of the Yankees is unbounded. They cannot do too much for a man when
they take to him. It would perhaps be better for the guest if the
host knew how to modify his show of welcome. But he does not know
it, and you have to take everything he sets before you, or insult
him. It would be vain to utter a protest. You might as well bid the
spread eagle close its wings, and not look so "darned defiant," as
offer to expostulate. If you are at dinner you have a dish of clams
to begin with, the finest bivalves in the world according to your
friend's notions. But if your stomach does not give a "squirm"
when your eyes behold the semblance of a small bed-room candle, with
the "snuff" bent at the top, you are fit to do roughing work among
any tribe of Indians who stop short of cannibalism. These disposed
of you have to face bacon and beans, and drink hot tea, with the
thermometer at 90° in the shade, and the cooking stove at your
elbow. If you get through this course you begin to "give out; " and
you sigh to be under a tree in Dunham Park, with a tender beef
sandwich, and "suthin" grateful to wet your whistle with. But you
have not finished yet. There are sweet cakes, dough nuts, green
corn, stewed prunes, and the inevitable candy. And if you have
not reconciled yourself to drinking alternate draughts of iced water
and hot tea, you have got to do it now. Then you have to talk
religion; or what amounts to the same thing with some people, your
favourite minister. Godliness may enter into some part of the
creed; but it is a puzzle to find it out. The "noble art of
self-defence" may have its beautiful points but who is the best "slogger?"
is the question most to be considered by the lovers of pugilism.
On the same principle I am afraid that the glories of real religion
are too often observed by the shadow of the best "devil-mauler."
Then you get on politics. What are Blaine's chances? and what
do you think of Arthur's last "boom?" You must have an
opinion, so take your cue from your host.
Politics enter more into the social life of America than they
do in England. Their newspaper literature of the present time
is full "right through" of the doings of Republicans and Democrats,
on account of the coming election of President. The Republican
convention at Chicago has been the theme of every tongue, and ended
in bad blood. Next we shall have the Democratic convention,
during the sittings of which we are bound to have another deluge of
political printers' ink. This excitement will be kept up until
November, when the President will be elected. The atmosphere
will be resonant with "booms" in the meantime; and we shall have
piles of sensational headings, and political slang sufficient to
stock a dozen burlesques, and as many pantomimes. What a pity
these things should occur in the hottest weather, when thousands of
people are away to the cooler North, "doing" the Alps and the Rhine,
and exploring the lair of the toothless Saxon lion! Why not
"get through" with them in winter, when a little warmth is required,
unless it is from a fear of the ice crop being damaged by the heat
of political controversy, and a good source of income diminished?
I have been reminded of these things by an incident that followed an
invitation to supper with a genuine old Englishman in one of the
cities "down east." Mine host and his wife still cherish the
prejudices they had brought with them from the "old country,"
whilst their daughter, a hot-pressed, gilt-edged, Russian leather
copy of the "Yankee gal," who had never scented the hawthorn, nor
cooled her face in May dew, to keep down freckles, did not believe
there was anything in England worth their remembering, except it
might be their "sparking" days, and she "guessed" that was the
secret of her parents' love for their old home. The mother was
inconveniently, but not stone deaf; and as deaf people have an
awkward way of telling the truth when it ought to have been
concealed, this old lady had the misfortune of disarranging the "connection" of the domestic telephone to the utter discomfiture of
the daughter. On my visit to this family I was an hour late for
"supper," which in England means "tea," in Lancashire in particular,
"baggin'." I begged to apologise, and hoped I had not kept them
waiting, although I was the only guest.
"Not a moment," said the daughter; "we didn't expect you until quite
That assurance caused me to feel as much at ease as the temperature
of the weather would permit. But the mother, putting in her "motty,"
had the effect of disturbing this serenity and I felt as if there
was thunder about.
"We'd gan yo' up," said the honest old dame, who did not believe in
telling falsehoods to make things pleasant. "My dowter said
Englishmen wur never to be depended on, an' we made it out that yo'd
better fish to fry an' wur above comin' to spend a neet wi' poor
folk. Wurno' that it, Jennie?"
The daughter's looks were needles, but she had got to make the best
of matters as they stood.
"Mother is kinder deaf," she remarked in an undertone, "and she gets
things into her head she thinks she has heard. If you listen to her
she'll just lose you. Tea, or coffee?"
Tea I preferred, and the young lady retired.
"I'd give a trifle for a quart o' English cockles," said the old
dame, her mouth watering at the thought. "We'n nowt here that tastes
like 'em. But yo'n yer folks say that clams are th' best shell fish
that con be fund anywheere. They wouldno' say so if they'd as mony
dollars i' their pockets as would carry 'em back to owd England. Give a mon a Rhode Island clam, an' a Southport cockle, an' I know
which he'd put on th' stove fust. Now I'm straight forrad, an' say
what I think."
The daughter here entered with the tea and coffee.
"Wheer's thy feyther?" demanded the mother. I had noticed there was
a set chair that no one came to occupy.
"Gone to see the telegrams from Chicago," was the reply.
"Wheay, what's to do theer? It's not a fire again, is it?"
"No; there's a meeting of Republican delegates to select a man to
run for President. Father's a Blaine man."
"He is, is he? He're not a plain mon when he're thy age, let me tell
thee. He're better lookin' than thou art, anyway. Thou taks too mich
o' thy mother to be pratty." More needle-pointed glances shot across
"Will you take a cake, Mr. Brierley?" said the daughter, handing me
a plate. "They are very nice,—my own making."
"Are you troubled with your liver?" enquired the elder party, when
she saw I was offering to take one.
"I am," I replied. "That was one cause of bringing me here. But why
do you ask?"
"Ay; but I conno' gether fro' that whether yo' want to be made
better, or wurr."
"Better, of course."
"Ay, I guess yo done. But if yo done want to be better dunno ate
thoose cakes. Butter's as dear here as it is i' England an' yo
conno' get marjorum at fifteen cents a pound as good as butter at
thirty-six. But they'n passed a new law for t' prevent marjorum fro'
bein' made. Next time yo come we shall happen be able to offer yo
cakes wi' gradely butter in 'em."
The needles in the daughter's eyes had grown to razors; but a smile
of incredulousness prevented them being shied across the table; and
she begged that I would not take any further notice of her mother. I
had dismissed the clams, and felt satisfied when they were not
pressed upon me! and took the cake, so as not to appear prejudiced.
"Knock th' cat off yor knee," said the elder dame. "It wants to lake th' milk fro' th' strawberries."
Cats are cats in America; not the puny things we see chasing
sparrows in England, or playing with a ball of worsted, but fine,
noble animals, that your first impulse suggests being on friendly
terms with, or being armed with a "shot-gun." They rub against your
legs without giving the familiar purr and you begin to suspect that
you have a prairie wolf about you, or an Adirondack leopard. This, I
had been informed, was a "gentleman" cat, and could "play snakes"
with rats. After supper he appeared upon the scene with a mouthful
of prey that he had not brought from the jungle, nor caught in the
cellar, but for the possession of which some butcher's shop had been
laid under tribute. It was a loin of mutton chop, that caused his
tail to erect itself to beyond the perpendicular. The struggle was a
fierce one, but the prey continued to have the best of it.
"Is the cat an old one?" I enquired, thinking the animal's teeth
might be getting worse for wear.
"No; but I guess the chop is," mine host replied. "Bob wouldno' ha'
gotten that if it had bin fit for a table. That mutton has seen more
than one president."
"I have not tasted a tender bit of mutton since I came over," I
"Guess yo' need no' towd me that," said mine host; "it isn't to be
got. Sent to the old country. What we have left here's only fit for dryin', an' makin into shingles for chicken hutches. Yo' may get a
steak sometimes that doesno' mak' yo'r ears wartch wi' chewin', but yo can never depend on mutton."
But the cat has caused me to jump over a part of my story. Mine host
had not yet returned from his news hunting expedition and in his
absence I had a good deal of fencing to do with his deafer half. There was nothing American that pleased her. The love of the mother
country was too deeply ingrained in the old woman's system to be
removed by anything short of cauterisation. And yet these people had
returned to England twice with the intention of settling, but could
not rest there. The bright skies they had left beyond the Atlantic
shone brighter in their memories when they beheld the cheerless
atmosphere, made more dreary by the contrast—of their native land. They sold up a third time and were here again, as dissatisfied as
"Yo'n ha' to sweeten yor tae yorsel," said the old woman, seeing
that I was twirling my spoon for nothing. "There's very little of owt done for folk i' this country. How dun yo like yor atin where
"Not over well," I replied. "Not accustomed to the style, nor the cookin."
"Yo'n had no broth, I guess?"
I shook my head.
"Nor potato pie?"
"Nor steak dumplin?"
I had not.
"Nor steak pie?"
"No; but I have had veal pie."
"Then a Lancashire woman made it?"
I believe she was from Lancashire.
"No doubt o' that. Wur there a cup i'th' middle?"
"I don't remember!"
"Hoo'd happen be feart o' breakin it, an' havin to buy a new un. Tho'
hoo shouldno' ha' bin feart, for cups are made so thick yo can
hardly get yor top lip o'er th' rim."
"What is the reason of there being made so thick and clumsy?" I
"So that they winno' break," was the reply. "We han to pay a heavy
duty on pots, and if we broke 'em, as sarvants breaken 'em i'
England, we should be ruinated in a month. Me an' my felly went
three mile one Sunday a-lookin at a set o' chancy (china), an' there
were others theere beside us. I durst hardly touch it for fear of it tumblin to pieces. Yo dunno' seem to be gettin on with your supper."
"You don't give the gentleman a chance," put in the daughter, who
had hitherto kept a dignified silence.
I assured my entertainers that I was doing exceedingly well, but my
tardiness gave that statement the lie.
"Have yo store teeth that yo'r so slow?" enquired the elder party.
"Mother, you're insulting the gentleman," said the daughter, with a
severe protest in her looks.
"Nowt o'th' sort. He's nobbut like other folk. It isno' th' fashin
to wear their own, no moore than it is seein without spectacles. But
I'll say nowt no moore;" and the old girl subsided for a time. It was
well she did, as her husband made his appearance.
"Oh, yo'n come at last," said the head of the house, as he brushed
into the room. "We'd given yo up. I said yo'd very likely gone wi'
th' mayor, an' yo'rn havin' a good time on't. I think by th'
appearance o' things Blaine 'll have th' vote. Well, Jim has done
good work in his time, an he deserves to be th' President."
"I've been told that he's disposed to make trouble with England?" I
"No doubt yo'n bin towd that. An' it's as likely yo will be towd
that he'll tak Egypt, an' India, an' Australy, an' he'll ha' th'
Prince o' Wales put in a cage an' shown around like a guinea pig. He'll see that justice is done to Ireland so that it'll stop
emigration, as we're gettin so crowded that one men has to stond
while another sits an' we shall ha' to send to other countries for
corn, an' beef. Jim Blaine 'll cause o that if yo'n tak any notice
o' what a sore-yead says."
Not a bad introduction to a tea-table debate, I thought. The old man
warmed with his tea and was at one time down on all Yankees and at
another pitting them against the blarsted British snobs.
"Yore as slow at yor eatin' as a girl," remarked mine host, seeing
that I was not bolting my food at the speed as he was. "Don't yo'
"Yes, but I can't get into your ways of eating," I replied. "You
seem to get through your work as if you were doing it by the piece."
"We can't do with slow work here. We've got to move on quick or be
left behind. In England they'd sit an hour o'er this, they'd relish
it so well."
"They wouldn't sit long over a slice of melting lamb, some new
potatoes, three on a fork, and a boiling of champion peas about the
size of bullets, and home-brewed to make it come-again-able." I had
the old man there, I found.
"I've a good mind to go back with yo'," he exclaimed, throwing down
his spoon as though he meant it for a challenge. "Yo'n reached a
corner o' my stomach that has been shut down mony a year. What is
life worth, if we mun be roasted, and clemmed, an' worked to deeath
here, while the tight little island's brimmin' o'er wi' good things
till they hang off th' edges. It would be just about wakes time if I
went after th' fourth o' July. That's the time for good doings!"
It is wonderful to me how the Americans can afford to be as
hospitable as they are. It is not because they are earning much just
now. Trade is very bad and the amount of taxes they have to pay
would, if transferred to England, not only turn out a Government,
but smash the Constitution. No Britisher would stand it in his own
country. Here my friend pays as much in various kinds of rates
connected with two dwelling houses as his sister in England pays in
rent for a tolerable good cottage. He growls when taxes are named,
curses the Republic and wishes they were under the British
Government. The country was always being upset with elections. He
would have the President chosen for twelve years instead of four
and behead him if he did not do what was right. He would take away
the salaries of aldermen and councilmen and make them pay for their
honour, as they do in England. He would—Then he got into a fury
and I whistled the "Star-spangled Banner," which pumped his
patriotic blood into his heart, and he "whipped Johnny Bull like an
"There is one thing you ought to be proud of," I remarked, when my
friend's patriotism had cooled a little.
"What is that?" he wished to know.
"You have no great national debt to hold you down."
He drew himself to his full height,—the eagle was on the wing.
"You are right there, my friend," he said, with pride sufficient for
a battalion. "We pay as we go on, we do. Won't owe a cent if we can
"The more honourable course," I observed. "No saddening posterity
with debts of your contracting. You will leave to your successors a
clean book so that they can go on developing the resources of the
country untrammelled by anything."
"Here, I say, you git me there. Don't see why we should fight and pay
for a lot of Johnnies to come over and pick up the cake. Wouldn't
there be some plundering then? Better have a debt for ballast to
keep us steady going, than roll into another war: I am for posterity
paying in advance, I am, then they can fight as they darn please. This is the land of freedom and plenty! I drink to it."
"Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said—
'This is my own, my native land?'"
I could not remember any more of Scott's fine verse, or I might have
gone on, if my friend would have permitted me. But he brought me up
at once with the exclamation—
"I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled."
"Oh, the green lanes of old England!"
"Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale."
"Soft up the valley creeps the sound of bells."
"Here, I say, you git me again. Bells, bells, bells."
"Where are they?" eagerly enquired the old woman, who had not
broken silence for "quite a time."
"Those evening bells."
"Ah," said mine host, with a sigh, "she's in her native valley now,
where she still hopes to end her days. Well, if I can sell out she
INTERNATIONAL HOLIDAY.—A CURE FOR BAD TRADE.
THE weather has
been so much like an English summer during the past week (I am
writing on the 14th of June), that I have been tempted to remain in
the Valley of the Passaic a little longer than I had intended. But
when the hot wave comes—I mean the next, as we have had one
already,—and the "Skeeters' go humming around," I shall turn my
face towards where the snow lingers longest. Half-a-day's journey
will take me quite into another region, where "Hans" lounges at the
window with his pipe, and "Grechen" flaps about in an acre of
sunshade bonnet. The place I am thinking of still preserves much of
its primitive character, but the pleasure-seeker who cannot afford
to spend the summer at Long Branch, or Saratoga, and dare not dream
of the fashionable European tour, takes the boat, or the rail, and,
with his family around him, enjoys a "quiet time" in the "Bettws" of
America. And the tourist has found his way thither and is as odious
as he is anywhere. He grumbles about hotel "feed," and compares it
with that of Switzerland, where perhaps he has never been, and looks
upon a pretty place as something laid out for his especial pleasure
and ought to be taken away by him when he leaves.
Many a pretty place has been spoiled of its quiet
beauty by this rover from flower to flower. He has left his
mark in the picturesque village I am alluding to in a pretentious
hotel that will deprive it for ever of its seclusion. But
there are yet some quiet nooks, and the paterfamilias of limited
means may thank his poverty that has placed him out of the reach of
making a pleasure into a toil, as many people do, than have to go to
work to get a rest. I met an acquaintance the other day who
seemed in a great hurry, a thing quite unusual with him. "Is
there a fire somewhere?" I asked. "No; I'm off for my
holidays," he replied. "Where to?" "Guess I'm going to
work; ain't done anything gone seventeen years, so I'm going to have
a two-weeks' rest." (There are no fortnights in America.)
The cool weather is enabling me to study America, and
American life, to advantage. Neither can be seen on a hot day,
except we find the latter in connection with ice-cream and candy, or
taking in breeze and sand at Coney Island. We cannot see much
by sitting at an hotel window with cigars and mint-julep, and we can
only acquire an idea of vastness by being whirled a thousand miles
on a steam "track." We might as well look at the stars at
midnight, or send the eye roving over the Atlantic, by which we
gather no knowledge of anything but space, as pretend we have seen
America by "doing" Niagara, New York, and the "Garden City."*
On the same principle foreigners need not flatter themselves that
they have seen England when they have been inside Westminster
Palace, climbed to the top of St. Paul's, rambled over the docks at
Liverpool and taken off their hat to the Mayor in the Manchester
Town Hall. There are sights and sights, and it is a labour to
see some of them. The grand and majestic, in which we behold
more of God's creative power than his love, weary the eye without
filling the heart. But when we see human nature in its
gentlest and most truthful aspect, it is like a walk among flowers
when the morning sun is releasing their fragrance. It is the
love of the Creator in its most acceptable manifestations.
It has been my fortune to see the light and shade of human
life as represented in America,—the man who would share his "bottom
dollar" with a stranger, and the one who would take him in in
a different sense to that which is meant by the Scriptures. At
times I am overjoyed and at others pained by my discoveries, but
remembering a line by the late
William Billington,—"Look under th' leaves if you want any nuts"
— I have dived into the depths of lowly places to find the oyster
that contains the pearl. It is not to be found in the Wall
Street of New York, nor among the gay saloons of Saratoga.
Some of these experiences may not be of the most delightful kind, if
the flutter of gaiety be the charm you seek. But they have
their lessons, and if the proper study of mankind is man, I am
getting along the form. I am seeing a good deal of him, and
may have something more to say of his personnel when I am enjoying
the retirement of home, than I can think of in the hurly-burly that
is going on around me here. Not that I intend taking the
advantage of absence to say something distasteful of our Yankee
cousins. That would be cowardly. The worst that I may
have to say about them shall be done in their presence. But
"up to now" I have not gathered as much dirt to throw as would
plaster the chimney corner of a throstle's nest, so I ought not to
live in fear of knives and "fire-irons."
Now that we have done with "booms," and political dynamite,
for a time, and there seems to be a prevailing desire to rest a
little, and look abroad on the situation, there is a chance of
getting at the sober thoughts of men who are not politicians by
profession, nor for the sake of plunder, but who are earnest and
sincere in their desire to see the affairs of the States "taking on"
a brighter aspect. They think there has been too much "spreadeagleism,"
and too little real patriotism in their public men. It has,
they think, too much the appearance of coming to the end of things
when the principal object of the great and virtuous mind is
"scrambling." If men raise themselves to a proud position, not
to befriend their country, but to rob a bank, there is a
hopelessness in the prospect that is quite bewildering.
Besides, what is the object of the Government in hoarding up such
vast revenues, and keeping up taxation? "You bet—(this is the
way growlers, or "sore-heads," argue)—someone's going to have a
I was listening to a number of these one evening after the
blaze of fireworks had exhausted itself, and I could gather from
what I heard of their conversation that there was a large amount of
disaffected feeling sunk into their minds and it took ways of
manifesting itself that I was not prepared to witness. At the
same time these men were loyal to their country and the Republic,
and would raise "Hail, Columbia!" against the enemies of either.
But with all the advantages of soil and climate they felt they were
not in the position they ought to occupy. There was too much
silence in their workshops not to feel alarmed about the future of
labour. The cause of this silence, everyone agreed, was the
glutted state of the markets. How strange, some people might
think, to hear working men reasoning! and manufacturers might reduce
wages, as they have done, and were doing, until they got them as low
as they were in England fifty years ago, but they would have no
better trade. Goods were not wanted. There was no market
for them. People would only buy what was required by their
necessities, so how could they hope to reduce their stocks?
There was only one cure for this state of things, and that applied
to all countries besides America.
"But what have we to do with any other country than our own?"
"That is just where your narrow-mindedness comes in," said
the propagandist. "Don't we as individuals live by each other?
I guess we do. So it is with nations. What is good for
one is, I believe, good for all. Now, I have heard someone
advocate, not a general strike, but a general cessation from work
for a given time—say a month. But what good would that be to
us if other countries did not follow? They would pour in their
goods while we were idle, and that would only be draining the pool
to be refilled from some other source. I was in England during
the great strike of forty-two. It was found that after a
month's rest trade received a new impulse, and had it not been for
succeeding failures in crops, a tide of prosperity would have set
in. My wages went up nearly twenty per cent. without asking
for and others rose in proportion. But Germany, Belgium, and
America, were not in a position then to stock the English market, or
the result might have been different. Half a century ago
America was at war with itself, and the labour of peace had a rest.
Other countries could not supply our markets, because they could not
obtain the raw material. When we came out of the war we had
empty stores, and we had to fill them. Our wages rose to a
fabulous height. We thought we owed that to protection, when
it was simply caused by an increased demand for labour. For
years after the war mechanics were earning six, seven, and eight
dollars a day, and during the war so scarce was the supply of labour
that boys of nine and ten years of age could earn two dollars a day
by weeding onion beds. Farmers were compelled to pay the
amount or spoil their crops. I will not go into the great
farming lands of the West for these figures. This dearth of
labour was in the East. Then to what do we owe our present
depression, and low rate of wages?"
"Over-stocked markets," was the general reply.
"That being the conclusion," said the propagandist, there can
only be one remedy,—an international holiday. Blood-let the
markets of the world, and renovate the whole industrial system.
Not being a strike for higher wages, I have no doubt that employers
would be favourable to the movement. Repeat 'forty-two'
on a universal scale, and we shall set ourselves right. Five
years ago weavers would have been sent for to their work. A
man could have earned his three dollars a day. Now he cannot
earn more than one dollar a day and if he is away from his job one
hour there are twenty applications for his loom. That shows a
sad state of things, gentlemen."
The following paragraph, taken from the Paterson Daily
Guardian of June 17, bears out the statement of our
HUNDREDS OF IDLE WORKING
PEOPLE.—Superintendent Fielding says
that among the hundreds applying to him for work on the streets are
some of the finest mechanics and skilled workmen in the city, and he
judges by the facts that come under his notice that the present
depression is pinching the working class much harder than at any
time during the great panic, for then the silk industry was fairly
prosperous, whereas now there is comparatively little to do in that
branch. We learn that several silk and other industrial
establishments are intending to reduce their working hours to half
or three quarter time about July 1st, which will not mend matters.
At William Strange & Co.'s mills three-quarter time was adopted
And this is in the United States of America, a land that can
produce all it requires, and could afford to shut itself out from
the rest of the world—a land of inexhaustible resources, and its
people starving. This cannot be the result of famine, because
famine means scarcity, and there is no scarcity. To what,
then, besides the glut of markets can be attributed this great
change? What is the cause of a country, as yet wearing its
first "pants," being afflicted with the imbecilities of age?
Is it because it has adopted the vices of the Old World without
copying its virtues? I am afraid the answer would not be
received with equanimity. But there are many disarranging
elements independent of these. There is a continual flood of
immigration that has to be spread over the land, and the immigrants
do not all go to the far West. They settle in places already
crowded and bid against the elder colonists in the labour market.
Lancashire has had to bear the strain of a similar situation and
which could not raise a question of international moment. From
other counties, and from the sister kingdom, flocked immigrants for
whom work had to be found, or other means of support. In these
instances the idea of protection was sought to be carried out, and
when one man seeks an advantage over a neighbour, it is no wonder
that nations adopt the same principle. But without discussing
the question of free trade and a free workshop, I am merely giving a
statement of things that come under my notice and the feeling I
gather from the perturbations that are troubling the labour world.
The difficulty the American people have had in dealing with
immigration would have swamped an older country and it is scarcely
to be wondered at that while the well-meaning have been doing their
best to grapple with these difficulties, the political charlatan
should be making his way to power. This snake has coiled
itself round every limb of the Union's liberties. Corruption
of the most flagrant kind prevails everywhere. Patriotism
asserts itself in its distribution of dollars, and plunder is now
one of the political virtues. I might have hesitated in making
this statement if anyone was disposed to contradict it, but the
justice of the impeachment is admitted on all hands. There is
no road to power only through reams of dollars. Men hold the
reins of government who are outside of it. They "boss" the
polling places at an election and the ballot system is a farce.
The party wire-pullers distribute the voting tickets and insist upon
knowing which way the voter votes before he deposits it; and if he
refuses to show his ticket, which the law says he can, he is
regarded as having voted against his party and treated accordingly.
Those who have been bought do not hesitate.
With good trade and general well-doing, the American people
have seemed to be indifferent to these growing evils; but with
depression everywhere, they are disposed to take political matters
into their own hands. Charlatanism is playing itself out and
if public papers would adopt a more serious tone in discussing the
most serious business of a country, it would be a powerful aid
towards the political regeneration so much needed. Such light
treatment of important matters cannot be necessary. England
does not adopt it and there is life in the old dog yet. Some
of these evils could not exist under a good monarchy. It is
not for want of good laws that they exist in the United States; but
the administration is weak and people who are not well disposed, and
who could sooner pull down a government than build one up, do as
they "darn please" and set the laws at defiance. Those whose
duty it is to administer these laws and see that they are obeyed
have to think about keeping their places. If those were
secure, and were not at the mercy of a party "boom," I have no doubt
the law would be administered more vigorously; but under the present
system there are a good many "dead letters."
America can never be a monarchy unless conquered. And
who is to conquer it? Not all the powers combined, unless it
was sold. Are there men who would sell their country?
I ask patriotic Americans for the reply. There is no pretender
to an imaginary throne, unless it be a Red-skin; and I am afraid his
blanket would not cover the situation; it would be too scant, and,
besides that, too porous to keep out Republican rain. "Hans
Chuckenbanger" is too easy-going to make "dot ting vork." He
is among the earliest settlers, but was never born to rule.
Give him his pipe, his wife, and his lager bier, and he would have
no desire to "boss" the eagle's erie. O'Donovan Rossa would
have to fight his own friends for a start, and perhaps be the first
victim of that panacea for all ills—dynamite. Uneasy would be
the throne with a few packages beneath the seat. But dynamite
can only fight on one side, is the fool's opinion who advocates its
use. It is clear, then, there are no heirs to the crown of
Columbia, and the Americans will take care there is not one started.
Yet there could be worse rule than that of a good king, but the
experiment would be too dangerous to be tried. If the people
do allow themselves to be fooled for a time by political tricksters,
they have never in the least surrendered their liberties. But
they may trifle with them too far. There is a spreading sore
that might be fatal, that they may cut out the gangrene at once is
the hope of one who loves America next to his own country!
But my reverie is disturbed by the sound of bells. This
is the land of bells,—not the chimes we were wont to listen to as
they stole upon the ear in the quietude of a Sabbath eve,—but bells
that clang and jingle as if for no other purpose than to keep the
world awake, and people's minds in a mood for indulging in
profanity. It is the land for yells, too,—yells that the
shrieks of all the doomed struggling with Styx could not reach
within an octave. They sometimes seem to lift my ears out of
their place, and I feel for them about my scalp-lock if that is
still in being. It is the scream of a railroad engine, and is
accompanied by the clang of a bell, large enough to ring in for a
square mile of churches. Those accustomed to the infernal
noise say they don't hear it, or don't notice it. I wonder how
it would go if on the fourth of July an open-air concert was got up,
and "Hail Columbia" was chorused by the united voices of a thousand
donkeys. It would not astonish their ears more than the
railroad "buzzers" astonished mine. But they might get used to
it. The clickerty-clack of a loom shop has spoiled many an ear
of its notion of music, by obliging the would-be singer to sing down
his nose in order to be heard.
And there are bells of another order, but none the less
inharmonious—the bells of the Junk dealers. These frequently
pass where I am sitting, and they cause the war-whoop to be given
out from my lungs. The junk cart is a flat construction such
as would be devoted to onions and cockles in the old country.
In the middle, on a board, sits the driver, and behind him is a
string of supposed to be bells, but which in the more humble
concerns are made up of old meat tins, "Colman's mustard" canisters,
and square iron boxes whose original use is a mystery to me.
These are strung from side to side on two poles and strange as it
may seem no one offers to cut the string or steal the bells.
The machine is worked by a string attached to the mule's ear when
the animal will stand the work, but when he is in a stupid mood the
driver has to pull the string himself. Why they call these
people "junk dealers" I do not know, as their only occupation is
gathering rags and other kinds of waste. The bells I hear now
are not the junk bells. They are the fire alarms and they are
ringing all over the city. A junk dealer's warehouse is on
fire. This is the way the incident is described by one of the
"THE NEW TEAM'S
morning about 3-15 o'clock an alarm of fire was sent out from box
38, at the corner of River and Montgomery Streets. The fire
was in the small barn and storehouse owned by Richard Robins, a junk
dealer, at No. 33, Straight Street. The barn and its contents,
including a mule and two dogs, was entirely destroyed. The
barn adjoined the Erie railroad track on the site of the old oil
fire. It is supposed to have caught from a passing locomotive.
Cataract Hose was the first to reach the scene of the fire, and did
excellent service in saving the three adjoining houses.
Steamer No. 1 responds to this box, and this was the first run the
new team has had. The horses acted admirably, and responded
promptly to every call made upon them. Besides the driver
there were two 'bunkers' in the house last night. As soon as
the alarm struck, the animals began to prance in their stalls,
impatient to be loosened. When freed they made a dash for the
steamer, and 'George,' the most intelligent, placed himself in front
of the engine and voluntarily ducked his head for the collar.
The other animal, which has been named 'Andrew,' is not so
intelligent as George, but both are learning their duties very fast.
Besides the barn there was also a small woodshed destroyed, and the
adjoining house was charred. The loss will amount to about 500
dols., with slight insurance."
Verily, we are too common-place in our public prints to give
events their proper colouring.
* Why Chicago is called the "Garden City" not even an
American can understand. "Food" City would have been more
ON THE TRAIL OF THE WAR-PATH.
WHOEVER has been
at Greenwich on a summer Sunday afternoon will have seen how crowds
of Cockneys of the lower and middle grades of society manage to
enjoy themselves. It is enough for them that they have a park to
romp and tumble in, a few places where they can imbibe their
"half-an'-half" beneath the shelter of trees, in company with wife
or sweetheart, and a band to listen to. But they do not make as much
of a holiday as the Yankees. They have no large river boats to
crowd, nor the water to float them in. If they had these, in all
likelihood they would not be far behind their Transatlantic brethren
in the way of holiday making. But Father Thames would be aghast at
the idea of having to bear on his sluggish breast the thousands that
may be seen at holiday times floating about on the rivers, creeks,
and bays of the land of the West. But the great misfortune of the
American people is,—they have no Belle Vue to cater for them. There
is no great variety of fare to be had. The inevitable clam, and
strawberry short cake, a "schooner" of lager, and a handful of
peanuts are as many danties as can be hoped for and in these both
young and old of both sexes seem to delight. An Englishman, however,
should approach this kind of entertainment cautiously if he means to
enjoy it. He should not get too near the kitchen when the "chowder"
is being cooked, unless the organ of smell has suspended operations
for the time. He should not get among the steam of perspiring
sea-weed beneath which the American cockle is expiating its sins on
the altar of heated stones. If he does there are chances of his
appetite losing some of its edge, if not the whole of it. He will
not find the odour of roast beef, nor that king of the Lancashire
dishes, the potato pie.
I had an experience of this kind a few days ago. Holiday time it
was, and just so near that season of the year when the American
youth of all ages go wild on nationality, and manifest their
patriotism by disposing of as much melted gunpowder as they can get
under fire. I was one among others invited to an excursion by boat
to a place among the scattered rocks of Narragansett Bay. It was not
called "Rocky Point" because it did not merit the name. It had a
sterile, iron-bound appearance, with just so much green on the
surface of its higher ground as might tempt a sheep to look for
pastures somewhere else; and it cannot be wondered at that
"Freshness leaves the land ere Spring is gone,"
since it is trodden
by thousands of feet before it can be said to have a beard. I was
led to expect only a few people taking a quiet outing, as the
steamer did not appear to have holding capacity for many more than a
hundred. But we had not been "aboard" time enough to light our
cigars ere we found we were not to have much elbow-room. The cry was
"Still they come," and "We see them on their winding way," a long
distance off, and in such numbers that they might have been going to
Knott Mill Fair in the olden time, but minus baskets, and screaming
mouthfuls of Lancashire Doric. Never did I see such crowding, only
on land. We were over on this side, and on that, until it would not
have surprised me if we had been "dumped" into the sea. This is
getting to be a dangerous venture, I find, and newspapers are
complaining of the risks people encounter by overloading. The
authorities, they say, will not open their eyes to the danger until
a few hundreds have been drowned. When the cable was slipped we had
1,100 passengers on a boat that would not be permitted to cross the
Mersey with more than 500. No more of it until would-be
excursionists are satisfied that loading cannot go on till everybody
has got standing-room, and something by which to hold on to the
bulwarks outside. I believe the fault lies with the people, and not
the owners of the steamers; they will insist upon boarding.
I had not been in this company long before I was made aware of the
presence of a few of my countrywomen, who had not yet forgotten
their native tongue, although none of them could be on the sunny
side of fifty. They were not very comfortable in their places, and
whenever the boat gave a lurch they were sure of being drowned. If
they had known, they never would have come, "not for no money." To
my thinking, I would prefer to face the Atlantic in "half a gale,"
rather than venture on that boat again to keep back the crowd. Two of
the Lancashire women held on to each other as though they had been
converted into life-boats, and were depending on mutual aid for
safety. But the more youthful and daring spirits regarded the
situation with the indifference of old tars, who had been "lashed to
the helm," and had piloted a raft, and if there was anything to be
seen on either shore they would crowd on that side of the vessel
until the "chain-box" was constantly on the move to balance it.
"Eh, I wish they'd give o'er shiftin so mich," said Betty, or Sally,
or whatever the name might be. "It's rockin' now like an ice-boat
upo' th' cut. If I mun have a cradle let me have one wi' rockers on,
then I con but tumble out on th' floor. I dunno' care for summut
like a saucer swimmin' in a mug."
"It's runnin' upo' one wheel now," said the other, trying to lean
her weight on the raised side of the boat. "Let's get on this side,
an' try to balance it; we're fat uns. Dear-a-me! I could welly ha'
touched th' wayter then. We shall be o'er yet, an' I've getten a new
By degrees and good management the ship righted and the two women
were as much pacified as they well could be without having their husbands there to lay all the blame upon. They could converse with
me without having occasional spasms of irregular breathing and they
gave their experiences of American life, and the American climate as
none but Lancashire people could,—I mean with the peculiar form of
expression belonging to the county. They grew very confidential, and
one of them insisted upon making it known to me who she was.
"Are yo stoppin' th' wakes o'er?" she enquired, for a beginning.
"Wakes?" I asked in return? "There are no wakes in America."
"I mean Hollinwood Wakes," she went on. "Yo' come fro' theere, dunno'
"I do, originally," I replied.
"Well, I come fro' Marpo, at back o'th' Navigation. Yo'd know Owd
B-ll-s, I dar' say."
"I knew him well; he was a friend of my father's. We lived on the
canal side at Bradley Bent."
"I thowt I knew yo'. Yo' used to work at Hinchcliffe's factory,
"I did when I was very young."
"An' yo' went to th' Ranters' Schoo' i'th' Gravel-hole, after they'd
left Bradley Bent?"
"I attended many years. I met an old schoolmate of mine on
Decoration-day. He drove over here twelve miles to see me. We had
not seen each other for thirty-five years; old Bill Stott's son, hat
dyer. He's living out at Adamsville, Rhode Island, and has a farm."
"I remember him. Well, I'm owd B-ll-s dowter. I'm sure yo'd remember
"I do; but it is a long time since I saw you. You were asking me if
I was stopping Hollinwood Wakes over?"
"Ay, I wur."
"Well, I set out to stay till September if I found I could stand the
"Yo'n summat to go through, then," and the old girl gave me a look
that seemed to have been made up of sympathy and commiseration; "Yo'n
"I had it as hot four years ago as it was during the whole summer,"
I assured her.
"But wur it i' August?"
"Ay, but try August, an' yo'n never want to try another. Yo' might
get roasted i' June, but August is a boilin' month an' yo'n get
boilt same as they dun potatoes i' yo'r clooas."
"I don't much care if I can avoid the mosquitoes."
"Miss Kitties! Han yo' never bin bitten wi' one yet?"
"I'm not aware that I have."
"Well, if yo' dunno' remember it yo' ha' no' bin bitten. I know a
woman that's bin bitten wi' 'em till hoo's had black een. What dun yo' think o' that? An' they'n go for yo' like gooin for a babby. Yo'r fresh fro' th' owd country, wi' some fat about yo', an' they'n
have a bit on't. A dried-up Yankee they dunno' mind. They conno get
mich juice out of a piece o' brown leather. But a bit o' fresh
English blood,—they'll go for it as far as we used to go for wayter—to
th' Underlone well. But that isno' everythin'. I' August there's nowt that's breet but what goes as rusty as if yo'd had it i'th'
wesh cellar a week,—keys i' yo'r pocket, needles stuck i' yo'r bust,—they're noane fit for nowt. Yo'r keys are like a bunch o' owd
nails an yo'r needles like bits o' straw. Nothin' i'th' shape of a
rag leeaves yor skin. It sticks to yo' like birdlime, or a wax
plaister. Mony a time do I think about Blackpool when I've a
blister here, an' another theere, an' my clooas are lapt about me
like dumplin rags. As I said, if yo' stoppen here till Hollinwood
Wakes is o'er yo'n summat to go through. I wouldno' face th' time
if I could help it. Are yo' gooin to this clam bake?"
"I'm going to see it, but I don't think I shall taste. They're not
very nice things to look at."
"Did yo' never taste?"
"Never could bring myself to it."
"I've tasted mysel, but I conno' say that I tak to 'em. I think that
if at th' side of a dish o' clams ther' a gradely English beef-steak
puddin' rowlin' on a plate there wouldno' be mony shells oppent. There'd be a difference i'th' smell, too. I thowt at one time I
should ha' bin clemmed to deeath. Ther nowt put on a table as it is
i' England. No rounds o' beef, no legs o' mutton, done before th'
fire, an' smellin' as sweet as a posey. No broth, but chowder, ut no
English dog would taste if it had a whoam to go to, or a bone hid
somewheere. This cookin' upo' stoves, yo' seen, doesno' bring th'
reet flavour out o' mayte, an' I sometimes think th' stuff isno' as
good as it is o'er i'th' owd country. We dunno' get it as fresh, I'm
towd. It's sent to England to see if they'n have it, an' if they
winno' it comes back here."
This conversation brought us to the end of our trip, and the women
left me. I must confess that I did not feel very comfortable when I
reflected upon the information that had been volunteered to me on
the subject of American weather in the month of August. I had been
on trial a few weeks, and thought the roasting I had undergone
during the time was quite sufficient for a season. But when I was
told that I had experienced nothing yet only a dry spring-time with
cooling breezes, I felt, to use a little of my friend Salisbury's
phraseology, as if I was disposed to "come unglued."
"Wait till after the end of July," observed the worthy "Deacon,"
"that will be the time for the weather to begin to sock it into yo'. I wear nothing then but my pants and shoes, with a shirt made out of
moths' wings, and the down of sucking doves."
The flag streaming from the tower on Rocky Point gives the place
somewhat of a martial complexion and it brought to my mind things
that I had heard and read of,—wars waged in the neighbourhood when
the "redskin" and the "pale-face" did not spare each other. The
flag seemed to fling old memories out of its folds as it "streamed
like a thunderstorm," but not "against the wind;" and while the rest
of my companions were enjoying their clams, I was reading history as
it was presented to me by the stern lines of that rock-bound volume. I had read the land romances of Fenimore Cooper until I had learned
to admire some tribes of the "noble savage," as well as to detest
others, without suspecting how nearly they were akin to each other
in treachery and barbarism. But the scales had fallen from my
vision and the trail of blood was visible over the land. Not far
from where I was standing some of the most horrible scenes were
enacted,—butcheries inflicted the most hellish that human devilry
could invent;—men bound to trees, and feats of archery practised on
their bodies;—arms severed by rusty knives, and such barbarities
women by women as cannot be recorded anywhere only in the mind that
would gladly believe they were not true.
But the stars and stripes now dominate the scene where the "snake
skin" signalled to battle, and we have the laugh of hearty merriment
where once the war-whoop led to death—
How calm the scene where once the war-whoop rung
And Indian tomahawk was fiercely swung;
When neither sex nor age was ever spared,
But all the cruellest of tortures shared,
Where spreads the sail of many a noble ship,
The frail canoe once sped with wary dip,
Of paddle that no sound would give to foe
Lurking unseen to aim the deadly blow.
In yonder cleft the savage built his fire,
To cook his spoils or make a funeral pyre.
But now the hunting grounds are 'neath the wave,
The shore deserted by both sire and "brave,"
And 'stead of red-skins, troops of "Uncle Sams"
Pay weekly visits to devour their clams.
The "bakes" are regulated in their proportions by the number of
visitors expected. So are all feasts supposed to be. But how is it
ascertained what the number may amount to, that they can be provided
for? The dinners have not been previously ordered, and to cook the
fish on speculation would be, perchance, to waste them. If the
reader has in his youth been horrified by the savage exploits of
"Blue Beard," he will remember "Sister Ann's" business on the top of
the watch tower, when the cruel husband has got his wife by the
hair, with the intention of adding another head to his "Chamber of
horrors." "Dost thou see anything coming?" By a similar system of
telegraphy it can be made known along the Sound if there are any
visitors on the way, from Fall River, Providence, or other places on
the coast. If there is a streak of smoke to be seen in the distance
the baking stones are heated, and by the time the steamer is moored
along the pier the clams are ready to be served. The eating does not
require long to "put it through," as the average visitor would have
the contents of the shells dispatched before some people could draw
up to the table. It is astonishing to see the number that will sit
down at one relay, and the speed at which the race is kept up
between the bake and the dining saloon. We have nothing to even
remind us of such things in England.
To-morrow (June 28) I set out with others to "Great Falls" (not
Niagara), and the "White Monntains." We are promised a "good time."
"COOLING OFF."—ARRESTED AS DYNAMITARDS.
THE intense heat
of our New England cities had the effect of driving me into the
country, where I might expect to find cool air and quiet rest.
Incessant travelling in a boiling sun, and in railroad cars that
refresh with ice water, and clouds of grit from the engine, had made
me feel as though a dip in the Atlantic, with a shark in sight,
would be preferable to any further experience on land. The
opportunity for a change came upon me like a message from home.
I and a friend, a brother "inkslinger," were invited by another
friend to spend a day or two with him. It was simply to be a
neighbourly visit, and not more than 140 miles away. Our only
chance being at the end of the week, we set out at five o'clock on
Saturday morning, on the 28th June, the first break of our journey
being Boston, Mass.
A stroll through the classic city in the early morning, ere
the sun had got fairly to work, we took as an augury of how
delightful the rest of our "out" would be. We saw a sight
there that deserves more than a passing notice. It was a
flower mission. We were traversing the poorer districts of the
city, in order to make a short cut for the depot, when we came upon
a number of girls, well-dressed and of lady-like manners, with boxes
under their arms. These we might have passed without further
notice, had not our friend Barker of the Herald called our
attention to them. Coming to the end of a street these girls
made a raid upon it, not as policemen do, but after a manner of
their own. Instantly they were surrounded by a crowd of poor
ragged waifs to whom a flower was a godsend. The boxes were
speedily emptied of the "sweet ministers of peace," and the bright
scene, the happiness diffused around by the presence of these
ladies, caused me to feel a choking sensation in my throat.
At train time we took the "steam cars " on the Eastern
Railroad to "Great Falls," in New Hampshire, as intimated in our
last chapter. We arrived at our destination about midday, but
not before the occurrence of an incident that did not promise to be
of a very pleasant character. Drawing up at Portsmouth depot,
our car was boarded by a couple of officials who demanded to see our
baggage. They read over a description of it, and of ourselves,
"two black grip-sacks, and one gentleman with red face and aquiline
nose, the other very stout and partially bald, with jolly face and
twinkling eye." It was decided that we were the persons
"wanted," and were charged with having dynamite in our possession.
This had the effect of raising the temperature to a degree that was
nearly setting us on fire and no doubt would have ended seriously
had not my friend noticed between a straw hat and a striped "duster"
a good-humoured face pulling itself into all manner of shapes.
It was the face of the friend we were going to see and who had come
down to Portsmouth to meet us, and play upon us the joke that his
Our reception at Great Falls was warm in more senses than
one. The cordial shake of the hand was right and welcome.
But that part of the reception the sun had to do with was
blistering. Its face had been newly burnished and arrayed in a
mantle of brightest blue, it sent its shafts of heat down upon us
with blades red from its scorching fire. It was greatly
assisted in its effect by a mirror of sand that was ankle deep, and
the absence of as much as a bean pole to cast upon us its meagre
shadow. But at a distance from the station the road was
overhung with umbrageous trees, beneath which we would have stayed
awhile had we not been urged on to our home for the day. Our
host was a thoroughly representative Scotchman, but preferred lager
to whisky,—well, such of the latter as could be had in a prohibited
State. The welcome we received and the cozy quarters placed at
our service did not provide us with that which we wanted most,—just
a breath from the North Pole nicely distributed. If windows
were opened wide, and the rooms darkened until we could hardly see
each other, it was only the oven with its door opened; the heat was
all the same. To add to our means of this kind of comfort it
was intimated to us that in all probability the mosquitoes would be
"around" in force during the night and the nets must be kept close.
How were we to pass our time under the circumstances?
It was unfit to be out of doors and quite as unfit to be indoors.
There were no public rooms, commodious and airy, in which to spend
an hour in social conversation. We had nowhere to discuss the
merits of "Tattooed Jamie," nor "Black Jack," the republican choice
for presidency. People will not keep premises open for such a
purpose when there is no chance of being remunerated in some form or
other. We could have gone into a billiard room to play had it
been any other week-day than Saturday, but the threshold of the
Sabbath must be kept clear of anything profane. Well, then
what were we to do?
"This way," said a friend, and we submitted ourselves to be
led through the burning streets until we reached the river where we
crossed out of New Hampshire into the State of Maine. Some
mysterious movements were here observable as we stood at the corner
of a low building, over the door of which a rude signboard informed
us that the building was the "Post-office." This was the town
of Berwick,—not on Tweed, but on the "Newitchiwannah." A kind
of freemasonry was going on to which I had not been initiated, but
was about to be, I could gather. "Open, Sesame!" and the next
moment I found myself in a crowd where drinking was going on with a
briskness that we sometimes see at a flower-show when the day is hot
and the band has ceased to play, and everybody wants to be served at
once, and this in the model State of Maine, where no intoxicating
liquor is allowed to be distilled, and it is unlawful for railroad
companies to carry it. This latter statement must be taken
with a grain of salt, as it rests upon about as much authority as
the history of "Tom Thumb" or "Jack the Giant-Killer." From
what I saw here on Saturday, June 28, I had no hope that I could
spend the "fourth of July" of glorious memory as far from the
"madding crowd " as I might desire. But pray never let me
again hear Maine held up as an example to drunken England. I
have seen in half-an-hour more tippling within the shadow of the
police-station than can be witnessed in any similar sized room in
Manchester. I could not have believed it had I not seen it.
I was asked to look round on Sunday, but I had not the courage to
face so much hypocrisy. I had seen enough. The same
thing prevails in New Hampshire, and there is an evil attending this
sly drinking which can only be guarded against in places where the
consumption of ardent spirits is not accounted to be unlawful.
Much of the villainous stuff that no one else will drink is sent
here, as competition is shut out, and drinkers have to take anything
they can get, which is so much the sweeter because, like stealing
apples, it is prohibited. I do not wonder at people going mad
and committing murder under such conditions. A murder had been
committed just before we reached Great Falls.
The facilities for sly drinking are not to be numbered.
Any stranger would wonder why there were so many drug stores in so
thinly populated a place. Surely the whole of the inhabitants
do not require constant physicking. No, but they want
something besides, which the law says they shall not have. "Kerosine"
is the staple trade of these establishments, but all that is
disposed of is not consumed in lamps.
It was not until the gloaming fell that we could enjoy
tolerable comfort, and that was on sufferance. The mosquitoes
were preparing for the fourth of July and did not parade as
expected. But the flies are at any time quite as annoying,
because they are always on the war path and hang around scalps with
the attentions of an Indian. We were promised a drive for the
morrow that would compensate us for all we had suffered and make up
for the disappointment we felt. There was a gloriously breezy
bluff, or headland, about ten miles away, where it was always cool
and where we could refresh as we wanted. Then the drive would
lead through a splendid country, the scenery of quite an English
character, with dense woods to shelter us from the heat and where
bays and inlets threw from their breasts the delicious airs with
which only water could temper the influence of the sun. Alas!
we were again doomed to disappointment. The drive was
certainly such as we might obtain in the English lake district if
heaven's furnaces were in full blast. But who would care to
drive from Bowness to Ambleside if Windermere was dry? When we
reached Dover we found the tide just about its lowest ebb. The
sea had taken up its carpets and gone out towards the Atlantic,
leaving a muddy floor for us to get our breezes and inspiration
from. But we drove on to Dover Point, three miles further on,
and no one need be surprised at the horse finding the stables
without being shown. The equine nature has something of the
human about it. But we sought our stable as well. But
where was the promised breeze? Gone with the tide, we were
informed, and would not return without it. But there was a
cool cellar that was quite as enjoyable and there were no red ants,
nor flies, nor minute black spiders there to annoy us.
The coolness of the cellar did its share of refreshing for a
time, but it was not that which we sought. We took our seats
and sat beneath the trees in front of the hotel, but there was not a
stray breath of air to be caught anywhere, not even with a net.
We might as well have been fishing for bass in the mud of the river
as to feel for a waft any stronger than could be raised by a bee's
wing. Lager and ginger-ale had to be the substitute, and every
splash of it was as welcome as if it had been Moét's or Mumm's, with
a breeze on the top. The reverend editor of the Fall River
Advance I will leave to fill in the details.
"One of the prettiest drives we have undertaken is that
between Dover and Dover Point. The road is so full of quiet
beauty, of bits of English rural pictures, is so well wooded, and
the scenery is so soft and varied, that a man must have a cast iron
dyspepsia concealed about him if he does not drink in its quiet
beauty and be gladdened with its views. It was on this road,
on a glorious Sunday morning—with a blue and cloudless sky overhead,
and ninety-three in the shade liquidating one's superfluous
tissue—that Ben Brierley, Willie Watson, and the religious editor of
the Advance, went on their way from Great Falls to the Point,
to spend a day far from the busy haunts of men, where they could
enjoy the cooling breezes, a quiet sea-side haunt, a cozy dinner,
and a discussion of the Blaine boom and the beauties of nature.
"Ben Brierley was reserved and quiet, and so full of the
sylvan beauty of the scene that he had to unbutton his vest to allow
his satisfaction to expand itself. He wouldn't even smoke.
He said it would be a burning shame to draw upon anything harder
than his imagination. This was a pretty rough criticism upon
the cigars we carried with us—for, speaking within bounds, they
didn't need more than a porous plaster to make them draw.
Willie Watson was the driver, and was prepared to show his talents
as a Jehu, if he hadn't had a mournful, heart-broken, and
crossed-in-love sort of horse in the shafts—an animal that could and
would have gone fast enough if it could have shaken off unpleasant
memories and the remembrance of a 3-40 and blighted life. And
yet, while Willie was rather nervous about the animal he was driving
going to sleep and disturbing the silence of the scene with its
snoring, he still plodded along, perfectly content if we were
moving, and vigorously protesting that it was a shame to go faster
than a walk at a time when the traces were red hot, and the harness
saddle was crackling under the intense heat. Besides this, he
was acting as our guide, describing the scenery, and wishing he had
some tobacco strong enough to blister a set of false teeth with its
"We had a neat little dinner at the Point, in which
everything was clean, good, and comforting, and the pretty waitress
was as pleasantly cool as a strawberry ice. Returning home
after a pleasant conversazione under the big trees on the lawn, and
a determined fight to keep the black ants and earwigs out of the
lemonade, we began to experience something of what a hot day means
in New Hampshire. The thermometer was doing its best to keep
below 96 in the shade and failing magnificently in the effort.
In our carriage the bets were that it was over a hundred and thirty.
We had stopped near the top of the hill in the vicinity of the
Poor-farm, talking with friend Thurston, late of Fall River, but now
of Great Falls, when we heard Ben Brierley murmur—
"'Say, Watson, drive on a bit. My coat is on fire.'
"And then, mildly remembering that Brierley really was
exposed to the full glare of the sun, and that his everlasting black
cloth suit was absorbing caloric enough to fry eggs in, Willie
started the carriage and created a draught.
"Drip, drip, drip.
"'What is that dripping which I hear?' said our
representative to Ben.
"'Oh, it's only me, melting,' mournfully replied the
suffering poet, 'and I am not sorry it is so if only there is enough
of me left to grease a postal card to send home to th' owd rib.
I know she'll be glad to have my remains spread upon paper."'
Great Falls! the name had a charm that had drawn me thither,
because it led me to expect seeing something, not a Niagara, but it
might equal Montmorency or Lorette. I could behold in my
imagination its silvery spray envolving in clouds as the water
dashed from the neb of the beetling rock, or leaped like the Mohawk
from ledge to ledge, and diffused a refreshing coolness around.
I had had dreams of having my sore skin suffused with a healing
bath, and a quiet lounge beneath the shade of rock or tree,
forgetting for the time the inconveniences and toils we had borne to
reach this great Elysium. Gods and goddesses of woods and
streams,—another disappointment! The Great Falls are nothing
more than a weir stretched across the river to form a dam for the
large mills which find the inhabitants of the village employment.
The reason they call the place Great Falls is to distinguish it from
Little Falls, on the same river. But if we were disappointed
in these, there was still Dover Point and the White Mountains.
The former has been dealt with. It was not the fault of the
place that the tide was out. It could not be answerable for
the moon's ruling. It was merely the accident of the time.
But the Great Falls!—carding and spinning, weaving and
bleaching,—great as are the works that man has constructed there,
and they are great as we saw from passing through them, they are not
to compare with the ideal I had formed of the place.
But the train is now due that is to carry us to within a few
miles of the Canadian frontier, and our Scotch friend, his wife and
two children, are all agog for a delightful outing, only they keep
out of the sun as well as they can. We are on the spin again,
away, away, for long miles we go, the line of cars wriggling like a
mighty snake, but our faces require our handkerchiefs all the time.
When tired and sleepy, and as dusty and as gritty as a smithy floor,
we are informed we are at the depot bearing the name of Wolfbro'
Junction. Here we lunched on chicken pie, which was more like
an English dish than anything I had tasted in the States. Near
the station I was introduced to a small wooden shanty where a
newspaper is printed and published, the proprietor being the editor
and reporter, his young wife compositor and paragraphist.
Which of the two was the engine to drive the machine I had not the
temerity to enquire. But it was a most compact little place
and appeared to be furnished with everything necessary for working a
"news mill" on a small scale. Being Monday it was, as is usual
on a weekly, a slack day, and the whole of the staff were going out,
both of them. I was very much interested with this model
office in which everything was kept in such order as only a woman
knows how, or has patience to see to. None of the compositors
smoked or drank beer.
My readers should have seen the editor, as we found him.
He was still in his war paint, and Crusoe could not have been better
furnished with arms and ammunition than he was. His waistcoat
pocket was crammed with pencils, pens, scissors, gum brush, pipe
with tobacco ashes dribbling out of the bowl, a six-inch rule, and
things editorial we could not make out. We were kindly
received and we had as much fun out of him as the sun could extract.
Another long whirl and we are at North Conway, in the very
lap of the White Mountain region. "Jumping Jehosphat!"
exclaims the deacon, as he "dumps" himself upon the platform,
"Something with the lid off again!" If it was hot at Great
Falls, they must have turned the reflector of a Dutch oven on the
face of the Barnum-white-elephant mountains. Seat ourselves
anywhere? No, let us walk abroad until our mortal candles are
melted to the wick. Hear what the Advance man has to
"North Conway was hotter than Hades with the lid off.
It fairly toasted itself in a red-hot bed of sand. Not a
breath of air was stirring.
"'Is this a pleasure resort?' whispered Brierley, suddenly
taking his hand from a heated fence rail upon which he had thought
to rest, wearily.
"Upon our assurance that it was so, and that it was one of
the prettiest and most romantic spots in the whole mountain range, a
spot which, for its command of craggy peaks snow clad hills,
embowered vales, winding roads, lovely views, darling little lakes
and wondrous echoes, had not its equal for charming attractions, he
could only say
"'How soon does the train start for Fall River? How
soon can we get out of this oven? Do you think we've money
enough in the gang to buy me a cake of ice to sit upon?'
"We took him to see our old friend Pitman, who dosed the
sufferer with citrate of magnesia, acid phosphate, ice water and
fans, until he really began to see that kindness and desperate
remedies were quite equal to the task of making him forget that it
was the seventh paper collar he had just wilted in a day that was
not even yet above half over. And then we trudged across the
great Sahara of red-hot sand which lay between us and the station,
and got on board and started for Boston, a long and weary ride, in
which we indulged in perspiration and wicked thoughts, and never
ceased growling at the heat until we had got our bath at the
Massachusetts House, and kindly Charley Baker was telling the pretty
waitress to put big lumps of ice in our evening cup of tea."
We were enticed into a "druggery" and prescribed for.
The rest—perspiration and a desire to pull a cloud over us.
Three thousand feet of dry mountains, not at all white, except where
a stone crops out of the bush that clothes the flanks of this
seemingly interminable range! Wild enough was the scene, which
would be a thousand times wilder when draped in the snows of winter.
But now—oh for a lager and a return train!
I need not describe these mountains, even if I could.
Everybody has painted such excrescences on the face of nature either
on paper or canvas. The same with rivers which, looked upon
from a utilitarian point of view, are merely drains to these
mountains. But I would not suffer such commonplaceisms to
interfere with the soul's appreciation of these wonders. They
are mountains and streams to me still,—the same that my boyhood
worshipped, and gilded my youth with the halo of poesy. But
they were not revealed to me with the thermometer at 96 in the
shade, and an engine panting and growling near.
THE GARDEN OF AMERICA.
THE pilgrimage of
burning sand and blistering sunshine had left my skin parched and
pulse low. I was advised, as a restorative and comforter, to
spend a few days at a place I had visited before where I could have
good English fare, cool breezes, and quiet. There was no need
of pressing this advice upon me; I "let up" at once, and went.
I was as completely "played out" as an old cab horse that goes down
upon its knees and prays for a consignment to the knackers, and when
"mine host" saw me labouring up the slope leading to the hotel he
wondered what had come over me, I looked so wearied. I felt
anxious for bedtime to come, and when I was shown to my room, a
spacious one, and windowed on two sides with everything about to
make a man happy who has no other home, I thanked Dame
Fortune for having located me there. I think I have mentioned
the place in another chapter,—"SILVER SPRING."
A night's rest and a day spent on the verandah had a
wonderful effect upon me, and as day followed day, and meal times
came round, I began to feel as if I was growing into a "light
weight" giant, fit to tackle the notorious John L.
Sullivan. Silver Spring is a paradise, and when we have passed
a quiet day there, with no need to use a bootjack or brush one's
coat and seek at night some little diversion, we can have it in the
house. The three grown daughters can sing, play, and recite so
as few three sisters can, and those are not their only
accomplishments; they can wash, cook, and serve at table quite as
well. Besides all this they are something to look at.
Bravo, Yorkshire! they hail from that county in blessed Old England!
I spent four days in this nest, one of which was the glorious
"Fourth of July." We did, or attempted to do, our share of the
celebration, but the rain interfered with our success! The
rockets would not go off from having lain in the wet grass and the
Chinese lanterns shed tears. Music, however, made up for our
disappointment in fireworks.
I had picked up so much good at this place that it was with
the greatest reluctance I left it, and when handkerchiefs were being
waved at my departure, I felt, somehow as though I was leaving a
third home. I had previously unburdened myself of the
Thou Silver Spring—sweet Silver Spring!
Around my heart fond memories cling
Of joyous hours I've spent with thee,
When far from home—beyond the sea.
Thou art a nest where weary feet
Can halt, and feel a healing sweet;
Where cooling breezes from the sea
Are blent with strains of harmony.
Oh, I could linger here for aye,
Forgetting aught the livelong day,
Except my home, where love and thee—
My wife are—mine beyond the sea.
It must be borne in mind that Silver Spring is not Saratoga,
we do not meet the "spry" girls, and straw-hatted old mummies, the
former looking as though they had been born to waste dollars upon,
and the latter having the appearance of disappointed candidates for
Madame Tussaud's receptacle for broken up wax. There is
nothing so hateful as a supercilious old Yankee. If his neck
just behind his ears happens to be baked into a wash-leather brown,
with lines describing the pattern of a back-spittle, it would not be
pleasant to ask him for information. There would be plenty of
room to doubt his giving a civil answer. I met with one of
these in Warren, but of that hereafter. There were none such
to be found at Silver Spring.
But I was committed to the spending of a day at Providence,
so took my departure thither. Besides having to meet many
acquaintance there,—friendships newly formed—I had been told that if
I called at a certain house I should very likely find an old
companion, well known in Hollinwood by the name of "Jack Thuston."
I went to the place, but was disappointed. Not being market
day he had not come to town and would be busy on his farm. But
I met with something worth going for and without expecting to find
it. The landlord, I thought, had so much the appearance of an
Englishman that I could not help asking him if he was one. His
"Guess I aint a Johnny. No, by (something). I'm a
Yankee, I am. Guess you're a Johnny Bull?"
I confessed I was.
"Guess we'll make you Britishers take a back seat if Jim
Blaine gits in. We'll make you smell mice. None of your
darned bunkum. Before another fourth o' July we'll camp fifty
thousand men on Wrigley Head Green.*
What think you o' that?"
Then with a grin, he put out his hand, and exclaimed, "How
are you, Ben?"
He was an Englishman, after all and had lived in Failsworth.
I heard an anecdote of him that is worth repeating. Bob
Dewhirst,—that is the name he is known by—is a dog fancier and had
entered seven spaniel pups in the dog show at the Centennial
Exhibition. Bob had heard of an eccentric American carrying
the stars and stripes through England, and an idea struck him that
he would do something to emulate, in his own way, the foolish
exploits of this "son of a wooden nutmeg." He would march the
distance of 300 miles to Philadelphia and have receptions on the
route. He had a wheelbarrow made on purpose and so constructed
that the seven pups could be seen, after the manner of white mice or
guinea-pigs. He hired a man to walk in front of the
conveyance, carrying the American flag; and, thus equipped, the
menagerie went on its one wheel, like the triumphal car of a Roman
conqueror, amidst the shouts of a crowd of doggies, bar-roomers, and
"bummers" in general. Their progress was everything that could
be desired until they reached Hartford in Connecticut. How it
happened has not yet been explained and Bob is reticent about giving
any information on the subject, but the party, pups and all, found
themselves under lock and key in a place where hotel prices were not
charged. What kind of trouble had got them into such lodgings
has not transpired, but it is supposed that lager could not have
done it. Something stronger must have been "around."
This adventure, however, led to the wheelbarrow being sent home and
the journey being finished by rail. I have in my possession a
photograph representing the setting out; Bob dressed in a pair of
"Lancashire knee breeches" and in the act of shafting the
wheel-barrow, whilst his henchman is waving the standard by his
side. The "sitting" is so contrived that three of the pups are
visible. Our friend declared that he would not have given up
the cart to anyone but me.
On the Narragansett, and dividing the distance betwixt New
York and Boston, lies the State of Rhode Island, of which Newport is
the capital city. It is the oldest of the New England cities,
and it may be said the prettiest. Sometimes it is called the
"Garden of America," or the "Brighton of the West." Not having
been in Brighton proper I could not compare the two. I doubt
if any part of old England is so richly endowed with sylvan beauty
on the one hand, and such a splendid beach on the other. The
two features combined give it an attractiveness that draws together
a tone of society such as we meet in Buxton or Matlock Bath, without
the invalid element and the drinkers of spa waters. The drives
are magnificent and almost closed in by trees that give to them at
noonday the coolness of evening. Entering one of these drives,
Belle Vue Avenue, we have the breeze from the sea to give it
additional freshness; and at a certain hour, the fashionable time,
or "high ton," the line of carriages that crowd the avenue reminds
one of Hyde Park, save that there are no coronets on the panels nor
other insignia of the "pomp and circumstance " of Princely presence.
"But who is that gentleman who raised his hat to us?"
"Colonel Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte. We have no princes
here. Would you mind an introduction to him?"
I had forgotten there was one of the Bonapartes in America.
This was on a visit I paid to Newport, and happened during a
drive along the three mile run of Belle Vue Avenue.
Well, I saw nothing very princely about Jerome, not of a type
that I have been schooled to believe belonged to noble blood.
He was more like a private gentleman, who, if his face had been fair
and fresh, with a little more energy beneath his vest, would have
reminded me of my friend Allen Mellor of Oldham. He was
plainly dressed—a "plug" hat, a coat something like mine, "pants"
not over long with continuations of red hose and low shoes. I
did not observe any bearings on his carriage. Such is his
familiarity that he is only spoken of as "Jerome."
Belle Vue Avenue would be an ugly looking drive if denuded of
its trees. The modern mansions are unsightly, such as no
Englishman would put up in his own country. I can only account
for this want of taste by attributing it to a desire to be different
to other people, like the wealthy gentleman who wore a bad hat so as
to distinguish himself from his neighbours. Some of the older
buildings are really fine. They belong to a time when riches
alone were not accepted as evidences of good taste and good
breeding. America is not the only country in which
monstrosities of various kinds are intended to be looked up to.
A spin along the "Ocean Drive" on a hot day is a luxury, and when
relieved occasionally by getting down and inspecting some natural
curiosity, such as the "Spouting Rocks," and the "Hanging Rocks," is
made doubly enjoyable. Getting too near the latter place is the
reverse, as I very soon discovered, the canopy of the carriage being
covered in a twinkling with young mosquitoes, just emigrating from
their birthplace in a swamp close by. We had a lively fight with
these pests and more than one of my friends bore scars. They had
heard me say that I had never been bitten and had driven thither on
purpose that I might have something to boast of when I got back to
England. Much to their disappointment I came out of the melee scathless, whilst they were engaged in other things than admiring
the beauties of nature. The vicinity of the Spouting Rocks was much
more pleasant. The phenomenon here to be seen is caused by the sea
rushing into a narrow cavern, having an opening about midway,
something like the blowhole of a spouting whale, only of dimensions
that would admit a man's body without fear of his choking it up. The
fugitive sea, not being able to find any other outlet dashes up this
natural blowhole, sending up a column of water, sometimes to the
height of fifty feet. If anyone is so incautious as to stand near
when the tide is a little sportive, and plays "around" kitten
like, then makes a spring and dashes up the hole in its wildest
strength, a bathing dress would be the most suitable garment to be
worn at the time. This can only be witnessed when the tide is well
up, and a fresh breeze is blowing inshore.
"Purgatory" is a chasm that takes a little after the "Lover's Leap,"
in Dovedale, Derbyshire. It has the traditions that attach to all
such places, with this variation,—a youth, to show what he would
dare, to propitiate the affections of the lady of his choice, leaped
across this chasm and had the satisfaction of learning from her own
lips that any fellow who was fool enough to risk his life for no
good purpose was not to fool with her, so she "went back on him,"
as the Yankees phrase it. Anyone must admire the young lady's good
sense. Had the lover emulated the deeds of one of America's noblest
daughters it would perhaps have had a different effect. On a small
island lying under the Fort is the solitary home of Ida Lewis, the
Grace Darling of America. I had the privilege, not accorded to
everyone, of visiting that lonely nest. My host for the time, Mr.
Charles Bickerton, took out a boat one afternoon and after a visit
to the fort we pulled to the rock on which the lighthouse stands.
Ida Lewis (1842-1911), American lighthouse keeper
and holder of prestigious awards for life-saving.
Miss Lewis was just returning in her boat from the city, and the
guardians of her "sea-girt isle," a pair of Newfoundland dogs, were
baying "deep mouthed" welcome to their mistress. At first we were
forbidden to land, as she had been bored with visitors, but on
learning through her brother that I was a stranger from England, the
heroine of many a noble rescue waved me a cordial welcome. One of
the dogs was ready to assist me up the slippery rocks, had his
services been required. Ida was chatty about many things, but never
for once did she allude to any of the incidents that had made her
name famous throughout the world. She led us into a room in which
she keeps her medals; and I felt as if I was in the presence of a
being more than human as I gazed upon that precious store, blessed
by the grateful offerings of souls whose existence on earth she had
been the means of prolonging. I must confess that I was disappointed
with the personal appearance of this brave woman. I had pictured her
in my mind as a kind of Amazon, with sinews of rare power, and a
presence that would overcome a storm. Instead of that I found her to
be a slim, wiry figure, of about middle height, and without any
indication of being endowed with fins. I know not what the sensation
of drowning may be, but a strange feeling came over me as she "tipped me her flipper," and gave my hand something more than a
one-fingered grip. I felt, somehow, as if I was being pulled into a
boat previous to being discharged of a freight of sea water, and a
cargo of brandy shipped instead.
On our return from the rock my friend recounted to me some of the
deeds of daring that had marked the career of this human petrel. One
was of her rescuing two soldiers who had been skating on treacherous
ice, and had got immersed. When other means of reaching them had
failed, Ida dashed upon the ice, equipped with nothing but a
clothes-prop, and laying herself down, held out successfully the
hand of deliverance amidst the ringing shouts of the spectators.
For this gallant act she was fittingly rewarded.
The ordinary duties of Ida Lewis are to attend to the lamp fixed in
the seaward corner of the building, for which she receives 750
dollars a year. A successor would only receive 500. The extra 250
dollars are given as a reward of merit. Poor Ida! She was in deep
mourning and our boatmen knew her by that when most of a mile away. "She is coming yonder," he said, as we were nearing the lighthouse. "She is mourning the death of her sister, who lived with her on the
rock;" and I could well understand how one of two such companions
would grieve at losing the other.
The greatest curiosity to be seen in Newport is not of natural
formation; it is the work of human hands, but when it was built, or
for what purpose, history has not a word to say. This structure is
called the "Old Mill," from a supposition, nothing more, that it was
originally used for grinding purposes by an earlier civilization
than Columbus introduced. Here I had best quote the authority of the
"Guide to the City of the Sea:"—
"Probably the first striking object for enquiry that will arrest
attention is the old stone mill in the centre of Touro Park, near
the head of Belle Vue Avenue. It is, most certainly, very old, and
as certainly of extremely obscure origin. We dare not tell you much
about it, yet there it stands, Sphinx-like, awaiting your cleverest
guess. We will not undertake to prove it to be either a Viking's
watch-tower, raised 900 years ago, or simply Governor Arnold's old
mill, built by the colonists in 1663; and we would not, if we could,
clear the pleasant mystery that hangs about its origin. The wall of
this ruin is about twenty-four feet high, built very substantially
of rough stone, with lime mortar, and has been harled, or
rough cast, with lime. It is raised on eight pillars, about seven
feet high, and from five to six feet apart, a most picturesque
object in the landscape, a monument to the taste and skill that
fashioned it, whether the head and hand belonged to Norseman or
Evidently the lime of the mortar used in building this
tower was the produce of burnt oyster shells, as bits not properly calcined are to be found mixed with the other material. Said "Old
Jemmy," the coloured confectioner whose stall is near, "a man, Missr
Brierley, who could give the his'ry of that yar buildin' need do
noffin more. It would be a fortin' for him." The origin of the round
towers of Ireland is not hidden in deeper mystery.
Through the kindness of my hostess, Mrs. Bickerton, I obtained
permission to go through the Episcopal Church, the "Old Trinity,"
the oldest, with one exception, in the United States, being built in
1726. In this church the celebrated Bishop Berkeley was wont to
preach. On the pastor's returning to England he sent an organ as a
present to the church. The piety of the time would only accept the
case. The musical portion was transferred to a less puritanical
place of worship. Since then the stays of bigotry have been unlaced,
and the organ has been restored, but with a new filling. The church
was built and endowed by English money and is the only one in the
States the spire of which bears on its apex the British crown. It is
a condition of the endowment that this crown shall not be removed. But it is an eyesore to some people who have been raised under the
Republic. The bell was presented by Queen Anne, but it has been
broken up and re-cast so often that it can hardly be called the
same. The pews are the square high-backed boxes of a former period
and are taxed by the State, the seat-holder having to pay the tax
in addition to a high rental. There seems to be nothing but speech
that is not taxed.
On leaving Newport I was honoured with a public dinner given to me
by the citizens who were mostly Anglo-Americans. We had what they
call "a good time." The following is a report of the proceedings,
copied from the Newport Daily News of July 12:—
THE BRIERLEY RECEPTION.
At the dinner given last evening at the Park House, Fred A. Daniels,
in welcoming Mr. Brierley, said:—"This gathering of citizens of
Newport, Englishmen by birth or descent, come together tonight to
give you a right royal and cordial welcome to this, the city of our
adoption and choice. It is indeed a proud honour to us to have
Lancashire's famous poet, though not personally known to some of us,
yet to us all the name of Ben Brierley or "Owd Ab" is as familiar
through your excellent writings as though we had known you in
person. As I said, it is an honour which we feel to have the
pleasure of entertaining you at this board. When it became known
that you were about to visit these shores it was felt by some of us
that we should be failing in our duty if we did not make an effort
endeavouring to get you to visit this, about the prettiest and most
English looking spot in America. You see before you, sir, men in
whose hearts there is a very warm spot for yourself, and remembering
your life's efforts for the amelioration of the condition of the
working classes of our Mother Country, who can wonder that it is so?
In conclusion, sir, I ask you to accept on behalf of us all, a
cordial loving welcome to Newport, Rhode Island. Ladies and
Gentlemen, I propose the toast—'Long life, health, and prosperity to
our honoured and respected guest, Ben Brierley.'"
Mr. Brierley, in responding, said that, on looking round at the
company present, he felt puzzled to know whether he was being
entertained at a farewell party at home, on his departure for
America, or in America on his leaving for home. The welcome that
evening was so thoroughly English that it required no effort of the
imagination to carry him back a distance of 3,000 miles, and feel
that he was on his native heath and surrounded by his neighbours.
It was as though England had been dropped on that great continent
and taken root there, as he scarcely could realise that he was among
strangers. It afforded him the greatest pleasure to be present in
such a company, and he would be proud to convey to his fellow
countrymen in that old land they had all sprung from, the
expressions of warm-heartedness with which he had been received by
their brethren in America, not only in Newport, but elsewhere. It
would be a time of gratification to him when on his way home, to
conjure up in his mind that hundreds of hearts were wishing him
God-speed and a safe landing on the other shore. It would be to him
like a passage between two homes, only leaving one to visit the
other. It would be a proud thought to him to know that in Newport he
had found the "true sort," and that the friendly hand held out to
him was not a mere formality. He had to thank his friend, Mr.
Charles Bickerton and his good lady for that genial hospitality
which made no show, and was the more genuine on that account. He
intended leaving for New York on the morrow, but it was not because
he was tired of the place, but because he had only a short time to
remain in the country, and he wished to be getting a little nearer
that home where a pair of bright eyes would be the first to greet
"The eyes that shed no tear at the farewell—
The heart had dried the fountains."
*A small hamlet in Failsworth, near Manchester.
HOW ENGLISHMEN HAVE RISEN IN AMERICA.
I HAVE often
heard it said, and I think there is a good deal of sound sense in
the observation, that if people would do at home what they are
compelled to when abroad, they would have no occasion to emigrate;
or, that they would succeed as well in their own country as in any
other. It is not because America is an Eldorado, where gold may be
had for the picking up, that men have got on there, or in more
appropriate words, "made money." Hundreds have gone from England to
the States and Canada with the idea of having an easy life of it,
and returning home to spend the remainder of their days on the
produce of an industry that would only have the name of being work. These have emigrated to find their dreams dispelled and the result
of the disappointment has not been in favour of the country of their
adoption. It has been too often said by these people, "If I had only
known, I wouldn't have come out to such a place."
Perhaps the emigrant has been a gentleman, accustomed to earn a
living at the desk or the counter, and thinks any meaner occupation,
or one requiring extra manual labour, to be beneath him. He could
not condescend to handle the spade, or carry the hod, and work side
by side with the much despised and much misrepresented "nigger."
No, shade of his grandfather Scroggins! who was butler to my Lord
Bobbinhat, his dignity would not stand such a humiliation. A
man of his character would be the first to have the "stuffing
knocked out of him," and find in his discomfiture that pedigree and
position would not raise a vine, or a "cob" of Indian corn; nor
would either be accepted for a week's "run" on the boarding house.
He would have to take off his coat, or go home, if he meant to live
honestly. He must make up his mind to do anything he can get
to do, and never admit that he cannot do it. He may do this
with the pleasing assurance that there is no one looking down upon
him. He may be a subject of her Majesty, and sometimes be
called a "greenhorn," or a "Johnny," or a "sparrow," but these
sneers do not reflect in the least degree upon the character of his
occupation. He may be a rag-picker or a junk dealer, but so
long as he minds his business and does not curse the land and the
Republic, he need not slink into the shade when on the side-walk for
fear of being observed. It is only when he descends to the
level of a "bummer" that the eagle gets its claw into him.
Many of the most successful men in America have begun the new
life at the foot of the ladder. "Ay, lower than that—i'th'
cellar," remarked a Lancashire friend of mine. In the better
sense nothing was too mean for them to do,—scavenging, severing,
digging, sweeping, portering hodding,—anything that had a dollar at
the end of it, found a ready hand to do it. And as the mind
was made up to take what would come, so surely would the hand find
something to do. Once on the ladder, with a determination to
ascend, he may keep on in the upward course. The misfortunes
or malpractices of other people may sometimes interfere with his
progress, and he may have to take a "back kick," but if he has the
"stuff" in him he will mount again. If he takes on airs it
will be so much the worse for him and if he intends to succeed by
"genteel" means he must either become a politician, or get into the
confidence of some banker. In either case he may have a chance
of showing his "smartness," which is only another term for gilded
roguery. But if he means his career to be an honourable one
the path lies before him. I have had millions of
dollars so much rung in my ears of late that, when I begin to talk
about thousands, I feel small. "Oh, he must be worth
his millions," is a very common observation and applied to people
too, who, in a few years, without gambling in stocks or stealing
from the public purse, have emerged from the gutter and raised
themselves to a height of fortune as near to the sun as can be
reached without the aid of wings. But it has not been done by
taking things easily or waiting, "Micawber" like, for "something to
turn up." It has been done by sheer hard work, which admits of
very little rest,—work indulged in as if it was mere pastime and
returned to again and again until the object of so much labour has
I have during my sojourn in the States been made familiar
with the lives of some of these self-made men. Where I have
not had their history from their own lips, I have had it from those
of their immediate acquaintances. I have been spending a week
in Philadelphia, which I should take to be the finest "Manchester"
in the world. I cannot compare it to London, for the "Quaker
city" is not the resort of hereditary nobility or people who, as the
phrase is meant to imply, have "had fathers before them." It
is the home of the princes of industry who succeed not to titles and
fortunes but of their own creating. I passed the warehouse of
a firm the other day, the principal of which hails from Lancashire,
and commenced his transatlantic life by picking woollen rags at a
remuneration of four dollars per week; "but," as my informant gave
it, "he didno' stand at th' end o' Jack Lawton's every neet, makin'
gam' o' folk as they went past. Here always workin', an saved
out o' every little he made."
This man took a step higher than rag-picking and with the aid
of a little of the simplest kind of machinery he commenced making
tying-up thread for grocery stores. With this hung upon his
arm he would tramp a distance as far as from Manchester to Oldham to
dispose of his wares. By that dogged perseverance which means
winning, he acquired a "team," or had the temporary use of one.
He would attend market and having sold up, he would return home with
a load of vegetables and "market" those before he finished his day's
work. It might be tedious, but at the same time instructive to
trace this man's career from the time he shouldered his bundle on
the banks of the Medlock to becoming the greatest manufacturer on
that nobler stream, the Schuylkill. But it will be sufficient
for me to say that he and his partner, a brother, are at present the
employers of 3,000 "helps," and that the former has been named for a
seat in Congress. Bravo "Owdham!"
Other instances I could name of men who are known to me
having risen from nothing to affluence by hard work—but in a fair
field—and not shirking the labour offered to their hands.
Generally speaking, the disappointed have not laid themselves out to
make the best of their time and opportunities. The revelations
of a noble institution, the Society of the Sons of St.
George," which has its branches scattered all over the States, show
how utterly helpless have been a class of immigrants who came to
seek, not to make, their fortunes in America. They
have not struck a "bonanza" at the first stroke of the pick, and
without further effort despair of ever finding anything. Their
hands have not been accustomed to wield other than a pen or a pair
of scissors, and to raise "segs" on them, so that they could not
wear seven-and half gloves, would be a meanness that their pride
could not submit to. If they had made up their minds to work
at whatever offered itself and adopted the advice of Horace Greeley
when he said, "Young man, go West," they would not have been under
the necessity of begging the means by which to return to England, as
is too often the case, and without the cognizance of their friends
I wish it to be borne in the minds of those people who have
been used to read glowing accounts of America, that they have to
work hard if only to make a bare living—so hard that if they were
put to the same task in England there would be a great cry about
white slavery. Some might say, "Well, I wouldn't do it."
To these my advice would be "stay at home." America will not
support gentlemen, who prefer "loafing" to working. The rosy
representations of what the land will yield may all be true, but it
will not do much without labour, and that of the most trying kind.
I was a fortnight ago shown over a plot in a neighbouring State
that, to contemplate its barren appearance, and feel they would have
to subsist upon it, or starve, would have broken some men's hearts,
and it was not so very cheap, either, when compared with the prices
of farming land in the old country. In a village near is a
mill that has been "shut down" since May; and the whole of the
inhabitants were, or had been, dependent on working at this mill for
a living. Going elsewhere to seek employment in the same trade
would have been like selling "Nip," as it was suffering from
depression everywhere. They wisely determined to stay where
they were and make the best of the situation. Some lived on
their savings; these were English people, and had not spent their
"bottom dollar." Others, English people too, turned to farming
in a small way. The hands that delved the land and sowed the
corn and potatoes on the plot I was shown over, three acres in
extent, had been accustomed to work among silk and were as soft as
"my-lady's." But these hands set to work at once upon the land
and broke a portion of it up. The whole was too much to
cultivate the first season. It would have been an insult to a
shop-boy in England to offer him a piece of such land for a football
field. But now it is smiling with corn and potatoes. The
uncultivated portion is devoted to the keeping of poultry, which are
calculated to supply the family with eggs and "spring chickens" all
the year round. The excess of potatoes over what they would
require for their own use, this amateur farmer told me, he could
barter in the city for other necessaries, and now he has no fear for
the winter. It is not yet five years since this man, so he
informed me, sat next to me at an entertainment in Leigh,
Lancashire. He has done all this and built himself a house in
the meantime. But it has been a struggle to do it. He
did not come to try his fortune, but to make it.
And now let me call the attention of my readers to the
working of a society I have before mentioned, the "Sons of St.
George." I had the privilege of being present at the quarterly
meeting of the Philadelphia branch in July, and I gathered from the
secretary's report, as well as from the president's address, that
which can only be a faint idea of the amount of good they are doing
in the way of helping those who cannot help themselves. The
society constitutes a self-elected, self-supporting, benevolent
board of guardians, established for social intercourse in the first
place, and in the second the relief of distressed English
immigrants. But Irishmen have submitted themselves to be
Saxonized for the time in order that they might participate in the
benefits of this useful institution.
I gathered from the report that a considerable amount of
money—American money, bear in mind—is annually spent in
carrying out the objects of the society. A very distressing
case had just been brought before them. An English
schoolmaster, the very last man who ought to come out, had been
driven from pillar to post in his efforts to obtain a livelihood by
"genteel" means. He had been relieved from time to time from
the funds of the society, and as a last item of assistance they
offered to pay his passage back to England. The man was so
overjoyed at the prospect of returning home that it turned his
brain, and he committed suicide the week he should have sailed.
The action of the president of this society cannot be too greatly
commended. By his own efforts, incurring much loss of time, he
on one occasion rescued from moral perdition three English girls who
had been entrapped for immoral purposes in Castle Garden, New York.
Without losing sight of them, means were found at once to send them
back to their friends in England. If this be not Christian
work, what are our "missions" for? Yet I do not know of any
assistance being rendered to this society by kindred institutions in
England. It may not be a part of our duty to help our own
countrymen when in the greatest of all straits, but I regard it as a
reflection on the character of the richest nation in the world to
leave to the stranger the duty of providing for those who ought to
be immediately under our own care. "Sons of St. George," men
who have risen from comparative poverty to affluence, yet hold not
your wealth with a niggardly hand, you have the most grateful
remembrances and the blessings of one countryman at least.
Whatever pleasure may be derived from the study of history as
received from books and pictures, the interest is increased tenfold
by seeing the objects themselves, or the connecting links when
species or races form the subjects of our studies. I have been
a very humble, but not the less earnest student in American history
as it deals with races, and the development of civilization.
From reading the stories of Fenimore Cooper, and other writers of
the forest, the lake, and the prairie, I had in my early years
become imbued with the love of semi-savage life, and longed for the
opportunity of seeing a little of it in reality. But I never
dreamt that the chance would present itself. I would never
come in contact with the representatives of the "braves" I had read
of,—the Pawnees, the Sioux, the Mohicans, and the "palefaces" who
hung on the skirts of barbarism and fought for life on "flood and
field." I had seen civilized descendants of one or other of
these races, some with their hands in their trousers pockets, like
an "Owdhamer," but I wanted to see the "war paint." Accident
threw me in company with quite a crowd of these people, who had been
drawn from the "Wild West" to show the languid East what it was to
be like a gaily-plumaged bird, living in continual danger of being
"brought down." The Indians were of the Pawnee tribe and were
attired and equipped for the war path. The whites and
half-breeds were the "cowboys" of New Mexico and a dare-devil lot
they looked—"ugly customers" to meet and have a quarrel with.
At the head of this gang was "Buffalo Bill," a renowned scout and
hunter of the wild steer of the prairie. He had done good
service for the American government when the Indian territories were
in a disturbed state and his name had become a "household word."
A fine looking fellow, his face bearing evidences of the presence of
Indian blood, and his long, black, curly hair streaming over his
shoulders from beneath a hat that might have served for an umbrella.
Sitting low in the saddle of his "mustang" he was the beau ideal of
a child of the "setting sun," ready for anything that bristled with
But why was there a crowd of some 20,000 people gathered on
the trial ground of Fairmount Park? And what is the meaning of
this village of tents, all astir with busy life? We are in an
Indian camp and the squaws are putting on their holiday attire.
Do the Indian women use the distaff, and is the grey-headed old coon
who is almost buried in her shawl (thermometer at 98 in the shade)
about to spin? No; she is dressing the collection of scalp
locks taken in battle and this grim trophy is to take a prominent
part in a forthcoming ceremony. The grand stand is a monster
bed of flowers, each so mixed with the petals of another that it is
a wonder they could have grown so closely together.
Flowers!—they are bonnets, but flowers nevertheless. And what
is meant by the prancing to and fro of light-limbed steeds with
dusky riders swinging loosely on their backs,—gaily coloured
feathers fluttering on their heads and their black hair flowing
freely behind? There is to be a parade of the "wild sons of
the west," and the forces are marshalling for the display. Now
there is a loud "whoop," and a cloud of dust in the distance: the
cavalcade is on the march. And such a cavalcade! Leading
the procession is a chariot and six—the passengers of all colours
save black and white. There are "braves" of green, and blue,
and yellow, and squaws of the same mixture of daubing. I had
been led to believe the latter, as a rule, were handsome and of
noble bearing. I had crossed Lake Ontario in the company of
one of a tribe of Indians whose personal appearance did not give me
a favourable impression of female beauty as it is to be found in odd
corners of civilized places. But this delicate-looking lady of
about 250 pounds avoirdupois might be an exception, probably turned
out of the wigwam for her lack of personal attractions. But
these others were of her type, and besmeared as they were with
paint, their ugliness was considerably enhanced. Following the
conveyance were horsemen and horsewomen, the latter a little more
prepossessing than the carriage people, being younger. These
rode very ladylike and as ladies ride who are not savages. The
juveniles stuck to the saddle with the ease of flies, and there was
a sense of pride curling from their lips and shooting from their
eyes that reflected back the plaudits of the assembled thousands.
But the cowboys were the principal objects of
admiration,—their "King" like one born to command and be obeyed at
all cost of powder and blood. There was nothing ferocious in
his looks: they were rather mild than otherwise. There was,
however, the firmness of his native rocks in their expression, and
although when quietly employed in repairing the lash of his whip he
smiled upon those about him. There was lightning in his eyes
when he mounted his steed, and the thunder-clouds of black ringlets
streamed behind him. He would, no doubt, be seen to better
advantage when roving over the "cattle ranches" and answering the
wild whoop of the Indians. But "Buffalo Bill" was the lion of
the day and well he might be, for his shots would have made some of
our riflemen feel as though their uniform did not quite fit and
there might be such a thing as their not becoming it. Mounted
on his nag, with his short-bore double-barrelled rifle resting on
his thigh, he set out at a gallop, and while two glass balls were
flung simultaneously up in the air, he took aim and shattered both.
This feat was performed with a single bullet from each barrel and
not with the scattering of small shot. How would the breast of
a foe have fared?
The "war-dance" was a comparatively tame affair. I
expected something very exciting but it was simply a shuffling of
feet as they formed in a ring, their blood supposed to be warmed by
the beating of a couple of rude drums and the recital of the deeds
of their fathers; perhaps the heat of the weather had something to
do with it. But the climax of the business in the "ring,"
which embraced the whole circuit of the race course, was the sham
fight betwixt the Indians and the cowboys. An old "diligence"
was started, one that we were informed had often been baptised in
fire and blood. This ricketty old box was drawn by four lithe
horses, driven by a veteran courier who had often run the bush when
the bullets of the Indians, or the "road agents" (highwaymen) were
flying about him. On the roof sat a grey-bearded, shaggy-maned
son of the forest, armed with two formidable dogs of pistols whose
bark meant a bite. He was my ideal of the "trapper" in
Cooper's novels. No sooner had the stage passed the stand than
out of ambush, in a remote corner, rushed a troop of Indians, and
the rain of bullets began in showers, the veteran on the roof of the
coach blazing away finely. But the showers grew into a storm
when the cowboys appeared on the scene. The Indians took to
flight as swift as the shots that followed them and left the
ranch-men masters of the field. The old cock on the roof of
the coach flourished his steel spurs in triumph as the retreating
Indians flew into space.
We did not stay to see how prairie "beeves'' are caught,
though we saw several lassoed, and riders thrown; but we were afraid
of a crush at the exit and left with the plaudits of that vast
assembly ringing in our ears and drove among the quieter haunts of
IT is a pity we
cannot add to, or take from, many things that we have done in our
lives,—add to the good, and take from the bad. But if we
cannot do this we have the privilege of remodelling a story and
chronicling events omitted in the first draught of history. We
are in the habit of trusting too much to memory. We think some
incidents are so striking that we can never lose sight of them,
forgetting that as time wears on events quite noteworthy are apt to
push these into the background whence they recede into oblivion.
I have been guilty of this neglect, and many things which at one
time were vividly before me, if at all recorded, have to be conjured
up from the dreamy distance. It were impossible for me to make
amends in this instance for the omissions I have made in former
chapters until I revise them for future publication, when I am in
hopes that I may place the fugitive notes in their proper places.
But I am still in America, where food for observation is
never scanty. I am in the midst of an excitement such as we
know nothing about in England,—the election of President of the
Republic, that lasts from June to November, during which period the
political pot is kept at steaming heat. It may only be
simmering in July when many politicians are away to Europe.
But about the beginning of August the roll of the drum is heard and
organising bands parade the streets. These are called "flag-hoistings,"
and are nuisances such as would not be permitted in the most lawless
part of England. Only fancy large banners that would cover the
gable of a 500 dollar house, being strung for months across our best
streets for no other purpose than to display badly executed
portraits of selected candidates to stand for the presidency.
Here we have Blaine and Logan; farther on we have Cleveland and
Hendricks, the four party-sanctioned candidates for president and
vice-president. In some respects these may be fit men to
"boss" a government, but, if all be true that is said of them, no
Englishmen would care to see any of the four near his hen-roost.
Each of these has his "record." We call it "character" in the
old country, and things are raked up from their past history and
recorded in public prints that to whisper in England would mean an
action for libel. No unprejudiced man could read these
charges, when not contradicted, as they rarely are satisfactorily,
without coming to the conclusion that they are four of about the
worst scamps in existence. One begins to think we can see
villainy in their faces, yet two of them are bound to be prayed for,
like our Queen, as though they were the purest hearted men that had
yet succeeded to the chair of Washington. If Victoria of
England had been subjected to this "muss" previous to ascending the
throne, what a draggletail she would have appeared in the eyes of
strangers. But one of these men will occupy the position of a
potentate and be honoured as such by foreign courts, notwithstanding
that he was called during his candidature by such nicknames as
"Tattooed Jim," or "Black Jack," by which are designated Blaine and
Logan, the republican choice.
Europeans who would visit America should avoid this time if
they wish to obtain a fair estimate of the American character.
The best people do not appear on the surface when the political
waters are disturbed. Only the adventurous politicians who
hope to make something out of the triumph of their candidate fill
the public ear and the columns of the public press. These are
clever men for the time, and he who can spread the Eagle's wings the
farthest is the greatest patriot. There are whole "ticket" men
and half-ticket men. Some who go the whole "platform," and
others who stand on one plank only, or two planks, so that they can
turn to the opposite party if their own candidate gets the "bounce."
At this time nothing else is talked about, unless "Slugger" Sullivan
is "around" or a circus "strikes" the scene or a base ball match is
to be played. Amusement before anything serious at all times.
But the relief you get by these things is often worse than the pain
you have had to endure, and as you come to reflect upon the
situation the truth of the saying will force itself upon you—with
what little wisdom the world is governed; and you may add—with what
little things the world is amused!
It was my fortune one evening to be flung among a lot of
politicians of the "booming" type. The company was composed of
representatives of both parties and, to use their own phraseology,
they "mauled each other around with swashing vigour." No one
had anything to say of his own candidate except that his hands were
less dirty than his opponent's, which I hope, for the sake of a
great country, is only the politician's, and not the popular
American estimate of public virtue.
"Jim Blaine is the meanest cuss that ever swindled a
scripholder," said a tall fellow who could squirt over a man's head
and hit the spittoon. "Went into Congress without a cent and
hadn't been in longer than it takes a copperhead to spring, aire he
gummed the paper to the tune of 15 millions. Is that the coon
to trust with the strings of government?"
"I go Blaine," said a well known democrat, and the
announcement created surprise.
"What, you go back on your own man, Dave? What cause?"
"'Cause," was the unsatisfactory reply, "Blaine, yer see,
grabbed at the rags and shoved them inter his pants till they won't
hold another dollar. He's clean full, he is. I go
Blaine, 'cause his pockets are made honest, if his mind aint.
Cleveland, yer see, ain't tasted blood yet. Let him git his
teeth under the eagle's feathers, an' if he don't suck like a
million Jersey angels, I'm a yaller nigger."
"I aint havin' any stock in the Blaine track anyway," said
another, "bet on that. I'm a through and through Cleveland
man, an' by ----- we'll tote him in. Don't you forget it.
What the hail Columbia has Blaine in him, anyhow, 'cept a scent for
the dollars! Been on the trail since the war, then his record got
busted. He fite England? He'll mice to old Gladstone
like a deadbeat. Promise? He'll promise to be honest if
you'll only wait, then won't he go back on himself?"
Not a word to be said as to the measures—only the men.
I listened in vain to hear something of what the people of America
wanted besides a man at the head of affairs who was the least
dishonest, as though rectitude in public men was regarded as
impossible and was quite a settled question. However honestly
disposed a man might be, he is looked down upon by politicians if he
does not feather his nest when he has the opportunity. This is
American opinion—not mine. And whatever company
you go into, if not among politicians who have their eyes fixed upon
the bureau, and disliked by the true American on that
account, you hear the same sentiments. "Reps" or "Dems," no
matter which party, they have the knife into the breast of the
"dollar patriot." The dealing out of emoluments is a sore
point with those who expect none. Every man who is lifted into
power, if only a policeman, is expected to do something for his
friends. They "own up" that jobbery is the chief and proper
aim of statesmanship, and a man in position is bound to do something
for his party, or they will "go back" on him. I am here
reminded of a circumstance that occurred when I was a member of the
Manchester City Council. A woman wanted a situation as cleaner
in the Town Hall and made persistent applications to me to "get her
on." It was in vain I tried to assure her that there were a
large number of applicants for a similar situation, and their names
were entered in a book and would be taken by rotation when one was
wanted. I had no power whatever to overrule that arrangement,
even if I thought it right to do so. "I voted for you," she
said. "But," I rejoined, "I cannot obtain work for all who
voted for me." "Then what were you put in for?" This
woman must have had some knowledge of American politics.
"Appropriation" is a word much used among politicians of the
dollar type. It means money voted for state purposes,—say, the
improvement of coasts, roads, harbours,—building schools and other
institutions. A politician, who may be a barber or a
shoemaker, but who has been big on the "great country" at election
time, has a scheme of some kind which, if adopted, would save the
government an enormous outlay that would be inevitable in the
future. He, by some means that people profess to understand,
gets the appointment, and all he does for it, so the Americans say,
is nothing. He pockets the dollars and the scheme is lost
sight of. But the end of the politician has been attained.
The barber, or cobbler, is moving towards Congress where he hopes to
be able to "appropriate" for his friends. He has been "smart."
This is the political condition of America as gathered from American
sources, but not from people who are likely to be consulted by a
commission of inquiry or by petted visitors from the old country.
Now for the social life of America as not seen in a run
through the country. As I may be expected to say, it is
varied,—more so perhaps than in England. If you hear a person
say "that's Yankee," you may depend upon it he knows little of the
Yankee character. He has probably taken his standard from
those who visit Europe or has gathered his knowledge from
disappointed emigrants who have returned home. You meet
Americans you would take to be Englishmen if it were not for the
peculiar accent in their speech. There is neither extravagance
nor bluster in their manner, and if you come to talk to them they
will "own up" that their system of government is rotten. They
have a good constitution—no better anywhere,—good laws, but bad
administration, because in the hands of men who are entirely
unfitted for the work. They don't talk dollars, nor "spread-eagleism."
You can hear common sense, and that is something to say of any
people. Their predictions of the future of their country
generally are gloomy. They know that corruption is eating into
its vitals. They are in love with the English mode of living,
so much as they know of it. I could make their eyes sparkle
when I spoke of English homes—of their firesides, and their thorough
domesticity, of their method of cooking as compared with what I had
seen in America. To show that all American women are not the
hateful playthings of indulgent husbands, and that they value other
things than jewellery and "just heavenly bonnets," I may mention a
lady who did all her own housework—washed, cooked, baked, and made
quite a "good time" of her domestic life. Yet this woman was a
thorough Yankee—had never visited England nor been taught its ways.
She rather took the steam out of me one dinner time by placing upon
the table a "gradely" Lancashire potato-pie. "Great snakes!"
as "Uncle Sam" would say, what a surprise! and this, too, in the
most aristocratic city in New England. I might have gone
elsewhere and been sickened with conversation that turned upon
nothing but carats, gloves, Long Branch and general tomfoolery.
But harder times than the war times are telling upon the latter
phase of American life, and no doubt good will come of it. The
loose members of society will have to be dealt with.
Adventurers cannot much longer gamble with other people's money and
handle millions like a handful of cents,—then fail as if it was
nothing to ruin thousands of people. The purse-strings will
have to be drawn and the "marm" who holds it a disgrace to soil her
fingers with work, notwithstanding that her husband is in
difficulties, will have to take lessons in household duty and bare
her elbows to something besides the mirror.
If we may judge by appearances, the Americans are a devoutly
religious people. They may, as we think, show more attention
to their earthly guides than they do to the Great Master Himself,
but they are, in the observance of the rites of worship, in advance
of us. Their Sabbaths are more decorous than ours and there is
nothing in their secular life on that day that is out of harmony
with this display of piety. The sound of "dollars" may
sometimes jar upon the ears and it may be vaunted how much Beecher
and Talmage get for their ministrations, but this only by the way.
I am sure that it cannot be otherwise than a pleasure of the most
exalted kind to go out from the cities and see the country people
trooping to church. Miles and miles they come from their farm
homes, mounted on horses that work at the plough and cart, with here
and there a "buggy" to give a little "tone" to the cavalcade.
Stalls are built around the church for the accommodation of these
"teams," and where they do not exist the animals are hitched to
trees or to stones with rings provided. It would strike a
stranger that a horse-fair was on hand, and these were early
arrivals. I have been told that the people ride in pairs, the
farmer and his wife, but I have not seen any such mountings.
We do not meet with crowds of young men, unwashed, and with short
pipes in their mouths, strolling in the country, attended by kennels
of dogs and indulging in language unfit for any kind of society
except their own. America is not disgraced by this curse of
the English Sabbath.
The late war continues to be occasionally a subject of
conversation, and it is a pretty general opinion that the object of
the struggle was more for the advancement of a party purpose than
any consideration for the slave. Whether it was so or not, I
will leave to the Americans themselves. But all agree that it
was an unnecessary war and ought never to have been fought.
But as it is getting to be a matter of history, it is looked upon in
a less important light; and so many yarns have been spun about deeds
of battle, and so many impossible things given as facts, that
younger Americans are beginning to think the whole affair was
nothing more than a grim joke. A captain (I never came across
a private) was telling me the other day some amusing anecdotes of
the war, and amongst them was the following,—
"I was once out with a skirmishing party of federals," said he, "and
we came upon the vidette of the enemy. We had some sharp work
with those Johnnies, and when I could see both of us were getting
tired, and it was on the cards that we would prefer a good time to
wasting powder and blood, I called out to the captain of the rebs:
'Say, Captain, would you mind having an hour's rest?' 'Right,
Yank,' said the captain, 'down with yer irons.' So we ceased
firing. 'Say, Captain,' I called, as we got squatted, 'got any
backer?' 'Yaas, Yank. Got any rum?' 'Yaas,Johnnie.'
'Exchange?' 'Hoist yer handkycher.' A man was told off
from each line, and they hung out their body linen—not so clean, you
bet. One carried the backer, the other the rum. They met
half way and did the exchange as neat as you'd done it in a store.
Nothin' wrong in it, I guess. We drank and smoked and had a
good time while it lasted. Then the captain of the rebs sang
out: 'Guess the hour's up, Yank. Look out; h—l's cumin'!'
We began the fire again,—popping a man off with his pipe in his
mouth as if nothing was. But it didn't look the thing to knock a
Inman Line City of Montreal. Built in 1871,
about 4,415 tons,
destroyed by fire August 10, 1887 on her way from
to New York. The York City rescued her passengers and crew.
And now there is nothing for it but to say farewell! I
am on the steamer City of Montreal, not a sea greyhound, but
a safe and steady boat. Not being one of the marine mashers,
we have no collar and glove company, but a quiet jolly party that
make up a family at once. The morning is cold and dreary,—a
similar day to the one on which I left Liverpool. But we creep
in the smoke saloon and are a cozy, genial, few. Only three
Englishmen, the rest Yankees. But all English in sentiment, if
not in nationality. The time goes pleasantly on and we care
not for the weather. Surely this is not an American August.
If so, how will it be in England? But the room is warmed by
the yarns of the New Jersey farmer and the brogue of a genuine son
of North Erin. Oh, the happy time betwixt nine and eleven each
night, when joke and anecdote went freely round,—the Irish "gintleman"
singing a characteristic song, reminding me of my friend
Yard," but descriptive of a street in New York. Anent a "Mrs.
Dooley," the song says—
She claims to be a Yankee,
But all the neighbours know
That she came from county Connaught,
When she moved to Gossip Row.
The weather, if not stormy, continued in a sad mood till the
shores of Columbia receded from our sight. Then it was that I
penned my "Farewell to America," which will be found in its proper
place, at the end. Gloomy and cold nearly all the way.
But land is sighted, and joy abounds. The weather is now
gloriously fine; the breeze is balmy, and the sun is behaving itself
as if it knew it was on its trial by a Yankee jury. The coast
of Ireland is a delightful panorama, and the eyes that never saw it
before admire its beauty. "Paddy's Candle" (Fastenet
lighthouse) is past, and greener grows the land till "it is just
lovely, aint it?" But we are to be sundered. The family
is broken into at Queenstown, and we are getting our farewells over;
and now mine to America—
FAREWELL TO AMERICA.
Farewell, land of "booms," "tickets," "platforms," and
Of lightning bugs, whistling fogs, snakes and
Land of fried oysters, of clam-bakes, and chowder,
And the rowdy's best arguments—bullets and powder;
Land of all races, all colors, and mixings,
Of candy and peanuts, of notions and fixings,
Where prohibitive laws do not stop folks from drinking,
But old Bourbon and rye can be had for the winking.
Where a man who robs banks is held up as a "smart one;"
But let him take bread that will just keep life's cart
He'll get it quite hot from the judge who ne'er justice
And sent up for weeks to the home of the penitent.
Land of "road agents," of pedlars and "drummers,"
Of confidence tricksters, "bushwhackers," and "bummers,"
Where political knaves fatten out of the taxes,
And how they get hold of them no man e'er "axes."
If I tell thee thy faults 'tis because that I love
Oh, land of the free! while the bird soars above thee,
That swoops on thy foes like thy blizzards and cyclones,
'Twixt thee and old England may bygones be bygones!
Do what has been done by thy mother before thee,
Deeds blazoned in history, ballad, and story:
Drive out the vile rascals that plunder thy coffers,
And cease to be jeered at by railers and scoffers.
Take the bull by the horns,—not the "John" of that "arire"
And throw down the beast that has trod on thy fair fame;
'Twill have to be done either sooner or later,—
So here's to the doing of 't my "darlin' young crayter!"
* So long. The American term for " good bye!"