Title: As Seen By Me [Electronic Edition]

Author: Bell, Lilian, 1867-1929.
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Title: As Seen By Me

Author: Lilian Bell
File size or extent: 4 p. l., 305 [1] p. front. 18 cm.
Publisher: Harper & Brothers
Place of publication: New York
Place of publication: London
Publication date: 1900
Identifier: Fondren Library, Rice University, D919 .B41
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  • Europe--Description and travel.
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As Seen By Me [Electronic Edition]


Contents












THE FAMOUS RELIEF OF CLEOPATRA AT TEMPLE OF DENDERAH



As Seen By Me

Lilian Bell
Harper & Brothers
New York and London
1900



By LILIAN BELL.
THE INSTINCT OF STEP-FATHERHOOD. A
Novel. 16mo, Cloth, $1 25.
A LITTLE SISTER TO THE WILDERNESS.
A Novel. 16mo, Cloth, $1 25.
THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF AN OLD MAID.
16mo, Cloth, $1 25.
THE UNDER SIDE OF THINGS. 16mo, Cloth,
$1 25.
FROM A GIRL'S POINT OF VIEW. 16mo,
Cloth, $1 25.
NEW YORK AND LONDON:
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS.
Copyright, 1900, by Lilian Bell.
All rights reserved.



TO
that most interesting speck of humanity, all
perpetual motion and kindling intelligence
and sweetness unspeakable, my little nephew
BILLY
absence from whom racked my spirit with its most
unappeasable pangs of homesickness, and whose
constant presence in my study since my return
has spared the public no small amount of pain


AUTHOR'S APOLOGY

The frank conceit of the title to this
book will, I hope, not prejudice my friends
against it, and will serve not only to excuse
my being my own Boswell, but will fasten
the blame of all inaccuracies, if such there
be, upon the offender–myself. This is not
a continuous narrative of a continuous journey,
but covers two years of travel over
some thirty thousand miles, and presents
peoples and things, not as you saw them,
perhaps, or as they really are, but only
As Seen By Me.


CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I. FIRST LETTER—ON THE WAY 1
II. LONDON 17
III. PARIS 60
IV. ON BOARD THE YACHT “HELA” 124
V. VILNA, RUSSIA 151
VI. ST. PETERSBURG 166
VII. RUSSIA 178
VIII. MOSCOW 191
IX. CONSTANTINOPLE 204
X. CAIRO 219
XI. THE NILE 234
XII. GREECE 252
XIII. NAPLES 278
XIV. ROME 292


AS SEEN BY ME
I
FIRST LETTER—ON THE WAY

In This day and generation, when everybody
goes to Europe, it is difficult to discover
the only person who never has been there.
But I am that one, and therefor the stir
it occasioned in the bosom of my amiable
family when I announced that I, too, was
about to join the vast majority, is not easy
to imagine. But if you think that I at once
became a person of importance it only goes
to show that you do not know the family.
My mother, to be sure, hovered around me
the way she does when she thinks I am going
into typhoid fever. I never have had typhoid
fever, but she is always on the watch
for it, and if it ever comes it will not catch
her napping. She will meet it half-way.
And lest it elude her watchfulness, she minutely

questions every pain which assails any
one of us, for fear it may be her dreaded foe.
Yet when my sister's blessed lamb baby had
it before he was a year old, and after he had
got well and I was not afraid he would
be struck dead for my wickedness, I said to
her, “Well, mamma, you must have taken
solid comfort out of the first real chance you
ever had at your pet fever,” she said I ought
to be ashamed of myself.
My father began to explain international
banking to me as his share in my preparations,
but I utterly discouraged him by asking
the difference between a check and a
note. He said I reminded him of the juryman
who asked the difference between plaintiff
and defendant. I soothed him by assuring
him that I knew I would always find
somebody to go to the bank with me.
“Most likely ‘twill be Providence, then,
as He watches over children and fools,” said
my cousin, with what George Eliot calls
“the brutal candor of a near relation.”
My brother-in-law lent me ten Baedekers,
and offered his hampers and French trunks
to me with such reckless generosity that I
had to get my sister to stop him so that I
wouldn't hurt his feelings by refusing.
My sister said, “I am perfectly sure,
mamma, that if I don't go with her, she will
go about with an ecstatic smile on her face,

and let herself get cheated and lost, and she
would just as soon as not tell everybody that
she had never been abroad before. She has
no pride.”
“Then you had better come along and
take care of me and see that I don't disgrace
you,” I urged.
“Really, mamma, I do think I had better
go,” said my sister. So she actually consented
to leave husband and baby in order to
go and take care of me. I do assure you,
however, that I have bought all the tickets,
and carried the common purse, and got her
through the custom-houses, and arranged
prices thus far. But she does pack my
trunks and make out the laundry lists—I
will say that for her.
My brother's contribution to my comfort
was in this wise: He said, “You must have
a few more lessons on your wheel before you
go, and I'll take you out for a lesson to-morrow
if you'll get up and go at six o'clock in
the morning—that is, if you'll wear gloves.
But you mortify me half to death riding
without gloves.”
“Nobody sees me but milkmen,” I said,
humbly.
“Well, what will the milkmen think?”
said my brother.
“Mercy on us, I never thought of that,” I
said. “My gloves are all pretty tight when

one has to grip one's handle-bars as fiercely
as I do. But I'll get large ones. What tint
do you think milkmen care the most for?”
He sniffed.
“Well, I'll go and I'll wear gloves,” I
said, “but if I fall off, remember it will be
on account of the gloves.”
“You always do fall off,” he said, with patient
resignation. “I've seen you fall off
that wheel in more different directions than
it has spokes.”
“I don't exactly fall,” I explained, carefully.
“I feel myself going and then I get
off.”
I was ready at six the next morning, and
I wore gloves.
“Now, don't ride into the holes in the
street”—one is obliged to give such instructions
in Chicago—“and don't look at anything
you see. Don't be afraid. You're all
right. Now, then! You're off!”
“Oh, Teddy, don't ride so close to me,” I
quavered.
“I'm forty feet away from you,” he said.
“Then double it,” I said. “You're choking
me by your proximity.”
“Let,s cross the railroad tracks just for
practice,” he said, when it was too late for
me to expostulate. “Stand up on your pedals
and ride fast, and—”
“Hold on, please do,” I shrieked. “I'm

falling off. Get out of my way. I seem to
be turning—”
He scorched ahead, and I headed straight
for the switchman's hut, rounded it neatly,
and leaned myself and my wheel against the
side of it, helpless with laughter.
A red Irish face, with a short black pipe in
its mouth, thrust itself out of the tiny window
just in front of me, and a voice with a
rich brogue exclaimed:
“As purty a bit of riding as iver Oi see!”
“Wasn't it?” I cried. “You couldn't
do it.”
“Oi wouldn't thry! Oi'd rather tackle a
railroad train going at full spheed thin wan
av thim runaway critturs.”
Get down from there,” hissed my
brother so close to my ear that it made me
bite my tongue.
I obediently scrambled down. Ted's face
was very red.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself to
enter into immediate conversation with a
man like that. What do you suppose that
man thought of you?”
Oh, perhaps he saw my gloves and took
me for a lady,” I pleaded.
Ted grinned and assisted me to mount.
When I successfully turned the corner by
making Ted fall back out of sight, we rode
away along the boulevard in silence for a

while, for my conversation when I am on a
wheel is generally limited to shrieks, ejaculations,
and snatches of prayer. I never talk
to be amusing.
“I say,” said my brother, hesitatingly, “I
wear a No. 8 glove and a No. 10 stocking.”
“I've always thought you had large
hands and feet,” I said, ignoring the hint.
He giggled.
“No, now, really. I wish you'd write
that down somewhere. You can get those
things so cheap in Paris.”
“You are supposing the case of my return,
or of Christmas intervening, or—a
present of some kind, I suppose.”
“Will, no; not exactly. Although you
know I am always broke—”
“Don't I, though?”
“And that I am still in debt—”
“Because papa insists upon your putting
some money in the bank every month—”
“Yes, and the result is that I never get my
head above water. I owe you twenty now.”
“Which I never expect to recover, because
you know I always get silly about
Christmas and ‘forgive thee thy debts.”'
“You're awful good—” he began.
“But I'll be better if I bring you gloves
and silk stockings.”
“I'll give you the money!” he said, heroically.

7

“Will you borrow it of me or of mamma?”
I asked, with a chuckle at the family
financiering which always goes on in this
manner.
“Now don't make fun of me! You don't
know what it is to be hard up.”
“Don't I, through?” I said, indignantly.
“Oh—oh! Catch me!”
He seized my handle-bar and righted me
before I fell off.
“See what you did by saying I never was
hard up,” I said. “I'll tell you what, Teddy.
You needn't give me the money. I'll
bring you some gloves and stockings!”
“Oh, I say, honest? Oh, but you're the
right kind of a sister! I'll never forget that
as long as I live. You do look so nice on
your wheel. You sit so straight and—”
I saw a milkman coming. We three were
the only objects in sight, yet I headed for
him.
“Get out of my way,” I shrieked at him.
“I'm a beginner. Turn off!”
He lashed his horse and cut down a side
street.
“What a narrow escape,” I sighed.
“How glad I am I happened to think of
that.”
I looked up pleasantly at Ted. He was
biting his lips and he looked raging.
“You are the most hopeless girl I ever

saw !” he burst out. “I wish you didn't
own a wheel.”
“I don't,” I said. “The wheel owns me.”
“You haven't the manners of—”
“Stockings,” I said, looking straight
ahead. “Silk stockings with polka dots embroidered
on them, No.10.”
Ted looked sheepish.
“I ride so well,” I proceeded. “I sit up
so straight and look so nice.”
No answer.
“Gloves,” I went on, still without looking
at him. “White and pearl ones for evening,
and russet gloves for the street, No. 8.”
“Oh, quit, won't you? I'm sorry I said
that. But if you only knew how you mortify
me.”
“Cheer up, Tedcastle. I am going away,
you know. And when I come back you will
either have got over caring so much or I will
be more of a lady.”
“I'm sorry you are going,” said my
brother. “But as you are going, perhaps
you will let me use your rooms while you
are gone. Your bed is the best one I ever
slept in, and your study would be bully for
the boys when they come to see me.”
I was too stunned to reply. He went on,
utterly oblivious of my consternation:
“And I am going to use your wheel while
you are gone, if you don't mind, to take the

girls out on. I know some awfully nice girls
who can ride, but their wheels are last year's
make, and they won't ride them. I'd rather
like to be able to offer them a new wheel.”
“I am not going to take all my party
dresses. Have you any use for them?” I
said.
“Why, what's the matter? Won't you let
me have your rooms?”
“Merciful heavens, child! I should say
not!”
“Why, I haven't asked you for much,”
said my small, modest brother. “You offered.”
“Well, just wait till I offer the rest. But
I'll tell you what I will do, Ted. If you
Will promise not to go into my rooms and
rummage once while I am gone, and not to
touch my wheel, I'll buy you a tandem, and
then you can take the girls on that.”
“I'd rather have you bring me some
things from Europe,” said my shrinking
brother.
“All right. I'll do that, but let me off
this thing. I am so tired I can't move.
You'll have to walk it back and give me five
cents to ride home on the car.”
I crawled in to breakfast more dead than
alive.
“What's the matter, dearie? Did you
ride too far?” asked mamma.

10

“I don't know whether I rode too far or
whether it was Ted's asking if he couldn't
use my rooms while I was gone, but something
has made me tired. What's that?
Whom is papa talking to over the telephone?”
Papa came in fuming and fretting.
“Who was it this time?” I questioned,
with anticipation. Inquiries over the telephone
were sure to be interesting to me just
now.
“Somebody who wanted to know what
train you were going on, but would not give
his name. He was inquiring for a friend,
he said, and wouldn't give his friend's name
either.”
“Didn't you tell him?” I cried, in distress.
“Certainly not. I told him nobody but
an idiot would withhold his name.”
Papa calls such a variety of men idiots.
“Oh, but it was probably only flowers or
candy. Why didn't you tell him? Have
you no sentiment?”
“I won't have you receiving anonymous
communications,” he retorted, with the liberty
fathers have a little way of taking with
their daughters.
“But flowers,” I pleaded. “It is no
harm to send flowers without a card. Don't
you see?” Oh, how hard it is to explain a

delicate point like that to one's father—in
broad daylight! “I am supposed to know
who sent them!”
“But would you know?” asked my practical
ancestor.
“Not—not exactly. But it would be almost
sure to be one of them.”
Ted shouted. But there was nothing
funny in what I said. Boys are so silly.
“Anyway, I am sorry you didn't tell
him,” I said.
“Well, I'm not,” declared papa.
The rest of the day fairly flew. The last
night came, and the baby was put to bed. I
undressed him, which he regarded as such a
joke that he worked himself into a fever of
excitement. He loves to scrub like Josie, the
cook. I had bought him a little red pail, and
I gave it to him that night when he was
partly undressed, and he was so enchanted
with it that he scampered around hugging it,
and saying, “Pile! pile!” like a little Cockney.
He gave such squeals of ecstasy that
everybody came into the nursery to find him
scrubbing his crib with a nail-brush and
little red pail.
“Who gave you the pretty pail, Billy?”
asked Aunt Lida, who was sitting by the crib.
“Tattah,” said Billy, in a whisper. He
always whispers my name.
“Then go and kiss dear auntie. She is

going away on the big boat to stay such a
long time.”
Billy's face sobered. Then he dropped
his precious pail, and came and licked my
face like a little dog, which is his way of
kissing.
I squeezed him until he yelled.
“Don't let him forget me,” I wailed.
“Talk to him about me every day. And buy
him a toy out of my money often, and tell
him Tattah sent it to him. Oh, oh, he'll
be grown up when I come home!”
“Don't cry, dearie,” said Aunt Lida,
handing me her handkerchief. “I'll see that
your grave is kept green.”
My sister appeared at the door. She was
all ready to start. She even had her veil on.
“What do you mean by exciting Billy so
at this time of night?” she said. “Go out,
all of you. We'll lose the train. Hush,
somebody's at the telephone. Papa's talking
to that same man again.” I jumped up
and ran out.
“Let me answer it, papa dear! Yes, yes,
yes, certainly. To-night on the Pennsylvania.
You're quite welcome. Not at all.” I hung
up the telephone.
I could hear papa in the nursery:
“She actually told him—after all I said
this morning! I never heard of anything
like it.”

13

Two or three voices were raised in my defence.
Ted slipped out into the hall.
“Bully for you,” he whispered. “You'll
get the flowers all right at the train. Who
do you s'pose they're from? Another box
just came for you. Say, couldn't you leave
that smallest box of violets in the silver box?
I want to give them to a girl, and you've got
such loads of others.”
“Don't ask her for those,” answered my
dear sister, “they are the most precious of
all!”
“I can't give you any of mine,” I said,
“but I'll buy you a box for her—a small
box,” I added hastily.
“The carriages have come, dears,” quavered
grandmamma, coming out of the nursery,
followed by the family, one after the
other.
“Get her satchels, Teddy. Her hat is upstairs.
Her flowers are in the hall. She left
her ulster on my bed, and her books are on
the window-sill,” said mamma. She wouldn't
look at me. “Remember, dearie, your medicines
are all labelled, and I put needles in
your work-box all threaded. Don't sit in
draughts and don't read in a dim light. Have
a good time and study hard and come back
soon. Good - bye, my girlie. God bless
you!”
By this time no handkerchief would have

sufficed for my tears. I reached out blindly,
and Ted handed me a towel.
“I've got a sheet when you've sopped
that,” he said. Boys are such brutes.
Aunt Lida said, “Good-bye, my dearest.
You are my favorite niece. You know I
love you the best.”
I giggled, for she tells my sister the same
thing always.
“Nobody seems to care much that I am
going,” said Bee, mournfully.
“But you are coming back so soon, and
she is going to stay so long,” exclaimed
grandmamma, patting Bee.
“I'll bet she doesn't stay a year,” cried
Ted.
“I'll expect her home by Christmas,” said
papa.
“I'll bet she is here to eat Thanksgiving
dinner,” cried my brother-in-law.
“No, she is sure to stay as long as she has
said she would,” said mamma.
Mothers are the brace of the universe. The
family trailed down to the front door.
Everybody was carrying something. There
were two carriages, for they were all going
to the station with us.
“For all the world like a funeral, with
loads of flowers and everybody crying,” said
my brother, cheerfully.
I never shall forget that drive to the station;

nor the last few moments, when Bee
and I stood on the car-steps and talked to
those who were on the platform of the station.
Can anybody else remember how she
felt at going to Europe for the first time and
leaving everybody she loved at home? Bee
grieved because there were no flowers at the
train after all. But the next morning they
appeared, a tremendous box, arranged as a
surprise.
Telegrams came popping in at all the big
stations along the way, enlivening our gloom,
and at the steamer there were such loads of
things that we might almost have set up as
a florist, or fruiterer, or bookseller. Such a
lapful of steamer letters and telegrams! I
read a few each morning, and some of them
I read every morning!
I don't like ocean travel. They sent grapefruit
and confections to my state-room, which
I tossed out of the port-hole. You know
there are some people who think you don't
know what you want. I travelled horizontally
most of the way, and now people roar
when I say I wasn't ill. Well, I wasn't, you
know. We—well, Teddy would not like me
to be more explicit. I own to a horrible
headache which never left me. I deny everything
else. Let them laugh. I was there,
and I know.
The steamer I went on allows men to

smoke on all the decks, and they all smoked
in my face. It did not help me. I must say
that I was unspeakably thankful to get my
foot on dry ground once more. When we
got to the dock a special train of toy cars
took us through the greenest of green landscapes,
and suddenly, almost before we knew
it, we were at Waterloo Station, and knew
that London was at our door.

[Back to top]


17

II
LONDON

People said to me, “What are you going
to London for?” I said, “To get an English
point of view.” “Very well,” said one of
the knowing ones, who has lived abroad the
larger part of his life, “then you must go to
‘The Insular,' in Piccadilly. That is not
only the smartest hotel in London, but it is
the most typically British. The rooms are
let from season to season to the best country
families. There you will find yourself
plunged headlong into English life with not
an American environment to bless yourself
with, and you will soon get your English
point of view.”
“Ah-h,” responded the simpleton who
goes by my name,“that is what we want.
We will go to ‘The Insular.' ”
We wrote at once for rooms, and then telegraphed
for them from Southampton.
The steamer did not land her passengers
until the morning of the ninth day, which
shows the vast superiority of going on a fast

boat, which gets you in fully as much as fifteen
or twenty minutes ahead of the slow
ones.
Our luggage would not go on even a four-wheeler,
so we took a dear little private
bus and proceeded to put our mountainous
American trunks on it. We filled the top of
this bus as full as it would hold, and put
everything else inside. After stowing ourselves
in there would not have been room
even for another umbrella.
In this fashion we reached “The Insular,”
where we were received by four or five
gorgeous creatures in livery, the head one of
whom said, “Miss Columbia?” I admitted
it, and we were ushered in, where we were
met by more belonging to this tribe of gorgeousness,
another of whom said, “Miss
Columbia?”
“Yes,” I said, firmly, privately wondering
if they were trying to trip me into admitting
that I was somebody else.
“The housekeeper will be here presently,”
said this person. “She is expecting you.”
Forth came the housekeeper.
“Miss Columbia?” she said.
Once again I said “Yes,” patiently, standing
on my other foot.
“If you will be good enough to come with
me I will show you your rooms.”
A door opened outward, disclosing a little

square place with two cane-bottomed chairs.
A man bounced out so suddenly that I nearly
annihilated my sister, who was back of me.
I could not imagine what this little cubbyhole
was, but as there seemed to be nowhere
else to go, I went in. The others followed,
then the man who had bounced out. He
closed the door and shut us in, where we
stood in solemn silence. About a quarter of
an hour afterwards I thought I saw something
through the glass moving slowly downward,
and then an infinitesimal thrill in the
soles of my feet led me to suspect the truth.
“Is this thing an elevator?” I whispered
to my sister.
“No, they call it a lift over here,” she
whispered back.
“I know that,” I murmured, impatiently.
“But is this thing it? Are we moving? Are
we going anywhere?”
“Why, of course, my dear. They are
slower than ours, that's all.”
I listened to her with some misgivings, for
her information is not always to be wholly
trusted, but this time it happened that she
was right, for after a while we came to the
fourth floor, where our rooms were.
I wish you could have seen the size of
them. I shall not attempt to describe them,
for you would not believe me. I had engaged
“two rooms and a bath.” The two

rooms were there. “Where is the bath?” I
said. The housekeeper lovingly removed a
gigantic crash towel from a hideous tin object,
and proudly exposed to my vision that
object which is next dearest to his silk hat
to an Englishman's heart—a hip-bath tub.
Her manner said, “Beat that if you can.”
My sister prodded me in the back with
her umbrella, which in our sign language
means, “Don't make a scene.”
“Very well,” I said, rather meekly.
“Have our trunks sent up.”
“Very good, madam.”
She went away, and then we rang the bell
and began to order what were to us the barest
necessities of life. We were tired and lame
and sleepy from a night spent at the pier
landing the luggage, and we wanted things
with which to make ourselves comfortable.
There was a pocket edition of a fireplace,
and they brought us a hatful of the vilest soft
coal, which peppered everything in the rooms
with soot.
We climbed over our trunks to sit by this
imitation of a fire, only to find that there was
nothing to sit on but the most uncompromising
of straight-backed chairs.
We groaned as we took in the situation.
To our poor, racked frames a coal-hod would
not have suggested more discomfort. We
dragged up our hampers, packed with

steamer-rugs and pillows, and my sister sat
on hers while I took another turn at the bell.
While the maid is answering this bell I shall
have plenty of time to tell you what we
afterwards discovered the process of bell-ringing
in an English hotel to be.
We rang our bell. Presently we heard the
most horrible gong, such as we use on our
patrol wagons and fire-engines at home. This
clanged four times. Then a second bell down
the hall answered it. Then feet flew by our
door. At this juncture my sister and I prepared
to let ourselves down the fire-escape.
But we soon discovered that those flying feet
belonged to the poor maid, whom that gong
had signalled that she was wanted on the
fourth floor. She flew to a speaking-tube and
asked who on the fourth floor wanted her.
She was then given the number of our room,
when she rang a bell to signify that our call
was answered, by which time she was at liberty,
and knocked at our door, saying, in her
soft English voice, “Did you ring, miss?”
We told her we wanted rocking-chairs.
She said there was not one in the house. Then
easy-chairs, we said, or anything cushioned
or low or comfortable. She said the housekeeper
had no easier chairs.
We sat down on our hampers, and my sister
leaned against the corner of the wardrobe
with a pillow at her back to keep from being

cut in two. I propped my back against the
wash-stand, which did very well, except that
the wash-stand occasionally slid away from
me.
“This,” said my sister, impressively, “is
England.”
We had been here only half an hour, but I
had already got my point of view.
“Let's go out and look up a hotel where
they take Americans,” I said. “I feel the
need of ice-water.”
Our drinking-water at “The Insular” was
on the end of the wash-stand nearest the fire.
So, feeling a little timid and nervous, but
not in the least homesick, we went downstairs.
One of our gorgeous retinue called a
cab and we entered it.
“Where shall we go?” asked my sister.
“I feel like saying to the first hotel we
see,” I said.
Just then we raised our eyes and they
rested simultaneously upon a sign, “The
Empire Hotel for Cats and Dogs.” This
simple solution of our difficulty put us in
such high good humor that we said we
wouldn't look up a hotel just yet—we would
take a drive.
Under these circumstances we took our
first drive down Piccadilly, and Europe to
me dates from that moment. The ship, the
landing, the custom-house, the train, the

hotel—all these were mere preliminaries to
the Europe, which began then. People told
me in America how my heart would swell at
this, and how I would thrill at that, but it was
not so. My first real thrill came to me in Piccadilly.
It went all over me in little shivers
and came out at the ends of my fingers, and
then began once more at the base of my brain
and did it all over again.
But what is the use of describing one's
first view of London streets and traffic to the
initiated? Can they, who became used to it
as children, appreciate it? Can they look
back and recall how it struck them? No.
When I try to tell Americans over here they
look at me curiously and say, “Dear me,
how odd!” The way they say it leaves me
to draw any one of three conclusions: either
they are not impressionable, and are therefore
honest in denying the feeling; or they
think it vulgar to admit it; or I am the only
grown person in America who never has been
to Europe before.
But I am indifferent to their opinion.
People are right in saying this great tremendous
rush of feeling can come but once.
It is like being in love for the first time. You
like it and yet you don't like it. You wish
it would go away, yet you fear that it will go
all too soon. It gets into your head and
makes you dizzy, and you want to shut your

eyes, but you are afraid if you do that you
will miss something. You cannot eat and
you cannot sleep, and you feel that you have
two consciousnesses: one which belongs to
the life you have lived hitherto, and which
still is going on, somewhere in the world, unmindful
of you, and you unmindful of it;
and the other is this new bliss which is beating
in your veins and sounding in your ears
and shining before your eyes, which no one
knows and no one dreams of, but which keeps
a smile on your lips—a smile which has in it
nothing of humor, nothing from the great
without, but which comes from the secret
recesses of your own inner consciousness,
where the heart of the matter lies.
I remember nothing definite about that
first drive. I, for my part, saw with unseeing
eyes. My sister had seen it all before, so
she had the power of speech. Occasionally
she prodded me and cried, “Look, oh! look
quickly.” But I never swerved. “I can't
look. If I do I shall miss something. You
attend to your own window and I'll attend to
mine. Coming back I will see your side.”
When we got beyond the shops I said to
the cabman:
“Do you know exactly the way you have
come?”
“Yes, miss,” he said.
“Then go back precisely the same way.”

25

“Have you lost something, miss?” he inquired.
“Yes,” I said, “I have lost an impression,
and I must look till I find it.”
“Very good, miss,” he said.
If I had said, “I have carelessly let fall
my cathedral,” or, “I have lost my orangoutang.
Look for him!” an imperturbable
British cabby would only touch his cap
and say, “Very good, miss!”
So we followed our own trail back to “The
Insular.” “In this way,” I said to my sister,
“we both get a complete view. To-morrow
we will do it all over again.”
But we found that we could not wait for
the morrow. We did it all over again that
afternoon, and that second time I was able
in a measure to detach myself from the hum
and buzz and the dizzying effect of foreign
faces, and I began to locate impressions. My
first distinct recollections are of the great
numbers of high hats on the men, the ill-hanging
skirts and big feet of the women, the
unsteadying effect of all those thousands of
cabs, carriages, and carts all going to the left,
which kept me constantly wishing to shriek
out, “Go to the right or we'll all be killed,”
the absolutely perfect manner in which traffic
was managed, and the majestic authority of
the London police.
I have seen the Houses of Parliament and

the Tower and Westminster Abbey, and the
World's Fair, but the most impressive sight
I ever beheld is the upraised hand of a London
policeman. I never heard one of them
speak except when spoken to. But let one
little blue-coated man raise his forefinger
and every vehicle on wheels stops, and stops
instantly; stops in obedience to law and order;
stops without swearing or gesticulating
or abuse; stops with no underhanded trying
to drive out of line and get by on the other
side; just stops, that is the end of it. And
why? Because the Queen of England is behind
that raised finger. A London policeman
has more power than our President.
Even the Queen's coachmen obey that forefinger.
Not long ago she dismissed one who
dared to drive even the royal carriage on in
defiance of it. Understanding how to obey,
that is what makes liberty.
I am the most flamboyant of Americans,
the most hopelessly addicted to my own
country, but I must admit that I had my first
real taste of liberty in England.
I will tell you why. In America nobody
obeys anybody. We make our laws, and then
most industriously set about studying out a
plan by which we may evade them. America
is suffering, as all republics must of necessity
suffer, from liberty in the hands of the
multitude. The multitude are ignorant, and

liberty in the hands of the ignorant is always
license.
In America, the land of the free, whom
do we fear? The President? No, God bless
him. There is not a true American in the
world who would not stand up as a man or a
woman and go into his presence without fear.
Are we afraid of our Senators, our chief
rulers? No. But we are afraid of our servants,
of our street-car conductors. We are
afraid of sleeping-car porters, and the
drivers of huge trucks. We are afraid they
will drive over us in the streets, and if we
dare to assert our rights and hold them in
check we are afraid of what they will say to
us, in the name of liberty, and of the way
they will look at us, in the name of liberty.
English servants, I have discovered, have
no more respect for Americans than the old-time
negro of the Southern aristocracy has
for Northerners. I once asked an old black
mammy in Georgia why the negroes had so
little respect for the white ladies of the
North. “Case dey don' know how to treat
black folks, honey.” “Why don't they?” I
persisted. “Are they not kind to you?”
“Umph,” she responded (and no one who
has never heard a fat old negress say
“Umph” knows the eloquence of it). “Umph.
Dat's it. Dey's too kin'. Dey don' know
how to mek us min'.” And that is just the

trouble with Americans here. An English
servant takes orders, not requests.
I had such a time to learn that. We could
not understand why we were obeyed so well
at first, and presently, without any outward
disrespect, our wants were simply ignored
until all the English people had been attended
to.
My sister had told me I was too polite, but
one never believes one's sister, so I questioned
our sweet English friends, and they, with
much delicacy and many apologies, and the
prettiest hesitation in the world—considering
the situation—told us the reason.
“But,” I gasped, “if I should speak to
our servants in that manner they would
leave. They would not stay over night.”
Our English friends tried not to smile in a
superior way, and they succeeded, only I
knew the smile was there, and said, “Oh, no,
our servants never leave us. They apologize
for having done it wrong.”
On the way home I plucked up courage.
“I am going to try it,” I said, firmly. My
sister laughed in derision.
“Now I could do it,” she said, complaisantly.
And so she could. My sister never
plumes herself on a quality she does not possess.
“Are you going to use the tone and everything?”
I said, somewhat timidly.

29

“You wait and see.”
She hesitated some time, I noticed, before
she rang the bell, and she looked at herself in
the glass and cleared her throat. I knew she
was bracing herself.
“I'll ring the bell if you like,” I said,
politely.
She gave one look at me and then rang the
bell herself with a firm hand.
“And I'll get behind you with a poker in
one hand and a pitcher of hot water in the
other. Speak when you need either.”
“You feel very funny when you don't
have to do it yourself,” she said, witheringly.
“You'll never put it through. You'll back
down and say ‘please' before you have finished,”
I said, and just then the maid
knocked at the door.
I never heard anything like it. My sister
was superb. I doubt if Bernhardt at her
best ever inspired me with more awe. How
that maid flew around. How humble she
was. How she apologized. And how, every
time my sister said, “Look sharp, now,” the
maid said, “Thank you.” I thought I should
die. I was so much interested in the dramatic
possibilities of my cherished sister that
when the door closed behind the maid we
simply looked at each other a moment, then
simultaneously made a bound for the bed,
where we choked with laughter among the

pillows. Presently we sat up with flushed
faces and rumpled hair. I reached over and
shook hands with her.
“How was that?” she asked.
“'Twas, grand,” I said. “The Queen
couldn't have done it more to the manner
born.”
My sister accepted my compliments complaisantly,
as one who should say, “'Tis no
more than my deserts.”
“How firm you were,” I said, admiringly.
“Wasn't I, thought?”
“How humble she was.”
“Wasn't she?”
“You were quite as disagreeable and determined
as a real Englishwoman would
have been.”
“So I was.”
A pause full of intense admiration on my
part. Then she said, “You couldn't have
done it.”
“I know that.”
“You are so deadly civil.”
“Not to everybody, only to servants.” I
said this apologetically.
“You never keep a steady hand. You
either grovel at their feet or snap their heads
off.”
“Quite true,” I admitted, humbly.
“But it was grand, wasn't it?” she said.
“Unspeakably grand.”

31

And for Americans it was.
We were still at “The Insular,” when
one day I took up a handful of what had
once been a tight bodice, and said to my sister:
“See how thin I've grown! I believe I
am starving to death.”
“No wonder,” she answered, gloomily,
“with this awful English Cooking! I'm
nearly dead from your experiment of getting
an English point of view. I want something
to eat—something that I like. I want a beefsteak,
with mushrooms, and some potatoes
au gratin, like those we have in America. I
hate the stuff we get here. I wish I could
never see another chop as long as I live.”
“‘The Insular' is considered very good,”
I remarked, pensively.
“Considered!” cried she. “Whose consideration
counts, I should like to know,
when you are always hungry for something
you can't get?”
“I know it; and we are paying such prices,
too. Who, except ostriches, could eat their
nasty preserves for breakfast when they are
having grape-fruit at home? And then their
vile aspic jellies and potted meats for luncheon,
which look like sausage congealed in
cold gravy, and which taste like gum arabic.”
“Let's move,” said my sister. “Not into
another hotel—that wouldn't be much better.

But let's take lodgings. I've heard that they
were lovely. Then we can order what we
like. Besides, it will be very much cheaper.”
“I didn't come over here to economize,” I said.
“Well, I wouldn't say a word if we were
getting anything for our money, but we are
not. Besides, when you get to Paris you
will wish you hadn't been so extravagant
here.”
“Are the Paris shops more fascinating
than those in Regent Street?” I asked.
“Much more.”
“More alluring than Bond Street?”
“More so than any in the world,” she affirmed,
with the religious fervor which always
characterizes her tone when she speaks
of Paris. The very leather of her purse
fairly squeaks with ecstasy when she thinks
of Paris.
“Heavens!” I murmured, with awe, for
whenever she won't go to Du Maurier's grave
with me, and when I won't do the crown jewels
in the Tower with her, we always compromise
amiably on Bond Street, and come
home beaming with joy.
“We might go now just to look,” I said.
“I have the addresses of some very good
lodgings.”
“We'll take a cab by the hour,” said she,
putting her hat on before the mirror, and

turning her head on one side to view her
completed handiwork.
“Now take off that watch and that belt
and that chatelaine if you don't want these
harpies to think we are ‘rich Americans'
(how I have come to hate that phrase over
here!), because they will charge accordingly.”
She looked at me with genuine admiration.
“Do you know, dear, you are really
clever at times?”
I colored with pleasure. It is so seldom
that she finds anything practical in me to
praise.
“Now mind, we are just going to look,”
she cautioned, as we rang a bell. “We
must not do anything in a hurry.”
We came out half an hour afterwards and
got into the cab without looking at each
other.
“It was very unbusinesslike,” said she, severely.
“You never do anything right.”
“But it was so gloriously impudent of
us,” I urged. “First, we wanted lodgings.
This was a boarding-house. Second, we
wanted two bed-rooms and a drawing-room.
They had only one drawing-room in the
house; could we have that? Yes, we
could. So we took their whole first floor,
and made them promise to serve our breakfasts

in bed, and our other meals in their
best drawing-room, and turned a boarding-house
into a lodging-house, all inside of half
an hour. It was lovely!”
“It was bad business,” said she. “We
could have got it for less, but you are always
in such a hurry. If you like a thing, and
anybody says you may have it for fifty,
you always say, ‘I'll give you seventy-five.'
You're so afraid to think a thing over.”
“Second thoughts are never as much
fun as first thoughts,” I urged. “Second
thoughts are always so sensible and reasonable
and approved of.”
“How do you know?” asked my sister,
witheringly. “You never waited for any.”
The next day we moved. Everybody said
our rooms were charming, and that they were
cheap, for I told how much we paid, much to
my sister's disgust. She is such a lady.
“We have cut down our expenses so
much,” I said, looking around on the drab
walls and the dun-colored carpets, “don't
you think we might have a few flowers?”
“I believe you took this place for the balcony,
so that you could put daisies around the
edge and in the window-boxes!” she cried.
“No, I didn't. But the houses in London
are so pretty with their flowers. Don't
you think we might have a few?”
“Well, go and get them. I've got to

write the home letter to-day if it is to catch
the Southampton boat.”
I came home with six huge palms, two
June roses, some pink heather, a jar of
marguerites, and I had ordered the balcony
and window-boxes filled. My sister helped
me to place them, but when her back was
turned I arranged them over again. I can't
tie a veil on the way she can, but I can arrange
flowers to look—well, I won't boast.
Our landladies were two middle-aged,
comfortable sisters. We called them “The
Tabbies,” meaning no disrespect to cats,
either. I thought they took rather too violent
an interest in our affairs, but I said
nothing until one day after we had been
settled nearly a week. I was seated in my
own private room trying to write. My sister
came in, evidently disturbed by something.
“Do you know,” she said, “that our landlady
just asked me how much you paid for
those strawberries? And when I told her she
said that that made them come to fourpence
apiece, and that they were very dear. Now,
how did she know that they were strawberries,
or how many were in each box, I'd like to know?”
“Probably she opened the package,” I
said.
“Exactly what I think. Now I won't

stand that. And then she asked me not to
set things on the mahogany tables. It's
just because we are Americans! She never
would dare treat English people that way.
She has not sufficient respect for us.”
“Then tell her to be more respectful; tell
her we are very highly thought of at home.”
“She wouldn't care for that.”
“Then tell her we have a few rich relations
and quite a number of influential
friends.”
“Pooh!”
“And if that does not fetch her, there is
nothing left to do but to be quite rude to her,
and then she will know that we belong to the
very highest society. But what do you care
what a middle-class landlady thinks, just so
she lets you alone?”
My sister meditated, and I added:
“If you would just snub her once, in
your most ladylike way, it would settle her.
As for me, I am satisfied to think we are
paying much less, and we are twice as comfortable
as we were at the hotel; and we get
such good things to eat that our skeletons are
filling out, and once more our clothes fit.”
“That is so,” said she, letting her
thoughts wander to the number of hooks in
her closet. “We do have more room, and
I think our drawing-room with its palms and
flowers will look lovely to-morrow.”

37

“Do you think it was wise,” she added,
“to ask all those men to come at once?”
“Oh yes; let them all come together,
then we can weed them out afterwards. You
never can have too many men.”
“I am glad you have asked in a few
women.”
“Why?” I demanded. “Are you insinuating
that we are not equal to a handful
of Englishmen? Recall the Boston tea-party.
We will give them the first strawberries
of the season, and plenty of tea.
Feed them; that's the main thing,” I said,
firmly, taking up my pen and looking
steadily at her.
“I'll go,” she said, hastily. “Do you
have to go to the bank to-day? You know
to-morrow we must pay our weekly bill.”
“It won't be much,” I said, cheerfully;
“I am sure I have enough.”
The next day the bill came. Our landlady
sent it up on the breakfast-tray. I
opened it, then shrieked for my sister. It
covered four pages of note-paper.
“For heaven's sake! what is te matter?”
she cried. “Has anything happened to
Billy?”
“Billy! This thing is not an American
letter. It is the bill for our cheap lodgings.
Look at it! Look at the extras—gas, coals,
washing bed - linen, washing table - linen,

washing towels, kitchen fires, service, oil for
three lamps, afternoon tea, and three shillings
for sundries on the fourth page! What
can sundries include? She hasn't skipped
anything but pew-rent.”
My sister looked at the total, and buried
her face in the pillows to smother a groan.
“Ring the bell,” I said; “I want the
maid.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I'm going to find out what ‘sundries'
are.”
She gave the bell-cord such a pull that she
broke the wire, and it fell down on her
head.
“That, too, will go in the bill. Wrap
your handkerchief around your hand and
give the wire a jerk. Give it a good one. I
don't care if it brings the police.”
The maid came.
“Martha, present my compliments to
Mrs. Black, and ask her what ‘sundries'
include.”
Martha came back smiling.
“Please, miss, Mrs. Black's compliments,
and ‘sundries' means that you complained
that the coffee was muddy, and after that
she cleared it with an egg. ‘Sundries'
means the eggs.”
“Martha,” I said, weakly, “give me
those Crown salts. No, no, I forgot; those

are Mrs. Black's salts. Take them out and
tell her I only smelled them once.”
“Martha,” said my sister, dragging my
purse out from under my pillow, “here is
sixpence not to tell Mrs. Black anything.”
Then when Martha disappeared she said,
“How often have I told you not to jest with
servants?”
“I forgot,” I said, humbly. “But Martha
has a sense of humor, don't you think?”
“I never thought anything about it. But
what are you going to do about that bill?”
“I'm going to argue about it, and declare
I won't pay it, and then pay it like a true
American. Would you have me upset the traditions?
But I've got to go to the bank first.”
I did just as I said. I argued to no
avail. Mrs. Black was quite haughty, and
made me feel like a chimney-sweep. I paid
her in full, and when I came up I said:
“You are quite right. She has a poor
opinion of us. When I asked her how long
it would take to drive to a house in West
End, she said, ‘Why do you want to know?'
I said I ‘wanted to see the house.' ”
“Didn't you tell her we were invited there?” asked my sister, scandalized.
“No; I said I had heard a good deal
about the house, and she said it was open to
the public on Fridays. So I said we'd go
then.”

40

“I think you are horrid!” cried Bee.
“The insolence of that woman! And you
actually think it is funny! You think
everything is funny.”
I soothed her by pointing out some of the
things which I considered sad, notably English
people trying to enjoy themselves. Then
the men began to drop in for tea, and that
succeeded in making her forget her troubles.
Reggie and the Duke arrived together.
My sister at once took charge of the Duke,
while Reggie said to me, “I say, what sort
of creature is the old girl below?”
“Not a very good sort, I am afraid.
Why? What has she done now?”
“Why, she stopped Abingdon and me
and asked us to wipe our shoes.”
“She asked the Duke of Abingdon to
wipe his shoes?” I gasped, in a whisper.
“Yes; and Freddie, who was just ahead
of us, turned back and said, ‘My good
woman, was the cab very dirty, do you
think?' ”
“Oh, don't tell my sister! She has almost
died of Mrs. Black already to-day;
this would finish her completely.”
“Well, you must give your woman a
talking to—a regular going over, d'ye know?
Tell her you'll be the mistress of the whole
blooming house or you'll tear it to pieces.
That's the way to talk to 'em. I told my

landlady in Edinburgh once that I'd chuck
her out of the window if she spoke to me
until she was spoken to. She came up and
rapped on the door one Saturday night at
ten o'clock, when I had some fellows there,
and told me to send those men home and
go to bed.”
“Then she isn't taking advantage of us
because we are Americans, the way the cabmen do?”
“Oh yes, I dare say she is; but you must
stand up to her. They're a set of thieves,
the whole of 'em. I say, that's a pretty
picture you've got pinned up there.”
“That's to hide a hole in the lace curtain,”
I explained, gratuitously. Then I
remembered, and glanced apprehensively
at my sister, but fortunately she had not
heard me. “That is one of the pictures
from Truth, an American magazine. I always
save the middle picture when it is
pretty, and pin it up on the wall.”
“That is one thing where the States are
away ahead of us—in their illustrated magazines.”
“Don't say ‘the States!' I've told you
before. I didn't know you ever admitted
that anything was better in America.”
Reggie only smiled affably. He ignored
my offer of battle, and said:
“Abingdon is asking your sister to dine.

I'm asked, and Freddie and his wife, and I
think you will enjoy it.”
When they were all gone I marched downstairs
to Mrs. Black without saying a word
to any one. When I came up I found my
sister hanging over the banisters.
“What is the matter? What have you
done? I knew you were angry by the way
you looked.”
“It was lovely!” I said. “I sent for
Mrs. Black, and said, ‘Mrs. Black, do you
know the name of the gentleman whom you
asked to wipe his shoes to-day?' ‘No,' said
she. ‘It was the Duke of Abingdon,' I
said, sternly, well knowing the unspeakable
reverence which the middle-class English
have for a title. She turned purple. She
fell back against the wall, muttering, ‘The
Duke of Abingdon! The Duke of Abingdon!'
I believe she is still leaning up
against the wall muttering that holy name.
A title to Mrs. Black!”
The next day both the Tabbies were curtsying
in the hall when we started out. We
were going on a coach to Richmond with
Julia and her husband, and another American
girl, and then Julia's husband was going
to row us up the Thames to Hampton Court
for tea, and they were all going to dine with
us at Scott's when we got home.
It was a lovely day. The trees were a

mass of bloom, and everybody ought to have
enjoyed himself. We were having a very
good time of it among ourselves reading the
absurd signs, until we noticed the three girls
who sat opposite to us. They had serious
faces, and long, consumptive teeth, which
they never succeeded in completely hiding.
I knew just how they would look when they
were dead; I knew that those two long front
teeth would still— They listened to all we
said without a flicker of the eyelashes. Occasionally
they looked down at the size of the
American girl's little feet and then involuntarily
drew their own back out of sight.
Presently I espied a sign, “Funerals,
for this week only, at half price.” I seized
Julia's hand. “Stop, oh, stop the coach
and let's get a funeral! We may never
have an opportunity to get a bargain in
funerals again. And the sale lasts only
one week. Everybody told me before I
came away to get what I wanted at the
moment I saw it; not to wait, thinking I
would come back. So unless we order one
now we may have to pay the full price.
And a funeral would be such a good investment;
it would keep forever. You'd never
feel like using it before you actually needed
it. Do let me get one now!”
Of course, Julia, my sister, and Julia's
husband were in gales of laughter; but what

finished me off was to see three serious creatures
opposite rise as if pulled by one string,
look in an anxious way at me and then at
the sign, while the teeth began to say to
each other: “What did she say? What
does she mean? What does she want a
funeral for?”
We had a lovely day, but everybody we
met on the river looked very unhappy, and
nobody seemed to be at all glad that we were
there or that we were rising to the occasion.
When we got home I was too tired to notice
things, but my sister, who sees everything,
whispered:
“I verily believe they've put down a new
stair-carpet to-day.”
The next morning such a sight met our
astonished eyes. There was a new carpet
on the hall. There were new curtains in
our drawing-room. All the covers had been
removed from their sacred furniture. Brass
andirons replaced the old ones. The piano
had a new cover. There was a rocking-chair
for each (we had only one before), and while
we were still speechless with amazement
Mrs. Black came in with our bill.
“I have been thinking this over since yesterday,
and I have decided that as long as
you did not understand about the extras,
it would be no more than right that I should
take them off. So I owe you this.”

45

I took the money, and it dropped from
my nerveless fingers. Mrs. Black picked
it up and put it on the table—the mahogany
table.
“You see I propped your palms for you
in your absence, and I repotted four of them.
I thought they would grow better. Here
are some periodicals I sent to the library for,
thinking you might like to look at them,
and I put my new calendar over your writing-desk.
Now, is there any little delicacy
you would like for your luncheon?”
While Bee was getting rid of her I made
a few rapid mental calculations.
“Bee,” I said, “we are going to stay over
here two years. Let's buy the Duke and
take him with us.”
The reaction has come. I knew it would.
It always does. It is a mortification to be
obliged to admit it in the face of London,
and all that we have had done for us, but
the fact is we are homesick—wretchedly,
bitterly homesick. I remember how, when
other people have been here and written
that they were homesick, I have sniffed with
contempt and have said to myself, “What
poor taste! Just wait until my turn comes
to go to Europe! I'll show them what it
is to enjoy every moment of my stay!”

46

But now—dear me, I can remember that
I have made invidious remarks about New
York, and have objected to the odors in
Chicago, and have hated the Illinois Central
turnstiles. But if I could be back in America
I would not mind being caught in a turnstile
all day. Dear America! Dear Lake
Michigan! Dear Chicago!
I have talked the matter over with my sister,
and we have decided that it must be the
people, for certainly the novelty is not yet
worn off of this marvellous London. We
like individually nearly every one whom we
have met, but as a nation the English are to
me an acquired taste—just like olives and
German opera.
To explain. My friendly, volatile American
feelings are constantly being shocked at
the massed and consolidated indifference of
English men and women to each other.
They care for nobody but themselves. In a
certain sense this indifference to other people's
opinions is very satisfactory. It
makes you feel that no matter how outrageous
you wanted to be you could not cause
a ripple of excitement or interest—unless
Royalty noticed your action. Then London
would tread itself to death in its efforts to
see and hear you. But if an Englishman entered
a packed theatre on his hands with his
feet in the air, and thus proceeded to make

the rounds of the house, the audience would
only give one glance, just to make sure that
it was nothing more abnormal than a man
in evening dress, carrying his crush-hat
between his feet and walking on his hands,
and then they would return to their exciting
conversation of where they were “going to
show after the play.” Even the maids who
usher would not smile, but would stoop and
put his programme between his teeth for
him, and turn to the next comer.
The English mind their own business,
and we Americans are so used to interfering
with each other, and minding everybody's
business as well as our own, it makes us very
homesick indeed, to find that we can do precisely
as we please and be let entirely alone.
The English who have been in America,
or those who have a single blessed drop of
Irish or Scotch blood in their veins, will
quite understand what I mean. Fortunately
for us we have found a few of these different
sorts, and they have kept us from suicide.
They warned us of the differences
we would find. One man said to me:
“We English do not understand the meaning
of the word hospitality compared to you
Americans. Now in the States—”
“Stop right there, if you please,” I begged,
“and say ‘America.' It offends me to
be called ‘the States' quite as much as if

you called me ‘the Colonies' or ‘the Provinces!' ”
“You speak as if you were America,” he
said.
“I am,” I replied.
“Now that is just it. You Americans
come over here nationally. We English
travel individually.”
I was so startled at this acute analysis
from a man whom I had always regarded as
an Englishman that I forgot my manners
and I said, “Good heavens, you are not all
English, are you?”
“My father was Irish,” he said.
“I knew it!” I cried with joy. “Please
shake hands with me again. I knew you
weren't entirely English after that speech!”
He laughed.
“I will shake hands with you, of course.
But I am a typical Britisher. Please believe
that.”
“I shall not. You are not typical. That
was really a clever distinction and quite
true.”
He looked as if he were going to argue
the point with me, so I hurried on. I always
get the worst of an argument, so I
tried to take his mind off his injury. “Now
please go on,” I urged. “It sounded so interesting.”
“Well, I was only going to say that in

America you are, as hosts, quite sincere in
wishing us to enjoy ourselves and to like
America. Here we will only do our duty
by you if you bring letters to us, and we
don't care a hang whether you like England
or not. We like it, and that's enough.”
“I see,” I said, with cold chills of aversion
for England as a nation creeping over
my enthusiasm.
“Now in America,” he proceeded, “your
host sends his carriage for you, or calls for
you, takes you with him, stays by you, introduces
you to the people he thinks you
would most care to meet, and tells them who
and what you are; sees that you have everything
that's going, and that you see everything
that's going, and then takes you back
to your club.”
“Then he asks you if you have had a good
time, and if you like America!” I supplemented.
“Oh, Lord, yes! He asks you that all
the time, and so does everybody else,” he
said, with a groan.
“Now, you were unkind if you didn't
tell him all he wanted you to, for I do assure
you it was pure American kindness
of heart which made him take all that
trouble for you. I know, too, without your
telling me, that he introduced you to all
the prettiest girls, and gave you a chance

to talk to each of them, and only hovered
around waiting to take you on to the next
one, as soon as he could catch you with
ease.”
“He did just that. How did you know?”
“Because he was a typical American host,
God bless him, and that is the way we do
things over there.”
“Now here,” he went on, “we consider
our duty done if we take a man to dine, and
then to some reception, where we turn him
loose after one or two introductions.”
“What a hateful way of doing!” I said,
politely.
“It is. It must seem barbarous to you.”
“It does.”
“Or if you are a woman we send our carriages
to let you drive where you like. Or
we send you invitations to go to needlework
exhibitions where you have to pay five shillings
admission.”
I said nothing, and he laughed.
“I know they have done that to you,” he
exclaimed. “Haven't they?”
“I have been delightfully entertained at
luncheons and dinners and teas, and I have
been introduced to as charming people in
London as I ever hope to meet anywhere,”
I said, stolidly.
“But you won't tell about the needlework.
Oh, I say, but that's jolly! Fancy

what you said when you began to get those
beastly things!” And he laughed again.
“I didn't say anything,” I said. Then
he roared. Yet he claimed to be a “typical
Britisher.”
“We mean kindly,” he went on. “You
mustn't lay it up against us.”
“Oh, we don't. We are having a lovely
time.”
There are times when the truth would be
brutal.
Then this oasis of a man, this “typical
Britisher,” went away, and my sister and I
dressed for the theatre. A friend had sent
us her box, and assured us that it was perfectly
proper for us to go alone. So we
went. Up to this time we had not hinted
to each other that we were homesick.
The play was most amusing, yet we couldn't
help watching the audience. Such a bored-looking
set, the women with frizzled hair
held down by invisible nets, mingling with
their eyebrows, and done hideously in the
back. Low - necked gowns, exhibiting the
most beautiful shoulders in the world.
Gorgeous jewels in their hair and gleaming
all over their bodices, but among half a dozen
emerald, turquoise, and diamond bracelets
there would appear a silver-watch bracelet
which cost not over ten dollars, and
spoiled the effect of all the others.

52

English women as a race are the worst-dressed
women in the world. I saw thousands
of them in Piccadilly and Regent
Street, and at Church Parade in the Park,
with high, French-heeled slippers over colored
stockings. And as to sizes, I should say
nines were the average. There are some
smaller, but the most are larger.
The Prince of Wales was in the box opposite
to ours, and when we were not looking at
him we gazed at the impassive faces of the
audience. They never smiled. They never
laughed. The subtlest points in the play
went unnoticed, yet it is one which has had
a record run and bids fair to keep the boards
for the rest of the season.
Suddenly my sister, although we had not
spoken of the homesickness that was weighing
us down, touched my arm and said,
“Look quick! There's one!”
“Where? Where?”
“Down there just in front of the pit, talking
to that bald-headed idiot with the monocle.”
“Do you think she is American?” I said,
dubiously. I couldn't see her feet. “She
might be French. She talks all over.”
“No. She is an American girl. See
how thin she is. The French are short
and fat.”
“Look at her face,” I said, enviously.

53

“How animated it is. See how it seems to
stand out among all the other faces.”
“Yet she is only amusing herself. See
how stolid that creature looks that she is
wasting all her vitality on.”
“She has told him some joke and she is
laughing at it. He has put his monocle in
his other eye in his effort to see the point.
He will get it by the next boat. Wish she'd
come and tell that joke to me. I'd laugh at
it.”
My sister eyed me critically.
“You don't look as if you could laugh,”
she said.
“I wonder what would happen if I should
fall dead and drop over into the lap of that
fat elephant in pink silk with the red neck,”
I said, musingly.
“She wouldn't even wink,” said my sister,
laughingly. “But if you struck her just
right you would bounce clear up here again
and I could catch you.”
“It is just four o'clock in Chicago,” I
said.
My sister promptly turned her back on me.
“And Billy has just wakened from his
nap, and Katy is giving him his food,” I
went on. (Billy is my sister's baby.) “And
then mamma will come into the nursery
presently and take him while Katy gets his
carriage out, and she will show him my picture

and ask him who it is (because she wrote
me she always did it at this time), and then
he will say, ‘Tattah,' which is the sweetest
baby word for ‘Auntie' I ever heard from
mortal lips, and then he will kiss it of his
own accord. Mamma wrote that he had blistered
it with his kisses, and it's one of the big
ones, but I don't care; I'll order a dozen
more if he will blister them all. And then
she will say, ‘Where did mamma and Tattah
go?' and he will wave his precious little
square hand and say, ‘Big boat,' and she
says he tries to say, ‘Way off'—and, oh,
dear, we are ‘way off'—”
“Stop talking, you fiend,” said my sister,
from the depths of her handkerchief. “You
know I look like a fright when I cry.”
“Boo-hoo,” was my only reply. And
once started, I couldn't stop. That deadly
English atmosphere of indifference—and,
oh—and everything!
Have you ever been homesick when you
couldn't get home? Have you ever wanted
to see your mother so that every bone in your
body ached? Have you ever been in the
state where to see the baby for five minutes
you would give everything on earth you had?
That was the way I felt about Billy that
grewsome night at this amusing play in an
English theatre. I had on my best clothes,
but after my handkerchief ceased to avail

the tears slopped down on my satin gown,
and the blisters will remain as a lasting
tribute to the contagion of a company of
English people out enjoying themselves.
My sister's stern sense of decorum caused
her to contain herself until she got home,
but I am free to confess that after I once
loosed my hold over myself and found what
a relief it was, I realized the truth of what
our old negro cook used to say when I was a
child in the South, and asked her why she
howled and cried in such an alarming manner
when she “got religion.” She used to
say, “Lawd, chile, you don't know how soovin'
it is to jest bust out awn 'casions lake
dese!”
Happy negroes! Happy children, who
can “bust out” when their feelings get the
better of them! Civilization robs us of
many of our acutest pleasures.
That night on the way home from the
theatre I learned something. Nobody had
ever told me that it is the custom to give the
cabby an extra sixpence when one takes a
cab late at night, so, on alighting in front of
our flower-trimmed lodgings, I reached up,
deposited my shilling in his hand, and was
turning away, when my footsteps were arrested
by my cabby's voice.
Turning, I saw him tossing the despised
shilling in his curved palm and saying:

56

“A shillin'! Twelve o'clock at night!
Two ladies in evenin' dress! You ought to
‘a' gone in a 'bus! A cab's too expensive for
you! I wish you'd ‘a' walked and I wish it
had rained!
With that parting shot he gathered up the
lines and drove off, while I leaned up against
the door shaking with a laughter which my
sister in no wise shared with me. Poor
Bee! Things like that jar her so that she
can't get any amusement out of them. To
her it was terrifying impudence. To me it
was a heart-to-heart talk with a London
cabby!
Oh, the sweet viciousness of that “I wish
it had rained!” I wonder if that man beats
his wife, or if he just converses with her as
he does with a recreant fare! Anyway, I
loved him.
But if I have discovered nothing else in
the brief time since I left my native land,
it is worth while to realize the truth of all
the poetry and song written on foreign shores
about home.
To one accustomed to travel only in America,
and to feel at home with all the different
varieties of one's countrymen, such sentiments
are no more than vers de société. But now I know what Heimweh is—the home-pain.
I can understand that the Swiss really
die of it sometimes. The home-pain! Neuralgia,

you know, and most other acute pains,
attack only one set of nerves. But Heimweh
hurts all over. There is not a muscle of the
body, nor the most remote fibre of the brain,
nor a tissue of the heart that does not ache
with it. You can't eat. You can't sleep.
You can't read or write or talk. It begins
with the protoplasm of your soul—and
reaches forward to the end of time, and aches
every step of the way along. You want to
hide your face in a pillow away from everybody
and do nothing but weep, but even that
does not cure. It seems to be too private to
help materially. The only thing I can recommend
is to “bust out.”
Homesickness is an inexplicable thing. I
have heard brides relate how it attacked
them unmercifully and without cause in the
midst of their honeymoon. Girl students,
whose sole aim in life has been to come
abroad to study, and who, in finally coming,
have fondly dreamed that the gates of Paradise
had swung open before their delighted
eyes, have been among its earliest and most
acutely afflicted victims. No success, no
realized ambitions ward it off. Like death,
it comes to high and low alike. One woman,
whose name became famous with her first
concert, told me that she spent the first year
over here in tears. Nothing that friends can
do, no amount of kindness or hospitality

avails as a preventive. You can take bromides
and cure insomnia. You can take
chloroform, and enough of it will prevent
seasickness, but nothing avails for Heimweh.
And like pride, “let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall.” I have
been in the midst of an animated recital of
how homesick I had been the day before,
ridiculing myself and my malady with unctuous
freedom, when suddenly Billy's little
face would seem to rise out of the flowers
on the dinner-table, or the patter of his little
flying feet as they used to sound in my ear as
he fluttered down the long hall to my study,
or the darling way he used to run towards
me when I held out my arms and said,
“Come, Billy, let Tattah show you the
doves,” with such an expectant face, and that
little scarlet mouth opened to kiss me—oh,
it is nothing to anybody else, but it is home
to me, and I was only recalled to London
and my dinner party when a fresh attack
was made on America, and I was called once
more to battle for my country.
I have “fought, bled, and died” for home
and country more times than I can count
since I have been here. I ought to come
home with honorable scars and the rank of
field-marshal, at least. I never knew how
many objectionable features America presented
to Englishmen until I became their

guest and broke bread at their tables. I cannot
eat very much at their dinner parties—I
am too busy thinking how to parry their attacks
on my America, and especially my Chicago,
and my West generally. The English
adore Americans, but they loathe America,
and I, for one, will not accept a divided allegiance.
“Love me, love my dog,” is my
motto. I go home from their dinners as
hungry as a wolf, but covered with Victoria
crosses. I am puzzled to know if they really
hate Chicago more than any other spot on
earth, or if they simply love to hear me fight
for it, or if their manners need improving.
I myself may complain of the horrors of
our filthy streets, or of the way we tear up
whole blocks at once (here in London they
only mend a teaspoonful of pavement at a
time), or of our beastly winds which tear
your soul from your body, but I hope never
to sink so low as to permit a lot of foreigners
to do it. For even as a Parisian loves his
Paris, and as a New Yorker loves his London,
so do I love my Chicago.

[Back to top]


60

III
PARIS

It was a fortunate thing, after all, that I
went to London first, and had my first great
astonishment there. It broke Paris to me
gently.
For a month I have been in this city of
limited republicanism; this extraordinary
example of outward beauty and inward uncleanness;
this bewildering cosmopolis of
cheap luxuries and expensive necessities;
this curious city of contradictions, where
you might eat your breakfast from the
streets—they are so clean—but where you
must close your eyes to the spectacles of the
curbstones; this beautiful, whited sepulchre,
where exists the unwritten law, “Commit
any offence you will, provided you submerge
it in poetry and flowers”; this exponent of
outward observances, where a gentleman
will deliberately push you into the street if
he wishes to pass you in a crowd, but where
his action is condoned by his inexpressible
manner of raising his hat to you, and the

heartfelt sincerity of his apology; where one
man will run a mile to restore a lost franc,
but if you ask him to change a gold piece he
will steal five; where your eyes are ravished
with the beauty, and the greenness, and the
smoothness and apparent ease of living of all
its inhabitants; where your mind is filled
with the pictures, the music, the art, the general
atmosphere of culture and wit; where
the cooking is so good but so elusive, and
where the shops are so bewitching that you
have spent your last dollar without thinking,
and you are obliged to cable for a new letter
of credit from home before you know it—
this is Paris.
Paris is very educational. I can imagine
its influence broadening some people so
much that their own country could never be
ample enough to cover them again. I can
imagine it narrowing others so that they
would return to America more of Puritans
than ever. It is amusing, it is fascinating,
it is exciting, it is corrupting. The French
must be the most curious people on earth.
How could even heavenly ingenuity create
a more uncommon or bewildering contradiction
and combination? Make up your mind
that they are as simple as children when you
see their innocent picnicking along the
boulevards and in the parks with their whole
families, yet you dare not trust yourself to

hear what they are saying. Believe that
they are cynical, and fin de siècle, and skeptical
of all women when you hear two men
talk, and the next day you hear that one of
them has shot himself on the grave of his
sweetheart. Believe that politeness is the
ruling characteristic of the country because
a man kisses your hand when he takes leave
of you. But marry him, and no insult as regards
other women is too low for him to
heap upon you. Believe that the French
men are sympathetic because they laugh and
cry openly at the theatre. But appeal to
their chivalry, and they will rescue you
from one discomfort only to offer you a
worse. The French have sentimentality,
but not sentiment. They have gallantry,
but not chivalry. They have vanity, but not
pride. They have religion, but not morality.
They are a combination of the wildest
extravagance and the strictest parsimony.
They cultivate the ground so close
to the railroad tracks that the trains almost
run over their roses, and yet they leave a
Place de la Concorde in the heart of the
city.
You can buy the wing of a chicken at a
butcher's and take it home to cook it. But
your bill at a restaurant will appall you.
Water is the most precious and exclusive
drink you can order in Paris. Imagine

that—you who let the water run to cool it!
In Paris they actually pay for water in their
houses by the quart.
Artichokes, and truffles, and mushrooms,
and silk stockings, and kid gloves are so
cheap here that it makes you blink your eyes.
But eggs, and cream, and milk are luxuries.
Silks and velvets are bewilderingly inexpensive.
But cotton stuffs are from America,
and are extravagances. They make them
up into “costumes,” and trim them with
velvet ribbon. Never by any chance could
you be supposed to send cotton frocks to be
washed every week. The luxury of fresh,
starched muslin dresses and plenty of shirt-waists
is unknown.
I never shall overcome the ecstasies of
laughter which assail me when I see varieties
of coal exhibited in tiny shop windows,
set forth in high glass dishes, as we exploit
chocolates at home. But well they may respect
it, for it is really very much cheaper to
freeze to death than to buy coal in Paris.
The reason of all this is the city tax on
every chicken, every carrot, every egg
brought into Paris. Every mouthful of
food is taxed. This produces an enormous
revenue, and this is why the streets are so
clean; it is why the asphalt is as smooth as a
ballroom floor; it is why the whole of Paris
is as beautiful as a dream.

64

In fact, the city has ideas of cleanliness
which its middle-class inhabitants do not
share. On a rainy day in Paris the absurdly
hoisted dresses will expose to your view
all varieties of trimmed, ruffled, and lace
petticoats, which would undeniably be benefited
by a bath. All the lingerie has ribbons
in it, and sometimes I think they are never
intended to be taken out.
When I was at the château of a friend not
long ago she overheard her maid apologizing
to two sisters of charity, for the presence
of a bath-tub in her mistress's dressing-room:
“You must not blame madame la
marquise for bathing every day. She is not
more untidy than I, and I, God knows,
wash myself but twice a year. It is just a
habit of hers which she caught from the
English.”
My friend called to her sharply, and told
her she need not apologize for her bathing,
to which the maid replied, in a tone of meek
justification, “But if madame la marquise
only knew how she was regarded by the
people for this habit of hers!”
I like the way the French take their
amusements. At the theatre they laugh and
applaud the wit of the hero and hiss the villain.
They shout their approval of a duel
and weep aloud over the death of the aged
mother. When they drive in the Bois they

smile and have an air of enjoyment quite at
variance with the bored expression of English
and Americans who have enough money
to own carriages. We drove in Hyde Park
in London the day before we came to Paris,
and nearly wept with sympathy for the unspoken
grief in the faces of the unfortunate
rich who were at such pains to enjoy themselves.
The second day from that we had a delightful
drive in the Bois in Paris.
“How glad everybody seems to be we have
come!” I said to my sister. “See how
pleased they all look.”
I was enchanted at their gay faces. I felt
like bowing right and left to them, the way
queens and circus girls do.
I never saw such handsome men as I saw
in London. I never saw such beautiful
women as I see in Paris.
The Bois has never been so smart as it
was the past season, for the horrible fire of
the Bazar de la Charité put an end to the
Paris season, and left those who were not
personally bereaved no solace but the Bois.
Consequently, the costumes one saw between
five and seven on that one beautiful boulevard
were enough to set one wild. I always
wished that my neck turned on a pivot and
that I had eyes set like a coronet all around
my head. My sister and I were in a constant

state of ecstasy and of clutching each
other's gowns, trying to see every one who
passed. But it was of no use. Although
they drove slowly on purpose to be seen, if
you tried to focus your glance on each one
it seemed as if they drove like lightning,
and you got only astigmatism for your pains.
I always came home from the Bois with a
headache and a stiff neck.
I never dreamed of such clothes even in
my dreams of heaven. But the French are
an extravagant race. There was hardly a
gown worn last season which was not of the
most delicate texture, garnished with chiffon
and illusion and tulle—the most crushable,
airy, inflammable, unserviceable material
one can think of. Now, I am a utilitarian.
When I see a white gown I always wonder
if it will wash. If I see lace on the foot
ruffle of a dress I think how it will sound
when the wearer steps on it going up-stairs.
But anything would be serviceable to wear
driving in a victoria in the Bois between five
and seven, and as that is where I have seen
the most beautiful costumes I have no right
to complain, or to thrust at them my American
ideas of usefulness. This rage of theirs
for beauty is what makes a perpetual honeymoon
for the eyes of every inch of France.
The way they study color and put greens
together in their landscape gardening makes

one think with horror of our prairies and
sagebrush.
The eye is ravished with beauty all over
Paris. The clean streets, the walks between
rows of trees for pedestrians, the lanes for
bicyclists, the paths through tiny forests,
right in Paris, for equestrians, and on each
side the loveliest trees—trees everywhere
except where there are fountains—but what
is the use of trying to describe a beauty
which has staggered braver pens than mine,
and which, after all, you must see to appreciate?
The Catholic observances one sees everywhere
in Paris are most interesting. When
a funeral procession passes, every man
takes off his hat and stands watching it with
the greatest respect.
In May the streets are full of sweet-faced
little girls on their way to their first
communion. They were all in white, bareheaded,
except for their white veils, white
shoes, white gloves, and the dearest look of
importance on their earnest little faces. It
was most touching.
In all months, however, one sees the comical
sight of a French bride and bridegroom,
in all the glory of their bridal array—white
satin, veil, and orange blossoms—driving
through the streets in open cabs, and hugging
and kissing each other with an unctuous

freedom which is apt to throw a conservative
American into a spasm of laughter.
Indeed, the frank and candid way that love-making
goes on in public among the lower
classes is so amazing that at first you think
you never in this world will become accustomed
to it, but you get accustomed to a
great many strange sights in Paris. If a
kiss explodes with unusual violence in a cab
near mine it sometimes scares the horse, but
it no longer disturbs me in the least. My
nervousness over that sort of thing has entirely
worn off.
I have had but one adventure, and that
was of a simple and primitive character,
which seemed to excite no one but myself.
They say that there is no drunkenness in
France. If that is so then this cabman of
mine had a fit of some kind. Perhaps,
though, he was only a beast. Most of the
cabmen here are beasts. They beat their
poor horses so unmercifully that I spend
quite a good portion of my time standing
up in the cab and arguing with them. But
the only efficacious argument I have discovered
is to tell them that they will get
no pourboire if they beat the horse. That
seems to infuse more humanity into them
than any number of Scripture texts.
On this occasion my cabman, for no reason
whatever, suddenly began to beat his

horse in the hatefulest way, leaning down
with his whip and striking the horse underneath,
as we were going downhill on the Rue
de Freycinet. I screamed at him, but he
pretended not to hear. The cab rocked from
side to side, the horse was galloping, and this
brute beating him like a madman. It made
me wild. I was being bounced around like
corn in a popper and in imminent danger of
being thrown to the pavement.
People saw my danger, but nobody did
anything—just looked, that was all. I saw
that I must save myself if there was any saving
going to be done. So with one last trial
of my lungs I shrieked at the cabman, but
the cobblestones were his excuse, and he kept
on. So I just stood up and knocked his hat
off with my parasol!—his big, white, glazed
hat. It was glorious! He turned around
in a fury and pulled up his horse, with a
torrent of French abuse and impudence
which scared me nearly to death. I thought
he might strike me.
So I pulled my twitching lips into a distortion
which passed muster with a Paris
cabmman for a smile, and begged his pardon
so profusely that he relented and didn't
kill me.
I often blush for the cheap Americans
with loud voices and provincial speech, and
general commonness, whom one meets over

here; but with all their faults they cannot
approach the vulgarities at table which I
have seen in Paris. In all America we have
no such vulgar institution as their rincebouche—an
affair resembling a two-part finger-bowl,
with the water in a cup in the middle.
At fashionable tables, men and women
in gorgeous clothes, who speak four or five
languages, actually rinse their mouths and
gargle at the table, and then slop the water
thus used back into these bowls. The first
time I saw this I do assure you I would not
have been more astonished if the next course
had been stomach pumps.
And as for the toothpick habit! Let no
one ever tell me that that atrocity is American!
Here it goes with every course, and
without the pretended decency of holding
one's serviette before one's mouth, which, in
my opinion, is a mere affectation, and aggravates
the offence.
But the most shameless thing in all Europe
is the marriage question. To talk with
intelligent, clever, thinking men and women,
who know the secret history of all the famous
international marriages, as well as the
high contracting parties, who will relate the
price paid for the husband, and who the intermediary
was, and how much commission
he or she received, is to make you turn faint
and sick at the mere thought, especially if

you happen to come from a country where
they once fought to abolish the buying and
selling of human beings. But our black
slaves were above buying and selling themselves
or their children. It remains for civilized
Europe of our time to do this, and the
highest and proudest of her people at that.
It is not so shocking to read about it in
glittering generalities. I knew of it in
a vague way, just as I knew the history
of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew. I
thought it was too bad that so many people
were killed, and I also thought it a pity that
Frenchmen never married without a dot. But when it comes to meeting the people who
had thus bargained, and the moment their
gorgeous lace and satin backs were turned
to hear some one say, “You are always so
interested in that sort of thing, have you
heard what a scandal was caused by the marriage
of those two?”—then it ceases to be
history; then it becomes almost a family
affair.
“How could a marriage between two unattached
young people cause a scandal?” I
asked, with my stupid, primitive American
ideas.
“Oh, the bride's mother refused to pay
the commission to the intermediary,” was
the airy reply. “It came near getting into
the papers.”

72

At the Jubilee garden party at Lady Monson's
I saw the most beautiful French girl
I have seen in Paris. She was superb. In
America she would have been a radiant, a
triumphant beauty, and probably would
have acquired the insolent manners of some
of our spoiled beauties. Instead of that,
however, she was modest, even timid-looking,
except for her queenly carriage. Her
gown was a dream, and a dream of a dress
at a Paris garden party means something.
“What a tearing beauty!” I said to my
companion. “Who is she?”
“Yes, poor girl!” he said. “She is the
daughter of the Comtesse N—. One of the
prettiest girls in Paris. Not a sou, however;
consequently she will never marry. She will
probably go into a convent.”
“But why? Why won't she marry?
Why aren't all the men crazy about her?
Why don't you marry her?”
“Marry a girl without a dot? Thank
you, mademoiselle. I am an expense to
myself. My wife must not be an additional
encumbrance.”
“But surely,” I said, “somebody will
want to marry her, if no nobleman will.”
“Ah, yes, but she is of noble blood, and
she must not marry beneath her. No one in
her own class will marry her, so”—a shrug
—“the convent! See, her chances are

quite gone. She has been out five years
now.”
I could have cried. Every word of it was
quite true. I thought of the dozens of susceptible
and rich American men I knew who
would have gone through fire and water for
her, and who, although they have no title to
give her, would have made her adoring and
adorable husbands, and I seriously thought
of offering a few of them to her for consideration!
But alas, there are so many ifs
and ands, and—well, I didn't.
I only sighed and said, “Well, I suppose
such things are common in France, but I
do assure you such things are impossible in
America.”
“Such things as what, mademoiselle?”
“This cold-blooded bartering,” I said.
“American men are above it.”
“Are American girls above selling themselves,
mademoiselle? Do you see that poor,
pitifully plain little creature there, in that
dress which cost a fortune? Do you see
how ill she carries it? Do you see her unformed,
uncertain manner? Her husband is
the one I just had the honor of presenting to
you, who is now talking to the beauty you so
much admire.”
“He shows good taste in spite of his marriage,”
I said.
“Certainly. But his wife is your countrywoman.

That is the last famous international
marriage, and the most vulgar of
the whole lot. Listen, mademoiselle, and I
will tell you the exact truth of the whole
affair.
“She came over here with letters to Paris
friends, and when it became known that one
of the richest heiresses in America was here,
naturally all the mammas with marriageable
sons were anxious to see her. She was invited
everywhere, but as she could not speak
French, and as she was as you see her, her
success could not be said to be great. No,
but that made no difference. The Duchesse
de Z—was determined that her son should
marry the rich heiress. As she expected to
remain here a year or more, and the young
Due de Z— made a wry face, she did not
press the matter. Then the heiress went
into a convent to learn French, and the
Duchesse went to see her very often and took
her to drive, and did her son's part as well as
she could.
“Suddenly, to the amazement of everybody,
the heiress sailed for America without
a word of warning. The Duchesse was furious.
‘You must follow her,' she said to
her son. ‘We cannot let so much money
escape.' The son said he would be hanged
if he went to America, or if he would marry
such a monkey, and as for her money, she

could go anywhere she pleased with it, or
words to that effect. So that ended the affair
of the Duc de Z—. When the other impecunious
young nobles heard that the
Duchesse no longer had any claims upon the
American's money they got together and
said, ‘Somebody must marry her and divide
with the rest. We can't all marry her, but
we can all have a share from whoever does.
Now we will draw lots to see who must go
to America and marry her.' The lot fell to
the Baron de X—, but he had no money for
the journey. So all the others raised what
money they could and loaned it to him, and
took his notes for it, with enormous interest,
payable after his marriage. He sailed away,
and within eight months he had married her,
but he has not paid those notes because his
wife won't give him the money! And these
gentlemen are furious! Good joke, I call
it.”
“What a shameful thing!” I said. “I
wonder if that girl knew how she was being
married!”
“Of course she knew! At least, she
might have known. She was rich and she
was plain. How could she hope to gain one
of the proudest titles in France without buying
it?”
“I wonder if she could have known!” I
said, again.

76

“It would not have prevented the marriage,
would it, mademoiselle, if she had?”
“Indeed it would!” I said (but I don't
know whether it would or not). He
shrugged his shoulders.
“America is very different from Europe,
then, mademoiselle. Here it would have
made no difference. When a great amount of
money is to be placed, one must not have
too many scruples.”
“If she did know,” I said, with a fervor
which was lost upon him, “believe this,
whether you can understand it or not: she
was not a typical American girl.”
I had, as usual, many more words which
he deserved to have had said to him, but education
along this line takes too much time.
I ought to have begun this great work with
his great-grandparents.
What any one can see about Dinard to
like is a mystery to me! Is it possible that
one who has spent a month there could ever
be lured back again? There is a beautiful
journey from Paris across France southwesterly
to the coast, through odd little French
villages, vineyards, poppy-fields, and rose-gardens,
across shining rivulets and through
an undulating landscape, all so lovely that
it is no wonder that one expects all this
beauty to lead up to a climax. But what a

disappointment Dinard is to one's enthusiastic
anticipations! This famous watering-place
has to my mind not one solitary redeeming
feature. It has no excuse for being
famous. It has not even one happy accident
about it as a peg to hang its fame
upon, like some writers' first novels. Dinard
simply goes on being famous, nobody
knows why. And to go there, after reading
pages about it in the papers and hearing
people speak of Dinard as Mohammedans
whisper sacredly of Mecca, is like meeting
celebrities. You wonder what under the
sun—what in the world—how in the name
of Heaven such ugly, stupid, uninteresting,
heavy, dull, and insufferably ordinary persons
are allowed to become famous by an
overruling and beneficent Providence! I
have met many celebrities, and I have
been to Dinard. I have had my share of
disappointments.
To begin with, Dinard is not sufficiently
picturesque. There are but one or two pretty
vistas and three or four points of view.
Then it is not typically French. It is inhabited
partly by English families who cross
the Channel yearly from Southampton and
Portsmouth, and who take with them their
nine uninteresting daughters, with long
front teeth and ill-hanging duck skirts, and
partly by Americans who go to Dinard as

they go to the Eiffel Tower; not that either
is particularly interesting, but they had
heard of these places before they came over.
The only really interesting thing within five
miles of Dinard is that, off St. Malo, on the
island of Grand Bé, Châteaubriand is
buried. But as this really belongs more
to the attractions of St. Malo than to Dinard,
and nobody who spends summers at Dinard
ever mentioned Châteaubriand in my presence,
or honored his tomb by a visit, it is
pure charity on my part to ascribe this solitary
point of real interest to Dinard. For,
after all, Châteaubriand does not belong to
it. Which logic reminds me forcibly of
the plea entered by the defence in a suit for
borrowing a kettle: “In the first place, I
never borrowed his kettle; in the second
place, it was whole when I returned it; and,
in the third place, it was cracked when I got
it.”
So with Châteaubriand and Dinard.
Then Dinard has none of the dash and go of
other watering-places. There is nothing to
do except to bathe mornings and watch the
people win or lose two francs at petits chevaux
in the evenings. Not wildly exciting,
that. Consequently, you soon begin to stagnate
with the rest.
You grow more and more stupid as the
weeks pass, and at the end of a month you

cease to think. From that time on you do
not have such a bad time—that is to say,
you do not suffer so acutely, because you
have now got down to the level of the people
who go back to Dinard the next year.
We came away. The hotels are among
the worst on earth—musty, old-fashioned,
and villainously expensive—and one of the
happiest moments in my life was the day
when I left Dinard for Mont St. Michel.
Mont St. Michel is one of the most out-of-the-way,
un-get-at-able places I found in all
Europe; but, oh, how it rewards one who
arrives!
Mont St. Michel is too well known to need
a description. But to go from Dinard requires,
first of all, that one must go by boat
over to St. Malo, thence by train; change
cars, and alight finally at a lonely little station,
behind which stands a sort of vehicle—a
cross between a London omnibus and a
hay-wagon. You scramble to the top of this
as best you may. Nobody helps you. The
Frenchman behind you crowds forward and
climbs up ahead of you and holds you back
with his umbrella while he hauls his fat
wife up beside him. Then you clamber up
by the hub of the wheel and by sundry awkward
means which remind you of climbing
a stone wall when you were a child. You
take any seat left, which the Frenchmen do

not want, the horses are put to, and away
you go over a smooth sandy road for eleven
miles, with the sea crawling up on each side
of you over the dunes.
Suddenly, without warning, you come
squarely upon Mont St. Michel, rising solidly
five hundred feet from nowhere. There
is a whole town in this fortress, built upon
this rock, street above street, like a flight of
stairs, and house piled up behind house, until
on the very top there is one of the most
famous cathedrals in the world; and as you
thread its maze of vaulted chambers and
dungeons and come to its gigantic tower
you are lost in absolute wonder at the building
of it.
Where did they get the material? And
when got, what human ingenuity could raise
those enormous blocks of stone to that vast
height? How those cannon swept all approach
by land or sea as far as the eye could
reach! It would require superb courage
in an enemy to come within reach of that
grim sentinel of France, manned by her
warrior monks. What secrets those awful
dungeons might relate! Here political
crimes were avenged with all the cruelty of
Siberian exile. Here prisoners wore their
lives away in black solitude, no ray of light
penetrating their darkness.
The story is told that one poor wretch

was eaten alive by gigantic rats, and they
have a ghastly reproduction of it in wax,
which makes you creepy for a week after
you have seen it. Nowhere in all Europe
did I see a place which impressed its wonder
and its history of horror upon me as did the
cathedral dungeon of Mont St. Michel. Its
situation was so impregnable, its capacity so
vast, its silence and isolation from the outer
world so absolute.
All Russia does not boast a situation so
replete with possible and probable misery
and anguish such as were suggested to my
mind here.
But the wonder and charm of the compact
little town which clings like a limpet to its
base are more than can be expressed on the
written page. It is like climbing the uneven
stairs of some vast and roofless ancient palace,
upon each floor of which dwell families
who have come in and roofed over the suites
of rooms and made houses out of them. The
stairs lead you, not from floor to floor, but
from bakery to carpenter-shop, from the
blacksmith's to the telegraph-office.
The streets are paved with large cobble-stones,
to prevent cart-wheels from slipping,
and are so narrow that I often had to stand
up at afternoon tea with my cup in one hand
and my chair in the other, to let a straining,
toiling little donkey pass me, gallantly hauling

his load of fagots up an incline of forty-five
degrees.
The famous inn here is kept by Madame
Poularde, who can cook so marvellously that
she is one of the wonders of Normandy.
Her kitchen faces the main street; you simply
step over the threshold as you hear the beating
of eggs, and there, over an immense open
fire, which roars gloriously up the chimney,
are the fowls twirling on their strings and
dripping deliciously into the pans which
sizzle complainingly on the coals beneath.
Presently the roaring ceases, the fresh
coals are flattened down, and into a skillet,
with a handle five feet long, is dropped the
butter, which melts almost instantly. A fat
little red-faced boy pushes the skillet back
and forth to keep the butter from burning.
The frantic beating of eggs comes nearer
and nearer. The shrill voice of Madame
Poularde screams voluble French at her assistants.
She boxes somebody's ears,
snatches the eggs, gives them one final puffy
beating, which causes them to foam up and
overflow, and at that exciting moment out
they bubble into the smoking skillet, the
handle of which she seizes at the identical
moment that she lets go of the empty bowl
with one hand and pushes the red-faced
boy over backward with the other. It is
legerdemain! But then, how she manages

that skillet! How her red cheeks flush, her
black eyes sparkle, and her plump hands
guide that ship of state!
We are all so excited that we get horribly
in her way and almost fall into the fire in
our anxiety. She stirs and coaxes and coquettes
with the lovely foamy mass until it
becomes as light as the yellow down on a
fledgling's wings. She calls it an omelette,
but she is scrambling those eggs! Then
when it is almost done she screams at us to
take our places. The red-faced boy rings a
huge bell, and we all tumble madly up the
narrow stairs to the dining-room, where a
score of assorted tourists are seated. They
get that first omelette because they behaved
better than we did, and were more orderly.
There are half a dozen little maids who attend
us. They give us bread and bring our
wine and get our plates all ready, for, behold,
we can hear below the beating of the eggs
and the sizzling of the butter, and presently
Madame Poularde's scream and slap, and
we know that our omelette is on the way!
There were scores of bridal parties there
when we were, for Mont St. Michel seems to
be the Niagara of France, and really one
could hardly imagine a more charming place
for a honeymoon. Indeed, for a newly married
couple, for boy and girl, for spinsters and
bachelors, ay, even for Darby and Joan,

Mont St. Michel has attractions. All sorts
and conditions of men here find the most romantic
and interesting spot to be found in
the whole of France.
While here we got telegrams telling us of
the assembling of our friends at a house-party
at a château in the south of France
which once had belonged to Charles VII.
So without waiting for anything more we
wired a joyful acceptance and set out. We
did, however, stop over a few hours at Blois,
in order to see the château there. We really
did Blois in a spirit of Baedeker, for we were
crazy to see Velor, in order not to miss an
inch of the good times which we knew would
riot there. But virtue was its own reward,
for as we were looking into the depths of the
first real oubliette which I ever had seen, and
I was just shivering with the vision of that
fiendish Catharine de' Medici who used to
drop people into these holes every morning
before breakfast, just as an appetizer, we
heard a most blood-curdling shriek, and there
stood that wretched Jimmie watching us
from an open door, waving his Baedeker at
us, with Mrs. Jimmie's lovely Madonna
smile seen over his shoulder.
No one who has not felt the awful pangs
of homesickness abroad has any idea of the
joy with which one greets intimate friends
in Europe. I believe that travel in Europe

has done more toward the riveting of lukewarm
American friendships than any other
thing in the world.
The Jimmies have often appeared upon
my pathway like angels of light, and at
Blois we simply loved them, for Blois is
not only gloomy, but it has a most ghastly
history. The murder of the Duc de Guise
and his brother, by order of King Henry
III., took place here. They show one the
rooms where the murder was committed, the
door through which the murderer entered,
and the private cabinet de travail where the
king waited for the news.
Here, also, Margaret of Valois married
Henry of Navarre, and Charles, Duc
d'Alençon, married Margaret of Anjou. But
one hardly ever thinks of the weddings
which occurred here for the horrors which
overshadow them. How fitting that Marie
de' Medici should have been imprisoned
here, and my ancient enemy, Catharine, that
queen-mother who perched her children on
thrones as carelessly and as easily as did Napoleon
and Queen Louise of Denmark—that
Catharine should have died here, “unregretted
and unlamented,” was too lovely!
Then we left the magnificent old castle
and took the train for Port-Boulet, where the
Marquise met us with her little private
omnibus, holding eight, drawn by handsome

American horses. They were new horses
and young, and the Marquise said that
Charles found them quite unmanageable.
Jimmie watched him drive them around a
moment or two before they could be made
to stand, then he broke out laughing. The
Marquise was so disgusted at the way they
see-sawed that she said she was going to sell
them.
“Sell them!” cried Jimmie. “Why, all
in the world that's the matter with those
poor brutes is that they don't speak French!
Let me drive them!”
So the Marquise saved Charles's vanity by
saying that monsieur wished to try the new
horses. Jimmie climbed upon the box, and
gathered up the reins, saying, “So, old boy,
you don't like the dratted language any better
than I do. Steady now, boy! Giddap!
Whereat the pretty creatures pricked up
their ears, pranced a little, then sprang into
their collars, and we were off along the lovely
river road at a spanking pace and with as
smooth and even a gait as the most experienced
roadsters.
We could hear Charles's polite compliments
to Jimmie on his driving, and Jimmie's
awful French, as he assured Charles
that the horses were all right, “très gentils
and “très jolis.” “Ne dites jamais ‘doucement'
aux chevaux américains. Dites

‘whoa,' et ils arrêteront, et quand vous dites
‘Giddap', ils marcheront bien. Savez?”
At
which Charles obediently practised “Whoa!”
and “Giddap!” while we felt ourselves
pulled up and started off, as the object-lesson
demanded, but amid shrieks of laughter
which quite upset Charles's dignity.
Finally, we whirled in across the moat and
under the great gate to the château, and
found ourselves in the billiard-room of
Velor, with a big open fire, in front of which
lay a pile of dogs and around which we all
gathered shiveringly, for the day was chilly.
That charming billiard-room at Velor!
It is not so grand as the rest of the château,
but everybody loves it best of all. It is on
the ground floor, and it has a writing-desk
and two or three little work-tables and several
sofas and heaps of easy-chairs, and here
everybody came to read or write or sew or
play billiards. And as to afternoon tea!
Not one of us could have been hired to drink
it in the salons up-stairs. In fact, so many
of us insisted upon being in the billiard-room
that there never was room for a free play of
one's cue, for somebody was always in the
way, and it was rather discouraging to hear a
woman doing embroidery say, “Don't hit
this ball. Take some other stroke, can't
you? Your cue will strike me in the eye.”
Dunham, the eighteen-year-old son of the

Marquise, was teaching me billiards, but his
manners were so beautiful that he always
pretended that to stick to one's own ball was
a mere arbitrary rule of the game, so he permitted
me to play with either ball, which
made it easiest for me, or which caused least
discomfort to those sitting uncomfortably
near the table. A dear boy, that Dunham!
He had but one fault, and that was that he
would wear cerise and scarlet cravats, and
his hair was red—so uncompromisingly red,
of such an obstinate and determined red, that
his mother often said, “Come here, Dunham,
dear, and light up this corner of the room
with your sunny locks. It is too dark to see
how to thread my needle!” Such was his
amiability that I am sure he enjoyed it, for
he always went promptly, and called her
“Mon amour,” and slyly kissed her when he
thought we were not looking.
All our remarks upon his red tiesfell upon
unheeding ears, until one day I bribed his
man to bring me every one of them. These
I distributed among the women guests, and
when, the next morning, Dunham came in
complaining that he couldn't find any of his
red ties, lo! every woman in the room was
wearing one; and to our credit be it spoken
that he failed to get any of them back, and
never, to my knowledge at least, wore a scarlet
tie again.

89

Velor is historic. After it passed out of
the hands of Charles VII.—I have slept in
his room, but I must say that he was unpleasantly
short if that bed fitted him!—it
was bought by the old miser Nivelau, whose
daughter, Eugénie Belmaison, was the girl
Balzac wished to marry. In a rage at being
rejected by her father he wrote Eugénie
Grandet
, and several of the articles, such
as her work-box, of which Balzac makes mention,
are in the possession of the Marquise.
Every available room in the Velor was
filled with our party. Each day we drove in
the brake to visit some ancient château, such
as Azay-le-Rideau, Islette, Chinon, or the Abbey
of Fontevreault, finding the roads and
scenery in Touraine the most delightful one
can imagine.
Fontevreault was originally an abbey,
and a most powerful one, being presided over
by daughters of kings or women of none but
the highest rank, and these noble women
held the power of life and death over all the
country which was fief to Fontevreault.
Velor was once fief to Fontevrault, but
the abbey is now turned into a prison.
They took away our cameras before they
allowed us to enter, but we saw some of the
prisoners, of whom there were one thousand.
The real object of our visit, however, was to
see the tombs of Henry II. and of my beloved

Richard the Lion-hearted, who are
both buried at Fontevreault. To go to Fontevreault,
we were obliged to cross the river
Vienne on the most curious little old ferry,
which was only a raft with the edges turned
up. Charles drove the brake on to this raft,
but we preferred, after one look into the eyes
of the American horses, to climb down and
trust to our own two feet.
We gave and attended breakfasts with the
owners of neighboring châteaux, drove into
Saumur to the theatre or to dine with the
officers of the regiment stationed there, and
had altogether a perfect visit. I have made
many visits and have been the guest of many
hostesses, most of them charming ones, hence
it is no discourtesy to them and but a higher
compliment to the Marquise when I assert
that she is one of the most perfect hostesses
I ever met.
A thorough woman of the world, having
been presented at three courts and speaking
five languages, yet her heart is as untouched
by the taint of worldliness, her nature as unembittered
by her sorrows, as if she were a
child just opening her eyes to society. One
of the cleverest of women, she is both humorous
and witty, with a gift of mimicry which
would have made her a fortune on the stage.
Her servants idolize her, manage the château
to suit themselves, which fortunately

means to perfection, and look upon her as a
beloved child who must be protected from all
the minor trials of life. She has rescued the
most of them from some sort of discomfort,
and their gratitude is boundless. Like the
majority of the nobility, the peasants of
France are royalists. The middle class,
the bourgeoisie, are the backbone of the republic.
The servants are stanch Catholics and
long for a monarchy again. The Marquise
apologized to them for our being heretics,
and told them that while we were not Christians
(Catholics), yet we tried to be good,
and in the main turned out a fair article,
but she entreated their clemency and their
prayers for her guests. So we had the satisfaction
of being ardently prayed for all the
time we were there, and of being complimented
occasionally by her maid, Marie, an
old Normandie peasant seventy years old,
for an act on our part now and then which
savored of real Christianity. And once when
we had private theatricals, and I dressed as
a nun, Marie never found out for half the
evening that I was not one of the Sisters
who frequently came to the château, but
kept crossing herself whenever she saw me;
and when she discovered me she told me,
with tears in her eyes, it really was a thousand
pities that I would not renounce the

world and become a Christian, because I
looked so much like a “religieuse.”
We went in oftenest to Chinon—always
on market days; some of us on horseback,
some on wheels, while the rest drove. Chinon
is the fortress château where Jeanne
d'Arc came to see Charles VII. to try to interest
him in her plans. Its ruins stand high
up on a bluff overlooking the town, and beneath
it in an open square is the very finest
and most spirited equestrian statue I ever
saw . It is of Jeanne d'Arc, and I only regret
that the photograph I took of it is too small
to show its fire and spirit and the mad rush
of the horse, and the glorious, generous pose
of the noble martyr's outstretched arms, as
she seems to be in the act of sacrificing her
life to her country. There is the divinest
patriotism in every line of it.
We saw it on a beautiful crisp day in November.
It was our Thanksgiving day at
home. We drove along the lovely river-road
from Chinon to Velor, and upon our arrival
we discovered that the Marquise had arranged
an American Thanksgiving dinner
for us, sending even to America for certain
delicacies appropriate to the season. It was a
most gorgeous Thanksgiving dinner, for,
aside from the turkey, lo! there appeared a
peacock in all its magnificent plumage, sitting
there looking so dressy with all his

feathers on that we quite blushed for the
state of the turkey.
A month of Paris, and then I long for
fresh fields and pastures new. Of course
there is nowhere like Paris for clothes or to
eat. But when one has got all the clothes
one can afford and is no longer hungry, having
acquired a chronic indigestion from too
intimate a knowledge of Marguery's and
Ledoyen's, what is there to do but to leave?
Paris is essentially a holiday town, but I
get horribly tired to too long a holiday, and
after the newness is worn off one discovers
that it is the superficiality of it all
that palls. The people are superficial;
their amusements are feathery—even the
beauty of it all is “only skin deep.”
Therefore, after one glimpse of Poland,
the pagan in my nature called me to the
East, and six months of Paris have only intensified
my longing to get away—to get to
something solid; to find myself once more
with the serious thinkers of the world.
In the mean time Bee has deserted me for
the more interesting society of Billy, and
now she writes me long letters so filled with
his sayings and doings that I must move on
or I shall die of homesickenss. I have decided
on Russia and the Nile, taking intermediate
countries by the way. This is entirely Billy's fault.

94

When I first decided to go to Russia, I
supposed, of course, that I could induce the
Jimmies to go with me, but, to my consternation,
they revolted, and gently but firmly
expressed their determination to go to Egypt
by way of Italy. So I have taken a companion,
and if all goes well we shall meet
the Jimmies on the terrace of Shepheard's
in February.
I packed three trunks in my very best
style, only to have Mrs. Jimmie regard my
work with a face so full of disapproval that
it reminded me of Bee's. She then proceeded
to put “everything any mortal could
possibly want” into one trunk, with what
seemed to me supernatural skill and common-sense,
calmly sending the other two to
be stored at Munroe's. I don't like to disparage
Mrs. Jimmie's idea of what I need,
but it does seem to me that nearly everything
I have wanted here in Berlin is “stored at
Munroe's.”
My companion and I, with faultless arithmetic,
calculated our expenses and drew out
what we considered “plenty of French money
to get us to the German frontier.” Then
Jimmie took my companion and Mrs. Jimmie
took me to the train.
Their cab got to the station first, and when
we came up Jimmie was grinning, and my
companion looked rather sheepish.

95

“I didn't have enough money to pay the
extra luggage,” she whispered. “I had to
borrow of Mr. Jimmie.”
“That's just like you,” I said, severely.
“Now I drew more than you did.”
Just then Jimmie came up with my little
account.
“Forty-nine francs extra luggage,” he
announced.
“What?” I gasped, “on that one trunk?”
How grateful I was at that moment for the
two stored at Munroe's!
“Oh, Jimmie,” I cried, “I haven't got
near enough! You'll have to lend me
twenty francs!”
My companion smiled in sweet revenge,
and has been almost impossible to travel
with since then, but we are one in our rage
against paying extra luggage. Just think
of buying your clothes once and then paying
for them over and over again in every foreign
country you travel through! Our
clothes will be priceless heirlooms by the
time we get home. We can never throw
them away. They will be too valuable.
The Jimmies have been so kind to us that
we nearly choked over leaving them, but
we consoled ourselves after the train left,
and proceeded to draw the most invidious
comparisons between French sleeping-cars
and the rolling palaces we are accustomed to

at home. I am ashamed to think that I have
made unpleasant remarks upon the discomforts
of travel in America. Oh, how ungrateful
I have been for past mercies!
My companion is very patient, as a rule,
but I heard her restlessly tossing around in
her berth, and I said, “What's the matter?”
“Oh, nothing much. But don't you
think they have arranged the knobs in these
mattresses in very curious places?/”
Well, it was a little like sleeping on a
wood-pile during a continuous earthquake.
But that was nothing compared to the news
broken to us about eleven o'clock that our
luggage would be examined at the German
frontier at five o'clock in the morning.
That meant being wakened at half past four.
But it was quite unnecessary, for we were
not asleep.
It was cold and raining. I got up and
dressed for the day. But my companion
put her seal-skin on over her dressing-gown,
and perched her hat on top of that hair of
hers, and looked ready to cope with Diana
herself.
“They'll ruin my things if they unpack
them,” I said.
“You just keep still and let me manage
things,” she answered. So I did. I made
myself as small as possible and watched her.
She selected her victim and smiled on him

most charmingly. He was tearing open the
trunk of a fat American got up in gray flannel
and curl-papers. He dropped her tray
and hurried up to my companion.
“Have you anything to declare, madam?”
he asked.
“Tell him absolutely nothing,” she whispered
to me. I obeyed, but he never took his
eyes from her. She was tugging at the strap
of her trunk in apparently wild eagerness to
get it open. She frowned and panted a little
to show how hard it was, and he bounded
forward to help her. Then she smiled at
him, and he blinked his eyes and tucked the
strap in and chalked her trunk, with a shrug.
He hadn't opened it. She kept her eye on
him and pointed to my trunk, and he chalked
that. Then seven pieces of hand luggage,
and he chalked them all. Then she smiled
on him again, and I thanked him, but he
didn't seem to hear me, and she nodded her
thanks and pulled me down a long stone corridor
to the dining-room where we could get
some coffee.
At the door I looked back. The customs
officer was still looking after my companion,
but she never even saw it.
The dining-room was full of smoke, but
the coffee and my first taste of zwieback were
delicious. Then we went out through a narrow
doorway to the train, where we were

jostled by Frenchmen with their habitual
“Pardon!” (which partially reconciles you
to being walked on), and knocked into by
monstrous Germans, who sent us spinning
without so much as a look of apology, and
both of whom puffed their tobacco smoke directly
in our faces. It was still dark and the
rain was whimpering down on the car-roof,
and, take it all in all, the situation was far
from pleasant, but we are hard to depress,
and our spirits remain undaunted.
It was so stuffy in our compartment that
I stood in the doorway for a few moments
near an open window. My companion was
lying down in my berth. We still had nineteen
hours of travel before us with no prospect
of sleep, for sleep in those berths and
over such a rough was absolutely out
of the question.
Near me (and spitting in the saddest manner
out of the open window) stood the meek
little American husband of the gray flannel
and curl-papers, whose fury at my companion
for her quick work with the customs
officer knew no bounds.
The gray flannel had gone to bed again in
the compartment next to ours.
The precision of this gentleman's aim as
he expectorated through the open window,
and the marvellous rapidity with which he
managed his diversion, led me to watch him.

He looked tired and cold and ill. It was
still dark outside, and the jolting of the
train was almost unbearable. He had not
once looked at me, but with his gaze still on
the darkness he said, slowly,
“They can have the whole blamed country
for all of me! I don't want it.”
It was so exactly the way I felt that even
though he said something worse than
“blamed,” I gave a shriek of delight, and
my companion pounded the pillow in her cooperation
of the sentiment.
“You are an American and you are
Southern,” I said.
“Yes'm. How did you know?”
“By your accent.”
“Yes'm, I was born in Virginia. I was
in the Southern army four years, and I love
my country. I hate these blamed foreigners
and their blamed churches and their infernal
foreign languages. I am over here for my
health, my wife says. But I have walked
more miles in picture-galleries than I ever
marched in the army. I've seen more pictures
by Raphael than he could have painted
if he'd 'a' had ten arms and painted a thousand
years without stopping to eat or sleep.
I've seen more ‘old masters,' as they call
'em, but I call 'em daubs, all varnished till
they are so slick that a fly would slip on 'em
and break his neck. And the stone floors are

so cold that I get cold clean up to my knees,
and I don't get warm for a week. Yet I am
over here for my health! Then the way they
rob you—these blamed French! Lord, if I
ever get back to America, where one price includes
everything and your hotel bill isn't
sent in on a ladder, and where I can keep
warm, won't I just be too thankful.”
Just then the gray-flannel door banged
open and a hand reached out and jerked the
poor little old man inside, and we heard him
say, “But I was only blaming the French.
I ain't happy over here.” And a sharp voice
said, “Well, you've said enough. Don't talk
any more at all.” Then she let him out
again, but he did not find me in the corridor.
He found his open window, and he leaned
against our closed door and again aimed at
the flying landscape, as he pondered over the
disadvantages of Europe.
The sun was just rising over the cathedral
as we reached Cologne.
“Let's get out here and have our breakfast
comfortably, see the cathedral, and take
the next train to Berlin,” I said to my companion.
She is the courier and I am the banker.
She hastily consulted her indicateur and assented.
We only had about two seconds in
which to decide.
“Let's throw these bags out of the window,

” she said. “I've seen other people
do it, and the porters catch them.”
“Don't throw them,” I urged. “You
will break my toilet bottles. Poke them out
gently.”
She did so, and we hopped off the train
just at daybreak, perfectly delighted at doing
something we had not planned.
A more lovely sight than the Cologne
cathedral, with the rising sun gilding its
numerous pinnacles and spires, would be
difficult to imagine. The narrow streets
were still comparatively dark, and when we
arrived we heard the majestic notes of the
organ in a Bach fugue, and found ourselves
at early mass, with rows of humble worshippers
kneeling before the high altar, and
the twinkle of many candles in the soft
gloom. As we stood and watched and listened,
the smell of incense floated down to
us, and gradually the first rays of the sun
crept downward through the superb colored-glass
windows and stained the marble statues
in their niches into gorgeous hues of purple
and scarlet and amber.
And as the priests intoned and the fresh
young voices of an invisible choir floated out
and the magnificent rumble of the organ
shook the very foundation of the cathedral,
we forgot that we were there to visit a sight
of Cologne, we forgot our night of discomfort,

we forgot everything but the spirit of
worship, and we came away without speaking.
From Cologne to Dresden is stupid. We
went through a country punctuated with
myriads of tall chimneys of factories, which
reminded us why so many things in England
and America are stamped “Made in Germany.”
We arrived at Dresden at five o'clock, and
decided to stop there and go to the opera
that night. The opera begins in Dresden at
seven o'clock and closes at ten. The best
seats are absurdly cheap, and whole families,
whole schools, whole communities, I
should say, were there together. I never saw
so many children at an opera in my life.
Coming straight from Paris, from the theatrical,
vivacious, enthusiastic French audiences,
with their abominable claqueurs, this
first German audience seemed serious,
thoughtful, appreciative, but unenthusiastic.
They use more judgment about applause
than the French. They never interrupt a
scene or even a musical phrase with misplaced
applause because the soprano has executed
a flamboyant cadenza or the tenor
has reached a higher note than usual. Their
appreciation is slow but hearty and always
worthily disposed. The French are given

to exaggerating an emotion and to applauding
an eccentricity. Even their subtlety is
overdone.
The German drama is much cleaner than
the French, the family tie is made more of,
sentiment is encouraged instead of being
ridiculed, as it too often is in America; but
the German point of view of Americans
is quite as much distorted as the French.
That statement is severe, but true. For instance,
it would be utterly impossible for
the American girl to be more exquisitely
misunderstood than by French and German
men.
Berlin is so full of electric cars that it
seemed much more familiar at first sight
than Paris. It is a lovely city, although we
ought to have seen it before Paris in order
fully to appreciate it. Its Brandenburg
Gate is most impressive, and I wanted to
make some demonstration every time we
drove under it and realized that the statue
above it has been returned. Their statue of
Victory in the Thiergarten is so hideous,
however, that I was reminded of General
Sherman's remark when he saw the Pension
Office in Washington, “And they tell me
the—–thing is fireproof!”
The streets are filled with beautiful
things, mostly German officers. The only
trouble is that they themselves seem to know

it only too well, and as they will not give us
any of the sidewalk, we are obliged to admire
them from the gutters. The only way you
can keep Germans from knocking you into
the middle of the street is to walk sideways
and pretend you are examining the shop
windows.
In the eyes of men, women are of little
account in England compared to the way we
are treated in America; of less in France;
and of still less in Germany. We have not
got to Russia yet.
Paris seems a city of leisure, Berlin a
city of war. The streets of Paris are quite
as full of soldiers as Berlin, but French
soldiers look to me like mechanical toys. I
have sent Billy a box of them for Christmas
—of mechanical soldiers, I mean. The
chief difference I noticed was that Billy's
were smaller than the live ones, although
French soldiers are small enough. That
portion of the French army which I have
seen—at Longchamps, Châlons-sur-Marne,
Saumur, and at various other places—are, as
a rule, undersized, badly dressed, and badly
groomed. They do not look neat, nor even
clean, if you want the truth. The uniform
is very ugly, and was evidently designed for
men thirteen feet high; so that on those comical
little toy Frenchmen it is grotesque in
the extreme.

105

Their trousers are always much too long,
and so ample in width that they seem to
need only a belt at the ankle to turn them
into perfect Russian blouses. But English
and German soldiers not only appear, but
are, in perfect condition, as though they
could go to war at a moment's notice, and
would be glad of the chance.
I am keeping my eyes open to see how
America bears comparison with other nations
in all particulars. In point of appearance
the English army stands first, the
German second, the American third, and the
French fourth. I put the American third
only because our uniforms are less impressive.
In everything else, except in numbers,
they might easily stand first. But uniforms
and gold lace, and bright scarlet and waving
plumes, make a vast difference in appearance,
and every country in the world recognizes
this, except America. I wish that everybody
in the United States who boasts of democracy
and Jeffersonian simplicity could share
my dissatisfaction in seeing our ambassadors
at Court balls and diplomatic receptions in
deacons' suits of modest black, without even
a medal or decoration of any kind, except
perhaps that gorgeous and overpowering insignia
known as the Loyal Legion button,
while every little twopenny kingdom of a
mile square sends a representative in a uniform

as brilliant as a peony and stiff with
gold embroidery.
No matter how magnificent a man, personally,
our ambassador may be, no matter how
valuable his public services, no matter how
unimpeachable his private character, I wish
you could see how small and miserable and
mean is the appearance he presents at Court
functions, where every man there, except the
representative of seventy millions of people,
is in some sort of uniform. If it really were
Thomas Jefferson whose administration inaugurated
the disgusting simplicity which
goes by his name, I wish the words had stuck
in his throat and strangled him. “Jeffersonian
simplicity!” How I despise it!
Thomas Jefferson, I believe, was the first
Populist. We had had gentlemen for Presidents
before him, but he was the first one who
rooted for votes with the common herd by
catering to the gutter instead of to the skyline,
and the tail end of his policy is to be
seen in the mortifying appearance of our
highest officials and representatives. Hinc
illae lachrymae!
I looked at the servant who announced our
names in Paris at General Porter's first
official reception, and even he was much
more gorgeous in dress than the master of
the house, the Ambassador Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary representing

seventy millions of people! Not even in
his uniform of a general! The only man in
the room in plain black. The United States
ought to treat her representatives better.
When Mr. White at Berlin was received by
the Emperor, he, too, was the only man in
plain black.
No wonder we are taken no account of
socially when we don't even give our ambassador
a house, as all the other countries do,
and when his salary is so inadequate. Every
other ambassador except the American has a
furnished house given him, and a salary
sufficient to entertain as becomes the representative
of a great country. All except
ours! Yet none of them is obliged to entertain
as continuously as our ambassador, because
only Americans travel unremittingly,
and only Americans expect their ambassador
to be their host.
“O wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”
Of course I notice such things immensely
more in Berlin than in Paris, because the
glory of a Court is much more than the
twinkle of a republic.
I have worked myself into such a towering
rage over this subject that there is no
getting down to earth gracefully or gradually.

I have not polished off the matter by
any manner of means. I have only just
started in, but a row of stars will cool me off.
Before I came to Berlin I heard so much
about Unter den Linden, that magnificent
street of the city, that I could scarcely wait
to get to it. I pictured it lined on both sides
with magnificent linden-trees, gigantic, imposing,
impressive. I had had no intimate
acquaintance with linden-trees—and I
wouldn't know one now if I should see
it—but I had an idea from the name—
linden, linden—that it was grand and waving;
not so grand as an oak nor so waving
as a willow, but a cross between the two.
I knew that I should see these great monarchs
making a giant arch over this broad
avenue and mingling their tossing branches
overhead.
What I found when I arrived was a broad,
handsome street. But those lindens! They
are consumptive, stunted little saplings without
sufficient energy to grow into real trees.
They are set so far apart that you have time
to forget one before you come to another,
and as to their appearance—we have some
just like them in Chicago where there is a
leak in the gas-pipes near their roots.
On the day before Christmas we felt very

low in our minds. We had the doleful prospect
ahead of us of eating Christmas dinner
alone in a strange country, and in a hotel at
that, so we started out shopping. Not that
we needed a thing, but it is our rule, “When
you have the blues, go shopping.” It always
cures you to spend money.
Berlin shop-windows are much more fascinating
even than those of Paris, because in
Berlin there are so many more things that
you can afford to buy that Paris seems expensive
in comparison. We became so much
interested in the Christmas display that we
did not notice the flight of time. When we
had bought several heavy things to weigh our
trunks down a little more and to pay extra
luggage on, I happened to glance at the sun,
and it was just above the horizon. It looked
to be about four o'clock in the afternoon,
and we had had nothing to eat since nine
o'clock, and even then only a cup of coffee.
I felt myself suddenly grow faint and weak.
“Heavens!” I said, “see what time it is!
We have shopped all day and we have forgotten
to get our luncheon.”
My companion glanced at her watch.
“It's only half past eleven o'clock by my
watch. I couldn't have wound it last night.
No, it is going.”
“Perhaps the hands stick. They do on
mine. Whenever I wind it, I have to hit it

with the hair-brush to start it; and even then
it loses time every day.”
“Let's take them both to a jeweller,” she
said. “We can't travel with watches which
act this way.”
So we left them to be repaired, and as we
came out, I said, “It will take us half an
hour to get back to the hotel. Don't you
think we ought to go in somewhere and get
just a little something to sustain us?”
“Of course we ought,” she said, in a
weak voice. So we went in and got a light
luncheon. Then we went back to the hotel,
intending to lie down and rest after such an
arduous day.
“We must not do this again,” I said, firmly.
“Mamma told me particularly not to
overdo.”
My companion did not answer. She was
looking at the clock. It was just noon.
“Why, that clock has stopped too,” she
said.
But as we looked into the reading-room
that clock struck twelve. Then it dawned
on me, and I dropped into a chair and nearly
had hysterics.
“It's because we are so far north!” I
cried. “Our watches were all right and the
sun's all right. That is as high as it can
get!”
She was too much astonished to laugh.

111

“And you had to go in and get luncheon
because you felt so faint,” she said, in a tone
of gentle sarcasm.
“Well, you confessed to a fearful sense
of goneness yourself.”
“Don't tell anybody,” she said.
“I should think not!” I retorted, with
dignity. “I hope I have some pride.”
“Have you presented your letter to the
ambassador?” she asked.
“Yes, but it's so near Christmas that I
suppose he won't bother about two waifs like
us until after it's over.”
“My! but you are blue,” she said. “I
never heard you refer to yourself as a waif
before.”
“I am a worm of the dust. I wish there
wasn't such a thing as Christmas! I wonder
what Billy will say when he sees his tree.”
“You might cable and find out,” she said.
“It only costs about three marks a word.
‘What did Billy say when he saw his tree?'
—nine words—it would cost you about eight
dollars, without counting the address.”
Dead silence. I didn't think she was at
all funny.
“Don't you think we ought to have champagne
to-morrow?” she asked.
“What for? I hate the stuff. It makes
me ill. Do you want it?”
“No, only I thought that, being Christmas,

and very expensive, perhaps it would
do you good to spend—”
A knock on the door made us both jump.
“His Excellency the Ambassador of the
United States to see the American ladies!”
It was, indeed, Mr. White and Mrs. White,
and Lieutenant Allen, the Military Attaché!
“Oh, those blessed angels!” I cried, buckling
my belt and dashing for the wash-stand,
thereby knocking the comb and hand-glass
from the grasp of my companion.
They had come within an hour of the
presentation of my letter, and they brought
with them an invitation from Mrs. Allen for
us to join them at Christmas dinner the next
day, as Mrs. White said they could not bear
to think of our dining alone.
I had many beautiful things done for me
during my thirty thousand miles travel in
Europe, but nothing stands out in my mind
with more distinctness than the affectionate
welcome I received into the homes of our
representatives in Berlin. And, in passing,
let me say this, I am distinctly proud of
them, one and all. I say this because one
hears many humiliating anecdotes of the
mistakes made by the men and women sent
to foreign Courts, appointed because they
had earned some recognition for political
services. Those of us who have strong national
pride and a sense of the eternal fitness

of things, are obliged to hear such
things in shamed silence, and offer no retort,
for there can be no possible excuse for
mortifying lapses of etiquette. And these
things will continue until our government
establishes a school of diplomacy and makes
a diplomatic career possible to a man.
As long as it is possible for an ex-coroner
or sheriff to be appointed to a secretaryship
of a foreign legation—a man who does not
speak the language and whose wife understands
better how to cope with croup and
measles than with wives of foreign diplomats
who have been properly trained for this
vocation, just so long shall we be obliged to
bear the ridicule heaped upon us over here,
which our government never hears, and
wouldn't care if it did!
Imagine the relief with which I met our
Berlin representatives! At the end of four
years there will be no sly anecdotes whispered
behind fans at their expense, for they
have all held the same office before and
are well equipped by training, education,
and native tact to bear themselves with a
proud front at one of the most difficult
Courts of Europe. I look back upon that
little group of Americans with feelings of
unmixed pride.
Mr. White invited us to go with him that
afternoon to see the tombs of the kings at

Charlottenburg; and when his gorgeous-liveried
footman came to announce his presence,
the hotel proprietor and about forty of
his menials nearly crawled on their hands
and knees before us, so great is their deference
to pomp and power.
I wish to associate Berlin with this beautiful
mausoleum. It is circular in shape,
and the light falls from above through
lovely colored-glass windows upon those recumbent
marble statues. The dignity, the
still, solemn beauty of those pale figures
lying there in their eternal repose, fill the
soul with a sense of the great majesty of
death.
When we got back to the hotel we found
that the same good fortune which had attended
us so far had ordained that the American
mail should arrive that day, and behold!
there were all our Christmas letters
timed as accurately as if they had only gone
from Chicago to New York.
Christmas letters! How they go to the
heart when one is five thousand miles away!
How we tore up to our rooms, and oh! how
long it seemed to get the doors unlocked and
the electric light turned up, and to plant
ourselves in the middle of the bed to read
and laugh and cry and interrupt each other,
and to read out paragraphs of Billy's funny
baby-talk!

115

While we were still discussing them, the
proprietor came up to announce to us that
there was to be a Christmas Eve entertainment
in the main dining-room that evening,
and would the American ladies do him the
honor to come down? The American ladies
would.
When we went down we found that the
enormous dining-room was packed with people,
all standing around a table which ran
around two sides of the room. A row of
Christmas trees, covered with cotton to represent
snow, occupied the middle of the
room, and at one end was a space reserved
for the lady guests, and in each chair was a
handsome bouquet of violets and lilies-of-the-valley.
This entertainment was for the servants
of the hotel, of whom there were three hundred
and fifty.
First they sang a Lutheran hymn, very
slowly, as if it were a dirge. Then there
was a short sermon. Then another hymn.
Then the manager made a little speech and
called for three cheers for the proprietor,
and they gave them with a fervor that nearly
split the ears of the groundlings.
Then a signal was given, and in less than
one minute three hundred and fifty paper
bags were produced, and three hundred and
fifty plates full of oranges, apples, buns,

and sweetened breads were emptied into
them. The table looked as if a plague of
grasshoppers had swept over it.
Then each servant presented a number
and received a present from the tree, and
that ended the festivity. But so typical of
the fatherland, so paternal, so like one great
family!
Participating in this simple festival
brought a little of the Christmas feeling
home to us and made us almost happy. We
knew that our American parcels would not
be delivered until the next day, so we had
but just time to reread our precious letters
when the clock struck twelve, and with much
solemnity my companion and I presented
each other with our modest Christmas present
—which each had announced that she
wanted and had helped to select! But, then,
who would not rather select one's own
Christmas presents, and so be sure of getting
things that one wants?
On Christmas morning registered packages
began to arrive for both of us. The
first ten presents to arrive for my companion
were pocket-handkerchiefs. My
first ten were all books. Evidently the dear
family had thought that American books
would be most acceptable over here, and I
could see, with a feeling that warmed my
heart, how carefully they had consulted my

taste, and had tried to remember to send
those I wanted. But I am of a frugal mind,
and thoughts of the extra luggage to be paid
on bound books would intrude themselves.
However, I made no remark over the first
ten, but before the day was over I had received
twenty-two books and one pen-wiper,
and my vocabulary was exhausted. My
companion continued to receive handkerchiefs
until the room was full of them. Take
it all together, there was a good deal of
sameness about our presents, but they have
been useful as dinner anecdotes ever since.
Now that I have sent all mine to be stored
at Munroe's, together with all my other necessities,
I feel lighter and more buoyant
both in mind and trunk.
A Christmas dinner in a foreign land, in
the midst of the diplomatic corps, is the most
undiplomatic thing in the world, for that is
the one time when you can cease to be diplomatic
and dare to criticise the government
and make personal remarks to your heart's
content.
It was a beautiful dinner, and after it
was over we were all invited to the children's
entertainment at Mrs. Squiers's. She
had gathered about fifty of the American
colony for Christmas carols and a tree.
Immediately after the ambassador arrived
the children marched in and recited in

chorus the verses about the birth of Christ,
beginning, “Now in the days of Herod the
King.” Then they sang their carols, and
then “Stille Nacht,” and they sang them
beautifully, in their sweet, childish voices.
After these exercises the doors were
thrown open, and the most beautiful Christmas-tree
I ever beheld burst upon the view
of those children, who nearly went wild with
delight.
After everybody had gone home except
“the diplomatic family,” which for the time
being included us, we picnicked on the remains
of the Christmas turkey for supper,
and there was as little ceremony about it as
if it had been at an army post on the frontier.
We had a beautiful time, and everybody
seemed to like everybody very much
and to be excellent friends.
Then Mr. and Mrs. White escorted us
back to our hotel, which wasn't at all necessary,
but which illustrates the way in
which they treated us all the time we were
there.
This ended a truly beautiful Christmas,
for, aside from being unexpected and in
striking contrast to the forlornness we had
anticipated, we had been taken into the families
of beautiful people, whose home life was
an honor and an inspiration to share.
On New Year's day we started early and

went to Potsdam to visit the palace of Sans
Souci.
A most curious and interesting little old
man who had been a guide there for thirty
years showed us through the grounds, where
the King's greyhounds are buried, and where
he pleaded to be buried with them. The
guide had no idea that he possessed a certain
dramatic genius for pathos, for, parrot-like,
he was repeating the story he had told perhaps
a thousand times before. But when he
showed us the graves of the greyhounds
which ate the poisoned food which had been
prepared for the King, he said:
“And they lie here. Not there with the
other dogs, the favorites of the King, but
here, alone, disgraced, without even a headstone.
Without even their names, although
they saved the great King from death and
gave their lives for his. Yet they lie here,
and the others lie there. It is the way of
the world, ladies.”
Then he took us to the top of the terrace
facing the palace, and, pointing to the entrance,
he said:
“In the left wing were the chambers of
the King's guests. In the right wing were his
own. Therefore, he placed a comma between
those two words ‘Sans' and ‘Souci,' to indicate
that those at the left were ‘without,'
while with himself was—‘Care.' ”

120

While we were there the Emperor drove
by and spoke to our cabman, saying, “How
is business?” Seeing how much pleasure it
gave the poor fellow to repeat it, we kept
asking him to tell us what the Kaiser said to
him.
First my companion would say:
“When was it and what happened?”
And when he had quite finished, I would
say:
“It wasn't the Emperor himself, was it?
It must have been the coachman who spoke
to you.”
“No, not so, ladies. It was the great
Kaiser himself. He said to me—” And
then we would get the whole thing over
again. It was charming to see his pleasure.
When we returned home we entered the
hotel between rows of palms, and we dropped
money into each of them. It seemed to me
that fifty servants were between me and the
elevators. However, it was New Year's, and
we tried not to be bored by it.
People talk so much of the expense of
foreign travel, but to my mind the greatest
expenditures are in paying for extra luggage
and in fees. Otherwise, I fancy that
travel is much the same if one travels luxuriously,
and that in the long run things
would be about equal. The great difference

is that in America all travel luxuries are
given to you for the price of your ticket, and
here you pay for each separate necessity, to
say nothing of luxury, and your ticket only
permits you to breathe. But the annoyance
of this continuous habit of feeing makes life
a burden. One pays for everything. It is
the custom of the country, and no matter if
you arrange to have “service included,” it is
in the air, in the eyes of the servants, in the
whole mental atmosphere, and you fee, you
fee, you fee until you are nearly dead from
the bother of it. In Germany they raise
their hats and rise to their feet every time
you pass, even if you pass every seven minutes,
and when the time comes for you to go,
you have to pay for the wear and tear of
these hats.
In Paris, at the theatre, you fee the woman
who shows you to your seat, you fee the
woman who opens the door and the woman
who takes your wraps. One night in midsummer
we stepped across from the Grand
Hôtel to the opera without even a scarf for a
wrap, and the woman was so disappointed
that we were handed from one attendant to
another some half dozen times as “three
ladies without wraps.” And the next one
would look us over from head to foot and repeat
the word, “Three ladies without
wraps,” until we laughed in their faces.

122

French servants are the cleverest in the
world if you want versatility, but they are
absolutely shameless in their greed, and look
at the size of your coin before they thank
you. In fact, the words in which they thank
you indicate whether your fee was not
enough, only modest, or handsome.
“It is not too much, madam,” or “thanks,
madam,” or “I thank you a thousand
times” show your status in their estimation.
If you are an American they reserve the
right to rob you by the impudence of their
demands, until rather than have a scene,
you give them all they ask. I have followed
in the footsteps of a French woman
and given exactly what she did, and had
my money flung in derision upon the pavement.
German servants seem to have more self-respect,
for while they expect it quite as
much, they smile and thank you and never
look at the coin before your eyes. Perhaps
they know from the feeling of it, but even
if you place it upon the table behind them
they thank you and never look at it or take
it until you turn away.
However, you fee unmercifully here too.
You fee the man at the bank who cashes
your checks, you fee the street-car conductor
who takes your fare, you fee every uniformed

hireling of the government, whether
he has done anything for you or not.
The only persons whom I have neglected
to fee so far are the ambassadors.
But then, they do not wear uniforms!

[Back to top]


124

IV
ON BOARD THE YACHT “HELA”

I am just able to sit up, and I couldn't
think of a thing I wanted to eat if I thought
a week. I came on this yachting trip because
my friends begged me to. They said
it would be an experience for me. It has
been.
The Hela started out with a party of ten
on board, who were on pleasure bent. We
have come up the English Channel from Dinard
to Ostend, but before we had been out
an hour we struck a gale, to which veterans
on seasickness will refer for many a long
day as “that fearful time on the Channel.”
On the whole, I don't know but that I
myself might be considered a veteran on seasickness.
I have averaged crossing the Channel
once a month ever since I've been over
here. I have got into the habit of crossing
the Channel, and I can't seem to stop. It
always appears that I am in the wrong place
for whatever is going on, for just as sure as
I go to London somebody sends for me to

come to Paris, and I rush for the Channel,
and I have no sooner unpacked my trunks
in Paris, and bargained that service and
electric lights shall be included, than somebody
discovers that I am imperatively needed
in England, and I make for the Channel
again. The Channel is like Jordan. It
always rolls between.
But even in crossing the Channel there is
everything in knowing how. I have discarded
the private state-room. It is too expensive,
and I am not a bit less uncomfortable
than when occupying six feet of the settee in
the ladies' cabin, with my feet in the flowers
of another woman's hat. In fact, I prefer
the latter. The other woman is always too
ill to protest or to move. I have now, by
long and patient practice, proved to my own
satisfaction what serves me best in case of
seasickness. I will not stay on deck. I
will not eat or drink anything to cure it. I
will not take anything to prevent it. I will
not sit up, and I will not keep my hat on.
When I go on board of a Channel steamer
my first act is to shake hands with my
friends and to go below. There I present the
stewardess with a modest testimonial of my
regard. I also give her my ticket. Then
I select the most desirable portion of the settee,
near a port-hole, from which I can get
fresh air. I take off my hat and lie down.

The steamer may not start for an hour. No
matter. There I am, and there I stay.
The Channel may be as smooth as glass, but
I travel better flat. Like manuscript, I am
not to be rolled. Sometimes I am not ill at
all, but I freely confess that those times are
infrequent and disappointing.
Now, of course, this is always to be expected
in crossing the Channel, but my
friends said in going up the Channel we
would not get those choppy waves, and
that I would find that the Hela swam like
a duck.
In analyzing that statement since, with a
view to classifying it as truth or otherwise,
I have studied my recollections of ducks,
and I have come to the conclusion that in a
rough sea a duck has every right to be seasick,
for she wobbles like everything else
that floats. For real comfort, give me something
that's anchored. Nevertheless, I was
persuaded to join the party.
Everybody came down at Dinard to see
us off, and quite a number even went over
to St. Malo with us in the electric launch,
for the Hela drew too much water to enter
the harbor at Dinard at low tide.
We were a merry party for the first hour
on board the Hela—until we struck the
gale. It has seemed to me since that our
evil genius was hovering over us from the

first, and simply waited until it would be out
of the question to turn back before emptying
the vials of her wrath on our devoted heads.
It did not rain. The sun kept a malevolent
eye upon us all the time. It simply blew
just one straight, unrelenting, unswerving
gale. And it came so suddenly. We were
all sitting on deck as happy as angels, when,
without a word of warning, the Hela simply
turned over on her side and threw us all out
of our chairs. I caught at a mast as I went
by and clung like a limpet. There was tar
on the mast. It isn't there any more. It
is on the front of my new white serge yachting
dress. Jimmie coasted across the deck,
and landed on his hands and knees against
the gunwale. If he had persisted in standing
up he would have gone overboard. The
women all shrieked and remained in a tangled
heap of chairs, and rugs, and petticoats,
waiting for the yacht to right herself, and
for the men to come and pick them up. But
the yacht showed no intention of righting
herself. She continued to careen in the
position of a cab going round Piccadilly
Circus on one wheel. The sailors were all
running around like ants on an ant-hill, and
the captain was shouting orders, and even
lending a hand with the ropes himself. I
don't know the nautical terms, but they were
taking down the middle sail—the mainsail,

that's it. It did not look dangerous, because
the sun kept shining, and I never thought of
being frightened. I just clung to the mast,
watching the other people right themselves,
and laughing, when suddenly everything
ceased to be funny. The decks of the Hela took on a wavy motion, and I blinked my eyes
in order to see better, for everything was
getting very indistinct, and there were green
spots on the sun. Suddenly I realized that
I was a long way from home, and that I was
even a long way from my state-room. I only
had just about sense enough left to remember
that the mast was my very best friend and
that I must cling there.
After that, I remember that somebody
came up behind me and pried my hands loose
from the mast.
The doctor's voice said, “Can you walk?”
I smiled feebly and said, “I used to
know how.” But evidently my efforts were
not highly successful, for he picked me up,
white serge, tar, green spots on the sun, and
all, and carried me below, a limp and humiliated
bit of humanity.
Mrs. Jimmie and Commodore Strossi
followed with more anxiety than the occasion
warranted.
Then Mrs. Jimmie sent the men away,
and I felt pillows under my head, and camphor
under my nose, and hot-water bags

about me; and I must have gone to sleep or
died, or something, for I don't remember
anything more until the next day.
They were very nice to me, for I was such
a cheerful invalid. It seemed to surprise
them that I could even pretend to be happy.
I knew that it must be an uncommon gale
from the way Commodore Strossi studied the
charts, and because even his wife, for whom
the yacht was named, was ill, and she had
spent half her life on the sea. The poor
little French cabin-boy was ill, too, and went
around, with a Nile-green countenance,
waiting on people, before he was obliged to
retire from active service.
The pitching of the yacht was something
so terrible that it got to be hysterically funny.
It couldn't seem dangerous with the
sun streaming down the companion-way and
past my state-room windows. About five
o'clock on the second day they began to tack,
and then I heard shrieks of laughter and the
crash of china, and groans from the saloon
settee, where young Bashforth was lying
ghastly ill.
At the first lurch my trunk tipped over,
and all the bottles on the wash-stand bounded
across to the bed, and most of them struck
me on the head. It frightened me so that I
shrieked, and Jimmie came running down
to see if I was killed.

130

As I raised my head I saw his horrified
gaze fairly riveted to my face, and I felt
something softly trickling down. I touched
it, and then looked at my hand and discovered
that it was wet and red.
“Good heavens, your face is all cut
open,” gasped Jimmie, in a voice that revealed
his terror.
Mrs. Jimmie was just behind him, and I
saw her turn pale. In a flash I saw myself
disfigured for life, and probably having to
be sewed up. The pain in my face became
excruciating, and I began to think yachting
rather serious business.
“Run for the doctor, Jimmie,” said his
wife. Jimmie obediently ran.
“Does it hurt very much, dear?” she
said, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Awfully,” I murmured.
The doctor came, followed by François,
with a basin of hot water and sponges, and
a nasty-looking little case of instruments.
Mrs. Jimmie held my hand. They turned on
the electric lights and opened the windows.
Jimmie had my salts. The doctor carefully
wet a sponge and tenderly bathed my
cheek, and I held my breath ready to shriek
if he hurt me. Commodore Strossi stood
at the door with an anxious face. Suddenly
the doctor reached for a broken bottle half
hidden under my pillow.

131

“Oh, what is it, doctor?” asked Mrs.
Jimmie. “What makes you look so
queer?”
“This is iodine on her face. Her bottle
has emptied itself. That is all.”
We gazed at each other for a moment or
two, then I nearly went into hysterics. Jimmie's
face was a study.
“You said it was blood, Jimmie,” I said.
“Well, you said it hurt,” he retorted.
“Well, it did. When you said I was
covered with blood it hurt awfully.”
The doctor went out much chagrined that
he had not been called upon to sew up a
wound. I had a relapse, brought on by
young Bashforth's jeering remarks as he
frantically clung to the handles of the locker
which formed the back of the settee where
he lay prostrate.
I was too utterly done up to reply, for
two day's violent seasickness rather takes
the mental ginger out of one's make-up.
But Fate avenged me in this wise. The door
of my state-room opened into the dining-room,
and my bed faced the door. Opposite
to me was the settee on which Bashforth was
coiled, and back of him was the locker for the
tinned mushrooms, sardines, lobster, shrimp,
caviar, deviled ham, and all the things which
well people can eat. This locker had brass
handles let into the mahogany, and to these

handles the poor fellow clung when the yacht
lurched.
His cruel words of derision had hardly
left his pale lips before they tacked again.
He was not holding on, but he hastily
snatched at the handles. He was too late,
however, for he was tossed from the settee
to the legs of the dining-room table (which,
fortunately, were anchored) without touching
the floor at all. He described a perfect
parabola. It was just the way I should have
tossed him had I been Destiny. He gripped
the table-legs like a vise, coiling himself
around them like a poor navy-blue python
with a green face. He thought the worst
was over, but in his last clutch at the locker
he had accidentally opened it, and at the
next lurch of the yacht all the cans bounded
out and battered his unprotected back like a
shower of grape-shot. The yacht lurched
again and the cans rolled back. She pitched
forward, and again the mushrooms and deviled
ham aimed for him. The noise brought
everybody, and at first nobody tried to help
him. They just couldn't see because of the
tears in their eyes from laughing. As for
me, I managed to crawl to the foot of the
bed and cling to a post, so weak I couldn't
wipe the tears away, but laying up an
amount of enjoyment which will enrich my
old age.

133

Finally, Jimmie got sorry for him, and
went and tried to pick him up. But he was
laughing so, he dropped him.
“Oh, Jimmie,” I pleaded. “Don't drop
anybody who is seasick. Drop well people if
you must. But put him on the settee carefully.”
“I'll put him there,” said Jimmie, wiping
his eyes on his coat-sleeve. “But I don't
say I'll do it the first time I try. I'll get
him there by dinner-time—I hope.”
It was dangerous to ridicule anybody in
that gale, for the doctor in the companionway
was leaning in at my window and laughing
in his big English voice, when the Hela
lurched and pitched him half-way into my
state-room. There he balanced with his
hands on my trunk.
He was rather a tight fit, which interested
Jimmie more than young Bashforth, so he
left the boy and came around and pried the
doctor back into the companion-way.
The Hela was a fickle jade, for no sooner
would she shake us up in such an alarming
manner than she would seem to regret her
violence, and would skim like a bird for an
hour or so, with no perceptible motion. She
would not even flap her big white wings, but
she cut through the water with a whir and a
rush which exhilarated me as flying must
stir the heart of a sea-gull.

134

She behaved so well after five o'clock that
they decided to try to eat dinner from the
dinner-table—a thing they had not done
since we started. There were only four of
them able to appear—Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie,
the doctor, and the Commodore.
They put the racks up and took every precaution.
The only mistake they made was in
using the yacht's lovely china, which bore the
Strossi crest under the Hela's private flag.
Jimmie and his wife sat opposite each
other. I put three pillows under my head,
the better to watch them, when suddenly the
yacht tilted Mrs. Jimmie and her chair over
backward. Jimmie saw her going and
reached to save her. But he forgot to set
down his soup-plate. The result was that
she got Jimmie's soup in her face, and that
he slid clear across the table on his hands and
knees, taking china and table-cloth with him,
and they all landed on top of poor Mrs. Jimmie
(who, even as I write, is in her stateroom
having her hair washed).
Her chief wail, when she could speak, was
not that her head ached from the blow, or
that she was half strangled with tepid soup,
but that Jimmie had broken all the china.
She could not be comforted until the Commodore
proved that some of the china had
been broken previously, by showing her the
fragments wrecked on the first day out.

135

That last catastrophe has apparently
settled things. Everybody has turned in to
repair damages, and, perhaps, afterwards to
sleep.
The Commodore is studying the charts on
the dining-room table, and the captain, an
American, has just put his head in at the
door and said:
“She's sailing twelve knots an hour under
just the fores'l, sir, and she's running like a
scairt dog.”
Americans are so accustomed to outrageous
distances that a journey of fifty
hours is mere play. But I sincerely believe
that no other trait of ours causes the European
to regard our nation with such suspicion
as our utter unconcern of long journeys.
Nothing short of accession to a title
or to escape being caught by the police
would induce the Continental to travel over
a few hours. So when I decided to go to
Poland in order to be a member of a
gorgeous house-party, I might as well have
robbed a bank and given my friends something
to be suspicious of. They never believed
that I would do such a fatiguing and
unheard-of thing until I really left.
But Poland has always beckoned me like a
friend—a friend which combined all the

poetry, romance, fascination, nobility, and
honor of a first love. If the Pole is proud,
he has something to be proud of. His honor
has dignity. His country's sorrows touch
the heart. Polish literature has sentiment,
her music has fire, her men of genius stand
out like heroes, her women are adorable.
Balzac describes not only one but a not infrequent
type when he dedicates Modeste
Mignon
“To a Polish Lady” in the most exquisite
apostrophe which ever graced the
entrance-hall to one of the noblest novels of
this inimitable master.
“Daughter of an enslaved land, angel
through love, witch through fancy, child by
faith, aged by experience, man in brain,
woman in heart, giant by hope, mother
through sorrow, poet in thy dreams, to Thee
belongs this book, in which thy love, thy
fancy, thy experience, thy sorrow, thy hope,
thy dreams, are the warp through which is
shot a woof less brilliant than the poesy of
thy soul, whose expression when it shines
upon thy countenance is, to those who love
thee, what the characters of a lost language
are to scholars.”
Such a tribute as this would of itself be
sufficient to turn the heart expectantly towards
Poland, to say nothing of the interest
her history has for the brain. The history
of Poland is one long struggle for home and

country. The Pole is a patriot by inheritance.
His patriotism goes deeper than his
love.
His country comes first in his soul, and
for that reason the Poles have in me an enthusiastic
ally, an ardent admirer, and a sympathetic
friend.
In speaking of the story of Poland with a
cold-blooded reader of history I expressed
my appreciation of the noble proportions of
their struggles and my sympathy for their
present unfortunate plight, to which she replied:
“Yes, but it is so entirely their own
fault. They are so fiery, so precipitate, so
romantic. They got themselves into it!
Their poesy and romance and folly make
them charming as individuals, but ridiculous
as a nation. I like the Poles, but I have no
patience with Poland.” How exactly the
world's verdict on the artistic temperament!
There is a round hole, and, lo and behold!
all squares must be forced into it!
Suppose that everything resolved itself
into the commonplace; where would be your
imagination, your fancy, your rich experience
of the heart and soul? Poland furnishes
just this element in history. Her
struggles are so romantic, her follies so
charmingly natural to a high-strung nation,
her despair so profound, her frequent revolutions
so buoyant in hope, that she reminds

me of a brilliant woman striving to make
dull women understand her, and failing as
persistently and completely as the artistic
temperament always fails.
A frog spat at a glowworm. “Why do
you spit at me?” said the glowworm.
“Why do you shine so?” said the frog.
Poland's singers have voices so piercingly
sweet; her novelists have pens touched with
such divine fire; her actors portray so much
of the soul; her patriots have always shown
such reckless and inspiring bravery; and
now, in her desolation and subjection, there
is still so much pride, such noble dignity
under her losses, that of all the countries in
the world Poland holds both the heart and
mind by a fascination of which she herself
is unconscious, marking a noble simplicity
of soul which is in itself an added indication
of her queenly inheritance.
Julia Marlowe in her Countess Valeska
is a Pole to her finger-tips. Her
acting is superb. Cleopatra herself never
felt nor inspired a diviner passion than Valeska;
but when it came to a question of her
love or her country she rose above self with
an almost superhuman effort and saved her
country at the expense of her love.
No American who has not the same awful
passion of patriotism; no one who is not a
lover of his country above home or friends or

wife or children; who does not love his
America second only to his God; whose blood
does not prickle in his veins at the sound of
“The Star-Spangled Banner,” and whose
eyes do not fill with tears at the sight of
“Old Glory” floating anywhere, can understand
of what patriotism the Pole is capable.
Nor can one who has not the foolish, romantic,
nervous, high-strung, artistic temperament
understand from within Poland's
national history. For that reason one is apt
to find famous places in Europe which have
only an historical significance somewhat disappointing.
One fails to find in a battle
fought for the sake of conquest by an overweening
ambition such soul-stirring pathos
as in the leading of a forlorn hope from the
spirit of patriotism, or of a woman's pleadings
where a man's arguments have failed.
For that reason Austerlitz touches one not
so nearly as the struggle around Memel. As
we drew near Memel things began to look
lonely and foreign and queer, and its picturesque
features were enhanced by recollection
of Napoleon and Queen Louise.
Memel is near Tilsit, and the river Niemen,
or Memel, empties into the Baltic just
below here. The conference on the raft appeals
to me as one of the most thrilling and
yet pitiably human events in all history.
Its sickening anticlimax to poor Queen

Louise was so exactly in keeping with the
smaller disappointments which assail her
more humble sister women in every walk of
life that it takes on the air of a heart tragedy.
I tried to imagine the feelings of the Queen
when she journeyed to Memel to hold her
famous interview with Napoleon. How her
pride must have suffered at the thought of
lowering herself to plead for her husband
and her country at Napoleon's hands! How
she hated him before she saw him! How she
more than hated him after she left him!
How she must have scorned the beauty upon
which Napoleon commented so idly when a
nation's honor was at stake! A typical act
of the emperor of the French nation! Napoleon
proved by that one episode that he
was more French than Corsican.
In the Queen's illness at Memel she was so
poorly housed that long lines of snow sifted
in through the roof and fell across her bed.
But that was as nothing to her mental disquiet
while the fate of her beloved Prussia
hung in the balance.
There is a bridge across the Memel at the
exact spot where the famous raft conference
is said to have taken place. As we crossed
this bridge it seemed so far removed from
those stormy days of strife that it was difficult
to imagine the magnificent spectacle of
the immense armies of Napoleon and Alexander

drawn up on either bank, while these
two powerful monarchs were rowed out to
the raft to decide the fate of Frederick
William and his lovely queen.
And although to them Prussia was the
issue of the hour, how like the history of individual
lives was this conference! For Prussia's
fate was almost ignored, while the conversation
originally intended to consume but
a few moments lengthened into hours, and
Napoleon and Alexander, having sworn eternal
friendship, proceeded to divide up Europe
between them, and parted with mutual expressions
of esteem and admiration, having
quite forgotten a trifle like the King and
Queen of Prussia and their rage of anxiety.
But all these memories of Napoleon and
Prussia gave way before the vital fact that
we were to visit a lovely Polish princess and
see some of her charming home life. I had
been duly informed by my friends of the
various ceremonies which I would encounter,
and which, I must confess, rendered me
rather timid. I only hoped my wits would
not desert me at the crucial moment.
For instance, if the archbishop were there
I must give him my hand and then lean forward
and kiss his sleeve just below the shoulder.
I only hoped my chattering teeth would
not meet in his robe. So when I saw the
state carriage of the princess at the station

of Memel, drawn by four horses, and with
numbers of servants in such queer liveries to
attend to my luggage, I simply breathed a
prayer that I would get through it all successfully;
and if not, that they would lay any
lapses at the door of my own eccentricities,
and not to the ignorance of Americans in
general, for I never wish to disgrace my
native land.
The servants wore an odd flat cap, like a
tam-o'-shanter with a visor. Their coats
were of bright blue, with the coat-of-arms of
the princess on the brass buttons. This coat
reached nearly to their feet, and in the back
it was gathered full and stiffened with canvas,
for all the world like a woman's pannier.
I thought I should die the first time I got
a side view of those men.
It was late Friday afternoon when we left
the train, and we drove at a tremendous pace
through lonely forests which we were only
too happy to leave behind us. Suddenly we
came upon the little village of Kretynga,
whose streets were paved with cobblestones
the size of a man's two fists.
To drive slowly over cobblestones is not a
joy, but to drive four Russian horses at a
gallop over such cobblestones as those was
something to make you bite your tongue and
to break your teeth and to shake your very
soul from its socket.

143

The town is inhabited by Polish Jews, and
a filthy, greasy, nauseating set they are, both
men and women. The men wear two or
three long, oily, tight curls in front of their
ears. Their noses are hooked like a parrot's.
Their countenances are sinister, and I believe
they have not washed since the Flood.
The women, when they marry, shave their
heads. Then they either wear huge wigs,
which they use to wipe their hands on without
the ceremony of washing them first, or
else they wear a black or white or gray satin
hood-piece with a line to imitate the parting
of the hair embroidered on it.
Nothing is clean about them. I no longer
wonder that Jews are expelled from Russia.
It makes one rather respect Russia as a clean
country. As it was Friday night, one window-sill
in each house was filled with a row
of lighted candles representing each member
of the family who was either absent or
dead.
Being so far away from home myself, this
appealed to me as such a touching custom
that it made my eyes smart.
Presently a clearing in the forest revealed
the famous monastery of Kretynga—a monastery
famous for being peopled with priests
and monks whom the Tazar has exiled because
they took too much interest in politics for his
nerves. Then soon after passing this monastery

we entered the grounds of the castle.
Still the longest part of the drive lay before
us, for this one of the many estates of the
Princess lies between the Memel and the
Baltic Sea, and covers a large territory.
But finally, after driving through an
avenue of trees which are worth a dictionary
of words all to themselves, we came to the
castle, a huge structure, which seemed to
spread out before us interminably, for it was
too dark to see anything but its majestic outlines.
The princess in her own home was even
lovelier than she had been in Paris, and
charitably allowed us to have one night's rest
before meeting the family.
About three o'clock in the morning I
was awakened by a mournful chant, all in
minor, which began beneath my windows
and receded, growing fainter and fainter,
until at last it died away. It was the hymn
which the peasants always sing as they go
forth to their work in the fields; but its
mournful cadence haunted me. The next
morning the largeness of the situation
dawned upon me. The size of the rooms
and their majestic furnishings were almost
barbaric in their splendor. The tray upon
which my breakfast was served was of massive
silver. The coffee-pot, sugar-bowl, and
plates were of repousse silver, exquisitely

wrought, but so large that one could hardly
lift them.
In a great openwork basket of silver were
any number of sweetened breads and small
cakes and buns, all made by the baker in the
castle, who all day long does nothing but
bake bread and pastry. They do not serve
hot milk with coffee, for which I blessed
them from the bottom of my soul, but they
have little brown porcelain jugs which they
fill with cream so thick that you have to take
it out with a spoon—it won't pour—and
these they heat in ovens, and so serve you hot
cream for your coffee.
I call the gods from Olympus to testify to
the quality of the nectar this combination
produces. Some of those little porcelain
jugs are going on their travels soon.
Meeting the various members of the Princess's
charming family and remembering
their titles was not an ordeal at all—at least
it was not after it was over. They were
quite like other people, except that their
manners were unusually good. There was
to be a hunt that morning—an amusing,
luxurious sort of hunt quite in my line;
one where I could go in a carriage and see
the animals caught, but where I need not see
them killed.
They were to hunt a mischievous little
burrowing animal something like our badger,

which is as great a pest to Poland as the
rabbits are to Australia. They destroy the
crops by eating their roots, so every little
while a hunt is organized to destroy them in
large numbers. The foresters had been sent
out the night before to discover a favorite
haunt of theirs, and to fill up all the entrances
to their burrows; so all that we had
to do was to drive to the scene of action.
It sounds simple enough, but I most solemnly
assure you that it was anything but a
simple drive to one fresh from the asphalt
of Paris, for, like Jehu, they drove furiously.
Their horses are all wild, runaway
beasts, and they drive them at an uneven
gallop resembling the gait of our fire-engine
horses at home, except that ours go more
slowly. Sometimes the horses fall down
when they drive across country, as they stop
only for stone walls or moats. The carriages
must be built of iron, for the front wheels
drop a few feet into a burrow every now and
then, and at such times an unwary American
is liable to be pitched over the coachman's
head. “Hold on with both hands, shut
your eyes, and keep your tongue from between
your teeth,” would be my instructions
to one about to “take a drive” in Poland.
When we came to the place we found the
foresters watching the dachshunde. These I

discovered to be long, flat, shallow dogs with
stumpy legs—a dog which an American has
described as “looking as if he was always
coming out from under a bureau.” Very
cautiously here and there the foresters uncovered
a burrow, and a dachshund disappeared.
Then from below ground came the
sounds of fighting. The dachshunde had
found their prey. The foresters ran about,
stooping to locate the sound. When they
discovered the spot a dozen of them at once
began to dig as fast as they could.
Presently a writhing, rolling, barking
bunch of fur and flying sand came into view,
when a forester with a long forked stick
caught the animal just back of its head and
flung it into a coarse sack, which was then
tied up and thrown aside, and the hunt went
on. After we all went home the foresters
gathered up these bags and killed the poor
little animals somehow—mercifully, I hope.
The dinner, which came at two o'clock,
was so much of a function, on account of the
number of guests in the house, that it impressed
itself upon my memory.
First in the salon there were small tables
set, containing hors d'oeuvres. There were
large decanters containing vodke, a liquor
something like Chinese rice-brandy. There
were smoked goose, smoked bear, and salmon,
white and black bread, all sorts of

sausages, anchovies and caviar, of course.
After these had been tasted largely by the
guests who were not Americans, and who
knew that a formidable dinner yet had to be
discussed, we were all seated at a table in
the grand dining-room.
There were a hundred of us, and the table
held enough for twice that many. We began
with a hot soup made of fermented beet-juice.
This we found to be delicious, but
I seemed to be eating transparent red ink
with parsley in it. This was followed by a
cold soup made of sour cream and cucumbers,
with écrevisse, a small and delicious
lobster. There was ice in this.
Cucumbers and sour cream! Let me see,
wasn't it President Taylor who died of eating
cherries and milk?
Then came a salad of chicken and lettuce,
and then huge roasts garnished with exquisite
French skill.
After the sweets came the fruit, such
fruits as even our own California cannot
produce, with white raspberries of a size
and taste quite indescribable. When dinner
is over comes a very pretty custom. The
hostess, whose seat is nearest the door, rises,
and each guest kisses her hand or her arm
as he passes out, and thanks her in a phrase
for her hospitality. Sometimes it is only
“Thank you, princess”; sometimes “Many

thanks for your beautiful dinner,” or anything
you like. They speak Polish to each
other and to their servants, but they are such
wonderful linguists that they always address
a guest in his own language. To their
peasants, however, who speak an unlearnable
dialect, they are obliged always to have an
interpreter.
At six o'clock came tea from samovars
four feet high and of the most gorgeous
repoussé silver. Melons, fruit, and all sorts
of bread are served with this. Then at eight
a supper, very heavy, very sumptuous, very
luxurious.
The whole day had been charming, exhilarating,
different from anything we had
ever seen before; but there was to follow
something which impressed itself upon my
excitable nerves with a fascination so bewildering
that I can think of but one thing
which would give me the same amount of
heavenly satisfaction. This would be to
have Theodore Thomas conduct the Chicago
orchestra in the “Tannhäuser” overture in
the Court of Honor at the World's Fair some
night with a full moon.
But to return. The Princess excused herself
to her Protestant guests after supper,
and then her family, with the servants and
all the guests who wished, assembled in the
winter garden to sing hymns to the Virgin.

The winter garden is like a gigantic conservatory
four stories high. It connects the two
wings of the castle on the ground floor, and
all the windows and galleries of the floors
above overlook it.
It is the most beautiful spot even in the
daytime that I ever saw connected with any
house built for man. But at night to look
down upon its beauty, with its palms, its
tall ferns, its growing, climbing, waving
vines and flowering shrubs, with its divine
odors and fragrances and sweet dampnesses
from mosses and lovely, moist, green, growing
things, is to have one's soul filled with a
poetry undreamed of on the written page.
The candles dotting the soft gloom, the
spray from the fountains blowing in the air
and tinkling into their marble basins, the
tones of the grand organ rumbling and soaring
up to us, the moonlight pouring through
the great glass dome and filtering through
the waving green leaves, dimpling on the
marble statues and making trembling shades
and shadows upon the earnest faces of the
worshippers, the penetrating sadness of their
minor hymns—all the sights and sounds
and fragrances of this winter garden made
of that hour “one to be forever marked
with a white stone.”

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151

V
VILNA, RUSSIA

We met our first real discourtesy in Berlin
at the hands of a German, and although
he was only the manager of an hotel, we lay
it up against him and cannot forgive him
for it. It happened in this wise:
My companion, being the courier, bought
our tickets straight through to St. Petersburg,
with the privilege of stopping a week
in Vilna, where we were to be the guests of a
Polish nobleman. When she sent the porter
to check our trunks she told him in faultless
German to check them only to Vilna on those
tickets. But as her faultless German generally
brings us soap when she orders coffee,
and hot water when she calls for ice, I am
not so severe upon the stupidity of the porter
as she is. However, when he came back and
asked for fifty-five marks extra luggage to St.
Petersburg we gave a wail, and explained to
the manager, who spoke English, that we
were not going to St. Petersburg, and that
we were not particularly eager to pay out
fifty-five marks for the mere fun of spending

money. If the choice were left to us we
felt that we could invest it more to our satisfaction
in belts and card-cases.
He was very big and handsome, this German,
and doubtless some meek fräulein loves
him, but we do not, and, moreover, we pity
her, whoever and wherever she may be, for
we know by experience that if they two are
ever to be made one he will be that one. He
said he was sorry, but that, doubtless, when
we got to the Russian frontier we could explain
matters and get our trunks. But we
could not speak Russian, we told him, and
we wanted things properly arranged then
and there. He clicked his heels together and
bowed in a superb manner, and we were sure
our eloquence and our distress had fetched
him, so to speak, when to our amazement he
simply reiterated his statements.
“But surely you are not going to let two
American women leave your hotel all alone
at eleven o'clock at night with their luggage
checked to the wrong town?” I said, in wide-eyed
astonishment.
Again he clicked those heels of his. Again
that silk hat came off. Again that superb
bow. He was very sorry, but he could do
nothing. Doubtless we could arrange things
at the frontier. It was within ten minutes
of train time, and we were surrounded by
no fewer than thirty German men—guests,

porters, hall-boys—who listened curiously,
and offered no assistance.
I looked at my companion, and she looked
at me, and ground her teeth.
“Then you absolutely refuse us the courtesy
of walking across the street with us and
mending matters, do you?” I said.
Again those heels, that hat, that bow. I
could have killed him. I am sorry now that
I didn't. I missed a glorious opportunity.
So off we started alone at eleven o'clock
at night for Poland, with our trunks safely
checked through to St. Petersburg, and
fifty-five marks lighter in pocket.
My companion kept saying, “Well, I
never!” A pause. And again, “Well, I
never!” And again, “Did you ever in all
your life!” Yet there was no sameness in
my ears to her remarks, for it was all that I,
too, wanted to say. It covered the ground
completely.
I was speechless with surprise. It kept
recurring to my mind that my friends in
America who had lived in Germany had told
me that I need expect nothing at the hands of
German men on account of being a woman.
I couldn't seem to get it through my head.
But now that it had happened to me—now
that a man had deliberately refused to cross
the street—no farther, mind you!—to get us
out os such a mess! Why, in America, there

isn't a man from the President to a chimney-sweep,
from a major-general to the blackest
nigger in the cotton fields, who wouldn't do
ten times that much for any woman!
I shall never get over it.
With the courage of despair I accosted
every man and woman on the platform with
the words, “Do you speak English?” But
not one of them did. Nor French either.
So with heavy hearts we got on the train,
feed the porter four marks for getting us
into this dilemma (and incidentally carrying
our hand-luggage), and when he had the
impertinence to demand more I turned on
him and assured him that if he dared to
speak another word to us we would report
him to His Excellency the American Ambassador,
who was on intimate terms with
the Kaiser; and that I would use my influence
to have him put in prison for life. He
fled in dismay, although I know he did not
understand one word. My manner, however,
was not affable. Then I cast myself
into my berth in a despairing heap, and
broke two of the wings in my hat.
My companion was almost in tears.
“Never mind,” she said. “It was all my
fault. But we may get our trunks, anyway.
And if not, perhaps we can get along without
them.”
“Impossible!” I said. “How can we

spend a week as guests in a house without a
change of clothes?”
In order not to let her know how worried
I was, I told her that if we couldn't get our
trunks off the train at Vilna we would give
up our visit and telegraph our excuses and
regrets to our expectant hostess, or else come
back from St. Petersburg after we had got
our precious trunks once more within our
clutches.
All the next day we tried to find some one
who spoke English or French, but to no
avail. We spent, therefore, a dreary day.
By letting my companion manage the customs
officers in patomime we got through
the frontier without having to unlock anything,
although it is considered the most
difficult one in Europe.
The trains in Russia fairly crawl. Instead
of coal they use wood in their engines,
which sends back thousands of sparks like
the tail of a comet. It grew dark about two
o'clock in the afternoon, and we found ourselves
promenading through the bleakest
of winter landscapes. Tiny cottages, emitting
a bright red glow from infinitesimal
windows, crouched in the snow, and silent
fir-trees silhouetted themselves against the
moonlit sky. It only needed the howl of
wolves to make it the loneliest picture the
mind could conceive.

156

When we were within an hour of Vilna I
heard in the distance my companion's familiar
words, “Pardon me, sir, but do you
speak English?” And a deep voice, which I
knew without seeing him came from a big
man, replied in French, “For the first time
in my life I regret that I do not.”
At the sound of French I hurried to the
door of our compartment, and there stood a
tall Russian officer in his gray uniform and
a huge fur-lined pelisse which came to his
feet.
When my companion wishes to be amusing
she says that as soon as I found that the man
spoke French I whirled her around by the
arm and sent her spinning into the corner
among the valises. But I don't remember
even touching her. I only remembered that
here was some one to whom I could talk,
and in two minutes this handsome Russian
had untangled my incoherent explanations,
had taken our luggage receipt, and had assured
us that he himself would not pause
until he had seen our trunks taken from the
train at Vilna. If I should live a thousand
years I never shall forget nor cease to be
grateful to that superb Russian. He was so
very much like an American gentleman.
We were met at the station by our Polish
friends, our precious trunks were put into
sledges, we were stowed into the most comfortable

of equipages, and in an hour we
were installed in one of the most delightful
homes it was every my good fortune to enter.
I never realized before what people can
suffer at the hands of a conquering government,
and were it not that the young Tzar
of Russia has done away, either by public
ukase or private advice, with the worst of
the wrongs his father permitted to be put
upon the Poles, I could not bear to listen to
their recitals.
Politics, as a rule, make little impression
upon me. Guide-books are a bore, and histories
are unattractive, they are so dry and
accurate. My father's grief at my lack of
essential knowledge is perennial and deep-seated.
But, somehow, facts are the most
elusive things I have to contend with. I can
only seem to get a firm grasp on the imaginary.
Of course, I know the historical facts
in this case, but it does not sound personally
pathetic to read that Russia, Prussia, and
Austria divided Poland between them.
But to be here in Russia, in what was once
Poland, visiting the families of the Polish
nobility; to see their beautiful home-life,
their marvellous family affection, the respect
they pay to their women; to feel all the
charm of their broad culture and noble sympathy
for all that makes for the general
good, and them to hear the story of their oppression,

is to feel a personal ache in the
heart for their national burdens.
It does not sound as if a grievous hardship
were being put upon a conquered people to
read in histories or guide-books that Prussia
is colonizing her part of Poland with Germans—selling
them land for almost nothing
in order to infuse German blood, German
language, German customs into a conquered
land. It does not touch one's sympathies
very much to know that Austria is the only
one of the three to give Poland the most of
her rights, and in a measure to restore her
self-respect by allowing her representation
in the Reichstag and by permitting Poles to
hold office.
But when you come to Russian Poland
and know that in the province of Lithuania
—which was a separate and distinct province
until a prince of Lithuania fell in love with
and married a queen of Poland, and the two
countries were joined—Poles are not allowed
to buy one foot of land in the country
where they were born and bred, are not permitted
to hold office even when elected, are
prohibited from speaking their own language
in public, are forbidden to sing their Polish
hymns, or to take children in from the streets
and teach them in anything but Russian,
and that every one is taught the Greek religion,
then this colonization becomes a burning

question. Then you know how to appreciate
America, where we have full, free, and
unqualified liberty.
The young Tzar has greatly endeared himself
to his Polish subjects by several humane
and generous acts. One was to remove the
tax on all estates (over and above the ordinary
taxes), which Poles were obliged to
pay annually to the Russian government.
Another was to release school-children from
the necessity of attending the Greek church
on all Russian feast-days. These two were
by public ukase, and as the Poles are passionately
grateful for any act of kindness, one
hears nothing but good words for the Tzar,
and there is the utmost feeling of loyalty to
him among them. I hear it constantly said
that if he continue in this generous policy
Russia need never apprehend another Polish
revolution. And while by a revolution they
could never hope to accomplish anything,
there being now but fourteen million Poles
to contend against these three powerful nations,
still, as long as they have one about
every thirty-five years, perhaps it is a wise
precaution on the part of the young Tzar to
begin with his kindness promptly, as it is
about time for another one!
Another recent thing which the Poles attribute
to the Tzar was the removal from the
street corners, the shops, the railroad stations,

and the clubs, of the placards forbidding the
Polish language to be spoken in public.
Thus the Poles hope much from the young
Tzar in the future, and believe that he would
do more were he not held back by Russian
public opinion. For example, the other day
two Russians were overheard in the train to
say: “For thirty years we have tried to force
our religion on the Poles, our language on the
Poles, and our customs on the Poles, but now
here comes ‘The Little Colonel' (the young
Tzar), and in a moment he sweeps away all
the progress we had made.”
To call him “The Little Colonel” is a
term of great endearment, and the name arose
from the fact that by some strange oversight
he was never made a General by his father,
but remained at the death of the late Tzar
only a Colonel. When urged by his councillors
to make himself General, as became a
Tzar of all the Russias, he said: “No. The
power which should have made me a General
is no more. Now that I am at the head of
the government I surely could not be so conceited
as to promote myself.”
The misery among the poor in Poland is
almost beyond belief, yet all charities for
them must be conducted secretly, for the government
stills forbids the establishment of
kindergartens or free schools where Polish
children would be taught in the Polish language.

I have been questioned very closely
about our charities in America, especially in
Chicago, and I have given them all the working
plans of the college settlements, the kindergartens,
and the sewing-schools. The
Poles are a wonderfully sympathetic and
warm-hearted people, and are anxious to
ameliorate the bitter poverty which exists
here to an enormous extent. They sigh in
vain for the freedom with which we may proceed,
and regard Americans as seated in the
very lap of a luxurious government because
we are at liberty to give our money to any
cause without being interfered with.
One of the noblest young women I have
ever met is a Polish countess, wealthy, beautiful,
and fascinating, who has turned her
back upon society and upon the brilliant marriage
her family had hoped for her, and has
taken a friend who was at the head of a London
training-schools for nurses to live with her
upon her estates, and these two have consecrated
their lives to the service of the poor.
They will educated Polish nurses to use in
private charity. With no garb, no creed, no
blare of trumpet, they have made themselves
into “Little Sisters of the Poor.”
I could not fail to notice the difference in
the young girls as soon as I crossed the Russian
frontier and came into the land of the
Slav. Here at once I found individuality.

162

Polish girls are more like American girls.
If you ask a young English girl what she
thinks of Victor Hugo she tells you that her
mamma does not allow her to read French
novels. If you ask a French girl how she
likes to live in Paris she tells you that she
never went down town alone in her life.
But the Polish girls are different. They
are individual. They all have a personality.
When you have met one you never
feel as if you had met all. In this respect
they resemble American girls, but only in
this respect, for whereas there is a type of
Polish young girl—and a charming type she
is—I never in my life saw what I considered
a really typical American girl. You cannot
typify the psychic charm of the young American
girl. It is altogether beyond you.
These Polish girls who have titles are as
simple and unaffected as possible. I had no
difficulty in calling their mothers Countess
and Princess, etc., but I tripped once or twice
with the young girls, whereat they begged
me in the sweetest way to call them by their
first names without any prefix. They were
charming. They taught us the Polish mazurka—a
dance which has more go to it than
any dance I ever saw . It requires the Auditorium
ball-room to dance it in, and enough
breath to play the trombone in an orchestra.
The officers dance with their spurs on, which

Jingle and click in an exciting manner, and to
my surprise never seem to catch in the women's
gowns.
The home life of the Poles is very beautiful;
and, in particular, the deference paid
to the father and mother strikes my American
sensibilities forcibly. I never tire of
watching the entrance into the salon of the
married sons of the Countess when each
comes to pay his daily visit to his mother.
They are all four tall, impressive, and almost
majestic, with a curious hawk-like quality
in their glance, which may be an inheritance
from their warrior forefathers. Count
Antoine comes in just before going home to
dine, while we are all assembled and dressed
for dinner. He flings the door open, and
makes his military bow to the room, then
making straight for his mother's chair, he
kneels at her feet, kisses her hand and then
her brow, and sometimes again her hand.
Then he passes the others, and kisses his sister
on the cheek, and after thus saluting all
the members of his family, he turns to us,
the guests, and speaks to us.
The Poles are the most individual and interesting
people I have yet encountered.
The men in particular are fascinating, and a
man who is truly fascinating in the highest
sense of the word; one whose character is
worth study, and whose friendship would repay

cultivating as sincerely as many of the
Poles I know, is a boon to thank God for.
Before I came to Poland it always surprised
me to realize that so many men and
women of world-wide genius came from so
small a nation. But now that I have had
the opportunity of knowing them intimately
and of studying their characteristics, both
nationally and individually, I see why.
Poland is the home of genius by right.
Her people, even if they never write or
sing or act or play, have all the elements in
their character which go to make up that
complex commodity known as genius,
whether it ever becomes articulate or not.
You feel that they could all do things if
they tried. They are a sympathetic, interesting,
interested, and, above all, a magnetic
people. This forms the top soil for a nation
which has put forth so much of wonder
and sweetness to enrich the world, but the
reason which lies deep down at the root of
the matter for the soul which thrills through
all this melody of song and story is in the
sorrowful and tragic history of this nation.
The Poles are a race of burning patriots.
To-day they are as keen over national sufferings
and national wrongs as on that unfortunate
day when they went into a fiercely
unwilling and resentful captivity. Their
pride, their courage, their bitterness of

spirit, their longing for revenge now no
longer find an outlet on the battlefield. Yet
it smoulders continually in their innermost
being. You must crush the heart, you must
subdue a people, you must be no stranger to
anguish and loss if you would discover the
singer and the song. And so Poland's fierce
and unrelenting patriotism has placed the
divine spark of a genius which thrills a
world in souls whose sweetest song is a cry
wrung from a patriot's heart.

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166

VI
ST. PETERSBURG

It behooves one to be good in Russia, for
no matter how excellent your reputation at
home, no matter how long you have been a
member in good and regular standing of the
most orthodox church, no matter how innocent
your heart may be of anarchy, nihilism,
or murder, you travel, you rest, you eat,
sleep, wake, or dream, tracked by the Russian
police.
They snatch your passport the moment
you arrive at a hotel, and register you, and
if you change your hotel every day, every
day your passport is taken, and you are requested
to fill out a blank with your name,
age, religion, nationality, and the name and
hotel of the town where you were last.
When we entered our Russian hotel—
when we had entirely entered, I mean, for
we passed through six or eight swinging
doors with moujiks to open and shut each
one, and bow and scrape at our feet—we
found ourselves in a stiflingly hot corridor,

where the odor was a combination of smoke
and people whose furs needed airing.
It would be an excellent idea if Americans
who live in cold climates dressed as sensibly
as Russians do. They keep their houses
about as warm as we keep ours, but they wear
thin clothing indoors and put on their enormous
furs for the street. On entering any
house, church, shop, or theatre, the chuba
and overshoes are removed, and although
they spend half their lives putting them on
and taking them off, yet the other half is
comfortable.
The women seem to have no pride about
the appearance of their feet, for now the
doctors are ordering them to wear the common
gray felt boot of the peasants, with the
top of it reaching to the knee. It is without
doubt the most hideous and unshapely object
the mind can conceive, being all made of
one piece and without any regard to the
shape of the foot.
St. Petersburg can hardly be called a typical
Russian city. It is too near other
countries, but to us, before we had seen Moscow
and Kiev, it was Russia itself. We arrived
one bitterly cold day, and went first to
the hotel to which we had been recommended
by our friends.
I shall never forget the wave of longing
for home and country which settled down

upon me as we saw our rooms in this hotel.
It must have been built in Peter the Great's
time. No electric lights; not even lamps.
Candles! Now, if there is one thing more
than another which makes me frantic with
homesickness, it is the use of candles. I
would rather be in London on Sunday than
to dress by the light of candles.
Even an excellent luncheon did not raise
my spirits. Our rooms were as dark and
gloomy and silent as a mausoleum. Indeed,
many a mausoleum I have seen has been
much more cheerful. It was at the time of
years also when we had but three hours of
daylight — from eleven until two. Our
salon was furnished in a dreary drab, with
a gigantic green stove in the corner which
reached to the ceiling. Then we entered
what looked like a long, narrow corridor,
down which we blindly felt our way, and at
the extreme end of which were hung dark
red plush curtains, as if before a shrine. We
pulled aside these trappings of gloom, and
there were two iron cots, not over a foot and
a half wide, about the shape and feeling of
an ironing-board, covered with what appeared
to be gray army blankets. I looked
to see “U.S.” stamped on them. I have
seen them in museums at home.
I gazed at my companion in perfect dismay.

169

“I shall not present a single letter of introduction,”
I wailed. “I'm going to Moscow
to-morrow.”
Instead of going to Moscow in the morning,
we went out and decided to present just
the one letter to our ambassador. He was at
the Hôtel d'Europe, and we went there.
Behold! electric lights everywhere. Heaps
of Americans. And the entire Legation
there. My companion and I simply looked
at each other, and our whole future grew
brighter. We would not go to Moscow,
but we would move at once. We would introduce
electricity into our sombre lives,
and look forward with hope into the great
unknown. We rushed around and presented
all the rest of our letters, and went back to
spend a wretched evening with eight candles
and a smoky lamp.
The next day we called for our bill and
prepared to move. To my disgust, I found
an item of two rubles for the use of that
lamp. I had serious thoughts of opening up
communication with the Standard Oil Company
by cable. But we were so delighted
with our new accommodations in prospect
that we left the hotel in a state of exhilaration
that nothing could dampen.
To our great disappointment we found a
number of Americans leaving St. Petersburg
for Moscow because the Hermitage was

closed. Now, the Hermitage and the ceremony
of the Blessing of the Waters of the
Neva were what I most wished to see, but
we were informed at the Legation that we
could have neither wish gratified. However,
my spirit was undaunted. It was only
the American officials who had pronounced
it impossible. My lucky star had gone with
me so far, and had opened so many unaccustomed
doors, that I did not despair. I said
I would see what our letters of introduction
brought forth.
We did not have to wait long. No sooner
had we presented our letters than people
came to see us, and placed themselves at our
disposal for days and even weeks at a time.
Their kindness and hospitality were too
charming for mere words to express.
Although the Winter Palace was closed to
visitors, preparatory to the arrival on the
next day of the Tzar and Tzarina, it was
opened for us through the influence of the
daughter of the Commodore of the late
Tzar's private yacht, Mademoiselle de Falk,
who took us through it. It was simply superb,
and was, of course, in perfect readiness
for the arrival of the imperial family,
with all the gorgeous crimson velvet carpets
spread, and the plants and flowers arranged
in the Winter Garden.
Then, through this same influential friend,

the Hermitage—the second finest and the
very richest museum in all Europe—was
opened for us, and—well, I kept my head
going through the show palaces in London,
and Paris, and Berlin, and Dresden, and
Potsdam, but I lost it completely in the
Hermitage. Then and there I absolutely
went crazy. A whole guide-book devoted
simply to the Hermitage could give no sort
of idea of the barbaric splendor of its belongings.
Its riches are beyond belief. Even
the presents given by the Emir of Bokhara
to the Tzar are splendid enough to dazzle one
like a realization of the Arabian Nights.
But to see the most valuable of all, which
are kept in the Emperor's private vaults, is
to be reduced to a state of bewilderment bordering
on idiocy.
It is astonishing enough, to one who has
bought even one Russian belt set with turquoise
enamel, to think of all the trappings
of a horse—bit, bridle, saddle-girth, saddle-cloth,
and all, made of cloth of gold and set
in solid turquoise enamel; with the sword
hilt, scabbard, belts, pistol handle and
holster made of the same. Well, these are
there by the dozen. Then you come to the
private jewels, and you see all these same
accoutrements made of precious stones—one
of solid diamonds; another of diamonds,
emeralds, topazes, and rubies. And the size

of these stones! Why, you never would
believe me if I should tell you how large they
are. Many of them are uncut and badly set,
from an English stand-point. But in quantity
and size—well, I was glad to get back
to my three-ruble-a-day room and to look at
my one trunk, and to realize that my own
humble life would go on just the same, and
my letter of credit would not last any longer
for all the splendors which exist for the
Tzar of all the Russias.
The churches in St. Petersburg are so
magnificent that they, too, go to your head.
We did nothing but go to mass on Christmas
Eve and Christmas Day, for although we
spent our Christmas in Berlin, we arrived
in St. Petersburg in time for the Russian
Christmas, which comes twelve days later
than ours. St. Isaac's, the Kazan, and Sts.
Peter and Paul dazed me. The icons or
images of the Virgin are set with diamonds
and emeralds worth a king's ransom. They
are only under glass, which is kept murky
from the kisses which the people press upon
the hands and feet.
The interiors of the cathedrals, with their
hundreds of silver couronnes, and battleflags,
and trophies of conquests, look like
great bazaars. Every column is covered
clear to the dome. The tombs of the Tzars
are always surrounded by people, and

candles burn the year round. Upon the tomb
of Alexander II., under glass, is the exquisite
laurel wreath placed there by President
Faure. It is of gold, and was made by
Falize, one of the most famous carvers of
gold in Europe.
The famous mass held on Christmas Eve
in the cathedral of St. Isaac was one of
the most beautiful services I ever attended.
In the first place, St. Isaac's is the richest
church in all Russia. It has, too, the most
wonderful choir, for the Tzar loves music,
and wherever in all his Empire a beautiful
voice is found, the boy is brought to St.
Petersburg and educated by the State to
enter the Emperor's choir. When we entered
the church the service had been in progress
for five hours. That immense church was
packed to suffocation. In the Greek church
every one stands, no matter how long the
service. In fact, you cannot sit down unless
you sit on the floor, for there are no seats.
By degrees we worked our way towards the
space reserved for the Diplomatic Corps,
where we were invited to enter. Our wraps
were taken and chairs were given to us. We
found ourselves on the platform with the
priest, just back of the choir. What heavenly
voices! What wonderful voices! The
bass holds on to the last note, and the
rumble and echo of it rolls through those

vaulted domes like the tones of an organ.
The long-haired priest, too, had a wonderful
resonant voice for intoning. He passed directly
by us in his gorgeous cloth of gold
vestments, as he went out.
The instant he had finished, the little
choir boys began to pinch each other and
thrust their tapers in each other's faces, and
behaved quite like ordinary boys. The great
crowd scattered and huge ladders were
brought in to put out the hundreds of candles
in the enormous chandeliers. Religion was
over, and the world began again.
The other art which is maintained at the
government expense is the ballet. We went
several times, and it was very gorgeous.
It is all pantomime—not a word is spoken—
but so well done that one does not tire of it.
Every one sympathized so with us because
we could not see the ceremony of the
Blessing of the Waters of the Neva, and our
ambassador apologized for not being able to
arrange it, and we said, “Not at all,” and
“Pray, do not mention it,” at the same time
secretly hoping that our Russian friends,
who were putting forth strenuous efforts on
our behalf, would be able to manage it.
On the morning of the 18th of January
a note came from a Russian officer who
was on duty at the Winter Palace, saying
that Baron Elsner, the Secretary of the

Prefect of Police, would call for us with
his carriage at ten o'clock, and we would be
conducted to the private space reserved just
in front of the Winter Palace, where the
best view of everything could be obtained.
My companion and I fell into each other's
arms in wild delight, for it had been most
difficult to manage, and we had not been
sure until that very moment.
Now, the person of the Tzar is so sacred
that it is forbidden by law even to represent
him on the stage, and as to photographing
him—a Russian faints at the mere thought.
Nevertheless, we wished very much to photograph
this pageant, so we determined, if
possible, to take our camera. Everything
else that we wanted had been done for us
ever since we started, and our faith was
strong that we would get this. At first the
stout heart of Baron Elsner quailed at our
suggestion. Then he said to take the
camera with us, which we did with joy. His
card parted the crowd right and left, and our
carriage drove through long lines of soldiers,
and between throngs of people held in check
by mounted police, and by rows of infantry,
who locked arms and made of themselves a
living wall, against which the crowd surged.
To our delight we found our places were
not twenty feet from the entrance to the
Winter Palace. We noticed Baron Elsner

speaking to several officials, and we heard the
word “Americanski,” which had so often
opened hearts and doors to us, for Russia
honestly likes America, and presently the
Baron said, in a low tone, “When the Emperor
passes out you may step down here;
these soldiers will surround you, and you
may photograph him.”
I could scarcely believe my ears. I was
so excited that I nearly dropped the camera.
The procession moves only about one hundred
feet—a crimson carpet being laid from
the entrance of the Winter Palace, across
the street, and up into a pavilion which is
built out over the Neva.
First came the metropolitans and the
priests; then the Emperor's celebrated choir
of about fifty voices; then a detachment of
picked officers bearing the most important
battle-flags from the time of Peter the Great,
which showed the marks of sharp conflict;
then the Emperor's suite, and then—the
Emperor himself. They all marched with
bared heads, even the soldiers.
My companion had the opera-glasses, I
had the camera. “Tell me when,” I gasped.
They passed before me in a sort of haze. I
heard the band in the Winter Palace and the
singing of the choir. I heard the splash of
the cross which the Archbishop plunged into
the opening that had been cut in the ice. I

heard the priests intone, and the booming of
the guns firing the imperial salute. I saw
that the wind was blowing the candles out.
Then came a breathless pause, and then she
said, “Now!” A little click. It was done;
I had photographed Nicholas II., the Tzar
of all the Russias!

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178

VII
RUSSIA

Yesterday we had our first Russian experience
in the shape of a troika ride. Russians,
as a rule, do not troika except at
night. In fact, from my experience, they
reverse the established order of things and
turn night into day.
A troika is a superb affair. It makes the
tiny sledges which take the place of cabs, and
are used for all ordinary purposes, look even
more like toys than usual. But the sledges
are great fun, and so cheap that it is an extravagance
to walk. A course costs only
twenty kopecks—ten cents. The sledges are
set so low that you can reach out and touch
the snow with your hand, and they are so
small that the horse is in your lap and the
coachman in your pocket. He simply turns
in his seat to hook the fur robe to the back
of your seat—only it has no back. If you
fall, you fall clear to the ground.
The horse is far, far above you in your
humble position, and there is so little room

that two people can with difficulty stow themselves
in the narrow seat. If a brother and
sister or a husband and wife drive together,
the man, in sheer self-defence, is obliged to
put his arm around the woman, no matter
how distasteful it may be. Not that she
would ever be conscious of whether he did
it or not, for the amount of clothes one is
obliged to wear in Russia destroys any sense
of touch.
The idvosjik, or coachman, is so bulky
from this same reason that you cannot see
over him. You are obliged to crane your
neck to one side. His head is covered with
a Tartar cap. He wears his hair down to
his collar, and then chopped off in a straight
line. His pelisse is of a bluish gray, fits
tightly to the waist, and comes to the feet.
But the skirt of it is gathered on back and
front, giving him an irresistibly comical pannier
effect, like a Dolly Varden polonaise.
The Russian idvosjik guides his horse curiously.
He coaxes it forward by calling it
all sorts of pet names—“doushka,” darling,
etc. Then he beats it with a toy whip, which
must feel like a fly on its woolly coat, for all
the little fat pony does is to kick up its heels
and fly along like the wind, missing the other
sledges by a hair's-breadth. It is ghostly to
see the way they glide along without a sound,
for the sledges wear no bells.

180

One may drive with perfect safety at a
breakneck pace, for they all drive down on
one side of the street and up on the other.
Nor will an idvosjik hesitate to use his whip
about the head and face of another idvosjik
who dares to turn without crossing the
street.
He stops his horse with a guttural trill, as
if one should say “Tr-r-r-r-r” in the back of
the throat. It sounds like a gargle.
The horses are sharp-shod, but in a way
quite different from ours. The spikes on
their shoes are an inch long, and dig into
the ice with perfect security, but it makes the
horses look as if they wore French heels.
Even over ice like sheer glass they go at a
gallop and never slip. It is wonderful, and
the exhilaration of it is like driving through
an air charged with champagne, like the
wine-caves of Rintz.
Our troika was like a chariot in comparison
with these sledges. It was gorgeously
upholstered in red velvet, and held six—three
on each seat. The robes also were red velvet,
bordered and lined with black bear fur.
There were three horses driven abreast. The
middle horse was much larger than the other
two, and wore a high white wooden collar,
which stood up from the rest of the harness,
and was hung with bells and painted with
red flowers and birds.

181

To my delight the horses were wild, and
stood on their hind legs and bit each other,
and backed us off the road, and otherwise acted
like Tartar horses in books. It seemed
almost too good to be true. It was like driving
through the Black Forest and seeing the
gnomes and the fairies one has read about.
I told my friends very humbly that I had
never done anything in my life to deserve
the good fortune of having those beautiful
horses act in such a satisfactory and historical
manner. We had to get out twice and let the
idvosjik calm them down. But even when
ploughing my way out of snow up to my
knees I breathed an ecstatic sigh of gratitude
and joy. I could not understand the men's
annoyance. It was too ideal to complain
about.
We drove out to the Island for luncheon,
and on the way we stopped and coasted in
a curious Russian sledge from the top of a
high place, something like our toboggan-slides,
only this sledge was guided from behind
by a peasant on skates.
A Russian meal always begins with a side-table
of hors d'oeuvres, called “zakouska.”
That may not be spelled right, but no Russian
would correct me, because the language is
phonetic, and they spell the same word in
many different ways. Their alphabet has
thirty-eight letters in it, besides the little

marks to tell you whether to make a letter
hard or soft.
Even proper names take on curious oddities
of spelling, and a husband and wife or
two brothers will spell their name differently
when using the Latin letters. If you complain
about it, and ask which is correct, they
make that famous Russian reply which Bismarck
once had engraved in his ring, and
which he believed brought him such good
luck, “Neechy voe,” “It is nothing,” or
“Never mind.” You can spell with your
eyes shut in Russian, and you simply cannot
make a mistake, for the Russians spell with
all the abandonment of French dancing.
This zakouska is so delicious and so varied
and so tempting that one not accustomed to
it eats too much without realizing. At a dinner
an American looked at my loaded plate
and said, with delicious impertinence, “Confidentially,
I don't mind telling you that dinner
is coming.
As we came back, the full delight of troika-riding
came over us, for driving in the country
we could not tell how fast we were going.
But in town, whizzing past other carriages,
hearing the shouts of the idvosjik, “Troika!”
and seeing the people scatter and the sledges
turn out (for a troika has the right of way),
we realized at what a pace we were going.
We dashed across the frozen Neva, with its

tramway built right on the ice; past the Winter
Palace, along the quai, where all the embassies
are, into the Grand Morskaia, and
from there into the Nevski, with the snow
flying and our bells ringing, and the middle
horse trotting and the outer horses galloping,
sending clouds of steam from their heaving
flanks and palpitating nostrils, and the biting
air making our blood tingle, and the reiterated
shout of the idvosjik, “Troika! troika!”
taking our breath away.
We had one more excitement before we
reached home, which was seeing a Russian
fire-engine. We passed it in a run. The engine
was on one sledge, and following it
were five other sledges carrying hogsheads of
water.
I am glad we came to Russia in winter,
for by so doing we have met the Russian
people, the most fascinating that any country
can boast, with the charm of the French,
the courage of the English, the sentiment
of the Germans, the sincerity and hospitality
of the Americans. Their courtesy to each
other is a never-ending pleasure to me.
Poles and Russians treat their women more
nearly the way our American men treat us
than any nation we have encountered so far.
They are the most marvellous linguists in
the world. We have met no one in Russia
who speaks fewer than three languages, and

we have met several who speak twelve. They
are not arrogant even concerning their military
strength. They are quite modest about
their learning and their not inconsiderable
literary and artistic achievements, and they
hold themselves, both nationally and individually,
in the plastic state where they are
willing to learn from any nation or any
master who can teach what they wish to
known. There is a marvellous future for
Russia, for their riches and resources are as
vast and inestimable as their possessions.
They themselves do not realize how mighty
they are.
Here is France grovelling at their feet,
spending millions of francs to entertain the
Tzar—France, a nation which must see a
prospect of double her money returned before
she parts with a sou; with the cathedrals
filled with couronnes sent by the French
press; with no compliment to Russia too
fulsome for French gallantry to invent finding
space in the foremost French newspapers;
hoping, praying, beseeching the help
of Russia, when Germany makes up her
mind to gobble France, yet dealing Russian
achievement a backhanded slap by hinting
what a compliment it is for a cultivated,
accomplished, over-cultured race like the
French to beg the assistance of a barbarous
country like Russia.

185

I believe that Russia is the only country
in the world which feels nationally friendly
and individually interested in America. I
used to think France was, and I held Lafayette
firmly and proudly in my memory
to prove it. But I was promptly undeceived
as to their individual interest, and when I
still clung to Lafayette as a proof of the
former I was laughed to scorn and told that
France as a nation had nothing to do with
that; that Lafayette went to America as a
soldier of fortune. He would just as soon
have gone to Madagascar or Timbuctoo, but
America was accommodating enough to have
a war on just in time to serve his ambition.
If that is true, I wish they had not told me.
I would like to come home with a few ideals
left—if they will permit me.
When I was in Berlin I asked our ambassador,
Mr. White, what Germany thought
of America. He replied, “Just what Thackeray
thought of Tupper. When some one
asked. Thackeray what he thought of Tupper,
he replied, ‘I don't think of him at all.'”
But in Russia I have a sore throat all the
time from answering questions about America.
I think I am not exaggerating when I
say I have answered a million in a single
evening. My companion at first was disgusted
with my wearing myself out in such
a manner, but I said, “I am so grateful to

them for caring, after the indifference of all
these other self-sufficient countries, that I
am willing to sacrifice myself at it if necessary.”
We never realized how little we knew
about America until we discovered the Russian
capacity for asking unexpected questions.
I bought an American history in
Russia, and sat up nights trying to remember
what my father had tried to instil into
my sieve-like brain. After a week of witnessing
my feverish enthusiasm, even my
companion's dormant national pride was
roused. She, too, was ashamed to say, “I
don't know,” when they asked us these terrible
questions. When we get into the
clutches of a party of women we trust to
luck that they cannot remember our statistics
long enough to tell their husbands and
brothers (I have a horror of men's accuracy
in figures), and we calmly guess at the answers
when our exact knowledge gives out.
One night they attacked my companion on
the school question. Now, she does not know
one solitary thing about the public-school
system, but, to my utter amazement, I heard
her giving the number of children between
the ages of eight and ten who were in the
public schools in the State of I Illinois, and
then running them off by counties. I was
afraid she would soon begin to call the roll

of their names from memory, so I rescued
her and took her home. I suppose we must
have an air of intelligence which successfully
masks our colossal ignorance of occult
facts and defunct dates, because they rely on
us to inform them off-hand concerning everything
social, political, historical, sacred and
profane, spirituous and spiritual, from the
protoplasm of the cliff-dwellers to the details
of the Dingley bill, not skipping accurate
information on the process of whiskey-making
in Kentucky, a crocodile-hunt in
Florida, suffrage in Wyoming, a lynching-bee
in Texas, polygamy in Utah, prune-drying
in California, divorces in Dakota, gold-mining
in Colorado, cotton-spinning in
Georgia, tobacco-raising in Alabama, marble-quarrying
in Tennessee, the number of
Quakers in Philadelphia, one's sensations
while being scalped by Sioux, how marriages
are arranged, what a man says when he proposes,
the details of a camp-meeting, a description
of a negro baptism, and the main
arguments on the silver question.
They get some curious ideas in their heads
concerning us, but they are so amazingly
well informed about America that their
specific misinformation never irritated me.
The small use they have for their English
sometimes accounts for the queer things they say.

188

The official costume for men who have no
particular uniform is regulation evening
dress, which they are obliged to wear all
day. They become so tired of it that this is
the reason, they tell me, why so many men,
even in smart society, go to the opera or even
dinners in frock-coats. One one occasion a
most intelligent man said to me, “I am told
that in America the ladies always wear décolleté
costumes at dinners, and the men are
always in night-dress.”
For one hysterical moment my mind's eye
pictured a dinner-table on Prairie Avenue
with alternately a low-necked gown and a
pair of pajamas, and I choked. Then I
happened to think that he meant “evening
dress,” and I recovered sufficiently to explain.
The Tzarina has made English the Court
language, and since her coronation no state
balls take place on Sunday.
Russian hospitality is delightful. We
could remain a year in Russia and not exhaust
our invitations to visit at their country-houses.
Russia must be beautiful in
summer, but if you wish to go into society,
to know the best of the people, to see their
sweet home life, and to understand how they
live and enjoy themselves, you must go in the
winter. I cannot think what any one would
find of national life in summer in Russia,

for everybody has a country-house and everybody
goes to it and leaves the city to tourists.
Russia, in spite of her vast riches, has not
arrived at supercivilization, where there is
corruption in the very atmosphere. She is
an undeveloped and a young country, and
while the Tzar is wise and kind and beneficent,
and an excellent Tzar as Tzars go, still
Russians, even the best and most enlightened
of them, are slaves. I have met a number of
the gentlest and cleverest men who had been
exiled to Siberia, and pardoned. Their picture-galleries
bear witness to this underlying
sadness of knowing that in spite of everything
they are not free. All their actions are
watched, their every word listened to, spies
are everywhere, the police are omnipresent,
and over all their gayety and vivacity and
mirth and spontaneity there is the constant
fear of the awful hand in whose complete
power they are. His clemency, his fatherhood
to his people, his tremendous responsibility
for their welfare are all appreciated,
but the thought is in every mind, “When
will this kindness fail? Upon whose head
will the lightning descend next?”
Title and gentle birth and the long and
faithful service of one's ancestors to the
Tzars are of small avail if the evidence
should go against one in Russia. I have
heard princes say less than I have said here,

but say it in whispers and with furtive looks
at the nearest man or woman. I have seen
their starts of surprise at the frank impudence
of our daring to criticise our administration
in their midst, and I felt as if I
were in danger of being bombarded from the
back.
In Russia you may spell as you please, but
you must have a care how you criticise the
government. In America you may criticise
the government as you will, but you must
have a care how you spell.

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191

VIII
MOSCOW

I thought St. Petersburg interesting,
but it is modern compared to Moscow.
Everything is so strange and curious here.
The churches, the chimes, the palace, the
coronation chapel, and the street scenes are
enough to drive one mad with interest.
Moscow is said to have sixteen hundred
churches, and I really think we did not skip
one. They are almost as magnificent as those
in St. Petersburg, and they impressed—overpowered
us, in fact, with the same unspeakable
riches of the Greek Church.
The name of our hotel was so curious that
I cannot forbear repeating it, “The Slavansky
Bazaar,” and they call their smartest restaurant
“The Hermitage.” I felt as if I
could be sold at auction in “The Bazaar,”
and as if I ought to fast and pray in “The
Hermitage.”
“The Slavansky Bazaar” was one of the
dirtiest hotels it ever was my lot to see. The
Russians of the middle class—to say nothing

of the peasants, who are simply unspeakable—
are not a clean set, so one cannot blame
a hotel for not living above the demands of
its clientèle. There were some antique specimens
of cobwebs in our rooms, which made
restful corner ornaments with dignified festoons,
which swung slowly to and fro with
such fascinating solemnity that I could
not leave off looking at them. The hotel is
built up hill and down dale, and each corridor
smells more musty than the other. It has a
curious arrangement for supplying water in
the rooms which I never can recall with any
degree of pleasure. One evening after I had
dressed I went to the wash-stand and discovered
that there was no water. I was madly
ringing for the chambermaid when my companion
called from her room, and said, “Put
your foot on that brass thing. There is plenty
of water.”
I looked down, and near the floor was a
brass pedal, like that of a piano. Sure
enough, there was a reservoir above and a
faucet with the head of a dragon on it peering
up into my face, which I never had noticed
before. Now, the pedal of my piano
works hard, so I bent all my strength to this
one, and lo! from that impudent dragon's
mouth I got a mighty stream of water
straight in my unconscious face, and enough
to put out a fire. I fell back with a shriek

of astonishment and indignation, and my
companion laughed—nay, she roared. She
laughs until she cries even now every time
she thinks of it, although I had to change
my gown. How was I going to know that I
was leaning over a waterspout, I should like
to know!
In this same hotel when I asked for a blotter
they brought me a box of sand. I tried
to use it, but my hand was not very steady,
and none of it went on the letter. Some got
in my shoe, however.
But our environments were more than compensated
for by the exceeding kindness that
we received from the most delightful people
that it ever was my good fortune to meet, and
their attentions to us were so charming that
we shall remember them as long as we live.
Americans, even though we are as hospitable
as any nation on earth, might well take
a lesson from the Russians in regard to the
respect they pay to a letter of introduction.
The English send word when you can be received,
and you pay each other frosty formal
calls, and then are asked to five-o'clock tea or
some other wildly exciting function of similar
importance. The French are great
sticklers for etiquette, but they are more
spontaneous, and you are asked to dine at
once. After that it is your own fault if
you are not asked again. But in Russia it

is different. I think that the men must have
accompanied my messenger home, and the
women to whom I presented letters early in
the afternoon were actually waiting for me
when I returned from presenting the last
ones. In Moscow they came and waited
hours for my return. I was mortified that
there were not four of me to respond to all
the beauties of their friendship, for hospitality
in Russia includes even that.
They placed themselves, their carriages,
their servants, at our disposal for whatever
we had to do—sight-seeing, shopping, or
idling. Mademoiselle Yermoloff, lady-in-waiting
to the two empresses, simply took
us upon her hands to show us Russian society
life. She came with her sledge in the morning,
and kept us with her all day long, taking
us to see the most interesting people and
places in Moscow. She showed us the coronation-robes,
the embroideries upon which
were from her own beautiful designs. The
Empress presented her with an emerald and
diamond brooch in recognition of this important
service, for undoubtedly the coronation-robe
of the present Tzarina is much
handsomer and in better taste than any of
the others. The designs are so artistically
sketched that they all have a special significance.
Here we visited the charming Princess

Golitzine, a most beautiful and accomplished
woman. Her house, we were told, De Lesseps,
the father of the Suez De Lesseps, used
as his headquarters during the French occupation
of Moscow.
Mademoiselle Yermoloff's sledge was a
very beautiful one, but it was quite as low-set
as all the others, and her footman stood
behind. As there was no back to the seat of
her sledge, and her horses were rather fiery
and unmanageable, every time they halted
without warning this solemn flunky pitched
forward into our backs, a performance which
would have upset the dignity of an English
footman, but which did not seem to disturb
him in the least.
Mademoiselle Yermoloff took us to see
Madame Chabelskoi, whose contributions to
the World's Fair were of so much value. I
never saw a private collection of anything
so rich, so varied, and of such historical
value as her collection of all the provincial
costumes of the peasants of Finland and Big
and Little Russia. In addition to these she
has the fête-day toilets as well. The Kokoshniks
are all embroidered in seed-pearls and
gold ornaments, and if she were not a fabulously
rich woman she could never have got
all these, for each one is authentic and has
actually been worn. They are not copies.
But Moscow seems to take a peculiar

national pride in preserving the historical
monuments of her country. There is a museum
there, with a complete set of all these
costumes on wax figures, and they range all
the way from the grotesque to the lovely.
Madame Chabelskoi is now doing a very
pretty as well as a valuable and historical
work. She has two accomplished daughters,
and these young girls spend all their time in
selecting peasant women with typical features,
dressing them in these costumes, photographing
them, and then coloring these
photographs in water-colors. They are making
ten copies of each, to make ten magnificent
album,s which are to be presented to the
ten greatest museums in the world. The
Hermitage in St. Petersburg is to have one,
the British Museum another, and so on.
Only one was to go to America, and to my
metropolitan dismay I found that it was not
to go to Chicago. I shall not say where it
was intended to go; I shall only say that
with characteristic modesty I asked, in my
most timid voice, why she did not present it
to a museum in the city which she had already
benefited so royally with her generosity,
and which already held her name in affectionate
veneration. It seemed to strike
her for the first time that Chicago was the
proper city in which to place that album,
so she promised it to us! I thanked her

with sincere gratitude, and retired from the
field with a modest flush of victory on my
brow. I cannot forbear a wicked chuckle,
however, when I think of that other museum!
We dined many times at “The Hermitage,”
which is one of the smartest restaurants
in Europe. The costumes of the waiters
were too extraordinary not to deserve a
passing mention. They consisted of a white
cotton garment belted at the waist, with no
collar, and a pair of flapping white trousers.
They are always scrupulously clean—which
is a wonder for Russian peasants—for they
are made to change their clothes twice a day.
They have a magnificent orchestration instead
of an orchestra here, and I could scarcely eat
those beautiful dinners for listening to the
music. We became so well acquainted with
the répertoire that our friends, knowing our
taste, ordered the music to match the courses.
So instead of sherry with the soup, they ordered
the intermezzo from “Cavalleria
Rusticana.” With the fish we had the overture
to “William Tell.” With the entrecôte
we had a pot-pourri from “Faust.” With
the fowl we had “Demon and Tamar,”
the Russian opera. With the rest we began
on Wagner and worked up to that thrilling
“Tannhäuser” overture, until I was ready
to go home a nervous wreck from German
music, as I always am.

198

A very interesting incident occurred while
we were in Moscow. The Tzar decorated a
non-commissioned officer for an act of bravery
which well deserved it. He was in
charge of the powder-magazines just outside
of Moscow, and from the view I had of them
I should say that the gunpowder is stored in
pits in the ground.
Something caught fire right on top of one
of these pits, and this young officer saw it.
He had no time to send for water, and if he
delayed, at any moment the whole magazine
might explode; one pit would communicate
with another, and perhaps the whole city
would be endangered; so without a second's
hesitation he and his men sprang into the fire
and literally trod it out with their feet, running
the risk of an explosion by concussion,
as well as by a spark of fire. It was a superb
act of courage, and the Tzar decorated this
young sergeant with the order of Vladimir
—one of the rarest decorations in all Russia.
I am told that not over six living men possess
it to - day. It was a beautiful thing
for the Tzar thus to recognize this heroic
deed.
When we left Moscow we were having our
first real taste of Russian winter, for, strange
to say, although so much farther south, the
climate it much more severe than that of
St. Petersburg.

199

My companion complained bitterly that
we were not seeing anything of Russia because
we came down from St. Petersburg at
night, so we abandoned the courier train,
and took the slow day-train for Kiev, the
old capital of Russia, that she might see
more of the country.
But now I come to my reward and her
chagrin. Between Moscow and Kiev we
were snowed in for sixteen hours. It was
between stations, the food gave out—I mean
it gave out because we did not have any to
start with—the train became bitterly cold,
and we came near freezing and starving to
death. That made our Russian experiences
quite complete. We had foolishly started
without even fruit, and there was nothing to
be had on board the train except the tea
which the conductors make in a samovar
and serve to you at the slightest provocation.
But even the tea was exhausted at last, and
then the fire gave out, because all the wood
had been used up.
There we were, penned up, wrapped in
our seal-skins and steamer-rugs and with
nubias over our heads, so cold that our teeth
chattered, and so hungry we could have eaten
anything. The conductor came and spoke
to us several times, but whether he was inviting
us to lunch or quoting Scripture we
could never tell. There was no one on the

train who spoke English or French, and nobody
else in our car to speak anything at
all—owing to our having come on this particular
train, in order for my companion to
“see Russia.” I am delighted to record
the fact that not only the outside but the
inside windows were frosted so thickly that
they had to light the sickly tallow candle
in a tin box over the door of the compartment,
so she never got a peep at Russia or
anything else the whole way.
We consoled each other and kept up our
spirits as best we could all day, but we arrived
at Kiev so exhausted with cold and
hunger that although we were received at
the train by one of the most charming men
I ever met, we both cried with relief at the
sight of a friendly face and some one to
whom we could speak and tell our woes. I
have since wondered what he thought to be
met by two forlorn women in tears! Whatever
he thought, like all the Russians, he was
courtesy itself, and we were soon whisked
away to the inexpressible comfort of being
thawed and fed.
Such a beautiful city as this is! Whitelaw
Reid has declared Kiev to be one of the
four picturesque cities in Europe; certainly
it lies in a heavenly place, all up and down
hills, with such vistas down the streets to
where a mosque raises its gilded dome, or

where an historic bronze statue stands out
against the horizon. If Kiev had been
planned by the French, it could not be more
utterly beautiful. The domes of the cathedrals
are blue, studded with gold stars; or
else pale green or all gold, and the most exquisite
churches in all Russia are in Kiev.
A terrible monastery, where you take candles
and go down into the bowels of the earth to
see where monks martyred themselves, is
here; and poor simple-minded pilgrims walk
many hundred miles to kiss these tombs.
Their devotion is pathetic. We had to walk
in a procession of them, and I know that
each of them had his own particular disease
and his own special brand of dirt. The
beggars surrounding the gate of this monastery
are too awful to mention, yet it is reputed
to be the richest monastery in all Russia.
In Kiev we heard “Hamlet” in Russian,
and the man who played Hamlet was wonderfully
good, surprisingly good. You don't
know how strange it sounded to hear “To
be or not to be” in Russian! The acting
was so familiar, the words so strange. The
audience went crazy over him, as Russian
audiences always do. We watched him come
out and bow thirty-nine times, and when we
came away the noise was still deafening.
They make a sort of candy in Kiev

which goes far and away above any sweets I
ever have seen. It is a sort of candied rose.
The whole rose is there. It is a solid soft
pink mass, and it tastes just as a tea-rose
smells. It is simply celestial.
We dearly love Kiev, it is so hauntingly
beautiful. You can't forget it. Your mind
keeps returning to it, but it is the sort of
beauty that you can't describe satisfactorily.
It is like your mother's face. You can see
the beauty for yourself, but no one else can
see it as you do, for the love which is behind
it.
In Odessa we began to leave Russia behind
us. Odessa is all sorts of a place. It
is commercial, and not beautiful, but, as
usual, our Russian friends made us forget
the town and its sights, and remember only
their sweet hospitality and friendliness.
We wished to catch the Russian steamer
for Constantinople, but we were told that
the police would not permit us to leave on
such short notice. We felt that this was
hard, for we had tried so consistently to be
good in Russia that I was determined to go
if possible. So I took an interpreter and
drove to the police headquarters myself.
To my amazement and delight my man told
me that it could all be arranged by the
payment of a few rubles. But that “few
rubles” mounted up into many before I

got my passports duly viséd. I discovered
that our American police are not so very
different from Russian police after all, even
if they are Irish!
We caught the steamer—the dear, clean,
lovely Nickolai II., with the stewardess a
Greek named Aspasia, and I persisted in
calling the steward Pericles, just to have
things match.
Then we crunched our way out of the harbor
through the ice into the Black Sea, and
sailed away for Constantinople.

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204

IX
CONSTANTINOPLE

Constantinople had three different effects
upon me. The first was to make me
utterly despise it for its sickening dirt; the
second was when I forgot all about the mud
and garbage, and went crazy over its picturesque
streets with their steep slopes, odd
turns, and bewitching vistas, and the last
was to make me dread Cairo for fear it
would seem tame in comparison, for Constantinople
is enchanting. If I were a
painter I would never leave off painting
its delights and spreading its fascinations
broadcast; and then I would take all the
money I got for my pictures and spend it in
the bazaars, and if I regretted my purchases
I would barter them for others, because Constantinople
is the beginning of the Orient,
and if you remain long you become thoroughly
metamorphosed, and you bargain, trade,
exchange, and haggle until you forget that
you ever were a Christian. The hour of our
arrival in Constantinople was an accident.

The steamer Nickolai II. was late, and as no
one may land there after sunset, we were
forced to lie in the Bosphorus all night.
It was dark when we sighted the city, but
it was one of those clear darks where without
any apparent light you can see everything.
Surely no other city in the world
has so beautiful an approach! Our great
black steamer threaded her way between men-of-war,
sail-boats, and all sorts of shipping,
and if there were a thousand lights twinkling
in the water there were a million from
the city. It lies on a series of hills curved
out like a monster amphitheatre, and it
stretches all the way around. I looked up
into the heavens, and it seemed to me that I
never had seen so many stars in my life. Our
sky at home has not so many! Yet there
were no more than the yellow points of
flame which flickered in every part of that
sleeping city. Three tall minarets pierced
above the horizon, and each of these wore
circles of light which looked like necklaces
and girdles of fire. Patches of black now
and then showed where there were trees or
marked a graveyard. Occasionally we heard
a shrill cry or the barking of dogs, but these
sounds came faintly, and seemed a part of
the fairy-picture. It looked so much like a
scene from an opera that I half expected to
see the curtain go down and the lights flare

up, and I feared the applause which always
spoils the dream.
But nothing spoiled this dream. All night
we lay in the beautiful Bosphorus, and all
night at intervals I looked out of my porthole
at that lovely sleeping princess. It
never grew any less lovely. Its beauty and
charm increased.
But in the morning everything was
changed. A band of howling, screaming,
roaring, fighting pirates came alongside in
dirty row-boats, and to our utter consternation
we found these bloodthirsty brigands
were to row us to land. Not one word could
we understand in all that fearful uproar. We
were watching them in a terror too abject
to describe, when, to our joy, an English
voice said, “I am the guide for the two
American ladies, and here is the kavass
which the American minister sent down to
meet you. The consul at Odessa cabled your
arrival.”
Oh, how glad we were! We loaded them
with thanks and hand-luggage, and scrambled
down the stairway at the side of the
steamer. A dozen dirty hands were stretched
out to receive us. We clutched at their
sleeves instead, and pitched into the boat,
and our trunks came tumbling after us, and
away we went over the roughest of seas,
which splashed us and made us feel a little

queer; and then we landed at the dirtiest,
smelliest quay, and picked our way through
a filthy custom-house, where, in spite of
bribery and corruption, they opened my
trunk and examined all the photographs of
the family, which happened to be on top, and
made remarks about them in Turkish which
made the other men laugh. The mud came
up over our overshoes as we stood there, so
that altogether we were quite heated in temper
when we found ourselves in an alley outside,
filled with garbage which had been there
forever, and learned that this alley was a
street, and a very good one for Constantinople,
too.
The porters in Turkey are marvels of
strength. They wear a sort of cushioned
saddle on their backs, and to my amazement
two men tossed my enormous trunk on
this saddle. I saw it leave their hands before
it reached his poor bent back; he staggered
a little, gave it a hitch to make it more
secure, then started up the hill on a trot.
I never saw so much mud, such unspeakably
filthy streets, and so many dogs as Constantinople
can boast. You drive at a gallop
up streets slanting at an angle of forty-five
degrees, and you nearly fall out of the
back of the carriage. Then presently you
come to the top of that hill and start down
the other side, still at a gallop, and you brace

your feet to keep from pitching over the driver's
head. You would notice the dogs first
were it not for the smells. But as it is, you
cannot even see until you get your salts to
your nose. The odors are so thick that they
darken the air. You are disappointed in the
dogs, however. There are quite as many of
them as you expected. You have not been
misled as to the number of them, but nowhere
have I seen them described in a satisfactory
way—so that you knew what to expect, I
mean. In the first place, they hardly look
like dogs. They have woolly tails like sheep.
Their eyes are dull, sleepy, and utterly devoid
of expression. Constantinople dogs have
neither masters nor brains. No brains because
no masters. Perhaps no masters because
no brains. Nobody wants to adopt an
idiot. They are, of course, mongrels of the
most hopeless type. They are yellowish,
with thick, short, woolly coats, and much fatter
than you expect to find them. They walk
like a funeral procession. Never have I
seen one frisk or even wag his tail. Everybody
turns out for them. They sleep—from
twelve to twenty of them—on a single pile
of garbage, and never notice either men or
each other unless a dog which lives in the
next street trespasses. Then they eat him
up, for they are jackals as well as dogs, and
they are no more epicures than ostriches.

They never show interest in anything.
They are blasé. I saw some mother dogs
asleep, with tiny puppies swarming over
them like little fat rats, but the mothers paid
no attention to them. Children seem to
bore them quite as successfully as if they
were women of fashion.
We went sailing up the Golden Horn to
the Skutari cemetery, one of the loveliest
spots of this thrice-fascinating Constantinople.
As we were descending that steep
hill upon which it is situated we met a darling
little baby Turk in a fez riding on a
pony which his father was leading. This
child of a different race, and six thousand
miles away, looked so much like our Billy
that I wanted to eat him up—dirt and all.
I contented myself with giving him backsheesh,
while my companion photographed
him. Such an afternoon as that was on that
lovely golden river, with the sun just setting,
and our picturesque boatmen sending
the boat through thousands upon thousands
of sea-gulls just to make them fly, until the
air grew dark with their wings, and the sunlight
on their white breasts looked, like a
great glistening snow-storm!
One night we went to a masked ball given
for the benefit of a new hospital which is
situated upon the Golden Horn. It was
given by Mr. Levy, one of the Turkish Commissioners

at the World's Fair, and the decorations
were something marvellous. The
walls were hung with embroideries which
drove us the next day to the bazaars and
nearly bankrupted us. Every street of Constantinople
looks like a masked ball, so this
one merely continued the illusion. We could
distinguish the Mohammedan women from
the others because they all went home before
midnight without unmasking.
This ball is interesting because it is called
“The Engagement Ball.” We were told
that only at a subscription ball given for a
charity in which their parents are interested
and feel under moral obligation to support
by their presence are the young people of
Constantinople allowed to meet each other.
The fathers and mothers occupy the boxes,
and thus, under their very eyes, and masked,
can love affairs be brought to a conclusion.
During the week which followed no fewer
than ten important engagements were duly
heralded in the columns of the newspapers.
The most exciting things in Constantinople
are the earthquakes. We were afraid
they would not have any while we were
there, but they accommodated us with a very
satisfactory one! It upset my ink-bottle and
broke the lamp and rattled everything in
the room until I was delighted. When my
companion came in she was indignant to

think that I had enjoyed the earthquake all
to myself, for she was in the rooms of the
American Bible Society, and being thus protected,
did not feel it. But I told her that
that was her punishment for trying to prove
that a missionary had cheated her, for she
was not in that place for a godly purpose.
At another time, however, we met with
better success in obtaining a sensation of a
different sort. We visited, in company with
our Turkish friend, a small but wonderfully
beautiful mosque not often seen by ordinary
tourists, and afterwards went up on Galata
tower to get the fine view of Constantinople
which may be had there. It was just before
sunset again, and I am quite unable
to make you see the utter loveliness of it.
We crawled out on the narrow ledge which
surrounds the top, and I had just got a capital
picture of my companion as she clutched
the Turk to prevent being blown off, for the
wind was something terrible, when suddenly
the keepers rushed to the windows and
jabbered excitedly in Turkish and ran up
a flag, and behold, there was a fire! Galata
tower is the fire observatory. By the flags
they hoist you can tell where the fire is. I
never was at a fire in my life. Even when
our stables burned down I was away from
home. So here was my opportunity. The
way we drove down those narrow streets was

enough to make one think that we were the
fire department itself. But when we arrived
we found to our grief that it was our dear
little mosque which was burning. Undoubtedly
we were the last visitors to enter it.
We went back to the hotel for dinner, and
about nine o'clock, hearing that the fire was
spreading, we drove down again with our
Turk, who regarded it as no unusual thing
to take American women to two fires in
the same day. We found the tenement-houses
burning. Our carriage gave us no vantage-ground,
so our friend, who speaks twelve
languages, obtained permission to enter a
house and go up on the roof. We never
stopped to think that we might catch all
sorts of diseases; we were so pleased at the
courtesy of the poor souls. They had all
their poor belongings packed ready to remove
if the fire crept any nearer, but they
ran ahead and lighted us up the dark stairway
with candles, and told us in Turkish
what an honor we were doing their house,
all of which touched me deeply. I wondered
how many people I would have assisted up
to our roof if my clothes were tied up in
sheets in the hall, with the fire not a square
away!
Fortunately, it came no nearer, and from
that high, flat roof we watched the seething
mass of yellow flames grow less and less and

then go completely under control. It was
Providence which did it, however, and not
the Constantinople fire department, with its
little streams of water the size of slate-Pencils!
The dogs were one of the sights we were
anxious to see; the Sultan was the other.
We found the bazaars more fascinating than
either. But we wanted to photograph the
Sultan—chiefly, I think, because it was forbidden.
I have an ever-present unruly desire
to do everything which these foreign
countries absolutely forbid. But everybody
said we could not. So we very meekly went
to see him go to prayers, and left our cameras
with the kavass. We had, with our customary
good fortune, a window directly in front
of the Sultan's gate, not twenty feet from
the door of the mosque.
“If I had that camera here I could get
him, and nobody would know!” I declared.
“But there are so many spies,” our Turkish
friend said. “It would be too dangerous.”
We waited, and waited, and waited.
Never have the hours seemed so mortally
long as they seemed to us as we watched the
hands of the clock crawl past luncheon-time,
hours and hours later than the Sultan was
announced to pray, and still no Sultan. His
little six-and seven-year old sons, in the uniform

of colonels, were mounted on superb
Arabian horses. These horses had tails so
long that servants held them up going
through the mud, as if they were ladies'
trains. The children were dear things, with
clear olive complexions and soft, dark eyes
—Italian eyes. Then they grew tired of
waiting, and dismounted, and came up to
where we were, and shook hands in the sweetest
manner. My companion was for coaxing
the little one into her lap, but she looked
somewhat staggered when I reminded her
that she would be trotting the colonel of the
regiment on her knee.
Then more cavalry came, and more bands,
playing a little the worst of any that I ever
heard, and we impatiently thrust our heads
out of the window, thinking, of course, the
Sultan was coming, but he was not. Then
some infantry with white leggings and stiff
knee-joints, with coils of green gas-pipe on
their heads, like our student-lamps, marched
by with a gait like a battalion of horses with
the string-halt, and we shrieked with laughter.
Our friend said they called that the
German step. Germany would declare war
with Turkey if she ever heard that.
By this time we were so tired and hungry
and disgusted that we were about to go home
and give up the Sultan when we saw no fewer
than fifty men come toiling up the hill with

carpet-bags, as if they had brought their
clothes, and intended to see the Sultan if it
took a week. I do not know who or what
they were, and I do not want to know. They
served their purpose with us in that they
put us into instantaneous good humor, and
just then there was a commotion, and everybody
straightened up and craned their necks;
and then, preceded by his body-guard, the
Sultan drove slowly down, looked directly
up at our window (and we groaned), and
then turned in at the gate. Opposite to him
sat Osman Pasha, the hero of Plevna. The
ladies of the harem were driven into the
court-yard surrounded by eunuchs, the horses
were taken from their carriages, and there
the ladies sat, guarded like prisoners, until
the Sultan came out again. He then mounted
into a superb gold chariot drawn by two
beautiful white horses, and he himself drove
out. Everybody salaamed, and he raised his
hand in return as if it was all the greatest
possible bore.
While he was driving into the court-yard
the priest came out on the minaret and called
men to prayer, and an English girl who sat
at the next window informed her mother
that he was announcing the names of the important
persons in the procession! Her
mother trained her glasses on him—a mere
speck against the sky—and said, “Fancy!”

The Sultan is not a beauty. If he were in
America his sign would be that of the three
golden balls.
We went to see the mosques, and the officials
and priests and boatmen were so cross
and surly on account of the fast of Ramazan
that they would not let us take photographs
without a fight. During Ramazan they neither
eat nor drink between sunrise and sunset.
On the fifteenth day of Ramazan the Sultan
goes to the mosque of Eyoob to buckle on
the sword of Mohammed in order to remind
himself that the power of that sword has descended
to himself. He does not announce
his route, therefore the whole city is in a
commotion, and they spread miles of streets
with sand for fear he might take it into his
head to go by some unusual way. It passes
my comprehension why they should ever put
any more dirt in the streets even for a Sultan.
But sand is a mark of respect in Russia and
Turkey, and it really cleans the streets a little.
At least it absorbs the mud. Just as
we were about to start for a balcony beneath
which he was almost sure to pass, our Turkish
friend whispered to us that if we wore
capes we might take our cameras. Imagine
our delight, for it was so dangerous. But
the capes! Ours were not half long enough
to conceal the camera properly. It was growing

late. So in a perfect frenzy I dragged
out my long pale blue sortie du bal, ripped
the white velvet capes from it, pinned a short
sable cape to the top of it with safety-pins,
and enveloped myself in this gorgeousness at
eleven o'clock in the morning. We made a
curious trio. Our Turk was in English
tweeds with a fez. My companion wore a
smart tailor gown, and I was got up as if for
a fancy-dress ball, but in the streets of Constantinople
no one gave me a second glance.
I was in mourning compared to some of the
others.
On the balcony with us were two small
boys with projecting ears, of whom I stood in
deadly terror, for if their boyish interest centred
in that camera of mine I was lost.
Presently, however, with a tremendous clatter,
the Sultan's advance-guard came galloping
down the street. I got them, turned the
film, and was ready for the next—the carriages
of the state officials. I aimed well,
and got them, but I was growing nervous.
The boys writhed closer. I shoved them a
little when their mother was not looking.
“Don't try to take so many,” said our
Turk. “Here comes the Sultan. Aim low,
and don't fire until you see the whites of his
eyes.”
Again he looked up directly at us, and I
snapped the shutter promptly. It was done.

I had succeeded in photographing the Sultan!
To be sure, it was an offense against
the state, punishable by fine and imprisonment,
but nobody had caught me. The little
boy next to me, who had walked on my dress
and ground his elbows into me, craned his
neck and stared at the Sultan with round
eyes. He had been in my way ever since we
arrived, but in an exuberance of tenderness I
patted his head.
But when we had those negatives developed
I discovered to my disgust that instead of the
Sultan I had taken an excellent photograph
of that wretched little boy's ear.

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219

X
CAIRO

I need not have been afraid that the
charms of Constantinople would spoil Cairo
for me, although at first I was disappointed.
Most places have to be lived up to, especially
one like Cairo, whose attractions are
vaunted by every tourist, every woman of
fashion, every scholar, every idle club-man,
everybody, either with brains or without. I
wondered how it could be all things to all
men. I simply thought it was the fashion to
rave about it, and I was sick of the very
sound of its name before I came. It was
too perfect. It aroused the spirit of antagonism
in me.
First of all, when you arrive in Cairo you
find that it is very, very fashionable. You
can get everything here, and yet it is practically
the end of the world. Nearly everybody
who comes here turns around and goes
back. Few go on. Even when you go up
the Nile you must come back to Cairo.
There is really nowhere else to go.

220

You drive through smart English streets,
and when you find yourself at Shepheard's
you are at the most famous hotel in the
world; yet, strange to say, in spite of its size,
in spite of the thousands of learned, famous,
titled, and distinguished people who have
been here, in spite of its smartness and fashion,
it is the most homelike hotel I ever was
in. Everybody seems to know about you and
to take an interest in what you are doing, and
all the servants know your name and the
number of your room, and when you go out
into the great corridor, or when you sit on
the terrace, there is not a trace of the supercilious
scrutiny which takes a mental inventory
of your clothes and your looks and your
letter of credit, which so often spoils the sunset
for you at similar hotels.
Ghezireh Palace is even more fashionable
than Shepheard's. Here we have baronets
and counts and a few earls. But there they
have dukes and kings and emperors, yet there
is a gold-and-alabaster mantelpiece which
takes your mind even from royalty, it is so
beautiful. Ghezireh is situated on the Nile,
half an hour's drive away, so that in spite of
its royal atmosphere it never will take the
place of Shepheard's. Here you see all the
interesting people you have heard of in
your life. You trip over the easels of famous
artists in an angle of the narrow street, and

many famous authors, scientists, archaeologists,
and scholars and here working or resting.
Yesterday I was told that four Americans
who stood talking together on the terrace represented
two hundred millions of dollars. At
dinner the red coats of the officers make brilliant
spots of color among all the black of the
other men, and at first sight it does seem too
odd to see evening dress consist of black trousers
and a bright-red coat which stops off
short at the waist. But if you think that
looks odd, what will you say to the officers
of the Highland regiments? Their full
dress is almost as immodest in a different
way as that of some women, and one of the
most exquisite paradoxes of British custom
is that a Highland undress uniform consists
of the addition of long trousers—more clothes
than they wear in dress uniform.
Cairo is cosmopolitan. You may ride a
smart cob, a camel, or a donkey, and nobody
will even look twice at you. You will see
harem carriages with closed blinds; coupés
with the syces running before them (and
there is nothing in Cairo more beautiful than
some of these men and the way they run);
you will see the Khedive driving with his
body-guard of cavalry; you will see fat
Egyptian nurses out in basket phaëton with
little English children; you will see tiny

boys, no bigger than our Billy, in a fever
of delight over riding on a live donkey, and
attended by a syce; you will see emancipated
Egyptian women trying to imitate European
dress and manners, and making a mess of
it; you will see gamblers, adventurers, and
savants all mixed together, with all the hues
of the rainbow in their costumes; you will
see water-carriers carrying drinking-water in
nasty-looking dried skins, which still retain
the outlines of the animals, only swollen out
of shape, and unspeakably revolting; you will
see native women carrying their babies
astride their shoulders, with the little things
resting their tiny brown hands on their
mothers' heads, and often laying their little
black heads down, too, and going fast to
sleep, while these women walk majestically
through the streets with only their eyes showing;
you will see all sorts of hideous cripples,
and more blind and cross-eyed people than
you ever saw in all your life before; you will
see venders of fly-brushes, turquoises, amber,
ostrich-feathers, bead necklaces from
Nubia, scarabaei and antiquities which bear
the hall-marks of the manufacturers as clearly
as if stamped “Made in Germany”; you
will see sore-eyed children sitting in groups
in doorways, with numberless flies on each
eye, making no effort to dislodge them; and
you will visit mosques and bazaars which you

feel sure call for insect-powder; you will see
Arabian men knitting stockings in the street,
and thinking it no shame; you will see countless
eunuchs with their coal-black, beardless
faces, their long, soft, nerveless hands, long
legs, and the general make-up of a mushroom-boy
who has outgrown his strength;
you will hear the cawing of countless rooks
and crows, and if you leave your window
open these rascals will fly in and eat your
fruit and sweets; you will see and hear the
picturesque lemonade-vendor selling his vile-tasting
acid from a long, beautiful brass vessel
of irregular shape, and you never can get
away from the horrible jangling noise he
makes from two brass bowls to call attention
to his wares; you will see tiny boys in tights
doing acrobatic feats on the sidewalk, walking
on their hands in front of you for a whole
square as you take your afternoon stroll, and
then pleading with you for backsheesh; you
will see hideous monkeys of a sort you never
saw before, trained to do the same thing, so
that you cannot walk out in Cairo without
being attended with some sort of a bodyguard,
either monkey, acrobat, cripple, or
the beggar-girls with their sweet, plaintive
voices, their pretty smiles, and their eternal
hunger, to coax the piasters from your open
purse. But you accept these sights and
sounds as a part of this wonderful old city,

and each day the fascination will grow on
you until you will be obliged to go to a series
of afternoon teas in order to cool your enthusiasm.
In passing, the flies of Egypt deserve a
tribute to their peculiar qualities. A plague
of American flies would be a luxury compared
to the visit of one fly from Egypt.
For untold centuries they have been in the
habit of crawling over thick-skinned faces
and bodies, and not being dislodged. They
can stay all day if they like. Consequently,
if they see an American eye, and they light
on it, not content with that, they try to crawl
in. You attempt to brush them off, but they
only move around to the other side, until you
nearly go mad with nervousness from their
sticky feet. If they find out your ear they
crawl in and walk around. You cannot discourage
them. They craze you with their
infuriating persistence. If I had been the
Egyptians, the Israelites would have been
escorted out of the country in state at the
arrival of the first fly.
England has done a marvellous good to
Egypt by her training. She has taken a lot
of worthless rascals and educated them to
work at something, no matter if it does take
five of them to call a cab. She has trained
them to make good soldiers, well drilled because
drilled by English officers, and making

a creditable showing. She has made fairly
dependable policemen of them, but their legs
are the most wabbly and crooked of any that
ever were seen. These policemen are armed.
One carries a pistol and the other the cartridges.
If they happened to be together
they could be very dangerous to criminals.
She has developed all the resources of the
country, and made it fat and productive, but
she never can give the common people brains.
It poured rain this morning, and there is
no drainage; consequently, rivers of water
were rushing down the gutters, making
crossings impassable and traffic impossible.
They called out the fire-engines to pump the
water up in the main thoroughfare, but on a
side street I stopped the carriage for half an
hour and watched four Arabs working at the
problem. One walked in with a broom and
swept the water down the gutter to another
man who had a dust-pan. With this dustpan
he scooped up as much as a pint of water
at a time, and poured it into a tin pail, which
gave occupation to the third Arab, who stood
in a bent position and urged him on. The
fourth Arab then took this pail of water, ran
out, and emptied it into the middle of the
street, and the water beat him running back
to the gutter. I said to them, “Why don't
you use a sieve? It would take longer.”
And they said, “No speak English.”

226

I watched them until I grew tired, and
then I went to the ostrich-farm as a sort of
distraction, and I really think that an ostrich
has more brains than an Arab.
This farm is very large, and the ostrich-pens
are built of mud. I never had seen
ostriches before, and I had no idea how
hideous, how big, and how enchanting they
are. They have the most curious agate-colored
eyes—colorless, cold, yet intelligent eyes.
But they are the eyes of a bird without a
conscience. They have no soul, as camels
have. An ostrich looks as if he would really
enjoy villainy, as if he could commit crime
after crime from pure love of it, and never
know remorse; yet there is a fascination
about the old birds, and they have their good
points. The father is domestic in spite of
looking as if he belonged to all the clubs,
and, much to my delight, I saw one sitting
on the eggs while the mother walked out and
took the air. Ostriches and Arabs do women's
work with an admirable disregard of
Mrs. Grundy. Ostriches have an irresistible
way of waving their lovely plumy wings, and
one old fellow twenty-five years old actually
imitates the dervishes. The keeper says to
him, “Dance,” and although he is about ten
feet tall, he sits down with his scaly legs
spread out on each side of him, and, shutting
his eyes, he throws his long, ugly red neck

from side to side, making a curious grunting
noise, and waving his wings in billowy line
like a skirt-dancer. It was too wonderful
to see him, and it was almost as revolting as
a real dervish.
We saw these dervishes once; nothing could
persuade us to go twice—they were too nasty.
The night the Khedive goes to the Citadel,
to the mosque of Mohammed Ali, to pray for
his heart's desire (for on that night all prayers
of the faithful are sure to be answered),
the dervishes in great numbers are performing
their rites. They are called the howling
dervishes, but they do not howl; they
only make a horrible grunting noise. They
have long, dirty, greasy hair, and as they
throw their bodies backward and forward
this hair flies, and sometimes strikes the careless
observer in the face. They work themselves
up to a perfect passion of religious
ecstasy to the monotonous sound of Arab
music, and never have I heard or seen anything
more revolting. The negroes in the
South when they “get the power” are not
nearly so repulsive.
It is England's wise policy in all her colonies
to have her army take part in the national
religious ceremonies, so when the Sacred
Carpet started from the Citadel on its
journey to Mecca there was a magnificent
military display.

228

It is an odd thing to call it a carpet, for
it not only is not a carpet in itself, but it is
not the shape of a carpet, it is not used for a
carpet, and does not look like a carpet.
We were among the fortunate ones who
were invited to the private view of it the
night before, when the faithful were dedicating
it. They sat on the floor, these Mohammedans,
rocking themselves back and forth,
and chanting the Koran. I believe the reason
nearly all Arabs have crooked legs is because
they squat so much. One cannot have
straight legs when one uses one's legs to sit
down on for hours at a time. They always
sit in the sun, too, and that must bake them
into their crookedness.
The “carpet” is a black velvet embroidered
solidly in silver and gold. It is shaped
like an old-fashioned Methodist church, only
there are minarets at the four corners. It
looks like a pall. Every year they send a
new one to Mecca, and then the old one is
cut into tiny bits and distributed among the
faithful, who wear it next their hearts.
This carpet was about six feet long, and
was railed in so that no one could touch it. A
man stood by and sprayed attar of roses on
you as you passed, but I do not know what
he did it for, unless it was to turn sensitive
women faint with the heaviness of the perfume.

229

But the next morning the procession formed,
and amid the wildest enthusiasm, the bowing
and salaaming of the men, and the shouting
and running of the children, and the singing
of the Arabs who bore the carpet, it was
placed upon the most magnificent camel I
ever saw , which was covered from head to
foot with cloth of gold, and whose very gait
seemed more majestic because of his sacred
burden, and thus, led by scores of enthusiastic
Arabs, he moved slowly down the street,
following the covering for the tomb, and in
turn being followed by one scarcely less magnificent
destined to cover the sacred carpet
in its camel journey to Mecca. That was
absolutely all there was to it, yet the Khedive
was there with a fine military escort, and all
Cairo turned out at the unearthly hour of
eight o'clock in the morning to see it.
As we drove back we saw the streets for
blocks around a certain house hung with
colored-glass lanterns, and thousands upon
thousands of small Turkey-red banners with
white Arabic letters on them strung on wires
on each side of the street. These we knew
were the decorations for the famous wedding
which was to occur that night, and to which
we had fortunately been bidden. It was in
very smart society. The son of a pasha was
to marry the daughter of a pasha, and the
presents were said to be superb.

230

We wore our best clothes. We had ordered
our bouquets beforehand, for one always
presents the bride with a bouquet, and
they were really very beautiful. It was a
warm night, with no wind, and the heavens
were twinkling with millions of stars. Such
big stars as they have in Egypt!
When we arrived we were taken in charge
by a eunuch so black that I had to feel my
way up-stairs. There were, perhaps, fifty
other eunuchs standing guard in the ante-chamber,
and our dragoman took the men who
brought us around to another door, where all
the men had to wait while we women visited
the bride.
A motley throng of women were in the
outer room—fat black women with waists
two yards around, canary-colored women
laced into low-cut European evening dresses,
brown women in native dress; a babel of
voices, chattering in curious French, Arabic,
Turkish, and Greek. All the women
were terribly out of shape from every point
of view, and not a pretty one among them.
One attendant snatched my bouquet without
even a “Thank you” (I had been wondering
to whom I should give it, but I need not have
worried), and patted me on the back as she
pushed me into the room where the bride sat
on a throne amid piles upon piles of bouquets.
She had a heavy, pale face covered

with powder, eyes and eyebrows blackened,
nails stained with henna, and a figure much
too fat. She wore a garment made of something
which looked like mosquito-netting
heavily embroidered in gold, which hung
like a rag. Her jewels were magnificent,
but the effect of all this gorgeousness was
rather spoiled to the artistic eye by her grotesque
surroundings.
After we had visited the bride we were approached
by a little yellow woman in blue
satin, who asked me in French if I would not
like to see the chambre à coucher, and I said
I would. We were then conducted to a room
all hung in blue satin embroidered in red.
Lambrequins, chair-covers, bed-covers, pillows,
bed-hangings—all the careful work of
the bride. Then we were invited to inspect
the presents in another room, which were all
in glass cabinets. Dozens of amber and
jewelled cigarette-holders and ornaments of
every description, most magnificent, but of no
earthly use—as wedding presents sometimes
are.
Then we came down-stairs, and had all
sorts of things at a banquet, and heard Arab
music, and sat around in the room, where our
men met us, and feeling rather bored, we decided
to go home. There we were wise, for
we met quite by accident the procession of the
bridegroom. He was escorted through the

streets by a band, and two rows of young
men carrying candelabra under glass shades.
We turned and drove along beside him and
watched him, but he was so nervous we felt
that it was rather a mean thing to do. He
was a handsome fellow, but never have I seen
a man who looked so unhappy and ill at
ease. When he entered the house he proceeded
to the door of the bride's room, where
he threw down silver and gold as backsheesh
until her women were satisfied; then he was
permitted to enter.
As we drove away for the second time I
remembered that they were having “torch-light
tattoo” at the barracks, and we decided
to stop for a moment.
“It won't seem bad to see some soldiers
who can march, for the English soldiers are
magnificently trained,” I said, as we stopped
to buy our tickets. A young officer whom I
had met heard my remark, and smiled and
saluted.
“The English soldiers are the best in the
world, aren't they?” he said, teasingly.
“Undoubtedly,” I replied, tranquilly.
He looked a little staggered. He had encountered
my belligerent spirit before, and
he did not expect me to agree with him.
“You—you, an American, admit that?
he said.
“Surely,” I replied.

233

“But why?” he persisted, most unwisely,
for it gave me my chance.
“Because the Americans are the only
ones who ever whipped them! American
soldiers can beat even the best!”
It is now six weeks since I said that, but
as yet he has made no reply.

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234

XI
THE NILE

In travelling abroad there are some things
which you wish to do more than others. There
are certain treasures you particularly desire
to see, certain scenes your mind has pictured,
until the dream has almost become a reality.
The ascent of the Nile was one of my Meccas,
and now that it is over the reality has almost
become a dream.
In Egypt the weather is so nearly perfect
during the season that it was no surprise to
find the day of our departure a cloudless one.
I seldom worry myself to arrange beforehand
for the creature comforts of a journey, trusting
to the beneficent star which seems to
hover over the unworthy to shine upon my
pathway. But this time I had so dreamed of
and brooded over and longed for the Nile
that I went so far as to investigate the different
lines of boats, and we chose the moonlight
time of the month, and we hurried through
Russia and Turkey and Greece with but one

aim in view, and that was to have our feet on
the deck of the Mayflower on the 19th of February.
And we succeeded.
Ah, it was a dream well worth realizing!
Twenty - one days of rest. Three glorious
weeks of smooth sailing over calm waters.
Three weeks of warmth and sunshine by day,
and of poetry and starlight by night. Three
weeks of drifting in the romance which surrounds
the name of that great sorceress, that
wonderful siren, that consummate coquette,
that most fascinating woman the world has
ever known. Three weeks of steeping one's
soul in the oldest, most complete and satisfactory
ruins on the face of the earth. Here,
in delving into the past, we would have no
use for the comparative word “hundreds.”
We could boldly use the superlative word
“thousands.” What memories! what dreams!
what fragments of half-forgotten history and
romance came floating through the brain! I
have, generally, little use for guide-books except,
afterwards, to verify what I have seen.
But I admit that I had an especial longing to
reach the temple of Denderah, which was
said to contain the most famous relief of
Cleopatra extant. I was anxious to see if
her beauty or her charm or anything which
accounted for her sorceries were reproduced.
“If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the
whole history of the world would have been

changed.” How far away she seemed! How
near she would become!
On the terrace at Shepheard's the morning
of our departure you could see by people's
faces how they were going to make this journey.
Some had Stanley helmets on, and were
laden with cushions and steamer-chairs and
fruits as if for an ocean voyage. Others
were clutching their Baedeker, and their
Amelia Edwards, and their “Kismet,” and
their note-books, and wore a do-or-die expression
of countenance. One or two others
floated around aimlessly, with dreamy eyes,
as if they were already lost in the past which
now pressed so closely at hand. Then the
coach from the Gehzireh Palace rolled by in
a cloud of dust, and people hurried down the
steps of Shepheard's and took their places in
our coach, and the dragomans in their gorgeous
costumes followed with wraps, and the
porters bustled about stowing away hand-luggage,
and Arabs crowded near, thrusting
their violets and roses and amber necklaces
and beaded fly-brushes into your very face,
and the old man who sells turquoises made
his last effort to sell you a set for shirt-studs,
and the Egyptians and East-Indians from the
bazaars opposite came to the door and looked
on with the perennial interest and friendliness
of the Orient, and a swarm of beggars
pleaded, with the excitement of a last chance,

for backsheesh, and there was a babel of
tongues—French, English, Italian, German,
and Arabic, all hurtling about your ears like
so many verbal bullets in a battle, when suddenly
the door slammed, the driver cracked
his whip, the coach lurched forward, the children
scattered—and we were off.
Everybody knows when a boat starts up
the Nile, and everybody is interested and
nods and waves to everybody else. There
was a short drive to the river amid polite calls
of “good-bye” and “bon voyage,” and there
lay the Mayflower, like a great white bird
with comfortably folded wings. Nobody
seemed to hurry much, for a Nile boat does
not start until her passengers are all on board.
An hour or so makes no difference.
You go down the bank of the Nile to go on
board a boat upon steps cut in the earth, and
if your hands are full and you cannot hold
up your dress, you sweep some three inches
of fine yellow dust after you. But you don't
care. The man ahead scuffed his dust in
your face, and the woman behind you is
sneezing in yours, and everything and everybody
are a little yellowish from it, but nobody
stops to brush it off. It is too exciting
to hurry up on deck and place your steamer-chair
and fling your things into your stateroom
and rush out again for fear that you
will miss something.

238

There were Italians, French, English,
Poles, Swedes, and Americans on board.
Some of them had titles. Some had only bad
manners, with nothing to excuse them. But,
after all, everybody was nice. I got through
the whole three weeks without hating anybody
and with only wanting to drown one
passenger. What better record of amiability
could you ask?
But one thing marred the start. This
Anglo-American line of boats is the only
line in Egypt which flies the American flag.
That was the final inducement they offered
which decided my choice of the Mayflower.
But while we knew that she was obliged to
fly the British flag also, we were indignant beyond
words to see a huge Union Jack floating
at the top of the forward flagstaff and beneath
it a toy American flag about the size
of a cigar-box. Beneath the English flag!
I nearly wept with rage. The owner of the
line was at hand, and I did not wait to draw
up a petition or to consult my fellow-Americans.
I just said: “Have the goodness to
haul down that infant American flag, will
you? I have no objection to sailing under
both, but I do object to such an insulting disparity
in size. Besides that, you seem to
have forgotten that the American flag never
flies below any other flag on God's green
earth!”

239

He made some apologies, and gave the order
at once. The baby was hauled down
amid the smiles of the English passengers.
But at Assiout we were avenged when an
enormous American flag arrived by rail and
was hoisted to the main flagstaff, twenty feet
higher than the British. When I came out
on deck that Sunday morning, and saw that
blessed flag waving above me, everything
blurred before my eyes, and I do assure you
that it was the most beautiful sight I saw in
all of that European continent. You may
talk about your temples and your ruins and
your old masters! Have you ever seen “Old
Glory” flying straight out from a flagstaff
in a foreign country seven thousand miles
away from home?
The Nile is much broader than I expected
to find it, and, like the Missouri and the
Golden Horn, it is always muddy. The
Mayflower carries only fifty passengers,
which is of the greatest advantage for donkey-rides
and for seeing the ruins, a larger
party being unwieldy. She draws but two
feet of water, having been built expressly
for Nile service, so we had the proud satisfaction
of seeing one of the big Rameses
boats stuck on a sand-bank for eighteen
hours, while we tooted past her blowing
whistles of defiance and derision. Whenever
we felt ourselves going aground on a sandbank

we just reversed the engines and backed
off again, or else put on extra steam and
ground our way through it. In the whole
three weeks we were not aground five minutes,
although we passed one wreck settling
in the water, with the bedding and stores
piled up on the bank, and the passengers sailing
away in the swallow-winged feluccas,
which had swooped down to their rescue like
so many compassionate birds.
Afternoon tea on the Nile is an unforgetable
function. Everybody comes on deck
and sits under the awning and watches the
sun go down. Each day the sunsets grow
more beautiful. Each day they differ from
all the rest. Such yellows and purples!
Such violet shadows on the golden water!
Such a marvellously sudden sinking of the
sun in a crimson flame behind the flat brown
hills! And then the stillness of the Nile in
the opal aftermath! Those sunsets are something
to carry in the memory forever and a
day.
At night the sailors lower the side awnings,
crawling along the railings with their
naked prehensile feet. The captain, a Nubian,
on a salary of eighty-five cents a day,
selects a suitable spot on the bank where the
boat may remain all night. Then the bow
of the boat heads for the shore and digs her
nose in the soft mud. The sailors pitch the

stakes and mallets out on to the bank and
spring ashore. Then with Arab songs which
they always sing when rowing, hauling ropes,
scrubbing the decks, or doing any sort of
work, the stern is gradually hauled alongside
the bank, and there we stay until morning
in a stillness so absolute that even the cry
of the jackals seems in harmony with the
loneliness of it.
I dreaded the first excursion. It was to
Memphis and Sakhara, eighteen miles in all,
and I never had been on a donkey in my life.
I am not afraid of horses, but donkeys are so
much like mules. My friends encouraged
me all they could. They said that I would
have a donkey-boy all to myself, that the
donkey never went out of a walk, and wound
up by the cheerful assurance that if he did
pitch me over his head I would not have far
to fall.
The donkey-boys of the Nile deserve a
book all to themselves. Such craft! Such
flattery! Such knowledge of human nature!
With unerring sagacity they discover your
nationality and give your donkey names
famous in your own country. Never will
an Englishman find himself astride “Yankee
Doodle” or “Uncle Sam.” or an American
upon “John Bull.” They pick you up in
their arms to put you on or take you from
your donkey as if you were a baby. They

run beside you holding your umbrella with
one hand, and with the other arm holding
you on if you are timid. Staid, dignified
women who teach Sunday-school classes at
home, who would not permit a white manservant
to touch them, lean on their donkey-boys
as if they were human balustrades.
My first donkey-boy was an enchanting
rascal. He looked like a handsome bronze
statue. My donkey was a pale, drab little
beast, woolly and dejected. He looked as
though if you hurled contemptuous epithets
at him for a week they would all fit his case.
My companion's was more jaunty. He had
been clipped in patterns. His legs were all
done in hieroglyphics, and he held his ears
up while mine trailed his in the sand.
Nevertheless, I was so deadly afraid of
him that I saw my forty-nine fellow-passengers
leave me, one after the other, while I
still hesitated and eyed him suspiciously.
Perhaps I never would have mounted had
not Imam, the dragoman, with the frank unceremoniousness
of the East, caught me up
in his arms and landed me on my donkey before
I could protest. And in the face of his
childish smile of confidence I could only
gasp. We moved off with the majesty of a
funeral procession.
“What's the name of my donkey?” asked
my companion.

243

“Cleveland,” came the answer like a
flash.
We were enchanted.
“And what's the name of mine?” I asked.
“McKinley!”
Then we shouted. You have no idea how
funny it sounded to hear those two familiar
names in such strange surroundings. We
nearly tumbled off in our delight, and so
quick are those clever little donkey-boys to
watch your face and divine your mood that
in a second they gave that weird, long-drawn
donkey call, “Oh-h-ah-h!” and my companion's
donkey swung into a gentle trot,
with her donkey-boy running behind, beating
him with a stick and pinching him in the
legs.
At that McKinley, not to be outdone by
any Democratic donkey, pricked up his ears.
I heard a terrific commotion behind me.
The string of bells around McKinley's neck
deafened me, and I remember then and there
losing all confidence in the administration,
for McKinley was a Derby winner. He was
a circus donkey. He broke into a crazy
gallop, then into a mad run. I shrieked, but
my donkey-boy thought it was a sound of
joy, and only prodded him the more. In
less than two minutes I had shot past every
one of the party, and for the whole day
McKinley and I headed the procession. I

only saw my companion at a distance
through a cloud of dust, and she does not
trust me any more. Thus have I to bear the
sins of Mohammed Ali, my perfidious donkey-boy,
who forced me to lead the van on
that dreadful first day at Sakhara.
Everywhere you go you hear the insistent,
importunate cry for backsheesh. Old
men, women, children, dragomans, guides,
merchants, and street-venders—all sorts and
conditions of men beg for it. They teach
even babies to take hold of your dress and cry
for it. And to toss backsheesh over to the
crowd on the bank as the steamer moves away
is to see every one of them roll over in the
dirt and fight and scratch like cats over half
a piaster. There is no such thing as self-respect
among the natives. They are governed
by blows and curses, and even the eyes of
sheiks and native police glisten at the word
“backsheesh.”
At Assiout one night we heard some one
calling from the bank in English: “Lady,
lady, give me some English books. I am a
Christian. I can read English. Give me a
Bible. I go to the American college. I want
to be a preacher.” I leaned over the railing
and discerned a very black boy, whose name,
he said, was Solomon. I was so surprised to
hear “Bible” instead of “backsheesh” that I
investigated. He said his mother and father

were dead; that he had only been to college
a year; that he wanted to be a preacher, and
that he would pray God for me if I would
give him a Bible. I was touched. He spelled
America, and I gave him backsheesh. He
told me the population of the United States,
and I gave him more backsheesh. He sang
“Upidee” with an accent which threw me
into such ecstasies that it brought the whole
boat to hear him, and we all gave him back-sheesh.
But his piety was what captivated us.
I heard afterwards that no fewer than ten
of us privately resolved to give him Bibles.
He begged us to visit the college; so the next
day eight of us gave up the tombs and went
to the American college, which was floating
the Stars and Stripes because it was Washington's
birthday. We spoke to Dr. Alexander,
the president, of our friend Solomon.
He told us that he was an absolute fraud, but
one of the cleverest boys in the college. He
was not an orphan. His father took a new
wife every year, and his mother also had an
assorted collection of husbands. He had
been to school five years instead of one. He
had no end of Bibles. People gave them to
him and he sold them. He had been in jail
for stealing, and on the whole his showing
was not such as to encourage us to help him
to preach. Such was Solomon, a typical
Egyptian, an equally accurate type of the

Arab. They are the cleverest and most consummate
liars in the world. I wonder that
the noble men and women who are giving
their lives to teaching in that wonderful mission
college have the courage to go on with
it, the material is so unpromising. Yet
Arabic acuteness makes it interesting, after
all. A pretty little water-carrier named
Fatima, who wore a blue bead in the hole
bored in her nose, and only one other garment
besides, ran beside me at Denderah,
calling me “beautiful princess,” and kissing
my hand until she made my glove sticky.
None of us were too old or too hideous in our
Nile costumes to be called beautiful and
good. My donkey-boy at Karnak assured me
that I was his father and his mother. He
touched his forehead to my hand, then showed
me how his dress was “broken,” and
begged his new father-and-mother to give
him a new one.
They are creatures of a different race.
You treat them as you would treat affectionate
dogs. You beat them if they pick your
pockets, as they do every chance they get,
and then they offer to show you the boy who
did it. I never got to the point of personally
beating mine, but Imam beat a few of them
every day. On one occasion my donkey-boy,
Hassan, was angry with me because I
would not let him buy feed for the donkey,

Ammon Ra, and refused to bring him up
when I wanted to mount. I called to the
dragoman, and said:
“Imam, Hassan won't bring up my donkey.”
Imam looked at him a moment in silence,
then with a lightning slap on the cheek he
laid him flat in the sand. I was horrified.
But to my amazement Hassan hopped up
and began to kiss my sleeve and to apologize,
saying, “Very good lady. Bad donkey-boy.
Hassan sorry. Very good lady.”
We have had three Christmases this year.
The first was in Berlin, the second in Russia,
and the third on the Nile—the day after
the fast of Ramazan is ended. Ramazan
lasts only thirty days instead of forty, like our
Lent. The thirty-first is a holiday. They
present each other with gifts, do no work,
and picnic in the graveyards.
Between Esneh and Luxor we passed a
steamer with some English officers on board,
and their steamer was towing two flat-boats
containing their regiments, all going to
Kitchener in the Soudan. I used the field-glass
on them, while my companion photographed them.
We waved to them, and they
waved to us and swung their hats and saluted.
At Edfou they caught up with us,
and passed so close to our boat that the gentlemen
talked to them and asked what their

regiments were. They said the Twenty-first
Lancers and the Seaforth and Cameron
Highlanders. Then their boat was gone.
How could we know that those gallant officers
of the Twenty-first Lancers would so
soon lead that daring cavalry charge at Omdurman,
and possibly one of those who saluted
so gayly was the one killed on the awful
day? It touched us very much, however,
to think that they might be going to their
death, and we were glad they did not belong
to us, little dreaming that the blowing-up of
the Maine, of which we had just heard,
would so soon plunge our own dear country
into war, and that our own fathers and
brothers and friends would be marching and
sailing away to defend that same “Old
Glory” whose stars and stripes were floating
over our heads, and whose gallant colors
would succor the oppressed and avenge insult
with equal promptness and equal dignity.
The temple of Denderah is not, to my
mind, more beautiful than those of Luxor
and Karnak; in fact, both of those are more
majestic, but the mural decorations of Denderah
are in a state of marvellous preservation.
I own, after seeing that in some places
even the original colors remained, that I
quite held my breath as we approached the
famous figure of Cleopatra. The sorceress

of the Nile! The favorite of the goddess
Hathor herself! The siren who could tempt
an emperor to forsake his empire or a general
to renounce fame and honor more easily
than a modern woman could persuade a man
to break an engagement to dine with her
rival! Queen of the Lotus! Empress of
the Pyramids! What grace, what charm I
anticipated! I wondered if she would be
portrayed floating down to meet Antony,
with her purple and perfumed sails, her
cloth of gold garments, her peacocks, her
ibex, her lotus-blooms, and if all her mysterious
fascinations would be spread before
the delighted gaze of her humble worshipper.
What I found is shown in the frontispiece
to this volume. Beauty unadorned
with a vengeance! From this time on I shall
question the taste of Antony. I only wish
he could have lived to see some American
girls I know.
We saw Karnak and Philae by moonlight,
and we lunched in the tombs of the kings,
with hieroglyphics thousands of years old
looking down upon our pickled onions and
cold fowl, and we ploughed through the
sands at Assouan and saw the naked Nubians,
with a silver ear-ring in the top of
their left ear, shoot the rapids of the first
cataract. We stood, too, in the temple of
Luxor, before the altar of Hathor, with the

sunset on one side and the moonrise on the
other, and heard what her votaries say to the
Goddess of Beauty. It was so mystical that
we almost joined in the worship of the Egyptian
Venus Aphrodite. It was so still, so
majestic, so aloof from everything modern
and new.
The Nile is essentially a river of silence
and mystery. The ibis is always to be seen,
standing alone, seemingly absorbed in
meditation. The camels turn their beautiful
soft eyes upon you as if you were intruding
upon their silence and reserve. Never
were the eyes in a human head so beautiful
as a camel's. There is a limpid softness, an
appealing plaintiveness in their expression
which drags at your sympathies like the look
in the eyes of a hunchback. It means that,
with your opportunities, you might have
done more with your life. Your mother
looks at you that way sometimes in church,
when the sermon touches a particularly raw
nerve in your spiritual make-up. I always
feel like apologizing when a camel looks at
me.
One moonlight night was so bright that
our boat started about three o'clock instead
of waiting for daylight, and the start swung
my state-room door open. It was so warm that
I let it remain, and lay there hearing the gentle
swish of the water curling against the side

of the steamer, and seeing the soft moonlight
form a silver pathway from the yellow bank
across the river to my cabin door. The machinery
made no noise. There was no more
vibration than on a sail-boat. And there was
the whole panorama of the Nile spread before
my eyes, with all its romance and all its mystery
bathed in an enchanting radiance. Occasionally
a raven croaked. Sometimes a
jackal howled. An obelisk made an exclamation-point
against the sky, or the ruins of
a temple fretted the horizon. It was the land
of Ptolemy, of Rameses, of Hathor, of Horus,
of Isis and Osiris, of Herodotus and Cleopatra,
of Pharaoh's daughter and Moses. It
was the silence of the ages which fell upon
me, and then and there, in that hour of absolute
stillness and solitude and beauty unspeakable,
all my dreams of the Nile came
true.

[Back to top]


252

XII
GREECE

After our ship left Smyrna, where the
camels are the finest in the world, and where
the rugs set you crazy, we came across to the
Piraeus, and arrived so late that very few of
the passengers dared to land for fear the ship
would sail without them. It was blowing a
perfect gale, the sea was rough, and the captain
too cross to tell us how long we would
have on shore. I looked at my companion
and she looked at me. In that one glance we
decided that we would see the Acropolis or
die in the attempt. A Cook's guide was
watching our indecision with hungry eyes.
We have since named him Barabbas, for reasons
known to every unfortunate who ever
fell into his hands. But he was clever. He
said that we might cut his head off it he did
not get us back to the boat in time. We assured
him that we would gladly avail ourselves
of his permission if that ship sailed
without us. Then we scuttled down the heaving

stairway at the ship's side, and away we
went over (or mostly through) the waves to
the Piraeus. There we took a carriage, and
at the maddest gallop it ever was my lot to
travel we raced up that lovely smooth avenue,
between rows of wild pepper-trees which met
overhead, to Athens; through Athens at a
run, and reached the Acropolis, blown almost
to pieces ourselves, and with the horses
in a white foam.
Up to that time the Acropolis had been but
a name to me. I landed because it was a
sight to see, and I thought an hour or so
would be better than to miss it altogether.
But when I climbed that hill and set my foot
within that majestic ruin, something awful
clutched at my heart. I could not get my
breath. The tears came into my eyes, and
all at once I was helpless in the grasp of the
most powerful emotion which ever has come
over me in all Europe. I could not understand
it, for I came in an idle mood, no more
interested in it than in scores of other wonders
I was thirsting to see; Luxor, Karnak,
Philae, Denderah — all of those invited me
quite as much as the Acropolis, but here I
was speechless with surprise at my own emotion.
I can imagine that such violence of
feeling might turn a child into a woman, a
boy into a man. All at once I saw the whole
of Greek art in its proper setting. The

Venus of Milo was no longer in the Louvre
against its red background, where French
taste has placed it, the better to set it off.
Its cold, proud beauty was here again in
Greece; the Hermes at Olympia; the Wingless
Victory from the temple of Niké Apteros,
made wingless that victory might never
depart from Athens; the lovelier Winged
Victory from the Louvre, with her electric
poise, the most exhilarating, the most inspiring,
the most intoxicating Victory the world
has ever known, was loosed from her marble
prison, and was again breathing the pure air
of her native hills. Their white figures came
crowding into my mind.
The learning of the philosophers of
Greece; the “plain living and high thinking”
they taught; the unspeakable purity of
her art; the ineffable manner in which her
masters reproduced the idea of the stern, cold
pride of aloofness in these sublime types of
perfect men, wrung my heart with a sense of
personal loss. I can imagine that Pygmalion
felt about Galatea as I felt that first hour in
the Acropolis. I can imagine that a woman
who had loved with the passion of her life
a man of matchless integrity, of superb
pride, of lofty ideals, and who had lost that
love irretrievably through a fault of her
own, whose gravity she first saw through his
eyes when it was too late, might have felt as

I felt in that hour. All the agony of a hopeless
love for an art which never can return;
all the sense of personal loss for the purity
which I was completely realizing for the first
time when it was too late; all the intense
longing to have the dead past live again, that
I might prove myself more worthy of it, assailed
me with as mighty a force as ever the
human heart could experience and still continue
to beat. The piteous fragments of this
lost art which remained—a few columns, the
remnants of an immortal frieze, the long lines
of drapery from which the head and figure
were gone, the cold brow of the Hermes, the
purity of his profile, the proud curve of his
lips, the ineffable wanness of his smile — I
could have cast myself at the foot of the Parthenon
and wept over the personal disaster
which befell me in that hour of realization.
I never again wish to go through such an
agony of emotion. The Acropolis made the
whole of Europe seem tawdry. I felt ashamed
of the gorgeous sights I had seen, of the rich
dinners I had eaten, of the luxuries I had enjoyed.
I felt as if I would like to have the
whole of my past life fall away from me as
a cast-off garment, and that if I could only
begin over I could do so much better with my
life. I could have knelt and beat my hands
together in a wild, impotent prayer for the
past to be given into my keeping for just one

more trial, one more opportunity to live up
to the beauty and holiness and purity I had
missed. When I looked up and saw the
naked columns of the Parthenon silhouetted
against the sky, bereft of their capitals,
ragged, scarred, battered with the war of wind
and weather and countless ages, all about me
the ruins seemed to say, “Your appreciation
is in vain; it is too late, too late!”
I have an indistinct recollection of stumbling
into the carriage, of driving down a
steep road, of having the Pentelikon pointed
out to me, of knowing that near that mountain
lay Marathon, of seeing the statue of
“Greece crowning Byron,” but I heard with
unhearing ears, I saw with unseeing eyes. I
had left my heart and all my senses in the
Acropolis. I believe that one who had left
her loved one in the churchyard, on the way
home for the first time to her empty house,
has felt that dazed, unrealizing yet dumb
heartache that I felt for days after leaving
the Parthenon.
It grew worse the farther I went away
from it, and for two months I have longed
for Athens, Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis.
I wanted to stand and feast my soul upon the
glories which were such living memories.
All through Egypt and up the Nile my one
wish was to live long enough and for the
weeks to fly fast enough for me to get back

to Athens. Now I am here for the second
time, and for as long as I wish to remain.
We came sailing into the harbor just at
sunset. Such a sunset! Such blue in the
Mediterranean! Such a soft haze on the
purple hills! How the gods must have loved
Athens to place her in the garden spot of all
the earth; to pour into her lap such treasures
of art, and to endow her masters with power
to create such an art! The approach is so
beautiful. Our big black Russian ship cut
her way in utter silence through the bluest of
blue seas, with scarcely a ripple on the sunlit
waters, between amethyst islands studded
with emerald fields, making straight for that
which was at one time the bravest, noblest,
most courageous, most beautiful country on
earth.
“The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all except their sun is set.”
Byron's statue stands in the square, surrounded
by evergreens; his picture is in the
École Polytechnique, and his memory and
his songs are revered throughout all Greece.
How her beauty tore at his soul! How her
love for freedom met with an echo in his own
heart! No wonder he sang, with such a

theme! It was enough to give a stone song
and the very rocks utterance.
It was Sunday, and as we drove through
the clean, white streets, feeling absolutely
hushed with the beauty which assailed us on
every side, suddenly we heard the sound of
music, mournful as a dirge—a martial
dirge. And presently we saw approaching
us the saddest, most touching yet awful procession
I ever beheld. It was a military
funeral. First came the band; then came
two men bearing aloft the cover to the casket,
wreathed in flowers and streaming with
crape. Then, borne in an open coffin by four
young officers of his staff, with bands of
crape on their arms and knots of crape on
their swords, was the dead officer, an old,
gray-haired general, dressed in the full uniform
of the Greek army, with his browned,
wrinkled, deep-lined hands crossed over his
sword. The casket was shallow, and thus
he was exposed to the view of the gaping
multitude, without even a glass lid to cover
his bronzed face, and with the glaring sun
beating down upon his closed eyes and noble
gray head. Just behind him they led his riderless
black horse, with his master's boots reversed
in the stirrups and the empty saddle
knotted with crape. It was at once majestic,
heartrending, and terrible. It unnerved me,
and yet it was not surprising to have such a

moving spectacle greet me on my return to
Greece.
We drove over the same road from the
Piraeus to Athens, but in the two months of
our absence they had mended a worn place in
this road and had unearthed a most beautiful
sarcophagus, which they placed in the
national museum. The cement which held
it on its pedestal was not yet dry when we
saw it. They do not know its date, nor the
hand of the sculptor who carved it, yet it
needs no name to proclaim its beauty.
I have now seen Athens as I wanted to see
it. I have seen it consecutively. It was
beautiful to begin with the Acropolis and to
take all day to examine just the frieze of the
Parthenon. We had to have written permission,
which we received through the American
minister, to allow us to climb up on the
scaffolding and get a near view of it. But
we did it, and we were close enough to touch
it, to lay our hands on it, and we waited
hours for the sun to sink low enough to creep
between the giant beams and touch the metopes
so that we could photograph them. Of
course, we could have bought photographs of
them, but it seemed more like possessing
them to take them with our own little
cameras.
The central metope is the most beautiful
and in the best state of preservation of all

this marvel from the hand of Phidias; yet
the work of destruction goes on, as only last
year the head of the rider fell and broke
into a thousand pieces, so that only the horse,
the figure, and the electric splendor of his
wind-blown garments floating out behind him
remain. There is so little of this frieze left
that it requires the full scope of the imagination,
as one stands and looks at it, to picture
this triumphal procession of Pan-Athenians
which every four years formed at the Acropolis
and wound majestically down through
the Sacred Way to the Temple of Mysteries
to sacrifice to the goddess in honor of Marathon
and Salamis.
But we followed this road ourselves. We,
too, took the Sacred Way. On the loveliest
day imaginable we drove along this smooth
white road; we saw the Bay of Salamis; we
wound around the sweetheart curve of her
shore; the purple hills forming the cup
which holds her translucent waters are the
background to this famous battle-ground;
and beyond, set on the brow of one of these
hills like a diadem, is all that remains of the
Temple of Mysteries. Broken columns are
there, pedestals, fragments of proud arches,
now shattered and trodden under foot. Its
majesty is that of a sleeping goddess, so still,
so tranquil, proud even, in its ruins; yet in
such utter silence it lies. In the cracks of

the marble floors, in the crannies of the
walls, springing from beneath the broken
statue, voiceless yet persistent, grow scarlet
poppies—the sleep flowers of the world,
yielding to this yellowing Temple of Mysteries
the quieting influence of their presence.
The next day, almost in the spirit of worship,
we went to Marathon. If Salamis was
my Holy Grail, then Marathon was my
Mecca. We started out quite early in the
morning, with relays of horses to meet us on
the way. It tried to rain once or twice, but
it seemed not to have the heart to spoil my
crusade, for presently the sun struggled
through the ragged clouds and shed a hazy
half light through their edges, which completely
destroyed the terrible, blinding glare
and made the day simply perfect.
The road to Marathon led through orchards
of cherry-trees white with blossoms,
through green vineyards, past groves of olive-trees
which look old enough to have been the
Persian hosts, through groups of cypress-trees,
such noble sentinels of deathless evergreen;
through fields of wild-cabbage blooms,
making the air as sweet as the alfalfa-fields
of the West; across the Valanaris by a little
bridge, and suddenly an isolated farmhouse
with a wine-press, and then—Marathon!

262

“The mountains look on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea,
And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
For standing by the Persian's grave,
I could not deem myself a slave!”
Marathon is only a vast plain, but what a
plain! It has only a small mound in the
centre to break its smoothness, but what
courage, what patriotism, what nobility that
mound covers! It was there, many authorities
say, that all the Athenians were buried
who fell at Marathon, although Byron claims
that it covers the Persian dead.
How Greece has always loved freedom!
In the École Polytechnique are three Turkish
battle-flags and some shells and cannonballs
from a war so recent that the flags have
scarcely had time to dry or the shells to cool.
What a pity, what an unspeakable pity, that
all the glory of Greece lies in the past, and
that the time of her power has gone forever!
Nothing but her brave, undaunted spirit remains,
and never can she live again the
glories of her Salamis, her Marathon, her
Thermopylae.
We have seen Athens in all her guises, the
Acropolis in all her moods, at sunrise, in a
thunder-storm, in the glare of mid-day, at
sunset, and yet we saved the best for the
climax. On the last night we were in Athens

we saw the Acropolis by moonlight. We
nearly upset the whole Greek government to
accomplish this, for the King has issued an
edict that only one night in the month may
visitors be admitted, and that is the night of
the full moon. But I had returned to Athens
with this one idea in my mind, and if I
had been obliged to go to the King myself I
would have done so, and I know that I would
have come away victorious. He never could
have had the heart to refuse me.
It is impossible. I utterly abandon the
idea of making even my nearest and dearest
see what I saw and hear what I heard and
think what I thought on that matchless night.
There was just a breath of wind. The mountains
and hills rose all around us, Lykabettos,
Kolonos—the home of Sophocles—Hymettos,
and Pentelikon with its marble quarries,
made an undulating line of gray
against the horizon, while away at the left
was the Hill of Mars. How still it was!
How wonderful! The rows of lights from
the city converged towards the foot of the
Acropolis like the topaz rays in a queen's
diadem. The blue waters of the harbor glittered
in the pale light. A chime of bells
rang out the hour, coming faintly up to
us like an echo. And above us, bathed,
shrouded, swimming in silver light, was
the Parthenon. The only flowers that grow

at the foot of the Parthenon are the marguerites,
the white-petaled, golden-hearted
daisies, and even in the moonlight these starry
flowers bend their tender gaze upon their
god.
I leaned against one of the caryatides of
the Erechtheion and looked beyond the Parthenon
to the Hill of Mars, where Paul
preached to the Athenians, and I believe
that he must have seen the Acropolis by
moonlight when he wrote, “Wherefore, when
we could no longer forbear, we thought it
good to be left in Athens alone!
What a week we have had in Athens! If I
were obliged to go home to-morrow, if
Greece ended Europe for me, I could go
home satisfied, filled too full of bliss to complain
or even to tell what I felt. I have lived
out the fullest enjoyment of my soul; I have
reached the limit of my heart's desire. Athens
is the goddess of my idolatry. I have
turned pagan and worshipped.
In all my travels I have divided individual
trips into two classes—those which
would make ideal wedding journeys and
those which would not. But the greatest
difficulty I have encountered is how to get
my happy wedded pair over here in order
to begin. I have not the heart to ask them
to risk their happiness by crossing the ocean,
for the Atlantic, even by the best of ships,

is ground for divorce (if you go deep
enough) in itself. I have not yet tried the
Pacific, but I am told that, like most people
who are named Theodosia and Constance
and Winifred, the Pacific does not live up
to its name. However, if I could transport
my people, chloroformed and by rapid transit,
to Greece, I would beg of them to journey
from Athens to Patras by rail; and if that
exquisite experience did not smooth away all
trifling difficulties and make each wish to be
the one to apologize first, then I would mark
them as doomed from the beginning, by their
own insensate and unappreciative natures,
as destined to finish their honeymoon by
separate maintenance and alimony.
How I hate descriptions of scenery! How
murderous I feel when the conventional
novelist interrupts the most impassioned
love-scene to tell how the moonlight filtered
through the ragged clouds, or how the wind
sighed through the naked branches of the
trees, just as if anybody cared what nature
was doing when human nature held the
stage! And yet so marvellous is the fascination
of Greece, so captivating the scenes
which meet the eye from the uninviting window
of a plain little foreign railroad train,
that I cannot forbear to risk similar maledictions
by saying that it is too heavenly for
common words to express.

266

Now, I abominate railroads and I loathe
ships. The only things I really enjoy are a
rocking-chair and a book. But much as I
detest the smell of car-smoke, and to find my
face spotted with soot, and ill as it makes me
to ride backward, I would willingly travel
every month of the year over the road from
Athens to Patras. The mountains are not
so high as to startle, the gulf not so vast as
to shock. But with gentleness you are
drawn more and more into the net of its fascination
until the tears well to your eyes and
there is a positive physical ache in your
heart.
Greece is considerate. I have seen landscapes
so continuously and overpoweringly
beautiful that they bored me. I know how
to sympathize with Alfred Vargrave when he
says to the Duc de Luvois:
“Nature is here too pretentious; her mien
Is too haughty. One likes to be coaxed, not compelled,
To the notice such beauty resents if withheld.
She seems to be saying too plainly, ‘Admire me;'
And I answer, ‘Yes, madam, I do; but you tire me.”'
Not so with Greece, for when you become
almost intoxicated with her wonderful blues
and greens and purples, and you move your
head restlessly and beg a breathing-space,
she compassionately recognizes your mood

and lowers a silver veil over her brilliant
beauty, so that you see her through a gauzy
mist, which presently tantalizes you into
blinking your tired eyes and wondering what
she is so deftly concealing. It is like the
feeling which assails you when you see a
veiled statue. You long for the sculptor to
chisel away the marble gauze and reveal the
features. And when the craving becomes
intolerable, lo! Greece, the past mistress of
the art of beauty, grants your desire, and
with the regal gift of a goddess brings your
soul into its fruition. Cleopatra would
have tantalized and left your heart to eat
itself out in hopeless longing. But Cleopatra
was only a queen; Venus was a goddess.
Names which were but names to you before
become living realities now. We are
crossing the Attic plain, and from that we
find ourselves in the Thracian plain. What
girl has not heard her brother spout concerning
these names, famous in Greek history?
Then we are in Megara, on the lovely blue
Bay of Salamis. From Megara the Bay of
Salamis becomes Saronic Gulf, and after
an hour or two of its unspeakable beauty
we cross over to Corinth and find, if possible,
that the blues of the Gulf of Corinth are
even more sapphire, that its purples are
even more amethyst, that its greens are more

emerald than the blues and purples and
greens of Salamis.
From Corinth the road skirts the sea, and
all these white plains are devoted to the drying
of currants. At Sikyon, called “cucumber
town,” but originally, with the mystic
beauty of the ancient Greeks, called
“poppy town,” the American school at
Athens has made some wonderful excavations.
It has discovered the supports of
the stage of the famous theatre there. Then,
still with the sea before us, we are at Aegium,
a name full of memories of ancient
Greece. It has olive, currant, grape, and
mulberry plantations, and lies shrouded and
bedded in beauty and romance. There, over
a high iron bridge, we cross a rushing mountain
torrent and are at Patras, in the moonlight,
with our big ship waiting to take us
across the Adriatic Sea to Brindisi.
It was with real pain that we left Greece.
I would like to go back to-morrow. But
there were reasons for reaching Italy without
further delay, and we hurried through
Corfu with only a day there to see its loveliness,
instead of a week, as we would have
liked. The Empress of Austria's villa lies
tucked up on a hill-side, in mass of orange,
lemon, cypress, and magnolia trees. Such
an enchanting picture as it presents, and such
wonderful beauty as it encloses. But all

that is modern. What fascinates me in Corfu
is that opposite the entrance to the old
Hyllaean harbor lies the isle of Pontikonisi
(Mouse Island), with a small chapel and
clergy-house. Tradition says that it is the
Phaeacian ship which brought Ulysses to
Ithaka, and which was afterwards turned into
stone by the angry Poseidon (Neptune).
The brook Kressida at the point where it enters
the lake is also pointed out as the spot
where Ulysses was cast ashore and met the
Princess Nausicaa. A seasick sort of name,
that!
I feel an inexplicable delight in letting
my imagination run riot in the Greek traditions
of their gods and goddesses. Their
heroes are more real to me than Caesar and
Xerxes and Alexander. And Hermes and
Venus and the dwellers of Olympus have
been such intimate friends since my childhood
that the scenes of their exploits are of
much more moment to me than Waterloo and
Austerlitz. I cannot forbear laughing at
myself, however, for my holy rage over
Greek mythology, as founded upon no better
ground than that upon which Mark
Twain apologized for his admiration for
Fenimore Cooper's Indians, for he admitted
that they were a defunct race of beings
which never had existed!
We arrived at Brindisi at four o'clock in

the morning. Brindisi at four o'clock in
the morning is not pleasant, nor would any
other city be on the face of this green footstool.
We were in quarantine, and we had
to cope with a cross stewardess, who declared
that we demanded too much service, and that
she would not bring us our coffee in bed, and
who then went and did it like an angel, so
that we patted her on the back and told her
in French that she was “well amiable,” although
at that hour in the morning we would
have preferred to throttle her for her impertinence,
and then to throw her in the Adriatic
Sea as a neat little finish. Such, however,
is our diplomatic course of travel.
We walked in line under the doctor's eye,
and he pronounced us sanitary and permitted
us to land. We were four hours late, but
we scalded ourselves with a second cup of
coffee and tried for the six-o'clock train for
Naples, missed it, sent a telegram to Cook
to send our letters to the train to meet us,
and then went back to the ship to endure with
patience and commendable fortitude the jeers
of our fellow-passengers. Virtue was its
own reward, however, for soon, under the
rays of the rising sun, which we did not get
up to see, and did not want to see, there
steamed into the harbor alongside of us
the P. & O. ship Sutly, six hours ahead of
time (did you ever hear of such a thing?),

bearing our belated friends, the Jimmies,
from Alexandria. They had been booked
for the China, which was wrecked, so the
Sutly too her passengers. The Jimmies
had bought their passage for Venice, but
we teased them to throw it up and come with
us, and such is our fascination that they
yielded. The love which reaches the purse
is love indeed. So in a fever of joy we all
caught the nine-o'clock train for Naples.
They have a sweet little way on Italian
railroads of making no provision for you to
eat. We did not know this, and our knowledge
of Italian was limited to Quanto tempo?
(How much time?) and Quanto costa?
(How much is it?) So we punctuated the
lovely journey among the Italian hills, and
between their admirable waterways, by hopping
off the train for coffee every time they
said “Cinque minuti.” It was like a picnic
train. Half the passengers were from
the P. & O., and knew the Jimmies, and
the other half were from our Austrian Lloyd,
and knew us, so it was perfectly delicious
to see every compartment door fly open and
everybody's friend appear with tea-kettles
for hot water in one hand and tea-caddies
in the other, and to see people who hated
boiled eggs buying them, because they were
about all that looked clean; and to see staid
Englishmen in knickerbockers and monocles

with loops of Italian bread over each tweed
arm, and in both hands flasks of cheap red
Italian wine—oh, so good! and only costing
fifty centimes, but put up in those
lovely straw-woven decanters which cost us
a real pang to fling out of the window after
they were emptied. And it was anything
but conventional to hear one friend shout
to another, “Don't pay a lira for those mandarins;
I got twice that many from this pirate!”
And then the five minutes would be
up, and the guard would come along and call
“Pronto,” which is much prettier than “All
aboard,” but which means about the same
thing; and then two ear-splitting whistles
and a jangling of bells, and the doors would
slam, and we were off again.
It was moonlight when we skirted the Bay
of Naples—the same moonlight which lighted
the Acropolis for us at Athens, which shed
its silver loveliness upon the Adriatic Sea,
where we had no one whose soul shared its
beauty with us, and which we found again
glittering upon the Bay of Naples. We stood
at the car-window and watched it for an hour,
for all that time our train was winding its
way around the shore into Naples.
That curve of the shore, that sheet of rippling
sapphire, the glint of the moon on the
water, the train trailing its slow length
around the bay, are associated in my mind

with one of those emotional upheavals which
travellers must often experience in passing
from one phase of civilization to another.
It marks one of the mile-stones in my inner
life. I was leaving the East, the pagan East,
with its mysterious influence, and I was getting
back to Cooks' tourists and Italy. My
mind was in a whirl. Which was best?
Why should I so love one, and why did the
other bore me? I was afraid to follow the
yearnings of my own soul, and yet I knew
that only there lay happiness. To make up
one's mind to be true to one's love—even if it
be only the love of beauty—requires courage.
And the trial of my bravery came to me on
that curve of the Bay of Naples. I dared. I
am daring now. I am still true to the Orient.
As I look back I remember that the phrase,
“See Naples and die,” gave me the hazy idea
that it must be very beautiful, but just how
I did not know, and did not particularly care.
I knew the bay would be lovely; I only hoped
it would be as lovely as I expected. Celebrated
beauties are so apt to be disappointing.
I imagined that all Neapolitan boys
wore their shirt-collars open and that a wavy
lock of coal-black hair was continually blowing
across their brown foreheads. That
eternal porcelain miniature has maddened
me with it omnipresence ever since I was a
child. But aside from these half-thoughts

and dim expectations I had no hopes at all.
I was prepared to be gently and tranquilly
pleased; not wildly excited, but satisfied;
not happy, but contented with its beauty.
But I have found more. The bay is more
lovely than I anticipated, and I have discovered
that Italian hair is not coal-black; it begins
to be black at the roots, and evidently had
every intention of being black when it started
out, but it grew weary of so much energy,
and ended in sundry shades of russet
brown and sunburned tans. It generally
has these two colors, black and tan, like the
silky coat of a fine terrier, and it waves in
lovely little tendrils, and is much prettier
than hair either all black or all brown.
But I am ahead of my narrative. I am
trying to decide whether Naples is more
beautifully situated than Constantinople.
Constantinople, being Oriental, fascinates me
more. Western Europe begins to seem a little
tame and conventional to me, because the
pagan in my nature is so highly developed. I
detest civilization except for my own selfish
bodily comfort. When I eat and sleep I
want the creature comforts. Otherwise I
love those thieving Arab servants in Cairo
(who would steal the very shoes off your feet
if you dropped off for your forty winks) because
of their uncivilization and unconventionality.
Civilization has not yet spoiled

them. I bought rugs in Cairo, and often
when I went unexpectedly into my room I
found my Arab man - servant on his knees
studying their patterns and feeling their
silkiness. I had everything locked up, or
perhaps he would have made worse use of his
time; but somehow the childishness of the
East appeals to me.
Constantinople is so delightfully dirty and
old. Mrs. Jimmie sniffs at me because I can
stop the peasants who lead their cows through
the streets of Naples, and because I can drink
a glass of warm milk; Mrs. Jimmie wants
hers strained. But if I can eat “Turkish
Delight” in Constantinople, buying it in the
bazaars, seeing it cut off the huge sticky mass
with rusty lamp-scissors, perhaps dropped on
the dirt-floor, and in a moment of abstraction
polished off on the Turk's trousers and rolled
in soft sugar to wrap the real in the ideal—if
I can cope with that problem, surely a trifle
like drinking unstrained milk, with the consoling
satisfaction of stopping the carriage in
an adorable spot, with the blue waters of the
bay curling up on its shore down below on
the right, and a sheer cliff covered with moss
and clinging vines and surmounted by a superb
villa on the left, is nothing. For to eat
or to drink amid such romantic surroundings,
even if it were unstrained milk, was an experience
not to be despised.

276

Yet here are two cities situated like amphitheatres
upon the convex curve of two ideally
beautiful harbors. How do you compare
them? Each according to your own temper
and humor. You have seen hundreds of colored
photographs both of Naples and Constantinople.
But of the two you will find
only Naples exactly like the pictures. Everybody
agrees about Naples. People disagree
delightfully about Constantinople.
Some can never get beyond the dirt and
smells and thievery. Some never get used
to the delicious thrills of surprise which every
turn and every corner and every vista
and every night and every morning hold for
the beauty-lover. Nothing could be more
heterodox, more bizarre, more unconventional
than Constantinople scenes. Nothing
could be more orthodox than the views
of Naples. To be sure, poets have written
reams of poetry about it, travellers have sent
home pages of rhapsodies about it, tourists
have conscientiously “done” the town, with
their heads cocked on one side and their forefingers
on a paragraph in Baedeker; but just
because of this, because everybody on earth
who ever has been to Naples—man or woman,
Jew or Gentile, black or white, bond
or free—has wept and gurgled and had hysteria
over its mild and placid beauty, is one
reason why I find it somewhat tame. Italian

scenery seems to me laid out by a landscape-gardener.
Its beauty is absolutely conventional.
Nobody will blame you if you admire
it. To rave over it is like going to
church—it is the proper thing to do. People
will raise their eyebrows if you don't, and
watch what you eat, and speculate on your
ancestry, and wonder about your polities.
The beauty of Italy is so proper and
Church of England that you are looked upon
as a dissenter if you do not rhapsodize about
it. But it disappoints me to feel obliged to
follow the multitude like a flock of sheep and
to take the dust of those feeble-minded tourists
who have preceded me and set the pace.
There is nothing in the scenery of all Italy
to shock your love of beauty from the staid
to the original. There is nothing to give
your sensitive soul little shivers of surprise.
There is nothing to make you hesitate for fear
you ought not to admire; you know you
ought. You feel obliged to do so because everybody
has done it before you, and you will
be thought queer if you don't. There is a
gentle, pretty-pretty haze of romance over
Italian scenery which is like reading fairy-tales
after having devoured Carlyle. It is
like hearing Verdi after Wagner. The East
has my real love. I find that I cannot rave
over a pink and white china shepherdess
when I have worshipped the Venus of Milo.

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278

XIII
NAPLES

The point of view is always the pivot of
recollection. How ought one of remember
a place? There are a dozen ways of enjoying
Naples, and twenty ways of being miserable
in America. Or turn it the other way,
it makes no difference. It depends upon
one's self and the state of the spleen. Before
I came to Europe I remember often to
have been disgusted with persons who recalled
Germany by its beer and Spain by its
fleas, or those who said: “Cologne! Oh yes;
I remember we got such a good breakfast
there.”
Ah, ha! It is so easy to sniff when one is
mooning in imagination over cathedrals, but
I have since taken back all those sniffs. I
did not realize then the misery of standing
on one foot all the morning in tombs, and
on the other all the afternoon in museums,
and then of going home to sleep on an ironing-board.
Now I, too, think gratefully of
the Bay of Naples as being near that good

bed, and of the Pyramids as being near the
excellent table of Shepheard's. Why not?
Can one rave over Vesuvius on an empty
stomach, or get all the beauty out of Sorrento
with a backache? One must be well
and have good spirits when one travels. It is
not so essential merely to be comfortable, although
that helps wonderfully. But even to
get soaking wet could not utterly spoil the
road to Posilipo. What a heavenly drive!
Although I think with more fondness of scaling
the heights of Capri in a trembling little
Italian cab, not because both views were not
divinely beautiful, but because when in
Capri my clothes were not damply sticking
to me, and I had no puddle of water in each
shoe. As I look back I believe I could write
specific directions from personal experience
on “How to be Happy when Miserable.”
Jimmie always bewails the fact that the
American girl lives on her nerves. “Goes
on her uppers” is his choice phrase. Nevertheless,
it pulled us through many a mental
bog while travelling so continuously.
Therefore, from a dozen different recollections
of Naples, eleven of which you may
read in your red-covered Baedeker, or Recollections
of Italy
, or Leaves from my Note-Book,
or Memories of Blissful Hours, and
similar productions, I have most poignantly
to remember our shopping experiences in

Naples. But before launching my battleship
I owe an apology to the worshippers of
Italy. I can appreciate their rapturous
memories. I share in a measure their enthusiasm.
To a certain temper Italy would
be adorable for a honeymoon or to return
to a second or a fifth time. But it is not in
human nature, after having come from Russia,
Egypt, and Greece, to have one's pristine
enthusiasm to pour out in torrents over the
ladylike beauty of Italy, because these other
countries are so much more unfrequented,
more pagan, and more fascinating. But in
daring to say that, I again pull my forelock
to Italy's worshippers.
To begin with, we were robbed all through
Italy; not robbed in a common way, but, to
the honor of the Italians let me say, robbed
in a highly interesting and somewhat exciting manner.
Somebody has said, “What a beautiful
country Italy would be if it were not for the
Italians!” We are used to having our things
stolen, and to being overcharged for everything
just because we are Americans, but we
are not used to the utter brigandage of Italy.
On the Russian ship coming from Odessa to
Constantinople some of the second-cabin passengers
got into our state-rooms during dinner
and went through our hand-baggage,
which we had left unlocked, and stole my

ulster. And, of course, in Constantinople
they warned us not to trust the Greeks, for
it is their form of comparison to say, “He
lies like a Greek,” while in Greece the worst
thing they can say is that “He steals like a
Turk.” In Cairo it was not necessary to
warn us, for everybody knows what liars and
thieves Arabs are. Not a day went by on
those donkey excursions on the Nile that the
men did not have their pockets picked. The
passengers on the Mayflower lost enough silk
handkerchiefs to start a haberdasher's shop,
and every woman lost money. In Cairo,
whether you go to the bazaars or to a mosque
to see the faithful at their prayers, your
dragoman tells you not to have anything of
value in your pockets, and not to carry your
purse in your hand.
But we had not even got through the custom-house
at Brindisi, when Gaze's man
recommended us to have our trunks corded
and sealed, for they are sometimes broken
open on the train. We thought this rather
a useless precaution, but Jimmie has travelled
so much that he made us do it. It seems
that the King has admitted that he is powerless
to stop these outrages, and so he begs
foreign travellers to protect themselves, inasmuch
as he is unable to protect them.
We stayed at the smartest hotel in Naples,
but we had not been there two days before

Jimmie's valises were broken open, and all
his studs and forty pounds in money were
stolen. That frightened us almost to death,
but something worse happened. One day at
three o'clock in the afternoon my companion
was sitting in her room writing a letter, and
she happened to look up just in time to see
the handle of the door turn slowly and softly.
Then the door opened a crack, still without
a sound, and a man with a black beard
put in his head. As he met her eyes fixed
squarely upon him he closed the door as
silently as a shadow. She hurried after him
and looked out, and ran up the corridor peering
into every possible corner, but no man
could she see. He had disappeared as completely
as if he had been a ghost. She reported
it to the proprietor, but he shrugged
his shoulders, and said, “Madam must have
imagined it!”
By this time we were all feeling rather
creepy. However, as Jimmie says when we
are all tired out and hungry and cross,
“Cheer up. The worst is yet to come.”
One day my companion and Mrs. Jimmie
and I went to one of the best shops in all
Italy, to buy a ring. Mrs. Jimmie was getting
it for her husband's birthday.
Now, Mrs. Jimmie's own rings are extremely
beautiful, and her very handsomest
consists of a band of blue-white matched diamonds

which exactly fills the space between
her two fingers, and is so heavy and so fine
that only Tiffany could duplicate it. The
band of the ring is merely a fine wire. To
try on Jimmie's rings, Mrs. Jimmie took off
all hers and laid them on the counter. Now,
mind you, this was a famous jeweller's where
this happened. But when she had decided
to take the new ring, and turned to put on
her own again, lo! this especial ring was gone.
We searched everywhere. We told the clerk,
but he said she had not worn such a ring.
This was the first thing which made us suspect
that something was wrong. We insisted,
and he reiterated. Finally, I made up my
mind. I said to my companion: “You stand
at the front door and have Mrs. Jimmie
stand at the side door. Don't you permit
any one either to enter or leave, while I rush
around to Cook's office and find out what can
be done.” Both women turned pale, but
obeyed me. One clerk started for the back
door, but we called him and told him that
no one was to move until we could get the
police there. Then such a scurrying and such
a begging as there was! Would madam
wait just one moment? Would madam permit
them to call the proprietor? (Anybody
would have thought it was my ring, for Mrs.
Jimmie's clam was not even ruffle, while I
was in a white heat, and all their impassioned

appeals were addressed to me!) I said
they could call the proprietor if they could
call him without leaving the room. They
called him in Italian. He came, a little,
smooth, brown, man, with black, shoe-button
eyes. We explained to him just what had
taken place, Mrs. Jimmie with her back
against one door, and my companion braced
against the side door, like Ajax defying the
lightning.
He rubbed his hands, and listened to a
torrent of excited Italian from no fewer than
ten crazy clerks. Then I stated the case in
English. The proprietor turned to Mrs.
Jimmie, and said if madam was so sure that
she had worn a ring, which all his clerks assured
him she had not worn, then, for the
honor of his house, he must beg madam to
choose another ring, of whatever value she
liked, and it should be a present from him!
Now, Mrs. Jimmie is a very Madonna of
calmness, but at that she ignited. She told
him that Tiffany had been six months matching
those stones, and that not in all his shop
—not in the whole of Italy—could be find
a duplicate. At that another search took
place, and I, just to make things pleasant,
started for the American ambassador's. (I
had risen a peg from Cook's!) Such pleading!
Such begging! Two of the clerks actually
wept—Italian tears. When lo! a shout

of triumph, and from a remote corner of the
shop, quite forty feet from us, in a place
where we had not been, under a big vase, they
found that ring! If it had had the wings of
a swallow it could not have flown there. If
it had had the legs of a centipede it could
not have crawled there. The proprietor was
radiant in his unctuous satisfaction. “It
had rolled there!” Rolled! That ring! It
had no more chance of rolling than a loaded
die! We all sniffed, and sniffed publicly.
Mrs. Jimmie, I regret to say, was weak
enough to buy the ring she had ordered for
Jimmie in spite of this occurrence. But I
think I don't blame her. I am weak myself
about buying things. But that is a sample
of Italian honesty, and in a shop which would
rank with our very best in New York or Chicago.
Heaven help Italy!
Italian politeness is very cheap, very thin-skinned,
and, like the French, only for the
surface. They pretend to trust you with
their whole shop; they shower you with polite
attentions; you are the Great and Only
while you are buying. But I am of the opinion
that you are shadowed by a whole army
of spies if you owe a cent, and that for lack
of plenty of suspicion and prompt action to
recover I am sure that neither the Italians
nor the French ever lost a sou.
We went into the best tortoise-shell shop

in all Naples to buy one dozen shell hair-pins,
but such was the misery we experienced at
leaving any of the treasures we encountered
that we bought three hundred dollars' worth
before we left, and of course did not have
enough money to pay for them. So we said
to lay the things aside for us, and we would
draw some money at our banker's, and pay
for them when we came to fetch them.
Not for the world, declared this Judas Iscariot,
this Benedict Arnold of an Italian
Jew! We must take the thing with us. Were
we not Americans, and by Americans did he
not live? Behold, he would take the articles
with his own hands to our carriage. And he
did, despite our protests. But the villain
drew on us through our banker before we
were out of bed the next morning! I felt
like a horse-thief.
However, I confess to a weakness for the
overwhelmingly polite attentions one receives
from Italian and French shopkeepers. One
gets none of it in Germany, and in America
I am always under the deepest obligations
if the haughty “sales-ladies” and “sales-gentlemen”
will wait on the men and women
who wish to buy. I am accustomed to the
ignominy of being ignored, and to the insult
of impudence if I protest; but why, oh,
why, do politeness and honesty so seldom go
together?

287

There is a decency about Puritan American
which appeals to me quite as much as the
rugged honesty of American shopkeepers.
The unspeakable street scenes of Europe
would be impossible in America. In Naples
all the mysteries of the toilet are in certain
quarters of the city public property, and the
dressing-room of children in particular is
bounded by north, east, south, and west, and
roofed by the sky.
I have seen Italians comb their beards over
their soup at dinner. I have seen every
Frenchman his own manicure at the opera.
I have seen Germans take out their false
teeth at the table d'hôte and rinse them
in a glass of water, but it remains for Naples
to cap the climax for Sunday-afternoon
diversions.
A curious thing about European decency is
that it seems to be forced on people by law,
and indulged in only for show. The Gallic
nations are only veneered with decency.
They have, almost to a man, none of it naturally,
or for its own sake. Take, for example,
the sidewalks of Paris after dark.
The moment public surveillance wanes or
the sun goes down the Frenchman becomes
his own natural self.
The Neapolitan's acceptation of dirt as
a portion of his inheritance is irresistibly
comic to a pagan outsider. To drive down

the Via di Porto is to see a mimic world.
All the shops empty themselves into the
street. They leave only room for your cab
to drive through the maze of stalls, booths,
chairs, beds, and benches. At nightfall they
light flaring torches, which, viewed from the
top of the street, make the descent look like
a witch scene from an opera.
It is the street of the very poor, but one
is struck by the excellent diet of these same
very poor. They eat as a staple roasted artichokes—a
great delicacy with us. They
cook macaroni with tomatoes in huge iron
kettles over charcoal fires, and sell it by the
plateful to their customers, often hauling it
out of the kettles with their hands, like a
sailor's hornpipe, pinching off the macaroni
if it lengthens too much, and blowing on their
fingers to cool them. They have roasted
chestnuts, fried fish, boiled eggs, and long
loops of crisp Italian bread strung on a
stake. There are scores of these booths in
this street, the selling conducted generally
by the father and grown sons, while the wife
sits by knitting in the smoke and glare of
the torches, screaming in peasant Italian to
her neighbor across the way, commenting
quite openly upon the people in the cabs, and
wondering how much their hats cost. The
bambinos are often hung upon pegs in the
front of the house, where they look out of

their little black, beady eyes like pappooses.
I unhooked one of these babies once, and held
it awhile. Its back and little feet were held
tightly against a strip of board so that it
was quite stiff from its feet to its shoulders.
It did not seem to object or to be at all uncomfortable,
and as it only howled while I
was holding it I have an idea that, except
when invaded by foreigners, the bambino's
existence is quite happy. Babies seem to be
no trouble in Italy, and one cannot but be
struck by the number of them. One can
hardly remember seeing many French babies,
for the reason that there are so few to remember—so
few, indeed, that the French government
has put a premium upon them; but in
Naples the pretty mothers with their pretty
babies, playing at bo-peep with each other
like charming children, are some of the most
delightful scenes in this fascinating Street of
the Door.
These bambinos hooked against the wall
look down upon curious scenes. Their mothers
bring their wash-tubs into the street,
wash the clothes in plain view of everybody,
hang them on clothes-lines strung between
two chairs, while a diminutive charcoal-stove,
with half a dozen irons leaning against its
sides, stands in the doorway ready to perform
its part in the little scene. I saw a boy cooking
two tiny smelts over a tailor's goose. The

handle was taken off, and the fish were frying
so merrily over the glowing coals, and
they looked so good, and the odor which
steamed from them was so ravishing, that I
wanted to ask him if I might not join him
and help him cook two more.
In point of fact, Naples seems like a holiday
town, with everybody merely playing at
work, or resting from even that pretence.
The Neapolitans are so essentially an out-of-door
people and a leisurely people that it
seems a crime to hurry. The very goats wandering
aimlessly through the streets, nibbling
around open doorways, add an element of
imbecile helplessness to a childish people.
Did you ever examine a goat's expression
of face? For utter asininity a donkey cannot
approach him. Nothing can, except, perhaps,
an Irish farce-comedian.
Beautiful cows are driven through the
streets, often attended by the owner's family.
The mother milks for the passing customers,
the father fetches it all lovely and foaming
and warm to your cab, and the pretty,
big-eyed children caper around you, begging
for a “macaroni” instead of a “pourboire.”
Then, instead of dining at your smart hotel,
it is so much more adorable to drop in at
some charming restaurant with tables set in
the open air, and to hear the band play, and

to eat all sorts of delicious unknowable
dishes, and to drink a beautiful golden wine
called “Lachrima Christi” (the tears of
Christ), and to watch the people—the people—the
people!

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292

XIV
ROME

On Easter Sunday I had my first view of
Rome, my first view of St. Peter's. The day
was as soft and mild as one of our own spring
days, and there was even that little sharp
tang in the air which one feels in the early
spring in America. The wind was sweet and
balmy, yet now and then it had a sharp edge
to it as it cut around a curve, as if to remind
one that the frost was not yet all out of the
ground, and that the sun was still only the
heir-apparent to the throne and had not yet
been crowned king. It was the sort of day
that one has at home a little later, when one
still likes the feel of the fur around the neck,
while the trees are still bare, when the eager
spring wind brings a tingle to the blood and
the smell of rich, black earth and early green
springing things to the nostrils; when the eye
is ravished with the sight of purple hyacinths
thrusting their royal chalices up through the
reluctant soil; when the sun-colored jonquil
and the star-eyed narcissus lift their scented

heads above the sombre ground, as if unconscious
of the patches of snow here and there,
forming one of the contradictions of life, but
a contradiction always welcome, because it is
in itself a promise of better things to come.
Not in the full fruition of a rose - laden
June or in the golden days of Indian summer
or the ruddy autumn or the white holiness of
Christmas-tide—not in the beauties of the
whole year is there anything so exhilarating,
so thrilling, so intoxicating as these first days
of spring, which always come with a delicious
shock of surprise, before one suspects their
approach or has time to grow weary with
waiting. Nothing, nothing in the world
smells like a spring wind! It is full of
youth and promise and inspiration. One
forgets all the falseness of its promises last
year, all the disappointment of the past summer,
and, charged with its bewildering electricity,
one builds a thousand air-castles as
to what this year will bring forth, based on
no surer a foundation than the smell of melting
snow and fresh black earth and yellow
and purple spring flowers which are blown
across one's ever-hopeful soul by a breath of
eager, tingling spring wind.
I shall never forget that first drive in
Rome on such a day as this, which brought
my own beloved country so forcibly to my
mind. There were rumors of war in the

air, and my heart was heavy for my country,
but I forgot all my forebodings as we drew
up before the majestic steps of St. Peter's,
for I felt that something would happen to
avert disaster from our shores and keep my
country safe and victorious.
St. Peter's had a curious effect upon me.
It was too big and too secular and too boastful
for a church, too poor in art treasures for
a successful museum, the music too inadequate
to suit me with the echoes of the Tzar's
choir still ringing in my ears, and the lack of
pomp compared to the Greek churches left
me with a longing to hunt up more gold lace
and purple velvet. There was nothing like
the devoutness of the Russians in the worshippers
I saw in Rome. I stood a long time
by the statue of the Pope. His toe was nearly
kissed off, but every one carefully wiped
off the last kiss before placing his or her own,
thereby convincing me of the universal belief
in the microbe theory. The whole attitude
of the Roman mind is different. Here it is
a religious duty. In Russia it is a sacrament.
There were thousands of people in St.
Peter's, many of whom—the best-dressed
and the worst-behaved—were Americans.
It seemed very homelike and intimate to
hear my own language spoken again, even if
it were sometimes sadly mutilated. But I

remember St. Peter's that Easter Sunday
chiefly because I had with me a sympathetic
companion; one who knew that St.
Peter's was not a place to talk; one who
knew enough to absorb in silence; one, in
fact, who understood! Such comprehensive
silence was to my ragged spirit balm
and healing.
Beware, oh, beware with whom you travel!
One uncongenial person in the party—one
man who sneers at sentiment, one woman
whose point of view is material—can ruin the
loveliest journey and dampen one's heavenliest
enthusiasm.
In order to travel properly, one ought to
be in vein. It is as bad to begin a journey
with a companion who gets on one's nerves
as it is to sit down to a banquet and quarrel
through the courses. The effect is the same.
One can digest neither. People seem to
select travelling companions as recklessly as
they marry. The generally manage to
start with the wrong one. I often shudder
to hear two women at a luncheon say, “Why
not arrange to go to Europe together next
year?” And yet I solace myself with the
thought,“Why not? If you considered
your list of friends for a month, and selected
the most desirable, you would probably make
even a worse mistake, for travelling develops
hatred more than any other one thing I know

of; so, in addition to spoiling your journey,
you would also lose your friend—or wish you
could lose her!”
George Eliot has said that there was no
greater strain on friendship than a dissimilarity
of taste in jests. But I am inclined to
believe George Eliot never travelled extensively,
else, without disturbing that statement,
she would have added, “or a dissimilarity
in point of view with one's travelling
companion.”
It makes no difference which one's view
is the loftier. It is the dissimilarity which
rasps and grates. Doubtless the material is
as much irritated by the spiritual as the
poetic is fretted by the prosaic. It is worse
than to be at a Wagner matinée with a woman
who cares only for Verdi. One wishes to
nudge her arm and feel a sympathetic pressure
which means, “Yes, yes, so do I!” It
is awful not to be able to nudge! Speech is
seldom imperative, but understanding signals
is as necessary to one's soul-happiness as air
to the lungs. So Greece with one who has
but a Baedeker knowledge of art, or Rome to
one who remembers her history vaguely as
something that she “took” at school, is simply
maddening to one who forgets the technicalities
of dates and formulae, and rapturously
breathes it in, scarcely knowing
whence came the love or knowledge of it,

but realizing that one has at last come into
one's kingdom.
I was singularly fortunate from time to
time in discovering these kindred, sympathetic
spirits. I met one party of three
in Egypt, and found them again in Greece,
and crossed to Italy with them. It was a
mother and son and a lovely girl. They will
never know, unless they happen across this
page, how much they were to me on the Adriatic,
and what a void they filled in Athens.
I found another such at Capri and Pompeii,
and those beautiful days stand out in
my mind more for the company I was in
than even the wonders we went to see. That
statement is strong but true. Yet my various
other fellow-travellers who were lacking
in the one essential of soul would never believe
it, inasmuch as a person without a soul
cannot miss what she never had, and will not
believe what she cannot comprehend. I
met one ill-assorted couple of that kind once.
They were two young women—sisters. One
had imagination, soul, fire, poetry, and all
that goes to make up genius; but lacking as
she did executive ability and perseverance,
her genius was inarticulate. The impersonal
world would never know her beauties, but
her friends were rich in her acquaintance.
Her sister was a walking Baedeker—red
cover, gold letters, and all. She was “doing

Europe.” She read her guide-book, she
saw nothing beyond, and the only time that
she really blossomed was when dressing for
table d'hôte dinners. I found them at the
Grand Hôtel at Rome—one of the most
beautiful and well-kept hotels, and one admirably
adapted to display the tourist who
tours on principle.
This gorgeous hotel on Easter week is a
sight for gods and men. We engaged our
rooms here while we were on the Nile, two
months before, and reminded them once a
week all during that time that we were coming;
otherwise, on account of its extreme
popularity in the fashionable world, they
might not have been able to hold them for
us. We reached there late on the Saturday
evening before Easter, and dined in our own
apartments. But the next day, and indeed
until war broke out and we fled from Rome,
the Grand Hôtel was as delightful as it was
possible to make a gorgeous, luxurious, and
fashionable hotel. The palm-room, where
the band plays for afternoon tea, and where
one always comes for one's coffee, is between
the entrance and the grand dining-room, so
that on entering the hotel one comes upon a
most beautiful vista of a series of huge glass
doors and lovely green waving palms, with
nothing but a glass roof between one and the
blue Italian sky.

299

Most of the smart Americans go there,
and a very beautiful front they presented.
I had not seen any American clothes for a
year, but on Easter Sunday at luncheon I
saw the most bewitching array of smart
street-gowns worn by the inimitable American
woman, who is as far beyond the women
of every other race on earth in her selection
of clothes and the way she holds up her head
and her shoulders back and walks off in them
as grand opera is above a hand-organ. Even
the French woman does not combine the good
sense with good taste as the American does.
And there I found these sisters, each lovely
in her own way—the pretty one listening to
the raptures of the poetic one with a palpable
sneer which said plainly: “I not only have no
part in these vain imaginings, but I do not
think that you yourself believe them. You
are posing for the world, and I am the only
one who knows it. Have I not been with you
everywhere, and have I, with my two eyes,
which certainly are as good as yours—have
I seen these things you describe?” It was
pathetic, for the muse of the poet soon felt
the mire in which it daily trod. The fire
faded from the girl's eye, her radiance disappeared,
her noble enthusiasms paled, her
fantastic and brilliant imagination dulled,
and soon she sat listlessly in our midst, a
tired, patient smile upon her delicate face,

while her sister discoursed volubly upon
clothes. Alas, the old fable of the iron pot
and the porcelain kettle drifting down the
stream together! At the end of the journey
the iron pot had not even a scratch upon its
thick sides, but the porcelain was broken to
pieces. How I longed to take that wounded
imagination, that whimsical wit, under my
wing and explore Rome with her! But
circumstances held the two together, and I
took instead my guide, Seraphino Malespina.
Seraphino deserves a chapter by himself.
His observations upon human nature were
of much more value of me than his knowledge
of Rome, accurate and worthy as that
was. He was the best guide I ever had. I
had heard of him, so when we arrived I
simply wrote to him and engaged him by the
week. He took us everywhere, never wasted
our money (which is a wonder in a guide),
and, while I may forget some of his dates
and statistics, I shall never forget his
shrewdness in understanding human nature.
His disquisitions on the ordinary tourist,
and his acute analysis of the two sisters I
have described, were so accurate that I determined
then and there that Seraphino was
a philosopher. The interest I took in his
narratives pleased him to such an extent
that he was unwearied in searching out interesting
material. I taught him to use the camera,

and he photographed us in the Colosseum
and in front of the Arch of Constantine.
He persuaded me to coax the poet away
from her sister one day and to take her with
me instead of my companion. I did so, and
to this day I thank my guide for his wisdom,
for once out from under the sister's depressing
influence, that whimsical genius, worthy
of being classed with the most famous of
wits, blossomed under my appreciative
laughter like a rose in the sunlight.
We saw , too, the magnificent statue of
Garibaldi—a superb thing, which overlooks
the whole city of Rome. We tossed pennies
into the fountain of the Trevi, and drank
some of the water, which is a sure sign, if
you wish it at the time you drink, that you
will return to Rome.
It was on the day that we went to Tivoli
that I heard the first war news from America
which I regarded final. We were on the
Nile when the Maine was blown up, and all
through Egypt and Greece news was slow
to travel. When we got to Italy we were
dependent upon London for despatches. I
waited until I received my own papers before
I knew the truth. Finally, on our departure
for Tivoli, my American mail was
handed to me, and I found what preparations
were being made—that my brother was
going! I remember Tivoli as in a haze of

war-clouds. America arming herself for
war once more! Some of my family—my
very own—preparing to go! How much
do you think I cared for the Emperor Hadrian
and his villa, which was a whole town
in itself, and his waterfalls and his wonderful
objects of art?
At any other time how I would have revelled
in the idea of his two theatres, his
schools, his libraries, his statues pillaged
from my beautiful Greece, his philosopher's
wall—a huge wall built only for shade, so
that his friends who came to discourse philosophy
with him could walk in its west
shadow mornings, and in its east shadow afternoons;
all these things would have driven
me wild with enthusiasm. But on that day
I saw instead the Flying Squadron in Hampton
Roads, painted black. I saw the President
and his secretaries, with anxious faces,
consulting with their generals; I saw how
awful must be the sacrifice to the country in
every way—money, commerce, health, the
very lives of the dear soldiers of our army,
who fight from choice, and not because law
compels their enlistment. My companion
ridiculed my anxiety and rallied me on my
inattention to Hadrian. Hadrian! What
was Hadrian to me when I thought of the
volunteers in America?
Not two days later was was formally declared,

and although Rome was yet practically
unexplored, although we had been there
only three weeks, we rushed post-haste to
Paris, spent one day gathering up our
trunks from Munroe's, and left that same
night for London.
Once in London, however, we found ourselves
blocked. The American Line steamships
had been requisitioned by the government,
and were no longer at our disposal.
With changed names they were turned into
war vessels, and few, indeed, were the women
who would go aboard them in the near
future. The North German Lloyd promised
us the new Kaiser Friedrich, and every
place was taken. We went to the Cecil
Hotel and waited. Day after day passed, and
the sailing-day was postponed once, then
twice. I was frantic with impatience. The
truth was the Kaiser Friedrich was not quite
finished. Evidently it is the same with a
ship as with dress-makers. They promise to
finish your gown and send it home for
Thanksgiving, whereas you are in luck if
you get it by Christmas.
The only thing that consoled me was being
at the Cecil. To be sure, it was filled with
Americans, but I was not avoiding them
then. I had finished my journeyings. I
had got my point of view. I was going
HOME!

304

How I wished for poor Bee! What an
awful time she had with me at “The Insular”!
(which, of course, is not its real name;
but I dare not tell it, because it is so smart,
and I would shock its worshippers). How
she hated our lodgings! Now she will not
believe me when I tell her that the Cecil is
as good as an American hotel; that its elevators
(lifts) really move; that its cuisine is
as delicious as Paris; that its service is excellent.
Bee is polite but incredulous. To
be sure, I tell her that the hotel is as ugly as
only an English architect could make it;
that the blue tiles in the dining-room would
make of it a fine natatorium, if they would
only shut the doors and turn in the water—nothing
convinces her that English hotels are
not jellied nightmares. But as for me, I recall
the Cecil with feelings of the liveliest
appreciation. I was comfortable there, for
the first time in England. If it had not been
for the war I would have been happy.
The hotels in London which the English
consider the best I consider the worst. If
an American wishes to be comfortable let
him eschew all other gods and cleave to the
Cecil. The Cecil! I wish my cab was turning
in at the entrance this very minute!
Finally the Kaiser Friedrich burst something
important in her interior, and they
gave her up and put on the Trave. Instantly

there was a maddened rush for the Liverpool
steamer. The Cunard office was besieged.
Within two hours after the North German
Lloyd bulletined the Trave every berth was
taken on the Etruria. I arrived too late, so,
in company with the most of the Kaiser
Friedrich's
passengers, I resigned myself to
the Trave.
We were eight days at sea, and some of
those I remained in my berth. I was happier
there, and yet in spite of private woes
I still think of that delightful captain and
that darling stewardess with affection. The
steamship company literally outdid themselves
in their efforts to console their disappointed
passengers. They put the town of
Southampton at our disposal, and the
Trave's steady and spinster-like behavior did
the rest.
I held receptions in my state-room every
day. The captain called every morning, and
so did the charming wife of the returning
German Ambassador, Mr. Uhl. The girls
came down and sat on my steamer-trunk,
and told me of the flirtations going on on
deck. And every night that dear stewardess
would come and tuck me in, and turn out
the light, and say, “Good-night, fräulein;
I hope you feel to-morrow better.”
When the pilot reached us we were at
luncheon, and every man in the dining-room

bolted. American newspapers after eight
days of suspense! One man stood up and
read the news aloud. Dewey and the battle
of Manila Bay! We did not applaud. It
was too far off and too unreal. But we women
wept.
As we drove through the streets of New
York I said to the people who came to meet
me, “For Heaven's sake, what are all these
flags out for? Is it Washington's birthday?
I have lost count of time!”
My cousin looked at me pityingly.
“My poor child,” she said, “I am glad you
have come back to God's country, where you
can learn something. We have a war on!”
I gave a gasp. That shows how unreal
the war seemed to me over there. I never
saw so many flags as I saw in Jersey City
and New York. I was horrified to find Chicago,
nay, even my own house, lacking in
that respect.
But I am proud to relate that two hours
after my return—directly I had done kissing
Billy, in fact—the largest flag on the whole
street was floating from my study window.
THE END

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Date: (unknown) (Electronic edition revised December 2005) . Author: Bell, Lilian, 1867-1929. (Electronic edition revised LMS).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license.