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Europe Revised by Irvin S. Cobb

Part 5 out of 5

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The guidebooks say that no visitor to Rome should miss seeing the
Golden House of Nero. When a guidebook tries to be humorous it
only succeeds in being foolish. Practical jokes are out of place
in a guidebook anyway. Imagine a large, old-fashioned brick
smokehouse, which has been struck by lightning, burned to the roots
and buried in the wreckage, and the site used as a pasture land
for goats for a great many years; imagine the debris as having
been dug out subsequently until a few of the foundation lines are
visible; surround the whole with distressingly homely buildings
of a modern aspect, and stir in a miscellaneous seasoning of beggars
and loafers and souvenir venders--and you have the Golden House
where Nero meant to round out a life already replete with incident
and abounding in romance, but was deterred from so doing by reason
of being cut down in the midst of his activities at a comparatively
early age.

In the presence of the Golden House of Nero I did my level best
to recreate before my mind's eye the scenes that had been enacted
here once on a time. I tried to picture this moldy, knee-high wall,
as a great glittering palace; and yonder broken roadbed as a
splendid Roman highway; and these American-looking tenements on
the surrounding hills as the marble dwellings of the emperors; and
all the broken pillars and shattered porticoes in the distance as
arches of triumph and temples of the gods. I tried to convert the
clustering mendicants into barbarian prisoners clanking by, chained
at wrist and neck and ankle; I sought to imagine the pestersome
flower venders as being vestal virgins; the two unkempt policemen
who loafed nearby, as centurions of the guard; the passing populace
as grave senators in snowy togas; the flaunting underwear on the
many clotheslines as silken banners and gilded trappings. I could
not make it. I tried until I was lame in both legs and my back
was strained. It was no go.

If I had been a poet or a historian, or a person full of Chianti,
I presume I might have done it; but I am no poet and I had
not been drinking. All I could think of was that the guide on
my left had eaten too much garlic and that the guide on my right
had not eaten enough. So in self-defense I went away and ate a
few strands of garlic myself; for I had learned the great lesson
of the proverb:

When in Rome be an aroma!

Chapter XXII

Still More Ruins, Mostly Italian Ones

When I reached Pompeii the situation was different. I could conjure
up an illusion there--the biggest, most vivid illusion I have been
privileged to harbor since I was a small boy. It was worth spending
four days in Naples for the sake of spending half a day in Pompeii;
and if you know Naples you will readily understand what a high
compliment that is for Pompeii.

To reach Pompeii from Naples we followed a somewhat roundabout
route; and that trip was distinctly worth while too. It provided
a most pleasing foretaste of what was to come. Once we had cleared
the packed and festering suburbs, we went flanking across a terminal
vertebra of the mountain range that sprawls lengthwise of the land
of Italy, like a great spiny-backed crocodile sunning itself, with
its tail in the Tyrrhenian Sea and its snout in the Piedmonts; and
when we had done this we came out on a highway that skirted the bay.

There were gaps in the hills, through which we caught glimpses of
the city, lying miles away in its natural amphitheater; and at
that distance we could revel in its picturesqueness and forget its
bouquet of weird stenches. We could even forget that the automobile
we had hired for the excursion had one foot in the grave and several
of its most important vital organs in the repair shop. I reckon
that was the first automobile built. No; I take that back. It
never was a first--it must have been a second to start with.

I once owned a half interest in a sick automobile. It was one of
those old-fashioned, late Victorian automobiles, cut princesse
style, with a plaquette in the back; and it looked like a cross
between a fiat-bed job press and a tailor's goose. It broke down
so easily and was towed in so often by more powerful machines that
every time a big car passed it on the road it stopped right where
it was and nickered. Of a morning we would start out in that car
filled with high hopes and bright anticipations, but eventide would
find us returning homeward close behind a bigger automobile, in a
relationship strongly suggestive of the one pictured in the
well-known Nature Group entitled: "Mother Hippo, With Young." We
refused an offer of four hundred dollars for that machine. It had
more than four hundred dollars' worth of things the matter with it.

The car we chartered at Naples for our trip to Pompeii reminded
me very strongly of that other car of which I was part owner.
Between them there was a strong family resemblance, not alone in
looks but in deportment also. For patient endurance of manifold
ills, for an inexhaustible capacity in developing new and distressing
symptoms at critical moments, for cheerful willingness to play
foal to some other car's dam, they might have been colts out of
the same litter. Nevertheless, between intervals of breaking down
and starting up again, and being helped along by friendly passer-by
automobiles, we enjoyed the ride from Naples. We enjoyed every
inch of it.

Part of the way we skirted the hobs of the great witches' caldron
of Vesuvius. On this day the resident demons must have been
stirring their brew with special enthusiasm, for the smoky smudge
which always wreathes its lips had increased to a great billowy
plume that lay along the naked flanges of the devil mountain for
miles and miles. Now we would go puffing and panting through some
small outlying environ of the city. Always the principal products
of such a village seemed to be young babies and macaroni drying
in the sun. I am still reasonably fond of babies, but I date my
loss of appetite for imported macaroni from that hour. Now we
would emerge on a rocky headland and below us would be the sea,
eternally young and dimpling like a maiden's cheek; but the crags
above were eternally old and all gashed with wrinkles and seamed
with folds, like the jowls of an ancient squaw. Then for a distance
we would run right along the face of the cliff. Directly beneath
us we could see little stone huts of fishermen clinging to the
rocks just above high-water mark, like so many gray limpets; and
then, looking up, we would catch a glimpse of the vineyards, tucked
into man-made terraces along the upper cliffs, like bundled herbs
on the pantry shelves of a thrifty housewife; and still higher up
there would be orange groves and lemon groves and dusty-gray olive
groves. Each succeeding picture was Byzantine in its coloring.
Always the sea was molten blue enamel, and the far-away villages
seemed crafty inlays of mosaic work; and the sun was a disk of
hammered Grecian gold.

A man from San Francisco was sharing the car with us, and he came
right out and said that if he were sure heaven would be as beautiful
as the Bay of Naples, he would change all his plans and arrange
to go there. He said he might decide to go there anyhow, because
heaven was a place he had always heard very highly spoken of. And
I agreed with him.

The sun was slipping down the western sky and was laced with red
like a bloodshot eye, with a Jacob's Ladder of rainbow shafts
streaming down from it to the water, when we turned inland; and
after several small minor stops, while the automobile caught its
breath and had the heaves and the asthma, we came to Pompeii over
a road built of volcanic rock. I have always been glad that we
went there on a day when visitors were few. The very solitude of
the place aided the mind in the task of repeopling the empty streets
of that dead city by the sea with the life that was hers nearly
two thousand years ago. Herculaneum will always be buried, so
the scientists say, for Herculaneum was snuggled close up under
Vesuvius, and the hissing-hot lava came down in waves; and first
it slugged the doomed town to death and then slagged it over with
impenetrable, flint-hard deposits. Pompeii, though, lay farther
away, and was entombed in dust and ashes only; so that it has been
comparatively easy to unearth it and make it whole again. Even
so, after one hundred and sixty-odd years of more or less desultory
explorations, nearly a third of its supposed area is yet to be

It was in the year 1592 that an architect named Fontana, in cutting
an aqueduct which was to convey the waters of the Sarno to Torre
dell' Annunziata, discovered the foundations of the Temple of Isis,
which stood near the walls on the inner or land side of the ancient
city. It was at first supposed that he had dug into an isolated
villa of some rich Roman; and it was not until 1748 that prying
archaeologists hit on the truth and induced the Government to send
a chain gang of convicts to dig away the accumulations of earth
and tufa. But if it had been a modern Italian city that was buried,
no such mistake in preliminary diagnosis could have occurred.
Anybody would have known it instantly by the smell. I do not vouch
for the dates--I copied them out of the guidebook; but my experience
with Italian cities qualifies me to speak with authority regarding
the other matter.

Afoot we entered Pompeii by the restored Marine Gate. Our first
step within the walls was at the Museum, a comparatively modern
building, but containing a fairly complete assortment of the relics
that from time to time have been disinterred in various quarters
of the city. Here are wall cabinets filled with tools, ornaments,
utensils, jewelry, furniture--all the small things that fulfilled
everyday functions in the first century of the Christian era.
Here is a kit of surgical implements, and some of the implements
might well belong to a modern hospital. There are foodstuffs
--grains and fruits; wines and oil; loaves of bread baked in 79
A. D. and left in the abandoned ovens; and a cheese that is still
in a fair state of preservation. It had been buried seventeen
hundred years when they found it; and if only it had been permitted
to remain buried a few years longer it would have been sufficiently
ripe to satisfy a Bavarian, I think.

Grimmer exhibits are displayed in cases stretched along the center
of the main hall--models of dead bodies discovered in the ruins
and perfectly restored by pouring a bronze composition into the
molds that were left in the hardened pumice after the flesh of
these victims had turned to dust and their bones had crumbled to
powder. Huddled together are the forms of a mother and a babe;
and you see how, with her last conscious thought, the mother tried
to cover her baby's face from the killing rain of dust and blistering
ashes. And there is the shape of a man who wrapped his face in a
veil to keep out the fumes, and died so. The veil is there,
reproduced with a fidelity no sculptor could duplicate, and through
its folds you may behold the agony that made his jaw to sag and
his eyes to pop from their sockets.

Nearby is a dog, which in its last spasms of pain and fright curled
up worm fashion, and buried its nose in its forepaws and kicked
out with its crooked hind legs. Plainly dogs do not change their
emotional natures with the passage of years. A dog died in Pompeii
in 79 A. D. after exactly the same fashion that a dog might die
to-day in the pound at Pittsburgh.

From here we went on into the city proper; and it was a whole city,
set off by itself and not surrounded by those jarring modern
incongruities that spoil the ruins of Rome for the person who
wishes to give his fancy a slack rein. It is all here, looking
much as it must have looked when Nero and Caligula reigned, and
much as it will still look hundreds of years hence, for the
Government owns it now and guards it and protects it from the
hammer of the vandal and the greed of the casual collector. Here
it is--all of it; the tragic theater and the comic theater; the
basilica; the greater forum and the lesser one; the market place;
the amphitheater for the games; the training school for the
gladiators; the temples; the baths; the villas of the rich; the
huts of the poor; the cubicles of the slaves; shops; offices;
workrooms; brothels.

The roofs are gone, except in a few instances where they have been
restored; but the walls stand and many of the detached pillars
stand too; and the pavements have endured well, so that the streets
remain almost exactly as they were when this was a city of live
beings instead of a tomb of dead memories, with deep groovings of
chariot wheels in the flaggings, and at each crossing there are
stepping stones, dotting the roadbed like punctuation marks. At
the public fountain the well curbs are worn away where the women
rested their water jugs while they swapped the gossip of the town;
and at nearly every corner is a groggery, which in its appointments
and fixtures is so amazingly like unto a family liquor store as
we know it that, venturing into one, I caught myself looking about
for the Business Men's Lunch, with a collection of greasy forks
in a glass receptacle, a crock of pretzels on the counter, and a
sign over the bar reading: No Checks Cashed--This Means You!

In the floors the mosaics are as fresh as though newly applied;
and the ribald and libelous Latin, which disappointed litigants
carved on the stones at the back of the law court, looks as though
it might have been scored there last week--certainly not further
back than the week before that. A great many of the wall paintings
in the interiors of rich men's homes have been preserved and some
of them are fairly spicy as to subject and text. It would seem
that in these matters the ancient Pompeiians were pretty nearly
as broad-minded and liberal as the modern Parisians are. The mural
decorations I saw in certain villas were almost suggestive enough
to be acceptable matter for publication in a French comic paper;
almost, but not quite. Mr. Anthony Comstock would be an unhappy
man were he turned loose in Pompeii--unhappy for a spell, but after
that exceedingly busy.

We lingered on, looking and marveling, and betweenwhiles wondering
whether our automobile's hacking cough had got any better by
resting, until the sun went down and the twilight came. Following
the guidebook's advice we had seen the Colosseum in Rome by
moonlight. There was a full moon on the night we went there. It
came heaving up grandly, a great, round-faced, full-cream, curdy
moon, rich with rennet and yellow with butter fats; but by the
time we had worked our way south to Naples a greedy fortnight had
bitten it quite away, until it was reduced to a mere cheese rind
of a moon, set up on end against the delft-blue platter of a perfect
sky. We waited until it showed its thin rim in the heavens, and
then, in the softened half-glow, with the purplish shadows deepening
between the brown-gray walls of the dead city, I just naturally
turned my imagination loose and let her soar.

Standing there, with the stage set and the light effects just
right, in fancy I repopulated Pompeii. I beheld it just as it was
on a fair, autumnal morning in 79 A. D. With my eyes half closed,
I can see the vision now. At first the crowds are massed and
mingled in confusion, but soon figures detach themselves from the
rest and reveal themselves as prominent personages. Some of them
I know at a glance. Yon tall, imposing man, with the genuine
imitation sealskin collar on his toga, who strides along so
majestically, whisking his cane against his leg, can be no other
than Gum Tragacanth, leading man of the Bon Ton Stock Company,
fresh from his metropolitan triumphs in Rome and at this moment
the reigning matinee idol of the South. This week he is playing
Claude Melnotte in The Lady of Lyons; next week he will be seen
in his celebrated characterization of Matthias in The Bells, with
special scenery; and for the regular Wednesday and Saturday bargain
matinees Lady Audley's Secret will be given.

Observe him closely. It is evident that he values his art. Yet
about him there is no false ostentation. With what gracious
condescension does he acknowledge the half-timid, half-daring
smiles of all the little caramel-chewing Floras and Faunas who
have made it a point to be on Main Street at this hour! With what
careless grace does he doff his laurel wreath, which is of the
latest and most modish fall block, with the bow at the back, in
response to the waved greeting of Mrs. Belladonna Capsicum, the
acknowledged leader of the artistic and Bohemian set, as she sweeps
by in her chariot bound for Blumberg Brothers' to do a little
shopping. She is not going to buy anything--she is merely out

Than this fair patrician dame, none is more prominent in the gay
life of Pompeii. It was she who last season smoked a cigarette
in public, and there is a report now that she is seriously considering
wearing an ankle bracelet; withal she is a perfect lady and belongs
to one of the old Southern families. Her husband has been through
the bankruptcy courts twice and is thinking of going through again.
At present he is engaged in promoting and writing a little life
insurance on the side.

Now her equipage is lost in the throng and the great actor continues
on his way, making a mental note of the fact that he has promised
to attend her next Sunday afternoon studio tea. Near his own stage
door he bumps into Commodious Rotunda, the stout comedian of the
comic theater, and they pause to swap the latest Lambs' Club
repartee. This done, Commodius hauls out a press clipping and
would read it, but the other remembers providentially that he has
a rehearshal on and hurriedly departs. If there are any press
clippings to be read he has a few of his own that will bear

Superior Maxillary, managing editor of the Pompeiian "Daily
News-Courier," is also abroad, collecting items of interest and
subscriptions for his paper, with preference given to the latter.
He enters the Last Chance Saloon down at the foot of the street
and in a minute or two is out again, wiping his mustache on the
back of his hand. We may safely opine that he has been taking a
small ad. out in trade.

At the door of the county courthouse, where he may intercept the
taxpayers as they come and go, is stationed our old friend, Colonel
Pro Bono Publico. The Colonel has been running for something or
other ever since Heck was a pup. To-day he is wearing his official
campaign smile, for he is a candidate for county judge, subject
to the action of the Republican party at the October primaries.
He is wearing all his lodge buttons and likewise his G. A. R. pin,
for this year he figures on carrying the old-soldier vote.

See who comes now! It is Rigor Mortis, the worthy coroner. At
sight of him the Colonel uplifts his voice in hoarsely jovial

"Rigsy, my boy," he booms, "how are you? And how is Mrs. M. this

"Well, Colonel," answers his friend, "my wife ain't no better.
She's mighty puny and complaining. Sometimes I get to wishing the
old lady would get well--or something!"

The Colonel laughs, but not loudly. That wheeze was old in 79.
In front of the drug-store on the corner a score of young bloods,
dressed in snappy togas for Varsity men, are skylarking. They are
especially brilliant in their flashing interchanges of wit and
humor, because the Mastodon Minstrels were here only last week,
with a new line of first-part jokes. Along the opposite side of
the street passes Nux Vomica, M.D., with a small black case in his
hand, gravely intent on his professional duties. Being a young
physician, he wears a beard and large-rimmed eyeglasses. Young
Ossius Dome sees him and hails him.

"Oh, Doc!" he calls out. "Come over here a minute. I've got some
brand-new limerickii for you. Tertiary Tonsillitis got 'em from
a traveling man he met day before yesterday when he was up in the
city laying in his stock of fall and winter armor."

The healer of ills crosses over; and as the group push themselves
in toward a common center I hear the voice of the speaker:

"Say, they're all bully; but this is the bullissimus one of the
lot. It goes like this:

"'There was a young maid of Sorrento,
Who said to her--'"

I have regretted ever since that at this juncture I came to and
so failed to get the rest of it. I'll bet that was a peach of a
limerick. It started off so promisingly.

Chapter XXIII

Muckraking in Old Pompeii

It now devolves on me as a painful yet necessary duty to topple
from its pedestal one of the most popular idols of legendary lore.
I refer, I regret to say, to the widely famous Roman sentry of
old Pompeii.

Personally I think there has been entirely too much of this sort
of thing going on lately. Muckrakers, prying into the storied
past, have destroyed one after another many of the pet characters
in history. Thanks to their meddlesome activities we know that
Paul Revere did not take any midnight ride. On the night in
question he was laid up in bed with inflammatory rheumatism. What
happened was that he told the news to Mrs. Revere as a secret, and
she in strict confidence imparted it to the lady living next door;
and from that point on the word traveled with the rapidity of

Horatius never held the bridge; he just let the blamed thing go.
The boy did not stand on the burning deck, whence all but him had
fled; he was among the first in the lifeboats. That other boy
--the Spartan youth--did not have his vitals gnawed by a fox; the
Spartan youth had been eating wild grapes and washing them down
with spring water. Hence that gnawing sensation of which so much
mention has been made. Nobody hit Billy Patterson. He acquired
his black eye in the same way in which all married men acquire a
black eye--by running against a doorjamb while trying to find the
ice-water pitcher in the dark. He said so himself the next day.

Even Barbara Frietchie is an exploded myth. She did not nail her
country's flag to the window casement. Being a female, she could
not nail a flag or anything else to a window. In the first place,
she would have used a wad of chewing gum and a couple of hairpins.
In the second place, had she recklessly undertaken to nail up a
flag with hammer and nails, she would never have been on hand at
the psychological moment to invite Stonewall Jackson to shoot her
old gray head. When General Jackson passed the house she would
have been in the bathroom bathing her left thumb in witch-hazel.

Furthermore, she did not have any old gray head. At the time of
the Confederate invasion of Maryland she was only seventeen years
old--some authorities say only seven--and a pronounced blonde.
Also, she did not live in Frederick; and even if she did live
there, on the occasion when the troops went through she was in
Baltimore visiting a school friend. Finally, Frederick does not
stand where it stood in the sixties. The cyclone of 1884 moved
it three miles back into the country and twisted the streets round
in such a manner as to confuse even lifelong residents. These
facts have repeatedly been proved by volunteer investigators and
are not to be gainsaid.

I repeat that there has been too much of this. If the craze for
smashing all our romantic fixtures persists, after a while we shall
have no glorious traditions left with which to fire the youthful
heart at high-school commencements. But in the interests of truth,
and also because I made the discovery myself, I feel it to be my
solemn duty to expose the Roman sentry, stationed at the gate of
Pompeii looking toward the sea, who died because he would not quit
his post without orders and had no orders to quit.

Until now this party has stood the acid test of centuries. Everybody
who ever wrote about the fall of Pompeii, from Plutarch and Pliny
the Younger clear down to Bulwer Lytton and Burton Holmes, had
something to say about him. The lines on this subject by the Greek
poet Laryngitis are familiar to all lovers of that great master
of classic verse, and I shall not undertake to quote from them here.

Suffice it to say that the Roman sentry, perishing at his post,
has ever been a favorite subject for historic and romantic writers.
I myself often read of him--how on that dread day when the devil's
stew came to a boil and spewed over the sides of Vesuvius, and
death and destruction poured down to blight the land, he, typifying
fortitude and discipline and unfaltering devotion, stood firm and
stayed fast while all about him chaos reigned and fathers forgot
their children and husbands forgot their wives, and vice versa,
though probably not to the same extent; and how finally the drifting
ashes and the choking dust fell thicker upon him and mounted higher
about him, until he died and in time turned to ashes himself,
leaving only a void in the solidified slag. I had always admired
that soldier--not his judgment, which was faulty, but his heroism,
which was immense. To myself I used to say:

"That unknown common soldier, nameless though he was, deserves to
live forever in the memory of mankind. He lacked imagination, it
is true, but he was game. It was a glorious death to die--painful,
yet splendid. Those four poor wretches whose shells were found
in the prison under the gladiators' school, with their ankles fast
in the iron stocks--I know why they stayed. Their feet were too
large for their own good. But no bonds except his dauntless will
bound him at the portals of the doomed city. Duty was the only
chain that held him.

"And to think that centuries and centuries afterward they should
find his monument--a vacant, empty mold in the piled-up pumice!
Had I been in his place I should have created my vacancy much
sooner--say, about thirty seconds after the first alarm went in.
But he was one who chose rather that men should say, 'How natural
he looks!' than 'Yonder he goes!' And he has my sincere admiration.
When I go to Pompeii--if ever I do go there--I shall seek out the
spot where he made the supremest sacrifice to authority that ever
any man could make, and I shall tarry a while in those hallowed

That was what I said I would do and that was what I did do that
afternoon at Pompeii. I found the gate looking toward the sea and
I found all the other gates, or the sites of them; but I did not
find the Roman sentry nor any trace of him, nor any authentic
record of him. I questioned the guides and, through an interpreter,
the curator of the Museum, and from them I learned the lamentably
disillusioning facts in this case. There is no trace of him because
he neglected to leave any trace.

Doubtless there was a sentry on guard at the gate when the volcano
belched forth, and the skin of the earth flinched and shivered and
split asunder; but he did not remain for the finish. He said to
himself that this was no place for a minister's son; and so he
girded up his loins and he went away from there.

He went away hurriedly--even as you and I.

Chapter XXIV

Mine Own People

Wherever we went I was constantly on the outlook for a kind of
tourist who had been described to me frequently and at great length
by more seasoned travelers--the kind who wore his country's flag
as a buttonhole emblem, or as a shirtfront decoration; and regarded
every gathering and every halting place as providing suitable
opportunity to state for the benefit of all who might be concerned,
how immensely and overpoweringly superior in all particulars was
the land from which he hailed as compared with all other lands
under the sun. I desired most earnestly to overhaul a typical
example of this species, my intention then being to decoy him off
to some quiet and secluded spot and there destroy him in the hope
of cutting down the breed.

At length, along toward the fag end of our zigzagging course, I
caught up with him; but stayed my hand and slew not. For some
countries, you understand, are so finicky in the matter of protecting
their citizens that they would protect even such a one as this.
I was fearful lest, by exterminating the object of my homicidal
desires, I should bring on international complications with a
friendly Power, no matter however public-spirited and high-minded
my intentions might be.

It was in Vienna, in a cafe, and the hour was late. We were just
leaving, after having listened for some hours to a Hungarian band
playing waltz tunes and an assemblage of natives drinking beer,
when the sounds of a dispute at the booth where wraps were checked
turned our faces in that direction. In a thick and plushy voice
a short square person of a highly vulgar aspect was arguing with
the young woman who had charge of the check room. Judging by his
tones, you would have said that the nap of his tongue was at least
a quarter of an inch long; and he punctuated his remarks with
hiccoughs. It seemed that his excitement had to do with the
disappearance of a neck-muffler. From argument he progressed
rapidly to threats and the pounding of a fist upon the counter.

Drawing nigh, I observed that he wore a very high hat and a very
short sack coat; that his waistcoat was of a combustible plaid
pattern with gaiters to match; that he had taken his fingers many
times to the jeweler, but not once to the manicure; that he was
beautifully jingled and alcoholically boastful of his native land
and that--a crowning touch--he wore flaring from an upper pocket
of his coat a silk handkerchief woven in the design and colors of
his country's flag. But, praises be, it was not our flag that he
wore thus. It was the Union Jack. As we passed out into the damp
Viennese midnight he was loudly proclaiming that he "Was'h Bri'sh
subjesch," and that unless something was done mighty quick, would
complain to "Is Majeshy's rep(hic)shenativ' ver' firsch thing 'n

So though I was sorry he was a cousin, I was selfishly and unfeignedly
glad that he was not a brother. Since in the mysterious and
unfathomable scheme of creation it seemed necessary that he should
be born somewhere, still he had not been born in America, and that
thought was very pleasing to me.

There was another variety of the tourist breed whose trail I most
earnestly desired to cross. I refer to the creature who must be
closely watched to prevent him, or her, from carrying off valuable
relics as souvenirs, and defacing monuments and statues and
disfiguring holy places with an inconsequential signature. In the
flesh--and such a person must be all flesh and no soul--I never
caught up with him, but more than once I came upon his fresh spoor.

In Venice our guide took us to see the nether prisons of the Palace
of the Doges. From the level of the Bridge of Sighs we tramped
down flights of stone stairs, one flight after another, until we
had passed the hole through which the bodies of state prisoners,
secretly killed at night, were shoved out into waiting gondolas
and had passed also the room where pincers and thumbscrew once did
their hideous work, until we came to a cellar of innermost,
deepermost cells, fashioned out of the solid rock and stretching
along a corridor that was almost as dark as the cells themselves.
Here, so we were told, countless wretched beings, awaiting the
tardy pleasure of the torturer or the headsman, had moldered in
damp and filth and pitchy blackness, knowing day from night only
by the fact that once in twenty-four hours food would be slipped
through a hole in the wall by unseen hands; lying here until
oftentimes death or the cruel mercy of madness came upon them
before the overworked executioner found time to rack their limbs
or lop off their heads.

We were told that two of these cells had been preserved exactly
as they were in the days of the Doges, with no alteration except
that lights had been swung from the ceilings. We could well accept
this statement as the truth, for when the guide led us through a
low doorway and flashed on an electric bulb we saw that the place
where we stood was round like a jug and bare as an empty jug, with
smooth stone walls and rough stone floor; and that it contained
for furniture just two things--a stone bench upon which the captive
might lie or sit and, let into the wall, a great iron ring, to
which his chains were made fast so that he moved always to their
grating accompaniment and the guard listening outside might know
by the telltale clanking whether the entombed man still lived.

There was one other decoration in this hole--a thing more incongruous
even than the modern lighting fixtures; and this stood out in bold
black lettering upon the low-sloped ceiling. A pair of vandals,
a man and wife--no doubt with infinite pains--had smuggled in brush
and marking pot and somehow or other--I suspect by bribing guides
and guards--had found the coveted opportunity of inscribing their
names here in the Doges' black dungeon. With their names they had
written their address too, which was a small town in the Northwest,
and after it the legend: "Send us a postal card."

I imagine that then this couple, having accomplished this feat,
regarded their trip to Europe as being rounded out and complete,
and went home again, satisfied and rejoicing. Send them a postal
card? Somebody should send them a deep-dish poison-pie!

Looking on this desecration my companion and I grew vocal. We
agreed that our national lawgivers who were even then framing an
immigration law with a view to keeping certain people out of this
country, might better be engaged in framing one with a view to
keeping certain people in. Our guide harkened with a quiet little
smile on his face to what we said.

"It cannot have been here long--that writing on the ceiling," he
explained for our benefit." Presently it will be scraped away.
But"-- and he shrugged his eloquent Italian shoulders and outspread
his hands fan-fashion--"but what is the use? Others like them will
come and do as they have done. See here and here and here, if
you please!"

He aimed a darting forefinger this way and that, and looking where
he pointed we saw now how the walls were scarred with the scribbled
names of many visitors. I regret exceedingly to have to report
that a majority of these names had an American sound to them.
Indeed, many of the signatures were coupled with the names of towns
and states of the Union. There were quite a few from Canada, too.
What, I ask you, is the wisdom of taking steps to discourage the
cutworm and abate the gypsy-moth when our government permits these
two-legged varmints to go abroad freely and pollute shrines and
wonderplaces with their scratchings, and give the nations over
there a perverted notion of what the real human beings on this
continent are like?

For the tourist who has wearied of picture galleries and battlegrounds
and ruins and abbeys, studying other tourists provides a pleasant
way of passing many an otherwise tedious hour. Certain of the
European countries furnish some interesting types--notably Britain,
which producing a male biped of a lachrymose and cheerless exterior,
who plods solemnly across the Continent wrapped in the plaid mantle
of his own dignity, never speaking an unnecessary word to any person
whatsoever. And Germany: From Germany comes a stolid gentleman,
who, usually, is shaped like a pickle mounted on legs and is so
extensively and convexedly eyeglassed as to give him the appearance
of something that is about to be served sous cloche. Caparisoned
in strange garments, he stalks through France or Italy with an
umbrella under his arm, his nose being buried so deeply in his
guidebook that he has no time to waste upon the scenery or the
people; while some ten paces in the rear, his wife staggers along
in his wake with her skirts dragging in the dust and her arms
pulled half out of their sockets by the weight of the heavy bundles
and bags she is bearing. This person, when traveling, always takes
his wife and much baggage with him. Or, rather, he takes his wife
and she takes the baggage which, by Continental standards, is
regarded as an equal division of burdens.

However, for variety and individual peculiarity, our own land
offers the largest assortment in the tourist line, this perhaps
being due to the fact that Americans do more traveling than any
other race. I think that in our ramblings we must have encountered
pretty nearly all the known species of tourists, ranging from sane
and sensible persons who had come to Europe to see and to learn
and to study, clear on down through various ramifications to those
who had left their homes and firesides to be uncomfortable and
unhappy in far lands merely because somebody told them they ought
to travel abroad. They were in Europe for the reason that so
many people run to a fire: not because they care particularly for
a fire but because so many others are running to it. I would that
I had the time, and you, kind reader, the patience so that I might
enumerate and describe in full detail all the varieties and
sub-varieties of our race that we saw--the pert, overfed, overpampered
children, the aggressive, self-sufficient, prematurely bored young
girls, the money-fattened, boastful vulgarians, scattering coin
by the handful, intent only on making a show and not realizing
that they themselves were the show; the coltish, pimply youths who
thought in order to be high-spirited they must also be impolite
and noisy. Youth will be served, but why, I ask you--why must it
so often be served raw? For contrasts to such as these, we met
plenty of people worth meeting and worth knowing--fine, attractive,
well-bred American men and women, having a decent regard for
themselves and for other folks, too. Indeed this sort largely
predominated. But there isn't space for making a classified list.
The one-volume chronicler must content himself with picking out a
few particularly striking types.

I remember, with vivid distinctness, two individuals, one an elderly
gentleman from somewhere in the Middle West and the other, an old
lady who plainly hailed from the South. We met the old gentleman
in Paris, and the old lady some weeks later in Naples. Though
the weather was moderately warm in Paris that week he wore red
woolen wristlets down over his hands; and he wore also celluloid
cuffs, which rattled musically, with very large moss agate buttons
in them; and for ornamentation his watch chain bore a flat watch
key, a secret order badge big enough to serve as a hitching weight
and a peach-stone carved to look like a fruit basket. Everything
about him suggested health underwear, chewing tobacco and fried
mush for breakfast. His whiskers were cut after a pattern I had
not seen in years and years. In my mind such whiskers were
associated with those happy and long distant days of childhood
when we yelled Supe! at a stagehand and cherished Old Cap Collier
as a model of what--if we had luck--we would be when we grew up.
By rights, he belonged in the second act of a rural Indian play,
of a generation or two ago; but here he was, wandering disconsolately
through the Louvre. He had come over to spend four months, he
told us with a heave of the breath, and he still had two months
of it unspent, and he just didn't see how he was going to live
through it!

The old lady was in the great National Museum at Naples, fluttering
about like a distracted little brown hen. She was looking for the
Farnese Bull. It seemed her niece in Knoxville had told her the
Farnese Bull was the finest thing in the statuary line to be found
in all Italy, and until she had seen that, she wasn't going to see
anything else. She had got herself separated from the rest of her
party and she was wandering along about alone, seeking information
regarding the whereabouts of the Farnese Bull from smiling but
uncomprehending custodians and doorkeepers. These persons she
would address at the top of her voice. Plainly she suffered from
a delusion, which is very common among our people, that if a
foreigner does not understand you when addressed in an ordinary
tone, he will surely get your meaning if you screech at him. When
we had gone some distance farther on and were in another gallery,
we could still catch the calliope-like notes of the little old
lady, as she besought some one to lead her to the Farnese Bull.

That she came right out and spoke of the Farnese Bull as a bull,
instead of referring to him as a gentleman cow, was evidence of
the extent to which travel had enlarged her vision, for with half
an eye anyone could tell that she belonged to the period of our
social development when certain honest and innocent words were
supposed to be indelicate--that she had been reared in a society
whose ideal of a perfect lady was one who could say limb, without
thinking leg. I hope she found her bull, but I imagine she was
disappointed when she did find it. I know I was. The sculpturing
may be of a very high order--the authorities agree that it is--but
I judge the two artists to whom the group is attributed carved
the bull last and ran out of material and so skimped him a bit.
The unfortunate Dirce, who is about to be bound to his horns by
the sons of Antiope, the latter standing by to see that the boys
make a good thorough job of it, is larger really than the bull.
You can picture the lady carrying off the bull but not the bull
carrying off the lady.

Numerously encountered are the tourists who are doing Europe under
a time limit as exact as the schedule of a limited train. They
go through Europe on the dead run, being intent on seeing it all
and therefore seeing none of it. They cover ten countries in a
space of time which a sane person gives to one; after which they
return home exhausted, but triumphant. I think it must be months
before some of them quit panting, and certainly their poor, misused
feet can never again be the feet they were.

With them adherence to the time card is everything. If a look at
the calendar shows the day to be Monday, they know they are in
Munich, and as they lope along they get out their guidebooks and
study the chapters devoted to Munich. But if it be Tuesday, then
it is Dresden, and they give their attention to literature dealing
with the attractions of Dresden; seeing Dresden after the fashion
of one sitting before a runaway moving picture film.

Then they pack up and depart, galloping, for Prague with their
tongues hanging out. For Wednesday is Prague and Prague is Wednesday
--the two words are synonymous and interchangeable. Surely to
such as these, the places they have visited must mean as much to
them, afterward, as the labels upon their trunks mean to the trunks
--just flimsy names pasted on, all confused and overlapping, and
certain to be scraped off in time, leaving nothing but faint marks
upon an indurated surface.

There is yet again another type, always of the female gender and
generally middle-aged and very schoolteacherish in aspect, who,
in company with a group of kindred spirits, is viewing Europe under
a contract arrangement by which a worn and wearied-looking gentleman,
a retired clergyman usually, acts as escort and mentor for a given
price. I don't know how much he gets a head for this job; but
whatever it is, he earns it ninety-and-nine times over. This lady
tourist is much given to missing trains and getting lost and having
disputes with natives and wearing rubber overshoes and asking
strange questions--but let me illustrate with a story I heard.

The man from Cook's had convoyed his party through the Vatican,
until he brought them to the Apollo Belvidere. As they ranged
themselves wearily about the statue, he rattled off his regular
patter without pause or punctuation:

"Here we have the far-famed Apollo Belvidere found about the middle
of the fifteenth century at Frascati purchased by Pope Julius the
Second restored by the great Michelangelo taken away by the French
in 1797 but returned in 1815 made of Carara marble holding in
his hand a portion of the bow with which he slew the Python observe
please the beauty of the pose the realistic attitude of the limbs
the noble and exalted expression of the face of Apollo Belvidere
he being known also as Phoebus the god of oracles the god of
music and medicine the son of Leto and Jupiter--"

Here he ran out of breath and stopped. Fora moment no one spoke.
Then from a flat-chested little spinster came this query in tired
yet interested tones:

"Was he--was he married?"

He who is intent upon studying the effect of foreign climes upon
the American temperament should by no means overlook the colonies
of resident Americans in the larger European cities, particularly
the colonies in such cities as Paris and Rome and Florence. In
Berlin, the American colony is largely made up of music students
and in Vienna of physicians; but in the other places many folks
of many minds and many callings constitute the groups. Some few
have left their country for their country's good and some have
expatriated themselves because, as they explain in bursts of
confidence, living is cheaper in France than it is in America. I
suppose it is, too, if one can only become reconciled to doing
without most of the comforts which make life worth while in America
or anywhere else. Included among this class are many rather unhappy
old ladies who somehow impress you as having been shunted off to
foreign parts because there were no places for them in the homes
of their children and their grandchildren. So now they are spending
their last years among strangers, trying with a desperate eagerness
to be interested in people and things for which they really care
not a fig, with no home except a cheerless pension.

Also there are certain folk--products, in the main, of the Eastern
seaboard--who, from having originally lived in America and spent
most of their time abroad, have now progressed to the point where
they now live mostly abroad and visit America fleetingly once in
a blue moon. As a rule these persons know a good deal about Europe
and very little about the country that gave them birth. The
stock-talk of European literature is at their tongue's tip. They
speak of Ibsen in the tone of one mourning the passing of a near,
dear, personal friend, and as for Zola--ah, how they miss the
influence of his compelling personality! But for the moment they
cannot recall whether Richard K. Fox ran the Police Gazette or
wrote the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

They are up on the history of the Old World. From memory they
trace the Bourbon dynasty from the first copper-distilled Charles
to the last sourmashed Louis. But as regards our own Revolution,
they aren't quite sure whether it was started by the Boston Tea
Party or Mrs. O'Leary's Cow. Languidly they inquire whether that
quaint Iowa character, Uncle Champ Root, is still Speaker of the
House? And so the present Vice-President is named Elihu Underwood?
Or isn't he? Anyway, American politics is such a bore. But they
stand ready, at a minute's notice, to furnish you with the names,
dates and details of all the marriages that have taken place during
the last twenty years in the royal house of Denmark.

Some day we shall learn a lesson from Europe. Some fair day we
shall begin to exploit our own historical associations. We shall
make shrines of the spots where Washington crossed the ice to help
end one war and where Eliza did the same thing to help start
another. We shall erect stone markers showing where Charley Ross
was last seen and Carrie Nation was first sighted. We shall pile
up tall monuments to Sitting Bull and Nonpareil Jack Dempsey and
the man who invented the spit ball. Perhaps then these truant
Americans will come back oftener from Paris and Florence and abide
with us longer. Meanwhile though they will continue to stay on
the other side. And on second thought, possibly it is just as
well for the rest of us that they do.

In Europe I met two persons, born in America, who were openly
distressed over that shameful circumstance and could not forgive
their parents for being so thoughtless and inconsiderate. One
was living in England and the other was living in France; and one
was a man and the other was a woman; and both of them were avowedly
regretful that they had not been born elsewhere, which, I should
say, ought to make the sentiment unanimous. I also heard--at
second hand--of a young woman whose father served this country
in an ambassadorial capacity at one of the principal Continental
courts until the administration at Washington had a lucid interval,
and endeared itself to the hearts of practically all Americans
residing in that country by throwing a net over him and yanking
him back home; this young woman was so fearful lest some one might
think she cherished any affection for her native land that once
when a legation secretary manifested a desire to learn the score
of the deciding game of a World's Series between the Giants and
the Athletics, she spoke up in the presence of witnesses and

"Ah, baseball! How can any sane person be excited over that American
game? Tell me--some one please--how is it played?"

Yet she was born and reared in a town which for a great many years
has held a membership in the National League. Let us pass on to
a more pleasant topic.

Let us pass on to those well-meaning but temporarily misguided
persons who think they are going to be satisfied with staying on
indefinitely in Europe. They profess themselves as being amply
pleased with the present arrangement. For, no matter how patriotic
one may be, one must concede--mustn't one?--that for true culture
one must look to Europe? After all, America is a bit crude, isn't
it, now? Of course some time, say in two or three years from now,
they will run across to the States again, but it will be for a
short visit only. After Europe one can never be entirely happy
elsewhere for any considerable period of time. And so on and so

But as you mention in an offhand way that Cedar Bluff has a modern
fire station now, or that Tulsanooga is going to have a Great White
Way of its own, there are eyes that light up with a wistful light.
And when you state casually, that Polkdale is planning a civic
center with the new county jail at one end and the Carnegie Library
at the other, lips begin to quiver under a weight of sentimental
emotion. And a month or so later when you take the ship which is
to bear you home, you find a large delegation of these native sons
of Polkdale and Tulsanooga on board, too.

At least we found them on the ship we took. We took her at Naples
--a big comfortable German ship with a fine German crew and a double
force of talented German cooks working overtime in the galley and
pantry--and so came back by the Mediterranean route, which is a
most satisfying route, especially if the sea be smooth and the
weather good, and the steerage passengers picturesque and
light-hearted. Moreover the coast of Northern Africa, lying along
the southern horizon as one nears Gibraltar, is one of the few
sights of a European trip that are not disappointing. For, in
fact, it proves to be the same color that it is in the geographies
--pale yellow. It is very unusual to find a country making an
earnest effort to correspond to its own map, and I think Northern
Africa deserves honorable mention in the dispatches on this account.

Chapter XXV

Be it Ever so Humble

Homeward-bound, a chastened spirit pervades the traveler. He is
not quite so much inclined to be gay and blithesome as he was
going. The holiday is over; the sightseeing is done; the letter
of credit is worn and emaciated. He has been broadened by travel
but his pocketbook has been flattened. He wouldn't take anything
for this trip, and as he feels at the present moment he wouldn't
take it again for anything.

It is a time for casting up and readjusting. Likewise it is a
good time for going over, in the calm, reflective light of second
judgment, the purchases he has made for personal use and gift-making
purposes. These things seemed highly attractive when he bought
them, and when displayed against a background of home surroundings
will, no doubt, be equally impressive; but just now they appear
as rather a sad collection of junk. His English box coat doesn't
fit him any better than any other box would.

His French waistcoats develop an unexpected garishness on being
displayed away from their native habitat and the writing outfit
which he picked up in Vienna turns out to be faulty and treacherous
and inkily tearful. How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to
have a fountain pen--that weeps! And why, when a fountain pen makes
up its mind to cry a spell, does it crawl clear across a steamer
trunk and bury its sobbing countenance in the bosom of a dress

Likewise the first few days at sea provide opportunity for sorting
out the large and variegated crop of impressions a fellow has been
acquiring during all these crowded months. The way the homeward-bound
one feels now, he would swap any Old Master he ever saw for one
peep at a set of sanitary bath fixtures. Sight unseen, he stands
ready to trade two cathedrals and a royal palace for a union depot.
He will never forget the thrill that shook his soul as he paused
beneath the dome of the Pantheon; but he feels that, not only his
soul but all the rest of him, could rally and be mighty cheerful
in the presence of a dozen deep-sea oysters on the half shell
--regular honest-to-goodness North American oysters, so beautifully
long, so gracefully pendulous of shape that the short-waisted
person who undertakes to swallow one whole does so at his own peril.
The picture of the Coliseum bathed in the Italian moonlight will
ever abide in his mind; but he would give a good deal for a large
double sirloin suffocated Samuel J. Tilden style, with fried onions.
Beefsteak! Ah, what sweet images come thronging at the very mention
of the word! The sea vanishes magically and before his entranced
vision he sees The One Town, full of regular fellows and real
people. Somebody is going to have fried ham for supper--five
thousand miles away he sniffs the delectable perfume of that fried
ham as it seeps through a crack in the kitchen window and wafts
out into the street--and the word passes round that there is going
to be a social session down at the lodge to-night, followed, mayhap,
by a small sociable game of quarter-limit upstairs over Corbett's
drug-store. At this point, our traveler rummages his Elks' button
out of his trunk and gives it an affectionate polishing with a
silk handkerchief. And oh, how he does long for a look at a home
newspaper--packed with wrecks and police news and municipal
scandals and items about the persons one knows, and chatty mention
concerning Congressmen and gunmen and tango teachers and other
public characters.

Thinking it all over here in the quiet and privacy of the empty
sea, he realizes that his evening paper is the thing he has missed
most. To the American understanding foreign papers seem fearfully
and wonderfully made. For instance, German newspapers are much
addicted to printing their more important news stories in cipher
form. The German treatment of a suspected crime for which no
arrests have yet been made, reminds one of the jokes which used
to appear, a few years ago, in the back part of Harper's Magazine,
where a good story was always being related of Bishop X, residing
in the town of Y, who, calling one afternoon upon Judge Z, said
to Master Egbert, the pet of the household, age four, and so on.
A German newspaper will daringly state that Banker ----, president
of the Bank of ---- at ---- who is suspected of sequestering the
funds of that institution to his own uses is reported to have
departed by stealth for the city of ----, taking with him the wife
of Herr ----.

And such is the high personal honor of the average Parisian news
gatherer that one Paris morning paper, which specializes in actual
news as counterdistinguished from the other Paris papers which
rely upon political screeds to fill their columns, locks its doors
and disconnects its telephones at 8 o'clock in the evening, so
that reporters coming in after that hour must stay in till press
time lest some of them--such is the fear--will peddle all the
exclusive stories off to less enterprising contemporaries.

English newspapers, though printed in a language resembling American
in many rudimentary respects, seem to our conceptions weird
propositions, too. It is interesting to find at the tail end of
an article a footnote by the editor stating that he has stopped
the presses to announce in connection with the foregoing that
nothing has occurred in connection with the foregoing which would
justify him in stopping the presses to announce it; or words to
that effect. The news stories are frequently set forth in a
puzzling fashion, and the jokes also. That's the principal fault
with an English newspaper joke--it loses so in translation into
our own tongue.

Still, when all is said and done, the returning tourist, if he be
at all fair-minded, is bound to confess to himself that, no matter
where his steps or his round trip ticket have carried him, he has
seen in every country institutions and customs his countrymen might
copy to their benefit, immediate or ultimate. Having beheld these
things with his own eyes, he knows that from the Germans we might
learn some much-needed lessons about municipal control and
conservation of resources; and from the French and the Austrians
about rational observance of days of rest and simple enjoyment of
simple outdoor pleasures and respect for great traditions and great
memories; and from the Italians, about the blessed facility of
keeping in a good humor; and from the English, about minding one's
own business and the sane rearing of children and obedience to the
law and suppression of unnecessary noises. Whenever I think of
this last God-given attribute of the British race, I shall recall
a Sunday we spent at Brighton, the favorite seaside resort of
middle-class London. Brighton was fairly bulging with excursionists
that day.

A good many of them were bucolic visitors from up country, but the
majority, it was plain to see, hailed from the city. No steam
carousel shrieked, no ballyhoo blared, no steam pianos shrieked,
no barker barked. Upon the piers, stretching out into the surf,
bands played soothingly softened airs and along the water front,
sand-artists and so-called minstrel singers plied their arts. Some
of the visitors fished--without catching anything--and some
listened to the music and some strolled aimlessly or sat stolidly
upon benches enjoying the sea air. To an American, accustomed at
such places to din and tumult and rushing crowds and dangerous
devices for taking one's breath and sometimes one's life, it was
a strange experience, but a mighty restful one.

On the other hand there are some things wherein we notably
excel--entirely too many for me to undertake to enumerate them
here; still, I think I might be pardoned for enumerating a conspicuous
few. We could teach Europe a lot about creature comforts and open
plumbing and personal cleanliness and good food and courtesy to
women--not the flashy, cheap courtesy which impels a Continental
to rise and click his heels and bend his person forward from the
abdomen and bow profoundly when a strange woman enters the railway
compartment where he is seated, while at the same time he leaves
his wife or sister to wrestle with the heavy luggage; but the
deeper, less showy instinct which makes the average American believe
that every woman is entitled to his protection and consideration
when she really needs it. In the crowded street-car he may keep
his seat; in the crowded lifeboat he gives it up.

I almost forgot to mention one other detail in which, so far as I
could judge, we lead the whole of the Old World--dentistry.
Probably you have seen frequent mention in English publications
about decayed gentlewomen. Well, England is full of them. It
starts with the teeth.

The leisurely, long, slantwise course across the Atlantic gives
one time, also, for making the acquaintance of one's fellow
passengers and for wondering why some of them ever went to Europe
anyway. A source of constant speculation along these lines was
the retired hay-and-feed merchant from Michigan who traveled with
us. One gathered that he had done little else in these latter
years of his life except to traipse back and forth between the two
continents. What particularly endeared him to the rest of us was
his lovely habit of pronouncing all words of all languages according
to a fonetic system of his own. "Yes, sir," you would hear him
say, addressing a smoking-room audience of less experienced
travelers, "my idee is that a fellow ought to go over on an English
ship, if he likes the exclusability, and come back on a German
ship if he likes the sociableness. Take my case. The last trip
I made I come over on the Lucy Tanner and went back agin on the
Grocer K. First and enjoyed it both ways immense!"

Nor would this chronicle be complete without a passing reference
to the lady from Cincinnati, a widow of independent means, who was
traveling with her two daughters and was so often mistaken for
their sister that she could not refrain from mentioning the
remarkable circumstance to you, providing you did not win her
everlasting regard by mentioning it first. Likewise I feel that
I owe the tribute of a line to the elderly Britain who was engaged
in a constant and highly successful demonstration of the fallacy
of the claim set up by medical practitioners, to the effect that
the human stomach can contain but one fluid pint at a time. All
day long, with his monocle goggling glassily from the midst of his
face, like one lone porthole in a tank steamer, he disproved this
statement by practical methods and promptly at nine every evening,
when his complexion had acquired a rich magenta tint, he would be
carried below by two accommodating stewards and put--no, not put,
decanted--would be decanted gently into bed. If anything had
happened to the port-light of that ship, we could have stationed
him forward in the bows with his face looming over the rail and
been well within the maritime regulations--his face had a brilliancy
which even the darkness of the night could not dim; and if the
other light had gone out of commission, we could have impressed
the aid of the bilious Armenian lady who was sick every minute
and very sick for some minutes, for she was always of a glassy
green color.

We learned to wait regularly for the ceremony of seeing Sir Monocle
and his load toted off to bed at nine o'clock every night, just
as we learned to linger in the offing and watch the nimble knife-work
when the prize invalid of the ship's roster had cornered a fresh
victim. The prize invalid, it is hardly worth while to state, was
of the opposite sex. So many things ailed her--by her own confession
--that you wondered how they all found room on the premises at the
same time. Her favorite evening employment was to engage another
woman in conversation--preferably another invalid--and by honeyed
words and congenial confidences, to lead the unsuspecting prey on
and on, until she had her trapped, and then to turn on her suddenly
and ridicule the other woman's puny symptoms and tell her she didn't
even know the rudiments of being ill and snap her up sharply when
she tried to answer back. And then she would deliver a final sting
and go away without waiting to bury her dead. The poison was in
the postscript--it nearly always is with that type of female. But
afterward she would justify herself by saying people must excuse
her manner--she didn't mean anything by it; it was just her way,
and they must remember that she suffered constantly. Some day
when I have time, I shall make that lady the topic of a popular
song. I have already fabricated the refrain: Her heart was in the
right place, lads, but she had a floating kidney!

Arrives a day when you develop a growing distaste for the company
of your kind, or in fact, any kind. 'Tis a day when the sea, grown
frisky, kicks up its nimble heels and tosses its frothy mane. A
cigar tastes wrong then and the mere sight of so many meat pies
and so many German salads at the entrance to the dining salon gives
one acute displeasure. By these signs you know that you are on
the verge of being taken down with climate fever, which, as I set
forth many pages agone, is a malady peculiar to the watery deep,
and by green travelers is frequently mistaken for seasickness,
which indeed it does resemble in certain respects. I may say that
I had one touch of climate fever going over and a succession of
touches coming back.

At such a time, the companionship of others palls on one. It is
well then to retire to the privacy of one's stateroom and recline
awhile. I did a good deal of reclining, coming back; I was not
exactly happy while reclining, but I was happier than I would have
been doing anything else. Besides, as I reclined there on my cosy
bed, a medley of voices would often float in to me through the
half-opened port and I could visualize the owners of those voices
as they sat ranged in steamer chairs, along the deck. I quote:

"You, Raymund! You get down off that rail this minute." ... "My
dear, you just ought to go to mine! He never hesitates a minute
about operating, and he has the loveliest manners in the operating
room. Wait a minute--I'll write his address down for you. Yes,
he is expensive, but very, very thorough." ... "Stew'd, bring me
nozher brand' 'n' sozza." ... "Well, now Mr.--excuse me, I didn't
catch your name?--oh yes, Mr. Blosser; well, Mr. Blosser, if that
isn't the most curious thing! To think of us meeting away out here
in the middle of the ocean and both of us knowing Maxie Hockstein
in Grand Rapids. It only goes to show one thing--this certainly
is a mighty small world." ... "Raymund, did you hear what I said
to you!" ... "Do you really think it is becoming? Thank you for
saying so. That's what my husband always says. He says that white
hair with a youthful face is so attractive, and that's one reason
why I've never touched it up. Touched-up hair is so artificial,
don't you think?" ... "Wasn't the Bay of Naples just perfectly
swell--the water, you know, and the land and the sky and everything,
so beautiful and everything?" ... "You Raymund, come away from
that lifeboat. Why don't you sit down there and behave yourself
and have a nice time watching for whales?" ... "No, ma'am, if
you're askin' me I must say I didn't care so much for that art
gallery stuff--jest a lot of pictures and statues and junk like
that, so far as I noticed. In fact the whole thing--Yurupp itself
--was considerable of a disappointment to me. I didn't run acros't
a single Knights of Pythias Lodge the whole time and I was over
there five months straight hard-runnin'." ... "Really, I think it
must be hereditary; it runs in our family. I had an aunt and her
hair was snow-white at twenty-one and my grandmother was the same
way." ... "Oh yes, the suffering is something terrible. You've
had it yourself in a mild form and of course you know. The last
time they operated on me, I was on the table an hour and forty
minutes--mind you, an hour and forty minutes by the clock--and
for three days and nights they didn't know whether I would live
another minute."

A crash of glass.

"Stew'd, I ashidently turn' over m' drink--bring me nozher brand'
'n' sozza." ... "Just a minute, Mr. Blosser, I want to tell my
husband about it--he'll be awful interested. Say, listen, Poppa,
this gentleman here knows Maxie Hockstein out in Grand Rapids."
... "Do you think so, really? A lot of people have said that very
same thing to me. They come up to me and say 'I know you must be
a Southerner because you have such a true Southern accent.' I
suppose I must come by it naturally, for while I was born in New
Jersey, my mother was a member of a very old Virginia family and
we've always been very strong Southern sympathizers and I went to
a finishing school in Baltimore and I was always being mistaken
for a Southern girl." ... "Well, I sure had enough of it to do me
for one spell. I seen the whole shootin' match and I don't regret
what it cost me, but, believe me, little old Keokuk is goin' to
look purty good to me when I get back there. Why, them people
don't know no more about makin' a cocktail than a rabbit." ...
"That's her standing yonder talking to the captain. Yes, that's
what so many people say, but as a matter of fact, she's the youngest
one of the two. I say, 'These are my daughters,' and then people
say, 'You mean your sisters.' Still I married very young--at
seventeen--and possibly that helps to explain it." ... "Oh, is
that a shark out yonder? Well, anyway, it's a porpoise, and a
porpoise is a kind of shark, isn't it? When a porpoise grows up,
it gets to be a shark--I read that somewhere. Ain't nature just
wonderful?" ... "Raymund Walter Pelham, if I have to speak to
you again, young man, I'm going to take you to the stateroom and
give you something you won't forget in a hurry." ... "Stew'd,
hellup me gellup."

Thus the lazy hours slip by and the spell of the sea takes hold
on you and you lose count of the time and can barely muster up the
energy to perform the regular noonday task of putting your watch
back half an hour. A passenger remarks that this is Thursday and
you wonder dimly what happened to Wednesday.

Three days more--just three. The realization comes to you with a
joyous shock. Somebody sights a sea-gull. With eager eyes you
watch its curving flight. Until this moment you have not been
particularly interested in sea-gulls. Heretofore, being a sea-gull
seemed to you to have few attractions as a regular career, except
that it keeps one out in the open air; otherwise it has struck you
as being rather a monotonous life with a sameness as to diet which
would grow very tiresome in time. But now you envy that sea-gull,
for he comes direct from the shores of the United States of America
and if so minded may turn around and beat you to them by a margin
of hours and hours and hours. Oh, beauteous creature! Oh, favored

Comes the day before the last day. There is a bustle of getting
ready for the landing. Customs blanks are in steady demand at the
purser's office. Every other person is seeking help from every
other person, regarding the job of filling out declarations. The
women go about with the guilty look of plotters in their worried
eyes. If one of them fails to slip something in without paying
duty on it she will be disappointed for life. All women are natural
enemies to all excise men. Dirk, the Smuggler, was the father of
their race.

Comes the last day. Dead ahead lies a misty, thread-like strip
of dark blue, snuggling down against the horizon, where sea and
sky merge.

You think it is a cloud bank, until somebody tells you the glorious
truth. It is the Western Hemisphere--your Western Hemisphere.
It is New England. Dear old New England! Charming people--the New
Englanders! Ah, breathes there the man with soul so dead who never
to himself has said, this is my own, my native land? Certainly
not. A man with a soul so dead as that would be taking part in a
funeral, not in a sea voyage. Upon your lips a word hangs poised.
What a precious sound it has, what new meanings it has acquired!
There are words in our language which are singular and yet sound
plural, such as politics and whereabouts; there are words which
are plural and yet sound singular, such as Brigham Young, and there
are words which convey their exact significance by their very
sound. They need no word-chandlers, no adjective-smiths to dress
them up in the fine feathers of fancy phrasing. They stand on
their own merits. You think of one such word--a short, sweet word
of but four letters. You speak that word reverently, lovingly,

Nearer and nearer draws that blessed dark blue strip. Nantucket
light is behind us. Long Island shoulders up alongside. Trunks
accumulate in gangways; so do stewards and other functionaries.
You have been figuring upon the tips which you will bestow upon
them at parting; so have they. It will be hours yet before we
land. Indeed, if the fog thickens, we may not get in before
to-morrow, yet people run about exchanging good-byes and swapping
visiting cards and promising one another they will meet again.
I think it is reckless for people to trifle with their luck that

Forward, on the lower deck, the immigrants cluster, chattering a
magpie chorus in many tongues. The four-and-twenty blackbirds
which were baked in a pie without impairment to the vocal cords
have nothing on them. Most of the women were crying when they
came aboard at Naples or Palermo or Gibraltar. Now they are all
smiling. Their dunnage is piled in heaps and sailors, busy with
ropes and chains and things, stumble over it and swear big round
German oaths.

Why, gracious! We are actually off Sandy Hook. Dear old Sandy
--how one loves those homely Scotch names! The Narrows are nigh
and Brooklyn, the City Beautiful, awaits us around the second
turning to the left. The pilot boat approaches. Brave little
craft! Gallant pilot! Do you suppose by any chance he has brought
any daily papers with him? He has--hurrah for the thoughtful pilot!
Did you notice how much he looked like the pictures of Santa Claus?

We move on more slowly and twice again we stop briefly. The
quarantine officers have clambered up the sides and are among us;
and to some of us they give cunning little thermometers to hold
in our mouths and suck on, and of others they ask chatty, intimate
questions with a view to finding out how much insanity there is
in the family at present and just what percentage of idiocy
prevails? Three cheers for the jolly old quarantine regulations.
Even the advance guard of the customhouse is welcomed by one and
all--or nearly all.

Between wooded shores which seem to advance to meet her in kindly
greeting, the good ship shoves ahead. For she is a good ship, and
later we shall miss her, but at this moment we feel that we can
part from her without a pang. She rounds a turn in the channel.
What is that mass which looms on beyond, where cloud-combing office
buildings scallop the sky and bridges leap in far-flung spans from
shore to shore? That's her--all right--the high picketed gateway
of the nation. That's little old New York. Few are the art centers
there, and few the ruins; and perhaps there is not so much culture
lying round loose as there might be--just bustle and hustle, and
the rush and crush and roar of business and a large percentage of
men who believe in supporting their own wives and one wife at a
time. Crass perhaps, crude perchance, in many ways, but no matter.
All her faults are virtues now. Beloved metropolis, we salute
thee! And also do we turn to salute Miss Liberty.

This series of adventure tales began with the Statue of Liberty
fading rearward through the harbor mists. It draws to a close
with the same old lady looming through those same mists and drawing
ever closer and closer. She certainly does look well this afternoon,
doesn't she? She always does look well, somehow.

We slip past her and on past the Battery too; and are nosing up
the North River. What a picturesque stream it is, to be sure! And
how full of delightful rubbish! In twenty minutes or less we shall
be at the dock. Folks we know are there now, waiting to welcome

As close as we can pack ourselves, we gather in the gangways.
Some one raises a voice in song. 'Tis not the Marseillaise hymn
that we sing, nor Die Wacht am Rhein, nor Ava Maria, nor God Save
the King; nor yet is it Columbia the Gem of the Ocean. In their
proper places these are all good songs, but we know one more
suitable to the occasion, and so we all join in. Hark! Happy
voices float across the narrowing strip of rolly water between
ship and shore:

"'Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though we may roam,

(Now then, altogether, mates:)

Be it ever so humble,
There's no place like

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