, 7,
with Moscheles, 43, 50; acts upon Whistler's advice, 164; appointed
London correspondent to _Boston Herald_, 41; appreciation of Rodin, 30,
31; arrival in London, 1-2; becomes an amateur journalist, 26-27;
brings Moscheles and Stepniak together, 49; comment on artistic
sensibility, 237-238, on teetotalism, 202-203; day with Meredith,
223-238; day with John Stuart Blackie, 79-95; describes Browning's
burial, 51-56; describes early career, 28-29; desire to write, 6;
dinner with Whistler, 160; engaged as journalist by _Boston Herald_,
40-41; evenings with Henry Drummond, 170-173, 175-176, 177, 179-181;
experiences attending Lyceum Theatre, 194-196; experience with Parnell,
242-245; first newspaper copy, 28-29, sees Browning, 47, sees Stanley,
206, sees Tennyson, 121, trip to Paris, 18, work in London, 6;
friendship with Lady Ritchie, 134, 135, 136, with Lord Kelvin, 97, with
Whistler, 157-164, 165-169; homes in London, 7, 8, 49, 157-158, 161,
164, 222; in France, 18-27; interview with Boulanger, 273, with
Monsignor Capel, 35, 37-38; joins Committee on Tennyson Memorial,
127-128; last visit to Isle of Wight, 134-135; learning London, 7;
"London Letters", 29, 30; makes a study of British municipal policy,
176-177; meeting with Irving, 200-201, with George Sala, 32, with John
Burns, 223, 229-234, 238, 239, with Monsignor Capel, 35; memories of
Lord Kelvin, 96-113, of father's burial, 56; native of Boston, 1;
opinion of Boulanger, 268, 269, 270, 272, 273-274, of British
character, 196-197, of Gladstone, 140, 141-142, 144, 145, 148, 150, of
Irving's acting, 191, 192, 193, 194, 199, of Parnell, 255, 256,
257-259; plans articles for American papers, 31, 32; recollections of
first three weeks in London, 3; seasickness, 4-5; sees Irving for first
time, 192; sounds Whistler regarding American commission, 168-169;
Sunday Smoke Talks at home, 162; trip to Paris to interview Boulanger,
261, 263-272; views on Irish question, 250-257, on politics, 139, 140,
145-146, 155; visits to America, 32, 39, 41, 160, 238, 247, to
Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 114, 115, 118, 136, to Normandy, 20-25, to
Patti's home, 57-78; voyage to England in 1878, 3-5

Waterloo Bridge, 12

Waterloo Place, 12

Watts, George Frederick, 115

Westminster Abbey, 10, 12; Browning's burial in, 51-56; Poets' Corner
in, 55; Tennyson buried in, 126

Westminster Bridge, 12

Weston Manor, Freshwater, 122; Phoenician remains at, 133

Whistler, James A.  McNeill, 52, 157-169; anecdotes of, 157-160, 162,
163, 164, 166-167; as a neighbour, 164, 165; called "butterfly with a
sting", 165-166; champion of art, 164-165; characteristics of, 157,
163, 169; description of, 157, 163; dinner at house of, 160; goes to
author's Sunday Smoke Talks, 161-162; homes of, 158, 161; is offered a
commission for decoration of Boston Public Library, 168-169; moves to
Paris, 169; portrait of Carlyle sold, 166-167; pursuit of Sheridan
Ford, 160-161; suggests decoration of author's flat, 104; "The Artist's
Mother", portrait, sold to France, 167

White, Henry, American Ambassador, 216-217

White, James, manufacturer of instruments of precision, 100

Whitehall, 11

Whitehouse, 101

Wilson, Woodrow, policy of, 138, 156

Wolseley, Lord, 52

Wood, Mrs. Henry, 17

Wores, Theodore, disciple of Whistler, 162

Writers in London, 16-17





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