Worldly Ways and Byways
Eliot Gregory

Part 2 out of 4

A year or two ago I was taking luncheon with our consul at his
primitive villa, an hour's ride from the city of Tangier, a ride
made on donkey-back, as no roads exist in that sunny land. After
our coffee and cigars, he took me a half-hour's walk into the
wilderness around him to call on his nearest neighbors, whose mode
of existence seemed a source of anxiety to him. I found myself in
the presence of two American ladies, the younger being certainly
not less than seventy-five. To my astonishment I found they had
been living there some thirty years, since the death of their
parents, in an isolation and remoteness impossible to describe, in
an Arab house, with native servants, "the world forgetting, by the
world forgot." Yet these ladies had names well known in New York
fifty years ago.

The glimpse I had of their existence made me thoughtful as I rode
home in the twilight, across a suburb none too safe for strangers.
What had the future in store for those two? Or, worse still, for
the survivor of those two? In contrast, I saw a certain humble
"home" far away in America, where two old ladies were ending their
lives surrounded by loving friends and relations, honored and
cherished and guarded tenderly from the rude world.

In big cities like Paris and Rome there is another class of the
expatriated, the wealthy who have left their homes in a moment of
pique after the failure of some social or political ambition; and
who find in these centres the recognition refused them at home and
for which their souls thirsted.

It is not to these I refer, although it is curious to see a group
of people living for years in a country of which they, half the
time, do not speak the language (beyond the necessities of house-
keeping and shopping), knowing but few of its inhabitants, and
seeing none of the society of the place, their acquaintance rarely
going beyond that equivocal, hybrid class that surrounds rich
"strangers" and hangs on to the outer edge of the GRAND MONDE. One
feels for this latter class merely contempt, but one's pity is
reserved for the former. What object lessons some lives on the
Continent would be to impatient souls at home, who feel
discontented with their surroundings, and anxious to break away and
wander abroad! Let them think twice before they cut the thousand
ties it has taken a lifetime to form. Better monotony at your own
fireside, my friends, where at the worst, you are known and have
your place, no matter how small, than an old age among strangers.

CHAPTER 12 - "Seven Ages" of Furniture

THE progress through life of active-minded Americans is apt to be a
series of transformations. At each succeeding phase of mental
development, an old skin drops from their growing intelligence, and
they assimilate the ideas and tastes of their new condition, with a
facility and completeness unknown to other nations.

One series of metamorphoses particularly amusing to watch is, that
of an observant, receptive daughter of Uncle Sam who, aided and
followed (at a distance) by an adoring husband, gradually develops
her excellent brain, and rises through fathoms of self-culture and
purblind experiment, to the surface of dilettantism and
connoisseurship. One can generally detect the exact stage of
evolution such a lady has reached by the bent of her conversation,
the books she is reading, and, last but not least, by her material
surroundings; no outward and visible signs reflecting inward and
spiritual grace so clearly as the objects people collect around
them for the adornment of their rooms, or the way in which those
rooms are decorated.

A few years ago, when a young man and his bride set up housekeeping
on their own account, the "old people" of both families seized the
opportunity to unload on the beginners (under the pretence of
helping them along) a quantity of furniture and belongings that had
(as the shopkeepers say) "ceased to please" their original owners.
The narrow quarters of the tyros are encumbered by ungainly sofas
and arm-chairs, most probably of carved rosewood. ETAGERES OF the
same lugubrious material grace the corners of their tiny drawing-
room, the bits of mirror inserted between the shelves distorting
the image of the owners into headless or limbless phantoms. Half
of their little dining-room is filled with a black-walnut
sideboard, ingeniously contrived to take up as much space as
possible and hold nothing, its graceless top adorned with a stag's
head carved in wood and imitation antlers.

The novices in their innocence live contented amid their hideous
surroundings for a year or two, when the wife enters her second
epoch, which, for want of a better word, we will call the Japanese
period. The grim furniture gradually disappears under a layer of
silk and gauze draperies, the bare walls blossom with paper
umbrellas, fans are nailed in groups promiscuously, wherever an
empty space offends her eye. Bows of ribbon are attached to every
possible protuberance of the furniture. Even the table service is
not spared. I remember dining at a house in this stage of its
artistic development, where the marrow bones that formed one course
of the dinner appeared each with a coquettish little bow-knot of
pink ribbon around its neck.

Once launched on this sea of adornment, the housewife soon loses
her bearings and decorates indiscriminately. Her old evening
dresses serve to drape the mantelpieces, and she passes every spare
hour embroidering, braiding, or fringing some material to adorn her
rooms. At Christmas her friends contribute specimens of their
handiwork to the collection.

The view of other houses and other decorations before long
introduces the worm of discontent into the blossom of our friend's
contentment. The fruit of her labors becomes tasteless on her
lips. As the finances of the family are satisfactory, the re-
arrangement of the parlor floor is (at her suggestion) confided to
a firm of upholsterers, who make a clean sweep of the rosewood and
the bow-knots, and retire, after some months of labor, leaving the
delighted wife in possession of a suite of rooms glittering with
every monstrosity that an imaginative tradesman, spurred on by
unlimited credit, could devise.

The wood work of the doors and mantels is an intricate puzzle of
inlaid woods, the ceilings are panelled and painted in complicated
designs. The "parlor" is provided with a complete set of neat,
old-gold satin furniture, puffed at its angles with peacock-colored

The monumental folding doors between the long, narrow rooms are
draped with the same chaste combination of stuffs.

The dining-room blazes with a gold and purple wall paper, set off
by ebonized wood work and furniture. The conscientious contractor
has neglected no corner. Every square inch of the ceilings, walls,
and floors has been carved, embossed, stencilled, or gilded into a
bewildering monotony.

The husband, whose affairs are rapidly increasing on his hands, has
no time to attend to such insignificant details as house
decoration, the wife has perfect confidence in the taste of the
firm employed. So at the suggestion of the latter, and in order to
complete the beauty of the rooms, a Bouguereau, a Toulmouche and a
couple of Schreyers are bought, and a number of modern French
bronzes scattered about on the multicolored cabinets. Then, at
last, the happy owners of all this splendor open their doors to the
admiration of their friends.

About the time the peacock plush and the gilding begin to show
signs of wear and tear, rumors of a fresh fashion in decoration
float across from England, and the new gospel of the beautiful
according to Clarence Cook is first preached to an astonished

The fortune of our couple continuing to develop with pleasing
rapidity, the building of a country house is next decided upon. A
friend of the husband, who has recently started out as an
architect, designs them a picturesque residence without a straight
line on its exterior or a square room inside. This house is done
up in strict obedience to the teachings of the new sect. The
dining-room is made about as cheerful as the entrance to a family
vault. The rest of the house bears a close resemblance to an
ecclesiastical junk shop. The entrance hall is filled with what
appears to be a communion table in solid oak, and the massive
chairs and settees of the parlor suggest the withdrawing room of
Rowena, aesthetic shades of momie-cloth drape deep-set windows,
where anaemic and disjointed females in stained glass pluck
conventional roses.

To each of these successive transitions the husband has remained
obediently and tranquilly indifferent. He has in his heart
considered them all equally unfitting and uncomfortable and sighed
in regretful memory of a deep, old-fashioned arm-chair that
sheltered his after-dinner naps in the early rosewood period. So
far he has been as clay in the hands of his beloved wife, but the
anaemic ladies and the communion table are the last drop that
causes his cup to overflow. He revolts and begins to take matters
into his own hands with the result that the household enters its
fifth incarnation under his guidance, during which everything is
painted white and all the wall-papers are a vivid scarlet. The
family sit on bogus Chippendale and eat off blue and white china.

With the building of their grand new house near the park the couple
rise together into the sixth cycle of their development. Having
travelled and studied the epochs by this time, they can tell a
Louis XIV. from a Louis XV. room, and recognize that mahogany and
brass sphinxes denote furniture of the Empire. This newly acquired
knowledge is, however, vague and hazy. They have no confidence in
themselves, so give over the fitting of their principal floors to
the New York branch of a great French house. Little is talked of
now but periods, plans, and elevations. Under the guidance of the
French firm, they acquire at vast expense, faked reproductions as
historic furniture.

The spacious rooms are sticky with new gilding, and the flowered
brocades of the hangings and furniture crackle to the touch. The
rooms were not designed by the architect to receive any special
kind of "treatment." Immense folding-doors unite the salons, and
windows open anywhere. The decorations of the walls have been
applied like a poultice, regardless of the proportions of the rooms
and the distribution of the spaces.

Building and decorating are, however, the best of educations. The
husband, freed at last from his business occupations, finds in this
new study an interest and a charm unknown to him before. He and
his wife are both vaguely disappointed when their resplendent
mansion is finished, having already outgrown it, and recognize that
in spite of correct detail, their costly apartments no more
resemble the stately and simple salons seen abroad than the cabin
of a Fall River boat resembles the GALERIE DES GLACES at
Versailles. The humiliating knowledge that they are all wrong
breaks upon them, as it is doing on hundreds of others, at the same
time as the desire to know more and appreciate better the perfect
productions of this art.

A seventh and last step is before them but they know not how to
make it. A surer guide than the upholsterer is, they know,
essential, but their library contains nothing to help them. Others
possess the information they need, yet they are ignorant where to
turn for what they require.

With singular appropriateness a volume treating of this delightful
"art" has this season appeared at Scribner's. "The Decoration of
Houses" is the result of a woman's faultless taste collaborating
with a man's technical knowledge. Its mission is to reveal to the
hundreds who have advanced just far enough to find that they can go
no farther alone, truths lying concealed beneath the surface. It
teaches that consummate taste is satisfied only with a perfected
simplicity; that the facades of a house must be the envelope of the
rooms within and adapted to them, as the rooms are to the habits
and requirements of them "that dwell therein;" that proportion is
the backbone of the decorator's art and that supreme elegance is
fitness and moderation; and, above all, that an attention to
architectural principles can alone lead decoration to a perfect

CHAPTER 13 - Our Elite and Public Life

THE complaint is so often heard, and seems so well founded, that
there is a growing inclination, not only among men of social
position, but also among our best and cleverest citizens, to stand
aloof from public life, and this reluctance on their part is so
unfortunate, that one feels impelled to seek out the causes where
they must lie, beneath the surface. At a first glance they are not
apparent. Why should not the honor of representing one's town or
locality be as eagerly sought after with us as it is by English or
French men of position? That such is not the case, however, is

Speaking of this the other evening, over my after-dinner coffee,
with a high-minded and public-spirited gentleman, who not long ago
represented our country at a European court, he advanced two
theories which struck me as being well worth repeating, and which
seemed to account to a certain extent for this curious abstinence.

As a first and most important cause, he placed the fact that
neither our national nor (here in New York) our state capital
coincides with our metropolis. In this we differ from England and
all the continental countries. The result is not difficult to
perceive. In London, a man of the world, a business man, or a
great lawyer, who represents a locality in Parliament, can fulfil
his mandate and at the same time lead his usual life among his own
set. The lawyer or the business man can follow during the day his
profession, or those affairs on which he depends to support his
family and his position in the world. Then, after dinner (owing to
the peculiar hours adopted for the sittings of Parliament), he can
take his place as a law-maker. If he be a London-born man, he in
no way changes his way of life or that of his family. If, on the
contrary, he be a county magnate, the change he makes is all for
the better, as it takes him and his wife and daughters up to
London, the haven of their longings, and the centre of all sorts of
social dissipations and advancement.

With us, it is exactly the contrary. As the District of Columbia
elects no one, everybody living in Washington officially is more or
less expatriated, and the social life it offers is a poor
substitute for the circle which most families leave to go there.

That, however, is not the most important side of the question. Go
to any great lawyer of either New York or Chicago, and propose
sending him to Congress or the Senate. His answer is sure to be,
"I cannot afford it. I know it is an honor, but what is to replace
the hundred thousand dollars a year which my profession brings me
in, not to mention that all my practice would go to pieces during
my absence?" Or again, "How should I dare to propose to my family
to leave one of the great centres of the country to go and vegetate
in a little provincial city like Washington? No, indeed! Public
life is out of the question for me!"

Does any one suppose England would have the class of men she gets
in Parliament, if that body sat at Bristol?

Until recently the man who occupied the position of Lord Chancellor
made thirty thousand pounds a year by his profession without
interfering in any way with his public duties, and at the present
moment a recordership in London in no wise prevents private
practice. Were these gentlemen Americans, they would be obliged to
renounce all hope of professional income in order to serve their
country at its Capital.

Let us glance for a moment at the other reason. Owing to our laws
(doubtless perfectly reasonable, and which it is not my intention
to criticise,) a man must reside in the place he represents. Here
again we differ from all other constitutional countries.
Unfortunately, our clever young men leave the small towns of their
birth and flock up to the great centres as offering wider fields
for their advancement. In consequence, the local elector finds his
choice limited to what is left - the intellectual skimmed milk, of
which the cream has been carried to New York or other big cities.
No country can exist without a metropolis, and as such a centre by
a natural law of assimilation absorbs the best brains of the
country, in other nations it has been found to the interests of all
parties to send down brilliant young men to the "provinces," to be,
in good time, returned by them to the national assemblies.

As this is not a political article the simple indication of these
two causes will suffice, without entering into the question of
their reasonableness or of their justice. The social bearing of
such a condition is here the only side of the question under
discussion; it is difficult to over-rate the influence that a man's
family exert over his decisions.

Political ambition is exceedingly rare among our women of position;
when the American husband is bitten with it, the wife submits to,
rather than abets, his inclinations. In most cases our women are
not cosmopolitan enough to enjoy being transplanted far away from
their friends and relations, even to fill positions of importance
and honor. A New York woman of great frankness and intelligence,
who found herself recently in a Western city under these
circumstances, said, in answer to a flattering remark that "the
ladies of the place expected her to become their social leader," "I
don't see anything to lead," thus very plainly expressing her
opinion of the situation. It is hardly fair to expect a woman
accustomed to the life of New York or the foreign capitals, to look
forward with enthusiasm to a term of years passed in Albany, or in

In France very much the same state of affairs has been reached by
quite a different route. The aristocracy detest the present
government, and it is not considered "good form" by them to sit in
the Chamber of Deputies or to accept any but diplomatic positions.
They condescend to fill the latter because that entails living away
from their own country, as they feel more at ease in foreign courts
than at the Republican receptions of the Elysee.

There is a deplorable tendency among our self-styled aristocracy to
look upon their circle as a class apart. They separate themselves
more each year from the life of the country, and affect to smile at
any of their number who honestly wish to be of service to the
nation. They, like the French aristocracy, are perfectly willing,
even anxious, to fill agreeable diplomatic posts at first-class
foreign capitals, and are naively astonished when their offers of
service are not accepted with gratitude by the authorities in
Washington. But let a husband propose to his better half some
humble position in the machinery of our government, and see what
the lady's answer will be.

The opinion prevails among a large class of our wealthy and
cultivated people, that to go into public life is to descend to
duties beneath them. They judge the men who occupy such positions
with insulting severity, classing them in their minds as corrupt
and self-seeking, than which nothing can be more childish or more
imbecile. Any observer who has lived in the different grades of
society will quickly renounce the puerile idea that sporting or
intellectual pursuits are alone worthy of a gentleman's attention.
This very political life, which appears unworthy of their attention
to so many men, is, in reality, the great field where the nations
of the world fight out their differences, where the seed is sown
that will ripen later into vast crops of truth and justice. It is
(if rightly regarded and honestly followed) the battle-ground where
man's highest qualities are put to their noblest use - that of
working for the happiness of others.

CHAPTER 14 - The Small Summer Hotel

WE certainly are the most eccentric race on the surface of the
globe and ought to be a delight to the soul of an explorer, so full
is our civilization of contradictions, unexplained habits and
curious customs. It is quite unnecessary for the inquisitive
gentlemen who pass their time prying into other people's affairs
and then returning home to write books about their discoveries, to
risk their lives and digestions in long journeys into Central
Africa or to the frozen zones, while so much good material lies
ready to their hands in our own land. The habits of the "natives"
in New England alone might occupy an active mind indefinitely,
offering as interesting problems as any to be solved by penetrating
Central Asia or visiting the man-eating tribes of Australia.

Perhaps one of our scientific celebrities, before undertaking his
next long voyage, will find time to make observations at home and
collect sufficient data to answer some questions that have long
puzzled my unscientific brain. He would be doing good work. Fame
and honors await the man who can explain why, for instance, sane
Americans of the better class, with money enough to choose their
surroundings, should pass so much of their time in hotels and
boarding houses. There must be a reason for the vogue of these
retreats - every action has a cause, however remote. I shall await
with the deepest interest a paper on this subject from one of our
great explorers, untoward circumstances having some time ago forced
me to pass a few days in a popular establishment of this class.

During my visit I amused myself by observing the inmates and trying
to discover why they had come there. So far as I could find out,
the greater part of them belonged to our well-to-do class, and when
at home doubtless lived in luxurious houses and were waited on by
trained servants. In the small summer hotel where I met them, they
were living in dreary little ten by twelve foot rooms, containing
only the absolute necessities of existence, a wash-stand, a bureau,
two chairs and a bed. And such a bed! One mattress about four
inches thick over squeaking slats, cotton sheets, so nicely
calculated to the size of the bed that the slightest move on the
part of the sleeper would detach them from their moorings and undo
the housemaid's work; two limp, discouraged pillows that had
evidently been "banting," and a few towels a foot long with a
surface like sand-paper, completed the fittings of the room. Baths
were unknown, and hot water was a luxury distributed sparingly by a
capricious handmaiden. It is only fair to add that everything in
the room was perfectly clean, as was the coarse table linen in the
dining room.

The meals were in harmony with the rooms and furniture, consisting
only of the strict necessities, cooked with a Spartan disregard for
such sybarite foibles as seasoning or dressing. I believe there
was a substantial meal somewhere in the early morning hours, but I
never succeeded in getting down in time to inspect it. By
successful bribery, I induced one of the village belles, who served
at table, to bring a cup of coffee to my room. The first morning
it appeared already poured out in the cup, with sugar and cold milk
added at her discretion. At one o'clock a dinner was served,
consisting of soup (occasionally), one meat dish and attendant
vegetables, a meagre dessert, and nothing else. At half-past six
there was an equally rudimentary meal, called "tea," after which no
further food was distributed to the inmates, who all, however,
seemed perfectly contented with this arrangement. In fact they
apparently looked on the act of eating as a disagreeable task, to
be hurried through as soon as possible that they might return to
their aimless rocking and chattering.

Instead of dinner hour being the feature of the day, uniting people
around an attractive table, and attended by conversation, and the
meal lasting long enough for one's food to be properly eaten, it
was rushed through as though we were all trying to catch a train.
Then, when the meal was over, the boarders relapsed into apathy

No one ever called this hospitable home a boarding-house, for the
proprietor was furious if it was given that name. He also scorned
the idea of keeping a hotel. So that I never quite understood in
what relation he stood toward us. He certainly considered himself
our host, and ignored the financial side of the question severely.
In order not to hurt his feelings by speaking to him of money, we
were obliged to get our bills by strategy from a male subordinate.
Mine host and his family were apparently unaware that there were
people under their roof who paid them for board and lodging. We
were all looked upon as guests and "entertained," and our rights
impartially ignored.

Nothing, I find, is so distinctive of New England as this graceful
veiling of the practical side of life. The landlady always
reminded me, by her manner, of Barrie's description of the bill-
sticker's wife who "cut" her husband when she chanced to meet him
"professionally" engaged. As a result of this extreme detachment
from things material, the house ran itself, or was run by
incompetent Irish and negro "help." There were no bells in the
rooms, which simplified the service, and nothing could be ordered
out of meal hours.

The material defects in board and lodging sink, however, into
insignificance before the moral and social unpleasantness of an
establishment such as this. All ages, all conditions, and all
creeds are promiscuously huddled together. It is impossible to
choose whom one shall know or whom avoid. A horrible burlesque of
family life is enabled, with all its inconveniences and none of its
sanctity. People from different cities, with different interests
and standards, are expected to "chum" together in an intimacy that
begins with the eight o'clock breakfast and ends only when all
retire for the night. No privacy, no isolation is allowed. If you
take a book and begin to read in a remote corner of a parlor or
piazza, some idle matron or idiotic girl will tranquilly invade
your poor little bit of privacy and gabble of her affairs and the
day's gossip. There is no escape unless you mount to your ten-by-
twelve cell and sit (like the Premiers of England when they visit
Balmoral) on the bed, to do your writing, for want of any other
conveniences. Even such retirement is resented by the boarders.
You are thought to be haughty and to give yourself airs if you do
not sit for twelve consecutive hours each day in unending
conversation with them.

When one reflects that thousands of our countrymen pass at least
one-half of their lives in these asylums, and that thousands more
in America know no other homes, but move from one hotel to another,
while the same outlay would procure them cosy, cheerful dwellings,
it does seem as if these modern Arabs, Holmes's "Folding Bed-
ouins," were gradually returning to prehistoric habits and would
end by eating roots promiscuously in caves.

The contradiction appears more marked the longer one reflects on
the love of independence and impatience of all restraint that
characterize our race. If such an institution had been conceived
by people of the Old World, accustomed to moral slavery and to a
thousand petty tyrannies, it would not be so remarkable, but that
we, of all the races of the earth, should have created a form of
torture unknown to Louis XI. or to the Spanish Inquisitors, is
indeed inexplicable! Outside of this happy land the institution is
unknown. The PENSION when it exists abroad, is only an exotic
growth for an American market. Among European nations it is
undreamed of; the poorest when they travel take furnished rooms,
where they are served in private, or go to restaurants or TABLE
D'HOTES for their meals. In a strictly continental hotel the
public parlor does not exist. People do not travel to make
acquaintances, but for health or recreation, or to improve their
minds. The enforced intimacy of our American family house, with
its attendant quarrelling and back-biting, is an infliction of
which Europeans are in happy ignorance.

One explanation, only, occurs to me, which is that among New
England people, largely descended from Puritan stock, there still
lingers some blind impulse at self-mortification, an hereditary
inclination to make this life as disagreeable as possible by self-
immolation. Their ancestors, we are told by Macaulay, suppressed
bull baiting, not because it hurt the bull, but because it gave
pleasure to the people. Here in New England they refused the Roman
dogma of Purgatory and then with complete inconsistency, invented
the boarding-house, in order, doubtless, to take as much of the joy
as possible out of this life, as a preparation for endless bliss in
the next.

CHAPTER 15 - A False Start

HAVING had, during a wandering existence, many opportunities of
observing my compatriots away from home and familiar surroundings
in various circles of cosmopolitan society, at foreign courts, in
diplomatic life, or unofficial capacities, I am forced to
acknowledge that whereas my countrywoman invariably assumed her new
position with grace and dignity, my countryman, in the majority of
cases, appeared at a disadvantage.

I take particular pleasure in making this tribute to my "sisters"
tact and wit, as I have been accused of being "hard" on American
women, and some half-humorous criticisms have been taken seriously
by over-susceptible women - doubtless troubled with guilty
consciences for nothing is more exact than the old French proverb,
"It is only the truth that wounds."

The fact remains clear, however, that American men, as regards
polish, facility in expressing themselves in foreign languages, the
arts of pleasing and entertaining, in short, the thousand and one
nothings composing that agreeable whole, a cultivated member of
society, are inferior to their womankind. I feel sure that all
Americans who have travelled and have seen their compatriot in his
social relations with foreigners, will agree with this, reluctant
as I am to acknowledge it.

That a sister and brother brought up together, under the same
influences, should later differ to this extent seems incredible.
It is just this that convinces me we have made a false start as
regards the education and ambitions of our young men.

To find the reasons one has only to glance back at our past. After
the struggle that insured our existence as a united nation, came a
period of great prosperity. When both seemed secure, we did not
pause and take breath, as it were, before entering a new epoch of
development, but dashed ahead on the old lines. It is here that we
got on the wrong road. Naturally enough too, for our peculiar
position on this continent, far away from the centres of
cultivation and art, surrounded only by less successful states with
which to compare ourselves, has led us into forming erroneous ideas
as to the proportions of things, causing us to exaggerate the value
of material prosperity and undervalue matters of infinitely greater
importance, which have been neglected in consequence.

A man who, after fighting through our late war, had succeeded in
amassing a fortune, naturally wished his son to follow him on the
only road in which it had ever occurred to him that success was of
any importance. So beyond giving the boy a college education,
which he had not enjoyed, his ambition rarely went; his idea being
to make a practical business man of him, or a lawyer, that he could
keep the estate together more intelligently. In thousands of
cases, of course, individual taste and bent over-ruled this
influence, and a career of science or art was chosen; but in the
mass of the American people, it was firmly implanted that the
pursuit of wealth was the only occupation to which a reasonable
human being could devote himself. A young man who was not in some
way engaged in increasing his income was looked upon as a very
undesirable member of society, and sure, sooner or later, to come
to harm.

Millionaires declined to send their sons to college, saying they
would get ideas there that would unfit them for business, to
Paterfamilias the one object of life. Under such fostering
influences, the ambitions in our country have gradually given way
to money standards and the false start has been made! Leaving
aside at once the question of money in its relation to our politics
(although it would be a fruitful subject for moralizing), and
confining ourselves strictly to the social side of life, we soon
see the results of this mammon worship.

In England (although Englishmen have been contemptuously called the
shop-keepers of the world) the extension and maintenance of their
vast empire is the mainspring which keeps the great machine in
movement. And one sees tens of thousands of well-born and
delicately-bred men cheerfully entering the many branches of public
service where the hope of wealth can never come, and retiring on
pensions or half-pay in the strength of their middle age,
apparently without a regret or a thought beyond their country's

In France, where the passionate love of their own land has made
colonial extension impossible, the modern Frenchman of education is
more interested in the yearly exhibition at the SALON or in a
successful play at the FRANCAIS, than in the stock markets of the

Would that our young men had either of these bents! They have
copied from England a certain love of sport, without the English
climate or the calm of country and garrison life, to make these
sports logical and necessary. As the young American millionaire
thinks he must go on increasing his fortune, we see the anomaly of
a man working through a summer's day in Wall Street, then dashing
in a train to some suburban club, and appearing a half-hour later
on the polo field. Next to wealth, sport has become the ambition
of the wealthy classes, and has grown so into our college life that
the number of students in the freshman class of our great
universities is seriously influenced by that institution's losses
or gains at football.

What is the result of all this? A young man starts in life with
the firm intention of making a great deal of money. If he has any
time left from that occupation he will devote it to sport. Later
in life, when he has leisure and travels, or is otherwise thrown
with cultivated strangers, he must naturally be at a disadvantage.
"Shop," he cannot talk; he knows that is vulgar. Music, art, the
drama, and literature are closed books to him, in spite of the fact
that he may have a box on the grand tier at the opera and a couple
of dozen high-priced "masterpieces" hanging around his drawing-
rooms. If he is of a finer clay than the general run of his class,
he will realize dimly that somehow the goal has been missed in his
life race. His chase after the material has left him so little
time to cultivate the ideal, that he has prepared himself a sad and
aimless old age; unless he can find pleasure in doing as did a man
I have been told about, who, receiving half a dozen millions from
his father's estate, conceived the noble idea of increasing them so
that he might leave to each of his four children as much as he had
himself received. With the strictest economy, and by suppressing
out of his life and that of his children all amusements and
superfluous outlay, he has succeeded now for many years in living
on the income of his income. Time will never hang heavy on this
Harpagon's hands. He is a perfectly happy individual, but his
conversation is hardly of a kind to attract, and it may be doubted
if the rest of the family are as much to be envied.

An artist who had lived many years of his life in Paris and London
was speaking the other day of a curious phase he had remarked in
our American life. He had been accustomed over there to have his
studio the meeting-place of friends, who would drop in to smoke and
lounge away an hour, chatting as he worked. To his astonishment,
he tells me that since he has been in New York not one of the many
men he knows has ever passed an hour in his rooms. Is not that a
significant fact? Another remark which points its own moral was
repeated to me recently. A foreigner visiting here, to whom
American friends were showing the sights of our city, exclaimed at
last: "You have not pointed out to me any celebrities except
millionaires. 'Do you see that man? he is worth ten millions.
Look at that house! it cost one million dollars, and there are
pictures in it worth over three million dollars. That trotter cost
one hundred thousand dollars,' etc." Was he not right? And does
it not give my reader a shudder to see in black and white the
phrases that are, nevertheless, so often on our lips?

This levelling of everything to its cash value is so ingrained in
us that we are unconscious of it, as we are of using slang or local
expressions until our attention is called to them. I was present
once at a farce played in a London theatre, where the audience went
into roars of laughter every time the stage American said, "Why,
certainly." I was indignant, and began explaining to my English
friend that we never used such an absurd phrase. "Are you sure?"
he asked. "Why, certainly," I said, and stopped, catching the
twinkle in his eye.

It is very much the same thing with money. We do not notice how
often it slips into the conversation. "Out of the fullness of the
heart the mouth speaketh." Talk to an American of a painter and
the charm of his work. He will be sure to ask, "Do his pictures
sell well?" and will lose all interest if you say he can't sell
them at all. As if that had anything to do with it!

Remembering the well-known anecdote of Schopenhauer and the gold
piece which he used to put beside his plate at the TABLE D'HOTE,
where he ate, surrounded by the young officers of the German army,
and which was to be given to the poor the first time he heard any
conversation that was not about promotion or women, I have been
tempted to try the experiment in our clubs, changing the subjects
to stocks and sport, and feel confident that my contributions to
charity would not ruin me.

All this has had the result of making our men dull companions;
after dinner, or at a country house, if the subject they love is
tabooed, they talk of nothing! It is sad for a rich man (unless
his mind has remained entirely between the leaves of his ledger) to
realize that money really buys very little, and above a certain
amount can give no satisfaction in proportion to its bulk, beyond
that delight which comes from a sense of possession. Croesus often
discovers as he grows old that he has neglected to provide himself
with the only thing that "is a joy for ever" - a cultivated
intellect - in order to amass a fortune that turns to ashes, when
he has time to ask of it any of the pleasures and resources he
fondly imagined it would afford him. Like Talleyrand's young man
who would not learn whist, he finds that he has prepared for
himself a dreadful old age!

CHAPTER 16 - A Holy Land

NOT long ago an article came under my notice descriptive of the
neighborhood around Grant's tomb and the calm that midsummer brings
to that vicinity, laughingly referred to as the "Holy Land."

As careless fingers wandering over the strings of a violin may
unintentionally strike a chord, so the writer of those lines, all
unconsciously, with a jest, set vibrating a world of tender
memories and associations; for the region spoken of is truly a holy
land to me, the playground of my youth, and connected with the
sweetest ties that can bind one's thoughts to the past.

Ernest Renan in his SOUVENIRS D'ENFANCE, tells of a Brittany
legend, firmly believed in that wild land, of the vanished city of
"Is," which ages ago disappeared beneath the waves. The peasants
still point out at a certain place on the coast the site of the
fabled city, and the fishermen tell how during great storms they
have caught glimpses of its belfries and ramparts far down between
the waves; and assert that on calm summer nights they can hear the
bells chiming up from those depths. I also have a vanished "Is" in
my heart, and as I grow older, I love to listen to the murmurs that
float up from the past. They seem to come from an infinite
distance, almost like echoes from another life.

At that enchanted time we lived during the summers in an old wooden
house my father had re-arranged into a fairly comfortable dwelling.
A tradition, which no one had ever taken the trouble to verify,
averred that Washington had once lived there, which made that hero
very real to us. The picturesque old house stood high on a slope
where the land rises boldly; with an admirable view of distant
mountain, river and opposing Palisades.

The new Riverside drive (which, by the bye, should make us very
lenient toward the men who robbed our city a score of years ago,
for they left us that vast work in atonement), has so changed the
neighborhood it is impossible now for pious feet to make a
pilgrimage to those childish shrines. One house, however, still
stands as when it was our nearest neighbor. It had sheltered
General Gage, land for many acres around had belonged to him. He
was an enthusiastic gardener, and imported, among a hundred other
fruits and plants, the "Queen Claude" plum from France, which was
successfully acclimated on his farm. In New York a plum of that
kind is still called a "green gage." The house has changed hands
many times since we used to play around the Grecian pillars of its
portico. A recent owner, dissatisfied doubtless with its classic
simplicity, has painted it a cheerful mustard color and crowned it
with a fine new MANSARD roof. Thus disfigured, and shorn of its
surrounding trees, the poor old house stands blankly by the
roadside, reminding one of the Greek statue in Anstey's "Painted
Venus" after the London barber had decorated her to his taste.
When driving by there now, I close my eyes.

Another house, where we used to be taken to play, was that of
Audubon, in the park of that name. Many a rainy afternoon I have
passed with his children choosing our favorite birds in the glass
cases that filled every nook and corner of the tumble-down old
place, or turning over the leaves of the enormous volumes he would
so graciously take down from their places for our amusement. I
often wonder what has become of those vast IN-FOLIOS, and if any
one ever opens them now and admires as we did the glowing colored
plates in which the old ornithologist took such pride. There is
something infinitely sad in the idea of a collection of books
slowly gathered together at the price of privations and sacrifices,
cherished, fondled, lovingly read, and then at the owner's death,
coldly sent away to stand for ever unopened on the shelves of some
public library. It is like neglecting poor dumb children!

An event that made a profound impression on my childish imagination
occurred while my father, who was never tired of improving our
little domain, was cutting a pathway down the steep side of the
slope to the river. A great slab, dislodged by a workman's pick,
fell disclosing the grave of an Indian chief. In a low archway or
shallow cave sat the skeleton of the chieftain, his bows and arrows
arranged around him on the ground, mingled with fragments of an
elaborate costume, of which little remained but the bead-work.
That it was the tomb of a man great among his people was evident
from the care with which the grave had been prepared and then
hidden, proving how, hundreds of years before our civilization,
another race had chosen this noble cliff and stately river
landscape as the fitting framework for a great warrior's tomb.

This discovery made no little stir in the scientific world of that
day. Hundreds came to see it, and as photography had not then come
into the world, many drawings were made and casts taken, and
finally the whole thing was removed to the rooms of the Historical
Society. From that day the lonely little path held an awful charm
for us. Our childish readings of Cooper had developed in us that
love of the Indian and his wild life, so characteristic of boyhood
thirty years ago. On still summer afternoons, the place had a
primeval calm that froze the young blood in our veins. Although we
prided ourselves on our quality as "braves," and secretly pined to
be led on the war-path, we were shy of walking in that vicinity in
daylight, and no power on earth, not even the offer of the tomahawk
or snow-shoes for which our souls longed, would have taken us there
at night.

A place connected in my memory with a tragic association was across
the river on the last southern slope of the Palisades. Here we
stood breathless while my father told the brief story of the duel
between Burr and Hamilton, and showed us the rock stained by the
younger man's life-blood. In those days there was a simple iron
railing around the spot where Hamilton had expired, but of later
years I have been unable to find any trace of the place. The tide
of immigration has brought so deep a deposit of "saloons" and
suburban "balls" that the very face of the land is changed, old
lovers of that shore know it no more. Never were the environs of a
city so wantonly and recklessly degraded. Municipalities have vied
with millionaires in soiling and debasing the exquisite shores of
our river, that, thirty years ago, were unrivalled the world over.

The glamour of the past still lies for me upon this landscape in
spite of its many defacements. The river whispers of boyish
boating parties, and the woods recall a thousand childish hopes and
fears, resolute departures to join the pirates, or the red men in
their strongholds - journeys boldly carried out until twilight
cooled our courage and the supper-hour proved a stronger temptation
than war and carnage.

When I sat down this summer evening to write a few lines about
happy days on the banks of the Hudson, I hardly realized how sweet
those memories were to me. The rewriting of the old names has
evoked from their long sleep so many loved faces. Arms seem
reaching out to me from the past. The house is very still tonight.
I seem to be nearer my loved dead than to the living. The bells of
my lost "Is" are ringing clear in the silence.

CHAPTER 17 - Royalty At Play

FEW more amusing sights are to be seen in these days, than that of
crowned heads running away from their dull old courts and
functions, roughing it in hotels and villas, gambling, yachting and
playing at being rich nobodies. With much intelligence they have
all chosen the same Republican playground, where visits cannot
possibly be twisted into meaning any new "combination" or political
move, thus assuring themselves the freedom from care or
responsibility, that seems to be the aim of their existence.
Alongside of well-to-do Royalties in good paying situations, are
those out of a job, who are looking about for a "place." One
cannot take an afternoon's ramble anywhere between Cannes and
Mentone without meeting a half-dozen of these magnates.

The other day, in one short walk, I ran across three Empresses, two
Queens, and an Heir-apparent, and then fled to my hotel, fearing to
be unfitted for America, if I went on "keeping such company." They
are knowing enough, these wandering great ones, and after trying
many places have hit on this charming coast as offering more than
any other for their comfort and enjoyment. The vogue of these
sunny shores dates from their annexation to France, - a price
Victor Emmanuel reluctantly paid for French help in his war with
Austria. Napoleon III.'s demand for Savoy and this littoral, was
first made known to Victor Emmanuel at a state ball at Genoa.
Savoy was his birthplace and his home! The King broke into a wild
temper, cursing the French Emperor and making insulting allusions
to his parentage, saying he had not one drop of Bonaparte blood in
his veins. The King's frightened courtiers tried to stop this
outburst, showing him the French Ambassador at his elbow. With a
superhuman effort Victor Emmanuel controlled himself, and turning
to the Ambassador, said:

"I fear my tongue ran away with me!" With a smile and a bow the
great French diplomatist remarked:

"SIRE, I am so deaf I have not heard a word your Majesty has been

The fashion of coming to the Riviera for health or for amusement,
dates from the sixties, when the Empress of Russia passed a winter
at Nice, as a last attempt to prolong the existence of the dying
Tsarewitsch, her son. There also the next season the Duke of
Edinburgh wooed and won her daughter (then the greatest heiress in
Europe) for his bride. The world moves fast and a journey it
required a matter of life and death to decide on, then, is gayly
undertaken now, that a prince may race a yacht, or a princess try
her luck at the gambling tables. When one reflects that the "royal
caste," in Europe alone, numbers some eight hundred people, and
that the East is beginning to send out its more enterprising
crowned heads to get a taste of the fun, that beyond drawing their
salaries, these good people have absolutely nothing to do, except
to amuse themselves, it is no wonder that this happy land is
crowded with royal pleasure-seekers.

After a try at Florence and Aix, "the Queen" has been faithful to
Cimiez, a charming site back of Nice. That gay city is always EN
FETE the day she arrives, as her carriages pass surrounded by
French cavalry, one can catch a glimpse of her big face, and dowdy
little figure, which nevertheless she can make so dignified when
occasion requires. The stay here is, indeed, a holiday for this
record-breaking sovereign, who potters about her private grounds of
a morning in a donkey-chair, sunning herself and watching her
Battenberg grandchildren at play. In the afternoon, she drives a
couple of hours - in an open carriage - one outrider in black
livery alone distinguishing her turnout from the others.

The Prince of Wales makes his headquarters at Cannes where he has
poor luck in sailing the Brittania, for which he consoles himself
with jolly dinners at Monte Carlo. You can see him almost any
evening in the RESTAURANT DE PARIS, surrounded by his own
particular set, - the Duchess of Devonshire (who started a
penniless German officer's daughter, and became twice a duchess);
Lady de Grey and Lady Wolverton, both showing near six feet of
slender English beauty; at their side, and lovelier than either,
the Countess of Essex. The husbands of these "Merry Wives" are
absent, but do not seem to be missed, as the ladies sit smoking and
laughing over their coffee, the party only breaking up towards
eleven o'clock to try its luck at TRENTE ET QUARANTE, until a
"special" takes them back to Cannes.

He is getting sadly old and fat, is England's heir, the likeness to
his mamma becoming more marked each year. His voice, too, is oddly
like hers, deep and guttural, more adapted to the paternal German
(which all this family speak when alone) than to his native
English. Hair, he has none, except a little fringe across the back
of his head, just above a fine large roll of fat that blushes above
his shirt-collar. Too bad that this discovery of the microbe of
baldness comes rather late for him! He has a pleasant twinkle in
his small eyes, and an entire absence of POSE, that accounts
largely for his immense and enduring popularity.

But the Hotel Cap Martin shelters quieter crowned heads. The
Emperor and Empress of Austria, who tramp about the hilly roads,
the King and Queen of Saxony and the fat Arch-duchess Stephanie.
Austria's Empress looks sadly changed and ill, as does another lady
of whom one can occasionally catch a glimpse, walking painfully
with a crutch-stick in the shadow of the trees near her villa. It
is hard to believe that this white-haired, bent old woman was once
the imperial beauty who from the salons of the Tuileries dictated
the fashions of the world! Few have paid so dearly for their brief
hour of splendor!

Cannes with its excellent harbor is the centre of interest during
the racing season when the Tsarewitsch comes on his yacht Czaritza.
At the Battle of Flowers, one is pretty sure to see the Duke of
Cambridge, his Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke Michael, Prince
Christian of Denmark, H.R.H. the Duke of Nassau, H.R.H. the
Archduke Ferdinand d'Este, their Serene Highnesses of Mecklenburg-
Schwerin and the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, also H.R.H. Marie Valerie and
the Schleswig-Holsteins, pelting each other and the public with
CONFETTI and flowers. Indeed, half the A1MANACH DE GOTHA, that
continental "society list," seems to be sunning itself here and
forgetting its cares, on bicycles or on board yachts. It is said
that the Crown Princess of Honolulu (whoever she may be) honors
Mentone with her presence, and the newly deposed Queen "Ranavalo"
of Madagascar is EN ROUTE to join in the fun.

This crowd of royalty reminds me of a story the old sea-dogs who
gather about the "Admirals' corner" of the Metropolitan Club in
Washington, love to tell you. An American cockswain, dazzled by a
doubly royal visit, with attending suites, on board the old
"Constitution," came up to his commanding officer and touching his
cap, said:

"Beg pardon, Admiral, but one of them kings has tumbled down the
gangway and broke his leg."

It has become a much more amusing thing to wear a crown than it
was. Times have changed indeed since Marie Laczinska lived the
fifty lonely years of her wedded life and bore her many children,
in one bed-room at Versailles - a monotony only broken by visits to
Fontainebleau or Marly. Shakespeare's line no longer fits the

Beyond securing rich matches for their children, and keeping a
sharp lookout that the Radicals at home do not unduly cut down
their civil lists, these great ones have little but their
amusements to occupy them. Do they ever reflect, as they rush
about visiting each other and squabbling over precedence when they
meet, that some fine morning the tax-payers may wake up, and ask
each other why they are being crushed under such heavy loads, that
eight hundred or more quite useless people may pass their lives in
foreign watering-places, away from their homes and their duties?
It will be a bad day for them when the long-suffering subjects say
to them, "Since we get on so exceedingly well during your many
visits abroad, we think we will try how it will work without you at

The Prince of little Monaco seems to be about the only one up to
the situation, for he at least stays at home, and in connection
with two other gentlemen runs an exceedingly good hotel and several
restaurants on his estates, doing all he can to attract money into
the place, while making the strictest laws to prevent his subjects
gambling at the famous tables. Now if other royalties instead of
amusing themselves all the year round would go in for something
practical like this, they might become useful members of the
community. This idea of Monaco's Prince strikes one as most
timely, and as opening a career for other indigent crowned heads.
Hotels are getting so good and so numerous, that without some
especial "attraction" a new one can hardly succeed; but a
"Hohenzollern House" well situated in Berlin, with William II. to
receive the tourists at the door, and his fat wife at the desk,
would be sure to prosper. It certainly would be pleasanter for him
to spend money so honestly earned than the millions wrested from
half-starving peasants which form his present income. Besides
there is almost as much gold lace on a hotel employee's livery as
on a court costume!

The numerous crowned heads one meets wandering about, can hardly
lull themselves over their "games" with the flattering unction that
they are of use, for, have they not France before them (which they
find so much to their taste) stronger, richer, more respected than
ever since she shook herself free of such incumbrances? Not to
mention our own democratic country, which has managed to hold its
own, in spite of their many gleeful predictions to the contrary.

CHAPTER 18 - A Rock Ahead

HAVING had occasion several times during this past season, to pass
by the larger stores in the vicinity of Twenty-third Street, I have
been struck more than ever, by the endless flow of womankind that
beats against the doors of those establishments. If they were
temples where a beneficent deity was distributing health, learning,
and all the good things of existence, the rush could hardly have
been greater. It saddened me to realize that each of the eager
women I saw was, on the contrary, dispensing something of her
strength and brain, as well as the wearily earned stipend of the
men of her family (if not her own), for what could be of little
profit to her.

It occurred to me that, if the people who are so quick to talk
about the elevating and refining influences of women, could take an
hour or two and inspect the centres in question, they might not be
so firm in their beliefs. For, reluctant as I am to acknowledge
it, the one great misfortune in this country, is the unnatural
position which has been (from some mistaken idea of chivalry)
accorded to women here. The result of placing them on this
pedestal, and treating them as things apart, has been to make women
in America poorer helpmeets to their husbands than in any other
country on the face of the globe, civilized or uncivilized.

Strange as it may appear, this is not confined to the rich, but
permeates all classes, becoming more harmful in descending the
social scale, and it will bring about a disintegration of our
society, sooner than could be believed. The saying on which we
have all been brought up, viz., that you can gauge the point of
civilization attained in a nation by the position it accords to
woman, was quite true as long as woman was considered man's
inferior. To make her his equal was perfectly just; all the
trouble begins when you attempt to make her man's superior, a
something apart from his working life, and not the companion of his
troubles and cares, as she was intended to be.

When a small shopkeeper in Europe marries, the next day you will
see his young wife taking her place at the desk in his shop. While
he serves his customers, his smiling spouse keeps the books, makes
change, and has an eye on the employees. At noon they dine
together; in the evening, after the shop is closed, are pleased or
saddened together over the results of the day. The wife's DOT
almost always goes into the business, so that there is a community
of interest to unite them, and their lives are passed together. In
this country, what happens? The husband places his new wife in a
small house, or in two or three furnished rooms, generally so far
away that all idea of dining with her is impossible. In
consequence, he has a "quick lunch" down town, and does not see his
wife between eight o'clock in the morning and seven in the evening.
His business is a closed book to her, in which she can have no
interest, for her weary husband naturally revolts from talking
"shop," even if she is in a position to understand him.

His false sense of shielding her from the rude world makes him keep
his troubles to himself, so she rarely knows his financial position
and sulks over his "meanness" to her, in regard to pin-money; and
being a perfectly idle person, her days are apt to be passed in a
way especially devised by Satan for unoccupied hands. She has
learned no cooking from her mother; "going to market" has become a
thing of the past. So she falls a victim to the allurements of the
bargain-counter; returning home after hours of aimless wandering,
irritable and aggrieved because she cannot own the beautiful things
she has seen. She passes the evening in trying to win her
husband's consent to some purchase he knows he cannot afford, while
it breaks his heart to refuse her - some object, which, were she
really his companion, she would not have had the time to see or the
folly to ask for.

The janitor in our building is truly a toiler. He rarely leaves
his dismal quarters under the sidewalk, but "Madam" walks the
streets clad in sealskin and silk, a "Gainsborough" crowning her
false "bang." I always think of Max O'Rell's clever saying, when I
see her: "The sweat of the American husband crystallizes into
diamond ear-rings for the American woman." My janitress sports a
diminutive pair of those jewels and has hopes of larger ones!
Instead of "doing" the bachelor's rooms in the building as her
husband's helpmeet, she "does" her spouse, and a char-woman works
for her. She is one of the drops in the tide that ebbs and flows
on Twenty-third Street - a discontented woman placed in a false
position by our absurd customs.

Go a little further up in the social scale and you will find the
same "detached" feeling. In a household I know of only one horse
and a COUPE can be afforded. Do you suppose it is for the use of
the weary breadwinner? Not at all. He walks from his home to the
"elevated." The carriage is to take his wife to teas or the park.
In a year or two she will go abroad, leaving him alone to turn the
crank that produces the income. As it is, she always leaves him
for six months each year in a half-closed house, to the tender
mercies of a caretaker. Two additional words could be
advantageously added to the wedding service. After "for richer for
poorer," I should like to hear a bride promise to cling to her
husband "for winter for summer!"

Make another step up and stand in the entrance of a house at two
A.M., just as the cotillion is commencing, and watch the couples
leaving. The husband, who has been in Wall Street all day, knows
that he must be there again at nine next morning. He is furious at
the lateness of the hour, and dropping with fatigue. His wife, who
has done nothing to weary her, is equally enraged to be taken away
just as the ball was becoming amusing. What a happy, united pair
they are as the footman closes the door and the carriage rolls off
home! Who is to blame? The husband is vainly trying to lead the
most exacting of double lives, that of a business man all day and a
society man all night. You can pick him out at a glance in a
ballroom. His eye shows you that there is no rest for him, for he
has placed his wife at the head of an establishment whose working
crushes him into the mud of care and anxiety. Has he any one to
blame but himself?

In England, I am told, the man of a family goes up to London in the
spring and gets his complete outfit, down to the smallest details
of hat-box and umbrella. If there happens to be money left, the
wife gets a new gown or two: if not, she "turns" the old ones and
rejoices vicariously in the splendor of her "lord." I know one
charming little home over there, where the ladies cannot afford a
pony-carriage, because the three indispensable hunters eat up the

Thackeray was delighted to find one household (Major Ponto's) where
the governess ruled supreme, and I feel a fiendish pleasure in
these accounts of a country where men have been able to maintain
some rights, and am moved to preach a crusade for the liberation of
the American husband, that the poor, down-trodden creature may
revolt from the slavery where he is held and once more claim his
birthright. If he be prompt to act (and is successful) he may work
such a reform that our girls, on marrying, may feel that some
duties and responsibilities go with their new positions; and a
state of things be changed, where it is possible for a woman to be
pitied by her friends as a model of abnegation, because she has
decided to remain in town during the summer to keep her husband
company and make his weary home-coming brighter. Or where (as in a
story recently heard) a foreigner on being presented to an American
bride abroad and asking for her husband, could hear in answer: "Oh,
he could not come; he was too busy. I am making my wedding-trip
without him."

CHAPTER 19 - The Grand Prix

IN most cities, it is impossible to say when the "season" ends. In
London and with us in New York it dwindles off without any special
finish, but in Paris it closes like a trap-door, or the curtain on
the last scene of a pantomime, while the lights are blazing and the
orchestra is banging its loudest. The GRAND PRIX, which takes
place on the second Sunday in June, is the climax of the spring
gayeties. Up to that date, the social pace has been getting faster
and faster, like the finish of the big race itself, and fortunately
for the lives of the women as well as the horses, ends as suddenly.

In 1897, the last steeple chase at Auteuil, which precedes the
GRAND-PRIX by one week, was won by a horse belonging to an actress
of the THEATRE FRANCAIS, a lady who has been a great deal before
the public already in connection with the life and death of young
Lebaudy. This youth having had the misfortune to inherit an
enormous fortune, while still a mere boy, plunged into the wildest
dissipation, and became the prey of a band of sharpers and
blacklegs. Mlle. Marie Louise Marsy appears to have been the one
person who had a sincere affection for the unfortunate youth. When
his health gave way during his military service, she threw over her
engagement with the FRANCAIS, and nursed her lover until his death
- a devotion rewarded by the gift of a million.

At the present moment, four or five of the band of self-styled
noblemen who traded on the boy's inexperience and generosity, are
serving out terms in the state prisons for blackmailing, and the
THEATRE FRANCAIS possesses the anomaly of a young and beautiful
actress, who runs a racing stable in her own name.

THE GRAND PRIX dates from the reign of Napoleon III., who, at the
suggestion of the great railway companies, inaugurated this race in
1862, in imitation of the English Derby, as a means of attracting
people to Paris. The city and the railways each give half of the
forty-thousand-dollar prize. It is the great official race of the
year. The President occupies the central pavilion, surrounded by
the members of the cabinet and the diplomatic corps. On the
tribunes and lawn can be seen the TOUT PARIS - all the celebrities
of the great and half-world who play such an important part in the
life of France's capital. The whole colony of the RASTAQUOUERES,
is sure to be there, "RASTAS," as they are familiarly called by the
Parisians, who make little if any distinction in their minds
between a South American (blazing in diamonds and vulgar clothes)
and our own select (?) colony. Apropos of this inability of the
Europeans to appreciate our fine social distinctions, I have been
told of a well-born New Yorker who took a French noblewoman rather
to task for receiving an American she thought unworthy of notice,
and said:

"How can you receive her? Her husband keeps a hotel!"

"Is that any reason?" asked the French-woman; "I thought all
Americans kept hotels."

For the GRAND PRIX, every woman not absolutely bankrupt has a new
costume, her one idea being a CREATION that will attract attention
and eclipse her rivals. The dressmakers have had a busy time of it
for weeks before.

Every horse that can stand up is pressed into service for the day.
For twenty-four hours before, the whole city is EN FETE, and Paris
EN FETE is always a sight worth seeing. The natural gayety of the
Parisians, a characteristic noticed (if we are to believe the
historians) as far back as the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar,
breaks out in all its amusing spontaneity. If the day is fine, the
entire population gives itself up to amusement. From early morning
the current sets towards the charming corner of the Bois where the
Longchamps race-course lies, picturesquely encircled by the Seine
(alive with a thousand boats), and backed by the woody slopes of
Suresnes and St. Cloud. By noon every corner and vantage point of
the landscape is seized upon, when, with a blare of trumpets and
the rattle of cavalry, the President arrives in his turnout A LA
DAUMONT, two postilions in blue and gold, and a PIQUEUR, preceded
by a detachment of the showy GARDES REPUBLICAINS on horseback, and
takes his place in the little pavilion where for so many years
Eugenie used to sit in state, and which has sheltered so many
crowned heads under its simple roof. Faure's arrival is the signal
for the racing to begin, from that moment the interest goes on
increasing until the great "event." Then in an instant the vast
throng of human beings breaks up and flows homeward across the
Bois, filling the big Place around the Arc de Triomphe, rolling
down the Champs Elysees, in twenty parallel lines of carriages.
The sidewalks are filled with a laughing, singing, uproarious crowd
that quickly invades every restaurant, CAFE, or chop-house until
their little tables overflow on to the grass and side-walks, and
even into the middle of the streets. Later in the evening the
open-air concerts and theatres are packed, and every little square
organizes its impromptu ball, the musicians mounted on tables, and
the crowd dancing gayly on the wooden pavement until daybreak.

The next day, Paris becomes from a fashionable point of view,
"impossible." If you walk through the richer quarters, you will
see only long lines of closed windows. The approaches to the
railway stations are blocked with cabs piled with trunks and
bicycles. The "great world" is fleeing to the seashore or its
CHATEAUX, and Paris will know it no more until January, for the
French are a country-loving race, and since there has been no
court, the aristocracy pass longer and longer periods on their own
estates each year, partly from choice and largely to show their
disdain for the republic and its entertainments.

The shady drives in the park, which only a day or two ago were so
brilliant with smart traps and spring toilets, are become a cool
wilderness, where will meet, perhaps, a few maiden ladies
exercising fat dogs, uninterrupted except by the watering-cart or
by a few stray tourists in cabs. Now comes a delightful time for
the real amateur of Paris and the country around, which is full of
charming corners where one can dine at quiet little restaurants,
overhanging the water or buried among trees. You are sure of
getting the best of attention from the waiters, and the dishes you
order receive all the cook's attention. Of an evening the Bois is
alive with a myriad of bicycles, their lights twinkling among the
trees like many-colored fire-flies. To any one who knows how to
live there, Paris is at its best in the last half of June and July.
Nevertheless, in a couple of days there will not be an American in
Paris, London being the objective point; for we love to be "in at
the death," and a coronation, a musical festival, or a big race is
sure to attract all our floating population.

The Americans who have the hardest time in Paris are those who try
to "run with the deer and hunt with the hounds," as the French
proverb has it, who would fain serve God and Mammon. As anything
especially amusing is sure to take place on Sunday in this wicked
capital, our friends go through agonies of indecision, their
consciences pulling one way, their desire to amuse themselves the
other. Some find a middle course, it seems, for yesterday this
conversation was overheard on the steps of the American Church:

FIRST AMERICAN LADY: "Are you going to stop for the sermon?"

SECOND AMERICAN LADY: "I am so sorry I can't, but the races begin
at one!"

CHAPTER 20 - "The Treadmill."

A HALF-HUMOROUS, half-pathetic epistle has been sent to me by a
woman, who explains in it her particular perplexity. Such letters
are the windfalls of our profession! For what is more attractive
than to have a woman take you for her lay confessor, to whom she
comes for advice in trouble? opening her innocent heart for your

My correspondent complains that her days are not sufficiently long,
nor is her strength great enough, for the thousand and one duties
and obligations imposed upon her. "If," she says, "a woman has
friends and a small place in the world - and who has not in these
days? - she must golf or 'bike' or skate a bit, of a morning; then
she is apt to lunch out, or have a friend or two in, to that meal.
After luncheon there is sure to be a 'class' of some kind that she
has foolishly joined, or a charity meeting, matinee, or reception;
but above all, there are her 'duty' calls. She must be home at
five to make tea, that she has promised her men friends, and they
will not leave until it is time for her to dress for dinner, 'out'
or at home, with often the opera, a supper, or a ball to follow.
It is quite impossible," she adds, "under these circumstances to
apply one's self to anything serious, to read a book or even open a
periodical. The most one can accomplish is a glance at a paper."

Indeed, it would require an exceptional constitution to carry out
the above programme, not to mention the attention that a woman must
(however reluctantly) give to her house and her family. Where are
the quiet hours to be found for self-culture, the perusal of a
favorite author, or, perhaps, a little timid "writing" on her own
account? Nor does this treadmill round fill a few months only of
her life. With slight variations of scene and costume, it
continues through the year.

A painter, I know, was fortunate enough to receive, a year or two
ago, the commission to paint a well-known beauty. He was delighted
with the idea and convinced that he could make her portrait the
best work of his life, one that would be the stepping-stone to fame
and fortune. This was in the spring. He was naturally burning to
begin at once, but found to his dismay that the lady was just about
starting for Europe. So he waited, and at her suggestion installed
himself a couple of months later at the seaside city where she had
a cottage. No one could be more charming than she was, inviting
him to dine and drive daily, but when he broached the subject of
"sitting," was "too busy just that day." Later in the autumn she
would be quite at his disposal. In the autumn, however, she was
visiting, never ten days in the same place. Early winter found her
"getting her house in order," a mysterious rite apparently attended
with vast worry and fatigue. With cooling enthusiasm, the painter
called and coaxed and waited. November brought the opera and the
full swing of a New York season. So far she has given him half a
dozen sittings, squeezed in between a luncheon, which made her
"unavoidably late," for which she is charmingly "sorry," and a
reception that she was forced to attend, although "it breaks my
heart to leave just as you are beginning to work so well, but I
really must, or the tiresome old cat who is giving the tea will be
saying all sorts of unpleasant things about me." So she flits off,
leaving the poor, disillusioned painter before his canvas, knowing
now that his dream is over, that in a month or two his pretty
sitter will be off again to New Orleans for the carnival, or
abroad, and that his weary round of waiting will recommence. He
will be fortunate if some day it does not float back to him, in the
mysterious way disagreeable things do come to one, that she has
been heard to say, "I fear dear Mr. Palette is not very clever, for
I have been sitting to him for over a year, and he has really done
nothing yet."

He has been simply the victim of a state of affairs that neither of
them were strong enough to break through. It never entered into
Beauty's head that she could lead a life different from her
friends. She was honestly anxious to have a successful portrait of
herself, but the sacrifice of any of her habits was more than she
could make.

Who among my readers (and I am tempted to believe they are all more
sensible than the above young woman) has not, during a summer
passed with agreeable friends, made a thousand pleasant little
plans with them for the ensuing winter, - the books they were to
read at the same time, the "exhibitions" they were to see, the
visits to our wonderful collections in the Metropolitan Museum or
private galleries, cosy little dinners, etc.? And who has not
found, as the winter slips away, that few of these charming plans
have been carried out? He and his friends have unconsciously
fallen back into their ruts of former years, and the pleasant
things projected have been brushed aside by that strongest of
tyrants, habit.

I once asked a very great lady, whose gracious manner was never
disturbed, who floated through the endless complications of her
life with smiling serenity, how she achieved this Olympian calm.
She was good enough to explain. "I make a list of what I want to
do each day. Then, as I find my day passing, or I get behind, or
tired, I throw over every other engagement. I could have done them
all with hurry and fatigue. I prefer to do one-half and enjoy what
I do. If I go to a house, it is to remain and appreciate whatever
entertainment has been prepared for me. I never offer to any
hostess the slight of a hurried, DISTRAIT 'call,' with glances at
my watch, and an 'on-the-wing' manner. It is much easier not to
go, or to send a card."

This brings me around to a subject which I believe is one of the
causes of my correspondent's dilemma. I fear that she never can
refuse anything. It is a peculiar trait of people who go about to
amuse themselves, that they are always sure the particular
entertainment they have been asked to last is going to "be
amusing." It rarely is different from the others, but these people
are convinced, that to stay away would be to miss something. A
weary-looking girl about 1 A.M. (at a house-party) when asked why
she did not go to bed if she was so tired, answered, "the nights I
go to bed early, they always seem to do something jolly, and then I
miss it."

There is no greater proof of how much this weary round wears on
women than the acts of the few who feel themselves strong enough in
their position to defy custom. They have thrown off the yoke (at
least the younger ones have) doubtless backed up by their husbands,
for men are much quicker to see the aimlessness of this stupid
social routine. First they broke down the great New-Year-call
"grind." Men over forty doubtless recall with a shudder, that
awful custom which compelled a man to get into his dress clothes at
ten A.M., and pass his day rushing about from house to house like a
postman. Out-of-town clubs and sport helped to do away with that
remnant of New Amsterdam. Next came the male revolt from the
afternoon "tea" or "musical." A black coat is rare now at either
of these functions, or if seen is pretty sure to be on a back over
fifty. Next, we lords of creation refused to call at all, or leave
our cards. A married woman now leaves her husband's card with her
own, and sisters leave the "pasteboard" of their brothers and often
those of their brothers' friends. Any combination is good enough
to "shoot a card."

In London the men have gone a step further. It is not uncommon to
hear a young man boast that he never owned a visiting card or made
a "duty" call in his life. Neither there nor with us does a man
count as a "call" a quiet cup of tea with a woman he likes, and a
cigarette and quiet talk until dressing time. Let the young women
have courage and take matters into their own hands. (The older
ones are hopeless and will go on pushing this Juggernaut car over
each other's weary bodies, until the end of the chapter.) Let them
have the courage occasionally to "refuse" something, to keep
themselves free from aimless engagements, and bring this paste-
board war to a close. If a woman is attractive, she will be asked
out all the same, never fear! If she is not popular, the few dozen
of "egg-shell extra" that she can manage to slip in at the front
doors of her acquaintances will not help her much.

If this matter is, however, so vastly important in women's eyes,
why not adopt the continental and diplomatic custom and send cards
by post or otherwise? There, if a new-comer dines out and meets
twenty-five people for the first time, cards must be left the next
day at their twenty-five respective residences. How the cards get
there is of no importance. It is a diplomatic fiction that the new
acquaintance has called in person, and the call will be returned
within twenty-four hours. Think of the saving of time and
strength! In Paris, on New Year's Day, people send cards by post
to everybody they wish to keep up. That does for a year, and no
more is thought about it. All the time thus gained can be given to
culture or recreation.

I have often wondered why one sees so few women one knows at our
picture exhibitions or flower shows. It is no longer a mystery to
me. They are all busy trotting up and down our long side streets
leaving cards. Hideous vision! Should Dante by any chance
reincarnate, he would find here the material ready made to his hand
for an eighth circle in his INFERNO.

CHAPTER 21 - "Like Master Like Man."

A FREQUENT and naive complaint one hears, is of the
unsatisfactoriness of servants generally, and their ingratitude and
astonishing lack of affection for their masters, in particular.
"After all I have done for them," is pretty sure to sum up the long
tale of a housewife's griefs. Of all the delightful
inconsistencies that grace the female mind, this latter point of
view always strikes me as being the most complete. I artfully lead
my fair friend on to tell me all about her woes, and she is sure to
be exquisitely one-sided and quite unconscious of her position.
"They are so extravagant, take so little interest in my things, and
leave me at a moment's notice, if they get an idea I am going to
break up. Horrid things! I wish I could do without them! They
cause me endless worry and annoyance." My friend is very nearly
right, - but with whom lies the fault?

The conditions were bad enough years ago, when servants were kept
for decades in the same family, descending like heirlooms from
father to son, often (abroad) being the foster sisters or brothers
of their masters, and bound to the household by an hundred ties of
sympathy and tradition. But in our day, and in America, where
there is rarely even a common language or nationality to form a
bond, and where households are broken up with such facility, the
relation between master and servant is often so strained and so
unpleasant that we risk becoming (what foreigners reproach us with
being), a nation of hotel-dwellers. Nor is this class-feeling
greatly to be wondered at. The contrary would be astonishing.
From the primitive household, where a poor neighbor comes in as
"help," to the "great" establishment where the butler and
housekeeper eat apart, and a group of plush-clad flunkies imported
from England adorn the entrance-hall, nothing could be better
contrived to set one class against another than domestic service.

Proverbs have grown out of it in every language. "No man is a hero
to his valet," and "familiarity breeds contempt," are clear enough.
Our comic papers are full of the misunderstandings and absurdities
of the situation, while one rarely sees a joke made about the other
ways that the poor earn their living. Think of it for a moment!
To be obliged to attend people at the times of day when they are
least attractive, when from fatigue or temper they drop the mask
that society glues to their faces so many hours in the twenty-four;
to see always the seamy side of life, the small expedients, the
aids to nature; to stand behind a chair and hear an acquaintance of
your master's ridiculed, who has just been warmly praised to his
face; to see a hostess who has been graciously urging her guests
"not to go so soon," blurt out all her boredom and thankfulness
"that those tiresome So-and-So's" are "paid off at last," as soon
as the door is closed behind them, must needs give a curious bent
to a servant's mind. They see their employers insincere, and copy
them. Many a mistress who has been smilingly assured by her maid
how much her dress becomes her, and how young she is looking, would
be thunderstruck to hear herself laughed at and criticised (none
too delicately) five minutes later in that servant's talk.

Servants are trained from their youth up to conceal their true
feelings. A domestic who said what she thought would quickly lose
her place. Frankly, is it not asking a good deal to expect a maid
to be very fond of a lady who makes her sit up night after night
until the small hours to unlace her bodice or take down her hair;
or imagine a valet can be devoted to a master he has to get into
bed as best he can because he is too tipsy to get there unaided?
Immortal "Figaro" is the type! Supple, liar, corrupt, intelligent,
- he aids his master and laughs at him, feathering his own nest the
while. There is a saying that "horses corrupt whoever lives with
them." It would be more correct to say that domestic service
demoralizes alike both master and man.

Already we are obliged to depend on immigration for our servants
because an American revolts from the false position, though he
willingly accepts longer hours or harder work where he has no one
around him but his equals. It is the old story of the free, hungry
wolf, and the well-fed, but chained, house-dog. The foreigners
that immigration now brings us, from countries where great class
distinctions exist, find it natural to "serve." With the increase
in education and consequent self-respect, the difficulty of getting
efficient and contented servants will increase with us. It has
already become a great social problem in England. The trouble lies
beneath the surface. If a superior class accept service at all, it
is with the intention of quickly getting money enough to do
something better. With them service is merely the means to an end.
A first step on the ladder!

Bad masters are the cause of so much suffering, that to protect
themselves, the great brother-hood of servants have imagined a
system of keeping run of "places," and giving them a "character"
which an aspirant can find out with little trouble. This
organization is so complete, and so well carried out, that a
household where the lady has a "temper," where the food is poor, or
which breaks up often, can rarely get a first-class domestic. The
"place" has been boycotted, a good servant will sooner remain idle
than enter it. If circumstances are too much for him and he
accepts the situation, it is with his eyes open, knowing infinitely
more about his new employers and their failings than they dream of,
or than they could possibly find out about him.

One thing never can be sufficiently impressed on people, viz.: that
we are forced to live with detectives, always behind us in caps or
dress-suits, ready to note every careless word, every incautious
criticism of friend or acquaintance - their money matters or their
love affairs - and who have nothing more interesting to do than to
repeat what they have heard, with embroideries and additions of
their own. Considering this, and that nine people out of ten talk
quite oblivious of their servants' presence, it is to be wondered
at that so little (and not that so much) trouble is made.

It always amuses me when I ask a friend if she is going abroad in
the spring, to have her say "Hush!" with a frightened glance
towards the door.

"I am; but I do not want the servants to know, or the horrid things
would leave me!"

Poor, simple lady! They knew it before you did, and had discussed
the whole matter over their "tea" while it was an almost unuttered
thought in your mind. If they have not already given you notice,
it is because, on the whole your house suits them well enough for
the present, while they look about. Do not worry your simple soul,
trying to keep anything from them. They know the amount of your
last dressmaker's bill, and the row your husband made over it.
They know how much you would have liked young "Croesus" for your
daughter, and the little tricks you played to bring that marriage
about. They know why you are no longer asked to dine at Mrs.
Swell's, which is more than you know yourself. Mrs. Swell
explained the matter to a few friends over her lunch-table
recently, and the butler told your maid that same evening, who was
laughing at the story as she put on your slippers!

Before we blame them too much, however, let us remember that they
have it in their power to make great trouble if they choose. And
considering the little that is made in this way, we must conclude
that, on the whole, they are better than we give them credit for
being, and fill a trying situation with much good humor and
kindliness. The lady who is astonished that they take so little
interest in her, will perhaps feel differently if she reflects how
little trouble she has given herself to find out their anxieties
and griefs, their temptations and heart-burnings; their material
situation; whom they support with their slowly earned wages, what
claims they have on them from outside. If she will also reflect on
the number of days in a year when she is "not herself," when
headaches or disappointments ruffle her charming temper, she may
come to the conclusion that it is too much to expect all the
virtues for twenty dollars a month.

A little more human interest, my good friends, a little more
indulgence, and you will not risk finding yourself in the position
of the lady who wrote me that last summer she had been obliged to
keep open house for "'Cook' tourists!"

CHAPTER 22 - An English Invasion of the Riviera

WHEN sixty years ago Lord Brougham, EN ROUTE for Italy, was thrown
from his travelling berline and his leg was broken, near the
Italian hamlet of Cannes, the Riviera was as unknown to the polite
world as the centre of China. The GRAND TOUR which every young
aristocrat made with his tutor, on coming of age, only included
crossing from France into Italy by the Alps. It was the occurrence
of an unusually severe winter in Switzerland that turned Brougham
aside into the longer and less travelled route VIA the Corniche,
the marvellous Roman road at that time fallen into oblivion, and
little used even by the local peasantry.

During the tedious weeks while his leg was mending, Lord Brougham
amused himself by exploring the surrounding country in his
carriage, and was quick to realize the advantages of the climate,
and appreciate the marvellous beauty of that coast. Before the
broken member was whole again, he had bought a tract of land and
begun a villa. Small seed, to furnish such a harvest! To the
traveller of to-day the Riviera offers an almost unbroken chain of
beautiful residences from Marseilles to Genoa.

A Briton willingly follows where a lord leads, and Cannes became
the centre of English fashion, a position it holds to-day in spite
of many attractive rivals, and the defection of Victoria who comes
now to Cimiez, back of Nice, being unwilling to visit Cannes since
the sudden death there of the Duke of Albany. A statue of Lord
Brougham, the "discoverer" of the littoral, has been erected in the
sunny little square at Cannes, and the English have in many other
ways, stamped the city for their own.

No other race carry their individuality with them as they do. They
can live years in a country and assimilate none of its customs; on
the contrary, imposing habits of their own. It is just this that
makes them such wonderful colonizers, and explains why you will
find little groups of English people drinking ale and playing golf
in the shade of the Pyramids or near the frozen slopes of
Foosiyama. The real inwardness of it is that they are a dull race,
and, like dull people despise all that they do not understand. To
differ from them is to be in the wrong. They cannot argue with
you; they simply know, and that ends the matter.

I had a discussion recently with a Briton on the pronunciation of a
word. As there is no "Institute," as in France, to settle matters
of this kind, I maintained that we Americans had as much authority
for our pronunciation of this particular word as the English. The
answer was characteristic.

"I know I am right," said my Island friend, "because that is the
way I pronounce it!"

Walking along the principal streets of Cannes to-day, you might
imagine yourself (except for the climate) at Cowes or Brighton, so
British are the shops and the crowd that passes them. Every
restaurant advertises "afternoon tea" and Bass's ale, and every
other sign bears a London name. This little matter of tea is
particularly characteristic of the way the English have imposed a
taste of their own on a rebellious nation. Nothing is further from
the French taste than tea-drinking, and yet a Parisian lady will
now invite you gravely to "five o'clocker" with her, although I can
remember when that beverage was abhorred by the French as a
medicine; if you had asked a Frenchman to take a cup of tea, he
would have answered:

"Why? I am not ill!"

Even Paris (that supreme and undisputed arbiter of taste) has
submitted to English influence; tailor-made dresses and low-heeled
shoes have become as "good form" in France as in London. The last
two Presidents of the French Republic have taken the oath of office
dressed in frock-coats instead of the dress clothes to which French
officials formerly clung as to the sacraments.

The municipalities of the little Southern cities were quick to
seize their golden opportunity, and everything was done to detain
the rich English wandering down towards Italy. Millions were spent
in transforming their cramped, dirty, little towns. Wide
boulevards bordered with palm and eucalyptus spread their sunny
lines in all directions, being baptized PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS or
BOULEVARD VICTORIA, in artful flattery. The narrow mountain roads
were widened, casinos and theatres built and carnival FETES
organized, the cities offering "cups" for yacht- or horse-races,
and giving grounds for tennis and golf clubs. Clever Southern
people! The money returned to them a hundredfold, and they lived
to see their wild coast become the chosen residence of the
wealthiest aristocracy in Europe, and the rocky hillsides blossom
into terrace above terrace of villa gardens, where palm and rose
and geranium vie with the olive and the mimosa to shade the white
villas from the sun. To-day, no little town on the coast is
without its English chapel, British club, tennis ground, and golf
links. On a fair day at Monte Carlo, Nice, or Cannes, the
prevailing conversation is in English, and the handsome, well-
dressed sons of Albion lounge along beside their astonishing
womankind as thoroughly at home as on Bond Street.

Those wonderful English women are the source of unending marvel and
amusement to the French. They can never understand them, and small
wonder, for with the exception of the small "set" that surrounds
the Prince of Wales, who are dressed in the Parisian fashion, all
English women seem to be overwhelmed with regret at not being born
men, and to have spent their time and ingenuity since, in trying to
make up for nature's mistake. Every masculine garment is twisted
by them to fit the female figure; their conversation, like that of
their brothers, is about horses and dogs; their hats and gloves are
the same as the men's; and when with their fine, large feet in
stout shoes they start off, with that particular swinging gait that
makes the skirt seem superfluous, for a stroll of twenty miles or
so, Englishwomen do seem to the uninitiated to have succeeded in
their ambition of obliterating the difference between the sexes.

It is of an evening, however, when concealment is no longer
possible, that the native taste bursts forth, the Anglo-Saxon
standing declared in all her plainness. Strong is the contrast
here, where they are placed side by side with all that Europe holds
of elegant, and well-dressed Frenchwomen, whether of the "world" or
the "half-world," are invariably marvels of fitness and freshness,
the simplest materials being converted by their skilful touch into
toilettes, so artfully adapted to the wearer's figure and
complexion, as to raise such "creations" to the level of a fine

An artist feels, he must fix on canvas that particular combination
of colors or that wonderful line of bust and hip. It is with a
shudder that he turns to the British matron, for she has probably,
for this occasion, draped herself in an "art material," -
principally "Liberty" silks of dirty greens and blues (aesthetic
shades!). He is tempted to cry out in his disgust: "Oh, Liberty!
Liberty! How many crimes are committed in thy name!" It is one of
the oddest things in the world that the English should have elected
to live so much in France, for there are probably nowhere two
peoples so diametrically opposed on every point, or who so
persistently and wilfully misunderstand each other, as the English
and the French.

It has been my fate to live a good deal on both sides of the
Channel, and nothing is more amusing than to hear the absurdities
that are gravely asserted by each of their neighbors. To a Briton,
a Frenchman will always be "either tiger or monkey" according to
Voltaire; while to the French mind English gravity is only
hypocrisy to cover every vice. Nothing pleases him so much as a
great scandal in England; he will gleefully bring you a paper
containing the account of it, to prove how true is his opinion. It
is quite useless to explain to the British mind, as I have often
tried to do, that all Frenchmen do not pass their lives drinking
absinthe on the boulevards; and as Englishmen seem to leave their
morals in a valise at Dover when off for a visit to Paris, to be
picked up on their return, it is time lost to try to make a Gaul
understand what good husbands and fathers the sons of Albion are.

These two great nations seem to stand in the relation to each other
that Rome and Greece held. The English are the conquerors of the
world, and its great colonizers; with a vast capital in which
wealth and misery jostle each other on the streets; a hideous
conglomeration of buildings and monuments, without form and void,
very much as old Rome must have been under the Caesars, enormous
buildings without taste, and enormous wealth. The French have
inherited the temperament of the Greeks. The drama, painting, and
sculpture are the preoccupation of the people. The yearly
exhibitions are, for a month before they open, the unique subject
of conversation in drawing-room or club. The state protects the
artist and buys his work. Their CONSERVATOIRES form the singers,
and their schools the painters and architects of Europe and

The English copy them in their big way, just as the Romans copied
the masterpieces of Greek art, while they despised the authors. It
is rare that a play succeeds in Paris which is not instantly
translated and produced in London, often with the adapter's name
printed on the programme in place of the author's, the French-man,
who only wrote it, being ignored. Just as the Greeks faded away
and disappeared before their Roman conquerors, it is to be feared
that in our day this people of a finer clay will succumb. The
"defects of their qualities" will be their ruin. They will stop at
home, occupied with literature and art, perfecting their dainty
cities; while their tougher neighbors are dominating the globe,
imposing their language and customs on the conquered peoples or the
earth. One feels this on the Riviera. It reminds you of the
cuckoo who, once installed in a robin's nest, that seems to him
convenient and warmly located in the sunshine, ends by kicking out
all the young robins.

CHAPTER 23 - A Common Weakness

GOVERNMENTS may change and all the conditions of life be modified,
but certain ambitions and needs of man remain immutable. Climates,
customs, centuries, have in no way diminished the craving for
consideration, the desire to be somebody, to bear some mark
indicating to the world that one is not as other men.

For centuries titles supplied the want. This satisfaction has been
denied to us, so ambitious souls are obliged to seek other means to
feed their vanity.

Even before we were born into the world of nations, an attempt was
made amongst the aristocratically minded court surrounding our
chief magistrate, to form a society that should (without the name)
be the beginning of a class apart.

The order of the Cincinnati was to have been the nucleus of an
American nobility. The tendencies of this society are revealed by
the fact that primogeniture was its fundamental law. Nothing could
have been more opposed to the spirit of the age, nor more at
variance with the declaration of our independence, than the
insertion of such a clause. This fact was discovered by the far-
seeing eye of Washington, and the society was suppressed in the
hope (shared by almost all contemporaries) that with new forms of
government the nature of man would undergo a transformation and
rise above such puerile ambitions.

Time has shown the fallacy of these dreams. All that has been
accomplished is the displacement of the objective point; the
desire, the mania for a handle to one's name is as prevalent as
ever. Leave the centres of civilization and wander in the small
towns and villages of our country. Every other man you meet is
introduced as the Colonel or the Judge, and you will do well not to
inquire too closely into the matter, nor to ask to see the title-
deeds to such distinctions. On the other hand, to omit his prefix
in addressing one of these local magnates, would be to offend him
deeply. The women-folk were quick to borrow a little of this
distinction, and in Washington to-day one is gravely presented to
Mrs. Senator Smith or Mrs. Colonel Jones. The climax being reached
by one aspiring female who styles herself on her visiting cards,
"Mrs. Acting-Assistant-Paymaster Robinson." If by any chance it
should occur to any one to ask her motive in sporting such an
unwieldy handle, she would say that she did it "because one can't
be going about explaining that one is not just ordinary Mrs.
Robinson or Thompson, like the thousand others in town." A woman
who cannot find an excuse for assuming such a prefix will sometime
have recourse to another stratagem, to particularize an ordinary
surname. She remembers that her husband, who ever since he was
born has been known to everybody as Jim, is the proud possessor of
the middle name Ivanhoe, or Pericles (probably the result of a
romantic mother's reading); so one fine day the young couple bloom
out as Mr. and Mrs. J. Pericles Sparks, to the amusement of their
friends, their own satisfaction, and the hopeless confusion of
their tradespeople.

Not long ago a Westerner, who went abroad with a travelling show,
was received with enthusiasm in England because it was thought "The
Honorable" which preceded his name on his cards implied that
although an American he was somehow the son of an earl. As a
matter of fact he owed this title to having sat, many years before
in the Senate of a far-western State. He will cling to that
"Honorable" and print it on his cards while life lasts. I was told
the other day of an American carpet warrior who appeared at court
function abroad decorated with every college badge, and football
medal in his possession, to which he added at the last moment a
brass trunk check, to complete the brilliancy of the effect. This
latter decoration attracted the attention of the Heir Apparent, who
inquired the meaning of the mystic "416" upon it. This would have
been a "facer" to any but a true son of Uncle Sam. Nothing
daunted, however, our "General" replied "That, Sir, is the number
of pitched battles I have won."

I have my doubts as to the absolute veracity of this tale. But
that the son of one of our generals, appeared not long ago at a
public reception abroad, wearing his father's medals and
decorations, is said to be true. Decorations on the Continent are
official badges of distinction conferred and recognized by the
different governments. An American who wears, out of his own
country, an army or college badge which has no official existence,
properly speaking, being recognized by no government, but which is
made intentionally to look as much as possible like the "Legion
d'Honneur," is deliberately imposing on the ignorance of
foreigners, and is but little less of a pretentious idiot than the
owners of the trunk check and the borrowed decorations.

There seems no end to the ways a little ambitious game can be
played. One device much in favor is for the wife to attach her own
family name to that of her husband by means of a hyphen. By this
arrangement she does not entirely lose her individuality; as a
result we have a splendid assortment of hybrid names, such as Van
Cortland-Smith and Beekman-Brown. Be they never so incongruous
these double-barrelled cognomens serve their purpose and raise
ambitious mortals above the level of other Smiths and Browns.
Finding that this arrangement works well in their own case, it is
passed on to the next generation. There are no more Toms and Bills
in these aspiring days. The little boys are all Cadwalladers or
Carrolls. Their school-fellows, however, work sad havoc with these
high-sounding titles and quickly abbreviate them into humble "Cad"
or "Rol."

It is surprising to notice what a number of middle-aged gentlemen
have blossomed out of late with decorations in their button-holes
according to the foreign fashion. On inquiry I have discovered
that these ornaments designate members of the G.A.R., the Loyal
Legion, or some local Post, for the rosettes differ in form and
color. When these gentlemen travel abroad, to reduce their waists
or improve their minds, the effects on the hotel waiters and cabmen
must be immense. They will be charged three times the ordinary
tariff instead of only the double which is the stranger's usual
fate at the hands of simple-minded foreigners. The satisfaction
must be cheap, however, at that price.

Even our wise men and sages do not seem to have escaped the
contagion. One sees professors and clergymen (who ought to set a
better example) trailing half a dozen letters after their names,
initials which to the initiated doubtless mean something, but which
are also intended to fill the souls of the ignorant with envy. I
can recall but one case of a foreign decoration being refused by a
compatriot. He was a genius and we all know that geniuses are
crazy. This gentleman had done something particularly gratifying
to an Eastern potentate, who in return offered him one of his
second-best orders. It was at once refused. When urged on him a
second time our countryman lost his temper and answered, "If you
want to give it to somebody, present it to my valet. He is most
anxious to be decorated." And it was done!

It does not require a deeply meditative mind to discover the
motives of ambitious struggles. The first and strongest illusion
of the human mind is to believe that we are different from our
fellows, and our natural impulse is to try and impress this belief
upon others.

Pride of birth is but one of the manifestations of the universal
weakness - invariably taking stronger and stronger hold of the
people, who from the modest dimension of their income, or other
untoward circumstances, can find no outward and visible form with
which to dazzle the world. You will find that a desire to shine is
the secret of most of the tips and presents that are given while
travelling or visiting, for they can hardly be attributed to pure
spontaneous generosity.

How many people does one meet who talk of their poor and
unsuccessful relatives while omitting to mention rich and powerful
connections? We are told that far from blaming such a tendency we
are to admire it. That it is proper pride to put one's best foot
forward and keep an offending member well out of sight, that the
man who wears a rosette in the button-hole of his coat and has half
the alphabet galloping after his name, is an honor to his family.

Far be it from me to deride this weakness in others, for in my
heart I am persuaded that if I lived in China, nothing would please
me more than to have my cap adorned with a coral button, while if
fate had cast my life in the pleasant places of central Africa, a
ring in my nose would doubtless have filled my soul with joy. The
fact that I share this weakness does not, however, prevent my
laughing at such folly in others.

CHAPTER 24 - Changing Paris

PARIS is beginning to show signs of the coming "Exhibition of
1900," and is in many ways going through a curious stage of
transformation, socially as well as materially. The PALAIS DE
L'INDUSTRIE, familiar to all visitors here, as the home of the
SALONS, the Horse Shows, and a thousand gay FETES and merry-
makings, is being torn down to make way for the new avenue leading,
with the bridge Alexander III., from the Champs Elysees to the
Esplanade des Invalides. This thoroughfare with the gilded dome of
Napoleon's tomb to close its perspective is intended to be the
feature of the coming "show."

Curious irony of things in this world! The PALAIS DE L'INDUSTRIE
was intended to be the one permanent building of the exhibition of
1854. An old "Journal" I often read tells how the writer saw the
long line of gilded coaches (borrowed from Versailles for the
occasion), eight horses apiece, led by footmen - horses and men
blazing in embroidered trappings - leave the Tuileries and proceed


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