Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Reflections and Comments 1865-1895 by Edwin Lawrence Godkin

Part 4 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

in the world whom people try to preach into patriotism. The natives
of other countries love their country simply, naturally, and for the
most part silently, as they love their mothers and their wives. But
to get an American to do so he has, one would think, to be followed
about by a preacher with a big stick exhorting him to be a "good
American," or he will catch it. But nobody was ever preached into
love of country. He may be preached into sacrifices in its behalf,
but the springs of love cannot be got at by any system of
persuasion. No man will love his country unless he feels it to be
lovable; and it is to making it lovable that the exertions of those
who have American patriotism in charge should be devoted.

Every Good American may take comfort in the fact that very few
people indeed of any social or political value who have once lived
in America ever want again to live in Europe, unless they go for
purposes of study or education. For there is no question that there
is no country in the world in which the atmosphere is so friendly,
and in which one is so sure of sympathy in misfortune, of acceptance
on his own merits independently of birth or money, and has so many
opportunities of escape from the slings and arrows of outrageous
fortune, as America. These are the things which, after all, in the
vast majority of cases, win and hold the human heart; and a country
which has them can well afford to let its citizens travel, and even
let some of them "be early English if they can."


The numerous articles called forth by Carlyle's "Reminiscences,"
both in this country and in England, while varying greatly in the
proportions in which they mix their praise and blame, leave no doubt
that there has occurred a very strong revulsion of feeling about
him, so strong in England that we are told that the subscriptions
for a proposed memorial to him have almost if not entirely ceased.
The censure which Carlyle's friends are visiting on Mr. Froude for
his indiscretion in printing the book, though deserved, has done but
little to mitigate the severity of the judgment passed on the writer
himself. In fact, we are inclined to believe that Mr. Froude's want
of judgment rather helps to deepen the surprise and disappointment
with which the book has been received, as affording an additional
proof of the feebleness of Carlyle's own powers in estimating the
people about him. That, after heaping contempt on so many of whom
the world has been accustomed to think highly, he should have
retained to the last his confidence in, and respect for, a person
capable of dealing his fame such a deadly blow as Mr. Froude, not
unnaturally increases the irritation with which the public has read
his recollections of his friends and contemporaries. The
"disillusion and disenchantment" worked by the book, in so far as it
affects Carlyle's fame as a prophet, is, of course, a misfortune,
and a very serious one. What it was he preached when his preaching
first startled the world, but very few now undertake to say, and
these few by no means agree in their story. His influence,
apparently, was not of the kind which reaches a man through
articulate speech, but rather that which comes through the blast of
a trumpet or the marching tune of a good band, and fills the heart
with a feeling of capacity for high endeavor, though one cannot say
in what particular field it is to be displayed. But though he
founded no school and taught no system of morals, his eminence as
a mere preacher was one of the very valuable possessions of the
Anglo-Saxon world, as a sort of standing protest against the
materialistic tendencies of the age; and this eminence rested a good
deal on the popular conception of the elevation of his own
character. This conception has undoubtedly, whether justly or
unjustly, been greatly shaken, if not destroyed, by the revelation
that invidious comparison between himself and others was almost a
habit of his life; that, while preaching patient endurance, he did
not himself endure patiently even the minor ills of existence; that,
when looking at the fine equipages at Hyde Park Corner, he had to
support himself by "sternly thinking"--"yes, and perhaps none of you
could do what I am at;" that his mental attitude during the
preparation of most of his books was that of a man not properly
appreciated who was going to cast pearls before swine; or, in other
words, the attitude of an ordinary literary man burdened with too
much vanity for his powers, and more concerned about the effect his
work was likely to have on his personal fortunes than on the mental
or moral condition of the world. While full of contempt for
sciolists and pretenders and newspapers, he wrote, and was ready to
write, on the American war without any knowledge of the facts, and
scorned Darwinism without ever bestowing a thought on it. Carlyle's
public were long ago conscious, as one of his critics has said, that
he canted prodigiously about cant, and talked voluminously in praise
of silence; but then it recognized that much repetition has always
the air of cant, and that to persuade men to be silent, as well as
to do anything else, one must talk a great deal. A prophet has to be
diffuse and loud, and often shrill, and his disciples will always
forgive any number of mistakes in method or manner as long as they
believe that behind the preaching there is perfect simplicity and
self-forgetfulness. That this belief has been weakened in many minds
with regard to Carlyle by the "Reminiscences" there is no question,
and the consequence of it is that the Anglo Saxon world has lost one
of its best possessions; and it is a kind of possession which no
apologies or explanations, and no proof of Mr. Froude's
indiscretion, can restore.

There is, however, some compensation in the catastrophe. If there
was nothing positive in Carlyle's moral teachings, if nobody could
extract from his earlier utterances anything more definite than
advice to "be up and doing with a heart for every fate," there was
in the political teachings of his later works something very
positive and definite, and something which he managed to surround
with some of the diviner light of his first arraignments of modern
civilization. There is, for instance, nothing in literature more
ingenious than the way in which he presents Cromwell as the apostle
of "truth" during the campaigns in Ireland after the death of the
King. He lets slip no opportunity of setting forth the importance of
those military operations as a means of bringing "truth" to the
Irish, so much so that the reader at last begins to expect the
revelation of some formula in which the Lord-General presented the
truth to them. But long before the end is reached one finds that the
only truth which Cromwell was spreading in Ireland was the simple
one that anybody who resisted him in arms would probably be knocked
on the head. This collocation of truth and superiority of physical
force, and of falsehood and weakness, was, in fact, worked into all
Carlyle's writings of a political character, and did, through his
writings, become a very positive political influence after the
generation which was roused by the first blasts of his moral trumpet
had grown old, or had passed away. To most men under fifty, in fact,
Carlyle is more known as a very truculent political philosopher
than as a moralist, and most of his later imitators--Mr. Froude for
one--have imitated him rather in preparing the way of the Strong
Man in government, and recommending the helpless and forlorn to
strip for a salutary dozen on the bare back, than in preaching
self-knowledge or the inner worship of the "veracities."

That the effect of this on English politics has been bad, and very
bad, during the past thirty years few will deny. It beyond question
has had an evil influence on English opinion both about Ireland and
about India, and about the civil war in the United States. It had
much to do with the production of that great scandal, the defence of
Governor Eyre, by nearly the whole of London society. Nay, we think
we are not far wrong in saying that it did much to prepare the way
for that remarkable episode in English history, the late
administration of Lord Beaconsfield, with its jingo fever; its
lavish waste of blood and treasure; its ferocious assertion of the
beauty of national selfishness; its contempt for all that portion of
the population of Turkey which was weak and subject and unhappy.
When one contrasts the spirit in which John Stuart Mill approached
all such subjects in his day, his patient pursuit of the facts, his
almost over-earnest efforts to get at the point of view of those who
differed with him, his steady indifference to his own fame in
dealing with all public questions, and then reads the contemptuous
way in which Carlyle disposes of him in the "Reminiscences," one
gets, we were going to say, an almost painful sense of the contrast
between the influence of the two men on their day and generation.

In so far as the "Reminiscences," therefore, ruin Carlyle as a
politician, their publication must be considered a gain for the
English race. The particular political vice his influence fostered,
that nobody who cannot thrash you in fight is worth listening to,
is, it must be said, a vice peculiar to the English race. It is only
in the Anglo-Saxon forum that a man of foreign birth and unfamiliar
ways of thinking has to obtain a _locus standi_ by making himself an
object of physical terror. The story which has lately gone the
rounds of the papers, of Carlyle's discussion with some Irishman who
got the better of him in an argument in support of the logical right
of the Irish to manage their own affairs, in which he met his
opponent in the last resort in half-humorous vehemence by informing
him that he would cut his throat before he would let him have his
independence, is not a bad expression of the spirit which has
governed English policy in dealing with dependent communities. There
is a certain wisdom and justice in exacting from every malcontent
who asks for great changes in his condition some strong proof of his
earnestness; but it is a test which has to be applied with great
discretion, which nations that have made a great fortune with a
strong right hand are not likely to apply with discretion, and which
is apt to make weakness seem ridiculous as well as contemptible. The
history of English politics for fifty years at least has been the
history of the efforts of the nation to accustom itself to some
other than the English standard of political respectability, to
familiarize itself with the idea that pacific people, and poor
people, and queer people had something to say for themselves, and
were entitled to a place in the world. To the success of that effort
it is safe to say that Mr. Carlyle's political writings have been
more or less of an obstacle, and that the destruction of his
influence will contribute something to the solution of some of the
more serious pending problems of English politics.


Nothing is more remarkable in the history of American summering than
the number of new resorts which are discovered and taken possession
of by "the city people" every year, the rapid increase in the means
of transportation both to the mountains and the sea, and the steady
encroachments of the cottager on the boarder in all the more
desirable resorts. The growth of the American watering-place,
indeed, now seems to be as much regulated by law as the growth of
asparagus or strawberries, and is almost as easy to foretell. The
place is usually first discovered by artists in search of sketches,
or by a family of small means in search of pure air, and milk fresh
from the cow, and liberty--not to say license--in the matter of
dress. Its development then begins by some neighboring farmer's
agreeing to take them to board--a thing he has never done before,
and does now unwillingly, and he is very uncertain what to charge
for it. But at a venture he fixes what seems to him an enormous
sum--say $5 to $7 a week for each adult. His ideas about food for
city people are, however, very vague. The only thing about their
tastes of which he feels certain is that what they seek in the
country is, above all things, change, and that they accordingly do
not desire what they get at home. Accordingly he furnishes them with
a complete set of novelties in the matter of food and drink,
forgetting, however, that they might have got them at home if they
pleased. The tea and coffee and bread differ from what they are used
to at home simply in being worse. He is, too, at the seaside, very
apt to put them on an exclusively fish diet, in the belief that it
is only people who live by the sea who get fish, and that city
people, weary of meat, must be longing for fish. The boarders, this
first summer, having persuaded him to take them, are of course too
modest to remonstrate, or even to hint, and go on to the end eating
what is set before them, and pretending to be thankful, and try to
keep up their failing strength by being a great deal in the open
air, and admiring the scenery. After they leave, he is apt to be
astonished by the amount of cash he finds himself possessed of,
probably more than he ever handled before at one time, except when
he mortgaged his farm, and comes to the conclusion that taking
summer boarders is an excellent thing, and worth cultivating.

In the next stage he seeks them, and perhaps is emboldened by the
advice of somebody to advertise the place, and try to get hold of
some editors or ministers whose names he can use as references, and
who will talk it up. He soon secures one or two of each, and they
then tell him that his house is frequented by intellectual or
"cultured" people; and he becomes more elated and more enterprising,
enlarges the dining-room, adds on a wing, relieves his wife of the
cooking by hiring a woman in the nearest town, and gives more
meat and stronger coffee, and, little by little, grows into a
hotel-keeper, with an office and a register. His neighbors, startled
by his success, follow his example, it may be only _longo
intervallo_, and soon the place becomes a regular "resort," with
girls and boys in white flannel, lawn-tennis (which succeeds
croquet), a livery-stable, stages, an ice-cream store with a
soda-water fountain, a new church, and with strange names taken out
of books for the neighboring hills and lanes and brooks.

This stage may last for years--in some places it has been known to
last thirty or forty without any change, beyond the opening of new
hotels--and it becomes marked by crowds of people, who go back every
year in the character of old boarders, get the best rooms, and are
on familiar terms of friendship with the proprietor and the older

But it may be brought to a close, and is now being brought to a
close in scores of American watering-places, by the appearance of
the cottager, who has become to the boarder what the red squirrel is
to the gray, a ruthless invader and exterminator. The first cottager
is almost always a boarder, so that there is no means of discovering
his approach and resisting his advances. In nine cases out of ten he
is a simple guest at the farm-house or the hotel, without any
discoverable airs or pretensions, on whom the scenery has made such
an impression that he quietly buys a lot with a fine view. The next
year he builds a cottage on it, and gradually, and it may be at
first imperceptibly, separates himself in feeling and in standards
from his fellow-boarders. The year after he is in the cottage, and
the mischief is done. The change has come. Caste has been
established, with all its attendant evils. The community, once so
simple and homogeneous, is now divided into two classes, one of
which looks down on the other. More cottages are built, with trim
lawns and private lawn-tennis grounds, with "shandy-gaff" and
"tennis-cup" concealed on tables in tents. Then the dog-cart
with the groom in buckskin and boots, the Irish red setter, the
saddle-horse with the banged tail, the phaeton with the two ponies,
the young men in knickerbockers carrying imported racquets, the
girls with the banged hair, the club, ostensibly for newspaper
reading, but really for secret gin-fizzes and soda-cocktails, make
their appearance, with numerous other monarchical excrescences. The
original farmer, whose pristine board was the beginning of all this,
has probably by this time sold enough land to the cottagers to
enable him to give up taking boarders and keeping a hotel, and is
able to stay in bed like a gentleman most of the winter,
and sit on a bench in his shirt-sleeves all summer.

Very soon the boarder, unable to put up with the growing haughtiness
of the cottager, and with exclusion from his entertainments,
withdraws silently and unobtrusively from the scenes he once enjoyed
so much, to seek out another unsophisticated farmer, and begin once
more, probably when well on in life, with hope and strength abated,
the heavy work of opening up another watering-place and developing
its resources. The silent suffering there is in this process, which
may be witnessed to-day in hundreds of the most beautiful spots in
America, probably none know but those who have gone through it. In
fact, the dislodgment along our coast and in our mountains of the
boarder by the cottager is to-day the great summer tragedy of
American life. Winter has tragedies of its own, which may be worse;
but summer has nothing like it, nothing which imposes such a strain
on character and so severely tests early training. The worst of
it--the pity of it, we might say--is that this is not the expulsion
of the inferior by the superior race, which is going on in so many
parts of the world, and which Darwin is teaching us to look upon
with equanimity. The boarder is often, if not generally, the
cottager's superior in culture, in acquirements, and in variety of
social experience. He does not board because he likes the food, but
simply because it enables him to live in the midst of beautiful
scenery. He eats the farmer's poor fare contentedly, because he
finds it is sufficient to maintain his sense of natural beauty and
the clearness of all his moral perceptions unimpaired, and to brace
his nerves for the great battle with evil which he has been carrying
on in the city, and to which he means to return after a fortnight or
a month or six weeks, as the case may be. We fear, in fact, that
very few indeed of our summer cottages contain half so much noble
endeavor and power of self-sacrifice as the boarding-houses they are

The progress made by the cottager in driving the boarder away from
some of the most attractive places, both in the hills and on the
seaboard, is very steady. Among these Bar Harbor occupies a leading
position. It was, for fully fifteen years after its discovery,
frequented exclusively by a very high order of boarders, and
probably has been the scene of more plain living and high thinking
than any other summer spot on the seacoast. It was, in fact,
remarkable at one time for an almost unhealthy intellectual
stimulation through an exclusively fish diet. But the purity of the
air and the grandeur of the scenery brought a yearly increasing tide
of visitors from about 1860 onward. These visitors were, until about
five years ago, almost exclusively boarders, and the development of
the place as a summer resort was prodigious. The little houses of
the original half farmers, half fishermen, who welcomed, or rather
did not welcome, the first explorers, grew rapidly into little
boarding-houses, then into big boarding-houses, then into hotels
with registers. Then the hotels grew larger and larger, and the
callings of the steamer more frequent, until the place became famous
and crowded.

All this while, however, the hold of the boarder on it remained
unshaken. He was monarch of all he surveyed. No one on the island,
except the landlords, held his head higher. There was one
distinction between boarders, but it was not one to wound anybody's
self-love: some were "mealers," or persons eating in the hotel where
they lodged; and others were "haul-mealers," or persons who were
collected and brought to their food in wagons. But this
classification produced no heart-burning. The mealer loved and
respected the haul-mealer, or wished him in Jericho, and the
haul-mealer in like manner the mealer, on general grounds, like
other persons with whom he came in contact, without any reference to
his place of abode. All were covered by the grand old name of
boarder, and that was enough. A happier, easier, freer, and more
curiously dressed summer community than Bar Harbor in those early
days was not to be found on our coast.

We do not know exactly when the cottager first made his appearance
on those rugged shores, but it is certain that his approaches were
more insidious than they have ever been anywhere. He did not
proclaim himself all at once. The first cottages were very plain
structures, which he cunningly spoke of as "shanties," or "log
huts," in which he simply lodged, and went to the hotels or
neighboring farm-houses for his food in the simple and unpretending
character of a haul-mealer. For a good while, therefore, he excited
neither suspicion nor alarm, and the hotel-keepers welcomed him
heartily, and all went on smoothly. Gradually, however, he threw off
all disguise, bought land at high prices, and began unblushingly to
erect "marine villas" on it, with everything that the name implies.
He has now got possession of all the desirable sites from the Ovens
down to the Great Head, and has surrounded himself with all the
luxuries, just as at Newport. The consequence is, although the sea
and sky and the mountains and the rocks retain all their charm, the
boarder is no longer happy. He finds himself relegated to a
secondary position. He is abashed when on foot or in his humble
buckboard he meets the haughty cottager in his dog-cart or victoria.
He has neither dog nor horse, while the cottager has both. He was
once proud of staying at Rodick's or Lyman's; now he begins to be
ashamed of it. He finds that the cottagers, who are the permanent
residents, have a society of their own, in which he is either not
welcome or is a mere outsider. He finds that the very name of
boarder, which he once wore like a lily, has become a term of
inferiority. Worse than all, he finds himself confounded with a
still lower class, known at Bar Harbor as "the tourist"--elsewhere
called the excursionist--who comes by the hundred on the steamers in
linen dusters, and is compelled by force of circumstances to "do"
Mount Desert in twenty-four hours, and therefore enters on his task
without shame or scruple, roams over the cottager's lawn, stares
into his windows, breaks his fences, and sometimes asks him for a
free lunch. The boarder, of course, looks down on this man, but when
both are on the road or on the piazza of the hotel how are they to
be distinguished? They are not, and cannot be.

The worst of it all is, however, that the boarder finds that the
cottager has enclosed some of his favorite walks. He can no longer
get to them without trespassing or intruding. He can only look
wistfully from the dusty high-road at the spots on which he probably
once "rocked" with the girl who is now his wife, or chopped logic
with professional or clerical friends, whom "the growth of the
place" has long ago driven to fresh fields and pastures new. There
is something very interesting and touching about these old Mount
Deserters of the first period, between 1860 and 1870, who fled even
before the enlargement of the hotels, and to whom cottages at Bar
Harbor are almost unthinkable. One finds them in undeveloped summer
resorts in out-of-the-way places along the American coast, often on
the Alps or in Norway, or on the Scotch lakes, still tender, and
simple, and unassuming, and cheery, older of course and generally
stouter, but with the memories of the mountains, and the rocks, and
the islands, of the poor food, "which made no difference, because
the air was fine," still as fresh as ever, but without a particle of
bitterness. They wander much, but wander as they may they find no
summer resorts which can have for them the charm of Frenchman's Bay
or Newport Mountain, and no vehicle which touches so many chords in
their hearts as the primeval buckboard, in the days when it could
only be hired as a great favor.

The cottager, too, sets no bounds to his pretensions as to
territory. His policy, apparently the old policy of the conqueror
everywhere, is to let the boarder go up the coast and discover the
most attractive resorts, and allow him to report on them in the
newspapers, write poetry about them, lay the scene of novels and
plays in them, and then pursue him and eradicate him from the soil
as a burden if not a nuisance. That he makes a resort far more
beautiful to the eye than the boarder there is no denying. He covers
it with beautiful houses; he converts the scraggy, yellow pastures
into smooth, green lawns; he fills the rock crevices with flowers;
he introduces better food and neater clothing and the latest dodges
in plumbing. But these things are only for the few--in fact, the
very few. An area which supports a hundred happy boarders will only
bring one cottager to perfection. Moreover, it is impossible, no
matter how much the country may flourish, that all Americans who
leave the city in summer should by any effort become cottagers. The
mass of them must always be boarders and remain boarders, and we
would warn the cottagers that it may become dangerous to push them
too hard and too far. Much farther east or north on the coast they
will not go without turning on their persecutors. They will not put
up with the shores of Labrador or Greenland, no matter how hot the
season may be. The survival of the fittest is a great law, and has
worked wonders in the animal world, but it must be remembered that
it has to work in our day in subordination to that greater law of
morality which makes weakness itself a strong tower of defence.

The future at all our leading seashore places, in truth, belongs to
the Cottager, and it is really useless to resist him. His march
along the American coast is nearly as resistless as that of the
hordes who issued from the plains of Scythia to overthrow the Roman
Empire. He moves on all the "choice sites" without haste, with the
calm and remorselessness of the man who knows that the morrow is
his. He has two tremendous forces at his back, against which no
boarder can stand up. One is the growing passion, or fashion, if
any one likes to call it so, of Americans to live in their own
houses, both summer and winter. This is rapidly taking possession
of all classes, from the New England mechanic, who puts up his
shanty or tent on the seashore, to the millionaire who builds his
hundred-thousand dollar villa on his thirty-thousand dollar lot.
Everybody who can seeks to be at home all the year round, let the
home be never so small or humble, and the life in it never so rough.
This is a change in the national manners which nobody can regret,
but it is a change from which the boarder must suffer, and which
must cost him much wandering and many tears. The other is the spread
of the love of the seashore among the vast population of the
Mississippi Valley, whose wealth is becoming great, for whom long
railroad journeys have no terrors, and who are likely now to send
their thousands every year to compete with the "money kings" of the
East for the best villa sites along the coast. And be it remembered
that although our population doubles every twenty-five years, our
rocky Atlantic shore, which is what all most love to seek--the sand
is tame and dreary in comparison--remains a fixed quantity. It only
extends from New York to Eastport, Me., and it only contains a
limited number of building lots. These are now being rapidly bought
up and built on, or hold on speculation, and in some places, where
land only brought ten dollars an acre fifteen years ago, are held at
monstrous prices.

To fight against these tendencies is useless. The wise boarder will
not so do, nor waste his time in bewailing his fate. It is absurd
for him to expect that long stretches of delightful shore will be
left wild and uninhabited and unimproved, for him to walk over for
three or four weeks every summer. Not even the Henry George regime
would oust the cottager, for under it he would simply rent what he
owns; a cottager he would still remain. Finally, the boarder must
remember that though the cottager, like woman, when he is bad is
very bad, when good is delightful. Nothing the American summer has
to show can surpass a cottager, and we rejoice to know that the
number of good cottagers every year grows larger. At his best though
he may be stern in the assertion of his rights of property, there is
no simpler, honester gentleman than he, and the moral earnestness
with the want of which the more austere boarder has been apt to
reproach him, grows very rapidly after he gets his lawn made and his
place in order.


The question has occurred to a good many, and has been more than
once publicly asked, When do the people who frequent "Summer
Schools" of philosophy, theology, and the like, which are now
showing themselves at some of the watering-places, get their rest or
vacation? At these schools both the lecturers or "paper" readers and
the audience are engaged in the same or nearly the same work as
during the rest of the year, and therefore in summer get no rest. We
have been asked, for instance, whether a clergyman or professor who
has a period of leisure allotted to him in summer, in order that he
may "recruit," as it is called, is not guilty of some sort of abuse
of confidence, if, instead of amusing himself or lying fallow, he
goes to a Summer School, and passes several weeks in discussions
which, to be profitable either to himself or his hearers, must put
some degree of strain on his faculties.

The answer undoubtedly is, that nobody goes to a Summer School who
could get refreshment through sheer idleness. One of the greatest
mistakes of the Middle Ages, and one which has come down to our own
time in education, in theology, and in medicine, was that all men's
needs, both spiritual, mental, and physical, are the same; and it
long made the world a dreadful place for the exceptional or
peculiar. In most things we have given up the theory. It was
soonest given up as regards food, because the evidence against it
was there plainest and most overwhelming, in the severe suffering
inflicted on some people by things "disagreeing with them," as it
was called, which others relished and profited by. It has only been
surrendered with regard to children and youths, however, after a
hard struggle. The idea of a young person being entitled to special
treatment of any kind--that is, having in any respect a marked
individuality--remains to this day odious to a great many of our
theologians and teachers. It is, however, rapidly making its way,
and has already obtained a secure footing in some of the colleges.
It is the hotels, perhaps, which are now the strongholds of the old
doctrine, and in which a person who wants what nobody else wants is
considered most odious; partly, of course, because he gives extra
trouble, but mainly because he is considered to be given up to a
delusion about himself and his constitution. There is probably
nothing which excites the anger and contempt of a summer-hotel clerk
more than a request for something which is not supplied to everybody
or which nobody else asks for. We remember once irritating a White
Mountain hotel-keeper extremely by asking to be allowed to ride up
Mount Washington alone, instead of in a party of forty. He not only
refused our request, but he punished us for making it by selecting
for our use the worst pony in his stable, and watching us mounting
it with a diabolical sneer.

There is, however, still a good deal of intolerance about people's
mode of spending their vacation. Those who take it by simply sitting
still or lounging with no particular occupation, are more or less
worried by the people who take their rest actively and with much
movement and bustle. So also the young man who goes off fishing and
hunting, on the other hand, scorns the young man who hangs about the
hotels and plays lawn-tennis, or goes to picnics with the girls--a
rapidly diminishing class, let us add. A correspondent, who takes a
low view of sermons, wrote to us the other day complaining of some
mention which recently appeared in our columns of Mount Desert as a
good place for "tired clergymen," and wished to know what there was
to tire them, seeing that they did nothing but produce two essays a
week, which need not be very original. The truth is, however, that
everybody's occupation, including that of the young man who does
nothing at all, does a great deal to tire him. What probably tires a
minister most is not the sermons, but his parishioners; and we
suspect that nine-tenths of the ministers, if they made a clean
breast of it, would confess that rest to them meant getting away
from their parishioners, and not in getting away from the sermons.
Sermon-writing in our day, when the area over which a preacher may
select his subject is so greatly widened, is probably to a
reflective man a great help and relief, as furnishing what nearly
every student needs to stimulate study--a means of expression.
Sustained solitary thinking is something of which very few men are
capable. To keep up what is called active-mindedness nearly everyone
needs somebody to talk to. Conversation with a friend is enough for
most, but those who have more to say find a sermon or a magazine
article just the kind of intellectual stimulus they need. What
probably most wears on a clergyman's nerves are his pastoral duties,
which do not consist simply in consoling people in great trials, but
in listening to their fussy accounts of small ones. Nine-tenths of a
minister's patients, like a doctor's, do not know what is the matter
with them, and consult a physician largely because they take comfort
in talking to anybody about themselves, and doctors and clergymen
are the only persons who are bound to listen to them. A professor or
teacher is somewhat similarly situated. His business is the most
wearing of human occupations--that of putting knowledge into heads
only half willing to receive it, and persuading a large number of
people to do their duty to whom duty is odious.

To these men, a Summer School of philosophy or theology, or anything
else, must be repose of the best sort. It gives light work of the
kind they love, free from all nagging, and in good air and fine
scenery. At such schools, too, one finds uses for "papers" that no
periodical will print, and which no audience would assemble to
listen to in a city in the busy part of the year, and to many men an
audience of any sort, interested or uninterested, is a great luxury.

The persons who perhaps find it hardest to get rest in summer are
brokers. Their activity in their business and the excitement
attending it are so great, that quiet to them, more than to most
other men, is a hell; so that their vacation is a problem not easy
of solution, except to the rich ones, who have yachts and horses
without limit. Even to those, every day of a vacation has to be full
of movement and change. An hour not filled by some sort of activity,
spent on a piazza or under a tree, is to them an hour wasted. A land
where it was always afternoon would be to them the most "odious
section of country" on earth. The story of one of them, who in Rome
lost flesh through pining for "the corner of Wall and William," is
well known. Such a man finds nearly all summer resorts vanity and
vexation of spirit, because none of them provides excitement. The
class known as financiers, such as presidents of banks and insurance
companies, is much better off, because it has Saratoga. Its members
have generally reached the time of life when men love to sit still,
and when the liver is torpid, and they are generally men of means,
and wear black broadcloth at all seasons, as being what they have
from their youth considered outward and visible signs of
"respectability" in the financial sense. What they need is a place
where they can have their livers roused without exercise, and this
the mineral water does for them; where they can see a good deal
going on and many evidences of wealth, without moving from their
chairs; and where their financial standing will follow them; and for
this there is perhaps no place in the country like Saratoga. Newport
has not nearly as much solidity. It is brighter and gayer and more
select, but though it contains enormous fortunes, a great fortune
does not here do so much for a man. It has to bear the competition
of youth and beauty and polo and lawn-tennis. The young man with
little besides a polo pony, an imported racquet, and good looks
counts for a good deal at Newport; at Saratoga he would be nobody.


The London _Daily News_, in the course of an article on what it
calls "International Reproaches," refers to the fact that there is
much that is "traditional" in them. It thinks that, both in America
and in France, the qualities and peculiarities attributed to English
people are derived, to a great extent, less from experience than
from inherited tradition. "We hear that Englishmen are rude to ladies;
that they fail to yield them precedence at the ticket-offices of
steamboats and railway stations; that they complain of everything
that is given them as food; that they occupy more than their share of
public conveyances with multitudinous wraps, sticks, and umbrellas.
They assert themselves, it would seem, when they have placed 3,000
miles between themselves and their old home. There is, however,
in all these complaints the ring of old coin." In the same way it
says that the Parisian of the boulevards still believes the English
man to be a creature who wears long red whiskers of the mutton-chop
species, and wears a plaid--although, as a matter of fact,
the typical Englishman of to-day does not look like this at all.

Anyone interested in the matter might make a very queer collection
of types which, having disappeared from actual life, survive in the
popular imagination, and by surviving keep alive international
prejudice, hostility, suspicion, or distrust, and which go on doing
duty in this way for years and years, until suddenly some fine day
it is discovered that they are out of date and must in future be
dispensed with. There is, for instance, our old friend, the stage
Irishman. How often have our hearts been touched by the qualities of
gratitude, devotion to sentiment, faithful friendship, and heroism
of this noble creature. No doubt, there must have been a time when
he was as common in Ireland as he has been in our day in melodrama.
But the Irishman, as he exists in New York, and as he is described
by those who have seen him at home, is strangely unlike the type. He
is a decidedly practical, hard-headed man, with a keen eye to the
main chance, a considerable fondness for fighting, and a disposition
which we should call the reverse of sentimental. Harrigan and Hart
represent the actual Irishman in America capitally at their little
theatre in Broadway, yet the stage Irishman is to multitudes of
Americans a more real creature than the actual Irishman, and we
suppose there is hardly a Democratic statesman from one end of the
country to the other who has not constantly before his mind an image
of him, by the contemplation of which he solves many of the
knottiest problems of contemporary politics.

Then there is the Dundreary Englishman, first-cousin or lineal
descendant of the Englishman so dear to the French imagination.
Dundreary really represents, as we know very well, when we think
about it, a past type of swell as extinct as the dodo. It is not
common any longer for English swells to change all their rs to ws,
and to spice their sentences with "aw-aws." We have numbers of them
over here every year, but we do not hear them talk nowadays the once
familiar Dundreary language. Yet there is hardly a newspaper in the
United States whose funny man does not assume for the benefit of his
readers that Dundreary is alive, and every now and then reproduce
him with gusto. It is not in _Punch_ that we find Dundreary, but in
the funny department of the Oshkosh _Monitor_ and the "All Sorts"
column of the Bungtown _Clarion_. Even _Puck_ contributes to
perpetuate the belief in the continued existence of Dundreary by
devoting a column a week to observations on American society in the
Dundreary dialect, which thirty years ago might have been decidedly

_Punch_ still has John Bull as a national type; but it shows great
reserve in the use of him, and now continually resorts to Britannia
as a substitute. Is not this because our old friend John is now
only a survival, a tradition of the past? The bluff, stout, honest,
red-faced, irascible rural person--of whom the photographs of John
Bright remind us--has really been supplanted by a more modern,
thinner, nervous, intellectual, astute type. For English use the
Yankee type of Uncle Sam still seems to represent America, although
it belongs to the past as much as slavery or the stage-coach. He
would be a bold man who should undertake to say what the national
type is now; but it is safe to say that it is not a long, thin, cute
Yankee, dressed in a swallow-tailed coat with brass buttons,
whittling a stick, and interlarding his conversation with "I swan!"
and "I calc'late." If Mr. Lowell were writing the "Biglow Papers"
now, would "Uncle S." serve his purpose as he did during the war? By
a merciful dispensation of Providence, however, Brother Jonathan and
Uncle Sam still live on in the imaginations of large masses of
conservative Englishmen, and no doubt enable many a Tory to people
the United States with a race as alien from that which actually
inhabits it as Zulus would be.

In the same way it may be possible--to the Providence that guides
the destinies of nations nothing is impossible--that the rude
Englishman is, as the _Daily News_ suggests, getting to be a
survival. The _Daily News's_ portrait of him is fair enough,
though it would require Americans who have suffered from him to do
him real justice. He is, or, was, a very rude person, and always
seemed to take great delight in "asserting himself" in such a way as
to produce as much general annoyance and discomfort as possible.
During the war he had a brilliant career. He used to come over and
express great surprise at the silly fuss made about the Constitution
and secession, and profess an entire inability to discover what it
was "all about." If they want to go, he always said, why don't you
let 'em go? What is the use of fighting about the meaning of a word
in the dictionary? It was in small things as in great. When he went
into society he dressed to suit himself, and not as gentlemen in
England or anywhere else do, thus contriving to exhibit a general
contempt for his host and his friends. When his meek entertainer
ventured to offer him some American dish which he did not like, he
would frankly warn his companions against it; and if he asked for
sugar in his coffee he would, in the same outspoken way, explain
that he always sweetened it "when it was bad." One of his favorite
topics of conversation was the awful corruption and rottenness of
American society and politics, and he dwelt so much upon this that
it often seemed as if what he was really interested in was to find
out whether the people he was staying with, and being entertained
by, were not themselves, if the truth were known, rotten to the

He was a very rude man, and he did exist. But is he gone, or going?
Is the time coming when we shall have to regard him too as a
survival, and admit that the rude Englishman is a creature of the
past? Time and continued international experience can alone settle
this question. There are, however, bitter memories of past
sufferings at his hands in hundreds of American homes, that make it
better for both countries not to probe the subject too deeply.


Mr. Thomas Hughes's attempt to provide a refuge in Tennessee for the
large class of young Englishmen whom he calls "Will Wimbles," after
one of Sir Roger de Coverley's friends in Addison's _Spectator_, is
said to be a failure, owing mainly to the poverty of the land and
the remoteness of the markets. An acute writer in the _Pall Mall
Gazette_ maintains that there is another and more potent cause to be
found in the quality of the Will Wimbles. The Will Wimbles are the
young men who are educated in the public schools and universities,
or at least in the public schools, and are turned out into the world
between eighteen and twenty-one, without any special training
whatever, but with the manners and instincts of gentlemen, and with
entire willingness to take to any calling but the lower walks of
"trade." The great body of them are the sons of middle-class
parents--clergymen, doctors, lawyers, and small squires--whose means
are very moderate, and who have to submit to more or less privation
in order to send their sons to the public schools at all. They do it
in order to launch them in the world unmistakably in the gentle
class, and in order to enable them to form their first social
relations in that class. Unfortunately, however, as the writer in
the _Pall Mall Gazette_ points out, the tone and temper of the
public schools, and their way of looking at life, are the products
of a vague, but none the less powerful, assumption that every boy is
the son of a man with about five thousand pounds a year. The whole
atmosphere of the school is permeated with this assumption. The
boys' code of manners is formed in it. Their intercourse with each
other is more or less influenced by it, and they all look out on the
world, up to their last day at school, with the eyes of youths whose
home is a well-equipped manor-house surrounded by a prosperous

The love of the middle-class Englishman of every age for this point
of view is curiously exemplified in the social articles, not only in
the "society paper," properly so called, but in the _Saturday
Review_. The troubles and perplexities and minor disappointments
of life form a favorite topic with the writer of the "sub-leaders"
in this last-named paper, but they are always of the troubles,
perplexities, and disappointments of a landed gentleman who keeps
hunters, and has a stud groom and extensive covers. He hardly ever
examines the state of mind of anyone less well-to-do than a younger
son whose means only allow him to hunt two days in a week instead of
six, and who has to rely on invitations for his shooting. These and
their sisters, cousins, and aunts, apparently form the reviewer's
entire world, and the only world in which there are any social
phenomena worth discussion. It is, in other words, a world made up
exclusively of "gentlemen," and of the persons, male and female, who
wait upon them. Its sorrows are the sorrows of gentlemen, and arise
mostly out of the failure of some amusement, or the loss of the
money with which amusements are provided, the missing of some social
distinction, or the misconduct of "upper servants." It is, however,
really the only world that the English public-school boy or
university man sees, or hears of, or thinks about while in _statu
pupillari_. This is true, let his own home be never so modest, or
the sacrifices made by his father to secure him the fashionable
curriculum be never so painful. The result is, of course, that when
his "education" is finished, he is really only prepared for what is
technically called a gentleman's life. He has only thought of
certain employments as possible to him, and all these are
exceedingly hard to get. The manners of the great bulk of mankind,
too, are more or less repulsive to him, and so is a good deal of the
popular morality. In short, he is turned out a Will Wimble--or, in
other words, a good-hearted, kindly, gentlemanly, honorable fellow,
who is, however, entirely unfitted for the social _milieu_, in
which he must not only live, but make a living.

Mr. Hughes's idea has been that, though he dislikes trade, and is a
little too nice for it as now carried on, at least on the retail
side, he has an innate liking and readiness for agriculture, and
that, if enabled to till the soil under pleasant, or at least not
too novel, social conditions, he would do it successfully. Out of
this the Rugby, Tenn., experiment has grown, and if it has not
actually failed, as some say, it is certainly too early to pronounce
it a success. At all events, the signs that it is going to fail are
numerous. Among them is the deep disappointment of the settlers, few
of whom probably realized not only the monotony and drudgery of
labor in the fields--these things can be borne by men with stout
hearts and strong arms--but its effect in unfitting a man for any
kind of amusement. There has been much delusion on this subject in
this country, where far more is known by the reading class about all
kinds of manual labor than is known in England. The possibility of
working hard in the fields and keeping up at the same time some
process of intellectual culture, has been much preached among us
both by educational projectors and social reformers, though nearly
every man who listens to them here knows the effect of physical toil
in the open air in producing sleepiness and mental inertness. It is
not surprising, therefore, that it should find ready acceptance in
England among people who think ability to bear a hard day on the
moors after grouse, or a long run in the saddle after the hounds,
argues capacity to hoe potatoes or corn for twelve hours, and settle
down in the evening, after a bath and a good dinner, to Dante, or
Wallace, or Huxley.

Will Wimbles are much less common among us than in England. We
fortunately have not a dozen great endowments used in turning them
out, or a large and rich society occupied in spreading the
gentlemanly view of life. But they, nevertheless, are more numerous
than is altogether pleasant. The difficulty which our college
graduate experiences in getting room for what the newspapers call
his "bark" on the stream of life, is one of the standing jokes of
our light literature. We have no schools which take the place of the
English public schools in our scheme of education. But the view of
life which prevails in the English public schools and turns out the
Will Wimbles, is more or less prevalent in our colleges, and tends
to spread as the wealth of the class which sends its boys to college
increases. In other words, colleges are to a much greater extent
than they used to be places in which social relations are found,
rather than places of preparation for the active work of life. This
last character, indeed, they almost wholly lost when they ceased to
have the training of ministers as their main function. Scarcely any
man who can afford it now likes to refuse his son a college
education if the boy wants it; but probably not one boy in one
thousand can say, five years after graduating, that he has been
helped by his college education in making his start in life. It may
have been never so useful to him as a means of moral and
intellectual culture, but it has not helped to adapt him to the
environment in which he has to live and work; or, in other words, to
a world in which not one man in a thousand has either the manners or
cultivation of a gentleman, or changes his shirt more than once a
week, or eats with a fork.

College education is prevented from suffering as much from this
source in popular estimation in England as it does here, by the fact
that, owing to the peculiar political traditions of the country,
college-bred men begin life in a large number of cases in possession
of great advantages of other kinds, such as hereditary wealth. Here
they have almost all to face the world on their own merits, and in
so far as they face it feebly or unskilfully their defects are set
down in the popular mind to the fact that they went to college. If
the discredit ended here, it would perhaps be of small consequence.
But it may be safely said that the college graduate is never seen
groping about in a helpless and timid way for "a position," and
shrinking from the turmoil and dirt of some walks of life, without
spreading among the uncultivated a contempt for culture and
increasing their confidence in the rule of thumb. The mere "going to
college" is recognized as a sign of pecuniary ease, and of a desire
for social advancement, but not as preparation for the kind of work
which the bulk of the community is doing, and thus makes mental
culture seem less desirable, and cultivated men less potent,
especially in politics.

The question is a serious one for all colleges, and it is not here
only, but in England and France, that it is undergoing grave
consideration. In Germany society may be said to have been organized
as an appendage to the universities, but here the universities are
simply appendages to society, which is continually doubting whether
their existence can be justified.

Book of the day: