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Title: Marse Henry (Vol. 2) An Autobiography

Author: Henry Watterson

Release Date: July, 2005 [EBook #8459] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on July 13, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English


Produced by Curtis A. Weyant and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

"Marse Henry"

An Autobiography


Henry Watterson

Volume II



Chapter the Thirteenth

    Charles Eames and Charles Sumner-Schurzand Lamar—I Go to Congress—A
    Heroic Kentuckian—Stephen Foster and His Songs—Music and Theodore

Chapter the Fourteenth

Henry Adams and the Adams Family—John Hay and Frank Mason—The Three Mousquetaires of Culture—Paris—"The Frenchman"—The South of France

Chapter the Fifteenth

    Still the Gay Capital of France—Its Environs—Walewska and De
    Morny—Thackeray in Paris—A Pension Adventure

Chapter the Sixteenth

    Monte Carlo—The European Shrine of Sport and Fashion—Apocryphal
    Gambling Stories—Leopold, King of the Belgians—An Able and
    Picturesque Man of Business

Chapter the Seventeenth

    A Parisian Pension—The Widow of Walewska—Napoleon's
    Daughter-in-Law—The Changeless—A Moral and Orderly City

Chapter the Eighteenth

    The Grover Cleveland Period—President Arthur and Mr. Blaine—John
    Chamberlin—The Decrees of Destiny

Chapter the Nineteenth

    Mr. Cleveland in the White House—Mr. Bayard in the Department of
    State—Queer Appointments to Office—The One-Party Power—The End of
    North and South Sectionalism

Chapter the Twentieth

    The Real Grover Cleveland—Two Clevelands Before and After Marriage—A
    Correspondence and a Break of Personal Relations

Chapter the Twenty-First

    Stephen Foster, the Song-Writer—A Friend Comes to the Rescu
    His Originality—"My Old Kentucky Home" and the "Old Folks at
    Home"—General Sherman and "Marching Through Georgia"

Chapter the Twenty-Second

    Theodore Roosevelt—His Problematic Character—He Offers Me an
    Appointment—His Bonhomie and Chivalry—Proud of His Rebel Kin

Chapter the Twenty-Third

    The Actor and the Journalist—The Newspaper and the State—Joseph
    Jefferson—His Personal and Artistic Career—Modest Character and
    Religious Belief

Chapter the Twenty-Fourth

    The Writing of Memoirs—Some Characteristics of Carl Shurz—Sam
    Bowles—Horace White and the Mugwumps

Chapter the Twenty-Fifth

    Every Trade Has Its Tricks—I Play One on William McKinley—Far Away
    Party Politics and Political Issues

Chapter the Twenty-Sixth

    A Libel on Mr. Cleveland—His Fondness for Cards—Some Poker
    Stories—The "Senate Game"—Tom Ochiltree, Senator Allison and General

Chapter the Twenty-Seventh

The Profession of Journalism—Newspapers and Editors in America—Bennett, Greeley and Raymond—Forney and Dana—The Education of a Journalist

Chapter the Twenty-Eighth

    Bullies and Braggarts—Some Kentucky Illustrations—The Old Galt
    House—The Throckmortons—A Famous Sugeon—"Old Hell's Delight"

Chapter the Twenty-Ninth

About Political Conventions, State and National—"Old Ben Butler"—His Appearance as a Trouble-Maker in the Democratic National Convention of 1892—Tarifa and the Tariff—Spain as a Frightful Example

Chapter the Thirtieth

    The Makers of the Republic—Lincoln, Jefferson, Clay and Webster—The
    Proposed League of Nations—The Wilsonian Incertitude—The "New

Chapter the Thirty-First

    The Age of Miracles—A Story of Franklin Pierce—Simon Suggs
    Billy Sunday—Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr—Certain Constitutional

Chapter the Thirty-Second

    A War Episode—I Meet my Fater—I Marry and Make a Home—The Ups and
    Downs of Life Lead to a Happy Old Age


Henry Watterson—Fifty Years Ago

Henry Woodfire Grady—One of Mr. Watterson's "Boys"

Mr. Watterson's Library at "Mansfield"

A Corner of "Mansfield"—Home of Mr. Watterson

Henry Watterson (Photograph Taken in Florida)

Henry Watterson. From a painting by Louis Mark in the Manhattan Club, New


Chapter the Thirteenth

    Charles Eames and Charles Sumner-Schurzand Lamar—I Go to Congress—A
    Heroic Kentuckian—Stephen Foster and His Songs—Music and Theodore


Swift's definition of "conversation" did not preside over or direct the daily intercourse between Charles Sumner, Charles Eames and Robert J. Walker in the old days in the National Capital. They did not converse. They discoursed. They talked sententiously in portentous essays and learned dissertations. I used to think it great, though I nursed no little dislike of Sumner.

Charles Eames was at the outset of his career a ne'er-do-well New Englander—a Yankee Jack-of-all-trades—kept at the front by an exceedingly clever wife. Through the favor she enjoyed at court he received from Pierce and Buchanan unimportant diplomatic appointments. During their sojourns in Washington their home was a kind of political and literary headquarters. Mrs. Eames had established a salon—the first attempt of the kind made there; and it was altogether a success. Her Sundays evenings were notable, indeed. Whoever was worth seeing, if in town, might usually be found there. Charles Sumner led the procession. He was a most imposing person. Both handsome and distinguished in appearance, he possessed in an eminent degree the Harvard pragmatism—or, shall I say, affectation?—and seemed never happy except on exhibition. He had made a profitable political and personal issue of the Preston Brooks attack. Brooks was an exceeding light weight, but he did for Sumner more than Sumner could ever have done for himself.

In the Charles Eames days Sumner was exceedingly disagreeable to me. Many people, indeed, thought him so. Many years later, in the Greeley campaign of 1872, Schurz brought us together—they had become as very brothers in the Senate—and I found him the reverse of my boyish ill conceptions.

He was a great old man. He was a delightful old man, every inch a statesman, much of a scholar, and something of a hero. I grew in time to be actually fond of him, passed with him entire afternoons and evenings in his library, mourned sincerely when he died, and went with Schurz to Boston, on the occasion when that great German-American delivered the memorial address in honor of the dead Abolitionist.

Of all the public men of that period Carl Schurz most captivated me. When we first came into personal relations, at the Liberal Convention, which assembled at Cincinnati and nominated Greeley and Brown as a presidential ticket, he was just turned forty-three; I, two and thirty. The closest intimacy followed. Our tastes were much alike. Both of us had been educated in music. He played the piano with intelligence and feeling—especially Schumann, Brahms and Mendelssohn, neither of us ever having quite reached the "high jinks" of Wagner.

To me his oratory was wonderful. He spoke to an audience of five or ten thousand as he would have talked to a party of three or six. His style was simple, natural, unstrained; the lucid statement and cogent argument now and again irradiated by a salient passage of satire or a burst of not too eloquent rhetoric.

He was quite knocked out by the nomination of Horace Greeley. For a long time he could not reconcile himself to support the ticket. Horace White and I addressed ourselves to the task of "fetching him into camp"—there being in point of fact nowhere else for him to go—though we had to get up what was called The Fifth Avenue Conference to make a bridge.

Truth to say, Schurz never wholly adjusted himself to political conditions in the United States. He once said to me in one of the querulous moods that sometimes overcame him: "If I should live a hundred years my enemies would still call me a—Dutchman!"

It was Schurz, as I have said, who brought Lamar and me together. The Mississippian had been a Secession Member of Congress when I was a Unionist scribe in the reporters' gallery. I was a furious partisan in those days and disliked the Secessionists intensely. Of them, Lamar was most aggressive. I later learned that he was very many-sided and accomplished, the most interesting and lovable of men. He and Schurz "froze together," as, brought together by Schurz, he and I "froze together." On one side he was a sentimentalist and on the other a philosopher, but on all sides a fighter.

They called him a dreamer. He sprang from a race of chevaliers and scholars. Oddly enough, albeit in his moods a recluse, he was a man of the world; a favorite in society; very much at home in European courts, especially in that of England; the friend of Thackeray, at whose house, when in London, he made his abode. Lady Ritchie—Anne Thackeray—told me many amusing stories of his whimsies. He was a man among brainy men and a lion among clever women.

We had already come to be good friends and constant comrades when the whirligig of time threw us together for a little while in the lower house of Congress. One day he beckoned me over to his seat. He was leaning backward with his hands crossed behind his head.

As I stood in front of him he said: "On the eighth of February, 1858, Mrs. Gwin, of California, gave a fancy dress ball. Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, a member of Congress, was there. Also a glorious young woman—a vision of beauty and grace—with whom the handsome and distinguished young statesman danced—danced once, twice, thrice, taking her likewise down to supper. He went to bed, turned his face to the wall and dreamed of her. That was twenty years ago. To-day this same Mr. Lamar, after an obscure interregnum, was with Mrs. Lamar looking over Washington for an apartment. In quest of cheap lodging they came to a mean house in a mean quarter, where a poor, wizened, ill-clad woman showed them through the meanly furnished rooms. Of course they would not suffice.

"As they were coming away the great Mr. Lamar said to the poor landlady, 'Madam, have you lived long in Washington?' She said all her life. 'Madam,' he continued, 'were you at a fancy dress ball given by Mrs. Senator Gwin of California, the eighth of February, 1858?' She said she was. 'Do you remember,' the statesman, soldier and orator continued, 'a young and handsome Mississippian, a member of Congress, by the name of Lamar?' She said she didn't."

I rather think that Lamar was the biggest brained of all the men I have met in Washington. He possessed the courage of his convictions. A doctrinaire, there was nothing of the typical doctrinaire, or theorist, about him. He really believed that cotton was king and would compel England to espouse the cause of the South.

Despite his wealth of experience and travel he was not overmuch of a raconteur, but he once told me a good story about his friend Thackeray. The two were driving to a banquet of the Literary Fund, where Dickens was to preside. "Lamar," said Thackeray, "they say I can't speak. But if I want to I can speak. I can speak every bit as good as Dickens, and I am going to show you to-night that I can speak almost as good as you." When the moment arrived Thackeray said never a word. Returning in the cab, both silent, Thackeray suddenly broke forth. "Lamar," he exclaimed, "don't you think you have heard the greatest speech to-night that was never delivered?"


Holding office, especially going to Congress, had never entered any wish or scheme of mine. Office seemed to me ever a badge of bondage. I knew too much of the national capital to be allured by its evanescent and lightsome honors. When the opportunity sought me out none of its illusions appealed to me. But after a long uphill fight for personal and political recognition in Kentucky an election put a kind of seal upon the victory I had won and enabled me in a way to triumph over my enemies. I knew that if I accepted the nomination offered me I would get a big popular vote—as I did—and so, one full term, and half a term, incident to the death of the sitting member for the Louisville district being open to me, I took the short term, refusing the long term.

Though it was midsummer and Congress was about to adjourn I went to Washington and was sworn in. A friend of mine, Col. Wake Holman, had made a bet with one of our pals I would be under arrest before I had been twenty-four hours in town, and won it. It happened in this wise: The night of the day when I took my seat there was an all-night session. I knew too well what that meant, and, just from a long tiresome journey, I went to bed and slept soundly till sunrise. Just as I was up and dressing for a stroll about the old, familiar, dearly loved quarter of the town there came an imperative rap upon the door and a voice said: "Get up, colonel, quick! This is a sergeant at arms. There has been a call of the House and I am after you. Everybody is drunk, more or less, and they are noisy to have some fun with you."

It was even as he said. Everybody, more or less, was drunk—especially the provisional speaker whom Mr. Randall had placed in the chair—and when we arrived and I was led a prisoner down the center aisle pandemonium broke loose.

They had all sorts of fun with me, such as it was. It was moved that I be fined the full amount of my mileage. Then a resolution was offered suspending my membership and sending me under guard to the old Capitol prison. Finally two or three of my friends rescued me and business was allowed to proceed. It was the last day of a very long session and those who were not drunk were worn out.

When I returned home there was a celebration in honor of the bet Wake Holman had won at my expense. Wake was the most attractive and lovable of men, by nature a hero, by profession a "filibuster" and soldier of fortune. At two and twenty he was a private in Col. Humphrey Marshall's Regiment of Kentucky Riflemen, which reached the scene of hostilities upon the Rio Grande in the midsummer of 1846. He had enlisted from Owen county—"Sweet Owen," as it used to be called—and came of good stock, his father, Col. Harry Holman, in the days of aboriginal fighting and journalism, a frontier celebrity. Wake's company, out on a scout, was picked off by the Mexicans, and the distinction between United States soldiers and Texan rebels not being yet clearly established, a drumhead court-martial ordered "the decimation."

This was a decree that one of every ten of the Yankee captives should be shot. There being a hundred of Marshall's men, one hundred beans—ninety white and ten black—were put in a hat. Then the company was mustered as on dress parade. Whoso drew a white bean was to be held prisoner of war; whoso drew a black bean was to die.

In the early part of the drawing Wake drew a white bean. Toward the close the turn of a neighbor and comrade from Owen county who had left a wife and baby at home was called. He and Wake were standing together, Holman brushed him aside, walked out in his place and drew his bean. It turned out to be a white one. Twice within the half hour death had looked him in the eye and found no blinking there.

I have seen quite a deal of hardihood, endurance, suffering, in both women and men; splendid courage on the field of action; perfect self-possession in the face of danger; but I rather think that Wake Holman's exploit that day—next to actually dying for a friend, what can be nobler than being willing to die for him?—is the bravest thing I know or have ever been told of mortal man.

Wake Holman went to Cuba in the Lopez Rebellion of 1851, and fought under Pickett at the Battle of Cardenas. In 1855-56 he was in Nicaragua, with Walker. He commanded a Kentucky regiment of cavalry on the Union side in our War of Sections. After the war he lived the life of a hunter and fisher at his home in Kentucky; a cheery, unambitious, big-brained and big-hearted cherub, whom it would not do to "projeck" with, albeit with entire safety you could pick his pocket; the soul of simplicity and amiability.

To have known him was an education in primal manhood. To sit at his hospitable board, with him at the head of the table, was an inspiration in the genius of life and the art of living. One of his familiars started the joke that when Wake drew the second white bean "he got a peep." He took it kindly; though in my intimacy with him, extending over thirty years, I never heard him refer to any of his adventures as a soldier.

It was not possible that such a man should provide for his old age. He had little forecast. He knew not the value of money. He had humor, affection and courage. I held him in real love and honor. When the Mexican War Pension Act was passed by Congress I took his papers to General Black, the Commissioner of Pensions, and related this story.

"I have promised Gen. Cerro Gordo Williams," said General Black, referring to the then senior United States Senator from Kentucky, "that his name shall go first on the roll of these Mexican pensioners. But"—and the General looked beamingly in my face, a bit tearful, and says he: "Wake Holman's name shall come right after." And there it is.


I was very carefully and for those times not ignorantly taught in music. Schell, his name was, and they called him "Professor." He lived over in Georgetown, where he had organized a little group of Prussian refugees into a German club, and from my tenth to my fifteenth year—at first regularly, and then in a desultory way as I came back to Washington City from my school in Philadelphia, he hammered Bach and Handel and Mozart—nothing so modern as Mendelssohn—into my not unwilling nor unreceptive mind, for my bent was in the beginning to compose dramas, and in the end operas.

Adelina Patti was among my child companions. Once in the national capital, when I was 12 years old and Adelina 9, we played together at a charity concert. She had sung "The Last Rose of Summer," and I had played her brother-in-law's variation upon "Home, Sweet Home." The audience was enthusiastic. We were called out again and again. Then we came on the stage together, and the applause increasing I sat down at the keyboard and played an accompaniment with my own interpolations upon "Old Folks At Home," which I had taught Adelina, and she sang the words. Then they fairly took the roof off.

Once during a sojourn in Paris I was thrown with Christine Nilsson. She was in the heyday of her success at the Theater Lyrique under the patronage of Madame Miolan-Carvalho. One day I said to her: "The time may come when you will be giving concerts." She was indignant. "Nevertheless," I continued, "let me teach you a sure encore." I played her Stephen Foster's immortal ditty. She was delighted. The sequel was that it served her even a better turn than it had served Adelina Patti.

I played and transposed for the piano most of the melodies of Foster as they were published, they being first produced in public by Christy's Minstrels.


Stephen Foster was the ne'er-do-well of a good Pennsylvania family. A sister of his had married a brother of James Buchanan. There were two daughters of this marriage, nieces of the President, and when they were visiting the White House we had—shall I dare write it?—high jinks with our nigger-minstrel concerts on the sly.

Will S. Hays, the rival of Foster as a song writer and one of my reporters on the Courier-Journal, told me this story: "Foster," said he, "was a good deal of what you might call a barroom loafer. He possessed a sweet tenor voice before it was spoiled by drink, and was fond of music, though technically he knew nothing about it. He had a German friend who when he died left him a musical scrapbook, of all sorts of odds and ends of original text. There is where Foster got his melodies. When the scrapbook gave out he gave out."

I took it as merely the spleen of a rival composer. But many years after in Vienna I heard a concert given over exclusively to the performance of certain posthumous manuscripts of Schubert. Among the rest were selections from an unfinished opera—"Rosemonde," I think it was called—in which the whole rhythm and movements and parts of the score of Old Folks at Home were the feature.

It was something to have grown up contemporary, as it were, with these songs. Many of them were written in the old Rowan homestead, just outside of Bardstown, Ky., where Louis Philippe lived and taught, and for a season Talleyrand made his abode. The Rowans were notable people. John Rowan, the elder, head of the house, was a famous lawyer, who divided oratorical honors with Henry Clay, and like Clay, was a Senator in Congress; his son, "young John," as he was called, Stephen Foster's pal, went as minister to Naples, and fought duels, and was as Bob Acres wanted to be, "a devil of a fellow." He once told me he had been intimate with Thackeray when they were wild young men in Paris, and that they had both of them known the woman whom Thackeray had taken for the original of Becky Sharp.

The Foster songs quite captivated my boyhood. I could sing a little, as well as play, and learned each of them—especially Old Folks at Home and My Old Kentucky Home—as they appeared. Their contemporary vogue was tremendous. Nothing has since rivalled the popular impression they made, except perhaps the Arthur Sullivan melodies.

Among my ambitions to be a great historian, dramatist, soldier and writer of romance I desired also to be a great musician, especially a great pianist. The bone-felon did the business for this later. But all my life I have been able to thumb the keyboard at least for the children to dance, and it has been a recourse and solace sometimes during intervals of embittered journalism and unprosperous statesmanship.


Theodore Thomas and I used to play duos together. He was a master of the violin before he took to orchestration. We remained the best of friends to the end of his days.

On the slightest provocation, or none, we passed entire nights together. Once after a concert he suddenly exclaimed: "Don't you think Wagner was a —— fraud?"

A little surprised even by one of his outbreaks, I said: "Wagner may have written some trick music but I hardly think that he was a fraud."

He reflected a moment. "Well," he continued, "it may not lie in my mouth to say it—and perhaps I ought not to say it—I know I am most responsible for the Wagner craze—but I consider him a —— fraud."

He had just come from a long "classic entertainment," was worn out with travel and worry, and meant nothing of the sort.

After a very tiresome concert when he was railing at the hard lines of a peripatetic musician I said: "Come with me and I will give you a soothing quail and as dry a glass of champagne as you ever had in your life."

The wine was poured out and he took a sip.

"I don't call that dry wine," he crossly said, and took another sip. "My
God," without a pause he continued, "isn't that great?"

Of course he was impulsive, even impetuous. Beneath his seeming cold exterior and admirable self-control—the discipline of the master artist—lay the moods and tenses of the musical temperament. He knew little or nothing outside of music and did not care to learn. I tried to interest him in politics. It was of no use. First he laughed my suggestions to scorn and then swore like a trooper. German he was, through and through. It was well that he passed away before the world war. Pat Gilmore—"Patrick Sarsfield," we always called him—was a born politician, and if he had not been a musician he would have been a statesman. I kept the peace between him and Theodore Thomas by an ingenious system of telling all kinds of kind things each had said of the other, my "repetitions" being pure inventions of my own.

Chapter the Fourteenth

Henry Adams and the Adams Family—John Hay and Frank Mason—The Three Mousquetaires of Culture—Paris—"The Frenchman"—The South of France


I have been of late reading The Education of Henry Adams, and it recalls many persons and incidents belonging to the period about which I am now writing. I knew Henry Adams well; first in London, then in Boston and finally throughout his prolonged residence in Washington City. He was an Adams; very definitely an Adams, but, though his ghost may revisit the glimpses of the moon and chide me for saying so, with an English "cut to his jib."

No three brothers could be more unlike than Charles Francis, John Quincy and Henry Adams. Brooks Adams I did not know. They represented the fourth generation of the brainiest pedigree—that is in continuous line—known to our family history. Henry thought he was a philosopher and tried to be one. He thought he was a man of the world and wanted to be one. He was, in spite of himself, a provincial.

Provincialism is not necessarily rustic, even suburban. There is no provincial quite so provincial as he who has passed his life in great cities. The Parisian boulevardier taken away from the asphalt, the cockney a little off Clapham Common and the Strand, is lost. Henry Adams knew his London and his Paris, his Boston and his Quincy—we must not forget Quincy—well. But he had been born, and had grown up, between the lids of history, and for all his learning and travel he never got very far outside them.

In manner and manners, tone and cast of thought he was English—delightfully English—though he cultivated the cosmopolite. His house in the national capital, facing the Executive Mansion across Lafayette Square—especially during the life of his wife, an adorable woman, who made up in sweetness and tact for some of the qualities lacking in her husband—was an intellectual and high-bred center, a rendezvous for the best ton and the most accepted people. The Adamses may be said to have succeeded the Eameses as leaders in semi-social, semi-literary and semi-political society.

There was a trio—I used to call them the Three Musketeers of Culture—John Hay, Henry Cabot Lodge and Henry Adams. They made an interesting and inseparable trinity—Caleb Cushing, Robert J. Walker and Charles Sumner not more so—and it was worth while to let them have the floor and to hear them talk; Lodge, cool and wary as a politician should be; Hay, helterskelter, the real man of the world crossed on a Western stock; and Adams, something of a litératteur, a statesman and a cynic.

John Randolph Tucker, who when he was in Congress often met Henry at dinners and the like, said to him on the appearance of the early volumes of his History of the United States: "I am not disappointed, for how could an Adams be expected to do justice to a Randolph?"

While he was writing this history Adams said to me: "There is an old villain—next to Andrew Jackson the greatest villain of his time—a Kentuckian—don't say he was a kinsman of yours!—whose papers, if he left any, I want to see."

"To whom are you referring?" I asked with mock dignity.

"To John Adair," he answered.

"Well," said I, "John Adair married my grandmother's sister and I can put you in the way of getting whatever you require."

I have spoken of John Hay as Master of the Revels in the old Sutherland-Delmonico days. Even earlier than that—in London and Paris—an intimacy had been established between us. He married in Cleveland, Ohio, and many years passed before I came up with him again. One day in Whitelaw Reid's den in the Tribune Building he reappeared, strangely changed—no longer the rosy-cheeked, buoyant boy—an overserious, prematurely old man. I was shocked, and when he had gone Reid, observing this, said: "Oh, Hay will come round all right. He is just now in one of his moods. I picked him up in Piccadilly the other day and by sheer force brought him over."

When we recall the story of Hay's life—one weird tragedy after another, from the murder of Lincoln to the murder of McKinley, including the tragic end of two members of his immediate family—there rises in spite of the grandeur that pursued him a single exclamation: "The pity of it!"

This is accentuated by Henry Adams' Education. Yet the silent courage with which Hay met disaster after disaster must increase both the sympathy and the respect of those who peruse the melancholy pages of that vivid narrative. Toward the end, meeting him on a public occasion, I said: "You work too hard—you are not looking well."

"I am dying," said he.

"Yes," I replied in the way of banter, "you are dying of fame and fortune."

But I went no further. He was in no mood for the old verbal horseplay.

He looked wan and wizened. Yet there were still several years before him. When he came from Mannheim to Paris it was clear that the end was nigh. I did not see him—he was too ill to see any one—but Frank Mason kept me advised from day to day, and when, a month or two later, having reached home, the news came to us that he was dead we were nowise surprised, and almost consoled by the thought that rest had come at last.

Frank Mason and his wife—"the Masons," they were commonly called, for Mrs. Mason made a wondrous second to her husband—were from Cleveland, Ohio, she a daughter of Judge Birchard—Jennie Birchard—he a rising young journalist caught in the late seventies by the glitter of a foreign appointment. They ran the gamut of the consular service, beginning with Basel and Marseilles and ending with Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris. Wherever they were their house was a very home—a kind of Yankee shrine—of visiting Americans and militant Americanism.

Years before he was made consul general—in point of fact when he was plain consul at Marseilles—he ran over to Paris for a lark. One day he said to me, "A rich old hayseed uncle of mine has come to town. He has money to burn and he wants to meet you. I have arranged for us to dine with him at the Anglaise to-night and we are to order the dinner—carte blanche." The rich old uncle to whom I was presented did not have the appearance of a hayseed. On the contrary he was a most distinguished-looking old gentleman. The dinner we ordered was "stunning"—especially the wines. When the bill was presented our host scanned it carefully, scrutinizing each item and making his own addition, altogether "like a thoroughbred." Frank and I watched him not without a bit of anxiety mixed with contrition. When he had paid the score he said with a smile: "That was rather a steep bill, but we have had rather a good dinner, and now, if you boys know of as good a dance hall we'll go there and I'll buy the outfit."


First and last I have lived much in the erstwhile gay capital of France. It was gayest when the Duke de Morny flourished as King of the Bourse. He was reputed the Emperor's natural half-brother. The breakdown of the Mexican adventure, which was mostly his, contributed not a little to the final Napoleonic fall. He died of dissipation and disappointment, and under the pseudonym of the Duke de Morra, Daudet celebrated him in "The Nabob."

De Morny did not live to see the tumble of the house of cards he had built. Next after I saw Paris it was a pitiful wreck indeed; the Hotel de Ville and the Tuileries in flames; the Column gone from the Place Vendôme; but later the rise of the Third Republic saw the revival of the unquenchable spirit of the irrepressible French.

Nevertheless I should scarcely be taken for a Parisian. Once, when wandering aimlessly, as one so often does through the Paris streets, one of the touts hanging round the Cafe de la Paix to catch the unwary stranger being a little more importunate than usual, I ordered him to go about his business.

"This is my business," he impudently answered.

"Get away, I tell you!" I thundered, "I am a Parisian myself!"

He drew a little out of reach of the umbrella I held in my hand, and with a drawl of supreme and very American contempt, exclaimed, "Well, you don't look it," and scampered off.

Paris, however, is not all of France. Sometimes I have thought not the best part of it. There is the south of France, with Avignon, the heart of Provence, seat of the French papacy six hundred years ago, the metropolis of Christendom before the Midi was a region—Paris yet a village, and Rome struggling out of the debris of the ages—with Arles and Nîmes, and, above all, Tarascon, the home of the immortal Tartarin, for next-door neighbors. They are all hard by Marseilles. But Avignon ever most caught my fancy, for there the nights seem peopled with the ghosts of warriors and cardinals, and there on festal mornings the spirits of Petrarch and his Laura walk abroad, the ramparts, which bade defiance to Goth and Vandal and Saracen hordes, now giving shelter to bats and owls, but the atmosphere laden with legend

"…tasting of Flora and the country green, Dance and Provençal song and sun-burnt mirth."

Something too much of this! Let me not yield to the spell of the picturesque. To recur to matters of fact and get down to prose and the times we live in let us halt a moment on this southerly journey and have a look in upon Lyons, the industrial capital of France, which is directly on the way.

The idiosyncrasy of Lyons is silk. There are two schools of introduction in the art of silk weaving, one of them free to any lad in the city, the other requiring a trifle of matriculation. The first of these witnesses the whole process of fabrication from the reeling of threads to the finishing of dress goods, and the loom painting of pictures. It is most interesting of course, the painstaking its most obvious feature, the individual weaver living with his family upon a wage representing the cost of the barest necessities of life. Again, and ever and ever again, the inequalities of fortune! Where will it end?

The world has tried revolution and it has tried anarchy. Always the survival of the strong, nicknamed by Spencer and his ilk the "fittest." Ten thousand heads were chopped off during the Terror in France to make room for whom? Not for the many, but the few; though it must be allowed that in some ways the conditions were improved.

Yet here after a hundred years, here in Lyons, faithful, intelligent men struggle for sixty, for forty cents a day, with never a hope beyond! What is to be done about it? Suppose the wealth of the universe were divided per capita, how long would it remain out of the clutches of the Napoleons of finance, only a percentage of whom find ultimately their Waterloo, little to the profit of the poor who spin and delve, who fight and die, in the Grand Army of the Wretched!


We read a deal that is amusing about the southerly Frenchman. He is indeed sui generis. Some five and twenty years ago there appeared in Louisville a dapper gentleman, who declared himself a Marseillais, and who subsequently came to be known variously as The Major and The Frenchman. I shall not mention him otherwise in this veracious chronicle, but, looking through the city directory of Marseilles I found an entire page devoted to his name, though all the entries may not have been members of his family. There is no doubt that he was a Marseillais.

Wandering through the streets of the old city, now in a café of La Cannebière and now along a quay of the Old Port, his ghost has often crossed my path and dogged my footsteps, though he has lain in his grave this many a day. I grew to know him very well, to be first amused by him, then to be interested, and in the end to entertain an affection for him.

The Major was a delightful composite of Tartarin of Tarascon and the Brigadier Gerard, with a dash of the Count of Monte Cristo; for when he was flush—which by some odd coincidence happened exactly four times a year—he was as liberal a spendthrift as one could wish to meet anywhere between the little principality of Monaco and the headwaters of the Nile; transparent as a child; idiosyncratic to a degree.

I understand Marseilles better and it has always seemed nearer to me since he was born there and lived there when a boy, and, I much fear me, was driven away, the scapegrace of excellent and wealthy people; not, I feel sure, for any offense that touched the essential parts of his manhood. A gentler, a more upright and harmless creature I never knew in all my life.

I very well recall when he first arrived in the Kentucky metropolis. His attire and raiment were faultless. He wore a rose in his coat, he carried a delicate cane, and a most beautiful woman hung upon his arm. She was his wife. It was a circumstance connected with this lady which led to the after intimacy between him and me. She fell dangerously ill. I had casually met her husband as an all-round man-about-town, and by this token, seeking sympathy on lines of least resistance, he came to me with his sorrow.

I have never seen grief more real and fervid. He swore, on his knees and with tears in his eyes, that if she recovered, if God would give her back to him, he would never again touch a card; for gambling was his passion, and even among amateurs he would have been accounted the softest of soft things. His prayer was answered, she did recover, and he proceeded to fulfill his vow.

But what was he to do? He had been taught, or at least he had learned, to do nothing, not even to play poker! I suggested that as running a restaurant was a French prerogative and that as he knew less about cooking than about anything else—we had had a contest or two over the mysteries of a pair of chafing dishes—and as there was not a really good eating place in Louisville, he should set up a restaurant. It was said rather in jest than in earnest; but I was prepared to lend him the money. The next thing I knew, and without asking for a dollar, he had opened The Brunswick.

In those days I saw the Courier-Journal to press, turning night into day, and during a dozen years I took my twelve o'clock supper there. It was thus and from these beginnings that the casual acquaintance between us ripened into intimacy, and that I gradually came into a knowledge of the reserves behind The Major's buoyant optimism and occasional gasconnade.

He ate and drank sparingly; but he was not proof against the seduction of good company, and he had plenty of it, from William Preston to Joseph Jefferson, with such side lights as Stoddard Johnston, Boyd Winchester, Isaac Caldwell and Proctor Knott, of the Home Guard—very nearly all the celebrities of the day among the outsiders—myself the humble witness and chronicler. He secured an excellent chef, and of course we lived exceedingly well.

The Major's most obvious peculiarity was that he knew everything and had been everywhere. If pirates were mentioned he flowered out at once into an adventure upon the sea; if bandits, on the land. If it was Wall Street he had a reminiscence and a scheme; if gambling, a hard-luck story and a system. There was no quarter of the globe of which he had not been an inhabitant.

Once the timbered riches of Africa being mentioned, at once the Major gave us a most graphic account of how "the old house"—for thus he designated some commercial establishment, which either had no existence or which he had some reason for not more particularly indicating—had sent him in charge of a rosewood saw mill on the Ganges, and, after many ups and downs, of how the floods had come and swept the plant away; and Rudolph Fink, who was of the party, immediately said, "I can attest the truth of The Major's story, because my brother Albert and I were in charge of some fishing camps at the mouth of the Ganges at the exact date of the floods, and we caught many of those rosewood logs in our nets as they floated out to sea."

Augustine's Terrapin came to be for a while the rage in Philadelphia, and even got as far as New York and Washington, and straightway, The Major declared he could and would make Augustine and his terrapin look "like a monkey." He proposed to give a dinner.

There were great preparations and expectancy. None of us ate much at luncheon that day. At the appointed hour, we assembled at The Brunswick. I will dismiss the decorations and the preludes except to say that they were Parisian. After a while in full regalia The Major appeared, a train of servants following with a silver tureen. The lid was lifted.

"Voilà!" says he.

The vision disclosed to our startled eyes was an ocean that looked like bean soup flecked by a few strands of black crape!

The explosion duly arrived from the assembled gourmets, I, myself, I am sorry to say, leading the rebellion.

"I put seeks terrapin in zat soup!" exclaimed The Frenchman, quite losing his usual good English in his excitement.

We reproached him. We denounced him. He was driven from the field. But he bore us no malice. Ten days later he invited us again, and this time Sam Ward himself could have found no fault with the terrapin.

Next afternoon, when I knew The Major was asleep, I slipped back into the kitchen and said to Louis Garnier, the chef: "Is there any of that terrapin left over from last night?"

All unconscious of his treason Louis took me into the pantry and triumphantly showed me three jars bearing the Augustine label and the Philadelphia express tags!

On another occasion a friend of The Major's, passing The Brunswick and observing some diamond-back shells in the window said, "Major, have you any real live terrapins?"

[Illustration: Henry Woodfin Grady One of Mr. Watterson's "Boys".]

"Live!" cried The Frenchman. "Only this morning I open the ice box and they were all dancing the cancan."

"Major," persisted the friend, "I'll go you a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, you cannot show me an actual living terrapin."

"What do you take me for—confidence man?" The Major retorted. "How you expect an old sport like me to bet upon a certainty?"

"Never mind your ethics. The wager is drink, not money. In any event we shall have the wine."

"Oh, well," says The Frenchman, with a shrug and a droll grimace, "if you insist on paying for a bottle of wine come with me."

He took a lighted candle, and together they went back to the ice box. It was literally filled with diamond backs, and my friend thought he was gone for sure.

"Là!" says The Major with triumph, rummaging among the mass of shells with his cane as he held the candle aloft.

"But," says my friend, ready to surrender, yet taking a last chance, "you told me they were dancing the cancan!"

The Major picked up a terrapin and turned it over in his hand. Quite numb and frozen, the animal within made no sign. Then he stirred the shells about in the box with his cane. Still not a show of life. Of a sudden he stopped, reflected a moment, then looked at his watch.

"Ah," he murmured. "I quite forget. The terrapin, they are asleep. It is ten-thirty, and the terrapin he regularly go to sleep at ten o'clock by the watch every night." And without another word he reached for the Veuve Cliquot!

For all his volubility in matters of romance and sentiment The Major was exceeding reticent about his immediate self and his own affairs. His legends referred to the distant of time and place. A certain dignity could not be denied him, and, on occasion, a proper reserve; he rarely mentioned his business—though he worked like a slave, and could not have been making much or any profit—so that there rose the query how he contrived to make both ends meet. Little by little I came into the knowledge that there was a money supply from somewhere; finally, it matters not how, that he had an annuity of forty thousand francs, paid in quarterly installments of ten thousand francs each.

Occasionally he mentioned "the Old House," and in relating the famous Sophonisba episode late at night, and only in the very fastnesses of the wine cellar, as it were, at the most lachrymose passage he spoke of "l'Oncle Célestin," with the deepest feeling.

"Did you ever hear The Frenchman tell that story about Sophonisba?" Doctor Stoic, whom on account of his affectation of insensibility we were wont to call Old Adamant, once asked me. "Well, sir, the other night he told it to me, and he was drunk, and he cried, sir; and I was drunk, and I cried too!"

I had known The Frenchman now ten or a dozen years. That he came from Marseilles, that he had served on the Confederate side in the Trans-Mississippi, that he possessed an annuity, that he must have been well-born and reared, that he was simple, yet canny, and in his money dealings scrupulously honest—was all I could be sure of. What had he done to be ashamed about or wish to conceal? In what was he a black sheep, for that he had been one seemed certain? Had the beautiful woman, his wife—a tireless church and charity worker, who lived the life of a recluse and a saint—had she reclaimed him from his former self? I knew that she had been the immediate occasion of his turning over a new leaf. But before her time what had he been, what had he done?

Late one night, when the rain was falling and the streets were empty, I entered The Brunswick. It was empty too. In the farthest corner of the little dining room The Major, his face buried in his hands, laid upon the table in front of him, sat silently weeping. He did not observe my entrance and I seated myself on the opposite side of the table. Presently he looked up, and seeing me, without a word passed me a letter which, all blistered with tears, had brought him to this distressful state. It was a formal French burial summons, with its long list of family names—his among the rest—the envelope, addressed in a lady's hand—his sister's, the wife of a nobleman in high military command—the postmark "Lyon." Uncle Celestin was dead.

Thereafter The Frenchman told me much which I may not recall and must not repeat; for, included in that funeral list were some of the best names in France, Uncle Célestin himself not the least of them.

At last he died, and as mysteriously as he had come his body was taken away, nobody knew when, nobody where, and with it went the beautiful woman, his wife, of whom from that day to this I have never heard a word.

Chapter the Fifteenth

    Still the Gay Capital of France—Its Environs—Walewska and De
    Morny—Thackeray in Paris—A Pension Adventure


Each of the generations thinks itself commonplace. Familiarity breeds equally indifference and contempt. Yet no age of the world has witnessed so much of the drama of life—of the romantic and picturesque—as the age we live in. The years betwixt Agincourt and Waterloo were not more delightfully tragic than the years between Serajevo and Senlis.

The gay capital of France remains the center of the stage and retains the interest of the onlooking universe. All roads lead to Paris as all roads led to Rome. In Dickens' day "a tale of two cities" could only mean London and Paris then, and ever so unalike. To be brought to date the title would have now to read "three," or even "four," cities, New York and Chicago putting in their claims for mundane recognition.

I have been not only something of a traveller, but a diligent student of history and a voracious novel reader, and, once-in-a-while, I get my history and my fiction mixed. This has been especially the case when the hum-drum of the Boulevards has driven me from the fascinations of the Beau Quartier into the by-ways of the Marais and the fastnesses of what was once the Latin Quarter. More than fifty years of intimacy have enabled me to learn many things not commonly known, among them that Paris is the most orderly and moral city in the world, except when, on rare and brief occasions, it has been stirred to its depths.

I have crossed the ocean many times—have lived, not sojourned, on the banks of the Seine, and, as I shall never see the other side again—do not want to see it in its time of sorrow and garb of mourning—I may be forgiven a retrospective pause in this egotistic chronicle. Or, shall I not say, a word or two of affectionate retrogression, though perchance it leads me after the manner of Silas Wegg to drop into poetry and take a turn with a few ghosts into certain of their haunts, when you, dear sir, or madame, or miss, as the case may be, and I were living that "other life," whereof we remember so little that we cannot recall who we were, or what name we went by, howbeit now-and-then we get a glimpse in dreams, or a "hunch" from the world of spirits, or spirts-and-water, which makes us fancy we might have been Julius Caesar, or Cleopatra—as maybe we were!—or at least Joan of Arc, or Jean Valjean!


Let me repeat that upon no spot of earth has the fable we call existence had so rare a setting and rung up its curtain upon such a succession of performances; has so concentrated human attention upon mundane affairs; has called such a muster roll of stage favorites; has contributed to romance so many heroes and heroines, to history so many signal episodes and personal exploits, to philosophy so much to kindle the craving for vital knowledge, to stir sympathy and to awaken reflection.

Greece and Rome seem but myths of an Age of Fable. They live for us as pictures live, as statues live. What was it I was saying about statues— that they all look alike to me? There are too many of them. They bring the ancients down to us in marble and bronze, not in flesh and blood. We do not really laugh with Terence and Horace, nor weep with Æschylus and Homer. The very nomenclature has a ticket air like tags on a collection of curios in an auction room, droning the dull iteration of a catalogue. There is as little to awaken and inspire in the system of religion and ethics of the pagan world they lived in as in the eyes of the stone effigies that stare blankly upon us in the British Museum, the Uffizi and the Louvre.

We walk the streets of the Eternal City with wonderment, not with pity, the
human side quite lost in the archaic. What is Cæsar to us, or we to Cæsar?
Jove's thunder no longer terrifies, and we look elsewhere than the Medici
Venus for the lights o' love.

Not so with Paris. There the unbroken line of five hundred years—semi-modern years, marking a longer period than we commonly ascribe to Athens or Rome—beginning with the exit of this our own world from the dark ages into the partial light of the middle ages, and continuing thence through the struggle of man toward achievement—tells us a tale more consecutive and thrilling, more varied and instructive, than may be found in all the pages of all the chroniclers and poets of the civilizations which vibrated between the Bosphorus and the Tiber, to yield at last to triumphant Barbarism swooping down from Tyrol crag and Alpine height, from the fastnesses of the Rhine and the Rhone, to swallow luxury and culture. Refinement had done its perfect work. It had emasculated man and unsexed woman and brought her to the front as a political force, even as it is trying to do now.

The Paris of Balzac and Dumas, of De Musset and Hugo—even of Thackeray—could still be seen when I first went there. Though our age is as full of all that makes for the future of poetry and romance, it does not contemporaneously lend itself to sentimental abstraction. Yet it is hard to separate fact and fiction here; to decide between the true and the false; to pluck from the haze with which time has enveloped them, and to distinguish the puppets of actual flesh and blood who lived and moved and had their being, and the phantoms of imagination called into life and given each its local habitation and its name by the poet's pen working its immemorial spell upon the reader's credulity.

To me D'Artagnan is rather more vital than Richelieu. Hugo's imps and Balzac's bullies dance down the stage and shut from the view the tax-collectors and the court favorites. The mousquetaires crowd the field marshals off the scene. There is something real in Quasimodo, in Cæsar de Birotteau, in Robert Macaire, something mythical in Mazarin, in the Regent and in Jean Lass. Even here, in faraway Kentucky, I can shut my eyes and see the Lady of Dreams as plainly as if she were coming out of the Bristol or the Ritz to step into her automobile, while the Grande Mademoiselle is merely a cloud of clothes and words that for me mean nothing at all.

I once passed a week, day by day, roaming through the Musee Carnavalet. Madame de Sevigne had an apartment and held her salon there for nearly twenty years. Hard by is the house where the Marquise de Brinvilliers—a gentle, blue-eyed thing they tell us—a poor, insane creature she must have been—disseminated poison and death, and, just across and beyond the Place des Vosges, the Hotel de Sens, whither Queen Margot took her doll-rags and did her spriting after she and Henri Quatre had agreed no longer to slide down the same cellar door. There is in the Museum a death-mask, colored and exceeding life-like, taken the day after Ravaillac delivered the finishing knife-thrust in the Rue de Ferronnerie, which represents the Bèarnais as anything but a tamer of hearts. He was a fighter, however, from Wayback, and I dare say Dumas' narrative is quite as authentic as any.

One can scarce wonder that men like Hugo and Balzac chose this quarter of the town to live in—and Rachael, too!—it having given such frequent shelter to so many of their fantastic creations, having been the real abode of a train of gallants and bravos, of saints and harlots from the days of Diane de Poitiers to the days of Pompadour and du Barry, and of statesmen and prelates likewise from Sully to Necker, from Colbert to Turgot.


I speak of the Marais as I might speak of Madison Square, or Hyde Park—as a well-known local section—yet how few Americans who have gone to Paris have ever heard of it. It is in the eastern division of the town. One finds it a curious circumstance that so many if not most of the great cities somehow started with the rising, gradually to migrate toward the setting sun.

When I first wandered about Paris there was little west of the Arch of Stars except groves and meadows. Neuilly and Passy were distant villages. Auteuil was a safe retreat for lovers and debtors, with comic opera villas nestled in high-walled gardens. To Auteuil Armand Duval and his Camille hied away for their short-lived idyl. In those days there was a lovely lane called Marguerite Gautier, with a dovecote pointed out as the very "rustic dwelling" so pathetically sung in Verdi's tuneful score and tenderly described in the original Dumas text. The Boulevard Montmorenci long ago plowed the shrines of romance out of the knowledge of the living, and a part of the Longchamps racecourse occupies the spot whither impecunious poets and adventure-seeking wives repaired to escape the insistence of cruel bailiffs and the spies of suspicious and monotonous husbands.

Tempus fugit! I used to read Thackeray's Paris Sketches with a kind of awe. The Thirties and the Forties, reincarnated and inspired by his glowing spirit, seemed clad in translucent garments, like the figures in the Nibelungenlied, weird, remote, glorified. I once lived in the street "for which no rhyme our language yields," next door to a pastry shop that claimed to have furnished the mise en scène for the "Ballad of Bouillabaisse," and I often followed the trail of Louis Dominic Cartouche "down that lonely and crooked byway that, setting forth from a palace yard, led finally to the rear gate of a den of thieves." Ah, well-a-day! I have known my Paris now twice as long as Thackeray knew his Paris, and my Paris has been as interesting as his Paris, for it includes the Empire, the Siege and the Republic.

I knew and sat for months at table with Comtesse Walewska, widow of the bastard son of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Duke de Morny was rather a person in his way and Gambetta was no slouch, as Titmarsh would himself agree. I knew them both. The Mexican scheme, which was going to make every Frenchman rich, was even more picturesque and tragical than the Mississippi bubble. There were lively times round about the last of the Sixties and the early Seventies. The Terror lasted longer, but it was not much more lurid than the Commune; the Hotel de Ville and the Tuileries in flames, the column gone from the Place Vendôme, when I got there just after the siege. The regions of the beautiful Opera House and of the venerable Notre Dame they told me had been but yesterday running streams of blood. At the corner of the Rue de la Paix and the Rue Dannou (they called it then the Rue St. Augustine) thirty men, women, and boys were one forenoon stood against the wall and shot, volley upon volley, to death. In the Sacristy of the Cathedral over against the Morgue and the Hotel Dieu, they exhibit the gore-stained vestments of three archbishops of Paris murdered within as many decades.


Thackeray came to Paris when a very young man. He was for painting pictures, not for writing books, and he retained his artistic yearnings if not ambitions long after he had become a great and famous man of letters. It was in Paris that he married his wife, and in Paris that the melancholy finale came to pass; one of the most heartbreaking chapters in literary history.

His little girls lived here with their grandparents. The elder of them relates how she was once taken up some flights of stairs by the Countess X to the apartment of a frail young man to whom the Countess was carrying a basket of fruit; and how the frail young man insisted, against the protest of the Countess, upon sitting at the piano and playing; and of how they came out again, the eyes of the Countess streaming with tears, and of her saying, as they drove away, "Never, never forget, my child, as long as you live, that you have heard Chopin play." It was in one of the lubberly houses of the Place Vendôme that the poet of the keyboard died a few days later. Just around the corner, in the Rue du Mont Thabor, died Alfred de Musset. A brass plate marks the house.

May I not here transcribe that verse of the famous "Ballad of Bouillabaisse," which I have never been able to recite, or read aloud, and part of which I may at length take to myself:

  "Ah me, how quick the days are flitting!
  I mind me of a time that's gone,
  When here I'd sit, as now I'm sitting
  In this same place—but not alone—
  A fair young form was nestled near me,
  A dear, dear face looked fondly up,
  And sweetly spoke and smiled to hear me,
  There's no one now to share my cup."

The writer of these lines a cynic! Nonsense. When will the world learn to discriminate?


It is impossible to speak of Paris without giving a foremost place in the memorial retrospect to the Bois de Boulogne, the Parisian's Coney Island. I recall that I passed the final Sunday of my last Parisian sojourn just before the outbreak of the World War with a beloved family party in the joyous old Common. There is none like it in the world, uniting the urban to the rural with such surpassing grace as perpetually to convey a double sensation of pleasure; primal in its simplicity, superb in its setting; in the variety and brilliancy of the life which, upon sunny afternoons, takes possession of it and makes it a cross between a parade and a paradise.

There was a time when, rather far away for foot travel, the Bois might be considered a driving park for the rich. It fairly blazed with the ostentatious splendor of the Second Empire; the shoddy Duke with his shady retinue, in gilded coach-and-four; the world-famous courtesan, bedizened with costly jewels and quite as well known as the Empress; the favorites of the Tuileries, the Comédie Française, the Opera, the Jardin Mabille, forming an unceasing and dazzling line of many-sided frivolity from the Port de Ville to the Port St. Cloud, circling round La Bagatelle and ranging about the Cafe Cascade, a human tiara of diamonds, a moving bouquet of laces and rubies, of silks and satins and emeralds and sapphires. Those were the days when the Due de Morny, half if not full brother of the Emperor, ruled as king of the Bourse, and Cora Pearl, a clever and not at all good-looking Irish girl gone wrong, reigned as Queen of the Demimonde.

All this went by the board years ago. Everywhere, more or less, electricity has obliterated distinctions of rank and wealth. It has circumvented lovers and annihilated romance. The Republic ousted the bogus nobility. The subways and the tram cars connect the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes so closely that the poorest may make himself at home in either or both.

The automobile, too, oddly enough, is proving a very leveller. The crowd recognizes nobody amid the hurly-burly of coupes, pony-carts, and taxicabs, each trying to pass the other. The conglomeration of personalities effaces the identity alike of the statesman and the artist, the savant and the cyprian. No six-inch rules hedge the shade of the trees and limit the glory of the grass. The ouvrier can bring his brood and his basket and have his picnic where he pleases. The pastry cook and his chére amie, the coiffeur and his grisette can spoon by the lake-side as long as the moonlight lasts, and longer if they list, with never a gendarme to say them nay, or a rude voice out of the depths hoarsely to declaim, "allez!" The Bois de Boulogne is literally and absolutely a playground, the playground of the people, and this last Sunday of mine, not fewer than half a million of Parisians were making it their own.

Half of these encircled the Longchamps racecourse. The other half were shared by the boats upon the lagoons and the bosky dells under the summer sky and the cafés and the restaurants with which the Bois abounds. Our party, having exhausted the humors of the drive, repaired to Pré Catalan. Aside from the "two old brides" who are always in evidence on such occasions, there was a veritable "young couple," exceedingly pretty to look at, and delightfully in love! That sort of thing is not so uncommon in Paris as cynics affect to think.

If it be true, as the witty Frenchman observes, that "gambling is the recreation of gentlemen and the passion of fools," it is equally true that love is a game where every player wins if he sticks to it and is loyal to it. Just as credit is the foundation of business is love both the asset and the trade-mark of happiness. To see it is to believe it, and—though a little cash in hand is needful to both—where either is wanting, look out for sheriffs and scandals.

Pré Catalan, once a pasture for cows with a pretty kiosk for the sale of milk, has latterly had a tea-room big enough to seat a thousand, not counting the groves which I have seen grow up about it thickly dotted with booths and tables, where some thousands more may regale themselves. That Sunday it was never so glowing with animation and color. As it makes one happy to see others happy it makes one adore his own land to witness that which makes other lands great.

I have not loved Paris as a Parisian, but as an American; perhaps it is a stretch of words to say I love Paris at all. I used to love to go there and to behold the majesty of France. I have always liked to mark the startling contrasts of light and shade. I have always known what all the world now knows, that beneath the gayety of the French there burns a patriotic and consuming fire, a high sense of public honor; a fine spirit of self-sacrifice along with the sometimes too aggressive spirit of freedom. In 1873 I saw them two blocks long and three files deep upon the Rue St. Honore press up to the Bank of France, old women and old men with their little all tied in handkerchiefs and stockings to take up the tribute required by Bismarck to rid the soil of the detested German. They did it. Alone they did it—the French people—the hard-working, frugal, loyal commonalty of France—without asking the loan of a sou from the world outside.


Writing of that last Sunday in the Bois de Boulogne, I find by recurring to the record that I said: "There is a deal more of good than bad in every Nation. I take off my hat to the French. But, I have had my fling and I am quite ready to go home. Even amid the gayety and the glare, the splendor of color and light, the Hungarian band wafting to the greenery and the stars the strains of the delicious waltz, La Veuve Joyeuse her very self—yea, many of her—tapping the time at many adjacent tables, the song that fills my heart is 'Hame, Hame, Hame!—Hame to my ain countree.' Yet, to come again, d'ye mind? I should be loath to say good-by forever to the Bois de Boulogne. I want to come back to Paris. I always want to come back to Paris. One needs not to make an apology or give a reason.

"We turn rather sadly away from Pré Catalan and the Café Cascade. We glide adown the flower-bordered path and out from the clusters of Chinese lanterns, and leave the twinkling groves to their music and merry-making. Yonder behind us, like a sentinel, rises Mont Valerien. Before us glimmer the lamps of uncountable coaches, as our own, veering toward the city, the moon just topping the tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie and silver-plating the bronze figures upon the Arch of Stars.

"We enter the Port Maillot. We turn into the Avenue du Bois. Presently we shall sweep with the rest through the Champs Èlysées and on to the ocean of the infinite, the heart of the mystery we call Life, nowhere so condensed, so palpable, so appealing. Roll the screen away! The shades of Clovis and Genevieve may be seen hand-in-hand with the shades of Martel and Pepin, taking the round of the ghost-walk between St. Denis and St. Germain, now le Balafré and again Navarre, now the assassins of the Ligue and now the assassins of the Terror, to keep them company. Nor yet quite all on murder bent, some on pleasure; the Knights and Ladies of the Cloth of Gold and the hosts of the Renaissance: Cyrano de Bergerac and François Villon leading the ragamuffin procession; the jades of the Fronde, Longueville, Chevreuse and fair-haired Anne of Austria; and Ninon, too, and Manon; and the never-to-be-forgotten Four, 'one for all and all for one;' Cagliostro and Monte Cristo; on the side, Rabelais taking notes and laughing under his cowl. Catherine de Medici and Robespierre slinking away, poor, guilty things, into the pale twilight of the Dawn!

"Names! Names! Only names? I am not just so sure about that. In any event, what a roll call! We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded by a sleep; the selfsame sleep which these, our living dead men and women in steel armor and gauzy muslins, in silken hose and sock and buskin, epaulettes and top boots, brocades and buff facings, have endured so long and know so well!

"If I should die in Paris I should expect them—or some of them—to meet me at the barriers and to say, 'Behold, the wickedness that was done in the world, the cruelty and the wrong, dwelt in the body, not in the soul of man, which freed from its foul incasement, purified and made eternal by the hand of death, shall see both the glory and the hand of God!'"

It was not to be. I shall not die in Paris. I shall never come again. Neither shall I make apology for this long quotation by myself from myself, for am I not inditing an autobiography, so called?

Chapter the Sixteenth

    Monte Carlo—The European Shrine of Sport and Fashion—Apocryphal
    Gambling Stories—Leopold, King of the Belgians—An Able and
    Picturesque Man of Business


Having disported ourselves in and about Paris, next in order comes a journey to the South of France—that is to the Riviera—by geography the main circle of the Mediterranean Sea, by proclamation Cannes, Nice, and Mentone, by actual fact and count, Monte Carlo—even the swells adopting a certain hypocrisy as due to virtue.

Whilst Monte Carlo is chiefly, I might say exclusively, identified in the general mind with gambling, and was indeed at the outset but a gambling resort, it long ago outgrew the limits of the Casino, becoming a Mecca of the world of fashion as well as the world of sport. Half the ruling sovereigns of Europe and all the leaders of European swelldom, the more prosperous of the demi-mondaines and no end of the merely rich of every land, congregate there and thereabouts. At the top of the season the show of opulence and impudence is bewildering.

The little principality of Monaco is hardly bigger than the Cabbage Patch of the renowned Mrs. Wiggs. It is, however, more happily situate. Nestled under the heights of La Condamine and Tête de Chien and looking across a sheltered bay upon the wide and blue Mediterranean, it has better protection against the winds of the North than Nice, or Cannes, or Mentone. It is an appanage—in point of fact the only estate—remaining to the once powerful Grimaldi family.

In the early days of land-piracy Old Man Grimaldi held his own with Old Man Hohenzollern and Old Man Hapsburg. The Savoys and the Bourbons were kith and kin. But in the long run of Freebooting the Grimaldis did not keep up with the procession. How they retained even this remnant of inherited brigandage and self-appointed royalty, I do not know. They are here under leave of the Powers and the especial protection, strange to say, of the French Republic.

Something over fifty years ago, being hard-up for cash, the Grimaldi of the period fell under the wiles of an ingenious Alsatian gambler, Guerlac by name, who foresaw that Baden-Baden and Hombourg were approaching their finish and that the sports must look elsewhere for their living, the idle rich for their sport. This tiny "enclave" in French territory presented many advantages over the German Dukedoms. It was an independent sovereignty issuing its own coins and postage stamps. It was in proud possession of a half-dozen policemen which it called its "army." It was paradisaic in beauty and climate. Its "ruler" was as poor as Job's turkey, but by no means as proud as Lucifer.

The bargain was struck. The gambler smote the rock of Monte Carlo as with a wand of enchantment and a stream of plenty burst forth. The mountain-side responded to the touch. It chortled in its glee and blossomed as the rose.


The region known as the Riviera comprises, as I have said, the whole land-circle of the Mediterranean Sea. But, as generally written and understood, it stands for the shoreline between Marseilles and Genoa. The two cities are connected by the Corniche Road, built by the First Napoleon, who learned the need of it when he made his Italian campaign, and the modern railway, the distance 260 miles, two-thirds of the way through France, the residue through Italy, and all of it surpassing fine.

The climate is very like that of Southern Florida. But as in Florida they have the "Nor'westers" and the "Nor'easters," on the Riviera they have the "mistral." In Europe there is no perfect winter weather north of Spain, as in the United States none north of Cuba.

I have often thought that Havana might be made a dangerous rival of Monte Carlo under the one-man power, exercising its despotism with benignant intelligence and spending its income honestly upon the development of both the city and the island. The motley populace would probably be none the worse for it. The Government could upon a liberal tariff collect not less than thirty-five millions of annual revenue. Twenty-five of these millions would suffice for its own support. Ten millions a year laid out upon harbors, roadways and internal improvements in general would within ten years make the Queen of the Antilles the garden spot and playground of Christendom. They would build a Casino to outshine even the architectural miracles of Charles Garnier. Then would Havana put Cairo out of business and give the Prince of Monaco a run for his money.

With the opening of every Monte Carlo season the newspapers used to tell of the colossal winnings of purely imaginary players. Sometimes the favored child of chance was a Russian, sometimes an Englishman, sometimes an American. He was usually a myth, of course. As Mrs. Prig observed to Mrs. Camp, "there never was no sich person."


Charles Garnier, the Parisian architect, came and built the Casino, next to the Library of Congress at Washington and the Grand Opera House at Paris the most beautiful building in the world, with incomparable gardens and commanding esplanades to set it off and display it. Around it palatial hotels and private mansions and villas sprang into existence. Within it a gold-making wheel of fortune fabricated the wherewithal. Old Man Grimaldi in his wildest dreams of land-piracy—even Old Man Hohenzollern, or Old Man Hapsburg—never conceived the like.

There is no poverty, no want, no taxes—not any sign of dilapidation or squalor anywhere in the principality of Monaco. Yet the "people," so called, have been known to lapse into a state of discontent. They sometimes "yearned for freedom." Too well fed and cared for, too rid of dirt and debt, too flourishing, they "riz." Prosperity grew monotonous. They even had the nerve to demand a "Constitution."

The reigning Prince was what Yellowplush would call "a scientific gent." His son and heir, however, had not his head in the clouds, being in point of fact of the earth earthly, and, of consequence, more popular than his father. He came down from the Castle on the hill to the marketplace in the town and says he: "What do you galoots want, anyhow?"

First, their "rights." Then a change in the commander-in-chief of the army, which had grown from six to sixteen. Finally, a Board of Aldermen and a Common Council.

"Is that all?" says his Royal Highness. They said it was. "Then," says he, "take it, mes enfants, and bless you!"

So, all went well again. The toy sovereignty began to rattle around in its own conceit, the "people" regarded themselves, and wished to be regarded, as a chartered Democracy. The little gim-crack economic system experienced the joys of reform. A "New Nationalism" was established in the brewery down by the railway station and a reciprocity treaty was negotiated between the Casino and Vanity Fair, witnessing the introduction of two roulette tables and an extra brazier for cigar stumps.

But the Prince of Monaco stood on one point. He would have no Committee on Credentials. He told me once that he had heard of Tom Reed and Champ Clark and Uncle Joe Cannon, but that he preferred Uncle Joe. He would, and he did, name his own committees both in the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council. Thus, for the time being, "insurgency" was quelled. And once more serenely sat the Castle on the hill hard by the Cathedral. Calmly again flowed the waters in the harbor. More and more the autos honked outside the Casino. Within "the little ball ever goes merrily round," and according to the croupiers and the society reporters "the gentleman wins and the poor gambler loses!"


To illustrate, I recall when on a certain season the lucky sport of print and fancy was an Englishman. In one of those farragos of stupidity and inaccuracy which are syndicated and sent from abroad to America, I found the following piece with the stuff and nonsense habitually worked off on the American press as "foreign correspondence":

"Now and then the newspapers report authentic instances of large sums having been won at the gaming tables at Monte Carlo. One of the most fortunate players at Monte Carlo for a long time past has been a Mr. Darnbrough, an Englishman, whose remarkable run of luck had furnished the morsels of gossip in the capitals of Continental Europe recently.

"If reports are true, he left the place with the snug sum of more than 1,000,000 francs to the good as the result of a month's play. But this, I hear, did not represent all of Mr. Darnbrough's winnings. The story goes that on the opening day of his play he staked 24,000 francs, winning all along the line. Emboldened by his success, he continued playing, winning again and again with marvelous luck. At one period, it is said, his credit balance amounted to no less than 1,850,000 francs; but from that moment Dame Fortune ceased to smile upon him. He lost steadily from 200,000 to 300,000 francs a day, until, recognizing that luck had turned against him, he had sufficient strength of will to turn his back on the tables and strike for home with the very substantial winnings that still remained.

"On another occasion a well-known London stock broker walked off with little short of £40,000. This remarkable performance occasioned no small amount of excitement in the gambling rooms, as such an unusual incident does invariably.

"Bent on making a 'plunge,' he went from one table to another, placing the maximum stake on the same number. Strange to relate, at each table the same number won, and it was his number. Recognizing that this perhaps might be his lucky day, the player wended his way to the trente-et-quarante room and put the maximum on three of the tables there. To his amazement, he discovered that there also he had been so fortunate as to select the winning number.

"The head croupier confided to a friend of the writer who happened to be present that that day had been the worst in the history of the Monaco bank for years. He it was also who mentioned the amount won by the fortunate Londoner, as given above."

It is prudent of the space-writers to ascribe such "information" as this to "the head croupier," because it is precisely the like that such an authority would give out. People upon the spot know that nothing of the kind happened, and that no person of that name had appeared upon the scene. The story on the face of it bears to the knowing its own refutation, being absurd in every detail. As if conscious of this, the author proceeds to quality it in the following:

"It is a well-known fact that one of the most successful players at the Monte Carlo tables was Wells, who as the once popular music-hall song put it, 'broke the bank' there. He was at the zenith of his fame, about twenty years ago, when his escapades—and winnings—were talked about widely and envied in European sporting circles and among the demi-monde.

"In ten days, it was said, he made upward of £35,000 clear winnings at the tables after starting with the modest capital of £400. It must not be forgotten, however, that at his trial later Wells denied this, stating that all he had made was £7,000 at four consecutive sittings. He made the statement that, even so, he had been a loser in the end.

"The reader may take his choice of the two statements, but among frequenters of the rooms at Monte Carlo it is generally considered impossible to amass large winnings without risking large stakes. Even then the chances are 1,000 to 1 in favor of the bank. Yet occasionally there are winnings running into four or five figures, and to human beings the possibility of chance constitutes an irresistible fascination.

"Only a few years ago a young American was credited with having risen from the tables $75,000 richer than when first he had sat down. It was his first visit to Monte Carlo and he had not come with any system to break the bank or with any 'get-rich-quick' idea. For the novelty of the thing he risked about $4,000, and lost it all in one fell swoop without turning a hair. Then he 'plunged' with double that amount, but the best part of that, too, went the same way. Nothing daunted, he next ventured $10,000. This time fickle fortune favored him. He played on with growing confidence and when his winnings amounted to the respectable sum of $75,000 he had the good sense to quit and to leave the place despite the temptation to continue."


The "man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo," and gave occasion for the song, was not named "Wells" and he was not an Englishman. He was an American. I knew him well and soon after the event had from his own lips the whole story.

He came to Monte Carlo with a good deal of money won at draw-poker in a club at Paris and went away richer by some 100,000 francs (about $20,000) than he came.

The catch-line of the song is misleading. There is no such thing as "breaking the bank at Monte Carlo." This particular player won so fast upon two or three "spins" that the table at which he played had to suspend until it could be replenished by another "bank," perhaps ten minutes in point of time. There used to be some twenty tables. Just how one man could play at more than one of them at one time a "foreign correspondent," but only a "foreign correspondent," might explain to the satisfaction of the horse-marines.

I very much doubt whether any player ever won more than 100,000 francs at a single sitting. To do even that he must plunge like a ship in a hurricane. There is, of course, a saving limit set by the Casino Company upon the play. It is to the interest of the Casino to cultivate the idea, and the letter writers are willing tools. Not only at Monte Carlo, but everywhere, in dearth of news, gambling stories come cheap and easy. And the cheaper the story the bigger the play. "The Jedge raised him two thousand dollars. The Colonel raised him back ten thousand more. Both of 'em stood pat. The Jedge bet him a hundred thousand. The Colonel called. 'What you got?' says he. 'Ace high,' says the Jedge; 'what you got?' 'Pair o' deuces,' says the Colonel."

Assuredly the "play" in the Casino is entirely fair. It could hardly be otherwise with such crowds of players at the tables, often covering the whole "layout." But there is no such thing as "honest gambling." The "house" must have "the best of it." A famous American gambler, when I had referred to one of his guild, lately deceased, as "an honest gambler," said to me: "What do you mean by 'an honest gambler'?"

"A gambler who will not take unfair advantage!" I answered.

"Well," said he, "the gambler must have his advantage, because gambling is his livelihood. He must fit himself for its profitable pursuit by learning all the tricks of trade like other artists and artificers. With him it is win or starve."

Among the variegate crowds that thronged the highways and byways of Monte Carlo in those days there was no single figure more observed and striking than that of Leopold the Second, King of the Belgians. He had a bungalow overlooking the sea where he lived three months of the year like a country gentleman. Although I have made it a rule to avoid courts and courtiers, an event brought me into acquaintance with this best abused man in Europe, enabling me to form my own estimate of his very interesting personality.

He was not at all what his enemies represented him to be, a sot, a gambler and a roué. In appearance a benignant burgomaster, tall and stalwart; in manner and voice very gentle, he should be described as first of all a man of business. His weakness was rather for money than women. Speaking of the most famous of the Parisian dancers with whom his name had been scandalously associated, he told me that he had never met her but once in his life, and that after the newspaper gossips had been busy for years with their alleged love affair. "I kissed her hand," he related, "and bade her adieu, saying, 'Ah, ma'mselle, you and I have indeed reason to congratulate ourselves.'"

It was the Congo business that lay at the bottom of the abuse of Leopold. Henry Stanley had put him up to this. It turned out a gold mine, and then two streams of defamation were let loose; one from the covetous commercial standpoint and the other from the humanitarian. Between them, seeking to drive him out, they depicted him as a monster of cruelty and depravity.

A King must be an anchorite to escape calumny, and Leopold was not an anchorite. I asked him why I never saw him in the Casino. "Play," he answered, "does not interest me. Besides, I do not enjoy being talked about. Nor do I think the game they play there quite fair."

"In what way do you consider it unfair, your Majesty?" I asked.

"In the zero," he replied. "At the Brussels Casino I do not allow them to have a zero. Come and see me and I will show you a perfectly equal chance for your money, to win or lose."

Years after I was in Brussels. Leopold had gone to his account and his nephew, Albert, had come to the throne. There was not a roulette table in the Casino, but there was one conveniently adjacent thereto, managed by a clique of New York gamblers, which had both a single "and a double O," and, as appeared when the municipality made a descent upon the place, was ingeniously wired to throw the ball wherever the presiding coupier wanted it to go.

I do not believe, however, that Leopold was a party to this, or could have had any knowledge of it. He was a skillful, not a dishonest, business man, who showed his foresight when he listened to Stanley and took him under his wing. If the Congo had turned out worthless nobody would ever have heard of the delinquencies of the King of the Belgians.

Chapter the Seventeenth

    A Parisian Pension—The Widow of Walewska—Napoleon's
    Daughter-in-Law—The Changeless—A Moral and Orderly City


I have said that I knew the widow of Walewska, the natural son of Napoleon Bonaparte by the Polish countess he picked up in Warsaw, who followed him to Paris; and thereby hangs a tale which may not be without interest.

In each of our many sojourns in Paris my wife and I had taken an apartment, living the while in the restaurants, at first the cheaper, like the Café de Progress and the Duval places; then the Boeuf à la Mode, the Café Voisin and the Café Anglais, with Champoux's, in the Place de la Bourse, for a regular luncheon resort.

At length, the children something more than half grown, I said: "We have never tried a Paris pension."

So with a half dozen recommended addresses we set out on a house hunt. We had not gone far when our search was rewarded by a veritable find. This was on the Avenue de Courcelles, not far from the Pare Monceau; newly furnished; reasonable charges; the lady manager a beautiful well-mannered woman, half Scotch and half French.

We moved in. When dinner was called the boarders assembled in the very elegant drawing-room. Madame presented us to Baron ——. Then followed introductions to Madame la Duchesse and Madame la Princesse and Madame la Comtesse. Then the folding doors opened and dinner was announced.

The baron sat at the center of the table. The meal consisted of eight or ten courses, served as if at a private house, and of surpassing quality. During the three months that we remained there was no evidence of a boarding house. It appeared an aristocratic family into which we had been hospitably admitted. The baron was a delightful person. Madame la Duchesse was the mother of Madame la Princesse, and both were charming. The Comtesse, the Napoleonic widow, was at first a little formal, but she came round after we had got acquainted, and, when we took our departure, it was like leaving a veritable domestic circle.

Years after we had the sequel. The baron, a poor young nobleman, had come
into a little money. He thought to make it breed. He had an equally poor
Scotch cousin, who undertook to play hostess. Both the Duchess and the
Countess were his kinswomen. How could such a ménage last?

He lost his all. What became of our fellow-lodgers I never learned, but the venture coming to naught, the last I heard of the beautiful high-bred lady manager, she was serving as a stewardess on an ocean liner. Nothing, however, could exceed the luxury, the felicity and the good company of those memorable three months chez l'Avenue de Courcelles, Pare Monceau.

We never tried a pension again. We chose a delightful hotel in the Rue de Castiglione off the Rue de Rivoli, and remained there as fixtures until we were reckoned the oldest inhabitants. But we never deserted the dear old Boeuf à la Mode, which we lived to see one of the most flourishing and popular places in Paris.


In the old days there was a little hotel on the Rue Dannou, midway between the Rue de la Paix and what later along became the Avenue de l'Opéra, called the Hôtel d'Orient. It was conducted by a certain Madame Hougenin, whose family had held the lease for more than a hundred years, and was typical of what the comfort-seeking visitor, somewhat initiate, might find before the modern tourist onrush overflowed all bounds and effaced the ancient landmarks—or should I say townmarks?—making a resort instead of a home of the gay French capital. The d'Orient was delightfully comfortable and fabulously cheap.

The wayfarer entered a darksome passage that led to an inner court. There were on the four sides of this seven or eight stories pierced by many windows. There was never a lift, or what we Americans call an elevator. If you wanted to go up you walked up; and after dark your single illuminant was candlelight. The service could hardly be recommended, but cleanliness herself could find no fault with the beds and bedding; nor any queer people about; changeless; as still and stationary as a nook in the Rockies.

A young girl might dwell there year in and year out in perfect safety—many young girls did so—madame a kind of duenna. The food—for it was a pension—was all a gourmet could desire. And the wine!

I was lunching with an old Parisian friend.

"What do you think of this vintage?" says he.

"Very good," I answered. "Come and dine with me to-morrow and I will give you the mate to it."

"What—at the d'Orient?"

"Yes, at the d'Orient."


Nevertheless, he came. When the wine was poured out he took a sip.

"By ——!" he exclaimed. "That is good, isn't it? I wonder where they got it? And how?"

During the week after we had it every day. Then no more. The headwaiter, with many apologies, explained that he had found those few bottles in a forgotten bin, where they had lain for years, and he begged a thousand pardons of monsieur, but we had drunk them all—rien du plus—no more. I might add that precisely the same thing happened to me at the Hôtel Continental. Indeed, it is not uncommon with the French caravansaries to keep a little extra good wine in stock for those who can distinguish between an ordinaire and a supérieur, and are willing to pay the price.


"See Naples and die," say the Italians. "See Paris and live," say the French. Old friends, who have been over and back, have been of late telling me that Paris, having woefully suffered, is nowise the Paris it was, and as the provisional offspring of four years of desolating war I can well believe them. But a year or two of peace, and the city will rise again, as after the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune, which laid upon it a sufficiently blighting hand. In spite of fickle fortune and its many ups and downs it is, and will ever remain, "Paris, the Changeless."

I never saw the town so much itself as just before the beginning of the world war. I took my departure in the early summer of that fateful year and left all things booming—not a sign or trace that there had ever been aught but boundless happiness and prosperity. It is hard, the saying has it, to keep a squirrel on the ground, and surely Paris is the squirrel among cities. The season just ended had been, everybody declared, uncommonly successful from the standpoints alike of the hotels and cafés, the shop folk and their patrons, not to mention the purely pleasure-seeking throng. People seemed loaded with money and giddy to spend it.

The headwaiter at Voisin's told me this: "Mr. Barnes, of New York, ordered a dinner, carte blanche, for twelve.

"'Now,' says he, 'garçon, have everything bang up, and here's seventy-five francs for a starter.'

"The dinner was bang up. Everybody hilarious. Mr. Barnes immensely pleased.
When he came to pay his bill, which was a corker, he made no objection.

"'Garçon,' says he, 'if I ask you a question will you tell me the truth?'

"'Oui, monsieur; certainement.'

"Well, how much was the largest tip you ever received?"

"Seventy-five francs, monsieur."

"'Very well; here are 100 francs.'

"Then, after a pause for the waiter to digest his joy and express a proper sense of gratitude and wonder, Mr. Barnes came to time with: 'Do you remember who was the idiot that paid you the seventy-five francs?'

"'Oh, yes, monsieur. It was you.'"


It has occurred to me that of late years—I mean the years immediately before 1914—Paris has been rather more bent upon adapting itself to human and moral as well as scientific progress. There has certainly been less debauchery visible to the naked eye. I was assured that the patronage had so fallen away from the Moulin Rouge that they were planning to turn it into a decent theater. Nor during my sojourn did anybody in my hearing so much as mention the Dead Rat. I doubt whether it is still in existence.

The last time I was in Maxim's—quite a dozen years ago now—a young woman sat next to me whose story could be read in her face. She was a pretty thing not five and twenty, still blooming, with iron-gray hair. It had turned in a night, I was told. She had recently come from Baltimore and knew no more what she was doing or whither she was drifting than a baby. The old, old story: a comfortable home and a good husband; even a child or two; a scoundrel, a scandal, an elopement, and the inevitable desertion. Left without a dollar in the streets of Paris. She was under convoy of a noted procuress.

"A duke or the morgue," she whimpered, "in six months."

Three months sufficed. They dragged all that remained of her out of the
Seine, and then the whole of the pitiful disgrace and tragedy came out.


If ever I indite a volume to be entitled Adventures in Paris it will contain not a line to feed any prurient fancy, but will embrace the record of many little journeys between the Coiffeur and the Marché des Fleurs, with maybe an excursion among the cemeteries and the restaurants.

Each city is as one makes it for himself. Paris has contributed greatly to my appreciation, and perhaps my knowledge, of history and literature and art and life. I have seen it in all its aspects; under the empire, when the Due de Morny was king of the Bourse and Mexico was to make every Frenchman rich; after the commune and the siege, when the Hôtel de Ville was in ruins, the palace of the Tuileries still aflame, the column gone from the Place Vendôme, and everything a blight and waste; and I have marked it rise from its ashes, grandly, proudly, and like a queen come to her own again, resume its primacy as the only complete metropolis in all the universe.

There is no denying it. No city can approach Paris in structural unity and regality, in things brilliant and beautiful, in buoyancy, variety, charm and creature comfort. Drunkenness, of the kind familiar to London and New York, is invisible to Paris. The brandy and absinthe habit has been greatly exaggerated. In truth, everywhere in Europe the use of intoxicants is on the decline. They are, for the first time in France, stimulated partly by the alarming adulteration of French wines, rigorously applying and enforcing the pure-food laws.

As a consequence, there is a palpable and decided improvement of the vintage of the Garonne and the Champagne country. One may get a good glass of wine now without impoverishing himself. As men drink wine, and as the wine is pure, they fall away from stronger drink. I have always considered, with Jefferson, the brewery in America an excellent temperance society. That which works otherwise is the dive which too often the brewery fathers. They are drinking more beer in France—even making a fairly good beer. And then—

But gracious, this is getting upon things controversial, and if there is anything in this world that I do hybominate, it is controversy!

Few of the wondrous changes which the Age of Miracles has wrought in my day and generation exceeded those of ocean travel. The modern liner is but a moving palace. Between the ports of the Old World and the ports of the new the transit is so uneventful as to grow monotonous. There are no more adventures on the high seas. The ocean is a thoroughfare, the crossing a ferry. My experience forty years ago upon one of the ancient tubs which have been supplanted by these liners would make queer reading to the latter-day tourist, taking, let us say, any one of the steamers of any one of the leading transatlantic companies. The difference in the appointments of the William Penn of 1865 and the star boats of 1914 is indescribable. It seems a fairy tale to think of a palm garden where the ladies dress for dinner, a Hungarian band which plays for them whilst they dine, and a sky parlor where they go after dinner for their coffee and what not; a tea-room for the five-o'clockers; and except in excessive weather scarcely any motion at all. It is this palm garden which most appeals to a certain lady of my very intimate acquaintance who had made many crossings and never gone to her meals—sick from shore to shore—until the gods ordained for her a watery, winery, flowery paradise—where the billows ceased from troubling and a woman could appear at her best. Since then she has sailed many times, lodged à la Waldorf-Astoria to eat her victuals and sip her wine with perfect contentment. Coming ashore from our last crossing a friend found her in the Red Room of that hostel just as she had been sitting the evening before on shipboard.

"Seems hardly any motion at all," she said, looking about her and fancying herself still at sea, as well she might.

Chapter the Eighteenth

    The Grover Cleveland Period—President Arthur and Mr. Blaine—John
    Chamberlin—The Decrees of Destiny


What may be called the Grover Cleveland period of American politics began with the election of that extraordinary person—another man of destiny—to the governorship of New York. Nominated, as it were, by chance, he carried the State by an unprecedented majority. That was not because of his popularity, but that an incredible number of Republican voters refused to support their party ticket and stayed away from the polls. The Blaine-Conkling feud, inflamed by the murder of Garfield, had rent the party of Lincoln and Grant asunder. Arthur, a Conkling leader, had succeeded to the presidency.

If any human agency could have sealed the breach he might have done it. No man, however, can achieve the impossible. The case was hopeless.

Arthur was a man of surpassing sweetness and grace. As handsome as Pierce, as affable as McKinley, he was a more experienced and dextrous politician than either. He had been put on the ticket with Garfield to placate Conkling. All sorts of stories to his discredit were told during the ensuing campaign. The Democrats made him out a tricky and typical "New York politician." In point of fact he was a many-sided, accomplished man who had a taking way of adjusting all conditions and adapting himself to all companies.

With a sister as charming and tactful as he for head of his domestic fabric, the White House bloomed again. He possessed the knack of surrounding himself with all sorts of agreeable people. Frederick Frelinghuysen was Secretary of State and Robert Lincoln, continued from the Garfield Cabinet, Secretary of War. Then there were three irresistibles: Walter Gresham, Frank Hatton and "Ben" Brewster. His home contingent—"Clint" Wheeler, "Steve" French, and "Jake" Hess—pictured as "ward heelers"—were, in reality, efficient and all-around, companionable men, capable and loyal.

I was sent by the Associated Press to Washington on a fool's errand—that is, to get an act of Congress extending copyright to the news of the association—and, remaining the entire session, my business to meet the official great and to make myself acceptable, I came into a certain intimacy with the Administration circle, having long had friendly relations with the President. In all my life I have never passed so delightful and useless a winter.

Very early in the action I found that my mission involved a serious and vexed question—nothing less than the creation of a new property—and I proceeded warily. Through my uncle, Stanley Matthews, I interested the members of the Supreme Court. The Attorney General, a great lawyer and an old Philadelphia friend, was at my call and elbow. The Joint Library Committee of Congress, to which the measure must go, was with me. Yet somehow the scheme lagged.

I could not account for this. One evening at a dinner Mr. Blaine enlightened me. We sat together at table and suddenly he turned and said: "How are you getting on with your bill?" And my reply being rather halting, he continued, "You won't get a vote in either House," and he proceeded very humorously to improvise the average member's argument against it as a dangerous power, a perquisite to the great newspapers and an imposition upon the little ones. To my mind this was something more than the post-prandial levity it was meant to be.

Not long after a learned but dissolute old lawyer said to me, "You need no act of Congress to protect your news service. There are at least two, and I think four or five, English rulings that cover the case. Let me show them to you." He did so and I went no further with the business, quite agreeing with Mr. Blaine, and nothing further came of it. To a recent date the Associated Press has relied on these decisions under the common law of England. Curiously enough, quite a number of newspapers in whose actual service I was engaged, opened fire upon me and roundly abused me.


There appeared upon the scene in Washington toward the middle of the seventies one of those problematical characters the fiction-mongers delight in. This was John Chamberlin. During two decades "Chamberlin's," half clubhouse and half chophouse, was all a rendezvous.

"John" had been a gambler; first an underling and then a partner of the famous Morrissy-McGrath racing combination at Saratoga and Long Branch. There was a time when he was literally rolling in wealth. Then he went broke—dead broke. Black Friday began it and the panic of '73 finished it. He came over to Washington and his friends got him the restaurant privileges of the House of Representatives. With this for a starting point, he was able to take the Fernando Wood residence, in the heart of the fashionable quarter, to add to it presently the adjoining dwelling of Governor Swann, of Maryland, and next to that, finally, the Blaine mansion, making a suite, as it were, elegant yet cozy. "Welcker's," erst a fashionable resort, and long the best eating-place in town, had been ruined by a scandal, and "Chamberlin's" succeeded it, having the field to itself, though, mindful of the "scandal" which had made its opportunity, ladies were barred.

There was a famous cook—Emeline Simmons—a mulatto woman, who was equally at home in French dishes and Maryland-Virginia kitchen mysteries—a very wonder with canvasback and terrapin—who later refused a great money offer to he chef at the White House—whom John was able to secure. Nothing could surpass—could equal—her preparations. The charges, like the victuals, were sky-high and tip-top. The service was handled by three "colored gentlemen," as distinguished in manners as in appearance, who were known far and wide by name and who dominated all about them, including John and his patrons.

No such place ever existed before, or will ever exist again. It was the personality of John Chamberlin, pervasive yet invisible, exhaling a silent, welcoming radiance. General Grant once said to me, "During my eight years in the White House, John Chamberlin once in a while—once in a great while—came over. He did not ask for anything. He just told me what to do, and I did it." I mentioned this to President Arthur. "Well," he laughingly said, "that has been my experience with John Chamberlin. It never crosses my mind to say him 'nay.' Often I have turned this over in my thought to reach the conclusion that being a man of sound judgment and worldly knowledge, he has fully considered the case—his case and my case—leaving me no reasonable objection to interpose."

John obtained an act of Congress authorizing him to build a hotel on the Government reservation at Fortress Monroe, and another of the Virginia Legislature confirming this for the State. Then he came to me. It was at the moment when I was flourishing as "a Wall Street magnate." He said: "I want to sell this franchise to some man, or company, rich enough to carry it through. All I expect is a nest egg for Emily and the girls"—he had married the beautiful Emily Thorn, widow of George Jordan, the actor, and there were two daughters—"you are hand-and-glove with the millionaires. Won't you manage it for me?" Like Grant and Arthur, I never thought of refusing. Upon the understanding that I was to receive no commission, I agreed, first ascertaining that it was really a most valuable franchise.

I began with the Willards, in whose hotel I had grown up. They were rich and going out of business. Then I laid it before Hitchcock and Darling, of the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York. They, rich like the Willards, were also retiring. Then a bright thought occurred to me. I went to the Prince Imperial of Standard Oil. "Mr. Flagler," I said, "you have hotels at St. Augustine and you have hotels at Palm Beach. Here is a halfway point between New York and Florida," and more of the same sort. "My dear friend," he answered, "every man has the right to make a fool of himself once in his life. This I have already done. Never again for me. I have put up my last dollar south of the Potomac." Then I went to the King of the transcontinental railways. "Mr. Huntington," I said, "you own a road extending from St. Louis to Newport News, having a terminal in a cornfield just out of Hampton Roads. Here is a franchise which gives you a magnificent site at Hampton Roads itself. Why not?" He gazed upon me with a blank stare—such I fancy as he usually turned upon his suppliants—and slowly replied: "I would not spend another dollar in Virginia if the Lord commanded me. In the event that some supernatural power should take the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway by the nape of the neck and the seat of the breeches and pitch it out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean it would be doing me a favor."

So I returned John his franchise marked "nothing doing." Afterward he put it in the hands of a very near friend, a great capitalist, who had no better luck with it. Finally, here and there, literally by piecemeal, he got together money enough to build and furnish the Hotel Chamberlin, had a notable opening with half of Congress there to see, and gently laid himself down and died, leaving little other than friends and debts.


Macaulay tells us that the dinner-table is a wondrous peacemaker, miracle worker, social solvent; and many were the quarrels composed and the plans perfected under the Chamberlin roof. It became a kind of Congressional Exchange with a close White House connection. If those old walls, which by the way are still standing, could speak, what tales they might tell, what testimonies refute, what new lights throw into the vacant corners and dark places of history!

Coming away from Chamberlin's with Mr. Blaine for an after-dinner stroll during the winter of 1883-4, referring to the approaching National Republican Convention, he said: "I do not want the nomination. In my opinion there is but one nominee the Republicans can elect this year and that is General Sherman. I have written him to tell him so and urge it upon him. In default of him the time of you people has come." He subsequently showed me this letter and General Sherman's reply. My recollection is that the General declared that he would not take the presidency if it were offered him, earnestly invoking Mr. Elaine to support his brother, John Sherman.

This would seem clear refutation that Mr. Blaine was party to his own nomination that year. It assuredly reveals keen political instinct and foresight. The capital prize in the national lottery was not for him.

I did not meet him until two years later, when he gave me a minute account of what had happened immediately thereafter; the swing around the circle; Belshazzar's feast, as a fatal New York banquet was called; the far-famed Burchard incident. "I did not hear the words, 'Rum, Romanism and Rebellion,'" he told me, "else, as you must know, I would have fittingly disposed of them."

I said: "Mr. Blaine, you may as well give it up. The doom of Webster, Clay, and Douglas is upon you. If you are nominated again, with an assured election, you will die before the day of election. If you survive the day and are elected, you'll die before the 4th of March." He smiled grimly and replied: "It really looks that way."

My own opinion has always been that if the Republicans had nominated Mr. Arthur in 1884 they would have elected him. The New York vote would scarcely have been so close. In the count of the vote the Arthur end of it would have had some advantage—certainly no disadvantage. Cleveland's nearly 200,000 majority had dwindled to the claim of a beggarly few hundred, and it was charged that votes which belonged to Butler, who ran as an independent labor candidate, were actually counted for Cleveland.

When it was over an old Republican friend of mine said: "Now we are even. History will attest that we stole it once and you stole it once. Turn about may be fair play; but, all the same, neither of us likes it."

So Grover Cleveland, unheard of outside of Buffalo two years before, was to be President of the United States. The night preceding his nomination for the governorship of New York, General Slocum seemed in the State convention sure of that nomination. Had he received it he would have carried the State as Cleveland did, and Slocum, not Cleveland, would have been the Chief Magistrate. It cost Providence a supreme effort to pull Cleveand through. But in his case, as in many another, Providence "got there" in fulfilment of a decree of Destiny.

Chapter the Nineteenth

    Mr. Cleveland in the White House—Mr. Bayard in the Department of
    State—Queer Appointments to Office—The One-Party Power—The End of
    North and South Sectionalism


The futility of political as well as of other human reckoning was set forth by the result of the presidential election of 1884. With a kind of prescience, as I have related, Mr. Blaine had foreseen it. He was a sagacious as well as a lovable and brilliant man. He looked back affectionately upon the days he had passed in Kentucky, when a poor school-teacher, and was especially cordial to the Kentuckians. In the House he and Beck were sworn friends, and they continued their friendship when both of them had reached the Senate.

I inherited Mr. Blaine's desk in the Ways and Means Committee room. In one of the drawers of this he had left a parcel of forgotten papers, which I returned to him. He made a joke of the secrets they covered and the fortunate circumstance that they had fallen into the hands of a friend and not of an enemy.

No man of his time could hold a candle to Mr. Blaine in what we call magnetism—that is, in manly charm, supported by facility and brain power. Clay and Douglas had set the standard of party leadership before his time. He made a good third to them. I never knew Mr. Clay, but with Judge Douglas I was well acquainted, and the difference between him and Mr. Blaine in leadership might be called negligible.

Both were intellectually aggressive and individually amiable. They at least seemed to love their fellow men. Each had been tried by many adventures. Each had gone, as it were, "through the flint mill." Born to good conditions—Mr. Blaine sprang from aristocratic forebears—each knew by early albeit brief experience the seamy side of life; as each, like Clay, nursed a consuming passion for the presidency. Neither had been made for a subaltern, and they chafed under the subaltern yoke to which fate had condemned them.


In Grover Cleveland a total stranger had arrived at the front of affairs. The Democrats, after a rule of more than half a century, had been out of power twenty-four years. They could scarce realize at first that they were again in power. The new chieftain proved more of an unknown quantity than had been suspected. William Dorsheimer, a life-long crony, had brought the two of us together before Cleveland's election to the governorship of the Empire State as one of a group of attractive Buffalo men, most of whom might be said to have been cronies of mine, Buffalo being a delightful halfway stop-over in my frequent migrations between Kentucky and the Eastern seaboard. As in the end we came to a parting of the ways I want to write of Mr. Cleveland as a historian and not as a critic.

He said to Mr. Carlisle after one of our occasional tiffs: "Henry will never like me until God makes me over again." The next time we met, referring to this, I said: "Mr. President, I like you very much—very much indeed—but sometimes I don't like some of your ways."

There were in point of fact two Clevelands—before marriage and after marriage—the intermediate Cleveland rather unequal and indeterminate. Assuredly no one of his predecessors had entered the White House so wholly ignorant of public men and national affairs. Stories used to be told assigning to Zachary Taylor this equivocal distinction. But General Taylor had grown up in the army and advanced in the military service to a chief command, was more or less familiar with the party leaders of his time, and was by heredity a gentleman. The same was measurably true of Grant. Cleveland confessed himself to have had no social training, and he literally knew nobody.

Five or six weeks after his inauguration I went to Washington to ask a diplomatic appointment for my friend, Boyd Winchester. Ill health had cut short a promising career in Congress, but Mr. Winchester was now well on to recovery, and there seemed no reason why he should not and did not stand in the line of preferment. My experience may be worth recording because it is illustrative.

In my quest I had not thought of going beyond Mr. Bayard, the new Secretary of State. I did go to him, but the matter seemed to make no headway. There appeared a hitch somewhere. It had not crossed my mind that it might be the President himself. What did the President know or care about foreign appointments?

He said to me on a Saturday when I was introducing a party of Kentucky friends: "Come up to-morrow for luncheon. Come early, for Rose"—his sister, for the time being mistress of the White House—"will be at church and we can have an old-fashioned talk-it-out."

The next day we passed the forenoon together. He was full of homely and often whimsical talk. He told me he had not yet realized what had happened to him.

"Sometimes," he said, "I wake at night and rub my eyes and wonder if it is not all a dream."

He asked an infinite number of questions about this, that and the other Democratic politician. He was having trouble with the Kentucky Congressmen. He had appointed a most unlikely scion of a well-known family to a foreign mission, and another young Kentuckian, the son of a New York magnate, to a leading consul generalship, without consultation with any one. He asked me about these. In a way one of them was one of my boys, and I was glad to see him get what he wanted, though he aspired to nothing so high. He was indeed all sorts of a boy, and his elevation to such a post was so grotesque that the nomination, like that of his mate, was rejected by the Senate. I gave the President a serio-comic but kindly account, at which he laughed heartily, and ended by my asking how he had chanced to make two such appointments.

"Hewitt came over here," he answered, "and then Dorsheimer. The father is the only Democrat we have in that great corporation. As to the other, he struck me as a likely fellow. It seemed good politics to gratify them and their friends."

I suggested that such backing was far afield and not very safe to go by, when suddenly he said: "I have been told over and over again by you and by others that you will not take office. Too much of a lady, I suppose! What are you hanging round Washington for anyhow? What do you want?"

Here was my opportunity to speak of Winchester, and I did so.

When I had finished he said: "What are you doing about Winchester?"

"Relying on the Secretary of State, who served in Congress with him and knows him well."

Then he asked: "What do you want for Winchester?"

I answered: "Belgium or Switzerland."

He said: "I promised Switzerland for a friend of Corning's. He brought
him over here yesterday and he is an out-and-out Republican who voted for
Blaine, and I shall not appoint him. If you want the place for Winchester,
Winchester it is."

Next day, much to Mr. Bayard's surprise, the commission was made out.

Mr. Cleveland had a way of sudden fancies to new and sometimes queer people. Many of his appointments were eccentric and fell like bombshells upon the Senate, taking the appointee's home people completely by surprise.

The recommendation of influential politicians seemed to have little if any weight with him.

There came to Washington from Richmond a gentleman by the name of Keiley, backed by the Virginia delegation for a minor consulship. The President at once fell in love with him.

[Illustration: Mr. Watterson's Library at "Mansfield"]

"Consul be damned," he said. "He is worth more than that," and named him
Ambassador to Vienna.

It turned out that Mrs. Keiley was a Jewess and would not be received at court. Then he named him Ambassador to Italy, when it appeared that Keiley was an intense Roman Catholic, who had made at least one ultramontane speech, and would be persona non grata at the Quirinal. Then Cleveland dropped him. Meanwhile poor Keiley had closed out bag and baggage at Richmond and was at his wit's end. After much ado the President was brought to a realizing sense and a place was found for Keiley as consul general and diplomatic agent at Cairo, whither he repaired. At the end of the four years he came to Paris and one day, crossing the Place de la Concorde, he was run over by a truck and killed. He deserved a longer career and a better fate, for he was a man of real capacity.


Taken to task by thick and thin Democratic partisans for my criticism of the only two Democratic Presidents we have had since the War of Sections, Cleveland and Wilson, I have answered by asserting the right and duty of the journalist to talk out in meeting, flatly repudiating the claims as well as the obligations of the organ grinder they had sought to put upon me, and closing with the knife grinder's retort—

Things have come to a hell of a pass When a man can't wallop his own jackass.

In the case of Mr. Cleveland the break had come over the tariff issue. Reading me his first message to Congress the day before he sent it in, he had said: "I know nothing about the tariff, and I thought I had best leave it where you and Morrison had put it in the platform."

We had indeed had a time in the Platform Committee of the Chicago convention of 1884. After an unbroken session of fifty hours a straddle was all that the committee could be brought to agree upon. The leading recalcitrant had been General Butler, who was there to make trouble and who later along bolted the ticket and ran as an independent candidate.

One aim of the Democrats was to get away from the bloody shirt as an issue. Yet, as the sequel proved, it was long after Cleveland's day before the bloody shirt was laid finally to rest. It required a patriot and a hero like William McKinley to do this. When he signed the commissions of Joseph Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee, Confederate generals and graduates of the West Point Military Academy, to be generals in the Army of the United States, he made official announcement that the War of Sections was over and gave complete amnesty to the people and the soldiers of the South.

Yet the bloody shirt lingered long as a troublemaker, and was invoked by both parties.


That chance gathering of heedless persons, stirred by the bombast of self-exploiting orators eager for notoriety or display—loose mobs of local nondescripts led by pension sharks so aptly described by the gallant General Bragg, of Wisconsin, as coffee coolers and camp followers—should tear their passion to tatters with the thought that Virginia, exercising an indisputable right and violating no reasonable sensibility, should elect to send memorials of Washington and Lee for the Hall of Statues in the nation's Capitol, came in the accustomed way of bloody-shirt agitation. It merely proved how easily men are led when taken in droves and stirred by partyism. Such men either bore no part in the fighting when fighting was the order of the time, or else they were too ignorant and therefore too unpatriotic to comprehend the meaning of the intervening years and the glory these had brought with the expanse of national progress and prowess. In spite of their lack of representative character it was not easy to repress impatience at ebullitions of misguided zeal so ignoble; and of course it was not possible to dissuade or placate them.

All the while never a people more eager to get together than the people of the United States after the War of Sections, as never a people so averse to getting into that war. A very small group of extremists and doctrinaires had in the beginning made a War of Sections possible. Enough of these survived in the days of Cleveland and McKinley to keep sectionalism alive.

It was mainly sectional clamor out for partisan advantage. But it made the presidential campaigns lurid in certain quarters. There was no end of objurgation, though it would seem that even the most embittered Northerner and ultra Republican who could couple the names of Robert E. Lee and Benedict Arnold, as was often done in campaign lingo, would not hesitate, if his passions were roused or if he fancied he saw in it some profit to himself or his party, to liken George Washington to Judas Iscariot.

The placing of Lee's statue in the Capitol at Washington made the occasion for this.

It is true that long before Confederate officers had sat in both Houses of Congress and in Republican and Democratic cabinets and upon the bench of the Supreme Court, and had served as ambassadors and envoys extraordinary in foreign lands. But McKinley's doing was the crowning stroke of union and peace.

There had been a weary and varied interim. Sectionalism proved a sturdy plant. It died hard. We may waive the reconstruction period as ancient history. There followed it intense party spirit. Yet, in spite of extremists and malignants on both sides of the line, the South rallied equally with the North to the nation's drumbeat after the Maine went down in the harbor of Havana. It fought as bravely and as loyally at Santiago and Manila. Finally, by the vote of the North, there came into the Chief Magistracy one who gloried in the circumstance that on the maternal side he came of fighting Southern stock; who, amid universal applause, declared that no Southerner could he prouder than he of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, apotheosizing an uncle, his mother's brother, who had stood at the head of the Confederate naval establishment in Europe and had fitted out the Confederate cruisers, as the noblest and purest man he had ever known, a composite of Colonel Newcome and Henry Esmond.

Meanwhile the process of oblivion had gone on. The graven effigy of Jefferson Davis at length appeared upon the silver service of an American battleship. This told the Mississippi's guests, wherever and whenever they might meet round her hospitable board, of national unification and peace, giving the lie to sectional malignancy. In the most famous and conspicuous of the national cemeteries now stands the monument of a Confederate general not only placed there by consent of the Government, but dedicated with fitting ceremonies supervised by the Department of War, which sent as its official representative the son of Grant, himself an army officer of rank and distinction.

The world has looked on, incredulous and amazed, whilst our country has risen to each successive act in the drama of reconciliation with increasing enthusiasm.

I have been all my life a Constitutional Nationalist; first the nation and then the state. The episode of the Confederacy seems already far away. It was an interlude, even as matters stood in the Sixties and Seventies, and now he who would thwart the unification of the country on the lines of oblivion, of mutual and reciprocal forgiveness, throws himself across the highway of his country's future, and is a traitor equally to the essential principles of free government and the spirit of the age.

If sectionalism be not dead it should have no place in popular consideration. The country seems happily at last one with itself. The South, like the East and the West, has come to be the merest geographic expression. Each of its states is in the Union, precisely like the states of the East and the West, all in one and one in all. Interchanges of every sort exist.

These exchanges underlie and interlace our social, domestic and business fabric. That the arrangement and relation after half a century of strife thus established should continue through all time is the hope and prayer of every thoughtful, patriotic American. There is no greater dissonance to that sentiment in the South than in the North. To what end, therefore, except ignominious recrimination and ruinous dissension, could a revival of old sectional and partisan passions—if it were possible—be expected to reach?


Humor has played no small part in our politics. It was Col. Mulberry Sellers, Mark Twain's hero, who gave currency to the conceit and enunciated the principle of "the old flag and an appropriation." He did not claim the formula as his own, however. He got it, he said, of Senator Dillworthy, his patriotic file leader and ideal of Christian statesmanship.

The original of Senator Dillworthy was recognized the country over as Senator Pomeroy, of Kansas, "Old Pom," as he had come to be called, whose oleaginous piety and noisy patriotism, adjusting themselves with equal facility to the purloining of subsidies and the roasting of rebels, to prayer and land grants, had impressed themselves upon the Satirist of the Gilded Age as upon his immediate colleagues in Congress. He was a ruffle-shirted Pharisee, who affected the airs of a bishop, and resembled Cruikshank's pictures of Pecksniff.

There have not been many "Old Poms" in our public life; or, for that matter Aaron Burrs either, and but one Benedict Arnold. That the chosen people of God did not dwell amid the twilight of the ages and in far-away Judea, but were reserved to a later time, and a region then undiscovered of men, and that the American republic was ordained of God to illustrate upon the theater of the New World the possibilities of free government in contrast with the failures and tyrannies and corruptions of the Old, I do truly believe. That is the first article in my confession of faith. And the second is like unto it, that Washington was raised up by God to create it, and that Lincoln was raised up by God to save it; else why the militia colonel of Virginia and the rail splitter of Illinois, for no reason that was obvious at the time, before all other men? God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. The star of the sublime destiny that hung over the manager of our blessed Savior hung over the cradle of our blessed Union.

Thus far it has weathered each historic danger which has gone before to mark the decline and fall of nations; the struggle for existence; the foreign invasion; the internecine strife; the disputed succession; religious bigotry and racial conflict. One other peril confronts it—the demoralization of wealth and luxury; too great prosperity; the concentration and the abuse of power. Shall we survive the lures with which the spirit of evil, playing upon our self-love, seeks to trip our wayward footsteps, purse-pride and party spirit, mistaken zeal and perverted religion, fanaticism seeking to abridge liberty and liberty running to license, greed masquerading as a patriot and ambition making a commodity of glory—or under the process of a divine evolution shall we be able to mount and ride the waves which swallowed the tribes of Israel, which engulfed the phalanxes of Greece and the legions of Rome, and which still beat the sides and sweep the decks of Europe?

The one-party power we have escaped; the one-man power we have escaped. The stars in their courses fight for us; the virtue and intelligence of the people are still watchful and alert. Truth is mightier than ever, and justice, mounting guard even in the Hall of Statues, walks everywhere the battlements of freedom!

Chapter the Twentieth

    The Real Grover Cleveland—Two Clevelands Before and After Marriage—A
    Correspondence and a Break of Personal Relations


There were, as I have said, two Grover Clevelands—before and after marriage—and, it might be added, between his defeat in 1888 and his election in 1892. He was so sure of his election in 1888 that he could not be induced to see the danger of the situation in his own State of New York, where David Bennett Hill, who had succeeded him in the governorship, was a candidate for reelection, and whom he personally detested, had become the ruling party force. He lost the State, and with it the election, while Hill won, and thereby arose an ugly faction fight.

I did not believe as the quadrennial period approached in 1892 that Mr.
Cleveland could be elected. I still think he owed his election, and
Harrison his defeat, to the Homestead riots of the midsummer, which
transferred the labor vote bodily from the Republicans to the Democrats.
Mainly on account of this belief I opposed his nomination that year.

In the Kentucky State Convention I made my opposition resonant, if not effective. "I understand," I said in an address to the assembled delegates, "that you are all for Grover Cleveland?"

There came an affirmative roar.

"Well," I continued, "I am not, and if you send me to the National Convention I will not vote for his nomination, if his be the only name presented, because I firmly believe that his nomination will mean the marching through a slaughter-house to an open grave, and I refuse to be party to such a folly."

The answer of the convention was my appointment by acclamation, but it was many a day before I heard the last of my unlucky figure of speech.

Notwithstanding this splendid indorsement, I went to the National Convention feeling very like the traditional "poor boy at a frolic." All seemed to me lost save honor and conviction. I had become the embodiment of my own epigram, "a tariff for revenue only." Mr. Cleveland, in the beginning very much taken by it, had grown first lukewarm and then frightened. His "Free Trade" message of 1887 had been regarded by the party as an answering voice. But I knew better.

In the national platform, over the protest of Whitney, his organizer, and Vilas, his spokesman, I had forced him to stand on that gospel. He flew into a rage and threatened to modify, if not to repudiate, the plank in his letter of acceptance. We were still on friendly terms and, upon reaching home, I wrote him the following letter. It reads like ancient history, but, as the quarrel which followed cut a certain figure in the political chronicle of the time, the correspondence may not be historically out of date, or biographically uninteresting:



Courier-Journal Office, Louisville, July 9, 1892.—My Dear Mr. President: I inclose you two editorial articles from the Courier-Journal, and, that their spirit and purpose may not be misunderstood by you, I wish to add a word or two of a kind directly and entirely personal.

To a man of your robust understanding and strong will, opposition and criticism are apt to be taken as more or less unfriendly; and, as you are at present advised, I can hardly expect that any words of mine will be received by you with sentiments either of confidence or favor.

I was admonished by a certain distrust, if not disdain, visited upon the honest challenge I ventured to offer your Civil Service policy, when you were actually in office, that you did not differ from some other great men I have known in an unwillingness, or at least an inability, to accept, without resentment, the question of your infallibility. Nevertheless, I was then, as I am now, your friend, and not your enemy, animated by the single purpose to serve the country, through you, as, wanting your great opportunities, I could not serve it through myself.

During the four years when you were President, I asked you but for one thing that lay near my heart. You granted that handsomely; and, if you had given me all you had to give beside, you could not have laid me under greater obligation. It is a gratification to me to know, and it ought to be some warrant both of my intelligence and fidelity for you to remember that that matter resulted in credit to the Administration and benefit to the public service.

But to the point; I had at St. Louis in 1888 and at Chicago, the present year, to oppose what was represented as your judgment and desire in the adoption of a tariff plank in our national platform; successfully in both cases. The inclosed articles set forth the reasons forcing upon me a different conclusion from yours, in terms that may appear to you bluntly specific, but I hope not personally offensive; certainly not by intention, for, whilst I would not suppress the truth to please you or any man, I have a decent regard for the sensibilities and the rights of all men, particularly of men so eminent as to be beyond the reach of anything except insolence and injustice. Assuredly in your case, I am incapable of even so much as the covert thought of either, entertaining for you absolute respect and regard. But, my dear Mr. President, I do not think that you appreciate the overwhelming force of the revenue reform issue, which has made you its idol.

[Illustration: A Corner of "Mansfield"—Home of Henry Watterson]

If you will allow me to say so, in perfect frankness and without intending to be rude or unkind, the gentlemen immediately about you, gentlemen upon whom you rely for material aid and energetic party management, are not, as to the Tariff, Democrats at all; and have little conception of the place in the popular mind and heart held by the Revenue Reform idea, or, indeed of any idea, except that of organization and money.

Of the need of these latter, no man has a more realizing sense, or larger information and experience, than I have. But they are merely the brakes and wheels of the engine, to which principles and inspirations are, and must always be, the elements of life and motion. It is to entreat you therefore, in your coming letter and address, not to underestimate the tremendous driving power of this Tariff issue, and to beg you, not even to seem to qualify it, or to abridge its terms in a mistaken attempt to seem to be conservative.

You cannot escape your great message of 1887 if you would. I know it by heart, and I think that I perfectly apprehend its scope and tenor. Take it as your guiding star. Stand upon it. Reiterate it. Emphasize it, amplify it, but do not subtract a thought, do not erase a word. For every vote which a bold front may lose you in the East you will gain two votes in the West. In the East, particularly in New York, enemies lurk in your very cupboard, and strike at you from behind your chair at table. There is more than a fighting chance for Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, and next to a certainty in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana, if you put yourself personally at the head of the column which is moving in your name, supposing it to be another name for reduced taxes and freer exchanges.

Discouraged as I was by the condition of things in New York and Indiana prior to the Chicago Convention, depressed and almost hopeless by your nomination, I can see daylight, if you will relax your grip somewhat upon the East and throw yourself confidently upon the West.

I write warmly because I feel warmly. If you again occupy the White House, and it is my most constant and earnest prayer that you may, be sure that you will not be troubled by me. I cannot hope that my motives in opposing your nomination, consistent as you know them to have been, or that my conduct during the post-convention discussion and canvass, free as I know it to have been of ill-feeling, or distemper, has escaped misrepresentation and misconception. I could not, without the loss of my self-respect, approach you on any private matter whatever; though it may not be amiss for me to say to you, that three weeks before the meeting of the National Convention, I wrote to Mr. Gorman and Mr. Brice urging the withdrawal of any opposition, and declaring that I would be a party to no movement to work the two-thirds rule to defeat the will of the majority.

This is all I have to say, Mr. President, and you can believe it or not, as you please; though you ought to know that I would write you nothing except in sincere conviction, nor speak to you, or of you, except in a candid and kindly spirit. Trusting that this will find you hale, hearty, and happy, I am, dear sir, your fellow democrat and most faithful friend,


The Honorable Grover Cleveland.



By return mail I received this answer:

Gray Gables, Buzzards Bay, Mass., July 15, 1892.


I have received your letter and the clippings you inclosed.

I am not sure that I understand perfectly all that they mean. One thing they demonstrate beyond any doubt, to-wit: that you have not—I think I may say—the slightest conception of my disposition. It may be that I know as little about yours. I am surprised by the last paragraph of The Courier-Journal article of July 8 and amazed to read the statements contained in your letter, that you know the message of 1887 by heart. It is a matter of very small importance, but I hope you will allow me to say, that in all the platform smashing you ever did, you never injured nor inspired me that I have ever seen or heard of, except that of 1888. I except that, so I may be exactly correct when I write, "seen or heard of,"—for I use the words literally.

I would like very much to present some views to you relating to the tariff position, but I am afraid to do so.

I will, however, venture to say this: If we are defeated this year, I predict a Democratic wandering in the dark wilds of discouragement for twenty-five years. I do not purpose to be at all responsible for such a result. I hope all others upon whom rests the least responsibility will fully appreciate it.

The world will move on when both of us are dead. While we stay, and especially while we are in any way concerned in political affairs and while we are members of the same political brotherhood, let us both resolve to be just and modest and amiable. Yours very sincerely,


Hon. Henry Watterson, Louisville, Ky.



I said in answer:

Louisville, July 22, 1892.—My Dear Sir: I do not see how you could misunderstand the spirit in which I wrote, or be offended by my plain words. They were addressed as from one friend to another, as from one Democrat to another. If you entertain the idea that this is a false view of our relative positions, and that your eminence lifts you above both comradeship and counsels, I have nothing to say except to regret that, in underestimating your breadth of character I exposed myself too contumely.

You do, indeed, ride a wave of fortune and favor. You are quite beyond the reach of insult, real or fancied. You could well afford to be more tolerant.

In answer to the ignorance of my service to the Democratic party, which you are at such pains to indicate—and, particularly, with reference to the sectional issue and the issue of tariff reform—I might, if I wanted to be unamiable, suggest to you a more attentive perusal of the proceedings of the three national conventions which nominated you for President.

But I purpose nothing of the sort. In the last five national conventions my efforts were decisive in framing the platform of the party. In each of them I closed the debate, moved the previous question and was sustained by the convention. In all of them, except the last, I was a maker, not a smasher. Touching what happened at Chicago, the present year, I had a right, in common with good Democrats, to be anxious; and out of that sense of anxiety alone I wrote you. I am sorry that my temerity was deemed by you intrusive and, entering a respectful protest against a ban which I cannot believe to be deserved by me, and assuring you that I shall not again trouble you in that way, I am, your obedient servant,


The Hon. Grover Cleveland.


This ended my personal relations with Mr. Cleveland. Thereafter we did not speak as we passed by. He was a hard man to get on with. Overcredulous, though by no means excessive, in his likes, very tenacious in his dislikes, suspicious withal, he grew during his second term in the White House, exceedingly "high and mighty," suggesting somewhat the "stuffed prophet," of Mr. Dana's relentless lambasting and verifying my insistence that he posed rather as an idol to be worshiped, than a leader to be trusted and loved. He was in truth a strong man, who, sufficiently mindful of his limitations in the beginning, grew by unexampled and continued success overconfident and overconscious in his own conceit. He had a real desire to serve the country. But he was apt to think that he alone could effectively serve it. In one of our spats I remember saying to him, "You seem, Mr. President, to think you are the only pebble on the beach—the one honest and brave man in the party—hut let me assure you of my own knowledge that there are others." His answer was, "Oh, you go to ——!"

He split his party wide open. The ostensible cause was the money issue. But, underlying this, there was a deal of personal embitterment. Had he been a man of foresight—or even of ordinary discernment—he might have held it together and with it behind him have carried the gold standard.

I had contended for a sound currency from the outset of the fiscal contention, fighting first the green-back craze and then the free silver craze against an overwhelming majority in the West and South, nowhere more radically relentless than in Kentucky. Both movements had their origin on economic fallacies and found their backing in dishonest purpose to escape honest indebtedness.

Through Mr. Cleveland the party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Tilden was converted from a Democrat into a Populist, falling into the arms of Mr. Bryan, whose domination proved as baleful in one way as Mr. Cleveland's had been in another, the final result shipwreck, with the extinguishment of all but the label.

Mr. Bryan was a young man of notable gifts of speech and boundless self-assertion. When he found himself well in the saddle he began to rule despotically and to ride furiously. A party leader more short-sighted could hardly be imagined. None of his judgments came true. As a consequence the Republicans for a long time had everything their own way, and, save for the Taft-Roosevelt quarrel, might have held their power indefinitely. All history tells us that the personal equation must be reckoned with in public life. Assuredly it cuts no mean figure in human affairs. And, when politicians fall out—well—the other side comes in.

Chapter the Twenty-First

    Stephen Foster, the Song-Writer—A Friend Comes to the Rescu
    His Originality—"My Old Kentucky Home" and the "Old Folks at
    Home"—General Sherman and "Marching Through Georgia"

I have received many letters touching what I said a little while ago of Stephen Collins Foster, the song writer. In that matter I had, and could have had, no unkindly thought or purpose. The story of the musical scrapbook rested not with me, but as I stated, upon the averment of Will S. Hays, a rival song writer. But that the melody of Old Folks at Home may be found in Schubert's posthumous Rosemonde admits not of contradiction for there it is, and this would seem to be in some sort corroborative evidence of the truth of Hays' story.

Among these letters comes one from Young E. Allison which is entitled to serious consideration. Mr. Allison is a gentleman of the first order of character and culture, an editor and a musician, and what he writes cannot fail to carry with it very great weight. I need make no apology for quoting him at length.

"I have long been collecting material about Foster from his birth to his death," says Mr. Allison, "and aside from his weak and fatal love of drink, which developed after he was twenty-five, and had married, his life was one continuous devotion to the study of music, of painting, of poetry and of languages; in point of fact, of all the arts that appeal to one who feels within him the stir of the creative. He was, quite singularly enough, a fine mathematician, which undoubtedly aided him in the study of music as a science, to which time and balance play such an important part. In fact, I believe it was the mathematical devil in his brain that came to hold him within such bare and primitive forms of composition and so, to some extent, to delimit the wider development of his genius.

"Now as to Foster's drinking habits, however unfortunate they proved to him they did not affect the quality of his art as he bequeathed it to us. No one cares to recall the unhappy fortunes of Burns, De Musset, Chopin or—even in our own time—of O. Henry, and others who might be named. In none of their productions does the hectic fever of over-stimulation show itself. No purer, gentler or simpler aspirations were ever expressed in the varying forms of music and verse than flowed from Foster's pen, even as penetrating benevolence came from the pen of O. Henry, embittered and solitary as his life had been. Indeed when we come to regard what the drinkers of history have done for the world in spite of the artificial stimulus they craved, we may say with Lincoln as Lincoln said of Grant, 'Send the other generals some of the same brand.'

"Foster was an aristocrat of aristocrats, both by birth and gifts. He inherited the blood of Richard Steele and of the Kemble family, noted in English letters and dramatic annals. To these artistic strains he added undoubtedly the musical temperament of an Italian grandmother or great-grand-mother. He was a cousin of John Rowan, the distinguished Kentucky lawyer and senator. Of Foster's family, his father, his brothers, his sisters were all notable as patriots, as pioneers in engineering, in commerce and in society. One of his brothers designed and built the early Pennsylvania Railroad system and died executive vice-president of that great corporation. Thus he was born to the arts and to social distinction. But, like many men of the creative temperament, he was born a solitary, destined to live in a land of dreams. The singular beauty and grace of his person and countenance, the charm of his voice, manner and conversation, were for the most part familiar to the limited circle of his immediate family and friends. To others he was reticent, with a certain hauteur of timidity, avoiding society and public appearances to the day of his death.

"Now those are the facts about Foster. They certainly do not describe the 'ne'er-do-well of a good family' who hung round barrooms, colored-minstrel haunts and theater entrances. I can find only one incident to show that Foster ever went to hear his own songs sung in public. He was essentially a solitary, who, while keenly observant of and entering sympathizingly into the facts of life, held himself aloof from immediate contact with its crowded stream. He was solitary from sensitivity, not from bitterness or indifference. He made a large fortune for his day with his songs and was a popular idol.

"Let us come now to the gravamen of my complaint. You charge on the authority of mere gossip from the late Will S. Hays, that Foster did not compose his own music, but that he had obtained a collection of unpublished manuscripts by an unnamed old 'German musician and thus dishonestly, by pilfering and suppression' palmed off upon the public themes and compositions which he could not himself have originated. Something like this has been said about every composer and writer, big and little, whose personality and habits did not impress his immediate neighbors as implying the possession of genius. The world usually expects direct inheritance and a theatric impressiveness of genius in its next-door neighbor before it accepts the proof of his works alone. For that reason Napoleon's paternity in Corsica was ascribed to General Maboeuf, and Henry Clay's in early Kentucky to Patrick Henry. That legend of the 'poor, unknown German musician' who composed in poverty and secrecy the deathless songs that have obsessed the world of music lovers, has been told of numberless young composers on their way to fame, but died out in the blaze of their later work. I have no doubt they told it of Foster, as they did also of Hays. And Colonel Hays doubtless repeated it to you as the intimate gossip about Foster.

"I have an article written by Colonel Hays and published in and cut from The Courier-Journal some twelve years after the composer's death, in which he sketches the life and work of Stephen Collins Foster. In that article he lays especial stress upon the surprising originality of the Foster themes and of their musical setting. He praises their distinct American or rather native inspiration and flavor, and describes from his own knowledge of Foster how they were 'written from his heart.' No mention or suggestion in it of any German or other origin for any of those melodies that the world then and now cherishes as American in costume, but universal in appeal. While you may have heard something in Schubert's compositions that suggested something in Foster's most famous song, still I venture to say it was only a suggestion, such as often arises from the works of composers of the same general type. Schubert and Foster were both young sentimentalists and dreamers who must have had similar dreams that found expression in their similar progressions.

"The German musicians from whom Foster got inspiration to work were Beethoven, Glück, Weber, Mozart. He was a student of all of them and of the Italian school also, as some of his songs show. Foster's first and only music teacher—except in the 'do-re-mi' exercises in his schoolboy life—testifies that Foster's musical apprehension was so quick, his intuitive grasp of its science so complete that after a short time there was nothing he could teach him of the theory of composition; that his pupil went straight to the masters and got illustration and discipline for himself.

"This was to be expected of a precocious genius who had written a concerted piece for flutes at thirteen, who was trying his wings on love songs at sixteen, and before he was twenty-one had composed several of the most famous of his American melodies, among them Oh Susannah, Old Dog Tray and Old Uncle Ned. As in other things he taught himself music, but he studied it ardently at the shrines of the masters. He became a master of the art of song writing. If anybody cares to hunt up the piano scores that Verdi made of songs from his operas in the days of Foster he will find that the great Italian composer's settings were quite as thin as Foster's and exhibited not much greater art. It was the fault of the times on the piano, not of the composers. It was not till long afterward that the color capacities of the piano were developed. As Foster was no pianist, but rather a pure melodist, he could not be expected to surpass his times in the management of the piano, the only 'orchestra' he had. It will not do to regard Foster as a crude musician. His own scores reveal him as the most artful of 'artless' composers.

"It is not even presumption to speak of him in the same breath with Verdi. The breadth and poignancy of Foster's melodies entitle them to the highest critical respect, as they have received worldwide appreciation from great musicians and plain music lovers. Wherever he has gone he has reached the popular heart. Here in the United States he has quickened the pulse beats of four generations. But this master creator of a country's only native songs has invariably here at home been apologized for as a sort of 'cornfield musician,' a mere banjo strummer, a hanger-on at barrooms where minstrel quartets rendered his songs and sent the hat round. The reflection will react upon his country; it will not detract from the real Foster when the constructive critic appears to write his brief and unfortunate life. I am not contending that he was a genius of the highest rank, although he had the distinction that great genius nearly always achieves, of creating a school that produced many imitators and established a place apart for itself in the world's estimation. In ballad writing he did for the United States what Watteau did for painting in France. As Watteau found a Flemish school in France and left a French school stamped forever, so Foster found the United States a home for imitations of English, Irish, German and Italian songs, and left a native ballad form and melodic strain forever impressed upon it as pure American.

"He was like Watteau in more than that. Watteau took the elegancies and fripperies of the corrupt French court and fixed them in art immortal, as if the moment had been arrested and held in actual motion. Foster took the curious and melancholy spectacle of African slavery at its height, superimposed by the most elegant and picturesque social manners this country has known, at the moment the institution was at its zenith. He saw the glamor, the humor, the tragedy, the contrasts, the emotional depths—that lay unplumbed beneath it all. He fixed it there for all time, for all hearts and minds everywhere. His songs are not only the pictorial canvas of that time, they are the emotional history of the times. It was done by a boy who was not prophet enough to foresee the end, or philosopher enough to demonstrate the conditions, but who was born with the intuition to feel it all and set it forth deeply and truly from every aspect.

"While Foster wrote many comic songs there is ever in them something of the melancholy undercurrent that has been detected under the laces and arabesques of Chopin's nominally frivolous dances. Foster's ballad form was extremely attenuated, but the melodic content filled it so completely that it seems to strain at the bounds and must be repeated and repeated to furnish full gratification to the ear. His form when compared with the modern ballad's amplitude seems like a Tanagra figurine beside a Michelangelo statue—but the figurine is as fine in its scope as the statue is in the greater.

"I hope you will think Foster over and revise him 'upward.'"

All of us need to be admonished to speak no evil of the dead. I am trying in Looking Backward to square the adjuration with the truth. Perhaps I should speak only of that which is known directly to myself. It costs me nothing to accept this statement of Mr. Allison and to incorporate it as an essential part of the record as far as it relates to the most famous and in his day the most beloved of American song writers.

Once at a Grand Army encampment General Sherman and I were seated together on the platform when the band began to play Marching Through Georgia, when the general said rather impatiently: "I wish I had a dollar for every time I have had to listen to that blasted tune."

And I answered: "Well, there is another tune about which I might say the same thing," meaning My Old Kentucky Home.

Neither of us was quite sincere. Both were unconsciously pleased to hear the familiar strains. At an open-air fiesta in Barcelona some American friends who made their home there put the bandmaster up to breaking forth with the dear old melody as I came down the aisle, and I was mightily pleased. Again at a concert in Lucerne, the band, playing a potpourri of Swiss songs, interpolated Kentucky's national anthem and the group of us stood up and sang the chorus.

I do not wonder that men march joyously to battle and death to drum and fife squeaking and rattling The Girl I Left Behind Me. It may be a long way to Tipperary, but it is longer to the end of the tether that binds the heart of man to the cradle songs of his nativity. With the cradle songs of America the name of Stephen Collins Foster "is immortal bound," and I would no more dishonor his memory than that of Robert Burns or the author of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Chapter the Twenty-Second

    Theodore Roosevelt—His Problematic Character—He Offers Me an
    Appointment—His Bonhomie and Chivalry—Proud of His Rebel Kin


It is not an easy nor yet a wholly congenial task to write—truthfully, intelligently and frankly to write—about Theodore Roosevelt. He belonged to the category of problematical characters. A born aristocrat, he at no time took the trouble to pose as a special friend of the people; a born leader, he led with a rough unsparing hand. He was the soul of controversy. To one who knew him from his childhood as I did, always loving him and rarely agreeing with him, it was plain to see how his most obvious faults commended him to the multitude and made for a popularity that never quite deserted him.

As poorly as I rate the reign of majorities I prefer it to the one-man power, either elective or dynastic. The scheme of a third term in the presidency for General Grant seemed to me a conspiracy though with many of its leaders I was on terms of affectionate intimacy. I fought and helped to kill in 1896 the unborn scheme to give Mr. Cleveland a third term. Inevitably as the movement for the retention of Theodore Roosevelt beyond the time already fixed began to show itself in 1907, my pen was primed against it and I wrote variously and voluminously.

There appeared in one of the periodicals for January, 1908, a sketch of mine which but for a statement issued concurrently from the White House would have attracted more attention than it did. In this I related how at Washington just before the War of Sections I had a musical pal—the niece of a Southern senator—who had studied in Paris, been a protégée of the Empress Eugénie and become an out-and-out imperialist. Louis Napoleon was her ideal statesman. She not only hated the North but accepted as gospel truth all the misleading theories of the South: that cotton was king; that slavery was a divine institution; that in any enterprise one Southern man was a match for six Northern men.

On these points we had many contentions. When the break came she went South with her family. The last I saw of her was crossing Long Bridge in a lumbering family carriage waving a tiny Confederate flag.

Forty-five years intervened. I had heard of her from time to time wandering aimlessly over Europe, but had not met her until the preceding winter in a famous Southern homestead. There she led me into a rose garden, and seated beneath its clustered greeneries she said with an air of triumph, "Now you see, my dear old friend, that I was right and you were wrong all the time."

Startled, and altogether forgetful, I asked in what way.

"Why," she answered, "at last the South is coming to its own."

Still out of rapport with her thought I said something about the obliteration of sectionalism and the arrival of political freedom and general prosperity. She would none of this.

[Illustration: Henry Watterson (Photograph taken in Florida)]

"I mean," she abruptly interposed, "that the son of Martha Bullock has come to his own and he will rescue us from the mudsills of the North."

She spoke as if our former discussions had been but yesterday. Then I gave her the right of way, interjecting a query now and then to give emphasis to her theme, while she unfolded the plan which seemed to her so simple and easy; God's own will; the national destiny, first a third term, and then life tenure à la Louis Napoleone for Theodore Roosevelt, the son of Martha Bullock, the nephew of our great admiral, who was to redress all the wrongs of the South and bring the Yankees to their just deserts at last.

"If," I ended my sketch, "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, why not out of the brain of this crazed old woman of the South?"

Early in the following April I came from my winter home in Florida to the national capital, and the next day was called by the President to the White House.

"The first thing I want to ask," said he, "is whether that old woman was a real person or a figment of your imagination?"

"She was a figment of my imagination," I answered, "but you put her out of business with a single punch. Why didn't you hold back your statement a bit? If you had done so there was room for lots of sport ahead."

He was in no mood for joking. "Henry Watterson," he said, "I want to talk to you seriously about this third-term business. I will not deny that I have thought of the thing—thought of it a great deal." Then he proceeded to relate from his point of view the state of the country and the immediate situation. He spoke without reserve of his relations to the nearest associated public men, of what were and what were not his personal and party obligations, his attitude toward the political questions of the moment, and ended by saying, "What do you make of all this?"

"Mr. President," I replied, "you know that I am your friend, and as your friend I tell you that if you go out of here the fourth of next March placing your friend Taft in your place you will make a good third to Washington and Lincoln; but if you allow these wild fellows willy-nilly to induce you, in spite of your declaration, to accept the nomination, substantially for a third term, all issues will be merged in that issue, and in my judgment you will not carry a state in the Union."

As if much impressed and with a show of feeling he said: "It may be so. At any rate I will not do it. If the convention nominates me I will promptly send my declination. If it nominates me and adjourns I will call it together again and it will have to name somebody else."

As an illustration of the implacability which pursued him I may mention that among many leading Republicans to whom I related the incident most of them discredited his sincerity, one of them—a man of national importance—expressing the opinion that all along he was artfully playing for the nomination. This I do not believe. Perhaps he was never quite fixed in his mind. The presidency is a wondrous lure. Once out of the White House—what else and what——?


Upon his return from one of his several foreign journeys a party of some hundred or more of his immediate personal friends gave him a private dinner at a famous uptown restaurant. I was placed next him at table. It goes without saying that we had all sorts of a good time—he Cæsar and I Brutus—the prevailing joke the entente between the two.

"I think," he began his very happy speech, "that I am the bravest man that ever lived, for here I have been sitting three hours by the side of Brutus—have repeatedly seen him clutch his knife—without the blink of an eye or the turn of a feature."

To which in response when my turn came I said: "You gentlemen seem to be surprised that there should be so perfect an understanding between our guest and myself. But there is nothing new or strange in that. It goes back, indeed, to his cradle and has never been disturbed throughout the intervening years of political discussion—sometimes acrimonious. At the top of the acclivity of his amazing career—in the very plenitude of his eminence and power—let me tell you that he offered me one of the most honorable and distinguished appointments within his gift."

"Tell them about that, Marse Henry," said he.

"With your permission, Mr. President, I will," I said, and continued: "The centenary of the West Point Military Academy was approaching. I was at dinner with my family at a hotel in Washington when General Corbin joined us. 'Will you,' he abruptly interjected, 'accept the chairmanship of the board of visitors to the academy this coming June?'

"'What do you want of me?' I asked.

"'It is the academy's centenary, which we propose to celebrate, and we want an orator.'

"'General Corbin,' said I, 'you are coming at me in a most enticing way. I know all about West Point. Here at Washington I grew up with it. I have been fighting legislative battles for the Army all my life. That you Yankees should come to a ragged old rebel like me for such a service is a distinction indeed, and I feel immensely honored. But which page of the court calendar made you a plural? Whom do you mean by "we"?'

"'Why,' he replied in serio-comic vein, 'the President, the Secretary of
War and Me, myself.'

"I promised him to think it over and give him an answer. Next day I received a letter from the President, making the formal official tender and expressing the hope that I would not decline it. Yet how could I accept it with the work ahead of me? It was certain that if I became a part of the presidential junket and passed a week in the delightful company promised me, I would be unfit for the loyal duty I owed my belongings and my party, and so reluctantly—more reluctantly than I can tell you—I declined, obliging them to send for Gen. Horace Porter and bring him over from across the ocean, where he was ably serving as Ambassador to France. I need not add how well that gifted and versatile gentleman discharged the distinguished and pleasing duty."


The last time I met Theodore Roosevelt was but a little while before his death. A small party of us, Editor Moore, of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Riggs, of the New York Central, at his invitation had a jolly midday breakfast, extending far into the afternoon. I never knew him happier or heartier. His jocund spirit rarely failed him. He enjoyed life and wasted no time on trivial worries, hit-or-miss, the keynote to his thought.

The Dutch blood of Holland and the cavalier blood of England mingled in his veins in fair proportion. He was especially proud of the uncle, his mother's brother, the Southern admiral, head of the Confederate naval organization in Europe, who had fitted out the rebel cruisers and sent them to sea. And well he might be, for a nobler American never lived. At the close of the War of Sections Admiral Bullock had in his possession some half million dollars of Confederate money. Instead of appropriating this to his own use, as without remark or hindrance he might have done, he turned it over to the Government of the United States, and died a poor man.

The inconsistencies and quarrels in which Theodore Roosevelt was now and again involved were largely temperamental. His mind was of that order which is prone to believe what it wants to believe. He did not take much time to think. He leaped at conclusions, and from his premise his conclusion was usually sound. His tastes were domestic, his pastime, when not at his books, field sports.

He was not what might be called convivial, though fond of good company—very little wine affecting him—so that a certain self-control became second nature to him.

To be sure, he had no conscientious or doctrinal scruples about a third term. He had found the White House a congenial abode, had accepted the literal theory that his election in 1908 would not imply a third but a second term, and he wanted to remain. In point of fact I have an impression that, barring Jackson and Polk, most of those who have got there were loath to give it up. We know that Grant was, and I am sure that Cleveland was. We owe a great debt to Washington, because if a third why not a fourth term? And then life tenure after the manner of the Caesars and Cromwells of history, and especially the Latin-Americans—Bolivar, Rosas and Diaz?

Away back in 1873, after a dinner, Mr. Blaine took me into his den and told
me that it was no longer a surmise but a fact that the group about General
Grant, who had just been reflected by an overwhelming majority, was
maneuvering for a third term. To me this was startling, incredible.
Returning to my hotel I saw a light still burning in the room of Senator
Morton, of Indiana, and rapping at the door I was bidden to enter.
Without mentioning how it had reached me, I put the proposition to him.
"Certainly," he said, "it is true."

The next day, in a letter to the Courier-Journal, I reduced what I had heard to writing. Reading this over it seemed so sensational that I added a closing paragraph, meant to qualify what I had written and to imply that I had not gone quite daft.

"These things," I wrote, "may sound queer to the ear of the country. They may have visited me in my dreams; they may, indeed, have come to me betwixt the sherry and the champagne, but nevertheless I do aver that they are buzzing about here in the minds of many very serious and not unimportant persons."

Never was a well-intentioned scribe so berated and ridiculed as I, never a simple news gatherer so discredited. Democratic and Republican newspapers vied with one another which could say crossest things and laugh loudest. One sentence especially caught the newspaper risibilities of the time, and it was many a year before the phrase "between the sherry and the champagne" ceased to pursue me. That any patriotic American, twice elevated to the presidency, could want a third term, could have the hardihood to seek one was inconceivable. My letter was an insult to General Grant and proof of my own lack of intelligence and restraint. They lammed me, laughed at me, good and strong. On each successive occasion of recurrence I have encountered the same criticism.

Chapter the Twenty-Third

    The Actor and the Journalist—The Newspaper and the State—Joseph
    Jefferson—His Personal and Artistic Career—Modest Character and
    Religious Belief


The journalist and the player have some things in common. Each turns night into day. I have known rather intimately all the eminent English-speaking actors of my time from Henry Irving and Charles Wyndham to Edwin Booth and Joseph Jefferson, from Charlotte Cushman to Helena Modjeska. No people are quite so interesting as stage people.

During nearly fifty years my life and the life of Joseph Jefferson ran close upon parallel lines. He was eleven years my senior; but after the desultory acquaintance of a man and a boy we came together under circumstances which obliterated the disparity of age and established between us a lasting bond of affection. His wife, Margaret, had died, and he was passing through Washington with the little brood of children she had left him.

It made the saddest spectacle I had ever seen. As I recall it after more than sixty years, the scene of silent grief, of unutterable helplessness, has still a haunting power over me, the oldest lad not eight years of age, the youngest a girl baby in arms, the young father aghast before the sudden tragedy which had come upon him. There must have been something in my sympathy which drew him toward me, for on his return a few months later he sought me out and we fell into the easy intercourse of established relations.

I was recovering from an illness, and every day he would come and read by my bedside. I had not then lost the action of one of my hands, putting an end to a course of musical study I had hoped to develop into a career. He was infinitely fond of music and sufficiently familiar with the old masters to understand and enjoy them. He was an artist through and through, possessing a sweet nor yet an uncultivated voice—a blend between a low tenor and a high baritone—I was almost about to write a "contralto," it was so soft and liquid. Its tones in speech retained to the last their charm. Who that heard them shall ever forget them?

Early in 1861 my friend Jefferson came to me and said: "There is going to be a war of the sections. I am not a warrior. I am neither a Northerner nor a Southerner. I cannot bring myself to engage in bloodshed, or to take sides. I have near and dear ones North and South. I am going away and I shall stay away until the storm blows over. It may seem to you unpatriotic, and it is, I know, unheroic. I am not a hero; I am, I hope, an artist. My world is the world of art, and I must be true to that; it is my patriotism, my religion. I can do no manner of good here, and I am going away."


At that moment statesmen were hopefully estimating the chances of a peaceful adjustment and solution of the sectional controversy. With the prophet instinct of the artist he knew better. Though at no time taking an active interest in politics or giving expression to party bias of any kind, his personal associations led him into a familiar knowledge of the trend of political opinion and the portent of public affairs, and I can truly say that during the fifty years that passed thereafter I never discussed any topic of current interest or moment with him that he did not throw upon it the side lights of a luminous understanding, and at the same time an impartial and intelligent judgment.

His mind was both reflective and radiating. His humor though perennial was subdued; his wit keen and spontaneous, never acrid or wounding. His speech abounded with unconscious epigram. He had his beliefs and stood by them; but he was never aggressive. Cleaner speech never fell from the lips of man. I never heard him use a profanity. We once agreed between ourselves to draw a line across the salacious stories so much in vogue during our day; the wit must exceed the dirt; where the dirt exceeded the wit we would none of it.

He was a singularly self-respecting man; genuinely a modest man. The actor is supposed to be so familiar with the pubic as to be proof against surprises. Before his audience he must be master of himself, holding the situation and his art by the firmest grip. He must simulate, not experience emotion, the effect referable to the seeming, never to the actuality involving the realization.

Mr. Jefferson held to this doctrine and applied it rigorously. On a certain occasion he was playing Caleb Plummer. In the scene between the old toy-maker and his blind daughter, when the father discovers the dreadful result of his dissimulation—an awkward hitch; and, the climax quite thwarted, the curtain came down. I was standing at the wings.

"Did you see that?" he said as he brushed by me, going to his dressing-room.

"No," said I, following him. "What was it?"

He turned, his eyes still wet and his voice choked. "I broke down," said he; "completely broke down. I turned away from the audience to recover myself. But I failed and had the curtain rung."

The scene had been spoiled because the actor had been overcome by a sudden flood of real feeling, whereas he was to render by his art the feeling of a fictitious character and so to communicate this to his audience. Caleb's cue was tears, but not Jefferson's.

On another occasion I saw his self-possession tried in a different way. We were dining with a gentleman who had overpartaken of his own hospitality. Mr. Murat Halstead was of the company. There was also a German of distinction, whose knowledge of English was limited. The Rip Van Winkle craze was at its height. After sufficiently impressing the German with the rare opportunity he was having in meeting a man so famous as Mr. Jefferson, our host, encouraged by Mr. Halstead, and I am afraid not discouraged by me, began to urge Mr. Jefferson to give us, as he said, "a touch of his mettle," and failing to draw the great comedian out he undertook himself to give a few descriptive passages from the drama which was carrying the town by storm. Poor Jefferson! He sat like an awkward boy, helpless and blushing, the German wholly unconscious of the fun or even comprehending just what was happening—Halstead and I maliciously, mercilessly enjoying it.


I never heard Mr. Jefferson make a recitation or, except in the singing of a song before his voice began to break, make himself a part of any private entertainment other than that of a spectator and guest.

He shrank from personal displays of every sort. Even in his younger days he rarely "gagged," or interpolated, upon the stage. Yet he did not lack for a ready wit. One time during the final act of Rip Van Winkle, a young countryman in the gallery was so carried away that he quite lost his bearings and seemed to be about to climb over the outer railing. The audience, spellbound by the actor, nevertheless saw the rustic, and its attention was being divided between the two when Jefferson reached that point in the action of the piece where Rip is amazed by the docility of his wife under the ill usage of her second husband. He took in the situation at a glance.

Casting his eye directly upon the youth in the gallery, he uttered the lines as if addressing them directly to him, "Well, I would never have believed it if I had not seen it."

The poor fellow, startled, drew back from his perilous position, and the audience broke into a storm of applause.

Joseph Jefferson was a Swedenborgian in his religious belief. At one time too extreme a belief in spiritualism threatened to cloud his sound, wholesome understanding. As he grew older and happier and passed out from the shadow of his early tragedy he fell away from the more sinister influence the supernatural had attained over his imagination. One time in Washington I had him to breakfast to meet the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Matthews and Mr. Carlisle, the newly-elected Speaker of the House. It was a rainy Sunday, and it was in my mind to warn him that our company was made up of hard-headed lawyers not apt to be impressed by fairy tales and ghost stories, and to suggest that he cut the spiritualism in case the conversation fell, as was likely, into the speculative. I forgot, or something hindered, and, sure enough, the question of second sight and mind reading came up, and I said to myself: "Lord, now we'll have it." But it was my kinsman, Stanley Matthews, who led off with a clairvoyant experience in his law practice. I began to be reassured. Mr. Carlisle followed with a most mathematical account of some hobgoblins he had encountered in his law practice. Finally the Chief Justice, Mr. Waite, related a series of incidents so fantastic and incredible, yet detailed with the precision and lucidity of a master of plain statement, as fairly to stagger the most believing ghostseer. Then I said to myself again: "Let her go, Joe, no matter what you tell now you will fall below the standard set by these professional perfecters of pure reason, and are safe to do your best, or your worst." I think he held his own, however.


Joseph Jefferson came to his artistic spurs slowly but surely, being nearly thirty years of age when he got his chance, and therefore wholly equal to it and prepared for it.

William E. Burton stood and had stood for twenty-five years the recognized, the reigning king of comedy in America. He was a master of his craft as well as a leader in society and letters. To look at him when he came upon the stage was to laugh; yet he commanded tears almost as readily as laughter. In New York City particularly he ruled the roost, and could and did do that which had cost another his place. He began to take too many liberties with the public favor and, truth to say, was beginning to be both coarse and careless. People were growing restive under ministrations which were at times little less than impositions upon their forbearance. They wanted something if possible as strong, but more refined, and in the person of the leading comedy man of Laura Keene's company, a young actor by the name of Jefferson, they got it.

Both Mr. Sothern and Mr. Jefferson have told the story of Tom Taylor's extravaganza, "Our American Cousin," in which the one as Dundreary, the other as Asa Trenchard, rose to almost instant popularity and fame. I shall not repeat it except to say that Jefferson's Asa Trenchard was unlike any other the English or American stage has known. He played the raw Yankee boy, not in low comedy at all, but made him innocent and ignorant as a well-born Green Mountain lad might be, never a bumpkin; and in the scene when Asa tells his sweetheart the bear story and whilst pretending to light his cigar burns the will, he left not a dry eye in the house.

New York had never witnessed, never divined anything in pathos and humor so exquisite. Burton and his friends struggled for a season, but Jefferson completely knocked them out. Even had Burton lived, and had there been no diverting war of sections to drown all else, Jefferson would have come to his growth and taken his place as the first serio-comic actor of his time.

Rip Van Winkle was an evolution. Jefferson's half-brother, Charles Burke, had put together a sketchy melodrama in two acts and had played in it, was playing in it when he died. After his Trenchard, Jefferson turned himself loose in all sorts of parts, from Diggory to Mazeppa, a famous burlesque, which he did to a turn, imitating the mock heroics of the feminine horse marines, so popular in the equestrian drama of the period, Adah Isaacs Menken, the beautiful and ill-fated, at their head. Then he produced a version of Nicholas Nickleby, in which his Newman Noggs took a more ambitious flight. These, however, were but the avant-couriers of the immortal Rip.

Charles Burke's piece held close to the lines of Irving's legend. When the vagabond returns from the mountains after the twenty years' sleep Gretchen is dead. The apex is reached when the old man, sitting dazed at a table in front of the tavern in the village of Falling Water, asks after Derrick Van Beekman and Nick Vedder and other of his cronies. At last, half twinkle of humor and half glimmer of dread, he gets himself to the point of asking after Dame Van Winkle, and is told that she has been dead these ten years. Then like a flash came that wonderful Jeffersonian change of facial expression, and as the white head drops upon the arms stretched before him on the table he says: "Well, she led me a hard life, a hard life, but she was the wife of my bosom, she was meine frau!"

I did not see the revised, or rather the newly-created and written, Rip Van Winkle until Mr. Jefferson brought it to America and was playing it at Niblo's Garden in New York. Between himself and Dion Boucicault a drama carrying all the possibilities, all the lights and shadows of his genius had been constructed. In the first act he sang a drinking song to a wing accompaniment delightfully, adding much to the tone and color of the situation. The exact reversal of the Lear suggestion in the last act was an inspiration, his own and not Boucicault's. The weird scene in the mountains fell in admirably with a certain weird note in the Jefferson genius, and supplied the needed element of variety.

I always thought it a good acting play under any circumstances, but, in his hands, matchless. He thought himself that the piece, as a piece, and regardless of his own acting, deserved better of the critics than they were always willing to give it. Assuredly, no drama that ever was written, as he played it, ever took such a hold upon the public. He rendered it to three generations, and to a rising, not a falling, popularity, drawing to the very last undiminished audiences.

Because of this unexampled run he was sometimes described by unthinking people as a one-part actor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He possessed uncommon versatility. That after twenty years of the new Rip Van Winkle, when he was past fifty years of age, he could come back to such parts as Caleb Plummer and Acres is proof of this. He need not have done so at all. Carrying a pension roll of dependents aggregating fifteen or twenty thousand a year for more than a quarter of a century, Rip would still have sufficed his requirements. It was his love for his art that took him to The Cricket and The Rivals, and at no inconsiderable cost to himself.

I have heard ill-natured persons, some of them envious actors, say that he did nothing for the stage.

He certainly did not make many contributions to its upholstery. He was in no position to emulate Sir Henry Irving in forcing and directing the public taste. But he did in America quite as much as Sir Charles Wyndham and Sir Henry Irving in England to elevate the personality, the social and intellectual standing of the actor and the stage, effecting in a lifetime a revolution in the attitude of the people and the clergy of both countries to the theater and all things in it. This was surely enough for one man in any craft or country.

He was always a good stage speaker. Late in life he began to speak elsewhere, and finally to lecture. His success pleased him immensely. The night of the Sunday afternoon charity for the Newsboys' Home in Louisville, when the promise of a talk from him had filled the house to overflowing, he was like a boy who had come off from a college occasion with all the honors. Indeed, the degrees of Harvard and Yale, which had reached him both unexpectedly and unsolicited, gave him a pleasure quite apart from the vanity they might have gratified in another; he regarded them, and justly, as the recognition at once of his profession and of his personal character.

I never knew a man whose moral sensibilities were more acute. He loved the respectable. He detested the unclean. He was just as attractive off the stage as upon it, because he was as unaffected and real in his personality as he was sincere and conscientious in his public representations, his lovely nature showing through his art in spite of him. His purpose was to fill the scene and forget himself.


The English newspapers accompanied the tidings of Mr. Jefferson's death with rather sparing estimates of his eminence and his genius, though his success in London, where he was well known, had been unequivocal. Indeed, himself, alone with Edwin Booth and Mary Anderson, may be said to complete the list of those Americans who have attained any real recognition in the British metropolis. The Times spoke of him as "an able if not a great actor." If Joseph Jefferson was not a great actor I should like some competent person to tell me what actor of our time could be so described.

Two or three of the journals of Paris referred to him as "the American Coquelin." It had been apter to describe Coquelin as the French Jefferson. I never saw Frederic Lemaître. But, him apart, I have seen all the eccentric comedians, the character actors of the last fifty years, and, in spell power, in precision and deftness of touch, in acute, penetrating, all-embracing and all-embodying intelligence and grasp, I should place Joseph Jefferson easily at their head.

Shakespeare was his Bible. The stage had been his cradle. He continued all his days a student. In him met the meditative and the observing faculties. In his love of fishing, his love of painting, his love of music we see the brooding, contemplative spirit joined to the alert in mental force and foresight when he addressed himself to the activities and the objectives of the theater. He was a thorough stage manager, skillful, patient and upright. His company was his family. He was not gentler with the children and grandchildren he ultimately drew about him than he had been with the young men and young women who had preceded them in his employment and instruction.

He was nowise ashamed of his calling. On the contrary, he was proud of it. His mother had lived and died an actress. He preferred that his progeny should follow in the footsteps of their forebears even as he had done. It is beside the purpose to inquire, as was often done, what might have happened had he undertaken the highest flights of tragedy; one might as well discuss the relation of a Dickens to a Shakespeare. Sir Henry Irving and Sir Charles Wyndham in England, M. Coquelin in France, his contemporaries—each had his métier. They were perfect in their art and unalike in their art. No comparison between them can be justly drawn. I was witness to the rise of all three of them, and have followed them in their greatest parts throughout their most brilliant and eminent and successful careers, and can say of each as of Mr. Jefferson:

More than King can no man be—Whether he rule in Cyprus or in Dreams.

There shall be Kings of Thule after kings are gone. The actor dies and leaves no copy; his deeds are writ in water, only his name survives upon tradition's tongue, and yet, from Betterton and Garrick to Irving, from Macklin and Quin to Wyndham and Jefferson, how few!

Chapter the Twenty-Fourth

    The Writing of Memoirs—Some Characteristics of Carl Shurz—Sam
    Bowles—Horace White and the Mugwumps


Talleyrand was so impressed by the world-compelling character of the memoirs he had prepared for posterity that he fixed an interdict of more than fifty years upon the date set for their publication, and when at last the bulky tomes made their appearance, they excited no especial interest—certainly created no sensation—and lie for the most part dusty upon the shelves of the libraries that contain them. For a different reason, Henry Ward Beecher put a time limit upon the volume, or volumes, which will tell us, among other things, all about one of the greatest scandals of modern times; and yet how few people now recall it or care anything about the dramatis personæ and the actual facts! Metternich, next after Napoleon and Talleyrand, was an important figure in a stirring epoch. He, too, indicted an autobiography, which is equally neglected among the books that are sometimes quoted and extolled, but rarely read. Rousseau, the half insane, and Barras, the wholly vicious, have twenty readers where Talleyrand and Metternich have one.

From this point of view, the writing of memoirs, excepting those of the trivial French School or gossiping letters and diaries of the Pepys-Walpole variety, would seem an unprofitable task for a great man's undertaking. Boswell certainly did for Johnson what the thunderous old doctor could not have done for himself. Nevertheless, from the days of Cæsar to the days of Sherman and Lee, the captains of military and senatorial and literary industry have regaled themselves, if they have not edified the public, by the narration of their own stories; and, I dare say, to the end of time, interest in one's self, and the mortal desire to linger yet a little longer on the scene—now and again, as in the case of General Grant, the assurance of honorable remuneration making needful provision for others—will move those who have cut some figure in the world to follow the wandering Celt in the wistful hope—

Around my fire an evening group to draw, And tell of all I felt and all I saw.

Something like this occurs to me upon a reperusal of the unfinished memoirs of my old and dear friend, Carl Schurz. Assuredly few men had better warrant for writing about themselves or a livelier tale to tell than the famous German-American, who died leaving that tale unfinished. No man in life was more misunderstood and maligned. There was nothing either erratic or conceited about Schurz, nor was he more pragmatic than is common to the possessor of positive opinions along with the power to make their expression effectual.

The actual facts of his public life do not anywhere show that his politics shifted with his own interests. On the contrary, he was singularly regardless of his interests where his convictions interposed. Though an alien, and always an alien, he possessed none of the shifty traits of the soldier of fortune. Never in his career did he crook the pregnant hinges of the knee before any worldly throne of grace or flatter any mob that place might follow fawning. His great talents had only to lend themselves to party uses to get their full requital. He refused them equally to Grant in the White House and the multitude in Missouri, going his own gait, which could be called erratic only by the conventional, to whom regularity is everything and individuality nothing.

Schurz was first of all and above all an orator. His achievements on the platform and in the Senate were undeniable. He was unsurpassed in debate. He had no need to exploit himself. The single chapter in his life on which light was desirable was the military episode. The cruel and false saying, "I fight mit Sigel und runs mit Schurz," obviously the offspring of malignity, did mislead many people, reënforced by the knowledge that Schurz was not an educated soldier. How thoroughly he disposes of this calumny his memoirs attest. Fuller, more convincing vindication could not be asked of any man; albeit by those familiar with the man himself it could not be doubted that he had both courage and aptitude for military employment.


A philosopher and an artist, he was drawn by circumstance into the vortex of affairs. Except for the stirring events of 1848, he might have lived and died a professor at Bonn or Heidelberg. If he had pursued his musical studies at Leipsic he must have become a master of the piano keyboard. As it was, he played Schumann and Chopin creditably. The rescue of Kinkel, the flight from the fatherland, the mild Bohemianizing in Paris and London awakened within him the spirit of action rather than of adventure.

There was nothing of the Dalgetty about him; too reflective and too accomplished. His early marriage attests a domestic trend, from which he never departed; though an idealist in his public aspirations and aims he was a sentimentalist in his home life and affections. Genial in temperament and disposition, his personal habit was moderation itself.

He was a German. Never did a man live so long in a foreign country and take on so few of its thoughts and ways. He threw himself into the anti-slavery movement upon the crest of the wave; the flowing sea carried him quickly from one distinction to another; the ebb tide, which found him in the Senate of the United States, revealed to his startled senses the creeping, crawling things beneath the surface; partyism rampant, tyrannous and corrupt; a self-willed soldier in the White House; a Blaine, a Butler and a Garfield leading the Representatives, a Cameron and a Conkling leading the Senate; single-minded disinterestedness, pure unadulterated conviction, nowhere.

Jobs and jobbing flourished on every side. An impossible scheme of reconstruction was trailing its slow, putrescent length along. The revenue service was thick with thieves, the committees of Congress were packed with mercenaries. Money-making in high places had become the order of the day. Was it for this that oceans of patriotism, of treasure and of blood had been poured out? Was it for this that he had fought with tongue and pen and sword?

There was Sumner—the great Sumner—who had quarreled with Grant and Fish, to keep him company and urge him on. There was the Tribune, the puissant Tribune—two of them, one in New York and the other in Chicago—to give him countenance. There was need of liberalizing and loosening things in Missouri, for which he sat in the Senate—they could not go on forever half the best elements in the State disfranchised.

Thus the Liberal Movement of 1872.

Schurz went to Cincinnati elate with hope. He was an idealist—not quite yet a philosopher. He had his friends about him. Sam Bowles—the first newspaper politician of his day, with none of the handicaps carried by Raymond and Forney—a man keen of insight and foresight, fertile of resources, and not afraid—stood foremost among them. Next came Horace White. Doric in his simplicity like a marble shaft, and to the outer eye as cold as marble, but below a man of feeling, conviction and tenacity, a working journalist and a doughty doctrinaire. A little group of such men formed itself about Schurz—then only forty-three years old—to what end? Why, Greeley, Horace Greeley, the bellwether of abolitionism, the king bee of protectionism, the man of fads and isms and the famous "old white hat."

To some of us it was laughable. To Schurz it was tragical. A bridge had to be constructed for him to pass—for retrace his steps he could not—and, as it were, blindfolded, he had to be backed upon this like a mule aboard a train of cars. I sometimes wonder what might have happened if Schurz had then and there resigned his seat in the Senate, got his brood together and returned to Germany. I dare say he would have been welcomed by Bismarck.

Certainly there was no lodgment for him thenceforward in American politics. The exigencies of 1876-77 made him a provisional place in the Hayes Administration; but, precisely as the Democrats of Missouri could put such a man to no use, the Republicans at large could find no use for him. He seemed a bull in a china shop to the political organization he honored with a preference wholly intellectual, and having no stomach for either extreme, he became a Mugwump.


He was a German. He was an artist. By nature a doctrinaire, he had become a philosopher. He could never wholly adjust himself to his environment. He lectured Lincoln, and Lincoln, perceiving his earnest truthfulness and genuine qualities, forgave him his impertinence, nor ceased to regard him with the enduring affection one might have for an ardent, aspiring and lovable boy. He was repellant to Grant, who could not and perhaps did not desire to understand him…. To him the Southerners were always the red-faced, swashbuckling slave-drivers he had fancied and pictured them in the days of his abolition oratory. More and more he lived in a rut of his own fancies, wise in books and counsels, gentle in his relations with the few who enjoyed his confidence; to the last a most captivating personality.

Though fastidious, Schurz was not intolerant. Yet he was hard to convince—tenacious of his opinions—courteous but insistent in debate. He was a German; a German Herr Doktor of Music, of Letters and of Common Law. During an intimacy of more than thirty years we scarcely ever wholly agreed about any public matter; differing about even the civil service and the tariff. But I admired him hugely and loved him heartily.

I had once a rather amusing encounter with him. There was a dinner at Delmonico's, from whose program of post-prandial oratory I had purposely caused my own name to be omitted. Indeed, I had had with a lady a wager I very much wished to win that I would not speak. General Grant and I went in together, and during the repast he said that the only five human beings in the world whom he detested were actually here at table.

Of course, Schurz was one of these. He was the last on the list of speakers and, curiously enough—the occasion being the consideration of certain ways and means for the development of the South—and many leading Southerners present—he composed his speech out of an editorial tour de force he was making in the Evening Post on The Homicidal Side of Southern Life. Before he had proceeded half through General Grant, who knew of my wager, said, "You'll lose your bet," and, it being one o'clock in the morning, I thought so too, and did not care whether I won or lost it. When he finished, the call on me was spontaneous and universal. "Now give it to him good," said General Grant.

And I did; I declared—the reporters were long since gone—that there had not been a man killed amiss in Kentucky since the war; that where one had been killed two should have been; and, amid roars of laughter which gave me time to frame some fresh absurdity, I delivered a prose paean to murder.

Nobody seemed more pleased than Schurz himself, and as we came away—General Grant having disappeared—he put his arm about me like a schoolboy and said: "Well, well, I had no idea you were so bloody-minded."

Chapter the Twenty-Fifth

    Every Trade Has Its Tricks—I Play One on William McKinley—Far Away
    Party Politics and Political Issues


There are tricks in every trade. The tariff being the paramount issue of the day, I received a tempting money offer from Philadelphia to present my side of the question, but when the time fixed was about to arrive I found myself billed for a debate with no less an adversary than William McKinley, protectionist leader in the Lower House of Congress. We were the best of friends and I much objected to a joint meeting. The parties, however, would take no denial, and it was arranged that we should be given alternate dates. Then it appeared that the designated thesis read: "Which political party offers for the workingman the best solution of the tariff problem?"

Here was a poser. It required special preparation, for which I had not the leisure. I wanted the stipend, but was not willing—scarcely able—to pay so much for it. I was about to throw the engagement over when a lucky thought struck me. I had a cast-off lecture entitled Money and Morals. It had been rather popular. Why might I not put a head and tail to this—a foreword and a few words in conclusion—and make it meet the purpose and serve the occasion?

When the evening arrived there was a great audience. Half of the people had come to applaud, the other half to antagonize. I was received, however, with what seemed a united acclaim. When the cheering had ceased, with the blandest air I began:

"In that chapter of the history of Ireland which was reserved for the consideration of snakes, the historian, true to the solecism as well as the brevity of Irish wit, informs us that 'there are no snakes in Ireland.'

"I am afraid that on the present occasion I shall have to emulate this flight of the Celtic imagination. I find myself billed to speak from a Democratic standpoint as to which party offers the best practical means for the benefit of the workingmen of the country. If I am to discharge with fidelity the duty thus assigned me, I must begin by repudiating the text in toto, because the Democratic Party recognizes no political agency for one class which is not equally open to all classes. The bulwark and belltower of its faith, the source and resource of its strength are laid in the declaration, 'Freedom for all, special privileges to none,' which applied to practical affairs would deny to self-styled workingmen, organized into a coöperative society, any political means not enjoyed by every other organized coöperative society, and by each and every citizen, individually, to himself and his heirs and assigns, forever.

"But in a country like ours, what right has any body of men to get together and, labelling themselves workingmen, to talk about political means and practical ends exclusive to themselves? Who among us has the single right to claim for himself, and the likes of him, the divine title of a workingman? We are all workingmen, the earnest plodding scholar in his library, surrounded by the luxury and comfort which his learning and his labor have earned for him, no less than the poor collier in the mine, with darkness and squalor closing him round about, and want maybe staring him in the face, yet—if he be a true man—with a little bird singing ever in his heart the song of hope and cheer which cradled the genius of Stephenson and Arkwright and the long procession of inventors, lowly born, to whom the world owes the glorious achievements of this, the greatest of the centuries. We are all workingmen—the banker, the minister, the lawyer, the doctor—toiling from day to day, and it may be we are well paid for our toil, to represent and to minister to the wants of the time no less than the farmer and the farmer's boy, rising with the lark to drive the team afield, and to dally with land so rich it needs to be but tickled with a hoe to laugh a harvest.

"Having somewhat of an audacious fancy, I have sometimes in moments of exuberance ventured upon the conceit that our Jupiter Tonans, the American editor, seated upon his three-legged throne and enveloped by the majesty and the mystery of his pretentious 'we,' is a workingman no less than the poor reporter, who year in and year out braves the perils of the midnight rounds through the slums of the city, yea in the more perilous temptations of the town, yet carries with him into the darkest dens the love of work, the hope of reward and the fear only of dishonor.

"Why, the poor officeseeker at Washington begging a bit of that pie, which, having got his own slice, a cruel, hard-hearted President would eliminate from the bill of fare, he likewise is a workingman, and I can tell you a very hard-working man with a tough job of work, and were better breaking rock upon a turnpike in Dixie or splitting rails on a quarter section out in the wild and woolly West.

"It is true that, as stated on the program, I am a Democrat—as Artemus Ward once said of the horses in his panorama, I can conceal it no longer—at least I am as good a Democrat as they have nowadays. But first of all, I am an American, and in America every man who is not a policeman or a dude is a workingman. So, by your leave, my friends, instead of sticking very closely to the text, and treating it from a purely party point of view, I propose to take a ramble through the highways and byways of life and thought in our beloved country and to cast a balance if I can from an American point of view.

"I want to say in the beginning that no party can save any man or any set of men from the daily toil by which all of us live and move and have our being."

Then I worked in my old lecture.

It went like hot cakes. When next I met William McKinley he said jocosely:
"You are a mean man, Henry Watterson!"

"How so?" I asked.

"I accepted the invitation to answer you because I wanted and needed the money. Of course I had no time to prepare a special address. My idea was to make my fee by ripping you up the back. But when I read the verbatim report which had been prepared for me there was not a word with which I could take issue, and that completely threw me out."

Then I told him how it had happened and we had a hearty laugh. He was the most lovable of men. That such a man should have fallen a victim to the blow of an assassin defies explanation, as did the murders of Lincoln and Garfield, like McKinley, amiable, kindly men giving never cause of personal offense.


The murderer is past finding out. In one way and another I fancy that I am well acquainted with the assassins of history. Of those who slew Cæsar I learned in my schooldays, and between Ravaillac, who did the business for Henry of Navarre, and Booth and Guiteau, my familiar knowledge seems almost at first hand. One night at Chamberlin's, in Washington, George Corkhill, the district attorney who was prosecuting the murderer of Garfield, said to me: "You will never fully understand this case until you have sat by me through one day's proceedings in court." Next day I did this.

Never have I passed five hours in a theater so filled with thrills. I occupied a seat betwixt Corkhill and Scoville, Guiteau's brother-in-law and voluntary attorney. I say "voluntary" because from the first Guiteau rejected him and vilely abused him, vociferously insisting upon being his own lawyer.

From the moment Guiteau entered the trial room it was a theatrical extravaganza. He was in irons, sandwiched between two deputy sheriffs, came in shouting like a madman, and began at once railing at the judge, the jury and the audience. A very necessary rule had been established that when he interposed, whatever was being said or done automatically stopped. Then, when he ceased, the case went on again as if nothing had happened.

Only Scoville intervened between me and Guiteau and I had an excellent opportunity to see, hear and size him up. In visage and voice he was the meanest creature I have, either in life or in dreams, encountered. He had the face and intonations of a demon. Everything about him was loathsome. I cannot doubt that his criminal colleagues of history were of the same description.

Charlotte Corday was surely a lunatic. Wilkes Booth I knew. He was drunk, had been drunk all that winter, completely muddled and perverted by brandy, the inheritant of mad blood. Czolgosz, the slayer of McKinley, and the assassin of the Empress Elizabeth were clearly insane.


McKinley and Protectionism, Cleveland, Carlisle and Free Trade—how far away they seem!

With the passing of the old issues that divided parties new issues have come upon the scene. The alignment of the future will turn upon these. But underlying all issues of all time are fundamental ideas which live forever and aye, and may not be forgotten or ignored.

It used to be claimed by the followers of Jefferson that Democracy was a fixed quantity, rising out of the bedrock of the Constitution, while Federalism, Whiggism and Republicanism were but the chimeras of some prevailing fancy drawing their sustenance rather from temporizing expediency and current sentiment than from basic principles and profound conviction. To make haste slowly, to look before leaping, to take counsel of experience—were Democratic axioms. Thus the fathers of Democracy, while fully conceiving the imperfections of government and meeting as events required the need alike of movement and reform, put the visionary and experimental behind them to aim at things visible, attainable, tangible, the written Constitution the one safe precedent, the morning star and the evening star of their faith and hope.

What havoc the parties and the politicians have made of all these lofty pretenses! Where must an old-line Democrat go to find himself? Two issues, however, have come upon the scene which for the time being are paramount and which seem organic. They are set for the determination of the twentieth century: The sex question and the drink question.

I wonder if it be possible to consider them in a catholic spirit from a philosophic standpoint. I can truly say that the enactment of prohibition laws, state or national, is personally nothing to me. I long ago reached an age when the convivialism of life ceased to cut any figure in the equation of my desires and habits. It is the never-failing recourse of the intolerant, however, to ascribe an individual, and, of course, an unworthy, motive to contrariwise opinions, and I have not escaped that kind of criticism.

The challenge underlying prohibition is twofold: Does prohibition prohibit, and, if it does, may it not generate evils peculiarly its own?

The question hinges on what are called "sumptuary laws"; that is, statutes regulating the food and drink, the habits and apparel of the individual citizen. This in turn harks back to the issue of paternal government. That, once admitted and established, becomes in time all-embracing.

Bigotry is a disease. The bigot pursuing his narrow round is like the bedridden possessed by his disordered fancy. Bigotry sees nothing but itself, which it mistakes for wisdom and virtue. But Bigotry begets hypocrisy. When this spreads over a sufficient area and counts a voting majority it sends its agents abroad, and thus we acquire canting apostles and legislators at once corrupt and despotic.

They are now largely in evidence in the national capital and in the various state capitals, where the poor-dog, professional politicians most do congregate and disport themselves.

The worst of it is that there seems nowhere any popular realization—certainly any popular outcry. Do the people grow degenerate? Are they willfully dense?

Chapter the Twenty-Sixth

    A Libel on Mr. Cleveland—His Fondness for Cards—Some Poker
    Stories—The "Senate Game"—Tom Ochiltree, Senator Allison and General


Not long after Mr. Cleveland's marriage, being in Washington, I made a box party embracing Mrs. Cleveland, and the Speaker and Mrs. Carlisle, at one of the theaters where Madame Modjeska was appearing. The ladies expressing a desire to meet the famous Polish actress who had so charmed them, I took them after the play behind the scenes. Thereafter we returned to the White House where supper was awaiting us, the President amused and pleased when told of the agreeable incident.

The next day there began to buzz reports to the contrary. At first covert, they gained in volume and currency until a distinguished Republican party leader put his imprint upon them in an after-dinner speech, going the length of saying the newly-wedded Chief Magistrate had actually struck his wife and forbidden me the Executive Mansion, though I had been there every day during the week that followed.

Mr. Cleveland believed the matter too preposterous to be given any credence and took it rather stoically. But naturally Mrs. Cleveland was shocked and outraged, and I made haste to stigmatize it as a lie out of whole cloth. Yet though this was sent away by the Associated Press and published broadcast I have occasionally seen it referred to by persons over eager to assail a man incapable of an act of rudeness to a woman.


Mr. Cleveland was fond—not overfond—of cards. He liked to play the noble game at, say, a dollar limit—even once in a while for a little more—but not much more. And as Dr. Norvin Green was wont to observe of Commodore Vanderbilt, "he held them exceeding close to his boo-som."

Mr. Whitney, Secretary of the Navy in his first administration, equally rich and hospitable, had often "the road gang," as a certain group, mainly senators, was called, to dine, with the inevitable after-dinner soirée or séance. I was, when in Washington, invited to these parties. At one of them I chanced to sit between the President and Senator Don Cameron. Mr. Carlisle, at the time Speaker of the House—who handled his cards like a child and, as we all knew, couldn't play a little—was seated on the opposite side of the table.

After a while Mr. Cameron and I began "bluffing" the game—I recall that the limit was five dollars—that is, raising and back-raising each other, and whoever else happened to be in, without much or any regard to the cards we held.

It chanced on a deal that I picked up a pat flush, Mr. Cleveland a pat full. The Pennsylvania senator and I went to the extreme, the President of course willing enough for us to play his hand for him. But the Speaker of the House persistently stayed with us and could not be driven out.

When it came to a draw Senator Cameron drew one card. Mr. Cleveland and I stood pat. But Mr. Carlisle drew four cards. At length, after much banter and betting, it reached a show-down and, mirabile dictu, the Speaker held four kings!

"Take the money, Carlisle; take the money," exclaimed the President. "If ever I am President again you shall be Secretary of the Treasury. But don't you make that four-card draw too often."

He was President again, and Mr. Carlisle was Secretary of the Treasury.


There had arisen a disagreeable misunderstanding between General Schenck and myself during the period when the general was Minister at the Court of St. James. In consequence of this we did not personally meet. One evening at Chamberlin's years after, a party of us—mainly the Ohio statesman's old colleagues in Congress—were playing poker. He came in and joined us. Neither of us knew the other even by sight and there was no presentation when he sat in.

At length a direct play between the newcomer and me arose. There was a moment's pause. Obviously we were strangers. Then it was that Senator Allison, of Iowa, who had in his goodness of heart purposely brought about this very situation, introduced us. The general reddened. I was taken aback. But there was no escape, and carrying it off amiably we shook hands. It is needless to say that then and there we dropped our groundless feud and remained the rest of his life very good friends.

In this connection still another poker story. Sam Bugg, the Nashville gambler, was on a Mississippi steamer bound for New Orleans. He came upon a party of Tennesseeans whom a famous card sharp had inveigled and was flagrantly robbing. Sam went away, obtained a pack of cards, and stacked them to give the gambler four kings and the brightest one of the Nashville boys four aces. After two or three failures to bring the cold deck into action Sam Bugg brushed a spider—an imaginary spider, of course—from the gambler's coat collar, for an instant distracting his attention—and in the momentary confusion the stacked cards were duly dealt and the betting began, the gambler confident and aggressive. Finally, all the money up, the four aces beat the four kings, and for a greater amount than the Nashvillians had lost and the gambler had won. Whereupon, without change of muscle, the gambler drawled: "Mr. Bugg, the next time you see a spider biting me let him bite on!"

I was told that the Senate Game had been played during the War of Sections and directly after for large sums. With the arrival of the rebel brigadiers it was perforce reduced to a reasonable limit.

The "road gang" was not unknown at the White House. Sometimes it assembled at private houses, but its accustomed place of meeting was first Welcker's and then Chamberlin's. I do not know whether it continues to have abiding place or even an existence. In spite of the reputation given me by the pert paragraphers I have not been on a race course or seen a horse race or played for other than immaterial stakes for more than thirty years.


As an all-round newspaper writer and reporter many sorts of people, high and low, little and big, queer and commonplace, fell in my way; statesmen and politicians, artists and athletes, circus riders and prize fighters; the riffraff and the élite; the professional and dilettante of the world polite and the underworld.

I knew Mike Walsh and Tim Campbell. I knew John Morrissey. I have seen Heenan—one of the handsomest men of his time—and likewise Adah Isaacs Menken, his inamorata—many said his wife—who went into mourning for him and thereafter hied away to Paris, where she lived under the protection of Alexandre Dumas, the elder, who buried her in Père Lachaise under a handsome monument bearing two words, "Thou knowest," beneath a carved hand pointed to heaven.

I did draw the line, however, at Cora Pearl and Marcus Cicero Stanley.

The Parisian courtesan was at the zenith of her extraordinary celebrity when I became a rustic boulevardier. She could be seen everywhere and on all occasions. Her gowns were the showiest, her equipage the smartest; her entourage, loud though it was and vulgar, yet in its way was undeniable. She reigned for a long time the recognized queen of the demi-monde. I have beheld her in her glory on her throne—her two thrones, for she had two—one on the south side of the river, the other at the east end—not to mention the race course—surrounded by a retinue of the disreputable. She did not awaken in me the least curiosity, and I declined many opportunities to meet her.

Marcus Cicero Stanley was sprung from an aristocratic, even a distinguished, North Carolina family. He came to New York and set up for a swell. How he lived I never cared to find out, though he was believed to be what the police call a "fence." He seemed a cross between a "con" and a "beat." Yet for a while he flourished at Delmonico's, which he made his headquarters, and cut a kind of dash with the unknowing. He was a handsome, mannerly brute who knew how to dress and carry himself like a gentleman.

Later there came to New York another Southerner—a Far Southerner of a very different quality—who attracted no little attention. This was Tom Ochiltree. He, too, was well born, his father an eminent jurist of Texas; he, himself, a wit, bon homme and raconteur. Travers once said: "We have three professional liars in America—Tom Ochiltree is one and George Alfred Townsend is the other two."

The stories told of Tom would fill a book. He denied none, however preposterous—was indeed the author of many of the most amusing—of how, when the old judge proposed to take him into law partnership he caused to be painted an office sign: Thomas P. Ochiltree and Father; of his reply to General Grant, who had made him United States Marshal of Texas, and later suggested that it would be well for Tom to pay less attention to the race course: "Why, Mr. President, all that turf publicity relates to a horse named after me, not to me," it being that the horse of the day had been so called; and of General Grant's reply: "Nevertheless, it would be well, Tom, for you to look in upon Texas once in a while"—in short, of his many sayings and exploits while a member of Congress from the Galveston district; among the rest, that having brought in a resolution tendering sympathy to the German Empire on the death of Herr Laska, the most advanced and distinguished of Radical Socialists, which became for the moment a cause célébre. Tom remarked, "Not that I care a damn about it, except for the prominence it gives to Bismarck."

He lived when in Washington at Chamberlin's. He and John Chamberlin were close friends. Once when he was breakfasting with John a mutual friend came in. He was in doubt what to order. Tom suggested beefsteak and onions.

"But," objected the newcomer, "I am about to call on some ladies, and the smell of onions on my breath, you know!"

"Don't let that trouble you," said Tom; "you have the steak and onions and when you get your bill that will take your breath away!"

Under an unpromising exterior—a stocky build and fiery red head—there glowed a brave, generous and tender spirit. The man was a preux chevalier. He was a knight-errant. All women—especially all good and discerning women who knew him and who could intuitively read beneath that clumsy personality his fine sense of respect—even of adoration—loved Tom Ochiltree.

The equivocal celebrity he enjoyed was largely fostered by himself, his stories mostly at his own expense. His education had been but casual. But he had a great deal of it and a varied assortment. He knew everybody on both sides of the Atlantic, his friends ranging from the Prince of Wales, afterward Edward VII, Gladstone and Disraeli, Gambetta and Thiers, to the bucks of the jockey clubs. There were two of Tom—Tom the noisy on exhibition, and Tom the courtier in society.

How he lived when out of office was the subject of unflattering conjecture. Many thought him the stipendiary of Mr. Mackay, the multimillionaire, with whom he was intimate, who told me he could never induce Tom to take money except for service rendered. Among his familiars was Colonel North, the English money magnate, who said the same thing. He had a widowed sister in Texas to whom he regularly sent an income sufficient for herself and family. And when he died, to the surprise of every one, he left his sister quite an accumulation. He had never been wholly a spendthrift. Though he lived well at Chamberlin's in Washington and the Waldorf in New York he was careful of his credit and his money. I dare say he was not unfortunate in the stock market. He never married and when he died, still a youngish man as modern ages go, all sorts of stories were told of him, and the space writers, having a congenial subject, disported themselves voluminously. Inevitably most of their stories were apocryphal.

I wonder shall we ever get any real truth out of what is called history? There are so many sides to it and such a confusing din of voices. How much does old Sam Johnson owe of the fine figure he cuts to Boswell, and, minus Boswell, how much would be left of him? For nearly a century the Empress Josephine was pictured as the effigy of the faithful and suffering wife sacrificed upon the altar of unprincipled and selfish ambition—lovelorn, deserted, heartbroken. It was Napoleon, not Josephine, except in her pride, who suffered. Who shall tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about Hamilton; about Burr; about Cæsar, Caligula and Cleopatra? Did Washington, when he was angry, swear like a trooper? What was the matter with Nero?


One evening Edward King and I were dining in the Champs Elysées when he said: "There is a new coon—a literary coon—come to town. He is a Scotchman and his name is Robert Louis Stevenson." Then he told me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At that moment the subject of our talk was living in a kind of self-imposed penury not half a mile away. Had we known this we could have ended the poor fellow's struggle with his pride and ambition then and there; have put him in the way of sure work and plenty of it; perhaps have lengthened, certainly have sweetened, his days, unless it be true that he was one of the impossibles, as he may easily be conceived to have been from reading his wayward biography and voluminous correspondence.

To a young Kentuckian, one of "my boys," was given the opportunity to see the last of him and to bury him in far-away Samoa, whither he had taken himself for the final adventure and where he died, having attained some measure of the dreams he had cherished, and, let us hope, happy in the consciousness of the achievement.

I rather think Stevenson should be placed at the head of the latter-day fictionists. But fashions in literature as in dress are ever changing. Washington Irving was the first of our men of letters to obtain foreign recognition. While the fires of hate between Great Britain and America were still burning he wrote kindly and elegantly of England and the English, and was accepted on both sides of the ocean. Taking his style from Addison and Goldsmith, he emulated their charity and humor; he went to Spain and in the same deft way he pictured the then unknown byways of the land of dreams; and coming home again he peopled the region of the Hudson with the beings of legend and fancy which are dear to us.

He became our national man of letters. He stood quite at the head of our literature, giving the lie to the scornful query, "Who reads an American book?" As a pioneer he will always be considered; as a simple and vivid writer of things familiar and entertaining he will probably always be read; but as an originator literary history will hardly place him very high. There Bret Harte surely led him. The Tales of the Argonauts as works of creative fancy exceed the Sketches of Washington Irving alike in wealth of color and humor, in pathos and dramatic action.

Some writers make an exception of the famous Sleepy Hollow story. But they have in mind the Rip Van Winkle of Jefferson and Boucicault, not the rather attenuated story of Irving, which—as far as the twenty years of sleep went—was borrowed from an old German legend.

Mark Twain and Bret Harte, however, will always be bracketed with Washington Irving. Of the three I incline to the opinion that Mark Twain did the broadest and strongest work. His imagination had wider reach than Irving's. There is nowhere, as there is in Harte, the suspicion either of insincerity or of artificiality. Irving's humor was the humor of Sir Roger de Coverley and the Vicar of Wakefield. It is old English. Mark Twain's is his own—American through and through to the bone. I am not unmindful of Cooper and Hawthorne, of Longfellow, of Lowell and of Poe, but speak of Irving as the pioneer American man of letters, and of Mark Twain and Bret Harte as American literature's most conspicuous and original modern examples.

Chapter the Twenty-Seventh

The Profession of Journalism—Newspapers and Editors in America—Bennett, Greeley and Raymond—Forney and Dana—The Education of a Journalist


The American newspaper has had, even in my time, three separate and distinct epochs; the thick-and-thin, more or less servile party organ; the personal, one-man-controlled, rather blatant and would-be independent; and the timorous, corporation, or family-owned billboard of such news as the ever-increasing censorship of a constantly centralizing Federal Government will allow.

This latter appears to be its present state. Neither its individuality nor its self-exploitation, scarcely its grandiose pretension, remains. There continues to be printed in large type an amount of shallow stuff that would not be missed if it were omitted altogether. But, except as a bulletin of yesterday's doings, limited, the daily newspaper counts for little, the single advantage of the editor—in case there is an editor—that is, one clothed with supervising authority who "edits"—being that he reaches the public with his lucubrations first, the sanctity that once hedged the editorial "we" long since departed.

The editor dies, even as the actor, and leaves no copy. Editorial reputations have been as ephemeral as the publications which gave them contemporary importance. Without going as far back as the Freneaus and the Callenders, who recalls the names of Mordecai Mannasseh Noah, of Edwin Crosswell and of James Watson Webb? In their day and generation they were influential and distinguished journalists. There are dozens of other names once famous but now forgotten; George Wilkins Kendall; Gerard Hallock; Erastus Brooks; Alexander Bullitt; Barnwell Rhett; Morton McMichael; George William Childs, even Thomas Ritchie, Duff Green and Amos Kendall. "Gales and Seaton" sounds like a trade-mark; but it stood for not a little and lasted a long time in the National Capital, where newspaper vassalage and the public printing went hand-in-hand.

For a time the duello flourished. There were frequent "affairs of honor"—notably about Richmond in Virginia and Charleston in South Carolina—sometimes fatal meetings, as in the case of John H. Pleasants and one of the sons of Thomas Ritchie in which Pleasants was killed, and the yet more celebrated affair between Graves, of Kentucky, and Cilley, of Maine, in which Cilley was killed; Bladensburg the scene, and the refusal of Cilley to recognize James Watson Webb the occasion.

I once had an intimate account of this duel with all the cruel incidents from Henry A. Wise, a party to it, and a blood-curdling narrative it made. They fought with rifles at thirty paces, and Cilley fell on the third fire. It did much to discredit duelling in the South. The story, however, that Graves was so much affected that thereafter he could never sleep in a darkened chamber had no foundation whatever, a fact I learned from my associate in the old Louisville Journal and later in The Courier-Journal, Mr. Isham Henderson, who was a brother-in-law of Mr. Graves, his sister, Mrs. Graves, being still alive. The duello died at length. There was never sufficient reason for its being. It was both a vanity and a fad. In Hopkinson Smith's "Col. Carter of Cartersville," its real character is hit off to the life.


When very early, rather too early, I found myself in the saddle, Bennett and Greeley and Raymond in New York, and Medill and Storey in Chicago, were yet alive and conspicuous figures in the newspaper life of the time. John Bigelow, who had retired from the New York Evening Post, was Minister to France. Halstead was coming on, but, except as a correspondent, Whitelaw Reid had not "arrived." The like was true of "Joe" McCullagh, who, in the same character, divided the newspaper reading attention of the country with George Alfred Townsend and Donn Piatt. Joseph Medill was withdrawing from the Chicago Tribune in favor of Horace White, presently to return and die in harness—a man of sterling intellect and character—and Wilbur F. Storey, his local rival, who was beginning to show signs of the mental malady that, developed into monomania, ultimately ended his life in gloom and despair, wrecking one of the finest newspaper properties outside of New York. William R. Nelson, who was to establish a really great newspaper in Kansas City, was still a citizen of Ft. Wayne.

James Gordon Bennett, the elder, seemed then to me, and has always seemed, the real founder of the modern newspaper as a vehicle of popular information, and, in point of apprehension, at least, James Gordon Bennett, the younger, did not fall behind his father. What was, and might have been regarded and dismissed as a trivial slander drove him out of New York and made him the greater part of his life a resident of Paris, where I was wont to meet and know much of him.

The New York Herald, under father and son, attained enormous prosperity, prestige and real power. It suffered chiefly from what they call in Ireland "absentee landlordism." Its "proprietor," for he never described himself as its "editor," was a man of exquisite sensibilities—a "despot" of course—whom nature created for a good citizen, a good husband and the head of a happy domestic fabric. He should have married the woman of his choice, for he was deeply in love with her and never ceased to love her, forty years later leaving her in his will a handsome legacy.

Crossing the ocean with the "Commodore," as he was called by his familiars, not long after he had taken up his residence abroad, naturally we fell occasionally into shop talk. "What would you do," he once said, "if you owned the Herald?" "Why," I answered, "I would stay in New York and edit it;" and then I proceeded, "but you mean to ask me what I think you ought to do with it?" "Yes," he said, "that is about the size of it."

"Well, Commodore," I answered, "if I were you, when we get in I would send for John Cockerill and make him managing editor, and for John Young, and put him in charge of the editorial page, and then I would go and lose myself in the wilds of Africa."

He adopted the first two of these suggestions. John A. Cockerill was still under contract with Joseph Pulitzer and could not accept for a year or more. He finally did accept and died in the Bennett service. John Russell Young took the editorial page and was making it "hum" when a most unaccountable thing happened. I was amazed to receive an invitation to a dinner he had tendered and was about to give to the quondam Virginian and just elected New York Justice Roger A. Pryor. "Is Young gone mad," I said to myself, "or can he have forgotten that the one man of all the world whom the House of Bennett can never forget, or forgive, is Roger A. Pryor?"

The Bennett-Pry or quarrel had been a cause célèbre when John Young was night editor of the Philadelphia Press and I was one of its Washington correspondents. Nothing so virulent had ever passed between an editor and a Congressman. In one of his speeches Pryor had actually gone the length of rudely referring to Mrs. James Gordon Bennett.

The dinner was duly given. But it ended John's connection with the Herald and his friendly relations with the owner of the Herald. The incident might be cited as among "The Curiosities of Journalism," if ever a book with that title is written. John's "break" was so bad that I never had the heart to ask him how he could have perpetrated it.


The making of an editor is a complex affair. Poets and painters are said to be born. Editors and orators are made. Many essential elements enter into the editorial fabrication; need to be concentrated upon and embodied by a single individual, and even, with these, environment is left to supply the opportunity and give the final touch.

Aptitude, as the first ingredient, goes without saying of every line of human endeavor. We have the authority of the adage for the belief that it is not possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Yet have I known some unpromising tyros mature into very capable workmen.

The modern newspaper, as we know it, may be fairly said to have been the invention of James Gordon Bennett, the elder. Before him there were journals, not newspapers. When he died he had developed the news scheme in kind, though not in the degree that we see so elaborate and resplendent in New York and other of the leading centers of population. Mr. Bennett had led a vagrant and varied life when he started the Herald. He had been many things by turns, including a writer of verses and stories, but nothing very successful nor very long. At length he struck a central idea—a really great, original idea—the idea of printing the news of the day, comprising the History of Yesterday, fully and fairly, without fear or favor. He was followed by Greeley and Raymond—making a curious and very dissimilar triumvirate—and, at longer range, by Prentice and Forney, by Bowles and Dana, Storey, Medill and Halstead. All were marked men; Greeley a writer and propagandist; Raymond a writer, declaimer and politician; Prentice a wit and partisan; Dana a scholar and an organizer; Bowles a man both of letters and affairs. The others were men of all work, writing and fighting their way to the front, but possessing the "nose for news," using the Bennett formula and rescript as the basis of their serious efforts, and never losing sight of it. Forney had been a printer. Medill and Storey were caught young by the lure of printer's ink. Bowles was born and reared in the office of the Springfield Republican, founded by his father, and Halstead, a cross betwixt a pack horse and a race horse, was broken to harness before he was out of his teens.

Assuming journalism, equally with medicine and law, to be a profession, it is the only profession in which versatility is not a disadvantage. Specialism at the bar, or by the bedside, leads to perfection and attains results. The great doctor is the great surgeon or the great prescriptionist—he cannot be great in both—and the great lawyer is rarely great, if ever, as counselor and orator.

[Illustration: Henry Watterson—From a painting by Louis Mark in the
Manhattan Club, New York]

The great editor is by no means the great writer. But he ought to be able to write and must be a judge of writing. The newspaper office is a little kingdom. The great editor needs to know and does know every range of it between the editorial room, the composing room and the pressroom. He must hold well in hand everybody and every function, having risen, as it were, step-by-step from the ground floor to the roof. He should be level-headed, yet impressionable; sympathetic, yet self-possessed; able quickly to sift, detect and discriminate; of various knowledge, experience and interest; the cackle of the adjacent barnyard the noise of the world to his eager mind and pliant ear. Nothing too small for him to tackle, nothing too great, he should keep to the middle of the road and well in rear of the moving columns; loving his art—for such it is—for art's sake; getting his sufficiency, along with its independence, in the public approval and patronage, seeking never anything further for himself. Disinterestedness being the soul of successful journalism, unselfish devotion to every noble purpose in public and private life, he should say to preferment, as to bribers, "get behind me, Satan." Whitelaw Reid, to take a ready and conspicuous example, was a great journalist, but rather early in life he abandoned journalism for office and became a figure in politics and diplomacy so that, as in the case of Franklin, whose example and footsteps in the main he followed, he will be remembered rather as the Ambassador than as the Editor.

More and more must these requirements be fulfilled by the aspiring journalist. As the world passes from the Rule of Force—force of prowess, force of habit, force of convention—to the Rule of Numbers, the daily journal is destined, if it survives as a power, to become the teacher—the very Bible—of the people. The people are already beginning to distinguish between the wholesome and the meretricious in their newspapers. Newspaper owners, likewise, are beginning to realize the value of character. Instances might be cited where the public, discerning some sinister but unseen power behind its press, has slowly yet surely withdrawn its confidence and support. However impersonal it pretends to be, with whatever of mystery it affects to envelop itself, the public insists upon some visible presence. In some States the law requires it. Thus "personal journalism" cannot be escaped, and whether the "one-man power" emanates from the Counting Room or the Editorial Room, as they are called, it must be clear and answerable, responsive to the common weal, and, above all, trustworthy.


John Weiss Forney was among the most conspicuous men of his time. He was likewise one of the handsomest. By nature and training a journalist, he played an active, not to say an equivocal, part in public life-at the outset a Democratic and then a Republican leader.

Born in the little town of Lancaster, it was his mischance to have attached himself early in life to the fortunes of Mr. Buchanan, whom he long served with fidelity and effect. But when Mr. Buchanan came to the Presidency, Forney, who aspired first to a place in the Cabinet, which was denied him, and then to a seat in the Senate, for which he was beaten—through flagrant bribery, as the story ran—was left out in the cold. Thereafter he became something of a political adventurer.

The days of the newspaper "organ" aproached their end. Forney's occupation, like Othello's, was gone, for he was nothing if not an organ grinder. Facile with pen and tongue, he seemed a born courtier—a veritable Dalgetty, whose loyal devotion to his knight-at-arms deserved better recognition than the cold and wary Pennsylvania chieftain was willing to give. It is only fair to say that Forney's character furnished reasonable excuse for this neglect and apparent ingratitude. The row between them, however, was party splitting. As the friend and backer of Douglas, and later along a brilliant journalistic soldier of fortune, Forney did as much as any other man to lay the Democratic party low.

I can speak of him with a certain familiarity and authority, for I was one of his "boys." I admired him greatly and loved him dearly. Most of the young newspaper men about Philadelphia and Washington did so. He was an all-around modern journalist of the first class. Both as a newspaper writer and creator and manager, he stood upon the front line, rating with Bennett and Greeley and Raymond. He first entertained and then cultivated the thirst for office, which proved the undoing of Greeley and Raymond, and it proved his undoing. He had a passion for politics. He would shine in public life. If he could not play first fiddle he would take any other instrument. Thus failing of a Senatorship, he was glad to get the Secretaryship of the Senate, having been Clerk of the House.

He was bound to be in the orchestra. In those days newspaper independence was little known. Mr. Greeley was willing to play bottle-holder to Mr. Seward, Mr. Prentice to Mr. Clay. James Gordon Bennett, the elder, and later his son, James Gordon Bennett, the younger, challenged this kind of servility. The Herald stood at the outset of its career manfully in the face of unspeakable obloquy against it. The public understood it and rose to it. The time came when the elder Bennett was to attain official as well as popular recognition. Mr. Lincoln offered him the French mission and Mr. Bennett declined it. He was rich and famous, and to another it might have seemed a kind of crowning glory. To him it seemed only a coming down—a badge of servitude—a lowering of the flag of independent journalism under which, and under which alone, he had fought all his life.

Charles A. Dana was not far behind the Bennetts in his independence. He well knew what parties and politicians are. The most scholarly and accomplished of American journalists, he made the Sun "shine for all," and, during the years of his active management, a most prosperous property. It happened that whilst I was penny-a-lining in New York I took a piece of space work—not very common in those days—to the Tribune and received a few dollars for it. Ten years later, meeting Mr. Dana at dinner, I recalled the circumstance, and thenceforward we became the best of friends. Twice indeed we had runabouts together in foreign lands. His house in town, and the island home called Dorsoris, which he had made for himself, might not inaptly be described as very shrines of hospitality and art, the master of the house a virtuoso in music and painting no less than in letters. One might meet under his roof the most diverse people, but always interesting and agreeable people. Perhaps at times he carried his aversions a little too far. But he had reasons for them, and a man of robust temperament and habit, it was not in him to sit down under an injury, or fancied injury. I never knew a more efficient journalist. What he did not know about a newspaper, was scarcely worth knowing.

In my day Journalism has made great strides. It has become a recognized profession. Schools of special training are springing up here and there. Several of the universities have each its College of Journalism. The tendency to discredit these, which was general and pronounced at the start, lowers its tone and grows less confident.

Assuredly there is room for special training toward the making of an editor. Too often the newspaper subaltern obtaining promotion through aptitudes peculiarly his own, has failed to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge of his art. He has been too busy seeking "scoops" and doing "stunts" to concern himself about perspectives, principles, causes and effects, probable impressions and consequences, or even to master the technical details which make such a difference in the preparation of matter intended for publication and popular perusal. The School of Journalism may not be always able to give him the needful instruction. But it can set him in the right direction and better prepare him to think and act for himself.

Chapter the Twenty-Eighth

    Bullies and Braggarts—Some Kentucky Illustrations—The Old Galt
    House—The Throckmortons—A Famous Sugeon—"Old Hell's Delight"


I do not believe that the bully and braggart is more in evidence in Kentucky and Texas than in other Commonwealths of the Union, except that each is by the space writers made the favorite arena of his exploits and adopted as the scene of the comic stories told at his expense. The son-of-a-gun from Bitter Creek, like the "elegant gentleman" from the Dark and Bloody Ground, represents a certain type to be found more or less developed in each and every State of the Union. He is not always a coward. Driven, as it were, to the wall, he will often make good.

He is as a rule in quest of adventures. He enters the village from the countryside and approaches the mêlée. "Is it a free fight?" says he. Assured that it is, "Count me in," says he. Ten minutes later, "Is it still a free fight?" he says, and, again assured in the affirmative, says he, "Count me out."

Once the greatest of bullies provoked old Aaron Pennington, "the strongest man in the world," who struck out from the shoulder and landed his victim in the middle of the street. Here he lay in a helpless heap until they carted him off to the hospital, where for a day or two he flickered between life and death. "Foh God," said Pennington, "I barely teched him."

This same bully threatened that when a certain mountain man came to town he would "finish him." The mountain man came. He was enveloped in an old-fashioned cloak, presumably concealing his armament, and walked about ostentatiously in the proximity of his boastful foeman, who remained as passive as a lamb. When, having failed to provoke a fight, he had taken himself off, an onlooker said: "Bill, I thought you were going to do him up?"

"But," says Bill, "did you see him?"

"Yes, I saw him. What of that?"

"Why," exclaimed the bully, "that man was a walking arsenal."

Aaron Pennington, the strong man just mentioned, was, in his younger days, a river pilot. Billy Hite, a mite of a man, was clerk. They had a disagreement, when Aaron told Billy that if he caught him on "the harrican deck," he would pitch him overboard. The next day Billy appeared whilst Aaron, off duty, was strolling up and down outside the pilot-house, and strolled offensively in his wake. Never a hostile glance or a word from Aaron. At last, tired of dumb show, Billy broke forth with a torrent of imprecation closing with "When are you going to pitch me off the boat, you blankety-blank son-of-a-gun and coward?"

Aaron Pennington was a brave man. He was both fearless and self-possessed. He paused, gazed quizzically at his little tormentor, and says he: "Billy, you got a pistol, and you want to get a pretext to shoot me, and I ain't going to give it to you."


Among the hostels of Christendom the Galt House, of Louisville, for a long time occupied a foremost place and held its own. It was burned to the ground fifty years ago and a new Galt House was erected, not upon the original site, but upon the same street, a block above, and, although one of the most imposing buildings in the world, it could never be made to thrive. It stands now a rather useless encumbrance—a whited sepulchre—a marble memorial of the Solid South and the Kentucky that was, on whose portal might truthfully appear the legend:

"A jolly place it was in days of old, But something ails it now"

Aris Throckmorton, its manager in the Thirties, the Forties and the Fifties, was a personality and a personage. The handsomest of men and the most illiterate, he exemplified the characteristics and peculiarities of the days of the river steamer and the stage coach, when "mine host" felt it his duty to make the individual acquaintance of his patrons and each and severally to look after their comfort. Many stories are told at his expense; of how he made a formal call upon Dickens—it was, in point of fact, Marryatt—in his apartment, to be coolly told that when its occupant wanted him he would ring for him; and of how, investigating a strange box which had newly arrived from Florida, the prevailing opinion being that the live animal within was an alligator, he exclaimed, "Alligator, hell; it's a scorponicum." He died at length, to be succeeded by his son John, a very different character. And thereby hangs a tale.

John Throckmorton, like Aris, his father, was one of the handsomest of men. Perhaps because he was so he became the victim of one of the strangest of feminine whimsies and human freaks. There was a young girl in Louisville, named Ellen Godwin. Meeting him at a public ball she fell violently in love with him. As Throckmorton did not reciprocate this, and refused to pursue the acquaintance, she began to dog his footsteps. She dressed herself in deep black and took up a position in front of the Galt House, and when he came out and wherever he went she followed him. No matter how long he stayed, when he reappeared she was on the spot and watch. He took himself away to San Francisco. It was but the matter of a few weeks when she was there, too. He hied him thence to Liverpool, and as he stepped upon the dock there she was. She had got wind of his going and, having caught an earlier steamer, preceded him.

Finally the War of Sections arrived. John Throckmorton hecame a Confederate officer, and, being able to keep her out of the lines, he had a rest of four years. But, when after the war he returned to Louisville, the quarry began again.

He was wont to call her "Old Hell's Delight." Finally, one night, as he was passing the market, she rushed out and rained upon him blow after blow with a frozen rabbit.

Then the authorities took a hand. She was arraigned for disorderly conduct and brought before the Court of Police. Then the town, which knew nothing of the case and accepted her goings on as proof of wrong, rose; and she had a veritable ovation, coming away with flying colors. This, however, served to satisfy her. Thenceforward she desisted and left poor John Throckmorton in peace.

I knew her well. She used once in a while to come and see me, having some story or other to tell. On one occasion I said to her: "Ellen, why do you pursue this man in this cruel way? What possible good can it do you?" She looked me straight in the eye and slowly replied: "Because I love him."

I investigated the case closely and thoroughly and was assured, as he had assured me, that he had never done her the slightest wrong. She had, on occasion, told me the same thing, and this I fully believed.

He was a man, every inch of him, and a gentleman through and through—the very soul of honor in his transactions of every sort—most highly respected and esteemed wherever he was known—yet his life was made half a failure and wholly unhappy by this "crazy Jane," the general public taking appearances for granted and willing to believe nothing good of one who, albeit proud and honorable, held defiantly aloof, disdaining self-defense.

On the whole I have not known many men more unfortunate than John Throckmorton, who, but for "Old Hell's Delight," would have encountered little obstacle to the pursuit of prosperity and happiness.


Another interesting Kentuckian of this period was John Thompson Gray. He was a Harvard man—a wit, a scholar, and, according to old Southern standards, a chevalier. Handsome and gifted, he had the disastrous misfortune just after leaving college to kill his friend in a duel—a mortal affair growing, as was usual in those days, out of a trivial cause—and this not only saddened his life, but, in its ambitious aims, shadowed and defeated it. His university comrades had fully counted on his making a great career. Being a man of fortune, he was able to live like a gentleman without public preferment, and this he did, except to his familiars aloof and sensitive to the last.

William Preston, the whilom Minister to Spain and Confederate General, and David Yandell, the eminent surgeon, were his devoted friends, and a notable trio they made. Stoddard Johnston, Boyd Winchester and I—very much younger men—sat at their feet and immensely enjoyed their brilliant conversation.

Dr. Yandell was not only as proclaimed by Dr. Gross and Dr. Sayre the ablest surgeon of his day, but he was also a gentleman of varied experience and great social distinction. He had studied long in Paris and was the pal of John Howard Payne, the familiar friend of Lamartine, Dumas and Lemaître. He knew Béranger, Hugo and Balzac. It would be hard to find three Kentuckians less provincial, more unaffected, scintillant and worldly wise than he and William Preston and John Thompson Gray.

Indeed the list of my acquaintances—many of them intimates—some of them friends—would be, if recounted, a long one, not mentioning the foreigners, embracing a diverse company all the way from Chunkey Towles to Grover Cleveland, from Wake Holman to John Pierpont Morgan, from John Chamberlin to Thomas Edison. I once served as honorary pall-bearer to a professional gambler who was given a public funeral; a man who had been a gallant Confederate soldier; whom nature intended for an artist, and circumstance diverted into a sport; but who retained to the last the poetic fancy and the spirit of the gallant, leaving behind him, when he died, like a veritable cavalier, chiefly debts and friends. He was not a bad sort in business, as the English say, nor in conviviality. But in fighting he was "a dandy." The goody-goody philosophy of the namby-pamby takes an extreme and unreal view of life. It flies to extremes. There are middle men. Travers used to describe one of these, whom he did not wish particularly to emphasize, as "a fairly clever son-of-a-gun."

Chapter the Twenty-Ninth

About Political Conventions, State and National—"Old Ben Butler"—His Appearance as a Trouble-Maker in the Democratic National Convention of 1892—Tarifa and the Tariff—Spain as a Frightful Example


I have had a liberal education in party convocations, State and national. In those of 1860 I served as an all-around newspaper reporter. A member of each National Democratic Convention from 1876 to 1892, presiding over the first, and in those of 1880 and 1888 chosen chairman of the Resolutions Committee, I wrote many of the platforms and had a decisive voice in all of them.

In 1880 I had stood for the renomination of "the Old Ticket," that is, Tilden and Hendricks, making the eight-to-seven action of the Electoral Tribunal of 1877 in favor of Hayes and Wheeler the paramount issue. It seems strange now that any one should have contested this. Yet it was stoutly contested. Mr. Tilden settled all dispute by sending a letter to the convention declining to be a candidate. In answer to this I prepared a resolution of regret to be incorporated in the platform. It raised stubborn opposition. David A. Wells and Joseph Pulitzer, who were fellow members of the committee, were with me in my contention, but the objection to making it a part of the platform grew so pronounced that they thought I had best not insist upon it.

The day wore on and the latent opposition seemed to increase. I had been named chairman of the committee and had at a single sitting that morning written a completed platform. Each plank of this was severally and closely scrutinized. It was well into the afternoon before we reached the plank I chiefly cared about. When I read this the storm broke. Half the committee rose against it. At the close, with more heat than was either courteous or tactful, I said: "Gentlemen, I wish to do no more than bid farewell to a leader who four years ago took the Democratic party at its lowest fortunes and made it a power again. He is well on his way to the grave. I would place a wreath of flowers on that grave. I ask only this of you. Refuse me, and by God, I will go to that mob yonder and, dead or alive, nominate him, and you will be powerless to prevent!"

Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, a suave gentleman, who had led the dissenters, said, "We do not refuse you. But you say that we 'regret' Mr. Tilden's withdrawal. Now I do not regret it, nor do those who agree with me. Could you not substitute some other expression?"

"I don't stand on words," I answered. "What would you suggest?"

Mr. Barksdale said: "Would not the words 'We have received with the deepest sensibility Mr. Tilden's letter of withdrawal,' answer your purpose?"

"Certainly," said I, and the plank in the platform, as it was amended, was adopted unanimously.

Mr. Tilden did not die. He outlived all his immediate rivals. Four years later, in 1884, his party stood ready again to put him at its head. In nominating Mr. Cleveland it thought it was accepting his dictation reënforced by the enormous majority—nearly 200,000—by which Mr. Cleveland, as candidate for Governor, had carried New York in the preceding State election. Yet, when the votes in the presidential election came to be counted, he carried it, if indeed he carried it at all, by less than 1,100 majority, the result hanging in the balance for nearly a week.


In the convention of 1884, which met at Chicago, we had a veritable monkey-and-parrot time. It was next after the schism in Congress between the Democratic factions led respectively by Carlisle and Randall, Carlisle having been chosen Speaker of the House over Randall.

Converse, of Ohio, appeared in the Platform Committee representing Randall, and Morrison, of Illinois, and myself, representing Carlisle. I was bent upon making Morrison chairman of the committee. But it was agreed that the chairmanship should be held in abeyance until the platform had been formulated and adopted. The subcommittee to whom the task was delegated sat fifty-one hours without a break before its work was completed. Then Morrison was named chairman. It was arranged thereafter between Converse, Morrison and myself that when the agreed report was made, Converse and I should have each what time he required to say what was desired in explanation, I to close the debate and move the previous question. At this point General Butler sidled up. "Where do I come in?" he asked.

"You don't get in at all, you blasted old sinner," said Morrison.

"I have scriptural warrant," General Butler said. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth the corn."

"All right, old man," said Morrison, good-humoredly, "take all the time you want."

In his speech before the convention General Butler was not at his happiest, and in closing he gave me a particularly good opening. "If you adopt this platform of my friend Watterson," he said, "God may help you, but I can't."

I was standing by his side, and, it being my turn, he made way for me, and I said: "During the last few days and nights of agreeable, though rather irksome, intercourse, I have learned to love General Butler, but I must declare that in an option between him and the Almighty I have a prejudice in favor of God."

In his personal intercourse, General Butler was the most genial of men. The subcommittee in charge of the preparation of a platform held its meetings in the drawing-room of his hotel apartment, and he had constituted himself our host as well as our colleague. I had not previously met him. It was not long after we came together before he began to call me by my Christian name. At one stage of the proceedings when by substituting one word for another it looked as though we might reach an agreement, he said to me: "Henry, what is the difference between 'exclusively for public purposes' and 'a tariff for revenue only'?"

"I know of none," I answered.

"Do you think that the committee have found you out?"

"No, I scarcely think so."

"Then I will see that they do," and he proceeded in his peculiarly subtle way to undo all that we had done, prolonging the session twenty-four hours.

He was an able man and a lovable man. The missing ingredient was serious belief. Just after the nomination of the Breckinridge and Lane Presidential ticket in 1860, I heard him make an ultra-Southern speech from Mr. Breckinridge's doorway. "What do you think of that?" I asked Andrew Johnson, who stood by me, and Johnson answered sharply, with an oath: "I never like a man to be for me more than I am for myself." I have been told that even at home General Butler could never acquire the public confidence. In spite of his conceded mentality and manliness he gave the impression of being something of an intellectual sharper.

He was charitable, generous and amiable. The famous New Orleans order which had made him odious to the women of the South he had issued to warn bad women and protect good women. Assuredly he did not foresee the interpretation that would be put upon it. He was personally popular in Congress. When he came to Washington he dispensed a lavish hospitality. Such radical Democrats as Beck and Knott did not disdain his company, became, indeed, his familiars. Yet, curious to relate, a Kentucky Congressman of the period lost his seat because it was charged and proven that he had ridden in a carriage to the White House with the Yankee Boanerges on a public occasion.


Mere party issues never counted with me. I have read too much and seen too much. At my present time of life they count not at all. I used to think that there was a principle involved between the dogmas of Free Trade and Protection as they were preached by their respective attorneys. Yet what was either except the ancient, everlasting scheme—

  —"The good old rôle—the simple plan,
  That they should take who have the power
  And they should keep who can

How little wisdom one man may get from another man's counsels, one nation may get from another nation's history, can be partly computed when we reflect how often our personal experience has failed in warning admonition.

Temperament and circumstance do indeed cut a prodigious figure in life. Traversing the older countries, especially Spain, the most illustrative, the wayfarer is met at all points by what seems not merely the logic of events, but the common law of the inevitable. The Latin of the Sixteenth century was a recrudescence of the Roman of the First. He had not, like the Mongolian, lived long enough to become a stoic. He was mainly a cynic and an adventurer. Thence he flowered into a sybarite. Coming to great wealth with the discoveries of Columbus and the conquests of Pizarro and Cortes, he proceeded to enjoy its fruits according to his fancy and the fashion of the times.

He erected massive shrines to his deities. He reared noble palaces. He built about his cathedrals and his castles what were then thought to be great cities, walled and fortified. He was, for all his self-sufficiency and pride, short-sighted; and yet, until they arrived, how could he foresee the developments of artillery? They were as hidden from him as three centuries later the wonders of electricity were hidden from us.

I was never a Free Trader. I stood for a tariff for revenue as the least oppressive and safest support of Government. The protective system in the United States, responsible for our unequal distribution of wealth, took at least its name from Spain, and the Robber Barons, as I used to call the Protectionists of Pennsylvania, were not of immediate German origin.

Truth to say, both on land and water Spain has made a deal of history, and the front betwixt Gibraltar and the Isle of San Fernando—Tangier on one side and the Straits of Tarifa on the other—Cape Trafalgar, where Nelson fought the famous battle, midway between them—has had its share.

Tarifa! What memories it invokes! In the olden and golden days of primitive man, before corporation lawyers had learned how to frame pillaging statutes, and rascally politicians to bamboozle confiding constituencies—thus I used to put it—the gentle pirates of Tarifa laid broad and deep the foundations for the Protective System in the United States.

It was a fruitful as well as a congenial theme, and I rang all the changes on it. To take by law from one man what is his and give it to another man who has not earned it and has no right to it, I showed to be an invention of the Moors, copied by the Spaniards and elevated thence into political economy by the Americans. Tarifa took its name from Tarif-Ben-Malik, the most enterprising Robber Baron of his day, and thus the Lords of Tarifa were the progenitors of the Robber Barons of the Black Forest, New England and Pittsburgh. Tribute was the name the Moors gave their robbery, which was open and aboveboard. The Coal Kings, the Steel Kings and the Oil Kings of the modern world have contrived to hide the process; but in Spain the palaces of their forefathers rise in lonely and solemn grandeur just as a thousand years hence the palaces upon the Fifth Avenue side of Central Park and along Riverside Drive, not to mention those of the Schuylkill and the Delaware, may become but roosts for bats and owls, and the chronicler of the Anthropophagi, "whose heads do reach the skies," may tell how the voters of the Great Republic were bought and sold with their own money, until "Heaven released the legions north of the North Pole, and they swooped down and crushed the pulpy mass beneath their avenging snowshoes."

The gold that was gathered by the Spaniards and fought over so valiantly is scattered to the four ends of the earth. It may be as potent to-day as then; but it does not seem nearly so heroic. A good deal of it has found its way to London, which a short century and a half ago "had not," according to Adam Smith, "sufficient wealth to compete with Cadiz." We have had our full share without fighting for it. Thus all things come to him who contrives and waits.

Meanwhile, there are "groups" and "rings." And, likewise, "leaders" and "bosses." What do they know or care about the origins of wealth; about Venice; about Cadiz; about what is said of Wall Street? The Spanish Main was long ago stripped of its pillage. The buccaneers took themselves off to keep company with the Vikings. Yet, away down in those money chests, once filled with what were pieces of eight and ducats and doubloons, who shall say that spirits may not lurk and ghosts walk, one old freebooter wheezing to another old freebooter: "They order these things better in the 'States.'"


I have enjoyed hugely my several sojourns in Spain. The Spaniard is unlike any other European. He may not make you love him. But you are bound to respect him.

There is a mansion in Seville known as The House of Pontius Pilate because part of the remains of the abode of the Roman Governor was brought from Jerusalem and used in a building suited to the dignity of a Spanish grandee who was also a Lord of Tarifa. The Duke of Medina Celi, its present owner, is a lineal scion of the old piratical crew. The mansion is filled with the fruits of many a foray. There are plunder from Naples, where one ancestor was Viceroy, and treasures from the temples of the Aztecs and the Incas, where two other ancestors ruled. Every coping stone and pillar cost some mariner of the Tarifa Straits a pot of money.

Its owner is a pauper. A carekeeper shows it for a peseta a head. To such base uses may we come at last. Yet Seville basks in the sun and smiles on the flashing waters of the Guadalquivir, and Cadiz sits serene upon the green hillsides of San Sebastian, just as if nothing had ever happened; neither the Barber and Carmen, nor Nelson and Byron; the past but a phantom; the present the prosiest of prose-poems.

There are canny Spaniards even as there are canny Scots, who grow rich and prosper; but there is never a Spaniard who does not regard the political fabric, and the laws, as fair game, the rule being always "devil take the hindmost," community of interests nowhere. "The good old vices of Spain," that is, the robbing of the lesser rogue by the greater in regulated gradations all the way from the King to the beggar, are as prevalent and as vital as ever they were. Curiously enough, a tiny stream of Hebraic blood and Moorish blood still trickles through the Spanish coast towns. It may be traced through the nomenclature in spite of its Castilian prefigurations and appendices, which would account for some of the enterprise and activity that show themselves, albeit only by fits and starts.

Chapter the Thirtieth

    The Makers of the Republic—Lincoln, Jefferson, Clay and Webster—The
    Proposed League of Nations—The Wilsonian Incertitude—The "New


The makers of the American Republic range themselves in two groups—Washington, Franklin and Jefferson—Clay, Webster and Lincoln—each of whom, having a genius peculiarly his own, gave himself and his best to the cause of national unity and independence.

In a general way it may be said that Washington created and Lincoln saved the Union. But along with Washington and Lincoln, Clay makes a good historic third, for it was the masterful Kentuckian who, joining rare foresight to surpassing eloquence and leading many eminent men, including Webster, was able to hold the legions of unrest at bay during the formative period.

There are those who call these great men "back numbers," who tell us we have left the past behind us and entered an epoch of more enlightened progress—who would displace the example of the simple lives they led and the homely truths they told, to set up a school of philosophy which had made Athens stare and Rome howl, and, I dare say, is causing the Old Continentals to turn over in their graves. The self-exploiting spectacle and bizarre teaching of this school passes the wit of man to fathom. Professing the ideal and proposing to recreate the Universe, the New Freedom, as it calls itself, would standardize it. The effect of that would be to desiccate the human species in human conceit. It would cheapen the very harps and halos in Heaven and convert the Day of Judgment into a moving picture show.

I protest that I am not of its kidney. In point of fact, its platitudes "stick in my gizzard." I belong the rather to those old-fashioned ones—

  "Who love their land because it is their own,
  And scorn to give aught other reason why;
  Who'd shake hands with a king upon his throne,
  And think it kindness to his majesty."

I have many rights—birthrights—to speak of Kentucky as a Kentuckian, beside that of more than fifty years' service upon what may be fairly called the battle-line of the Dark and Bloody Ground.

My grandmother's father, William Mitchell Morrison, had raised a company of riflemen in the War of the Revolution, and, after the War, marched it westward. He commanded the troops in the old fort at Harrodsburg, where my grandmother was born in 1784. He died a general. My grandfather, James Black's father, the Rev. James Black, was chaplain of the fort. He remembered the birth of the baby girl who was to become his wife. He was a noble stalwart—a perfect type of the hunters of Kentucky—who could bring down a squirrel from the highest bough and hit a bull's eye at a hundred yards after he was three score and ten.

It was he who delighted my childhood with bear stories and properly lurid narrations of the braves in buckskin and the bucks in paint and feathers, with now and then a red-coat to give pungency and variety to the tale. He would sing me to sleep with hunting songs. He would take me with him afield to carry the game bag, and I was the only one of many grandchildren to be named in his will. In my thoughts and in my dreams he has been with me all my life, a memory and an example, and an ever glorious inspiration.

Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were among my earliest heroes.


Born in a Democratic camp, and growing to manhood on the Democratic side of a political battlefield, I did not accept, as I came later to realize, the transcendent personal merit and public service of Henry Clay. Being of Tennessee parentage, perhaps the figure of Andrew Jackson came between; perhaps the rhetoric of Daniel Webster. Once hearing me make some slighting remark of the Great Commoner, my father, a life-long Democrat, who, on opposing sides, had served in Congress with Mr. Clay, gently rebuked me. "Do not express such opinions, my son," he said, "they discredit yourself. Mr. Clay was a very great man—a born leader of men."

It was certainly he, more than any other man, who held the Union together until the time arrived for Lincoln to save it.

I made no such mistake, however, with respect to Abraham Lincoln. From the first he appeared to me a great man, a born leader of men. His death proved a blow to the whole country—most of all to the Southern section of it. If he had lived there would have been no Era of Reconstruction, with its repressive agencies and oppressive legislation; there would have been wanting to the extremism of the time the bloody cue of his taking off to mount the steeds and spur the flanks of vengeance. For Lincoln entertained, with respect to the rehabilitation of the Union, the single wish that the Southern States—to use his homely phraseology—"should come back home and behave themselves," and if he had lived he would have made this wish effectual as he made everything else effectual to which he addressed himself.

His was the genius of common sense. Of perfect intellectual acuteness and aplomb, he sprang from a Virginia pedigree and was born in Kentucky. He knew all about the South, its institutions, its traditions and its peculiarities. He was an old-line Whig of the school of Henry Clay, with strong Emancipation leaning, never an Abolitionist. "If slavery be not wrong," he said, "nothing is wrong," but he also said and reiterated it time and again, "I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we would not instantly give it up."

From first to last throughout the angry debates preceding the War of Sections, amid the passions of the War itself, not one vindictive, prescriptive word fell from his tongue or pen, whilst during its progress there was scarcely a day when he did not project his great personality between some Southern man or woman and danger.


There has been much discussion about what did and what did not occur at the famous Hampton Roads Conference. That Mr. Lincoln met and conferred with the official representatives of the Confederate Government, led by the Vice President of the Confederate States, when it must have been known to him that the Confederacy was nearing the end of its resources, is sufficient proof of the breadth both of his humanity and his patriotism. Yet he went to Fortress Monroe prepared not only to make whatever concessions toward the restoration of Union and Peace he had the lawful authority to make, but to offer some concessions which could in the nature of the case go no further at that time than his personal assurance. His constitutional powers were limited. But he was in himself the embodiment of great moral power.

The story that he offered payment for the slaves—so often affirmed and denied—is in either case but a quibble with the actual facts. He could not have made such an offer except tentatively, lacking the means to carry it out. He was not given the opportunity to make it, because the Confederate Commissioners were under instructions to treat solely on the basis of the recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. The conference came to nought. It ended where it began. But there is ample evidence that he went to Hampton Roads resolved to commit himself to that proposition. He did, according to the official reports, refer to it in specific terms, having already formulated a plan of procedure. This plan exists and may be seen in his own handwriting. It embraced a joint resolution to be submitted by the President to the two Houses of Congress appropriating $400,000,000 to be distributed among the Southern States on the basis of the slave population of each according to the Census of 1860, and a proclamation to be issued by himself, as President, when the joint resolution had been passed by Congress.

There can be no controversy among honest students of history on this point. That Mr. Lincoln said to Mr. Stephens, "Let me write Union at the top of this page and you may write below it whatever else you please," is referable to Mr. Stephens' statement made to many friends and attested by a number of reliable persons. But that he meditated the most liberal terms, including payment for the slaves, rests neither upon conjecture nor hearsay, but on documentary proof. It may be argued that he could not have secured the adoption of any such plan; but of his purpose, and its genuineness, there can be no question and there ought to be no equivocation.

Indeed, payment for the slaves had been all along in his mind. He believed the North equally guilty with the South for the original existence of slavery. He clearly understood that the Irrepressible Conflict was a Conflict of systems, not a merely sectional and partisan quarrel. He was a just man, abhorring proscription: an old Conscience Whig, indeed, who stood in awe of the Constitution and his oath of office. He wanted to leave the South no right to claim that the North, finding slave labor unremunerative, had sold its negroes to the South and then turned about and by force of arms confiscated what it had unloaded at a profit. He fully recognized slavery as property. The Proclamation of Emancipation was issued as a war measure. In his message to Congress of December, 1862, he proposed payment for the slaves, elaborating a scheme in detail and urging it with copious and cogent argument. "The people of the South," said he, addressing a Congress at that moment in the throes of a bloody war with the South, "are not more responsible for the original introduction of this property than are the people of the North, and, when it is remembered how unhesitatingly we all use cotton and sugar and share the profits of dealing in them, it may not be quite safe to say that the South has been more responsible than the North for its continuance."


It has been my rule, aim and effort in my newspaper career to print nothing of a man which I would not say to his face; to print nothing of a man in malice; to look well and think twice before consigning a suspect to the ruin of printer's ink; to respect the old and defend the weak; and, lastly, at work and at play, daytime and nighttime, to be good to the girls and square with the boys, for hath it not been written of such is the kingdom of Heaven?

There will always be in a democracy two or more sets of rival leaders to two or more differing groups of followers. Hitherto history has classified these as conservatives and radicals. But as society has become more and more complex the groups have had their subdivisions. As a consequence speculative doctrinaries and adventurous politicians are enabled to get in their work of confusing the issues and exploiting themselves.

"'What are these fireworks for?' asks the rustic in the parable. 'To blind the eyes of the people,' answers the cynic."

I would not say aught in a spirit of hostility to the President of the United States. Woodrow Wilson is a clever speaker and writer. Yet the usual trend and phrase of his observations seem to be those of a special pleader, rather than those of a statesman. Every man, each of the nations, is for peace as an abstract proposition. That much goes without saying. But Mr. Wilson proposes to bind the hands of a giant and take lottery chances on the future. This, I think, the country will contest.

He is obsessed by the idea of a League of Nations. If not his own discovery he has yet made himself its leader. He talks flippantly about "American ideals" that have won the war against Germany, as if there were no English ideals and French ideals.

"In all that he does we can descry the school-master who arrived at the front rather late in life. One needs only to go over the record and mark how often he has reversed himself to detect a certain mental and temperamental instability clearly indicating a lack of fixed or resolute intellectual purpose. This is characteristic of an excess in education; of the half baked mind overtrained. The overeducated mind fancies himself a doctrinaire when he is in point of fact only a disciple."

Woodrow Wilson was born to the rather sophisticated culture of the too, too solid South. Had he grown up in England a hundred years ago he would have been a follower of the Della Cruscans. He has what is called a facile pen, though it sometimes runs away with him. It seems to have done so in the matter of the League of Nations. Inevitably such a scheme would catch the fancy of one ever on the alert for the fanciful.

I cannot too often repeat that the world we inhabit is a world of sin, disease and death. Men will fight whenever they want to fight, and no artificial scheme or process is likely to restrain them. It is mainly the costliness of war that makes most against it. But, as we have seen the last four years, it will not quell the passions of men or dull national and racial ambitions.

All that Mr. Wilson and his proposed League of Nations can do will be to revamp, and maybe for a while to reimpress the minds of the rank and file, until the bellowing followers of Bellona are ready to spring.

Eternal peace, universal peace, was not the purpose of the Deity in the creation of the universe.

Nevertheless, it would seem to be the duty of men in great place, as of us all, to proclaim the gospel of good will and cultivate the arts of fraternity. I have no quarrel with the President on this score. What I contest is the self-exploitation to which he is prone, so lacking in dignity and open to animadversion.


Thus it was that instant upon the appearance of the proposed League of Nations I made bold to challenge it, as but a pretty conceit having no real value, a serious assault upon our national sovereignty.

Its argument seemed to me full of copybook maxims, easier recited than applied. As what I wrote preceded the debates and events of the last six months, I may not improperly make the following quotation from a screed of mine appearing in The Courier-Journal of the 5th of March, 1919:

"The League of Nations is a fad. Politics, like society and letters, has its fads. In society they call them fashion and in literature originality. Politics gives the name of 'issues' to its fads. A taking issue is as a stunning gown, or 'a best seller.' The President's mind wears a coat of many colors, and he can change it at will, his mood being the objective point, not always too far ahead, or clear of vision. Carl Schurz was wont to speak of Gratz Brown as 'a man of thoughts rather than of ideas.' I wonder if that can be justly said of the President? 'Gentlemen will please not shoot at the pianiste,' adjured the superscription over the music stand in the Dakota dive; 'she is doing the best that she knows how.'

"Already it is being proclaimed that Woodrow Wilson can have a third nomination for the presidency if he wants it, and nobody seems shocked by it, which proves that the people grow degenerate and foreshadows that one of these nights some fool with a spyglass will break into Mars and let loose the myriads of warlike gyascutes who inhabit that freak luminary, thence to slide down the willing moonbeam and swallow us every one!

"In a sense the Monroe Doctrine was a fad. Oblivious to Canada, and British Columbia and the Spanish provinces, it warned the despots of Europe off the grass in America. We actually went to war with Mexico, having enjoyed two wars with England, and again and again we threatened to annex the Dominion. Everything betwixt hell and Halifax was Yankee preëmpted.

"Truth to say, your Uncle Samuel was ever a jingo. But your Cousin Woodrow, enlarging on the original plan, would stretch our spiritual boundaries to the ends of the earth and make of us the moral custodian of the universe. This much, no less, he got of the school of sweetness and light in which he grew up.

"I am a jingo myself. But a wicked material jingo, who wants facts, not theories. If I thought it possible and that it would pay, I would annex the North Pole and colonize the Equator. It is, after the manner of the lady in the play, that the President 'doth protest too much,' which displeases me and where, in point of fact, I 'get off the reservation.'

"That, being a politician and maybe a candidate, he is keenly alive to votes goes without saying. On the surface this League of Nations having the word 'peace' in big letters emblazoned both upon its forehead and the seat of its trousers—or, should I say, woven into the hem of its petticoat?—seems an appeal for votes. I do not believe it will bear discussion. In a way, it tickles the ear without convincing the sense. There is nothing sentimental about the actualities of Government, much as public men seek to profit by arousing the passions of the people. Government is a hard and fast and dry reality. At best statesmanship can only half do the things it would. Its aims are most assured when tending a little landward; its footing safest on its native heath. We have plenty to do on our own continent without seeking to right things on other continents. Too many of us—the President among the rest, I fear—miscalculate the distance between contingency and desire.

  "'We figure to ourselves
  The thing we like: and then we build it up:
  As chance will have it on the rock or sand—
  When thought grows tired of wandering o'er the world,
  And homebound Fancy runs her bark ashore.'"

I am sorry to see the New York World fly off at a tangent about this latest of the Wilsonian hobbies. Frank Irving Cobb, the editor of the World, is, as I have often said, the strongest writer on the New York press since Horace Greeley. But he can hardly be called a sentimentalist, as Greeley was, and there is nothing but sentiment—gush and gammon—in the proposed League of Nations.

It may be all right for England. There are certainly no flies on it for France. But we don't need it. Its effects can only be to tie our hands, not keep the dogs away, and even at the worst, in stress of weather, we are strong enough to keep the dogs away ourselves.

We should say to Europe: "Shinny on your own side of the water and we will shinny on our side." It may be that Napoleon's opinion will come true that ultimately Europe will be "all Cossack or all republican." Part of it has come true already. Meanwhile it looks as though the United States, having exhausted the reasonable possibilities of democracy, is beginning to turn crank. Look at woman suffrage by Federal edict; look at prohibition by act of Congress and constitutional amendment; tobacco next to walk on the plank; and then!—Lord, how glad I feel that I am nearly a hundred years old and shall not live to see it!

Chapter the Thirty-First

    The Age of Miracles—A Story of Franklin Pierce—Simon Suggs
    Billy Sunday—Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr—Certain Constitutional


The years intervening between 1865 and 1919 may be accounted the most momentous in all the cycles of the ages. The bells that something more than half a century ago rang forth to welcome peace in America have been from that day to this jangled out of tune and harsh with the sounding of war's alarms in every other part of the world. We flatter ourselves with the thought that our tragedy lies behind us. Whether this be true or not, the tragedy of Europe is at hand and ahead. The miracles of modern invention, surpassing those of old, have made for strife, not for peace. Civilization has gone backward, not forward. Rulers, intoxicated by the lust of power and conquest, have lost their reason, and nations, following after, like cattle led to slaughter, seem as the bereft of Heaven "that knew not God."

We read the story of our yesterdays as it unfolds itself in the current chronicle; the ascent to the bank-house, the descent to the mad-house, and, over the glittering paraphernalia that follows to the tomb, we reflect upon the money-zealot's progress; the dizzy height, the dazzling array, the craze for more and more and more; then the temptation and fall, millions gone, honor gone, reason gone—the innocent and the gentle, with the guilty, dragged through the mire of the prison, and the court—and we draw back aghast. Yet, if we speak of these things we are called pessimists.

I have always counted myself an optimist. I know that I do not lie awake nights musing on the ingratitude either of my stars or my countrymen. I pity the man who does. Looking backward, I have sincere compassion for Webster and for Clay! What boots it to them, now that they lie beneath the mold, and that the drums and tramplings of nearly seventy years of the world's strifes and follies and sordid ambitions and mean repinings, and longings, and laughter, and tears, have passed over their graves, what boots it to them, now, that they failed to get all they wanted? There is indeed snug lying in the churchyard; but the flowers smell as sweet and the birds sing as merry, and the stars look down as loving upon the God-hallowed mounds of the lowly and the poor, as upon the man-bedecked monuments of the Kings of men. All of us, the least with the greatest, let us hope and believe shall attain immortal life at last. What was there for Webster, what was there for Clay to quibble about? I read with a kind of wonder, and a sickening sense of the littleness of great things, those passages in the story of their lives where it is told how they stormed and swore, when tidings reached them that they had been balked of their desires.

Yet they might have been so happy; so happy in their daily toil, with its lofty aims and fair surroundings; so happy in the sense of duty done; so happy, above all, in their own Heaven-sent genius, with its noble opportunities and splendid achievements. They should have emulated the satisfaction told of Franklin Pierce. It is related that an enemy was inveighing against him, when an alleged friend spoke up and said: "You should not talk so about the President, I assure you that he is not at all the man you describe him to be. On the contrary, he is a man of the rarest gifts and virtues. He has long been regarded as the greatest orator in New England, and the greatest lawyer in New England, and surely no one of his predecessors ever sent such state papers to Congress."

"How are you going to prove it," angrily retorted the first speaker.

"I don't need to prove it," coolly replied the second. "He admits it."

I cannot tell just how I should feel if I were President, though, on the whole, I fancy fairly comfortable, but I am quite certain that I would not exchange places with any of the men who have been President, and I have known quite a number of them.


I am myself accused sometimes of being a "pessimist." Assuredly I am no optimist of the Billy Sunday sort, who fancies the adoption of the prohibition amendment the coming of "de jubilo." Early in life, while yet a recognized baseball authority, Mr. Sunday discovered "pay dirt" in what Col. Mulberry Sellers called "piousness." He made it an asset and began to issue celestial notes, countersigned by himself and made redeemable in Heaven. From that day to this he has been following the lead of the renowned Simon Suggs, who, having in true camp meeting style acquired "the grace of God," turned loose as an exhorter shouting "Step up to the mourner's bench, my brethering, step up lively, and be saved! I come in on na 'er par, an' see what I draw'd! Religion's the only game whar you can't lose. Him that trusts the Lord holds fo' aces!"

The Billy Sunday game has made Billy Sunday rich. Having exhausted Hell-fire-and-brimstone, the evangel turns to the Demon Rum. Satan, with hide and horns, has had his day. Prohibition is now the trick card.

The fanatic is never either very discriminating or very particular. As a rule, for him any taking "ism" will suffice. To-day, it happens to be "whisky." To-morrow it will be tobacco. Finally, having established the spy system and made house-to-house espionage a rule of conventicle, it will become a misdemeanor for a man to kiss his wife.

From fakers who have cards up their sleeves, not to mention snakes in their boots, we hear a great deal about "the people," pronounced by them as if it were spelled "pee-pul." It is the unfailing recourse of the professional politician in quest of place. Yet scarcely any reference, or referee, were faultier.

The people en masse constitute what we call the mob. Mobs have rarely been right—never except when capably led. It was the mob of Jerusalem that did the unoffending Jesus of Nazareth to death. It was the mob in Paris that made the Reign of Terror. Mobs have seldom been tempted, even had a chance to go wrong, that they have not gone wrong.

The "people" is a fetish. It was the people, misled, who precipitated the South into the madness of secession and the ruin of a hopelessly unequal war of sections. It was the people backing if not compelling the Kaiser, who committed hari-kari for themselves and their empire in Germany. It is the people leaderless who are making havoc in Russia. Throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, in all lands and ages, the people, when turned loose, have raised every inch of hell to the square foot they were able to raise, often upon the slightest pretext, or no pretext at all.

This is merely to note the mortal fallibility of man, most fallible when herded in groups and prone to do in the aggregate what he would hesitate to do when left to himself and his individual accountability.

Under a wise dispensation of power, despotism, we are told embodies the best of all government. The trouble is that despotism is seldom, if ever, wise. It is its nature to be inconsiderate, being essentially selfish, grasping and tyrannous. As a rule therefore revolution—usually of force—has been required to change or reform it. Perfectibility was not designed for mortal man. That indeed furnishes the strongest argument in favor of the immortality of the soul, life on earth but the ante-chamber of eternal life. It would be a cruel Deity that condemned man to the brief and vexed span of human existence with nothing beyond the grave.

We know not whence we came, or whither we go; but it is a fair guess that we shall in the end get better than we have known.


Historic democracy is dead.

This is not to say that a Democratic party organization has ceased to exist. Nor does it mean that there are no more Democrats and that the Democratic party is dead in the sense that the Federalist party is dead or the Whig party is dead, or the Greenback party is dead, or the Populist party is dead. That which has died is the Democratic party of Jefferson and Jackson and Tilden. The principles of government which they laid down and advocated have been for the most part obliterated. What slavery and secession were unable to accomplish has been brought about by nationalizing sumptuary laws and suffrage.

The death-blow to Jeffersonian democracy was delivered by the Democratic
Senators and Representatives from the South and West who carried through
the prohibition amendment. The coup de grâce was administered by a
President of the United States elected as a Democrat when he approved the
Federal suffrage amendment to the Constitution.

The kind of government for which the Jeffersonian democracy successfully battled for more than a century was thus repudiated; centralization was invited; State rights were assassinated in the very citadel of State rights. The charter of local self-government become a scrap of paper, the way is open for the obliteration of the States in all their essential functions and the erection of a Federal Government more powerful than anything of which Alexander Hamilton dared to dream.

When the history of these times comes to be written it may be said of Woodrow Wilson: he rose to world celebrity by circumstance rather than by character. He was favored of the gods. He possessed a bright, forceful mind. His achievements were thrust upon him. Though it sometimes ran away with him, his pen possessed extraordinary facility. Thus he was ever able to put his best foot foremost. Never in the larger sense a leader of men as were Chatham and Fox, as were Washington, Clay and Lincoln; nor of ideas as were Rousseau, Voltaire and Franklin, he had the subtle tenacity of Louis the Eleventh of France, the keen foresight of Richelieu with a talent for the surprising which would have raised him to eminence in journalism. In short he was an opportunist void of conviction and indifferent to consistency.

The pen is mightier than the sword only when it has behind it a heart as well as a brain. He who wields it must be brave, upright and steadfast. We are giving our Chief Executive enormous powers. As a rule his wishes prevail. His name becomes the symbol of party loyalty. Yet it is after all a figure of speech not a personality that appeals to our sense of duty without necessarily engaging our affection.

Historic Republicanism is likewise dead, as dead as historic Democracy, only in both cases the labels surviving.


We are told by Herbert Spencer that the political superstition of the past having been the divine right of kings, the political superstition of the present is the divine right of parliaments and he might have said of peoples. The oil of anointing seems unawares, he thinks, to have dripped from the head of the one upon the heads of the many, and given sacredness to them also, and to their decrees.

That the Proletariat, the Bolsheviki, the People are on the way seems plain enough. How far they will go, and where they will end, is not so clear. With a kind of education—most men taught to read, very few to think—the masses are likely to demand yet more and more for themselves. They will continue strenuously and effectively to resent the startling contrasts of fortune which aptitude and opportunity have created in a social and political structure claiming to rest upon the formula "equality for all, special privilege for none."

The law of force will yield to the rule of numbers. Socialism, disappointed of its Utopia, may then repeat the familiar lesson and reproduce the man-on-horseback, or the world may drop into another abyss, and, after the ensuing "dark ages," like those that swallowed Babylon and Tyre, Greece and Rome, emerge with a new civilization and religion.

"Man never is, but always to be blessed." We know not whence we came, or whither we go. Hope that springs eternal in the human breast tells us nothing. History seems, as Napoleon said, a series of lies agreed upon, yet not without dispute.


I read in an ultra-sectional non-partisan diatribe that "Jefferson Davis made Aaron Burr respectable," a sentence which clearly indicates that the writer knew nothing either of Jefferson Davis or Aaron Burr.

Both have been subjected to unmeasured abuse. They are variously misunderstood. Their chief sin was failure; the one to establish an impossible confederacy laid in human slavery, the other to achieve certain vague schemes of empire in Mexico and the far Southwest, which, if not visionary, were premature.

The final collapse of the Southern Confederacy can be laid at the door of no man. It was doomed the day of its birth. The wonder is that sane leaders could invoke such odds against them and that a sane people could be induced to follow. The single glory of the South is that it was able to stand out so long against such odds.

Jefferson Davis was a high-minded and well-intentioned man. He was chosen to lead the South because he was, in addition, an accomplished soldier. As one who consistently opposed him in his public policies, I can specify no act to the discredit of his character, his one serious mistake being his failiure to secure the peace offered by Abraham Lincoln two short months before Appomattox.

Taking account of their personalities and the lives they led, there is little to suggest comparison, except that they were soldiers and Senators, who, each in his day, filled a foremost place in public affairs.

Aaron Burr, though well born and highly educated, was perhaps a rudely-minded man. But he was no traitor. If the lovely woman, Theodosia Prevost, whom he married, had lived, there is reason to believe that the whole course and tenor of his career would have been altered. Her death was an irreparable blow, as it were, a prelude to the series of mischances that followed. The death of their daughter, the lovely Theodosia Alston, completed the tragedy of his checkered life.

Born a gentleman and attaining soldierly distinction and high place, he fell a victim to the lure of a soaring ambition and the devious experience of a man about town.

The object of political proscription for all his intellectual and personal resources, he could not successfully meet and stand against it. There was nothing in the affair with Hamilton actually to damn and ruin him. Neither morally nor politically was Hamilton the better man of the two. Nor was there treason in his Mexican scheme. He meant no more with universal acclaim than Houston did three decades later. To couple his name with that of Benedict Arnold is historic sacrilege.

Jefferson pursued him relentlessly. But even Jefferson could not have destroyed him. When, after an absence of four years abroad, he returned to America, there was still a future for him had he stood up like a man, but, instead, like one confessing defeat, he sank down, whilst the wave of obloquy rolled over him.

His is one of the few pathetic figures in our national history. Mr. Davis has had plenty of defenders. Poor Burr has had scarcely an apologist. His offense, whatever it was, has been overpaid. Even the War of Sections begins to fade into the mist and become dreamlike even to those who bore an actual part in it.

The years are gliding swiftly by. Only a little while, and there shall not be one man living who saw service on either side of that great struggle of systems and ideas. Its passions long ago vanished from manly bosoms. That has come to pass within a single generation in America which in Europe required ages to accomplish.

There is no disputing the verdict of events. Let us relate them truly and interpret them fairly. If the South would have the North do justice to its heroes, the South must do justice to the heroes of the North. Each must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's even as each would render unto God the things that are God's. As living men, standing erect in the presence of Heaven and the world, the men of the South have grown gray without being ashamed; and they need not fear that History will fail to vindicate their integrity.

When those are gone that fought the battle, and Posterity comes to strike the balance, it will be shown that the makers of the Constitution left the relation of the States to the Federal Government and of the Federal Government to the States open to a double construction. It will be told how the mistaken notion that slave labor was requisite to the profitable cultivation of sugar, rice and cotton, raised a paramount property interest in the Southern section of the Union, whilst in the Northern section, responding to the trend of modern thought and the outer movements of mankind, there arose a great moral sentiment against slavery. The conflict thus established, gradually but surely sectionalizing party lines, was as inevitable as it was irrepressible. It was fought out to its bitter and logical conclusion at Appomattox. It found us a huddle of petty sovereignties, held together by a rope of sand. It made and it left us a Nation.

Chapter the Thirty-Second

    A War Episode—I Meet my Fater—I Marry and Make a Home—The Ups and
    Downs of Life Lead to a Happy Old Age


In bringing these desultory—perhaps too fragmentary—recollections to a close the writer may not be denied his final word. This shall neither be self-confident nor overstated; the rather a confession of faith somewhat in rejection of political and religious pragmatism. In both his experience has been ample if not exhaustive. During the period of their serial publication he has received many letters—suggestive, informatory and critical—now and again querulous—which he has not failed to consider, and, where occasion seemed to require, to pursue to original sources in quest of accuracy. In no instance has he found any essential error in his narrative. Sometimes he has been charged with omissions—as if he were writing a history of his own times—whereas he has been only, and he fears, most imperfectly, relating his immediate personal experience.

I was born in the Presbyterian Church, baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, educated in the Church of England in America and married into the Church of the Disciples. The Roman Catholic baptism happened in this way: It was my second summer; my parents were sojourning in the household of a devout Catholic family; my nurse was a fond, affectionate Irish Catholic; the little life was almost despaired of, so one sunny day, to rescue me from that form of theologic controversy known as infant damnation, the baby carriage was trundled round the corner to Saint Matthew's Church—it was in the national capital—and the baby brow was touched with holy water out of a font blessed of the Virgin Mary. Surely I have never felt or been the worse for it.

Whilst I was yet too young to understand I witnessed an old-fashioned baptism of the countryside. A person who had borne a very bad character in the neighborhood was being immersed. Some one, more humorous than reverent, standing near me, said as the man came to the surface, "There go his sins, men and brethren, there go his sins"; and having but poor eyesight I thought I saw them passing down the stream never to trouble him, or anybody, more. I can see them still floating, floating down the stream, out and away from the sight of men. Does this make me a Baptist, I wonder?

I fear not, I fear not; because I am unable to rid myself of the impression that there are many roads leading to heaven, and I have never believed in what is called close communion. I have not hated and am unable to hate any man because either in political or in religious opinion he differs from me and insists upon voting his party ticket and worshiping his Creator according to his conscience. Perfect freedom of conscience and thought has been my lifelong contention.

I suppose I must have been born an insurrecto. Pursuing the story of the dark ages when men were burnt at the stake for the heresy of refusing to bow to the will of the majority, it is not the voice of the Protestant or the Catholic that issues from the flames and reaches my heart, but the cry of suffering man, my brother. To me a saint is a saint whether he wears wooden shoes or goes barefoot, whether he gets his baptism silently out of a font of consecrated water or comes dripping from the depths of the nearest brook, shouting, "Glory hallelujah!" From my boyhood the persecution of man for opinion's sake—and no matter for what opinion's sake—has roused within me the only devil I have ever personally known.

My reading has embraced not a few works which seek or which affect to deal with the mystery of life and death. Each and every one of them leaves a mystery still. For all their learning and research—their positivity and contradiction—none of the writers know more than I think I know myself, and all that I think I know myself may be abridged to the simple rescript, I know nothing. The wisest of us reck not whence we came or whither we go; the human mind is unable to conceive the eternal in either direction; the soul of man inscrutable even to himself.

  The night has a thousand eyes,
  The day but one;
  Yet the light of the bright world dies
  With the dying sun.

  The mind has a thousand eyes,
  The heart but one;
  Yet the light of a whole life dies
  When love is done.

All that there is to religion, therefore, is faith; not much more in politics. We are variously told that the church is losing its hold upon men. If it be true it is either that it gives itself over to theology—the pride of opinion—or yields itself to the celebration of the mammon of unrighteousness.

I do not believe that it is true. Never in the history of the world was Jesus of Nazareth so interesting and predominant. Between Buddha, teaching the blessing of eternal sleep, and Christ, teaching the blessing of eternal life, mankind has been long divided, but slowly, surely, the influence of the Christ has overtaken that of the Buddha until that portion of the world which has advanced most by process of evolution from the primal state of man now worships at the shrine of Christ and him risen from the dead, not at the sign of Buddha and total oblivion.

The blessed birthright from God, the glory of heaven, the teaching and example of the Prince of Peace—have been engulfed beneath oceans of ignorance and superstition through two thousand years of embittered controversy. During the dark ages coming down even to our own time the very light of truth was shut out from the eyes and hearts and minds of men. The blood of the martyrs we were assured in those early days was the seed of the church. The blood of the martyrs was the blood of man—weak, cruel, fallible man, who, whether he got his inspiration from the Tiber or the Rhine, from Geneva, from Edinburgh or from Rome, did equally the devil's work in God's name. None of the viceregents of heaven, as they claimed to be, knew much or seemed to care much about the word of the Gentle One of Bethlehem, whom they had adopted as their titular divinity much as men in commerce adopt a trade-mark.


It was knock-down and drag-out theology, the ruthless machinery of organized churchism—the rank materialism of things temporal—not the teachings of Christ and the spirit of the Christian religion—which so long filled the world with blood and tears.

I have often in talking with intelligent Jews expressed a wonder that they should stigmatize the most illustrious Jew as an impostor, saying to them: "What matters it whether Jesus was of divine or human parentage—a human being or an immortal spirit? He was a Jew: a glorious, unoffending Jew, done to death by a mob of hoodlums in Jerusalem. Why should not you and I call him Master and kneel together in love and pity at his feet?"

Never have I received any satisfying answer. Partyism—churchism—will ever stick to its fetish. Too many churches—or, shall I say, church fabrics—breeding controversy where there should be agreement, each sect and subdivision fighting phantoms of its fancy. In the city that once proclaimed itself eternal there is war between the Quirinal and the Vatican, the government of Italy and the papal hierarchy. In France the government of the republic and the Church of Rome are at daggers-drawn. Before the world-war England and Germany—each claiming to be Protestant—were looking on askance, irresolute, not as to which side might be right and which wrong, but on which side "is my bread to be buttered?" In America, where it was said by the witty Frenchmen we have fifty religions and only one soup, there are people who think we should begin to organize to stop the threatened coming of the Pope, and such like! "O Liberty," cried Madame Roland, "how many crimes are committed in thy name!" "O Churchism," may I not say, "how much nonsense is trolled off in thy name!"

I would think twice before trusting the wisest and best of men with absolute power; but I would trust never any body of men—never any Sanhedrim, consistory, church congress or party convention—with absolute power. Honest men are often led to do or to assent, in association, what they would disdain upon their conscience and responsibility as individuals. En masse extremism generally prevails, and extremism is always wrong; it is the more wrong and the more dangerous because it is rarely wanting for plausible sophistries, furnishing congenial and convincing argument to the mind of the unthinking for whatever it has to propose.


Too many churches and too much partyism! It is love—love through grace of God—truth where we can find it—which shall irradiate the life that is. If when we have prepared ourselves for the life to come love be wanting, nothing else is much worth while. Not alone the love of man for woman, but the love of woman for woman and of man for man; the divine fraternity taught us by the Sermon on the Mount; the religion of giving, not of getting; of whole-hearted giving; of joy in the love and the joy of others.

Who giveth himself with his alms feeds three— Himself, his hungering neighbor and Me.

For myself I can truthfully subscribe to the formula: "I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth. And Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

That is my faith. It is my religion. It was my cradle song. It may not be, dear ones of contrariwise beliefs, your cradle song or your belief, or your religion. What boots it? Can you discover another in word and deed, in luminous, far-reaching power of speech and example, to walk by the side of this the Anointed One of your race and of my belief?

As the Irish priest said to the British prelate touching the doctrine of purgatory: "You may go further and fare worse, my lord," so may I say to my Jewish friends—"Though the stars in their courses lied to the Wise Men of the desert, the bloody history of your Judea, altogether equal in atrocity to the bloody history of our Christendom, has yet to fulfill the promise of a Messiah—and were it not well for those who proclaim themselves God's people to pause and ask, 'Has He not arisen already?'"

I would not inveigh against either the church or its ministry; I would not stigmatize temporal preaching; I would have ministers of religion as free to discuss the things of this world as the statesmen and the journalists; but with this difference: That the objective point with them shall be the regeneration of man through grace of God and not the winning of office or the exploitation of parties and newspapers. Journalism is yet too unripe to do more than guess at truth from a single side. The statesman stands mainly for political organism. Until he dies he is suspect. The pulpit remains therefore still the moral hope of the universe and the spiritual light of mankind.

It must be nonpartisan. It must be nonprofessional. It must be manly and independent. But it must also be worldy-wise, not artificial, sympathetic, broad-minded and many-sided, equally ready to smite wrong in high places and to kneel by the bedside of the lowly and the poor.

I have so found most of the clergymen I have known, the exceptions too few
to remember. In spite of the opulence we see about us let us not take to
ourselves too much conceit. May every pastor emulate the virtues of that
village preacher of whom it was written that:

  Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
  And fools who came to scoff, remained to pray.

* * * * *

A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year.

* * * * *

  His house was known to all the vagrant train,
  He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;
  The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
  Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
  The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
  Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;
  The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
  Sate by the fire, and talked the night away;
  Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
  Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.
  Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
  And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
  Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
  His pity gave ere charity began.


I have lived a long life—rather a happy and a busy than a merry one—enjoying where I might, but, let me hope I may fairly claim, shirking no needful labor or duty. The result is some accretions to my credit. It were, however, ingratitude and vanity in me to set up exclusive ownership of these. They are the joint products and property of my dear wife and myself.

I do not know just what had befallen if love had failed me, for as far back as I can remember love has been to me the bedrock of all that is worth living for, striving for or possessing in this cross-patch of a world of ours.

I had realized the meaning of it in the beautiful concert of affection between my father and mother, who lived to celebrate their golden wedding. My wife and I have enjoyed now the like conjugal felicity fifty-four—counted to include two years of betrothal, fifty-six years. Never was a young fellow more in love than I—never has love been more richly rewarded—yet not without some heartbreaking bereavements.

I met the woman who was to become my wife during the War of Sections—amid its turmoil and peril—and when at its close we were married, at Nashville, Tennessee, all about us was in mourning, the future an adventure. It was at Chattanooga, the winter of 1862-63, that fate brought us together and riveted our destinies. She had a fine contralto voice and led the church choir. Doctor Palmer, of New Orleans, was on a certain Sunday well into the long prayer of the Presbyterian service. Bragg's army was still in middle Tennessee. There was no thought of an attack. Bang! Bang! Then the bursting of a shell too close for comfort. Bang! Bang! Then the rattle of shell fragments on the roof. On the other side of the river the Yankees were upon us.

The man of God gave no sign that anything unusual was happening. He did not hurry. He did not vary the tones of his voice. He kept on praying. Nor was there panic in the congregation, which did not budge.

That was the longest long prayer I ever heard. When it was finally ended, and still without changing a note the preacher delivered the benediction, the crowded church in the most orderly manner moved to the several doorways.

I was quick to go for my girl. By the time we reached the street the firing had become general. We had to traverse quite half a mile of it before attaining a place of safety. Two weeks later we were separated for nearly two years, when, the war over, we found ourselves at home again.

In the meantime her father had fallen in the fight, and in the far South I had buried him. He was one of the most eminent and distinguished and altogether the best beloved of the Tennesseeans of his day, Andrew Ewing, who, though a Democrat, had in high party times represented the Whig Nashville district in Congress and in the face of assured election declined the Democratic nomination for governor of the state. A foremost Union leader in the antecedent debate, upon the advent of actual war he had reluctantly but resolutely gone with his state and section.


The intractable Abolitionists of the North and the radical Secessionists of the South have much historically to answer for. The racial warp and woof in the United States were at the outset of our national being substantially homogeneous. That the country should have been geographically divided and sectionally set by the ears over the institution of African slavery was the work of agitation that might have attained its ends by less costly agencies.

How often human nature seeking its bent prefers the crooked to the straight way ahead! The North, having in its ships brought the negroes from Africa and sold them to the planters of the South, putting the money it got for them in its pocket, turned philanthropist. The South, having bought its slaves from the slave traders of the North under the belief that slave labor was requisite to the profitable production of sugar, rice and cotton, stood by property-rights lawfully acquired, recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution. Thence arose an irrepressible conflict of economic forces and moral ideas whose doubtful adjustment was scarcely worth what it cost the two sections in treasure and blood.

On the Northern side the issue was made to read freedom, on the Southern side, self-defense. Neither side had any sure law to coerce the other. Upon the simple right and wrong of it each was able to establish a case convincing to itself. Thus the War of Sections, fought to a finish so gallantly by the soldiers of both sides, was in its origination largely a game of party politics.

The extremists and doctrinaires who started the agitation that brought it about were relatively few in number. The South was at least defending its own. That what it considered its rights in the Union and the Territories being assailed it should fight for aggressively lay in the nature of the situation and the character of the people. Aggression begot aggression, the unoffending negro, the provoking cause, a passive agent. Slavery is gone. The negro we still have with us. To what end?

Life indeed is a mystery—a hopelessly unsolved problem. Could there be a stronger argument in favor of a world to come than may be found in the brevity and incertitude of the world that is? Where this side of heaven shall we look for the court of last resort? Who this side of the grave shall be sure of anything?

At this moment the world having reached what seems the apex of human achievement is topsy-turvy and all agog. Yet have we the record of any moment when it was not so? That to keep what we call the middle of the road is safest most of us believe. But which among us keeps or has ever kept the middle of the road? What else and what next? It is with nations as with men. Are we on the way to another terrestrial collapse, and so on ad infinitum to the end of time?


The home which I pictured in my dreams and projected in my hopes came to me at last. It arrived with my marriage. Then children to bless it. But it was not made complete and final—a veritable Kentucky home—until the all-round, all-night work which had kept my nose to the grindstone had been shifted to younger shoulders I was able to buy a few acres of arable land far out in the county—the County of Jefferson!—and some ancient brick walls, which the feminine genius to which I owe so much could convert to itself and tear apart and make over again. Here "the sun shines bright" as in the song, and—

The corn tops ripe and the meadows in the bloom The birds make music all the day.

They waken with the dawn—a feathered orchestra—incessant, fearless—for each of its pieces—from the sweet trombone of the dove to the shrill clarionet of the jay—knows that it is safe. There are no guns about. We have with us, and have had for five and twenty years, a family of colored people who know our ways and meet them intelligently and faithfully. When we go away—as we do each winter and sometimes during the other seasons—and come again—dinner is on the table, and everybody—even to Tigue and Bijou, the dogs—is glad to see us. Could mortal ask for more? And so let me close with the wish of my father's old song come true—the words sufficiently descriptive of the reality:

 In the downhill of life when I find I'm declining,
      May my fate no less fortunate be
  Than a snug elbow chair can afford for reclining
      And a cot that o'erlooks the wide sea—
  A cow for my dairy, a dog for my game.
      And a purse when my friend needs to borrow;
  I'll envy no nabob his riches, nor fame,
      Nor the honors that wait him to-morrow.

 _And when at the close I throw off this frail cov'ring
      Which I've worn for three-score years and ten—
  On the brink of the grave I'll not seek to keep hov'ring
      Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again.
  But my face in the glass I'll serenely survey,
      And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow—
  That this worn-out old stuff which is thread-bare to-day

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Marse Henry (Vol. 2), by Henry Watterson


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