Three Visits to America (8)

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CHAPTER XXI.


Anthony Trollope on English, American, and Australian newspapers—Special features of American journalism—Its wonderful enterprise—The interviewer—Mrs. Langtry—Herbert Spencer—Ladies employed on the press—Impersonal versus personal journalism—Mr. Pulitzer's views in the Pall Mall Gazette—English and American practices contrasted—Anglo-phobia and Anglo-mania—The future prospect—Thurlow Weed—Albany—Mrs. Barnes.


WHEN Anthony Trollope returned from his voyage round the world, he said that he had come to the conclusion that no one but an Englishman could turn out a respectable newspaper.  Continental papers were thoroughly unsatisfactory; there were a few decent newspapers in Australia, but they were all conducted by Englishmen.  "The American," he said, "can give a good lecture, make a good speech, build a good house, tell a good story, and write a good book; he can, in short, do anything on earth requiring intellect, energy, industry, and construction, with this one exception.  He can not—at any rate he has not as yet—turned out a good newspaper."

    While it may be true that the rough-and-ready bundle of news is chiefly in demand in the United States, I can not subscribe to Mr. Trollope's sweeping assertion, nor do I believe he would have uttered it in the year of grace 1884.  Some of the daily newspapers now published in the chief cities of America will be freely acknowledged by the unprejudiced critic as worthy peers of their foreign rivals.  In some particulars, it must be allowed that they excel them.  The American press has undoubtedly vindicated its claim to be the best in the world in the direction of enterprise.  The first permanent paper, the Boston News Letter, boasted that it presented its readers "with European news eight months after date."  At that time, the idea of any one but Shakespeare's Puck putting "a girdle around about the earth in forty minutes" had not been dreamt of.  To-day, news spreads with the rapidity of lightning.  The fire which takes place in London during the evening, the criticism on the first performance of a new play, the result of the latest division in the Houses of Parliament, together with all the intellectual, scientific, philanthropic, and social movements throughout the whole world, are flashed across the ocean during the night and placed with unvarying punctuality on your breakfast-table in America, at eight o'clock the next morning, together with the editorials, which solve all the diplomatic perplexities that torment and baffle foreign powers and parliaments.  The newspaper penetrates everywhere, consequently the people are interested in all new discoveries, and are capable of selecting and utilizing them; even those who live on the prairies are not intellectually isolated, or shut out from the great currents of public and social life.

    The enterprise which has always distinguished the American Press has culminated in Mr. Bennett's spirited effort on behalf of the New York Herald.  As I write these lines arrangements are being made for the opening of the Bennett-Mackay Cable, by which press messages will be transmitted between London and New York at the rate of threepence a word.

    I am far from thinking that the American newspaper is absolutely perfect; but when the complaint is made about the "low tone of the press," it is well to remember that not only is the editor a man of "like passions" with the rest of the world, a prey to the same weaknesses, and liable to the same temptations, but also, that while the newspaper records the corruptions and crimes of the passing moment, it does not make them.  It is but the mirror which reflects that which is before it.  An immaculate press is no more to be expected than an immaculate clergy or House of Representatives.  To raise the standard above human pitch is to court disappointment.  "If the Lord is to have a church in this town," said a practical New England deacon, "I guess He's got to make it out of the material He finds here."

    It is true that the American newspaper very often startles its more cultured readers with extraordinary sensational headings and the prominence it gives to horrors of all kinds—murders, elopements, divorces, and wickedness in general. But the public taste still craves for these excitements, and as a newspaper is a business undertaking, it is subject to the same laws which influence other commercial speculations; it can not unfortunately afford to ignore the fountain springs of its existence.

    A new experience is afforded to the English traveller by the unrivalled audacity of journalistic "interviewing."  Professor Nichol, of Glasgow, aptly describes this process as "a transatlantic invention, for intruding on a great man's time and then misrepresenting him."  It seemed to me that people, great and small, were eagerly seized upon.  The moment the steamer arrives at Sandy Flock, the interviewer is on board seeking for his prey, and he never abandons the pursuit till the hour the homeward-bound vessel leaves the docks.  He lays in wait for his victims in the corridors of their hotels, he corners them in the railroad cars at the various depôts en route, and compels them on all possible occasions to deliver up their inmost thoughts upon every conceivable subject and person.  I was once awakened from peaceful slumbers shortly before midnight to express my opinion upon the cable that had just arrived from England about the admission of women to the University of Oxford!  As I passed through the city of Kansas, where the train stopped for ten minutes, I was required to give my views on Prohibition!  On another occasion I was asked a question about a matter respecting which I did not care to be interrogated, so I informed my enterprising catechiser that I had "no opinion on the subject whatever."  He demurred to this evasion, but finding it impossible to extract one, he quietly remarked, "Well, I shall be compelled to make one for you."  The interviewer is simply ubiquitous!  There is no escape from him.  He has undertaken to furnish curious readers with the most minute details of your birth, parentage, and education, personal appearance, dress, manner, and surroundings; your public work and your private sentiments must also be investigated; no feeling of delicacy is allowed to stand in the way, no fear of remorse restrains him; like Mr. Gilbert's heroic Captain Reece, he sustains himself under all difficulties by the comforting conviction, "it is my duty, and I will."  Accordingly he forces himself into private houses, and reports on all he sees, and much he does not see, with offensive familiarity; he criticises the costumes and conversation of the guests; he discusses with equal freedom the cost of the ladies' garments and the hospitality of the host; he chronicles the names of those present, and sometimes suggests those of people "who would like to have been asked," and parades the actual sum of money paid for the supper and champagne.  The newspaper reports of some American entertainments would lead the reader to suppose that their success depended entirely on the amount of silver plate displayed and the thousands of dollars spent on the decorations and flowers.  [1]  It is true that the presence of "Jenkins" is felt at home, but one is scarcely prepared to find him flourishing, notwithstanding the stern democratic principles professed, in the great Republic.

    To the interviewer nothing is sacred.  The mysteries of love and grief must be laid bare at his bidding.  He not only intrudes at the hour of death, but he must unravel all the secrets of every love affair.  What is not extracted from his victim's lips, a vivid imagination supplies.  If a marriage is broken off, he must discover "the reason why," and, regardless of the feelings of those most immediately concerned, publishes in the newspaper the next morning full details of the unpleasant family complication, with a comical heading in large capitals.  No wonder that a cultured American, like T. G. Rider, deplores the fact "that scandals, trifles, trivialities, and tattle, like a plague of locusts and grasshoppers, swarm through the columns of our leading daily papers."  Certainly no one who was travelling in America in 1883, during Mrs. Langtry's first tour, could fail to be struck with the license of some of the newspapers at that time.  To criticise her as an actress was a manifest duty; but to haunt her footsteps, to report at full length her domestic concerns and private quarrels, and to publish every item of scandal which could be collected from the attendants in the hotels at which she stayed, car-conductors of the trains she travelled in, and the dressers at the theatres in which she played, was a gross concession to the taste of a prurient class of readers.  In one city, the chief daily paper circulated throughout the theatres, during her first performance, cards with pencils attached, on which were printed five questions, entitled, "The Langtry Catechism," for the audience to answer during the evening.  Signatures were to be optional.  Strange as it may appear, at least a hundred of these cards were filled up—some of them were even signed; and those that were not suppressed by the editor as "too funny," appeared the next morning in the paper, which devoted six columns to the subject, under the title of "How the Lily Looked."  The imaginative faculty of the American journalist was also demonstrated by the circulation of a circumstantial account of General Butler's proposal and engagement to the leading lady of Mrs. Langtry's theatrical company.  The newspapers throughout the country acknowledged the information received by wire, and commented upon the ability of the bride-elect "to do the honours of the Governor's mansion in Massachusetts."  These very graphic and romantic scribes appeared quite regardless of the trifling circumstance that up to that very hour General Butler had never spoken to, or even seen, the young lady.

    Last New-Year's Day, a Chicago paper published a list of all the eligible bachelors in that city, for the benefit of ladies contemplating matrimony, with full details as to their incomes, preferences, and attractions.  A New York journal gave the history of "Our millionaire ladies"; and another described "The rich men of America—how their vast fortunes were made, and how they benefit their owners."  The details which were given may be gathered from the following sub-heading to the article:


"Millionaires who are Stingy and Millionaires who are Benevolent—Some Make a Great Show in the World and Some are Humble—A Few Politicians and Many who are Pious—Nearly Every One has a Hobby—A Remarkable Collection of Timely, Interesting, and Instructive Information."


    Herbert Spencer, who resolutely avoided, on his first arrival in America, an inquisition which he described as "an invasion of his personal liberty," had at last to submit himself to the cross-examination of his friend, Professor Youmans, to save him from having "things invented to gratify this appetite for personalities."  In this interview he complained that "Americans do not sufficiently respect the individuality of others." Mr. Spencer observed:


    "The trait I refer to comes out in various ways.  It is shown by the disrespectful manner in which individuals are dealt with in your journals—the placarding of public men in sensational headings, the dragging of private people and their affairs into print.  There seems to be a notion that the public have a right to intrude on private life as far as they like; and this I take to be a kind of moral trespassing.  It is true that during the last few years we have been discredited in London by certain weekly papers which do the like (except in the typographical display); but in our daily press, metropolitan and provincial, there is nothing of the kind.  Then, in a larger way, the trait is seen in this damaging of private property by your elevated railways without making compensation; and it is again seen in the doings of railway governments, not only when overriding the rights of shareholders, but in dominating over courts of justice and State governments.  The fact is, that free institutions can be properly worked only by men each of whom is jealous of his own rights and also sympathetically jealous of the rights of others—will neither himself aggress on his neighbours, in small things or great, nor tolerate aggression on them by others.  The republican form of government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature—a type nowhere at present existing.  We have not grown up to it, nor have you."


    Cultured Americans entertain as great a dread and horror of this system of "interviewing" as that experienced by any stranger and foreigner who visits their shores.  They are equally sensitive about this intrusion on their private concerns and hospitalities, and do their utmost to avoid the publicity they are made apparently to seek.  The best journals also now weed out the offensive personal gossip of the volunteer contributor.  But it is a somewhat curious fact that while ladies have thus been paragraphed, a strict line has been drawn respecting the publication and sale of the photographs of ladies celebrated for their beauty or prominence in New York society.  A photographer recently announced that he was about to begin a series with a likeness of Lady Mandeville, and it was received with general indignation.  One paper observed:


    "Whatever may be the custom among the English nobility, who in these days are a class seemingly privileged to outrage propriety and set modesty and decorum at defiance, the daughters of America would hardly care to advertise their charms and parade their likenesses in shop windows, side by side with actresses, criminals, and notoriously objectionable characters.  The day has gone by when any special interest attaches to a 'professional beauty' even in the country where the offensive term originated; and in our free and breezy atmosphere, it is to be hoped, women can be beautiful, charming, and attractive, without being objects for public comment and inspection."


    Latterly there has sprung up a class of interviewers who, while they endeavour to satisfy the demand for this kind of information, do not forget the consideration due elsewhere.  For my own part, I should be wanting in common gratitude and honesty, if I did not acknowledge the kind courtesy shown me, with but rare exceptions, throughout my dealings with the writers, who sometimes inspire their fellow-creatures with such terror, and inflict on them so much unnecessary agony of mind!  In many cases I fell into the hands of ladies, who are widely employed in this work, and I was often astonished at the infinite tact and kindness shown by their admirable reports of hurried conversations and my crude impressions of the city I had just reached.  I may have my views about the system, but there are not two opinions about the consideration I received at the hands of American interviewers of both sexes.

    The employment of women is a marked feature of American journalism. Margaret Fuller Ossoli's good work on the New York Tribune thirty years ago not only vindicated her chief's appointment, but cleared the ground for the rest of the sisterhood.  Consequently there is hardly a newspaper staff in the United States to-day which does not include one or more of the many ladies who earn their living by brains and pen.  In some instances they are capitalists, a few sit in the editorial chair itself, and numbers are employed as critics and bona fide reporters of public meetings, prize shows, horse and yacht races, and even cattle markets.  I had a very interesting interview with Miss Middy Morgan, who furnished the cattle reports for the New York Times.  She learned all about cattle, she told me, from her father in Ireland, and was for three years attached to Victor Emanuel's household, purchasing for him all the animals and birds he required.  After this she came to America, and attended the cattle sales and reported thereon for the New York Times.  This eccentric person is often to be seen walking down Broadway at full speed, with a bundle of papers under her arm, on her way to inspect the cattle markets.

    I am proud to think how many cultured, conscientious female American writers I can now count among my personal friends.  Of Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, Mrs. Croly, Grace Greenwood, Miss Booth, Kate Field, and Mrs. Bullard I have spoken elsewhere.  Miss Hutchison, whose poems are full of fresh fancies and quaint conceits, possesses such sound judgment and business talent, that she has won an enviable position on the New York Tribune.  Miss Lillian Whiting's piquant, magnetic letters are not only known to the readers of the Boston Traveller, but her signature is familiar to those who see the papers published in New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington.  It would indeed be difficult to give a list of the prominent women journalists across the ocean.  Gail Hamilton, Mrs. Runkle, Mary Mapes Dodge, Miss Snead, Miss Gilder, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mrs. Hodgson Burnett, Mary Clemmer Ames, Kate Hillard, Mrs. Longstreet, Virginia Townsend, Mrs. Chesebro, Kate Sanborn, Miss Nimmo, Mrs. Merighi, Miss Humphreys, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Merton, Miss Forney, Mrs. Ermini Smith, Miss Welch, and many others rise up before me as gifted journalists with whom I was brought into contact during my three tours through their country, as well as numberless masculine editors of the chief papers in each city visited, and from whom I received much kindness.  I still look forward eagerly to every mail which brings my interesting budget of American papers.  Women are very generally employed in the commercial department of newspaper offices.  All the advertisement clerks in the Scotsman office in Edinburgh are women.

    A very animated discussion is sure to follow any question raised on the other side of the Atlantic as to impersonal versus personal journalism.  "You have impersonal journalism in London, because the English press is conducted by scholarly dummies," said a noted American editor, who was discussing the subject with me one day on the deck of a steamer.  He contended that that impersonal journalism meant a newspaper made by a set of nobodies, with no informing intelligence, no definite plan, under no single guiding, inspiring brain.  "There is not money enough in America to hire the people to read papers made in that wooden headed, mechanical way," he added, vehemently; "we have an abundance of personal journalism; it is an appendage to a condition as well as a result of character.  None of our best men could, if they even wished it, envelop themselves in the mystery which surrounds the work-a-day drudge who forges thunderbolts for the London Times.  The elements of all modern life culminate in strong magnetic personalities."  So completely does an English editor conceal his identity, that I really think, outside a certain set, the names of leading American journalists are better known in England than those of the men in whose hands are placed the destinies of our London and provincial daily papers.  Many persons who could not tell you who edits the Times are familiar with the names of James Gordon Bennett, Dana, Whitelaw Reid, Murat Halstead, Henry Watterson, Mr. Childs, Horace White, Mr. Hurlbert, Manton Marble, Joseph Medill, H. T. Raymond, Theodore Tilton, and other leading lights of American journalism.

    Mr. Pulitzer, editor of the New York Morning, Journal, during his recent visit here, gave the Pall Mall Gazette [2] his views respecting the secret of success in journalism.  He placed great stress on conservatism in all social questions, and the value of humour.  He remarked that he had hit upon "woman as the great unexplored mine" to work on.


    "The average woman, as a rule, does not take much interest in the average newspaper.  She does not care about politics, nor is she sufficiently interested in the discussion of economical problems to desist from her daily struggle after the solution of her own economical problems or her own household to read the dry and heavy leading articles in the morning dailies; but short, crisp paragraphs treating on social subjects, bright gossip about the events of the day, piquant, personal, and yet pleasant details about people in whom every one is interested—these appeal to the woman's heart, and the result is that if a woman ever sees the Morning Journal she will have it ever after."


    This was undoubtedly the new departure which brought such quick success to our London society journals, but it always seemed to me a feature of the "average American newspaper"; and while they have no paper like our Punch—for Puck and The Kudge by no means take a similar standing—columns devoted to "Fun and Folly," "Sparks," "Nuts to Crack," "Pious Smiles," "Nonsense," and "Humours of the day," appear in every daily paper.  The American laughs at the English practice of taking humour, religion, politics, and philosophy in separate doses.  He declares that " no joke appears in the London Times, save by accident."  In the States you find it everywhere—in the newspapers as well as in the pulpit.  I have seen the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's congregation convulsed with laughter at a comic story, told during the Sunday morning service, with all that preacher's well-known humour and dramatic action.

    It is to be regretted that a few American writers still seem to suffer from what can only be described as "Anglo-phobia."  They dispense strict justice and entertain the kindest feeling toward the Englishman as an individual, but the English nation, as a collective body, excites them, as the traditional bull is said to be affected by the sight of a red rag.  This accounts for the impression which gets abroad that "a sentiment of hatred toward England is fostered in America," whereas the English traveller finds a cordial welcome everywhere, and invariably hears the kindest expressions of personal feeling toward his countrymen at home.  If Anglo-phobia is sometimes discovered in American newspapers, it is much more common to encounter Anglo-mania in society.  As Mr. Lowell tells his countrymen:


"Though you brag of the New World,
                     You don't half believe in it,
 And as much of the Old as is possible,
                     Weave in it."


    Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge and other patriotic Americans, who naturally despise a slavish imitation of foreign dress and manners, have administered some very severe rebukes thereon.  Mr. Lodge traces it to the vestiges of the colonial spirit surviving "the bitter struggle for independence," and still met with among groups of the rich and idle people in great cities.  He says:


    "They are for the most part young men; they despise everything American, and admire everything English.  They talk and dress and walk and ride in certain ways, because the English do these things in those ways.  They hold their own country in contempt, and lament the hard fate of their birth.  They try to think that they form an aristocracy, and become at once ludicrous and despicable.  The virtues which have made the upper classes in England what they are, and which take them into public affairs, into literature and politics, are forgotten.  Anglo-Americans imitate the vices or the follies of their models, and stop there.  If all this were merely a passing fashion, an attack of Anglo-mania or of Gallo mania, of which there have been instances enough everywhere, it would be of no consequence.  But it is a recurrence of the old and deep-seated malady of colonialism.  It is a lineal descendant of the old colonial family.  The features are somewhat dim now, and the vitality is low, but there is no mistaking the hereditary qualities.  The people who thus despise their own land, and ape English manners, flatter themselves with being cosmopolitans, when in truth they are genuine colonists, petty and provincial to the last degree."


    I was very much amused by reading the following advice to the victim of Anglo-mania:


    "An American who wishes to pass for an Englishman before other people than his own countrymen, must carefully observe the following rules: He must call his father 'the guv'nor'; he should never be sick, but 'ill'; he should call coal 'coals'; a pitcher a 'jug'; a sack-coat a 'jacket'; pantaloons 'trowsers' (never pants) ; a vest a 'waistcoat' (pronounced wescut); an undershirt a 'jersey'; suspenders 'braces,' and all shoes 'boots.'  He must speak of an expert driver as a good 'whip,' and a good rider as a good 'seat.'  He must never fail to mark the distinction between riding and driving, and remember that no one in England ever rides except on horseback.  To therefore speak of riding is quite sufficient; to add 'on horseback' is superfluous to an Englishman.  He must never by any possible chance forget to call Thames 'Tems,' Derby 'Darby,' Berkeley 'Barkley,' Bertie 'Bartie,' waltz 'valse,' Holborn 'Hoburn,' Mary-le-bone 'Marrabun,' Pall Mall 'Pell Mell,' Hertford 'Hartford,' St. John (when used as a person's name) 'Sinjen,' and Woolwich 'Woolich.'  He must not put a stress on the ches in Manchester or Winchester.  He must know all the grades of nobility, from a duke down to a baron, and never commit the egregious error of calling a baronet or a knight either a nobleman or a lord.  When he takes a bath he must 'have a tub.'  He must keep to the left when he drives, even though he infringes the law of the road in his own country, and must rise in his stirrups when, in riding, he trots.  A railroad should always be a 'railway' in England, and the Anglo-maniac must not omit to call it so.  He must also speak of the cars as the 'train,' a baggage car as a 'luggage van,' a freight train as a 'goods train,' and must never allude to a station as a depôt.  He must call the track the 'line,' and the rails the 'metals,' and speak of switching as 'shunting,' of a switch-tender as a 'pointsman,' the conductor as the 'guard,' the ticket office as the 'booking' office, and of a horse-car as a 'tram.'  He must never get mad, but always 'angry.'  When he goes to the opera or theatre the orchestra seats must be designated as the 'stalls,' the dress circle as the 'boxes,' and the parquette as the 'pit.'  For 'guess' he must use 'fancy' and 'imagine,' and studiously shrink from such expressions as 'quite a while,' 'real nice,' 'side whiskers,' 'is that so?' and 'why, certainly!'  He must be sure to leave out 'wine' when he speaks of port or sherry; and should he wish for ice-cream he must ask for 'an ice.'  If he is in good health, he must be 'fit'; if ill, 'seedy.'  If overtired 'knocked up.'  If a person has good taste, and is well-bred, or if a thing is done in accordance with the rules of good breeding or good taste, both are 'good form;' if the reverse, 'bad form.'  Should he find himself in difficulty he must be 'up a tree,' and everything troublesome and disagree able is 'hard lines.'  He must call lunch 'luncheon,' and the parlour the 'drawing-room.'"


    The writer might have added several other pronunciations which betray a speaker's nationality—notably "Dook" for Duke, and "doo" for dew, and the expression "so forth and so on."  There is a vein of satire running through this exposition of English versus American terms, and as usual much may be said on both sides.  There is, however, no question whatever respecting the increased use of "slang" in England.  The young lady of the nineteenth century can be easily detected by her description of "an awfully fine day," "an awfully good ride," or "an awfully pleasant fellow"; but the word our American cousins most despise is the term "nasty."  Good society on the other side of the Atlantic, relegates "nasty" to the Index Expurgatorius.  To speak of "a clever girl" is to convey the idea of a cunning one, while "a real cunning child" is there a term of endearment.  Each country is entitled to credit for certain phrases and words of superior force and meaning, and captious criticism should be avoided in the interest of the good feeling which ought to exist between them.

    It is only natural to look for great things in the future, when one notes the marked advance made during the last ten years in journalism.  It has already attracted to its ranks some of the best and noblest minds, and there is every reason to believe that the fearless, honest, cultured writers, who are at present the leaven of the American press, will, before long, leaven the whole lump, and then the daily newspaper will fulfil Parke Godwin's ideal, as "a sentinel upon the watch-tower of society," and will not only exercise a pure and ennobling influence in the United States, but become a power throughout the civilized world, for, after all, "the Press is King"—


"Mightiest of the mighty means
 On which the arm of progress leans."


    The name of Thurlow Weed, one of the great journalists and politicians of the past, naturally recurs while speaking of the American press.  As soon as I reached New York, in October, 1883, he kindly sent to say he should like to renew an acquaintance formed during my previous visit, and would therefore see me, though he was very ill.  Surrounded by his books in his library, the daily papers being still read to him by the loving daughter who has always been the presiding genius of his hospitable home in Twelfth Street, Mr. Weed retained to the very last his vivid interest in all that was going on in the world in which he had ever played so distinguished a part.

    Twenty years ago he was a power in politics as well as journalism; his conversation was always full of points worthy of remembrance, and his gentleness won for him a wide circle of devoted friends.  As an illustration of his affectionate nature, I can not resist relating a pathetic incident of his last illness.  It was found necessary to remove his pet pigeon from his rooms, as the bird's attentions proved irksome to his dying master.  When he learned that the pigeon was fretting at this exile, and had refused its food, Mr. Weed had it placed on his bed, and soothed it by his caresses.  Shortly after this Mr. Weed completed his eighty-fifth birthday, and a week later he was carried to his grave.  Politically, he had outlived his day, but he had not outlived the public regard entertained for him.  Few men have been laid to rest with more genuine respect and affection than was demonstrated at his unostentatious funeral.  More than a year later, I found myself at the scene of Mr. Weed's labours in Albany, the guest of his daughter, Mrs. Barnes, and several members of the family kindly came from far and near to wish me "Godspeed" before I returned to England.


 
CHAPTER XXII.


The traveller's appreciation of New York after journeys to the interior—Religious denominations—The growth of Episcopalianism—Church music, and the gradual introduction of boy choirs—French cooks—Joaquin Miller—Peter Cooper—Hotels—Cabs and carriage hire—Tiffany's—Gorham silver factory—Brentano's—The American and Colonial Exchange—Custom-house officials and the female searcher—The dress question—The theatres, artists, and dramatists.


I AM confident that no English visitor duly appreciates New York till he has travelled throughout America.  When he first arrives from Europe, New York strikes him as a little new and somewhat in the rough; he hears expressions on all sides of him which sound strange, and he notices fashions which certainly appear foreign and peculiar.  In short, he feels that he has suddenly plunged into a novel kind of existence, and it usually takes even the most cosmopolitan traveller a little time to adapt himself to manners and customs so unfamiliar.  But once let him go further afield—let him spend even a few weeks in travelling through the West and South, either in quest of a balmy atmosphere, or the natural beauties of mountain passes and river scenery—and he will certainly find, when he re-enters New York, that a strange sense of home steals over him; he will instantly recognize his return to a life in which there is really everything essential in common with his past European experiences; he will, in fact, hail New York as a great centre of civilization and luxury.

    Such thoughts, at least, passed through my mind as the "cars" brought me into Jersey City, and I returned to the charming house of the New York friends who welcomed me on my first arrival in America.  Nor was the feeling diminished when I found myself, later in the day, comfortably seated in a handsome couple, behind a pair of spirited horses, which took us through Central Park at a rattling pace, notwithstanding the number of well-appointed carriages which thronged the favourite afternoon drive.  But for the crisp, keen air, and bright, clear atmosphere, one could have imagined oneself suddenly transported to the familiar regions of Hyde Park, and I felt almost tempted to look out for well-known London faces, until that thoroughly American institution, the "road wagon," with its splendid fast trotter, dashed past us, and recalled to me a sense of the real locality, which was still more impressed upon me by the sight of those strange Park policemen, in their Confederate gray uniform.  The fact that I was still in the Great Republic was further demonstrated as I called on the way home on a friend I was anxious to see without delay, and the "hired girl" who opened the door denied me that satisfaction, on the extraordinary plea—common enough here, but somewhat startling to English ears—that her mistress could not receive me, "as she was not feeling good to-day."

    Episcopalianism has made great progress of late years in America.  There is no State Church—all denominations are equal before the law; but there is undoubtedly among the rich a growing tendency to ward the Episcopal communion.  When I first visited the country, Christmas-Day, Ash-Wednesday, and Easter were regarded as relics of Popery.  The old Puritan feeling, which the Mayflower pilgrims introduced into New England, was naturally never in such force in the State of New York, which was peopled more by continental cities.  Gradually, throughout the country, church fasts and festivals are being recognized far more than of old.  The very schools and colleges break up for "Holy Week," and Easter is no longer an unfamiliar term to even Congregationalists and Baptists.

    Church singing has hitherto been regarded by all American denominations as a powerful attraction, which should always be liberally provided.  I have often heard in Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational churches anthems which could bear comparison with the best cathedral singing; but in the place of boys, ladies in receipt of high salaries took the soprano and alto parts.  Sometimes the organist is only aided by a quartette choir.  I remember hearing one which cost 10,000 dollars a year.  Latterly, as a matter of economy and following the Episcopalian lead, the boy choir is being substituted.  The churches will thus reduce their expenditure, as the boys are only given car-money and musical instruction in return for their services.  In a few years I expect this change will have become very general.

    Lent in New York does not stop the fashionable dinner-party, though it may prove a certain check on the gay and giddy dance and theatre party.  Indeed, dinners have lately been unusually numerous and brilliant.  Ten years ago, when I first visited America, I was told there were not a dozen French cooks employed in private families in this city; today there are more than 150, receiving from 70 to 150 dollars a month.  As with us, these "artists" require one or two assistants— sometimes more—for the manual, unintellectual work of the kitchen, while they, of course, confine their talents to the highest portions of culinary science.  French cooks preside over the destinies of the houses of the Vanderbilts, Astors, Goulds, Lorillards, Schuylers, and the Havemeyers, for example; and in Mr. Vanderbilt's kitchen the range is twenty feet long, and has three fires, each separate from the other, with separate sets of ovens, and the chef commands an under-cook, four maids, and a fireman.  Fine cellars of wines are to be found in the houses of millionaires, but otherwise they are rare in the States, and not to be met with, as in England, in the more ordinary households.  In fact, until lately, wine has not been taken daily at dinner, for the average American drinks iced water, a glass of milk, or a cup of tea, where an Englishman demands his sherry or claret.  Very large dinner parties are now out of fashion.  Dinners of eight or twelve are much more conducive to the "feast of reason and flow of soul."  At one of these I met that most eccentric, erratic poet, Joaquin Miller.  The influence of riches was the turn the discussion first took, and many were the personal details told of some of those who have passed as "the greatest men" here, which at least showed they were none of the happiest, and afforded fresh proof—if any were required—of the "perilous process" of growing rich, either by commerce, literature, or art.  "True greatness" then came under discussion, and Joaquin Miller declared that the proper stand-point for a man was to try "to be useful and popular, and leave greatness to take care of itself."

    The poet also had a great deal to say in favour of cremation.  He is one of a small band sworn to see that those belonging to the self-chosen brotherhood are decently and discreetly burnt instead of buried after death, and in the simplest, most inexpensive manner.  There is a small town in Pennsylvania named Washington—after the Capitol—where the leading spirit has organized a regular and very cheap form of cremation.  The very pine wood for the coffin is supplied from the woods round about it, and sent to any part of the country, and the process is performed at the extraordinarily low rate of ten dollars for the entire ceremonial, and to this end Joaquin Miller hopes he is—if slowly—surely approaching.  In the meanwhile his pen is at work, not only in the direction of poetry, but its barbed edge supplies some of the keenest shafts aimed at the shams of the political and social life of the day.  These are published in the Sunday Star, and it is certainly not his fault if some of the so-called leaders of public opinion do not read some hard truths about themselves.  The writers for the American press certainly do not fight with kid gloves; they aim sharp blows which ought to tell in the long run.  They often smite right and left, and spare neither man nor woman who comes before the public.  Such men may, perhaps, be "useful," but I doubt if they will ever be "popular" in a perverse and foolish generation, in spite of Joaquin Miller's theories.

    A remarkable figure has recently disappeared from New York—that of Mr. Peter Cooper, who after his 90th birthday was to be seen at the corner of Astor Place, where he built himself, in the Cooper Institute, a monument which will last as long as his city stands and knows the meaning of the word gratitude.  Benefits which can not be estimated were conferred by thus opening out to the poorest the best means of self-education.  It is curious to contrast the result of Mr. Cooper's influence and wealth during his lifetime with that of the dead millionaire, Mr. A. T. Stewart, whose name seems to have already passed into oblivion, together with his projects for the benefit of his countrymen.  His widow still lives in a marble palace on Fifth Avenue, but she only inhabits a few rooms, and the house looks as silent and unattractive as a prison.  The magnificent iron mansion he intended as a home for working-women, was opened under restrictions which practically excluded all those for whom it was built, and is now turned into the "Park Avenue Hotel," and does not bear a trace of its founder or his purpose; while the "city for working people" projected on Long Island proves so difficult of access that mechanics refuse to live there.  It would certainly seem better if possible to carry out benevolent intentions during one's lifetime, rather than to leave charitable bequests in the hands of trustees.

    I suppose there is hardly another city with such a cluster of fine hotels as will be found within a stone's throw of Delmonico's,—the St. James, Brunswick, the Fifth Avenue and the Hoffman House.  The Windsor and the Brevoort generally divide the English travellers between them.  The Astor House, once so famous, has been crowded out of the running by the handsome up-town hotels, and has subsided into a city restaurant.  The Bristol, Sherwood, and Buckingham are preferred by all who like small hotels.  The Everett House has a reputation for attracting literary people.  The Morton House, Union Square Hotel, and Grand Central are much-frequented by theatrical companies; stars like Sarah Bernhardt go to the Albemarle.  Madame Modjeska had a very pleasant suite of rooms at the Clarendon last season, and attracted round her as usual a very pleasant circle of friends.

    Residents who think with George Eliot that human life should be rooted in the soil of its nativity, that cosmopolitanism is more dearly bought than we at first imagine, and that people who live always in hotels lack some of the sturdy individuality which is the growth of home life, betake themselves to houses of their own or flats.  I was fortunate enough to be recommended to the New York Hotel, which is chiefly frequented by Southerners, where I was always extremely comfortable.  During the last two years I have been there on several very pleasant social occasions, notably when Mr. Cranston in the spring of 1883 re-opened the large dining-room, after its redecoration and enlargement, with a banquet, as an acknowledgment of the consideration shown by the numerous permanent "boarders" who had naturally been subjected to much discomfort during an exile into smaller rooms, which they had borne with infinite good humour.  The tables were covered with choice flowers and fruit; the two hundred guests were all in full evening dress, and as many of the ladies were well-known Southern belles, the scene was really a brilliant one.  There was no lack of merriment anywhere.  General M'Clellan was the centre of a very pleasant party; Mr. Hutchinson, ex-Mayor of Utica, gave some amusing accounts of Oscar Wilde's reception in his city; opposite the handsome English actor, William Herbert, and his clever wife, sat Colonel Mapleson, who told some excellent operatic stories, and before dinner was over Captain Irving had persuaded everyone near him that the Republic was the only steamer in which to cross the Atlantic!

    A wise change introduced into American hotels of recent years is the adoption to a great extent of the European system of living by means of a café or restaurant attached to the hotels, where people can order just what they require instead of taking the meals provided at given hours and included in the bill.  The cooking is invariably better in the restaurant than in the hotel itself, though both are under the same management, and those who understand ordering a breakfast or dinner "à la carte" can live a great deal better and almost as reasonably as on the old American plan.

    Of course New York abounds in clubs—the Union, Union League, the Lambs, and the Lotos are known to the world, and there is a Bohemian institution called the "Pot Luck Club," founded, I believe, by an Irish lady, and the resort of many brilliant writers and artists of both sexes on certain choice occasions, to one of which I was invited, but I was unable to avail myself of an experience which probably would have been quite unique.

    Just as I was leaving New York, people were much exercised by the introduction of seventeen yellow and black cabs drawn by good horses in bright nickel harness, which promised to effect a much needed revolution.  The system of carriage hire has been a source of equal grievance to the traveller and the New Yorker who has no carriage of his own.  It has often cost me 25s. to spend a couple of hours at a friend's reception; in no city has carriage hire been hitherto so exorbitant as in New York, and the public will rejoice if the cheap cab company succeeds in obliging the ordinary hackman from the livery stables to arrive at a reasonable charge for his carriage or couple.  Anyhow that inaugural procession of cabs was a welcome sight last spring, with the monogram of the company surmounted with the Prince of Wales feathers on the yellow panel.  At the back of the cabs there is a reversible sign "reserved" and "to hire," so the humiliation of hailing a pre-occupied vehicle is avoided.  The cabs became at once popular, and were familiarly known as "canaries" or "black and tans."

    Tiffany's celebrated store in Union Square attracts every visitor, but only the favoured few are taken behind the scenes into the busy workshops arranged on the fourth and fifth floors of that colossal establishment, from which I enjoyed in addition a most splendid view of the city and the East River.  An immense space is devoted to the repairing department; about a dozen clerks are required to record the daily receipt and delivery of articles sent through this branch of the work alone.  About 800 persons are engaged as jewellers, engravers, die sinkers, fan makers, silversmiths; and though much of Tiffany's silverware is of his own manufacture, he has large dealings with the Gorham Silver Company as well.  No solid silver is now imported—this factory in Rhode Island has driven it from the market.

    Brentano's is the constant resort of the English traveller in New York, and in the branch establishments at Washington and Chicago the welcome English and European papers and publications can also be feasted on by the home-sick wanderer.  Brentano's is by far the oldest business of the kind in America, and supplies native information quite as liberally as foreign, for more than a hundred daily papers from different cities throughout the country will be found on the tables in that department.  Books and stationery as well as theatre and railway tickets are also sold there; you are not obliged to take your railroad ticket in the States at the depôt just as your train is about to start and you have not a moment to spare.  You can purchase it in advance and use it for the one journey any day you please, "stop off" as you find most convenient en route, and resume your trip whenever you like!  This, together with the system of checking baggage, are great improvements upon British regulations, which may perhaps find their way to our shores now that so many more travellers from the old country are able to realize their advantages.  In days when the British Association has found it possible to summon its members to a meeting in Canada and give them a trip through the United States, it can not be supposed that Englishmen will quietly settle down to the inconveniences and discomforts entailed by a blind adherence to rules and regulations founded on no better policy than the "always has been" custom!

    The American and Colonial Exchange is a very useful undertaking, providing a social club and ladies' drawing-room for travellers in Union Square, New York, and also in London, opposite Her Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket.  Letters are received there for subscribers, and remailed to any given address; information respecting steamship and railway travel afforded, and facilities for exchanging moneys and cashing drafts.  In short, it is just the bureau of information which tourists on both sides of the Atlantic find so invaluable.  Steamers are met, and any assistance given to strangers while passing through that dreaded ordeal—even to the innocent—the custom-house.  The last time I landed while waiting with Mrs. Ian Robertson, Dr. Phelps, and a group of friends, who kindly came to meet me, I was introduced to the lady at the head of the personal searching department, who told me some of the strange experiences encountered in the discharge of her peculiarly unpleasant duties.  Not only are "dutiable articles" found concealed on modistes, but contraband goods are sometimes discovered sewn in the dress linings of fashionable ladies!  While I listened to her narratives I was much amused by watching the custom-house officials searching the Saratoga trunk of a commercial gentleman, who had just informed them he had "only a few samples—of no particular value."  But they ruthlessly turned out the contents, and found the trunk simply crammed with boxes of gloves, laces, and silks, and for which he was charged duty amounting to several hundred dollars, and must have thought himself lucky in being allowed to depart with his goods at all.  For if such articles are discovered, not having been "declared," the Government confiscates them, and sells them at public auction.

    I am not in the least affected with a passionate patriotism as regards the dress question, but while acknowledging the beauty and vivacity of American women, I can not subscribe to the general verdict which assigns them the palm over English women in the matter of millinery.  Of course one is prepared for the gaudy colours, which delight the hearts of the negro ladies, but why does the true-born American girl indulge in hats of such gigantic proportions, or a else, flying off in the other extreme, wear one of such tiny dimensions at the back of her head, that she gives the passer-by a full display of the peculiar style of hair-dressing in vogue in the States—known as the Langtry bang?  Gradually, however, a better fashion is coming in; Macqueen & Co.'s hats have been recently introduced, and as ladies go to the theatre in what is described as "street dress," this is a much needed reform in the eyes of those who prefer to watch the play instead of a milliner's last achievement.  Once in an American theatre between me and the stage intervened a tall lady in a singularly high hat, with a pure white crown, embroidered with pearls and crystals, over which nodded long snowy plumes, entirely obscuring my vision of the dramatic heroine.  "Hats off, ladies," would, I think, be a very reasonable request under such provocations.

    A very curious novelty was introduced at the opening of the New York Metropolitan Opera House, but was laughed out of existence by the critics before the week was over.  Certain wealthy people came with an escort in the shape of valets, who were stationed outside their master's box, and when visits were exchanged, cards were duly handed in by these gentlemen-in-waiting.  But the press with one accord denounced the innovation, and ridiculed in no measured terms the introduction of Mr. James Yellowplush as "shoddyish and un-American," and as an unworthy effort "to astonish the simple-minded democracy of the foremost Republic of the world."  Now, as liveried servants are daily to be seen in the houses of the haut ton in New York and on the box-seats of the carriages which frequent Central Park, many of the comments seemed to me somewhat far-fetched and inconsistent, though one naturally regards the presence of such guards of honour at the Opera as thoroughly snobbish and out of place.

    When I landed in New York for the third time, I found such numerous invitations to breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, theatre supper parties at Delmonico's, that the great difficulty in life was how to keep away from the various temptations to gaiety so lavishly thrown in one's path.  The lion of the hour in one circle was Henry Irving—in another Matthew Arnold—for Lord Coleridge had just returned to his native shores.  The rush for seats at the Star Theatre was unprecedented, although of course Irving's "walk" and his "peculiar accent" were fruitful sources of conversation.  The enthusiasm Ellen Terry excited was as universal as it was fervid, and at once Ellen Terry shoes and Ellen Terry caps filled the shop windows.  Rumour said that the actress was far from well, and very home-sick, but I chanced to see her, soon after her arrival, in a box at the Union Square Theatre, with Mr. and Mrs. Felix Moscheles, looking as radiant and vivacious as ever, and evidently thoroughly enjoying Mr. Jefferson's marvellous impersonation of Caleb Plummer in The Cricket on the Hearth.

Before I left for England I saw the last representation of Robert Buchanan's "Lady Clare" at Wallack's; it had proved the success of the season.  The feature of the representation, after Miss Coghlan's admirable acting, was, to my mind, the "Hon. Cecil Brookfield" of Mr. J. Buckstone, and Miss Measor's "Mary Middleton."  The delightful comedy afforded by these young artists was of unspeakable value to the entire drama.  At Daly's Theatre Miss Rehan was carrying everything before her in Dollars and Sense by the most grotesque piece of acting I ever saw in my life, which is just now being keenly appreciated by London playgoers, thanks to the enterprise of Mr. Terriss.  In spite of Dion Boucicault's recent charge, that London audiences are "more capricious and more unfair to anything foreign than any community" he ever had to do with, Mr. Daly's entire company have secured the heartiest recognition.  Mr. Lewis, whose wonderful facial expressions and comic tone of voice have gained him so high a position among American low comedians, made his mark here at once both with the critics and the public.  John T. Raymond, it is true, failed to achieve in London the success he deserved for his inimitable representation of "Colonel Sellars," but it should be remembered that his play called for a familiarity with American ways, manners, and politics which an ordinary English audience did not possess.  Yankee fun is altogether sui generis, and incomprehensible to the uninitiated!  Consequently, Mr. Raymond did not find "the millions in it" he has in his own country.  Mr. and Mrs. Florence were fortunately provided with a play full of broader and more general humour, and they obtained a wide and enthusiastic hearing.  London playgoers gave no niggardly greeting to Mr. Jefferson, Laurence Barrett, or Edwin Booth, and as for the beautiful Mary Anderson, she has simply taken the whole of Britain by storm!  Miss Anderson emphatically represents what the stage still wants in both countries, well-bred, educated, accomplished ladies, whose principles have been tested and whose culture is the result of thought and experience.  America has sent us such representatives before, and, in spite of Mr. Boucicault's allegation, neither "caprice" nor "want of appreciation" have yet driven the gifted and estimable daughters of the late Mr. and Mrs. Bateman, or other American artists I could name, from these inhospitable British shores!

    Bronson Howard's popular play, "Young Mrs. Winthrop," was at the height of its success when I saw it at the Madison Square Theatre, celebrated for its movable stage.  With the exception of the first act, I liked it better than any other native production I chanced to see in the States.  The popularity of such plays as "Hazel Kirk," "The Rajah," and "May Blossom," I can not understand.  Among the American dramatists who have achieved success may be mentioned Augustine Daly, Mrs. Burnett, Bartley Campbell, F. Marsden, Charles Gaylor, Leonard Grover, and John Habberston.  Humanity is the same all the world over, but writers, are naturally happier in their attempts to reproduce the life and scenery with which they are most familiar.  Obedience to this self-evident truth enables French and English authors to bring upon the stage representations of character which have a life-like reality.  In spite of all that is urged about the "decline" and "degeneracy" of the drama, it has seldom appealed more strongly to a healthy public sentiment than it does to-day in both countries, and the profession certainly never contained so many men and women entitled to respect for private virtues and graces, as well as genuine dramatic talent.  We can not afford to ignore such a source of public enlightenment as the stage.  There was a time when religious people turned away from all literature in the form of a novel; now they have begun to discriminate between the wheat and the chaff, and to acknowledge that good novels instruct as well as amuse, and have a distinct sphere and value of their own.  The day is coming when it will be more widely realized than it is at present, that the theatre is an influence for good or evil which demands the gravest consideration and sympathy, and that there is a power which can not be despised in the play which sets forth the value of living up to one's ideal, represents the highest form of love, portrays the redemption which comes from self-sacrifice and repentance, and the Nemesis which always follows a wrong-doing, before great masses of people, dead to other influences, who can be reached in no other way.


 
CHAPTER XXIII.


Canada—Sleighing—Miss Rye's and Miss Macpherson's homes for English waifs and strays—Occupations for women—Report of the Montreal Protective Immigration Society—Educated women versus fine ladies wanted in all our colonies—Agricultural prospects—The Marquis of Lorne on the Canadian climate —Lady Gordon—Cathcart's settlement at Wappella—A day at Niagara Falls—American homes—Dr. Charles Phelps—Departure from America.


OF Canada I saw far too little.  A pleasant visit to some old friends in Montreal gave me my chief insight into Canadian ways and society.  Although the ground was covered with many feet of snow, the atmosphere was dry and bracing, and never have I seen brighter winter skies or more brilliant moonlight.  In spite of asthma, I enjoyed the great feature of life in this snow-clad region.  Nestled in buffalo robes, with face and ears protected by a fur cap and a woollen cloud, I ventured to sleigh, and made the acquaintance of the hills from the top of which Montreal looks so picturesque.  The rapid, silent motion, as you glide through the electric air, in a well-appointed sleigh, drawn by a pair of handsome horses with silver-mounted harness and tinkling bells, is a novel sensation to the Londoner accustomed to the noise of commonplace wheels!  Edgar Poe's lines assume a new meaning as you hear with your own ears along the crisp Canadian snow-bound roads—


"Sledges with the bells—
 Silver bells!
 What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
 How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle
 In the icy air of night!"


    There are many kinds of sleighs—the modest cutter hired from the livery stables, the sportsman's "sulky," family sleighs, the tradesman's "democrat," "bob sleighs"—in short, you find all kinds of vehicles on runners, but one and all fill the air with the cheerful sound


"Of the tintinnabulation that so musically swells
 From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells."


    Canada offers many pleasures in the form of toboganning, skating, ice-yachting, running in snowshoes, and also to the sportsman who appreciates the pursuit of moose, antelope, and buffalo elk; there is plenty of game—prairie chickens and ducks, pheasants and partridges, as well as snipes, cranes, and plovers.  The river and lakes abound in sturgeon, white fish, pickerel, bass, pike, perch, and many other varieties.  Frog-catching has assumed the aspect of an industry for boys in Ontario.  The marshes at Holland Landing, near Barrie, abound with these little animals, which are regarded as great delicacies in the States.  There is a great demand for them in the hotels and restaurants, consequently many boys find occupation in catching and skinning them, after which they are forwarded to New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, and elsewhere.

    I was much disappointed in being unable, owing to illness, to visit the homes provided for the English waifs and strays which are transported by Miss Rye and Miss Macpherson to Quebec and Ontario.  But I heard quite enough to assure me that the children are well cared for in the homes opened for their reception, wisely distributed in respectable families, and placed in positions where they may establish themselves for life.  The labour in a Canadian household compels industry, and admits of but little idleness at any season of the year.  There is a great dearth of domestic servants, but a general feeling prevails that the emigration of ladies in search of places as governesses and companions is a very great mistake.  Several who had been sent out by philanthropists at home called on me personally and said they found the chances of employment there scarcer than in the old country, and heartily wished themselves in England again.  It is quite absurd for ladies to emigrate unless they are prepared to accept the exigencies of life abroad; they must be willing to abandon all fineladyism for practical work; they must be ready to turn their hand to anything and everything.  There is room in Canada and America, still more in Australia and New Zealand, for educated women who are ready to "rough it" as their brothers have done before them, but none for those who look for positions which are the outgrowths of an older civilization.

    The Women's Protective Immigration Society of Montreal has just published its second annual report from which it appears that 236 persons have been received into the home for various periods of time, varying from one day to a fortnight's duration, in the past year.  Those of a superior class who went were all provided with suitable employment, and the managers state that no such persons need be under any apprehension in proceeding to the Dominion, for at each season openings occur for sensible, capable persons, who will quickly and cheerfully suit themselves to the unavoidable change of circumstances in a new country.  Free board and lodging are given to female immigrants for twenty-four hours after arrival.  A charge of 10s. per week or 1s. 10d. per day is made when they remain for a longer period.  It is stated that domestic servants find ready employment at from £1 5s. to £2 monthly, according to capability.  Good cooks obtain from £2 10s. to £4 per month.  Women who understand farm work can be placed with country people.  Girls who wish to enter service for the first time, though without experience, are much in demand, and can at once earn £1 per month.

    Women are largely employed in telephone and telegraph offices, and the manager of the Toronto Institute considers that they excel men in skilfulness of manipulation.  Straw-hat making; from the wide-spreading "Palmetto" to the aristocratic leghorn and tuscan, keep many female operatives at work.  The packing of cheese and butter, and dairy work generally, affords plenty of employment for women as well as the furrier's trade in buffalo robes, caps, muffs, and mitts, bookbinding, boot and leather work, and the fabrication of woollen, flax, and cotton goods.  For dressmakers and milliners there is a great demand, and a fair needlewoman and good fitter can be sure of constant work and liberal pay in the large cities.

    In the great prairie farms there is room for a large accession of labour; the province of Manitoba alone contains seventy-eight million acres of land!  Most of this land must as yet be described as pure prairie, but a very large portion is suitable for the growth of wheat and other cereals, barley, potatoes, and grasses, and has sufficient timber for ordinary purposes.  The great tract of prairie stretching from Winnipeg to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, offers excellent agricultural land for the raising of sheep and cattle.  Labourers of all kinds find plenty of employment in the spring, summer, and autumn, and a farmer with a capital of a hundred pounds is able to establish himself in a very fair position at once.  A free grant of 150 acres can be obtained from the Dominion Government by every British subject over eighteen years of age, and settlers have also the right to pre-empt another 160 acres by the payment of 8s. to 10s. an acre.  With regard to the coldness of the climate, it can now be said, on the authority of the Marquis of Lorne, that the cold is less felt there than in Scotland; that fevers are unknown, that settlers live to a great age, and that the Canadian race is particularly strong and vigorous.  The cold should never be measured by the thermometer, but by the humidity of the atmosphere.  The very snow is crisp and hard as crystal powder.  Lord Lorne strongly recommends this colony to intending emigrants, and believes that the realities of life in Canada far exceed the rational anticipation of most newcomers.

    Lady Gordon-Cathcart, finding that her tenantry had become too crowded on her Scotch estate, established a settlement at Wappella, on the western side of Manitoba, and gave each family willing to emigrate a loan of £100.  Her emigrants have already secured more than three thousand acres of land, and at once began to plough the prairie turf and plant it with potatoes.  Within eight weeks they were enjoying an excellent crop, which, for size, flavour, and maturity, were all that could be desired.  The Bell farm and Elliot settlement afford many remarkable proofs of the results of various industries in the Dominion, through which are scattered small and large farms in every stage of cultivation.  As an instance of the successful settler, which is typical of hundreds of others.  I quote the following testimony, for the accuracy of which I can vouch: "I came here," said the emigrant, "eighteen months ago with my brother.  We had just eight shillings between us when we had paid the office fees for the 160 acres of land.  We worked for wages, getting five or six shillings a day, and we also put up our log hut, so that my wife and children were able to join me from Ontario.  We have now eighty acres of wheat, and we owe no man anything.  Next year we shall have 150 acres of wheat, and shall then take another lot of land, and make it right for my brother."

    Canada seemed to me half French and half Scotch, and in religion more than half Catholic, with a sprinkling from other nations and creeds.  A large Jesuit College flourishes at Quebec, and a Scotch University in Montreal.  The Sisters of Charity are very active throughout the country, and the convent schools were for a long time so much better than. the other seminaries far girls that they even attracted scholars from good Protestant families.  One of the great sights in Montreal is the Victoria Tubular Bridge over the St. Lawrence, a marvellous structure of iron two miles long, which was completed in 1861 by the Prince of Wales, who drove in the last rivet.

    Among my pleasantest trips must certainly be reckoned my last visit to Niagara.  It was kindly arranged by Mr. Edmund Hayes, one of the engineers of the new cantilever bridge, from which such a magnificent view of the Falls is now obtained.  When it was formally opened for traffic last December, in the presence of a very large and distinguished assembly, I was unable to accept the President's invitation, as I was already far on my way to Colorado, but I suspect the quiet inspection of the bridge, with the small but delightful party of friends Mr. and Mrs. Hayes invited to meet me, was far more enjoyable than the brilliant but crowded opening ceremonial.

    At first the morning seemed unpropitious, yet, in spite of the falling snow, eight undaunted spirits started off from Buffalo for that expedition.  We drove across the suspension bridge to the Canadian side, and found luncheon had been prepared for us at Rosti's—a house famous for its cookery, and kept by a Swiss, a landlord of the old school, who personally superintended the serving of the repast, and took a genuine pride in our appreciation of his excellent viands.

    The new bridge across the turbulent Niagara river is not only a proof of American enterprise and ingenuity, but marks an epoch in the science of engineering and bridge building.  To span this rushing torrent, 500 feet across from shore to shore at an altitude of 240 feet, was no mean triumph, but it was accomplished in less than eight months by the Union Bridge Works.  The theory of its construction having been duly explained to me with natural enthusiasm by its projector, we drove to the Whirlpool Rapids, and descended to the water's brink by means of cars lowered by machinery through a tunnel cut in the cliffs at an angle of about 30 degrees.  It seemed a serious undertaking, and more than one lady of our party felt glad when that part of the proceeding came to a safe conclusion.

    I am not going to attempt to describe the indescribable; the whirl of these furious waters, over the rocks that lie in wait for them in the bed of the river, has to be seen; it can not be written about.  I could simply stand awed and silenced by the grandeur of the sight, and almost deafened by the roar of the surging waters, and marvel how Captain Webb could have risked such an undertaking, as the attempt to swim the Whirlpool Rapids, which dash along at the rate of thirty miles an hour, over the boulders in the river.  After this we drove to the Falls themselves, Prospect Park, Goat Island Bridge, and various places of interest, and I returned at night to the hotel feeling this was indeed one of the red-letter days of my last tour through the United States.

    Although these reminiscences must draw to a conclusion without the record of many pleasant glimpses into American homes, in which I found the ideal conception a living reality, delightful visits to hospitable friends in Syracuse, Utica, Washington, Milwaukee, and elsewhere, will never be forgotten, nor the pleasant time spent with Mr. and Mrs. Moulton, in earlier times at Auburn, with Mrs. Wright, the sister of Lucretia Mott, and later on with General and Mrs. Seward, in the old home enriched by Governor Seward's trophies from all parts of the world, presented to him by the various European, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese potentates with whom he came in contact.

    I have but little to note respecting my ocean experiences during my six voyages across the Atlantic, for unlike Gilbert and Sullivan's famous Captain of the Pinafore, I am always sick at sea.  The stewardess is the sole person with whom I am brought in contact, and I have reason to be very grateful for the attention paid me by these all-important officials!  Asthma kept me a prisoner in my state-room throughout every voyage, and greatly am I indebted to Dr. Charles Phelps for his skilful treatment and unremitting kindness which followed a terrible attack of asthma and bronchitis on board the City of Rome, which threatened to upset the whole of my plans for the season when I last landed in New York.
 
    It is somewhat singular that two out of my three return passages were actually booked in steamers which were wrecked on previous voyages. The City of Brussels, in which, thanks to Mr. Ernest Inman, I enjoyed such comfortable quarters on my second outward bound passage, met her fate in a fog in the Mersey itself.  The other calamity was far more terrible, for it involved a fearful loss of life.  I was to have sailed for England, after my first visit in 1873, in the Atlantic—the ill-fated White Star steamer—which ran ashore on the Nova Scotia coast, with nearly a thousand souls on board.  Only thirteen saloon passengers were saved, and not one woman.  Many were hurried into eternity before they could leave their state-rooms, while those who contrived to reach the deck were swept off into the surging sea, or crushed by the fore-boom, which, broken from its fastenings by the raging wind, swung round with terrible force, destroying all within its reach.  For reckless negligence it would be hard to find in the shipwrecks of recent years a counterpart to that of the Atlantic, whose captain, on a dark night, in a rough sea, along the most dangerous part of a coast famous for its treacherous currents and perilous rocks, left his proper place on the bridge, and retired to sleep in his chart-room.  The landsman, when the steamer nears the shore, shakes off the anxieties which sometimes depress him in mid-ocean, while the winds and waves make a mere plaything of the huge vessel, and toss her from side to side until it seems impossible that she can ever right herself, or resist the angry waves which appear battling for the command of her; but the sailor knows the real hour of danger comes when he approaches the coast; at this point the vigilance of a good captain is redoubled, and he never trusts his charge to subordinate officers at the time of the greatest peril and responsibility.  It is marvellous to think of the number of steamers now continually crossing the ocean and the few accidents which ever occur.  The real danger of the passage is in the increasing demand for speed, and it is one which is becoming less heeded every day; each company is bound to outbid the other, and so the steamer races on in spite of icebergs, storm, or fog, and runs a hundred unnecessary risks to make "the fastest voyage on record."  It is a great temptation in this restless, hurrying age, but it may be bought at too high a price, and I confess it was some comfort to feel, on my last homeward voyage, that I was on board a safe if slow Cunarder, and in the care of the company which can still boast of never having lost a single ship.

    Although the Scythia made a very early start on her homeward voyage last April, as she slowly moved out of the New York docks, a kind group of friends waved a last farewell from the shore.  I felt a regret far too deep for words, as I began to realize that I had now paid my final visit to America.  It is indeed a country with a marvellous future before it, and if some of its efforts had hitherto lacked finish, they have always indicated abundant force and originality.  "It has been the home of the poor and the eccentric from all parts of the world, and has carried their poverty and passions on its stalwart young shoulders," as a distinguished American woman once remarked to me, adding, "now that you have visited us you will understand this, and be interested in seeing how this gigantic humanitarian scheme is carried on—how the strength which elsewhere broods, or is expended in blows, here builds our railroads, tunnels our mountains, and breaks glass and crockery at a fearful rate in our kitchens.  Never mind," she continued, smiling, "the individual suffers, but humanity survives."

    I have, indeed, had an opportunity granted to few, of seeing our American cousins as they really are—not as they are supposed to be!  Every facility was afforded me for visiting all the public institutions, the methods of the public schools and colleges were duly explained to me by the leading authorities, the factories and workshops were thrown open to me.  Personal interviews were accorded by most of the eminent public characters, including the President, senators, journalists, college professors, and artists, and I was cordially welcomed into the homes of the people, who extended to me a hospitality as universal as it was hearty, thus enabling me to form personal friendships with kindred spirits in every city I stayed in—friendships which I trust neither time nor distance will sever.

    I leave other writers to make merry over "Yankee smartness and Yankee accent," and the numerous shortcomings which passing travellers can easily detect in every strange place they visit; they may regard America as a land given over to political corruption, bowie-knives, and shoddy, if they will.  I must record the kindness which brought me into contact with all that was noblest and best, enabling me to recognize in many American institutions the very embodiment of human progress and aspiration, and my heart and brain were alike refreshed by communion with cultured and refined men and women, who taught me to understand and appreciate the spirit which really animates this great country, justly described by one of her own gifted poets, as


"She that lifts up the manhood of the poor,
 She of the open heart and open door,
 With room about her knees for all mankind."


______________________________


NOTES.

 
1.    In an editorial article in a New York paper complaining of "the snobbish reports of private parties," it was sarcastically suggested that "guests should be entertained at once by the production of the bank-book, bonds, stocks, and mortgages, as the shortest cut to a realization of their host's riches."
 
2.   This paper, which has been described as "the pioneer of journalistic emancipation," has recently introduced into England the system of " interviewing " with great success.

 


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