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´╗┐Title: Europe Revised
Author: Cobb, Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury), 1876-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Europe Revised" ***

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EUROPE REVISED

By Irvin S. Cobb


To My Small Daughter

Who bade me shed a tear at the tomb of Napoleon, which I was very glad
to do, because when I got there my feet certainly were hurting me.



NOTE

The picture on page 81 purporting to show the undersigned leaping head
first into a German feather-bed does the undersigned a cruel injustice.
He has a prettier figure than that--oh, oh, much prettier!

The reader is earnestly entreated not to look at the picture on page 81.
It is the only blot on the McCutcheon of this book.

Respectfully,

The Author.



Chapter I



We Are Going Away From Here

Foreword.--It has always seemed to me that the principal drawback
about the average guidebook is that it is over-freighted with facts.
Guidebooks heretofore have made a specialty of facts--have abounded in
them; facts to be found on every page and in every paragraph. Reading
such a work, you imagine that the besotted author said to himself, "I
will just naturally fill this thing chock-full of facts"--and then went
and did so to the extent of a prolonged debauch.

Now personally I would be the last one in the world to decry facts as
such. In the abstract I have the highest opinion of them. But facts,
as someone has said, are stubborn things; and stubborn things, like
stubborn people, are frequently tiresome. So it occurred to me that
possibly there might be room for a guidebook on foreign travel which
would not have a single indubitable fact concealed anywhere about its
person. I have even dared to hope there might be an actual demand on
the part of the general public for such a guidebook. I shall endeavor to
meet that desire--if it exists.

While we are on the subject I wish to say there is probably not
a statement made by me here or hereafter which cannot readily be
controverted. Communications from parties desiring to controvert this or
that assertion will be considered in the order received. The line
forms on the left and parties will kindly avoid crowding. Triflers and
professional controverters save stamps.

With these few introductory remarks we now proceed to the first subject,
which is The Sea: Its Habits and Peculiarities, and the Quaint Creatures
Found upon Its Bosom.

From the very start of this expedition to Europe I labored under a
misapprehension. Everybody told me that as soon as I had got my sea
legs I would begin to love the sea with a vast and passionate love. As a
matter of fact I experienced no trouble whatever in getting my sea legs.
They were my regular legs, the same ones I use on land. It was my sea
stomach that caused all the bother. First I was afraid I should not
get it, and that worried me no little. Then I got it and was regretful.
However, that detail will come up later in a more suitable place. I am
concerned now with the departure.

Somewhere forward a bugle blares; somewhere rearward a bell jangles. On
the deck overhead is a scurry of feet. In the mysterious bowels of the
ship a mighty mechanism opens its metal mouth and speaks out briskly.
Later it will talk on steadily, with a measured and a regular voice;
but now it is heard frequently, yet intermittently, like the click of
a blind man's cane. Beneath your feet the ship, which has seemed until
this moment as solid as a rock, stirs the least little bit, as though it
had waked up. And now a shiver runs all through it and you are reminded
of that passage from Pygmalion and Galatea where Pygmalion says with
such feeling:

She starts; she moves; she seems to feel the thrill of life along her
keel.

You are under way. You are finally committed to the great adventure. The
necessary good-bys have already been said. Those who in the goodness of
their hearts came to see you off have departed for shore, leaving sundry
suitable and unsuitable gifts behind. You have examined your stateroom,
with its hot and cold decorations, its running stewardess, its all-night
throb service, and its windows overlooking the Hudson--a stateroom
that seemed so large and commodious until you put one small submissive
steamer trunk and two scared valises in it. You are tired, and yon white
bed, with the high mudguards on it, looks mighty good to you; but you
feel that you must go on deck to wave a fond farewell to the land you
love and the friends you are leaving behind.

You fight your way to the open through companionways full of frenzied
persons who are apparently trying to travel in every direction at once.
On the deck the illusion persists that it is the dock that is moving and
the ship that is standing still. All about you your fellow passengers
crowd the rails, waving and shouting messages to the people on the dock;
the people on the dock wave back and shout answers. About every other
person is begging somebody to tell auntie to be sure to write. You
gather that auntie will be expected to write weekly, if not oftener.

As the slice of dark water between boat and dock widens, those who are
left behind begin running toward the pierhead in such numbers that each
wide, bright-lit door-opening in turn suggests a flittering section of
a moving-picture film. The only perfectly calm person in sight is a
gorgeous, gold-laced creature standing on the outermost gunwale of the
dock, wearing the kind of uniform that a rear admiral of the Swiss navy
would wear--if the Swiss had any navy--and holding a speaking trumpet
in his hand. This person is not excited, for he sends
thirty-odd-thousand-ton ships off to Europe at frequent intervals, and
so he is impressively and importantly blase about it; but everybody else
is excited. You find yourself rather that way. You wave at persons you
know and then at persons you do not know.

You continue to wave until the man alongside you, who has spent years
of his life learning to imitate a siren whistle with his face, suddenly
twines his hands about his mouth and lets go a terrific blast right in
your ear. Something seems to warn you that you are not going to care for
this man.

The pier, ceasing to be a long, outstretched finger, seems to fold back
into itself, knuckle-fashion, and presently is but a part of the oddly
foreshortened shoreline, distinguishable only by the black dot of
watchers clustered under a battery of lights, like a swarm of hiving
bees. Out in midstream the tugs, which have been convoying the ship, let
go of her and scuttle off, one in this direction and one in that, like a
brace of teal ducks getting out of a walrus' way.

Almost imperceptibly her nose straightens down the river and soon on
the starboard quarter--how quickly one picks up these nautical
terms!--looming through the harbor mists, you behold the statue of Miss
Liberty, in her popular specialty of enlightening the world. So you go
below and turn in. Anyway, that is what I did; for certain of the larger
ships of the Cunard line sail at midnight or even later, and this was
such a ship.

For some hours I lay awake, while above me and below me and all about me
the boat settled down to her ordained ship's job, and began drawing the
long, soothing snores that for five days and nights she was to continue
drawing without cessation. There were so many things to think over.
I tried to remember all the authoritative and conflicting advice that
had been offered to me by traveled friends and well-wishers.

Let's see, now: On shipboard I was to wear only light clothes, because
nobody ever caught cold at sea. I was to wear the heaviest clothes I
had, because the landlubber always caught cold at sea. I was to tip only
those who served me. I was to tip all hands in moderation, whether they
served me or not. If I felt squeamish I was to do the following things:
Eat something. Quit eating. Drink something. Quit drinking. Stay on
deck. Go below and lie perfectly flat. Seek company. Avoid same. Give it
up. Keep it down.

There was but one point on which all of them were agreed. On no account
should I miss Naples; I must see Naples if I did not see another
solitary thing in Europe. Well, I did both--I saw Naples; and now I
should not miss Naples if I never saw it again, and I do not think I
shall. As regards the other suggestions these friends of mine gave me, I
learned in time that all of them were right and all of them were wrong.

For example, there was the matter of a correct traveling costume.
Between seasons on the Atlantic one wears what best pleases one. One
sees at the same time women in furs and summer boys in white ducks.
Tweed-enshrouded Englishmen and linen-clad American girls promenade
together, giving to the decks that pleasing air of variety and
individuality of apparel only to be found in southern California during
the winter, and in those orthodox pictures in the book of Robinson
Crusoe, where Robinson is depicted as completely wrapped up in
goatskins, while Man Friday is pirouetting round as nude as a raw
oyster and both of them are perfectly comfortable. I used to wonder
how Robinson and Friday did it. Since taking an ocean trip I understand
perfectly. I could do it myself now.

There certainly were a lot of things to think over. I do not recall now
exactly the moment when I ceased thinking them over. A blank that was
measurable by hours ensued. I woke from a dream about a scrambled egg,
in which I was the egg, to find that morning had arrived and the ship
was behaving naughtily.

Here was a ship almost as long as Main Street is back home, and six
stories high, with an English basement; with restaurants and elevators
and retail stores in her; and she was as broad as a courthouse; and
while lying at the dock she had appeared to be about the most solid and
dependable thing in creation--and yet in just a few hours' time she had
altered her whole nature, and was rolling and sliding and charging and
snorting like a warhorse. It was astonishing in the extreme, and you
would not have expected it of her.

Even as I focused my mind on this phenomenon the doorway was stealthily
entered by a small man in a uniform that made him look something like an
Eton schoolboy and something like a waiter in a dairy lunch. I was about
to have the first illuminating experience with an English manservant.
This was my bedroom steward, by name Lubly--William Lubly. My hat is off
to William Lubly--to him and to all his kind. He was always on duty;
he never seemed to sleep; he was always in a good humor, and he always
thought of the very thing you wanted just a moment or two before you
thought of it yourself, and came a-running and fetched it to you. Now
he was softly stealing in to close my port. As he screwed the round,
brass-faced window fast he glanced my way and caught my apprehensive
eye.

"Good morning, sir," he said, and said it in such a way as to convey a
subtle compliment.

"Is it getting rough outside?" I said--I knew about the inside. "Thank
you," he said; "the sea 'as got up a bit, sir--thank you, sir."

I was gratified--nay more, I was flattered. And it was so delicately
done too. I really did not have the heart to tell him that I was not
solely responsible--that I had, so to speak, collaborators; but Lubly
stood ready always to accord me a proper amount of recognition for
everything that happened on that ship. Only the next day, I think it
was, I asked him where we were. This occurred on deck. He had just
answered a lady who wanted to know whether we should have good weather
on the day we landed at Fishguard and whether we should get in on time.
Without a moment's hesitation he told her; and then he turned to me with
the air of giving credit where credit is due, and said:

"Thank you, sir--we are just off the Banks, thank you."

Lubly ran true to form. The British serving classes are ever like that,
whether met with at sea or on their native soil. They are a great and
a noble institution. Give an English servant a kind word and he thanks
you. Give him a harsh word and he still thanks you. Ask a question of a
London policeman--he tells you fully and then he thanks you. Go into an
English shop and buy something--the clerk who serves you thanks you with
enthusiasm. Go in and fail to buy something--he still thanks you, but
without the enthusiasm.

One kind of Englishman says Thank you, sir; and one kind--the Cockney
who has been educated--says Thenks; but the majority brief it into a
short but expressive expletive and merely say: Kew. Kew is the commonest
word in the British Isles. Stroidinary runs it a close second, but Kew
comes first. You hear it everywhere. Hence Kew Gardens; they are named
for it.

All the types that travel on a big English-owned ship were on ours. I
take it that there is a requirement in the maritime regulations to the
effect that the set must be complete before a ship may put to sea. To
begin with, there was a member of a British legation from somewhere
going home on leave, for a holiday, or a funeral. At least I heard it
was a holiday, but I should have said he was going home for the other
occasion. He wore an Honorable attached to the front of his name and
carried several extra initials behind in the rumble; and he was filled
up with that true British reserve which a certain sort of Britisher
always develops while traveling in foreign lands. He was upward of seven
feet tall, as the crow flies, and very thin and rigid.

Viewing him, you got the impression that his framework all ran straight
up and down, like the wires in a bird cage, with barely enough perches
extending across from side to side to keep him from caving in and
crushing the canaries to death. On second thought I judge I had better
make this comparison in the singular number--there would not have been
room in him for more than one canary.

Every morning for an hour, and again every afternoon for an hour, he
marched solemnly round and round the promenade deck, always alone
and always with his mournful gaze fixed on the far horizon. As I said
before, however, he stood very high in the air, and it may have been he
feared, if he ever did look down at his feet, he should turn dizzy and
be seized with an uncontrollable desire to leap off and end all; so I am
not blaming him for that.

He would walk his hour out to the sixtieth second of the sixtieth minute
and then he would sit in his steamer chair, as silent as a glacier and
as inaccessible as one. If it were afternoon he would have his tea at
five o'clock and then, with his soul still full of cracked ice, he would
go below and dress for dinner; but he never spoke to anyone. His steamer
chair was right-hand chair to mine and often we practically touched
elbows; but he did not see me once.

I had a terrible thought. Suppose now, I said to myself--just suppose
that this ship were to sink and only we two were saved; and suppose we
were cast away on a desert island and spent years and years there, never
knowing each other's name and never mingling together socially until the
rescue ship came along--and not even then unless there was some mutual
acquaintance aboard her to introduce us properly! It was indeed a
frightful thought! It made me shudder.

Among our company was a younger son going home after a tour of the
Colonies--Canada and Australia, and all that sort of bally rot. I
believe there is always at least one younger son on every well-conducted
English boat; the family keeps him on a remittance and seems to feel
easier in its mind when he is traveling. The British statesman who
said the sun never sets on British possessions spoke the truth, but
the reporters in committing his memorable utterance to paper spelt the
keyword wrong--undoubtedly he meant the other kind--the younger kind.

This particular example of the species was in every way up to grade and
sample. A happy combination of open air, open pores and open casegoods
gave to his face the exact color of a slice of rare roast beef; it also
had the expression of one. With a dab of English mustard in the lobe of
one ear and a savory bit of watercress stuck in his hair for a garnish,
he could have passed anywhere for a slice of cold roast beef.

He was reasonably exclusive too. Not until the day we landed did he and
the Honorable member of the legation learn--quite by chance--that they
were third cousins--or something of that sort--to one another. And
so, after the relationship had been thoroughly established through
the kindly offices of a third party, they fraternized to the extent
of riding up to London on the same boat-train, merely using different
compartments of different carriages. The English aristocrat is a
tolerably social animal when traveling; but, at the same time, he does
not carry his sociability to an excess. He shows restraint.

Also, we had with us the elderly gentleman of impaired disposition, who
had crossed thirty times before and was now completing his thirty-first
trip, and getting madder and madder about it every minute. I saw him
only with his clothes on; but I should say, speaking offhand, that he
had at least fourteen rattles and a button. His poison sacs hung 'way
down. Others may have taken them for dewlaps, but I knew better; they
were poison sacs.

It was quite apparent that he abhorred the very idea of having to cross
to Europe on the same ocean with the rest of us, let alone on the
same ship. And for persons who were taking their first trip abroad his
contempt was absolutely unutterable; he choked at the bare mention of
such a criminal's name and offense. You would hear him communing with
himself and a Scotch and soda.

"Bah!" he would say bitterly, addressing the soda-bottle. "These idiots
who've never been anywhere talking about this being rough weather! Rough
weather, mind you! Bah! People shouldn't be allowed to go to sea until
they know something about it. Bah!"

By the fourth day out his gums were as blue as indigo, and he was so
swelled up with his own venom he looked dropsical. I judged his bite
would have caused death in from twelve to fourteen minutes, preceded by
coma and convulsive rigors. We called him old Colonel Gila Monster or
Judge Stinging Lizard, for short.

There was the spry and conversational gentleman who looked like an
Englishman, but was of the type commonly denominated in our own land as
breezy. So he could not have been an Englishman. Once in a while there
comes along an Englishman who is windy, and frequently you meet one who
is drafty; but there was never a breezy Englishman yet.

With that interest in other people's business which the close communion
of a ship so promptly breeds in most of us, we fell to wondering who
and what he might be; but the minute the suspect came into the salon for
dinner the first night out I read his secret at a glance. He belonged to
a refined song-and-dance team doing sketches in vaudeville. He could not
have been anything else--he had jet buttons on his evening clothes.

There was the young woman--she had elocutionary talents, it turned
out afterward, and had graduated with honors from a school of
expression--who assisted in getting up the ship's concert and then took
part in it, both of those acts being mistakes on her part, as it proved.

And there was the official he-beauty of the ship. He was without a
wrinkle in his clothes--or his mind either; and he managed to maneuver
so that when he sat in the smoking room he always faced a mirror. That
was company enough for him. He never grew lonely or bored then. Only one
night he discovered something wrong about one of his eyebrows. He gave
a pained start; and then, oblivious of those of us who hovered about
enjoying the spectacle, he spent a long time working with the blemish.
The eyebrow was stubborn, though, and he just couldn't make it behave;
so he grew petulant and fretful, and finally went away to bed in a huff.
Had it not been for fear of stopping his watch, I am sure he would have
slapped himself on the wrist.

This fair youth was one of the delights of the voyage. One felt that if
he had merely a pair of tweezers and a mustache comb and a hand glass
he would never, never be at a loss for a solution of the problem that
worries so many writers for the farm journals--a way to spend the long
winter evenings pleasantly.



Chapter II



My Bonny Lies over the Ocean--Lies and Lies and Lies

Of course, we had a bridal couple and a troupe of professional deep-sea
fishermen aboard. We just naturally had to have them. Without them, I
doubt whether the ship could have sailed. The bridal couple were
from somewhere in the central part of Ohio and they were taking their
honeymoon tour; but, if I were a bridal couple from the central part
of Ohio and had never been to sea before, as was the case in this
particular instance, I should take my honeymoon ashore and keep it
there. I most certainly should! This couple of ours came aboard billing
and cooing to beat the lovebirds. They made it plain to all that they
had just been married and were proud of it. Their baggage was brand-new,
and the groom's shoes were shiny with that pristine shininess
which, once destroyed, can never be restored; and the bride wore her
going-and-giving-away outfit.

Just prior to sailing and on the morning after they were all over the
ship. Everywhere you went you seemed to meet them and they were always
wrestling. You entered a quiet side passage--there they were, exchanging
a kiss--one of the long-drawn, deep-siphoned, sirupy kind. You stepped
into the writing room thinking to find it deserted, and at sight of you
they broke grips and sprang apart, eyeing you like a pair of startled
fawns surprised by the cruel huntsman in a forest glade. At all other
times, though, they had eyes but for each other.

A day came, however--and it was the second day out--when they were among
the missing. For two days and two nights, while the good ship floundered
on the tempestuous bosom of the overwrought ocean, they were gone from
human ken. On the afternoon of the third day, the sea being calmer now,
but still sufficiently rough to satisfy the most exacting, a few hardy
and convalescent souls sat in a shawl-wrapped row on the lee side of the
ship.

There came two stewards, bearing with them pillows and blankets and
rugs. These articles were disposed to advantage in two steamer chairs.
Then the stewards hurried away; but presently they reappeared, dragging
the limp and dangling forms of the bridal couple from the central part
of Ohio. But oh, my countrymen, what a spectacle! And what a change from
what had been!

The going-away gown was wrinkled, as though worn for a period of time
by one suddenly and sorely stricken in the midst of health. The bride's
once well-coifed hair hung in lank disarray about a face that was the
color of prime old sage cheese--yellow, with a fleck of green here and
there--and in her wan and rolling eye was the hunted look of one who
hears something unpleasant stirring a long way off and fears it is
coming this way.

Side by side the stewards stretched them prone on their chairs and
tucked them in. Her face was turned from him. For some time both of
them lay there without visible signs of life--just two muffled,
misery-stricken heaps. Then, slowly and languidly, the youth stretched
forth an arm from his wrappings and fingered the swaddling folds that
enveloped the form of his beloved.

It may have been he thought it was about time to begin picking the
coverlid, or it may have been the promptings of reawakened romance, once
more feebly astir within his bosom. At any rate, gently and softly, his
hand fell on the rug about where her shoulder ought to be. She still had
life enough left in her to shake it off--and she did. Hurt, he waited
a moment, then caressed her again. "Stop that!" she cried in a low but
venomous tone. "Don't you dare touch me!"

So he touched her no more, but only lay there mute and motionless;
and from his look one might plumb the sorrows of his soul and know how
shocked he was, and how grieved and heartstricken! Love's young dream
was o'er! He had thought she loved him, but now he knew better. Their
marriage had been a terrible mistake and he would give her back her
freedom; he would give it back to her as soon as he was able to sit up.
Thus one interpreted his expression.

On the day we landed, however, they were seen again. We were nosing
northward through a dimpled duckpond of a sea, with the Welsh coast on
one side and Ireland just over the way. People who had not been seen
during the voyage came up to breathe, wearing the air of persons who had
just returned from the valley of the shadow and were mighty glad to be
back; and with those others came our bridal couple.

I inadvertently stumbled on them in an obscure companionway. Their
cheeks again wore the bloom of youth and health, and they were in a
tight clinch; it was indeed a pretty sight. Love had returned on roseate
pinions and the honeymoon had been resumed at the point where postponed
on account of bad weather.

They had not been seasick, though. I heard them say so. They had been
indisposed, possibly from something they had eaten; but they had not
been seasick. Well, I had my own periods of indisposition going over;
and if it had been seasickness I should not hesitate a moment about
coming right out and saying so. In these matters I believe in being
absolutely frank and aboveboard. For the life of me I cannot understand
why people will dissemble and lie about this thing of being seasick. To
me their attitude is a source of constant wonderment.

On land the average person is reasonably proud of having been
sick--after he begins to get better. It gives him something to talk
about. The pale and interesting invalid invariably commands respect
ashore. In my own list of acquaintances I number several persons--mainly
widowed ladies with satisfactory incomes--who never feel well unless
they are ill. In the old days they would have had resort to patent
medicines and the family lot at Laurel Grove Cemetery; but now they
go in for rest cures and sea voyages, and the baths at Carlsbad and
specialists, these same being main contributing causes to the present
high cost of living, and also helping to explain what becomes of some
of those large life-insurance policies you read about. Possibly you know
the type I am describing--the lady who, when planning where she will
spend the summer, sends for catalogues from all the leading sanatoriums.
We had one such person with us.

She had been surgically remodeled so many times that she dated
everything from her last operation. At least six times in her life she
had been down with something that was absolutely incurable, and she was
now going to Homburg to have one of the newest and most fatal German
diseases in its native haunts, where it would be at its best. She
herself said that she was but a mere shell; and for the first few meals
she ate like one--like a large, empty shell with plenty of curves inside
it.

However, when, after a subsequent period of seclusion, she emerged from
her stateroom wearing the same disheveled look that Jonah must have worn
when he and the whale parted company, do you think she would confess
she had been seasick? Not by any means! She said she had had a raging
headache. But she could not fool me. She had the stateroom next to mine
and I had heard what I had heard. She was from near Boston and she had
the near-Boston accent; and she was the only person I ever met who was
seasick with the broad A.

Personally I abhor those evasions, which deceive no one. If I had been
seasick I should not deny it here or elsewhere. For a time I thought
I was seasick. I know now I was wrong--but I thought so. There was
something about the sardels served at lunch--their look or their smell
or something--which seemed to make them distasteful to me; and I excused
myself from the company at the table and went up and out into the
open air. But the deck was unpleasantly congested with great burly
brutes--beefy, carnivorous, overfed creatures, gorged with victuals and
smoking disgustingly strong black cigars, and grinning in an annoying
and meaning sort of way every time they passed a body who preferred to
lie quiet.

The rail was also moving up and down in a manner that was annoying and
wearisome for the eye to watch--first tipping up and up and up until
half the sky was hidden, then dipping down and down and down until the
gray and heaving sea seemed ready to leap over the side and engulf us.
So I decided to go below and jot down a few notes. On arriving at my
quarters I changed my mind again. I decided to let the notes wait a
while and turn in.

It is my usual custom when turning in to remove the left shoe as well as
the right one and to put on my pajamas; but the pajamas were hanging
on a hook away over on the opposite side of the stateroom, which had
suddenly grown large and wide and full of great distances; and besides,
I thought it was just as well to have the left shoe where I could put
my hand on it when I needed it again. So I retired practically just as
I was and endeavored, as per the admonitions of certain friends, to lie
perfectly flat. No doubt this thing of lying flat is all very well for
some people--but suppose a fellow has not that kind of a figure?

Nevertheless, I tried. I lay as flat as I could, but the indisposition
persisted; in fact, it increased materially. The manner in which my
pajamas, limp and pendent from that hook, swayed and swung back and
forth became extremely distasteful to me; and if by mental treatment I
could have removed them from there I should assuredly have done so. But
that was impossible.

Along toward evening I began to think of food. I thought of it not from
its gastronomic aspect, but rather in the capacity of ballast. I did
not so much desire the taste of it as the feel of it. So I summoned
Lubly--he, at least, did not smile at me in that patronizing,
significant way--and ordered a dinner that included nearly everything
on the dinner card except Lubly's thumb. The dinner was brought to me in
relays and I ate it--ate it all! This step I know now was ill-advised.
It is true that for a short time I felt as I imagine a python in a zoo
feels when he is full of guinea-pigs--sort of gorged, you know, and
sluggish, and only tolerably uncomfortable.

Then ensued the frightful denouement. It ensued almost without warning.
At the time I felt absolutely positive that I was seasick. I would have
sworn to it. If somebody had put a Bible on my chest and held it there
I would cheerfully have laid my right hand on it and taken a solemn
oath that I was seasick. Indeed, I believed I was so seasick that I
feared--hoped, rather--I might never recover from it. All I desired at
the moment was to get it over with as quickly and as neatly as possible.

As in the case of drowning persons, there passed in review before my
eyes several of the more recent events of my past life--meals mostly.
I shall, however, pass hastily over these distressing details, merely
stating in parentheses, so to speak, that I did not remember those
string-beans at all. I was positive then, and am yet, that I had not
eaten string-beans for nearly a week. But enough of this!

I was sure I was seasick; and I am convinced any inexperienced
bystander, had there been one there, would have been misled by my
demeanor into regarding me as a seasick person--but it was a wrong
diagnosis. The steward told me so himself when he called the next
morning. He came and found me stretched prone on the bed of affliction;
and he asked me how I felt, to which I replied with a low and hollow
groan--tolerably low and exceedingly hollow. It could not have been any
hollower if I had been a megaphone.

So he looked me over and told me that I had climate fever. We were
passing through the Gulf Stream, where the water was warmer than
elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and I had a touch of climate fever. It
was a very common complaint in that latitude; many persons suffered
from it. The symptoms were akin to seasickness, it was true; yet the two
maladies were in no way to be confused. As soon as we passed out of the
Gulf Stream he felt sure I would be perfectly well. Meantime he would
recommend that I get Lubly to take the rest of my things off and then
remain perfectly quiet. He was right about it too.

Regardless of what one may think oneself, one is bound to accept the
statement of an authority on this subject; and if a steward on a big
liner, who has traveled back and forth across the ocean for years, is
not an authority on climate fever, who is? I looked at it in that light.
And sure enough, when we had passed out of the Gulf Stream and the sea
had smoothed itself out, I made a speedy and satisfactory recovery; but
if it had been seasickness I should have confessed it in a minute. I
have no patience with those who quibble and equivocate in regard to
their having been seasick.

I had one relapse--a short one, but painful. In an incautious moment,
when I wist not wot I wotted, I accepted an invitation from the chief
engineer to go below. We went below--miles and miles, I think--to where,
standing on metal runways that were hot to the foot, overalled Scots
ministered to the heart and the lungs and the bowels of that ship.
Electricity spat cracklingly in our faces, and at our sides steel shafts
as big as the pillars of a temple spun in coatings of spumy grease; and
through the double skin of her we could hear, over our heads, a mighty
Niagaralike churning as the slew-footed screws kicked us forward
twenty-odd knots an hour. Someone raised the cover of a vat, and peering
down into the opening we saw a small, vicious engine hard at work,
entirely enveloped in twisty, coily, stewy depths of black oil, like a
devil-fish writhing in sea-ooze and cuttle-juice.

So then we descended another mile or two to an inferno, full of naked,
sooty devils forever feeding sulphurous pitfires in the nethermost
parlors of the damned; but they said this was the stokehole; and I was
in no condition to argue with them, for I had suddenly begun to realize
that I was far from being a well person. As one peering through a glass
darkly, I saw one of the attendant demons sluice his blistered bare
breast with cold water, so that the sweat and grime ran from him in
streams like ink; and peering in at a furnace door I saw a great angry
sore of coals all scabbed and crusted over. Then another demon, wielding
a nine-foot bar daintily as a surgeon wields a scalpel, reached in and
stabbed it in the center, so that the fire burst through and gushed up
red and rich, like blood from a wound newly lanced.

I had seen enough and to spare; but my guide brought me back by way of
the steerage, in order that I might know how the other half lives.
There was nothing here, either of smell or sight, to upset the human
stomach--third class is better fed and better quartered now on those big
ships than first class was in those good old early days--but I had
held in as long as I could and now I relapsed. I relapsed in a vigorous
manner--a whole-souled, boisterous manner. People halfway up the
deck heard me relapsing, and I will warrant some of them were fooled
too--they thought I was seasick.

It was due to my attack of climate fever that I missed the most exciting
thing which happened on the voyage. I refer to the incident of the
professional gamblers and the youth from Jersey City. From the very
first there was one passenger who had been picked out by all the knowing
passengers as a professional gambler; for he was the very spit-and-image
of a professional gambler as we have learned to know him in story books.
Did he not dress in plain black, without any jewelry? He certainly did.
Did he not have those long, slender, flexible fingers? Such was,
indeed, the correct description of those fingers. Was not his eye a keen
steely-blue eye that seemed to have the power of looking right through
you? Steely-blue was the right word, all right. Well, then, what more
could you ask?

Behind his back sinister yet fascinating rumors circulated. He was the
brilliant but unscrupulous scion of a haughty house in England. He had
taken a first degree at Oxford, over there, and the third one at police
headquarters, over here. Women simply could not resist him. Let him make
up his mind to win a woman and she was a gone gosling. His picture
was to be found in rogues' galleries and ladies' lockets. And sh-h-h!
Listen! Everybody knew he was the identical crook who, disguised in
woman's clothes, escaped in the last lifeboat that left the sinking
Titanic. Who said so? Why--er--everybody said so!

It came as a grievous disappointment to all when we found out the truth,
which was that he was the booking agent for a lyceum bureau, going
abroad to sign up some foreign talent for next season's Chautauquas;
and the only gambling he had ever done was on the chance of whether
the Tyrolian Yodelers would draw better than our esteemed secretary of
state--or vice versa.

Meantime the real professionals had established themselves cozily and
comfortably aboard, had rigged the trap and cheese-baited it, and were
waiting for the coming of one of the class that is born so numerously in
this country. If you should be traveling this year on one of the
large trans-Atlantic ships, and there should come aboard two young
well-dressed men and shortly afterward a middle-aged well-dressed man
with a flat nose, who was apparently a stranger to the first two; and if
on the second night out in the smoking room, while the pool on the next
day's run was being auctioned, one of the younger men, whom we will call
Mr. Y, should appear to be slightly under the influence of malt, vinous
or spirituous liquors--or all three of them at once--and should, without
seeming provocation, insist on picking a quarrel with the middle-aged
stranger, whom we will call Mr. Z; and if further along in the voyage
Mr. Z should introduce himself to you and suggest a little game of
auction bridge for small stakes in order to while away the tedium of
travel; and if it should so fall out that Mr. Y and his friend Mr.
X chanced to be the only available candidates for a foursome at this
fascinating pursuit; and if Mr. Z, being still hostile toward the
sobered and repentant Mr. Y, should decline to take on either Mr. Y or
his friend X as a partner, but chose you instead; and if on the second
or third deal you picked up your cards and found you had an apparently
unbeatable hand and should bid accordingly; and Mr. X should double you;
and Mr. Z, sitting across from you should come gallantly right back and
redouble it; and Mr. Y, catching the spirit of the moment, should double
again--and so on and so forth until each point, instead of being worth
only a paltry cent or two, had accumulated a value of a good many
cents--if all these things or most of them should befall in the order
enumerated--why, then, if I were you, gentle reader, I would have a
care. And I should leave that game and go somewhere else to have it
too--lest a worse thing befall you as it befell the guileless young
Jerseyman on our ship. After he had paid out a considerable sum on being
beaten--by just one card--upon the playing of his seemingly unbeatable
hand and after the haunting and elusive odor of eau de rodent had become
plainly perceptible all over the ship, he began, as the saying goes, to
smell a rat himself, and straightway declined to make good his remaining
losses, amounting to quite a tidy amount. Following this there were high
words, meaning by that low ones, and accusations and recriminations, and
at eventide when the sunset was a welter of purple and gold, there was
a sudden smashing of glassware in the smoking room and a flurry of arms
and legs in a far corner, and a couple of pained stewards scurrying
about saying, "Ow, now, don't do that, sir, if you please, sir, thank
you, sir!" And one of the belligerents came forth from the melee wearing
a lavender eye with saffron trimmings, as though to match the sunset,
and the other with a set of skinned knuckles, emblematic of the skinning
operations previously undertaken. And through all the ship ran the
hissing tongues of scandal and gossip.

Out of wild rumor and cross-rumor, certain salient facts were eventually
precipitated like sediment from a clouded solution. It seemed that the
engaging Messrs. X, Y and Z had been induced, practically under false
pretenses to book passage, they having read in the public prints that
the prodigal and card-foolish son of a cheese-paring millionaire father
meant to take the ship too; but he had grievously disappointed them
by not coming aboard at all. Then, when in an effort to make their
traveling expenses back, they uncorked their newest trick and device
for inspiring confidence in gudgeons, the particular gudgeon of their
choosing had refused to pay up. Naturally they were fretful and peevish
in the extreme. It spoiled the whole trip for them.

Except for this one small affair it was, on the whole, a pleasant
voyage. We had only one storm and one ship's concert, and at the finish
most of us were strong enough to have stood another storm. And the trip
had been worth a lot to us--at least it had been worth a lot to me,
for I had crossed the ocean on one of the biggest hotels afloat. I had
amassed quite a lot of nautical terms that would come in very handy for
stunning the folks at home when I got back. I had had my first thrill at
the sight of foreign shores. And just by casual contact with members
of the British aristocracy, I had acquired such a heavy load of true
British hauteur that in parting on the landing dock I merely bowed
distantly toward those of my fellow Americans to whom I had not been
introduced; and they, having contracted the same disease, bowed back in
the same haughty and distant manner.

When some of us met again, however, in Vienna, the insulation had been
entirely rubbed off and we rushed madly into one another's arms and
exchanged names and addresses; and, babbling feverishly the while, we
told one another what our favorite flower was, and our birthstone and
our grandmother's maiden name, and what we thought of a race of
people who regarded a cup of ostensible coffee and a dab of honey
as constituting a man's-size breakfast. And, being pretty tolerably
homesick by that time, we leaned in toward a common center and gave
three loud, vehement cheers for the land of the country sausage and the
home of the buckwheat cake--and, as giants refreshed, went on our ways
rejoicing.

That, though, was to come later. At present we are concerned with the
trip over and what we had severally learned from it. I personally had
learned, among other things, that the Atlantic Ocean, considered as
such, is a considerably overrated body. Having been across it, even on
so big and fine and well-ordered a ship as this ship was, the ocean, it
seemed to me, was not at all what it had been cracked up to be.

During the first day out it is a novelty and after that a
monotony--except when it is rough; and then it is a doggoned nuisance.
Poets without end have written of the sea, but I take it they stayed at
home to do their writing. They were not on the bounding billow when they
praised it; if they had been they might have decorated the billow, but
they would never have praised it.

As the old song so happily put it: My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean! And a
lot of others have lied over it too; but I will not--at least not just
yet. Perhaps later on I may feel moved to do so; but at this moment I
am but newly landed from it and my heart is full of rankling resentment
toward the ocean and all its works.

I speak but a sober conviction when I say that the chief advantage to
be derived from taking an ocean voyage is not that you took it, but that
you have it to talk about afterward. And, to my mind, the most
inspiring sight to be witnessed on a trip across the Atlantic is the
Battery--viewed from the ocean side, coming back.

Do I hear any seconds to that motion?



Chapter III



Bathing Oneself on the Other Side

My first experience with the bathing habits of the native Aryan stocks
of Europe came to pass on the morning after the night of our arrival in
London.

London disappointed me in one regard--when I opened my eyes that morning
there was no fog. There was not the slightest sign of a fog. I had
expected that my room would be full of fog of about the consistency of
Scotch stage dialect--soupy, you know, and thick and bewildering. I
had expected that servants with lighted tapers in their hands would be
groping their way through corridors like caves, and that from the
street without, would come the hoarse-voiced cries of cabmen lost in the
enshrouding gray. You remember Dickens always had them hoarse-voiced.

This was what I confidently expected. Such, however, was not to be. I
woke to a consciousness that the place was flooded with indubitable and
undoubted sunshine. To be sure, it was not the sharp, hard sunshine we
have in America, which scours and bleaches all it touches, until
the whole world has the look of having just been clear-starched and
hot-ironed. It was a softened, smoke-edged, pastel-shaded sunshine;
nevertheless it was plainly recognizable as the genuine article.

Nor was your London shadow the sharply outlined companion in black who
accompanies you when the weather is fine in America. Your shadow in
London was rather a dim and wavery gentleman who caught up with you as
you turned out of the shaded by-street; who went with you a distance
and then shyly vanished, but was good company while he stayed, being
restful, as your well-bred Englishman nearly always is, and not overly
aggressive.

There was no fog that first morning, or the next morning, or any morning
of the twenty-odd we spent in England. Often the weather was cloudy,
and occasionally it was rainy; and then London would be drenched in that
wonderful gray color which makes it, scenically speaking, one of the
most fascinating spots on earth; but it was never downright foggy and
never downright cold. English friends used to speak to me about it. They
apologized for good weather at that season of the year, just as natives
of a Florida winter resort will apologize for bad.

"You know, old dear," they would say, "this is most unusual--most
stroidinary, in fact. It ought to be raw and nasty and foggy at this
time of the year, and here the cursed weather is perfectly fine--blast
it!" You could tell they were grieved about it, and disappointed too.
Anything that is not regular upsets Englishmen frightfully. Maybe that
is why they enforce their laws so rigidly and obey them so beautifully.

Anyway I woke to find the fog absent, and I rose and prepared to take
my customary cold bath. I am much given to taking a cold bath in the
morning and speaking of it afterward. People who take a cold bath every
day always like to brag about it, whether they take it or not.

The bathroom adjoined the bedroom, but did not directly connect with it,
being reached by means of a small semi-private hallway. It was a
fine, noble bathroom, white tiled and spotless; and one side of it
was occupied by the longest, narrowest bathtub I ever saw. Apparently
English bathtubs are constructed on the principle that every Englishman
who bathes is nine feet long and about eighteen inches wide, whereas the
approximate contrary is frequently the case. Draped over a chair was the
biggest, widest, softest bathtowel ever made. Shem, Ham and Japhet could
have dried themselves on that bathtowel, and there would still have been
enough dry territory left for some of the animals--not the large, woolly
animals like the Siberian yak, but the small, slick, porous animals such
as the armadillo and the Mexican hairless dog.

So I wedged myself into the tub and had a snug-fitting but most
luxurious bath; and when I got back to my room the maid had arrived with
the shaving water. There was a knock at the door, and when I opened
it there stood a maid with a lukewarm pint of water in a long-waisted,
thin-lipped pewter pitcher. There was plenty of hot water to be had in
the bathroom, with faucets and sinks all handy and convenient, and a
person might shave himself there in absolute comfort; but long before
the days of pipes and taps an Englishman got his shaving water in a
pewter ewer, and he still gets it so. It is one of the things guaranteed
him under Magna Charta and he demands it as a right; but I, being but a
benighted foreigner, left mine in the pitcher, and that evening the maid
checked me up.

"You didn't use the shaving water I brought you to-day, sir!" she said.
"It was still in the jug when I came in to tidy up, sir."

Her tone was grieved; so, after that, to spare her feelings, I used to
pour it down the sink. But if I were doing the trip over again I would
drink it for breakfast instead of the coffee the waiter brought me--the
shaving water being warmish and containing, so far as I could tell, no
deleterious substances. And if the bathroom were occupied at the time
I would shave myself with the coffee. I judge it might work up into
a thick and durable lather. It is certainly not adapted for drinking
purposes.

The English, as a race, excel at making tea and at drinking it after it
is made; but among them coffee is still a mysterious and murky compound
full of strange by-products. By first weakening it and wearing it down
with warm milk one may imbibe it; but it is not to be reckoned among the
pleasures of life. It is a solemn and a painful duty.

On the second morning I was splashing in my tub, gratifying that
amphibious instinct which has come down to us from the dim evolutionary
time when we were paleozoic polliwogs, when I made the discovery that
there were no towels in the bathroom. I glanced about keenly, seeking
for help and guidance in such an emergency. Set in the wall directly
above the rim of the tub was a brass plate containing two pushbuttons.
One button, the uppermost one, was labeled Waiter--the other was labeled
Maid.

This was disconcerting. Even in so short a stay under the roof of
an English hotel I had learned that at this hour the waiter would
be hastening from room to room, ministering to Englishmen engaged in
gumming their vital organs into an impenetrable mass with the national
dish of marmalade; and that the maid would also be busy carrying shaving
water to people who did not need it. Besides, of all the classes I
distinctly do not require when I am bathing, one is waiters and the
other is maids. For some minutes I considered the situation, without
making any headway toward a suitable solution of it; meantime I was
getting chilled. So I dried myself--sketchily--with a toothbrush and the
edge of the window-shade; then I dressed, and in a still somewhat moist
state I went down to interview the management about it. I first visited
the information desk and told the youth in charge there I wished to
converse with some one in authority on the subject of towels. After
gazing at me a spell in a puzzled manner he directed me to go across
the lobby to the cashier's department. Here I found a gentleman of truly
regal aspect. His tie was a perfect dream of a tie, and he wore a frock
coat so slim and long and black it made him look as though he were
climbing out of a smokestack. Presenting the case as though it were a
supposititious one purely, I said to him:

"Presuming now that one of your guests is in a bathtub and finds he has
forgotten to lay in any towels beforehand--such a thing might possibly
occur, you know--how does he go about summoning the man-servant or the
valet with a view to getting some?"

"Oh, sir," he replied, "that's very simple. You noticed two pushbuttons
in your bathroom, didn't you?"

"I did," I said, "and that's just the difficulty. One of them is for the
maid and the other is for the waiter."

"Quite so, sir," he said, "quite so. Very well, then, sir: You ring for
the waiter or the maid--or, if you should charnce to be in a hurry, for
both of them; because, you see, one of them might charnce to be en--"

"One moment," I said. "Let me make my position clear in this matter:
This Lady Susanna--I do not know her last name, but you will doubtless
recall the person I mean, because I saw several pictures of her
yesterday in your national art gallery--this Lady Susanna may have
enjoyed taking a bath with a lot of snoopy old elders lurking round in
the background; but I am not so constituted. I was raised differently
from that. With me, bathing has ever been a solitary pleasure. This may
denote selfishness on my part; but such is my nature and I cannot alter
it. All my folks feel about it as I do. We are a very peculiar family
that way. When bathing we do not invite an audience. Nor do I want one.
A crowd would only embarrass me. I merely desire a little privacy and,
here and there, a towel."

"Ah, yes! Quite so, sir," he said; "but you do not understand me. As I
said before, you ring for the waiter or the maid. When one of them comes
you tell them to send you the manservant on your floor; and when he
comes you tell him you require towels, and he goes to the linen cupboard
and gets them and fetches them to you, sir. It's very simple, sir."

"But why," I persisted, "why do this thing by a relay system? I
don't want any famishing gentleman in this place to go practically
unmarmaladed at breakfast because I am using the waiter to conduct
preliminary negotiations with a third party in regard to a bathtowel."

"But it is so very simple, sir," he repeated patiently. "You ring for
the waiter or the ma--"

I checked him with a gesture. I felt that I knew what he meant to say; I
also felt that if any word of mine might serve to put this establishment
on an easy-running basis they could have it and welcome.

"Listen!" I said. "You will kindly pardon the ignorance of a poor, red,
partly damp American who has shed his eagle feathers but still has his
native curiosity with him! Why not put a third button in that bathroom
labeled Manservant or Valet or Towel Boy, or something of that general
nature? And then when a sufferer wanted towels, and wanted 'em quick, he
could get them without blocking the wheels of progress and industry.
We may still be shooting Mohawk Indians and the American bison in
the streets of Buffalo, New York; and we may still be saying: 'By
Geehosaphat, I swan to calculate!--anyway, I note that we still say
that in all your leading comic papers; but when a man in my land
goes a-toweling, he goes a-toweling--and that is all there is to it,
positively! In our secret lodges it may happen that the worshipful
master calls the august swordbearer to him and bids him communicate
with the grand outer guardian and see whether the candidate is suitably
attired for admission; but in ordinary life we cut out the middleman
wherever possible. Do you get my drift?"

"Oh, yes, sir," he said; "but I fear you do not understand me. As I
told you, it's very simple--so very simple, sir. We've never found it
necessary to make a change. You ring for the waiter or for the maid, and
you tell them to tell the manservant--"

"All right," I said, breaking in. I could see that his arguments were of
the circular variety that always came back to the starting point. "But,
as a favor to me, would you kindly ask the proprietor to request the
head cook to communicate with the carriage starter and have him inform
the waiter that when in future I ring the bathroom bell in a given
manner--to wit: one long, determined ring followed by three short,
passionate rings--it may be regarded as a signal for towels?"

So saying, I turned on my heel and went away, for I could tell he was
getting ready to begin all over again. Later on I found out for myself
that, in this particular hotel, when you ring for the waiter or the
maid the bell sounds in the service room, where those functionaries are
supposed to be stationed; but when you ring for the manservant a small
arm-shaped device like a semaphore drops down over your outer door.
But what has the manservant done that he should be thus discriminated
against? Why should he not have a bell of his own? So far as I might
judge, the poor fellow has few enough pleasures in life as it is. Why
should he battle with the intricacies of a block-signal system when
everybody else round the place has a separate bell? And why all this
mystery and mummery over so simple and elemental a thing as a towel?

To my mind, it merely helps to prove that among the English the art of
bathing is still in its infancy. The English claim to have discovered
the human bath and they resent mildly the assumption that any other
nation should become addicted to it; whereas I argue that the burden of
the proof shows we do more bathing to the square inch of surface than
the English ever did. At least, we have superior accommodations for it.

The day is gone in this country when Saturday night was the big night
for indoor aquatic sports and pastimes; and no gentleman as was a
gentleman would call on his ladylove and break up her plans for the
great weekly ceremony. There may have been a time in certain rural
districts when the bathing season for males practically ended on
September fifteenth, owing to the water in the horsepond becoming
chilled; but that time has passed. Along with every modern house that
is built to-day, in country or town, we expect bathrooms and plenty of
them. With us the presence of a few bathtubs more or less creates no
great amount of excitement--nor does the mere sight of open plumbing
particularly stir our people; whereas in England a hotelkeeper who has
bathrooms on the premises advertises the fact on his stationery.

If in addition to a few bathrooms a Continental hotelkeeper has a
decrepit elevator he makes more noise over it than we do over a Pompeian
palmroom or an Etruscan roofgarden; he hangs a sign above his front door
testifying to his magnificent enterprise in this regard. The Continental
may be a born hotelkeeper, as has been frequently claimed for him; but
the trouble is he usually has no hotel to keep. It is as though you set
an interior decorator to run a livery stable and expected him to make
it attractive. He may have the talents, but he is lacking in the raw
material.

It was in a London apartment house, out Maida Vale way, that I first
beheld the official bathtub of an English family establishment. It was
one of those bathtubs that flourished in our own land at about the time
of the Green-back craze--a coffin-shaped, boxed-in affair lined with
zinc; and the zinc was suffering from tetter or other serious skin
trouble and was peeling badly. There was a current superstition about
the place to the effect that the bathroom and the water supply might on
occasion be heated with a device known in the vernacular as a geezer.

The geezer was a sheet-iron contraption in the shape of a pocket
inkstand, and it stood on a perch in the corner, like a Russian icon,
with a small blue flame flickering beneath it. It looked as though its
sire might have been a snare-drum and its dam a dark lantern, and
that it got its looks from its father and its heating powers from the
mother's side of the family. And the plumbing fixtures were of the type
that passed out of general use on the American side of the water with
the Rutherford B. Hayes administration. I was given to understand
that this was a fair sample of the average residential London
bathroom--though the newer apartment houses that are going up have
better ones, they told me.

In English country houses the dearth of bathing appliances must be even
more dearthful. I ran through the columns of the leading English fashion
journal and read the descriptions of the large country places that were
there offered for sale or lease. In many instances the advertisements
were accompanied by photographic reproductions in half tone showing
magnificent old places, with Queen Anne fronts and Tudor towers and
Elizabethan entails and Georgian mortgages, and what not.

Seeing these views I could conjure up visions of rooks cawing in the
elms; of young curates in flat hats imbibing tea on green lawns; of
housekeepers named Meadows or Fleming, in rustling black silk; of old
Giles--fifty years, man and boy, on the place--wearing a smock frock
and leaning on a pitchfork, with a wisp of hay caught in the tines,
lamenting that the 'All 'asn't been the same, zur, since the young
marster was killed ridin' to 'ounds; and then pensively wiping his eyes
on a stray strand of the hay.

With no great stretch of the imagination I could picture a gouty, morose
old lord with a secret sorrow and a brandy breath; I could picture a
profligate heir going deeper and deeper in debt, but refusing to the
bitter end to put the ax to the roots of the ancestral oaks. I could
imagine these parties readily, because I had frequently read about both
of them in the standard English novels; and I had seen them depicted in
all the orthodox English dramas I ever patronized. But I did not
notice in the appended descriptions any extended notice of heating
arrangements; most of the advertisements seemed to slur over that point
altogether.

And, as regards bathing facilities in their relation to the capacities
of these country places, I quote at random from the figures given:
Eighteen rooms and one bath; sixteen rooms and two baths; fourteen rooms
and one bath; twenty-one rooms and two baths; eleven rooms and one bath;
thirty-four rooms and two baths. Remember that by rooms bedrooms were
meant; the reception rooms and parlors and dining halls and offices, and
the like, were listed separately.

I asked a well-informed Englishman how he could reconcile this
discrepancy between bedrooms and bathrooms with the current belief that
the English had a practical monopoly of the habit of bathing. After
considering the proposition at some length he said I should understand
there was a difference in England between taking a bath and taking a
tub--that, though an Englishman might not be particularly addicted to
a bath, he must have his tub every morning. But I submit that the facts
prove this explanation to have been but a feeble subterfuge.

Let us, for an especially conspicuous example, take the house that has
thirty-four sleeping chambers and only two baths. Let us imagine the
house to be full of guests, with every bedroom occupied; and, if it is
possible to do so without blushing, let us further imagine a couple
of pink-and-white English gentlemen in the two baths. If preferable,
members of the opposite sex may imagine two ladies. Very well, then;
this leaves the occupants of thirty-two bedrooms all to be provided
with large tin tubs at approximately the same hour of the morning. Where
would any household muster the crews to man all those portable tin tubs?
And where would the proprietor keep his battery of thirty-two tubs when
they were not in use? Not in the family picture gallery, surely!

From my readings of works of fiction describing the daily life of the
English upper classes I know full well that the picture gallery is lined
with family portraits; that each canvased countenance there shows the
haughtily aquiline but slightly catarrhal nose, which is a heritage
of this house; that each pair of dark and brooding eyes hide in their
depths the shadow of that dread Nemesis which, through all the fateful
centuries, has dogged this brave but ill-starred race until now, alas!
the place must be let, furnished, to some beastly creature in trade,
such as an American millionaire.

Here at this end we have the founder of the line, dubbed a knight on the
gory field of Hastings; and there at that end we have the present heir,
a knighted dub. We know they cannot put the tubs in the family picture
gallery; there is no room. They need an armory for that outfit, and no
armory is specified in the advertisement.

So I, for one, must decline to be misled or deceived by specious
generalities. If you are asking me my opinion I shall simply say that
the bathing habit of Merrie England is a venerable myth, and likewise
so is the fresh-air fetish. The error an Englishman makes is that he
mistakes cold air for fresh air.

In cold weather an Englishman arranges a few splintered jackstraws,
kindling fashion, in an open grate somewhat resembling in size and
shape a wallpocket for bedroom slippers. On this substructure he gently
deposits one or more carboniferous nodules the size of a pigeon egg, and
touches a match to the whole. In the more fortunate instances the result
is a small, reddish ember smoking intermittently. He stands by and
feeds the glow with a dessert-spoonful of fuel administered at half-hour
intervals, and imagines he really has a fire and that he is really being
warmed.

Why the English insist on speaking of coal in the plural when they use
it only in the singular is more than I can understand. Conceded that
we overheat our houses and our railroad trains and our hotel lobbies
in America, nevertheless we do heat them. In winter their interiors are
warmer and less damp than the outer air--which is more than can be said
for the lands across the sea, where you have to go outdoors to thaw.

If there are any outdoor sleeping porches in England I missed them when
I was there; but as regards the ventilation of an English hotel I may
speak with authority, having patronized one. To begin with, the windows
have heavy shades. Back of these in turn are folding blinds; then long,
close curtains of muslin; then, finally, thick, manifolding, shrouding
draperies of some airproof woolen stuff. At nighttime the maid enters
your room, seals the windows, pulls down the shades, locks the shutters,
closes the curtains, draws the draperies--and then, I think, calks all
the cracks with oakum. When the occupant of that chamber retires to rest
he is as hermetic as old Rameses the First, safe in his tomb, ever dared
to hope to be. That reddish aspect of the face noted in connection with
the average Englishman is not due to fresh air, as has been popularly
supposed; it is due to the lack of it. It is caused by congestion. For
years he has been going along, trying to breathe without having the
necessary ingredients at hand.

At that, England excels the rest of Europe in fresh air, just as it
excels it in the matter of bathing facilities. There is some fresh air
left in England--an abundant supply in warm weather, and a stray bit
here and there in cold. On the Continent there is none to speak of.



Chapter IV



Jacques, the Forsaken

In Germany the last fresh air was used during the Thirty Years' War,
and there has since been no demand for any. Austria has no fresh air at
all--never did have any, and therefore has never felt the need of having
any. Italy--the northern part of it anyhow--is also reasonably shy of
this commodity.

In the German-speaking countries all street cars and all railway trains
sail with battened hatches. In their palmiest days the Jimmy Hope gang
could not have opened a window in a German sleeping car--not without
blasting; and trying to open a window in the ordinary first or second
class carriage provides healthful exercise for an American tourist,
while affording a cheap and simple form of amusement for his fellow
passengers. If, by superhuman efforts and at the cost of a fingernail
or two, he should get one open, somebody else in the compartment as
a matter of principle, immediately objects; and the retired
brigadier-general, who is always in charge of a German train, comes
and seals it up again, for that is the rule and the law; and then the
natives are satisfied and sit in sweet content together, breathing a
line of second-handed air that would choke a salamander.

Once, a good many years ago--in the century before the last I think it
was--a member of the Teutonic racial stock was accidentally caught out
in the fresh air and some of it got into his lungs. And, being a strange
and a foreign influence to which the lungs were unused, it sickened
him; in fact I am not sure but that it killed him on the spot. So the
emperors of Germany and Austria got together and issued a joint ukase on
the subject and, so far as the traveling public was concerned, forever
abolished those dangerous experiments. Over there they think a draft is
deadly, and I presume it is if you have never tampered with one. They
have a saying: A little window is a dangerous thing.

As with fresh air on the Continent, so also with baths--except perhaps
more so. In deference to the strange and unaccountable desires of
their English-speaking guests the larger hotels in Paris are abundantly
equipped with bathrooms now, but the Parisian boulevardiers continue to
look with darkling suspicion on a party who will deliberately immerse
his person in cold water; their beings seem to recoil in horror from the
bare prospect of such a thing. It is plainly to be seen they think his
intelligence has been attainted by cold water externally applied; they
fear that through a complete undermining of his reason he may next be
committing these acts of violence on innocent bystanders rather than on
himself, as in the present distressing stages of his mania. Especially,
I would say, is this the attitude of the habitue of Montmartre.

I can offer no visual proof to back my word; but by other testimony I
venture the assertion that when a boulevardier feels the need of a bath
he hangs a musk bag round his neck--and then, as the saying is, the
warmer the sweeter. His companion of the gentler sex apparently has the
same idea of performing daily ablutions that a tabby cat has. You recall
the tabby-cat system, do you not?--two swipes over the brow with the
moistened paw, one forward swipe over each ear, a kind of circular
rubbing effect across the face--and call it a day! Drowning must be the
most frightful death that a Parisian sidewalk favorite can die. It is
not so much the death itself--it is the attendant circumstances.

Across the river, in the older quarters of Paris, there is excitement
when anybody on the block takes a bath--not so much excitement as for a
fire, perhaps, but more than for a funeral. On the eve of the fatal day
the news spreads through the district that to-morrow poor Jacques is
going to take a bath! A further reprieve has been denied him. He cannot
put it off for another month, or even for another two weeks. His doom is
nigh at hand; there is no hope--none!

Kindly old Angeline, the midwife, shakes her head sadly as she goes
about her simple duties.

On the morrow the condemned man rises early and sees his spiritual
adviser. He eats a hearty breakfast, takes an affectionate leave of his
family and says he is prepared for the worst. At the appointed hour the
tumbrel enters the street, driven by the paid executioner--a descendant
of the original Sanson--and bearing the dread instrument of punishment,
a large oblong tin tub.

The rumble of the heavy wheels over the cobbles seems to wake an
agonized chord in every bosom. To-day this dread visitation descends on
Jacques; but who can tell--so the neighbors say to themselves--when the
same fate may strike some other household now happily unconscious! All
along the narrow way sorrow-drooped heads protrude in rows; from every
casement dangle whiskers, lank and stringy with sympathy--for in this
section every true Frenchman has whiskers, and if by chance he has not
his wife has; so that there are whiskers for all.

From the window of the doomed wretch's apartments a derrick protrudes--a
crossarm with a pulley and a rope attached. It bears a grimly
significant resemblance to a gallows tree. Under the direction of the
presiding functionary the tub is made fast to the tackle and hoisted
upward as pianos and safes are hoisted in American cities. It halts at
the open casement. It vanishes within. The whole place resounds with low
murmurs of horror and commiseration.

Ah, the poor Jacques--how he must suffer! Hark to that low, sickening
thud! 'Tis the accursed soap dropping from his nerveless grasp. Hist to
that sound--like unto a death rattle! It is the water gurgling in the
tub. And what means that low, poignant, smothered gasp? It is the last
convulsive cry of Jacques descending into the depths. All is over! Let
us pray!

The tub, emptied but stained, is lowered to the waiting cart. The
executioner kisses the citizen who has held his horse for him during his
absence and departs; the whole district still hums with ill-suppressed
excitement. Questions fly from tongue to tongue. Was the victim brave
at the last? Was he resigned when the dread moment came? And how is the
family bearing up? It is hours before the place settles down again to
that calm which will endure for another month, until somebody else takes
a bath on a physician's prescription.

Even in the sanctity of a Paris hotel a bath is more or less a public
function unless you lock your door. All sorts of domestic servitors
drift in, filled with a morbid curiosity to see how a foreigner deports
himself when engaged in this strange, barbaric rite. On the occasion of
my first bath on French soil, after several of the hired help had
thus called on me informally, causing me to cower low in my porcelain
retreat, I took advantage of a moment of comparative quiet to rise
drippingly and draw the latch. I judged the proprietor would be along
next, and I was not dressed for him. The Lady Susanna of whom mention
has previously been made must have stopped at a French hotel at some
time of her life. This helps us to understand why she remained so calm
when the elders happened in.

Even as now practiced, bathing still remains a comparative novelty
in the best French circles, I imagine. I base this presumption on
observations made during a visit to Versailles. I went to Versailles;
I trod with reverent step those historic precincts adorned with art
treasures uncountable, with curios magnificent, with relics invaluable.
I visited the little palace and the big; I ventured deep into that
splendid forest where, in the company of ladies regarding whom there has
been a good deal of talk subsequently, France's Grandest and Merriest
Monarch disported himself. And I found out what made the Merriest
Monarch merry--so far as I could see, there was not a bathroom on the
place. He was a true Frenchman--was Louis the Fourteenth.

In Berlin, at the Imperial Palace, our experience was somewhat similar.
Led by a guide we walked through acres of state drawing rooms and state
dining rooms and state reception rooms and state picture rooms; and
we were told that most of them--or, at least, many of them--were the
handiwork of the late Andreas Schluter. The deceased Schluter was an
architect, a painter, a sculptor, a woodcarver, a decorator, all rolled
into one. He was the George M. Cohan of his time; and I think he also
played the clarinet, being a German.

We traversed miles of these Schluter masterpieces. Eventually we heard
sounds of martial music without, and we went to a window overlooking a
paved courtyard; and from that point we presently beheld a fine sight.
For the moment the courtyard was empty, except that in the center stood
a great mass of bronze--by Schluter, I think--a heroic equestrian statue
of Saint George in the act of destroying the first adulterated German
sausage. But in a minute the garrison turned out; and then in through
an arched gateway filed the relief guard headed by a splendid band,
with bell-hung standards jingling at the head of the column and young
officers stalking along as stiff as ramrods, and soldiers marching with
the goosestep.

In the German army the private who raises his knee the highest and
sticks his shank out ahead of him the straightest, and slams his foot
down the hardest and jars his brain the painfulest, is promoted to be
a corporal and given a much heavier pair of shoes, so that he may make
more noise and in time utterly destroy his reason. The goosestep would
be a great thing for destroying grasshoppers or cutworms in a plague
year in a Kansas wheatfield.

At the Kaiser's palace we witnessed all these sights, but we did not run
across any bathrooms or any bathtubs. However, we were in the public end
of the establishment and I regard it as probable that in the other wing,
where the Kaiser lives when at home, there are plenty of bathrooms. I
did not investigate personally. The Kaiser was out at Potsdam and I did
not care to call in his absence.

Bathrooms are plentiful at the hotel where we stopped at Berlin. I had
rather hoped to find the bedroom equipped with an old-fashioned German
feather bed. I had heard that one scaled the side of a German bed on
a stepladder and then fell headlong into its smothering folds like
a gallant fireman invading a burning rag warehouse; but this hotel
happened to be the best hotel that I ever saw outside the United States.
It had been built and it was managed on American lines, plus German
domestic service--which made an incomparable combination--and it was
furnished with modern beds and provided with modern bathrooms.

Probably as a delicate compliment to the Kaiser, the bathtowels were
starched until the fringes at the ends bristled up stiffly a-curl,
like the ends of His Imperial Majesty's equally imperial mustache. Just
once--and once only--I made the mistake of rubbing myself with one
of those towels just as it was. I should have softened it first by a
hackling process, as we used to hackle the hemp in Kentucky; but I did
not. For two days I felt like an etching. I looked something like one
too.

In Vienna we could not get a bedroom with a bathroom attached--they did
not seem to have any--but we were told there was a bathroom just across
the hall which we might use with the utmost freedom. This bathroom was
a large, long, loftly, marble-walled vault. It was as cold as a tomb
and as gloomy as one, and very smelly. Indeed it greatly resembled the
pictures I have seen of the sepulcher of an Egyptian king--only I would
have said that this particular king had been skimpily embalmed by the
royal undertakers in the first place, and then imperfectly packed. The
bathtub was long and marked with scars, and it looked exactly like
a rifled mummy case with the lid missing, which added greatly to the
prevalent illusion.

We used this bathroom ad lib.: but when I went to pay the bill I found
an official had been keeping tabs on us, and that all baths taken had
been charged up at the rate of sixty cents apiece. I had provided my own
soap too! For that matter the traveler provides his own soap everywhere
in Europe, outside of England. In some parts soap is regarded as an
edible and in some as a vice common to foreigners; but everywhere except
in the northern countries it is a curio.

So in Vienna they made us furnish our own soap and then charged us more
for a bath than they did for a meal. Still, by their standards, I dare
say they were right. A meal is a necessity, but a bath is an exotic
luxury; and, since they have no extensive tariff laws in Austria, it is
but fair that the foreigner should pay the tax. I know I paid mine, one
way or another.

Speaking of bathing reminds me of washing; and speaking of washing
reminds me of an adventure I had in Vienna in connection with a white
waistcoat--or, as we would call it down where I was raised, a dress
vest. This vest had become soiled through travel and wear across
Europe. At Vienna I intrusted it to the laundry along with certain other
garments. When the bundle came back my vest was among the missing.

The maid did not seem to be able to comprehend the brand of German I use
in casual conversation; so, through an interpreter, I explained to her
that I was shy one white vest. For two days she brought all sorts of
vests and submitted them to me on approval--thin ones and thick ones;
old ones and new ones; slick ones and woolly ones; fringed ones and
frayed ones. I think the woman had a private vest mine somewhere, and
went and tapped a fresh vein on my account every few minutes; but it
never was the right vest she brought me.

Finally I told her in my best German, meantime accompanying myself with
appropriate yet graceful gestures, that she need not concern herself
further with the affair; she could just let the matter drop and I would
interview the manager and put in a claim for the value of the lost
garment. She looked at me dazedly a moment while I repeated the
injunction more painstakingly than before; and, at that, understanding
seemed to break down the barriers of her reason and she said, "Ja! Ja!"
Then she nodded emphatically several times, smiled and hurried away and
in twenty minutes was back, bringing with her a begging friar of some
monastic order or other.

I would take it as a personal favor if some student of the various
Teutonic tongues and jargons would inform me whether there is any word
in Viennese for white vest that sounds like Catholic priest! However, we
prayed together--that brown brother and I. I do not know what he prayed
for, but I prayed for my vest.

I never got it though. I doubt whether my prayer ever reached heaven--it
had such a long way to go. It is farther from Vienna to heaven than from
any other place in the world, I guess--unless it is Paris. That vest is
still wandering about the damp-filled corridors of that hotel, mooing in
a plaintive manner for its mate--which is myself. It will never find
a suitable adopted parent. It was especially coopered to my form by an
expert clothing contractor, and it will not fit anyone else. No; it will
wander on and on, the starchy bulge of its bosom dimly phosphorescent in
the gloaming, its white pearl buttons glimmering spectrally; and after a
while the hotel will get the reputation of being haunted by the ghost
of a flour barrel, and will have a bad name and lose custom. I hope so
anyway. It looks to be my one chance of getting even with the owner for
penalizing me in the matter of baths.

From Vienna we went southward into the Tyrolese Alps. It was a wonderful
ride--that ride through the Semmering and on down to Northern Italy. Our
absurdly short little locomotive, drawing our absurdly long train, went
boring in and out of a wrinkly shoulder-seam of the Tyrols like a stubby
needle going through a tuck. I think in thirty miles we threaded thirty
tunnels; after that I was practically asphyxiated and lost count.

If I ever take that journey again I shall wear a smoke helmet and be
comfortable. But always between tunnels there were views to be seen
that would have revived one of the Seven Sleepers. Now, on the
great-granddaddy-longlegs of all the spidery trestles that ever were
built, we would go roaring across a mighty gorge, its sides clothed
with perpendicular gardens and vineyards, and with little gray towns
clustering under the ledges on its sheer walls like mud-daubers' nests
beneath an eave. Now, perched on a ridgy outcrop of rock like a single
tooth in a snaggled reptilian jaw, would be a deserted tower, making a
fellow think of the good old feudal days when the robber barons robbed
the traveler instead of as at present, when the job is so completely
attended to by the pirates who weigh and register baggage in these
parts.

Then--whish, roar, eclipse, darkness and sulphureted hydrogen!--we
would dive into another tunnel and out again--gasping--on a breathtaking
panorama of mountains. Some of them would be standing up against the sky
like the jagged top of a half-finished cutout puzzle, and some would
be buried so deeply in clouds that only their peaked blue noses showed
sharp above the featherbed mattresses of mist in which they were
snuggled, as befitted mountains of Teutonic extraction. And nearly every
eminence was crowned with a ruined castle or a hotel. It was easy to
tell a hotel from a ruin--it had a sign over the door.

At one of those hotels I met up with a homesick American. He was
marooned there in the rain, waiting for the skies to clear, so he could
do some mountain climbing; and he was beginning to get moldy from
the prevalent damp. By now the study of bathing habits had become an
obsession with me; I asked him whether he had encountered any bathtubs
about the place. He said a bathtub in those altitudes was as rare as a
chamois, and the chamois was entirely extinct; so I might make my own
calculations. But he said he could show me something that was even a
greater curiosity than a bathtub, and he led me to where a moonfaced
barometer hung alongside the front entrance of the hotel.

He said he had been there a week now and had about lost hope; but every
time he threatened to move on, the proprietor would take him out there
and prove that they were bound to have clearing weather within a few
hours, because the barometer registered fair. At that moment streams of
chilly rain-water were coursing down across the dial of the barometer,
but it registered fair even then. He said--the American did--that it
was the most stationary barometer he had ever seen, and the most
reliable--not vacillating and given to moods, like most barometers, but
fixed and unchangeable in its habits.

I matched it, though, with a thermometer I saw in the early spring of
1913 at a coast resort in southern California. An Eastern tourist would
venture out on the windswept and drippy veranda, of a morning after
breakfast. He would think he was cold. He would have many of the outward
indications of being cold. His teeth would be chattering like a Morse
sounder, and inside his white-duck pants his knees would be knocking
together with a low, muffled sound. He would be so prickled with
gooseflesh that he felt like Saint Sebastian; but he would take a look
at the thermometer--sixty-one in the shade! And such was the power of
mercury and mind combined over matter that he would immediately chirk up
and feel warm.

Not a hundred yards away, at a drug store, was one of those
fickle-minded, variable thermometers, showing a temperature that ranged
from fifty-five on downward to forty; but the hotel thermometer stood
firm at sixty-one, no matter what happened. In a season of trying
climatic conditions it was a great comfort--a boon really--not only to
its owner but to his guests. Speaking personally, however, I have no
need to consult the barometer's face to see what the weather is going to
do, or the thermometer's tube to see what it has done. No person needs
to do so who is favored naturally as I am. I have one of the most
dependable soft corns in the business.

Rome is full of baths--vast ruined ones erected by various emperors and
still bearing their names--such as Caracalla's Baths and Titus' Baths,
and so on. Evidently the ancient Romans were very fond of taking baths.

Other striking dissimilarities between the ancient Romans and the modern
Romans are perceptible at a glance.



Chapter V



When the Seven A.M. Tut-tut leaves for Anywhere

Being desirous of tendering sundry hints and observations to such of my
fellow countrymen as may contemplate trips abroad I shall, with their
kindly permission, devote this chapter to setting forth briefly the
following principles, which apply generally to railroad travel in the
Old World.

First--On the Continent all trains leave at or about seven A.M. and
reach their destination at or about eleven P.M. You may be going a long
distance or a short one--it makes no difference; you leave at seven
and you arrive at eleven. The few exceptions to this rule are of no
consequence and do not count.

Second--A trunk is the most costly luxury known to European travel. If I
could sell my small, shrinking and flat-chested steamer trunk--original
value in New York eighteen dollars and seventy-five cents--for what it
cost me over on the other side in registration fees, excess charges,
mental wear and tear, freightage, forwarding and warehousing bills,
tips, bribes, indulgences, and acts of barratry and piracy, I should
be able to laugh in the income tax's face. In this connection I would
suggest to the tourist who is traveling with a trunk that he begin his
land itinerary in Southern Italy and work northward; thereby, through
the gradual shrinkage in weight, he will save much money on his trunk,
owing to the pleasing custom among the Italian trainhands of prying it
open and making a judicious selection from its contents for personal use
and for gifts to friends and relatives.

Third--For the sake of the experience, travel second class once; after
that travel first class--and try to forget the experience. With the
exception of two or three special-fare, so-called de-luxe trains, first
class over there is about what the service was on an accommodation,
mixed-freight-and-passenger train in Arkansas immediately following the
close of the Civil War.

Fourth--When buying a ticket for anywhere you will receive a cunning
little booklet full of detachable leaves, the whole constituting a
volume about the size and thickness of one of those portfolios of
views that came into popularity with us at the time of the Philadelphia
Centennial. Surrender a sheet out of your book on demand of the
uniformed official who will come through the train at from five to seven
minute intervals. However, he will collect only a sheet every other
trip; on the alternate trips he will merely examine your ticket with the
air of never having seen it before, and will fold it over, and perforate
it with his punching machine and return it to you. By the time you reach
your destination nothing will be left but the cover; but do not cast
this carelessly aside; retain it until you are filing out of the
terminal, when it will be taken up by a haughty voluptuary with
whiskers. If you have not got it you cannot escape. You will have to
go back and live on the train, which is, indeed, a frightful fate to
contemplate.

Fifth--Reach the station half an hour before the train starts and claim
your seat; then tip the guard liberally to keep other passengers out of
your compartment. He has no intention of doing so, but it is customary
for Americans to go through this pleasing formality--and it is expected
of them.

Sixth--Tip everybody on the train who wears a uniform. Be not afraid of
hurting some one's feelings by offering a tip to the wrong person.
There will not be any wrong person. A tip is the one form of insult that
anybody in Europe will take.

Seventh--Before entering the train inhale deeply several times. This
will be your last chance of getting any fresh air until you reach your
destination. For self-defense against the germ life prevailing in the
atmosphere of the unventilated compartments, smoke a German cigar. A
German cigar keeps off any disease except the cholera; it gives you the
cholera.

Eighth--Do not linger on the platform, waiting for the locomotive
whistle to blow, or the bell to ring, or somebody to yell "All aboard!"
If you do this you will probably keep on lingering until the following
morning at seven. As a starting signal the presiding functionary renders
a brief solo on a tiny tin trumpet. One puny warning blast from this
instrument sets the whole train in motion. It makes you think of Gabriel
bringing on the Day of Judgment by tootling on a penny whistle.
Another interesting point: The engine does not say Choo-choo as in our
country--it says Tut-tut.

Ninth--In England, for convenience in claiming your baggage, change your
name to Xenophon or Zymology--there are always about the baggage
such crowds of persons who have the commoner initials, such as T for
Thompson, J for Jones, and S for Smith. When next I go to England my
name will be Zoroaster--Quintus P. Zoroaster.

Tenth--If possible avoid patronizing the so-called refreshment wagons
or dining cars, which are expensive and uniformly bad. Live off the
country. Remember, the country is living off you.



Chapter VI



La Belle France Being the First Stop

Except eighty or ninety other things the British Channel was the most
disappointing thing we encountered in our travels. All my reading on
this subject had led me to expect that the Channel would be very choppy
and that we should all be very seasick. Nothing of the sort befell. The
channel may have been suetty but it was not choppy. The steamer that
ferried us over ran as steadily as a clock and everybody felt as fine as
a fiddle.

A friend of mine whom I met six weeks later in Florence had better luck.
He crossed on an occasion when a test was being made of a device for
preventing seasickness. A Frenchman was the inventor and also the
experimenter. This Frenchman had spent valuable years of his life
perfecting his invention. It resembled a hammock swung between uprights.
The supports were to be bolted to the deck of the ship, and when the
Channel began to misbehave the squeamish passenger would climb into the
hammock and fasten himself in; and then, by a system of reciprocating
oscillations, the hammock would counteract the motion of the ship
and the occupant would rest in perfect comfort no matter how high she
pitched or how deep she rolled. At least such was the theory of the
inventor; and to prove it he offered himself as the subject for the
first actual demonstration.

The result was unexpected. The sea was only moderately rough; but that
patent hammock bucked like a kicking bronco. The poor Frenchman was the
only seasick person aboard--but he was sick enough for the whole crowd.
He was seasick with a Gallic abandon; he was seasick both ways from the
jack, and other ways too. He was strapped down so he could not get out,
which added no little to the pleasure of the occasion for everybody
except himself. When the steamer landed the captain of the boat told
the distressed owner that, in his opinion, the device was not suited for
steamer use. He advised him to rent it to a riding academy.

In crossing from Dover to Calais we had thought we should be going
merely from one country to another; we found we had gone from one world
to another. That narrow strip of uneasy water does not separate two
countries--it separates two planets.

Gone were the incredible stiffness and the incurable honesty of the
race that belonged over yonder on those white chalk cliffs dimly visible
along the horizon. Gone were the phlegm and stolidity of those people
who manifest emotion only on the occasions when they stand up to sing
their national anthem:

                        God save the King!
                     The Queen is doing well!

Gone were the green fields of Sussex, which looked as though they had
been taken in every night and brushed and dry-cleaned and then put down
again in the morning. Gone were the trees that Maxfield Parrish might
have painted, so vivid were they in their burnished green-and-yellow
coloring, so spectacular in their grouping. Gone was the five-franc note
which I had intrusted to a sandwich vender on the railroad platform
in the vain hope that he would come back with the change. After that
clincher there was no doubt about it--we were in La Belle France all
right, all right!

Everything testified to the change. From the pier where we landed, a
small boy, in a long black tunic belted in at his waist, was fishing;
he hooked a little fingerling. At the first tentative tug on his line he
set up a shrill clamor. At that there came running a fat, kindly looking
old priest in a long gown and a shovel hat; and a market woman came,
who had arms like a wrestler and skirts that stuck out like a ballet
dancer's; and a soldier in baggy red pants came; and thirty or forty
others of all ages and sizes came--and they gathered about that small
boy and gave him advice at the top of their voices. And when he yanked
out the shining little silver fish there could not have been more
animation and enthusiasm and excitement if he had landed a full-grown
Presbyterian.

They were still congratulating him when we pulled out and went tearing
along on our way to Paris, scooting through quaint, stone-walled cities,
each one dominated by its crumbly old cathedral; sliding through open
country where the fields were all diked and ditched with small canals
and bordered with poplars trimmed so that each tree looked like a set of
undertaker's whiskers pointing the wrong way.

And in these fields were peasants in sabots at work, looking as
though they had just stepped out of one of Millet's pictures. Even the
haystacks and the scarecrows were different. In England the haystacks
had been geometrically correct in their dimensions--so square and firm
and exact that sections might be sliced off them like cheese, and doors
and windows might be carved in them; but these French haystacks were
devil-may-care haystacks wearing tufts on their polls like headdresses.
The windmills had a rakish air; and the scarecrows in the truck gardens
were debonair and cocky, tilting themselves back on their pins the
better to enjoy the view and fluttering their ragged vestments in a most
jaunty fashion. The land though looked poor--it had a driven, overworked
look to it.

Presently, above the clacking voice of our train, we heard a whining
roar without; and peering forth we beheld almost over our heads a big
monoplane racing with us. It seemed a mighty, winged Thunder Lizard that
had come back to link the Age of Stone with the Age of Air. On second
thought I am inclined to believe the Thunder Lizard did not flourish in
the Stone Age; but if you like the simile as much as I like it we will
just let it stand.

Three times on that trip we saw from the windows of our train aviators
out enjoying the cool of the evening in their airships; and each time
the natives among the passengers jammed into the passageway that flanked
the compartments and speculated regarding the identity of the aviators
and the make of their machines, and argued and shrugged their shoulders
and quarreled and gesticulated. The whole thing was as Frenchy as tripe
in a casserole.

I was wrong, though, a minute ago when I said there remained nothing to
remind us of the right little, tight little island we had just quit; for
we had two Englishmen in our compartment--fit and proper representatives
of a certain breed of Englishman. They were tall and lean, and had the
languid eyes and the long, weary faces and the yellow buck teeth of
weary cart-horses, and they each wore a fixed expression of intense
gloom. You felt sure it was a fixed expression because any person with
such an expression would change it if he could do so by anything short
of a surgical operation. And it was quite evident they had come mentally
prepared to disapprove of all things and all people in a foreign clime.

Silently, but none the less forcibly, they resented the circumstance
that others should be sharing the same compartment with them--or sharing
the same train, either, for that matter. The compartment was full, too,
which made the situation all the more intolerable: an elderly English
lady with a placid face under a mid-Victorian bonnet; a young, pretty
woman who was either English or American; the two members of my party,
and these two Englishmen.

And when, just as the train was drawing out of Calais, they discovered
that the best two seats, which they had promptly preempted, belonged
to others, and that the seats for which they held reservations
faced rearward, so that they must ride with their backs to the
locomotive--why, that irked them sore and more. I imagine they wrote a
letter to the London Times about it afterward.

As is the pleasing habit of traveling Englishmen, they had brought with
them everything portable they owned. Each one had four or five large
handbags, and a carryall, and a hat box, and his tea-caddy, and his
plaid blanket done up in a shawlstrap, and his framed picture of the
Death of Nelson--and all the rest of it; and they piled those things in
the luggage racks until both the racks were chock-full; so the rest of
us had to hold our baggage in our laps or sit on it. One of them was
facing me not more than five or six feet distant. He never saw me
though. He just gazed steadily through me, studying the pattern of the
upholstery on the seat behind me; and I could tell by his look that he
did not care for the upholstering--as very naturally he would not, it
being French.

We had traveled together thus for some hours when one of them began to
cloud up for a sneeze. He tried to sidetrack it, but it would not be
sidetracked. The rest of us, looking on, seemed to hear that sneeze
coming from a long way off. It reminded me of a musical-sketch team
giving an imitation of a brass band marching down Main Street playing
the Turkish Patrol--dim and faint at first, you know, and then growing
louder and stronger, and gathering volume until it bursts right in your
face.

Fascinated, we watched his struggles. Would he master it or would it
master him? But he lost, and it was probably a good thing he did. If he
had swallowed that sneeze it would have drowned him. His nose jibed and
went about; his head tilted back farther and farther; his countenance
expressed deep agony, and then the log jam at the bend in his nose went
out with a roar and he let loose the moistest, loudest kerswoosh! that
ever was, I reckon.

He sneezed eight times. The first sneeze unbuttoned his waistcoat, the
second unparted his hair, and the third one almost pulled his shoes off;
and after that they grew really violent, until the last sneeze shifted
his cargo and left him with a list to port and his lee scuppers awash.
It made a ruin of him--the Prophet Isaiah could not have remained
dignified wrestling with a sneezing bee of those dimensions--but oh, how
it did gladden the rest of us to behold him at the mercy of the elements
and to note what a sodden, waterlogged wreck they made of him!

It was not long after that before we had another streak of luck.
The train jolted over something and a hat fell down from the topmost
pinnacle of the mountain of luggage above and hit his friend on the
nose. We should have felt better satisfied if it had been a coal
scuttle; but it was a reasonably hard and heavy hat and it hit him brim
first on the tenderest part of his nose and made his eyes water, and we
were grateful enough for small blessings. One should not expect too much
of an already overworked Providence.

The rest of us were still warm and happy in our souls when, without any
whistle-tooting or bell-clanging or station-calling, we slid silently,
almost surreptitiously, into the Gare du Nord, at Paris. Neither in
England nor on the mainland does anyone feel called on to notify you
that you have reached your destination.

It is like the old formula for determining the sex of a pigeon--you give
the suspected bird some corn, and if he eats it he is a he; but if she
eats it she is a she. In Europe if it is your destination you get off,
and if it is not your destination you stay on. On this occasion we
stayed on, feeling rather forlorn and helpless, until we saw that
everyone else had piled off. We gathered up our belongings and piled off
too.

By that time all the available porters had been engaged; so we took up
our luggage and walked. We walked the length of the trainshed--and then
we stepped right into the recreation hall of the State Hospital for the
Criminal Insane, at Matteawan, New York. I knew the place instantly,
though the decorations had been changed since I was there last. It was
a joy to come on a home institution so far from home--joysome, but a
trifle disconcerting too, because all the keepers had died or gone on
strike or something; and the lunatics, some of them being in uniform
and some in civilian dress, were leaping from crag to crag, uttering
maniacal shrieks.

Divers lunatics, who had been away and were just getting back, and
sundry lunatics who were fixing to go away and apparently did not expect
ever to get back, were dashing headlong into the arms of still other
lunatics, kissing and hugging them, and exchanging farewells and
sacre-bleuing with them in the maddest fashion imaginable. From time to
time I laid violent hands on a flying, flitting maniac and detained him
against his will, and asked him for some directions; but the persons to
whom I spoke could not understand me, and when they answered I could not
understand them; so we did not make much headway by that. I could not
get out of that asylum until I had surrendered the covers of our ticket
books and claimed our baggage and put it through the customs office. I
knew that; the trouble was I could not find the place for attending to
these details. On a chance I tried a door, but it was distinctly the
wrong place; and an elderly female on duty there got me out by employing
the universal language known of all peoples. She shook her skirts at me
and said Shoo! So I got out, still toting five or six bags and bundles
of assorted sizes and shapes, and tried all the other doors in sight.

Finally, by a process of elimination and deduction, I arrived at the
right one. To make it harder for me they had put it around a corner
in an elbow-shaped wing of the building and had taken the sign off the
door. This place was full of porters and loud cries. To be on the safe
side I tendered retaining fees to three of the porters; and thus by
the time I had satisfied the customs officials that I had no imported
spirits or playing cards or tobacco or soap, or other contraband goods,
and had cleared our baggage and started for the cabstand, we amounted
to quite a stately procession and attracted no little attention as we
passed along. But the tips I had to hand out before the taxi started
would stagger the human imagination if I told you the sum total.

There are few finer things than to go into Paris for the first time on a
warm, bright Saturday night. At this moment I can think of but one finer
thing--and that is when, wearied of being short-changed and bilked and
double-charged, and held up for tips or tribute at every step, you are
leaving Paris on a Saturday night--or, in fact, any night.

Those first impressions of the life on the boulevards are going to stay
in my memory a long, long time--the people, paired off at the tables
of the sidewalk cafes, drinking drinks of all colors; a little shopgirl
wearing her new, cheap, fetching hat in such a way as to center public
attention on her head and divert it from her feet, which were shabby;
two small errand boys in white aprons, standing right in the middle of
the whirling, swirling traffic, in imminent peril of their lives, while
one lighted his cigarette butt from the cigarette butt of his friend; a
handful of roistering soldiers, singing as they swept six abreast
along the wide, rutty sidewalk; the kiosks for advertising, all thickly
plastered over with posters, half of which should have been in an art
gallery and the other half in a garbage barrel; a well-dressed pair,
kissing in the full glare of a street light; an imitation art student,
got up to look like an Apache, and--no doubt--plenty of real Apaches
got up to look like human beings; a silk-hatted gentleman, stopping
with perfect courtesy to help a bloused workman lift a baby-laden
baby carriage over an awkward spot in the curbing, and the workingman
returning thanks with the same perfect courtesy; our own driver,
careening along in a manner suggestive of what certain East Side friends
of mine would call the Chariot Race from Ben Hirsch; and a stout lady of
the middle class sitting under a cafe awning caressing her pet mole.

To the Belgian belongs the credit of domesticating the formerly
ferocious Belgian hare, and the East Indian fakir makes a friend and
companion of the king cobra; but it remained for those ingenious people,
the Parisians, to tame the mole, which other races have always regarded
as unbeautiful and unornamental, and make a cunning little companion of
it and spend hours stroking its fleece. This particular mole belonging
to the stout middle-aged lady in question was one of the largest moles
and one of the curliest I ever saw. It was on the side of her nose.

You see a good deal of mole culture going on here. Later, with the
reader's permission, we shall return to Paris and look its inhabitants
over at more length; but for the time being I think it well for us to be
on our travels. In passing I would merely state that on leaving a Paris
hotel you will tip everybody on the premises.

Oh, yes--but you will!

Let us move southward. Let us go to Sunny Italy, which is called Sunny
Italy for the same reason that the laughing hyena is called the laughing
hyena--not because he laughs so frequently, but because he laughs so
seldom. Let us go to Rome, the Eternal City, sitting on her Seven Hills,
remembering as we go along that the currency has changed and we no
longer compute sums of money in the franc but in the lira. I regret the
latter word is not pronounced as spelled--it would give me a chance to
say that the common coin of Italy is a lira, and that nearly everybody
in Rome is one also.



Chapter VII



Thence On and On to Verbotenland

Ah, Rome--the Roma of the Ancients--the Mistress of the Olden World--the
Sacred City! Ah, Rome, if only your stones could speak! It is customary
for the tourist, taking his cue from the guidebooks, to carry on like
this, forgetting in his enthusiasm that, even if they did speak, they
would doubtless speak Italian, which would leave him practically where
he was before. And so, having said it myself according to formula, I
shall proceed to state the actual facts:

If, coming forth from a huge and dirty terminal, you emerge on a
splendid plaza, miserably paved, and see a priest, a soldier and a
beggar; a beautiful child wearing nothing at all to speak of, and a
hideous old woman with the eyes of a Madonna looking out of a tragic
mask of a face; a magnificent fountain, and nobody using the water, and
a great, overpowering smell--yes, you can see a Roman smell; a cart
mule with ten dollars' worth of trappings on him, and a driver with ten
cents' worth on him; a palace like a dream of stone, entirely surrounded
by nightmare hovels; a new, shiny, modern apartment house, and
shouldering up against it a cankered rubbish heap that was once the
playhouse of a Caesar, its walls bearded like a pard's face with tufted
laurel and splotched like a brandy drunkard's with red stains; a church
that is a dismal ruin without and a glittering Aladdin's Cave of gold
and gems and porphyry and onyx within; a wide and handsome avenue
starting from one festering stew of slums and ending in another
festering stew of slums; a grimed and broken archway opening on a lovely
hidden courtyard where trees are green and flowers bloom, and in the
center there stands a statue which is worth its weight in minted silver
and which carries more than its weight in dirt--if in addition everybody
in sight is smiling and good-natured and happy, and is trying to sell
you something or wheedle you out of something, or pick your pocket of
something--you need not, for confirmatory evidence, seek the vast dome
of St. Peter's rising yonder in the distance, or the green tops of the
cedars and the dusky clumps of olive groves on the hillsides beyond--you
know you are in Rome.

To get the correct likeness of Naples we merely reduce the priests by
one-half and increase the beggars by two-thirds; we richen the color
masses, thicken the dirt, raise the smells to the Nth degree, and set
half the populace to singing. We establish in every second doorway a
mother with her offspring tucked between her knees and forcibly held
there while the mother searches the child's head for a flea; anyhow, it
is more charitable to say it is a flea; and we add a special touch of
gorgeousness to the street pictures.

For here a cart is a glory of red tires and blue shafts, and green hubs
and pink body and purple tailgate, with a canopy on it that would have
suited Sheba's Queen; and the mule that draws the cart is caparisoned in
brass and plumage like a circus pony; and the driver wears a broad red
sash, part of a shirt, and half of a pair of pants--usually the front
half. With an outfit such as that, you feel he should be peddling aurora
borealises, or, at the very least, rainbows. It is a distinct shock to
find he has only chianti or cheeses or garbage in stock.

In Naples, also, there is, even in the most prosaic thing, a sight to
gladden your eye if you but hold your nose while you look on it. On the
stalls of the truckvenders the cauliflowers and the cabbages are racked
up with an artistic effect we could scarcely equal if we had roses and
orchids to work with; the fishmonger's cart is a study in still life,
and the tripe is what artists call a harmonious interior.

Nearly all the hotels in Italy are converted palaces. They may have
been successes as palaces, but, with their marble floors and their
high ceilings, and their dank, dark corridors, they distinctly fail to
qualify as hotels. I should have preferred them remaining unsaved and
sinful. I likewise observed a peculiarity common to hotelkeepers in
Italy--they all look like cats. The proprietor of the converted palace
where we stopped in Naples was the very image of a tomcat we used to
own, named Plutarch's Lives, which was half Maltese and half Mormon.
He was a cat that had a fine carrying voice--though better adapted for
concert work than parlor singing--and a sweetheart in every port. This
hotelkeeper might have been the cat's own brother with clothes on--he
had Plute's roving eye and his bristling whiskers and his sharp white
teeth, and Plute's silent, stealthy tread, and his way of purring softly
until he had won your confidence and then sticking his claw into you.
The only difference was, he stuck you with a bill instead of a claw.

Another interesting idiosyncrasy of the Italian hotelkeeper is that he
invariably swears to you his town is the only honest town in Italy, but
begs you to beware of the next town which, he assures you with his hand
on the place where his heart would be if he had a heart, is full of
thieves and liars and counterfeit money and pickpockets. Half of what he
tells you is true--the latter half.

The tourist agencies issue pamphlets telling how you may send money or
jewelry by registered mail in Italy, and then append a footnote warning
you against sending money or jewelry by registered mail in Italy.
Likewise you are constantly being advised against carrying articles
of value in your trunk, unless it is most carefully locked, bolted and
strapped. It is good advice too.

An American I met on the boat coming home told me he failed to take such
precautions while traveling in Italy; and he said that when he reached
the Swiss border his trunk was so light he had to sit on it to keep it
from blowing off the bus on the way from the station to the hotel, and
so empty that when he opened it at both ends the draft whistling through
it gave him a bad cold. However, he may have exaggerated slightly.

If you can forget that you are paying first-class prices for fourth-rate
accommodations--forget the dirt in the carriages and the smells in the
compartments--a railroad journey through the Italian Peninsula is a
wonderful experience. I know it was a wonderful experience for me.

I shall not forget the old walled towns of stone perched precariously on
the sloping withers of razorbacked mountains--towns that were old when
the Saviour was born; or the ancient Roman aqueducts, all pocked and
pecked with age, looping their arches across the land for miles on
miles; or the fields, scored and scarified by three thousand years of
unremitting, relentless, everlasting agriculture; or the wide-horned
Italian cattle that browsed in those fields; or yet the woman who darted
to the door of every signal-house we passed and came to attention, with
a long cudgel held flat against her shoulder like a sentry's musket.

I do not know why a woman should exhibit an overgrown broomstick when
an Italian train passes a flag station, any more than I know why, when a
squad of Paris firemen march out of the engine house for exercise, they
should carry carbines and knapsacks. I only know that these things are
done.

In Tuscany the vineyards make a fine show, for the vines are trained
to grow up from the ground and then are bound into streamers and draped
from one fruit tree or one shade tree to another, until a whole hillside
becomes one long, confusing vista of leafy festoons. The thrifty owner
gets the benefit of his grapes and of his trees, and of the earth below,
too, for there he raises vegetables and grains, and the like. Like
everything else in this land, the system is an old one. I judge it was
old enough to be hackneyed when Horace wrote of it:

            Now each man, basking on his slopes,
             Weds to his widowed tree the vine;
             Then, as he gayly quaffs his wine,
             Salutes thee god of all his hopes.

Classical quotations interspersed here and there are wonderful helps to
a guide book, don't you think?

In rural Italy there are two other scenic details that strike the
American as being most curious--one is the amazing prevalence of family
washing, and the other is the amazing scarcity of birdlife. To himself
the traveler says:

"What becomes of all this intimate and personal display of family
apparel I see fluttering from the front windows of every house in this
country? Everybody is forever washing clothes but nobody ever wears it
after it is washed. And what has become of all the birds?"

For the first puzzle there is no key, but the traveler gets the answer
to the other when he passes a meat-dealer's shop in the town and sees
spread on the stalls heaps of pitiably small starlings and sparrows and
finches exposed for sale. An Italian will cook and eat anything he can
kill that has wings on it, from a cassowary to a katydid.

Thinking this barbarity over, I started to get indignant; but just
in time I remembered what we ourselves have done to decimate the
canvas-back duck and the wild pigeon and the ricebird and the
red-worsted pulse-warmer, and other pleasing wild creatures of the
earlier days in America, now practically or wholly extinct. And I felt
that before I could attend to the tomtits in my Italian brother's eye I
must needs pluck a few buffaloes out of my own; so I decided, in view of
those things, to collect myself and endeavor to remain perfectly calm.

We came into Venice at the customary hour--to wit, eleven P.M.--and had
a real treat as our train left the mainland and went gliding far out,
seemingly right through the placid Adriatic, to where the beaded
lights of Venice showed like a necklace about the withered throat of a
long-abandoned bride, waiting in the rags of her moldered wedding finery
for a bridegroom who comes not.

Better even than this was the journey by gondola from the terminal
through narrow canals and under stone bridges where the water lapped
with little mouthing tongues at the walls, and the tall, gloomy
buildings almost met overhead, so that only a tiny strip of
star-buttoned sky showed between. And from dark windows high up came the
tinkle of guitars and the sound of song pouring from throats of silver.
And so we came to our hotel, which was another converted palace; but
baptism is not regarded as essential to salvation in these parts.

On the whole, Venice did not impress me as it has impressed certain
other travelers. You see, I was born and raised in one of those Ohio
Valley towns where the river gets emotional and temperamental every year
or two. In my youth I had passed through several of these visitations,
when the family would take the family plate and the family cow, and
other treasures, and retire to the attic floor to wait for the spring
rise to abate; and when really the most annoying phase of the situation
for a housekeeper, sitting on the top landing of his staircase watching
the yellow wavelets lap inch by inch over the keys of the piano, and
inch by inch climb up the new dining-room wallpaper, was to hear a
knocking at a front window upstairs and go to answer it and find that
Moscoe Burnett had come in a john-boat to collect the water tax.

The Grand Canal did not stir me as it has stirred some--so far back as
'84 I could remember when Jefferson Street at home looked almost exactly
like that.

Going through the Austrian Tyrol, between Vienna and Venice, I met two
old and dear friends in their native haunts--the plush hat and the hot
dog. When such a thing as this happens away over on the other side of
the globe it helps us to realize how small a place this world is after
all, and how closely all peoples are knitted together in common bonds of
love and affection. The hot dog, as found here, is just as we know
him throughout the length and breadth of our own land--a dropsical
Wienerwurst entombed in the depths of a rye-bread sandwich, with a dab
of horse-radish above him to mark his grave; price, creation over, five
cents the copy.

The woolly plush hat shows no change either, except that if anything
it is slightly woollier in the Alps than among us. As transplanted,
the dinky little bow at the back is an affectation purely--but in these
parts it is logical and serves a practical and a utilitarian purpose,
because the mountain byways twist and turn and double, and the local
beverages are potent brews; and the weary mountaineer, homeward-bound
afoot at the close of a market day, may by the simple expedient of
reaching up and fingering his bow tell instantly whether he is going or
coming.

This is also a great country for churches. Every group of chalets that
calls itself a village has at least one long-spired gray church in its
midst, and frequently more than one. In one sweep of hillside view from
our car window I counted seven church steeples. I do not think it was a
particularly good day for churches either; I wished I might have passed
through on a Sunday, when they would naturally be thicker.

Along this stretch of railroad the mountaineers come to the stations
wearing the distinctive costume of their own craggy and slabsided
hills--the curling pheasant feather in the hatbrim; the tight-fitting
knee-breeches; the gaudy stockings; and the broad-suspendered belt with
rows of huge brass buttons spangling it up and down and crosswise. Such
is your pleasure at finding these quaint habiliments still in use
amid settings so picturesque that you buy freely of the fancy-dressed
individual's wares--for he always has something to sell.

And then as your train pulls out, if by main force and awkwardness you
jam a window open, as I did, and cast your eyes rearward for a farewell
peek, as I did, you will behold him, as I did, pulling off his parade
clothes and climbing into the blue overalls and the jean jumpers of
prosaic civilization, to wait until the next carload lot of foreign
tourists rolls in. The European peasant is indeed a simple, guileless
creature--if you are careless about how you talk.

In this district and on beyond, the sight of women doing the bulk of
the hard and dirty farmwork becomes common. You see women plowing; women
hoeing; women carrying incredibly huge bundles of fagots and fodder
on their heads; women hauling heavy carts, sometimes with a straining,
panting dog for a teammate, sometimes unaccompanied except by a stalwart
father or husband, or brother or son, who, puffing a china-bowled pipe,
walks alongside to see that the poor human draft-animals do not shirk or
balk, or shy over the traces.

To one coming from a land where no decent man raises his hand against
a woman--except, of course, in self-defense--this is indeed a startling
sight to see; but worse is in store for him when he reaches Bohemia,
on the upper edge of the Austrian Empire. In Bohemia, if there is a
particularly nasty and laborious job to be done, such as spading up
manure in the rain or grubbing sugar-beets out of the half-frozen earth,
they wish it on the dear old grandmother. She always seemed to me to be
a grandmother--or old enough for one anyway. Perhaps, though, it is the
life they lead, and not the years, that bends the backs of these women
and thickens their waists and mats their hair and turns their feet into
clods and their hands into swollen, red monstrosities.

Surely the Walrus, in Alice in Wonderland, had Germany in mind when he
said the time had come to speak of cabbages and kings--because Germany
certainly does lead the known world in those two commodities. Everywhere
in Germany you see them--the cabbages by the millions and the billions,
growing rank and purple in the fields and giving promise of the time
when they will change from vegetable to vine and become the fragrant and
luscious trailing sauerkraut; but the kings, in stone or bronze, stand
up in the marketplace or the public square, or on the bridge abutment,
or just back of the brewery, in every German city and town along the
route.

By these surface indications alone the most inexperienced traveler would
know he had reached Germany, even without the halt at the custom house
on the border; or the crossing watchman in trim uniform jumping to
attention at every road-crossing; or the beautifully upholstered,
handswept state forests; or the hedges of willow trees along the
brooks, sticking up their stubby, twiggy heads like so many disreputable
hearth-brooms; or the young grain stretching in straight rows
crosswise of the weedless fields and looking, at a distance, like
fair green-printed lines evenly spaced on a wide brown page. Also, one
observes everywhere surviving traces that are unmistakable of the
reign of that most ingenious and wideawake of all the earlier rulers of
Germany, King Verboten the Great.

In connection with the life and works of this distinguished ruler is
told an interesting legend well worthy of being repeated here. It would
seem that King Verboten was the first crowned head of Europe to learn
the value of keeping his name constantly before the reading public.
Rameses the Third of Egypt--that enterprising old constant advertiser
who swiped the pyramids of all his predecessors and had his own name
engraved thereon--had been dead for many centuries and was forgotten
when Verboten mounted the throne, and our own Teddy Roosevelt would not
be born for many centuries yet to come; so the idea must have occurred
to King Verboten spontaneously, as it were. Therefore he took counsel
with himself, saying:

"I shall now erect statues to myself. Dynasties change and wars rage,
and folks grow fickle and tear down statues. None of that for your Uncle
Dudley K. Verboten! No; this is what I shall do: On every available site
in the length and breadth of this my realm I shall stick up my name;
and, wherever possible, near to it I shall engrave or paint the names
of my two favorite sons, Ausgang and Eingang--to the end that, come what
may, we shall never be forgotten in the land of our birth."

And then he went and did it; and it was a thorough job--so thorough a
job that, to this good year of our Lord you may still see the name of
that wise king everywhere displayed in Germany--on railroad stations and
in railroad trains; on castle walls and dead walls and brewery walls,
and the back fence of the Young Ladies' High School. And nearly always,
too, you will find hard by, over doors and passageways, the names of
his two sons, each accompanied or underscored by the heraldic emblem of
their house--a barbed and feathered arrow pointing horizontally.

And so it was that King Verboten lived happily ever after and in the
fullness of time died peacefully in his bed, surrounded by his wives,
his children and his courtiers; and all of them sorrowed greatly and
wept, but the royal signpainter sorrowed most of all.

I know that certain persons will contest the authenticity of this
passage of history; they will claim Verboten means in our tongue
Forbidden, and that Ausgang means Outgoing, and Eingang means
Incoming--or, in other words, Exit and Entrance; but surely this could
not be so. If so many things were forbidden, a man in Germany would be
privileged only to die--and probably not that, unless he died according
to a given formula; and certainly no human being with the possible
exception of the comedian who used to work the revolving-door trick
in Hanlon's Fantasma, could go out of and come into a place so often
without getting dizzy in the head. No--the legend stands as stated.

Even as it is, there are rules enough in Germany, rules to regulate all
things and all persons. At first, to the stranger, this seems an
irksome arrangement--this posting of rules and orders and directions and
warnings everywhere--but he finds that everyone, be he high or low, must
obey or go to jail; there are no exceptions and no evasions; so that
what is a duty on all is a burden on none.

Take the trains, for example. Pretty much all over the Continent the
railroads are state-owned and state-run, but only in Germany are they
properly run. True, there are so many uniformed officials aboard
a German train that frequently there is barely room for the paying
travelers to squeeze in; but the cars are sanitary and the schedule
is accurately maintained, and the attendants are honest and polite and
cleanly of person--wherein lies another point of dissimilarity between
them and those scurvy, musty, fusty brigands who are found managing and
operating trains in certain nearby countries.

I remember a cup of coffee I had while going from Paris to Berlin. It
was made expressly for me by an invalided commander-in-chief of the
artillery corps of the imperial army--so I judged him to be by his
costume, air and general deportment--who was in charge of our carriage
and also of the small kitchen at the far end of it.

He came into our compartment and bowed and clicked his heels together
and saluted, and wanted to know whether I would take coffee. Recklessly
I said I would. He filled in several blanks of a printed form, and went
and cooked the coffee and brought it back, pausing at intervals as he
came along to fill in other blanks. Would I take cream in my coffee? I
would; so he filled in a couple of blanks. Would I take sugar? I said I
would take two lumps. He put in two lumps and filled in another blank.

I really prefer my coffee with three lumps in it; but I noticed that
his printed form was now completely filled in, and I hated to call for
a third lump and put him to the trouble of starting his literary labors
all over again. Besides, by that time the coffee would be cold. So I
took it as it was--with two lumps only--and it was pretty fair coffee
for European coffee. It tasted slightly of the red tape and the chicory,
but it was neatly prepared and promptly served.

And so, over historic streams no larger than creeks would be in America,
and by castles and cabbages and kings and cows, we came to Berlin;
and after some of the other Continental cities Berlin seemed a mighty
restful spot to be in, and a good one to tarry in awhile. It has few
historical associations, has Berlin, but we were loaded to the gills
with historical associations by now. It does not excel greatly in
Old Masters, but we had already gazed with a languid eye upon several
million Old Masters of all ages, including many very young ones. It has
no ancient monuments and tombs either, which is a blessing. Most of the
statuary in Berlin is new and shiny and provided with all the modern
conveniences--the present kaiser attended competently to that detail.
Wherever, in his capital, there was space for a statue he has stuck up
one in memory of a member of his own dynasty, beginning with a statue
apiece for such earlier rulers as Otho the Oboe-Player, and Joachim,
surnamed the Half-a-Ton--let some one correct me if I have the names
wrong--and finishing up with forty or fifty for himself. That is, there
were forty or fifty of him when I was there. There are probably more
now.

In its essentials Berlin suggests a progressive American city, with
Teutonic trimmings. Conceive a bit of New York, a good deal of Chicago,
a scrap of Denver, a slice of Hoboken, and a whole lot of Milwaukee;
conceive this combination as being scoured every day until it shines;
conceive it as beautifully though somewhat profusely governed, and
laid out with magnificent drives, and dotted with big, handsome public
buildings, and full of reasonably honest and more than reasonably kindly
people--and you have Berlin.

It was in Berlin that I picked up the most unique art treasure I found
anywhere on my travels--a picture of the composer Verdi that looked
exactly like Uncle Joe Cannon, without the cigar; whereas Uncle Joe
Cannon does not look a thing in the world like Verdi, and probably
wouldn't if he could.

I have always regretted that our route through the German Empire took
us across the land of the Hessians after dark, for I wanted to see those
people. You will recollect that when George the Third, of England, first
put into actual use the doctrine of Hands Across the Sea he used the
Hessians.

They were hired hands.



Chapter VIII



A Tale of a String-bean

It was at a small dinner party in a home out in Passy--which is to Paris
what Flatbush is to Brooklyn--that the event hereinafter set forth
came to pass. Our host was an American who had lived abroad a good many
years; and his wife, our hostess, was a French woman as charming as she
was pretty and as pretty as she could be.

The dinner was going along famously. We had hors-d'oeuvres, the soup
and the hare--all very tasty to look on and very soothing to the palate.
Then came the fowl, roasted, of course--the roast fowl is the national
bird of France--and along with the fowl something exceedingly appetizing
in the way of hearts of lettuce garnished with breasts of hothouse
tomatoes cut on the bias.

When we were through with this the servants removed the debris and
brought us hot plates. Then, with the air of one conferring a real treat
on us, the butler bore around a tureen arrangement full of smoking-hot
string-beans. When it came my turn I helped myself--copiously--and
waited for what was to go with the beans. A pause ensued--to my
imagination an embarrassed pause. Seeking a cue I glanced down the
table and back again. There did not appear to be anything to go with the
beans. The butler was standing at ease behind his master's chair--ease
for a butler, I mean--and the other guests, it seemed to me, were
waiting and watching. To myself I said:

"Well, sir, that butler certainly has made a J. Henry Fox Pass of
himself this trip! Here, just when this dinner was getting to be one of
the notable successes of the present century, he has to go and derange
the whole running schedule by serving the salad when he should have
served the beans, and the beans when he should have served the salad.
It's a sickening situation; but if I can save it I'll do it. I'll be
well bred if it takes a leg!"

So, wearing the manner of one who has been accustomed all his life
to finishing off his dinner with a mess of string-beans, I used my
putting-iron; and from the edge of the fair green I holed out in three.
My last stroke was a dandy, if I do say it myself. The others were
game too--I could see that. They were eating beans as though beans were
particularly what they had come for. Out of the tail of my eye I glanced
at our hostess, sitting next to me on the left. She was placid, calm,
perfectly easy. Again addressing myself mentally I said:

"There's a thoroughbred for you! You take a woman who got prosperous
suddenly and is still acutely suffering from nervous culture, and if
such a shipwreck had occurred at her dinner table she'd be utterly
prostrated by now--she'd be down and out--and we'd all be standing back
to give her air; but when they're born in the purple it shows in
these big emergencies. Look at this woman now--not a ripple on the
surface--balmy as a summer evening! But in about one hour from now,
Central European time, I can see her accepting that fool butler's
resignation before he's had time to offer it!"

After the beans had been cleared off the right-of-way we had the dessert
and the cheese and the coffee and the rest of it. And, as we used to say
in the society column down home when the wife of the largest advertiser
was entertaining, "at a suitable hour those present dispersed to their
homes, one and all voting the affair to have been one of the most
enjoyable occasions among like events of the season." We all knew our
manners--we had proved that.

Personally I was very proud of myself for having carried the thing off
so well but after I had survived a few tables d'hote in France and a
few more in Austria and a great many in Italy, where they do not have
anything at the hotels except tables d'hote, I did not feel quite
so proud. For at this writing in those parts the slender, sylphlike
string-bean is not playing a minor part, as with us. He has the best
spot on the evening bill--he is a headliner. So is the cauliflower; so
is the Brussels sprout; so is any vegetable whose function among our own
people is largely scenic.

Therefore I treasured the memory of this incident and brought it back
with me; and I tell it here at some length of detail because I know how
grateful my countrywomen will be to get hold of it--I know how grateful
they always are when they learn about a new gastronomical wrinkle. Mind
you, I am not saying that the notion is an absolute novelty here. For
all I know to the contrary, prominent hostesses along the Gold Coast
of the United States--Bar Harbor to Palm Beach inclusive--may have been
serving one lone vegetable as a separate course for years and years; but
I feel sure that throughout the interior the disclosure will come as a
pleasant surprise.

The directions for executing this coup are simple and all the deadlier
because they are so simple. The main thing is to invite your chief
opponent as a smart entertainer; you know the one I mean--the woman who
scored such a distinct social triumph in the season of 1912-13 by being
the first woman in town to serve tomato bisque with whipped cream on it.
Have her there by all means. Go ahead with your dinner as though naught
sensational and revolutionary were about to happen. Give them in proper
turn the oysters, the fish, the entree, the bird, the salad. And then,
all by itself, alone and unafraid, bring on a dab of string-beans.

Wait until you see the whites of their eyes, and aim and fire at
will. Settle back then, until the first hushed shock has somewhat
abated--until your dazed and suffering rival is glaring about in a
well-bred but flustered manner, looking for something to go with the
beans. Hold her eye while you smile a smile that is compounded of equal
parts--superior wisdom, and gentle contempt for her ignorance--and then
slowly, deliberately, dip a fork into the beans on your plate and go to
it.

Believe me, it cannot lose. Before breakfast time the next morning every
woman who was at that dinner will either be sending out invitations for
a dinner of her own and ordering beans, or she will be calling up her
nearest and best friend on the telephone to spread the tidings. I figure
that the intense social excitement occasioned in this country a few
years ago by the introduction of Russian salad dressing will be as
nothing in comparison.

This stunt of serving the vegetable as a separate course was one of the
things I learned about food during our flittings across Europe, but it
was not the only thing I learned--by a long shot it was not. For example
I learned this--and I do not care what anybody else may say to the
contrary either--that here in America we have better food and more
different kinds of food, and food better cooked and better served than
the effete monarchies of the Old World ever dreamed of. And, quality
and variety considered, it costs less here, bite for bite, than it costs
there.

Food in Germany is cheaper than anywhere else almost, I reckon; and,
selected with care and discrimination, a German dinner is an excellently
good dinner. Certain dishes in England--and they are very certain, for
you get them at every meal--are good, too, and not overly expensive.
There are some distinctive Austrian dishes that are not without their
attractions either. Speaking by and large, however, I venture the
assertion that, taking any first-rate restaurant in any of the larger
American cities and balancing it off against any establishment of like
standing in Europe, the American restaurant wins on cuisine, service,
price, flavor and attractiveness.

Centuries of careful and constant press-agenting have given French
cookery much of its present fame. The same crafty processes of
publicity, continued through a period of eight or nine hundred
years, have endowed the European scenic effects with a glamour and an
impressiveness that really are not there, if you can but forget the
advertising and consider the proposition on its merits.

Take their rivers now--their historic rivers, if you please. You are
traveling--heaven help you--on a Continental train. Between spells of
having your ticket punched or torn apart, or otherwise mutilated; and
getting out at the border to see your trunks ceremoniously and solemnly
unloaded and unlocked, and then as ceremoniously relocked and reloaded
after you have conferred largess on everybody connected with the
train, the customs regulations being mainly devised for the purpose of
collecting not tariff but tips--between these periods, which constitute
so important a feature of Continental travel--you come, let us say, to a
stream.

It is a puny stream, as we are accustomed to measure streams, boxed
in by stone walls and regulated by stone dams, and frequently it is
mud-colored and, more frequently still, runs between muddy banks. In the
West it would probably not even be dignified with a regular name, and in
the East it would be of so little importance that the local congressman
would not ask an annual appropriation of more than half a million
dollars for the purposes of dredging, deepening and diking it. But even
as you cross it you learn that it is the Tiber or the Arno, the Elbe or
the Po; and, such is the force of precept and example, you immediately
get all excited and worked up over it.

English rivers are beautiful enough in a restrained, well-managed,
landscape-gardened sort of way; but Americans do not enthuse over an
English river because of what it is in itself, but because it happens
to be the Thames or the Avon--because of the distinguished characters in
history whose names are associated with it.

Hades gets much of its reputation the same way.

I think of one experience I had while touring through what we had
learned to call the Dachshund District. Our route led us alongside a
most inconsequential-looking little river. Its contents seemed a trifle
too liquid for mud and a trifle too solid for water. On the nearer bank
was a small village populated by short people and long dogs. Out in
midstream, making poor headway against the semi-gelid current, was
a little flutter-tailed steamboat panting and puffing violently and
kicking up a lather of lacy spray with its wheelbuckets in a manner to
remind you of a very warm small lady fanning herself with a very large
gauze fan, and only getting hotter at the job.

In America that stream would have been known as Mink Creek or Cassidy's
Run, or by some equally poetic title; but when I found out it was
the Danube--no less--I had a distinct thrill. On closer examination I
discovered it to be a counterfeit thrill; but nevertheless, I had it.

What applies in the main to the scenery applies in the main to the food.
France has the reputation of breeding the best cooks in the world--and
maybe she does; but when you are calling in France you find most of them
out. They have emigrated to America, where a French chef gets more money
in one year for exercising his art--and gets it easier--than he could
get in ten years at home--and is given better ingredients to cook with
than he ever had at home.

The hotel in Paris at which we stopped served good enough meals, all of
them centering, of course, round the inevitable poulet roti; but it took
the staff an everlastingly long time to bring the food to you. If you
grew reckless and ordered anything that was not on the bill it upset the
entire establishment; and before they calmed down and relayed it in to
you it was time for the next meal. Still, I must say we did not mind
the waiting; near at hand a fascinating spectacle was invariably on
exhibition.

At the next table sat an Italian countess. Anyhow they told me she was
an Italian countess, and she wore jewelry enough for a dozen countesses.
Every time I beheld her, with a big emerald earring gleaming at either
side of her head, I thought of a Lenox Avenue local in the New York
Subway. However, it was not so much her jewelry that proved such
a fascinating sight as it was her pleasing habit of fetching out a
gold-mounted toothpick and exploring the most remote and intricate
dental recesses of herself in full view of the entire dining room,
meanwhile making a noise like somebody sicking a dog on.

The Europeans have developed public toothpicking beyond anything we
know. They make an outdoor pastime and function of it, whereas we pursue
this sport more or less privately. Over there, a toothpick is a family
heirloom and is handed down from one generation to another, and is
operated in company ostentatiously. In its use some Europeans
are absolutely gifted. But then we beat the world at open-air
gum-chewing--so I reckon the honors are about even.

This particular hotel, in common with all other first-class hotels in
Paris, was forgetful about setting forth on its menu the prices of
its best dishes and its special dishes. I take it this arrangement was
devised for the benefit of currency-quilted Americans. A Frenchman asks
the waiter the price of an unpriced dish and then orders something
else; but the American, as a rule, is either too proud or too foolish to
inquire into these details. At home he is beset by a hideous fear that
some waiter will think he is of a mercenary nature; and when he is
abroad this trait in him is accentuated. So, in his carefree American
way, he orders a portion of a dish of an unspecified value; whereupon
the head waiter slips out to the office and ascertains by private
inquiry how large a letter of credit the American is carrying with him,
and comes back and charges him all the traffic will bear.

As for the keeper of a fashionable cafe on a boulevard or in the Rue de
la Paix--well, alongside of him the most rapacious restaurant proprietor
on Broadway is a kindly, Christian soul who is in business for his
health--and not feeling very healthy at that. When you dine at one of
the swagger boulevard places the head waiter always comes, just before
you have finished, and places a display of fresh fruit before you, with
a winning smile and a bow and a gesture, which, taken together, would
seem to indicate that he is extending the compliments of the season and
that the fruit will be on the house; but never did one of the intriguing
scoundrels deceive me. Somewhere, years before, I had read statistics on
the cost of fresh fruit in a Paris restaurant, and so I had a care. The
sight of a bunch of hothouse grapes alone was sufficient to throw me
into a cold perspiration right there at the table; and as for South
African peaches, I carefully walked around them, getting farther away
all the time. A peach was just the same as a pesthouse to me, in Paris.

Alas though! no one had warned me about French oysters, and once--just
once--I ate some, which made two mistakes on my part, one financial and
the other gustatory. They were not particularly flavorous oysters as we
know oysters on this side of the ocean. The French oyster is a small,
copper-tinted proposition, and he tastes something like an indisposed
mussel and something like a touch of biliousness; but he is sufficiently
costly for all purposes. The cafe proprietor cherishes him so highly
that he refuses to vulgarize him by printing the asking price on the
same menu. A person in France desirous of making a really ostentatious
display of his affluence, on finding a pearl in an oyster, would swallow
the pearl and wear the oyster on his shirtfront. That would stamp him as
a person of wealth.

However, I am not claiming that all French cookery is ultra-exorbitant
in price or of excessively low grade. We had one of the surprises of our
lives when, by direction of a friend who knew Paris, we went to a
little obscure cafe that was off the tourist route and therefore--as
yet--unspoiled and uncommercialized. This place was up a back street
near one of the markets; a small and smellsome place it was, decorated
most atrociously. In the front window, in close juxtaposition, were a
platter of French snails and a platter of sticky confections full
of dark spots. There was no mistaking the snails for anything except
snails; but the other articles were either currant buns or plain buns
that had been made in an unscreened kitchen.

Within were marble-topped tables of the Louie-Quince period and stuffy
wall-seats of faded, dusty red velvet; and a waiter in his shirtsleeves
was wandering about with a sheaf of those long French loaves tucked
under his arm like golf sticks, distributing his loaves among the
diners. But somewhere in its mysterious and odorous depths that little
bourgeois cafe harbored an honest-to-goodness cook. He knew a few things
about grilling a pig's knuckle--that worthy person. He could make the
knuckle of a pig taste like the wing of an angel; and what he could do
with a skillet, a pinch of herbs and a calf's sweetbread passed human
understanding.

Certain animals in Europe do have the most delicious diseases
anyway--notably the calf and the goose, particularly the goose of
Strasburg, where the pate de foie gras comes from. The engorged liver
of a Strasburg goose must be a source of joy to all--except its original
owner!

Several times we went back to the little restaurant round the corner
from the market, and each time we had something good. The food we ate
there helped to compensate for the terrific disillusionment awaiting
us when we drove out of Paris to a typical roadside inn, to get some of
that wonderful provincial cookery that through all our reading days we
had been hearing about. You will doubtless recall the description, as
so frequently and graphically dished up by the inspired writers of
travelogue stuff--the picturesque, tumbledown place, where on a cloth of
coarse linen--white like snow--old Marie, her wrinkled face abeam with
hospitality and kindness, places the delicious omelet she has just
made, and brings also the marvelous salad and the perfect fowl, and the
steaming hot coffee fragrant as breezes from Araby the Blest, and the
vin ordinaire that is even as honey and gold to the thirsty throat. You
must know that passage?

We went to see for ourselves. At a distance of half a day's automobile
run from Paris we found an establishment answering to the plans and
specifications. It was shoved jam-up against the road, as is the French
custom; and it was surrounded by a high, broken wall, on which all
manner of excrescences in the shape of tiny dormers and misshapen little
towers hung, like Texas ticks on the ears of a quarantined steer. Within
the wall the numerous ruins that made up the inn were thrown together
any fashion, some facing one way, some facing the other way, and some
facing all ways at once; so that, for the housefly, so numerously
encountered on these premises, it was but a short trip and a merry one
from the stable to the dining room and back again.

Sure enough, old Marie was on the job. Not desiring to be unkind or
unduly critical I shall merely state that as a cook old Marie was what
we who have been in France and speak the language fluently would call la
limite! The omelet she turned out for us was a thing that was very firm
and durable, containing, I think, leather findings, with a sprinkling
of chopped henbane on the top. The coffee was as feeble a counterfeit
as chicory usually is when it is masquerading as coffee, and the vin
ordinaire had less of the vin to it and more of the ordinaire than any
we sampled elsewhere.

Right here let me say this for the much-vaunted vin ordinaire of Europe:
In the end it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder--not like
the ordinary Egyptian adder, but like a patent adder in the office of
a loan shark, which is the worst stinger of the whole adder family. If
consumed with any degree of freedom it puts a downy coat on your tongue
next morning that causes you to think you inadvertently swallowed the
pillow in your sleep. Good domestic wine costs as much in Europe as good
domestic wine costs in America--possibly more than as much.

The souffle potatoes of old Marie were not bad to look on, but I did not
test them otherwise. Even in my own country I do not care to partake of
souffle potatoes unless I know personally the person who blew them
up. So at the conclusion of the repast we nibbled tentatively at
the dessert, which was a pancake with jelly, done in the image of a
medicated bandage but not so tasty as one. And then I paid the check,
which was of august proportions, and we came sadly away, realizing
that another happy dream of youth had been shattered to bits. Only
the tablecloth had been as advertised. It was coarse, but white like
snow--like snow three days old in Pittsburgh.

Yet I was given to understand that was a typical rural French inn
and fully up to the standards of such places; but if the manager of a
roadhouse within half a day's ride of New York or Boston or Philadelphia
served such food to his patrons, at such prices, the sheriff would have
him inside of two months; and everybody would be glad of it too--except
the sheriff. Also, no humane man in this country would ask a
self-respecting cow to camp overnight in such outbuildings as abutted on
the kitchen of this particular inn.

I am not denying that we have in America some pretty bad country hotels,
where good food is most barbarously mistreated and good beds are rare
to find, but we admit our shortcomings in this regard and we deplore
them--we do not shellac them over with a glamour of bogus romance, with
intent to deceive the foreign visitor to our shores. We warn him in
advance of what he may expect and urge him to carry his rations with
him.

It is almost unnecessary to add that old Marie gave us veal and poulet
roti. According to the French version of the story of the Flood only
two animals emerged from the Ark when the waters receded--one was an
immature hen and the other was an adolescent calf. At every meal except
breakfast--when they do not give you anything at all--the French give
you veal and poulet roti. If at lunch you had the poulet roti first and
afterward the veal, why, then at dinner they provide a pleasing variety
by bringing on the veal first and the poulet roti afterward.

The veal is invariably stringy and coated over with weird sauces, and
the poulet never appears at the table in her recognizable members--such
as wings and drumsticks--but is chopped up with a cleaver into cross
sections, and strange-looking chunks of the wreckage are sent to you.
Moreover they cook the chicken in such a way as to destroy its original
taste, and the veal in such a way as to preserve its original taste,
both being inexcusable errors.

Nowhere in the larger Italian cities, except by the exercise of a most
tremendous determination, can you get any real Italian cooking or
any real Italian dishes. At the hotels they feed you on a pale, sad
table-d'hote imitation of French cooking, invariably buttressed with the
everlasting veal and the eternal poulet roti. At the finish of a meal
the waiter brings you, on one plate, two small withered apples and a
bunch of fly-specked sour grapes; and, on another plate, the mortal
remains of some excessively deceased cheese wearing a tinfoil shroud and
appropriately laid out in a small, white, coffin-shaped box.

After this had happened to me several times I told the waiter with
gentle irony that he might as well screw the lid back on the casket and
proceed with the obsequies. I told him I was not one of those morbid
people who love to look on the faces of the strange dead. The funeral
could not get under way too soon to suit me. It seemed to me that this
funeral was already several days overdue. That was what I told him.

In my travels the best place I ever found to get Italian dishes was
a basement restaurant under an old brownstone house on Forty-seventh
Street, in New York. There you might find the typical dishes of Italy--I
defy you to find them in Italy without a search-warrant. However, while
in Italy the tourist may derive much entertainment and instruction from
a careful study of table manners.

In our own land we produce some reasonably boisterous trenchermen, and
some tolerably careless ones too. Several among us have yet to learn
how to eat corn on the ear and at the same time avoid corn in the ear.
A dish of asparagus has been known to develop fine acoustic properties,
and in certain quarters there is a crying need for a sound-proof soup;
but even so, and admitting these things as facts, we are but mere
beginners in this line when compared with our European brethren.

In the caskets of memory I shall ever cherish the picture of a
particularly hairy gentleman, apparently of Russian extraction, who
patronized our hotel in Venice one evening. He was what you might call
a human hazard--a golf-player would probably have thought of him in that
connection. He was eating flour dumplings, using his knife for a niblick
all the way round; and he lost every other shot in a concealed bunker
on the edge of the rough; and he could make more noise sucking his teeth
than some people could make playing on a fife.

There is a popular belief to the effect that the Neapolitan eats his
spaghetti by a deft process of wrapping thirty or forty inches round the
tines of his fork and then lifting it inboard, an ell at a time. This is
not correct. The true Neapolitan does not eat his spaghetti at all--he
inhales it. He gathers up a loose strand and starts it down his throat.
He then respires from the diaphragm, and like a troupe of trained
angleworms that entire mass of spaghetti uncoils itself, gets up off the
plate and disappears inside him--en masse, as it were--and making him
look like a man who is chinning himself over a set of bead portieres.
I fear we in America will never learn to siphon our spaghetti into us
thus. It takes a nation that has practiced deep breathing for centuries.



Chapter IX



The Deadly Poulet Routine

Under the head of European disillusionments I would rate, along with
the vin ordinaire of the French vineyard and inkworks, the barmaid of
Britain. From what you have heard on this subject you confidently expect
the British barmaid to be buxom, blond, blooming, billowy, buoyant--but
especially blond. On the contrary she is generally brunette, frequently
middle-aged, in appearance often fair-to-middling homely, and in manner
nearly always abounding with a stiffness and hauteur that would do
credit to a belted earl, if the belting had just taken place and the
earl was still groggy from the effects of it. Also, she has the notion
of personal adornment that is common in more than one social stratum of
women in England. If she has a large, firm, solid mound of false hair
overhanging her brow like an impending landslide, and at least three
jingly bracelets on each wrist, she considers herself well dressed, no
matter what else she may or may not be wearing.

Often this lady is found presiding over an American bar, which is an
institution now commonly met with in all parts of London. The American
bar of London differs from the ordinary English bar of London in two
respects, namely--there is an American flag draped over the mirror, and
it is a place where they sell all the English drinks and are just out of
all the American ones. If you ask for a Bronx the barmaid tells you
they do not carry seafood in stock and advises you to apply at the
fishmongers'--second turning to the right, sir, and then over the way,
sir--just before you come to the bottom of the road, sir. If you ask for
a Mamie Taylor she gets it confused in her mind with a Sally Lunn and
sends out for yeastcake and a cookbook; and while you are waiting she
will give you a genuine Yankee drink, such as a brandy and soda--or she
will suggest that you smoke something and take a look at the evening
paper.

If you do smoke something, beware--oh, beware!--of the native English
cigar. When rolled between the fingers it gives off a dry, rustling
sound similar to a shuck mattress. For smoking purposes it is also open
to the same criticisms that a shuck mattress is. The flames smolder in
the walls and then burst through in unexpected places, and the smoke
sucks up the airshaft and mushrooms on your top floor; then the deadly
back draft comes and the fatal firedamp, and when the firemen arrive you
are a ruined tenement. Except the German, the French, the Belgian, the
Austrian and the Italian cigar, the English cigar is the worst cigar I
ever saw. I did not go to Spain; they tell me, though, the Spanish cigar
has the high qualifications of badness. Spanish cigars are not really
cigars at all, I hear; they fall into the classification of defective
flues.

Likewise beware of the alleged American cocktail occasionally dispensed,
with an air of pride and accomplished triumph, by the British barmaid
of an American bar. If for purposes of experiment and research you feel
that you must take one, order with it, instead of the customary olive or
cherry, a nice boiled vegetable marrow. The advantage to be derived from
this is that the vegetable marrow takes away the taste of anything else
and does not have any taste of its own.

In the eating line the Englishman depends on the staples. He sticks to
the old standbys. What was good enough for his fathers is good enough
for him--in some cases almost too good. Monotony of victuals does
not distress him. He likes his food to be humdrum; the humdrummer the
better.

Speaking with regard to the whole country, I am sure we have better
beef uniformly in America than in England; but there is at least one
restaurant on the Strand where the roast beef is just a little
bit superior to any other roast beef on earth. English mutton is
incomparable, too, and English breakfast bacon is a joy forever. But it
never seems to occur to an Englishman to vary his diet. I submit samples
of the daily menu:

                 LUNCHEON            DINNER
                 Roast Beef          Boiled Mutton
                 Boiled Mutton       Roast Beef
                 Potatoes, Boiled    Cabbage, Boiled
                 Cabbage, Boiled     Potatoes, Boiled
                 Jam Tart            Custard
                 Custard             Jam Tart
                 Cheese              Coffee
                 Coffee              Cheese
                             TEA!

I know now why an Englishman dresses for dinner--it enables him to
distinguish dinner from lunch.

His regular desserts are worthy of a line. The jam tart is a death-mask
that went wrong and in consequence became morose and heavy of spirit,
and the custard is a soft-boiled egg which started out in life to be a
soft-boiled egg and at the last moment--when it was too late--changed
its mind and tried to be something else.

In the City, where lunching places abound, the steamer works overtime
and the stewpan never rests. There is one place, well advertised
to American visitors, where they make a specialty of their
beefsteak-and-kidney pudding. This is a gummy concoction containing
steak, kidney, mushroom, oyster, lark--and sometimes W and Y. Doctor
Johnson is said to have been very fond of it; this, if true, accounts
for the doctor's disposition. A helping of it weighs two pounds before
you eat it and ten pounds afterward. The kidney is its predominating
influence. The favorite flower of the English is not the primrose. It
is the kidney. Wherever you go, among the restaurants, there is always
somebody operating on a steamed flour dumpling for kidney trouble.

The lower orders are much addicted to a dish known--if I remember the
name aright--by the euphonious title of Toad in the Hole. Toad in the
Hole consists of a full-grown and fragrant sheep's kidney entombed in an
excavated retreat at the heart of a large and powerful onion, and then
cooked in a slow and painful manner, so that the onion and the kidney
may swap perfumes and flavors. These people do not use this combination
for a weapon or for a disinfectant, or for anything else for which it
is naturally purposed; they actually go so far as to eat it. You pass
a cabmen's lunchroom and get a whiff of a freshly opened Toad in the
Hole--and you imagine it is the German invasion starting and wonder why
they are not removing the women and children to a place of safety. All
England smells like something boiling, just as all France smells like
something that needs boiling.

Seemingly the only Londoners who enjoy any extensive variety in their
provender are the slum-dwellers. Out Whitechapel-way the establishment
of a tripe dresser and draper is a sight wondrous to behold, and will
almost instantly eradicate the strongest appetite; but it is not to be
compared with an East End meatshop, where there are skinned sheep faces
on slabs, and various vital organs of various animals disposed about in
clumps and clusters. I was reminded of one of those Fourteenth Street
museums of anatomy--tickets ten cents each; boys under fourteen not
admitted. The East End butcher is not only a thrifty but an inquiring
soul. Until I viewed his shop I had no idea that a sheep could be so
untidy inside; and as for a cow--he finds things in a cow she didn't
know she had.

Breakfast is the meal at which the Englishman rather excels; in fact
England is the only country in Europe where the natives have the
faintest conception of what a regular breakfast is, or should be.
Moreover, it is now possible in certain London hotels for an American to
get hot bread and ice-water at breakfast, though the English round about
look on with undisguised horror as he consumes them, and the manager
only hopes that he will have the good taste not to die on the premises.

It is true that, in lieu of the fresh fruit an American prefers, the
waiter brings at least three kinds of particularly sticky marmalade and,
in accordance with a custom that dates back to the time of the Druids,
spangles the breakfast cloth over with a large number of empty saucers
and plates, which fulfill no earthly purpose except to keep getting in
the way. The English breakfast bacon, however, is a most worthy article,
and the broiled kipper is juicy and plump, and does not resemble a dried
autumn leaf, as our kipper often does. And the fried sole, on which the
Englishman banks his breakfast hopes, invariably repays one for one's
undivided attention. The English boast of their fish; but, excusing
the kipper, they have but three of note--the turbot, the plaice and
the sole. And the turbot tastes like turbot, and the plaice tastes like
fish; but the sole, when fried, is most appetizing.

I have been present when the English gooseberry and the English
strawberry were very highly spoken of, too, but with me this is merely
hearsay evidence; we reached England too late for berries. Happily,
though, we came in good season for the green filbert, which is gathered
in the fall of the year, being known then as the Kentish cobnut. The
Kentish cob beats any nut we have except the paper-shell pecan. The
English postage stamp is also much tastier than ours. The space for
licking is no larger, if as large--but the flavor lasts.

As I said before, the Englishman has no great variety of things to
eat, but he is always eating them; and when he is not eating them he is
swigging tea. Yet in these regards the German excels him. The Englishman
gains a lap at breakfast; but after that first hour the German leaves
him, hopelessly distanced, far in the rear. It is due to his talents in
this respect that the average Berliner has a double chin running all the
way round, and four rolls of fat on the back of his neck, all closely
clipped and shaved, so as to bring out their full beauty and symmetry,
and a figure that makes him look as though an earthquake had shaken
loose everything on the top floor and it all fell through into his
dining room.

Your true Berliner eats his regular daily meals--four in number and all
large ones; and in between times he now and then gathers a bite. For
instance, about ten o'clock in the morning he knocks off for an hour and
has a few cups of hard-boiled coffee and some sweet, sticky pastry with
whipped cream on it. Then about four in the afternoon he browses a
bit, just to keep up his appetite for dinner. This, though, is but a
snack--say, a school of Bismarck herring and a kraut pie, some more
coffee and more cake, and one thing and another--merely a preliminary
to the real food, which will be coming along a little later on. Between
acts at the theater he excuses himself and goes out and prepares his
stomach for supper, which will follow at eleven, by drinking two or
three steins of thick Munich beer, and nibbling on such small tidbits
as a rosary of German sausage or the upper half of a raw Westphalia ham.
There are forty-seven distinct and separate varieties of German sausage
and three of them are edible; but the Westphalia ham, in my judgment, is
greatly overrated. It is pronounced Westfailure with the accent on the
last part, where it belongs.

In Germany, however, there is a pheasant agreeably smothered in young
cabbage which is delicious and in season plentiful. The only drawback
to complete enjoyment of this dish is that the grasping and avaricious
German restaurant keeper has the confounded nerve to charge you, in our
money, forty cents for a whole pheasant and half a peck of cabbage--say,
enough to furnish a full meal for two tolerably hungry adults and a
growing child.

The Germans like to eat and they love a hearty eater. There should
never be any trouble about getting a suitable person to serve us at the
Kaiser's court if the Administration at Washington will but harken to
the voice of experience. To the Germans the late Doctor Tanner would
have been a distinct disappointment in an ambassadorial capacity; but
there was a man who used to live in my congressional district who could
qualify in a holy minute if he were still alive. He was one of Nature's
noblemen, untutored but naturally gifted, and his name was John Wesley
Bass. He was the champion eater of the world, specializing particularly
in eggs on the shell, and cove oysters out of the can, with pepper sauce
on them, and soda crackers on the side.

I regret to be compelled to state, however, that John Wesley is no
more. At one of our McCracken County annual fairs, a few years back, he
succumbed to overambition coupled with a mistake in judgment. After he
had established a new world's record by eating at one sitting five dozen
raw eggs he rashly rode on the steam merry-go-round. At the end of the
first quarter of an hour he fainted and fell off a spotted wooden horse
and never spoke again, but passed away soon after being removed to his
home in an unconscious condition. I have forgotten what the verdict of
the coroner's jury was--the attending physician gave it some fancy Latin
name--but among laymen the general judgment was that our fellow townsman
had just naturally been scrambled to death. It was a pity, too--the
German people would have cared for John Wesley as an ambassador. He
would have eaten his way right into their affections.

We have the word of history for it that Vienna was originally settled by
the Celts, but you would hardly notice it now. On first impressions
you would say that about Vienna there was a noticeable suggestion--a
perceptible trace--of the Teutonic; and this applies to the Austrian
food in the main. I remember a kind of Wiener-schnitzel, breaded, that I
had in Vienna; in fact for the moment I do not seem to recall much else
about Vienna. Life there was just one Wiener-schnitzel after another.

In order to spread sweetness and light, and to the end, furthermore,
that the ignorant people across the salted seas might know something
of a land of real food and much food, and plenty of it and plenty of
variety to it, I would that I might bring an expedition of Europeans to
America and personally conduct it up and down our continent and back and
forth crosswise of it.

And if I had the money of a Carnegie or a Rockefeller I would do it,
too, for it would be a greater act of charity than building public
libraries or endowing public baths. I would include in my party a few
delegates from England, where every day is All Soles' Day; and a few
sausage-surfeited Teutons; and some Gauls, wearied and worn by
the deadly poulet routine of their daily life, and a scattering
representation from all the other countries over there.

In especial I would direct the Englishman's attention to the broiled
pompano of New Orleans; the kingfish filet of New York; the sanddab
of Los Angeles; the Boston scrod of the Massachusetts coast; and that
noblest of all pan fish--the fried crappie of Southern Indiana. To these
and to many another delectable fishling, would I introduce the poor
fellow; and to him and his fellows I fain would offer a dozen apiece of
Smith Island oysters on the half shell.

And I would take all of them to New England for baked beans and brown
bread and codfish balls; but on the way we would visit the shores of
Long Island for a kind of soft clam which first is steamed and then is
esteemed. At Portsmouth, New Hampshire, they should each have a broiled
lobster measuring thirty inches from tip to tip, fresh caught out of the
Piscataqua River.

Vermont should come to them in hospitality and in pity, offering
buckwheat cakes and maple sirup. But Rhode Island would bring a genuine
Yankee blueberry pie and directions for the proper consumption of it,
namely--discarding knife and fork, to raise a crusty, dripping wedge
of blueberry pie in your hand to your mouth, and to take a first
bite, which instantly changes the ground-floor plan of that pie from a
triangle to a crescent; and then to take a second bite, and then to lick
your fingers--and then there isn't any more pie.

Down in Kentucky I should engage Mandy Berry, colored, to fry for them
some spring chickens and make for them a few pones of real cornbread. In
Creole Louisiana they should sample crawfish gumbo; and in Georgia
they should have 'possum baked with sweet potatoes; and in Tidewater
Maryland, terrapin and canvasback; and in Illinois, young gray squirrels
on toast; and in South Carolina, boiled rice with black-eyed peas;
and in Colorado, cantaloupes; and in Kansas, young sweet corn; and in
Virginia, country hams, not cured with chemicals but with hickory smoke
and loving hands; and in Tennessee, jowl and greens.

And elsewhere they should have their whacking fill of prairie hen and
suckling pig and barbecued shote, and sure-enough beefsteak, and
goobers hot from the parching box; and scrapple, and yams roasted in hot
wood-ashes; and hotbiscuit and waffles and Parker house rolls--and
the thousand and one other good things that may be found in this our
country, and which are distinctively and uniquely of this country.

Finally I would bring them back by way of Richmond, and there I would
give them each an eggnog compounded with fresh cream and made according
to a recipe older than the Revolution. If I had my way about it no
living creature should be denied the right to bury his face in a
brimming tumbler of that eggnog--except a man with a drooping red
mustache.

By the time those gorged and converted pilgrims touched the Eastern
seaboard again any one of them, if he caught fire, would burn for about
four days with a clear blue flame, and many valuable packing-house
by-products could be gleaned from his ruins. It would bind us all,
foreigner and native alike, in closer ties of love and confidence,
and it would turn the tide of travel westward from Europe, instead of
eastward from America.

Let's do it sometime--and appoint me conductor of the expedition!



Chapter X



Modes of the Moment; a Fashion Article

Among the furbearing races the adult male of the French species easily
excels. Some fine peltries are to be seen in Italy, and there is a type
of farming Englishman who wears a stiff set of burnishers projecting
out round his face in a circular effect suggestive of a halo that has
slipped down. In connection with whiskers I have heard the Russians
highly commended. They tell me that, from a distance, it is very hard
to distinguish a muzhik from a bosky dell, whereas a grand duke nearly
always reminds one of something tasty and luxuriant in the line of
ornamental arborwork. The German military man specializes in mustaches,
preference being given to the Texas longhorn mustache, and the walrus
and kitty-cat styles. A dehorned German officer is rarely found and a
muley one is practically unknown. But the French lead all the world in
whiskers--both the wildwood variety and the domesticated kind trained
on a trellis. I mention this here at the outset because no Frenchman
is properly dressed unless he is whiskered also; such details properly
appertain to a chapter on European dress.

Probably every freeborn American citizen has at some time in his life
cherished the dream of going to England and buying himself an outfit of
English clothes--just as every woman has had hopes of visiting Paris and
stocking up with Parisian gowns on the spot where they were created, and
where--so she assumes--they will naturally be cheaper than elsewhere.
Those among us who no longer harbor these fancies are the men and women
who have tried these experiments.

After she has paid the tariff on them a woman is pained to note that her
Paris gowns have cost her as much as they would cost her in the United
States--so I have been told by women who have invested extensively in
that direction. And though a man, by the passion of the moment, may
be carried away to the extent of buying English clothes, he usually
discovers on returning to his native land that they are not adapted to
withstand the trying climatic conditions and the critical comments of
press and public in this country. What was contemplated as a triumphal
reentrance becomes a footrace to the nearest ready-made clothing store.

English clothes are not meant for Americans, but for Englishmen to wear:
that is a great cardinal truth which Americans would do well to ponder.
Possibly you have heard that an Englishman's clothes fit him with an
air. They do so; they fit him with a lot of air around the collar and a
great deal of air adjacent to the waistband and through the slack of the
trousers; frequently they fit him with such an air that he is entirely
surrounded by space, as in the case of a vacuum bottle. Once there was
a Briton whose overcoat collar hugged the back of his neck; so they knew
by that he was no true Briton, but an impostor--and they put him out
of the union. In brief, the kind of English clothes best suited for an
American to wear is the kind Americans make.

I knew these things in advance--or, anyway, I should have known them;
nevertheless I felt our trip abroad would not be complete unless I
brought back some London clothes. I took a look at the shop-windows and
decided to pass up the ready-made things. The coat shirt; the shaped
sock; the collar that will fit the neckband of a shirt, and other common
American commodities, seemed to be practically unknown in London.

The English dress shirt has such a dinky little bosom on it that by
rights you cannot refer to it as a bosom at all; it comes nearer to
being what women used to call a guimpe. Every show-window where I
halted was jammed to the gunwales with thick, fuzzy, woolen articles
and inflammatory plaid waistcoats, and articles in crash for tropical
wear--even through the glass you could note each individual crash
with distinctness. The London shopkeeper adheres steadfastly to this
arrangement. Into his window he puts everything he has in his shop
except the customer. The customer is in the rear, with all avenues of
escape expertly fenced off from him by the proprietor and the clerks;
but the stock itself is in the show-window.

There are just two department stores in London where, according to the
American viewpoint, the windows are attractively dressed. One of these
stores is owned by an American, and the other, I believe, is managed
by an American. In Paris there are many shops that are veritable
jewel-boxes for beauty and taste; but these are the small specialty
shops, very expensive and highly perfumed.

The Paris department stores are worse jumbles even than the English
department stores. When there is a special sale under way the bargain
counters are rigged up on the sidewalks. There, in the open air, buyer
and seller will chaffer and bicker, and wrangle and quarrel, and kiss
and make up again--for all the world to see. One of the free sights
of Paris is a frugal Frenchman, with his face extensively haired over,
pawing like a Skye terrier through a heap of marked-down lingerie;
picking out things for the female members of his household to wear--now
testing some material with his tongue; now holding a most personal
article up in the sunlight to examine the fabric--while the wife stands
humbly, dumbly by, waiting for him to complete his selections. So far
as London was concerned, I decided to deny myself any extensive orgy in
haberdashery. From similar motives I did not invest in the lounge suit
to which an Englishman is addicted. I doubted whether it would fit the
lounge we have at home--though, with stretching, it might, at that. My
choice finally fell on an English raincoat and a pair of those baggy
knee breeches such as an Englishman wears when he goes to Scotland for
the moor shooting, or to the National Gallery, or any other damp, misty,
rheumatic place.

I got the raincoat first. It was built to my measure; at least that was
the understanding; but you give an English tailor an inch and he takes
an ell. This particular tailor seemed to labor under the impression that
I was going to use my raincoat for holding large public assemblies or
social gatherings in--nothing that I could say convinced him that I
desired it for individual use; so he modeled it on a generous spreading
design, big at the bottom and sloping up toward the top like a pagoda.
Equipped with guy ropes and a centerpole it would make a first-rate
marquee for a garden party--in case of bad weather the refreshments
could be served under it; but as a raincoat I did not particularly fancy
it. When I put it on I sort of reminded myself of a covered wagon.

Nothing daunted by this I looked up the address of a sporting tailor
in a side street off Regent Street, whose genius was reputed to find an
artistic outlet in knee breeches. Before visiting his shop I disclosed
my purpose to my traveling companion, an individual in whose judgment
and good taste I have ordinarily every confidence, and who has a way of
coming directly to the meat of a subject.

"What do you want with a pair of knee breeches?" inquired this person
crisply.

"Why--er--for general sporting occasions," I replied.

"For instance, what occasions?"

"For golfing," I said, "and for riding, you know. And if I should go
West next year they would come in very handy for the shooting."

"To begin with," said my companion, "you do not golf. The only extensive
riding I have ever heard of your doing was on railway trains. And if
these knee breeches you contemplate buying are anything like the knee
breeches I have seen here in London, and if you should wear them out
West among the impulsive Western people, there would undoubtedly be
a good deal of shooting; but I doubt whether you would enjoy it--they
might hit you!"

"Look here!" I said. "Every man in America who wears duck pants doesn't
run a poultry farm. And the presence of a sailor hat in the summertime
does not necessarily imply that the man under it owns a yacht. I
cannot go back home to New York and face other and older members of the
When-I-Was-in-London Club without some sartorial credentials to show
for my trip. I am firmly committed to this undertaking. Do not seek to
dissuade me, I beg of you. My mind is set on knee breeches and I shan't
be happy until I get them."

So saying I betook myself to the establishment of this sporting
tailor in the side street off Regent Street; and there, without much
difficulty, I formed the acquaintance of a salesman of suave and urbane
manners. With his assistance I picked out a distinctive, not to say
striking, pattern in an effect of plaids. The goods, he said, were made
of the wool of a Scotch sheep in the natural colors. They must have some
pretty fancy-looking sheep in Scotland!

This done, the salesman turned me over to a cutter, who took me to a
small room where incompleted garments were hanging all about like the
quartered carcasses of animals in a butcher shop. The cutter was a
person who dropped his H's and then, catching himself, gathered them
all up again and put them back in his speech--in the wrong places. He
surveyed me extensively with a square and a measuring line, meantime
taking many notes, and told me to come back on the next day but one.

On the day named and at the hour appointed I was back. He had the
garments ready for me. As, with an air of pride, he elevated them for my
inspection, they seemed commodious--indeed, voluminous. I had told him,
when making them, to take all the latitude he needed; but it looked
now as though he had got it confused in his mind with longitude. Those
breeches appeared to be constructed for cargo rather than speed.

With some internal misgivings I lowered my person into them while he
held them in position, and when I had descended as far as I could go
without entirely immuring myself, he buttoned the dewdabs at the knees;
then he went round behind me and cinched them in abruptly, so that of
a sudden they became quite snug at the waistline; the only trouble was
that the waistline had moved close up under my armpits, practically
eliminating about a foot and a half of me that I had always theretofore
regarded as indispensable to the general effect. Right in the middle of
my back, up between my shoulder blades there was a stiff, hard clump of
something that bored into my spine uncomfortably. I could feel it quite
plainly--lumpy and rough.

"Ow's that, sir?" he cheerily asked me, over my shoulder; but it seemed
to me there was a strained, nervous note in his voice. "A bit of all
right--eh, sir?"

"Well," I said, standing on tiptoe in an effort to see over the top,
"you've certainly behaved very generously toward me--I'll say that much.
Midships there appears to be about four or five yards of material I do
not actually need in my business, being, as it happens, neither a harem
favorite nor a professional sackracer. And they come up so high I'm
afraid people will think the gallant coast-guards have got me in a
lifebuoy and are bringing me ashore through the surf."

"You'll be wanting them a bit loose, sir, you know," he interjected,
still snuggling close behind me. "All our gentlemen like them loose."

"Oh, very well," I said; "perhaps these things are mere details.
However, I would be under deep obligations to you if you'd change 'em
from barkentine to schooner rig, and lower away this gaff-topsail which
now sticks up under my chin, so that I can luff and come up in the
wind without capsizing. And say, what is that hard lump between my
shoulders?"

"Nothing at all, sir," he said hastily; and now I knew he was flurried.
"I can fix that, sir--in a jiffy, sir."

"Anyhow, please come round here in front where I can converse more
freely with you on the subject," I said. I was becoming suspicious that
all was not well with me back there where he was lingering. He came
reluctantly, still half-embracing me with one arm.

Petulantly I wrestled my form free, and instantly those breeches seemed
to leap outward in all directions away from me. I grabbed for them, and
barely in time I got a grip on the yawning top hem. Peering down the
cavelike orifice that now confronted me I beheld two spectral white
columns, and recognized them as my own legs. In the same instant, also,
I realized what that hard clump against my spine was, because when he
took his hand away the clump was gone. He had been standing back there
with some eight or nine inches of superfluous waistband bunched up in
his fist.

The situation was embarrassing, and it would have been still more
embarrassing had I elected to go forth wearing my breeches in their
then state, because, to avoid talk, he would have had to go along too,
walking immediately behind me and holding up the slack. And such a
spectacle, with me filling the tonneau and he back behind on the rumble,
would have caused comment undoubtedly.

That pantsmaker was up a stump! He looked reproachfully at me, chidingly
at the breeches and sternly at the tapemeasure--which he wore draped
round his neck like a pet snake--as though he felt convinced one of us
was at fault, but could not be sure which one.

"I'm afraid, sir," he said, "that your figure is changing."

"I guess you're right," I replied with a soft sigh. "As well as I can
judge I'm not as tall as I was day before yesterday by at least eighteen
inches. And I've mislaid my diaphragm somewhere, haven't I?"

"'Ave them off, please, sir," he said resignedly. "I'll 'ave to alter
them to conform, sir. Come back to-morrow."

I had them off and he altered them to conform, and I went back on the
morrow; in fact I went back so often that after a while I became really
quite attached to the place. I felt almost like a member of the firm.
Between calls from me the cutter worked on those breeches. He cut them
up and he cut them down; he sheared the back away and shingled the
front, and shifted the buttons to and fro.

Still, even after all this, they were not what I should term an
unqualified success. When I sat down in them they seemed to climb up on
me so high, fore and aft, that I felt as short-waisted as a crush hat
in a state of repose. And the only way I could get my hands into the
hip pockets of those breeches was to take the breeches off first. As ear
muffs they were fair but as hip pockets they were failures. Finally
I told him to send my breeches, just as they were, to my hotel
address--and I paid the bill.

I brought them home with me. On the day after my arrival I took them to
my regular tailor and laid the case before him. I tried them on for him
and asked him to tell me, as man to man, whether anything could be done
to make those garments habitable. He called his cutter into consultation
and they went over me carefully, meantime uttering those commiserating
clucking sounds one tailor always utters when examining another tailor's
handiwork. After this my tailor took a lump of chalk and charted out a
kind of Queen Rosamond's maze of crossmarks on my breeches and said I
might leave them, and that if surgery could save them he would operate.
At any rate he guaranteed to cut them away sufficiently to admit of my
breast bone coming out into the open once more.

In a week--about--he called me on the telephone and broke the sad news
to me. My English riding pants would never ride me again. In using the
shears he had made a fatal slip and had irreparably damaged them in an
essential location. However, he said I need not worry, because it
might have been worse; from what he had already cut out of them he had
garnered enough material to make me a neat outing coat, and by scrimping
he thought he might get a waistcoat to match.

I have my English raincoat; it is still in a virgin state so far as
wearing it is concerned. I may yet wear it and I may not. If I wear
it and you meet me on the street--and we are strangers--you should
experience no great difficulty in recognizing me. Just start in at
almost any spot on the outer orbit and walk round and round as though
you were circling a sideshow tent looking for a chance to crawl under
the canvas and see the curiosities for nothing; and after a while, if
you keep on walking as directed, you will come to a person with a plain
but substantial face, and that will be me in my new English raincoat.
Then again I may wear it to a fancy-dress ball sometime. In that case
I shall stencil Pike's Peak or Bust! on the sidebreadth and go as a
prairie schooner. If I can succeed in training a Missouri hound-dog to
trail along immediately behind me the illusion will be perfect.

After these two experiences with the English tailor I gave up. Instead
of trying to wear the apparel of the foreigner I set myself to the
study of it. I would avoid falling into the habit of making comparisons
between European institutions and American institutions that are forever
favorable to the American side of the argument. To my way of thinking
there is only one class of tourist-Americans to be encountered abroad
worse than the class who go into hysterical rapture over everything they
see merely because it is European, and that is the class who condemn
offhand everything they see and find fault with everything merely
because it is not American. But I must say that in the matter of outer
habiliments the American man wins the decision on points nearly every
whack.

In his evening garb, which generally fits him, but which generally is
not pressed as to trouserlegs and coatsleeves, the Englishman makes
an exceedingly good appearance. The swallow-tailed coat was created for
the Englishman and he for it; but on all other occasions the well-dressed
American leads him--leads the world, for that matter. When a Frenchman
attires himself in his fanciest regalia he merely succeeds in looking
effeminate; whereas a German, under similar circumstances, bears a
wadded-in, bulged-out, stuffed-up appearance. I never saw a German
in Germany whose hat was not too small for him--just as I never saw a
Japanese in Occidental garb whose hat was not too large for him--if it
was a derby hat. If a German has on a pair of trousers that flare out
at the bottom and a coat with angel sleeves--I think that is the correct
technical term--and if the front of his coat is spangled over with
the largest-sized horn buttons obtainable he regards himself as being
dressed to the minute.

As for the women, I believe even the super-critical mantuamakers of
Paris have begun to concede that, as a nation, the American women
are the best-dressed women on earth. The French women have a way of
arranging their hair and of wearing their hats and of draping their furs
about their throats that is artistic beyond comparison. There may be a
word in some folks' dictionaries fitly to describe it--there is no such
word in mine; but when you have said that much you have said all there
is to say. A French woman's feet are not shod well. French shoes, like
all European shoes, are clumsy and awkward looking.

English children are well dressed because they are simply dressed;
and the children themselves, in contrast to the overdressed, overly
aggressive youngsters so frequently encountered in America, are mannerly
and self-effacing, and have sane, simple, childish tastes. Young English
girls are fresh and natural, but frequently frumpy; and the English
married woman is generally dressed in poor taste and appears to have
a most limited wardrobe. Apparently the husband buys all he wants, and
then, if there is any money left over, the wife gets it to spend on
herself.

Venturing one morning into a London chapel I saw a dowdy little woman of
this type kneeling in a pew, chanting the responses to the service. Her
blouse gaped open all the way down her back and she was saying with much
fervor, "We have left undone those things which we ought to have done."
She had too, but she didn't know it, as she knelt there unconsciously
supplying a personal illustration for the spoken line.

The typical highborn English woman has pale blue eyes, a fine complexion
and a clear-cut, rather expressionless face with a profile suggestive
of the portraits seen on English postage stamps of the early Victorian
period; but in the arranging of her hair any French shopgirl could give
her lessons, and any smart American woman could teach her a lot about
the knack of wearing clothes with distinction.

In England, that land of caste which is rigid enough to be cast iron,
all men, with the exception of petty tradespeople, dress to match the
vocations they follow. In America no man stays put--he either goes
forward to a circle above the one into which he was born or he slips
back into a lower one; and so he dresses to suit himself or his wife or
his tailor. But in England the professional man advertises his calling
by his clothes. Extreme stage types are ordinary types in London.
No Southern silver-tongued orator of the old-time, string-tied,
slouch-hatted, long-haired variety ever clung more closely to his
official makeup than the English barrister clings to his spats, his
shad-bellied coat and his eye-glass dangling on a cord. At a glance one
knows the medical man or the journalist, the military man in undress or
the gentleman farmer; also, by the same easy method, one may know the
workingman and the penny postman. The workingman has a cap on his
head and a neckerchief about his throat, and the legs of his corduroy
trousers are tied up below the knees with strings--else he is no
workingman.

When we were in London the postmen were threatening to go on strike.
From the papers I gathered that the points in dispute had to do with
better hours and better pay; but if they had been striking against
having to wear the kind of cap the British Government makes a postman
wear, their cause would have had the cordial support and intense
sympathy of every American in town.

It remains for the English clerk to be the only Englishman who seeks, by
the clothes he wears in his hours of ease, to appear as something more
than what he really is. Off duty he fair1y dotes on the high hat of
commerce. Frequently he sports it in connection with an exceedingly
short and bobby sackcoat, and trousers that are four or five inches
too short in the legs for him. The Parisian shopman harbors similar
ambitions--only he expresses them with more attention to detail. The
noon hour arriving, the French shophand doffs his apron and his air of
deference. He puts on a high hat and a frock coat that have been on a
peg behind the door all the morning, gathers up his cane and his gloves;
and, becoming on the instant a swagger and a swaggering boulevardier, he
saunters to his favorite sidewalk cafe for a cordial glassful of a pink
or green or purple drink. When his little hour of glory is over and done
with he returns to his counter, sheds his grandeur and is once more your
humble and ingratiating servitor.

In residential London on a Sunday afternoon one beholds some weird
and wonderful costumes. On a Sunday afternoon in a sub-suburb of a
Kensington suburb I saw, passing through a drab, sad side street, a
little Cockney man with the sketchy nose and unfinished features of
his breed. He was presumably going to church, for he carried a large
Testament under his arm. He wore, among other things, a pair of white
spats, a long-tailed coat and a high hat. It was not a regular high hat,
either, but one of those trick-performing hats which, on signal, will
lie doggo or else sit up and beg. And he was riding a bicycle of an
ancient vintage!

The most impressively got-up civilians in England--or in the world,
either, for that matter--are the assistant managers and the deputy
cashiers of the big London hotels. Compared with them the lilies of the
field are as lilies in the bulb. Their collars are higher, their ties
are more resplendent, their frock coats more floppy as to the tail and
more flappy as to the lapel, than it is possible to imagine until
you have seen it all with your own wondering eyes. They are haughty
creatures, too, austere and full of a starchy dignity; but when you come
to pay your bill you find at least one of them lined up with the valet
and the waiter, the manservant and the maidservant, the ox and the ass,
hand out and palm open to get his tip. Having tipped him you depart
feeling ennobled and uplifted--as though you had conferred a purse of
gold on a marquis.



Chapter XI



Dressed to Kill

With us it is the dress of the women that gives life and color to
the shifting show of street life. In Europe it is the soldier, and in
England the private soldier particularly. The German private soldier is
too stiff, and the French private soldier is too limber, and the Italian
private soldier has been away from the dry-cleanser's too long; but the
British Tommy Atkins is a perfect piece of work--what with his dinky cap
tilted over one eye, and his red tunic that fits him without blemish
or wrinkle, and his snappy little swagger stick flirting the air. As a
picture of a first-class fighting man I know of but one to match him,
and that is a khaki-clad, service-hatted Yankee regular--long may he
wave!

There may be something finer in the way of a military spectacle than
the change of horse-guards at Whitehall or the march of the foot-guards
across the green in St. James' Park on a fine, bright morning--but I
do not know what it is. One day, passing Buckingham Palace, I came on
a footguard on duty in one of the little sentry boxes just outside the
walls. He did not look as though he were alive. He looked as though he
had been stuffed and mounted by a most expert taxidermist. From under
his bearskin shako and from over his brazen chin-strap his face stared
out unwinking and solemn and barren of thought.

I said to myself: "It is taking a long chance, but I shall ascertain
whether this party has any human emotions." So I halted directly in
front of him and began staring fixedly at his midriff as though I saw a
button unfastened there or a buckle disarranged. For a space of minutes
I kept my gaze on him without cessation.

Finally the situation grew painful; but it was not that British
grenadier who grew embarrassed and fidgety--it was the other party to
the transaction. His gaze never shifted, his eyes never wavered--but I
came away feeling all wriggly.

In no outward regard whatsoever do the soldiers on the Continent compare
with the soldiers of the British archipelago. When he is not on actual
duty the German private is always going somewhere in a great hurry with
something belonging to his superior officer--usually a riding horse or
a specially heavy valise. On duty and off he wears that woodenness of
expression--or, rather, that wooden lack of expression--which is found
nowhere in such flower of perfection as on the faces of German soldiers
and German toys.

The Germans prove they have a sense of humor by requiring their soldiers
to march on parade with the goose step; and the French prove they have
none at all by incasing the defenseless legs of their soldiers in those
foolish red-flannel pants that are manufactured in such profusion up at
the Pantheon.

In the event of another war between the two nations I anticipate a
frightful mortality among pants--especially if the French forces should
be retreating. The German soldier is not a particularly good marksman as
marksmen go, but he would have to be the worst shot in the world to miss
a pair of French pants that were going away from him at the time.

Still, when all is said and done, there is something essentially
Frenchy about those red pants. There is something in their length that
instinctively suggests Toulon, something in their breadth that makes you
think of Toulouse. I realize that this joke, as it stands, is weak and
imperfect. If there were only another French seaport called Toubagge I
could round it out and improve it structurally.

If the English private soldier is the trimmest, the Austrian officer is
the most beautiful to look on. An Austrian officer is gaudier than the
door-opener of a London cafe or the porter of a Paris hotel. He achieves
effects in gaudiness which even time Italian officer cannot equal.

The Italian officer is addicted to cock feathers and horsetails on his
helmet, to bits of yellow and blue let into his clothes, to tufts of red
and green hung on him in unexpected and unaccountable spots. Either the
design of bottled Italian chianti is modeled after the Italian officer
or the Italian officer is modeled after the bottle of chianti--which,
though, I am not prepared to say without further study of the subject.

But the Austrian officer is the walking sunset effect of creation. For
color schemes I know of nothing in Nature to equal him except the Grand
Canon of the Colorado. Circus parades are unknown in Austria--they are
not missed either; after an Austrian officer a street parade would seem
a colorless and commonplace thing. In his uniform he runs to striking
contrasts--canary yellow, with light blue facings; silvers and grays;
bright greens with scarlet slashings--and so on.

His collar is the very highest of all high collars and the heaviest with
embroidery; his cloak is the longest and the widest; his boots the most
varnished; his sword-belt the broadest and the shiniest; and the medals
on his bosom are the most numerous and the most glittering. Alf Ringling
and John Philip Sousa would take one look at him--and then, mutually
filled with an envious despair, they would go apart and hold a grand
lodge of sorrow together. Also, he constantly wears his spurs and his
sword; he wears them even when he is in a cafe in the evening listening
to the orchestra, drinking beer and allowing an admiring civilian to pay
the check--and that apparently is every evening.

There was one Austrian colonel who came one night into a cafe in Vienna
where we were and sat down at the table next to us; and he put our eyes
right out and made all the lights dim and flickery. His epaulets were
two hairbrushes of augmented size, gold-mounted; his Plimsoll marks were
outlined in bullion, and along his garboard strake ran lines of gold
braid; but strangest of all to observe was the locality where he wore
what appeared to be his service stripes. Instead of being on his sleeves
they were at the extreme southern exposure of his coattails; I presume
an Austrian officer acquires merit by sitting down.

This particular officer's saber kept jingling, and so did his spurs,
and so did his bracelet. I almost forgot the bracelet. It was an ornate
affair of gold links fastened on his left wrist with a big gold locket,
and it kept slipping down over his hand and rattling against his
cuff. The chain bracelet locked on the left wrist is very common among
Austrian officers; it adds just the final needed touch. I did not see
any of them carrying lorgnettes or shower bouquets, but I think, in
summer they wear veils.

One opportunity is afforded the European who is neither a soldier nor
a hotel cashier to dress himself up in comic-opera clothes--and that is
when he a-hunting goes. An American going hunting puts on his oldest
and most serviceable clothes--a European his giddiest, gayest, gladdest
regalia. We were so favored by gracious circumstances as to behold
several Englishmen suitably attired for the chase, and we noted that the
conventional morning costume of an English gentleman expecting to call
informally on a pheasant or something during the course of the forenoon
consisted, in the main, of a perfect dear of a Norfolk jacket, all over
plaits and pockets, with large leather buttons like oak-galls adhering
thickly to it, with a belt high up under the arms and a saucy tail
sticking out behind; knee-breeches; a high stock collar; shin-high
leggings of buff or white, and a special hat--a truly adorable
confection by the world's leading he-milliner.

If you dared to wear such an outfit afield in America the very
dickeybirds would fall into fits as you passed--the chipmunks would lean
out of the trees and just naturally laugh you to death! But in a land
where the woodlands are well-kept groves, and the undergrowth, instead
of being weedy and briery, is sweet-scented fern and gorse and bracken,
I suppose it is all eminently correct.

Thus appareled the Englishman goes to Scotland to shoot the grouse, the
gillie, the heather cock, the niblick, the haggis and other Scotch game.
Thus appareled he ranges the preserves of his own fat, fair shires in
ardent pursuit of the English rabbit, which pretty nearly corresponds to
the guinea pig, but is not so ferocious; and the English hare, which
is first cousin to our molly cottontail; and the English pheasant--but
particularly the pheasant.

There was great excitement while we were in England concerning the
pheasants. Either the pheasants were preying on the mangel-wurzels or
the mangel-wurzels were preying on the pheasants. At any rate it had
something to do with the Land Bill--practically everything that happens
in England has something to do with the Land Bill--and Lloyd George was
in a free state of perspiration over it; and the papers were full of it
and altogether there was a great pother over it.

We saw pheasants by the score. We saw them first from the windows of
our railroad carriage--big, beautiful birds nearly as large as barnyard
fowls and as tame, feeding in the bare cabbage patches, regardless of
the train chugging by not thirty yards away; and later we saw them again
at still closer range as we strolled along the haw-and-holly-lined roads
of the wonderful southern counties. They would scuttle on ahead of us,
weaving in and out of the hedgerows; and finally, when we insisted on it
and flung pebbles at them to emphasize our desires, they would get up,
with a great drumming of wings and a fine comet-like display of flowing
tailfeathers on the part of the cock birds, and go booming away to what
passes in Sussex and Kent for dense cover--meaning by that thickets such
as you may find in the upper end of Central Park.

They say King George is one of the best pheasant-shots in England.
He also collects postage stamps when not engaged in his regular regal
duties, such as laying cornerstones for new workhouses and receiving
presentation addresses from charity children. I have never shot
pheasants; but, having seen them in their free state as above described,
and having in my youth collected postage stamps intermittently, I should
say, speaking offhand, that of the two pursuits postage-stamp collecting
is infinitely the more exciting and dangerous.

Through the closed season the keepers mind the pheasants, protecting
them from poachers and feeding them on selected grain; but a day comes
in October when the hunters go forth and take their stands at spaced
intervals along a cleared aisle flanking the woods; then the beaters
dive into the woods from the opposite side, and when the tame and
trusting creatures come clustering about their feet expecting provender
the beaters scare them up, by waving their umbrellas at them, I think,
and the pheasants go rocketing into the air--rocketing is the correct
sporting term--go rocketing into the air like a flock of Sunday
supplements; and the gallant gunner downs them in great multitudes,
always taking due care to avoid mussing his clothes. For after all the
main question is not "What did he kill?" but "How does he look?"

At that, I hold no brief for the pheasant--except when served with
breadcrumb dressing and currant jelly he is no friend of mine. It ill
becomes Americans, with our own record behind us, to chide other
people for the senseless murder of wild things; and besides, speaking
personally, I have a reasonably open mind on the subject of wild-game
shooting. Myself, I shot a wild duck once. He was not flying at the
time. He was, as the stockword goes, setting. I had no self-reproaches
afterward however. As between that duck and myself I regarded it as an
even break--as fair for one as for the other--because at the moment I
myself was, as we say, setting too. But if, in the interests of true
sportsmanship, they must have those annual massacres I certainly should
admire to see what execution a picked half dozen of American quail
hunters, used to snap-shooting in the cane jungles and brier patches of
Georgia and Arkansas, could accomplish among English pheasants, until
such time as their consciences mastered them and they desisted from
slaughter!

Be that as it may, pheasant shooting is the last word in the English
sporting calendar. It is a sport strictly for the gentry. Except in the
capacity of innocent bystanders the lower orders do not share in it. It
is much too good for them; besides, they could not maintain the correct
wardrobe for it. The classes derive one substantial benefit from the
institution however. The sporting instinct of the landed Englishman has
led to the enactment of laws under which an ordinary person goes smack
to jail if he is caught sequestrating a clandestine pheasant bird; but
it does not militate against the landowner's peddling off his game after
he has destroyed it. British thrift comes in here. And so in carload
lots it is sold to the marketmen. The result is that in the fall of the
year pheasants are cheaper than chickens; and any person who can afford
poultry on his dinner table can afford pheasants.

The Continental hunter makes an even more spectacular appearance than
his British brother. No self-respecting German or French sportsman would
think of faring forth after the incarnate brown hare or the ferocious
wood pigeon unless he had on a green hat with a feather in it; and a
green suit to match the hat; and swung about his neck with a cord a
natty fur muff to keep his hands in between shots; and a swivel chair to
sit in while waiting for the wild boar to come along and be bowled over.

Being hunted with a swivel chair is what makes the German wild boar
wild. On occasion, also, the hunter wears, suspended from his belt, a
cute little hanger like a sawed-off saber, with which to cut the throats
of his spoil. Then, when it has spoiled some more, they will serve it at
a French restaurant.

It was our fortune to be in France on the famous and ever-memorable
occasion when the official stag of the French Republic met a tragic and
untimely end, under circumstances acutely distressing to all who believe
in the divinity bestowed prerogatives of the nobility. The Paris edition
of the Herald printed the lamentable tale on its front page and I
clipped the account. I offer it here in exact reproduction, including
the headline:

        HUNTING INCIDENT SAID TO BE DUE TO CONSPIRACY

Further details are given in this morning's Figaro of the incident
between Prince Murat and M. Dauchis, the mayor of Saint-Felix, near
Clermont, which was briefly reported in yesterday's Herald.

A regular conspiracy was organized by M. Dauchis, it is alleged, in
order to secure the stag Prince Murat and Comte de Valon were hunting in
the forest of La Neuville-en-Hetz. Already, at the outset of the hunt,
M. Dauchis, according to Le Figaro, charged at a huntsman with a little
automobile in which he was driving and threatened to fire. Then when the
stag ran into the wood, near the Trye River, one of his keepers shot it.
In great haste the animal was loaded on another automobile; and before
either the prince or Comte de Valon could interfere it was driven away.

While Comte de Valon spurred his horse in pursuit Prince Murat disarmed
the man who had shot the stag, for he was leveling his gun at another
huntsman; but before the gun was wrenched from his hands he had struck
Prince d'Essling, Prince Murat's uncle, across the face with the butt.

Meantime Comte de Valon had overtaken the automobile and, though
threatened with revolvers by its occupants, would have recaptured the
stag if the men in charge of it had not taken it into the house of M.
Dauchis' father.

The only course left for Prince Murat and Comte de Valon was to lodge a
complaint with the police for assault and for killing the stag, which M.
Dauchis refused to give back.

From this you may see how very much more exciting stag hunting is in
France than in America. Comparing the two systems we find but one point
of resemblance--namely, the attempted shooting of a huntsman. In the
North Woods we do a good deal of that sort of thing: however with us
it is not yet customary to charge the prospective victim in a little
automobile--that may come in time. Our best bags are made by the
stalking or still-hunting method. Our city-raised sportsman slips up on
his guide and pots him from a rest.

But consider the rest of the description so graphically set forth by
Le Figaro--the intriguing of the mayor; the opposing groups rampaging
round, some on horseback and some in automobile runabouts; the intense
disappointment of the highborn Prince Murat and his uncle, the Prince
d'Essling, and his friend, the Comte de Valon; the implied grief of the
stag at being stricken down by other than noble hands; the action of the
base-born commoner, who shot the stag, in striking the Prince d'Essling
across his pained and aristocratic face with the butt--exact type of
butt and name of owner not being given. Only in its failure to clear
up this important point, and in omitting to give descriptions of the
costumes worn by the two princes and the comte, is Le Figaro's story
lacking. They must have been wearing the very latest creations too.

This last brings us back again to the subject of clothes and serves
to remind me that, contrary to a belief prevalent on this side of the
water, good clothes cost as much abroad as they cost here. In England a
man may buy gloves and certain substantial articles of haberdashery in
silk and linen and wool at a much lower figure than in America; and in
Italy he will find crocheted handbags and bead necklaces are to be had
cheaper than at home--provided, of course, he cares for such things as
crocheted handbags and bead necklaces. Handmade laces and embroideries
and sundry other feminine fripperies, so women tell me, are moderately
priced on the Continent, if so be the tourist-purchaser steers clear of
the more fashionable shops and chases the elusive bargain down a back
street; but, quality considered, other things cost as much in Europe
as they cost here--and frequently they cost more. If you buy at the
shopkeeper's first price he has a secret contempt for you; if you haggle
him down to a reasonably fair valuation--say about twice the amount a
native would pay for the same thing--he has a half-concealed contempt
for you; if you refuse to trade at any price he has an open contempt for
you; and in any event he dislikes you because you are an American. So
there you are. No matter how the transaction turns out you have his
contempt; it is the only thing he parts with at cost.

It is true that you may buy a suit of clothes for ten dollars in London;
so also may you buy a suit of clothes for ten dollars in any American
city, but the reasonably affluent American doesn't buy ten-dollar suits
at home. He saves himself up to indulge in that form of idiocy abroad.
In Paris or Rome you may get a five-course dinner with wine for forty
cents; so you may in certain quarters of New York; but in either place
the man who can afford to pay more for his dinner will find it to his
ultimate well-being to do so. Simply because a boarding house in France
or Italy is known as a pension doesn't keep it from being a boarding
house--and a pretty average bad one, as I have been informed by
misguided Americans who tried living at a pension, and afterwards put in
a good deal of their spare time regretting it.

Altogether, looking back on my own experiences, I can at this time of
writing think of but two common commodities which, when grade is taken
into the equation, are found to be radically cheaper in Europe than
in America--these two things being taxicabs and counts. For their
cleanliness and smartness of aspect, and their reasonableness of
meter-fare, taxicabs all over Europe are a constant joy to the traveling
American. And, though in the United States counts are so costly that
only the marriageable daughters of the very wealthy may afford to buy
them--and even then, as the count calendars attest, have the utmost
difficulty in keeping them after they are bought--in Continental Europe
anywhere one may for a moderate price hire a true-born count to do
almost any small job, from guiding one through an art gallery to waiting
on one at the table. Counts make indifferent guides, but are middling
fair waiters.

Outside of the counts and the taxicabs, and the food in Germany, I
found in all Europe just one real overpowering bargain--and that was in
Naples, where, as a general thing, bargains are not what they seem.
For the exceedingly moderate outlay of one lira--Italian--or twenty
cents--American--I secured this combination, to wit, as follows:

In the background old Vesuvius, like a wicked, fallen angel, wearing his
plumy, fumy halo of sulphurous hell-smoke; in the middle distance
the Bay of Naples, each larcenous wave-crest in it triple-plated with
silvern glory pilfered from a splendid moon; on the left the riding
lights of a visiting squadron of American warships; on the right the
myriad slanted sails of the coral-fishers' boats, beating out toward
Capri, with the curlew-calls of the fishermen floating back in shrill
snatches to meet a jangle of bell and bugle from the fleet; in the
immediate foreground a competent and accomplished family troupe of six
Neapolitan troubadours--men, women and children--some of them playing
guitars and all six of them, with fine mellow voices and tremendous
dramatic effect, singing--the words being Italian but the air good
American--John Brown's Body Lies a-Moldering in the Grave!

I defy you to get more than that for twenty cents anywhere in the world!



Chapter XII



Night Life--with the Life Part Missing

In our consideration of this topic we come first to the night life of
the English. They have none.

Passing along to the next subject under the same heading, which is
the night life of Paris, we find here so much night life, of such
a delightfully transparent and counterfeit character; so much
made-to-measure deviltry; so many members of the Madcaps' Union engaged
on piece-work; so much delicious, hoydenish derring-do, all carefully
stage-managed and expertly timed for the benefit of North and South
American spenders, to the end that the deliriousness shall abate
automatically in exact proportion as the spenders quit spending--in
short, so much of what is typically Parisian that, really Paris, on its
merits, is entitled to a couple of chapters of its own.

All of which naturally brings us to the two remaining great cities of
Mid-Europe--Berlin and Vienna--and leads us to the inevitable conclusion
that the Europeans, in common with all other peoples on the earth, only
succeed--when they try to be desperately wicked--in being desperately
dull; whereas when they seek their pleasures in a natural manner they
present racial slants and angles that are very interesting to observe
and very pleasant to have a hand in.

Take the Germans now: No less astute a world traveler than Samuel
G. Blythe is sponsor for the assertion that the Berliners follow the
night-life route because the Kaiser found his capital did not attract
the tourist types to the extent he had hoped, and so decreed that
his faithful and devoted subjects, leaving their cozy hearths and
inglenooks, should go forth at the hour when graveyards yawn--and who
could blame them?--to spend the dragging time until dawn in being merry
and bright. So saying His Majesty went to bed, leaving them to work
while he slept.

After viewing the situation at first hand the present writer is of the
opinion that Mr. Blythe was quite right in his statements. Certainly
nothing is more soothing to the eye of the onlooker, nothing more
restful to his soul, than to behold a group of Germans enjoying
themselves in a normal manner. And absolutely nothing is quite so
ghastly sad as the sight of those same well-flushed, well-fleshed
Germans cavorting about between the hours of two and four-thirty A.M.,
trying, with all the pachydermic ponderosity of Barnum's Elephant
Quadrille, to be professionally gay and cutuppish. The Prussians must
love their Kaiser dearly. We sit up with our friends when they are dead;
they stay up for him until they are ready to die themselves.

As is well known Berlin abounds in pleasure palaces, so called. Enormous
places these are, where under one widespreading roof are three or four
separate restaurants of augmented size, not to mention winecellars and
beer-caves below-stairs, and a dancehall or so and a Turkish bath, and
a bar, and a skating rink, and a concert hall--and any number of private
dining rooms. The German mind invariably associates size with enjoyment.

To these establishments, after his regular dinner, the Berliner repairs
with his family, his friend or his guest. There is one especially
popular resort, a combination of restaurant and vaudeville theater,
at which one eats an excellent dinner excellently served, and between
courses witnesses the turns of a first-rate variety bill, always with
the inevitable team of American coon shouters, either in fast colors or
of the burnt-cork variety, sandwiched into the program somewhere.

In the Friedrichstrasse there is another place, called the
Admiralspalast, which is even more attractive. Here, inclosing a big,
oval-shaped ice arena, balcony after balcony rises circling to the roof.
On one of these balconies you sit, and while you dine and after you have
dined you look down on a most marvelous series of skating stunts. In
rapid and bewildering succession there are ballets on skates, solo
skating numbers, skating carnivals and skating races. Finally scenery
is slid in on runners and the whole company, in costumes grotesque and
beautiful, go through a burlesque that keeps you laughing when you
are not applauding, and admiring when you are doing neither; while
alternating lightwaves from overhead electric devices flood the picture
with shifting, shimmering tides of color. It is like seeing a Christmas
pantomime under an aurora borealis. In America we could not do these
things--at least we never have done them. Either the performance would
be poor or the provender would be highly expensive, or both. But here
the show is wonderful, and the victuals are good and not extravagantly
priced, and everybody has a bully time.

At eleven-thirty or thereabout the show at the ice palace is
over--concluding with a push-ball match between teams of husky maidens
who were apparently born on skates and raised on skates, and would not
feel natural unless they were curveting about on skates. Their skates
seem as much a part of them as tails to mermaids. It is bedtime now for
sane folks, but at this moment a certain madness which does not at all
fit in with the true German temperament descends on the crowd. Some go
upstairs to another part of the building, where there is a dancehall
called the Admiralskasino; but, to the truly swagger, one should hasten
to the Palais du Danse on the second floor of the big Metropolpalast
in the Behrenstrasse. This place opens promptly at midnight and closes
promptly at two o'clock in the morning.

Inasmuch as the Palais du Danse is an institution borrowed outright
from the French they have adopted a typically French custom here. As
the visitor enters--if he be a stranger--a flunky in gorgeous livery
intercepts him and demands an entrance fee amounting to about a dollar
and a quarter in our money, as I recall. This tariff the American or
Englishman pays, but the practiced Berliner merely suggests to the
doorkeeper the expediency of his taking a long running start and jumping
off into space, and stalks defiantly in without forking over a single
pfennig to any person whatsoever.

The Palais du Danse is incomparably the most beautiful ballroom in
the world--so people who have been all over the world agree--and it is
spotlessly clean and free from brackish smells, which is more than can
be said of any French establishment of similar character I have seen. At
the Palais du Danse the patron sits at a table--a table with something
on it besides a cloth being an essential adjunct to complete enjoyment
of an evening of German revelry; and as he sits and drinks he listens to
the playing of a splendid band and looks on at the dancing. Nothing
is drunk except wine--and by wine I mainly mean champagne of the most
sweetish and sickish brand obtainable. Elsewhere, for one-twentieth the
cost, the German could have the best and purest beer that is made; but
he is out now for the big night. Accordingly he saturates his tissues
with the sugary bubble-water of France. He does not join in the dancing
himself. The men dancers are nearly all paid dancers, I think, and the
beautifully clad women who dance are either professionals, too, or else
belong to a profession that is older even than dancing is. They all
dance with a profound German gravity and precision. Here is music to set
a wooden leg a-jigging; but these couples circle and glide and dip with
an incomprehensible decorum and slowness.

When we were there, they were dancing the tango or one of its manifold
variations. All Europe, like all America, was, for the moment, tango
mad. While we were in Paris, M. Jean Richepin lectured before the Forty
Immortals of the Five Academies assembled in solemn conclave at the
Institute of France. They are called the Forty Immortals because nobody
can remember the names of more than five of them. He took for his
subject the tango--his motto, in short, being one borrowed from the
conductors in the New York subway--"Mind your step!"

While he spoke, which was for an hour or more, the bebadged and
beribboned bosoms of his illustrious compatriots heaved with emotion;
their faces--or such parts of their faces as were visible above the
whiskerline--flushed with enthusiasm, and most vociferously they
applauded his masterly phrasing and his tracing-out of the evolution of
the tango, all the way from its Genesis, as it were, to its Revelation.
I judge the revelation particularly appealed to them--that part of it
appeals to so many.

After that the tango seemed literally to trail us. We could not escape
it. While we were in Berlin the emperor saw fit officially to forbid
the dancing of the tango by officers of his navy and army. We reached
England just after the vogue for tango teas started.

Naturally we went to one of these affairs. It took place at a theater.
Such is the English way of interpreting the poetry of motion--to hire
some one else to do it for you, and--in order to get the worth of your
money--sit and swizzle tea while the paid performer is doing it. At the
tango tea we patronized the tea was up to standard, but the dancing of
the box-ankled professionals was a disappointment. Beforehand I had been
told that the scene on the stage would be a veritable picture. And so it
was--Rosa Bonheur's Horse Fair.

As a matter of fact the best dancer I saw in Europe was a performing
trick pony in a winter circus in Berlin. I also remember with
distinctness of detail a chorusman who took part in a new Lehar opera,
there in Berlin. I do not remember him for his dancing, because he was
no clumsier of foot than his compatriots in the chorus rank and file; or
for his singing, since I could not pick his voice out from the combined
voices of the others. I remember him because he wore spectacles--not a
monocle nor yet a pair of nose-glasses, but heavy-rimmed, double-lensed
German spectacles with gold bows extending up behind his ears like the
roots of an old-fashioned wisdom tooth.

Come to think about it, I know of no reason why a chorusman should not
wear spectacles if he needs them in his business or if he thinks they
will add to his native beauty; but the spectacle of that bolster-built
youth, dressed now as a Spanish cavalier and now as a Venetian
gondolier, prancing about, with his spectacles goggling owlishly out
at the audience, and once in a while, when a gleam from the footlights
caught on them, turning to two red-hot disks set in the middle of his
face, was a thing that is going to linger in my memory when a lot of
more important matters are entirely forgotten.

Not even in Paris did the tango experts compare with the tango
experts one sees in America. At this juncture I pause a moment, giving
opportunity for some carping critic to rise and call my attention to
the fact that perhaps the most distinguished of the early school of
turkey-trotters bears a French name and came to us from Paris. To
which I reply that so he does and so he did; but I add then the
counter-argument that he came to us by way of Paris, at the conclusion
of a round trip that started in the old Fourth Ward of the Borough of
Manhattan, city of Greater New York; for he was born and bred on the
East Side--and, moreover, was born bearing the name of a race of kings
famous in the south of Ireland and along the Bowery. And he learned
his art--not only the rudiments of it but the final finished polish of
it--in the dancehalls of Third Avenue, where the best slow-time dancers
on earth come from. It was after he had acquired a French accent and
had Gallicized his name, thereby causing a general turning-over of old
settlers in the graveyards of the County Clare, that he returned to us,
a conspicuous figure in the world of art and fashion, and was able to
get twenty-five dollars an hour for teaching the sons and daughters of
our richest families to trip the light fantastic go. At the same time,
be it understood, I am not here to muckrake the past of one so prominent
and affluent in the most honored and lucrative of modern professions;
but facts are facts, and these particular facts are quoted here to bind
and buttress my claim that the best dancers are the American dancers.

After this digression let us hurry right back to that loyal Berliner
whom we left seated in the Palais du Danse on the Behrenstrasse, waiting
for the hour of two in the morning to come. The hour of two in the
morning does come; the lights die down; the dancers pick up their heavy
feet--it takes an effort to pick up those Continental feet--and quit the
waxen floor; the Oberkellner comes round with his gold chain of office
dangling on his breast and collects for the wine, and our German friend,
politely inhaling his yawns, gets up and goes elsewhere to finish his
good time. And, goldarn it, how he does dread it! Yet he goes, faithful
soul that he is.

He goes, let us say, to the Pavilion Mascotte--no dancing, but plenty
of drinking and music and food--which opens at two and stays open until
four, when it shuts up shop in order that another place in the nature of
a cabaret may open. And so, between five and six o'clock in the morning
of the new day, when the lady garbagemen and the gentlemen chambermaids
of the German capital are abroad on their several duties, he journeys
homeward, and so, as Mr. Pepys says, to bed, with nothing disagreeable
to look forward to except repeating the same dose all over again
the coming night. This sort of thing would kill anybody except a
Prussian--for, mark you, between intervals of drinking he has been
eating all night; but then a Prussian has no digestion. He merely has
gross tonnage in the place where his digestive apparatus ought to be.

The time to see a German enjoying himself is when he is following his
own bent and not obeying the imperial edict of his gracious sovereign.
I had a most excellent opportunity of observing him while engaged in
his own private pursuits of pleasure when by chance one evening, in the
course of a solitary prowl, I bumped into a sort of Berlinesque version
of Coney Island, with the island part missing. It was not out in the
suburbs where one would naturally expect to find such a resort. It was
in the very middle of the city, just round the corner from the cafe
district, not more than half a mile, as the Blutwurst flies, from Unter
den Linden. Even at this distance and after a considerable lapse of time
I can still appreciate that place, though I cannot pronounce it; for it
had a name consisting of one of those long German compound words that
run all the way round a fellow's face and lap over at the back, like
a clergyman's collar, and it had also a subname that no living person
could hope to utter unless he had a thorough German education and throat
trouble. You meet such nouns frequently in Germany. They are not meant
to be spoken; you gargle them. To speak the full name of this park would
require two able-bodied persons--one to start it off and carry it along
until his larynx gave out, and the other to take it up at that point and
finish it.

But for all the nine-jointed impressiveness of its title this park was
a live, brisk little park full of sideshow tents sheltering mildly
amusing, faked-up attractions, with painted banners flapping in the air
and barkers spieling before the entrances and all the ballyhoos going
at full blast--altogether a creditable imitation of a street fair as
witnessed in any American town that has a good live Elks' Lodge in it.

Plainly the place was popular. Germans of all conditions and all ages
and all sizes--but mainly the broader lasts--were winding about in thick
streams in the narrow, crooked alleys formed by the various tents. They
packed themselves in front of each booth where a free exhibition was
going on, and when the free part was over and the regular performance
began they struggled good-naturedly to pay the admission fee and enter
in at the door.

And, for a price, there were freaks to be seen who properly belonged on
our side of the water, it seemed to me. I had always supposed them to be
exclusively domestic articles until I encountered them here. There was a
regular Bosco--a genuine Herr He Alive Them Eats--sitting in his canvas
den entirely surrounded by a choice and tasty selection of eating
snakes. The orthodox tattooed man was there, too, first standing up to
display the text and accompanying illustrations on his front cover, and
then turning round so the crowd might read what he said on the other
side. And there was many another familiar freak introduced to our
fathers by Old Dan Rice and to us, their children, through the good
offices of Daniel's long and noble line of successors.

A seasonable Sunday is a fine time; and the big Zoological Garden, which
is a favorite place for studying the Berlin populace at the diversions
they prefer when left to their own devices. At one table will be a
cluster of students, with their queer little pill-box caps of all
colors, their close-cropped heads and well-shaved necks, and their
saber-scarred faces. At the next table half a dozen spectacled,
long-coated men, who look as though they might be university professors,
are confabbing earnestly. And at the next table and the next and the
next--and so on, until the aggregate runs into big figures--are family
groups--grandsires, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles and children, on
down to the babies in arms. By the uncountable thousands they spend the
afternoon here, munching sausages and sipping lager, and enjoying the
excellent music that is invariably provided. At each plate there is a
beer mug, for everybody is forever drinking and nobody is ever drunk.
You see a lot of this sort of thing, not only in the parks and gardens
so numerous in and near any German city but anywhere on the Continent.
Seeing it helps an American to understand a main difference between the
American Sabbath and the European Sunday. We keep it and they spend it.

I am given to understand that Vienna night life is the most alluring,
the most abandoned, the most wicked and the wildest of all night life.
Probably this is so--certainly it is the most cloistered and the most
inaccessible. The Viennese does not deliberately exploit his night life
to prove to all the world that he is a gay dog and will not go home
until morning though it kill him--as the German does. Neither does he
maintain it for the sake of the coin to be extracted from the pockets of
the tourist, as do the Parisians. With him his night life is a thing he
has created and which he supports for his own enjoyment.

And so it goes on--not out in the open; not press-agented; not
advertised; but behind closed doors. He does not care for the stranger's
presence, nor does he suffer it either--unless the stranger is properly
vouched for. The best theaters in Vienna are small, exclusive affairs,
privately supported, and with seating capacity for a few chosen patrons.
Once he has quit the public cafe with its fine music and its bad waiters
the uninitiated traveler has a pretty lonesome time of it in Vienna.
Until all hours he may roam the principal streets seeking that fillip of
wickedness which will give zest to life and provide him with something
to brag about when he gets back among the home folks again. He does not
find it. Charades would provide a much more exciting means of spending
the evening; and, in comparison with the sights he witnesses, anagrams
and acrostics are positively thrilling.

He is tantalized by the knowledge that all about him there are big
doings, but, so far as he is concerned, he might just as well be
attending a Sunday-school cantata. Unless he be suitably introduced he
will have never a chance to shake a foot with anybody or buy a drink for
somebody in the inner circles of Viennese night life. He is emphatically
on the outside, denied even the poor satisfaction of looking in. At that
I have a suspicion, born of casual observation among other races, that
the Viennese really has a better time when he is not trying than when he
is trying.



Chapter XIII



Our Friend, the Assassin

No taste of the night life of Paris is regarded as complete without
a visit to an Apache resort at the fag-end of it. For orderly and
law-abiding people the disorderly and lawbreaking people always have an
immense fascination anyhow. The average person, though inclined to blink
at whatever prevalence of the criminal classes may exist in his own
community, desires above all things to know at firsthand about the
criminals of other communities. In these matters charity begins at home.

Every New Yorker who journeys to the West wants to see a few roadagents;
conversely the Westerner sojourning in New York pesters his New
York friends to lead him to the haunts of the gangsters. It makes no
difference that in a Western town the prize hold-up man is more apt
than not to be a real-estate dealer; that in New York the average run
of citizens know no more of the gangs than they know of the Metropolitan
Museum of Art--which is to say, nothing at all. Human nature comes to
the surface just the same.

In Paris they order this thing differently; they exhibit the same spirit
of enterprise that in a lesser degree characterized certain promoters of
rubberneck tours who some years ago fitted up make-believe opium dens in
New York's Chinatown for the awed delectation of out-of-town spectators.
Knowing from experience that every other American who lands in Paris
will crave to observe the Apache while the Apache is in the act of
Apaching round, the canny Parisians have provided a line of up-to-date
Apache dens within easy walking distance of Montmartre; and thither
the guides lead the round-eyed tourist and there introduce him to
well-drilled, carefully made-up Apaches and Apachesses engaged in their
customary sports and pastimes for as long as he is willing to pay out
money for the privilege.

Being forewarned of this I naturally desired to see the genuine article.
I took steps to achieve that end. Suitably chaperoned by a trio of
transplanted Americans who knew a good bit about the Paris underworld I
rode over miles of bumpy cobblestones until, along about four o'clock in
the morning, our taxicab turned into a dim back street opening off one
of the big public markets and drew up in front of a grimy establishment
rejoicing in the happy and well-chosen name of the Cave of the
Innocents.

Alighting we passed through a small boozing ken, where a frowzy woman
presided over a bar, serving drinks to smocked marketmen, and at the
rear descended a steep flight of stone steps. At the foot of the stairs
we came on two gendarmes who sat side by side on a wooden bench, having
apparently nothing else to do except to caress their goatees and finger
their swords. Whether the gendarmes were stationed here to keep the
Apaches from preying on the marketmen or the marketmen from preying on
the Apaches I know not; but having subsequently purchased some fresh
fruit in that selfsame market I should say now that if anybody about the
premises needed police protection it was the Apaches. My money would be
on the marketmen every time.

Beyond the couchant gendarmes we traversed a low, winding passage cut
out of stone and so came at length to what seemingly had originally
been a winevault, hollowed out far down beneath the foundations of the
building. The ceiling was so low that a tall man must stoop to avoid
knocking his head off. The place was full of smells that had crawled in
a couple of hundred years before and had died without benefit of clergy,
and had remained there ever since. For its chief item of furniture
the cavern had a wicked old piano, with its lid missing, so that its
yellowed teeth showed in a perpetual snarl. I judged some of its most
important vital organs were missing too--after I heard it played. On
the walls were inscribed such words as naughty little boys write on
schoolhouse fences in this country, and more examples of this pleasing
brand of literature were carved on the whittled oak benches and the
rickety wooden stools. So much for the physical furbishings.

By rights--by all the hallowed rules and precedents of the American
vaudeville stage!--the denizens of this cozy retreat in the bowels of
the earth should have been wearing high-waisted baggy velvet trousers
and drinking absinthe out of large flagons, and stabbing one another
between the shoulder blades, and ever and anon, in the mystic mazes
of the dance, playing crack-the-whip with the necks and heels of their
adoring lady friends; but such was not found to be the case. In all
these essential and traditional regards the assembled Innocents were as
poignantly disappointing as the costers of London had proved themselves.

According to all the printed information on the subject the London
coster wears clothes covered up with pearl buttons and spends his time
swapping ready repartee with his Donah or his Dinah. The costers I saw
were barren of pearl buttons and silent of speech; and almost invariably
they had left their Donahs at home. Similarly these gentlemen habitues
of the Cave of the Innocents wore few or no velvet pants, and guzzled
little or none of the absinthe. Their favorite tipple appeared to be
beer; and their female companions snuggled closely beside them.

We stayed among them fully twenty minutes, but not a single person
was stabbed while we were there. It must have been an off-night for
stabbings.

Still, I judged them to have been genuine exhibits because here, for
the first, last and only time in Paris, I found a shop where a
stranger ready to spend a little money was not welcomed with vociferous
enthusiasm. The paired-off cave-dwellers merely scowled on us as we
scrouged past them to a vacant bench in a far corner. The waiter,
though, bowed before us--a shockheaded personage in the ruins of a dress
suit--at the same time saying words which I took to be complimentary
until one of my friends explained that he had called us something
that might be freely translated as a certain kind of female lobster.
Circumscribed by our own inflexible and unyielding language we in
America must content ourselves with calling a man a plain lobster; but
the limber-tongued Gaul goes further than that--he calls you a female
lobster, which seems somehow or other to make it more binding.

However, I do not really think the waiter meant to be deliberately
offensive; for presently, having first served us with beer which for
obvious reasons we did not drink, he stationed himself alongside the
infirm piano and rendered a little ballad to the effect that all men
were spiders and all women were snakes, and all the World was a green
poison; so, right off, I knew what his trouble was, for I had seen many
persons just as morbidly affected as himself down in the malaria belt
of the United States, where everybody has liver for breakfast every
morning. The waiter was bilious--that was what ailed him.

For the sake of the conventions I tried to feel apprehensive of
grave peril. It was no use. I felt safe--not exactly comfortable, but
perfectly safe. I could not even muster up a spasm of the spine when a
member of our party leaned over and whispered in my ear that any one
of these gentry roundabout us would cheerfully cut a man's throat for
twenty-five cents. I was surprised, though, at the moderation of the
cost; this was the only cheap thing I had struck in Paris. It was
cheaper even than the same job is supposed to be in the district round
Chatham Square, on the East Side of New York, where the credulous
stranger so frequently is told that he can have a plain murder done
for five dollars--or a fancy murder, with trimmings, for ten; rate card
covering other jobs on application. In America, however, it has been my
misfortune that I did not have the right amount handy; and here in Paris
I was handicapped by my inability to make change correctly. By now I
would not have trusted anyone in Paris to make change for me--not even
an Apache. I was sorry for this, for at a quarter a head I should
have been very glad to engage a troupe of Apaches to kill me about two
dollars' worth of cabdrivers and waiters. For one of the waiters at our
hotel I would have been willing to pay as much as fifty cents, provided
they killed him very slowly. Because of the reasons named, however, I
had to come away without making any deal, and I have always regretted
it.

At the outset of the chapter immediately preceding this one I said
the English had no night life. This was a slight but a pardonable
misstatement of the actual facts. The Englishman has not so much night
life as the Parisian, the Berliner, the Viennese or the Budapest; but he
has more night life in his town of London than the Roman has in his town
of Rome. In Rome night life for the foreigner consists of going indoors
at eventide and until bedtime figuring up how much money he has been
skinned out of during the course of the day just done--and for the
native in going indoors and counting up how much money he has skinned
the foreigner out of during the day aforesaid. London has its night
life, but it ends early--in the very shank of the evening, so to speak.

This is due in a measure to the operation of the early-closing law,
which, however, does not apply if you are a bona-fide traveler stopping
at your own inn. There the ancient tavern law protects you. You may sit
at ease and, if so minded, may drink and eat until daylight doth appear
or doth not appear, as is generally the case in the foggy season. There
is another law, of newer origin, to prohibit the taking of children
under a certain age into a public house. On the passage of this act
there at once sprang up a congenial and lucrative employment for those
horrible old-women drunkards who are so distressingly numerous in the
poorer quarters of the town. Regardless of the weather one of these
bedrabbled creatures stations herself just outside the door of a
pub. Along comes a mother with a thirst and a child. Surrendering her
offspring to the temporary care of the hag the mother goes within and
has her refreshment at the bar. When, wiping her mouth on the back of
her hand, she comes forth to reclaim the youngster she gives the
other woman a ha'penny for her trouble, and eventually the other woman
harvests enough ha'penny bits to buy a dram of gin for herself. On a
rainy day I have seen a draggled, Sairey-Gamp-looking female caring for
as many as four damp infants under the drippy portico of an East End
groggery.

It is to the cafes that the early-closing law chiefly applies. The cafes
are due to close for business within half an hour after midnight.
When the time for shutting up draws nigh the managers do not put their
lingering patrons out physically. The individual's body is a sacred
thing, personal liberty being most dear to an Englishman. It will be
made most dear to you too--in the law courts--if you infringe on it by
violence or otherwise. No; they have a gentler system than that, one
that is free from noise, excitement and all mussy work. Along toward
twelve-thirty o'clock the waiters begin going about, turning out the
lights. The average London restaurant is none too brightly illuminated
to start with, being a dim and dingy ill-kept place compared with the
glary, shiny lobster palace that we know; so instantly you are made
aware of a thickening of the prevalent gloom. The waiters start in at
the far end of the room and turn out a few lights. Drawing nearer
and nearer to you they turn out more lights; and finally, by way of
strengthening the hint, they turn out the lights immediately above your
head, which leaves you in the stilly dark with no means of seeing your
food even; unless you have taken the precaution to spread phosphorus
on your sandwich instead of mustard--which, however, is seldom done.
A better method is to order a portion of one of the more luminous
varieties of imported cheese.

The best thing of all, however, is to take your hat and stick and go
away from there. And then, unless you belong to a regular club or carry
a card of admission to one of the chartered all-night clubs that have
sprung up so abundantly in London, and which are uniformly stuffy,
stupid places where the members take their roistering seriously--or as
a last resort, unless you care to sit for a tiresome hour or two in the
grill of your hotel--you might as well be toddling away to bed; that is
to say, you might as well go to bed unless you find the scenes in the
street as worth while as I found them.

At this hour London's droning voice has abated to a deep, hoarse snore;
London has become a great, broody giant taking rest that is troubled by
snatches of wakefulness; London's grimy, lined face shows new wrinkles
of shadow; and new and unexpected clumping of colors in monotone and
halftone appear. From the massed-up bulk of things small detached bits
stand vividly out: a flower girl whose flowers and whose girlhood are
alike in the sere and yellow leaf; a soldier swaggering by, his red coat
lighting up the grayish mass about him like a livecoal in an ashheap;
a policeman escorting a drunk to quarters for the night--not, mind you,
escorting him in a clanging, rushing patrol wagon, which would serve to
attract public attention to the distressing state of the overcome one,
but conveying him quietly, unostentatiously, surreptitiously almost,
in a small-wheeled vehicle partaking somewhat of the nature of a baby
carriage and somewhat of the nature of a pushcart.

The policeman shoves this along the road jailward and the drunk lies
at rest in it, stretched out full length, with a neat rubber bedspread
drawn up over his prostrate form to screen him from drafts and save
his face from the gaze of the vulgar. Drunkards are treated with the
tenderest consideration in London; for, as you know, Britons never will
be slaves--though some of them in the presence of a title give such
imitations of being slaves as might fool even so experienced a judge
as the late Simon Legree; and--as perchance you may also have heard--an
Englishman's souse is his castle. So in due state they ride him and his
turreted souse to the station house in a perambulator.

From midnight to daylight the taxicabs by the countless swarm will be
charging about in every direction--charging, moreover, at the rate of
eight pence a mile. Think that over, ye taxitaxed wretches of New York,
and rend your garments, with lamentations loud! There is this also to
be said of the London taxi service--and to an American it is one of the
abiding marvels of the place--that, no matter where you go, no matter
how late the hour or how outlying and obscure the district, there
is always a trim taxicab just round the next corner waiting to come
instantly at your whistle, and with it a beggar with a bleak, hopeless
face, to open the cab door for you and stand, hat in hand, for the penny
you toss him.

In the main centers, such as Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus and
Charing Cross, and along the Embankment, the Strand and Pall Mall, they
are as thick as fleas on the Missouri houn' dawg famous in song and
story--the taxis, I mean, though the beggars are reasonably thick
also--and they hop like fleas, bearing you swiftly and surely and
cheaply on your way. The meters are honest, openfaced meters; and the
drivers ask no more than their legal fares and are satisfied with tips
within reason. Here in America we have the kindred arts of taxidermy and
taxicabbery; one of these is the art of skinning animals and the other
is the art of skinning people. The ruthless taxirobber of New York would
not last half an hour in London; for him the jail doors would yawn.

Oldtime Londoners deplored the coming of the taxicab and the motorbus,
for their coming meant the entire extinction of the driver of the
horse-drawn bus, who was an institution, and the practical extinction of
the hansom cabby, who was a type and very frequently a humorist too.
But an American finds no fault with the present arrangement; he is amply
satisfied with it.

Personally I can think of no more exciting phase of the night life of
the two greatest cities of Europe than the stunt of dodging taxicabs. In
London the peril that lurks for you at every turning is not the result
of carelessness on the part of the drivers; it is due to the rules of
the road. Afoot, an Englishman meeting you on the sidewalk turns, as
we do, to the right hand; but mounted he turns to the left. The foot
passenger's prerogative of turning to the right was one of the priceless
heritages wrested from King John by the barons at Runnymede; but
when William the Conqueror rode into the Battle of Hastings he rode a
left-handed horse--and so, very naturally and very properly, everything
on hoof or wheel in England has consistently turned to the left ever
since. I took some pains to look up the original precedents for these
facts and to establish them historically.

The system suits the English mind, but it is highly confusing to an
American who gets into the swirl of traffic at a crossing--and every
London crossing is a swirl of traffic most of the time--and looks left
when he should look right, and looks right when he should be looking
left until the very best he can expect, if he survive at all, is
cross-eyes and nervous prostration.

I lost count of the number of close calls from utter and mussy
destruction I had while in London. Sometimes a policeman took pity on me
and saved me, and again, by quick and frenzied leaping, I saved myself;
but then the London cabmen were poor marksmen at best. In front of the
Savoy one night the same cabman in rapid succession had two beautiful
shots at me and each time missed the bull's-eye by a disqualifying
margin of inches. A New York chauffeur who had failed to splatter me all
over the vicinage at the first chance would have been ashamed to go home
afterward and look his innocent little ones in the face.

Even now I cannot decide in my own mind which is the more fearsome and
perilous thing--to be afoot in Paris at the mercy of all the maniacs who
drive French motor cars or to be in one of the motor cars at the mercy
of one of the maniacs. Motoring in Paris is the most dangerous sport
known--just as dueling is the safest. There are some arguments to
be advanced in favor of dueling. It provides copy for the papers and
harmless excitement for the participants--and it certainly gives them a
chance to get a little fresh air occasionally, but with motoring it is
different. In Paris there are no rules of the road except just these
two--the pedestrian who gets run over is liable to prosecution, and all
motor cars must travel at top speed.

If I live to be a million I shall never get over shuddering as I think
back to a taxicab ride I had in the rush hour one afternoon over a route
that extended from away down near the site of the Bastille to a hotel
away up near the Place Vendome. The driver was a congenital madman, the
same as all Parisian taxicab drivers are; and in addition he was on
this occasion acquiring special merit by being quite drunk. This last,
however, was a detail that did not dawn on my perceptions until too late
to cancel the contract. Once he had got me safely fastened inside his
rickety, creaky devil-wagon he pulled all the stops all the way out and
went tearing up the crowded boulevard like a comet with a can tied to
its tail.

I hammered on the glass and begged him to slow down--that is, I
hammered on the glass and tried to beg him to slow down. For just
such emergencies I had previously stocked up with two French
words--"Doucement!" and "Vite!" I knew that one of those words meant
speed and the other meant less speed, but in the turmoil of the moment
I may have confused them slightly. Anyhow, to be on the safe side,
I yelled "Vite!" a while and then "Doucement" a while; and then
"Doucement" and "Vite!" alternately, and mixed in a few short, simple
Anglo-Saxon cusswords and prayers for dressing. But nothing I said
seemed to have the least effect on that demoniac scoundrel. Without
turning his head he merely shouted back something unintelligible and
threw on more juice.

On and on we tore, slicing against the sidewalk, curving and jibbing,
clattering and careening--now going on two wheels and now on four--while
the lunatic shrieked curses of disappointment at the pedestrians who
scuttled away to safety from our charging onslaughts; and I held both
hands over my mouth to keep my heart from jumping out into my lap.

I saw, with instantaneous but photographic distinctness, a lady, with a
dog tucked under her arm, who hesitated a moment in our very path. She
was one of the largest ladies I ever saw and the dog under her arm
was certainly the smallest dog I ever saw. You might say the lady was
practically out of dog. I thought we had her and probably her dog too;
but she fell back and was saved by a matter of half an inch or so. I
think, though, we got some of the buttons off her shirtwaist and the
back trimming of her hat.

Then there was a rending, tearing crash as we took a fender off a
machine just emerging from a cross street, but my lunatic never checked
up at all. He just flung a curling ribbon of profanity over his shoulder
at the other driver and bounded onward like a bat out of the Bad Place.
That was the hour when my hair began to turn perceptibly grayer.
And yet, when by a succession of miracles we had landed intact at my
destination, the fiend seemed to think he had done a praiseworthy and
creditable thing. I only wish he had been able to understand the things
I called him--that is all I wish!

It is by a succession of miracles that the members of his maniacal craft
usually do dodge death and destruction. The providence that watches
over the mentally deficient has them in its care, I guess; and the same
beneficent influence frequently avails to save those who ride behind
them and, to a lesser extent, those who walk ahead. Once in a while a
Paris cabman does have a lucky stroke and garner in a foot traveler.
In an instant a vast and surging crowd convenes. In another instant
the road is impassably blocked. Up rushes a gendarme and worms his way
through the press to the center. He has a notebook in his hand. In this
book he enters the gloating cabman's name, his age, his address, and his
wife's maiden name, if any; and gets his views on the Dreyfus case; and
finds out what he thinks about the separation of church and state; and
tells him that if he keeps on the way he is headed he will be getting
the cross of the Legion of Honor pretty soon. They shake hands and
embrace, and the cabman cuts another notch in his mudguard, and gets
back on the seat and drives on. Then if, by any chance, the victim of
the accident still breathes, the gendarme arrests him for interfering
with the traffic. It is a lovely system and sweetly typical.

Under the general classification of thrilling moments in the night life
of Europe I should like to list a carriage trip through the outskirts of
Naples after dark. In the first place the carriage driver is an Italian
driver--which is a shorter way of saying he is the worst driver living.
His idea of getting service out of a horse is, first to snatch him to a
standstill by yanking on the bit and then to force the poor brute into
a gallop by lashing at him with a whip having a particularly loud and
vixenish cracker on it; and at every occasion to whoop at the top of his
voice. In the second place the street is as narrow as a narrow alley,
feebly lighted, and has no sidewalks. And the rutty paving stones which
stretch from housefront to housefront are crawling with people and goats
and dogs and children. Finally, to add zest to the affair, there are lots
of loose cows mooning about--for at this hour the cowherd brings his
stock to the doors of his patrons. In an Italian city the people get
their milk from a cow, instead of from a milkman as with us. The milk is
delivered on the hoof, so to speak.

The grown-ups refuse to make way for you to pass and the swarming young
ones repay you for not killing them by pelting pebbles and less pleasant
things into your face. Beggars in all degrees of filth and deformity
and repulsiveness run alongside the carriage in imminent danger from the
wheels, begging for alms. If you give them something they curse you for
not giving them more, and if you give them nothing they spit at you for
a base dog of a heretic.

But then, what could you naturally expect from a population that thinks
a fried cuttlefish is edible and a beefsteak is not?



Chapter XIV



That Gay Paresis

As you walk along the Rue de la Paix [Footnote: The X being one of the
few silent things in France.] and pay and pay, and keep on paying, your
eye is constantly engaged by two inscriptions that occur and recur with
the utmost frequency. One of these appears in nearly every shopwindow
and over nearly every shopdoor. It says:

                       English Spoken Here.

This, I may tell you, is one of the few absolutely truthful and
dependable statements encountered by the tourist in the French capital.
Invariably English is spoken here. It is spoken here during all the
hours of the day and until far Into the dusk of the evening; spoken
loudly, clearly, distinctly, hopefully, hopelessly, stridently,
hoarsely, despondently, despairingly and finally profanely by Americans
who are trying to make somebody round the place understand what they are
driving at.

The other inscription is carved, painted or printed on all public
buildings, on most monuments, and on many private establishments as
well. It is the motto of the French Republic, reading as follows:

                  Liberality! Economy! Frugality!
                   [Footnote: Free translation.]

The first word of this--the Liberality part--is applicable to the
foreigner and is aimed directly at him as a prayer, an injunction and
a command; while the rest of it--the Economy and the Frugality--is
competently attended to by the Parisians themselves. The foreigner
has only to be sufficiently liberal and he is assured of a flattering
reception wheresoever his straying footsteps may carry him, whether in
Paris or in the provinces; but wheresoever those feet of his do carry
him he will find a people distinguished by a frugality and inspired by
an economy of the frugalest and most economical character conceivable.
In the streets of the metropolis he is expected, when going anywhere,
to hail the fast-flitting taxicab [Footnote: Stops on signal only--and
sometimes not then.], though the residents patronize the public bus.
Indeed, the distinction is made clear to his understanding from the
moment he passes the first outlying fortress at the national frontier
[Footnote: Flag station.]--since, for the looks of things if for
no better reason, he must travel first-class on the de-luxe trains
[Footnote: Diner taken off when you are about half through eating.],
whereas the Frenchmen pack themselves tightly but frugally into the
second-class and the third-class compartments.

Before I went to France I knew Saint Denis was the patron saint of the
French; but I did not know why until I heard the legend connected with
his death. When the executioner on the hill at Montmartre cut off his
head the good saint picked it up and strolled across the fields with it
tucked under his arm--so runs the tale. His head, in that shape, was no
longer of any particular value to him, but your true Parisian is of a
saving disposition. And so the Paris population have worshiped Saint
Denis ever since. Both as a saint and as a citizen he filled the bill.
He would not throw anything away, whether he needed it or not.

Paris--not the Paris of the art lover, nor the Paris of the lover of
history, nor yet again the Paris of the worth-while Parisians--but the
Paris which the casual male visitor samples, is the most overrated thing
on earth, I reckon--except alligator-pear salad--and the most costly.
Its system of conduct is predicated, based, organized and manipulated on
the principle that a foreigner with plenty of money and no soul will be
along pretty soon. Hence by day and by night the deadfall is rigged
and the trap is set and baited--baited with a spurious gayety and an
imitation joyousness; but the joyousness is as thin as one coat of
sizing, and the brass shines through the plating; and behind the
painted, parted lips of laughter the sharp teeth of greed show in
a glittering double row. Yet gallus Mr. Fly, from the U.S.A., walks
debonairly in, and out comes Monsieur Spider, ably seconded by Madame
Spiderette; and between them they despoil him with the utmost dispatch.
When he is not being mulcted for large sums he is being nicked for small
ones. It is tip, brother, tip, and keep right on tipping.

I heard a story of an American who spent a month in Paris, taking in the
sights and being taken in by them, and another month motoring through
the country. At length he reached the port whence he was to sail for
home. He went aboard the steamer and saw to it that his belongings were
properly stored; and in the privacy of his stateroom he sat down to take
an inventory of his letter of credit, now reduced to a wan and wasted
specter of its once plethoric self. In the midst of casting-up he
heard the signal for departure; and so he went topside of the ship and,
stationing himself on the promenade deck alongside the gang-plank,
he raised his voice and addressed the assembled multitude on the pier
substantially as follows:

"If"--these were his words--"if there is a single, solitary individual
in this fair land who has not touched me for something of value--if
there be in all France a man, woman or child who has not been tipped
by me--let him, her or it speak now or forever after hold their peace;
because, know ye all men by these presents, I am about to go away from
here and if I stay in my right mind I'm not coming back!"

And several persons were badly hurt in the crush; but they were believed
afterward to have been repeaters.

I thought this story was overdrawn, but, after traveling over somewhat
the same route which this fellow countryman had taken, I came to
the conclusion that it was no exaggeration, but a true bill in all
particulars. On the night of our second day in Paris we went to a
theater to see one of the topical revues, in which Paris is supposed to
excel; and for sheer dreariness and blatant vulgarity Paris revues do,
indeed, excel anything of a similar nature as done in either England or
in America, which is saying quite a mouthful.

In the French revue the members of the chorus reach their artistic limit
in costuming when they dance forth from the wings wearing short and
shabby undergarments over soiled pink fleshings and any time the
dramatic interest begins to run low and gurgle in the pipes a male
comedian pumps it up again by striking or kicking a woman. But to kick
her is regarded as much the more whimsical conceit. This invariably sets
the audience rocking with uncontrollable merriment. Howsomever, I am not
writing a critique of the merits of the performance. If I were I should
say that to begin with the title of the piece was wrong. It should have
been called Lapsus Lingerie--signifying as the Latins would say, "A
Mere Slip." At this moment I am concerned with what happened upon our
entrance.

At the door a middle-aged female, who was raising a natty mustache,
handed us programs. I paid her for the programs and tipped her. She
turned us over to a stout brunette lady who was cultivating a neat and
flossy pair of muttonchops. This person escorted us down the aisle to
where our seats were; so I tipped her. Alongside our seats stood a third
member of the sisterhood, chiefly distinguished from her confreres by
the fact that she was turning out something very fetching in the way of
a brown vandyke; and after we were seated she continued to stand there,
holding forth her hand toward me, palm up and fingers extended in
the national gesture, and saying something in her native tongue very
rapidly. Incidentally she was blocking the path of a number of people
who had come down the aisle immediately behind us.

I thought possibly she desired to see our coupons, so I hauled them out
and exhibited them. She shook her head at that and gabbled faster than
ever. It next occurred to me that perhaps she wanted to furnish us with
programs and was asking in advance for the money with which to pay for
them. I explained to her that I already secured programs from her
friend with the mustache. I did this mainly in English, but partly in
French--at least I employed the correct French word for program, which
is programme. To prove my case I pulled the two programs from my pocket
and showed them to her. She continued to shake her head with great
emphasis, babbling on at an increased speed. The situation was beginning
to verge on the embarrassing when a light dawned on me. She wanted a
tip, that was it! She had not done anything to earn a tip that I could
see; and unless one had been reared in the barbering business she
was not particularly attractive to look on, and even then only in
a professional aspect; but I tipped her and bade her begone, and
straightway she bewent, satisfied and smiling. From that moment on I
knew my book. When in doubt I tipped one person--the person nearest to
me. When in deep doubt I tipped two or more persons. And all was well.

On the next evening but one I had another lesson, which gave me further
insight into the habits and customs of these gay and gladsome Parisians.
We were completing a round of the all-night cafes and cabarets. There
were four of us. Briefly, we had seen the Dead Rat, the Abbey, the Bal
Tabarin the Red Mill, Maxim's, and the rest of the lot to the total
number of perhaps ten or twelve. We had listened to bad singing, looked
on bad dancing, sipped gingerly at bad drinks, and nibbled daintily at
bad food; and the taste of it all was as grit and ashes in our mouths.
We had learned for ourselves that the much-vaunted gay life of Paris was
just as sad and sordid and sloppy and unsavory as the so-called gay life
of any other city with a lesser reputation for gay life and gay livers.
A scrap of the gristle end of the New York Tenderloin; a suggestion of
a certain part of New Orleans; a short cross section of the Levee,
in Chicago; a dab of the Barbary Coast of San Francisco in its old,
unexpurgated days; a touch of Piccadilly Circus in London, after
midnight, with a top dressing of Gehenna the Unblest--it had seemed to
us a compound of these ingredients, with a distinctive savor of what was
essentially Gallic permeating through it like garlic through a stew.
We had had enough. Even though we had attended only as onlookers and
seekers after local color, we felt that we had a-plenty of onlooking
and entirely too much of local color; we felt that we should all go into
retreat for a season of self-purification to rid our persons of the
one and take a bath in formaldehyde to rinse our memories clean of the
other. But the ruling spirit of the expedition pointed out that the
evening would not be complete without a stop at a cafe that had--so he
said--an international reputation for its supposed sauciness and its
real Bohemian atmosphere, whatever that might be. Overcome by his
argument we piled into a cab and departed thither.

This particular cafe was found, in its physical aspects, to be
typical of the breed and district. It was small, crowded, overheated,
underlighted, and stuffy to suffocation with the mingled aromas of stale
drink and cheap perfume. As we entered a wrangle was going on among a
group of young Frenchmen picturesquely attired as art students--almost a
sure sign that they were not art students. An undersized girl dressed in
a shabby black-and-yellow frock was doing a Spanish dance on a cleared
space in the middle of the floor. We knew her instantly for a Spanish
dancer, because she had a fan in one hand and a pair of castanets in the
other. Another girl, dressed as a pierrot, was waiting to do her turn
when the Spanish dancer finished. Weariness showed through the lacquer
of thick cosmetic on her peaked little face. An orchestra of three
pieces sawed wood steadily; and at intervals, to prove that these were
gay and blithesome revels, somebody connected with the establishment
threw small, party-colored balls of celluloid about. But what
particularly caught our attention was the presence in a far corner of
two little darkies in miniature dress suits, both very wally of eye,
very brown of skin, and very shaved as to head, huddled together there
as though for the poor comfort of physical contact. As soon as they saw
us they left their place and sidled up, tickled beyond measure to behold
American faces and hear American voices.

They belonged, it seemed, to a troupe of jubilee singers who had been
imported from the States for the delectation of French audiences. At
night, after their work at a vaudeville theater was done, the members of
their company were paired off and sent about to the cafes to earn their
keep by singing ragtime songs and dancing buck dances. These two were
desperately, pathetically homesick. One of them blinked back the tears
when he told us, with the plaintive African quaver in his voice, how
long they had been away from their own country and how happy they would
be to get back to it again.

"We suttin'ly is glad to heah somebody talkin' de reg'lar New 'Nited
States talk, same as we does," he said. "We gits mighty tired of all dis
yere French jabberin'!"

"Yas, suh," put in his partner; "dey meks a mighty fuss over cullud
folks over yere; but 'tain't noways lak home. I comes from Bummin'ham,
Alabama, myse'f. Does you gen'lemen know anybody in Bummin'ham?"

They were the first really wholesome creatures who had crossed our paths
that night. They crowded up close to us and there they stayed until we
left, as grateful as a pair of friendly puppies for a word or a look.
Presently, though, something happened that made us forget these small
dark compatriots of ours. We had had sandwiches all round and a bottle
of wine. When the waiter brought the check it fell haply into the hands
of the one person in our party who knew French and--what was an even
more valuable accomplishment under the present circumstances--knew the
intricate French system of computing a bill. He ran a pencil down the
figures. Then he consulted the price list on the menu and examined the
label on the neck of the wine bottle, and then he gave a long whistle.
"What's the trouble?" asked one of us.

"Oh, not much!" he said. "We had a bottle of wine priced at eighteen
francs and they have merely charged us twenty-four francs for it--six
francs overcharge on that one item alone. The total for the sandwiches
should have been six francs, and it is put down at ten francs. And here,
away down at the bottom, I find a mysterious entry of four francs, which
seems to have no bearing on the case at all--unless it be that they just
simply need the money. I expected to be skinned somewhat, but I object
to being peeled. I'm afraid, at the risk of appearing mercenary, that
we'll have to ask our friend for a recount."

He beckoned the waiter to him and fired a volley of rapid French in the
waiter's face. The waiter batted his eyes and shrugged his shoulders;
then reversing the operation he shrugged his eyelids and batted his
shoulderblades, meantime endeavoring volubly to explain. Our friend
shoved the check into his hands and waved him away. He was back again
in a minute with the account corrected. That is, it was corrected to the
extent that the wine item had been reduced to twenty-one francs and the
sandwiches to eight francs.

By now our paymaster was as hot as a hornet. His gorge rose--his
freeborn, independent American gorge. It rose clear to the ceiling and
threw off sparks and red clinkers. He sent for the manager. The manager
came, all bows and graciousness and rumply shirtfront; and when he
heard what was to be said he became all apologies and indignation. He
regretted more than words could tell that the American gentlemen who
deigned to patronize his restaurant had been put to annoyance. The
garcon--here he turned and burned up that individual with a fiery
sideglance--was a debased idiot and the misbegotten son of a yet greater
and still more debased idiot. The cashier was a green hand and an
imbecile besides. It was incredible, impossible, that the overcharging
had been done deliberately; that was inconceivable. But the honor of
his establishment was at stake. They should both, garcon and cashier, be
discharged on the spot. First, however, he would rectify all mistakes.
Would monsieur intrust the miserable addition to him for a moment, for
one short moment? Monsieur would and did.

This time the amount was made right and our friend handed over in
payment a fifty-franc note. With his own hands the manager brought back
the change. Counting it over, the payee found it five francs short.
Attention being directed to this error the manager became more
apologetic and more explanatory than ever, and supplied the deficiency
with a shiny new five-franc piece from his own pocket. And then, when
we had gone away from there and had traveled a homeward mile or two,
our friend found that the new shiny five-franc piece was counterfeit--as
false a thing as that manager's false smile. We had bucked the
unbeatable system, and we had lost.

Earlier that same evening we spent a gloom-laden quarter of an hour in
another cafe--one which owes its fame and most of its American customs
to the happy circumstance that in a certain famous comic opera produced
a few years ago a certain popular leading man sang a song extolling its
fascinations. The man who wrote the song must have had a full-flowered
and glamorous imagination, for he could see beauty where beauty was not.
To us there seemed nothing particularly fanciful about the place except
the prices they charged for refreshments. However, something unusual did
happen there once. It was not premeditated though; the proprietor had
nothing to do with it. Had he known what was about to occur undoubtedly
he would have advertised it in advance and sold tickets for it.

By reason of circumstances over which he had no control, but which
had mainly to do with a locked-up wardrobe, an American of convivial
mentality was in his room at his hotel one evening, fairly consumed with
loneliness. Above all things he desired to be abroad amid the life and
gayety of the French capital; but unfortunately he had no clothes except
boudoir clothes, and no way of getting any, either, Which made the
situation worse. He had already tried the telephone in a vain effort
to communicate with a ready-made clothing establishment in the Rue St.
Honore. Naturally he had failed, as he knew he would before he tried.
Among Europeans the telephone is not the popular and handy adjunct of
every-day life it is among us. The English have small use for it
because it is, to start with, a wretched Yankee invention; besides, an
Englishman in a hurry takes a cab, as his father before him did--takes
the same cab his father took, if possible--and the Latin races dislike
telephone conversations because the gestures all go to absolute waste.
The French telephone resembles a dingus for curling the hair. You wrap
it round your head, with one end near your mouth and the other end near
your ear, and you yell in it a while and curse in it a while; and then
you slam it down and go and send a messenger. The hero of the present
tale, however, could not send a messenger--the hotel people had their
orders to the contrary from one who was not to be disobeyed.

Finally in stark desperation, maddened by the sounds of sidewalk revelry
that filtered up to him intermittently, he incased his feet in bed-room
slippers, slid a dressing gown over his pajamas, and negotiated a
successful escape from the hotel by means of a rear way. Once in the
open he climbed into a handy cab and was driven to the cafe of his
choice, it being the same cafe mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago.

Through a side entrance he made a hasty and unhindered entrance into
this place--not that he would have been barred under any circumstances,
inasmuch as he had brought a roll with him. A person with a cluster of
currency on hand is always suitably dressed in Paris, no matter if he
has nothing else on; and this man had brought much ready cash with
him. He could have gone in fig-leaved like Eve, or fig-leafless like
September Morn, it being remembered that as between these two, as
popularly depicted, Morn wears even less than Eve. So he whisked in
handily, and when he had hidden the lower part of himself under a table
he felt quite at home and proceeded to have a large and full evening.

Soon there entered another American, and by that mental telepathy which
inevitably attracts like-spirit to like-spirit he was drawn to the spot
where the first American sat. He introduced himself as one feeling the
need of congenial companionship, and they shook hands and exchanged
names, and the first man asked the second man to be seated; so they sat
together and had something together, and then something more together;
and as the winged moments flew they grew momentarily more intimate.
Finally the newcomer said:

"This seems a pretty lachrymose shop. Suppose we go elsewhere and look
for some real doings."

"Your proposition interests me strangely," said the first man; "but
there are two reasons--both good ones--why I may not fare forth with
you. Look under the table and you'll see 'em."

The second man looked and comprehended, for he was a married man
himself; and he grasped the other's hand in warm and comforting
sympathy.

"Old Man," he said--for they had already reached the Old Man
stage--"don't let that worry you. Why, I've got more pants than any man
with only one set of legs has any right to have. I've got pants that've
never been worn. You stay right here and don't move until I come back.
My hotel is just round the corner from here."

No sooner said than done. He went and in a surprisingly short time was
back, bearing spare trousers with him. Beneath the shielding protection
of the table draperies the succored one slipped them on, and they were
a perfect fit. Now he was ready to go where adventure might await them.
They tarried, though, to finish the last bottle.

Over the rim of his glass the second man ventured an opinion on a topic
of the day. Instantly the first man challenged him. It seemed to him
inconceivable that a person with intelligence enough to have amassed so
many pairs of trousers should harbor such a delusion. He begged of his
new-found friend to withdraw the statement, or at least to abate it. The
other man was sorry, but he simply could not do it. He stood ready
to concede almost anything else, but on this particular point he was
adamant; in fact, adamant was in comparison with him as pliable
as chewing taffy. Much as he regretted it, he could not modify his
assertion by so much as one brief jot or one small tittle without
violating the consistent principles of a consistent life. He felt that
way about it. All his family felt that way about it.

"Then, sir," said the first man with a rare dignity, "I regret to wound
your feelings; but my sensibilities are such that I cannot accept, even
temporarily, the use of a pair of trousers from the loan collection of
a person who entertains such false and erroneous conceptions. I have the
pleasure, sir, of wishing you good night."

With these words he shucked off the borrowed habiliments and slammed
them into the abashed bosom of the obstinate stranger and went back to
his captivity--pantless, 'tis true, but with his honor unimpaired.



Chapter XV



Symptoms of the Disease

The majority of these all-night places in Paris are singularly and
monotonously alike. In the early hours of the evening the musicians
rest from their labors; the regular habitues lay aside their air of
professional abandon; with true French frugality the lights burn dim and
low. But anon sounds the signal from the front of the house. Strike
up the band; here comes a sucker! Somebody resembling ready money
has arrived. The lights flash on, the can-canners take the floor, the
garcons flit hither and yon, and all is excitement.

Enter the opulent American gentleman. Half a dozen functionaries greet
him rapturously, bowing before his triumphant progress. Others relieve
him of his hat and his coat, so that he cannot escape prematurely. A
whole reception committee escorts him to a place of honor facing
the dancing arena. The natives of the quarter stand in rows in the
background, drinking beer or nothing at all; but the distinguished
stranger sits at a front table and is served with champagne, and
champagne only. It is inferior champagne; but because it is labeled
American Brut--what ever that may denote--and because there is a poster
on the bottle showing the American flag in the correct colors, he pays
several times its proper value for it. From far corners and remote
recesses coryphees and court jesters swarm forth to fawn on him, bask
in his presence, glory in his smile--and sell him something. The whole
thing is as mercenary as passing the hat. Cigarette girls, flower girls
and bonbon girls, postcard venders and confetti dispensers surround him
impenetrably, taking him front, rear, by the right flank and the left;
and they shove their wares in his face and will not take No for an
answer; but they will take anything else.

Two years ago at a hunting camp in North Carolina, I thought I had met
the creature with the most acute sense of hearing of any living thing. I
refer to Pearl, the mare. Pearl was an elderly mare, white in color
and therefore known as Pearl. She was most gentle and kind. She was
a reliable family animal too--had a colt every year--but in her
affiliations she was a pronounced reactionary. She went through life
listening for somebody to say Whoa! Her ears were permanently slanted
backward on that very account. She belonged to the Whoa Lodge, which has
a large membership among humans.

Riding behind Pearl you uttered the talismanic word in the thinnest
thread of a whisper and instantly she stopped. You could spell Whoa! on
your fingers, and she would stop. You could take a pencil and a piece of
paper out of your pocket and write down Whoa!--and she would stop; but,
compared with a sample assortment of these cabaret satellites, Pearl
would have seemed deaf as a post. Clear across a hundred-foot dance-hall
they catch the sound of a restless dollar turning over in the fob pocket
of an American tourist.

And they come a-running and get it. Under the circumstances it requires
self-hypnotism of a high order, and plenty of it, to make an American
think he is enjoying himself. Still, he frequently attains to that
happy comsummation. To begin with, is he not in Gay Paree?--as it is
familiarly called in Rome Center and all points West? He is! Has he not
kicked over the traces and cut loose with intent to be oh, so naughty
for one naughty night of his life? Such are the facts. Finally, and
herein lies the proof conclusive, he is spending a good deal of money
and is getting very little in return for it. Well, then, what better
evidence is required? Any time he is paying four or five prices for
what he buys and does not particularly need it--or want it after it is
bought--the average American can delude himself into the belief that
he is having a brilliant evening. This is a racial trait worthy of
the scientific consideration of Professor Hugo Munsterberg and other
students of our national psychology. So far the Munsterberg school has
overlooked it--but the canny Parisians have not. They long ago studied
out every quirk and wriggle of it, and capitalized it to their own
purpose. Liberality! Economy! Frugality!--there they are, everywhere
blazoned forth--Liberality for you, Economy and Frugality for them.
Could anything on earth be fairer than that?

Even so, the rapturous reception accorded to a North American pales to
a dim and flickery puniness alongside the perfect riot and whirlwind
of enthusiasm which marks the entry into an all-night place of a
South American. Time was when, to the French understanding, exuberant
prodigality and the United States were terms synonymous; that time has
passed. Of recent years our young kinsmen from the sister republics
nearer the Equator and the Horn have invaded Paris in numbers, bringing
their impulsive temperaments and their bankrolls with them. Thanks to
these young cattle kings, these callow silver princes from Argentina and
Brazil, from Peru and from Ecuador, a new and more gorgeous standard for
money wasting has been established. You had thought, perchance, there
was no rite and ceremonial quite so impressive as a head waiter in a
Fifth Avenue restaurant squeezing the blood out of a semi-raw canvasback
in a silver duck press for a free spender from Butte or Pittsburgh. I,
too, had thought that; but wait, just wait, until you have seen a maitre
d'hotel on the Avenue de l'Opera, with the smile of the canary-fed cat
on his face, standing just behind a hide-and-tallow baron or a guano
duke from somewhere in Far Spiggottyland, watching this person as he
wades into the fresh fruit--checking off on his fingers each blushing
South African peach at two francs the bite, and each purple cluster of
hothouse grapes at one franc the grape. That spectacle, believe me, is
worth the money every time.

There is just one being whom the dwellers of the all-night quarter love
and revere more deeply than they love a downy, squabbling scion of some
rich South American family, and that is a large, broad negro pugilist
with a mouthful of gold teeth and a shirtfront full of yellow diamonds.
To an American--and especially to an American who was reared below Mason
and Dixon's justly popular Line--it is indeed edifying to behold a black
heavyweight fourthrater from South Clark Street, Chicago, taking his
ease in a smart cafe, entirely surrounded by worshipful boulevardiers,
both male and female.

Now, as I remarked at an earlier stage of these observations, there is
another Paris besides this--a Paris of history, of art, of architecture,
of literature, of refinement; a Paris inhabited by a people with a pride
in their past, a pluck in their present, and a faith in their future; a
Paris of kindly aristocrats, of thrifty, pious plain people; a Paris
of students and savants and scientists, of great actors and great
scientists and great dramatists. There is one Paris that might well be
burned to its unclean roots, and another Paris that will be glorified in
the minds of mankind forever. And it would be as unfair to say that the
Paris which comes flaunting its tinsel of vice and pinchbeck villainy
in the casual tourist's face is the real Paris, as it would be for a
man from the interior of the United States to visit New York and, after
interviewing one Bowery bouncer, one Tenderloin cabman, and one Broadway
ticket speculator, go back home and say he had met fit representatives
of the predominant classes of New York society and had found them unfit.
Yes, it would be even more unfair. For the alleged gay life of New York
touches at some point of contact or other the lives of most New Yorkers,
whereas in Paris there are numbers of sane and decent folks who seem
to know nothing except by hearsay of what goes on after dark in the
Montmartre district. Besides, no man in the course of a short and
crowded stay may hope to get under the skin of any community, great or
small. He merely skims its surface cuticle; he sees no deeper than
the pores and the hair-roots. The arteries, the frame, the real
tissue-structure remain hidden to him. Therefore the pity seems all
the greater that, to the world at large, the bad Paris should mean
all Paris. It is that other and more wholesome Paris which one sees--a
light-hearted, good-natured, polite and courteous Paris--when one,
biding his time and choosing the proper hour and proper place, goes
abroad to seek it out.

For the stranger who does at least a part of his sight-seeing after a
rational and orderly fashion, there are pictures that will live in the
memory always: the Madeleine, with the flower market just alongside;
the green and gold woods of the Bois de Boulogne; the grandstand of the
racecourse at Longchamp on a fair afternoon in the autumn; the Opera
at night; the promenade of the Champs-Elysees on a Sunday morning after
church; the Gardens of the Tuileries; the wonderful circling plaza of
the Place Vendome, where one may spend a happy hour if the maniacal
taxi-drivers deign to spare one's life for so unaccountably long a
period; the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli, with their exquisite shops,
where every other shop is a jeweler's shop and every jeweler's shop is
just like every other jeweler's shop--which fact ceases to cause wonder
when one learns that, with a few notable exceptions, all these
shops carry their wares on commission from the stocks of the same
manufacturing jewelers; the old Ile de la Cite, with the second-hand
bookstalls stretching along the quay, and the Seine placidly meandering
between its man-made, man-ruled banks. Days spent here seem short days;
but that may be due in some part to the difference between our time and
theirs. In Paris, you know, the day ends five or six hours earlier than
it does in America.

The two Palaces of Fine Arts are fine enough; and finer still, on beyond
them, is the great Pont Alexandre III; but, to my untutored instincts,
all three of these, with their clumpings of flag standards and their
grouping of marble allegories, which are so aching-white to the eye in
the sunlight, seemed overly suggestive of a World's Fair as we know such
things in America. Seeing them I knew where the architects who designed
the main approaches and the courts of honor for all our big expositions
got their notions for color schemes and statuary effects. I liked better
those two ancient triumphal arches of St.-Martin and St.-Denis on the
Boulevard St.-Denis, and much better even than these the tremendous
sweep of the Place de la Concorde, which is one of the finest squares in
the world, and the one with the grimmest, bloodiest history, I reckon.

The Paris to which these things properly appertain is at its very best
and brightest on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the parks where well-to-do
people drive or ride, and their children play among the trees under the
eyes of nursemaids in the quaint costumes of Normandy, though, for all I
know, it may be Picardy. Elsewhere in these parks the not-so-well-to-do
gather in great numbers; some drinking harmless sirupy drinks at the gay
little refreshment kiosks; some packing themselves about the man who
has tamed the tree sparrows until they come at his call and hive in
chattering, fluttering swarms on his head and his arms and shoulders;
some applauding a favorite game of the middle classes that is being
played in every wide and open space. I do not know its name--could not
find anybody who seemed to know its name--but this game is a kind of
glorified battledore and shuttlecock played with a small, hard ball
capable of being driven high and far by smartly administered strokes
of a hide-headed, rimmed device shaped like a tambourine. It would seem
also to be requisite to its proper playing that each player shall have
a red coat and a full spade beard, and a tremendous amount of speed and
skill. If the ball gets lost in anybody's whiskers I think it counts ten
for the opposing side; but I do not know the other rules.

A certain indefinable, unmistakably Gallic flavor or piquancy savors the
life of the people; it disappears only when they cease to be their own
natural selves. A woman novelist, American by birth, but a resident
of several years in Paris, told me a story illustrative of this. The
incident she narrated was so typical that it could never have happened
except in Paris, I thought. She said she was one of a party who went
one night to dine at a little cafe much frequented by artists and art
students. The host was himself an artist of reputation. As they dined
there entered a tall, gloomy figure of a man with a long, ugly face
full of flexible wrinkles; such a figure and such a face as instantly
commanded their attention. This man slid into a seat at a table near
their table and had a frugal meal. He had reached the stage of demitasse
and cigarette when he laid down cup and cigarette and, fetching a bit of
cardboard and a crayon out of his pocket, began putting down lines and
shadings; between strokes he covertly studied the profile of the man who
was giving the dinner party. Not to be outdone the artist hauled out his
drawing pad and pencil and made a quick sketch of the long-faced man.
Both finished their jobs practically at the same moment; and, rising
together with low bows, they exchanged pictures--each had done a
rattling good caricature of the other--and then, without a word having
been spoken or a move made toward striking up an acquaintance, each man
sat him down again and finished his dinner.

The lone diner departed first. When the party at the other table had had
their coffee they went round the corner to a little circus--one of the
common type of French circuses, which are housed in permanent wooden
buildings instead of under tents. Just as they entered, the premier
clown, in spangles and peak cap, bounded into the ring. Through the
coating of powder on it they recognized his wrinkly, mobile face: it was
the sketch-making stranger whose handiwork they had admired not half an
hour before.

Hearing the tale we went to the same circus and saw the same clown. His
ears were painted bright red--the red ear is the inevitable badge of the
French clown--and he had as a foil for his funning a comic countryman
known on the program as Auguste, which is the customary name of all
comic countrymen in France; and, though I knew only at second hand of
his sketch-making abilities, I am willing to concede that he was the
drollest master of pantomime I ever saw. On leaving the circus, very
naturally we went to the cafe--where the first part of the little dinner
comedy had been enacted. We encountered both artists, professional or
amateur, of blacklead and bristol board, but we met a waiter there who
was an artist--in his line. I ordered a cigar of him, specifying that
the cigar should be of a brand made in Havana and popular in the States.
He brought one cigar on a tray. In size and shape and general aspect
it seemed to answer the required specifications. The little belly band
about its dark-brown abdomen was certainly orthodox and regular; but no
sooner had I lit it and taken a couple of puffs than I was seized with
the conviction that something had crawled up that cigar and died. So I
examined it more closely and I saw then that it was a bad French cigar,
artfully adorned about its middle with a second-hand band, which the
waiter had picked up after somebody else had plucked it off one of the
genuine articles and had treasured it, no doubt, against the coming of
some unsophisticated patron such as I. And I doubt whether that could
have happened anywhere except in Paris either. That is just it, you
see. Try as hard as you please to see the real Paris, the Paris of petty
larceny and small, mean graft intrudes on you and takes a peck at your
purse.

Go where you will, you cannot escape it. You journey, let us assume,
to the Tomb of Napoleon, under the great dome that rises behind the
wide-armed Hotel des Invalides. From a splendid rotunda you look down
to where, craftily touched by the softened lights streaming in from high
above, that great sarcophagus stands housing the bones of Bonaparte; and
above the entrance to the crypt you read the words from the last will
and testament of him who sleeps here: "I desire that my ashes may
repose on the banks of the Seine, among the French people I have so well
loved." And you reflect that he so well loved them that, to glut his
lusting after power and yet more power, he led sundry hundreds of
thousands of them to massacre and mutilation and starvation; but that is
the way of world--conquerors the world over--and has absolutely nothing
to do with this tale. The point I am trying to get at is, if you can
gaze unmoved at this sepulcher you are a clod. And if you can get away
from its vicinity without being held up and gouged by small grafters you
are a wonder.

Not tombs nor temples nor sanctuaries are safe from the profane and
polluting feet of the buzzing plague of them. You journey miles away
from this spot to the great cemetery of Pere Lachaise. You trudge
past seemingly unending, constantly unfolding miles of monuments and
mausoleums; you view the storied urns and animated busts that mark the
final resting-places of France's illustrious dead. And as you marvel
that France should have had so many illustrious dead, and that so many
of them at this writing should be so dead, out from behind De Musset's
vault or Marshal Ney's comes a snoopy, smirky wretch to pester you to
the desperation that is red-eyed and homicidal with his picture post
cards and his execrable wooden carvings.

You fight the persistent vermin off and flee for refuge to that shrine
of every American who knows his Mark Twain--the joint grave [Footnote:
Being French, and therefore economical, those two are, as it were,
splitting one tomb between them.] of Hell Loisy and Abie Lard [Footnote:
Popular tourist pronunciation.] and lo, in the very shadow of it there
lurks a blood brother to the first pest! I defy you to get out of that
cemetery without buying something of no value from one or the other, or
both of them. The Communists made their last stand in Pere Lachaise.
So did I. They went down fighting. Same here. They were licked to a
frazzle. Ditto, ditto.

Next, we will say, Notre Dame draws you. Within, you walk the clattering
flags of its dim, long aisles; without, you peer aloft to view its
gargoyled waterspouts, leering down like nightmares caught in the
very act of leering and congealed into stone. The spirit of the place
possesses you; you conjure up a vision of the little maid Esmeralda and
the squat hunchback who dwelt in the tower above; and at the precise
moment a foul vagabond pounces on you and, with a wink that is in itself
an insult and a smile that should earn for him a kick for every inch
of its breadth, he draws from beneath his coat a set of nasty
photographs--things which no decent man could look at without gagging
and would not carry about with him on his person for a million dollars
in cash. By threats and hard words you drive him off; but seeing others
of his kind drawing nigh you run away, with no particular destination in
mind except to discover some spot, however obscure and remote, where
the wicked cease from troubling and the weary may be at rest for a
few minutes. You cross a bridge to the farther bank of the river and
presently you find yourself--at least I found myself there--in one of
the very few remaining quarters of old Paris, as yet untouched by
the scheme of improvement that is wiping out whatever is medieval and
therefore unsanitary, and making it all over, modern and slick and
shiny.

Losing yourself--and with yourself your sense of the reality of
things--you wander into a maze of tall, beetle-browed old houses with
tiny windows that lower at you from under their dormered lids like
hostile eyes. Above, on the attic ledges, are boxes of flowers and
coops where caged larks and linnets pipe cheery snatches of song; and
on beyond, between the eaves, which bend toward one another like gossips
who would swap whispered confidences, is a strip of sky. Below are
smells of age and dampness. And there is a rich, nutritious garlicky
smell too; and against a jog in the wall a frowsy but picturesque
rag-picker is asleep on a pile of sacks, with a big sleek cat asleep on
his breast. I do not guarantee the rag-picker. He and his cat may have
moved since I was there and saw them, although they had the look about
them both of being permanent fixtures.

You pass a little church, lolling and lopped with the weight of the
years; and through its doors you catch a vista of old pillars and soft
half-lights, and twinkling candles set upon the high altar. Not even the
jimcrackery with which the Latin races dress up their holy places and
the graves of their dead can entirely dispel its abiding, brooding air
of peace and majesty. You linger a moment outside just such a tavern as
a certain ragged poet of parts might have frequented the while he
penned his versified inquiry which after all these centuries is not yet
satisfactorily answered, touching on the approximate whereabouts of the
snows that fell yesteryear and the roses that bloomed yesterweek.

Midway of a winding alley you come to an ancient wall and an ancient
gate crowned with the half-effaced quarterings of an ancient house, and
you halt, almost expecting that the rusted hinges will creak a warning
and the wooden halves begrudgingly divide, and that from under the
slewed arch will issue a most gallant swashbuckler with his buckles all
buckled and his swash swashing; hence the name.

At this juncture you feel a touch on your shoulder. You spin on your
heel, feeling at your hip for an imaginary sword. But 'tis not Master
Francois Villon, in tattered doublet, with a sonnet. Nor yet is it a
jaunty blade, in silken cloak, with a challenge. It is your friend of
the obscene photograph collection. He has followed you all the way from
1914 clear back into the Middle Ages, biding his time and hoping you
will change your mind about investing in his nasty wares.

With your wife or your sister you visit the Louvre. You look on the
Winged Victory and admire her classic but somewhat bulky proportions,
meantime saying to yourself that it certainly must have been a mighty
hard battle the lady won, because she lost her head and both arms in
doing it. You tire of interminable portraits of the Grand Monarch,
showing him grouped with his wife, the Old-fashioned Square Upright;
and his son, the Baby Grand; and his prime minister, the Lyre; and his
brother, the Yellow Clarinet, and the rest of the orchestra. You
examine the space on the wall where Mona Lisa is or is not smiling her
inscrutable smile, depending on whether the open season for Mona Lisas
has come or has passed. Wandering your weary way past acres of the works
of Rubens, and miles of Titians, and townships of Corots, and ranges of
Michelangelos, and quarter sections of Raphaels, and government reserves
of Leonardo da Vincis, you stray off finally into a side passage to see
something else, leaving your wife or your sister behind in one of the
main galleries. You are gone only a minute or two, but returning you
find her furiously, helplessly angry and embarrassed; and on inquiry
you learn she has been enduring the ordeal of being ogled by a small,
wormy-looking creature who has gone without shaving for two or three
years in a desperate endeavor to resemble a real man.

Some day somebody will take a squirt-gun and a pint of insect powder and
destroy these little, hairy caterpillars who infest all parts of Paris
and make it impossible for a respectable woman to venture on the streets
unaccompanied.

Let us, for the further adornment and final elaboration of the
illustration, say that you are sitting at one of the small round tables
which make mushroom beds under the awnings along the boulevards. All
about you are French people, enjoying themselves in an easy and a
rational and an inexpensive manner. As for yourself, all you desire is a
quiet half hour in which to read your paper, sip your coffee, and watch
the shifting panorama of street life. That emphatically is all you ask;
merely that and a little privacy. Are you permitted to have it? You are
not.

Beggars beseech you to look on their afflictions. Sidewalk venders
cluster about you. And if you are smoking the spark of your cigar
inevitably draws a full delegation of those moldy old whiskerados who
follow the profession of collecting butts and quids. They hover about
you, watchful as chicken hawks; and their bleary eyes envy you for each
puff you take, until you grow uneasy and self-reproachful under their
glare, and your smoke is spoiled for you. Very few men smoke well before
an audience, even an audience of their own selection; so before your
cigar is half finished you toss it away, and while it is yet in the air
the watchers leap forward and squabble under your feet for the prize.
Then the winner emerges from the scramble and departs along the sidewalk
to seek his next victim, with the still-smoking trophy impaled on his
steel-pointed tool of trade.

In desperation you rise up from there and flee away to your hotel and
hide in your room, and lock and double-lock the doors, and begin to
study timetables with a view to quitting Paris on the first train
leaving for anywhere, the only drawback to a speedy consummation of this
happy prospect being that no living creature can fathom the meaning of
French timetables.

It is not so much the aggregate amount of which they have despoiled
you--it is the knowledge that every other person in Paris is seeking and
planning to nick you for some sum, great or small; it is the realization
that, by reason of your ignorance of the language and the customs of the
land, you are at their mercy, and they have no mercy--that, as Walter
Pater so succinctly phrases it, that is what gets your goat--and gets it
good!

So you shake the dust from your feet--your own dust, not Paris'
dust--and you depart per hired hack for the station and per train from
the station. And as the train draws away from the trainshed you
behold behind you two legends or inscriptions, repeated and reiterated
everywhere on the walls of the French capital.

One of them says: English Spoken Here!

And the other says: Liberality! Economy! Frugality!



Chapter XVI



As Done in London

London is essentially a he-town, just as Paris is indubitably a
she-town. That untranslatable, unmistakable something which is not to
be defined in the plain terms of speech, yet which sets its mark on
any long-settled community, has branded them both--the one as being
masculine, the other as being feminine. For Paris the lily stands, the
conventionalized, feminized lily; but London is a lion, a shag-headed,
heavy-pawed British lion.

One thinks of Paris as a woman, rather pretty, somewhat regardless of
morals and decidedly slovenly of person; craving admiration, but too
indolent to earn it by keeping herself presentable; covering up the dirt
on a piquant face with rice powder; wearing paste jewels in her
earlobes in an effort to distract criticism from the fact that the
ears themselves stand in need of soap and water. London, viewed in
retrospect, seems a great, clumsy, slow-moving giant, with hair on his
chest and soil under his nails; competent in the larger affairs and
careless about the smaller ones; amply satisfied with himself and
disdainful of the opinions of outsiders; having all of a man's vices and
a good share of his virtues; loving sport for sport's sake and power for
its own sake and despising art for art's sake.

You do not have to spend a week or a month or a year in either Paris or
London to note these things. The distinction is wide enough to be seen
in a day; yes, or in an hour. It shows in all the outer aspects. An
overtowering majority of the smart shops in Paris cater to women; a
large majority of the smart shops in London cater to men. It shows in
their voices; for cities have voices just as individuals have voices.
New York is not yet old enough to have found its own sex. It belongs
still to the neuter gender. New York is not even a noun--it's a verb
transitive; but its voice is a female voice, just as Paris' voice is.
New York, like Paris, is full of strident, shrieking sounds, shrill
outcries, hysterical babblings--a women's bridge-whist club at the hour
of casting up the score; but London now is different. London at all
hours speaks with a sustained, sullen, steady, grinding tone, never
entirely sinking into quietude, never rising to acute discords. The
sound of London rolls on like a river--a river that ebbs sometimes, but
rarely floods above its normal banks; it impresses one as the necessary
breathing of a grunting and burdened monster who has a mighty job on his
hands and is taking his own good time about doing it.

In London, mind you, the newsboys do not shout their extras. They bear
in their hands placards with black-typed announcements of the big news
story of the day; and even these headings seem designed to soothe rather
than to excite--saying, for example, such things as Special From Liner,
in referring to a disaster at sea, and Meeting in Ulster, when meaning
that the northern part of Ireland has gone on record as favoring civil
war before home rule.

The street venders do not bray on noisy trumpets or ring with bells or
utter loud cries to advertise their wares. The policeman does not shout
his orders out; he holds aloft the stripe-sleeved arm of authority
and all London obeys. I think the reason why the Londoners turned
so viciously on the suffragettes was not because of the things the
suffragettes clamored for, but because they clamored for them so loudly.
They jarred the public peace--that must have been it.

I can understand why an adult American might go to Paris and stay
in Paris and be satisfied with Paris, if he were a lover of art and
millinery in all their branches; or why he might go to Berlin if he were
studying music and municipal control; or to Amsterdam if he cared for
cleanliness and new cheese; or to Vienna if he were concerned with
surgery, light opera, and the effect on the human lungs of doing without
fresh air for long periods of time; or to Rome if he were an antiquarian
and interested in ancient life; or to Naples if he were an entomologist
and interested in insect life; or to Venice if he liked ruins with water
round them; or to Padua if he liked ruins with no water anywhere near
them. No: I'm blessed if I can think of a single good reason why a sane
man should go to Padua if he could go anywhere else.

But I think I know, good and well, why a man might spend his whole
vacation in London and enjoy every minute of it. For this old fogy, old
foggy town of London is a man-sized town, and a man-run town; and it has
a fascination of its own that is as much a part of it as London's grime
is; or London's vastness and London's pettiness; or London's wealth and
its stark poverty; or its atrocious suburbs; or its dirty, trade-fretted
river; or its dismal back streets; or its still more dismal slums--or
anything that is London's.

To a man hailing from a land where everything is so new that quite a
good deal of it has not even happened yet, it is a joyful thing to turn
off a main-traveled road into one of the crooked byways in which the
older parts of London abound, and suddenly to come, full face, on a
house or a court or a pump which figured in epochal history or epochal
literature of the English-speaking race. It is a still greater joy to
find it--house or court or pump or what not--looking now pretty much as
it must have looked when good Queen Bess, or little Dick Whittington, or
Chaucer the scribe, or Shakspere the player, came this way. It is fine
to be riding through the country and pass a peaceful green meadow and
inquire its name of your driver and be told, most offhandedly, that it
is a place called Runnymede. Each time this happened to me I felt the
thrill of a discoverer; as though I had been the first traveler to find
these spots.

I remember that through an open door I was marveling at the domestic
economies of an English barber shop. I use the word economies in this
connection advisedly; for, compared with the average high-polished,
sterilized and antiseptic barber shop of an American city, this shop
seemed a torture cave. In London, pubs are like that, and some dentists'
establishments and law offices--musty, fusty dens very unlike their
Yankee counterparts. In this particular shop now the chairs were hard,
wooden chairs; the looking-glass--you could not rightly call it a
mirror--was cracked and bleary; and an apprentice boy went from one
patron to another, lathering each face; and then the master followed
after him, razor in hand, and shaved the waiting countenances in turn.
Flies that looked as though they properly belonged in a livery stable
were buzzing about; and there was a prevalent odor which made me think
that all the sick pomade in the world had come hither to spend its last
declining hours. I said to myself that this place would bear further
study; that some day, when I felt particularly hardy and daring, I would
come here and be shaved, and afterward would write a piece about it
and sell it for money. So, the better to fix its location in my mind,
I glanced up at the street sign and, behold! I was hard by Drury Lane,
where Sweet Nelly once on a time held her court.

Another time I stopped in front of a fruiterer's, my eye having been
caught by the presence in his window of half a dozen draggled-looking,
wilted roasting ears decorated with a placard reading as follows:

                 AMERICAN MAIZE OR INDIAN CORN
               A VEGETABLE--TO BE BOILED AND THEN
                            EATEN

I was remarking to myself that these Britishers were surely a strange
race of beings--that if England produced so delectable a thing as green
corn we in America would import it by the shipload and serve it on every
table; whereas here it was so rare that they needs must label it as
belonging to the vegetable kingdom, lest people should think it might be
an animal--when I chanced to look more closely at the building occupied
by the fruiterer and saw that it was an ancient house, half-timbered
above the first floor, with a queer low-browed roof. Inquiring afterward
I learned that this house dated straight back to Elizabethan days and
still on beyond for so many years that no man knew exactly how many;
and I began to understand in a dim sort of way how and why it was these
people held so fast to the things they had and cared so little for the
things they had not.

Better than by all the reading you have ever done you absorb a sense and
realization of the splendor of England's past when you go to Westminster
Abbey and stand--figuratively--with one foot on Jonson and another
on Dryden; and if, overcome by the presence of so much dead-and-gone
greatness, you fall in a fit you commit a trespass on the last
resting-place of Macaulay or Clive, or somebody of equal consequence.
More imposing even than Westminster is St. Paul's. I am not thinking
so much of the memorials or the tombs or the statues there, but of the
tattered battleflags bearing the names of battles fought by the English
in every crack and cranny of the world, from Quebec to Ladysmith, and
from Lucknow to Khartum. Beholding them there, draped above the tombs,
some faded but still intact, some mere clotted wisps of ragged silk
clinging to blackened standards, gives one an uplifting conception of
the spirit that has sent the British soldier forth to girth the globe,
never faltering, never slackening pace, never giving back a step to-day
but that he took two steps forward to-morrow; never stopping--except for
tea.

The fool hath said in his heart that he would go to England and come
away and write something about his impressions, but never write a
single, solitary word about the Englishman's tea-drinking habit, or the
Englishman's cricket-playing habit, or the Englishman's lack of a sense
of humor. I was that fool. But it cannot be done. Lacking these things
England would not be England. It would be Hamlet without Hamlet or the
Ghost or the wicked Queen or mad Ophelia or her tiresome old pa; for
most English life and the bulk of English conversation center about
sporting topics, with the topic of cricket predominating. And at a given
hour of the day the wheels of the empire stop, and everybody in the
empire--from the king in the counting house counting up his money, to
the maid in the garden hanging out the clothes--drops what he or she may
be doing and imbibes tea until further orders. And what oceans of tea
they do imbibe!

There was an old lady who sat near us in a teashop one afternoon. As
well as might be judged by one who saw her in a sitting posture only,
she was no deeper than any other old lady of average dimensions; but
in rapid succession she tilted five large cups of piping hot tea into
herself and was starting on the sixth when we withdrew, stunned by the
spectacle. She must have been fearfully long-waisted. I had a mental
vision of her interior decorations--all fumed-oak wainscotings and
buff-leather hangings. Still, I doubt whether their four-o'clock-tea
habit is any worse than our five-o'clock cocktail habit. It all depends,
I suppose, on whether one prefers being tanned inside to being pickled.
But we are getting bravely over our cocktail habit, as attested by
figures and the visual evidences, while their tea habit is growing on
them--so the statisticians say.

As for the Englishman's sense of humor, or his lack of it, I judge that
we Americans are partly wrong in our diagnosis of that phase of British
character and partly right. Because he is slow to laugh at a joke, we
think he cannot see the point of it without a diagram and a chart.
What we do not take into consideration is that, through centuries of
self-repression, the Englishman has so drilled himself into refraining
from laughing in public--for fear, you see, of making himself
conspicuous--it has become a part of his nature. Indeed, in certain
quarters a prejudice against laughing under any circumstances appears to
have sprung up.

I was looking one day through the pages of one of the critical English
weeklies. Nearly all British weeklies are heavy, and this is the
heaviest of the lot. Its editorial column alone weighs from twelve to
eighteen pounds, and if you strike a man with a clubbed copy of it the
crime is assault with a dull blunt instrument, with intent to kill. At
the end of a ponderous review of the East Indian question I came on a
letter written to the editor by a gentleman signing himself with his own
name, and reading in part as follows:

SIR: Laughter is always vulgar and offensive. For instance, whatever
there may be of pleasure in a theater--and there is not much--the place
is made impossible by laughter ... No; it is very seldom that happiness
is refined or pleasant to see--merriment that is produced by wine is
false merriment, and there is no true merriment without it ... Laughter
is profane, in fact, where it is not ridiculous.

On the other hand the English in bulk will laugh at a thing which
among us would bring tears to the most hardened cheek and incite our
rebellious souls to mayhem and manslaughter. On a certain night we
attended a musical show at one of the biggest London theaters. There was
some really clever funning by a straight comedian, but his best efforts
died a-borning; they drew but the merest ripple of laughter from the
audience. Later there was a scene between a sad person made up as a
Scotchman and another equally sad person of color from the States. These
times no English musical show is complete unless the cast includes a
North American negro with his lips painted to resemble a wide slice of
ripe watermelon, singing ragtime ditties touching on his chicken and
his Baby Doll. This pair took the stage, all others considerately
withdrawing; and presently, after a period of heartrending comicalities,
the Scotchman, speaking as though he had a mouthful of hot oatmeal,
proceeded to narrate an account of a fictitious encounter with a bear.
Substantially this dialogue ensued:

THE SCOTCHMAN--He was a vurra fierce grizzly bear, ye ken; and he rushed
at me from behind a jugged rock.

THE NEGRO--Mistah, you means a jagged rock, don't you?

THE SCOTCHMAN--Nay, nay, laddie--a jugged rock.

THE NEGRO--Whut's dat you say? Whut--whut is a jugged rock?

THE SCOTCHMAN (forgetting his accent)--Why, a rock with a jug on it,
old chap. (A stage wait to let that soak into them in all its full
strength.) A rock with a jug on it would be a jugged rock, wouldn't
it--eh?

The pause had been sufficient--they had it now. And from all parts of
the house a whoop of unrestrained joy went up.

Witnessing such spectacles as this, the American observer naturally
begins to think that the English in mass cannot see a joke that is
the least bit subtle. Nevertheless, however, and to the contrary
notwithstanding--as Colonel Bill Sterritt, of Texas, used to
say--England has produced the greatest natural humorists in the world
and some of the greatest comedians, and for a great many years has
supported the greatest comic paper printed in the English language,
and that is Punch. Also, at an informal Saturday-night dinner in a
well-known London club I heard as much spontaneous repartee from the
company at large, and as much quiet humor from the chairman, as I ever
heard in one evening anywhere; but if you went into that club on a
weekday you might suppose somebody was dead and laid out there, and
that everybody about the premises had gone into deep mourning for the
deceased. If any member of that club had dared then to crack a joke
they would have expelled him--as soon as they got over the shock of
the bounder's confounded cheek. Saturday night? Yes. Monday afternoon?
Never! And there you are!

Speaking of Punch reminds me that we were in London when Punch, after
giving the matter due consideration for a period of years, came out with
a colored jacket on him. If the Prime Minister had done a Highland fling
in costume at high noon in Oxford Circus it could not have created more
excitement than Punch created by coming out with a colored cover. Yet,
to an American's understanding, the change was not so revolutionary and
radical as all that. Punch's well-known lineaments remained the same.
There was merely a dab of palish yellow here and there on the sheet; at
first glance you might have supposed somebody else had been reading
your copy of Punch at breakfast and had been careless in spooning up his
soft-boiled egg.

They are our cousins, the English are; our cousins once removed, 'tis
true--see standard histories of the American Revolution for further
details of the removing--but they are kinsmen of ours beyond a doubt.
Even if there were no other evidences, the kinship between us would
still be proved by the fact that the English are the only people except
the Americans who look on red meat--beef, mutton, ham--as a food to be
eaten for the taste of the meat itself; whereas the other nations of the
earth regard it as a vehicle for carrying various sauces, dressings and
stuffings southward to the stomach. But, to the notice of the American
who is paying them his first visit, they certainly do offer some amazing
contradictions.

In the large matters of business the English have been accused of
trickiness, which, however, may be but the voice of envious competition
speaking; but in the small things they surely are most marvelously
honest. Consider their railroad trains now: To a greenhorn from this
side the blue water, a railroad journey out of London to almost any
point in rural England is a succession of surprises, and all pleasant
ones. To begin with, apparently there is nobody at the station whose
business it is to show you to your train or to examine your ticket
before you have found your train for yourself. There is no mad scurrying
about at the moment of departure, no bleating of directions through
megaphones. Unchaperoned you move along a long platform under a grimy
shed, where trains are standing with their carriage doors hospitably
ajar, and unassisted you find your own train and your own carriage, and
enter therein.

Sharp on the minute an unseen hand--at least I never saw it--slams the
doors and coyly--you might almost say secretively--the train moves
out of the terminal. It moves smoothly and practically without jarring
sounds. There is no shrieking of steel against steel. It is as though
the rails were made of rubber and the wheel-flanges were faced with
noise-proof felt. No conductor comes to punch your ticket, no brakeman
to bellow the stops, no train butcher bleating the gabbled invoice of
his gumdrops, bananas and other best-sellers.

Glory be! It is all so peaceful and soothing; as peaceful and as
soothing as the land through which you are gliding when once you have
left behind smoky London and its interminable environs; for now you are
in a land that was finished and plenished five hundred years ago and
since then has not been altered in any material aspect whatsoever. Every
blade of grass is in its right place; every wayside shrub seemingly has
been restrained and trained to grow in exactly the right and the proper
way. Streaming by your car window goes a tastefully arranged succession
of the thatched cottages, the huddled little towns, the meandering
brooks, the ancient inns, the fine old country places, the high-hedged
estates of the landed gentry, with rose-covered lodges at the gates and
robust children in the doorways--just as you have always seen them in
the picture books. There are fields that are velvet lawns, and lawns
that are carpets of green cut-plush. England is the only country I know
of that lives up--exactly and precisely--to its storybook descriptions
and its storybook illustrations.

Eventually you come to your stopping point; at least you have reason to
believe it may be your stopping point. As well as you may judge by
the signs that plaster the front, the sides, and even the top of the
station, the place is either a beef extract or a washing compound. Nor
may you count on any travelers who may be sharing your compartment with
you to set you right by a timely word or two. Your fellow passengers
may pity you for your ignorance and your perplexity, but they would
not speak; they could not, not having been introduced. A German or a
Frenchman would be giving you gladly what aid he might; but a well-born
Englishman who had not been introduced would ride for nine years with
you and not speak. I found the best way of solving the puzzle was to
consult the timecard. If the timecard said our train would reach a given
point at a given hour, and this was the given hour, then we might be
pretty sure this was the given point. Timetables in England are written
by realists, not by gifted fiction writers of the impressionistic
school, as is frequently the case in America.

So, if this timecard says it is time for you to get off you get off,
with your ticket still in your possession; and if it be a small station
you go yourself and look up the station master, who is tucked away in
a secluded cubbyhole somewhere absorbing tea, or else is in the luggage
room fussing with baby carriages and patent-churns. Having ferreted him
out in his hiding-place you hand over your ticket to him and he touches
his cap brim and says "Kew" very politely, which concludes the ceremony
so far as you are concerned.

Then, if you have brought any heavy baggage with you in the baggage
car--pardon, I meant the luggage van--you go back to the platform and
pick it out from the heap of luggage that has been dumped there by the
train hands. With ordinary luck and forethought you could easily pick
out and claim and carry off some other person's trunk, provided you
fancied it more than your own trunk, only you do not. You do not do this
any more than, having purchased a second-class ticket, or a third-class,
you ride first-class; though, so far as I could tell, there is no check
to prevent a person from so doing. At least an Englishman never does. It
never seems to occur to him to do so. The English have no imagination.

I have a suspicion that if one of our railroads tried to operate its
train service on such a basis of confidence in the general public there
would be a most deceitful hiatus in the receipts from passenger traffic
to be reported to a distressed group of stockholders at the end of the
fiscal year. This, however, is merely a supposition on my part. I may be
wrong.



Chapter XVII



Britain in Twenty Minutes

To a greater degree, I take it, than any other race the English have
mastered the difficult art of minding their own affairs. The average
Englishman is tremendously knowledgable about his own concerns and
monumentally ignorant about all other things. If an Englishman's
business requires that he shall learn the habits and customs of the
Patagonians or the Chicagoans or any other race which, because it is not
British, he naturally regards as barbaric, he goes and learns them--and
learns them well. Otherwise your Britisher does not bother himself with
what the outlander may or may not do.

An Englishman cannot understand an American's instinctive desire to
know about things; we do not understand his lack of curiosity in
that direction. Both of us forget what I think must be the underlying
reasons--that we are a race which, until comparatively recently, lived
wide distances apart in sparsely settled lands, and were dependent on
the passing stranger for news of the rest of the world, where he belongs
to a people who all these centuries have been packed together in their
little island like oats in a bin. London itself is so crowded that the
noses of most of the lower classes turn up--there is not room for them
to point straight ahead without causing a great and bitter confusion of
noses; but whether it points upward or outward or downward the owner
of the nose pretty generally refrains from ramming it into other folks'
business. If he and all his fellows did not do this; if they had not
learned to keep their voices down and to muffle unnecessary noises;
if they had not built tight covers of reserve about themselves, as
the oyster builds a shell to protect his tender tissues from
irritation--they would long ago have become a race of nervous wrecks
instead of being what they are, the most stolid beings alive.

In London even royalty is mercifully vouchsafed a reasonable amount
of privacy from the intrusion of the gimlet eye and the chisel nose.
Royalty may ride in Rotten Row of a morning, promenade on the Mall at
noon, and shop in the Regent Street shops in the afternoon, and at all
times go unguarded and unbothered--I had almost said unnoticed. It may
be that long and constant familiarity with the institution of royalty
has bred indifference in the London mind to the physical presence of
dukes and princes and things; but I am inclined to think a good share
of it should be attributed to the inborn and ingrown British faculty for
letting other folks be.

One morning as I was walking at random through the aristocratic
district, of which St. James is the solar plexus and Park Lane the
spinal cord, I came to a big mansion where foot-guards stood sentry at
the wall gates. This house was further distinguished from its neighbors
by the presence of a policeman pacing alongside it, and a newspaper
photographer setting up his tripod and camera in the road, and a small
knot of passers-by lingering on the opposite side of the way, as though
waiting for somebody to come along or something to happen. I waited too.
In a minute a handsome old man and a well-set-up young man turned the
corner afoot. The younger man was leading a beautiful stag hound. The
photographer touched his hat and said something, and the younger man
smiling a good-natured smile, obligingly posed in the street for a
picture. At this precise moment a dirigible balloon came careening over
the chimneypots on a cross-London air jaunt; and at the sight of it the
little crowd left the young man and the photographer and set off at a
run to follow, as far as they might, the course of the balloon. Now in
America this could not have occurred, for the balloon man would not have
been aloft at such an hour. He would have been on the earth; moreover he
would have been outside the walls of that mansion house, along with half
a million, more or less, of his patriotic fellow countrymen, tearing
his own clothes off and their clothes off, trampling the weak and sickly
underfoot, bucking the doubled and tripled police lines in a mad, vain
effort to see the flagpole on the roof or a corner of the rear garden
wall. For that house was Clarence House, and the young man who posed so
accommodatingly for the photographer was none other than Prince Arthur
of Connaught, who was getting himself married the very next day.

The next day I beheld from a short distance the passing of the bridal
procession. Though there were crowds all along the route followed by
the wedding party, there was no scrouging, no shoving, no fighting, no
disorderly scramble, no unseemly congestion about the chapel where the
ceremony took place. It reminded me vividly of that which inevitably
happens when a millionaire's daughter is being married to a duke in a
fashionable Fifth Avenue church--it reminded me of that because it was
so different.

Fortunately for us we were so placed that we saw quite distinctly the
entrance of the wedding party into the chapel inclosure. Personally I
was most concerned with the members of the royal house. As I recollect,
they passed in the following order:

His Majesty, King George the Fifth. Her Majesty, Queen Mary, the Other
Four Fifths. Small fractional royalties to the number of a dozen or
more.

I got a clear view of the side face of the queen. As one looked on her
profile, which was what you might call firm, and saw the mild-looking
little king, who seemed quite eclipsed by her presence, one
understood--or anyway one thought one understood--why an English
assemblage, when standing to chant the national anthem these times,
always puts such fervor and meaning into the first line of it.

Only one untoward incident occurred: The inevitable militant lady broke
through the lines as the imperial carriage passed and threw a Votes for
Women handbill into His Majesty's lap. She was removed thence by the
police with the skill and dexterity of long practice. The police were
competently on the job. They always are--which brings me round to the
subject of the London bobby and leads me to venture the assertion
that individually and collectively, personally and officially, he is
a splendid piece of work. The finest thing in London is the London
policeman and the worst thing is the shamefully small and shabby pay he
gets. He is majestic because he represents the majesty of the English
law; he is humble and obliging because, as a servant, he serves the
people who make the law. And always he knows his business.

In Charing Cross, where all roads meet and snarl up in the bewildering
semblance of many fishing worms in a can, I ventured out into the
roadway to ask a policeman the best route for reaching a place in a
somewhat obscure quarter. He threw up his arm, semaphore fashion,
first to this point of the compass and then to that, and traffic halted
instantly. As far as the eye might reach it halted; and it stayed
halted, too, while he searched his mind and gave me carefully and
painstakingly the directions for which I sought. In that packed mass
of cabs and taxis and buses and carriages there were probably dukes
and archbishops--dukes and archbishops are always fussing about in
London--but they waited until he was through directing me. It flattered
me so that I went back to the hotel and put on a larger hat. I sincerely
hope there was at least one archbishop.

Another time we went to Paddington to take a train for somewhere.
Following the custom of the country we took along our trunks and traps
on top of the taxicab. At the moment of our arrival there were no
porters handy, so a policeman on post outside the station jumped forward
on the instant and helped our chauffeur to wrestle the luggage down on
the bricks. When I, rallying somewhat from the shock of this, thanked
him and slipped a coin into his palm, he said in effect that, though
he was obliged for the shilling, I must not feel that I had to give him
anything--that it was part of his duty to aid the public in these small
matters. I shut my eyes and tried to imagine a New York policeman doing
as much for an unknown alien; but the effort gave me a severe headache.
It gave me darting pains across the top of the skull--at about the spot
where he would probably have belted me with his club had I even dared to
ask him to bear a hand with my baggage.

I had a peep into the workings of the system of which the London bobby
is a spoke when I went to what is the very hub of the wheel of the
common law--a police court. I understood then what gave the policeman in
the street his authority and his dignity--and his humility--when I saw
how carefully the magistrate on the bench weighed each trifling cause
and each petty case; how surely he winnowed out the small grain of truth
from the gross and tare of surmise and fiction; how particular he was to
give of the abundant store of his patience to any whining ragpicker
or street beggar who faced him, whether as defendant at the bar, or
accuser, or witness.

It was the very body of the law, though, we saw a few days after this
when by invitation we witnessed the procession at the opening of the
high courts. Considered from the stand-points of picturesqueness and
impressiveness it made one's pulses tingle when those thirty or forty
men of the wig and ermine marched in single and double file down the
loftily vaulted hall, with the Lord Chancellor in wig and robes of state
leading, and Sir Rufus Isaacs, knee-breeched and sword-belted, a pace or
two behind him; and then, in turn, the justices; and, going on ahead of
them and following on behind them, knight escorts and ushers and clerks
and all the other human cogs of the great machine. What struck into me
deepest, however, was the look of nearly every one of the judges. Had
they been dressed as longshoremen, one would still have known them for
possessors of the judicial temperament--men born to hold the balances
and fitted and trained to winnow out the wheat from the chaff. So many
eagle-beaked noses, so many hawk-keen eyes, so many smooth-chopped,
long-jowled faces, seen here together, made me think of what we are
prone to regard as the highwater period of American statesmanship--the
Clay-Calhoun-Benton-Webster period.

Just watching these men pass helped me to know better than any reading I
had ever done why the English have faith and confidence in their courts.
I said to myself that if I wanted justice--exact justice, heaping high
in time scales--I should come to this shop and give my trade to the
old-established firm; but if I were looking for a little mercy I should
take my custom elsewhere.

I cannot tell why I associate it in my mind with this grouped spectacle
of the lords of the law, but somehow the scene to be witnessed in Hyde
Park just inside the Marble Arch of a Sunday evening seems bound up
somehow with the other institution. They call this place London's safety
valve. It's all of that. Long ago the ruling powers discovered that
if the rabidly discontented were permitted to preach dynamite and
destruction unlimited they would not be so apt to practice their
cheerful doctrines. So, without let or hindrance, any apostle of any
creed, cult or propaganda, however lurid and revolutionary, may come
here of a Sunday to meet with his disciples and spout forth the faith
that is in him until he has geysered himself into peace, or, what comes
to the same thing, into speechlessness.

When I went to Hyde Park on a certain Sunday rain was falling and the
crowds were not so large as usual, a bored policeman on duty in this
outdoor forum told me; still, at that, there must have been two or three
thousand listeners in sight and not less than twelve speakers. These
latter balanced themselves on small portable platforms placed in rows,
with such short spaces between them that their voices intermingled
confusingly. In front of each orator stood his audience; sometimes they
applauded what he said in a sluggish British way, and sometimes they
asked him questions designed to baffle or perplex him--heckling, I
believe this is called--but there was never any suggestion of disorder
and never any violent demonstration for or against a statement made by
him.

At the end of the line nearest the Arch, under a flary light, stood an
old bearded man having the look on his face of a kindly but somewhat
irritated moo-cow. At the moment I drew near he was having a long and
involved argument with another controversialist touching on the sense of
the word tabernacle as employed Scripturally, one holding it to mean the
fleshly tenement of the soul and the other an actual place of worship.
The old man had two favorite words--behoove and emit--but behoove was
evidently his choice. As an emitter he was only fair, but he was the
best behoover I ever saw anywhere.

The orator next to him was speaking in a soft, sentimental tone, with
gestures gently appropriate. I moved along to him, being minded to learn
what particular brand of brotherly love he might be expounding. In
the same tone a good friend might employ in telling you what to do
for chapped lips or a fever blister he was saying that clergymen and
armaments were useless and expensive burdens on the commonwealth;
and, as a remedy, he was advocating that all the priests and all the
preachers in the kingdom should be loaded on all the dreadnoughts,
and then the dreadnoughts should be steamed to the deepest part of the
Atlantic Ocean and there cozily scuttled, with all aboard.

There was scattering applause and a voice: "Ow, don't do that! Listen,
'ere! Hi've got a better plan." But the next speaker was blaring away at
the top of his voice, making threatening faces and waving his clenched
fists aloft and pounding with them on the top of his rostrum.

"Now this," I said to myself, "is going to be something worth while.
Surely this person would not be content merely with drowning all the
parsons and sinking all the warships in the hole at the bottom of the
sea. Undoubtedly he will advocate something really radical. I will
invest five minutes with him."

I did; but I was sold. He was favoring the immediate adoption of a
universal tongue for all the peoples of the earth--that was all. I did
not catch the name of his universal language, but I judged the one at
which he would excel would be a language with few if any h's in it.
After this disappointment I lost heart and came away.

Another phase, though a very different one, of the British spirit of
fair play and tolerance, was shown to me at the National Sporting Club,
which is the British shrine of boxing, where I saw a fight for one of
the championship belts that Lord Lonsdale is forever bestowing on this
or that worshipful fisticuffer. Instead of being inside the ring prying
the fighters apart by main force as he would have been doing in America,
the referee, dressed in evening clothes, was outside the ropes. At a
snapped word from him the fighters broke apart from clinches on
the instant. The audience--a very mixed one, ranging in garb from
broadcloths to shoddies--was as quick to approve a telling blow by the
less popular fighter as to hiss any suggestion of trickiness or fouling
on the part of the favorite. When a contestant in one of the preliminary
goes, having been adjudged a loser on points, objected to the decision
and insisted on being heard in his own behalf, the crowd, though plainly
not in sympathy with his contention, listened to what he had to say.
Nobody jeered him down.

Had he been a foreigner and especially had he been an American I am
inclined to think the situation might have been different. I seem to
recall what happened once when a certain middleweight from this side
went over there and broke the British heart by licking the British
champion; and again what happened when a Yankee boy won the Marathon
at the Olympic games in London a few years ago. But as this man was
a Briton himself these other Britons harkened to his sputterings,
for England, you know, grants the right of free speech to all
Englishmen--and denies it to all Englishwomen.

The settled Englishman declines always to be jostled out of his
hereditary state of intense calm. They tell of a man who dashed into the
reading room of the Savage Club with the announcement that a lion was
loose on the Strand--a lion that had escaped from a traveling caravan
and was rushing madly to and fro, scaring horses and frightening
pedestrians.

"Great excitement! Most terrific, old dears--on my word!" he added,
addressing the company.

Over the top of the Pink Un an elderly gentleman of a full habit of life
regarded him sourly.

"Is that any reason," he inquired, "why a person should rush into a
gentleman's club and kick up such a deuced hullabaloo?"

The first man--he must have been a Colonial--gazed at the other man in
amazement.

"Well," he asked, "what would you do if you met a savage lion loose on
the Strand?"

"Sir, I should take a cab!"

And after meeting an Englishman or two of this type I am quite prepared
to say the story might have been a true one. If he met a lion on the
Strand to-day he would take a cab; but if to-morrow, walking in the
same place, he met two lions, he would write a letter to the
Times complaining of the growing prevalence of lions in the public
thoroughfares and placing the blame on the Suffragettes or Lloyd George
or the Nonconformists or the increasing discontent of the working
classes--that is what he would do.

On the other hand, if he met a squirrel on a street in America it would
be a most extraordinary thing. Extraordinary would undoubtedly be the
word he would use to describe it. Lions on the Strand would be merely
annoying, but chipmunks on Broadway would constitute a striking
manifestation of the unsettled conditions existing in a wild and
misgoverned land; for, you see, to every right-minded Englishman of
the insular variety--and that is the commonest variety there is in
England--whatever happens at home is but part of an orderly and an
ordered scheme of things, whereas whatever happens beyond the
British domains must necessarily be highly unusual and exceedingly
disorganizing. If so be it happens on English soil he can excuse it.
He always has an explanation or an extenuation handy. But if it happens
elsewhere--well, there you are, you see! What was it somebody once
called England--Perfidious Alibi-in', wasn't it? Anyhow that was what he
meant. The party's intentions were good but his spelling was faulty.

An Englishman's newspapers help him to attain this frame of mind; for
an English newspaper does not print sensational stories about Englishmen
residing in England; it prints them about people resident in other
lands. There is a good reason for this and the reason is based on
prudence. In the first place the private life of a private individual is
a most holy thing, with which the papers dare not meddle; besides, the
paper that printed a faked-up tale about a private citizen in England
would speedily be exposed and also extensively sued. As for public men,
they are protected by exceedingly stringent libel laws. As nearly as I
might judge, anything true you printed about an English politician would
be libelous, and anything libelous you printed about him would be true.

It befalls, therefore, as I was told on most excellent authority, that
when the editor of a live London daily finds the local grist to be
dull and uninteresting reading he straightway cables to his American
correspondent or his Paris correspondent--these two being his main
standbys for sensations--asking, if his choice falls on the man in
America, for a snappy dispatch, say, about an American train smash-up,
or a Nature freak, or a scandal in high society with a rich man mixed up
in it. He wires for it, and in reply he gets it. I have been in my time
a country correspondent for city papers, and I know that what Mr. Editor
wants Mr. Editor gets.

As a result America, to the provincial Englishman's understanding, is
a land where a hunter is always being nibbled to death by sheep; or a
prospective mother is being so badly frightened by a chameleon that her
child is born with a complexion changeable at will and an ungovernable
appetite for flies; or a billionaire is giving a monkey dinner or
poisoning his wife, or something. Also, he gets the idea that a through
train in this country is so called because it invariably runs through
the train ahead of it; and that when a man in Connecticut is expecting a
friend on the fast express from Boston, and wants something to remember
him by, he goes down to the station at train time with a bucket. Under
the headlining system of the English newspapers the derailment of a
work-train in Arizona, wherein several Mexican tracklayers get mussed
up, becomes Another Frightful American Railway Disaster! But a head-on
collision, attended by fatalities, in the suburbs of Liverpool or
Manchester is a Distressing Suburban Incident. Yet the official Blue
Book, issued by the British Board of Trade, showed that in the three
months ending March 31, 1913, 284 persons were killed and 2,457 were
injured on railway lines in the United Kingdom.

Just as an English gentleman is the most modest person imaginable,
and the most backward about offering lip-service in praise of his own
achievements or his country's achievements, so, in the same superlative
degree, some of his newspapers are the most blatant of boasters. About
the time we were leaving England the job of remodeling and beautifying
the front elevation of Buckingham Palace reached its conclusion, and a
dinner was given to the workingmen who for some months had been engaged
on the contract. It had been expected that the occasion would be graced
by the presence of Their Majesties; but the king, as I recall, was
pasting stamps in the new album the Czar of Russia sent him on his
birthday, and the queen was looking through the files of Godey's Lady's
Book for the year 1874, picking out suitable costumes for the ladies of
her court to wear. At any rate they could not attend. Otherwise, though,
the dinner must have been a success. Reading the account of it as
published next morning in a London paper, I learned that some of the
guests, "with rare British pluck," wore their caps and corduroys; that
others, "with true British independence," smoked their pipes after
dinner; that there was "real British beef" and "genuine British plum
pudding" on the menu; and that repeatedly those present uttered "hearty
British cheers." From top to bottom the column was studded thick with
British thises and British thats.

Yet the editorial writers of that very paper are given to frequent and
sneering attacks on the alleged yellowness and the boasting proclivities
of the jingo Yankee sheets; also, they are prone to spasmodic attacks
on the laxity of our marriage laws. Perhaps what they say of us is true;
but for unadulterated nastiness I never saw anything in print to equal
the front page of a so-called sporting weekly that circulates freely in
London, and I know of nothing to compare with the brazen exhibition of a
certain form of vice that is to be witnessed nightly in the balconies of
two of London's largest music halls. It was upon the program of another
London theater that I came across the advertisement of a lady styling
herself "London's Woman Detective" and stating, in so many words, that
her specialties were "Divorce Shadowings" and "Secret Inquiries." Maybe
it is a fact that in certain of our states marriage is not so much a
contract as a ninety-day option, but the lady detective who does divorce
shadowing and advertises her qualifications publicly has not opened up
her shop among us.

In the campaign to give the stay-at-home Englishman a strange conception
of his American kinsman the press is ably assisted by the stage.
In London I went to see a comedy written by a deservedly successful
dramatist, and staged, I think, under his personal direction. The
English characters in the play were whimsical and, as nearly as I might
judge, true to the classes they purported to represent. There was an
American character in this piece too--a multimillionaire, of course, and
a collector of pictures--presumably a dramatically fair and realistic
drawing of a wealthy, successful, art-loving American. I have forgotten
now whether he was supposed to be one of our meaty Chicago millionaires,
or one of our oily Cleveland millionaires, or one of our steely
Pittsburgh millionaires, or just a plain millionaire from the country
at large; and I doubt whether the man who wrote the lines had any
conception when he did write them of the fashion in which they were
afterward read. Be that as it may, the actor who essayed to play the
American used an inflection, or an accent, or a dialect, or a jargon--or
whatever you might choose to call it--which was partly of the oldtime
drawly Wild Western school of expression and partly of the oldtime
nasal Down East school. I had thought--and had hoped--that both these
actor-created lingoes were happily obsolete; but in their full flower of
perfection I now heard them here in London. Also, the actor who played
the part interpreted the physical angles of the character in a manner to
suggest a pleasing combination of Uncle Joshua Whitcomb, Mike the Bite,
Jefferson Brick and Coal-Oil Johnny, with a suggestion of Jesse James
interspersed here and there. True, he spat not on the carpet loudly, and
he refrained from saying I vum! and Great Snakes!--quaint conceits that,
I am told, every English actor who respected his art formally employed
when wishful to type a stage American for an English audience; but he
bragged loudly and emphatically of his money and of how he got it and of
what he would do with it. I do not perceive why it is the English, who
themselves so dearly love the dollar after it is translated into terms
of pounds, shillings and pence, should insist on regarding us as a
nation of dollar-grabbers, when they only see us in the act of freely
dispensing the aforesaid dollar.

They do so regard us, though; and, with true British setness, I suppose
they always will. Even so I think that, though they may dislike us as a
nation, they like us as individuals; and it is certainly true that they
seem to value us more highly than they value Colonials, as they call
them--particularly Canadian Colonials. It would appear that your true
Briton can never excuse another British subject for the shockingly poor
taste he displayed in being born away from home. And, though in time he
may forgive us for refusing to be licked by him, he can never forgive
the Colonials for saving him from being licked in South Africa.

When I started in to write this chapter, I meant to conclude it with an
apology for my audacity in undertaking--in any wise--to sum up the local
characteristics of a country where I had tarried for so short a time,
but I have changed my mind about that. I have merely borrowed a page
from the book of rules of the British essayists and novelists who come
over here to write us up. Why, bless your soul, I gave nearly eight
weeks of time to the task of seeing Europe thoroughly, and, of those
eight weeks, I spent upward of three weeks in and about London--indeed,
a most unreasonably long time when measured by the standards of the
Englishman of letters who does a book about us.

He has his itinerary all mapped out in advance. He will squander a whole
week on us. We are scarcely worth it, but, such as we are, we shall have
a week of his company! Landing on Monday morning, he will spend Monday
in New York, Tuesday in San Francisco, and Wednesday in New Orleans.
Thursday he will divide between Boston and Chicago, devoting the
forenoon to one and the afternoon to the other. Friday morning he will
range through the Rocky Mountains, and after luncheon, if he is not too
fatigued, he will take a carriage and pop in on Yosemite Valley for an
hour or so.

But Saturday--all of it--will be given over to the Far Southland. He
is going 'way down South--to sunny South Dakota, in fact, to see the
genuine native American darkies, the real Yankee blackamoors.
Most interesting beings, the blackamoors! They live exclusively on
poultry--fowls, you know--and all their women folk are named Honey Gal.

He will observe them in their hours of leisure, when, attired in their
national costume, consisting of white duck breeches, banjos, and striped
shirts with high collars, they gather beneath the rays of the silvery
Southern moon to sing their tribal melodies on the melon-lined shores
of the old Oswego; and by day he will study them at their customary
employment as they climb from limb to limb of the cottonwood trees,
picking cotton. On Sunday he will arrange and revise his notes, and on
Monday morning he will sail for home.

Such is the program of Solomon Grundy, Esquire, the distinguished
writing Englishman; but on his arrival he finds the country to be
somewhat larger than he expected--larger actually than the Midlands. So
he compromises by spending five days at a private hotel in New York, run
by a very worthy and deserving Englishwoman of the middle classes, where
one may get Yorkshire puddings every day; and two days more at a wealthy
tufthunter's million-dollar cottage at Newport, studying the habits and
idiosyncrasies of the common people. And then he rushes back to England
and hurriedly embalms his impressions of us in a large volume, stating
it to be his deliberate opinion that, though we mean well enough, we
won't do--really. He necessarily has to hurry, because, you see, he has
a contract to write a novel or a play--or both a novel and a play--with
Lord Northcliffe as the central figure. In these days practically all
English novels and most English comedies play up Lord Northcliffe as the
central figure. Almost invariably the young English writer chooses him
for the axis about which his plot shall revolve. English journalists
who have been discharged from one of Northcliffe's publications make him
their villian, and English journalists who hope to secure jobs on one
of his publications make him their hero. The literature of a land is
in perilous case when it depends on the personality of one man. One
shudders to think what the future of English fiction would be should
anything happen to his Lordship!

Business of shuddering!



Chapter XVIII



Guyed or Guided?

During our scientific explorations in the Eastern Hemisphere, we met two
guides who had served the late Samuel L. Clemens, one who had served
the late J. Pierpont Morgan, and one who had acted as courier to
ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. After inquiry among persons who were
also lately abroad, I have come to the conclusion that my experience
in this regard was remarkable, not because I met so many as four of the
guides who had attended these distinguished Americans, but because I met
so few as four of them. One man with whom I discussed the matter told of
having encountered, in the course of a brief scurry across Europe, five
members in good standing of the International Association of Former
Guides to Mark Twain. All of them had union cards to prove it too.
Others said that in practically every city of any size visited by them
there was a guide who told of his deep attachment to the memory of Mr.
Morgan, and described how Mr. Morgan had hired him without inquiring
in advance what his rate for professional services a day would be; and
how--lingering with wistful emphasis on the words along here and looking
meaningly the while at the present patron--how very, very generous Mr.
Morgan had been in bestowing gratuities on parting.

Our first experience with guides was at Westminster Abbey. As it
happened, this guide was one of the Mark Twain survivors. I think,
though, he was genuine; he had documents of apparent authenticity in
his possession to help him in proving up his title. Anyhow, he knew his
trade. He led us up and down those parts of the Abbey which are free to
the general public and brought us finally to a wicket gate, opening on
the royal chapels, which was as far as he could go. There he turned us
over to a severe-looking dignitary in robes--an archbishop, I judged,
or possibly only a canon--who, on payment by us of a shilling a head,
escorted our party through the remaining inclosures, showing us the
tombs of England's queens and kings, or a good many of them anyway; and
the Black Prince's helmet and breastplate; and the exquisite chapel of
Henry the Seventh, and the ancient chair on which all the kings sat for
their coronations, with the famous Scotch Stone of Scone under it.

The chair itself was not particularly impressive. It was not nearly so
rickety and decrepit as the chairs one sees in almost any London barber
shop. Nor was my emotion particularly excited by the stone. I would
engage to get a better-looking one out of the handiest rock quarry
inside of twenty minutes. This stone should not be confused with the
ordinary scones, which also come from Scotland and which are by some
regarded as edible.

What did seem to us rather a queer thing was that the authorities of
Westminster should make capital of the dead rulers of the realm and,
except on certain days of the week, should charge an admission fee to
their sepulchers. Later, on the Continent, we sustained an even more
severe shock when we saw royal palaces--palaces that on occasion
are used by the royal proprietors--with the quarters of the monarchs
upstairs and downstairs novelty shops and tourist agencies and
restaurants, and the like of that. I jotted down a few crisp notes
concerning these matters, my intention being to comment on them as
evidence of an incomprehensible thrift on the part of our European
kins-people; but on second thought I decided to refrain from so doing.
I recalled the fact that we ourselves are not entirely free from certain
petty national economies. Abroad we house our embassies up back streets,
next door to bird and animal stores; and at home there is many a public
institution where the doormat says WELCOME! in large letters, but the
soap is chained and the roller towel is padlocked to its little roller.

Guides are not particularly numerous in England. Even in the places
most frequented by the sightseer they do not abound in any profusion. At
Madame Tussaud's, for example, we found only one guide. We encountered
him just after we had spent a mournful five minutes in contemplation of
ex-President Taft. Friends and acquaintances of Mr. Taft will be shocked
to note the great change in him when they see him here in wax. He does
not weigh so much as he used to weigh by at least one hundred and fifty
pounds; he has lost considerable height too; his hair has turned another
color and his eyes also; his mustache is not a close fit any more,
either; and he is wearing a suit of English-made clothes.

On leaving the sadly altered form of our former Chief Executive we
descended a flight of stone steps leading to the Chamber of Horrors.
This department was quite crowded with parents escorting their children
about. Like America, England appears to be well stocked with parents who
make a custom of taking their young and susceptible offspring to places
where the young ones stand a good chance of being scared into connipshun
fits. The official guide was in the Chamber of Horrors. He was piloting
a large group of visitors about, but as soon as he saw our smaller party
he left them and came directly to us; for they were Scotch and we were
Americans, citizens of the happy land where tips come from. Undoubtedly
that guide knew best.

With pride and pleasure he showed us a representative assortment of
England's most popular and prominent murderers. The English dearly love
a murderer. Perhaps that is because they have fewer murderers than we
have, and have less luck than we do in keeping them alive and in good
spirits to a ripe old age. Almost any American community of fair
size can afford at least two murderers--one in jail, under sentence,
receiving gifts of flowers and angel cake from kind ladies, and waiting
for the court above to reverse the verdict in his case because the
indictment was shy a comma; and the other out on bail, awaiting his
time for going through the same procedure. But with the English it is
different.

We rarely hang anybody who is anybody, and only occasionally make an
issue of stretching the neck of the veriest nobody. They will hang
almost anybody Haman-high, or even higher than that. They do not exactly
hang their murderer before they catch him, but the two events occur in
such close succession that one can readily understand why a confusion
should have arisen in the public mind on these points. First of all,
though, they catch him; and then some morning between ten and twelve
they try him. This is a brief and businesslike formality. While the
judge is looking in a drawer of his desk to see whether the black cap is
handy the bailiffs shoo twelve tradesmen into the jury box. A tradesman
is generally chosen for jury service because he is naturally anxious to
get the thing over and hurry back to his shop before his helper goes to
lunch. The judge tells the jurors to look on the prisoner, because he is
going away shortly and is not expected back; so they take full advantage
of the opportunity, realizing it to be their last chance. Then, in
order to comply with the forms, the judge asks the accused whether he
is guilty or not guilty, and the jurors promptly say he is. His Worship,
concurring heartily, fixes the date of execution for the first Friday
morning when the hangman has no other engagements. It is never necessary
to postpone this event through failure of the condemned to be present.
He is always there; there is no record of his having disappointed
an audience. So, on the date named, rain or shine, he is hanged very
thoroughly; but after the hanging is over they write songs and books
about him and revere his memory forevermore.

Our guide was pleased to introduce us to the late Mr. Charles Pease,
as done in paraffin, with creped hair and bright, shiny glass eyes. Mr.
Pease was undoubtedly England's most fashionable murderer of the
past century and his name is imperishably enshrined in the British
affections. The guide spoke of his life and works with deep and sincere
feeling. He also appeared to derive unfeigned pleasure from describing
the accomplishments of another murderer, only slightly less famous than
the late Mr. Pease. It seemed that this murderer, after slaying his
victim, set to dismembering the body and boiling it. They boil nearly
everything in England. But the police broke in on him and interrupted
the job.

Our attention was directed to a large chart showing the form of the
victim, the boiled portions being outlined in red and the unboiled
portions in black. Considered as a murderer solely this particular
murderer may have been deserving of his fame; but when it came to
boiling, that was another matter. He showed poor judgment there. It all
goes to show that a man should stick to his own trade and not try to
follow two or more widely dissimilar callings at the same time. Sooner
or later he is bound to slip up.

We found Stratford-upon-Avon to be the one town in England where guides
are really abundant. There are as many guides in Stratford as there are
historic spots. I started to say that there is at least one guide
in Stratford for every American who goes there; but that would be
stretching real facts, because nearly every American who goes to England
manages to spend at least a day in Stratford, it being a spot very dear
to his heart. The very name of it is associated with two of the most
conspicuous figures in our literature. I refer first to Andrew Carnegie;
second to William Shakspere. Shakspere, who wrote the books, was born
here; but Carnegie, who built the libraries in which to keep the books,
and who has done some writing himself, provided money for preserving and
perpetuating the relics.

We met a guide in the ancient schoolhouse where the Bard--I am speaking
now of William, not of Andrew--acquired the rudiments of his education;
and on duty at the old village church was another guide, who for a price
showed us the identical gravestone bearing the identical inscription
which, reproduced in a design of burnt wood, is to-day to be found on
the walls of every American household, however humble, whose members are
wishful of imparting an artistic and literary atmosphere to their home.
A third guide greeted us warmly when we drove to the cottage, a mile
or two from the town, where the Hathaway family lived. Here we saw the
high-backed settle on which Shakspere sat, night after night, wooing
Anne Hathaway. I myself sat on it to test it. I should say that the
wooing could not have been particularly good there, especially for a
thin man. That settle had a very hard seat and history does not record
that there was a cushion. Shakspere's affections for the lady must
indeed have been steadfast. Or perhaps he was of stouter build than his
pictures show him to have been.

Guides were scattered all over the birthplace house in Stratford in the
ratio of one or more to each room. Downstairs a woman guide presided
over a battery of glass cases containing personal belongings of
Shakspere's and documents written by him and signed by him. It is
conceded that he could write, but he certainly was a mighty poor
speller. This has been a failing of many well-known writers. Chaucer was
deficient in this regard; and if it were not for a feeling of personal
modesty I could apply the illustration nearer home.

Two guides accompanied us as we climbed the stairs to the low-roofed
room on the second floor where the creator of Shylock and Juliet was
born--or was not born, if you believe what Ignatius Donnelly had to say
on the subject. But would it not be interesting and valued information
if we could only get the evidence on this point of old Mrs. Shakspere,
who undoubtedly was present on the occasion? A member of our party,
an American, ventured to remark as much to one of the guides; but the
latter did not seem to understand him. So the American told him just to
keep thinking it over at odd moments, and that he would be back again
in a couple of years, if nothing happened, and possibly by that time the
guide would have caught the drift of his observation. On second thought,
later on, he decided to make it three years--he did not want to crowd
the guide, he said, or put too great a burden on his mentality in a
limited space of time.

If England harbors few guides the Continent is fairly glutted with them.
After nightfall the boulevards of Paris are so choked with them that
in places there is standing room only. In Rome the congestion is even
greater. In Rome every other person is a guide--and sometimes twins.
I do not know why, in thinking of Europe, I invariably associate the
subject of guides with the subject of tips. The guides were no greedier
for tips than the cabmen or the hotel helpers, or the railroad hands, or
the populace at large. Nevertheless this is true. In my mind I am
sure guides and tips will always be coupled, as surely as any of those
standard team-word combinations of our language that are familiar to
all; as firmly paired off as, for example, Castor and Pollux, or Damon
and Pythias, or Fair and Warmer, or Hay and Feed. When I think of one
I know I shall think of the other. Also I shall think of languages; but
for that there is a reason.

Tipping--the giving of tips and the occasional avoidance of giving
them--takes up a good deal of the tourist's time in Europe. At first
reading the arrangement devised by the guidebooks, of setting aside ten
per cent of one's bill for tipping purposes, seems a better plan and a
less costly one than the indiscriminate American system of tipping for
each small service at the time of its performance. The trouble is that
this arrangement does not work out so well in actual practice as it
sounds in theory. On the day of your departure you send for your hotel
bill. You do not go to the desk and settle up there after the American
fashion. If you have learned the ropes you order your room waiter to
fetch your bill to you, and in the privacy of your apartment you
pore over the formidable document wherein every small charge is fully
specified, the whole concluding with an impressive array of items
regarding which you have no prior recollection whatsoever. Considering
the total, you put aside an additional ten per cent, calculated for
division on the basis of so much for the waiter, so much for the boots,
so much for the maid and the porter, and the cashier, and the rest of
them. It is not necessary that you send for these persons in order to
confer your farewell remembrances on them; they will be waiting for you
in the hallways. No matter how early or late the hour of your leaving
may be, you find them there in a long and serried rank.

You distribute bills and coins until your ten per cent is exhausted, and
then you are pained to note that several servitors yet remain, lined up
and all expectant, owners of strange faces that you do not recall
ever having seen before, but who are now at hand with claims, real or
imaginary, on your purse. Inasmuch as you have a deadly fear of being
remembered afterward in this hotel as a piker, you continue to dip
down and to fork over, and so by the time you reach the tail end of the
procession your ten per cent has grown to twelve or fifteen per cent, or
even more.

As regards the tipping of guides for their services, I hit on a fairly
satisfactory plan, which I gladly reveal here for the benefit of my
fellow man. I think it is a good idea to give the guide, on parting,
about twice as much as you think he is entitled to, which will be about
half as much as he expects. From this starting point you then work
toward each other, you conceding a little from time to time, he abating
a trifle here and there, until you have reached a happy compromise on a
basis of fifty-fifty; and so you part in mutual good will.

The average American, on the eve of going to Europe, thinks of the
European as speaking each his own language. He conceives of the Poles
speaking Polar; of the Hollanders talking Hollandaise; of the Swiss
as employing Schweitzer for ordinary conversations and yodeling when
addressing friends at a distance; and so on. Such, however, is rarely
the case. Nearly every person with whom one comes in contact in Europe
appears to have fluent command of several tongues besides his or her
own. It is true this does not apply to Italy, where the natives
mainly stick to Italian; but then, Italian is not a language. It is a
calisthenic.

Between Rome and Florence, our train stopped at a small way station in
the mountains. As soon as the little locomotive had panted itself to a
standstill the train hands, following their habit, piled off the cars
and engaged in a tremendous confab with the assembled officials on the
platform. Immediately all the loafers in sight drew cards. A drowsy
hillsman, muffled to his back hair in a long brown cloak, and with
buskins on his legs such as a stage bandit wears, was dozing against the
wall. He looked as though he had stepped right out of a comic opera to
add picturesqueness to the scene. He roused himself and joined in; so
did a bearded party who, to judge by his uniform, was either a Knight of
Pythias or a general in the army; so did all the rest of the crowd. In
ten seconds they were jammed together in a hard knot, and going it on
the high speed with the muffler off, fine white teeth shining, arms
flying, shoulders shrugging, spinal columns writhing, mustaches rising
and falling, legs wriggling, scalps and ears following suit. Feeding
hour in the parrot cage at the zoo never produced anything like so noisy
and animated a scene. In these parts acute hysteria is not a symptom; it
is merely a state of mind.

A waiter in soiled habiliments hurried up, abandoning chances of trade
at the prospect of something infinitely more exciting. He wanted to
stick his oar into the argument. He had a few pregnant thoughts of his
own craving utterance, you could tell that. But he was handicapped into
a state of dumbness by the fact that he needed both arms to balance a
tray of wine and sandwiches on his head. Merely using his voice in that
company would not have counted. He stood it as long as he could, which
was not very long, let me tell you. Then he slammed his tray down on the
platform and, with one quick movement, jerked his coat sleeves back to
his elbows, and inside thirty seconds he had the floor in both hands, as
it were. He conversed mainly with the Australian crawl stroke, but once
in a while switched to the Spencerian free-arm movement and occasionally
introduced the Chautauqua salute with telling effect.

On the Continent guides, as a class, excel in the gift of
tongues--guides and hotel concierges. The concierge at our hotel in
Berlin was a big, upstanding chap, half Russian and half Swiss, and
therefore qualified by his breeding to speak many languages; for the
Russians are born with split tongues and can give cards and spades to
any talking crow that ever lived; while the Swiss lag but little behind
them in linguistic aptitude. It seemed such a pity that this man was not
alive when the hands knocked off work on the Tower of Babel; he could
have put the job through without extending himself. No matter what
the nationality of a guest might be--and the guests were of many
nationalities--he could talk with that guest in his own language or in
any other language the guest might fancy. I myself was sorely tempted to
try him on Coptic and early Aztec; but I held off. My Coptic is not what
it once was; and, partly through disuse and partly through carelessness,
I have allowed my command of early Aztec to fall off pretty badly these
last few months.

All linguistic freakishness is not confined to the Continent. The
English, who are popularly supposed to use the same language we
ourselves use, sometimes speak with a mighty strange tongue. A great
many of them do not speak English; they speak British, a very different
thing. An Englishwoman of breeding has a wonderful speaking voice; as
pure as a Boston woman's and more liquid; as soft as a Southern woman's
and with more attention paid to the R's. But the Cockney type--Wowie!
During a carriage ride in Florence with a mixed company of tourists
I chanced to say something of a complimentary nature about something
English, and a little London-bred woman spoke up and said: "Thenks!
It's vurry naice of you to sezzo, 'm sure." Some of them talk like
that--honestly they do!

Though Americo-English may not be an especially musical speech, it
certainly does lend itself most admirably to slang purposes. Here again
the Britishers show their inability to utilize the vehicle to the full
of its possibilities. England never produced a Billy Baxter or a George
Ade, and I am afraid she never will. Most of our slang means something;
you hear a new slang phrase and instantly you realize that the genius
who coined it has hit on a happy and a graphic and an illuminating
expression; that at one bound he rose triumphant above the limitations
of the language and tremendously enriched the working vocabulary of the
man in the street. Whereas an Englishman's idea of slinging slang is to
scoop up at random some inoffensive and well-meaning word that never did
him any harm and apply it in the place of some other word, to which
the first word is not related, even by marriage. And look how
they deliberately mispronounce proper names. Everybody knows about
Cholmondeley and St. John. But take the Scandinavian word fjord. Why, I
ask you, should the English insist on pronouncing it Ferguson?

At Oxford, the seat of learning, Magdalen is pronounced Maudlin,
probably in subtle tribute to the condition of the person who first
pronounced it so. General-admission day is not the day you enter, but
the day you leave. Full term means three-quarters of a term. An ordinary
degree is a degree obtained by a special examination. An inspector of
arts does not mean an inspector of arts, but a student; and from
this point they go right ahead, getting worse all the time. The droll
creature who compiled the Oxford glossary was a true Englishman.

When an Englishman undertakes to wrestle with American slang he makes a
fearful hash of it. In an English magazine I read a short story, written
by an Englishman who is regarded by a good many persons, competent to
judge, as being the cleverest writer of English alive today. The story
was beautifully done from the standpoint of composition; it bristled
with flashing metaphors and whimsical phrasing. The scene of the yarn
was supposed to be Chicago and naturally the principal figure in it was
a millionaire. In one place the author has this person saying, "I reckon
you'll feel pretty mean," and in another place, "I reckon I'm not a man
with no pull."

Another character in the story says, "I know you don't cotton to the
march of science in these matters," and speaks of something that is
unusual as being "a rum affair." A walled state prison, presumably in
Illinois, is referred to as a "convict camp"; and its warden is called a
"governor" and an assistant keeper is called a "warder"; while a Chicago
daily paper is quoted as saying that "larrikins" directed the attention
of a policeman to a person who was doing thus and so.

The writer describes a "mysterious mere" known as Pilgrim's Pond, "in
which they say"--a prison official is supposed to be talking now--"our
fathers made witches walk until they sank." Descendants of the original
Puritans who went from Plymouth Rock, in the summer of 1621, and founded
Chicago, will recall this pond distinctly. Cotton Mather is buried on
its far bank, and from there it is just ten minutes by trolley to Salem,
Massachusetts. It is stated also in this story that the prairies begin a
matter of thirty-odd miles from Chicago, and that to reach them one must
first traverse a "perfect no man's land." Englewood and South Chicago
papers please copy.



Chapter XIX



Venice and the Venisons

Getting back again to guides, I am reminded that our acquaintanceship
with the second member of the Mark Twain brotherhood was staged in
Paris. This gentleman wished himself on us one afternoon at the Hotel
des Invalides. We did not engage him; he engaged us, doing the trick
with such finesse and skill that before we realized it we had been
retained to accompany him to various points of interest in and round
Paris. However, we remained under his control one day only. At nightfall
we wrested ourselves free and fled under cover of darkness to German
soil, where we were comparatively safe.

I never knew a man who advanced so rapidly in a military way as he did
during the course of that one day. Our own national guard could not
hold a candle to him. He started out at ten A.M. by being an officer of
volunteers in the Franco-Prussian War; but every time he slipped away
and took a nip out of his private bottle, which was often, he advanced
in rank automatically. Before the dusk of evening came he was a corps
commander, who had been ennobled on the field of battle by the hand of
Napoleon the Third.

He took us to Versailles. We did not particularly care to go to
Versailles that day, because it was raining; but he insisted and we
went. In spite of the drizzle we might have enjoyed that wonderful place
had he not been constantly at our elbows, gabbling away steadily except
when he excused himself for a moment and stepped behind a tree, to
emerge a moment later wiping his mouth on his sleeve. Then he would
return to us, with an added gimpiness in his elderly legs, an increased
expansion of the chest inside his tight and shiny frock coat, and a
fresh freight of richness on his breath, to report another deserved
promotion.

After he had eaten luncheon--all except such portions of it as he
spilled on himself--the colonel grew confidential and chummy. He tried
to tell me an off-color story and forgot the point of it, if indeed it
had any point. He began humming the Marseillaise hymn, but broke off to
say he expected to live to see the day when a column of French troops,
singing that air, would march up Unter den Linden to stack their arms in
the halls of the Kaiser's palace. I did not take issue with him. Every
man is entitled to his own wishes in those matters. But later on, when
I had seen something of the Kaiser's standing army, I thought to myself
that when the French troops did march up Unter den Linden they would
find it tolerably rough sledding, and if there was any singing done a
good many of them probably would not be able to join in the last verse.

Immediately following this, our conductor confided to me that he had
once had the honor of serving Mr. Clemens, whom he referred to as Mick
Twine. He told me things about Mr. Clemens of which I had never heard.
I do not think Mr. Clemens ever heard of them either. Then the
brigadier--it was now after three o'clock, and between three and
three-thirty he was a brigadier--drew my arm within his.

"I, too, am an author," he stated. "It is not generally known, but I
have written much. I wrote a book of which you may have heard--'The
Wandering Jew.'" And he tapped himself on the bosom proudly.

I said I had somehow contracted a notion that a party named Sue--Eugene
Sue--had something to do with writing the work of that name.

"Ah, but you are right there, my friend," he said. "Sue wrote 'The
Wandering Jew' the first time--as a novel, merely; but I wrote him much
better--as a satire on the anti-Semitic movement."

I surrendered without offering to strike another blow and from that time
on he had his own way with us. The day, as I was pleased to note at the
time, had begun mercifully to draw to a close; we were driving back to
Paris, and he, sitting on the front seat, had just attained the highest
post in the army under the regime of the last Empire, when he said:

"Behold, m'sieur! We are now approaching a wine shop on the left. You
were most gracious and kind in the matter of luncheon. Kindly permit me
to do the honors now. It is a very good wine shop--I know it well. Shall
we stop for a glass together, eh?"

It was the first time since we landed at Calais that a native-born
person had offered to buy anything, and, being ever desirous to assist
in the celebration of any truly notable occasion, I accepted and the car
was stopped. We were at the portal of the wine shop, when he plucked at
my sleeve, offering another suggestion:

"The chauffeur now--he is a worthy fellow, that chauffeur. Shall we not
invite the chauffeur to join us?"

I was agreeable to that, too. So he called the chauffeur and the
chauffeur disentangled his whiskers from the steering gear and came and
joined us. The chauffeur and I each had a small glass of light wine, but
the general took brandy. Then ensued a spirited dialogue between him
and the woman who kept the shop. Assuming that I had no interest in the
matter, I studied the pictures behind the bar. Presently, having reduced
the woman to a state of comparative silence, he approached me.

"M'sieur," he said, "I regret that this has happened. Because you are a
foreigner and because you know not our language, that woman would make
an overcharge; but she forgot she had me to deal with. I am on guard!
See her! She is now quelled! I have given her a lesson she will not soon
forget. M'sieur, the correct amount of the bill is two-francs-ten. Give
it to her and let us begone!"

I still have that guide's name and address in my possession. At parting
he pressed his card on me and asked me to keep it; and I did keep it. I
shall be glad to loan it to any American who may be thinking of going
to Paris. With the card in his pocket, he will know exactly where this
guide lives; and then, when he is in need of a guide he can carefully go
elsewhere and hire a guide.

I almost failed to mention that before we parted he tried to induce us
to buy something. He took us miles out of our way to a pottery and urged
us to invest in its wares. This is the main purpose of every guide: to
see that you buy something and afterward to collect his commission from
the shopkeeper for having brought you to the shop. If you engage your
guide through the porter at your hotel you will find that he steers you
to the shops the hotel people have already recommended to you; but
if you break the porter's heart by hiring your guide outside,
independently, the guide steers you to the shops that are on his own
private list.

Only once I saw a guide temporarily stumped, and that was in Venice. The
skies were leaky that day and the weather was raw; and one of the ladies
of the party wore pumps and silk stockings. For the protection of her
ankles she decided to buy a pair of cloth gaiters; and, stating her
intention, she started to go into a shop that dealt in those articles.
The guide hesitated a moment only, then threw himself in her path.
The shops hereabout were not to be trusted--the proprietors, without
exception, were rogues and extortioners. If madame would have patience
for a few brief moments he would guarantee that she got what she wanted
at an honest price. He seemed so desirous of protecting her that she
consented to wait.

In a minute, on a pretext, he excused himself and dived into one of
the crooked ways that thread through all parts of Venice and make it
possible for one who knows their windings to reach any part of the city
without using the canals. Two of us secretly followed him. Beyond the
first turning he dived into a shoe shop. Emerging after a while he
hurried back and led the lady to that same shop, and stood by, smiling
softly, while she was fitted with gaiters. Until now evidently gaiters
had not been on his list, but he had taken steps to remedy this; and,
though his commission on a pair of sixty-cent gaiters could not have
been very large yet, as some philosopher has so truly said, every little
bit added to what you have makes just a modicum more. Indeed, the guide
never overlooks the smallest bet. His whole mentality is focused on
getting you inside a shop. Once you are there, he stations himself close
behind you, reenforcing the combined importunities of the shopkeeper
and his assembled staff with gentle suggestions. The depths of
self-abasement to which a shopkeeper in Europe will descend in an
effort to sell his goods surpasses the power of description. The London
tradesman goes pretty far in this direction. Often he goes as far as the
sidewalk, clinging to the hem of your garment and begging you to return
for one more look. But the Continentals are still worse.

A Parisian shopkeeper would sell you the bones of his revered
grandmother if you wanted them and he had them in stock; and he would
have them in stock too, because, as I have stated once before, a true
Parisian never throws away anything he can save. I heard of just one
single instance where a customer desirous of having an article and
willing to pay the price failed to get it; and that, I would say, stands
without a parallel in the annals of commerce and barter.

An American lady visiting her daughter, an art student in the Latin
Quartier, was walking alone when she saw in a shop window a lace blouse
she fancied. She went inside and by signs, since she knew no French,
indicated that she wished to look at that blouse. The woman in charge
shook her head, declining even to take the garment out of the window.
Convinced now, womanlike, that this particular blouse was the blouse she
desired above all other blouses the American woman opened her purse and
indicated that she was prepared to buy at the shopwoman's own valuation,
without the privilege of examination. The shopwoman showed deep pain
at having to refuse the proposition, but refuse it she did; and the
would-be buyer went home angry and perplexed and told her daughter what
had happened.

"It certainly is strange," the daughter said. "I thought everything in
Paris, except possibly Napoleon's tomb, was for sale. This thing will
repay investigation. Wait until I pin my hat on. Does my nose need
powdering?"

Her mother led her back to the shop of the blouse and then the puzzle
was revealed. For it was the shop of a dry cleanser and the blouse
belonged to some patron and was being displayed as a sample of the work
done inside; but undoubtedly such a thing never before happened in Paris
and probably never will happen again.

In Venice not only the guides and the hotel clerks and porters but even
the simple gondolier has a secret understanding with all branches of
the retail trade. You get into a long, snaky, black gondola and fee the
beggar who pushes you off, and all the other beggars who have assisted
in the pushing off or have merely contributed to the success of the
operation by being present, and you tell your gondolier in your best
Italian or your worst pidgin English where you wish to go. It may be you
are bound for the Rialto; or for the Bridge of Sighs, which is chiefly
distinguished from all the other bridges by being the only covered one
in the lot; or for the house of the lady Desdemona. The lady Desdemona
never lived there or anywhere else, but the house where she would
have lived, had she lived, is on exhibition daily from nine to five,
admission one lira. Or perchance you want to visit one of the ducal
palaces that are so numerous in Venice. These palaces are still tenanted
by the descendants of the original proprietors; one family has perhaps
been living in one palace three or four hundred years. But now the
family inhabits the top floor, doing light housekeeping up there, and
the lower floor, where the art treasures, the tapestries and the family
relics are, is in charge of a caretaker, who collects at the door and
then leads you through.

Having given the boatman explicit directions you settle back in your
cushion seat to enjoy the trip. You marvel how he, standing at the
stern, with his single oar fitted into a shallow notch of his steering
post, propels the craft so swiftly and guides it so surely by those
short, twisting strokes of his. Really, you reflect, it is rowing by
shorthand. You are feasting your eyes on the wonderful color effects and
the groupings that so enthuse the artist, and which he generally
manages to botch and boggle when he seeks to commit them to canvas; and
betweenwhiles you are wondering why all the despondent cats in Venice
should have picked out the Grand Canal as the most suitable place in
which to commit suicide, when--bump!--your gondola swings up against
the landing piles in front of a glass factory and the entire force
of helpers rush out and seize you by your arms--or by your legs, if
handier--and try to drag you inside, while the affable and accommodating
gondolier boosts you from behind. You fight them off, declaring
passionately that you are not in the market for colored glass at this
time. The hired hands protest; and the gondolier, cheated out of his
commission, sorrows greatly, but obeys your command to move on. At least
he pretends to obey it; but a minute later he brings you up broadside at
the water-level doors of a shop dealing in antiques, known appropriately
as antichitas, or at a mosaic shop or a curio shop. If ever you do
succeed in reaching your destination it is by the exercise of much
profanity and great firmness of will.

The most insistent and pesky shopkeepers of all are those who hive in
the ground floors of the professedly converted palaces that face on
three sides of the Square of Saint Mark's. You dare not hesitate for the
smallest fractional part of a second in front of a shop here. Lurking
inside the open door is a husky puller-in; and he dashes out and grabs
hold of you and will not let go, begging you in spaghettified English to
come in and examine his unapproachable assortment of bargains. You are
not compelled to buy, he tells you; he only wants you to gaze on
his beautiful things. Believe him not! Venture inside and decline to
purchase and he will think up new and subtle Italian forms of insult and
insolence to visit on you. They will have brass bands out for you if you
invest and brass knuckles if you do not.

There is but one way to escape from their everlasting persecutions, and
that is to flee to the center of the square and enjoy the company of the
pigeons and the photographers. They--the pigeons, I mean--belong to
the oldest family in Venice; their lineage is of the purest and most
undefiled. For upward of seven hundred years the authorities of the city
have been feeding and protecting the pigeons, of which these countless
blue-and-bronze flocks are the direct descendants. They are true
aristocrats; and, like true aristocrats, they are content to live on the
public funds and grow fat and sassy thereon, paying nothing in return.

No; I take that part back--they do pay something in return; a full
measure. They pay by the beauty of their presence, and they are surely
very beautiful, with their dainty mincing pink feet and the sheen on the
proudly arched breast coverts of the cock birds; and they pay by giving
you their trust and their friendship. To gobble the gifts of dried
peas, which you buy in little cornucopias from convenient venders
for distribution among them, they come wheeling in winged battalions,
creaking and cooing, and alight on your head and shoulders in that
perfect confidence which so delights humans when wild or half-wild
creatures bestow it on us, though, at every opportunity, we do our level
best to destroy it by hunting and harrying them to death.

At night, when the moon is up, is the time to visit this spot. Standing
here, with the looming pile of the Doge's Palace bulked behind you,
and the gorgeous but somewhat garish decorations of the great cathedral
softened and soothed into perfection of outline and coloring by the half
light, you can for the moment forget the fallen state of Venice, and
your imagination peoples the splendid plaza for you with the ghosts of
its dead and vanished greatnesses. You conceive of the place as it must
have looked in those old, brave, wicked days, filled all with knights,
with red-robed cardinals and clanking men at arms, with fair ladies and
grave senators, slinking bravos and hired assassins--and all so gay with
silk and satin and glittering steel and spangling gems.

By the eye of your mind you see His Illuminated Excellency, the frosted
Christmas card, as he bows low before His Eminence, the pink Easter egg;
you see, half hidden behind the shadowed columns of the long portico, an
illustrated Sunday supplement in six colors bargaining with a stick of
striped peppermint candy to have his best friend stabbed in the back
before morning; you see giddy poster designs carrying on flirtations
with hand-painted valentines; you catch the love-making, overhear the
intriguing, and scent the plotting; you are an eyewitness to a slice
out of the life of the most sinister, the most artistic, and the most
murderous period of Italian history.

But by day imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay, stops a hole to
keep the wind away; and the wild ass of the ninety-day tour stamps his
heedless hoofs over the spot where sleeps the dust of departed grandeur.
By day the chug of the motor boat routs out old sleepy echoes from
cracked and crannied ruins; the burnished golden frescoes of Saint
Mark's blare at you as with brazen trumpets; every third medieval
church has been turned into a moving-picture place; and the shopkeeping
parasites buzz about you in vermin swarms and bore holes in your
pocketbook until it is all one large painful welt. The emblem of Venice
is the winged lion. It should be the tapeworm.

In Rome it appears to be a standing rule that every authenticated guide
shall be a violent Socialist and therefore rampingly anticlerical in all
his views. We were in Rome during the season of pilgrimages. From all
parts of Italy, from Bohemia and Hungary and Spain and Tyrol, and even
from France, groups of peasants had come to Rome to worship in their
mother church and be blessed by the supreme pontiff of their faith. At
all hours of the day they were passing through the streets, bound for
Saint Peter's or the Vatican, the women with kerchiefs over their heads,
the men in their Sunday best, and all with badges and tokens on their
breasts.

At the head of each straggling procession would be a black-frocked
village priest, at once proud and humble, nervous and exalted. A man
might be of any religion or of no religion at all, and yet I fail to see
how he could watch, unmoved, the uplifted faces of these people as they
clumped over the cobbles of the Holy City, praying as they went. Some of
them had been saving up all their lives, I imagine, against the
coming of this great day; but our guide--and we tried three different
ones--never beheld this sight that he did not sneer at it; and not once
did he fail to point out that most of the pilgrims were middle-aged or
old, taking this as proof of his claim that the Church no longer kept
its hold on the younger people, even among the peasant classes. The
still more frequent spectacle of a marching line of students of one of
the holy colleges, with each group wearing the distinctive insignia of
its own country--purple robes or green sashes, or what not--would excite
him to the verge of a spasm.

But then he was always verging on a spasm anyway--spasms were his normal
state.



Chapter XX



The Combustible Captain of Vienna

Our guide in Vienna was the most stupid human being I ever saw. He was
profoundly ignorant on a tremendously wide range of subjects; he had a
most complete repertoire of ignorance. He must have spent years of study
to store up so much interesting misinformation. This guide was much
addicted to indulgence of a peculiar form of twisted English and at
odd moments given to the consumption of a delicacy of strictly Germanic
origin, known in the language of the Teutons as a rollmops. A rollmops
consists of a large dilled cucumber, with a pickled herring coiled round
it ready to strike, in the design of the rattlesnake-and-pinetree flag
of the Revolution, the motto in both instances being in effect: "Don't
monkey with the buzz saw!" He carried his rollmops in his pocket and
frequently, in art galleries or elsewhere, would draw it out and nibble
it, while disseminating inaccuracies touching on pictures and statues
and things.

Among other places, he took us to the oldest church in Vienna. As I now
recollect it was six hundred years old. No; on second thought I will say
it must have been older than that. No church could possibly become so
moldy and mangy looking as that church in only six hundred years. The
object in this church that interested me most was contained in an ornate
glass case placed near the altar and alongside the relics held to be
sacred. It did not exactly please me to gaze at this article; but the
thing had a fascination for me; I will not deny that.

It seems that a couple of centuries ago there was an officer in Vienna,
a captain in rank and a Frenchman by birth, who, in the midst of
disorders and licentiousness, lived so godly and so sanctified a life
that his soldiers took it into their heads that he was really a saint,
or at least had the making of a first-rate saint in him, and, therefore,
must lead a charmed life. So--thus runs the tale--some of them laid a
wager with certain Doubting Thomases, also soldiers, that neither
by fire nor water, neither by rope nor poison, could he take harm to
himself. Finally they decided on fire for the test. So they waited until
he slept--those simple, honest, chuckle-headed chaps--and then they
slipped in with a lighted torch and touched him off.

Well, sir, the joke certainly was on those soldiers. He burned up with
all the spontaneous enthusiasm of a celluloid comb. For qualities of
instantaneous combustion he must have been the equal of any small-town
theater that ever was built--with one exit. He was practically a total
loss and there was no insurance.

They still have him, or what is left of him, in that glass case. He
did not exactly suffer martyrdom--though probably he personally did
not notice any very great difference--and so he has not been canonized;
nevertheless, they have him there in that church. In all Europe I only
saw one sight to match him, and that was down in the crypt under the
Church of the Capuchins, in Rome, where the dissected cadavers of four
thousand dead--but not gone--monks are worked up into decorations. There
are altars made of their skulls, and chandeliers made of their thigh
bones; frescoes of their spines; mosaics of their teeth and dried
muscles; cozy corners of their femurs and pelves and tibiae. There are
two classes of travelers I would strongly advise not to visit the crypt
of the Capuchins' Church--those who are just about to have dinner and
want to have it, and those who have just had dinner and want to keep on
having it.

At the royal palace in Vienna we saw the finest, largest, and gaudiest
collection of crown jewels extant. That guide of ours seemed to think he
had done his whole duty toward us and could call it a day and knock
off when he led us up to the jewel collections, where each case was
surrounded by pop-eyed American tourists taking on flesh at the sight of
all those sparklers and figuring up the grand total of their valuation
in dollars, on the basis of so many hundreds of carats at so many
hundred dollars a carat, until reason tottered on her throne--and did
not have so very far to totter, either.

The display or all those gems, however, did not especially excite me.
There were too many of them and they were too large. A blue Kimberley
in a hotel clerk's shirtfront or a pigeonblood ruby on a faro dealer's
little finger might hold my attention and win my admiration; but where
jewels are piled up in heaps like anthracite in a coal bin they thrill
me no more than the anthracite would. A quart measure of diamonds of the
average size of a big hailstone does not make me think of diamonds but
of hailstones. I could remain as calm in their presence as I should in
the presence of a quart of cracked ice; in fact, calmer than I should
remain in the presence of a quart of cracked ice in Italy, say, where
there is not that much ice, cracked or otherwise. In Italy a bucketful
of ice would be worth traveling miles to see. You could sell tickets for
it.

In one of the smaller rooms of the palace we came on a casket containing
a necklace of great smoldering rubies and a pair of bracelets to match.
They were as big as cranberries and as red as blood--as red as arterial
blood. And when, on consulting the guidebook, we read the history of
those rubies the sight of them brought a picture to our minds, for they
had been a part of the wedding dowry of Marie Antoinette. Once on a time
this necklace had spanned the slender white throat that was later to
be sheared by the guillotine, and these bracelets had clasped the same
white wrists that were roped together with an ell of hangman's hemp on
the day the desolated queen rode, in her patched and shabby gown, to the
Place de la Revolution.

I had seen paintings in plenty and read descriptions galore of that
last ride of the Widow Capet going to her death in the tumbril, with the
priest at her side and her poor, fettered arms twisted behind her, and
her white face bared to the jeers of the mob; but the physical presence
of those precious useless baubles, which had cost so much and yet had
bought so little for her, made more vivid to me than any picture or
any story the most sublime tragedy of The Terror--the tragedy of those
two bound hands.



Chapter XXI



Old Masters and Other Ruins

It is naturally a fine thing for one, and gratifying, to acquire a
thorough art education. Personally I do not in the least regret the time
I gave and the study I devoted to acquiring mine. I regard those two
weeks as having been well spent.

I shall not do it soon again, however, for now I know all about art. Let
others who have not enjoyed my advantages take up this study. Let others
scour the art galleries of Europe seeking masterpieces. All of them
contain masterpieces and most of them need scouring. As for me and mine,
we shall go elsewhere. I love my art, but I am not fanatical on the
subject. There is another side of my nature to which an appeal may be
made. I can take my Old Masters or I can leave them be. That is the way
I am organized--I have self-control.

I shall not deny that the earlier stages of my art education were
fraught with agreeable little surprises. Not soon shall I forget the
flush of satisfaction which ran through me on learning that this man
Dore's name was pronounced like the first two notes in the music scale,
instead of like a Cape Cod fishing boat. And lingering in my mind as a
fragrant memory is the day when I first discovered that Spagnoletto was
neither a musical instrument nor something to be served au gratin and
eaten with a fork. Such acquirements as these are very precious to me.

But for the time being I have had enough. At this hour of writing I
feel that I am stocked up with enough of Bouguereau's sorrel ladies and
Titian's chestnut ones and Rubens' bay ones and Velasquez's pintos to
last me, at a conservative estimate, for about seventy-five years. I
am too young as a theatergoer to recall much about Lydia Thompson's
Blondes, but I have seen sufficient of Botticelli's to do me amply well
for a spell. I am still willing to walk a good distance to gaze on one
of Rembrandt's portraits of one of his kinfolks, though I must say he
certainly did have a lot of mighty homely relatives; and any time there
is a first-rate Millet or Corot or Meissonier in the neighborhood I wish
somebody would drop me a line, giving the address. As for pictures by
Tintoretto, showing Venetian Doges hobnobbing informally with members
of the Holy Family, and Raphael's angels, and Michelangelo's lost souls,
and Guidos, and Murillos, I have had enough to do me for months and
months and months. Nor am I in the market for any of the dead fish of
the Flemish school. Judging by what I have observed, practically all
the Flemish painters were devout churchmen and painted their pictures on
Friday.

There was just one drawback to my complete enjoyment of that part of our
European travels we devoted to art. We would go to an art gallery, hire
a guide and start through. Presently I would come to a picture that
struck me as being distinctly worth while. To my untutored conceptions
it possessed unlimited beauty. There was, it seemed to me, life in the
figures, reality in the colors, grace in the grouping. And then, just
when I was beginning really to enjoy it, the guide would come and snatch
me away.

He would tell me the picture I thought I admired was of no account
whatsoever--that the artist who painted it had not yet been dead long
enough to give his work any permanent value; and he would drag me off to
look at a cracked and crumbling canvas depicting a collection of saints
of lacquered complexions and hardwood expressions, with cast-iron trees
standing up against cotton batting clouds in the background, and a few
extra halos floating round indiscriminately, like sun dogs on a showery
day, and, up above, the family entrance into heaven hospitably ajar; and
he would command me to bask my soul in this magnificent example of real
art and not waste time on inconsequential and trivial things. Guides
have the same idea of an artist that a Chinaman entertains for an egg.
A fresh egg or a fresh artist will not do. It must have the perfume of
antiquity behind it to make it attractive.

At the Louvre, in Paris, on the first day of the two we spent there, we
had for our guide a tall, educated Prussian, who had an air about him
of being an ex-officer of the army. All over the Continent you are
constantly running into men engaged in all manner of legitimate and
dubious callings, who somehow impress you as having served in the army
of some other country than the one in which you find them. After this
man had been chaperoning us about for some hours and we had stopped to
rest, he told a good story. It may not have been true--it has been my
experience that very few good stories are true; but it served aptly to
illustrate a certain type of American tourist numerously encountered
abroad.

"There were two of them," he said in his excellent English, "a gentleman
and his wife; and from what I saw of them I judged them to be very
wealthy. They were interested in seeing only such things as had been
recommended by the guidebook. The husband would tell me they desired
to see such and such a picture or statue. I would escort them to it and
they would glance at it indifferently, and the gentleman would take out
his lead pencil and check off that particular object in the book; and
then he would say: 'All right--we've seen that; now let's find out
what we want to look at next.' We still serve a good many people like
that--not so many as formerly, but still a good many.

"Finally I decided to try a little scheme of my own. I wanted to see
whether I could really win their admiration for something. I picked out
a medium-size painting of no particular importance and, pointing to
it, said impressively: 'Here, m'sieur, is a picture worth a million
dollars--without the frame!'

"'What's that?' he demanded excitedly. Then he called to his wife,
who had strayed ahead a few steps. 'Henrietta,' he said, 'come back
here--you're missing something. There's a picture there that's worth a
million dollars--and without the frame, too, mind you!'

"She came hurrying back and for ten minutes they stood there drinking
in that picture. Every second they discovered new and subtle beauties
in it. I could hardly induce them to go on for the rest of the tour, and
the next day they came back for another soul-feast in front of it."

Later along, that guide confided to me that in his opinion I had a
keen appreciation of art, much keener than the average lay tourist. The
compliment went straight to my head. It was seeking the point of least
resistance, I suppose. I branched out and undertook to discuss art
matters with him on a more familiar basis. It was a mistake; but before
I realized that it was a mistake I was out in the undertow sixty yards
from shore, going down for the third time, with a low gurgling cry. He
did not put out to save me, either; he left me to sink in the heaving
and abysmal sea of my own fathomless ignorance. He just stood there and
let me drown. It was a cruel thing, for which I can never forgive him.

In my own defense let me say, however, that this fatal indiscretion was
committed before I had completed my art education. It was after we
had gone from France to Germany, and to Austria, and to Italy, that I
learned the great lesson about art--which is that whenever and wherever
you meet a picture that seems to you reasonably lifelike it is nine
times in ten of no consequence whatsoever; and, unless you are willing
to be regarded as a mere ignoramus, you should straightway leave it
and go and find some ancient picture of a group of overdressed clothing
dummies masquerading as angels or martyrs, and stand before that one and
carry on regardless.

When in doubt, look up a picture of Saint Sebastian. You never
experience any difficulty in finding him--he is always represented as
wearing very few clothes, being shot full of arrows to such an extent
that clothes would not fit him anyway. Or else seek out Saint Laurence,
who is invariably featured in connection with a gridiron; or Saint
Bartholomew, who, you remember, achieved canonization through a process
of flaying, and is therefore shown with his skin folded neatly and
carried over his arm like a spring overcoat.

Following this routine you make no mistakes. Everybody is bound to
accept you as one possessing a deep knowledge of art, and not mere
surface art either, but the innermost meanings and conceptions of art.
Only sometimes I did get to wishing that the Old Masters had left a
little more to the imagination. They never withheld any of the painful
particulars. It seemed to me they cheapened the glorious end of those
immortal fathers of the faith by including the details of the martyrdom
in every picture. Still, I would not have that admission get out and
obtain general circulation. It might be used against me as an argument
that my artistic education was grounded on a false foundation.

It was in Rome, while we were doing the Vatican, that our guide
furnished us with a sight that, considered as a human experience, was
worth more to me than a year of Old Masters and Young Messers. We had
pushed our poor blistered feet--a dozen or more of us--past miles
of paintings and sculptures and relics and art objects, and we were
tired--oh, so tired! Our eyes ached and our shoes hurt us; and the
calves of our legs quivered as we trailed along from gallery to
corridor, and from corridor back to gallery.

We had visited the Sistine Chapel; and, such was our weariness, we had
even declined to become excited over Michelangelo's great picture of the
Last Judgment. I was disappointed, too, that he had omitted to include
in his collection of damned souls a number of persons I had confidently
and happily expected would be present. I saw no one there even remotely
resembling my conception of the person who first originated and
promulgated the doctrine that all small children should be told at the
earliest possible moment that there is no Santa Claus. That was a very
severe blow to me, because I had always believed that the descent to
eternal perdition would be incomplete unless he had a front seat. And
the man who first hit on the plan of employing child labor on night
shifts in cotton factories--he was unaccountably absent too. And
likewise the original inventor of the toy pistol; in fact the absentees
were entirely too numerous to suit me. There was one thing, though, to
be said in praise of Michelangelo's Last Judgment; it was too large and
too complicated to be reproduced successfully on a souvenir postal card;
and I think we should all be very grateful for that mercy anyway.

As I was saying, we had left the Sistine Chapel a mile or so behind us
and had dragged our exhausted frames as far as an arched upper portico
in a wing of the great palace, overlooking a paved courtyard inclosed
at its farther end by a side wall of Saint Peter's. We saw, in another
portico similar to the one where we had halted and running parallel to
it, long rows of peasants, all kneeling and all with their faces turned
in the same direction.

"Wait here a minute," said our guide. "I think you will see something
not included in the regular itinerary of the day."

So we waited. In a minute or two the long lines of kneeling peasants
raised a hymn; the sound of it came to us in quavering snatches. Through
the aisle formed by their bodies a procession passed the length of the
long portico and back to the starting point. First came Swiss Guards in
their gay piebald uniforms, carrying strange-looking pikes and halberds;
and behind them were churchly dignitaries, all bared of head; and last
of all came a very old and very feeble man, dressed in white, with a
wide-brimmed white hat--and he had white hair and a white face, which
seemed drawn and worn, but very gentle and kindly and beneficent.

He held his right arm aloft, with the first two fingers extended in the
gesture of the apostolic benediction. He was so far away from us that
in perspective his profile was reduced to the miniature proportions of
a head on a postage stamp; but, all the same, the lines of it stood out
clear and distinct. It was his Holiness, Pope Pius the Tenth, blessing a
pilgrimage.

All the guides in Rome follow a regular routine with the tourist. First,
of course, they steer you into certain shops in the hope that you will
buy something and thereby enable them to earn commissions. Then, in
turn, they carry you to an art gallery, to a church, and to a palace,
with stops at other shops interspersed between; and invariably they wind
up in the vicinity of some of the ruins. Ruins is a Roman guide's middle
name; ruins are his one best bet. In Rome I saw ruins until I was one
myself.

We devoted practically an entire day to ruins. That was the day we
drove out the Appian Way, glorious in legend and tale, but not quite
so all-fired glorious when you are reeling over its rough and rutted
pavement in an elderly and indisposed open carriage, behind a pair of
half-broken Roman-nosed horses which insist on walking on their hind
legs whenever they tire of going on four. The Appian Way, as at present
constituted, is a considerable disappointment. For long stretches it
runs between high stone walls, broken at intervals by gate-ways,
where votive lamps burn before small shrines, and by the tombs of such
illustrious dead as Seneca and the Horatii and the Curiatii. At more
frequent intervals are small wine groggeries. Being built mainly of
Italian marble, which is the most enduring and the most unyielding
substance to be found in all Italy--except a linen collar that has been
starched in an Italian laundry--the tombs are in a pretty fair state of
preservation; but the inns, without exception, stand most desperately in
need of immediate repairing.

A cow in Italy is known by the company she keeps; she rambles about, in
and out of the open parlor of the wayside inn, mingling freely with the
patrons and the members of the proprietor's household. Along the Appian
Way a cow never seems to care whom she runs with; and the same is true
of the domestic fowls and the family donkey. A donkey will spend his day
in the doorway of a wine shop when he might just as well be enjoying the
more sanitary and less crowded surroundings of a stable. It only goes to
show what an ass a donkey is.

Anon, as the fancy writers say, we skirted one of the many wrecked
aqueducts that go looping across country to the distant hills, like
great stone straddlebugs. In the vicinity of Rome you are rarely out
of sight of one of these aqueducts. The ancient Roman rulers, you know,
curried the favor of the populace by opening baths. A modern ruler could
win undying popularity by closing up a few.

We slowed up at the Circus of Romulus and found it a very sad circus, as
such things go--no elevated stage, no hippodrome track, no centerpole,
no trapeze, and only one ring. P. T. Barnum would have been ashamed
to own it. A broken wall, following the lines of an irregular oval;
a cabbage patch where the arena had been; and various tumble-down
farmsheds built into the shattered masonry--this was the Circus of
Romulus. However, it was not the circus of the original Romulus, but
of a degenerate successor of the same name who rose suddenly and fell
abruptly after the Christian era was well begun. Old John J. Romulus
would not have stood for that circus a minute.

No ride on the Appian Way is regarded as complete without half an hour's
stop at the Catacombs of Saint Calixtus; so we stopped. Guided by a
brown Trappist, and all of us bearing twisted tapers in our hands, we
descended by stone steps deep under the skin of the earth and wandered
through dim, dank underground passages, where thousands of early
Christians had lived and hid, and held clandestine worship before rude
stone altars, and had died and been buried--died in a highly unpleasant
fashion, some of them.

The experience was impressive, but malarial. Coming away from there I
had an argument with a fellow American. He said that if we had these
Catacombs in America we should undoubtedly enlarge them and put in band
stands and lunch places, and altogether make them more attractive for
picnic parties and Sunday excursionists. I contended, on the other hand,
that if they were in America the authorities would close them up and
protect the moldered bones of those early Christians from the vulgar
gaze and prying fingers of every impious relic hunter who might come
along. The dispute rose higher and grew warmer until I offered to bet
him fifty dollars that I was right and he was wrong. He took me up
promptly--he had sporting instincts; I'll say that for him--and we shook
hands on it then and there to bind the wager. I expect to win that bet.

We had turned off the Appian Way and were crossing a corner of that
unutterably hideous stretch of tortured and distorted waste known as the
Campagna, which goes tumbling away to the blue Alban Mountains, when we
came on the scene of an accident. A two-wheeled mule cart, proceeding
along a crossroad, with the driver asleep in his canopied seat, had been
hit by a speeding automobile and knocked galley-west. The automobile had
sped on--so we were excitedly informed by some other tourists who had
witnessed the collision--leaving the wreckage bottom side up in the
ditch. The mule was on her back, all entangled in the twisted ruination
of her gaudy gear, kicking out in that restrained and genteel fashion
in which a mule always kicks when she is desirous of protesting against
existing conditions, but is wishful not to damage herself while so
doing. The tourists, aided by half a dozen peasants, had dragged the
driver out from beneath the heavy cart and had carried him to a pile of
mucky straw beneath the eaves of a stable. He was stretched full length
on his back, senseless and deathly pale under the smeared grime on his
face. There was no blood; but inside his torn shirt his chest had a
caved-in look, as though the ribs had been crushed flat, and he seemed
not to breathe at all. Only his fingers moved. They kept twitching, as
though his life was running out of him through his finger ends. One felt
that if he would but grip his hands he might stay its flight and hold it
in.

Just as we jumped out of our carriage a young peasant woman, who had
been bending over the injured man, set up a shrill outcry, which was
instantly answered from behind us; and looking round we saw, running
through the bare fields, a great, bulksome old woman, with her arms
outspread and her face set in a tragic shape, shrieking as she sped
toward us in her ungainly wallowing course. She was the injured man's
mother, we judged--or possibly his grandmother.

There was nothing we could do for the human victim. Our guides, having
questioned the assembled natives, told us there was no hospital to which
he might be taken and that a neighborhood physician had already been
sent for. So, having no desire to look on the grief of his mother--if
she was his mother--a young Austrian and I turned our attention to the
neglected mule. We felt that we could at least render a little first
aid there. We had our pocket-knives out and were slashing away at the
twisted maze of ropes and straps that bound the brute down between the
shafts, when a particularly shrill chorus of shrieks checked us. We
stood up and faced about, figuring that the poor devil on the muck heap
had died and that his people were bemoaning his death. That was not it
at all. The entire group, including the fat old woman, were screaming at
us and shaking their clenched fists at us, warning us not to damage that
harness with our knives. Feeling ran high, and threatened to run higher.

So, having no desire to be mobbed on the spot, we desisted and put up
our knives; and after a while we got back into our carriage and drove
on, leaving the capsized mule still belly-up in the debris, lashing out
carefully with her skinned legs at the trappings that bound her; and the
driver was still prone on the dunghill, with his fingers twitching more
feebly now, as though the life had almost entirely fled out of him--a
grim little tragedy set in the edge of a wide and aching desolation! We
never found out his name or learned how he fared--whether he lived or
died, and if he died how long he lived before he died. It is a puzzle
which will always lie unanswered at the back of my mind, and I know
that in odd moments it will return to torment me. I will bet one thing,
though--nobody else tried to cut that mule out of her harness.

In the chill late afternoon of a Roman day the guides brought us back
to the city and took us down into the Roman Forum, which is in a hollow
instead of being up on a hill as most folks imagine it to be until they
go to Rome and see it; and we finished up the day at the Golden House of
Nero, hard by the vast ruins of the Coliseum. We had already visited the
Forum once; so this time we did not stay long; just long enough for some
ambitious pickpocket to get a wallet out of my hip pocket while I was
pushing forward with a flock of other human sheep for a better look
at the ruined portico wherein Mark Antony stood when he delivered his
justly popular funeral oration over the body of the murdered Caesar.
I never did admire the character of Mark Antony with any degree of
extravagance, and since this experience I have felt actually bitter
toward him.

The guidebooks say that no visitor to Rome should miss seeing the Golden
House of Nero. When a guidebook tries to be humorous it only succeeds in
being foolish. Practical jokes are out of place in a guidebook anyway.
Imagine a large, old-fashioned brick smokehouse, which has been struck
by lightning, burned to the roots and buried in the wreckage, and the
site used as a pasture land for goats for a great many years; imagine
the debris as having been dug out subsequently until a few of the
foundation lines are visible; surround the whole with distressingly
homely buildings of a modern aspect, and stir in a miscellaneous
seasoning of beggars and loafers and souvenir venders--and you have the
Golden House where Nero meant to round out a life already replete with
incident and abounding in romance, but was deterred from so doing
by reason of being cut down in the midst of his activities at a
comparatively early age.

In the presence of the Golden House of Nero I did my level best to
recreate before my mind's eye the scenes that had been enacted here once
on a time. I tried to picture this moldy, knee-high wall, as a great
glittering palace; and yonder broken roadbed as a splendid Roman
highway; and these American-looking tenements on the surrounding hills
as the marble dwellings of the emperors; and all the broken pillars and
shattered porticoes in the distance as arches of triumph and temples of
the gods. I tried to convert the clustering mendicants into barbarian
prisoners clanking by, chained at wrist and neck and ankle; I sought to
imagine the pestersome flower venders as being vestal virgins; the two
unkempt policemen who loafed nearby, as centurions of the guard;
the passing populace as grave senators in snowy togas; the flaunting
underwear on the many clotheslines as silken banners and gilded
trappings. I could not make it. I tried until I was lame in both legs
and my back was strained. It was no go.

If I had been a poet or a historian, or a person full of Chianti,
I presume I might have done it; but I am no poet and I had not been
drinking. All I could think of was that the guide on my left had eaten
too much garlic and that the guide on my right had not eaten enough. So
in self-defense I went away and ate a few strands of garlic myself; for
I had learned the great lesson of the proverb:

When in Rome be an aroma!



Chapter XXII



Still More Ruins, Mostly Italian Ones

When I reached Pompeii the situation was different. I could conjure
up an illusion there--the biggest, most vivid illusion I have been
privileged to harbor since I was a small boy. It was worth spending four
days in Naples for the sake of spending half a day in Pompeii; and if
you know Naples you will readily understand what a high compliment that
is for Pompeii.

To reach Pompeii from Naples we followed a somewhat roundabout route;
and that trip was distinctly worth while too. It provided a most
pleasing foretaste of what was to come. Once we had cleared the packed
and festering suburbs, we went flanking across a terminal vertebra of
the mountain range that sprawls lengthwise of the land of Italy, like
a great spiny-backed crocodile sunning itself, with its tail in the
Tyrrhenian Sea and its snout in the Piedmonts; and when we had done this
we came out on a highway that skirted the bay.

There were gaps in the hills, through which we caught glimpses of the
city, lying miles away in its natural amphitheater; and at that distance
we could revel in its picturesqueness and forget its bouquet of weird
stenches. We could even forget that the automobile we had hired for the
excursion had one foot in the grave and several of its most important
vital organs in the repair shop. I reckon that was the first automobile
built. No; I take that back. It never was a first--it must have been a
second to start with.

I once owned a half interest in a sick automobile. It was one of those
old-fashioned, late Victorian automobiles, cut princesse style, with a
plaquette in the back; and it looked like a cross between a fiat-bed job
press and a tailor's goose. It broke down so easily and was towed in so
often by more powerful machines that every time a big car passed it on
the road it stopped right where it was and nickered. Of a morning
we would start out in that car filled with high hopes and bright
anticipations, but eventide would find us returning homeward close
behind a bigger automobile, in a relationship strongly suggestive of
the one pictured in the well-known Nature Group entitled: "Mother
Hippo, With Young." We refused an offer of four hundred dollars for
that machine. It had more than four hundred dollars' worth of things the
matter with it.

The car we chartered at Naples for our trip to Pompeii reminded me very
strongly of that other car of which I was part owner. Between them there
was a strong family resemblance, not alone in looks but in deportment
also. For patient endurance of manifold ills, for an inexhaustible
capacity in developing new and distressing symptoms at critical moments,
for cheerful willingness to play foal to some other car's dam, they
might have been colts out of the same litter. Nevertheless, between
intervals of breaking down and starting up again, and being helped along
by friendly passer-by automobiles, we enjoyed the ride from Naples. We
enjoyed every inch of it.

Part of the way we skirted the hobs of the great witches' caldron of
Vesuvius. On this day the resident demons must have been stirring their
brew with special enthusiasm, for the smoky smudge which always wreathes
its lips had increased to a great billowy plume that lay along the
naked flanges of the devil mountain for miles and miles. Now we would
go puffing and panting through some small outlying environ of the city.
Always the principal products of such a village seemed to be young
babies and macaroni drying in the sun. I am still reasonably fond of
babies, but I date my loss of appetite for imported macaroni from that
hour. Now we would emerge on a rocky headland and below us would be the
sea, eternally young and dimpling like a maiden's cheek; but the crags
above were eternally old and all gashed with wrinkles and seamed with
folds, like the jowls of an ancient squaw. Then for a distance we would
run right along the face of the cliff. Directly beneath us we could
see little stone huts of fishermen clinging to the rocks just above
high-water mark, like so many gray limpets; and then, looking up, we
would catch a glimpse of the vineyards, tucked into man-made terraces
along the upper cliffs, like bundled herbs on the pantry shelves of a
thrifty housewife; and still higher up there would be orange groves and
lemon groves and dusty-gray olive groves. Each succeeding picture was
Byzantine in its coloring. Always the sea was molten blue enamel, and
the far-away villages seemed crafty inlays of mosaic work; and the sun
was a disk of hammered Grecian gold.

A man from San Francisco was sharing the car with us, and he came right
out and said that if he were sure heaven would be as beautiful as the
Bay of Naples, he would change all his plans and arrange to go there. He
said he might decide to go there anyhow, because heaven was a place he
had always heard very highly spoken of. And I agreed with him.

The sun was slipping down the western sky and was laced with red like
a bloodshot eye, with a Jacob's Ladder of rainbow shafts streaming down
from it to the water, when we turned inland; and after several small
minor stops, while the automobile caught its breath and had the heaves
and the asthma, we came to Pompeii over a road built of volcanic rock.
I have always been glad that we went there on a day when visitors
were few. The very solitude of the place aided the mind in the task of
repeopling the empty streets of that dead city by the sea with the life
that was hers nearly two thousand years ago. Herculaneum will always
be buried, so the scientists say, for Herculaneum was snuggled close up
under Vesuvius, and the hissing-hot lava came down in waves; and first
it slugged the doomed town to death and then slagged it over with
impenetrable, flint-hard deposits. Pompeii, though, lay farther
away, and was entombed in dust and ashes only; so that it has been
comparatively easy to unearth it and make it whole again. Even so, after
one hundred and sixty-odd years of more or less desultory explorations,
nearly a third of its supposed area is yet to be excavated.

It was in the year 1592 that an architect named Fontana, in cutting
an aqueduct which was to convey the waters of the Sarno to Torre dell'
Annunziata, discovered the foundations of the Temple of Isis, which
stood near the walls on the inner or land side of the ancient city. It
was at first supposed that he had dug into an isolated villa of some
rich Roman; and it was not until 1748 that prying archaeologists hit on
the truth and induced the Government to send a chain gang of convicts
to dig away the accumulations of earth and tufa. But if it had been
a modern Italian city that was buried, no such mistake in preliminary
diagnosis could have occurred. Anybody would have known it instantly
by the smell. I do not vouch for the dates--I copied them out of the
guidebook; but my experience with Italian cities qualifies me to speak
with authority regarding the other matter.

Afoot we entered Pompeii by the restored Marine Gate. Our first step
within the walls was at the Museum, a comparatively modern building, but
containing a fairly complete assortment of the relics that from time
to time have been disinterred in various quarters of the city. Here
are wall cabinets filled with tools, ornaments, utensils, jewelry,
furniture--all the small things that fulfilled everyday functions in
the first century of the Christian era. Here is a kit of surgical
implements, and some of the implements might well belong to a modern
hospital. There are foodstuffs--grains and fruits; wines and oil; loaves
of bread baked in 79 A. D. and left in the abandoned ovens; and a
cheese that is still in a fair state of preservation. It had been buried
seventeen hundred years when they found it; and if only it had been
permitted to remain buried a few years longer it would have been
sufficiently ripe to satisfy a Bavarian, I think.

Grimmer exhibits are displayed in cases stretched along the center
of the main hall--models of dead bodies discovered in the ruins and
perfectly restored by pouring a bronze composition into the molds that
were left in the hardened pumice after the flesh of these victims had
turned to dust and their bones had crumbled to powder. Huddled together
are the forms of a mother and a babe; and you see how, with her last
conscious thought, the mother tried to cover her baby's face from the
killing rain of dust and blistering ashes. And there is the shape of a
man who wrapped his face in a veil to keep out the fumes, and died
so. The veil is there, reproduced with a fidelity no sculptor could
duplicate, and through its folds you may behold the agony that made his
jaw to sag and his eyes to pop from their sockets.

Nearby is a dog, which in its last spasms of pain and fright curled up
worm fashion, and buried its nose in its forepaws and kicked out with
its crooked hind legs. Plainly dogs do not change their emotional
natures with the passage of years. A dog died in Pompeii in 79 A. D.
after exactly the same fashion that a dog might die to-day in the pound
at Pittsburgh.

From here we went on into the city proper; and it was a whole city, set
off by itself and not surrounded by those jarring modern incongruities
that spoil the ruins of Rome for the person who wishes to give his fancy
a slack rein. It is all here, looking much as it must have looked when
Nero and Caligula reigned, and much as it will still look hundreds of
years hence, for the Government owns it now and guards it and protects
it from the hammer of the vandal and the greed of the casual collector.
Here it is--all of it; the tragic theater and the comic theater; the
basilica; the greater forum and the lesser one; the market place; the
amphitheater for the games; the training school for the gladiators; the
temples; the baths; the villas of the rich; the huts of the poor; the
cubicles of the slaves; shops; offices; workrooms; brothels.

The roofs are gone, except in a few instances where they have been
restored; but the walls stand and many of the detached pillars stand
too; and the pavements have endured well, so that the streets remain
almost exactly as they were when this was a city of live beings instead
of a tomb of dead memories, with deep groovings of chariot wheels in the
flaggings, and at each crossing there are stepping stones, dotting the
roadbed like punctuation marks. At the public fountain the well curbs
are worn away where the women rested their water jugs while they swapped
the gossip of the town; and at nearly every corner is a groggery, which
in its appointments and fixtures is so amazingly like unto a family
liquor store as we know it that, venturing into one, I caught myself
looking about for the Business Men's Lunch, with a collection of greasy
forks in a glass receptacle, a crock of pretzels on the counter, and a
sign over the bar reading: No Checks Cashed--This Means You!

In the floors the mosaics are as fresh as though newly applied; and the
ribald and libelous Latin, which disappointed litigants carved on the
stones at the back of the law court, looks as though it might have been
scored there last week--certainly not further back than the week before
that. A great many of the wall paintings in the interiors of rich
men's homes have been preserved and some of them are fairly spicy as
to subject and text. It would seem that in these matters the ancient
Pompeiians were pretty nearly as broad-minded and liberal as the modern
Parisians are. The mural decorations I saw in certain villas were almost
suggestive enough to be acceptable matter for publication in a French
comic paper; almost, but not quite. Mr. Anthony Comstock would be an
unhappy man were he turned loose in Pompeii--unhappy for a spell, but
after that exceedingly busy.

We lingered on, looking and marveling, and betweenwhiles wondering
whether our automobile's hacking cough had got any better by resting,
until the sun went down and the twilight came. Following the guidebook's
advice we had seen the Colosseum in Rome by moonlight. There was a full
moon on the night we went there. It came heaving up grandly, a great,
round-faced, full-cream, curdy moon, rich with rennet and yellow with
butter fats; but by the time we had worked our way south to Naples a
greedy fortnight had bitten it quite away, until it was reduced to a
mere cheese rind of a moon, set up on end against the delft-blue platter
of a perfect sky. We waited until it showed its thin rim in the heavens,
and then, in the softened half-glow, with the purplish shadows deepening
between the brown-gray walls of the dead city, I just naturally turned
my imagination loose and let her soar.

Standing there, with the stage set and the light effects just right,
in fancy I repopulated Pompeii. I beheld it just as it was on a fair,
autumnal morning in 79 A. D. With my eyes half closed, I can see the
vision now. At first the crowds are massed and mingled in confusion, but
soon figures detach themselves from the rest and reveal themselves
as prominent personages. Some of them I know at a glance. Yon tall,
imposing man, with the genuine imitation sealskin collar on his toga,
who strides along so majestically, whisking his cane against his leg,
can be no other than Gum Tragacanth, leading man of the Bon Ton Stock
Company, fresh from his metropolitan triumphs in Rome and at this moment
the reigning matinee idol of the South. This week he is playing
Claude Melnotte in The Lady of Lyons; next week he will be seen in
his celebrated characterization of Matthias in The Bells, with special
scenery; and for the regular Wednesday and Saturday bargain matinees
Lady Audley's Secret will be given.

Observe him closely. It is evident that he values his art. Yet about him
there is no false ostentation. With what gracious condescension does
he acknowledge the half-timid, half-daring smiles of all the little
caramel-chewing Floras and Faunas who have made it a point to be on Main
Street at this hour! With what careless grace does he doff his laurel
wreath, which is of the latest and most modish fall block, with the
bow at the back, in response to the waved greeting of Mrs. Belladonna
Capsicum, the acknowledged leader of the artistic and Bohemian set, as
she sweeps by in her chariot bound for Blumberg Brothers' to do a little
shopping. She is not going to buy anything--she is merely out shopping.

Than this fair patrician dame, none is more prominent in the gay life
of Pompeii. It was she who last season smoked a cigarette in public, and
there is a report now that she is seriously considering wearing an ankle
bracelet; withal she is a perfect lady and belongs to one of the old
Southern families. Her husband has been through the bankruptcy courts
twice and is thinking of going through again. At present he is engaged
in promoting and writing a little life insurance on the side.

Now her equipage is lost in the throng and the great actor continues on
his way, making a mental note of the fact that he has promised to attend
her next Sunday afternoon studio tea. Near his own stage door he bumps
into Commodious Rotunda, the stout comedian of the comic theater, and
they pause to swap the latest Lambs' Club repartee. This done, Commodius
hauls out a press clipping and would read it, but the other remembers
providentially that he has a rehearshal on and hurriedly departs. If
there are any press clippings to be read he has a few of his own that
will bear inspection.

Superior Maxillary, managing editor of the Pompeiian "Daily
News-Courier," is also abroad, collecting items of interest and
subscriptions for his paper, with preference given to the latter. He
enters the Last Chance Saloon down at the foot of the street and in a
minute or two is out again, wiping his mustache on the back of his hand.
We may safely opine that he has been taking a small ad. out in trade.

At the door of the county courthouse, where he may intercept the
taxpayers as they come and go, is stationed our old friend, Colonel Pro
Bono Publico. The Colonel has been running for something or other ever
since Heck was a pup. To-day he is wearing his official campaign smile,
for he is a candidate for county judge, subject to the action of the
Republican party at the October primaries. He is wearing all his lodge
buttons and likewise his G. A. R. pin, for this year he figures on
carrying the old-soldier vote.

See who comes now! It is Rigor Mortis, the worthy coroner. At sight of
him the Colonel uplifts his voice in hoarsely jovial salutation:

"Rigsy, my boy," he booms, "how are you? And how is Mrs. M. this
morning?"

"Well, Colonel," answers his friend, "my wife ain't no better. She's
mighty puny and complaining. Sometimes I get to wishing the old lady
would get well--or something!"

The Colonel laughs, but not loudly. That wheeze was old in 79. In front
of the drug-store on the corner a score of young bloods, dressed in
snappy togas for Varsity men, are skylarking. They are especially
brilliant in their flashing interchanges of wit and humor, because
the Mastodon Minstrels were here only last week, with a new line of
first-part jokes. Along the opposite side of the street passes Nux
Vomica, M.D., with a small black case in his hand, gravely intent on
his professional duties. Being a young physician, he wears a beard and
large-rimmed eyeglasses. Young Ossius Dome sees him and hails him.

"Oh, Doc!" he calls out. "Come over here a minute. I've got some
brand-new limerickii for you. Tertiary Tonsillitis got 'em from a
traveling man he met day before yesterday when he was up in the city
laying in his stock of fall and winter armor."

The healer of ills crosses over; and as the group push themselves in
toward a common center I hear the voice of the speaker:

"Say, they're all bully; but this is the bullissimus one of the lot. It
goes like this:

              "'There was a young maid of Sorrento,
                Who said to her--'"

I have regretted ever since that at this juncture I came to and so
failed to get the rest of it. I'll bet that was a peach of a limerick.
It started off so promisingly.



Chapter XXIII



Muckraking in Old Pompeii

It now devolves on me as a painful yet necessary duty to topple from
its pedestal one of the most popular idols of legendary lore. I refer, I
regret to say, to the widely famous Roman sentry of old Pompeii.

Personally I think there has been entirely too much of this sort of
thing going on lately. Muckrakers, prying into the storied past, have
destroyed one after another many of the pet characters in history.
Thanks to their meddlesome activities we know that Paul Revere did not
take any midnight ride. On the night in question he was laid up in bed
with inflammatory rheumatism. What happened was that he told the news to
Mrs. Revere as a secret, and she in strict confidence imparted it to the
lady living next door; and from that point on the word traveled with the
rapidity of wildfire.

Horatius never held the bridge; he just let the blamed thing go. The boy
did not stand on the burning deck, whence all but him had fled; he was
among the first in the lifeboats. That other boy--the Spartan youth--did
not have his vitals gnawed by a fox; the Spartan youth had been eating
wild grapes and washing them down with spring water. Hence that gnawing
sensation of which so much mention has been made. Nobody hit Billy
Patterson. He acquired his black eye in the same way in which all
married men acquire a black eye--by running against a doorjamb while
trying to find the ice-water pitcher in the dark. He said so himself the
next day.

Even Barbara Frietchie is an exploded myth. She did not nail her
country's flag to the window casement. Being a female, she could not
nail a flag or anything else to a window. In the first place, she would
have used a wad of chewing gum and a couple of hairpins. In the second
place, had she recklessly undertaken to nail up a flag with hammer and
nails, she would never have been on hand at the psychological moment
to invite Stonewall Jackson to shoot her old gray head. When General
Jackson passed the house she would have been in the bathroom bathing her
left thumb in witch-hazel.

Furthermore, she did not have any old gray head. At the time of the
Confederate invasion of Maryland she was only seventeen years old--some
authorities say only seven--and a pronounced blonde. Also, she did not
live in Frederick; and even if she did live there, on the occasion when
the troops went through she was in Baltimore visiting a school friend.
Finally, Frederick does not stand where it stood in the sixties. The
cyclone of 1884 moved it three miles back into the country and
twisted the streets round in such a manner as to confuse even lifelong
residents. These facts have repeatedly been proved by volunteer
investigators and are not to be gainsaid.

I repeat that there has been too much of this. If the craze for smashing
all our romantic fixtures persists, after a while we shall have no
glorious traditions left with which to fire the youthful heart at
high-school commencements. But in the interests of truth, and also
because I made the discovery myself, I feel it to be my solemn duty to
expose the Roman sentry, stationed at the gate of Pompeii looking toward
the sea, who died because he would not quit his post without orders and
had no orders to quit.

Until now this party has stood the acid test of centuries. Everybody
who ever wrote about the fall of Pompeii, from Plutarch and Pliny the
Younger clear down to Bulwer Lytton and Burton Holmes, had something to
say about him. The lines on this subject by the Greek poet Laryngitis
are familiar to all lovers of that great master of classic verse, and I
shall not undertake to quote from them here.

Suffice it to say that the Roman sentry, perishing at his post, has
ever been a favorite subject for historic and romantic writers. I myself
often read of him--how on that dread day when the devil's stew came to
a boil and spewed over the sides of Vesuvius, and death and destruction
poured down to blight the land, he, typifying fortitude and discipline
and unfaltering devotion, stood firm and stayed fast while all about
him chaos reigned and fathers forgot their children and husbands forgot
their wives, and vice versa, though probably not to the same extent; and
how finally the drifting ashes and the choking dust fell thicker upon
him and mounted higher about him, until he died and in time turned to
ashes himself, leaving only a void in the solidified slag. I had always
admired that soldier--not his judgment, which was faulty, but his
heroism, which was immense. To myself I used to say:

"That unknown common soldier, nameless though he was, deserves to live
forever in the memory of mankind. He lacked imagination, it is true,
but he was game. It was a glorious death to die--painful, yet splendid.
Those four poor wretches whose shells were found in the prison under the
gladiators' school, with their ankles fast in the iron stocks--I know
why they stayed. Their feet were too large for their own good. But no
bonds except his dauntless will bound him at the portals of the doomed
city. Duty was the only chain that held him.

"And to think that centuries and centuries afterward they should find
his monument--a vacant, empty mold in the piled-up pumice! Had I been
in his place I should have created my vacancy much sooner--say, about
thirty seconds after the first alarm went in. But he was one who chose
rather that men should say, 'How natural he looks!' than 'Yonder he
goes!' And he has my sincere admiration. When I go to Pompeii--if ever
I do go there--I shall seek out the spot where he made the supremest
sacrifice to authority that ever any man could make, and I shall tarry a
while in those hallowed precincts!"

That was what I said I would do and that was what I did do that
afternoon at Pompeii. I found the gate looking toward the sea and I
found all the other gates, or the sites of them; but I did not find the
Roman sentry nor any trace of him, nor any authentic record of him. I
questioned the guides and, through an interpreter, the curator of the
Museum, and from them I learned the lamentably disillusioning facts in
this case. There is no trace of him because he neglected to leave any
trace.

Doubtless there was a sentry on guard at the gate when the volcano
belched forth, and the skin of the earth flinched and shivered and split
asunder; but he did not remain for the finish. He said to himself that
this was no place for a minister's son; and so he girded up his loins
and he went away from there.

He went away hurriedly--even as you and I.



Chapter XXIV



Mine Own People

Wherever we went I was constantly on the outlook for a kind of tourist
who had been described to me frequently and at great length by more
seasoned travelers--the kind who wore his country's flag as a buttonhole
emblem, or as a shirtfront decoration; and regarded every gathering and
every halting place as providing suitable opportunity to state for the
benefit of all who might be concerned, how immensely and overpoweringly
superior in all particulars was the land from which he hailed as
compared with all other lands under the sun. I desired most earnestly to
overhaul a typical example of this species, my intention then being to
decoy him off to some quiet and secluded spot and there destroy him in
the hope of cutting down the breed.

At length, along toward the fag end of our zigzagging course, I caught
up with him; but stayed my hand and slew not. For some countries, you
understand, are so finicky in the matter of protecting their citizens
that they would protect even such a one as this. I was fearful lest,
by exterminating the object of my homicidal desires, I should bring on
international complications with a friendly Power, no matter however
public-spirited and high-minded my intentions might be.

It was in Vienna, in a cafe, and the hour was late. We were just
leaving, after having listened for some hours to a Hungarian band
playing waltz tunes and an assemblage of natives drinking beer, when
the sounds of a dispute at the booth where wraps were checked turned
our faces in that direction. In a thick and plushy voice a short square
person of a highly vulgar aspect was arguing with the young woman who
had charge of the check room. Judging by his tones, you would have said
that the nap of his tongue was at least a quarter of an inch long; and
he punctuated his remarks with hiccoughs. It seemed that his excitement
had to do with the disappearance of a neck-muffler. From argument
he progressed rapidly to threats and the pounding of a fist upon the
counter.

Drawing nigh, I observed that he wore a very high hat and a very short
sack coat; that his waistcoat was of a combustible plaid pattern with
gaiters to match; that he had taken his fingers many times to the
jeweler, but not once to the manicure; that he was beautifully jingled
and alcoholically boastful of his native land and that--a crowning
touch--he wore flaring from an upper pocket of his coat a silk
handkerchief woven in the design and colors of his country's flag. But,
praises be, it was not our flag that he wore thus. It was the Union
Jack. As we passed out into the damp Viennese midnight he was loudly
proclaiming that he "Was'h Bri'sh subjesch," and that unless something
was done mighty quick, would complain to "Is Majeshy's rep(hic)shenativ'
ver' firsch thing 'n morn'."

So though I was sorry he was a cousin, I was selfishly and unfeignedly
glad that he was not a brother. Since in the mysterious and unfathomable
scheme of creation it seemed necessary that he should be born somewhere,
still he had not been born in America, and that thought was very
pleasing to me.

There was another variety of the tourist breed whose trail I most
earnestly desired to cross. I refer to the creature who must be closely
watched to prevent him, or her, from carrying off valuable relics as
souvenirs, and defacing monuments and statues and disfiguring holy
places with an inconsequential signature. In the flesh--and such a
person must be all flesh and no soul--I never caught up with him, but
more than once I came upon his fresh spoor.

In Venice our guide took us to see the nether prisons of the Palace of
the Doges. From the level of the Bridge of Sighs we tramped down flights
of stone stairs, one flight after another, until we had passed the hole
through which the bodies of state prisoners, secretly killed at night,
were shoved out into waiting gondolas and had passed also the room where
pincers and thumbscrew once did their hideous work, until we came to a
cellar of innermost, deepermost cells, fashioned out of the solid rock
and stretching along a corridor that was almost as dark as the cells
themselves. Here, so we were told, countless wretched beings, awaiting
the tardy pleasure of the torturer or the headsman, had moldered in damp
and filth and pitchy blackness, knowing day from night only by the fact
that once in twenty-four hours food would be slipped through a hole in
the wall by unseen hands; lying here until oftentimes death or the cruel
mercy of madness came upon them before the overworked executioner found
time to rack their limbs or lop off their heads.

We were told that two of these cells had been preserved exactly as they
were in the days of the Doges, with no alteration except that lights had
been swung from the ceilings. We could well accept this statement as the
truth, for when the guide led us through a low doorway and flashed on an
electric bulb we saw that the place where we stood was round like a jug
and bare as an empty jug, with smooth stone walls and rough stone floor;
and that it contained for furniture just two things--a stone bench upon
which the captive might lie or sit and, let into the wall, a great iron
ring, to which his chains were made fast so that he moved always to
their grating accompaniment and the guard listening outside might know
by the telltale clanking whether the entombed man still lived.

There was one other decoration in this hole--a thing more incongruous
even than the modern lighting fixtures; and this stood out in bold black
lettering upon the low-sloped ceiling. A pair of vandals, a man and
wife--no doubt with infinite pains--had smuggled in brush and marking
pot and somehow or other--I suspect by bribing guides and guards--had
found the coveted opportunity of inscribing their names here in the
Doges' black dungeon. With their names they had written their address
too, which was a small town in the Northwest, and after it the legend:
"Send us a postal card."

I imagine that then this couple, having accomplished this feat, regarded
their trip to Europe as being rounded out and complete, and went home
again, satisfied and rejoicing. Send them a postal card? Somebody should
send them a deep-dish poison-pie!

Looking on this desecration my companion and I grew vocal. We agreed
that our national lawgivers who were even then framing an immigration
law with a view to keeping certain people out of this country, might
better be engaged in framing one with a view to keeping certain people
in. Our guide harkened with a quiet little smile on his face to what we
said.

"It cannot have been here long--that writing on the ceiling," he
explained for our benefit. "Presently it will be scraped away. But"--
and he shrugged his eloquent Italian shoulders and outspread his hands
fan-fashion--"but what is the use? Others like them will come and do as
they have done. See here and here and here, if you please!"

He aimed a darting forefinger this way and that, and looking where he
pointed we saw now how the walls were scarred with the scribbled names
of many visitors. I regret exceedingly to have to report that a majority
of these names had an American sound to them. Indeed, many of the
signatures were coupled with the names of towns and states of the Union.
There were quite a few from Canada, too. What, I ask you, is the wisdom
of taking steps to discourage the cutworm and abate the gypsy-moth when
our government permits these two-legged varmints to go abroad freely and
pollute shrines and wonderplaces with their scratchings, and give the
nations over there a perverted notion of what the real human beings on
this continent are like?

For the tourist who has wearied of picture galleries and battlegrounds
and ruins and abbeys, studying other tourists provides a pleasant way
of passing many an otherwise tedious hour. Certain of the European
countries furnish some interesting types--notably Britain, which
producing a male biped of a lachrymose and cheerless exterior, who plods
solemnly across the Continent wrapped in the plaid mantle of his own
dignity, never speaking an unnecessary word to any person whatsoever.
And Germany: From Germany comes a stolid gentleman, who, usually,
is shaped like a pickle mounted on legs and is so extensively and
convexedly eyeglassed as to give him the appearance of something that
is about to be served sous cloche. Caparisoned in strange garments, he
stalks through France or Italy with an umbrella under his arm, his nose
being buried so deeply in his guidebook that he has no time to waste
upon the scenery or the people; while some ten paces in the rear, his
wife staggers along in his wake with her skirts dragging in the dust
and her arms pulled half out of their sockets by the weight of the heavy
bundles and bags she is bearing. This person, when traveling, always
takes his wife and much baggage with him. Or, rather, he takes his wife
and she takes the baggage which, by Continental standards, is regarded
as an equal division of burdens.

However, for variety and individual peculiarity, our own land offers the
largest assortment in the tourist line, this perhaps being due to the
fact that Americans do more traveling than any other race. I think that
in our ramblings we must have encountered pretty nearly all the known
species of tourists, ranging from sane and sensible persons who had
come to Europe to see and to learn and to study, clear on down through
various ramifications to those who had left their homes and firesides to
be uncomfortable and unhappy in far lands merely because somebody told
them they ought to travel abroad. They were in Europe for the reason
that so many people run to a fire: not because they care particularly
for a fire but because so many others are running to it. I would that
I had the time, and you, kind reader, the patience so that I
might enumerate and describe in full detail all the varieties and
sub-varieties of our race that we saw--the pert, overfed, overpampered
children, the aggressive, self-sufficient, prematurely bored young
girls, the money-fattened, boastful vulgarians, scattering coin by
the handful, intent only on making a show and not realizing that they
themselves were the show; the coltish, pimply youths who thought in
order to be high-spirited they must also be impolite and noisy. Youth
will be served, but why, I ask you--why must it so often be served raw?
For contrasts to such as these, we met plenty of people worth meeting
and worth knowing--fine, attractive, well-bred American men and women,
having a decent regard for themselves and for other folks, too. Indeed
this sort largely predominated. But there isn't space for making a
classified list. The one-volume chronicler must content himself with
picking out a few particularly striking types.

I remember, with vivid distinctness, two individuals, one an elderly
gentleman from somewhere in the Middle West and the other, an old lady
who plainly hailed from the South. We met the old gentleman in Paris,
and the old lady some weeks later in Naples. Though the weather was
moderately warm in Paris that week he wore red woolen wristlets
down over his hands; and he wore also celluloid cuffs, which rattled
musically, with very large moss agate buttons in them; and for
ornamentation his watch chain bore a flat watch key, a secret order
badge big enough to serve as a hitching weight and a peach-stone carved
to look like a fruit basket. Everything about him suggested health
underwear, chewing tobacco and fried mush for breakfast. His whiskers
were cut after a pattern I had not seen in years and years. In my mind
such whiskers were associated with those happy and long distant days
of childhood when we yelled Supe! at a stagehand and cherished Old Cap
Collier as a model of what--if we had luck--we would be when we grew up.
By rights, he belonged in the second act of a rural Indian play, of a
generation or two ago; but here he was, wandering disconsolately through
the Louvre. He had come over to spend four months, he told us with a
heave of the breath, and he still had two months of it unspent, and he
just didn't see how he was going to live through it!

The old lady was in the great National Museum at Naples, fluttering
about like a distracted little brown hen. She was looking for the
Farnese Bull. It seemed her niece in Knoxville had told her the Farnese
Bull was the finest thing in the statuary line to be found in all Italy,
and until she had seen that, she wasn't going to see anything else.
She had got herself separated from the rest of her party and she
was wandering along about alone, seeking information regarding the
whereabouts of the Farnese Bull from smiling but uncomprehending
custodians and doorkeepers. These persons she would address at the top
of her voice. Plainly she suffered from a delusion, which is very common
among our people, that if a foreigner does not understand you when
addressed in an ordinary tone, he will surely get your meaning if you
screech at him. When we had gone some distance farther on and were in
another gallery, we could still catch the calliope-like notes of the
little old lady, as she besought some one to lead her to the Farnese
Bull.

That she came right out and spoke of the Farnese Bull as a bull, instead
of referring to him as a gentleman cow, was evidence of the extent to
which travel had enlarged her vision, for with half an eye anyone could
tell that she belonged to the period of our social development when
certain honest and innocent words were supposed to be indelicate--that
she had been reared in a society whose ideal of a perfect lady was one
who could say limb, without thinking leg. I hope she found her bull, but
I imagine she was disappointed when she did find it. I know I was. The
sculpturing may be of a very high order--the authorities agree that it
is--but I judge the two artists to whom the group is attributed carved
the bull last and ran out of material and so skimped him a bit. The
unfortunate Dirce, who is about to be bound to his horns by the sons
of Antiope, the latter standing by to see that the boys make a good
thorough job of it, is larger really than the bull. You can picture the
lady carrying off the bull but not the bull carrying off the lady.

Numerously encountered are the tourists who are doing Europe under a
time limit as exact as the schedule of a limited train. They go through
Europe on the dead run, being intent on seeing it all and therefore
seeing none of it. They cover ten countries in a space of time which a
sane person gives to one; after which they return home exhausted, but
triumphant. I think it must be months before some of them quit panting,
and certainly their poor, misused feet can never again be the feet they
were.

With them adherence to the time card is everything. If a look at the
calendar shows the day to be Monday, they know they are in Munich, and
as they lope along they get out their guidebooks and study the chapters
devoted to Munich. But if it be Tuesday, then it is Dresden, and they
give their attention to literature dealing with the attractions of
Dresden; seeing Dresden after the fashion of one sitting before a
runaway moving picture film.

Then they pack up and depart, galloping, for Prague with their tongues
hanging out. For Wednesday is Prague and Prague is Wednesday--the two
words are synonymous and interchangeable. Surely to such as these, the
places they have visited must mean as much to them, afterward, as the
labels upon their trunks mean to the trunks--just flimsy names pasted
on, all confused and overlapping, and certain to be scraped off in time,
leaving nothing but faint marks upon an indurated surface.

There is yet again another type, always of the female gender and
generally middle-aged and very schoolteacherish in aspect, who, in
company with a group of kindred spirits, is viewing Europe under a
contract arrangement by which a worn and wearied-looking gentleman, a
retired clergyman usually, acts as escort and mentor for a given price.
I don't know how much he gets a head for this job; but whatever it is,
he earns it ninety-and-nine times over. This lady tourist is much given
to missing trains and getting lost and having disputes with natives
and wearing rubber overshoes and asking strange questions--but let me
illustrate with a story I heard.

The man from Cook's had convoyed his party through the Vatican, until he
brought them to the Apollo Belvidere. As they ranged themselves wearily
about the statue, he rattled off his regular patter without pause or
punctuation:

"Here we have the far-famed Apollo Belvidere found about the middle of
the fifteenth century at Frascati purchased by Pope Julius the Second
restored by the great Michelangelo taken away by the French in 1797 but
returned in 1815 made of Carara marble holding in his hand a portion of
the bow with which he slew the Python observe please the beauty of
the pose the realistic attitude of the limbs the noble and exalted
expression of the face of Apollo Belvidere he being known also as
Phoebus the god of oracles the god of music and medicine the son of Leto
and Jupiter--"

Here he ran out of breath and stopped. Fora moment no one spoke.
Then from a flat-chested little spinster came this query in tired yet
interested tones:

"Was he--was he married?"

He who is intent upon studying the effect of foreign climes upon
the American temperament should by no means overlook the colonies of
resident Americans in the larger European cities, particularly the
colonies in such cities as Paris and Rome and Florence. In Berlin, the
American colony is largely made up of music students and in Vienna of
physicians; but in the other places many folks of many minds and many
callings constitute the groups. Some few have left their country for
their country's good and some have expatriated themselves because, as
they explain in bursts of confidence, living is cheaper in France
than it is in America. I suppose it is, too, if one can only become
reconciled to doing without most of the comforts which make life worth
while in America or anywhere else. Included among this class are many
rather unhappy old ladies who somehow impress you as having been shunted
off to foreign parts because there were no places for them in the homes
of their children and their grandchildren. So now they are spending
their last years among strangers, trying with a desperate eagerness to
be interested in people and things for which they really care not a fig,
with no home except a cheerless pension.

Also there are certain folk--products, in the main, of the Eastern
seaboard--who, from having originally lived in America and spent most of
their time abroad, have now progressed to the point where they now live
mostly abroad and visit America fleetingly once in a blue moon. As a
rule these persons know a good deal about Europe and very little about
the country that gave them birth. The stock-talk of European literature
is at their tongue's tip. They speak of Ibsen in the tone of one
mourning the passing of a near, dear, personal friend, and as for
Zola--ah, how they miss the influence of his compelling personality! But
for the moment they cannot recall whether Richard K. Fox ran the Police
Gazette or wrote the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

They are up on the history of the Old World. From memory they trace
the Bourbon dynasty from the first copper-distilled Charles to the last
sourmashed Louis. But as regards our own Revolution, they aren't quite
sure whether it was started by the Boston Tea Party or Mrs. O'Leary's
Cow. Languidly they inquire whether that quaint Iowa character,
Uncle Champ Root, is still Speaker of the House? And so the present
Vice-President is named Elihu Underwood? Or isn't he? Anyway, American
politics is such a bore. But they stand ready, at a minute's notice, to
furnish you with the names, dates and details of all the marriages that
have taken place during the last twenty years in the royal house of
Denmark.

Some day we shall learn a lesson from Europe. Some fair day we shall
begin to exploit our own historical associations. We shall make shrines
of the spots where Washington crossed the ice to help end one war and
where Eliza did the same thing to help start another. We shall erect
stone markers showing where Charley Ross was last seen and Carrie Nation
was first sighted. We shall pile up tall monuments to Sitting Bull and
Nonpareil Jack Dempsey and the man who invented the spit ball. Perhaps
then these truant Americans will come back oftener from Paris and
Florence and abide with us longer. Meanwhile though they will continue
to stay on the other side. And on second thought, possibly it is just as
well for the rest of us that they do.

In Europe I met two persons, born in America, who were openly distressed
over that shameful circumstance and could not forgive their parents for
being so thoughtless and inconsiderate. One was living in England and
the other was living in France; and one was a man and the other was a
woman; and both of them were avowedly regretful that they had not
been born elsewhere, which, I should say, ought to make the sentiment
unanimous. I also heard--at second hand--of a young woman whose father
served this country in an ambassadorial capacity at one of the principal
Continental courts until the administration at Washington had a lucid
interval, and endeared itself to the hearts of practically all Americans
residing in that country by throwing a net over him and yanking him
back home; this young woman was so fearful lest some one might think she
cherished any affection for her native land that once when a legation
secretary manifested a desire to learn the score of the deciding game of
a World's Series between the Giants and the Athletics, she spoke up in
the presence of witnesses and said:

"Ah, baseball! How can any sane person be excited over that American
game? Tell me--some one please--how is it played?"

Yet she was born and reared in a town which for a great many years
has held a membership in the National League. Let us pass on to a more
pleasant topic.

Let us pass on to those well-meaning but temporarily misguided persons
who think they are going to be satisfied with staying on indefinitely in
Europe. They profess themselves as being amply pleased with the
present arrangement. For, no matter how patriotic one may be, one must
concede--mustn't one?--that for true culture one must look to Europe?
After all, America is a bit crude, isn't it, now? Of course some time,
say in two or three years from now, they will run across to the States
again, but it will be for a short visit only. After Europe one can never
be entirely happy elsewhere for any considerable period of time. And so
on and so forth.

But as you mention in an offhand way that Cedar Bluff has a modern fire
station now, or that Tulsanooga is going to have a Great White Way of
its own, there are eyes that light up with a wistful light. And when you
state casually, that Polkdale is planning a civic center with the new
county jail at one end and the Carnegie Library at the other, lips begin
to quiver under a weight of sentimental emotion. And a month or so
later when you take the ship which is to bear you home, you find a large
delegation of these native sons of Polkdale and Tulsanooga on board,
too.

At least we found them on the ship we took. We took her at Naples--a big
comfortable German ship with a fine German crew and a double force of
talented German cooks working overtime in the galley and pantry--and so
came back by the Mediterranean route, which is a most satisfying route,
especially if the sea be smooth and the weather good, and the steerage
passengers picturesque and light-hearted. Moreover the coast of Northern
Africa, lying along the southern horizon as one nears Gibraltar, is one
of the few sights of a European trip that are not disappointing. For, in
fact, it proves to be the same color that it is in the geographies--pale
yellow. It is very unusual to find a country making an earnest effort
to correspond to its own map, and I think Northern Africa deserves
honorable mention in the dispatches on this account.



Chapter XXV



Be it Ever so Humble

Homeward-bound, a chastened spirit pervades the traveler. He is not
quite so much inclined to be gay and blithesome as he was going. The
holiday is over; the sightseeing is done; the letter of credit is worn
and emaciated. He has been broadened by travel but his pocketbook has
been flattened. He wouldn't take anything for this trip, and as he feels
at the present moment he wouldn't take it again for anything.

It is a time for casting up and readjusting. Likewise it is a good time
for going over, in the calm, reflective light of second judgment, the
purchases he has made for personal use and gift-making purposes. These
things seemed highly attractive when he bought them, and when displayed
against a background of home surroundings will, no doubt, be equally
impressive; but just now they appear as rather a sad collection of
junk. His English box coat doesn't fit him any better than any other box
would.

His French waistcoats develop an unexpected garishness on being
displayed away from their native habitat and the writing outfit which
he picked up in Vienna turns out to be faulty and treacherous and inkily
tearful. How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a fountain
pen--that weeps! And why, when a fountain pen makes up its mind to cry
a spell, does it crawl clear across a steamer trunk and bury its sobbing
countenance in the bosom of a dress shirt?

Likewise the first few days at sea provide opportunity for sorting out
the large and variegated crop of impressions a fellow has been acquiring
during all these crowded months. The way the homeward-bound one feels
now, he would swap any Old Master he ever saw for one peep at a set
of sanitary bath fixtures. Sight unseen, he stands ready to trade two
cathedrals and a royal palace for a union depot. He will never forget
the thrill that shook his soul as he paused beneath the dome of the
Pantheon; but he feels that, not only his soul but all the rest of him,
could rally and be mighty cheerful in the presence of a dozen deep-sea
oysters on the half shell--regular honest-to-goodness North American
oysters, so beautifully long, so gracefully pendulous of shape that the
short-waisted person who undertakes to swallow one whole does so at his
own peril. The picture of the Coliseum bathed in the Italian moonlight
will ever abide in his mind; but he would give a good deal for a large
double sirloin suffocated Samuel J. Tilden style, with fried onions.
Beefsteak! Ah, what sweet images come thronging at the very mention of
the word! The sea vanishes magically and before his entranced vision he
sees The One Town, full of regular fellows and real people. Somebody is
going to have fried ham for supper--five thousand miles away he sniffs
the delectable perfume of that fried ham as it seeps through a crack in
the kitchen window and wafts out into the street--and the word passes
round that there is going to be a social session down at the lodge
to-night, followed, mayhap, by a small sociable game of quarter-limit
upstairs over Corbett's drug-store. At this point, our traveler rummages
his Elks' button out of his trunk and gives it an affectionate polishing
with a silk handkerchief. And oh, how he does long for a look at a home
newspaper--packed with wrecks and police news and municipal scandals
and items about the persons one knows, and chatty mention concerning
Congressmen and gunmen and tango teachers and other public characters.

Thinking it all over here in the quiet and privacy of the empty sea, he
realizes that his evening paper is the thing he has missed most. To the
American understanding foreign papers seem fearfully and wonderfully
made. For instance, German newspapers are much addicted to printing
their more important news stories in cipher form. The German treatment
of a suspected crime for which no arrests have yet been made, reminds
one of the jokes which used to appear, a few years ago, in the back part
of Harper's Magazine, where a good story was always being related of
Bishop X, residing in the town of Y, who, calling one afternoon upon
Judge Z, said to Master Egbert, the pet of the household, age four,
and so on. A German newspaper will daringly state that Banker ----,
president of the Bank of ---- at ---- who is suspected of sequestering
the funds of that institution to his own uses is reported to have
departed by stealth for the city of ----, taking with him the wife of
Herr ----.

And such is the high personal honor of the average Parisian news
gatherer that one Paris morning paper, which specializes in actual news
as counter-distinguished from the other Paris papers which rely upon
political screeds to fill their columns, locks its doors and disconnects
its telephones at 8 o'clock in the evening, so that reporters coming in
after that hour must stay in till press time lest some of them--such is
the fear--will peddle all the exclusive stories off to less enterprising
contemporaries.

English newspapers, though printed in a language resembling American in
many rudimentary respects, seem to our conceptions weird propositions,
too. It is interesting to find at the tail end of an article a footnote
by the editor stating that he has stopped the presses to announce in
connection with the foregoing that nothing has occurred in connection
with the foregoing which would justify him in stopping the presses to
announce it; or words to that effect. The news stories are frequently
set forth in a puzzling fashion, and the jokes also. That's the
principal fault with an English newspaper joke--it loses so in
translation into our own tongue.

Still, when all is said and done, the returning tourist, if he be at all
fair-minded, is bound to confess to himself that, no matter where his
steps or his round trip ticket have carried him, he has seen in every
country institutions and customs his countrymen might copy to their
benefit, immediate or ultimate. Having beheld these things with his own
eyes, he knows that from the Germans we might learn some much-needed
lessons about municipal control and conservation of resources; and from
the French and the Austrians about rational observance of days of rest
and simple enjoyment of simple outdoor pleasures and respect for great
traditions and great memories; and from the Italians, about the blessed
facility of keeping in a good humor; and from the English, about minding
one's own business and the sane rearing of children and obedience to the
law and suppression of unnecessary noises. Whenever I think of this
last God-given attribute of the British race, I shall recall a Sunday we
spent at Brighton, the favorite seaside resort of middle-class London.
Brighton was fairly bulging with excursionists that day.

A good many of them were bucolic visitors from up country, but the
majority, it was plain to see, hailed from the city. No steam carousel
shrieked, no ballyhoo blared, no steam pianos shrieked, no barker
barked. Upon the piers, stretching out into the surf, bands played
soothingly softened airs and along the water front, sand-artists and
so-called minstrel singers plied their arts. Some of the visitors
fished--without catching anything--and some listened to the music and
some strolled aimlessly or sat stolidly upon benches enjoying the sea
air. To an American, accustomed at such places to din and tumult
and rushing crowds and dangerous devices for taking one's breath and
sometimes one's life, it was a strange experience, but a mighty restful
one.

On the other hand there are some things wherein we notably
excel--entirely too many for me to undertake to enumerate them here;
still, I think I might be pardoned for enumerating a conspicuous few. We
could teach Europe a lot about creature comforts and open plumbing
and personal cleanliness and good food and courtesy to women--not the
flashy, cheap courtesy which impels a Continental to rise and click his
heels and bend his person forward from the abdomen and bow profoundly
when a strange woman enters the railway compartment where he is seated,
while at the same time he leaves his wife or sister to wrestle with
the heavy luggage; but the deeper, less showy instinct which makes the
average American believe that every woman is entitled to his protection
and consideration when she really needs it. In the crowded street-car he
may keep his seat; in the crowded lifeboat he gives it up.

I almost forgot to mention one other detail in which, so far as I could
judge, we lead the whole of the Old World--dentistry. Probably you have
seen frequent mention in English publications about decayed gentlewomen.
Well, England is full of them. It starts with the teeth.

The leisurely, long, slantwise course across the Atlantic gives one
time, also, for making the acquaintance of one's fellow passengers and
for wondering why some of them ever went to Europe anyway. A source
of constant speculation along these lines was the retired hay-and-feed
merchant from Michigan who traveled with us. One gathered that he had
done little else in these latter years of his life except to traipse
back and forth between the two continents. What particularly endeared
him to the rest of us was his lovely habit of pronouncing all words of
all languages according to a fonetic system of his own. "Yes, sir,"
you would hear him say, addressing a smoking-room audience of less
experienced travelers, "my idee is that a fellow ought to go over on an
English ship, if he likes the exclusability, and come back on a German
ship if he likes the sociableness. Take my case. The last trip I made I
come over on the Lucy Tanner and went back agin on the Grocer K. First
and enjoyed it both ways immense!"

Nor would this chronicle be complete without a passing reference to the
lady from Cincinnati, a widow of independent means, who was traveling
with her two daughters and was so often mistaken for their sister that
she could not refrain from mentioning the remarkable circumstance to
you, providing you did not win her everlasting regard by mentioning it
first. Likewise I feel that I owe the tribute of a line to the
elderly Britain who was engaged in a constant and highly successful
demonstration of the fallacy of the claim set up by medical
practitioners, to the effect that the human stomach can contain but one
fluid pint at a time. All day long, with his monocle goggling glassily
from the midst of his face, like one lone porthole in a tank steamer, he
disproved this statement by practical methods and promptly at nine every
evening, when his complexion had acquired a rich magenta tint, he would
be carried below by two accommodating stewards and put--no, not put,
decanted--would be decanted gently into bed. If anything had happened to
the port-light of that ship, we could have stationed him forward in
the bows with his face looming over the rail and been well within the
maritime regulations--his face had a brilliancy which even the darkness
of the night could not dim; and if the other light had gone out of
commission, we could have impressed the aid of the bilious Armenian lady
who was sick every minute and very sick for some minutes, for she was
always of a glassy green color.

We learned to wait regularly for the ceremony of seeing Sir Monocle
and his load toted off to bed at nine o'clock every night, just as we
learned to linger in the offing and watch the nimble knife-work when
the prize invalid of the ship's roster had cornered a fresh victim. The
prize invalid, it is hardly worth while to state, was of the opposite
sex. So many things ailed her--by her own confession--that you wondered
how they all found room on the premises at the same time. Her
favorite evening employment was to engage another woman in
conversation--preferably another invalid--and by honeyed words and
congenial confidences, to lead the unsuspecting prey on and on, until
she had her trapped, and then to turn on her suddenly and ridicule
the other woman's puny symptoms and tell her she didn't even know the
rudiments of being ill and snap her up sharply when she tried to answer
back. And then she would deliver a final sting and go away without
waiting to bury her dead. The poison was in the postscript--it nearly
always is with that type of female. But afterward she would justify
herself by saying people must excuse her manner--she didn't mean
anything by it; it was just her way, and they must remember that she
suffered constantly. Some day when I have time, I shall make that lady
the topic of a popular song. I have already fabricated the refrain: Her
heart was in the right place, lads, but she had a floating kidney!

Arrives a day when you develop a growing distaste for the company of
your kind, or in fact, any kind. 'Tis a day when the sea, grown frisky,
kicks up its nimble heels and tosses its frothy mane. A cigar tastes
wrong then and the mere sight of so many meat pies and so many German
salads at the entrance to the dining salon gives one acute displeasure.
By these signs you know that you are on the verge of being taken down
with climate fever, which, as I set forth many pages agone, is a malady
peculiar to the watery deep, and by green travelers is frequently
mistaken for seasickness, which indeed it does resemble in certain
respects. I may say that I had one touch of climate fever going over and
a succession of touches coming back.

At such a time, the companionship of others palls on one. It is well
then to retire to the privacy of one's stateroom and recline awhile. I
did a good deal of reclining, coming back; I was not exactly happy while
reclining, but I was happier than I would have been doing anything else.
Besides, as I reclined there on my cosy bed, a medley of voices would
often float in to me through the half-opened port and I could visualize
the owners of those voices as they sat ranged in steamer chairs, along
the deck. I quote:

"You, Raymund! You get down off that rail this minute." ... "My
dear, you just ought to go to mine! He never hesitates a minute about
operating, and he has the loveliest manners in the operating room. Wait
a minute--I'll write his address down for you. Yes, he is expensive, but
very, very thorough." ... "Stew'd, bring me nozher brand' 'n' sozza."
... "Well, now Mr.--excuse me, I didn't catch your name?--oh yes, Mr.
Blosser; well, Mr. Blosser, if that isn't the most curious thing! To
think of us meeting away out here in the middle of the ocean and both
of us knowing Maxie Hockstein in Grand Rapids. It only goes to show one
thing--this certainly is a mighty small world." ... "Raymund, did you
hear what I said to you!" ... "Do you really think it is becoming? Thank
you for saying so. That's what my husband always says. He says that
white hair with a youthful face is so attractive, and that's one reason
why I've never touched it up. Touched-up hair is so artificial, don't
you think?" ... "Wasn't the Bay of Naples just perfectly swell--the
water, you know, and the land and the sky and everything, so beautiful
and everything?" ... "You Raymund, come away from that lifeboat. Why
don't you sit down there and behave yourself and have a nice time
watching for whales?" ... "No, ma'am, if you're askin' me I must say I
didn't care so much for that art gallery stuff--jest a lot of pictures
and statues and junk like that, so far as I noticed. In fact the whole
thing--Yurupp itself--was considerable of a disappointment to me. I
didn't run acros't a single Knights of Pythias Lodge the whole time
and I was over there five months straight hard-runnin'." ... "Really,
I think it must be hereditary; it runs in our family. I had an aunt and
her hair was snow-white at twenty-one and my grandmother was the same
way." ... "Oh yes, the suffering is something terrible. You've had
it yourself in a mild form and of course you know. The last time they
operated on me, I was on the table an hour and forty minutes--mind you,
an hour and forty minutes by the clock--and for three days and nights
they didn't know whether I would live another minute."

A crash of glass.

"Stew'd, I ashidently turn' over m' drink--bring me nozher brand' 'n'
sozza." ... "Just a minute, Mr. Blosser, I want to tell my husband about
it--he'll be awful interested. Say, listen, Poppa, this gentleman
here knows Maxie Hockstein out in Grand Rapids." ... "Do you think so,
really? A lot of people have said that very same thing to me. They come
up to me and say 'I know you must be a Southerner because you have such
a true Southern accent.' I suppose I must come by it naturally, for
while I was born in New Jersey, my mother was a member of a very old
Virginia family and we've always been very strong Southern sympathizers
and I went to a finishing school in Baltimore and I was always being
mistaken for a Southern girl." ... "Well, I sure had enough of it to
do me for one spell. I seen the whole shootin' match and I don't regret
what it cost me, but, believe me, little old Keokuk is goin' to look
purty good to me when I get back there. Why, them people don't know no
more about makin' a cocktail than a rabbit." ... "That's her standing
yonder talking to the captain. Yes, that's what so many people say, but
as a matter of fact, she's the youngest one of the two. I say, 'These
are my daughters,' and then people say, 'You mean your sisters.' Still
I married very young--at seventeen--and possibly that helps to explain
it." ... "Oh, is that a shark out yonder? Well, anyway, it's a porpoise,
and a porpoise is a kind of shark, isn't it? When a porpoise grows
up, it gets to be a shark--I read that somewhere. Ain't nature just
wonderful?" ... "Raymund Walter Pelham, if I have to speak to you again,
young man, I'm going to take you to the stateroom and give you something
you won't forget in a hurry." ... "Stew'd, hellup me gellup."

Thus the lazy hours slip by and the spell of the sea takes hold on you
and you lose count of the time and can barely muster up the energy to
perform the regular noonday task of putting your watch back half an
hour. A passenger remarks that this is Thursday and you wonder dimly
what happened to Wednesday.

Three days more--just three. The realization comes to you with a joyous
shock. Somebody sights a sea-gull. With eager eyes you watch its curving
flight. Until this moment you have not been particularly interested
in sea-gulls. Heretofore, being a sea-gull seemed to you to have few
attractions as a regular career, except that it keeps one out in the
open air; otherwise it has struck you as being rather a monotonous life
with a sameness as to diet which would grow very tiresome in time. But
now you envy that sea-gull, for he comes direct from the shores of the
United States of America and if so minded may turn around and beat
you to them by a margin of hours and hours and hours. Oh, beauteous
creature! Oh, favored bird!

Comes the day before the last day. There is a bustle of getting ready
for the landing. Customs blanks are in steady demand at the purser's
office. Every other person is seeking help from every other person,
regarding the job of filling out declarations. The women go about with
the guilty look of plotters in their worried eyes. If one of them fails
to slip something in without paying duty on it she will be disappointed
for life. All women are natural enemies to all excise men. Dirk, the
Smuggler, was the father of their race.

Comes the last day. Dead ahead lies a misty, thread-like strip of dark
blue, snuggling down against the horizon, where sea and sky merge.

You think it is a cloud bank, until somebody tells you the glorious
truth. It is the Western Hemisphere--your Western Hemisphere. It is New
England. Dear old New England! Charming people--the New Englanders! Ah,
breathes there the man with soul so dead who never to himself has said,
this is my own, my native land? Certainly not. A man with a soul so dead
as that would be taking part in a funeral, not in a sea voyage. Upon
your lips a word hangs poised. What a precious sound it has, what new
meanings it has acquired! There are words in our language which are
singular and yet sound plural, such as politics and whereabouts; there
are words which are plural and yet sound singular, such as Brigham
Young, and there are words which convey their exact significance by
their very sound. They need no word-chandlers, no adjective-smiths to
dress them up in the fine feathers of fancy phrasing. They stand on
their own merits. You think of one such word--a short, sweet word of but
four letters. You speak that word reverently, lovingly, caressingly.

Nearer and nearer draws that blessed dark blue strip. Nantucket light
is behind us. Long Island shoulders up alongside. Trunks accumulate in
gangways; so do stewards and other functionaries. You have been figuring
upon the tips which you will bestow upon them at parting; so have they.
It will be hours yet before we land. Indeed, if the fog thickens, we may
not get in before to-morrow, yet people run about exchanging good-byes
and swapping visiting cards and promising one another they will meet
again. I think it is reckless for people to trifle with their luck that
way.

Forward, on the lower deck, the immigrants cluster, chattering a magpie
chorus in many tongues. The four-and-twenty blackbirds which were baked
in a pie without impairment to the vocal cords have nothing on them.
Most of the women were crying when they came aboard at Naples or Palermo
or Gibraltar. Now they are all smiling. Their dunnage is piled in heaps
and sailors, busy with ropes and chains and things, stumble over it and
swear big round German oaths.

Why, gracious! We are actually off Sandy Hook. Dear old Sandy--how one
loves those homely Scotch names! The Narrows are nigh and Brooklyn, the
City Beautiful, awaits us around the second turning to the left. The
pilot boat approaches. Brave little craft! Gallant pilot! Do you suppose
by any chance he has brought any daily papers with him? He has--hurrah
for the thoughtful pilot! Did you notice how much he looked like the
pictures of Santa Claus?

We move on more slowly and twice again we stop briefly. The quarantine
officers have clambered up the sides and are among us; and to some of us
they give cunning little thermometers to hold in our mouths and suck on,
and of others they ask chatty, intimate questions with a view to finding
out how much insanity there is in the family at present and just what
percentage of idiocy prevails? Three cheers for the jolly old quarantine
regulations. Even the advance guard of the customhouse is welcomed by
one and all--or nearly all.

Between wooded shores which seem to advance to meet her in kindly
greeting, the good ship shoves ahead. For she is a good ship, and later
we shall miss her, but at this moment we feel that we can part from
her without a pang. She rounds a turn in the channel. What is that mass
which looms on beyond, where cloud-combing office buildings scallop
the sky and bridges leap in far-flung spans from shore to shore? That's
her--all right--the high picketed gateway of the nation. That's little
old New York. Few are the art centers there, and few the ruins; and
perhaps there is not so much culture lying round loose as there might
be--just bustle and hustle, and the rush and crush and roar of business
and a large percentage of men who believe in supporting their own wives
and one wife at a time. Crass perhaps, crude perchance, in many ways,
but no matter. All her faults are virtues now. Beloved metropolis, we
salute thee! And also do we turn to salute Miss Liberty.

This series of adventure tales began with the Statue of Liberty fading
rearward through the harbor mists. It draws to a close with the same
old lady looming through those same mists and drawing ever closer and
closer. She certainly does look well this afternoon, doesn't she? She
always does look well, somehow.

We slip past her and on past the Battery too; and are nosing up the
North River. What a picturesque stream it is, to be sure! And how full
of delightful rubbish! In twenty minutes or less we shall be at the
dock. Folks we know are there now, waiting to welcome us.

As close as we can pack ourselves, we gather in the gangways. Some one
raises a voice in song. 'Tis not the Marseillaise hymn that we sing, nor
Die Wacht am Rhein, nor Ava Maria, nor God Save the King; nor yet is it
Columbia the Gem of the Ocean. In their proper places these are all good
songs, but we know one more suitable to the occasion, and so we all join
in. Hark! Happy voices float across the narrowing strip of rolly water
between ship and shore:

                  "'Mid pleasures and palaces,
                       Though we may roam,

(Now then, altogether, mates:)

                      Be it ever so humble,
                      There's no place like
                              HOME!"





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