Worldly Ways and Byways
Eliot Gregory

Part 3 out of 4

at a walk to the great gateway of the now disappearing palace.
Victoria and Albert who were on an official visit to the Emperor
were the first to alight; then Eugenie in the radiance of her
perfect beauty stepped from the coach (sad omen!) that fifty years
before had taken Josephine in tears to Malmaison.

It may interest some ladies to know how an Empress was dressed on
that spring morning forty-four years ago. She wore rose-colored
silk with an over-dress (I think that is what it is called) of
black lace flounces, immense hoops, and a black CHANTILLY lace
shawl. Her hair, a brilliant golden auburn, was dressed low on the
temples, covering the ears, and hung down her back in a gold net
almost to her waist; at the extreme back of her head was placed a
black and rose-colored bonnet; open "flowing" sleeves showed her
bare arms, one-buttoned, straw-colored gloves, and ruby bracelets;
she carried a tiny rose-colored parasol not a foot in diameter.

How England's great sovereign was dressed the writer of the journal
does not so well remember, for in those days Eugenie was the
cynosure of all eyes, and people rarely looked at anything else
when they could get a glimpse of her lovely face.

It appears, however, that the Queen sported an India shawl, hoops,
and a green bonnet, which was not particularly becoming to her red
face. She and Napoleon entered the building first; the Empress
(who was in delicate health) was carried in an open chair, with
Prince Albert walking at her side, a marvellously handsome couple
to follow the two dowdy little sovereigns who preceded them. The
writer had by bribery succeeded in getting places in an ENTRESOL
window under the archway, and was greatly impressed to see those
four great ones laughing and joking together over Eugenie's trouble
in getting her hoops into the narrow chair!

What changes have come to that laughing group! Two are dead, one
dying in exile and disgrace; and it would be hard to find in the
two rheumatic old ladies whom one sees pottering about the Riviera
now, any trace of those smiling wives. In France it is as if a
tidal wave had swept over Napoleon's court. Only the old palace
stood severely back from the Champs Elysees, as if guarding its
souvenirs. The pick of the mason has brought down the proud
gateway which its imperial builder fondly imagined was to last for
ages. The Tuileries preceded it into oblivion. The Alpha and
Omega of that gorgeous pageant of the fifties vanished like a

It is not here alone one finds Paris changing. A railway is being
brought along the quais with its depot at the Invalides. Another
is to find its terminus opposite the Louvre, where the picturesque
ruin of the Cour des Comptes has stood half-hidden by the trees
since 1870. A line of electric cars crosses the Rond Point, in
spite of the opposition of all the neighborhood, anxious to keep,
at least that fine perspective free from such desecration. And,
last but not least, there is every prospect of an immense system of
elevated railways being inaugurated in connection with the coming
world's fair. The direction of this kind of improvement is
entirely in the hands of the Municipal Council, and that body has
become (here in Paris) extremely radical, not to say communistic;
and takes pleasure in annoying the inhabitants of the richer
quarters of the city, under pretext of improvements and facilities
of circulation.

It is easy to see how strong the feeling is against the
aristocratic class. Nor is it much to be wondered at! The
aristocracy seem to try to make themselves unpopular. They detest
the republic, which has shorn them of their splendor, and do
everything in their power (socially and diplomatically their power
is still great) to interfere with and frustrate the plans of the
government. Only last year they seized an opportunity at the
funerals of the Duchesse d'Alencon and the Duc d'Aumale to make a
royalist manifestation of the most pronounced character. The young
Duchesse d'Orleans was publicly spoken of and treated as the "Queen
of France;" at the private receptions given during her stay in
Paris the same ceremonial was observed as if she had been really on
the throne. The young Duke, her husband, was not present, being in
exile as a pretender, but armorial bearings of the "reigning
family," as their followers insist on calling them, were hung
around the Madeleine and on the funeral-cars of both the
illustrious dead.

The government is singularly lenient to the aristocrats. If a poor
man cries "Long live the Commune!" in the street, he is arrested.
The police, however, stood quietly by and let a group of the old
nobility shout "Long live the Queen!" as the train containing the
young Duchesse d'Orleans moved out of the station. The secret of
this leniency toward the "pretenders" to the throne, is that they
are very little feared. If it amuses a set of wealthy people to
play at holding a court, the strong government of the republic
cares not one jot. The Orleans family have never been popular in
France, and the young pretender's marriage to an Austrian
Archduchess last year has not improved matters.

It is the fashion in the conservative Faubourg St. Germain, to
ridicule the President, his wife and their bourgeois surroundings,
as forty years ago the parents of these aristocrats affected to
despise the imperial PARVENUS. The swells amused themselves during
the official visit of the Emperor and Empress of Russia last year
(which was gall and wormwood to them) by exaggerating and repeating
all the small slips in etiquette that the President, an
intelligent, but simple-mannered gentleman, was supposed to have
made during the sojourn of his imperial guests.

Both M. and Mme. Faure are extremely popular with the people, and
are heartily cheered whenever they are seen in public. The
President is the despair of the lovers of routine and etiquette,
walking in and out of his Palais of the Elysee, like a private
individual, and breaking all rules and regulations. He is fond of
riding, and jogs off to the Bois of a morning with no escort, and
often of an evening drops in at the theatres in a casual way. The
other night at the Francais he suddenly appeared in the FOYER DES
ARTISTES (A beautiful greenroom, hung with historical portraits of
great actors and actresses, one of the prides of the theatre) in
this informal manner. Mme. Bartet, who happened to be there alone
at the time, was so impressed at such an unprecedented event that
she fainted, and the President had to run for water and help revive
her. The next day he sent the great actress a beautiful vase of
Sevres china, full of water, in souvenir.

To a lover of old things and old ways any changes in the Paris he
has known and loved are a sad trial. Henri Drumont, in his
delightful MON VIEUX PARIS, deplores this modern mania for reform
which has done such good work in the new quarters but should, he
thinks, respect the historic streets and shady squares.

One naturally feels that the sights familiar in youth lose by being
transformed and doubts the necessity of such improvements.

The Rome of my childhood is no more! Half of Cairo was ruthlessly
transformed in sixty-five into a hideous caricature of modern
Paris. Milan has been remodelled, each city losing in charm as it
gained in convenience.

So far Paris has held her own. The spirit of the city has not been
lost, as in the other capitals. The fair metropolis of France, in
spite of many transformations, still holds her admirers with a
dominating sway. She pours out for them a strong elixir that once
tasted takes the flavor out of existence in other cities and makes
her adorers, when in exile, thirst for another draught of the
subtle nectar.

CHAPTER 25 - Contentment

AS the result of certain ideal standards adopted among us when this
country was still in long clothes, a time when the equality of man
was the new "fad" of many nations, and the prizes of life first
came within the reach of those fortunate or unscrupulous enough to
seize them, it became the fashion (and has remained so down to our
day) to teach every little boy attending a village school to look
upon himself as a possible future President, and to assume that
every girl was preparing herself for the position of first lady in
the land. This is very well in theory, and practice has shown
that, as Napoleon said, "Every private may carry a marshal's baton
in his knapsack." Alongside of the good such incentive may
produce, it is only fair, however, to consider also how much harm
may lie in this way of presenting life to a child's mind.

As a first result of such tall talking we find in America, more
than in any other country, an inclination among all classes to
leave the surroundings where they were born and bend their energies
to struggling out of the position in life occupied by their
parents. There are not wanting theorists who hold that this is a
quality in a nation, and that it leads to great results. A
proposition open to discussion.

It is doubtless satisfactory to designate first magistrates who
have raised themselves from humble beginnings to that proud
position, and there are times when it is proper to recall such
achievements to the rising generation. But as youth is
proverbially over-confident it might also be well to point out,
without danger of discouraging our sanguine youngsters, that for
one who has succeeded, about ten million confident American youths,
full of ambition and lofty aims, have been obliged to content
themselves with being honest men in humble positions, even as their
fathers before them. A sad humiliation, I grant you, for a self-
respecting citizen, to end life just where his father did; often
the case, nevertheless, in this hard world, where so many fine
qualities go unappreciated, - no societies having as yet been
formed to seek out "mute, inglorious Miltons," and ask to crown

To descend abruptly from the sublime, to very near the ridiculous,
- I had need last summer of a boy to go with a lady on a trap and
help about the stable. So I applied to a friend's coachman, a
hard-working Englishman, who was delighted to get the place for his
nephew - an American-born boy - the child of a sister, in great
need. As the boy's clothes were hardly presentable, a simple
livery was made for him; from that moment he pined, and finally
announced he was going to leave. In answer to my surprised
inquiries, I discovered that a friend of his from the same
tenement-house in which he had lived in New York had appeared in
the village, and sooner than be seen in livery by his play-fellow
he preferred abandoning his good place, the chance of being of aid
to his mother, and learning an honorable way to earn his living.
Remonstrances were in vain; to the wrath of his uncle, he departed.
The boy had, at his school, heard so much about everybody being
born equal and every American being a gentleman by right of
inheritance, that he had taken himself seriously, and despised a
position his uncle was proud to hold, preferring elegant leisure in
his native tenement-house to the humiliation of a livery.

When at college I had rooms in a neat cottage owned by an American
family. The father was a butcher, as were his sons. The only
daughter was exceedingly pretty. The hard-worked mother conceived
high hopes for this favorite child. She was sent to a boarding-
school, from which she returned entirely unsettled for life, having
learned little except to be ashamed of her parents and to play on
the piano. One of these instruments of torture was bought, and a
room fitted up as a parlor for the daughter's use. As the family
were fairly well-to-do, she was allowed to dress out of all keeping
with her parents' position, and, egged on by her mother, tried her
best to marry a rich "student." Failing in this, she became
discontented, unhappy, and finally there was a scandal, this poor
victim of a false ambition going to swell the vast tide of a city's
vice. With a sensible education, based on the idea that her
father's trade was honorable and that her mission in life was to
aid her mother in the daily work until she might marry and go to
her husband, prepared by experience to cook his dinner and keep his
house clean, and finally bring up her children to be honest men and
women, this girl would have found a happy future waiting for her,
and have been of some good in her humble way.

It is useless to multiply illustrations. One has but to look about
him in this unsettled country of ours. The other day in front of
my door the perennial ditch was being dug for some gas-pipe or
other. Two of the gentlemen who had consented to do this labor
wore frock-coats and top hats - or what had once been those
articles of attire - instead of comfortable and appropriate
overalls. Why? Because, like the stable-boy, to have worn any
distinctive dress would have been in their minds to stamp
themselves as belonging to an inferior class, and so interfered
with their chances of representing this country later at the Court
of St. James, or presiding over the Senate, - positions (to judge
by their criticism of the present incumbents) they feel no doubt as
to their ability to fill.

The same spirit pervades every trade. The youth who shaves me is
not a barber; he has only accepted this position until he has time
to do something better. The waiter who brings me my chop at a
down-town restaurant would resign his place if he were requested to
shave his flowing mustache, and is secretly studying law. I lose
all patience with my countrymen as I think over it! Surely we are
not such a race of snobs as not to recognize that a good barber is
more to be respected than a poor lawyer; that, as a French saying
goes, IL N'Y A PAS DE SOT METIER. It is only the fool who is
ashamed of his trade.

But enough of preaching. I had intended - when I took up my pen
to-day - to write on quite another form of this modern folly, this
eternal struggle upward into circles for which the struggler is
fitted neither by his birth nor his education; the above was to
have been but a preface to the matter I had in mind, viz., "social
climbers," those scourges of modern society, the people whom no
rebuffs will discourage and no cold shoulder chill, whose efforts
have done so much to make our countrymen a byword abroad.

As many philosophers teach that trouble only is positive, happiness
being merely relative; that in any case trouble is pretty equally
distributed among the different conditions of mankind; that,
excepting the destitute and physically afflicted, all God's
creatures have a share of joy in their lives, would it not be more
logical, as well as more conducive to the general good, if a little
more were done to make the young contented with their lot in life,
instead of constantly suggesting to a race already prone to be
unsettled, that nothing short of the top is worthy of an American

CHAPTER 26 - The Climber

THAT form of misplaced ambition, which is the subject of the
preceding chapter, can only be regarded seriously when it occurs
among simple and sincere people, who, however derided, honestly
believe that they are doing their duty to themselves and their
families when they move heaven and earth to rise a few steps in the
world. The moment we find ambition taking a purely social form, it
becomes ridiculous. The aim is so paltry in comparison with the
effort, and so out of proportion with the energy-exerted to attain
it, that one can only laugh and wonder! Unfortunately, signs of
this puerile spirit (peculiar to the last quarter of the nineteenth
century) can be seen on all hands and in almost every society.

That any man or woman should make it the unique aim and object of
existence to get into a certain "set," not from any hope of profit
or benefit, nor from the belief that it is composed of brilliant
and amusing people, but simply because it passes for being
exclusive and difficult of access, does at first seem incredible.

That humble young painters or singers should long to know
personally the great lights of their professions, and should strive
to be accepted among them is easily understood, since the aspirants
can reap but benefit, present and future, from such companionship.
That a rising politician should deem it all-important to be on
friendly terms with the "bosses" is not astonishing, for those
magnates have it in their power to make or mar his fortune. But in
a MILIEU as fluctuating as any social circle must necessarily be,
shading off on all sides and changing as constantly as light on
water, the end can never be considered as achieved or the goal

Neither does any particular result accompany success, more
substantial than the moral one which lies in self-congratulation.
That, however, is enough for a climber if she is bitten with the
"ascending" madness. (I say "she," because this form of ambition
is more frequent among women, although by no means unknown to the
sterner sex.)

It amuses me vastly to sit in my corner and watch one of these FIN-
DE-SIECLE diplomatists work out her little problem. She generally
comes plunging into our city from outside, hot for conquest, making
acquaintances right and left, indiscriminately; thus falling an
easy prey to the wolves that prowl around the edges of society,
waiting for just such lambs to devour. Her first entertainments
are worth attending for she has ingeniously contrived to get
together all the people she should have left out, and failed to
attract the social lights and powers of the moment. If she be a
quick-witted lady, she soon sees the error of her ways and begins a
process of "weeding" - as difficult as it is unwise, each rejected
"weed" instantly becoming an enemy for life, not to speak of the
risk she, in her ignorance, runs of mistaking for "detrimentals"
the FINES FLEURS of the worldly parterre. Ah! the way of the
Climber is hard; she now begins to see that her path is not strewn
with flowers.

One tactful person of this kind, whose gradual "unfolding" was
watched with much amusement and wonder by her acquaintances,
avoided all these errors by going in early for a "dear friend."
Having, after mature reflection, chosen her guide among the most
exclusive of the young matrons, she proceeded quietly to pay her
court EN REGLE. Flattering little notes, boxes of candy, and
bunches of flowers were among the forms her devotion took. As a
natural result, these two ladies became inseparable, and the most
hermetically sealed doors opened before the new arrival.

A talent for music or acting is another aid. A few years ago an
entire family were floated into the desired haven on the waves of
the sister's voice, and one young couple achieved success by the
husband's aptitude for games and sports. In the latter case it was
the man of the family who did the work, dragging his wife up after
him. A polo pony is hardly one's idea of a battle-horse, but in
this case it bore its rider on to success.

Once climbers have succeeded in installing themselves in the
stronghold of their ambitions, they become more exclusive than
their new friends ever dreamed of being, and it tries one's self-
restraint to hear these new arrivals deploring "the levelling
tendencies of the age," or wondering "how nice people can be
beginning to call on those horrid So-and-Sos. Their father sold
shoes, you know." This ultra-exclusiveness is not to be wondered
at. The only attraction the circle they have just entered has for
the climbers is its exclusiveness, and they do not intend that it
shall lose its market value in their hands. Like Baudelaire, they
believe that "it is only the small number saved that makes the
charm of Paradise." Having spent hard cash in this investment,
they have every intention of getting their money's worth.

In order to give outsiders a vivid impression of the footing on
which they stand with the great of the world, all the women they
have just met become Nellys and Jennys, and all the men Dicks and
Freds - behind their backs, BIEN ENTENDU - for Mrs. "Newcome" has
not yet reached that point of intimacy which warrants using such
abbreviations directly to the owners.

Another amiable weakness common to the climber is that of knowing
everybody. No name can be mentioned at home or abroad but Parvenu
happens to be on the most intimate terms with the owner, and when
he is conversing, great names drop out of his mouth as plentifully
as did the pearls from the pretty lips of the girl in the fairy
story. All the world knows how such a gentleman, being asked on
his return from the East if he had seen "the Dardanelles,"
answered, "Oh, dear, yes! I dined with them several times!" thus
settling satisfactorily his standing in the Orient!

Climbing, like every other habit, soon takes possession of the
whole nature. To abstain from it is torture. Napoleon, we are
told, found it impossible to rest contented on his successes, but
was impelled onward by a force stronger than his volition. In some
such spirit the ambitious souls here referred to, after "the
Conquest of America" and the discovery that the fruit of their
struggles was not worth very much, victory having brought the
inevitable satiety in its wake, sail away in search of new fields
of adventure. They have long ago left behind the friends and
acquaintances of their childhood. Relations they apparently have
none, which accounts for the curious phenomenon that a parvenu is
never in mourning. As no friendships bind them to their new
circle, the ties are easily loosened. Why should they care for one
city more than for another, unless it offer more of the sport they
love? This continent has become tame, since there is no longer any
struggle, while over the sea vast hunting grounds and game worthy
of their powder, form an irresistible temptation - old and
exclusive societies to be besieged, and contests to be waged
compared to which their American experiences are but light
skirmishes. As the polo pony is supposed to pant for the fray, so
the hearts of social conquerors warm within them at the prospect of
more brilliant victories.

The pleasure of following them on their hunting parties abroad will
have to be deferred, so vast is the subject, so full of thrilling
adventure and, alas! also of humiliating defeat.

CHAPTER 27 - The Last of the Dandies

SO completely has the dandy disappeared from among us, that even
the word has an old-time look (as if it had strayed out of some
half-forgotten novel or "keepsake"), raising in our minds the
picture of a slender, clean-shaven youth, in very tight
unmentionables strapped under his feet, a dark green frock-coat
with a collar up to the ears and a stock whose folds cover his
chest, butter-colored gloves, and a hat - oh! a hat that would
collect a crowd in two minutes in any neighborhood! A gold-headed
stick, and a quizzing glass, with a black ribbon an inch wide,
complete the toilet. In such a rig did the swells of the last
generation stroll down Pall Mall or drive their tilburys in the

The recent illness of the Prince de Sagan has made a strange and
sad impression in many circles in Paris, for he has always been a
favorite, and is the last surviving type of a now extinct species.
He is the last Dandy! No understudy will be found to fill his role
- the dude and the swell are whole generations away from the dandy,
of which they are but feeble reflections - the comedy will have to
be continued now, without its leading gentleman. With his head of
silvery hair, his eye-glass and his wonderful waistcoats, he held
the first place in the "high life" of the French capital.

No first night or ball was complete without him, Sagan. The very
mention of his name in their articles must have kept the wolf from
the door of needy reporters. No DEBUTANTE, social or theatrical,
felt sure of her success until it had received the hall-mark of his
approval. When he assisted at a dress rehearsal, the actors and
the managers paid him more attention than Sarcey or Sardou, for he
was known to be the real arbiter of their fate. His word was law,
the world bowed before it as before the will of an autocrat.
Mature matrons received his dictates with the same reverence that
the Old Guard evinced for Napoleon's orders. Had he not led them
on to victory in their youth?

On the boulevards or at a race-course, he was the one person always
known by sight and pointed out. "There goes Sagan!" He had become
an institution. One does not know exactly how or why he achieved
the position, which made him the most followed, flattered, and
copied man of his day. It certainly was unique!

The Prince of Sagan is descended from Maurice de Saxe (the natural
son of the King of Saxony and Aurora of Koenigsmark), who in his
day shone brilliantly at the French court and was so madly loved by
Adrienne Lecouvreur. From his great ancestor, Sagan inherited the
title of Grand Duke Of Courland (the estates have been absorbed
into a neighboring empire). Nevertheless, he is still an R.H., and
when crowned heads visit Paris they dine with him and receive him
on a footing of equality. He married a great fortune, and the
daughter of the banker Selliere. Their house on the Esplanade des
Invalides has been for years the centre of aristocratic life in
Paris; not the most exclusive circle, but certainly the gayest of
this gay capital, and from the days of Louis Philippe he has given
the keynote to the fast set.

Oddly enough, he has always been a great favorite with the lower
classes (a popularity shared by all the famous dandies of history).
The people appear to find in them the personification of all
aspirations toward the elegant and the ideal. Alcibiades,
Buckingham, the Duc de Richelieu, Lord Seymour, Comte d'Orsay,
Brummel, Grammont-Caderousse, shared this favor, and have remained
legendary characters, to whom their disdain for everything vulgar,
their worship of their own persons, and many costly follies gave an
ephemeral empire. Their power was the more arbitrary and despotic
in that it was only nominal and undefined, allowing them to rule
over the fashions, the tastes, and the pastimes of their
contemporaries with undivided sway, making them envied, obeyed,
loved, but rarely overthrown.

It has been asserted by some writers that dandies are necessary and
useful to a nation (Thackeray admired them and pointed out that
they have a most difficult and delicate role to play, hence their
rarity), and that these butterflies, as one finds them in the
novels of that day, the de Marsys, the Pelhams, the Maxime de
Trailles, are indispensable to the perfection of society. It is a
great misfortune to a country to have no dandies, those supreme
virtuosos of taste and distinction. Germany, which glories in
Mozart and Kant, Goethe and Humboldt, the country of deep thinkers
and brave soldiers, never had a great dandy, and so has remained
behind England or France in all that constitutes the graceful side
of life, the refinements of social intercourse, and the art of
living. France will perceive too late, after he has disappeared,
the loss she has sustained when this Prince, Grand Seigneur, has
ceased to embellish by his presence her race-courses and "first
nights." A reputation like his cannot be improvised in a moment,
and he has no pupils.

Never did the aristocracy of a country stand in greater need of
such a representation, than in these days of tramcars and "fixed-
price" restaurants. An entire "art" dies with him. It has been
whispered that he has not entirely justified his reputation, that
the accounts of his exploits as a HAUT VIVEUR have gained in the
telling. Nevertheless he dominated an epoch, rising above the
tumultuous and levelling society of his day, a tardy Don Quixote,
of the knighthood of pleasures, FETES, loves and prodigalities,
which are no longer of our time. His great name, his grand manner,
his elderly graces, his serene carelessness, made him a being by
himself. No one will succeed this master of departed elegances.
If he does not recover from his attack, if the paralysis does not
leave that poor brain, worn out with doing nothing, we can honestly
say that he is the last of his kind.

An original and independent thinker has asserted that
civilizations, societies, empires, and republics go down to
posterity typified for the admiration of mankind, each under the
form of some hero. Emerson would have given a place in his
Pantheon to Sagan. For it is he who sustained the traditions and
became the type of that distinguished and frivolous society, which
judged that serious things were of no importance, enthusiasm a
waste of time, literature a bore; that nothing was interesting and
worthy of occupying their attention except the elegant distractions
that helped to pass their days-and nights! He had the merit (?) in
these days of the practical and the commonplace, of preserving in
his gracious person all the charming uselessness of a courtier in a
country where there was no longer a court.

What a strange sight it would be if this departing dandy could,
before he leaves for ever the theatre of so many triumphs, take his
place at some street corner, and review the shades of the
companions his long life had thrown him with, the endless
procession of departed belles and beaux, who, in their youth, had,
under his rule, helped to dictate the fashions and lead the sports
of a world.

CHAPTER 28 - A Nation on the Wing

ON being taken the other day through a large and costly residence,
with the thoroughness that only the owner of a new house has the
cruelty to inflict on his victims, not allowing them to pass a
closet or an electric bell without having its particular use and
convenience explained, forcing them to look up coal-slides, and
down air-shafts and to visit every secret place, from the cellar to
the fire-escape, I noticed that a peculiar arrangement of the rooms
repeated itself on each floor, and several times on a floor. I
remarked it to my host.

"You observe it," he said, with a blush of pride, "it is my wife's
idea! The truth is, my daughters are of a marrying age, and my
sons starting out for themselves; this house will soon be much too
big for two old people to live in alone. We have planned it so
that at any time it can be changed into an apartment house at a
nominal expense. It is even wired and plumbed with that end in

This answer positively took my breath away. I looked at my host in
amazement. It was hard to believe that a man past middle age, who
after years of hardest toil could afford to put half a million into
a house for himself and his children, and store it with beautiful
things, would have the courage to look so far into the future as to
see all his work undone, his home turned to another use and himself
and his wife afloat in the world without a roof over their wealthy
old heads.

Surely this was the Spirit of the Age in its purest expression, the
more strikingly so that he seemed to feel pride rather than
anything else in his ingenious combination.

He liked the city he had built in well enough now, but nothing
proved to him that he would like it later. He and his wife had
lived in twenty cities since they began their brave fight with
Fortune, far away in a little Eastern town. They had since changed
their abode with each ascending rung of the ladder of success, and
beyond a faded daguerreotype or two of their children and a few
modest pieces of jewelry, stored away in cotton, it is doubtful if
they owned a single object belonging to their early life.

Another case occurs to me. Near the village where I pass my
summers, there lived an elderly, childless couple on a splendid
estate combining everything a fastidious taste could demand. One
fine morning this place was sold, the important library divided
between the village and their native city, the furniture sold or
given away, - everything went; at the end the things no one wanted
were made into a bon-fire and burned.

A neighbor asking why all this was being done was told by the lady,
"We were tired of it all and have decided to be 'Bohemians' for the
rest of our lives." This couple are now wandering about Europe and
half a dozen trunks contain their belongings.

These are, of course, extreme cases and must be taken for what they
are worth; nevertheless they are straws showing which way the wind
blows, signs of the times that he who runs may read. I do not run,
but I often saunter up our principal avenue, and always find myself
wondering what will be the future of the splendid residences that
grace that thoroughfare as it nears the Park; the ascending tide of
trade is already circling round them and each year sees one or more
crumble away and disappear.

The finer buildings may remain, turned into clubs or restaurants,
but the greater part of the newer ones are so ill-adapted to any
other use than that for which they are built that their future
seems obscure.

That fashion will flit away from its present haunts there can be
little doubt; the city below the Park is sure to be given up to
business, and even the fine frontage on that green space will
sooner or later be occupied by hotels, if not stores; and he who
builds with any belief in the permanency of his surroundings must
indeed be of a hopeful disposition.

A good lady occupying a delightful corner on this same avenue,
opposite a one-story florist's shop, said:

"I shall remain here until they build across the way; then I
suppose I shall have to move."

So after all the man who is contented to live in a future apartment
house, may not be so very far wrong.

A case of the opposite kind is that of a great millionaire, who,
dying, left his house and its collections to his eldest son and his
grandson after him, on the condition that they should continue to
live in it.

Here was an attempt to keep together a home with its memories and
associations. What has been the result? The street that was a
charming centre for residences twenty years ago has become a
"slum;" the unfortunate heirs find themselves with a house on their
hands that they cannot live in and are forbidden to rent or sell.
As a final result the will must in all probability be broken and
the matter ended.

Of course the reason for a great deal of this is the phenomenal
growth of our larger cities. Hundreds of families who would gladly
remain in their old homes are fairly pushed out of them by the
growth of business.

Everything has its limits and a time must come when our cities will
cease to expand or when centres will be formed as in London or
Paris, where generations may succeed each other in the same homes.
So far, I see no indications of any such crystallization in this
our big city; we seem to be condemned like the "Wandering Jew" or
poor little "Joe" to be perpetually "moving on."

At a dinner of young people not long ago a Frenchman visiting our
country, expressed his surprise on hearing a girl speak of "not
remembering the house she was born in." Piqued by his manner the
young lady answered:

"We are twenty-four at this table. I do not believe there is one
person here living in the house in which he or she was born." This
assertion raised a murmur of dissent around the table; on a census
being taken it proved, however, to be true.

How can one expect, under circumstances like these, to find any
great respect among young people for home life or the conservative
side of existence? They are born as it were on the wing, and on
the wing will they live.

The conditions of life in this country, although contributing
largely to such a state of affairs, must not be held, however,
entirely responsible. Underlying our civilization and culture,
there is still strong in us a wild nomadic strain inherited from a
thousand generations of wandering ancestors, which breaks out so
soon as man is freed from the restraint incumbent on bread-winning
for his family. The moment there is wealth or even a modest income
insured, comes the inclination to cut loose from the dull routine
of business and duty, returning instinctively to the migratory
habits of primitive man.

We are not the only nation that has given itself up to globe-
trotting; it is strong in the English, in spite of their
conservative education, and it is surprising to see the number of
formerly stay-at-home French and Germans one meets wandering in
foreign lands.

In 1855, a Londoner advertised the plan he had conceived of taking
some people over to visit the International Exhibition in Paris.
For a fixed sum paid in advance he offered to provide everything
and act as courier to the party, and succeeded with the greatest
difficulty in getting together ten people. From this modest
beginning has grown the vast undertaking that to-day covers the
globe with tourists, from the frozen seas where they "do" the
midnight sun, to the deserts three thousand miles up the Nile.

As I was returning a couple of years ago VIA Vienna from
Constantinople, the train was filled with a party of our
compatriots conducted by an agency of this kind - simple people of
small means who, twenty years ago, would as soon have thought of
leaving their homes for a trip in the East as they would of
starting off in balloons en route for the inter-stellar spaces.

I doubted at the time as to the amount of information and
appreciation they brought to bear on their travels, so I took
occasion to draw one of the thin, unsmiling women into
conversation, asking her where they intended stopping next.

"At Buda-Pesth," she answered. I said in some amusement:

"But that was Buda-Pesth we visited so carefully yesterday."

"Oh, was it," she replied, without any visible change on her face,
"I thought we had not got there yet." Apparently it was enough for
her to be travelling; the rest was of little importance. Later in
the day, when asked if she had visited a certain old city in
Germany, she told me she had but would never go there again: "They
gave us such poor coffee at the hotel." Again later in speaking to
her husband, who seemed a trifle vague as to whether he had seen
Nuremberg or not, she said:

"Why, you remember it very well; it was there you bought those nice

All of which left me with some doubts in my mind as to the
cultivating influences of foreign travel on their minds.

You cannot change a leopard's spots, neither can you alter the
nature of a race, and one of the strongest characteristics of the
Anglo-Saxon, is the nomadic instinct. How often one hears people

"I am not going to sit at home and take care of my furniture. I
want to see something of the world before I am too old." Lately, a
sprightly maiden of uncertain years, just returned from a long trip
abroad, was asked if she intended now to settle down.

"Settle down, indeed! I'm a butterfly and I never expect to settle

There is certainly food here for reflection. Why should we be more
inclined to wander than our neighbors? Perhaps it is in a measure
due to our nervous, restless temperament, which is itself the
result of our climate; but whatever the cause is, inability to
remain long in one place is having a most unfortunate influence on
our social life. When everyone is on the move or longing to be, it
becomes difficult to form any but the most superficial ties; strong
friendships become impossible, the most intimate family relations
are loosened.

If one were of a speculative frame of mind and chose to take as the
basis for a calculation the increase in tourists between 1855, when
the ten pioneers started for Paris, and the number "personally
conducted" over land and sea today, and then glance forward at what
the future will be if this ratio of increase is maintained the
result would be something too awful for words. For if ten have
become a million in forty years, what will be the total in 1955?
Nothing less than entire nations given over to sight-seeing,
passing their lives and incomes in rushing aimlessly about.

If the facilities of communication increase as they undoubtedly
will with the demand, the prospect becomes nearer the idea of a
"Walpurgis Night" than anything else. For the earth and the sea
will be covered and the air filled with every form of whirling,
flying, plunging device to get men quickly from one place to

Every human being on the globe will be flying South for the cold
months and North for the hot season.

As personally conducted tours have been so satisfactory, agencies
will be started to lead us through all the stages of existence.
Parents will subscribe on the birth of their children to have them
personally conducted through life and everything explained as it is
done at present in the galleries abroad; food, lodging and reading
matter, husbands and wives will be provided by contract, to be
taken back and changed if unsatisfactory, as the big stores do with
their goods. Delightful prospect! Homes will become superfluous,
parents and children will only meet when their "tours" happen to
cross each other. Our great-grandchildren will float through life
freed from every responsibility and more perfectly independent than
even that delightful dreamer, Bellamy, ventured to predict.

CHAPTER 29 - Husks

AMONG the Protestants driven from France by that astute and
liberal-minded sovereign Louis XIV., were a colony of weavers, who
as all the world knows, settled at Spitalfields in England, where
their descendants weave silk to this day.

On their arrival in Great Britain, before the looms could be set up
and a market found for their industry, the exiles were reduced to
the last extremity of destitution and hunger. Looking about them
for anything that could be utilized for food, they discovered that
the owners of English slaughter-houses threw away as worthless, the
tails of the cattle they killed. Like all the poor in France,
these wanderers were excellent cooks, and knew that at home such
caudal appendages were highly valued for the tenderness and flavor
of the meat. To the amazement and disgust of the English villagers
the new arrivals proceeded to collect this "refuse" and carry it
home for food. As the first principle of French culinary art is
the POT-AU-FEU, the tails were mostly converted into soup, on which
the exiles thrived and feasted.

Their neighbors, envious at seeing the despised French indulging
daily in savory dishes, unknown to English palates, and tempted
like "Jack's" giant by the smell of "fresh meat," began to inquire
into the matter, and slowly realized how, in their ignorance, they
had been throwing away succulent and delicate food. The news of
this discovery gradually spreading through all classes, "ox-tail"
became and has remained the national English soup.

If this veracious tale could be twisted into a metaphor, it would
serve marvellously to illustrate the position of the entire Anglo-
Saxon race, and especially that of their American descendants as
regards the Latin peoples. For foolish prodigality and reckless,
ignorant extravagance, however, we leave our English cousins far

Two American hotels come to my mind, as different in their
appearance and management as they are geographically asunder. Both
are types and illustrations of the wilful waste that has recently
excited Mr. Ian Maclaren's comment, and the woeful want (of good
food) that is the result. At one, a dreary shingle construction on
a treeless island, off our New England coast, where the ideas of
the landlord and his guests have remained as unchanged and
primitive as the island itself, I found on inquiry that all
articles of food coming from the first table were thrown into the
sea; and I have myself seen chickens hardly touched, rounds of
beef, trays of vegetables, and every variety of cake and dessert
tossed to the fish.

While we were having soups so thin and tasteless that they would
have made a French house-wife blush, the ingredients essential to
an excellent "stock" were cast aside. The boarders were paying
five dollars a day and appeared contented, the place was packed,
the landlord coining money, so it was foolish to expect any

The other hotel, a vast caravansary in the South, where a fortune
had been lavished in providing every modern convenience and luxury,
was the "fad" of its wealthy owner. I had many talks with the
manager during my stay, and came to realize that most of the
wastefulness I saw around me was not his fault, but that of the
public, to whose taste he was obliged to cater. At dinner, after
receiving your order, the waiter would disappear for half an hour,
and then bring your entire meal on one tray, the over-cooked meats
stranded in lakes of coagulated gravy, the entrees cold and the
ices warm. He had generally forgotten two or three essentials, but
to send back for them meant to wait another half-hour, as his other
clients were clamoring to be served. So you ate what was before
you in sulky disgust, and got out of the room as quickly as

After one of these gastronomic races, being hungry, flustered, and
suffering from indigestion, I asked mine host if it had never
occurred to him to serve a TABLE D'HOTE dinner (in courses) as is
done abroad, where hundreds of people dine at the same moment, each
dish being offered them in turn accompanied by its accessories.

"Of course, I have thought of it," he answered. "It would be the
greatest improvement that could be introduced into American hotel-
keeping. No one knows better than I do how disastrous the present
system is to all parties. Take as an example of the present way,
the dinner I am going to give you to-morrow, in honor of Christmas.
Glance over this MENU. You will see that it enumerates every
costly and delicate article of food possible to procure and a long
list of other dishes, the greater part of which will not even be
called for. As no number of CHEFS could possibly oversee the
proper preparation of such a variety of meats and sauces, all will
be carelessly cooked, and as you know by experience, poorly served.

"People who exact useless variety," he added, "are sure in some way
to be the sufferers; in their anxiety to try everything, they will
get nothing worth eating. Yet that meal will cost me considerably
more than my guests pay for their twenty-four hours' board and

"Why do it, you ask? Because it is the custom, and because it will
be an advertisement. These bills of fare will be sown broadcast
over the country in letters to friends and kept as souvenirs. If,
instead of all this senseless superfluity, I were allowed to give a
TABLE D'HOTE meal to-morrow, with the CHEF I have, I could provide
an exquisite dinner, perfect in every detail, served at little
tables as deftly and silently as in a private house. I could also
discharge half of my waiters, and charge two dollars a day instead
of five dollars, and the hotel would become (what it has never been
yet) a paying investment, so great would he the saving."

"Only this morning," he continued, warming to his subject, "while
standing in the dining room, I saw a young man order and then send
away half the dishes on the MENU. A chicken was broiled for him
and rejected; a steak and an omelette fared no better. How much do
you suppose a hotel gains from a guest like that?"

"The reason Americans put up with such poor viands in hotels is,
that home cooking in this country is so rudimentary, consisting
principally of fried dishes, and hot breads. So little is known
about the proper preparation of food that tomorrow's dinner will
appear to many as the NE PLUS ULTRA of delicate living. One of the
charms of a hotel for people who live poorly at home, lies in this
power to order expensive dishes they rarely or never see on their
own tables."

"To be served with a quantity of food that he has but little desire
to eat is one of an American citizen's dearest privileges, and a
right he will most unwillingly relinquish. He may know as well as
you and I do, that what he calls for will not be worth eating; that
is of secondary importance, he has it before him, and is

"The hotel that attempted limiting the liberty of its guests to the
extent of serving them a TABLE D'HOTE dinner, would be emptied in a

"A crowning incongruity, as most people are delighted to dine with
friends, or at public functions, where the meal is invariably
served A LA RUSSE (another name for a TABLE D'HOTE), and on these
occasions are only too glad to have their MENU chosen for them.
The present way, however, is a remnant of 'old times' and the
average American, with all his love of change and novelty, is very
conservative when it comes to his table."

What this manager did not confide to me, but what I discovered
later for myself, was that to facilitate the service, and avoid
confusion in the kitchens, it had become the custom at all the
large and most of the small hotels in this country, to carve the
joints, cut up the game, and portion out vegetables, an hour or two
before meal time. The food, thus arranged, is placed in vast steam
closets, where it simmers gayly for hours, in its own, and fifty
other vapors.

Any one who knows the rudiments of cookery, will recognize that
with this system no viand can have any particular flavor, the
partridges having a taste of their neighbor the roast beef, which
in turn suggests the plum pudding it has been "chumming" with.

It is not alone in a hotel that we miss the good in grasping after
the better. Small housekeeping is apparently run on the same

A young Frenchman, who was working in my rooms, told me in reply to
a question regarding prices, that every kind of food was cheaper
here than abroad, but the prejudice against certain dishes was so
strong in this country that many of the best things in the markets
were never called for. Our nation is no longer in its "teens" and
should cease to act like a foolish boy who has inherited (what
appears to him) a limitless fortune; not for fear of his coming,
like his prototype in the parable, to live on "husks" for he is
doing that already, but lest like the dog of the fable, in grasping
after the shadow of a banquet he miss the simple meal that is
within his reach.

One of the reasons for this deplorable state of affairs lies in the
foolish education our girls receive. They learn so little
housekeeping at home, that when married they are obliged to begin
all over again, unless they prefer, like a majority of their
friends, to let things as go at the will and discretion of the
"lady" below stairs.

At both hotels I have referred to, the families of the men
interested considered it beneath them to know what was taking
place. The "daughter" of the New England house went semi-weekly to
Boston to take violin lessons at ten dollars each, although she had
no intention of becoming a professional, while the wife wrote
poetry and ignored the hotel side of her life entirely.

The "better half" of the Florida establishment hired a palace in
Rome and entertained ambassadors. Hotels divided against
themselves are apt to be establishments where you pay for riotous
living and are served only with husks.

We have many hard lessons ahead of us, and one of the hardest will
be for our nation to learn humbly from the thrifty emigrants on our
shores, the great art of utilizing the "tails" that are at this
moment being so recklessly thrown away.

As it is, in spite of markets overflowing with every fish,
vegetable, and tempting viand, we continue to be the worst fed,
most meagrely nourished of all the wealthy nations on the face of
the earth. We have a saying (for an excellent reason unknown on
the Continent) that Providence provides us with food and the devil
sends the cooks! It would be truer to say that the poorer the food
resources of a nation, the more restricted the choice of material,
the better the cooks; a small latitude when providing for the table
forcing them to a hundred clever combinations and mysterious
devices to vary the monotony of their cuisine and tempt a palate,
by custom staled.

Our heedless people, with great variety at their disposition, are
unequal to the situation, wasting and discarding the best, and
making absolutely nothing of their advantages.

If we were enjoying our prodigality by living on the fat of the
land, there would be less reason to reproach ourselves, for every
one has a right to live as he pleases. But as it is, our foolish
prodigals are spending their substance, while eating the husks!

CHAPTER 30 - The Faubourg of St. Germain

THERE has been too much said and written in the last dozen years
about breaking down the "great wall" behind which the aristocrats
of the famous Faubourg, like the Celestials, their prototypes, have
ensconced themselves. The Chinese speak of outsiders as
"barbarians." The French ladies refer to such unfortunates as
being "beyond the pale." Almost all that has been written is
arrant nonsense; that imaginary barrier exists to-day on as firm a
foundation, and is guarded by sentinels as vigilant as when, forty
years ago, Napoleon (third of the name) and his Spanish spouse
mounted to its assault.

Their repulse was a bitter humiliation to the PARVENUE Empress,
whose resentment took the form (along with many other curious
results) of opening the present Boulevard St. Germain, its line
being intentionally carried through the heart of that quarter,
teeming with historic "Hotels" of the old aristocracy, where
beautiful constructions were mercilessly torn down to make way for
the new avenue. The cajoleries which Eugenie first tried and the
blows that followed were alike unavailing. Even her worship of
Marie Antoinette, between whom and herself she found imaginary
resemblances, failed to warm the stony hearts of the proud old
ladies, to whom it was as gall and wormwood to see a nobody crowned
in the palace of their kings. Like religious communities,
persecution only drew this old society more firmly together and
made them stand by each other in their distress. When the Bois was
remodelled by Napoleon and the lake with its winding drive laid
out, the new Court drove of an afternoon along this water front.
That was enough for the old swells! They retired to the remote
"Allee of the Acacias," and solemnly took their airing away from
the bustle of the new world, incidentally setting a fashion that
has held good to this day; the lakeside being now deserted, and the
"Acacias" crowded of an afternoon, by all that Paris holds of
elegant and inelegant.

Where the brilliant Second Empire failed, the Republic had little
chance of success. With each succeeding year the "Old Faubourg"
withdrew more and more into its shell, going so far, after the fall
of Mac Mahon, as to change its "season" to the spring, so that the
balls and FETES it gave should not coincide with the "official"
entertainments during the winter.

The next people to have a "shy" at the "Old Faubourg's" Gothic
battlements were the Jews, who were victorious in a few light
skirmishes and succeeded in capturing one or two illustrious
husbands for their daughters. The wily Israelites, however,
discovered that titled sons-in-law were expensive articles and
often turned out unsatisfactorily, so they quickly desisted. The
English, the most practical of societies, have always left the
Faubourg alone. It has been reserved for our countrywomen to lay
the most determined siege yet recorded to that untaken stronghold.

It is a characteristic of the American temperament to be unable to
see a closed door without developing an intense curiosity to know
what is behind; or to read "No Admittance to the Public" over an
entrance without immediately determining to get inside at any
price. So it is easy to understand the attraction an hermetically
sealed society would have for our fair compatriots. Year after
year they have flung themselves against its closed gateways.
Repulsed, they have retired only to form again for the attack, but
are as far away to-day from planting their flag in that citadel as
when they first began. It does not matter to them what is inside;
there may be (as in this case) only mouldy old halls and a group of
people with antiquated ideas and ways. It is enough for a certain
type of woman to know that she is not wanted in an exclusive
circle, to be ready to die in the attempt to get there. This point
of view reminds one of Mrs. Snob's saying about a new arrival at a
hotel: "I am sure she must be 'somebody' for she was so rude to me
when I spoke to her;" and her answer to her daughter when the girl
said (on arriving at a watering-place) that she had noticed a very
nice family "who look as if they wanted to know us, Mamma:"

"Then, my dear," replied Mamma Snob, "they certainly are not people
we want to meet!"

The men in French society are willing enough to make acquaintance
with foreigners. You may see the youth of the Faubourg dancing at
American balls in Paris, or running over for occasional visits to
this country. But when it comes to taking their women-kind with
them, it is a different matter. Americans who have known well-born
Frenchmen at school or college are surprised, on meeting them
later, to be asked (cordially enough) to dine EN GARCON at a
restaurant, although their Parisian friend is married. An
Englishman's or American's first word would be on a like occasion:

"Come and dine with me to-night. I want to introduce you to my
wife." Such an idea would never cross a Frenchman's mind!

One American I know is a striking example of this. He was born in
Paris, went to school and college there, and has lived in that city
all his life. His sister married a French nobleman. Yet at this
moment, in spite of his wealth, his charming American wife, and
many beautiful entertainments, he has not one warm French friend,
or the ENTREE on a footing of intimacy to a single Gallic house.

There is no analogy between the English aristocracy and the French
nobility, except that they are both antiquated institutions; the
English is the more harmful on account of its legislative power,
the French is the more pretentious. The House of Lords is the most
open club in London, the payment of an entrance-fee in the shape of
a check to a party fund being an all-sufficient sesame. In France,
one must be born in the magic circle. The spirit of the Emigration
of 1793 is not yet extinct. The nobles live in their own world
(how expressive the word is, seeming to exclude all the rest of
mankind), pining after an impossible RESTAURATION, alien to the
present day, holding aloof from politics for fear of coming in
touch with the masses, with whom they pride themselves on having
nothing in common.

What leads many people astray on this subject is that there has
formed around this ancient society a circle composed of rich
"outsiders," who have married into good families; and of eccentric
members of the latter, who from a love of excitement or for
interested motives have broken away from their traditions. Newly
arrived Americans are apt to mistake this "world" for the real
thing. Into this circle it is not difficult for foreigners who are
rich and anxious to see something of life to gain admission. To be
received by the ladies of this outer circle, seems to our
compatriots to be an achievement, until they learn the real
standing of their new acquaintances.

No gayer houses, however, exist than those of the new set. At
their city or country houses, they entertain continually, and they
are the people one meets toward five o'clock, on the grounds of the
Polo Club, in the Bois, at FETES given by the Island Club of
Puteaux, attending the race meetings, or dining at American houses.
As far as amusement and fun go, one might seek much further and
fare worse.

It is very, very rare that foreigners get beyond this circle.
Occasionally there is a marriage between an American girl and some
Frenchman of high rank. In these cases the girl is, as it were,
swallowed up. Her family see little of her, she rarely appears in
general society, and, little by little, she is lost to her old
friends and relations. I know of several cases of this kind where
it is to be doubted if a dozen Americans outside of the girls'
connections know that such women exist. The fall in rents and land
values has made the French aristocracy poor; it is only by the
greatest economy (and it never entered into an American mind to
conceive of such economy as is practised among them) that they
succeed in holding on to their historical chateaux or beautiful
city residences; so that pride plays a large part in the isolation
in which they live.

The fact that no titles are recognized officially by the French
government (the most they can obtain being a "courtesy"
recognition) has placed these people in a singularly false
position. An American girl who has married a Duke is a good deal
astonished to find that she is legally only plain "Madame So and
So;" that when her husband does his military service there is no
trace of the high-sounding title to be found in his official
papers. Some years ago, a colonel was rebuked because he allowed
the Duc d'Alencon to be addressed as "Monseigneur" by the other
officers of his regiment. This ought to make ambitious papas
reflect, when they treat themselves to titled sons-in-law. They
should at least try and get an article recognized by the law.

Most of what is written here is perfectly well known to resident
Americans in Paris, and has been the cause of gradually splitting
that once harmonious settlement into two perfectly distinct camps,
between which no love is lost. The members of one, clinging to
their countrymen's creed of having the best or nothing, have been
contented to live in France and know but few French people,
entertaining among themselves and marrying their daughters to
Americans. The members of the other, who have "gone in" for French
society, take what they can get, and, on the whole, lead very jolly
lives. It often happens (perhaps it is only a coincidence) that
ladies who have not been very successful at home are partial to
this circle, where they easily find guests for their entertainments
and the recognition their souls long for.

What the future of the "Great Faubourg" will be, it is hard to say.
All hope of a possible RESTAURATION appears to be lost. Will the
proud necks that refused to bend to the Orleans dynasty or the two
"empires" bow themselves to the republican yoke? It would seem as
if it must terminate in this way, for everything in this world must
finish. But the end is not yet; one cannot help feeling sympathy
for people who are trying to live up to their traditions and be
true to such immaterial idols as "honor" and "family" in this
discouragingly material age, when everything goes down before the
Golden Calf. Nor does one wonder that men who can trace their
ancestors back to the Crusades should hesitate to ally themselves
with the last rich PARVENU who has raised himself from the gutter,
or resent the ardor with which the latest importation of American
ambition tries to chum with them and push its way into their life.

CHAPTER 31 - Men's Manners

NOTHING makes one feel so old as to wake up suddenly, as it were,
and realize that the conditions of life have changed, and that the
standards you knew and accepted in your youth have been raised or
lowered. The young men you meet have somehow become uncomfortably
polite, offering you armchairs in the club, and listening with a
shade of deference to your stories. They are of another
generation; their ways are not your ways, nor their ambitions those
you had in younger days. One is tempted to look a little closer,
to analyze what the change is, in what this subtle difference
consists, which you feel between your past and their present. You
are surprised and a little angry to discover that, among other
things, young men have better manners than were general among the
youths of fifteen years ago.

Anyone over forty can remember three epochs in men's manners. When
I was a very young man, there were still going about in society a
number of gentlemen belonging to what was reverently called the
"old school," who had evidently taken Sir Charles Grandison as
their model, read Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son with
attention, and been brought up to commence letters to their
fathers, "Honored Parent," signing themselves "Your humble servant
and respectful son." There are a few such old gentlemen still to
be found in the more conservative clubs, where certain windows are
tacitly abandoned to these elegant-mannered fossils. They are
quite harmless unless you happen to find them in a reminiscent
mood, when they are apt to be a little tiresome; it takes their
rusty mental machinery so long to get working! Washington
possesses a particularly fine collection among the retired army and
navy officers and ex-officials. It is a fact well known that no
one drawing a pension ever dies.

About 1875, a new generation with new manners began to make its
appearance. A number of its members had been educated at English
universities, and came home burning to upset old ways and teach
their elders how to live. They broke away from the old clubs and
started smaller and more exclusive circles among themselves,
principally in the country. This was a period of bad manners.
True to their English model, they considered it "good form" to be
uncivil and to make no effort towards the general entertainment
when in society. Not to speak more than a word or two during a
dinner party to either of one's neighbors was the supreme CHIC. As
a revolt from the twice-told tales of their elders they held it to
be "bad form" to tell a story, no matter how fresh and amusing it
might be. An unfortunate outsider who ventured to tell one in
their club was crushed by having his tale received in dead silence.
When it was finished one of the party would "ring the bell," and
the circle order drinks at the expense of the man who had dared to
amuse them. How the professional story-teller must have shuddered
- he whose story never was ripe until it had been told a couple of
hundred times, and who would produce a certain tale at a certain
course as surely as clock-work.

That the story-telling type was a bore, I grant. To be grabbed on
entering your club and obliged to listen to Smith's last, or to
have the conversation after dinner monopolized by Jones and his
eternal "Speaking of coffee, I remember once," etc. added an
additional hardship to existence. But the opposite pose, which
became the fashion among the reformers, was hardly less wearisome.
To sit among a group of perfectly mute men, with an occasional word
dropping into the silence like a stone in a well, was surely little

A girl told me she had once sat through an entire cotillion with a
youth whose only remark during the evening had been (after absorbed
contemplation of the articles in question), "How do you like my

On another occasion my neighbor at table said to me:

"I think the man on my right has gone to sleep. He is sitting with
his eyes closed!" She was mistaken. He was practising his newly
acquired "repose of manner," and living up to the standard of his

The model young man of that period had another offensive habit, his
pose of never seeing you, which got on the nerves of his elders to
a considerable extent. If he came into a drawing-room where you
were sitting with a lady, he would shake hands with her and begin a
conversation, ignoring your existence, although you may have been
his guest at dinner the night before, or he yours. This was also a
tenet of his creed borrowed from trans-Atlantic cousins, who, by
the bye, during the time I speak of, found America, and especially
our Eastern states, a happy hunting-ground, - all the clubs,
country houses, and society generally opening their doors to the
"sesame" of English nationality. It took our innocent youths a
good ten years to discover that there was no reciprocity in the
arrangement; it was only in the next epoch (the list of the three
referred to) that our men recovered their self-respect, and assumed
towards foreigners in general the attitude of polite indifference
which is their manner to us when abroad. Nothing could have been
more provincial and narrow than the ideas of our "smart" men at
that time. They congregated in little cliques, huddling together
in public, and cracking personal old jokes; but were speechless
with MAUVAISE HONTE if thrown among foreigners or into other
circles of society. All this is not to be wondered at considering
the amount of their general education and reading. One charming
little custom then greatly in vogue among our JEUNESSE DOREE was to
remain at a ball, after the other guests had retired, tipsy, and
then break anything that came to hand. It was so amusing to throw
china, glass, or valuable plants, out of the windows, to strip to
the waist and box or bait the tired waiters.

I look at the boys growing up around me with sincere admiration,
they are so superior to their predecessors in breeding, in
civility, in deference to older people, and in a thousand other
little ways that mark high-bred men. The stray Englishman, of no
particular standing at home no longer finds our men eager to
entertain him, to put their best "hunter" at his disposition, to
board, lodge, and feed him indefinitely, or make him honorary
member of all their clubs. It is a constant source of pleasure to
me to watch this younger generation, so plainly do I see in them
the influence of their mothers - women I knew as girls, and who
were so far ahead of their brothers and husbands in refinement and
culture. To have seen these girls marry and bring up their sons so
well has been a satisfaction and a compensation for many
disillusions. Woman's influence will always remain the strongest
lever that can be brought to bear in raising the tone of a family;
it is impossible not to see about these young men a reflection of
what we found so charming in their mothers. One despairs at times
of humanity, seeing vulgarity and snobbishness riding triumphantly
upward; but where the tone of the younger generation is as high as
I have lately found it, there is still much hope for the future.

CHAPTER 32 - An Ideal Hostess

THE saying that "One-half of the world ignores how the other half
lives" received for me an additional confirmation this last week,
when I had the good fortune to meet again an old friend, now for
some years retired from the stage, where she had by her charm and
beauty, as well as by her singing, held all the Parisian world at
her pretty feet.

Our meeting was followed on her part by an invitation to take
luncheon with her the next day, "to meet a few friends, and talk
over old times." So half-past twelve (the invariable hour for the
"second breakfast," in France) the following day found me entering
a shady drawing-room, where a few people were sitting in the cool
half-light that strayed across from a canvas-covered balcony
furnished with plants and low chairs. Beyond one caught a glimpse
of perhaps the gayest picture that the bright city of Paris offers,
- the sweep of the Boulevard as it turns to the Rue Royale, the
flower market, gay with a thousand colors in the summer sunshine,
while above all the color and movement, rose, cool and gray, the
splendid colonnade of the Madeleine. The rattle of carriages, the
roll of the heavy omnibuses and the shrill cries from the street
below floated up, softened into a harmonious murmur that in no way
interfered with our conversation, and is sweeter than the finest
music to those who love their Paris.

Five or six rooms EN SUITE opening on the street, and as many more
on a large court, formed the apartment, where everything betrayed
the ARTISTE and the singer. The walls, hung with silk or tapestry,
held a collection of original drawings and paintings, a fortune in
themselves; the dozen portraits of our hostess in favorite roles
were by men great in the art world; a couple of pianos covered with
well-worn music and numberless photographs signed with names that
would have made an autograph-fiend's mouth water.

After a gracious, cooing welcome, more whispered than spoken, I was
presented to the guests I did not know. Before this ceremony was
well over, two maids in black, with white caps, opened a door into
the dining-room and announced luncheon. As this is written on the
theme that "people know too little how their neighbors live," I
give the MENU. It may amuse my readers and serve, perhaps, as a
little object lesson to those at home who imagine that quantity and
not quality is of importance.

Our gracious hostess had earned a fortune in her profession (and I
am told that two CHEFS preside over her simple meals); so it was
not a spirit of economy which dictated this simplicity. At first,
HORS D'OEUVRES were served, - all sorts of tempting little things,
- very thin slices of ham, spiced sausages, olives and caviar, and
eaten - not merely passed and refused. Then came the one hot dish
of the meal. "One!" I think I hear my reader exclaim. Yes, my
friend, but that one was a marvel in its way. Chicken A
L'ESPAGNOLE, boiled, and buried in rice and tomatoes cooked whole -
a dish to be dreamed of and remembered in one's prayers and
thanksgivings! After at least two helpings each to this CHEF-
D'OEUVRE, cold larded fillet and a meat pate were served with the
salad. Then a bit of cheese, a beaten cream of chocolate, fruit,
and bon-bons. For a drink we had the white wine from which
champagne is made (by a chemical process and the addition of many
injurious ingredients); in other words, a pure BRUT champagne with
just a suggestion of sparkle at the bottom of your glass. All the
party then migrated together into the smoking-room for cigarettes,
coffee, and a tiny glass of LIQUEUR.

These details have been given at length, not only because the meal
seemed to me, while I was eating it, to be worthy of whole columns
of print, but because one of the besetting sins of our dear land is
to serve a profusion of food no one wants and which the hostess
would never have dreamed of ordering had she been alone.

Nothing is more wearisome than to sit at table and see course after
course, good, bad, and indifferent, served, after you have eaten
what you want. And nothing is more vulgar than to serve them; for
either a guest refuses a great deal of the food and appears
uncivil, or he must eat, and regret it afterwards. If we ask
people to a meal, it should be to such as we eat, as a general
thing, ourselves, and such as they would have at home. Otherwise
it becomes ostentation and vulgarity. Why should one be expelled
to eat more than usual because a friend has been nice enough to ask
one to take one's dinner with him, instead of eating it alone? It
is the being among friends that tempts, not the food; the fact at
skilful waiters have been able to serve a dozen varieties of fish,
flesh, and fowl during the time you were at table has added little
to any one's pleasure. On the contrary! Half the time one eats
from pure absence of mind, a number of most injurious mixtures and
so prepares an awful to-morrow and the foundation of many
complicated diseases.

I see Smith and Jones daily at the club, where we dine cheerfully
together on soup, a cut of the joint, a dessert, and drink a pint
of claret. But if either Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones asks me to
dinner, we have eight courses and half as many wines, and Smith
will say quite gravely to me, "Try this '75 'Perrier Jouet'," as if
he were in the habit of drinking it daily. It makes me smile, for
he would as soon think of ordering a bottle of that wine at the
club as he would think of ordering a flask of nectar.

But to return to our "mutton." As we had none of us eaten too much
(and so become digesting machines), we were cheerful and sprightly.
A little music followed and an author repeated some of his poetry.
I noticed that during the hour before we broke up our hostess
contrived to have a little talk with each of her guests, which she
made quite personal, appearing for the moment as though the rest of
the world did not exist for her, than which there is no more subtle
flattery, and which is the act of a well-bred and appreciative
woman. Guests cannot be treated EN MASSE any more than food; to
ask a man to your house is not enough. He should be made to feel,
if you wish him to go away with a pleasant remembrance of the
entertainment, that his presence has in some way added to it and
been a personal pleasure to his host.

A good soul that all New York knew a few years ago, whose
entertainments were as though the street had been turned into a
SALON for the moment, used to go about among her guests saying,
"There have been one hundred and seventy-five people here this
Thursday, ten more than last week," with such a satisfied smile,
that you felt that she had little left to wish for, and found
yourself wondering just which number you represented in her mind.
When you entered she must have murmured a numeral to herself as she
shook your hand.

There is more than one house in New York where I have grave doubts
if the host and hostess are quite sure of my name when I dine
there; after an abstracted welcome, they rarely put themselves out
to entertain their guests. Black coats and evening dresses
alternate in pleasing perspective down the long line of their
table. Their gold plate is out, and the CHEF has been allowed to
work his own sweet will, so they give themselves no further

Why does not some one suggest to these amphitrions to send fifteen
dollars in prettily monogrammed envelopes to each of their friends,
requesting them to expend it on a dinner. The compliment would be
quite as personal, and then the guests might make up little parties
to suit themselves, which would be much more satisfactory than
going "in" with some one chosen at hazard from their host's
visiting list, and less fatiguing to that gentleman and his family.

CHAPTER 33 - The Introducer

WE all suffer more or less from the perennial "freshness" of
certain acquaintances - tiresome people whom a misguided Providence
has endowed with over-flowing vitality and an irrepressible love of
their fellowmen, and who, not content with looking on life as a
continual "spree," insist on making others happy in spite of
themselves. Their name is legion and their presence ubiquitous,
but they rarely annoy as much as when disguised under the mask of
the "Introducer." In his clutches one is helpless. It is
impossible to escape from such philanthropic tyranny. He, in his
freshness, imagines that to present human beings to each other is
his mission in this world and moves through life making these
platonic unions, oblivious, as are other match-makers, of the
misery he creates.

If you are out for a quiet stroll, one of these genial gentlemen is
sure to come bounding up, and without notice or warning present you
to his "friend," - the greater part of the time a man he has met
only an hour before, but whom he endows out of the warehouse of his
generous imagination with several talents and all the virtues. In
order to make the situation just one shade more uncomfortable, this
kindly bore proceeds to sing a hymn of praise concerning both of
you to your faces, adding, in order that you may both feel quite
friendly and pleasant:

"I know you two will fancy each other, you are so alike," - a
phrase neatly calculated to nip any conversation in the bud. You
detest the unoffending stranger on the spot and would like to kill
the bore. Not to appear an absolute brute you struggle through
some commonplace phrases, discovering the while that your new
acquaintance is no more anxious to know you, than you are to meet
him; that he has not the slightest idea who you are, neither does
he desire to find out. He classes you with the bore, and his one
idea, like your own, is to escape. So that the only result of the
Introducer's good-natured interference has been to make two fellow-
creatures miserable.

A friend was telling me the other day of the martyrdom he had
suffered from this class. He spoke with much feeling, as he is the
soul of amiability, but somewhat short-sighted and afflicted with a
hopelessly bad memory for faces. For the last few years, he has
been in the habit of spending one or two of the winter months in
Washington, where his friends put him up at one club or another.
Each winter on his first appearance at one of these clubs, some
kindly disposed old fogy is sure to present him to a circle of the
members, and he finds himself indiscriminately shaking hands with
Judges and Colonels. As little or no conversation follows these
introductions to fix the individuality of the members in his mind,
he unconsciously cuts two-thirds of his newly acquired circle the
next afternoon, and the following winter, after a ten-months'
absence, he innocently ignores the other third. So hopelessly has
he offended in this way, that last season, on being presented to a
club member, the latter peevishly blurted out:

"This is the fourth time I have been introduced to Mr. Blank, but
he never remembers me," and glared coldly at him, laying it all
down to my friend's snobbishness and to the airs of a New Yorker
when away from home. If instead of being sacrificed to the
introducer's mistaken zeal my poor friend had been left quietly to
himself, he would in good time have met the people congenial to him
and avoided giving offence to a number of kindly gentlemen.

This introducing mania takes an even more aggressive form in the
hostess, who imagines that she is lacking in hospitality if any two
people in her drawing-room are not made known to each other. No
matter how interested you may be in a chat with a friend, you will
see her bearing down upon you, bringing in tow the one human being
you have carefully avoided for years. Escape seems impossible, but
as a forlorn hope you fling yourself into conversation with your
nearest neighbor, trying by your absorbed manner to ward off the
calamity. In vain! With a tap on your elbow your smiling hostess
introduces you and, having spoiled your afternoon, flits off in
search of other prey.

The question of introductions is one on which it is impossible to
lay down any fixed rules. There must constantly occur situations
where one's acts must depend upon a kindly consideration for other
people's feelings, which after all, is only another name for tact.
Nothing so plainly shows the breeding of a man or woman as skill in
solving problems of this kind without giving offence.

Foreigners, with their greater knowledge of the world, rarely fall
into the error of indiscriminate introducing, appreciating what a
presentation means and what obligations it entails. The English
fall into exactly the contrary error from ours, and carry it to
absurd lengths. Starting with the assumption that everybody knows
everybody, and being aware of the general dread of meeting
"detrimentals," they avoid the difficulty by making no
introductions. This may work well among themselves, but it is
trying to a stranger whom they have been good enough to ask to
their tables, to sit out the meal between two people who ignore his
presence and converse across him; for an Englishman will expire
sooner than speak to a person to whom he has not been introduced.

The French, with the marvellous tact that has for centuries made
them the law-givers on all subjects of etiquette and breeding, have
another way of avoiding useless introductions. They assume that
two people meeting in a drawing-room belong to the same world and
so chat pleasantly with those around them. On leaving the SALON
the acquaintance is supposed to end, and a gentleman who should at
another time or place bow or speak to the lady who had offered him
a cup of tea and talked pleasantly to him over it at a friend's
reception, would commit a gross breach of etiquette.

I was once present at a large dinner given in Cologne to the
American Geographical Society. No sooner was I seated than my two
neighbors turned towards me mentioning their names and waiting for
me to do the same. After that the conversation flowed on as among
friends. This custom struck me as exceedingly well-bred and
calculated to make a foreigner feel at his ease.

Among other curious types, there are people so constituted that
they are unhappy if a single person can be found in the room to
whom they have not been introduced. It does not matter who the
stranger may be or what chance there is of finding him congenial.
They must be presented; nothing else will content them. If you are
chatting with a friend you feel a pull at your sleeve, and in an
audible aside, they ask for an introduction. The aspirant will
then bring up and present the members of his family who happen to
be near. After that he seems to be at ease, and having absolutely
nothing to say will soon drift off. Our public men suffer terribly
from promiscuous introductions; it is a part of a political career;
a good memory for names and faces and a cordial manner under fire
have often gone a long way in floating a statesman on to success.

Demand, we are told, creates supply. During a short stay in a
Florida hotel last winter, I noticed a curious little man who
looked like a cross between a waiter and a musician. As he spoke
to me several times and seemed very officious, I asked who he was.
The answer was so grotesque that I could not believe my ears. I
was told that he held the position of official "introducer," or
master of ceremonies, and that the guests under his guidance became
known to each other, danced, rode, and married to their own and
doubtless to his satisfaction. The further west one goes the more
pronounced this mania becomes. Everybody is introduced to
everybody on all imaginable occasions. If a man asks you to take a
drink, he presents you to the bar-tender. If he takes you for a
drive, the cab-driver is introduced. "Boots" makes you acquainted
with the chambermaid, and the hotel proprietor unites you in the
bonds of friendship with the clerk at the desk. Intercourse with
one's fellows becomes one long debauch of introduction. In this
country where every liberty is respected, it is a curious fact that
we should be denied the most important of all rights, that of
choosing our acquaintances.

CHAPTER 34 - A Question and an Answer


I HAVE been reading your articles in The Evening Post. They are
really most amusing! You do know such a lot about people and
things, that I am tempted to write and ask you a question on a
subject that is puzzling me. What is it that is necessary to
succeed - socially? There! It is out! Please do not laugh at me.
Such funny people get on and such clever, agreeable ones fail, that
I am all at sea. Now do be nice and answer me, and you will have a
very grateful


The above note, in a rather juvenile feminine hand, and breathing a
faint perfume of VIOLETTE DE PARME, was part of the morning's mail
that I found lying on my desk a few days ago, in delightful
contrast to the bills and advertisements which formed the bulk of
my correspondence. It would suppose a stoicism greater than I
possess, not to have felt a thrill of satisfaction in its perusal.
There was, then, some one who read with pleasure what I wrote, and
who had been moved to consult me on a question (evidently to her)
of importance. I instantly decided to do my best for the
edification of my fair correspondent (for no doubt entered my head
that she was both young and fair), the more readily because that
very question had frequently presented itself to my own mind on
observing the very capricious choice of Dame "Fashion" in the
distribution of her favors.

That there are people who succeed brilliantly and move from success
to success, amid an applauding crowd of friends and admirers, while
others, apparently their superiors in every way, are distanced in
the race, is an undeniable fact. You have but to glance around the
circle of your acquaintances and relations to be convinced of this
anomaly. To a reflecting mind the question immediately presents
itself, Why is this? General society is certainly cultivated
enough to appreciate intelligence and superior endowments. How
then does it happen that the social favorites are so often lacking
in the qualities which at a first glance would seem indispensable
to success?

Before going any further let us stop a moment, and look at the
subject from another side, for it is more serious than appears to
be on the surface. To be loved by those around us, to stand well
in the world, is certainly the most legitimate as well as the most
common of ambitions, as well as the incentive to most of the
industry and perseverance in life. Aside from science, which is
sometimes followed for itself alone, and virtue, which we are told
looks for no other reward, the hope which inspires a great deal of
the persistent efforts we see, is generally that of raising one's
self and those one loves by one's efforts into a sphere higher than
where cruel fate had placed them; that they, too, may take their
place in the sunshine and enjoy the good things of life. This
ambition is often purely disinterested; a life of hardest toil is
cheerfully borne, with the hope (for sole consolation) that dear
ones will profit later by all the work, and live in a circle the
patient toiler never dreams of entering. Surely he is a stern
moralist who would deny this satisfaction to the breadwinner of a

There are doubtless many higher motives in life, more elevated
goals toward which struggling humanity should strive. If you
examine the average mind, however, you will be pretty sure to find
that success is the touchstone by which we judge our fellows and
what, in our hearts, we admire the most. That is not to be
wondered at, either, for we have done all we can to implant it
there. From a child's first opening thought, it is impressed upon
him that the great object of existence is to succeed. Did a parent
ever tell a child to try and stand last in his class? And yet
humility is a virtue we admire in the abstract. Are any of us
willing to step aside and see our inferiors pass us in the race?
That is too much to ask of poor humanity. Were other and higher
standards to be accepted, the structure of civilization as it
exists to-day would crumble away and the great machine run down.

In returning to my correspondent and her perfectly legitimate
desire to know the road to success, we must realize that to a large
part of the world social success is the only kind they understand.
The great inventors and benefactors of mankind live too far away on
a plane by themselves to be the object of jealousy to any but a
very small circle; on the other hand, in these days of equality,
especially in this country where caste has never existed, the
social world seems to hold out alluring and tangible gifts to him
who can enter its enchanted portals. Even politics, to judge by
the actions of some of our legislators, of late, would seem to be
only a stepping-stone to its door!

"But my question," I hear my fair interlocutor saying. "You are
not answering it!"

All in good time, my dear. I am just about to do so. Did you ever
hear of Darwin and his theory of "selection?" It would be a slight
to your intelligence not to take it for granted that you had.
Well, my observations in the world lead me to believe that we
follow there unconsciously, the same rules that guide the wild
beasts in the forest. Certain individuals are endowed by nature
with temperaments which make them take naturally to a social life
and shine there. In it they find their natural element. They
develop freely just where others shrivel up and disappear. There
is continually going on unseen a "natural selection," the
discarding of unfit material, the assimilation of new and congenial
elements from outside, with the logical result of a survival of the
fittest. Aside from this, you will find in "the world," as
anywhere else, that the person who succeeds is generally he who has
been willing to give the most of his strength and mind to that one
object, and has not allowed the flowers on the hillside to distract
him from his path, remembering also that genius is often but the
"capacity for taking infinite pains."

There are people so constituted that they cheerfully give the
efforts of a lifetime to the attainment of a brilliant social
position. No fatigue is too great, and no snubs too bitter to be
willingly undergone in pursuit of the cherished object. You will
never find such an individual, for instance, wandering in the
flowery byways that lead to art or letters, for that would waste
his time. If his family are too hard to raise, he will abandon the
attempt and rise without them, for he cannot help himself. He is
but an atom working as blindly upward as the plant that pushes its
mysterious way towards the sun. Brains are not necessary. Good
looks are but a trump the more in the "hand." Manners may help,
but are not essential. The object can be and is attained daily
without all three. Wealth is but the oil that makes the machinery
run more smoothly. The all-important factor is the desire to
succeed, so strong that it makes any price seem cheap, and that can
pay itself by a step gained, for mortification and weariness and

There, my dear, is the secret of success! I stop because I feel
myself becoming bitter, and that is a frame of mind to be carefully
avoided, because it interferes with the digestion and upsets one's
gentle calm! I have tried to answer your question. The answer
resolves itself into these two things; that it is necessary to be
born with qualities which you may not possess, and calls for
sacrifices you would doubtless be unwilling to make. It remains
with you to decide if the little game is worth the candle. The
delightful common sense I feel quite sure you possess reassures me
as to your answer.

Take gayly such good things as may float your way, and profit by
them while they last. Wander off into all the cross-roads that
tempt you. Stop often to lend a helping hand to a less fortunate
traveller. Rest in the heat of the day, as your spirit prompts
you. Sit down before the sunset and revel in its beauty and you
will find your voyage through life much more satisfactory to look
back to and full of far sweeter memories than if by sacrificing any
of these pleasures you had attained the greatest of "positions."

CHAPTER 35 - Living on your Friends

THACKERAY devoted a chapter in "Vanity Fair" to the problem "How to
Live Well on Nothing a Year." It was neither a very new nor a very
ingenious expedient that "Becky" resorted to when she discounted
her husband's position and connection to fleece the tradespeople
and cheat an old family servant out of a year's rent. The author
might more justly have used his clever phrase in describing "Major
Pendennis's" agreeable existence. We have made great progress in
this, as in almost every other mode of living, in the latter half
of the Victorian era; intelligent individuals of either sex, who
know the ropes, can now as easily lead the existence of a multi-
millionaire (with as much satisfaction to themselves and their
friends) as though the bank account, with all its attendant
worries, stood in their own names. This subject is so vast, its
ramifications so far-reaching and complicated, that one hesitates
before launching into an analysis of it. It will be better simply
to give a few interesting examples, and a general rule or two, for
the enlightenment and guidance of ingenious souls.

Human nature changes little; all that our educational and social
training has accomplished is a smoothing of the surface. One of
the most striking proofs of this is, that here in our primitive
country, as soon as accumulation of capital allowed certain
families to live in great luxury, they returned to the ways of
older aristocracies, and, with other wants, felt the necessity of a
court about them, ladies and gentlemen in waiting, pages and
jesters. Nature abhors a vacuum, so a class of people immediately
felt an irresistible impulse to rush in and fill the void. Our
aristocrats were not even obliged to send abroad to fill these
vacancies, as they were for their footmen and butlers; the native
article was quite ready and willing and, considering the little
practice it could have had, proved wonderfully adapted to the work.

When the mania for building immense country houses and yachts (the
owning of opera boxes goes a little further back) first attacked
this country, the builders imagined that, once completed, it would
be the easiest, as well as the most delightful task to fill them
with the pick of their friends, that they could get all the
talented and agreeable people they wanted by simply making a sign.
To their astonishment, they discovered that what appeared so simple
was a difficult, as well as a thankless labor. I remember asking a
lady who had owned a "proscenium" at the old Academy, why she had
decided not to take a box in the (then) new opera-house.

"Because, having passed thirty years of my life inviting people to
sit in my box, I intend now to rest." It is very much the same
thing with yachts. A couple who had determined to go around the
world, in their lately finished boat, were dumbfounded to find
their invitations were not eagerly accepted. After exhausting the
small list of people they really wanted, they began with others
indifferent to them, and even then filled out their number with
difficulty. A hostess who counts on a series of house parties
through the autumn months, must begin early in the summer if she is
to have the guests she desires.

It is just here that the "professional," if I may be allowed to use
such an expression, comes to the front. He is always available.
It is indifferent to him if he starts on a tour around the world or
for a winter spree to Montreal. He is always amusing, good-
humored, and can be counted on at the last moment to fill any
vacant place, without being the least offended at the tardy
invitation, for he belongs to the class who have discovered "how to
live well on nothing a year." Luxury is as the breath of his
nostrils, but his means allow of little beyond necessities. The
temptation must be great when everything that he appreciates most
(and cannot afford) is urged upon him. We should not pose as too
stern moralists, and throw stones at him; for there may enter more
"best French plate" into the composition of our own houses than we

It is here our epoch shows its improvement over earlier and cruder
days. At present no toad-eating is connected with the acceptance
of hospitality, or, if occasionally a small "batrachian" is
offered, it is so well disguised by an accomplished CHEF, and
served on such exquisite old Dresden, that it slips down with very
little effort. Even this rarely occurs, unless the guest has
allowed himself to become the inmate of a residence or yacht. Then
he takes his chance with other members of the household, and if the
host or hostess happens to have a bad temper as a set-off to their
good table, it is apt to fare ill with our friend.

So far, I have spoken of this class in the masculine, which is an
error, as the art is successfully practised by the weaker sex, with
this shade of difference. As an unmarried woman is in less general
demand, she is apt to attach herself to one dear friend, always
sure to be a lady in possession of fine country and city houses and
other appurtenances of wealth, often of inferior social standing;
so that there is give and take, the guest rendering real service to
an ambitious hostess. The feminine aspirant need not be handsome.
On the contrary, an agreeable plainness is much more acceptable,
serving as a foil. But she must be excellent in all games, from
golf to piquet, and willing to play as often and as long as
required. She must also cheerfully go in to dinner with the blue
ribbon bore of the evening, only asked on account of his pretty
wife (by the bye, why is it that Beauty is so often flanked by the
Beast?), and sit between him and the "second prize" bore. These
two worthies would have been the portion of the hostess fifteen
years ago; she would have considered it her duty to absorb them and
prevent her other guests suffering. MAIS NOUS AVONS CHANGE TOUT
CELA. The lady of the house now thinks first of amusing herself,
and arranges to sit between two favorites.

Society has become much simpler, and especially less expensive, for
unmarried men than it used to be. Even if a hostess asks a favor
in return for weeks of hospitality, the sacrifice she requires of a
man is rarely greater than a cotillion with an unattractive
debutante whom she is trying to launch; or the sitting through a
particularly dull opera in order to see her to the carriage, her
lord and master having slipped off early to his club and a quiet
game of pool. Many people who read these lines are old enough to
remember that prehistoric period when unmarried girls went to the
theatre and parties, alone with the men they knew. This custom
still prevails in our irrepressible West. It was an arrangement by
which all the expenses fell on the man - theatre tickets, carriages
if it rained, and often a bit of supper after. If a youth asked a
girl to dance the cotillion, he was expected to send a bouquet,
sure to cost between twenty and twenty-five dollars. What a
blessed change for the impecunious swell when all this went out of
fashion! New York is his paradise now; in other parts of the world
something is still expected of him. In France it takes the form of
a handsome bag of bon-bons on New Year's Day, if he has accepted
hospitality during the past year. While here he need do absolutely
nothing (unless he wishes to), the occasional leaving of a card
having been suppressed of late by our JEUNESSE DOREE, five minutes
of their society in an opera box being estimated (by them) as ample
return for a dinner or a week in a country house.

The truth of it is, there are so few men who "go out" (it being
practically impossible for any one working at a serious profession
to sit up night after night, even if he desired), and at the same
time so many women insist on entertaining to amuse themselves or
better their position, that the men who go about get spoiled and
almost come to consider the obligation conferred, when they dine
out. There is no more amusing sight than poor paterfamilias
sitting in the club between six and seven P.M. pretending to read
the evening paper, but really with his eve on the door; he has been
sent down by his wife to "get a man," as she is one short for her
dinner this evening. He must be one who will fit in well with the
other guests; hence papa's anxious look, and the reason the
editorial gets so little of his attention! Watch him as young
"professional" lounges in. There is just his man - if he only
happens to be disengaged! You will see "Pater" cross the room and
shake hands, then, after a few minutes' whispered conversation, he
will walk down to his coupe with such a relieved look on his face.
Young "professional," who is in faultless evening dress, will ring
for a cocktail and take up the discarded evening paper to pass the
time till eight twenty-five.

Eight twenty-five, advisedly, for he will be the last to arrive,
knowing, clever dog, how much eCLAT it gives one to have a room
full of people asking each other, "Whom are we waiting for?" when
the door opens, and he is announced. He will stay a moment after
the other guests have gone and receive the most cordial pressures
of the hand from a grateful hostess (if not spoken words of thanks)
in return for eating an exquisitely cooked dinner, seated between
two agreeable women, drinking irreproachable wine, smoking a cigar,
and washing the whole down with a glass of 1830 brandy, or some
priceless historic madeira.

There is probably a moral to be extracted from all this. But
frankly my ethics are so mixed that I fail to see where the blame
lies, and which is the less worthy individual, the ostentatious
axe-grinding host or the interested guest. One thing, however, I
see clearly, viz., that life is very agreeable to him who starts in
with few prejudices, good manners, a large amount of well-concealed
"cheek" and the happy faculty of taking things as they come.

CHAPTER 36 - American Society in Italy

THE phrase at the head of this chapter and other sentences, such as
"American Society in Paris," or London, are constantly on the lips
of people who should know better. In reality these societies do
not exist. Does my reader pause, wondering if he can believe his
eyes? He has doubtless heard all his life of these delightful
circles, and believes in them. He may even have dined, EN PASSANT,
at the "palace" of some resident compatriot in Rome or Florence,
under the impression that he was within its mystic limits.
Illusion! An effect of mirage, making that which appears quite
tangible and solid when viewed from a distance dissolve into thin
air as one approaches; like the mirage, cheating the weary
traveller with a vision of what he most longs for.

Forty, even fifty years ago, there lived in Rome a group of very
agreeable people; Story and the two Greenoughs and Crawford, the
sculptor (father of the brilliant novelist of today); Charlotte
Cushman (who divided her time between Rome and Newport), and her
friend Miss Stebbins, the sculptress, to whose hands we owe the
bronze fountain on the Mall in our Park; Rogers, then working at
the bronze doors of our capitol, and many other cultivated and
agreeable people. Hawthorne passed a couple of winters among them,
and the tone of that society is reflected in his "Marble Faun." He
took Story as a model for his "Kenyon," and was the first to note
the exotic grace of an American girl in that strange setting. They
formed as transcendental and unworldly a group as ever gathered
about a "tea" table. Great things were expected of them and their
influence, but they disappointed the world, and, with the exception
of Hawthorne, are being fast forgotten.

Nothing could be simpler than life in the papal capital in those
pleasant days. Money was rare, but living as delightfully
inexpensive. It was about that time, if I do not mistake, that a
list was published in New York of the citizens worth one hundred
thousand dollars; and it was not a long one! The Roman colony took
"tea" informally with each other, and "received" on stated evenings
in their studios (when mulled claret and cakes were the only
refreshment offered; very bad they were, too), and migrated in the
summer to the mountains near Rome or to Sorrento. In the winter
months their circle was enlarged by a contingent from home. Among
wealthy New Yorkers, it was the fashion in the early fifties to
pass a winter in Rome, when, together with his other dissipations,
paterfamilias would sit to one of the American sculptors for his
bust, which accounts for the horrors one now runs across in dark
corners of country houses, - ghostly heads in "chin whiskers" and
Roman draperies.

The son of one of these pioneers, more rich than cultivated,
noticed the other day, while visiting a friend of mine, an
exquisite eighteenth-century bust of Madame de Pompadour, the pride
of his hostess's drawing-room. "Ah!" said Midas, "are busts the
fashion again? I have one of my father, done in Rome in 1850. I
will bring it down and put it in my parlor."

The travellers consulted the residents in their purchases of copies
of the old masters, for there were fashions in these luxuries as in
everything else. There was a run at that time on the "Madonna in
the Chair;" and "Beatrice Cenci" was long prime favorite.
Thousands of the latter leering and winking over her everlasting
shoulder, were solemnly sent home each year. No one ever dreamed
of buying an original painting! The tourists also developed a
taste for large marble statues, "Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii"


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