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Title: Seven English Cities
Author: Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920
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 "Seven English Cities" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


By W. D. Howells


[Illustration: A VIEW OF MONK BAR]

       *       *       *       *       *


   ROMAN HOLIDAYS............................... net $3.00
       Traveller's Edition...................... net  3.00

       Traveller's Edition...................... net  3.00

   LONDON FILMS. Illustrated.................... net  2.25
       Traveller's Edition...................... net  2.25

   A LITTLE SWISS SOJOURN.......................       .50

   MY YEAR IN A LOG CABIN. Illustrated..........       .50

   CRITICISM AND FICTION........................      1.00

   HEROINES OF FICTION. Illustrated............. net  3.75

   IMPRESSIONS AND EXPERIENCES..................      1.50


   LITERATURE AND LIFE.......................... net  2.25

   MODERN ITALIAN POETS. Illustrated............      2.00

   MY LITERARY PASSIONS.........................      1.75

   STOPS OF VARIOUS QUILLS......................      2.50
        Limited Edition.........................     15.00

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

ILLUSTRATIONS (not available)


       *       *       *       *       *


Why should the proud stomach of American travel, much tossed in the
transatlantic voyage, so instantly have itself carried from Liverpool
to any point where trains will convey it? Liverpool is most worthy to be
seen and known, and no one who looks up from the bacon and eggs of his
first hotel breakfast after landing, and finds himself confronted by the
coal-smoked Greek architecture of St. George's Hall, can deny that it is
of a singularly noble presence. The city has moments of failing in the
promise of this classic edifice, but every now and then it reverts to
it, and reminds the traveller that he is in a great modern metropolis of
commerce by many other noble edifices.


Liverpool does not remind him of this so much as the good and true
Baedeker professes, in the dockside run on the overhead railway (as the
place unambitiously calls its elevated road); but then, as I noted in my
account of Southampton, docks have a fancy of taking themselves in,
and eluding the tourist eye, and even when they "flank the Mersey for a
distance of 6-7 M." they do not respond to American curiosity so frankly
as could be wished. They are like other English things in that, however,
and it must be said for them that when apparent they are sometimes
unimpressive. From my own note-book, indeed, I find that I pretended to
think them "wonderful and almost endless," and so I dare say they
are. But they formed only a very perfunctory interest of our day at
Liverpool, where we had come to meet, not to take, a steamer.

Our run from London, in the heart of June, was very quick and pleasant,
through a neat country and many tidy towns. In the meadows the elms
seemed to droop like our own rather than to hold themselves oakenly
upright like the English; the cattle stood about in the yellow
buttercups, knee-deep, white American daisies, and red clover, and among
the sheep we had our choice of shorn and unshorn; they were equally
abundant. Some of the blossomy May was left yet on the hawthorns, and
over all the sky hovered, with pale-white clouds in pale-blue spaces
of air like an inverted lake of bonnyclabber. We stopped the night at
Chester, and the next evening, in the full daylight of 7.40, we pushed
on to Liverpool, over lovely levels, with a ground swell like that of
Kansas plains, under a sunset drying its tears and at last radiantly


The hotel in Liverpool swarmed and buzzed with busy and murmurous
American arrivals. One could hardly get at the office window, on account
of them, to plead for a room. A dense group of our countrywomen were
buying picture-postals of the rather suave office-ladies, and helplessly
fawning on them in the inept confidences of American women with all
persons in official or servile attendance. "Let me stay here," one of
them entreated, "because there's such a draught at the other window.
May I?" She was a gentle child of forty-five or fifty; and I do not know
whether she was allowed to stay in the sheltered nook or not, tender
creature. As she was in every one else's way there, possibly she was
harshly driven into the flaw at the other window.


The place was a little America which swelled into a larger with the
arrivals of the successive steamers, though the soft swift English
trains bore our co-nationals away as rapidly as they could. Many
familiar accents remained till the morning, and the breakfast-room was
full of a nasal resonance which would have made one at home anywhere in
our East or West. I, who was then vainly trying to be English, escaped
to the congenial top of the farthest bound tram, and flew, at the rate
of four miles an hour, to the uttermost suburbs of Liverpool, whither
no rumor of my native speech could penetrate. It was some balm to my
wounded pride of country to note how pale and small the average type of
the local people was. The poorer classes swarmed along a great part
of the tram-line in side streets of a hard, stony look, and what
characterized itself to me as a sort of iron squalor seemed to prevail.
You cannot anywhere have great prosperity without great adversity, just
as you cannot have day without night, and the more Liverpool evidently
flourished the more it plainly languished. I found no pleasure in the
paradox, and I was not overjoyed by the inevitable ugliness of the brick
villas of the suburbs into which these obdurate streets decayed. But
then, after divers tram changes, came the consolation of beautiful
riverside beaches, thronged with people who looked gay at that distance,
and beyond the Mersey rose the Welsh hills, blue, blue.


At the end of the tram-line, where we necessarily dismounted, we
rejected a thatched cottage, offering us tea, because we thought it too
thatched and too cottage to be quite true (though I do not now say that
there were vermin in the straw roof), and accepted the hospitality of
a pastry-cook's shop. We felt the more at home with the kind woman
who kept it because she had a brother at Chicago in the employ of the
Pinkerton Detective Agency, and had once been in Stratford-on-Avon; this
doubly satisfied us as cultivated Americans. She had a Welsh name, and
she testified to a great prevalence of Welsh and Irish in the population
of Liverpool; besides, she sent us to a church of the Crusaders at
Little Crosby, and it was no fault of hers that we did not find it. We
found one of the many old crosses for which Little Crosby is named, and
this was quite as much as we merited. It stood at the intersection of
the streets in what seemed the fragment of a village, not yet lost in
the vast maw of the city, and it calmed all the simple neighborhood,
so that we sat down at its foot and rested a long, long minute till the
tram came by and took us back into the loud, hard heart of Liverpool.

I do not mean to blame it, for it was no louder or harder than the
hearts of other big towns, and it had some alleviation from the many
young couples who were out together half-holidaying in the unusually
pleasant Saturday weather. I wish their complexions had been better,
but you cannot have South-of-England color if you live as far north as
Liverpool, and all the world knows what the American color is. The young
couples abounded in the Gallery of Fine Arts, where they frankly looked
at one another instead of the pictures. The pictures might have been
better, but then they might have been worse (there being examples of
Filippo Lippi, Memmi, Holbein, and, above all, the _Dante's Dream_ of
Rossetti); and in any case those couples could come and see them when
they were old men and women; but now they had one another in a moment of
half-holiday which could not last forever.

In the evening there were not so many lovers at the religious meetings
before the classic edifice opposite the hotel, where the devotions were
transacted with the help of a brass-band; but there were many youths
smoking short pipes, and flitting from one preacher to another, in the
half-dozen groups. Some preachers were nonconformist, but there was one
perspiring Anglican priest who labored earnestly with his hearers, and
who had more of his aspirates in the right place. Many of his hearers
were in the rags which seem a favorite wear in Liverpool, and I hope his
words did their poor hearts good.

Slightly apart from the several congregations, I found myself with a
fellow-foreigner of seafaring complexion who addressed me in an accent
so unlike my own American that I ventured to answer him in Italian. He
was indeed a Genoese, who had spent much time in Buenos Ayres and was
presently thinking of New York; and we had some friendly discourse
together concerning the English. His ideas of them were often so
parallel with my own that I hardly know how to say he thought them
an improvident people. I owned that they spent much more on state, or
station, than the Americans; but we neither had any censure for them
otherwise. He was of that philosophic mind which one is rather apt to
encounter in the Latin races, and I could well wish for his further
acquaintance. His talk rapt me to far other and earlier scenes, and I
seemed to be conversing with him under a Venetian heaven, among objects
of art more convincing than the equestrian statue of the late Queen, who
had no special motive I could think of for being shown to her rightly
loving subjects on horseback. We parted with the expressed hope of
seeing each other again, and if this should meet his eye and he can
recall the pale young man, with the dark full beard, who chatted with
him between the pillars of the Piazzetta, forty years before our actual
encounter I would be glad of his address.


How strange are the uses of travel! There was a time when the mention
of Liverpool would have conjured up for me nothing but the thought of
Hawthorne, who spent divers dull consular years there, and has left a
record of them which I had read, with the wish that it were cheerfuler.
Yet, now, here on the ground his feet might have trod, and in the very
smoke he breathed, I did not once think of him. I thought as little of
that poor Felicia Hemans, whose poetry filled my school-reading years
with the roar of the wintry sea breaking from the waveless Plymouth Bay
on the stern and rock-bound coast where the Pilgrim Fathers landed on a
bowlder measuring eight by ten feet, now fenced in against the predatory
hammers and chisels of reverent visitors. I knew that Gladstone was born
at Liverpool, but not Mrs. Oliphant, and the only literary shade I could
summon from a past vague enough to my ignorance was William Roscoe,
whose _Life of Leo X._, in the Bohn Library, had been too much for my
young zeal when my zeal was still young. My other memories of Liverpool
have been acquired since my visit, and I now recur fondly to the
picturesque times when King John founded a castle there, to the prouder
times when Sir Francis Bacon represented it in Parliament; or again to
the brave days when it resisted Prince Rupert for three weeks, and the
inglorious epoch when the new city (it was then only some four or five
hundred years old) began to flourish on the trade in slaves with the
colonies of the Spanish Main, and on the conjoint and congenial traffic
in rum, sugar, and tobacco.


It will be suspected from these reminiscences that I have been studying
a page of fine print in Baedeker, and I will not deceive the reader. It
is true; but it is also true that I had some wonder, altogether my own,
that so great a city should make so small an appeal to the imagination.
In this it outdoes almost any metropolis of our own. Even in journalism,
an intensely modern product, it does not excel; Manchester has its able
and well-written _Guardian_, but what has Liverpool? Glasgow has its
Glasgow School of Painting, but again what has Liverpool? It is said
that not above a million of its people live in it; all the rest, who
can, escape to Chester, where they perhaps vainly hope to escape the
Americans. There, intrenched in charming villas behind myrtle hedges,
they measurably do so; but Americans are very penetrating, and I would
not be sure that the thickest and highest hedge was invulnerable to
them. As it is, they probably constitute the best society of Liverpool,
which the natives have abandoned to them, though they do not constitute
it permanently, but consecutively. Every Cunarder, every White Star,
pours out upon a city abandoned by its own good society a flood of
cultivated Americans, who eddy into its hotels, and then rush out
of them by every train within twenty-four hours, and often within
twenty-five minutes. They understand that there are no objects of
interest in Liverpool; and they are not met at the Customs with
invitations to breakfast, luncheon, and dinner from the people of rank
and fashion with whom they have come to associate. These have their
stately seats in the lovely neighboring country, but they are not at the
landing-stage, and even the uncultivated American cannot stay for the
vast bourgeoisie of which Liverpool, like the cities of his own land,
is composed. Our own cities have a social consciousness, and are each
sensible of being a centre, with a metropolitan destiny; but the strange
thing about Liverpool and the like English towns is that they are
without any social consciousness. Their meek millions are socially
unborn; they can come into the world only in London, and in their
prenatal obscurity they remain folded in a dreamless silence, while all
the commercial and industrial energies rage round them in a gigantic


The time was when Liverpool was practically the sole port of entry
for our human cargoes, indentured apprentices of the beautiful, the
historical. With the almost immediate transference of the original
transatlantic steamship interests from Bristol, Liverpool became the
only place where you could arrive. American lines, long erased from the
seas, and the Inman line, the Cunard line, the White Star line, and the
rest, would land you nowhere else. Then heretical steamers began to land
you at Glasgow; worse schismatics carried you to Southampton; there
were heterodox craft that touched at Plymouth, and now great swelling
agnostics bring you to London itself. Still, Liverpool remains the
greatest port of entry for our probationers, who are bound out to the
hotels and railroad companies of all Europe till they have morally paid
back their fare. The superstition that if you go in a Cunarder you can
sleep on both ears is no longer so exclusive as it once was; yet the
Cunarder continues an ark of safety for the timid and despairing,
and the cooking is so much better than it used to be that if in
contravention of the old Cunard rule against a passenger's being carried
overboard you do go down, you may be reasonably sure of having eaten
something that the wallowing sea-monsters will like in you.


I have tried to give some notion of the fond behavior of the arriving
Americans in the hotels; no art can give the impression of their
exceeding multitude. Expresses, panting with as much impatience as the
disciplined English expresses ever suffer themselves to show, await them
in the stations, which are effectively parts of the great hotels, and
whir away to London with them as soon as they can drive up from the
steamer; but many remain to rest, to get the sea out of their heads
and legs, and to prepare their spirits for adjustment to the novel
conditions. These the successive trains carry into the heart of the land
everywhere, these and their baggage, to which they continue attached by
their very heart-strings, invisibly stretching from their first-class
corridor compartments to the different luggage-vans. I must say they
have very tenderly, very perfectly imagined us, all those hotel people
and railroad folk, and fold us, anxious and bewildered exiles, in a
reassuring and consoling embrace which leaves all their hands--they are
Briarean--free for the acceptance of our wide, wild tips. You may trust
yourself implicitly to their care, but if you are going to Oxford do not
trust the head porter who tells you to take the London and Northwestern,
for then you will have to change four times on the way and at every
junction personally see that your baggage is unladen and started anew to
its destination.

       *       *       *       *       *


I will suppose the reader not to be going to Oxford, but, in compliance
with the scheme of this paper, to Manchester, where there is perhaps
no other reason for his going. He will there, for one thing, find the
supreme type of the railroad hotel which in England so promptly shelters
and so kindly soothes the fluttered exile. At Manchester, even more than
at Liverpool, we are imagined in the immense railroad station hotel,
which is indeed perhaps superorganized and over-convenienced after an
American ideal: one does not, for instance, desire a striking, or even
a ticking, clock in the transom above one's bedroom door; but the like
type of hotel is to be found at every great railroad centre or terminal
in England, and it is never to be found quite bad, though of course it
is sometimes better and sometimes worse. It is hard to know if it is
more hotel or more station; perhaps it is a mixture of each which defies
analysis; but in its well-studied composition you pass, as it were, from
your car to your room, as from one chamber to another. This is putting
the fact poetically; but, prosaically, the intervening steps are few at
the most; and when you have entered your room your train has ceased to
be. The simple miracle would be impossible in America, where our trains,
when not shrieking at the tops of their whistles, are backing and
filling with a wild clangor of their bells, and making a bedlam of their
stations; but in England they

     "Come like shadows, so depart,"

and make no sound within the vast caravansary where the enchanted
traveller has changed from them into a world of dreams.


These hotels are, next to the cathedrals, perhaps the greatest wonder
of England, and in Manchester the railway hotel is in some ways more
wonderful than the cathedral, which is not so much planned on our native
methods. Yet this has the merit, if it is a merit, of antedating our
Discovery by nearly a century, and pre-historically it is indefinitely
older. My sole recorded impression of it is that I found it smelling
strongly of coal-gas, such as comes up the register when your furnace is
mismanaged; but that is not strange in such a manufacturing centre; and
it would be paltering with the truth not to own a general sense of the
beauty and grandeur in it which no English cathedral is without. The
morning was fitly dim and chill, and one could move about in the vague
all the more comfortably for the absence of that appeal of thronging
monuments which harasses and bewilders the visitor in other cathedrals;
one could really give one's self up to serious emotion, and not be
sordidly and rapaciously concerned with objects of interest. Manchester
has been an episcopal see only some fifty years; before that the
cathedral was simply T' Owd Church, and in this character it is still
venerable, and is none the less so because of the statue of Oliver
Cromwell which holds the chief place in the open square before it. Call
it an incongruity, if you will, but that enemy of episcopacy is at least
not accused of stabling his horses in The Old Church at Manchester, or
despoiling it of its sacred images and stained glass, and he merits a
monument there if anywhere.


With the constantly passing trams which traverse the square, he is
undoubtedly more significant of modern Manchester than the episcopacy
is, and perhaps of that older Manchester which held for him against the
king, and that yet older Manchester of John Bradford, the first martyr
of the Reformation to suffer death at the stake in Smithfield. Of the
still yet older, far older Manchester, which trafficked with the Greeks
of Marseilles, and later passed under the yoke of Agricola and was
a Roman military station, and got the name of Maen-ceaster from the
Saxons, and was duly bedevilled by the Danes and mishandled by the
Normans, there may be traces in the temperament of the modern town
which would escape even the scrutiny of the hurried American. Such
a compatriot was indeed much more bent upon getting a pair of cotton
socks, like those his own continent wears almost universally in summer,
but a series of exhaustive visits to all the leading haberdashers in
Manchester developed the strange fact that there, in the world-heart of
the cotton-spinning industry, there was no such thing to be found.
In Manchester there are only woollen socks, heavier or lighter, to be
bought, and the shopmen smile pityingly if you say, in your strange
madness, that woollen socks are not for summer wear. Possibly, however,
it was not summer in Manchester, and we were misled by the almanac.
Possibly we had been spoiled by three weeks of warm, sunny rain on the
Welsh coast, and imagined a vain thing in supposing that the end of
August was not the beginning of November.


I thought Manchester, however, as it shows itself in its public
edifices, a most dignified town, with as great beauty as could be
expected of a place which has always had so much to do besides looking
after its figure and complexion. The very charming series or system
of parks, public gardens, and playgrounds, unusual in their number and
variety, had a sympathetic allure in the gray, cool light, even to the
spectator passing in a hurried hansom. They have not the unity of
the Boston or Chicago parkways, and I will own that I had not come to
Manchester for them. What interested me more were the miles and miles
of comfortable-looking little brick houses in which, for all I knew, the
mill-labor dwelt. Very possibly it did not; the mills themselves are
now nearly all, or mostly, outside of Manchester, and perhaps for this
reason I did not find the slums, when shown them, very slummy, and I
saw no such dreadful shapes of rags and dirt as in Liverpool. We passed
through a quarter of large, old-fashioned mansions, as charming as
they were unimagined of Manchester; but these could not have been the
dwellings of the mill-hands, any more than of the mill-owners. The
mill-owners, at least, live in suburban palaces and villas, which I
fancy by this time are not

     --"pricking a cockney ear,"

as in the time of Tennyson's "Maud."

What wild and whirling insolences, however, the people who have greatly
made the greatness of England have in all times suffered from their
poets and novelists, with few exceptions! One need not be a very blind
devotee of commercialism or industrialism to resent the affronts put
upon them, when one comes to the scenes of such mighty achievement as
Liverpool, and Manchester, and Sheffield; but how mildly they seem to
have taken it all--with what a meek subordination and sufferance! One
asks one's self whether the society of such places can be much inferior
to that of Pittsburg, or Chicago, or St. Louis, which, even from the
literary attics of New York, we should not exactly allow ourselves to
spit upon. Practically, I know nothing about society in Manchester, or
rather, out of it; and I can only say of the general type, of richer or
poorer, as I saw it in the streets, that it was uncommonly good. Not so
many women as men were abroad in such weather as we had, and I cannot be
sure that the sex shows there that superiority physically which it has
long held morally with us. One learns in the north not to look for the
beautiful color of the south and west; but in Manchester the average
faces were intelligent and the figures good.


With such a journal as the Manchester _Guardian_ still keeping its
high rank among English newspapers, there cannot be question of the
journalistic sort of thinking in the place. Of the sort that comes to
its effect in literature, such as, say, Mrs. Gaskell's novels, there may
also still be as much as ever; and I will not hazard my safe ignorance
in a perilous conjecture. I can only say that of the Unitarianism
which eventuated in that literature, I heard it had largely turned to
episcopacy, as Unitarianism has in our own Boston. I must not forget
that one of our religions, now a dying faith, was invented in Manchester
by Ann Lee, who brought, through the usual persecutions, Shakerism to
such spiritual importance as it has now lost in these States. Only those
who have known the Shakers, with their good lives and gentle ways,
can regret with me the decline of the celibate communism which their
foundress imagined in her marital relations with the Lancashire
blacksmith she left behind her.

I am reminded (or perhaps instructed) by Mr. Hope Moncrieff in Black's
excellent _Guide to Manchester_ that before Mrs. Gaskell's celebrity the
fitful fame of De Quincey shed a backward gleam upon his native place,
which can still show the house where he was probably born and the
grammar-school he certainly ran away from. In my forgetfulness, or my
ignorance, that Manchester was the mother of this tricksy master-spirit
of English prose, who was an idol of my youth, I failed to visit either
house. The renown of Cobden and of Bright is precious to a larger world
than mine; and the name of the stalwart Quaker friend of man is dear
to every American who remembers the heroic part he played in our behalf
during our war for the Union. It is one of the amusing anomalies of
the British constitution, that the great city from whose political
fame these names are inseparable should have had no representation in
Parliament from Cromwell's time to Victoria's. Fancy Akron, Ohio, or
Grand Rapids, Michigan, without a member of Congress!


The "Manchester school" of political economy has long since passed
into reproach if not obloquy with people for whom a byword is a potent
weapon, and perhaps the easiest they can handle, and I am not myself
so extreme a _laissez-faireist_ as to have thought of that school with
pathos in the city of its origin; but I dare say it was a good thing
in its time. We are only now slowly learning how to apply the opposite
social principles in behalf of the Man rather than the Master, and
we have not yet surmounted all the difficulties or dangers of the
experiment. It is droll how, in a tolerably well-meaning world like
this, any sort of contempt becomes inclusive, and a whole population
suffers for the vice, or it may be the virtue, of a very small majority,
or a very powerful minority. Probably the most liberal and intelligent
populations of Great Britain are those of Manchester and Birmingham,
names which have stood for a hard and sordid industrialism, unrelieved
by noble sympathies and impulses. It is quite possible that a less
generous spirit than mine would have censured the "Manchester school"
for the weather of the place, and found in its cold gray light the
effect of the Gradgrind philosophy which once wrapt a world of fiction
in gloom.


I can only be sure that the light, what little there was of it, was very
cold and gray, but it quite sufficed to show the huge lowries, as the
wagons are called, passing through the streets with the cotton fabrics
of the place in certain stages of manufacture: perhaps the raw, perhaps
the finished material. In Manchester itself one sees not much else of
"the cotton-spinning chorus" which has sent its name so far. The cotton
is now spun in ten or twenty towns in the nearer or farther neighborhood
of the great city, as every one but myself and some ninety millions of
other Americans well know. I had seen something of cotton-mills in our
Lowell, and I was eager, if not willing, to contrast them with the mills
of Manchester; but such of these as still remained there were, for my
luckless moment, inoperative. Personal influences brought me within one
or two days of their starting up; one almost started up during my brief
stay; but a great mill, employing perhaps a thousand hands, cannot start
up for the sake of the impression desired by the aesthetic visitor, and
I had to come away without mine.

I had to come away without that personal acquaintance with the great
Manchester ship-canal which I almost equally desired. Coming or going, I
asked about it, and was told, looking for it from the car window, there,
_there_ it was! but beyond a glimpse of something very long and very
straight marking the landscape with lines no more convincing than those
which science was once decided, and then undecided, to call canals on
the planet Mars, I had no sight of it. I do not say this was not
my fault; and I will not pretend that the canal, like the mills of
Manchester, was not running. I dare say I was not in the right hands,
but this was not for want of trying to get into them. In the local
delusion that it was then summer, those whose kindness might have
befriended the ignorance of the stranger were "away on their holidays":
that was exactly the phrase.

When, by a smiling chance, I fell into the right hands and was borne
to the Cotton Exchange I did not fail of a due sense of the important
scene, I hope. The building itself, like the other public buildings of
Manchester, is most dignified, and the great hall of the exchange is
very noble. I would not, if I could, have repressed a thrill of pride
in seeing our national colors and emblems equalled with those of Great
Britain at one end of the room, but these were the only things American
in the impression left. We made our way through the momently thickening
groups on the floor, and in the guidance of a member of the exchange
found a favorable point of observation in the gallery. From this the
vast space below showed first a moving surface of hats, with few silk
toppers among them, but a multitude of panamas and other straws. The
marketing was not carried on with anything like the wild, rangy movement
of our Stock Exchange, and the floor sent up no such hell-roaring (there
is no other phrase for it) tumult as rises from the mad but not malign
demons of that most dramatic representation of perdition. The merchants,
alike staid, whether old or young, congregated in groups which, dealing
in a common type of goods, kept the same places till, toward three
o'clock, they were lost in the mass which covered the floor. Even
then there was no uproar, no rush or push, no sharp cries or frenzied
shouting; but from the crowd, which was largely made up of elderly men,
there rose a sort of surd, rich hum, deepening ever, and never breaking
into a shriek of torment or derision. It was not histrionic, and yet for
its commercial importance it was one of the most moving spectacles which
could offer itself to the eye in the whole world.


I cannot pretend to have profited by my visit to that immensely valuable
deposit of books, bought from the Spencer family at Althorp, and
dedicated as the Rylands library to the memory of a citizen of
Manchester. Books in a library, except you have time and free access to
them, are as baffling as so many bottles in a wine-cellar, which are
not opened for you, and which if they were would equally go to your head
without final advantage. I find, therefore, that my sole note upon
the Rylands Library is the very honest one that it smelt, like the
cathedral, of coal-gas. The absence of this gas was the least merit
of the beautiful old Chetham College, with its library dating from the
seventeenth century, and claiming to have been the first free library in
England, and doubtless the world. In the cloistered picturesqueness
of the place, its mediaeval memorials, and its ancient peace, I found
myself again in those dear Middle Ages which are nowhere quite wanting
in England, and against which I rubbed off all smirch of the modernity I
had come to Manchester for.

       *       *       *       *       *


If I had waited a little till I had got into the beautiful Derbyshire
country which lies, or rather rolls, between Manchester and Sheffield,
I could as easily have got rid of my epoch in the smiling agricultural
landscape. I do not know just the measure of the Black Country in
England, or where Sheffield begins to be perhaps the blackest spot in
it; but I am sure that nothing not surgically clean could be whiter than
the roads that, almost as soon as we were free of Manchester, began to
climb the green, thickly wooded hills, and dip into the grassy and leafy
valleys. In the very heart of the loveliness we found Sheffield most
nobly posed against a lurid sunset, and clouding the sky, which can
never be certain of being blue, with the smoke of a thousand towering
chimneys. From whatever point you have it, the sight is most prodigious,
but no doubt the subjective sense of the great ducal mansions and
estates which neighbor the mirky metropolis of steel and iron has its
part in heightening the dramatic effect.


The English, with their love of brevity and simplicity, call these proud
seats the Dukeries, but our affair was not with them, and I shall not
be able to follow the footmen or butlers or housekeepers who would
so obligingly show them to the reader in my company. I had a fine
consciousness of passing some of them on my way into the town, and when
there of being, however, incongruously, in the midst of them.
Worksop, more properly than Sheffield, is the plebeian heart of these
aristocratic homes, or sojourns, which no better advised traveller,
or less hurried, will fail to see. But I was in Sheffield to see the
capital of the Black Country in its most characteristic aspects, and I
thought it felicitously in keeping, after I had dined (less well than I
could have wished, at the railway hotel which scarcely kept the promise
made for it by other like hotels) that I should be tempted beyond my
strength to go and see that colored opera which we had lately sent,
after its signal success with us, to an even greater prosperity in
England. _In Dahomey_ is a musical drama not pitched in the highest key,
but it is a genuine product of our national life, and to witness its
performance by the colored brethren who invented it, and were giving
it with great applause in an atmosphere quite undarkened by our racial
prejudices, was an experience which I would not have missed for many
Dukeries. The kindly house was not so suffocatingly full that it could
not find breath for cheers and laughter; but I proudly felt that no
one there could delight so intelligently as the sole American, in the
familiar Bowery figures, the blue policemen, the varying darky types,
which peopled a scene largely laid in Africa. The local New York
suggestions were often from Mr. Edward Harrigan, and all the more
genuine for that, but there was a final cake-walk which owed its
inspiration wholly to the genius of a race destined to greater triumphs
in music and art, and perhaps to a kindlier civilization than our ideals
have evolved in yet. It was pleasant to look upon those different shades
of color, from dead black to creamy blond, in their novel relief against
an air of ungrudging, of even respectful, appreciation, and I dare say
the poor things liked it for themselves as much as I liked it for them.
At a fine moment of the affair I was aware of a figure in evening dress,
standing near me, and regarding the stage with critical severity:
a young man, but shrewd and well in hand, who, as the unmistakable
manager, was, I hope, finally as well satisfied as the other spectators.


I myself came away entirely satisfied, indeed, but for the lasting pang
I inflicted upon myself by denying a penny to the ragged wretch who
superfluously opened the valves of my hansom for me. My explanation to
my soul was that I had no penny in my pocket, and that it would have
been folly little short of crime to give so needy a wretch sixpence. But
would it? Would it have corrupted him, since pauperize him further it
could not? I advise the reader who finds himself in the like case to
give the sixpence, and if he cares for the peace of my conscience, to
make it a shilling; or, come! a half-crown, if he wishes to be truly
handsome. It is astonishing how these regrets persist; but perhaps in
this instance I owe the permanence of my pang to those frequent appeals
to one's pity which repeated themselves in Sheffield. As I had noted at
Liverpool I now noted at Sheffield that you cannot have great prosperity
without having adversity, just as you cannot have heat without cold or
day without dark. The one substantiates and verifies the other; and I
perceived that wherever business throve it seemed to be at the cost of
somebody; though even when business pines it is apparently no better.
The thing ought to be looked into.

At the moment of my visit to Sheffield, it happened that many works were
running half-time or no time, and many people were out of work. At one
place there was a little oblong building between branching streets,
round which sat a miserable company of Murchers, as I heard them called,
on long benches under the overhanging roof, who were too obviously, who
were almost offensively, out of work. Some were old and some young, some
dull and some fierce, some savage and some imbecile in their looks, and
they were all stained and greasy and dirty, and looked their apathy or
their grim despair. Even the men who were coming to or from their work
at dinner-time looked stunted and lean and pale, with no color of that
south of England bloom with which they might have favored a stranger.
Slatternly girls and women abounded, and little babies carried about by
a little larger babies, and of course kissed on their successive layers
of dirt. There were also many small boys who, I hope, were not so wicked
as they were ragged. At noon-time they hung much about the windows of
cookshops which one would think their sharp hunger would have pierced
to the steaming and smoking dishes within. The very morning after I had
denied that man a penny at the theatre door, and was still smarting to
think I had not given him sixpence, I saw a boy of ten, in the cut-down
tatters of a man, gloating upon a meat-pie which a cook had cruelly set
behind the pane in front of him. I took out the sixpence which I ought
to have given that poor man, and made it a shilling, and put it into
the boy's wonderfully dirty palm, and bade him go in and get the pie. He
looked at me, and he looked at the shilling, and then I suppose he did
as he was bid. But I ought to say, in justice to myself, that I never
did anything of the kind again as long as I remained in Sheffield. I
felt that I owed a duty to the place and must not go about corrupting
the populace for my selfish pleasure.


Between our hotel and the main part of the town there yawned a black
valley, rather nobly bridged, or viaducted, and beyond it in every
direction the chimneys of the many works thickened in the perspectives.
It was really like a dead forest, or like thick-set masts of shipping
in a thronged port; or the vents of tellurian fires, which send up
their flames by night and their smoke by day. It was splendid, it was
magnificent, it was insurpassably picturesque. People must have painted
it often, but if some bravest artist-soul would come, reverently, not
patronizingly, and portray the sight in its naked ugliness, he would
create one of the most beautiful masterpieces in the world. On our first
morning the sun, when it climbed to the upper heavens, found a little
hole in the dun pall, and shone down through it, and tried to pierce
through the more immediate cloud above the works; but it could not, and
it ended by shutting the hole under it, and disappearing.

Beyond the foul avenues thridding the region of the works, and smelling
of the decay of market-houses, were fine streets of shops and churches,
and I dare say comely dwellings, with tram-cars ascending and descending
their hilly slopes. The stores I find noted as splendid, and in my
pocket-book I say that outside of the market-house, before you got to
those streets, there are doves and guinea-pigs as well as a raven for
sale in cages; and the usual horrible English display of flesh meats.
The trams were one story, like our trolleys, without roof-seats, and
there were plenty of them; but nothing could keep me, I suppose, till
I had seen one of the works. Each of these stands in a vast yard, or
close, by itself, with many buildings, and they are of all sorts; but
I chose what I thought the most typical, and overcame the reluctance
of the manager to let me see it. He said I had no idea what tricks were
played by other makers to find out any new processes and steal them; but
this was after I had pleaded my innocent trade of novelist, and assured
him of my congenital incapability of understanding, much less conveying
from the premises, the image of the simplest and oldest process. Then he
gave me for guide an intelligent man who was a penknife-maker by trade,
but was presently out of work, and glad to earn my fee.

My guide proved a most decent, patient, and kindly person, and I hope
it is no betrayal of confidence to say that he told me the men in
these multitudinous shops work by the piece. The grinders furnish their
grindstones and all their tools for making the knives; there is no dry
grinding, such as used to fill the lungs of the grinders with deadly
particles of steel and stone, and bring them to an early death; but
sometimes a stone, which ordinarily lasts six months, will burst and
drive the grinder through the roof. The blade-makers do their own
forging and hammering, and it is from first to last apparently all
hand-work. But it is head-work and heart-work too, and the men who
wrought at it wrought with such intensity and constancy that they did
not once look up or round where we paused to look on. I was made to know
that trade was dull and work slack, and these fellows were lucky fellows
to have anything to do. Still I did not envy them; and I felt it a
distinct relief to pass from their shops into the cool, dim crypt which
was filled with tusks of ivory, in all sizes from those of the
largest father elephant to those of the babes of the herd; these were
milk-tusks, I suppose. They get dearer as the elephants get scarcer; and
that must have been why I paid as much for a penknife in the glittering
showroom as it would have cost me in New York, with the passage money
and the duties added. Because of the price, perhaps, I did not think of
buying the two-thousand-bladed penknife I saw there; but I could never
have used all the blades, now that we no longer make quill pens. I
looked fondly at the maker's name on the knife I did buy, and said that
the table cutlery of a certain small household which set itself up forty
years ago had borne the same: but the pleasant salesman did not seem to
feel the pathos of the fact so much as I.


There is not only a vast deal of industry in Sheffield, but there is
an unusual abundance of history, as there might very well be in a place
that began life, in the usual English fashion, under the Britons and
grew into municipal consciousness in the fostering care of the Romans
and the ruder nurture of the Saxons, Danes, and Normans. Lords it had of
the last, and the great line of the Earls of Shrewsbury presently rose
and led Sheffield men back to battle in France, where the first earl
fell on the bloody field, and so many of the men died with him in 1453
that there was not a house in all the region which did not mourn a loss.
Which of the Roses Sheffield held for, White or Red, I am not sure;
but we will say that it duly suffered for one or the other; and it is
certain that the great Cardinal Wolsey rested eighteen days at Sheffield
Manor just before he went to die at Leicester; and Mary Queen of Scots
spent fourteen years of sorrowful captivity, sometimes at the Manor
and sometimes in Sheffield Castle. This hold was taken by the
Parliamentarians in the Civil War; but the famous industries of the
place had begun long before; so that Chaucer could say of one of his

     "A Sheffield thwytel bare he in his hose."

Thwytels, or whittles, figured in the broils and stage-plays of
Elizabethan times, and three gross of them were exported from Liverpool
in 1589, when the Sheffield penknife was already famed the best in the
world. Manufactures flourished there apace when England turned to them
from agriculture, and Sheffield is now a city of four hundred thousand
or more. Apparently it has been growing radical, as the centres of
prosperity and adversity always do, and the days of the Chartist
agitation continued there for ten years, from 1839 till it came as near
open rebellion as it well could in a plot for an armed uprising. Then
that cause of the people, like many another, failed, and liberty there,
as elsewhere in England, was fain to

        "broaden slowly down
     From precedent to precedent."

Labor troubles, patient or violent, have followed, as labor troubles
must, but leisure has always been equal to their pacification, and now
Sheffield takes its adversity almost as quietly as its prosperity.

[Illustration: TOWN HALL, SHEFFIELD]


We were not there, though, for others' labor or leisure, which we have
plenty of at home; but even before I appeased such conscience as I had
about seeing a type of the works, we went a long drive up out of the
town to that Manor where the poor, brilliant, baddish Scotch queen was
imprisoned by her brilliant, baddish English cousin. In any question
of goodness, there was little to choose between them; both were
blood-stained liars; but it is difficult being a good woman and a queen
too, and they only failed where few have triumphed. Mary is the more
appealing to the fancy because she suffered beyond her deserts,
but Elizabeth was to be pitied because Mary had made it politically
imperative for her to kill her. All this we had threshed out many times
before, and had said that, cat for cat, Mary was the more dangerous
because she was the more feminine, and Elizabeth the more detestable
because she was the more masculine in her ferocity. We were therefore
in the right mood to visit Mary's prison, and we were both indignant and
dismayed to find that our driver, called from a mews at a special price
set upon his intelligence, had never heard of it and did not know where
it was.

We reported his inability to the head porter, who came out of the hotel
in a fine flare of sarcasm. "You call yourself a Sheffield man and not
know where the Old Manor is!" he began, and presently reduced that proud
ignoramus of a driver to such a willingness to learn that we thought it
at least safe to set out with him, and so started for the long climb
up the hills that hold Sheffield in their hollow. When we reached their
crest, we looked down and back through the clearer air upon as strange
and grand a sight as could be. It was as if we were looking into the
crater of a volcano, which was sending up its smoke through a thousand
vents. All detail of the works and their chimneys was lost in the
retrospect; one was aware only of a sort of sea of vapor through which
they loomed and gloomed.

Our ascent was mostly through winding and climbing streets of
little dirty houses, with frowsy gardens beside them, and the very
dirtiest-faced children in England playing about them. From time to time
our driver had to ask his way of the friendly flat-bosomed slatterns,
with babies in their arms, on their thresholds, or the women tending
shop, or peddling provisions, who were all kind to him, and assured him
with varying degrees of confidence that the Old Manor was a bit, or a
goodish bit, beyond. All at once we came upon the sight of it on an open
top, hard by what is left of the ruins of the real Manor, where Wolsey
stayed that little while from death. The relics are broken walls, higher
here, lower there; with some Tudor fireplaces showing through their
hollow windows. What we saw in tolerable repair was the tower of the
Manor, or the lodge, and we drove to it across a field, on a track made
by farm carts, and presently kept by a dog that showed his teeth in a
grin not wholly of amusement at our temerity. While we debated whether
we had not better let the driver get down and knock, a farmer-like man
came to the door and called the dog off. Then, in a rich North Country
accent, he welcomed us to his kitchen parlor, where his wife was peeling
potatoes for their midday dinner, and so led us up the narrow stone
stairs of the tower to the chambers where Mary miserably passed those
many long years of captivity.

The rooms were visibly restored in every point where they could have
needed restoration, but they were not ruthlessly or too insistently
restored. There was even an antique chair, but when our guide was put on
his honor as to whether it was one of the original chairs he answered,
"Well, if people wanted a chair!" He was a rather charmingly quaint,
humorous person, with that queer conscience, and he did not pretend to
be moved by the hard inexorable stoniness of the place which had been
a queen's prison for many years. One must not judge it too severely,
though: bowers and prisons of that day looked much alike, and Mary
Stuart may have felt this a bower, and only hated it because she could
not get out of it, or anyhow break the relentless hold of that Earl and
Countess of Shrewsbury whose captive guest she was, though she never
ceased trying. We went up on the wide flat roof, of lead or stone,
whither her feet must have so often heavily climbed, and looked out over
the lovely landscape which she must have abhorred; and the wind that
blew over it, in late August, was very cold; far colder than the air of
the prison, or the bower, below.

The place belongs now to the Duke of Norfolk, the great Catholic duke,
and owes its restoration to his pity and his piety. Our farmer guide
was himself a Protestant, but he spoke well of the duke, with whom he
reported himself in such colloquies as, "I says to Dook," and, "Dook
says to me." When he understood that we were Americans he asked after a
son of his who had gone out to our continent twenty years before. He had
only heard from him once, and that on the occasion of his being robbed
of all his money by a roommate. It was in a place called Massatusy; we
suggested Massachusetts, and he assented that such might be the place;
and Mary's prison-house acquired an added pathos.


We drove back through the beautiful park, the Duke of Norfolk's gift to
Sheffield, which is plentifully provided, like all English towns, with
public pleasure-grounds. They lie rather outside of it, but within it
are many and many religious and civic edifices which merit to be seen.
We chose as chiefest the ancient Parish Church, of Norman origin and
modern restoration, where we visited the tomb of the Lord and Lady
Shrewsbury who were Mary Stuart's jailers; or if they were not, a pair
of their family were, and it comes to the same thing, emotionally. The
chapel in which they lie is most beautiful, and the verger had just
brushed the carpet within the chancel to such immaculate dustlessness
that he could not bring himself to let us walk over it. He let us walk
round it, and we saw the chapel as a favor, which we discharged with an
abnormal tip after severe debate whether a person of this verger's rich
respectability and perfect manner would take any tip at all. In the
event it appeared that he would.

       *       *       *       *       *


Perhaps it would be better to come to York somewhat earlier in the year
than the 2d of September. By that time the English summer has suffered
often if not severe discouragements. It has really only two months out
of the year to itself, and even July and August are not always constant
to it. To be sure, their defection cannot spoil it, but they dispose it
to the slights of September in a dejection from which there is no rise
to those coquetries with October known to our own summer. Yet, having
said so much, I feel bound to add that our nine days in York, from the
2d to the 12th of September, were more summer than autumn days, some
wholly, some partly, with hours of sunshine keeping the flowers bright
which the rain kept fresh. If you walked fast in this sunshine you were
quite hot, and sometimes in the rain you were uncomfortably warm, or at
least you were wet. If the mornings demanded a fire in the grate, the
evenings were so clement that the lamp was sufficient, and the noons
were very well with neither.


The day of our arrival in York began bright at Sheffield, where there
was a man quarrelling so loudly and aimlessly in the station that we
were glad to get away from him, as well as from the mountains of slag
surrounding the iron metropolis. The train ran through a pass in these,
and then we found ourselves in a plain country, and, though the day
turned gray and misty, there seemed a sort of stored sunshine in the
fields of wheat which the farmers were harvesting far and near. One has
heard so much of the decay of the English agriculture that one sees
what is apparently the contrary with nothing less than astonishment. The
acreage of these wheat-fields was large, and the yield heavier than I
could remember to have seen at home. Where the crop had been got in,
much ploughing for the next year had been done already, and where the
ploughing was finished the work of sowing by drill was going steadily
forward, in the faith that such an unprecedented summer as was now
passing would return another year. At all these pleasant labors, of
course, the rooks were helping, or at least bossing.


We expected to stay certainly a week, and perhaps two weeks, in York,
and our luck with railway hotels had been so smiling elsewhere that we
had no other mind than to spend the time at the house into which we all
but stepped from our train. But we had reckoned without our host, as he
was represented by one of a half-dozen alert young ladies in the office,
who asked how long we expected to stay, and when we expressed a general
purpose of staying indefinitely, said that all her rooms were taken
from the next Monday by people who had engaged them long before for
the races. I did not choose to betray my ignorance to a woman, but
I privately asked the head porter what races those were which were
limiting our proposed sojourn, and I am now afraid he had some
difficulty in keeping a head porter's conventional respect for a formal
superior in answering that we had arrived on the eve of Doncaster Week.
Then I said, "Oh yes," and affected the knowledge of Doncaster Week
which I resolved to acquire by staying somewhere in York till it was

But as yet, that Friday afternoon, there was no hurry, and, instead of
setting about a search for lodgings at once, we drove up into the town,
as soon as we had tea, and visited York Minster while it was still
the gray afternoon and not yet the gray evening. I thought the hour
fortunate, and I do not see yet how we could have chosen a better hour
out of the whole twenty-four, for the inside or the outside of the
glorious fane, the grandest and beautifulest in all England, as I felt
then and I feel now. If I were put to the question and were forced to
say in what its supreme grandeur and beauty lay, I should perhaps say in
its most ample simplicity. No doubt it is full of detail, but I keep no
sense of this from that mighty interior, with its tree-like, clustered
pillars, and its measureless windows, like breadths of stained foliage
in autumnal woodlands. You want the scale of nature for the Minster at
York, and I cannot liken it to less than all-out-doors. Some cathedrals,
like that of Wells, make you think of gardens; but York Minster will not
be satisfied with less than an autumnal woodland, where the trees stand
in clumps, with grassy levels about them, and with spacious openings to
the sky, that let in the colored evening light.

You could not get lost in it, for it was so free of all such
architectural undergrowth as cumbers the perspectives of some
cathedrals; besides, the afternoon of our visit there were so many other
Americans that you could easily have asked your way in your own dialect.
We loitered over its lengths and breadths, and wondered at its windows,
which were like the gates of sunrise and sunset for magnitude, and
lingered in a sumptuous delay from going into the choir, delighting in
the gray twilight which seemed to gather from the gray walls inward,
when suddenly what seemed a metallic curtain was dropped with a clash
and the simultaneous up-flashing of electric bulbs inside it, and we
were shut out from the sight but not the sound of the service that
began in the choir. We could not wholly regret the incident, for as
we recalled the like operation of religion in churches of our Italian
travel, we were reminded how equally authoritative the Church of England
and the Church of Home were, and how little they adjust their ceremonial
to the individual, how largely to the collective worshipper. You could
come into the Minster of York as into the basilica of St. Mark at Venice
for a silent prayer amid the religious influences of the place, and be
conscious of your oneness with your Source, as if there were no
other one; but when the priesthood called you as one of many to your
devotions, it was with the same imperative voice in both, and you must
obey or be cut off from your chance. I suppose it is right; but somehow
the down-clashing of that screen of the choir in the Minster at York
seemed to exclude us with reproach, almost with ignominy.


We did what we could to repair our wounded self respect, and did not lay
our exclusion up against the Minster itself, which I find that I noted
as "scatteringly noble outside." By this I dare say I meant it had not
that artistic unity of which I brought the impression from the inside.
They were doing, as they were always doing, every where, with English
cathedrals, something to one of the towers; but this only enhanced
its scattering nobleness, for it left that greatly bescaffolded tower
largely to the imagination, in which it soared sublimer, if anything,
than its compeer. Most of the streets leading to and from the rather
insufficient, irregular square where the Minster stands are lanes
of little houses of the fifteenth and sixteenth, centuries, which
collectively curved in their line, and not only overhung at their second
stories, but bulged outward involuntarily from the weakness of age.
They were all quite habitable, and some much later dwellings immediately
surrounding the church were the favorite sojourn, apparently, of such
strangers as could have rooms at the hotels only until the Monday of
Doncaster Week.


During those limited days of the week before Doncaster, I was constantly
coming back to the Minster, which is not the germ of political York, or
hardly religious York; the brave city was a Romano-British capital and
a Romano-British episcopal see centuries before the first wooden temple
was built on the site of the present edifice in 627. I should like to
make believe that we found traces of that simple church in the crypt of
the Minster when we went the next morning and were herded through it by
the tenderest of vergers. Most of our flock were Americans, and we put
our guide to such question in matters of imagination and information
as the patience of a less amiable shepherd would not have borne. Many a
tale, true or o'ertrue, our verger had, which he told with unction; when
he ascended with us to the body of the church, and said that the stained
glass of the gigantic windows suffered from the depredations of the
mistaken birds which pecked holes in the joints of their panes, I felt
that I had full measure from him, pressed down and running over. I do
not remember why he said the birds should have done this, but it seems
probable that they took the mellow colors of the glass for those of ripe

For myself, I could not get enough of those windows, in another sort
of famine which ought at this time to have been sated. I was forever
wondering at their grandeur outside and their glory inside. I was glad
to lose my way about the town, for if I kept walking I was sure, sooner
or later, to bring up at the Minster; but the last evening of our stay
I made a purposed pilgrimage to it for a final emotion. It was the
clearest evening we had in York, and at half-past six the sun was
setting in a transparent sky, which somehow it did not flush with any of
those glaring reds which the vulgarer sorts of sunsets are fond of, but
bathed the air in a delicate suffusion of daffodil light, just tinged
with violet. This was the best medium to see the past of the Minster in,
and I can see it there now, if I did not then. I followed, or I follow,
its veracious history back to the beginning of the seventh century,
whence you can look back further still to the earliest Christian temples
where the Romans worshipped with the Britons, whom they had enslaved
and converted. But it was not till 627 that the little wooden chapel was
built on the site of the Minster, to house the rite of the Northumbrian
King Eadwine's baptism. He felt so happy in his new faith that he
replaced the wooden structure with stone. In the next century it was
burned, but rebuilt by another pious prince, and probably repaired by
yet another after the Danes took the city a hundred years later. It
was then in a good state to be destroyed by that devout William the
Conqueror, who came to take the Saxon world in its sins of guttling
and guzzling. The first Norman archbishop reconstructed or restored
the church, and then it began to rise and to spread in glory--nave,
transepts, and choir, and pillars and towers, Norman and Early English,
and Perpendicular and Decorated--till it found itself at last what the
American tourist sees it to-day. It suffered from two great fires in
the nineteenth century, the first set by a lunatic who had the fancy of
seeing it burn, but who had only the satisfaction of destroying part of
the roof.

It was never richly painted, but the color wanting in the walls and
fretted vault was more than compensated by the mellowed splendors of
the matchless windows. It was, indeed, fit to be the home of much more
secular history than can be associated with it; but not till the end
of the thirteenth century had the Minster a patron of its own, when St.
William was canonized, and exercised his office, whatever it was, for
two brief centuries. Then the Cromwell of Henry VIII. took possession
of it in behalf of the crown, and the saint's charge was practically
abolished. He was even deprived of his head, for the relic was encased
in gold and jewels, and was therefore worth the king's having, who was
most a friend of the reformed religion when it paid best. The later
Cromwell, who beat a later king hard by at Marston Moor, must have
somehow desecrated the Minster, though there is no record of any such
fact. A more authentic monument of the religious difficulties of the
times is the pastoral staff, bearing the arms of Catharine of Braganza,
the poor little wife of Charles II., which was snatched from a Roman
Catholic bishop when, to the high offence of Protestant piety, he was
heading a procession in York in 1688. The verger showing us through the
Minster was a good Protestant, but he held it bad taste in a predecessor
of his, who when leading about a Catholic party of sight-seers took the
captive staff from its place and shook it in their faces, saying, "Don't
you wish you had it?"


There is no telling to what lengths true religion, may rightly not go. I
rather prize the incident as the sole fact concerning the Minster which
I could make sure of even after repeated visits, and if I am indebted
for my associations with it, long after the event, to Dr. Raine's
scholarly and interesting sketch of York history, there is no reason
why the better-informed reader should not accompany me in my last visit
fully equipped. I walked slowly all round the structure, and fancied
that I got a new sense of grandeur in the effect of the east window,
which was, at any rate, more impressive than the north window. It was
a long walk, almost the measure of such a walk as one should take after
supper for one's health, and it had such incidents as many pauses for
staring up at the many restorations going on. From point to point the
incomparable Perpendicular Gothic carried the eye to the old gargoyles
of the caves and towers waiting to be replaced by the new gargoyles,
which lay in open-mouthed grimacing in the grass at the bases of the
church. While I stood noting both, and thinking the chances were that I
should never look on York Minster again, and feeling the luxurious pang
of it, a verger in a skull-cap was so good as to come to a side door and
parley long and pleasantly with a policeman. The simple local life went
on around; people going to or from supper passed me; kind, vulgar
noises came from the little houses bulging over the narrow, neighboring
streets; there seemed to be the stamping of horses in a stable, and
there was certainly the misaspirated talk about them. I could not have
asked better material for the humble emotions I love; and I was more
than content on my way home to find myself one of the congregation
at the loud devotions of a detachment of the Salvation Army. After a
battering of drums and a clashing of cymbals and a shouting of hymns,
the worship settled to the prayer of a weak brother, who was so long in
supplication that the head exhorter covered a yawn with his hand, and at
the first sign of relenting in the supplicant bade the drums and cymbals
strike up. Then, after a hymn, a sister, such a very plain, elderly
sister, with hardly a tooth or an aitch in her head, began to relate her
religious history. It appeared that she had been a much greater sinner
than she looked, and that the mercy shown her had been proportionate.
She was vain both of her sins and mercies, poor soul, and in her scrimp
figure, with its ill-fitting uniform, Heaven knows how long she went on.
I was distracted by a clergyman passing on the outside of the ring of
listening women and children, and looking, I chose to think, somewhat
sourly askance at the distasteful ceremonial. I wished to stop him,
on his way to the Minster, if that was his way, and tell him that so
Christianity must have begun, and so the latest form of it must
always begin and work round after ages and ages to the beauty and
respectability his own ritual has. But I now believe this would have
been the greatest impertinence and hypocrisy, for I myself found the
performance before us as tasteless and tawdry as he could possibly have
done. He was going toward the Minster, and it would make him forget it;
but I was going away from it, perhaps, for the last time, and this loud
side-show of religion would make me forget the Minster.


Our railway hotel lay a little way out of the town, and after a day's
sight-seeing we were to meet or mingle with troops of wholesome-looking
workmen whose sturdiness and brightness were a consolation after
the pale debility of labor's looks in Sheffield. From the
chocolate-factories or the railroad-shops, which are the chief
industries of York, they would be crossing the bridge of the Ouse, the
famous stream on which the Romans had their town, and which suggested to
the Anglicans to call their Eboracum Eurewic--a town on a river. In due
time the Danes modified this name to Yerik, and so we came honestly by
the name of our own New York, called after the old York, as soon as the
English had robbed the Dutch of it, and the King of England had given
the province to his brother the Duke of York. Both cities are still
towns on rivers, but the Ouse is no more an image or forecast of the
Hudson than Old York is of New York. For that reason, the bridge over
it is not to be compared to our Brooklyn Bridge, or even to any bridge
which is yet to span the Hudson. The difference is so greatly in our
favor that we may well yield our city's mother the primacy in her city
wall. We have ourselves as yet no Plantagenet wall, and we have not yet
got a mediaeval gate through which the traveller passes in returning
from the Flatiron Building to his hotel in the Grand Central Station.

We do not begin to have such a hoar antiquity as is articulate in the
mother city, speaking with muted voices from the innumerable monuments
which the earth has yielded from the site of our hotel and its adjacent
railway station. All underground York is doubtless fuller of Home than
even Bath is; and it has happened that her civilization was much more
largely dug up here than elsewhere when the foundations of the spreading
edifices were laid. The relics are mainly the witnesses of pagan Rome,
but Christianity politically began in York, as it has politically ended
in New York, and doubtless some soldiers of the Sixth Legion and many of
the British slaves were religiously Christians in the ancient metropolis
before Constantine was elected emperor there.

I have been in many places where history is hospitably at home and is
not merely an unwilling guest, as in our unmemoried land. Florence is
very well, Venice is not so bad, Naples has her long thoughts, and Milan
is mediaeval-minded, not to speak of Genoa, or Marseilles, or Paris, or
those romantic German towns where the legends, if not the facts, abound;
but, after all, for my pleasure in the past, I could not choose any
place before York. You need not be so very definite in your knowledge.
The event of Constantine's presence and election is so spacious as to
leave no room for particulars in the imagination; and you are so rich in
it that you will even reject them from your thoughts, as you sit in
the close-cropped flowery lawn of your hotel garden (try to imagine a
railroad hotel garden in _New_ York!) on the sunniest of the afternoons
before you are turned out for Doncaster Week, and, while you watch
a little adventurous American boy climbing over a pile of rock-work,
realize the most august, the most important fact in the story of the
race as native to the very air you are breathing! Where you sit you are
in full view of the Minster, which is to say in view of something like
the towers and battlements of the celestial city. Or if you wake
very early on a morning still nearer the fatal Doncaster Week of your
impending banishment, and look out of your lofty windows at the sunrise
reddening the level bars of cloud behind the Minster, you shall find it
bulked up against the pearl-gray masses of the sunny mist which hangs
in all the intervening trees, and solidifies them in unbroken masses of
foliage. All round your hotel spreads a gridiron of railroad, yet such
is the force of the English genius for quiet that you hear no clatter of
trains; the expresses whir in and out of the station with not more noise
than humming-birds; and amid this peace the past has some chance with
modernity. The Britons dwell, unmolested by our latter-day clamor, in
their wattled huts and dugouts; the Romans come and make them slaves and
then Christians, and after three or four hundred years send word from
the Tiber to the Ouse that they can stay no longer, and so leave them
naked to their enemies, the Picts and Scots and Saxons and Angles; and
in due course come the ravaging and burning Danes; and in due course
still, the murdering and plundering and scorning Normans. But all so
quietly, like the humming-bird-like expresses, with a kind of railway
celerity in the foreshortened retrospect; and after the Normans have
crushed themselves down into the mass of the vanquished, and formed the
English out of the blend, there follow the many wars of the successions,
of the Roses, of the Stuarts, with all the intermediate insurrections
and rebellions. In the splendid Histories of Shakespeare, which are
full of York, the imagination visits and revisits the place, and you are
entreated by mouth of one of his princely personages,

     "I pray you let us satisfy our eyes
      With the memorials and things of fame,
      That do renown this city,"

where his Henrys and Richards and Margarets and Edwards and Eleanors
abide still and shall forever abide while the English speech lasts.



Something of all this I knew, and more pretended, with a mounting
indignation at the fast-coming Doncaster Week which was to turn us out
of our hotel. We began our search for other lodgings with what seemed to
be increasing failure. The failure had consolation in it so far as the
sweet regret of people whose apartments were taken could console. They
would have taken us at other hotels for double the usual price, but,
when we showed ourselves willing to pay, it proved that they had
no rooms at any price. From house to house, then, we went, at first
vaingloriously, in the spaces about the Minster, and then meekly into
any side street, wherever the legend of Apartments showed itself in a
transom. At last, the second day, after being denied at seven successive
houses, we found quite the refuge we wanted in the Bootham, which means
very much more than the ignorant reader can imagine. Our upper rooms
looked on a pretty grassy garden space behind, where there was sun when
there was sun, and in front on the fine old brick dwellings of a most
personable street, with a sentiment of bygone fashion. At the upper end
of it was a famous city gate--Bootham Bar, namely--with a practicable
portcullis, which we verified at an early moment by going up into "the
chamber over the gate," where it was once worked, and whence its lower
beam, set thick with savage spikes, was dropped. Outside the gate there
was a sign in the wall saying that guards were to be had there to guide
travellers through the Forest of Galtres beyond Bootham, and keep them
from the wolves. Now woods and wolves and guards are all gone, and
Bootham Bar is never closed.

The upper room is a passageway for people who are walking round the town
on the Plantagenet wall, and one morning we took this walk in sunshine
that befitted the Sabbath. Half the children of York seemed to be taking
it, too, with their good parents, who had stayed away from church to
give them this pleasure, the fathers putting on their frock-coats and
top-hats, which are worn on no other days in the provincial cities of
England. For a Plantagenet wall, that of York is in excellent repair,
and it is very clean, so that the children could not spoil their Sunday
best by clambering on the parapet, and trying to fall over it. There
was no parapet on the other side, and they could have fallen over that
without trouble; but it would not have served the same purpose; for
under the parapet there were the most alluringly ragged little boys,
with untidy goats and delightfully dirty geese. There was no trace of a
moat outside the wall, where pleasant cottages pressed close to it
with their gardens full of bright flowers. At one point there were
far-spreading sheep and cattle pens, where there is a weekly market, and
at another the old Norman castle which cruel Conqueror William built to
hold the city, and which has suffered change, not unpicturesque,
into prisons for unluckier criminals, and the Assize Courts for their
condemnation. From time to time the wall left off, and then we got down,
perforce, and walked to the next piece of it. In these pieces we
made the most of the old gates, especially Walmgate Bar, which has a
barbican. I should be at a loss to say why the barbican should have
commended it so; perhaps it was because we there realized, for the first
time, what a barbican was; I doubt if the reader knows, now. Otherwise,
I should have preferred Monk Bar or Micklegate Bar, as being more like
those I was used to in the theatre. But we came back gladly to Bootham
Bar, holding that a portcullis was equal any day to a barbican, and
feeling as if we had got home in the more familiar neighborhood.

There were small shops in the Bootham, thread-and-needle stores,
newspaper stores, and provision stores mainly, which I affected, and
there was one united florist's and fruiterer's which I particularly
liked because of the conversability of the proprietor. He was a stout
man, of a vinous complexion, with what I should call here, where our
speech is mostly uncouth, an educated accent, though with few and
wandering aspirates in it. Him I visited every morning to buy for my
breakfast one of those Spanish melons which they have everywhere in
England, and which put our native cantaloupes to shame; and we always
fell into a little talk over our transaction of fourpence or sixpence,
as the case might be. After I had confided that I was an American, he
said one day, "Ah, the Americans are clever people." Then he added,
"I hope you won't mind my saying it, sir, but I think their ladies are
rather harder than our English ladies, sir."

"Yes," I eagerly assented. "How do you mean? Sharper? Keener?"

"Well, not just that, sir."

"More practical? More business-like?" I pursued.

"Well, I shouldn't like to say that, sir. But--they seem rather harder,
sir; at least, judging from what I see of them in York, sir. Rather
harder, sir."

We remained not the less friends with that mystery between us; and I
bought my last melon of him on my last morning, when the early September
had turned somewhat sharply chill. That turn made me ask what the winter
was in York, and he boasted it very cold, with ice and snow aplenty,
and degrees of frost much like our own. But apparently those York women
resisted it and remained of a tenderness which contrasted to their
advantage with the summer hardness of our women.


It was a pleasure, which I should be glad to share with the reader, to
lose one's self in the streets of York. They were all kinds of streets
except straight, and they seemed not to go anywhere except for the
joke of bringing the wayfarer unexpectedly back to, or near, his
starting-point and far from his goal. The blame of their vagariousness,
if it was a fault, is put upon the Danes, who found York when they
captured it very rectangular, for so the Romans built it, and so the
Angles kept it; but nothing would serve the Danes but to crook its
streets and call them gates, so that the real gates of the city have to
be called bars, or else the stranger might take them for streets. If he
asked another wayfarer, he could sometimes baffle the streets, and get
to the point he aimed at, but, whether he did or not, he could always
amuse himself in them; they would take a friendly interest in him,
and show him the old houses and churches which the American stranger
prefers. They abound in the poorer sorts of buildings, of course, just
as they do in the poorer sorts of people, but in their simpler courts
and squares and expanses they have often dignified mansions of that
Georgian architecture which seems the last word in its way, and which is
known here in our older edifices as there in their newer. Some of them
are said to have "richly carved ceilings, wainscoted, panelled rooms,
chimneypieces with paintings framed in the over-mantel, dentilled
cornices, and pedimented doors," and I could well believe it, as I
passed them with an envious heart. There were gardens behind these
mansions which hung their trees over the spiked coping of their
high-shouldered walls and gates, and sequestered I know not what damp
social events in their flowery and leafy bounds.


At times I distinctly wished to know something of the life of York, but
I was not in the way of it. The nearest to an acquaintance I had there,
besides my critical fruiterer, was the actor whose name I recognized on
his bills as that of a brave youth who had once dramatized a novel of
mine, and all too briefly played the piece, and who was now to come
to York for a week of Shakespeare. Perhaps I could not forgive him the
recrudescence; at any rate, I did not try to see him, and there was no
other social chance for me, except as I could buy in for a few glimpses
at the tidy confectioners', where persons of civil condition resorted
for afternoon tea. Even to these one could not speak, and I could only
do my best in a little mercenary conversation with the bookseller about
York histories. The bookstores were not on our scale, and generally the
shops in York were not of the modern department type, but were perhaps
the pleasanter for that reason.

In my earlier wanderings I made the acquaintance of a most agreeable
market-place, stretching the length of two squares, which on a Saturday
afternoon I found filled with every manner of bank and booth and
canopied counter, three deep, and humming pleasantly with traffic in
everything one could eat, drink, wear, or read; there seemed as many
book-stalls as fruit-stalls. What I noted equally with the prettiness
of the abounding flowers was the mild kindness of the market-people's
manners and their extreme anxiety to state exactly the quality of the
things they had for sale. They seemed incapable of deceit, but I do
not say they really were so. My own transactions were confined to the
purchase of some golden-gage plums, and I advise the reader rather to
buy greengages; the other plums practised the deception in their looks
which their venders abhorred.


I wandered in a perfectly contemporary mood through the long ranks and
lanes of the marketplace, and did not know till afterward that at one
end of it, called the Pavement, the public executions used to take place
for those great or small occasions which brought folks to the block or
scaffold in the past. I had later some ado to verify the dismal fact
from a cluster of people before a tavern who seemed to be taking bets
for the Doncaster Week, and I could hardly keep them from booking me
for this horse or that when I merely wanted to know whether it was on a
certain spot the Earl of Northumberland had his head cut off for leading
a rising against Henry IV.; or some such execution.

What riches of story has not York to browbeat withal the storyless
New-Yorker who visits her! That Henry IV. was he whom I had lately seen
triumphing near Shrewsbury in the final battle of the Roses, where the
Red was so bloodily set above the White; and it was his poetic fancy
to have Northumberland, when he bade him come to York, pass through the
gateway on which the head of his son, Hotspur Harry, was festering. No
wonder the earl led a rising against his liege, who had first mercifully
meant to imprison him for life, and then more mercifully pardoned him.
But there seems to have been fighting up and down the centuries from the
beginning, in York, interspersed with praying and wedding and feasting.
After the citizens drove out Conqueror William's garrison, and Earl
Waltheof provided against the Normans' return by standing at the castle
gate and chopping their heads off with his battle-axe as they came
forth, William efficaciously devastated the city and the country as far
as Durham. His son William gave it a church, and that "worthy peer,"
King Stephen, a hospital. In his time the archbishop and barons of York
beat the Scotch hard by, and the next Scotch king had to do homage to
Henry II. at York for his kingdom. Henry III. married his sister at York
to one Scotch king and his daughter to that king's successor. Edward I.
and his queen Eleanor honored with their presence the translation of St.
William's bones to the Minster; Edward II. retreated from his defeat at
Bannockburn to York, and Edward III. was often there for a king's
varied occasions of fighting and feasting. Weak Henry VI. and his wilful
Margaret, after their defeat at Towton by Edward IV., escaped from the
city just in time, and Edward entered York under his own father's head
on Micklegate Bar. Richard III. was welcomed there before his rout and
death at Bosworth, and was truly mourned by the citizens. Henry VII.
wedded Elizabeth, the "White Rose of York," and afterward visited her
city; Mary, Queen of Scots, was once in hiding there, and her uncouth
son stayed two nights in York on his way to be crowned James I. in
London. His son, Charles I., was there early in his reign, and touched
many for the king's evil; later, he was there again, but could not cure
the sort of king's evil which raged past all magic in the defeat of his
followers at Marston Moor by Cromwell. The city yielded to the Puritans,
whose temperament had already rather characterized it. James II., as
Duke of York, made it his brief sojourn; "proud Cumberland," returning
from Culloden after the defeat of the Pretender, visited the city
and received its freedom for destroying the last hope of the Stuarts;
perhaps the twenty-two rebels who were then put to death in York were
executed in the very square where those wicked men thought I was wanting
to play the horses. The reigning family has paid divers visits to the
ancient metropolis, which was the capital of Britain before London was
heard of. The old prophecy of her ultimate primacy must make time if
it is to fulfil itself and increase York's seventy-two thousand beyond
London's six million.


I should be at a loss to say why its English memories haunted my York
less than the Roman associations of the place. They form, however,
rather a clutter of incidents, whereas the few spreading facts of
Hadrian's stay, the deaths of Severus and Constantius, and the election
of Constantine, his son, enlarge themselves to the atmospheric compass
of the place, but leave a roominess in which the fancy may more
commodiously orb about. I was on terms of more neighborly intimacy
with the poor Punic emperor than with any one else in York, doubtless
because, when he fell sick, he visited the temple of Bellona near
Bootham Bar, and paid his devotions unmolested, let us hope, by any
prevision of the misbehavior of his son Caracalla (whose baths I had
long ago visited at Rome) in killing his other son Geta. Everywhere I
could be an early Christian, in company with Constantine, in whom the
instinct of political Christianity must have begun to stir as soon as he
was chosen emperor. But I dare say I heard the muted tramp of the Sixth
Legion about the Yorkish streets above all other martial sounds because
I stayed as long as Doncaster Week would let me in the railway hotel,
which so many of their bones made room for when the foundations of it
were laid, with those of the adherent station. Their bones seem to
have been left there, after the disturbance, but their sepulchres were
respectfully transferred to the museum of the Philosophical Society, in
the grounds where the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey rise like fragments
of pensive music or romantic verse, inviting the moonlight and the
nightingale, but, wanting these, make shift with the noonday and the
babies in perambulators neglected by nurse-girls reading novels.

[Illustration: ST. MARY'S ABBEY]

The babies and the nurses are not allowed in the museum of antiquities,
which is richer in Roman remains than any that one sees outside of
Italy. There are floors of mosaic, large and perfect, taken from the
villas which people are always digging up in the neighborhood of York,
and, from the graves uncovered in the railway excavations, coffins of
lead and stone for civilians, and of rude tiles for the soldiers of the
Sixth Legion; the slaves were cast into burial-pits of tens and twenties
and left to indiscriminate decay till they should be raised in the
universal incorruption. Probably the slaves were the earliest Christians
at York; certainly the monuments are pagan, as the inmates of the tombs
must have been. Some of the monuments bear inscriptions from loving
wives and husbands to the partners they have lost, and some of the stone
coffins are those of children. It is all infinitely touching, and after
two thousand years the heart aches for the fathers and mothers who laid
their little ones away in these hard cradles for their last sleep.
Faith changes, but constant death remains the same, and life is not very
different in any age, when it comes to the end. The Roman exiles who had
come so far to hold my British ancestors in subjection to their alien
rule seemed essentially not only of the same make as me, but the
same civilization. Their votive altars and inscriptions to other gods
expressed a human piety of like anxiety and helplessness with ours, and
called to a like irresponsive sky. A hundred witnesses of their mortal
state--jars and vases and simple household utensils--fill the shelves of
the museum; but the most awful, the most beautiful appeal of the past is
in that mass of dark auburn hair which is kept here in a special urn and
uncovered for your supreme emotion. It is equally conjectured to be the
hair of a Roman lady or of a British princess, but is of a young girl
certainly, dressed twenty centuries ago for the tomb in which it was
found, and still faintly lucent with the fashionable unguent of the day,
and kept in form by pins of jet. One thinks of the little, slender hands
that used to put them there, and of the eyes that confronted themselves
in the silver mirror under the warm shadow that the red-gold mass
cast upon the white forehead. This sanctuary of the past was the most
interesting place in that most interesting city of York, and the day of
our first visit a princess of New York sat reading a book in the midst
of it, waiting for the rain to be over, which was waiting for her to
come out and then begin again. We knew her from having seen her at the
station in relation to some trunks bearing her initials and those of
her native city; and she could be about the age of the York princess or
young Roman lady whose hair was kept in the urn hard by.


There is in York a little, old, old church, whose dear and reverend
name I have almost forgotten, if ever I knew it, but I think it is Holy
Trinity Goodramgate, which divides the heart of my adoration with the
Minster. We came to it quite by accident, one of our sad September
afternoons, after we had been visiting the Guildhall, Venetianly
overhanging the canal calm of the Ouse, and very worthy to be seen for
its York histories in stained glass. The custodian had surprised us and
the gentlemen of the committee by taking us into the room where they
were investigating the claims of the registered voters to the suffrage;
and so, much entertained and instructed, we issued forth, and, passing
by the church in which Guy Fawkes was baptized, only too ineffectually,
we came quite unexpectedly upon Holy Trinity Goodramgate, if that and
not another is indeed its name.

It stands sequestered in a little leafy and grassy space of its own,
with a wall hardly overlooked on one side by low stone cottages, the
immemorial homes of rheumatism and influenza. The church had the air
of not knowing that it is of Perpendicular and Decorated Gothic, with
a square, high-shouldered tower, as it bulks up to a very humble
height from the turf to the boughs overhead, or that it has a nice
girl sketching its doorway, where a few especially favored weddings and
funerals may enter. It is open once a year for service, and when the
tourist will, or can, for the sight of the time-mellowed, beautiful
stained glass of its eastward window. The oaken pews are square and
high-shouldered, like the low church tower; and, without, the soft
yellow sandstone is crumbling away from the window traceries. The church
did not look as if it felt itself a thousand years old, and perhaps it
is not; but I never was in a place where I seemed so like a ghost of
that antiquity. I had a sense of haunting it, in the inner twilight and
the outer sunlight, where a tender wind was stirring the leaves of its
embowering trees and scattering them on the graves of my eleventh and
twelfth century contemporaries.


We chose the sunniest morning we could for our visit to Clifford's
Tower, which remains witness of the Norman castle the Conqueror built
and rebuilt to keep the Danish-Anglian-Roman-British town in awe. But
the tower was no part of the original castle, and only testifies of it
by hearsay. That was built by Roger de Clifford, who suffered death with
his party chief, the Earl of Lancaster, when Edward of York took the
city, and it is mainly memorable as the refuge of the Jews whom the
Christians had harried out of their homes. They had grown in numbers and
riches, when the Jew-hate of 1190 broke out in England, as from time
to time the Jew-hate breaks out in Russia now, to much the same cruel
effect. They were followed and besieged in the castle, and, seeing that
they must be captured, they set fire to the place, and five hundred slew
themselves. Some that promised to be Christians came out and were killed
by their brethren in Christ. In New York the Christians have grown
milder, and now they only keep the Jews out of their clubs and their

[Illustration: CLIFFORD'S TOWER]

The Clifford Tower leans very much to one side, so that as you ascend it
for the magnificent view from the top you have to incline yourself the
other way, as you do in the Tower of Pisa, to help it keep its balance.
The morning of our visit, so gay in its forgetfulness of the tragical
past, we found the place in charge of an old soldier, an Irishman who
had learned, as custodian, a professional compassion for those poor Jews
of nine hundred years ago, and, being moved by our confession of our
nationality, owned to three "nevvies" in New Haven. So small is the
world and so closely knit in the ties of a common humanity and a common
citizenship, native and adoptive!

The country around York looked so beautiful from Clifford's Tower that
we would not be satisfied till we had seen it closer, and we chose a
bright, cool September afternoon for our drive out of the town and over
the breezy, high levels which surround it. The first British capital
could hardly have been more nobly placed, and one could not help
grieving that the Ouse should have indolently lost York that early
dignity by letting its channel fill up with silt and spoil its
navigation. The Thames managed better for York's upstart rival London,
and yet the Ouse is not destitute of sea or river craft. These were of
both steam and sail, and I myself have witnessed the energy with which
the reluctance of the indolent stream is sometimes overcome. I do not
suppose that anywhere else, when the wind is low, is a vessel madly
hurled through the water at a mile an hour by means of a rope tied
to its mast and pulled by a fatherly old horse under the intermittent
drivership of two boys whom he could hardly keep to the work. I loved
the banks of a stream where one could see such a triumph of man over
nature, and where nature herself was so captivating. All that grassy
and shady neighborhood seemed a public promenade, where on a Sunday one
could see the lower middle classes in their best and brightest, and
it had for all its own the endearing and bewitching name of Ings. Why
cannot we have Ings by the Hudson side?

       *       *       *       *       *


Certainly I had not come to York, as certainly I would not have gone
anywhere, for battle-fields, but becoming gradually sensible in that
city that the battle of Marston Moor was fought a few miles away, and
my enemy Charles I. put to one of his worst defeats there, I bought a
third-class ticket and ran out to the place one day for whatever emotion
awaited me there.


At an English station you are either overwhelmed with transportation,
or you are without any except such as you were born with, and at the
station for Marston Moor I asked for a fly in vain. But it was a most
walkable afternoon, and the pleasant road into the region which the
station-master indicated as that I was seeking invited the foot by its
level stretch, sometimes under wayside trees, but mostly between open
fields, newly reaped and still yellow with their stubble, or green with
the rowen clover. Sometimes it ran straight and sometimes it curved,
but it led so rarely near any human habitation that one would rather not
have met any tramps beside one's self on it. Presently I overtook one, a
gentle old farm-wife, a withered blonde, whom I helped with the bundles
she bore in either hand, in the hope that she could tell me whether I
was near Marston Moor or not. But she could tell me only, what may have
been of higher human interest, that her husband had the grass farm of
a hundred and fifty acres, which we were coming to, for seventy-five
pounds a year; and they had their own cattle, sheep, and horses, and
were well content with themselves. She excused herself for not knowing
more than vaguely of the battle-field, as not having been many years
in the neighborhood; and being now come to a gate in the fields, she
thanked me and took her way up a grassy path to the pleasant farmhouse I
saw in the distance.

It must have been about this time that it rained, having shone long
enough for English weather, and it hardly held up before I was overtaken
by a friendly youth on a bicycle, whom I stayed with the question
uppermost in my mind. He promptly got off his wheel to grapple with the
problem. He was a comely young fellow, an artisan of some sort from
a neighboring town, and he knew the country well, but he did not know
where my lost battle-field was. He was sure that it was near by: but he
was sure there was no monument to mark the spot. Then we parted friends,
with many polite expressions, and he rode on and I walked on.

For a mile and more I met no other wayfarer, and as I felt that it was
time to ask for Marston Moor again, I was very glad to be overtaken by
a gentleman driving in a dog-cart, with his pretty young daughter on
the wide seat with him. He halted at sight of the elderly pilgrim, and
hospitably asked if he could not give him a lift, alleging that there
was plenty of room. He was interested in my search, which he was not
able definitely to promote, but he believed that if I would drive with
him to his place I could find the battle-field, and, anyhow, I could get
a trap back from the The Sun. I pleaded the heat I was in from walking,
and the danger for an old fellow of taking cold in a drive through the
cool air; and then, as old fellows do, we bantered each other about
our ages, each claiming to be older than the other, and the kind, sweet
young girl sat listening with that tolerance of youth for the triviality
of age which is so charming. When he could do no more, he said he was
sorry, and wished me luck, and drove on; and I being by this time tired
with my three miles' tramp, took advantage of a wayside farmhouse, the
first in all the distance, and went in and asked for a cup of tea.

The farm-wife, who came in out of her back garden to answer my knock,
pleaded regretfully that her fire was down; but she thought I could
get tea at the next house; and she was very conversable about the
battle-field. She did not know just where it was, but she was sure it
was quite a mile farther on; and at that I gave up the hope of it along
with the tea. This is partly the reader's loss, for I have no doubt
I could have been very graphic about it if I had found it; but as for
Marston Moor, I feel pretty certain that if it ever existed it does not
now. A moor, as I understand, implies a sort of wildness, but nothing
could be more domestic than the peaceful fields between which I had come
so far, and now easily found my way back to the station. Easily, I say,
but there was one point where the road forked, though I was sure it
had not forked before, and I felt myself confronted with some sort,
any sort, of exciting adventure. By taking myself firmly in hand, and
saying, "It was yonder to the left where I met my kind bicycler, and we
vainly communed of my evanescent battle-field," and so keeping on, I got
safely to the station with nothing more romantic in my experience than a
thrilling apprehension.


I quite forgot Marston Moor in my self-gratulation and my recognition
of the civility from every one which had so ineffectively abetted my
search. Simple and gentle, how hospitable they had all been to my vain
inquiry, and how delicately they had forborne to visit the stranger
with the irony of the average American who is asked anything, especially
anything he does not know! I went thinking that the difference was a
difference between human nature long mellowed to its conditions, and
human nature rasped on its edges and fretted by novel circumstances to a
provisional harshness. I chose to fancy that unhuman nature sympathized
with the English mood; in the sheep bleating from the pastures I heard
the note of Wordsworth's verse; and by the sky, hung in its low
blue with rough, dusky clouds, I was canopied as with a canvas of

It was the more pity, then, that at the station a shooting party,
approaching from the other quarter with their servants and guns and
dogs, and their bags of hares and partridges, should have given English
life another complexion to the wanderer so willing to see it always
rose color. The gunners gained the station platform first, and at once
occupied the benches, strewing all the vacant places with their still
bleeding prey. I did not fail of the opportunity to see in them the
arrogance of class, which I had hitherto so vainly expected, and I
disabled their looks by finding them as rude as their behavior. How
different they were from the kind bicycler, or the gentleman in the
dog-cart, or either one of the farm-wives who sorrowed so civilly not to
know where my lost battle-field was!

In England, it is always open to the passenger to enforce a claim to
his share of the public facilities, but I chose to go into the licensed
victualler's next the station and sit down to a peaceable cup of tea
rather than contest a place on that bloody benching; and so I made the
acquaintance of an interior out of literature, such as my beloved Thomas
Hardy likes to paint. On a high-backed rectangular settle rising against
the wall, and almost meeting in front of the comfortable range, sat a
company of rustics, stuffing themselves with cold meat, washed down with
mugs of ale, and cozily talking. They gained indefinitely in my interest
from being served by a lame woman, with a rhythmical limp, and I hope it
was not for my demerit that I was served apart in the chillier parlor,
when I should have liked so much to stay and listen to the rustic tale
or talk. The parlor was very depressingly papered, but on its walls I
had the exalted company of his Majesty the King, their Royal Highnesses
the Prince and Princess of Wales, the late Premier, the Marquis of
Salisbury, and, for no assignable reason except a general fitness for
high society, the twelve Apostles in Da Vinci's _Last Supper_, together
with an appropriate view of York Minster.


I do not pretend this search for the battle-field of Marston Moor was
the most exciting episode of my stay in York. In fact, I think it
was much surpassed in a climax of dramatic poignancy incident to our
excursion to Bishopsthorpe, down the Ouse, on one of the cosey little
steamers which ply the stream without unreasonably crowding it against
its banks. It was a most silvery September afternoon when we started
from the quay at York, and after escaping from embarkment on a boat
going in the wrong direction, began, with no unseemly swiftness, to
scuttle down the current. It was a perfect voyage, as perfect as any I
ever made on the Mississippi, the Ohio, the St. Lawrence, or the Hudson,
on steamers in whose cabins our little boat would have lost itself. We
had a full but not crowded company of passengers, overflowing into
a skiff at our stern, in which a father and mother, with three women
friends, preferred the high excitement of being towed to Bishopsthorpe,
where it seemed that the man of the party knew the gardener. With each
curve of the river and with each remove we got the city in more and more
charming retrospective, till presently its roofs and walls and spires
and towers were lost in the distance, and we were left to the sylvan
or pastoral loveliness of the low shores. Here and there at a pleasant
interval from the river a villa rose against a background of rounded
tree tops, with Lombardy poplars picking themselves out before it, but
for the most part the tops of the banks, with which we stood even on
our deck, retreated from the waterside willows in levels of meadow-land,
where white and red cows were grazing, and now and then young horses
romping away from groups of their elders. It was all dear and kind and
sweet, with a sort of mid-Western look in its softness (as the English
landscape often has), and the mud-banks were like those of my native
Ohio Valley rivers. The effect was heightened, on our return, by an
aged and virtuously poor (to all appearance) flageolet and cornet band,
playing _'Way down upon the Suwanee River_, while the light played in
"ditties no-tone" over the groves and pastures of the shore, and the
shadows stretched themselves luxuriously out as if for a long night's
sleep. There has seldom been such a day since I began to grow old; a
soft September gale ruffled and tossed the trees finely, and a subtle
Italian quality mixed with the American richness of the sunshiny air; so
that I thought we reached Bishopsthorpe only too soon, and I woke from a
pleasant reverie to be told that the steamer could not land with us, but
we must be taken ashore in the small boat which we saw putting out for
us from its moorings. To this day I do not know why the steamer could
not land, but perhaps the small boat had a prescriptive right in the
matter. At any rate, it was vigorously manned by a woman, who took
tuppence from each of us for her service, and presently earned it by the
interest she showed in our getting to the Archbishop's palace, or villa,
the right way.


So we went round by an alluring road to its forking, where, looking up
to the left, we could see a pretty village behind Lombardy poplars,
and coming down toward us in a victoria for their afternoon drive,
two charmingly dressed ladies, with bright parasols, and looking very
county-family, as we poor Americans imagine such things out of English
fiction. We entered the archiepiscopal grounds through a sympathetic
Gothic screen, as I will call the overture to the Gothic edifice in my
defect of architectural terminology, though perhaps gateway would be
simpler; and found ourselves in the garden, and in the company of
those people we had towed down behind our steamer. They were with
their friend, the gardener, and, claiming their acquaintance as
fellow-passengers, we made favor with him to see the house. The
housekeeper, or some understudy of hers, who received us, said the
family were away, but she let us follow her through. That is more than
I will let the reader do, for I know the duty of the cultivated American
to the intimacies of the gentle English life; it is only with the simple
life that I ever make free; there, I own, I have no scruple. But I will
say (with my back turned conscientiously to the interior) that nothing
could be lovelier than the outlook from the dining-room, and the whole
waterfront of the house, on the wavy and willowy Ouse, and that I would
willingly be many times an archbishop to have that prospect at all my


We despatched our visit so promptly that we got back to our boat-woman's
cottage a full hour before our steamer was to call for us. She had an
afternoon fire kindled in her bright range, from the oven of which came
already the odor of agreeable baking. Upon this hint we acted, and
asked if tea were possible. It was, and jam sandwiches as well, or if
we preferred buttered tea-cake, with or without currants, to jam
sandwiches, there would be that presently. We preferred both, and we sat
down in that pleasant parlor-kitchen, and listened, till the tea-cake
came out of the oven and was split open and buttered smoking hot, to
a flow of delightful and instructive talk. For our refection we paid
sixpence each, but for our edification we are still, and hope ever to
be, in debt. Our hostess was of a most cheerful philosophy, such as
could not be bought of most modern philosophers for money. The flour for
our tea-cakes, she said, was a shilling fivepence a stone, "And not too
much for growing and grinding it, and all." Every week-day morning she
rose at half-past four, and got breakfast for her boys, who then rode
their bicycles, or, in the snow, walked, all the miles of our voyage
into York, where they worked in the railway shops. No, they did not
belong to any union; the railway men did not seem to care for it; only a
"benefit union."

She kept the house for her family, and herself ready to answer every
hail from the steamer; but in her mellow English content, which was not
stupid or sodden, but clever and wise, it was as if it were she, rather
than the archbishop, whose nature expressed itself in a motto on one
of the palace walls, "Blessed be the Lord who loadeth us with blessings
every day."

When the range, warming to its work, had made her kitchen-parlor a
little too hot to hold us, she hospitably suggested the river shore as
cooler, where she knew a comfortable log we could sit on. Thither she
presently followed when the steamer's whistle sounded, and held her
boat for us to get safely in. The most nervous of our party offered
the reflection, as she sculled us out into the stream to overhaul the
pausing steamer, that she must find the ferry business very shattering
to the nerves, and she said,

"Yes, but it's nothing to a murder case I was on, once."

"Oh, what murder, what murder?" we palpitated back; and both of us
forgot the steamer, so that it almost ran us down, while our ferrywoman
began again:

"A man shot a nurse--There! Throw that line, will you?"

But he, who ought to have thrown the line for her, in his distraction
let her drop her oar and throw the line herself, and then we scrambled
aboard without hearing any more of the murder.

This is the climax I have been working up to, and I call it a fine one;
as good as a story to be continued ever ended an instalment with.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Doncaster Races lured us from our hotel at York, on the first day,
as I had dimly foreboded they would. In fact, if there had been no lure,
I might have gone in search of temptation, for in a world where sins are
apt to be ugly, a horse-race is so beautiful that if one loves beauty
he can practise an aesthetic virtue by sinning in that sort. So I
made myself a pretence of profit as well as pleasure, and in going to
Doncaster I feigned the wish chiefly to compare its high event with that
of Saratoga. I had no association with the place save horse-racing, and
having missed Ascot and Derby Day, I took my final chance in pursuit
of knowledge--I said to myself, "Not mere amusement"--and set out for
Doncaster unburdened by the lightest fact concerning the place.


I learned nothing of it when there, but I have since learned, from
divers trustworthy sources, that Doncaster is the Danum of Antoninus and
the Dona Ceaster of the Saxons, and that it is not only on the line of
the Northeastern Railway, but also on that famous Watling Street which
from the earliest Saxon time has crossed the British continent from sea
to sea, and seems to impress most of the cities north and south into a
conformity with its line, like a map of the straightest American railway

Unless my ignorance has been abused, nothing remarkable has happened
at Doncaster in two thousand years, but this is itself a distinction in
that eventful England where so many things have happened elsewhere.
It is the market town of a rich farming region, and has notable
manufactures of iron and brass, of sacking and linen, of spun flax and
of agricultural machines and implements. Otherwise, it is important only
for its races, which began there three hundred years ago, and especially
for its St. Leger Day, of which Lieutenant-General St. Leger became the
patron saint in 1778, though he really established his Day two years

Doncaster is a mighty pleasant, friendly, rather modern, and
commonplacely American-looking town, with two-story trams gently ambling
up and down its chief avenues, in the leisurely English fashion, and
all of more or less arrival and departure at the race-grounds. In our
company the reader will have our appetites for lunch, and if he will
take his chance with us in the first simple place away from the station,
he will help us satisfy them very wholesomely and agreeably at boards
which seem festively set up for the occasion, and spread with hot
roast-beef and the plain vegetables which accompany the national dish
in its native land; or he can have the beef cold, or have cold lamb or
chicken cold. His fellow-lunchers will be, as he may like well enough
to fancy, of somewhat lower degree than himself, but they will all seem
very respectable, and when they come out together, they will all be
equalized in the sudden excitement which has possessed itself of the
street, and lined the curbstones up and down with spectators, their
bodies bent forward, and their faces turned in the direction of the


The excitement is caused by the coming of the King; and I wish that I
could present that event in just its sincere unimpressiveness. I have
assisted at several such events on the Continent, where, especially in
Germany, they are heralded as they are in the theatre, with a blare of
trumpets, and a sensation in the populace and the attendant military
little short of an ague fit. There, as soon as the majesties mount into
their carriages from the station, they drive off as swiftly as their
horses can trot, and their subjects, who have been waiting for hours to
see them, make what they can of a meagre half-minute's glimpse of
them. But how different was the behavior of that easy-going Majesty of
England! As soon as I heard that he was coming, I perceived how anxious
I had been in the half-year of my English sojourn to see him, and how
bitterly I should have been disappointed to leave his realms without it.
All kings are bad, I knew that well enough; but I also knew that some
kings are not so bad as others, and I had been willing to accept at
their face the golden opinions of this King, which, almost without
exception, his lieges seemed to hold. Of course it is not hard to think
well of a king if you are under him, just as it is not hard to think
ill of him if you are not under him; but there is no use being bigotedly
republican when there is nothing to be got by it, and I own the fact
that his subjects like him willingly. Probably no man in his kingdom
understands better than Edward VII. that he is largely a form, and that
the more a form he is the more conformable he is to the English ideal
of a monarch. But no Englishman apparently knows better than he when to
leave off being a form and become a man, and he has endeared himself to
his people from time to time by such inspirations. He is reputed on all
hands to be a man of great good sense; if he is ever fooled it is not by
himself, but by the system which he is no more a part of than the least
of his subjects. If he will let a weary old man or a delicate woman
stand indefinitely before him, he is no more to blame for that than for
speaking English with a trace of German in his _th_ sounds; he did not
invent his origins or his traditions. Personally, having had it out with
life, he is as amiable and as unceremonious as a king may be. He shares,
as far as he can, the great and little interests of his people. He has
not, so far as noted, the gifts of some of his sisters, but he has much
of his mother's steadfast wisdom, and his father's instinct for the
right side in considerable questions; and he has his father's prescience
of the psychological moment for not bothering. Of course, he is a
fetish; no Englishman can deny that the kingship is an idolatry; but
he is a fetish with an uncommon share of the common man's divinity.
The system which provides him for the people provides them the best
administration in the world, always naturally in the hands of their
superiors, social and political; but we could be several times rottener
than we administratively are, and still be incalculably reasonabler, as
republicans, than those well-governed monarchists.


Some of us are apt to forget the immense advantage which we have of the
monarchical peoples in having cast away the very name of King, for with
the name goes the nature of royalty and all that is under and around it.
But because we are largely a fond and silly folk, with a false conceit
of ourselves and others, we like to make up romances about the favor in
which thrones, municipalities, and powers hold us. Once it was the Tsar
of Russia who held us dear, and would do almost anything for Americans;
now it is the King of England who is supposed rather to prefer us to his
own people, and to delight to honor us. We attribute to him a feeling
which a little thought would teach, us was wholly our own, and which
would be out of nature if not out of reason with him. He is a man of
sense, and not of sentiment, and except as a wise politician he could
have no affection for a nation whose existence denies him. He is very
civil to Americans; it is part of a constitutional king's business to be
civil to every one; but he is probably not sentimental about us; and we
need not be sentimental about him.

He looked like a man of sense, and not like a man of sentiment, that
day as he drove through the Doncaster street on his way to the sport he
loves beyond any other sport. He sat with three other gentlemen on the
sidewise seats of the trap, preceded by outriders, which formed the
simple turnout of the greatest prince in the world. He was at the end on
the right, and he showed fully as stout as he was, in the gray suit he
wore, while he lifted his gray top-hat now and then, bowing casually,
almost absently, to the spectators fringing, not too deeply, the
sidewalks. He was very, very stout, even after many seasons of
Marienbad, and after the sufferings he had lately undergone, and he
was quite like the pictures and effigies of him, down to those on the
postage-stamps. He has a handsome face, still bearded in the midst of a
mostly clean-shaving nation, and with the white hairs prevalent on
the cheeks and temples; his head is bald atop, though hardly from the
uneasiness of wearing a crown.

It was difficult to realize him for what he was, and in the unmilitary
keeping of a few policemen, he was not of the high histrionic presence
that those German majesties were. The good-natured crowd did not strain
itself in cheering, though it seemed to cheer cordially; and it did
not stay long after the trap tooled comfortably away. I then addressed
myself to a little knot of railway servants who lingered talking, and
asked them what some carriages were still waiting for at the door of the
station, and one of them answered with a lightness you do not expect
in England, "Oh, Lord This, and Lady That, and the Hon. Mr.
I-don't-know-what's-his-name." The others laughed at this ribald satire
of the upper classes, and I thought it safer to follow the King to the
races lest I should hear worse things of them.


The races were some miles away, and when we got to the tracks we did
not find their keeping very different from that of the Saratoga tracks,
although the crowd was both smarter and shabbier, and it had got to the
place through a town of tents and sheds, and a population of hucksters
and peddlers, giving an effect of permanency to the festivity such as
a solemnity of ours seldom has. When we bought our tickets we found, in
the familiarity with the event expected of us, that there was no one to
show us to our places; but by dint of asking we got to the Grand Stand,
and mounted to our seats, which, when we stood up from them, commanded a
wholly satisfactory prospect of the whole field.

I do not know the dimensions of the Doncaster track, or how far they
exceed those of the Saratoga track. Possibly one does not do its extent
justice because there is no track at Doncaster: there is nothing but a
green turf, with a certain course railed off on it. I hope the reader
will be as much surprised as I was to realize that the sport of
horse-racing in England gets its name of Turf from the fact that the
races are run on the grass, and not on the bare ground, as with us. We
call the sport the Turf, too, but that is because in this, as in so many
other things, we lack incentive and invention, and are fondly colonial
and imitative; we ought to call it the Dirt, for that is what it is with
us. As a spectacle, the racing lacks the definition in England which
our course gives, and when it began, I missed the relief into which our
track throws the bird-like sweep of the horses as they skim the naked
earth in the distance.

I missed also the superfluity of jockeying which delays and enhances
the thrill of the start with us, and I thought the English were not so
scrupulous about an even start as we are. But, above all, I missed the
shining faces and the gleaming eyes of the black jockeys, who lend so
much gayety to our scene, where they seem born to it, if not of it. The
crowd thickened in English bloom and bulk, which is always fine to see,
and bubbled over with the babble of multitudinous voices, crossed with
the shouts of the book-makers. Having failed to enter any bets with the
book-makers of The Pavement in York, I did not care to make them here.
With all my passion for racing, I never know or care which horse wins;
but I tried to enter into the joy of a diffident young fellow near me at
the Grand Stand rail, who was so proud of having guessed as winner the
horse next to the winner at the first race; it was coming pretty close.
By the end of the third or how far they exceed those of the Saratoga
track. Possibly one does not do its extent justice because there is no
track at Doncaster: there is nothing but a green turf, with a certain
course railed off on it. I hope the reader will be as much surprised as
I was to realize that the sport of horse-racing in England gets its name
of Turf from the fact that the races are run on the grass, and not on
the bare ground, as with us. We call the sport the Turf, too, but that
is because in this, as in so many other things, we lack incentive and
invention, and are fondly colonial and imitative; we ought to call it
the Dirt, for that is what it is with us. As a spectacle, the racing
lacks the definition in England which our course gives, and when it
began, I missed the relief into which our track throws the bird-like
sweep of the horses as they skim the naked earth in the distance.

I missed also the superfluity of jockeying which delays and enhances
the thrill of the start with us, and I thought the English were not so
scrupulous about an even start as we are. But, above all, I missed the
shining faces and the gleaming eyes of the black jockeys, who lend so
much gayety to our scene, where they seem born to it, if not of it. The
crowd thickened in English bloom and bulk, which is always fine to see,
and bubbled over with the babble of multitudinous voices, crossed with
the shouts of the book-makers. Having failed to enter any bets with the
book-makers of The Pavement in York, I did not care to make them here.
With all my passion for racing, I never know or care which horse wins;
but I tried to enter into the joy of a diffident young fellow near me at
the Grand Stand rail, who was so proud of having guessed as winner the
horse next to the winner at the first race; it was coming pretty
close. By the end of the third race he had softened into something like
confidence toward me; certainly into conversability; such was the effect
of my being a dead-game sport, or looking it. But how account for the
trustfulness of the young woman on my other hand who wore her gold watch
outside her dress, and who turned to the elderly stranger for sympathy
in a certain supreme moment? This was when the crowd below crumpled
suddenly together like the crushing of paper and the sense of something
tragically mysterious in the distance clarified itself as the death of
one of the horses. It had dropped from heart-break in its tracks, as if
shot, and presently a string of young men and boys came dragging to some
_spoliarium_ the long, slender body of the pretty creature over the turf
which its hoofs had beaten a moment before. Then it was that the girl,
with the watch on her breast, turned and asked, "Isn't it sad?"

[Illustration: FINCHALE PRIORY]


She was probably not the daughter of a hundred earls, but there must
have been some such far-descended fair among the ladies who showed
themselves from time to time in the royal paddock across a little space
from our Grand Stand. The enclosure has no doubt a more technical
name, which I would call it by if I knew it, for I do not wish to be
irreverent; but paddock is very sporty, and it must serve my occasion.
The King never showed himself there at all, though much craned round for
and eagerly expected. But ladies and gentlemen moved about in the close,
and stood and talked together; very tall people, very easily straight
and well set up, very handsome, and very amiable-looking; they may have
been really kind and good, or they may have looked so to please the
King and keep his spirits up. I did not then, but I do now, realize that
these were courtiers, such as one has always read of, and were of very
historical quality in their attendance on the monarch. I trust it will
not take from the dignity of the fact if I note that several of the
courtiers wore derby hats, and one was in a sack coat and a topper. I
am not sure what the fairer reader will think if I tell that one of the
ladies had on a dress with a white body and crimson skirt and sleeves,
and a vast black picture-hat, and wore it with a charming air of

The weather, in the excitement of the races, had not known whether it
was raining or not, but we feared its absent-mindedness, and at the end
of the third race we went away. It is not well to trust an English day
too far; this had begun with brilliant sunshine, but it dimmed as it
wore on, and we could not know that it was keeping for us the surprise
of a very refined sunset. My memory does not serve as to just how we had
got out to the race-ground; I think, from our being set down at the very
gate, that it was by hansom or by fly; but now we promised ourselves to
walk back to town. We did not actually do so; we went back most of the
way by tram; but we were the firmer about walking at the outset, because
we presently found ourselves in a lane of gypsy tents, where there was
an alluring sight and smell of frying fish and potatoes. In the midst of
the refection, you could have your fortune told, very favorably, for a
very little money. All up and down this happy avenue there went girls of
several dozen sizes and ages, crying a particular kind of taffy, proper
to the day and place, and never to be had on any other day in any other

We had an hour before train-time, and we thought we would go and see
the Parish Church of Doncaster, which we had read was worth seeing.
Our belief was confirmed by a group of disappointed ladies in the
churchyard, who said it was a most beautiful church inside, but that
they had not seen it because it was shut. We proved the fact by trying
the door, and then we came away consoling ourselves with the scoff that
it was probably closed for the races. At the bookseller's, where we
stopped to buy some photographs of the interior of the church we had not
seen, we lamented our disappointment, and the salesman said, "Perhaps
it was closed for the races." So our joke seemed to turn earnest, and on
reflection it did not surprise us in that England of close-knit unities
where people and prince are of one texture in their pleasures and
devotions, and the Church is hardly more national than the Turf.


At Durham, which was my next excursion from York, I cannot claim,
therefore, that my mission was more serious because it almost solely
concerned the Church, or that it was more frivolous at Doncaster, where
it almost solely concerned the Turf. My train started in a fine mist
that turned to sun, but not before it had shown me with the local color,
which a gray light lends everything, a pack of hounds crossing a field
near the track with two huntsmen at their heels. They were not chasing,
but running leisurely, and with their flower-like, loose spread over the
green, and the pink-coated hunters on their brown mounts, they afforded
a picture as vivid and of as perfect semblance to all my visions of
fox-hunting as I could have asked. I had been hoping that I might see
something of the famous sport, almost as English as the Church or the
Turf, and there, suddenly and all unexpectedly, the sight fully and
satisfyingly was. Now, indeed, I felt that my impression of English
society was complete, and that I might go home and write novels of
English high life, and do something to redeem myself a little from the
disgrace I had fallen into with my fellow-plebeians by always writing
of common Americans, like themselves, and never _grandes dames_ or ideal
persons, or people in the best society.

But I did not want to go home at once, or turn back from going to Durham
through that pleasant landscape, where the mist hung between the trees
which seemed themselves only heavier bulks of mist. The wheat in some
of the fields was still uncut, and in others, where it had been gathered
into sheaves, the rooks by hundreds were noisily gleaning in the track
of the reapers. From this conventionally English keeping, I passed
suddenly to the sight of the gaunt, dry, gravelly bed of a wide river,
such as I had known in Central Italy, or the Middle West at home; and I
realized once again that England is no island of one simple complexion,
but is a condensed continent, with all continental varieties of feature
in it. You must cover thousands and thousands of miles in our tedious
lengths and breadths for the beauties and sublimities of scenery which
you shall gather from fewer hundreds in England; I have no doubt they
have even volcanoes there, but I did not see any, probably because the
English are so reticent, and hate to make a display of any sort.


It is because they are so, or possibly because of my ignorance, that I
did not know or at all imagine how magnificent the Cathedral of Durham
is, or what a matchless seat it has on the bluffs of the river, with
depths of woods below its front, tossing in the rich chill of the
September wind. As it takes flight for the heavens, to which its
business is to invite the thought, it seems to carry the earth with it,
for if you climb those noble heights, you find your feet still on the
ground, in a most stately space of open level between the cathedral and
its neighbor castle, which alone could be worthy of its high company.

The castle is Tudor, but the cathedral is beyond all other English
cathedrals, I believe, Norman, though to the naked eye it looks so
Gothic, and probably is. Here I will leave the reader with any pictures
or memories of it which he happens to have, for I have always held it
a sin to try describing architecture, or if not a sin, a bore. What
chiefly remains to me of my impression of Durham Cathedral is,
strangely enough, an objection: I did not like those decorated pillars,
alternating with the clustered columns of the interior, and I do not
suppose I ever shall: the spiral furrows, the zigzag and lozenge figures
chiselled in their surfaces, weakened them to the eye and seemed to
trifle with their proud bulk.

But to the castle of Durham I have no objection whatever. I should like
to live in it, as I should in all other Tudor houses, great or small,
that I saw, where, as I am constantly saying, a high ideal of comfort
is realized. It is almost as nobly placed as the cathedral, and it is
approached by a very stately courtyard, of like spacious effect with the
cathedral piazza. Inside it there is a kitchen of the sixteenth century,
with a company of neat serving-maids, too comely and young to be,
perhaps, of the same period, that gives the tourist a high sense of the
luxury in which the Bishop of Durham and the Judges of the Assize Courts
live when they are residents in the castle. One sees their apartments,
dim and rich, and darkly furnished, but not gloomily, both where they
sleep and where they eat, and flatteringly envies them in a willingness
for the moment to be a judge or a bishop for the sake of such a fit
setting. There is also a fine crypt, with a fine dining-hall and a black
staircase of ancient oak, and a gallery with classic busts, and other
pictures worthy of wonder, let alone a history from the time of William
the Conqueror, who first fancied a castle where it stands, down to the
present day. The memory of such successive guests as the Empress Matilda
and Henry II. her son, King John, Henry III., Edwards I., II., and III.,
Queen Philippa, Henry VI., and James I., and Charles I., and Edward
VII., abides in the guidebook, and may be summoned from its page to
the chambers of the beautiful old place by any traveller intending
impressions for literary use from a medieval environment in perfect


One must be hard to satisfy if one is not satisfied with Durham Castle,
and its interior contented me as fully as the exterior of the Cathedral.
I went a walk, after leaving the castle, for a further feast of the
Cathedral from the paths along the shelving banks of the beautiful
Weare. There, at a certain point, I met a studious-looking gentleman who
I am sure must have been a professor of Durham University hard by; and
I asked him, with due entreaty for pardon, "What river was that." He
quelled the surprise he must have felt at my ignorance and answered
gently, "The Weare." "Ah, to be sure! The Weare," I said, and thanked
him, and longed for more talk with him, but felt myself so unworthy that
I had not the face to prompt him further. He passed, and then I met a
man much more of my own kind, if not probably so little informed. That
rich, chill gale was still tossing and buffeting the tree tops, and he
made occasion of this to say, "This is a cold wynd a-blowin', Mister."
"It is, rather," I assented. "I was think-in'," he observed from an
apparent generalization, "that I wished I was at home." Then he suddenly
added, "Help a poor man!" I was not wholly surprised at the climax,
and I offered him, provisionally, a penny. "Will that do?" He hesitated
perceptibly; then he allowed, with a subtle reluctance, "Yes, that'll
do," and so passed on to satisfy, I hope, the wish he thought he had.


I pursued my own course, as far as the bridge which spans the Weare near
a most picturesque mill, and then I stopped a kindly-looking workman
and asked him whether he thought I could find a fly or cab anywhere near
that would take me into the town. He answered, briefly but consistently
with his looks, "Ah doot," and as he owned that it was a long way to
town, I let his doubt decide me to go back to the station.

I felt that I ought to have driven from there into the town, and seen
it, and taken to York a later train than the one I had in mind. In the
depravity induced by my neglect of this plain duty, I went, with my
third class return ticket conscious in my pocket, into the first class
refreshment room, and had tea there, as if I had been gentry at the very
least, and possibly nobility. Then, having a good deal of time still
on my hands, I loitered over the book-stall of the station, and stole a
passage of conversation with a kindly clergyman whom I found looking at
the pretty shilling editions filling the cases. I said, How nice it was
to have Hazlitt in that green cloth; and he said, Yes, but he held for
Gibbon in leather; and just then his train came in and he ran off to
it, and left me to my guilt in not having gone to see Durham. It was now
twilight, and too late; but there the charming old town still is, and
will long remain, I hope, with its many memories of war and peace, for
whoever will visit it. Certainly there had been no lack of adventures in
my ample hour. It was as charming to weave my conjectures, about the
two gentlemen with whom I had so barely spoken, as to have carried
my acquaintance with them further, and I cannot see how it would have
profited me to know more even of that fellow-man who, in the cold wynd
a-blowing, had just been thinking he wished he was at home.

       *       *       *       *       *


It was fit that on our way to Boston we should pause in passing through
Cambridge. That was quite as we should have done at home, and I can only
wish now that we had paused longer, though every moment that kept us
from Boston, if it had been anywhere but in England, would have been a
loss. There, it was all gain, and all joy, the gay September 24th
that we went this divine journey. My companion was that companionable
archaeologist who had guided my steps in search of the American origins
in London, and who was now to help me follow the Pilgrim Fathers over
the ground where they sojourned when they were only the Pilgrim Sons.
At divers places on the way, after we left London, he pointed out some
scene associated with American saints or heroes. We traversed the region
that George William Curtis' people came from, hard by Roxburgh, and
Eliot's, the Apostle to the Indians; again we skirted the Ralph Waldo
Emerson country, with its big market town of Bishop's Stortford; and
beyond Ely, where we stopped for the Cathedral and a luncheon, not
unworthy of it, at the station, he startled me from a pleasant drowse I
had fallen into in our railway carriage, with the cry: "There! That is
where Captain John Smith was born." "Where? Where?" I implored too late,
looking round the compartment everywhere. "Back where those chickens


That was the nearest I came to seeing one of the most famous Virginian
origins. But you cannot see everything in England; there are too many
things; and if the truth must be known I cared more for the natural
features than the historical facts of the landscape. The country was
flat, and a raw green, as it should be in that raw air, under that
dun sky, with sheep hardily biting the short tough pasturage under the
imbrowning oaks and elms, and the olive-graying willows, beside the
full, still streams scarce wetter than the ground they dreamed through.

We did not reach Boston until six o'clock, when the day was already
waning, and the Stump of St. Botolph's Church stood dim against the sky.
It was a long drive through the suburban streets from the station to the
hotel, which we found full, and which with its crazy floors touched the
fancy as full of something besides guests. But it was well for us so,
because across the market-place, which forms the chief public square
of Boston, was a far better hotel, where we were welcomed to the
old-fashioned ideal of the English inn, such as I did not so nearly
realize anywhere else. The ideal was a little impaired by the electric
light in our bedrooms, but it was not a very brilliant electric light,
and there was a damp cold in the corridors which allowed no doubt of its
genuineness. In the dining-room, which was also the reading-room, there
was an admirable image of a fire in the grate, and a prevailing warmth
and brightness which cheered the heart of exile. When we presently had
dinner, specialized for us by certain differences from that of two other
travellers, there seemed nothing more to ask, except the conversation of
our companions, and this we duly had, quite as if we were four wayfarers
met there in a book. One of these gentlemen proved a solicitor from
Bath, and that made me feel more at home, knowing and loving Bath as I
did. It did not matter that in trying for some mutual acquaintance
there we failed; our good-will was everything; and the solicitor was
intelligent and agreeable. The other gentleman, tall, dark, of urbane
stateliness, was something more, in the touch of Oriental suavity
which, more than his nose, betrayed him; and it appeared, in delightful
suggestion of the old-time commercial intimacy of the Dutch and English
coasts, that he was from Holland, and next morning at breakfast he
developed a large valise, which I now think held samples. If he was a
Dutch Jew, he was probably a Spanish Jew by descent, and what will the
difficult reader have more, in the materials for his romance? Did we
gather about the grate after we had done dinner, and each tell the
story of his life, or at least the most remarkable thing that had ever
happened to him?


I cannot say, but I remember that my friend and I, in my instant hunger
for Boston, which was greater than my hunger for dinner, set forth while
the meal was preparing, and visited the Church of St. Botolph. To reach
it we had to pass through the greater length of the market-place, one
of the most picturesque in England, and the worthy ancestress of
Faneuil Hall and Quincy market-places, which are the most picturesque in
America. At one side of its triangle is the birthplace and dwelling
of Jean Ingelow, and at the point nearest the church is the statue of
Herbert Ingram, the less famous but more locally recognized Bostonian,
who founded the _Illustrated London News_ with the money he made by the
invention and sale of Old Parr's Pills. He was thrice sent to Parliament
from his native town, and he related it to America, after two centuries,
by drowning in Lake Michigan. "R. N.," the otherwise anonymous author of
a very intelligent and agreeable _Handbook of Boston_, relates that in
his first canvass for Parliament Ingram was opposed by a gentleman who,
when he asked the voices of the voters, after the old English fashion,
was told by four of them in succession that they were promised "to their
cousin Ingram," and who thereupon declared that if he had known Ingram
"was cousin to the whole town" he would, never have stood against him.
Like the Bostonians of Massachusetts, the Bostonians of Lincolnshire
were in fact closely knit together by ties of kinship, owing, "R. N."
believes, to the isolation of Boston before the draining of its fens,
and not to their conviction that there were no outsiders worthy to mate
with them.


The house where the martyrologist John Fox first saw the light was
replaced long ago by a famous old inn, pulled down in its turn; but the
many and many Americans who visit Boston may still visit the house where
Jean Ingelow was born. Whether they may see more than the outside of it
I do not know from experiment or even inquiry. "R. N." will say nothing
of her but that she was born, and that her father was a banker; perhaps
he thinks that she has spoken sufficiently for herself.


The air of the market-place, as we crossed to the church, was of a
pleasant bleakness, and the Witham was coldly washing under the wall
which keeps St. Botolph from it. In the dimness we could have only a
conjecture of the church's outward beauty, and of the grandeur of the
tower climbing into the evening, where it has hailed so many myriads
of moving ships, and beckoned them to safety. But within, where it was
already night, the church was cheerfully luminous with Welsbach lights,
which showed it all wreathed and garlanded for a harvest festival,
began the day before, and to be concluded now with some fit religious
observance. The blossoms and leaves were a little wilted and withered,
but the fruits and vegetables were there in sturdy endurance, and
together they swathed the pulpit from which John Cotton used to preach,
and all but hid its structure from view, like flowers of rhetoric
softening some hard doctrine.

Apparently, however, Cotton's doctrine was not anywise too hard, or
even hard enough, for such "a factious people, who were imbued with the
Puritan spirit," as he found in Boston, when he was first elected vicar
of St. Botolph's; and it was not till Archbishop Laud's ecclesiastical
tyrannies began that he came to see "the Sin of Conformity" and to
preach resistance. His conflict with the authorities went so far that
exile to another Boston in another hemisphere became his only hope.
Or, as Lord Dorset intimated, "if he had been guilty of drunkenness,
uncleanness, or any lesser fault, he could have obtained his pardon,
but as he was guilty of Puritanism, and Non-conformity, the crime was
non-pardonable; and therefore he advised him to flee for his safety."

The Cotton Chapel, so called, was restored mainly with moneys received
from Cotton's posterity, lineal or lateral, in his city of refuge
overseas, and "the corbels that support the timbered ceiling are carved
with the arms of certain of the early colonists of New England." Edward
Everett, one of Cotton's descendants, wrote the dedicatory inscription
in Latin, which "R. N." has Englished in verse, and I am the more
scrupulous to quote it, because, as I must own with my usual reluctant
honesty, I quite missed seeing the Cotton Chapel.

     That here John Cotton's memory may survive
     Where for so long he labored when alive,
     In James' reign and Charles', ere it ceased--
     A grave, skilled, learned, earnest parish-priest;
     Till from the strife that tossed the Church of God
     He in a new world sought a new abode,
     To a new England, a new Boston came,
     (That took, to honor him, that reverend name)
     Fed the first flock of Christ that gathered there--
     Till death deprived it of its shepherd's care--
     There well resolved all doubts of mind perplext,
     Whether with cares of this world or the next;
     Two centuries five lustra from the year
     That saw the exile leave his labors here,
     His family, his townsmen, with delight--
     (Whom to the task their English kin invite)--
     To the fair fane he served so well of yore,
     His name, in two worlds honored, thus restore,
     This chapel renovate, this tablet place,
     In this, the year of man's recovered Grace,


I missed most of the other memorable things in the church that night,
but I saw fleetingly some of the beautiful tombs for which it is famous;
the effigies of the dead lay in their niches, quietly, as if already
tucked away for the night, in the secular sleep of the dust beneath. The
tombs were more famous than they, and more beautiful, if the faces of
some were true likenesses, but after so many centuries one ought not to
require even women to be pretty.

[Illustration: THE RIVER AT EVENING]

We had not begun to have enough of Boston yet, and after dinner we went
a long walk up the Witham, away from the parapet before the church,
under which its deep tides are always washing to and fro. In the
dimness, after we had got a little to the outskirts of the town, there
seemed shipyards along the river's course, but at one place there was
a large building brilliantly lighted, which from certain effects at the
windows we decided to be a printing-office on the scale of those in and
near our own Boston. What was our shame and grief the next morning
to find it was a cigar factory, and to learn that cigar and cigarette
making was almost the chief industry of the mother Boston. There are
really two large tobacco factories there running overtime, and always
advertising for more women and girls to do their work; and in our
Boston, not so long ago, smoking in the street was forbidden! Such are
the ironies of life.

What the shipyards had turned into by daylight, I do not now remember.
The Witham had turned into a long, deep gash, cut down into the clay
twenty feet from the level of the flood tides. We crossed on a penny
ferry which the current pushed over in the manner of the earliest
ferries, near the tobacco factory, and came back into the heart of the
town through streets of low stone houses, with few buildings of note to
dignify their course. Small craft lay along the steep muddy shores, and
at one place a little excursion steamer was waiting for the tide to
come in and float it for the fulfilment of its promise of sailing at ten
o'clock. We idly longed to make its voyage with it, and if the chance
were offering now, I certainly should not forego it as I did then. But
when you are in a foreign place, no matter how much you have travelled
and how well you know that it will not offer soon again, you reject the
most smiling chance because you think you can take it any time.

The morning was soft and warm, with a sun shining amiably on the rather
commonplace old town. I had risen betimes that I might go and get
a Spanish melon for my breakfast, but at eight o'clock I found the
fruiterer's locked and barred against me. I lingered and hungered for
the melons which I saw in his window, and then I tried other fruiterers,
but none of them was stirring yet. I reflected how different it would
have been in our own Boston; and if it had not been for the market
people coming into the square and beginning to dress their stalls with
vegetables, and fish, and native fruits, such as hard pears and knotty
apples, I do not know how ill I might have come away thinking of that
idle mother Boston. In other squares there were cattle for sale later,
and fish, but I cannot in even my present leniency claim that the
markets were open at the hour which the genteeler commerce of the place
found so indiscreet. They were irregular spaces of a form in keeping
with the general shambling and shapeless character of the town, which,
once for all, I must own was not an impressive place.

The best thing in it, and the thing you are always coming back to,
is the beautiful church, to which we paid a second visit early in the
forenoon. We found it where we left it the night before, lifting its
tower from the brink of the Witham, and looking far out over the flat
land to a sea no flatter. The land seems indeed, like so much English
coast, merely the sea come ashore, and turned into fens for the greater
convenience of the fishermen, whom, with the deeper sea sailors, we
saw about the town, lounging through the crooked streets, and hanging
bare-armed upon the parapets of the bridges. Now we found the church
had about its foot a population of Bostonians for whom, under their flat
gravestones, it had been chiming the quarters from its mellow-throated
bells, while the Bostonians on our side had been hustling for liberty,
and money, and culture, and all the good things of this world, and
getting them in a measure that would astonish their namesakes. Within
the church we saw again the beautiful tombs of the night before, and
others like them, and again we saw the pulpit of John Cotton, which we
could make out a little better than at first, because its garlands were
a little more withered and shrunken away. But better than either we
realized the perfection of the church interior as a whole, so ample, so
simple, such a comfortable and just sufficient eyeful.


From other interests in St. Botolph's you somehow keep always, or
finally, coming to the Stump, as the tower is called somewhat in the
humor of our Boston. It is not so fair within as without; that could
not be in the nature of things; and yet the interior of the tower has a
claim upon the spectator's wonder, if not his admiration, which, so far
as I know, the interior of no other tower has. It is all treated as a
loftier room of the church, and its ceiling, a hundred and fifty feet
from the ground, is elaborately and allegorically groined. The work was
done when the whole church was restored about half a century ago, and
has not the claim of medieval whim upon the fancy. Not so much pleasure
as he might wish mingles with the marvel of the beholder, who carries a
crick in the neck away from the sight, and yet once, but not more, in a
way, it is worth while to have had the sight. Certainly this treatment
of the tower is unique; there is nothing to compare with it in Boston,
Massachusetts, and cannot be even when the interior of the Old South is

When we came out of the church, we found the weather amusing itself
as usual in England, raining with wind, then blowing without rain, and
presently, but by no means decisively, sunning without either wind or
rain. The conditions were favorable to a further exploration of the
town, which seemed to have a passion for old cannon, and for sticking
them about in all sorts of odd nooks and corners. We found one smaller
piece over a gateway, which we were forbidden by a sign-board to enter
on pain of prosecution for trespassing. There was nothing else to
prevent our entering, and we went in, to find ourselves in an alley with
nothing but a Gypsy van in it. Nothing but a Gypsy van! As if that were
not the potentiality of all manner of wild romance! Whether the alley
belonged to Gypsies, or the Gypsies had trespassed by leaving their van
in it, I shall now probably never know, but I commend the inquiry to any
reader of mine whom these pages shall inspire to repeat our pilgrimage.


There was no great token of genteel life in Boston, so far as we saw it,
but perhaps we did not look in the right places. There were good shops,
but not fine or large ones, and I am able to report of the intellectual
status that there are three weekly newspapers, but no dailies, which
could not be the case in any American town of fourteen thousand people.
Concerning society, I can only say that in our wanderings we came at one
point on a vast, high-walled, iron-gated garden, which looked as if it
might have society beyond it, but not being positively forbidden we did
not penetrate it. We did indeed visit the ancient grammar-school, one
of those foundations which in England were meant originally for the poor
deserving of scholarship, but which have nearly all lapsed to the more
deserving rich, careful of the contamination of the lower classes.
Being out of term the school was closed to its pupils, but we found
a contractor there removing the old stoves and putting in a system of
hot-water heating, which he said was better fitted to resist the cold
of the Boston winters. He was not a very conversable man, but so much we
screwed out of him, with the added fact that the tuition of that school
was no longer free. It came to some five guineas a year, no great sum,
but perhaps sufficient to keep the school, with the other influences,
select enough for the patronage to which it had fallen. It was a
pleasant place, with a playground before it, which in the course of
generations there must have been a good deal of schoolboy fun got out


There remained for us now only the Guildhall to visit, and we had left
that to the last because it was the thing that had mostly brought us
to Boston. It was the scene of the trial and imprisonment of those poor
people of the region roundabout who were trying to escape from their
"dread lord," James the First, and were arrested for this crime, and
brought to answer for it before the magistrates of the town. Their dread
lord had then lately met some ministers of their faith at Hampton Court,
and there browbeaten, if not beaten, them in argument, so that he was in
no humor to let, these people, who afterward became the Pilgrim Fathers,
get away to Holland, where there was no dread lord, or at least none of
King James' thinking.

But no words can be so good to tell of all this as the words of Governor
Bradford in his _Historie of Plymouth Plantation_, where he says that
"ther was a large companie of them purposed to get passage at Boston in
Lincolnshire, and for that end had hired a shipe wholy to them selves, &
made agreement with the maister to be ready at a certaine day, and take
them and their goods in, at a conveniente place, wher they accordingly
would all attende in readiness. So after long waiting, & large expences,
though he kepte not day with them, yet he came at length & tooke them
in, in the night. But when he had them & their goods abord, he betrayed
them, haveing before hand complotted with the serchers & other officers
so to doe; who tooke them, and put them into open boats, & ther rifled
and ransaked them, searching them to their shirts for money, yea even
the women furder then became modestie; and then caried them back into
the towne, & made them a spectakle & wonder to the multitude, which
came flocking on all sides to behould them. Being thus first, by the
catchpoule officer, rifled, & stripte of their money, books, and much
other goods, they were presented to the magistrates, and messengers
sente to informe the lords of the Counsell of them; and so they were
comited to ward. Indeed the magistrats used them courteously, and shewed
them what favour they could; but could not deliver them till order
came from the Counsell-table. But the issue was that after a months
imprisonmente, the greatest parte were dismiste, & sent to the places
from whence they came; but 7. of the principall were still kept in
prison, and bound over to the Assises."

My excellent "R. N." of the _Handbook of Boston_ is anxious to have his
reader, as I in turn am anxious to have mine, distinguish between these
future Pilgrim Fathers and the gentlemen and scholars who later founded
Boston in Massachusetts Bay, and called its name after that of the town
they had dwelt in or often visited before they left the handsome keeping
of the gentler life of Lincolnshire. Such were Richard Bellingham,
Edmund Quincy, Thomas Leverett, John Cotton, Samuel Whiting, and
others, known to our colonial and national history. Not even Bradford
or Brewster, afterward dignified figures in Plymouth colony, were of the
humble band, men, women, and children, that the officers of Boston took
from their vessel. "Pathetic but splendid figures," my brave "R. N."
calls them, and he tells how, after a month's jail, they were "sent home
broken men, to endure the scoffs of their neighbors and the rigors of
ecclesiastical discipline."


The dungeons which remain to witness of their hardships in Boston are of
thick-walled, iron-grated stone, and the captives were fed on bread
and water within smell of the roasting and broiling of the Guildhall
kitchens immediately beside them. I will not conjecture with "R. N."
that they were put there "by a refinement of cruelty," so that they
might suffer the more in that vicinage. "The magistrates" who had "used
them courteously and shewed them what favour they could," would not have
willed that; but perhaps "the Counsell-table" did; and it was certainly
a hardship that the dungeons and the kitchens were so close together, as
any man may see at this day. Neither the dungeons nor the kitchens are
any longer used; the spits and grates are rusted where the fires blazed,
and the cells where the Pilgrims suffered are now full of large earthen
jars. For no other or better reason, the large open spaces of the
basement outside of them were scattered about with agricultural
implements, ploughs, harrows, and the like. It was the belief of my
companion, founded on I know not what fact, that the hall in which the
Pilgrims were tried was a large upper chamber which we found occupied by
a boys' school. The door stood partly ajar, and we could see the master
within walking up and down before some twenty boys, as if waiting for
one of them to answer some question he had put them. Perhaps it was a
question of local history, for none of them seemed able to answer it;
presently when a boy came out on some errand, and we stopped him, and
asked him where it was the Pilgrims had been tried, he did not know,
and apparently he had never heard of the Pilgrims. He was a very
nice-looking boy, and otherwise not unintelligent; certainly he was
well-mannered, as nice-looking English boys are apt to be with their
elders; perhaps he had heard too much of the Pilgrims, and had purposely
forgotten them. This might very well have happened in a place like
Boston where such hordes of Americans are coming every year, and asking
so many hard questions concerning an incident of local history not
wholly creditable to the place. He could justly have said that the same
or worse might have happened to the Pilgrims anywhere else in England,
under the dread lord there then was, and in fact something of the same
hardship did befall them afterward at the place a little northeast of
Boston, which we were now to visit for their piteous sake.

"The nexte spring after," as Bradford continues the narrative of their
sorrows, "ther was another attempte made by some of these & others, to
get over at an other place. And so it fell out, that they light of a
Dutchman at Hull, having a ship of his owne belonging to Zealand; they
made agreements with him, and acquainted him with their condition,
hoping to find more faithfullnes in him, then in the former of their
owne nation. He bad them not fear, for he would doe well enough. He
was by appointment to take them in betweene Grimsbe & Hull, where was
a large comone a good way distante from any towne. Now against the
prefixed time, the women & children, with the goods, were sent to the
place in a small barke, which they had hired for that end; and the men
were to meete them by land. But it so fell out, that they were ther a
day before the shipe came, and the sea being rough, and the women very
sicke, prevailed with the seamen to put into a creeke hardby, wher they
lay on ground at lowwater. The nexte morning the shipe came, but they
were fast, & could not stir till about noone. In the mean time, the
shipe maister, perceiveing how the matter was, sente his boate to be
getting the men abord whom he saw ready, walking aboute the shore. But
after the first boat full was gott abord, & she was ready to goe for
more, the Mr. espied a greate company, both horse & foote, with bills,
& gunes, & other weapons; for the countrie was raised to take them. The
Dutchman seeing this swore his countries oath, 'sacremente,' and having
the wind faire, waiged his Ancor, hoysed sayles, & away. But the poore
men which were gott abord, were in great distress for their wives and
children, which they saw thus to be taken, and were left destitute of
their helps; and them selves also, not having a cloath to shifte them
with, more then they had on their baks, & some scarce a peney aboute
them, all they had being abord the barke. It drew tears from their
eyes, and any thing they had they would have given to have been a shore
againe; but all in vaine, ther was no remedy, they must thus sadly part.
The rest of the men there were in greatest danger, made shift to escape
away before the troope could surprise them: those only staying that best
might, to be assistante unto the women. But pitifull it was to see the
heavie case of these poore women in this distress: what weeping & crying
on every side, some for their husbands, that were carried away in the
ship as is before related; others not knowing what should become of
them, & their little ones; others again melted in teares, seeing their
poore little ones hanging aboute them, crying for feare, and quaking
with could. Being thus aprehanded, they hurried from one place to
another, and from one justice to another, till in the ende they knew not
what to doe with them; for to imprison so many women & innocent children
for no other cause (many of them) but that they must goo with their
husbands, seemed to be unreasonable and all would crie out of them;
and to send them home againe was as difficult, for they aleged, as the
trueth was, they had no homes to goe to, for they had either sould, or
otherwise disposed of their houses & livings. To be shorte, after they
had been thus turmoyled a good while, and conveyed from one constable to
another, they were glad to be ridd of them in the end upon any termes:
for all were wearied & tired with them. Though in the mean time they
(poore soules) indured miserie enough; and thus in the end necessitie
forste a way for them."


If there is any more touching incident in the history of man's
inhumanity to man, I do not know it, or cannot now recall it; and it was
to visit the scene of it near "Grimsbe," or Great Grimsby, as it is now
called, that we set out, after viewing their prison in Boston, over wide
plains, with flights of windmills alighted on them everywhere. Here and
there one seemed to have had its wings clipped, and we were told by a
brighter young fellow than we often had for a travelling companion
that this was because steam had been put into it as a motive power more
constant than wind, even on that wind-swept coast. There seems to have
been nothing else, so far as my note-book witnesses, to take up our
thoughts in the short run to Great Grimsby, and for all I know now I
may have drowsed by many chicken-yards marking the birthplace of our
discoverers and founders. We got to Great Grimsby in time for a very
lamentable lunch in a hostelry near the station, kept, I think, for such
"poore people" as the Pilgrims were, with stomachs not easily turned by
smeary marble table-tops with a smeary maid having to take their orders,
and her ineffective napkin in her hand. The honesty as well as the
poverty of the place was attested, when, returning to recover a
forgotten umbrella, we were met at the door by this good girl, who had
left her bar to fetch it in anticipation of all question.

At Great Grimsby, it seemed, there was no vehicle but a very exceptional
kind of cab,--looking like a herdic turned wrongside fore, and unable
to orient itself aright,--available for the long drive to that "large
comone a good way distante from any towne," which we were to make, if
we wished to visit the scene of the Pilgrims' sufferings in their second
attempt to escape from their dread lord. In this strange equipage,
therefore, we set out, and nine long miles we drove through a country
which seemed to rise with increasing surprise at us and our turnout on
each inquiry we made for the way from chance passers. Just beyond the
suburbs of the town we entered the region of a vast, evil smell which
we verified as that of the decaying fish spread upon the fields, for
a fertilizer after they had missed their market in that great fishing
centre. Otherwise the landscape was much the ordinary English landscape
of the flatter parts, but wilder and rougher than in the south or west,
and constantly growing more so as we drove on and on. Our cabman kept
a good courage, as long as the highway showed signs of much travel,
but when it began to falter away into a country road, he must have
lost faith in our sanity, though he kept an effect of the conventional
respect for his nominal betters which English cabmen never part with
except in a dispute about fares and distances. We stayed him as well
as we could with some grapes and pears, which we found we did not
want after our lunch, and which we handed him up through his little
trap-door, but a plaintive quaver grew into his voice, and he let his
horse lag in the misgiving which it probably shared with him. Nothing
of signal interest occurred in our progress except at one point, near
a Methodist chapel, where we caught sight of a gayly painted blue van,
lettered over with many texts and mottoes, which my friend explained
as one of the vans intinerantly used by extreme Protestants of the Anne
Askew persuasion to prevent the spread of Romanism in England.

The signs of travel had not only ceased, but a little in front of us the
way was barred by a gate, and beyond this gate there was nothing but a
sort of savage pasture, with many red and brown cattle in it, gathered
questioningly about the barrier, or lifting their heads indifferently
from the grass. Just before we reached the gate we passed a peasant's
cottage, where he was sociably getting in his winter's coal, and he and
his wife and children, and the carter, all leaned upon whatever supports
they found next them, and stared at the extraordinary apparition of two,
I hope, personable strangers driving in a hansom of extreme type into a
cow pasture. But we were not going to give ourselves away to their too
probable ignorance by asking if that were the place where the Pilgrims
who founded New England were first stopped from going to Holland.

My friend dismounted, and opened the gate, and we drove in among the
cattle, and after they had satisfied a peaceful curiosity concerning us,
they went about their business of eating grass, and we strayed over "the
large comone," and tried to imagine its looks nearly three hundred years
before. They could not have been very different; the place could hardly
have been much wilder, and there was the "creeke hardby wher they lay,"
the hapless women and children, in their boat "at lowwater," while the
evening came on, no doubt, just as it was doing with us, the weather
clearing, and the sunset glassy and cold. Off yonder, away across the
solitary moor, was the course of the Humber, marked for us by the trail
of a steamer's smoke through the fringes of trees, and for them by the
sail of the Dutchman, who, when he saw next day that "great company,
both horse and foote, with bills and gunes, and other weapons," coming
to harry those poor people, "swore his countries oath, 'sacremente,'
and having the wind faire, waiged his ancor, hoysed sails, and away,"
leaving those desolate women and their little ones lamenting.


On our way back we stopped at a little country church, so peaceful, so
very peaceful, in the evening light, where it stood, withdrawn from the
highway, Norman and Gothic without, and within all so sweet and bare
and clean, that we could not believe in the old ecclesiasticism
which persecuted the Puritans into the exile whither they carried the
persecuting spirit with them. A pretty child, a little girl, opened the
churchyard gate and held it for us to pass, and her gentleness made me
the more question the history of those dreadful days in the past. When I
saw a young lady, in the modern dress which I had so often lost my heart
to at the Church Parade in Hyde Park, going up a leafy lane, toward the
vicarage, from having been for tennis and afternoon tea at some pleasant
home in the neighborhood, I denied the atrocious facts altogether. She
had such a very charming hat on.

The suburbs of Great Grimsby, after you reach them through that zone of
bad smell, are rather attractive, and you get into long clean streets of
small stone houses, like those of Plymouth or Southampton, and presently
you reach the Humber, which is full of the steamers and sail, both
fishing and deep sea, of the prosperous port, with great booms of
sawlogs from Norway, half filling the channel, and with a fringe of tall
chimneys from the sawmills along the shores. Great Grimsby is not only
the centre of a vast distributing trade in coal and lumber, but of a
still vaster trade in fish. It cuts one's pride, if one has believed
that Gloucester, Massachusetts, is the greatest fishing port in the
world, to learn that Grimsby, with a hundred more fishing sail, is only
"_one_ of the principal fishing ports" of the United Kingdom. What can
one do against those brutal British statistics? We think our towns grow
like weeds, but London seems to grow half such a weed as Chicago in a
single night.


After we were got well into the town, we found ourselves part of an
immense bicycle parade, with bicyclers of both sexes on their wheels, in
masks and costumes, Pierrots, and Clowns, and Harlequins and Columbines,
in a competition for the prettiest and fanciest dress.

When we came to start from the station on our run to London, we
reflected that there were a great many of these bicyclers, and that they
would probably crowd us in our third-class compartment. So, as we had
bought an excellent supper in baskets, such as they send you on the
trains everywhere in England, and wished to eat it in quiet, we sought
out the guard who was lurking near for the purpose, and bribed him to
shut us into that compartment, and not let any one else in. There
we remained in darkness, with our curtains drawn, and when, near
train-time, the bicyclers began to swarm about the carriages, we heard
them demanding admittance to our compartment from our faithful guard,
if that is the right way to call him. He turned them away with soft
answers, answers so very soft that we could not make out what he said,
but he seemed to be inviting them into other compartments, which he
doubtless pretended were better. The murmurs would die away, and then
rise again, and from time to time we knew that a baffled bicycler was
pulling at our door, or vainly bumping against it. We listened with our
hearts in our mouths; but no one got in, and the train started, and we
opened our baskets and began to eat and to drink, like two aristocrats
or plutocrats. What made our inhuman behavior worse was that we were
really nothing of the kind, but both professed friends of the common
people. The story might show that when it comes to a question of
selfishness men are all alike ready to profit by the unjust conditions.
However, it must be remembered that those people were only bicyclers. If
we could have conceived of them as masses we should have known them for
brothers, and let them in, probably.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is only some six or seven hours by train from London to Aberystwyth,
but if you will look at the names on a map of the Cambrian railways,
when you begin the Welsh part of your journey, you will seem to be in a
stranger and farther country than that of Prester John. Pwllheli, Cerrig
y Drudion, Gwerful Goch, Festiniog, Bryn Eglwys, Llanidloes, Maertwro,
Carnedd Fibast, Clynog Fwr, Llan-y-Mawddwy Machynlleth, Duffws, are a
few out of the hundred names in the hills or along the valleys, giving
the near neighborhood of England an effect of more than mid-Asian
remoteness. The eye starts at their look; but if the jaw aches at the
thought of pronouncing them, it is our own wilful orthographical usage
that is at fault; the words, whose sound the letters faithfully render,
are music, and they largely record a Christian civilization which was
centuries old when the Saxons came to drive the Britons into the western
mountains and to call them strangers in the immemorial home of their
race. The Britons of the Roman conquest, who became the Welsh of the
baffled Saxon invaders, and are the Cymry of their own history and
poetry, still stand five feet four in their stockings, where they have
stood from the dawn of time, an inexpugnable host of dark little men,
defying the Saeseneg in their unintelligible, imperishable speech.


Of course, except in the loneliest and farthest places, they speak
English as well as Welsh; and they misplace their aspirates, which they
lost under the Normans as the Saxons did. But this did not happen to
them by conquest as it did to the Saxons; they were beguiled of their
h's when they were cheated with a Welsh-born prince instead of the Welsh
prince they were promised in the succession of their ancient lines.
They had been devout Christians, after their manner, in the earliest
centuries; as the prefix Llan, or Saint, everywhere testifies, the
country abounded in saints, whose sons inherited their saintship; and
at the Reformation they became Calvinists as unqualifiedly as their
kindred, the Bretons, remained Catholics. They have characterized the
English and Americans with their strong traits in a measure which can
be dimly traced in the spread of their ten or twenty national names, and
they have kept even with the most modern ideals quite to the verge of
co-education in their colleges. It is a fact which no Welshman will
deny that Cromwell was of Welsh blood. Shakespeare was unquestionably of
Welsh origin. Henry VII. was that Welsh Twdwr (or Tudor, as the Saeseneg
misspell it), who set aside the Plantagenet succession, and was the
grandsire of "the great Elizabeth," not to boast of Bloody Mary or Henry
VIII. But if these are not enough, there is the present Chancellor of
the Exchequer, Mr. Lloyd-George, who is now the chief figure of the
English cabinet.

The bad name which their own half-countryman, Giraldus Cambrensis, gave
the Welsh in the twelfth century, clings to them yet in the superstition
of all Norman-minded and Saxon-minded men, so that the Englishman I met
on the way from Edinburgh was doubtless speaking racially rather than
personally when he said that the Welsh were the prize liars of the
universe. I for my part heard no lies in Wales except those I told
myself; but as I am of Welsh stock, perhaps my experience is not wholly
refutive of that Englishman's position. I can only urge further the
noted philological fact that the Welsh language is so full of imagery
that it is almost impossible to express in it the brute veracities in
which the English speech is so apt. Otherwise I should say that nowhere
have I been used with a more immediate and constant sincerity than in
Wales. The people were polite and they were almost always amiable, but
in English, at least, they did not say the thing that was not; and their
politeness was without the servile forms from lower to higher which
rather weary one in England. They said "Yes," and "No," but as gently as
if they had always added "Sir." If I have it on my conscience to except
from my sweeping praise of sincerity the expressman at Aberystwyth who
promised that our baggage should be at our lodgings in an hour, and did
not bring it in five, I must add that we arrived on the last day of a
great agricultural fair, when even the New York Transfer Company might
have given a promise of more than wonted elasticity.


In the station of Aberystwyth there were about three or four thousand
Welshmen of the national height, volubly waiting for the trains to bear
them away to their farms and villages; but they made way most amiably
for the dismounting travellers, who in our case were led through them by
the most energetic porter I ever knew. They did not stare down upon us
from the unseemly altitude of other national statures, and often during
our stay I saw like crowds of civil men in the street markets who were
no taller, and sometimes there were women who had not scaled the heights
reached by our American girls. They would probably have competed fairly
well with these in the courses of the colleges to which the Welsh send
their daughters as well as their sons; but I will not pretend that the
good looks of either the men or women was of the American average.
I cannot even say that these contemporary ancient Britons had the
advantage of the toothless English peasantry in the prompt dentistry
which is our peculiar blessing. In Great Britain, though I must not say
Ireland, for I have never been there, a few staggering incisors seem
a formidable equipment of the jaw in lower-class middle life and even
tender youth. The difference is a tremendous advantage which, if it does
not make for the highest character in us, will doubtless stand us in
good stead in any close with the well-toothed Japanese, and when we are
beaten, our gold-fillings will go far to pay our indemnity.

After all those thousands at the station had departed, there were still
visitors enough left in Aberystwyth to distend the hotels uncomfortably;
and the next morning we set out in the pursuit, always interesting and
alluring, of lodgings. The town seemed to be pretty full of lodgings,
but as it was the middle of August, and the very height of the season,
they were full-up in dismaying measure. We found the only one not kept
by a Welsh woman in the ostensible keeping of an Englishwoman, a veteran
cockney landlady, but behind her tottering throne reigned a Welsh
girl, under whose iron rule we fell as if we had been unworthy Saeseneg
instead of Cymric-fetched Americans. We had rejected other lodgings
because, though their keepers had promised to provision us, it always
appeared that we must go out and do the marketing ourselves. I shall
lastingly regret that we did not submit to this condition, for it would
have been one of the best means of studying the local life. But we held
out for the London custom, and before the Welsh Power, which has
so often made itself felt behind English thrones, could intervene,
compliance was promised. After that it remained for the Welsh Power to
make our stay difficult, and our going easy.


Otherwise the place was delightful; it was in almost the centre of the
long curve of the Victoria Terrace, with windows that looked down upon
the pebbly beach, and over the blue sea to the bluer stretch of the
Pembrokeshire hills on the south, and the Carnarvonshire hills on the
north, holding the lovely waters in their shadowy embrace. There was
not much shipping, and what there was seemed of the pleasure sort that
parties go down to the sea to be sick in. The long parade was filled
at most hours with the English who make the place their resort; whose
bathing began early in the morning and whose flirting continued far
into the night, with forenoon and afternoon dawdling and dozing on the
pebbles. At one end of the Terrace rose a prodigious headland, whose
slope was scaled over with broken slate, like some mammoth heaving from
the deep and showing an elephantine hide of bluish gray. At the other
end was the Amusement Pier, with the co-educational college, which is
part of the University of Wales, and with divers hotels. Somewhat behind
and beyond were the ruins of one of those castles which the Normans
planted with a mailed fist at every vantage in Wales, as their sole
means of holding down the swarming, squirming, fighting little dark
people of the country. Even then they could not do it, for the Welsh,
often overrun, were never conquered, as they will tell you themselves if
you ask them. But Wales is now perhaps the most peaceful country in the
world. Its prisons for the most part stand empty (it is said), and the
people, once so turbulent, are as little given to violence as to vice.
In fact, I once heard a great Welsh scholar declare that in the old
times it was not the true Welsh who kept up the fighting, either on the
public or the private scale, but the Scotch and Irish who had found
a home among them. In any case, it is true that after the Normans had
planted their castles in Wales to hold the country, it was all they
could do to hold the castles, and not till their enemies had imagined
having the English King's son born in one of them did they bring the
Welsh under the English crown at last. Even then that uncertain people
broke from their allegiance now and again; or the Scotch and Irish among
them did.


All sorts of sights and sounds might be expected on our Terrace, but
that which especially warmed the heart of exile in us, and pleased the
fancy of other sojourners was the appearance, one evening, of a stately
band of tall men in evening dress and top-hats, with musical instruments
in their grasp, and heads lifted high above their Welsh following. We
called the Power behind the Throne to the window in our question and she
gave a glad cry: "Oh, they're the Neegurs! They're the white Neegurs!"
and at sight of our compatriotic faces at the pane, these beautiful
giants took their stand before our house, and burst into the familiar
music of the log-cabin, the stern-wheel steamboat, and the cornfield, as
well as the ragtime melodies of later days. It was a rich moment, and
I know not which joyed in it more, the Welsh Power or the American

But here, before I go farther afield, I must note a main difference
between the Welsh Power and the English slavey to whom she corresponded
in calling and condition. She was so far educated as to know the
pseudonym of the friend who came to see us, and to have read his
writings in the _Welsh Gazette_, treating our proposed triumph in his
distinction with the fine scorn she used for all our airs. If she had
been an old-fashioned Yankee Help she could not have been more snubbing;
but when we had been taught to know our place she was more tolerant, and
finally took leave of us without rancor.

The notion of the general Welsh education which her intelligence gave us
was carried indefinitely farther by the grocer's boy to whom our friend
presented me one evening, after he had been struggling to make me
understand what an _englyn_ was. I am able now to explain that it is a
polite stanza which the Welsh send with a present of fruit or flowers,
or for a greeting upon any worthy occasion. It is rhymed, sometimes
at both ends of the lines, and sometimes in the middle of them, and it
presents all the difficulties of euphony which the indomitable Welsh
glory in overcoming. But when my friend took me in hand, my ignorance
was of so dense a surface that he could make no impression on it, and he
said at last, "Let us go into this grocery. There's a boy here who will
_show_ you what an englyn is," and after I was introduced the kind youth
did so with pleasure, while he sold candles to one customer, soap to
another, cheese to another, and herring to another. He first wrote the
englyn in Welsh, and when I had sufficiently admired it in that tongue
(for which no atavistic knowledge really served me), he said he would
put it into English, and he did so. It was then not rhymed at both ends
or in the middle, but it was rhymed quite enough, and if it had not the
harp-like sweetness of the original, it was still such a musical stanza
that I shall always be sorry to have lost it. What I can never lose
the impression of is the wide-spread literary lore of the common Welsh
people which the incident suggested. I could not fancy even a Boston
grocer's boy doing the like; and perhaps this was an uncommon boy in
Wales itself. He told me a good deal, which I have mainly forgotten,
about the state of polite learning in his country and in what honor the
living bards were held. It seems that in that rhyming and singing little
land, the poets are still known as of old by their bardic names. As
Jones, or Evans, or Edwards they have no fame beyond other men, but up
and down all Wales they are celebrated as this bard or that, and are
honored according to their poetic worth.


After the appearance of the White Neegurs on the Terrace, I could hardly
have expected any livelier appeal to my American pride, and yet it came,
one day, when I learned that the line of carriages which I saw passing
our windows were the vehicles bearing to some public function the
members of the British Chautauqua. How far the name and idea of
Chautauqua have since spread there is no saying, but it was the last
of our national inventions which I should have expected to find in
Aberystwyth, though Welsh culture was reasonably in its line, and the
Eisteddfod was not out of keeping with the summer conferences held
beside our lovely up-State lake. The British Chautauqua, as I saw it,
was a group of people from all parts of the United Kingdom joined in the
pursuit of improvement and enjoyment, and they were now here on one of
their summer outings. They had been invited to a gentleman's place not
far from Aberystwyth to view as indubitable a remnant of the Holy Grail
as now exists, and it was my very good fortune through the kind offices
of that friend of ours to be invited with them.

It was a blamelessly rainless afternoon, of a sort commoner on the
western Welsh coast than on other shores of the "rainy isles," but
not too common even there; and we drove out of the town through the
prettiest country of hillside fields and valleys opening to the sea,
on a road that was fairly dusty in the hot sun. There were cottages,
grouped and detached, all the way, with gray stone walls and blue slate
roofs, and in places the children ran out from them with mercenary
offerings of flowers and song, or with frank pleas for charity direct. I
yielded with reluctance to the instruction of a Manchester economist in
my carriage, and denied them, when I would so much rather have abetted
them in their wicked attempts on our pockets. I remember ruefully still
that they had voices as sweet and eyes as dark as the children who used
to chase our wheels in Italy, and I have no doubt they deserved quite as
well of us as those did.

I got back my spirits when we left our carriages, and I found myself
walking up a pleasant avenue of wilding trees, with a young Chautauquan
from Australia who looked as if he might be a young Chautauquan from
Alabama, tall, and lean, and brown. We fell into talk about the trees,
and he said how they differed in their green from the sombre gray of his
native forests; and then he, from that vast far continent of his, spoke
of the little island where we were, as Home. That has always a strange
effect for us self-outcasts from the great British roof, and whether it
makes us smile, or makes us sigh, it never fails to startle us when we
hear it from colonial lips. The word holds in common kindness Canada and
India and South Africa and Australia, and it has its pathos in the fact
that the old mother of these mighty children seems to leave solely to
them the tenderness that draws them to her in that notion of home.


There were about fifty of those British Chautauquans, and when they had
ranged themselves on the grass before the shrubbery of a pleasant lawn,
backed by a wooded slope, the dignified lady of the house came out with
a casket in her hand, and put it on a table, and the exercises began.
Fitly, if the casket really held the sacred relic, they began with
prayer; then a Welsh soloist followed with a hymn, but whether she
sang in Welsh or English, I do not remember; I am only sure she sang
divinely; and then came the speeches. The first of the speeches was by
our friend, who was the local Unitarian minister, and of a religious
body not inconsiderable in that Calvinistic Wales. He told us how the
Holy Grail had been deposited with the monks of Strata Florida, the
famous old abbey near Aberystwyth; but I forgot who made them this
trust, unless it was King Arthur's knights, and I am not sure whether
the fact is matter of legend or history. What I remember is that when
the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII., certain of the escaping monks
came with the relic to the gentle house where we then were, and placed
it in the keeping of the family who have guarded it ever since.


After our friend, the lady of this house took up the tale, and told in
words singularly choice and simple the story of the sacred relic as the
family knew it. I had only once before heard a woman speak, no less a
woman than our great and dear Julia Ward Howe, and it seemed to me
that she spoke better than any man; and I must say of the Chautauquans'
hostess, that day, that if ever the Englishwomen come into their full
political rights, as they seem sure to do, the traditions of good
sense and good taste in English public speaking will not pass, but
will prosper on through their orators. There were touches of poetry,
nationally Welsh, in what she said, and touches of humor perhaps
personally Welsh. It seems that the cup had been famed throughout the
countryside for the miraculous property by which whoever drank from it
was cured of his or her malady, and it had been passed freely round to
all sufferers ever since it came into her family's keeping. That they
might make doubly sure of the miracle, it was the custom of the sick
not only to empty the cup, but to nibble a little bit of the wood, and
swallow that, so that in whatever state the monks of Strata Florida had
confided it, the vessel was now in the state we saw. Saying this the
lady opened the casket holding it, and showed us the crescent-shaped rim
of a wooden bowl, about the bigness of a cocoanut shell; all the rest
had been consumed by the pious sufferers whom it had restored to health.

I am sorry, after all, to own that this cup is said by some authorities
not to be the Holy Grail, but a vessel like it carved out of the true
cross. But even so subordinate a relic is priceless, and as it is no
longer possible to drink from it, we may hope that the fragment will
remain indefinitely to after time. When they had wondered at the sight
of it the Chautauquans and their friend were made free of the charming
seventeenth-century house, which would be old for this country, but
which in the taste of that time was rather modern, and looked like the
casino of some Italian villa. It abounded, as such houses in England do,
in the pictured faces of the past, and in the memorials which only the
centuries can leave behind them, but was too graceful to seem rich. "A
home of ancient peace," it looked, in its mild gray stone amidst its
lawns and shrubberies, the larger hold of the gardens and pleasaunces
through which the Chautauquans followed from it.


At Aberystwyth, and elsewhere in Wales, one of the things I noticed was
the difference of the people from the people over the English border in
their attitude toward their betters. They might stand only five feet in
their stockings, but they stood straight, and if they were respectful,
they were first self-respectful. In our run from Shrewsbury, their
language first made itself generally heard at Newport, and it increased
in the unutterable names of the stations westward, the farther we passed
into their beautiful country, but they had always English enough to be
civil, though never servile. The country is beautiful in the New
England measure, but it is of a softer and smaller beauty; it looks more
caressable; it is like Vermont rather than New Hampshire, and it is
more like New England than Old England in the greater number of isolated
farm-houses, from which the girls as well as the boys come to the
university colleges for learning undreamt of by English farm villagers.

The air was fresh and sweet, and though it seemed to shower wherever
we stopped to let another train go by on a siding of our single track,
there was a very passable sense of summer sun. The human type as we
began to observe it and as we saw it afterward throughout the land was
not only diminutive, but rather plain and mostly dark, in the men; as to
the women they were, as they are everywhere, charming, with now and then
a face of extraordinary loveliness, and nearly always the exquisite West
of England complexion. In their manners the people could not be more
amiable than the English, who are as amiable as possible, but they
seemed brighter and gayer. This remained their effect to the last in
Aberystwyth, and when one left the Terrace where the English visitors
superabounded, the Welsh had the whole place to themselves. I would not
push my conjecture, but it seemed to me that there was an absence of
the cloying loyalty which makes sojourn in England afflictive to the
republican spirit; I remember but one shop dedicated to the King's
Majesty, with the royal arms over the door, though there may have
been many others; I am always warning the reader not to take me too

Though I was about the streets by day and by dark, I saw no disorderly
behavior of any kind in the town away from the beach; I do not mean
there was any by the sea, unless some athletic courtship among the young
people of the watering-place element was to be accounted so. There was
not much fashion there, except in a few pretty women who recalled the
church parade of Hyde Park in their flowery and feathery costumes.
Back in the town there was no fashion at all, but a general decency
and comfort of dress. The Welsh costume survives almost solely in the
picture-postal cards, though perhaps in the hilly fastnesses the women
still wear the steeple-crowned hats which we associate with the notion
of witches; when they come to market in Aberystwyth they wear
hard, shiny black straw hats like the men's. Amongst the throng of
Saturday-night shoppers I saw none of the drunkenness that one sees so
often in Scottish streets, and in English cities, and, I grieve to say,
even in some New England towns. In the Welsh quarter Sunday was much
more the Sabbath than it was on the Terrace, where indeed it seemed a
day of pleasure rather than praise.


All the week I had the best intention of hearing the singing in some of
the Welsh churches, but my goodwill could not carry the day against the
fear of a sermon which I should not understand. A chance sermon would
probably have touched upon the education act which was then stirring
all Dissenting England and Wales to passive resistance, and from
Lincolnshire to Carnarvonshire was causing the distraint of tables
and chairs, tools, hams, clocks, clothing, poultry, and crops for the
payment of such part of the Dissenters' taxes as would go to the support
of the Church schools. Possibly it might also have referred to the Walk
Out of the Welsh Members of Parliament; this was an incident which I
heard mentioned as of imperial importance, though what caused it or came
of it I do not know.

Instead of going to church, I strolled up and down the Terrace and
observed the watering-place life. The town was evidently full, or
at least all the lodging-houses were, and as it is with the English
everywhere in their summer resorts, there were men enough to go round,
so that no poor dear need pine for a mate on that pleasant beach.
Aberystwyth is therefore to be commended to our overflow of girls,
though whether there are many eligible noblemen among those youth I have
not the statistics for saying. All the visitors may have been people
of rank; I only know that I was told they were mostly from the midland
cities, and they seemed to be having the good time which people of brief
outings alone have. The bathing began, as I have noted, very early in
the day with the men in the briefest possible tights; the women, for
compensation, wore long trousers with their bathing-skirts, and
they enhanced the modesty of their effect by the universal use of
bathing-machines, pushed well away from the curious shore. There was not
much variety in the visiting English type, but there was here and there
a sharp imperial accent, as in the two pale little, spindle-legged
Anglo-Indian boys, with their Hindu ayah, very dark, with sleek dark
hair, and gleaming eyes in a head not much bigger than a black walnut.

The crescent of the beach was a serried series of hotels and
lodging-houses, from tip to tip, but back of these were streets
of homelike, smallish dwellings, that broke rank farther away, and
scattered about in suburban villas, with trees and flowers and grass
around them. Beyond stretched, as well as it could stretch among its
hills, the charming country of fields, and woods, and orchards.


I suppose I did not quite do my duty by the ruins of the Norman castle,
and I feel that it is now too late to repair my neglect. The stronghold
was more than once attempted by the Welsh in those wars which make their
history a catalogue of battles, but it held out Norman till the Normans
turned English. Owen Glendover took it in 1402, when it was three
hundred years old, though not yet feeble with age, and in due time one
of Cromwell's lieutenants destroyed it. Some very picturesque fragments
remain to attest the grace and strength of the ancient hold. It is
near the University College and the Amusement Pier, so that the mere
sight-seers can do all the ordinary objects of interest at Aberystwyth
in half a day or half an hour. But we were none of these. We had fallen
in love with the place, and we would fain have stayed on after the
week was up for which we had taken our lodging. It appeared from a
house-to-house canvass, that there was no other lodging to be had in all
that long crescent of the Terrace; or, if this is incredible, there was
none we would have. Our successors were impending; and though I think
our English landlady might have invented something for us at the last
moment, the Welsh Power was inexorable. Her ideal was lodgers who would
go out and buy their own provisions, and we had set our faces against
that. Some one must yield, and the Welsh Power could not; it was not in
her nature. We were therefore in a manner expelled from Aberystwyth, but
our banishment was not from all Wales, and this was how we went next to

       *       *       *       *       *


Froissart's saying, if it was Froissart's, that the English amuse
themselves sadly antedates that notion of Merry England which is now
generally rejected by serious observers. I should myself prefer the
agnostic position, and say that I did not know whether the English were
glad or not when they looked gay. What I seem to be certain of, but I
do not say that I am certain, is that they look gayer in their places
of amusement than we do. I do not mean theatres, or parliaments, or
music-halls, or lecture-rooms, by places of amusement, but what we
call summer resorts a little more largely than those resorts which the
English call watering-places. Of these I should like to take as a type
the charming summer resort on the coast of North Wales which is called
Llandudno in print, and in speech several different ways.


The English simply and frankly, after their blunt nature, call the place
Landudno, but the Welsh call it, according to one superstition of their
double _l_ and their French _u_, Thlandidno. According to another, we
cannot spell it in English at all; but it does not much matter, for
the last superstition is the ever-delightful but ever-doubtful George
Borrow's, who says that the Welsh _ll_ is the same as the Spanish _ll_,
but who is probably mistaken, most other authorities agreeing that if
you pronounce it _lhl_ you will come as near it as any Saeseneg need.
It is a constantly besetting question in Wales, where the prefix _Llan_
speckles the map all over, owing to that multitude of Saints who peopled
the country in the times when a Saint's sons were every one saints, and
none was of particularly holy, or even good life, because he was known
for a saint. Like a continental noble, he inherited his title equally
with all his brothers.

But through whatever orthoepic mazes you search it, Llandudno has every
claim on your regard and admiration. Like Aberystwyth, its sea front is
a shallow crescent, but vaster, with a larger town expanding back of it,
and with loftier and sublimer headlands, at either end, closing it in a
more symmetrical frame. But I should say that its sea was not so blue,
or its sky either, and its air was not so soft or dry. Morally it is
more constantly lively, with a greater and more insistent variety of
entertainments. For the American its appeal might well have begun with
the sight of his country's flag floating over a tennis-ground at the
neighboring watering-place and purer Welsh town of Rhyl. The approach to
his affections was confirmed by another American flag displayed before
one of the chief hotels in Llandudno itself. I learned afterward of the
landlord that this was because there were several Chicago families in
his house, and fifteen Americans in all; but why the tennis-ground of
Rhyl flew our national banner, I do not know to this day. It was
indeed that gentle moment when our innocent people believed themselves
peculiarly dear to the English, and might naturally suppose, if from
Chicago, or Boston, or Denver, that the English would wish to see as
often as possible the symbol of our successful revolt from the princes
and principles to which they have religiously adhered.


Both that home of the patriotic Chicago families, and the other best
hotel were too full for us, and after a round of the second-best we
decided for lodgings, hoping as usual that they would bring us nearer
the native life. The best we could get, facing the sea midway of the
crescent, were not exactly Welsh in their keeping. The landladies were,
in fact, two elderly Church-of-England sisters from Dublin, who had
named their house out of a novel they had read. They said they believed
the name was Italian, and the reader shall judge if it were so from its
analogue of Osier Wood. The maids in the house, however, were very truly
and very wickedly Welsh: two tough little ponies of girls, who tied
their hair up with shoe-strings, and were forbidden, when about their
work, to talk Welsh together, lest they should speak lezing of those
Irish ladies. The rogues were half English, but the gentle creature
who served our table was wholly Welsh; small, sweet-voiced, dark-eyed,
intelligent, who suffered from the universal rheumatism of the British
Isles, but kept steadily to her duty, and accepted her fate with
patience and even cheerfulness. She waited on several other tables, for
the house was full of lodgers, all rather less permanent than ourselves,
who were there for a fortnight; we found our landladies hoping, when we
said we were going, to have had us with them through the winter.


Our fellow-lodgers were quiet people of divers degrees, except perhaps
the highest, unless the nobility bring boiled hams with them when they
visit the seaside. The boiled ham of the drawing-room floor was frankly
set out on the hall table, where it seemed to last a week, or at least
till the lodgers went away. There was much coming and going, for it was
the height of the season, with the prices at flood tide. We paid six
guineas a week for three bedrooms and a sitting-room; but our landladies
owned it was dear. An infirm and superannuated sideboard served for a
dressing-table in one room; in others the heavier pieces of furniture
stood sometimes on four legs, sometimes on three. We had the advantage
of two cats on the back fence, and a dog in the back yard; but if the
controversy between them was carried on in Welsh, it is no wonder we
never knew what it was about.

Our hostesses said the Welsh were dirty housekeepers: "At least _we_
think so," but I am bound to say their own cooking was very good; and
not being Welsh our hostesses consented to market for us, except in the
article of Spanish melons: these I bought myself of increasing cost and
size. When I alleged, the second morning, that the melon then sold
me for sixpence had been sold me by another boy for fourpence the day
before, my actual Cymric youth said, "Then he asked you too little,"
which seemed a _non sequitur_ but was really an unexpected stroke of

It was the utmost severity used with me by my co-racials in Llandudno.
They were in the great majority of the permanent inhabitants, but they
were easily outnumbered among the pleasurers by the Saeseneg, whose
language prevailed, so that a chance word of Welsh now and then was all
that I heard in the streets. Some faint stirrings of ambition to follow
the language as far as a phrase-book would lead were not encouraged by
the kindly bookseller who took my money for it; and I did not go on. It
is a loss for me in literature which translation cannot supply, for
the English lovers of Welsh poetry, after praising it to the skies,
are never able to produce anything which is not direly mechanical and
vacuous. The native charm somehow escapes them; the grace beyond the
reach of art remains with the Cymric poets who have resources for its
capture unknown to their English admirers. George Borrow seems the worst
failure in this sort, and the worst offender in giving his reader the
hopes he never fulfils, so that his _Wild Wales_ is a desert of blighted
literary promises. I believe that the merit of Welsh poetry dwells
largely, perhaps overlargely, in its intricate technique, and in the
euphonic changes which leave the spoken word ready for singing almost
without the offices of the composer.


One of the great musical contests, the yearly national Eisteddfod, was
taking place that year at the neighboring town of Rhyl, but I did not go
to hear it, not being good for a week's music without intermission.
At Llandudno there was only the music of the Pierrots and the Niggers,
which those simple-hearted English have borrowed, the one from
France and the other from these States. Their passion for our colored
minstrelsy is, in fact, something pathetic. They like Pierrots well
enough, and Pierrots _are_ amusing, there is no doubt of it; but they
dote upon Niggers, as they call them with a brutality unknown among us
except to the vulgarest white men and boys, and the negroes themselves
in moments of exasperation. Negro minstrelsy is almost extinct in the
land of its birth, but in the land of its adoption it flourishes in the
vigor of undying youth: no watering-place is genuine without it. Bands
of Niggers haunt the streets and suburbs of London, and apparently every
high day or holiday throughout the British Islands requires the stamp of
their presence as a nostrum requires the name of the patentee blown in
the bottle. The decay of their gay science began among us with the fall
of slavery, and the passing of the old plantation life; but as these
never existed in Great Britain the English version of negro minstrelsy
is not affected by their disappearance. It is like the English tradition
of the Red Skins, which has all but vanished from our superstition, but
remains as powerful as ever in the constant fancy of those islanders.

The English like their Niggers very, very black, and as their Niggers
are English they know how to gratify the national preference: such a
spread of scarlet lips over half the shining sable face is known nowhere
else in nature or art; and it must have been in despair of rivalling
their fellow-minstrels that the small American troupe we saw at
Aberystwyth went to the opposite extreme and frankly appeared as the
White Neegurs. At Llandudno the blackness of the Niggers was absolute,
so that it almost darkened the day as they passed our lodging, along the
crescent of the beach on their way to their open-air theatre beyond it.
They were followed by a joyous retinue of boys and girls, tradesmen's
apprentices, donkeys, bath-chairs, and all the movable gladness of the
watering-place, to the music of their banjos and the sound of their
singing. They were going to a fold of the foot-hills called the Happy
Valley, bestowed on the public for such pleasures by the local nobleman
whose title is given to a principal street, and to other points and
places, I suppose out of the public pride and gratitude. It is a
charming amphitheatre overlooked by the lofty tops around, and there
on the green slope the Niggers had set up their stage, and ranged the
spectators' chairs in the classification of first, second, and third so
dear to the British soul. There they cracked their jokes, and there they
sang their songs; the songs were newer than the jokes, but they were
both kinds delivered with a strong Cockney accent, and without an
aspirate in its place. But it was all richly acceptable to the audience,
who laughed and cheered and joined in the chorus when asked. Here,
as everywhere, the crowd delighted equally in songs of the sloppiest
sentimentality and of humor nighest indecency.


On the afternoon of our visit the good lady next me could not contain
her peculiar pride in the entertainment, and confided that she knew the
leader of the troupe, who was an old friend of her husband's. It was
indeed a time and place that invited to expansion. Nothing could have
been friendlier and livelier than the spectacle of the spectators spread
over the grassy slope, or sublimer than the rise of the hills around, or
more enchanting than the summer sea, with the large and little shipping
on it, and the passenger-steamers going and coming from Liverpool and
all the points in the region round. The two headlands which mark the
limits of the beautiful beach, Great Orme's Head, and Little Orme's
Head, are both of a nobleness tempered to kindliness by the soft and
manageable beauty of their forms. I never got quite so far as Little
Orme's Head, for it was full two miles from our lodging, and a fortnight
was not long enough for the journey, but with Great Orme's Head I was on
terms of very tolerable intimacy. A road of the excellence peculiar to
England passes round on the chin, so to speak, and though I never went
the length of it, I went far enough to know the majesty of the seaward
prospect. From the crown of the Head there is a view of perhaps all the
mountains in Wales, which from this point appears entirely composed of
mountains, blue, blue and enchantingly fair. On the townward side you
may descend into the Happy Valley, as we did, and find always a joyous
crowd listening to the Niggers. If, after some doubt of your way, you
have the favor of a nice boy and an intelligent collie dog, whom the boy
is helping herd home the evening cows of a pleasant farm, you will
have a charming glimpse of the local civilization; and perhaps you will
notice that the cows do not pay much attention to the boy, but obey the
dog implicitly; it is their Old World convention.


From another side we had ascended the mountain by the tram line which
climbs it to the top, and at every twist and turn lavishes some fresh
loveliness of landscape upon your vision. Near by, we noticed many
depressions and sinkages in the ground, and a conversable man in
well-oiled overalls who joined us at a power-house, said it was from the
giving way of the timbers in the disused copper-mines. Were they very
old, we asked, and he said they had not been worked for forty years; but
this, when you come to think of the abandoned Roman mines yet deeper
in the hill, was a thing of yesterday. The man in the oily overalls
had evidently not come to think of it, but he was otherwise a very
intelligent mechanic, and of a hospitable mind, like all the rest of our
chance acquaintance in Great Britain. I do not know that I like to think
of those Roman mines myself, where it is said the sea now surges back
and forth: they must have been worked by British slaves, who may be
fancied climbing purblindly out when the legions left Britain, and not
joining very loudly in the general lamentation at their withdrawal,
but probably tempering the popular grief with the reflection that the
heathen Saxons could not be much worse.

The hill-top was covered with the trippers who seem perpetually
holidaying on their island, and who were always kind to their children
when they had them, and to each other when they had not. They were
commonly in couples, very affectionate and inoffensively young. They
wandered about, and from time to time went and had tea at one of the
tea-houses which are always at hand over there. Except the view there
was not much to see; the ways were rough; now and then you came to a
pink cottage or a white one where the peasantry, again, sold tea. At one
place in our walk over the occiput of Great Orme's Head into the Happy
Valley in its bosom, we fell a prey to a conspiracy of boys selling
mignonette: it appeared to be a mignonette trust, or syndicate,
confining its commerce to that flower.

I have no other statistics to offer concerning business on Great Orme's
Head, or indeed in all Llandudno. One of the chief industries seemed to
be coaching, for a score of delightful places are to be easily reached
by the stages always departing from the hotels on the Parade. There was
no particularly noticeable traffic in leek, though I suppose that as I
did not see the national emblem in any Welshman's hat--to be sure, it
was not St. David's Day--it must have been boiling in every Welshman's
pot. I am rather ashamed to be joining, even at this remove, in the poor
English joking which goes on about the Welsh, quite as much as about the
Scotch, the Irish having become too grave a matter for joking. There
are little burlesque manuals making merry with the language and its
agglutinative prolixity, which I shall certainly not quote; and
there are postal-cards representing Welsh dames drinking tea in tall
witch-hats, with one of them saying: "I wass enjoying myself shocking,
look you." There was, of course, nothing serious in this joking; the
Welsh, who have all the small commerce in their hands, gladly sold the
manuals and postals, and I did not see one Englishman laughing over

The Saeseneg visitors rather amused themselves with the sea and the
resources of the beach and the bathing. As contrasted with the visitors
at Aberystwyth, so distinctly in the earlier and later stages of
love-making, I should say those at Llandudno were domestic: fathers and
mothers who used the long phalanx of bathing-machines appointed to their
different sexes, and their children who played in the sand. I thought
the children charming, and I contributed tuppence to aid in the repair
of the sand castle of two nice little boys which had fallen down; it now
seems strange that I should have been asked for a subscription, but in
England subscriptions spare nobody; though I wonder if two such nice
little boys would have come to me for money in America. Besides the
entertainment of lying all afternoon on the beach, or sitting beside it
in canopied penny chairs, there was more active diversion for all ages
and sexes in the circus prevailing somewhere in the background,
and advertising itself every afternoon by a procession of six young
elephants neatly carrying each in his trunk the tail of the elephant
before him. There were also the delightful shows of the amusement pier
where one could go and see Pierrots to one's heart's content, if one can
ever get enough of Pierrots; I never can.


Besides all these daytime things there were two very good theatres, at
one of which I saw Mr. Barrie's _Little Mary_ given better than in New
York (that was easy), and at the other a comic opera, with a bit of
comedy or tragedy in a stage-box, not announced in the bills. The
audience was otherwise decorous enough to be composed of Welsh Baptist
elders and their visiting friends, but in this box there were two young
men in evening dress, scuffling with a young woman in dinner décolletée,
and what appeared to be diamonds in her ears. They were trying,
after what seems the convention of English seaside flirtation, to get
something out of her hand, and allowing her successfully to resist them;
and their playful contest went on through a whole act to the distraction
of the spectators, who did not seem greatly scandalized. It suggested
the misgiving that perhaps bad people came to Llandudno for their summer
outing as well as good; but there was no interference by the police or
the management with this robust side-show. Were the actors in the scene,
all or any of them, too high in rank to be lightly molested in their
lively event; or were they too low? Perhaps they were merely tipsy,
but all the same their interlude was a contribution to the evening's
entertainment which would not have been so placidly accepted in, say,
Atlantic City, or Coney Island, or even Newport, where people are said
to be more accustomed to the caprices of society persons, and more
indulgent of their whims.


A more improving, and on the whole more pleasing, phase of the
indigenous life, and also more like a phase of our own, showed itself
the day of our visit to Conway, a little way from Llandudno. There, on
our offering to see the ruins of the wonderful and beautiful old castle,
we were met at the entrance with a demand for an exceptional shilling
gate money, because of the fair for the local Wesleyan Chapel which was
holding in the interior. What seemed at first a hardship turned out a
chance which we would not have missed on any account. There was a large
tent set up in the old castle court, and a table spread with home-made
dainties of many sorts, and waited upon by gentle maids and matrons who
served one with tea or whatever else one liked, all for that generously
inclusive shilling. They were Welsh, they told us, and they were
speaking their language to right and left of us, while they were so
courteous to us in English. It was quite like a church fair in some
American village, where, however, it could not have had the advantage
of a ruined Norman castle for its scene, and where it would not have
provided a range for target practice with air-guns, or grounds for
running and jumping.

The place was filled with people young and old who were quietly amusing
themselves and were more taken up with the fair than with the castle.
I must myself comparatively slight the castle in the present study of
people rather than places, though I may note that if there is any
more interesting ruin in the world, I am satisfied with this which it
surpasses. Besides its beauty, what strikes one most is its perfect
adaptation to the original purpose of palace and fortress for which the
Normans planned their strongholds in Wales. The architect built not only
with a constant instinct of beauty, but with unsurpassable science and
skill. The skill and the science have gone the way of the need of them,
but the beauty remains indelible and as eternal as the hunger for it
in the human soul. Conway castle is not all a ruin, even as a fortress,
however. Great part of it still challenges decay, and is so entire in
its outward shape that it has inspired the railway running under its
shoulder to attempt a conformity of style in the bridge approaching it,
but without enabling it to an equal effect of grandeur. One would as
soon the bridge had not tried.

All Conway is worthy, within its ancient walls, of as much devotion as
one can render it in the rain, which begins as soon as you leave the
castle. The walls climb from the waters to the hills, and the streets
wander up and down and seem to the stranger mainly to seek that
beautiful old Tudor house, Plas Mawr, which like the castle is without
rival in its kind. It was full of reeking and streaming sight-seers,
among whom one could easily find one's self incommoded without feeling
one's self a part of the incommodation, but in spite of them there was
the assurance of comfort as well as splendor in the noble old mansion,
such as the Elizabethan houses so successfully studied. In the
dining-room a corner of the mantel has its sandstone deeply worn
away, and a much-elbowed architect, who was taking measurements of the
chimney, agreed that this carf was the effect of the host or the butler
flying to the place and sharpening his knife for whatever haunch of
venison or round of beef was toward. It was a fine memento of the
domestic past, and there was a secret chamber where the refugees of this
cause or that in other times were lodged in great discomfort. Besides,
there was a ghost which was fairly crowded out of its accustomed
quarters, where so far from being able to walk, it would have had much
ado to stand upright by flattening itself against the wall.


In fact, there was not much more room that day in the Plas Mawr, than in
the Smallest House in the World, which is the next chiefest attraction
of Conway. This, too, was crammed with damp enthusiasts, passionately
eager to sign their names in the guest-book. They scarcely left space in
the sitting-room of ten by twelve feet for the merry old hostess selling
photographs and ironically inviting her visitors' guests to a glimpse
of the chamber overhead, or so much of it as the bed allowed to be seen.
She seemed not to believe in her abode as a practicable tenement, and
could not be got to say that she actually lived in it; as to why it was
built so small she was equally vague. But there it was, to like or to
leave, and there, not far off, was the "briny beach" where the Walrus
and the Carpenter walked together,--

     "And wept like anything to see
      Such quantities of sand."

For it was in Conway, as history or tradition is, that _Through the
Looking-Glass_ was written.

There are very few places in those storied British Isles which are
not hallowed by some association with literature; but I suppose that
Llandudno is as exempt as any can be, and I will not try to invoke any
dear and honored shade from its doubtful obscurity. We once varied the
even tenor of our days there by driving to Penmaenmawr, and wreaking our
love of literary associations so far as we might by connecting the place
with the memory of Gladstone, who was literary as well as political. We
thought with him that Penmaenmawr was "the most charming watering-place
in Wales," and as you drive into the place, the eye of faith will
detect the house, on the right, in which he spent many happy summers. We
contented ourselves with driving direct to the principal hotel, where
I know not what kept us from placing ourselves for life. We had tea and
jam en the pretty lawn, and the society of a large company of wasps of
the yellow-jacket variety, which must have been true Welsh wasps, as
peaceful as they were musical, and no interloping Scotch or Irish, for
they did not offer to attack us, but confined themselves altogether to
our jam: to be sure, we thought best to leave it to them.

[Illustration: CONWAY CASTLE]

It is said that the purple year is not purpler at any point on the
southernmost shores of England than it is at Llandudno. In proof of the
mildness of its winter climate, the presence of many sorts of tender
evergreens is alleged, and the persistence of flowers in blooming from
Christmas to Easter. But those who have known the deceitful habits of
flowers on the Riviera, where they bloom in any but an arctic degree of
cold, will not perhaps hurry to Llandudno much later than November.
All the way to Penmaenmawr the flowers showed us what they could do in
summer, whether in field or garden, and there was one beautiful hill
on which immense sweeps and slopes of yellow gorse and purple heather
boldly stretched separately, or mingled their dyes in the fearlessness
of nature when she spurns the canons of art. I suppose there is no
upholsterer or paperhanger who would advise mixing or matching yellow
and purple in the decoration of a room, but here the outdoor effect rapt
the eye in a transport of delight. It was indeed a day when almost any
arrangement of colors would have pleased.


It is not easy in that much summer-resorted region to get at the country
in other than its wilder moods; it is either town or mountain; but now
and then one found one's self among harvest-fields, where the yield of
wheat and oats was far heavier than with us, either because the soil was
richer or the tilth thorougher. The farms indeed looked very fertile,
and the farmhouses very alluringly clean and neat, at least on the
outside. They were not gray, as in the West of England, or brick as
in the Southeast, but were of stone whitewashed, and the roofs were of
slate, and not thatch or tile. As I have noted, they were not so much
gathered into villages as in England, and again, as I have noted, it
is out of such houses that the farmers' boys and girls go to the
co-educational colleges of the Welsh University. It is still the
preference of the farmers that their sons should be educated for the
ministry, which in that country of multiplied dissents has pulpits for
every color of contrary-mindedness, as well as livings of the not yet
disestablished English Church. It is not indeed the English Church in
speech. The Welsh will have their service and their sermon in their own
tongue, and when an Oxford or Cambridge man is given a Welsh living, he
must do what he can to conform to the popular demand. It is said that
in one case, where the incumbent long held out against the parish,
he compromised by reading the service in Welsh with the English
pronunciation. But the Welsh churches are now supplied with
Welsh-speaking clergy, though whether it is well for the Welsh to cling
so strongly to their ancient speech is doubted by many Welshmen. These
hold that it cramps and dwarfs the national genius; but in the mean time
in Ireland the national genius, long enlarged to our universal English,
offers the strange spectacle of an endeavor to climb back into its
Gaelic shell.

[Illustration: PLAS MAWR]

I do not know whether an incident of my experience in coming from
Chester to Llandudno is to be offered as an illustration of Welsh
manners or of English manners. A woman of the middle rank, certainly
below gentlewoman, but very personable and well dressed, got into our
carriage where there was no seat for her. She was no longer young, but
she was not so old as the American who offered her his seat. She refused
it, but consented to sit on the hand-bag and rug which he arranged for
her, and so remained till she left the train, while a half-grown boy
and several young men kept their countenances and their places, not
apparently dreaming of offering her a seat, or if they thought of her
at all, thought she was well punished for letting the guard crowd her
in upon us. By her stature and complexion she was undoubtedly Welsh, and
these youth from theirs were as undoubtedly English. Perhaps, then, the
incident had better be offered as an illustration of Welsh and English
manners combined.

       *       *       *       *       *


Nothing is so individual in any man as the peculiar blend of
characteristics which he has inherited from his racial ancestries. The
Englishman, who leaves the stamp of the most distinct personality upon
others, is the most mixed, the most various, the most relative of all
men. He is not English except as he is Welsh, Dutch, and Norman, with
"a little Latin and less Greek" from his earliest visitors and invaders.
This conception of him will indefinitely simplify the study of his
nature if it is made in the spirit of the frank superficiality which I
propose to myself. After the most careful scrutiny which I shall be
able to give him, he will remain, for every future American, the
contradiction, the anomaly, the mystery which I expect to leave him.


No error of the Englishman's latest invader is commoner than the notion,
which perhaps soonest suggests itself, that he is a sort of American,
tardily arriving at our kind of consciousness, with the disadvantages
of an alien environment, after apparently hopeless arrest in unfriendly
conditions. The reverse may much more easily be true; we may be a sort
of Englishmen, and the Englishman, if he comes to us and abides with
us, may become a sort of American. But that is the affair of a possible
future, and the actual Englishman is certainly not yet any sort of
American, unless, indeed, for good and for bad, he is a better sort
of Bostonian. He does not even speak the American language, whatever
outlandish accent he uses in speaking his own. It may be said, rather
too largely, too loosely, that the more cultivated he is, the more he
will speak like a cultivated American, until you come to the King,
or the Royal Family, with whom a strong German accent is reported to
prevail. The Englishman may write American, if he is a very good
writer, but in no case does he spell American. He prefers, as far as
he remembers it, the Norman spelling, and, the Conqueror having said
"_geôle_," the Conquered print "gaol," which the American invader must
pronounce "jail," not "gayol."

The mere mention of the Royal Family advances us to the most marked of
all the superficial English characteristics; or, perhaps, loyalty is
not superficial, but is truly of the blood and bone, and not reasoned
principle, but a passion induced by the general volition. Whatever
it is, it is one of the most explicitly as well as the most tacitly
pervasive of the English idiosyncrasies. A few years ago--say, fifteen
or twenty--it was scarcely known in its present form. It was not known
at all with many in the time of the latest and worst of the Georges, or
the time of the happy-go-lucky sailor William; in the earlier time of
Victoria, it was a chivalrous devotion among the classes, and with the
masses an affection which almost no other sovereign has inspired. I
should not be going farther than some Englishmen if I said that her
personal character saved the monarchy; when she died there was not a
vestige of the republican dream which had remained from a sentiment
for "the free peoples of antiquity" rather than from the Commonwealth.
Democracy had indeed effected itself in a wide-spread socialism, but the
kingship was safe in the hearts of the Queen's subjects when the Prince
of Wales, who was the first of them, went about praising loyalty as
prime among the civic virtues and duties. The notion took the general
fancy, and met with an acceptance in which the old superstition of kings
by divine right was resuscitated with the vulgar. One of the vulgar
lately said to an American woman who owned that we did not yield an
equal personal fealty to all our Presidents, "Oh yes, but you know that
it is only your _people_ that choose the President, but _God_ gave us
the King." Nothing could be opposed to a belief so simple, as in the
churches of the eldest faith the humble worshipper could not well be
told that the picture or the statue of his adoration was not itself
sacred. In fact, it is not going too far, at least for a very
adventurous spirit, to say that loyalty with the English is a sort of
religious principle. What is with us more or less a joke, sometimes
bad, sometimes good, namely, our allegiance to the powers that be in the
person of the Chief Magistrate, is with them a most serious thing, at
which no man may smile without loss.

I was so far from wishing myself to smile at it, that I darkled most
respectfully about it, without the courage to inquire directly into the
mystery. If it was often on my tongue to ask, "What is loyalty? How
did you come by it? Why are you loyal?"--I felt that it would be
embarrassing when it would not be offensive, and I should vainly plead
in excuse that this property of theirs mystified me the more because it
seemed absolutely left out of the American nature. I perceived that in
the English it was not less really present because it was mixed, or used
to be mixed, with scandal that the alien can do no more than hint at.
That sort of abuse has long ceased, and if one were now to censure the
King, or any of the Royal Family, it would be felt to be rather ill
bred, and quite unfair, since royalty is in no position to reply to
criticism. Even the Socialists would think it ill-mannered, though
in their hearts, if not in their sleeves, they must all the while be
smiling at the notion of anything sacred in the Sovereign.



Loyalty, like so many other things in England, is a convention to which
the alien will tacitly conform in the measure of his good taste or his
good sense. It is not his affair, and in the mean time it is a most
curious and interesting spectacle; but it is not more remarkable,
perhaps, than the perfect acquiescence in the aristocratic forms of
society which hedge the King with their divinity. We think that family
counts for much with ourselves, in New England or in Virginia; but it
counts for nothing at all in comparison with the face value at which it
is current in England. We think we are subject to our plutocracy, when
we are very much out of humor or out of heart, in some such measure as
the commoners of England are subject to the aristocracy; but that is
nonsense. A very rich man with us is all the more ridiculous for his
more millions; he becomes a byword if not a hissing; he is the meat of
the paragrapher, the awful example of the preacher; his money is found
to smell of his methods. But in England, the greater a nobleman is,
the greater his honor. The American mother who imagines marrying her
daughter to an English duke, cannot even imagine an English
duke--say, like him of Devonshire, or him of Northumberland, or him
of Norfolk--with the social power and state which wait upon him in his
duchy and in the whole realm; and so is it in degree down to the latest
and lowest of the baronets, and of those yet humbler men who have been
knighted for their merits and services in medicine, in literature, in
art. The greater and greatest nobles are established in a fear which is
very like what the fear of God used to be when the common people feared
Him; and, though they are potent political magnates, they mainly rule
as the King himself does, through the secular reverence of those beneath
them for their titles and the visible images of their state. They are
wealthy men, of course, with so much substance that, when one now and
then attempts to waste it, he can hardly do so; but their wealth alone
would not establish them in the popular regard. His wealth does no
such effect for Mr. Astor in England; and mere money, though it is much
desired by all, is no more venerated in the person of its possessor than
it is with us. It is ancestry, it is the uncontested primacy of families
first in their place, time out of mind, that lays its resistless hold
upon the fancy and bows the spirit before it. By means of this comes
the sovereign effect in the political as well as the social state; for,
though the people vote into or out of power those who vote other people
into or out of the administration, it is always--or so nearly always
that the exception proves the rule--family that rules, from the King
down to the least attaché of the most unimportant embassy. No doubt many
of the English are restive under the fact; and, if one had asked their
mind about it, one might have found them frank enough; but, never asking
it, it was with amusement that I heard said once, as if such a thing had
never occurred to anybody before, "Yes, isn't it strange that those few
families should keep it all among themselves!" It was a slender female
voice, lifted by a young girl with an air of pensive surprise, as at a
curious usage of some realm of faery.


England is in fact, to the American, always a realm of faery, in its
political and social constitution. It must be owned, concerning the
government by family, that it certainly seems to work well. That
justifies it, so far as the exclusion of the immense majority from the
administration of their own affairs can be justified by anything;
though I hold that the worst form of graft in office is hardly less
justifiable: that is, at least, one of the people picking their pockets.
But it is the universal make-believe behind all the practical virtue of
the state that constitutes the English monarchy a realm of faery. The
whole population, both the great and the small, by a common effort of
the will, agree that there is a man or a woman of a certain line who
can rightfully inherit the primacy amongst them, and can be dedicated
through this right to live the life of a god, to be so worshipped and
flattered, so cockered about with every form of moral and material
flummery, that he or she may well be more than human not to be made a
fool of. Then, by a like prodigious stroke of volition, the inhabitants
of the enchanted island universally agree that there is a class of them
which can be called out of their names in some sort of title, bestowed
by some ancestral or actual prince, and can forthwith be something
different from the rest, who shall thenceforth do them reverence, them
and their heirs and assigns, forever. By this amusing process, the realm
of faery is constituted, a thing which could not have any existence in
nature, yet by its existence in fancy becomes the most absolute of human

It is not surprising that, in the conditions which ensue, snobbishness
should abound; the surprising thing would be if it did not abound. Even
with ourselves, who by a seven years' struggle burst the faery dream a
century ago, that least erected spirit rears its loathly head from the
dust at times, and in our polite press we can read much if we otherwise
see nothing of its subtle influence. But no evil is without its
compensating good, and the good of English snobbishness is that it
has reduced loyalty, whether to the prince or to the patrician, from a
political to a social significance. That is, it does so with the upper
classes; with the lower, loyalty finds expression in an unparalleled
patriotism. An Englishman of the humble or the humbler life may know
very well that he is not much in himself; but he believes that England
stands for him, and that royalty and nobility stand for England. Both
of these, there, are surrounded by an atmosphere of reverence wholly
inconceivable to the natives of a country where there are only
millionaires to revere.


The most curious thing is that the persons in the faery dream seem to
believe it as devoutly as the simplest and humblest of the dreamers. The
persons in the dream apparently take themselves as seriously as if there
were or could be in reality kings and lords. They could not, of course,
do so if they were recently dreamed, as they were, say, in the France
of the Third Empire. There, one fancies, these figments must have always
been smiling in each other's faces when they were by themselves. But
the faery dream holds solidly in England because it is such a very old
dream. Besides, the dream does not interfere with the realities; it even
honors them. If a man does any great thing in England, the chief figure
of the faery dream recognizes his deed, stoops to him, lifts him up
among the other figures, and makes him part of the dream forever. After
that he has standing, such as no man may have with us for more than that
psychological moment, when all the papers cry him up, and then everybody
tries to forget him. But, better than this, the dream has the effect, if
it has not the fact, of securing every man in his place, so long as
he keeps to it. Nowhere else in the world is there so much personal
independence, without aggression, as in England. There is apparently
nothing of it in Germany; in Italy, every one is so courteous and kind
that there is no question of it; in the French Republic and in our own,
it exists in an excess that is molestive and invasive; in England alone
does it strike the observer as being of exactly the just measure.

Very likely the observer is mistaken, and in the present case he will
not insist. After all, even the surface indications in such matters are
slight and few. But what I noted was that, though the simple and humble
have to go to the wall, and for the most part go to it unkicking, in
England they were, on their level, respectfully and patiently entreated.
At a railroad junction one evening, when there was a great hurrying up
stairs and down, and a mad seeking of wrong trains by right people, the
company's servants who were taking tickets, and directing passengers
this way and that, were patiently kind with futile old men and women,
who came up, in the midst of their torment, and pestered them with
questions as to the time when trains that had not arrived would leave
after they did arrive. I shuddered to think what would have at least
verbally happened to such inquirers with us; but, there, not only their
lives but their feelings were safe, and they could go away with such
self-respect as they had quite intact.


In no country less good-hearted than England could anything so
wrong-headed as the English baggage system be suffered. But, there,
passengers of all kinds help the porters to sort their trunks from other
people's trunks, on arrival at their stations, and apparently think it
no hardship. The porters, who do not seem especially inspired persons,
have a sort of guiding instinct in the matter, and wonderfully seldom
fail to get the things together for the cab, or to get them off the cab,
and, duly labelled, into the luggage-van. Once, at a great junction,
my porter seemed to have missed my train, and after vain but not
unconsidered appeals to the guard, I had to start without it. At
the next station, the company telegraphed back at its own cost the
voluminous message of my anxiety and indignation, and I was assured that
the next train would bring my valise from Crewe to Edinburgh. When I
arrived at Edinburgh, I casually mentioned my trouble to a guard whom I
had not seen before. He asked how the bags were marked, and then he said
they had come with us. My porter had run with them to my train, but in
despair of getting to my car with his burden, had put them into the
last luggage-van, and all I had to do was now to identify them at my
journey's end.

Why one does not, guiltily or guiltlessly, claim other people's baggage,
I do not know; but apparently it is not the custom. Perhaps in this, the
deference for any one within his rights, peculiar to the faery dream,
operates the security of the respective owners of baggage that could
otherwise easily be the general prey. While I saw constant regard paid
for personal rights, I saw only one case in which they were offensively
asserted. This was in starting from York for London, when we attempted
to take possession of a compartment we had paid for from the nearest
junction, in order to make certain of it. We found it in the keeping
of a gentleman who had turned it from a non-smoking into a smoking
compartment, and bestrewn it with his cigar ashes. When told by the
porters that we had engaged the compartment, he refused to stir, and
said that he had paid for his seat, and he should not leave it till he
was provided with another. In vain they besought him to consider our
hard case, in being kept out of our own, and promised him another place
as good as the one he held. He said that he would not believe it till he
saw it, and as he would not go to see it, and it could not be brought to
him, there appeared little chance of our getting rid of him. I thought
it best to let him and the porters fight it out among themselves. When
a force of guards appeared, they were equally ineffective against
the intruder, who could not, or did not, say that he did not know the
compartment was engaged. Suddenly, for no reason, except that he had
sufficiently stood, or sat, upon his rights, he rose, and the others
precipitated themselves upon his hand-baggage, mainly composed of
fishing-tackle, such as a gentleman carries who has been asked to
somebody's fishing, and bore it away to another part of the train. They
left one piece behind, and the porter who came back for it was radiantly
smiling, as if the struggle had been an agreeable exercise, and he spoke
of his antagonist without the least exasperation; evidently, he regarded
him as one who had justly defended himself from corporate aggression;
his sympathies were with him rather than with us, perhaps because we had
not so vigorously asserted ourselves.


A case in which a personal wrong rather than a personal right was
offensively asserted, was that of a lady, young and too fair to be so
unfair, in a crowded train coming from the Doncaster Races to York. She
had kept a whole first-class compartment to herself, putting her maid
into the second-class adjoining, and heaping the vacant seats with her
hand-baggage, which had also overflowed into the corridor. At the time
the train started she was comforting herself in her luxurious solitude
with a cup of tea, and she stood up, as if to keep other people out.
But, after waiting, seven of us, in the corridor, until she should offer
to admit us, we all swarmed in upon her, and made ourselves indignantly
at home. When it came to that she offered no protest, but gathered up
her belongings, and barricaded herself with them. Among the rest there
was a typewriting-machine, but what manner of young lady she was, or
whether of the journalistic or the theatrical tribe, has never revealed
itself to this day. We could not believe that she was very high-born,
not nearly so high, for instance, as the old lady who helped dispossess
her, and who, when we ventured the hope that it would not rain on the
morrow, which was to be St. Leger Day, almost lost the kindness for us
inspired by some small service, because we had the bad taste to suggest
such a possibility for so sacred a day.

I never saw people standing in a train, except that once which I have
already noted, when in a very crowded car in Wales, two women, decent
elderly persons, got in and were suffered to remain on foot by the young
men who had comfortable places; no one dreamed, apparently, of offering
to give up his seat. But, on the other hand, a superior civilization
is shown in what I may call the manual forbearance of the trolley and
railway folk, who are so apt to nudge and punch you at home here, when
they wish your attention. The like happened to me only once in England,
and that was at Liverpool, where the tram conductor, who laid hands
on me instead of speaking, had perhaps been corrupted by the unseen
American influences of a port at which we arrive so abundantly and
indiscriminately. I did not resent the touch, though it is what every
one is expected to do, if aggrieved, and every one else does it in
England. Within his rights, every one is safe; though there may be some
who have no rights. If there were, I did not see them, and I suppose
that, as an alien, I might have refused to stand up and uncover when the
band began playing _God Save the King_, as it did at the end of every
musical occasion; I might have urged that, being no subject of the King,
I did not feel bound to join in the general prayer. But that would have
been churlish, and, where every one had been so civil to me, I did not
see why I should not be civil to the King, in a small matter. In the
aggregate indeed, it is not a small matter, and I suppose that the
stranger always finds the patriotism of a country molestive. Patriotism
is, at any rate, very disagreeable, with the sole exception of our own,
which we are constantly wishing to share with other people, especially
with English people. We spare them none of it, even in their own
country, and yet many of us object to theirs; I feel that I am myself
being rather offensive about it, now, at this distance from them. Upon
the whole, not caring very actively for us, one way or the other, they
take it amiably; they try to get our point of view, and, as if it were a
thorn, self-sacrificially press their bosoms against it, in the present
or recent _entente cordiale_. None of their idiosyncrasies is more
notable than their patience, their kindness with our divergence from
them; but I am not sure that, having borne with us when we are by, they
do not take it out of us when we are away.

We are the poetry of a few, who, we like to think, have studied the
most deeply into the causes of our being, or its excuses. But you cannot
always be enjoying poetry, and I could well imagine that our lovers must
sometimes prefer to shut the page. The common gentleness comes from the
common indifference, and from something else that I will not directly
touch upon. What is certain is that, with all manner of strangers,
the English seem very gentle, when they meet in chance encounter. The
average level of good manners is high. My experience was not the widest,
and I am always owning it was not deep; but, such as it was, it brought
me to the distasteful conviction that in England I did not see the
mannerless uncouthness which I often see in America, not so often from
high to low, or from old to young, but the reverse. There may be much
more than we infer, at the moment, from the modulated voices, which
sweetens casual intercourse, but there are certain terms of respect,
almost unknown to us, which more obviously do that effect. It is a pity
that democracy, being the fine thing it essentially is, should behave
so rudely. Must we come to family government, in order to be filial or
fraternal in our bearing with one another? Why should we be so blunt, so
sharp, so ironical, so brutal in our kindness?


The single-mindedness of the English is beautiful. It may not help to
the instant understanding of our jokes; but then, even we are not always
joking, and it does help to put us at rest and to make us feel safe. The
Englishman may not always tell the truth, but he makes us feel that we
are not so sincere as he; perhaps there are many sorts of sincerity. But
there is something almost caressing in the kindly pause that precedes
his perception of your meaning, and this is very pleasing after the
sense of always having your hearer instantly onto you. When, by a chance
indefinitely rarer than it is with us at home, one meets an Irishman in
England, or better still an Irishwoman, there is an instant lift of the
spirit; and, when one passes the Scotch border, there is so much lift
that, on returning, one sinks back into the embrace of the English
temperament, with a sigh for the comfort of its soft unhurried
expectation that there is really something in what you say which, will
be clear by-and-by.

Having said so much as this in compliance with the frequent American
pretence that the English are without humor, I wish to hedge in the
interest of truth. They certainly are not so constantly joking as we; it
does not apparently seem to them that fate can be propitiated by a habit
of pleasantry, or that this is so merry a world that one need go about
grinning in it. Perhaps the conditions with most of them are harder than
the conditions with most of us. But, thinking of certain Englishmen
I have known, I should be ashamed to join in the cry of those
story-telling Americans whose jokes have sometimes fallen effectless.
It is true that, wherever the Celt has leavened the doughier Anglo-Saxon
lump, the expectation of a humorous sympathy is greater; but there are
subtile spirits of Teutonic origin whose fineness we cannot deny, whose
delicate gayety is of a sort which may well leave ours impeaching itself
of a heavier and grosser fibre.

No doubt you must sometimes, and possibly oftenest, go more than
half-way for the response to your humorous intention. Those subtile
spirits are shy, and may not offer it an effusive welcome. They are
also of such an exquisite honesty that, if they do not think your wit
is funny, they will not smile at it, and this may grieve some of our
jokers. But, if you have something fine and good in you, you need not be
afraid they will fail of it, and they will not be so long about finding
it out as some travellers say. When it comes to the grace of the
imaginative in your pleasantry, they will be even beforehand with you.
But in their extreme of impersonality they will leave the initiative to
you in the matter of humor as in others. They will no more seek out your
peculiar humor than they will name you in speaking with you.


Nothing in England seeks you out, except the damp. Your impressions, you
have to fight for them. What you see or hear seems of accident. The sort
of people you have read of your whole life, and are most intimate with
in fiction, you must surprise. They no more court observance than the
birds in whose seasonable slaughter society from the King down delights.
In fact, it is probable that, if you looked for both, you would find the
gunner shyer than the gunned. The pheasant and the fox are bred to give
pleasure by their chase; they are tenderly cared for and watched over
and kept from harm at the hands of all who do not wish to kill them for
the joy of killing, and they are not so elusive but they can be seen by
easy chance. The pheasant especially has at times all but the boldness
of the barnyard in his fearless port. Once from my passing train, I saw
him standing in the middle of a ploughed field, erect, distinct, like
a statue of himself, commemorative of the long ages in which his heroic
death and martyr sufferance have formed the pride of princes and the
peril of poachers. But I never once saw him shot, though almost as many
gunners pursue him as there are pheasants in the land. This alone shows
how shy the gunners are; and when once I saw the trail of a fox-hunt
from the same coign of vantage without seeing the fox, I felt that I
had almost indecently come upon the horse and hounds, and that the pink
coats and the flowery spread of the dappled dogs over the field were
mine by a kind of sneak as base as killing a fox to save my hens.


Equally with the foxes and the pheasants, the royalties and nobilities
abound in English novels, which really form the chief means of our
acquaintance with English life; but the chances that reveal them to the
average unintroduced, unpresented American are rarer. By these chances,
I heard, out of the whole peerage, but one lord so addressed in public,
and that was on a railroad platform where a porter was reassuring him
about his luggage. Similarly, I once saw a lady of quality, a tall and
girlish she, who stood beside her husband, absently rubbing with her
glove the window of her motor, and whom but for the kind interest of our
cabman we might never have known for a duchess. It is by their personal
uninsistence largely, no doubt, that the monarchy and the aristocracy
exist; the figures of the faery dream remain blent with the background,
and appear from it only when required to lay cornerstones, or preside at
races, or teas or bazars, or to represent the masses at home and abroad,
and invisibly hold the viewless reins of government.

Yet it must not be supposed that the commoner sort of dreamers are never
jealous of these figments of their fancy. They are often so, and rouse
themselves to self-assertion as frequently as our Better Element flings
off the yoke of Tammany. At a fair, open to any who would pay, for
some forgotten good object, such as is always engaging the energies
of society, I saw moving among the paying guests the tall form of a
nobleman who had somehow made himself so distasteful to his neighbors
that they were not his friends, and regularly voted down his men,
whether they stood for Parliament or County Council, and whether they
were better than the popular choice or not. As a matter of fact, it was
said that they were really better, but the people would not have them
because they were his; and one of the theories of English manliness
is that the constant pressure from above has toughened the spirit and
enabled Englishmen to stand up stouter and straighter each in his place,
just as it is contended elsewhere that the aesthetic qualities of the
human race have been heightened by its stresses and deprivations in the
struggle of life.

For my own part, I believe neither the one theory nor the other. People
are the worse for having people above them, and are the ruder and
coarser for having to fight their way. If the triumph of social
inequality is such that there are not four men in London who are not
snobs, it cannot boast itself greater than the success of economic
inequality with ourselves, among whom the fight for money has not
produced of late a first-class poet, painter, or sculptor. The English,
if they are now the manliest people under the sun, have to thank not
their masters but themselves, and a nature originally so generous that
no abuse could lastingly wrong it, no political absurdity spoil it. But
if this nature had been left free from the beginning, we might see now a
nation of Englishmen who, instead of being bound so hard and fast in
the bonds of an imperial patriotism, would be the first in a world-wide
altruism. Yet their patriotism is so devout that it may well pass itself
off upon them for a religious emotion, instead of the superstition which
seems to the stranger the implication of an England in the next world as
well as in this.


We fancy that, because we have here an Episcopal Church, with its
hierarchy, we have something equivalent to the English Church. But that
is a mistake. The English Church is a part of the whole of English life,
as the army or navy is; in English crowds, the national priest is not so
frequent as the national soldier, but he is of as marked a quality, and
as distinct from the civil world, in uniform, bearing, and aspect; in
the cathedral towns, he and his like form a sort of spiritual garrison.
At home here you may be ignorant of the feasts of the Episcopal Church
without shame or inconvenience; but in England you had better be versed
in the incidence of all the holy days if you would stand well with
other men, and would know accurately when the changes in the railroad
time-tables will take place. It will not do to have ascertained the
limits of Lent; you must be up in the Michaelmases and Whitmondays,
and the minor saints' days. When once you have mastered this
difficult science, you will realize what a colossal transaction the
disestablishment of the English Church in England would be, and how it
would affect the whole social fabric.

But, even when you have learned your lesson, it will not be to you as
that knowledge which has been lived, and which has no more need ever
to question itself than the habitual pronunciation of words. If one has
moved in good English society, one has no need ever to ask how a word is
pronounced, far less to go to the dictionary; one pronounces it as one
has always heard it pronounced. The sense of this gives the American a
sort of despair, like that of a German or French speaking foreigner, who
perceives that he never will be able to speak English. The American is
rather worse off, for he has to subdue an inward rebellion, and to form
even the wish to pronounce some English words as the English do. He
has, for example, always said "financier," with the accent on the last
syllable; and if he has consulted his Webster he has found that there
was no choice for him. Then, when he hears it pronounced at Oxford by
the head of a college with the accent on the second syllable, and learns
on asking that it is never otherwise accented in England, his head
whirls a little, and he has a sick moment, in which he thinks he had
better let the verb "to be" govern the accusative as the English do,
and be done with it, or else telegraph for his passage home at once. Or
stop! He must not "telegraph," he must "wire."


As for that breathing in the wrong place which is known as dropping
one's aitches, I found that in the long time between the first and last
of my English sojourns, there had arisen the theory that it was a vice
purely cockney in origin, and that it had grown upon the nation through
the National Schools. It is grossly believed, or boldly pretended, that
till the National School teachers had conformed to the London standard
in their pronunciation the wrong breathing was almost unknown in
England, but that now it was heard everywhere south of the Scottish
border. Worse yet, the teachers in the National Schools had scattered
far and wide that peculiar intonation, that droll slip or twist of the
vowel sounds by which the cockney alone formerly proclaimed his low
breeding, and the infection is now spread as far as popular learning.
Like the wrong breathing, it is social death "to any he that utters it,"
not indeed that swift extinction which follows having your name crossed
by royalty from the list of guests at a house where royalty is about to
visit, but a slow, insidious malady, which preys upon its victim, and
finally destroys him after his life-long struggle to shake it off. It is
even worse than the wrong breathing, and is destined to sweep the whole
island, where you can nowhere, even now, be quite safe from hearing
a woman call herself "a lydy." It may indeed be the contagion of the
National School teacher, but I feel quite sure, from long observation of
the wrong breathing, that the wrong breathing did not spread from London
through the schools, but was everywhere as surely characteristic of
the unbred in England as nasality is with us. Both infirmities are of
national origin and extent, and both are individual or personal in their
manifestation. That is, some Americans in every part of the Union talk
through their noses; some Englishmen in every part of the kingdom drop
their aitches.

The English-speaking Welsh often drop their aitches, as the
English-speaking French do, though the Scotch and Irish never drop them,
any more than the Americans, or the English of the second generation
among us; but the extremely interesting and great little people of Wales
are otherwise as unlike the English as their mother-language is. They
seem capable of doing anything but standing six feet in their stockings,
which is such a very common achievement with the English, but that is
the fault of nature which gave them dark complexions and the English
fair. Where the work of the spirit comes in, it effects such a
difference between the two peoples as lies between an Eisteddfod and a
horse-race. While all the singers of Wales met in artistic emulation at
their national musical festival at Rhyl, all the gamblers of England met
in the national pastime of playing the horses at Doncaster. More money
probably changed hands on the events at Doncaster than at Rhyl, and it
was characteristic of the prevalent influence in the common civilization
(if there is a civilization common to both races) that the King was at
Doncaster and not at Rhyl. But I do not say this to his disadvantage,
for I was myself at Doncaster and not at Rhyl. You cannot, unless
you have a very practised ear, say which is the finer singer at an
Eisteddfod, but almost any one can see which horse comes in first at a


What is most striking in the mixture of strains in England is that it
apparently has not ultimately mixed them; and perhaps after a thousand
years the racial traits will be found marking Americans as persistently.
We now absorb, and suppose ourselves to be assimilating, the different
voluntary and involuntary immigrations; but doubtless after two thousand
years the African, the Celt, the Scandinavian, the Teuton, the Gaul,
the Hun, the Latin, the Slav will be found atavistically asserting his
origin in certain of their common posterity. The Pennsylvania Germans
have as stolidly maintained their identity for two centuries as the
Welsh in Great Britain for twenty, or, so far as history knows, from
the beginning of time. The prejudices of one British stock concerning
another are as lively as ever, apparently, however the enmities may
have worn themselves away. One need not record any of these English
prejudices concerning the Scotch or Irish; they are too well known; but
I may set down the opinion of a lively companion in a railroad journey
that the Welsh are "the prize liars of the universe." He was an expert
accountant by profession, and his affairs took him everywhere in the
three Kingdoms, and this was his settled error; for the Welsh themselves
know that, if they sometimes seem the prey of a lively imagination, it
is the philologically noted fault of their language, which refuses to
lend itself to the accurate expression of fact, but which would probably
afford them terms for pronouncing the statement of my accountant
inexact. He was perhaps a man of convictions rather than conclusions,
for, though he was a bright intelligence, of unusually varied interests,
there were things that had never appealed to him. We praised together
the lovely September landscape through which we were running, and I
ventured some remark upon the large holdings of the land: a thing that
always saddened me in the face of nature with the reflection that those
who tilled the soil owned none of it; though I ought to have remembered
the times when the soil owned them, and taken heart. My notion seemed to
strike him for the first time, but he dismissed the fact as a necessary
part of the English system; it had never occurred to him that there
could be question of that system. There must be many Englishmen to whom
it does occur, but if you do not happen to meet them you cannot blame
the others.

I fancied that one of the Englishmen to whom it might have occurred was
he whom I met in Wales at Aberystwyth, where we spoke together a moment
in the shadow of the co-educational University there, and who seemed at
least of a different mind concerning the Welsh. "These Welsh farmers,"
he said, "send their sons and daughters to college as if it were quite
the natural thing to do. But just imagine a Dorsetshire peasant sending
his boy to a University!"

We suppose that the large holdings of land are the effect of wrongs and
abuses now wholly in the past, and that the causes for their increase
are no longer operative, but are something like those geological laws by
which the strata under them formed themselves. Once, however, in driving
through the most beautiful part of England, which I will not specify
because every part of England is the most beautiful, I came upon an
illustration of the reverse, as signal as the spectacle of a landslide.
It was the accumulation, not merely within men's memories, but within
the actual generation, of vast bodies of land in the hold of a great
nobleman who had contrived a title in them by the simple device of
enclosing the people's commons. It was a wrong, but there was no one of
the wronged who was brave enough or rich enough to dispute it through
the broken law, and no witness public-spirited enough to come to
their aid. Such things make us think patiently, almost proudly, of
our national foible of graft, which may really be of feudal origin.
Doubtless the aggression was attacked in the press, but we all know
what the attacks of the press amount to against the steadfast will of
a powerful corporation, and a great nobleman in England is a powerful
corporation. In this instance he had not apparently taken the people's
land without some wish to make them a return for it. He had built a
handsome road through their property, which he maintained in splendid
condition, and he allowed them to drive over his road, and to walk
freely in certain portions of their woods. He had also built a
magnificent hospital for them, and it seemed rather hard, then, to
hear that one of the humblest of them had been known to speak of him in
whispered confidence as a "Upas tree."


Probably he was not personally a Upas tree, probably the rancor toward
him left from being bawled after by one of his gatemen at a turning we
had taken in his enclosure, "That's a private path!" was unjust. There
was no sign, such as everywhere in England renders a place secure from
intrusion. The word "Private" painted up anywhere does the effect of
bolts and bars and of all obsolete man-traps beyond it, and is not for a
moment that challenge to the wayfaring foot which it seems so often
with us; but the warnings to the public which we make so mandatory, the
English language with unfailing gentleness. You are not told to keep
your foot or your wheel to a certain pathway; you are "requested,"
and sometimes even "kindly requested"; I do not know but once I was
"respectfully requested." Perhaps that nobleman's possession of these
lands was so new that his retainers had to practise something of
unwonted rudeness in keeping it wholly his where he chose. At any rate,
the rule of civility is so universal that the politeness from class to
class is, for what the stranger sees, all but unfailing. I dare say he
does not see everything, even the Argus-eyed American, but apparently
the manners of the lower class, where they have been touched by the
upper, have been softened and polished to the same consistence
and complexion. When it comes to the proffers, and refusals, and
insistences, and acceptances between people of condition, such as I
witnessed once in a crowded first-class carriage from London on an
Oxford holiday, nothing could be more gently urgent, more beautifully
forbearing. If the writers of our romantic novels could get just those
manners into their fiction, I should not mind their dealing so much with
the English nobility and gentry; for those who intend being our
nobility and gentry, by-and-by, could not do better than study such

If we approach the morals of either superiors or inferiors, we are in
a region where it behooves us to tread carefully. To be honest, I know
nothing about them, and I will not assume to know anything. I heard from
authority which I could not suspect of posing for omniscience that the
English rustics were apt to be very depraved, but they may on the
other hand be saints for all that I can prove against them. They are
superstitious, it is said, and there are few villages or old houses
that have not their tutelary spectres. The belief in ghosts is almost
universal among the people; as I may allow without superiority, for I
do not know but I believe in them myself, and there are some million of
American spiritualists who make an open profession of faith in them. It
is said also that the poor in England are much spoiled by the constant
aid given them in charity. This is supposed to corrupt them, and to
make them dependent upon the favors of fortune, rather than the sweat of
their brows. On the other hand, they often cannot get work, as I infer
from the armies of the unemployed, and, in these cases, I cannot hold
them greatly to blame if they bless their givers by their readiness
to receive. If one may infer from the incessant beneficences, and the
constant demands for more and more charities, one heaped upon another,
there are more good objects in England than anywhere else under the sun,
for one only gives to good objects, of course. The oppression of the
subscriptions is tempered by the smallness of the sum which may satisfy
them. "Five shillings is a subscription," said a friend who was accused
of really always giving five pounds.


The English rich do not give so spectacularly as our rich do--that
is, by handfuls of millions, but then the whole community gives more, I
think, than our community does, and when it does not give, the necessary
succor is taxed out of its incomes and legacies. I do not mean that
there is no destitution, but only that the better off seem to have the
worse off more universally and perpetually in mind than with us. All
this is believed to be very demoralizing to the poor, and doubtless the
certainty of soup and flannel is bad for the soul of an old woman whose
body is doubled up with rheumatism. The Church seems to blame for
much of the evil that ensues from giving something to people who have
nothing; but I dare say the Dissenters are also guilty.

Just how much is wanted to stay the stomach of a healthy pauper, it
would be hard to say; but now and then the wayfarer gets some hint of
the frequency if not the amount of feeding among the poor who are able
to feed themselves. One day, in the outskirts--they were very tattered
and draggled--of Liverpool, we stopped at a pastry-shop, where the kind
woman "thought she could accommodate" us with a cup of tea, though she
was terribly pressed with custom from all sorts of minute maids and
small boys coming in for "penn'orths" of that frightful variety of tart
and cake which dismays the beholder from innumerable shop windows
in England. When we were brought our safer refection, we noted her
activities to the hostess, and she said, "Yes, they all want a bit
of cake with their tea, even the poorest"; and when we ventured our
supposition that they made their afternoon tea the last meal of the day,
she laughed at the notion. "Last meal! They have a good supper before
they go to bed. Indeed, they all want their four meals a day."

Another time, thriftily running in a third-class carriage from Crewe to
Chester, I was joined by a friendly man who addressed me with the frank
cordiality of the lower classes in recognizing one of their sort. "They
don't know how to charge!" he said, with an irony that referred to the
fourpence he had been obliged to pay for a cup of station tea; and when
I tried to allege some mitigating facts in behalf of the company, he
readily became autobiographical. The transition from tea to eating
generally was easy, and he told me that he was a plumber, going to do a
job of work at Llandudno, where he had to pay fourteen bob, which I
knew to be shillings and mentally translated into $3.50, a week for
his board. His wages were $1.50 a day, which the reader who multiplies
fourpence by twenty, to make up the difference in money values, will
find to be the wages of a good mechanic in the first Edward's time, five
hundred years ago. On this he professed to live very well. He rose
every morning at half-past four, and at six he had a breakfast of bread,
butter, and coffee; at nine he had porridge and coffee; at one, he had
soup, meat, and eggs, and perhaps beer; at night, after he got home from
work, he had a stew and a bit of meat, and perhaps beer, with Mother. He
thought that English people ate too much, generally, and especially
on Sunday, when they had nothing else to do. Most men never came home
without asking, "Well, Mother, what have you got for me to eat now?"
When I remembered how sparely our farm people and mechanics fared, I
thought that he was right, or they were wrong; for the puzzling fact
remained that they looked gaunt and dyspeptic, and he hale and fresh,
though the difference may have had as much to do with the air as the
food. I liked him, and I cannot leave him without noting that he was of
the lean-faced, slightly aquiline British type, with a light mustache;
he was well dressed and well set up, and he spoke strongly, as North
Britons do, with nothing of our people's husky whine. I found him on
further acquaintance of anti-Chamberlain politics, pro-Boer as to
the late war, and rather socialistic. He blamed the labor men for
not choosing labor men to office instead of the gentry who offered
themselves. He belonged to a plumbers' union, and he had nothing to
complain of, but he inferred that the working-man was better off in
America, from the fact that none of his friends who had gone to the
States ever came home to stay, though they nearly all came home for
a holiday, sooner or later. He differed from my other friend, the
accountant, in being very fond of the Welsh; it must be owned their race
seemed to have acquired merit with him through the tip of two sovereigns
which his last employer in Llandudno had given him. On the other hand,
he had no love for the Italians who were coming in, especially at
Glasgow. In Glasgow, he said, there were more drunken women than
anywhere else in the world, though there was no public-house drinking
with them as in London. This, so far as I got at it, formed his outlook
on life, but I dare say there was more of it.


I was always regretting that I got at the people so little, and that
only chance hints of what they were thinking and feeling reached me.
Now and then, a native observer said something about them which
seemed luminous. "We are frightfully feudal," such an observer said,
"especially the poor." He did not think it a fault, I believe, and only
used his adverb intensifyingly, for he was of a Tory mind. He meant the
poor among the country people, who have at last mastered that principle
of the feudal system which early enabled the great nobles to pay nothing
for the benefits they enjoyed from it. But my other friend, the plumber,
was not the least feudal, or not so feudal as many a lowly ward-heeler
in New York, who helps to make up the muster of some captain of
politics, under the lead of a common boss. The texture of society, in
the smarter sense, the narrower sense, is what I could not venture to
speak of more confidently. Once I asked a friend, a very dear and valued
friend, whether a man's origin or occupation would make any difference
in his social acceptance, if he were otherwise interesting and
important. He seemed not to know what I would be at, and, when he
understood, he responded with almost a shout of amazement, "Oh, not the
least in the world!" But I have my doubts still; and I should say that
it might be as difficult for a very cultivated and agreeable man servant
to get on in London society, as for an artist or poet to feel at home
in the first circles of New York. Possibly, however, London society,
because of its almost immeasurable vastness, can take in more of more
sorts of people, without the consciousness of differences which keeps
our own first circles so elect. I venture, somewhat wildly, somewhat
unwarrantably, the belief that English society is less sensitive to
moral differences than ours, and that people with their little _taches_
would find less anxiety in London than in New York lest they should come
off on the people they rubbed against. Some Americans, who, even with
our increasing prevalence of divorces, are not well seen at home, are
cheerfully welcomed in England.

Perhaps, there, all Americans, good and bad, high and low, coarse and
fine, are the same to senses not accustomed to our varying textures
and shades of color; that is a matter I should be glad to remand to the
psychologist, who will have work enough to do if he comes to inquire
into such mysteries. One can never be certain just how the English take
us, or how much, or whether they take us at all. Oftenest I was inclined
to think that we were imperceptible to them, or that, when we were
perceptible, they were aware of us as Swedenborg says the most celestial
angels are aware of evil spirits, merely as something angular. Americans
were distressful to their consciousness, they did not know why; and
then they tried to ignore us. But perhaps this is putting it a little
fantastically. What I know is that one comes increasingly to reserve the
fact of one's nationality, when it is not essential to the occasion, and
to become as much as possible an unknown quality, rather than a quality
aggressive or positive. Sometimes, when I could feel certain of my
ground, I ventured my conviction that Englishmen were not so much
interested in Americans as those Americans who stayed at home were apt
to think; but when I once expressed this belief to a Unitarian minister,
whom I met in the West of England, he received it with surprise and
refusal. He said that in his own immediate circle, at least, his friends
were interested and increasingly interested in America, what she was
and what she meant to be, and still looked toward her for the lead
in certain high things which Englishmen have ceased to expect of
themselves. My impression is that most of the most forward of the
English Sociologists regard America as a back number in those political
economics which imply equality as well as liberty in the future. They do
not see any difference between our conditions and theirs, as regards
the man who works for his living with his hands, except that wages are
higher with us, and that physically there is more elbow-room, though
mentally and morally there is not. Save a little in my Unitarian
minister, and this only conjecturally, I did not encounter that fine
spirit which in Old England used to imagine the New World we have not
quite turned out to be; but once I met an Englishman who had lived
in Canada, and who, gentleman-bred as he was, looked back with fond
homesickness to the woods where he had taken up land, and built himself
a personable house, chiefly with his own hands. He had lived himself out
of touch with his old English life in that new country, and had drawn
breath in an opener and livelier air which filled his lungs as the home
atmosphere never could again.


Yet he was standing stiffly up for himself, and strewing his
convictions and opinions broadcast as the English all do when pressed
by circumstance, while we, with none of their shyness, mostly think our
thoughts to ourselves. I suppose we do it because we like better than
they to seem of one effect with the rest of our kind. In England one
sees a variety of dress in men which one rarely sees at home. They dress
there not only in keeping with their work and their play, but in the
indulgence of any freak of personal fancy, so that in the street of a
provincial town, like Bath, for instance, you will encounter in a short
walk a greater range of trousers, leggings, caps, hats, coats, jackets,
collars, scarfs, boots and shoes, of tan and black, than you would meet
at home in a month of Sundays. The differences do not go to the length
of fashions, such as reduce our differences to uniformity, and clothe,
say, our legs in knickerbockers till it is found everybody is wearing
them, when immediately nobody wears them. Only ladies, of fashions
beyond men's, gratify caprices like ours, and even these perhaps not
voluntarily. In the obedience they show to the rule that they must never
wear the same dinner or ball gown twice, it was said (but who can ever
find out the truth of such things?) that they sometimes had sent home
from the dressmaker's a number of dresses on liking, and wore them in
succession, only to return them, all but one at least, as not liked, the
dressmaker having found her account in her work being shown in society.


I do not know just what is to be inferred from a social fact or
statement like this, but I may say that the devotion to an ideal of
social position is far deeper with the English than with us. Whether
we spend more or not, I believe that the English live much nearer their
incomes than Americans do. I think that we save more out of our
earnings than they out of theirs, and that in this we are more like the
Continental peoples, the French or the Italians. They spend vastly more
on state than we do, because, for one thing, they have more state to
spend on. A man may continue to make money in America, and not change
his manner of living till he chooses, and he may never change it. Such
a thing could not happen to an Englishwoman as happened to the elderly
American housewife who walked through the magnificent house which her
husband had bought to surprise her, and sighed out at last, "Well, now I
suppose I shall have to keep a girl!" The girl would have been kept
from the beginning of her husband's prosperity, and multiplied, till
the house was full of servants. If you have the means of a gentleman
in England, you must live like a gentleman, apparently; you cannot live
plainly, and put by, and largely you must trust to your life-insurance
as the fortune you will leave your heirs. It cannot be denied that the
more generous expenditure of the English adds to the grace of life, and
that they are more hospitable according to their means than we are; or
than those Continental peoples who are not hospitable at all.

A thing that one feels more and more irritatingly in England is that,
while with other foreigners we stand on common ground, where we may be
as unlike them as we choose, with the English we always stand on English
ground, where we can differ only at our peril, and to our disadvantage.
A person speaking English and bearing an English name, had better be
English, for if he cannot it shows, it proves, that there is something
wrong in him. Our misfortune is that our tradition, and perhaps our
inclination, obliges us to be un-English, whereas we do not trouble
ourselves to be un-French, or un-Italian, for we are so by nature. The
effort involved in distinguishing ourselves breeds a sort of annoyance,
or call it no more than uneasiness, which is almost as bad as a bad
conscience; and in our sense of hopeless perdition we turn vindictively
upon our judge. But that is not fair and it is not wise; he does not
mean to be our judge, except when he comes to us for the purpose; in his
own house, he is civilly unaware of putting us to any test whatever. If
you ask him whether he likes this thing or that of ours, he will tell
you frankly; he never can see why he should not be frank; he has a kind
of helplessness in always speaking the truth; and he does not try to
make it palatable.


An English Radical, who would say of his King no more than that he was
a good little man, and most useful in promoting friendship with France,
was inclined to blame us because we did not stay by at the time of our
Revolution, and help them fight out as Englishmen the fight for English
freedom. He had none of the loyalty of sentiment which so mystifies the
American, but plenty of the loyalty of reason, and expected a Utopia
which should not be of political but of economical cast. But one was
always coming upon illustrations of the loyalty of sentiment with
which of course one could have no quarrel, for their patriotism seldom
concerned us, except rather handsomely to include us. The French have
ceased to be the hereditary enemy, and the Russians have now taken their
place in the popular patriotism. I always talked with the lower classes
when I could, perhaps because I felt myself near them in my unworthy
way, and one evening in a grassy lane I made the acquaintance of a
friendly man letting his horse browse the wayside turf. He was in the
livery-stable line, but he had been a soldier many years. Upon this
episode he became freely autobiographical, especially concerning his
service in India. He volunteered the declaration that he had had enough
of war, but he added, thoughtfully, "I should like to go out for a
couple of years if there was any trouble with Russia."

The love of England comes out charmingly in the swarming of English
tourists in every part of their country. Americans may sometimes
outnumber them at the Continental shrines, but we are in a pitiful
minority at the memorable places in England; in fact, we are nowhere
beside the natives. I liked their fondness for their own so much that
I never could feel the fine scorn for "trippers" which I believe all
persons of condition ought to assume. Even when the trippers did
not seem very intelligently interested in what they saw, they were
harmlessly employed, for a scene of beauty, or of historic appeal, could
not be desecrated by the courtships which are constantly going on all
over England, especially at the holiday seasons.

The English are, indeed, great holiday-makers, even when past the age
of putting their arms around one another's waists. The many and many
seaside resorts form the place of their favorite outings, where they try
to spend such days and weeks of the late summer as their savings will
pay for. It is said that families in very humble station save the year
round for these vacations, and, having put by twelve or fifteen pounds,
repair to some such waterside as Blackpool, or its analogue in their
neighborhood, and lavish them upon the brief joy of the time. They
take the cheaper lodgings, and bring with them the less perishable
provisions, and lead a life of resolute gayety on the sands and in the
sea, and at the pier-ends where the negro minstrels and the Pierrots,
who equally abound, make the afternoons and evenings a delight which no
one would suspect from their faces to be the wild thing it is. If they
go home at the end "high sorrowful and cloyed," there is no forecast of
it in their demeanor, which is as little troubled as it is animated.
The young people are even openly gay, and the robustness of their
flirtations adds sensibly to the interest of the spectator. Our own
public lovers seem of a humbler sort, and they mostly content themselves
with the passive embraces of which every seat in our parks affords an
example; but in England such lovers add playful struggles. A favorite
pastime seemed to be for one of them to hold something in the hand, and
for the other to try prying it open. When it was the young man who kept
his hand shut, the struggle could go on almost indefinitely. I suppose
it led to many engagements and marriages.

When the young people were not walking up and down, or playfully
scuffling, they were reading novels; in fact, I do not imagine that
anywhere else in the world is there a half, or a tenth part, so much
fiction consumed as in the English summer resorts. It is probably of the
innutritious lightness of pop-corn; I had never the courage to look at
the volumes which I could so easily have overlooked; but I am sure it
was all out of the circulating library. As there were often several
young women to one man, most of the girls had to content themselves
with the flirtations in the books, where, I dare say, the heroines
were always prying the heroes' hands open. On every seat one found them
poring upon the glowing page, and met them in every walk with a volume
under the arm, and another clasped to the heart. At places where the
hand played, and they were ostensibly listening to the music, they were
bowed upon their books, and the flutter of the turning leaves almost
silenced the blare of the horns. By what inspiration they knew when _God
Save the King_ was coming, and rose with a long sigh heaved in common,
I should not be able to say. Perhaps they always reached the end of a
story at the time the band came to that closing number, or perhaps they
felt its imminence in their nerves. The fiction was not confined to the
young girls, however. Both sexes and all ages partook of it; I saw as
many old girls as young girls reading novels, and mothers of families
were apparently as much addicted to the indulgence. I suppose they put
by their books when they took tea, which is the other most noticeable
dissipation in England. But I cannot enter upon that chapter; it is
too large a theme; I will say, merely, that as the saloons are on Sixth
Avenue, so the tearooms are in every part of the island.



It had seemed to me in former visits to England that the Christian
Sabbath was a more depressing day there than here, but from the last
I have a more cheerful memory of it. I still felt it dispiriting in
London, where as many fled from it as could, and where the empty streets
symbolized a world abandoned to destruction; but this was mainly in the
forenoon. Even then, the markets and fairs in the avenues given up to
them were the scenes of an activity which was not without gayety, and
certainly not without noise; and when the afternoon came, the lower
classes, such as had remained in town, thronged to the public houses,
and the upper classes to the evening parade in the Park. As to the
relative amount of church-going, I will not even assume to be sure; but
I have a fancy that it is a rite much less rigorous than it used to
be. Still, in provincial places, I found the churches full on a Sunday
morning, and all who could afford it hallowed the day by putting on
a frock-coat and a top-hat, which are not worn outside of London on
week-days. The women, of course, were always in their best on Sunday.
Perhaps in the very country the upper classes go to church as much as
formerly, but I have my doubts whether they feel so much obliged to it
in conformity to usage, or for the sake of example to their inferiors.
Where there are abbeys and minsters and cathedrals, as there are pretty
well everywhere in England, religion is an attractive spectacle, and one
could imagine people resorting to its functions for aesthetic reasons.

But, in these guesses, one must remember that the English who remained
at home were never Puritanized, never in such measure personally
conscienced, as those who came to America in the times of the successive
Protestant fervors; and that is a thing which we are apt to forget. The
home-keeping English continued, with changes of ritual, much like the
peoples who still acknowledged as their head "the Bishop of Rome."
Their greater morality, if it was greater, was temperamental rather than
spiritual, and, leaving the church to look after religion much more than
our Puritans did, they kept a simplicity of nature impossible to the
sectaries always taking stock of their souls. In fact, the Calvinists
of New England were almost essentially different from the Calvinists of
Holland, of France, even of Scotland. If our ancestors were the children
of light, as they trusted, they were darkened by the forest, into which
they plunged, to certain reasons which the children of darkness, as the
Puritans believed the non-Puritans to be, saw by the uncertain glimmers
from the world about them. There is no denying that with certain great
gains, the American Puritans became, in a worldly sense, provincialized,
and that if they lived in the spirit, they lived in it narrowly, while
the others, who lived in the body, lived in it liberally, or at any rate
handsomely. From our narrowness we flattered ourselves that we were able
to imagine a life more broadly based than theirs, or at least a life
from which theirs must look insufficient and unfinal, so long as man
feels within himself the prompting to be something better or higher than
he is. Yet the English life is wonderfully perfected. With a faery
dream of a king supported in his preeminence by a nobility, a nobility
supported in turn by a commonalty, a commonalty supported again by a
proletariat resting upon immeasurable ether; with a system of government
kept, by assent so general that the dissent does not matter, in the
hands of a few families reared, if not trained, to power; with a society
so intimately and thoroughly self-acquainted that one touch of gossip
makes its whole world kin, and responsive to a single emotion; with a
charity so wisely studied, and so carefully applied, that restive misery
never quite grows rebellious; with a patriotism so inborn and ingrained
that all things English seem righteous because English; with a
willingness to share the general well-being quite to the verge, but
never beyond the verge, of public control of the administration--with
all this, the thing must strike the unbelieving observer as desperately
perfect. "They have got it down cold," he must say to himself, and
confirm himself in his unfaith by reflecting that it is very cold.


The best observer of England that ever was, he whose book about the
English makes all other comment seem idle and superfluous palaver, that
Ralph Waldo Emerson whom we always find ahead of us when we look back
for him, was once, as he relates in a closing chapter of English Traits,
brought to bay by certain great English friends of his, who challenged
him to say whether there really were any Americans with an American
idea, and a theory of our future. "Thus challenged, I bethought myself
neither of Congress, neither of President nor of Cabinet Ministers, nor
of such as would make of America another Europe.... I opened the dogma
of no-government and non-resistance, and anticipated the objections and
the fun, and procured a kind of hearing for it. I said, It is true that
I have never yet seen in any country a man of sufficient valor to stand
for this truth, and yet ... 'tis certain, as God liveth, the gun that
does not need another gun, the law of love and justice alone, can effect
a clean revolution.... I insisted ... that the manifest absurdity of
the view to English feasibility could make no difference to a gentleman;
that as to our secure tenure of our mutton-chop and spinach in London
or in Boston, the soul might quote Talleyrand, '_Messieurs, je n'en
vois pas la nécessité_.'" In other words, Emerson laid before his
great English friends a programme, as nearly as might then be, of
philosophical anarchism, and naturally it met with no more acceptance
than it would if now presented to the most respectable of his American
readers. Yet it is never to be forgotten that it was the English who,
with all their weight of feudal tradition, and amidst the nightmares to
which their faery dream seemed so long subject, invented the only form
of Democratic Christianity the world has yet known, unless indeed the
German Mennonites are the same as the earlier English Quakers were in
creed and life. In the pseudo-republic of the Cromwellian commonwealth
the English had a state as wholly without liberty, equality, and
fraternity as in the king-capped oligarchy they had before and have
had ever since. We may be sure that they will never have such another
commonwealth, or any resembling ours, which can no longer offer itself
as an eminent example.

The sort of Englishmen, of whose respect Americans can make surest are
those English thick-and-thin patriots who admire force and strength, and
believe that it is the Anglo-Saxon mission to possess the earth, and
to profit by its weaker peoples, not cruelly, not unkindly, yet
unquestionably. The Englishmen of whose disrespect we can make surest
are those who expect to achieve liberty, equality, and fraternity in the
economic way, the political way having failed; who do not care whether
the head of the state is born or elected, is called "King" or called
"President," since he will presently not be at all; who abhor war, and
believe that the meek shall inherit the earth, and these only if they
work for a living. They have already had their will with the existing
English state, until now that state is far more the servant of the
people in fetching and carrying, in guarding them from hard masters
and succoring them in their need, than the republic which professes
to derive its just powers from the consent of the governed. When one
encounters this sort of Englishman, one thinks silently of the child
labor in the South, of the monopolies in the North, of the companies
which govern while they serve us, and one hopes that the Englishman is
not silently thinking of them too. He is probably of the lower classes,
and one consoles one's self as one can by holding one's head higher in
better company, where, without secret self-contempt, one can be more
openly proud of our increasing fortunes and our increasing territory,
and our warlike adequacy to a first position among the nations of
the world. There is no fear that in such company one's national
susceptibilities will be wounded, or that one will not be almost as much
admired for one's money as at home. I do not say quite, because there
are still things in England even more admired than money. Certainly
a very rich American would be considered in such English society,
but certainly he would not be so much considered as an equally rich
Englishman who was also a duke.

I cannot name a nobleman of less rank, because I will not belittle my
rich countryman, but perhaps the English would think differently, and
would look upon him as lower than the latest peer or the newest knight
of the King's creation. The King, who has no power, can do almost
anything in England; and his touch, which is no longer sovereign for
scrofula, can add dignity and give absolute standing to a man whose
achievements merit it, but who with us would fail of anything like it.
The English system is more logical than ours, but not so reasonable. The
English have seen from the beginning inequality and the rule of the few.
We can hardly prove that we see, in the future, equality and the rule
of the many. Yet our vision is doubtless prophetic, whatever obliquities
our frequent astigmatism may impart to it. Meantime, in its ampler range
there is room for the play of any misgiving short of denial; but the
English cannot doubt the justice of what they have seen without forming
an eccentric relation to the actual fact. The Englishman who refuses the
formal recognition of his distinction by his prince is the anomaly,
not the Englishman who accepts it. Gladstone who declines a peerage is
anomalous, not Tennyson who takes it. As part of the English system, as
a true believer in the oligarchically administered monarchy, Gladstone
was illogical, and Tennyson was logical.


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