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Title: As the Crow Flies: From Corsica to Charing Cross

Author: Walter Phelps Dodge

Release date: October 28, 2014 [eBook #47213]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Emmy and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)




16mo, pp. 173.         Price, $1.
The Geo. M. Allen Company.


The three tales which compose this little volume have been previously published in the Hartford Post. “The author frankly acknowledges himself a disciple of the romantic school,” and his stories have the dreamy, remote atmosphere which he has aimed to produce. There is much beauty in these pale, pathetic creations and they have doubtless a certain affinity with the scenery of Greece, as Mr. Dodge suggests. It is the present day Greece of a modern man’s imagination, however, and we must not take the title “Greek Tale,” as at all applicable to the stories in the classical sense. They might in some truth be compared in style with Mr. Winter’s poems.


* * * They are, all three, quiet, unpretentious, gracefully told stories that almost all classes of readers will enjoy.


* * * In method and scene alike the book is a pleasing variation from the conventional.


There is a charm in Walter Phelps Dodge’s “Three Greek Tales” wholly in keeping with the classic scenery in which they are laid and the classical associations it suggests. Of those fair isles, dear alike to the artist and the littérateur, story and picture each take on qualities borrowed from its rival, and these tales of modern Greek life are enjoyable largely for their picturesque setting.


* * * A young author could hardly have a more auspicious introduction to the public than this small volume gives. If there is no realism or pretence to analysis of character, there is something far better and rarer, in these days of over-stuffed and over-seasoned “roast and boiled”—there are characters that stand out and that live and breathe by reason of a few fine outlines of suggestiveness.


* * * Love stories, all of them, well told in the main.




Author of “Three Greek Tales”

three leaves and a nut






Acknowledgment is made
to the Editors of the
Hartford Post
and the Hartford Courant;
in whose papers these letters first



Introduction 7
A Glimpse of Corsica 9
Along the Riviera 17
San Remo 29
The City of Palaces 40
The Napoleonic Legend 49
A Devonshire Market Town 62
Oxford 68
The English Littoral 76
A Day at Windsor 81
Scarborough 89
Climbing in Lakeland 94
Windermere 105
Sandringham House 112
The Latter-day Jacobites 122





IN Summer, particularly in travelling, one is very apt to prefer a simple glass of ice-cold lemonade—not too sweet,—to a bumper of burgundy or a tankard of ale; and it has been the author’s experience that the mental processes are not unlikely to follow the example of the physical, in this particular. For this reason he is encouraged to submit these slight sketches of divers persons and places to an indulgent public.

He may say that the sketch entitled “Sandringham House” has been submitted to the highest authority, and that its substance is approved by the Personage with whom it is chiefly concerned.

W. P. D.
New York,
April 1st, 1893.


As the Crow Flies.



BASTIA.—Nice is too attractive to leave without regret at any time, and we felt particularly sorry for ourselves one evening towards six o’clock when we saw the disreputable little tub of a steamer that was to take us over to Corsica; and as we penetrated the odourous mysteries of the cabin we devoutly hoped that we might see Bastia in the morning without foundering, for the berths were suspiciously like the long, narrow coffin shelves in family vaults and had been built apparently for children, so cribbed, cabined and confined were their proportions. We said little as we put away our portmanteaux and cameras and took our rugs from the strap, but our looks spoke volumes and we were careful to sprinkle plenty of Keating’s powder about the place.


A fine, drizzling rain soon began and we were compelled, much to our disgust, to leave the comparatively unobjectionable deck where sturdy, bare-legged sailor boys were shouting and singing and throwing ropes and chains about to no apparent end. As soon as we had reached the depths of the noisome little cabin, dinner was served, and oh, the mockery of that dinner! Everything was scented with garlic, and when the flavour of that questionable delicacy was absent it was replaced by the taste of rancid oil. We did not sit the meal out, and although it was barely nine o’clock, threw ourselves on our shelves to try and forget the too perceptible motion as the little boat quitted the sheltering harbour of Nice. Although the sea was calm enough, the small size of the boat unconsciously suggested the idea of a rough sea.

Our sleep was more or less broken—generally more, and at six we were awakened by a fiendish blast of the whistle which was near our berths, to an overpowering sense of certain strange and gruesome odours. The cabin had been hermetically closed on account of the rain, and on the floor about the tables were stretched in various attitudes of abandon several human forms, who proceeded[11] to rise and shake themselves. It is needless to say we had thrown ourselves down fully dressed, and we made a sudden rush for the companion way, for if ever there was an odour that could be cut it was the one in the tightly closed little cabin of that dirty little steamer off Bastia in the rainy, chill darkness of that December morning.

A hasty fee to the steward—and the next moment saw us on the quay at Bastia, holding fast to our valises, threatened by a ragged mob of urchins who would have had but little respect for the doctrine of meum and tuum. We scrambled into a musty, damp hotel ’bus and, half asleep still, were rattled over the badly-paved streets to our hotel. And what a hotel! We were received in a mouldy courtyard by an antiquated porter in undress uniform, with a farthing tallow dip, who gruffly informed us that we could get no coffee for two hours and who then ushered us upstairs to the grimy little room reserved for us. I don’t know yet how high the hotel was, but it seemed as if we were never to reach the top as we struggled after that wavering candle. No wonder tourists who think nothing of a run to Colombo or Aden or a trip to New Zealand shudder at the thought of doing[12] Corsica or Sardinia, for anything more uncivilized than the ways of getting there I have never seen.

The time passed drearily on as we waited in the cold, stone-floored room, but eight o’clock finally came and we hurried down eager for coffee and eggs. The dining room was sui generis and the cloth and napkins were not above reproach, but we managed to make out a fair meal with the exception of the bread, which was hard and sour; and then sallied out to do the town.

Bastia is rather a decent town to the view and the architecture is solid and not altogether in the flimsy stucco of Italy. There are no handsome public buildings, except the theatre, which is built on the lines of an old Greek temple. In the square on the water front, where the raw recruits are drilled, is a huge statue of the first Napoleon in the toga and laurel wreath of a Roman Consul. It is of heroic size and dazzlingly white and seems to dominate everything in its immediate neighbourhood. Of course the Corsicans are inordinately proud of Napoleon, and one cannot converse for five minutes with an ordinary inhabitant without his remarking nonchalantly that Corsica has produced the greatest military genius of the world.


The islanders are a curious cross between the French and Italian types, perhaps inclining more to the latter. The language is a patois of French and Italian, with a few Spanish words, and is hard to comprehend, but anyone understanding good Italian can easily manage. It is really yet a question to what country Corsica should strictly belong, for it has tasted the rule of many nations. It knew the yoke of both the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and belonged in turn to the Republics of Genoa and Pisa in the middle ages; when the short-lived King Theodore raised the standard of revolt, too soon lowered. Then the patriot, Pasquale Paoli, ruled the island from 1755 to 1769, when the Genoese transferred their claim to the island to France, which has since annexed it.

It is absurd to say that Vendetta has died out, for it is still popular in the island to an almost incredible extent, and anyone refusing to continue a blood feud when his plain duty would be to avenge his ancestor would soon have the Rimbecco sung under his windows. A thirst for blood seems ingrained in the Corsican nature, and few families in either the upper or lower classes of the island are without their hereditary feud. This custom is said to be[14] worse now than under the Second Empire, and is particularly prevalent round about Corte. It originated when the Genoese ruled the island and male members were obliged to take the honour of their family into their own keeping. There are several strict laws in existence enacted against this barbarous practice, but they have fallen into disuse and are unregarded.

I have several times been asked what the principal industry of Bastia was. The only answer that occurs to me is to say stilettoes, for really all the shops seem to have inexhaustible supplies of this keen, murderous little blade. Not only are they sold in the guise of weapons, but as charms, as brooches, as sleeve buttons, as scarf pins—in coral, lava, gold, silver and brass. Even the pawnbrokers display second-hand stilettoes in their windows, several of them covered with a rust that has been blood. To a stranger, all this gives Bastia a savage air, and when he thinks of the hotels and the food he is apt to start for the station or the dock. But Vendetta is confined strictly to local affairs, and it is very rare to find a case where strangers have been brought into family feuds. The literature of Vendetta is rich. The famous “Corsican Brothers,”[15] “Mr. Barnes of New York,” Marie Corelli’s “Vendetta,” and Prosper Merrimée’s delightful “Colomba” all dwell on the subject.

But besides Vendetta, which exists only in this island; Corsica shares with Sardinia the honour of being the only place in Europe where the moufflon is now found, and so attracts numbers of English sportsmen, who, however, land usually at Ajaccio. Few tourists reach Bastia. Ajaccio is a sort of health resort, modeled after the places on the Riviera and is only a second-rate imitation at best; but Bastia is a quiet, semi-commercial little town, on the sea, with huge mountains at its back, and content to dream away its time in ignorant obscurity. All traces of the old island costumes have disappeared and one does not know whether to be amused or sad at the pathetic attempt to imitate French fashions. The older streets in Bastia are curious. They differ from those of most old Italian towns in being paved with large, flat stones and are kept scrupulously clean, showing their French origin. The old citadel, built in 1383, is worth a visit for the sake of its curious walls. In poking about among the old curiosity shops I unearthed a valuable souvenir. It was an old bronze medal, bearing on one[16] side “Louis Napoleon Bonaparte,” with his portrait, and on the other “Pour Valeur.” It had evidently been given as a reward of valor by Napoleon III. in the eventful two years when he was Prince-President, before the coup d’état, and I have since ascertained its rarity. A drive in the country about Bastia shows a landscape rich in hills and pines, but in nothing else.

A diligent search among the grocers’ shops finally unearthed a tin of “picnic tongue,” and we feasted on that and on some Albert biscuits to save ourselves a return to the too odourous hotel dining room. We did not regret sailing for Sardinia that night, as we hoped to find there what we had missed in Corsica—clean beds and decent food.






CANNES.—Any one with a liking for titles, that is, English titles, which are the only ones worth having, is sure to be gratified at Cannes. For Cannes is like Bournemouth, select and expensive. At the Prince de Galles Hotel in Cannes the other day, when the register was brought to me to sign, I noticed that for five pages mine was the only name of a commoner. Earls were as thick as blackberries and there were Viscounts galore. This explains why so few, comparatively, are met with at the other Riviera resorts. Cannes is par excellence an English resort, and woe betide the bourgeois Frenchman or spectacled German who innocently happens upon one of its mammoth hotels; and many are the shivers that shake his Jäger-clothed frame at the numerous open windows and delightful draughts of fresh air that are so home-like to an Englishman or a civilized American.

Like Bournemouth, Cannes is rich in pines and poor in shops and cabs. But here every one brings their own[18] turn-out, and few teams are to be seen without both footman and coachman in some well-known London livery. For amusements Cannes is a poor place, that is, for theatres; but there is plenty of tennis, which one may, if properly introduced, play with Russian Grand-Duchesses or Austrian Archdukes; and the Grand Duke Michael is working up some excitement over golf links. He did me the honour to ask for my subscription, but as I am not in Cannes en permanence I was not obliged to subscribe. One can go to twenty teas in an afternoon, if one is so disposed, and “pique-niques,” dances and dinners are almost too numerous to count. At Rumpelmayer’s the “Hig-lif” of Cannes, as the French call it, is to be met between five and six o’clock, when most of the habitués of Rotten Row happen in for a cup of the delicious chocolate tempered with whipped cream of which Rumpelmayer makes a specialty. All the villa owners at Cannes (for there are very few villas rented here; if one wants a house in Cannes one must build it) send to Regent Street for whatever they want, consequently no shops at Cannes but those making a specialty of kitchen necessaries or provisions have any raison d’être and they are[19] not missed. Most of the hotels have good libraries, and one can lounge away days in the palm-shaded garden, watching the sunshine dance and sparkle upon the rich blue sea. There is a restful feeling about Cannes, an aristocratic repose and seclusion not shared by any of the other resorts on the coast, except, perhaps, in a modified degree, by San Remo; and physicians say the air here is not so stimulating as at Nice and Mentone. Of course, it is not so stimulating as at Monte Carlo, either, but that is for a different reason!

No one can get a footing at Cannes unless their social record is unassailable, and as it costs a small fortune to live here for even a week, objectionable people are kept away, and one does not meet the cockney Londoner who drops his h’s promiscuously or the shoddy American who speaks with a twang and is always looking for a spittoon. Even the cooking is English at Cannes, and cold “ros-bif” and pickles with a tankard of ale and a bit of apple tart (than which there is no more palatable luncheon) often forms the meal of some hearty party of Britons. One leaves Cannes with regret; and a sigh for its quiet pleasures as one is whirled into the noisy, huge station at Nice.


One finds here a very different atmosphere. All is gaiety, noise and bustle. Splendid shops thrust their wonderfully arranged windows upon one’s notice. Redfern’s name appears in gilt with the Prince of Wales’ plumes above it, and many names familiar to frequenters of the Paris jewellers’ shops are met with. Strolling along the Quai Masséna one could spend hours simply looking in the shop windows at pearl pins marked at £1,000, or at some little pink emerald worth a fortune simply because it does not happen to be green. And the famous Galignani library is not to be ignored, with its fascinating display of all the latest London books and the Christmas numbers of the English papers with their half-hidden pictures of Santa Claus; nor the huge Casino and Winter Garden where one pays two francs for a ticket of admission, good for the whole day, where reading-rooms and the latest telegrams of Reuter’s Agency tempt one to settle down for several hours. There, in the domed central garden, among hundreds of palms and tropical plants, one can listen to a capital band while having an ice from the Nice Bignon’s.

There, too, one may see a good exhibition of marionettes, a sort of[21] glorified Punch and Judy show, where all the gilded infancy of Nice congregates to enjoy the fun. And one can waste hours over the petits chevaux; where, on a huge, green-clothed table, six small horses are wound up, and race around a circle, bets being made upon the colour and number of the winner. In the height of the season the management is said to make 3,000 francs per day out of this simple amusement. At the far end of this pleasant Jardin d’Hiver is the entrance to the small play-house connected with it; but the companies who perform here are not above reproach; except during Carnival, when no expense is spared to secure the best talent, and the Paris play-houses are called upon to contribute their best actors for the edification of the visitors. A stroll among the Nice shops in the evening is delightful, in the warm balmy air, with the moonlight over all and the echo of some mandolin concert in the distance. One can listen to street musicians in this sunny land without any fear of hearing “Comrades” or “Ask a P’leeceman,” and may even reasonably expect something decent in the way of selections from “Carmen” or “Dinorah,” both of which are prime favorites among the lower[22] classes. Nice has long had a municipal theatre, but this is not well supported, and the most flourishing establishment of this sort in the town is a huge music hall or café concert, which does a roaring business. Sweet-shops abound in Nice and are a never-ending surprise to English folk, who very sensibly put them down to the increasing number of Americans who come here. A huge Casino has just been built on the end of a long pier stretching out into the sea, and they tell an amusing tale of the way in which the gambling privilege was secured. An unsuccessful appeal had been made to the Mayor, M. Henry, and the speculators were in despair until it suddenly occurred to them that their establishment was not on land, but at sea, and so they appealed to the Minister of Marine at Paris with better success. Charming drives abound in every direction around Nice, and coaches go over to Monte Carlo every few hours. There is but one drawback to Nice as a place of residence—the increased number of the descendants of Israel who are making it a seaside synagogue. Fashion has deserted it for Cannes, but it will always be the favoured resort of the gay and the bored—those who do not care for society, and[23] for whom society does not care. The change to the small station of Monte Carlo and the gaudily-ornamented lift that slowly rises to the bluff above is marked. For pure luxury and the highest degree of comfort Monte Carlo ranks next to Paris. Take the Hôtel de Paris, next the Casino, for instance, an establishment owned and conducted by the Casino company. Soft velvet carpets into which one’s foot sinks, Wedgwood toilet sets, and easy chairs that would not look out of place in Belgravia, are the distinguishing characteristics of the bedrooms; and there is not a gas lamp in the place; hundreds of little wax candles, each shaded by a deep red shade, give light; and when one is enjoying the cooking, which is a dream in itself, and drinking in all the beauty and elegance, it is hard to remember that one is in what has been called the most wicked place on earth. The Bishop of Gibraltar considers it so abandoned, in fact, that he has refused to license a Chaplain or consecrate a Church—queer logic on His Lordship’s part, who seems to go on the principle that the worse the place the less necessity for a Church. And yet the villa holders of Monte Carlo form a very respectable class. The late Mr. Junius[24] Morgan had a villa here and many other well-known names might be cited. The place is charmingly small and centres round about the immense and beautiful Casino. Ask the inhabitants of the Principality of Monaco what they think of the Casino and the gambling company. They will reply that it is an unmixed blessing. For the company pays the taxes of the little realm, keeps all the roads and public works in good repair; and poverty is almost unknown. The inhabitants are allowed to enter the gambling rooms but one day in the year—on the fête day of the Prince of Monaco. Strangers gain admission to the rooms by presentation of their visiting cards, and without them are not allowed entrance. A droll tale is told of the application of this rule to the Marquis of Salisbury. He was going to the rooms with a party and not having any visiting card with him was stopped by the gigantic doorkeeper. He was somewhat angry at this and drew himself up, saying, in very English French: “Mais j’ai ne pas besoin d’une carte de visite. Je suis le Marquis de Salisbury, Premier d’Angleterre.” But the doorkeeper still refused and would not let him in. He afterwards explained his incredulity by saying to a friend: “How[25] could I believe he was Milord Salisbury and the Prime Minister of England? He wore a tweed suit and had his trousers turned up.” This brother evidently derived his idea of the appearance of a Marquis from the Italian article of that name, which is usually greasy, and fearfully and wonderfully attired.

The Casino at Monte Carlo and its tables have been often described; but the crowds that linger three deep about the green cloth are always fascinating to watch. Grande dames and cocottes elbow each other, and English statesmen rub shoulders with Parisian blacklegs. The day I was there I saw the Duc de Dino (who married Mrs. Stevens, of New York,) philosophically drop £2,000, and stand it better than a young man who lost five francs at roulette. But the saddest thing of all was to see young girls of eighteen or twenty (the rule is not to admit anyone under twenty-one, but of course the officials are often hoodwinked) with “systems,” pressing close to the table and pricking number after number on their cards as they eagerly follow a run on the red or the black. These people are always sure they will some day break the bank, and linger on from day to day and from week to week leaving[26] whole fortunes in the maw of the remorseless “Administration.” Each additional week seems to add to the strained, eager look in their eyes, the drawn, pinched look about the mouth, and the tell-tale wrinkles about the temples that proclaim an habitual gambler. The croupiers, too, are curious studies, as they whirl the ball or deal the cards that mean so much to the eager crowd; cool, calm, impassive, there is something devilish about the monotonous way in which they call “Faites vos jeux, Messieurs,” or “Le jeu est fait. Rien ne va plus.” Some of them, it is easy to see, have come down in the world; and one man was shown to me who had filled a high position in a crack British regiment, before he had been detected cheating at cards and had been ruined for life. I may not give his name or all the facts in the case, but it bore a striking resemblance to Sir William Gordon-Cummings’ “accident.”

There is a peculiar class of harpies in the Casino, but very well dressed harpies, who make their living by “living up” to the table, so to speak, and grabbing the winnings of the lucky but slow players. Enormous sums are lost in this way by careless winners, for the ball (in roulette) rolls so quickly around, and[27] the croupiers toss the gold so quickly in the general direction of the winners, that a very quick eye is needed to spy one’s property. The “Série Noir” has already begun at Monte Carlo, and two suicides have occurred. Of course the “Administration” policy is to hush up these little matters, and whenever a dead body is found in the lonely gardens surrounding the Casino (about one a fortnight is the average during the season) its pockets are pretty sure to be filled with gold and notes, placed there by the wily detectives of the Casino, to show that the poor man could not have shot himself on account of his losses at play. And rumour says that they have an admirably prompt way of getting rid of the bodies of those who are thoughtless enough to commit suicide on the company’s grounds without noise or scandal. An eye witness told me the following tale of a tragedy in the rooms last year, which he vouches for: about ten o’clock at night, when everything was in full swing and the rooms were crowded with well-dressed people (no shabby-looking character is ever admitted; and the devil in this case is certainly “in society”), a shot was suddenly heard, and a handsome young fellow, pale as death, staggered from the Trente et Quarante[28] table with his hand to his bleeding side. He fell with a crash, and at once, like lightning, a crowd of the Casino detectives had closed around him, opened a window overlooking the sea, and thrown him out upon the rocks below. So quickly did this take place that not six people saw it, and the people who inquired about the disturbance were told that a lady had fainted from the heat and from the explosion in a gas pipe. The next morning the dead body of the young man was found on the rocks, with his pockets filled with gold and no trace of a wound about him.

Lovely Monte Carlo! It is like a decayed lady-apple—lovely to look on, but rotten at the core.






SAN REMO.—There is a certain apparent similarity between Bournemouth and San Remo. Both are “winter resorts” and both are popular with invalids. But this similarity is only apparent. Frost and snow were rife at Bournemouth a month ago. Sunshine and ripe oranges on the trees are en evidence at San Remo now. One shudders here, to think of Bournemouth in winter, just as in Bournemouth the idea of the Lake District out of summer was repelling.

The climate of the Riviera is not perfect, by any means, but unless one goes to Honolulu or to “the Cape,” it is hard to do better for the winter. And yet it is not a tropical climate—or even sub-tropical, simply one with a more or less genial warmth in the winter time.

San Remo is not so “mixed” in its society as Nice, so renowned for suicides as Monte Carlo, or so vault-like as Mentone.

Cannes is the only place on the coast that approaches San Remo (and, indeed, outdoes it, so far as[30] exclusiveness in the “English Colony,” which includes the small American contingent, goes); but Cannes is really a slice cut out of Belgravia and set down by the Mediterranean, and one may be in the height of the London Season all winter there. Cannes is popularly referred to as the “Dukeries,” on account of the number of English Dukes spending the winter there. But to a person liking society in moderation with a few good dances sprinkled in during the winter and a fair amount of tennis, San Remo is an ideal place. Knickerbockers and cricketing flannels are frequently seen, and there is none of that striving after effect so much found at Cannes, where top hats and frock coats are de rigeur most of the time.

San Remo is near the French frontier and so, of course, is a queer mixture of French and Italian village life (for it has only seventeen thousand inhabitants). It is thirty-six hours from London and easily reached either by the P. L. and M. Railway, by way of Lyons and Marseilles, or by Milan and Geneva, via the Mont-Cenis tunnel.

The old town, or Citta Vecchia, is built on a hill away from the sea, and the steep streets are crowded together pell-mell on the nearly perpendicular[31] hillside. Bradshaw’s Guide refers to them as “steep, mediæval streets”; but, although I admit the steepness, I have never discovered the mediævalism—unless the abundant dirt and endless supply of unsavoury smells may be taken to represent it. Of course, the dark, narrow lanes are garlic-haunted, and that reminds me of a story I heard here. At the old Cathedral, an English priest was talking to an Italian peasant woman about the next world. She was giving her ideas on the subject and ended up a glowing rhapsody in this way: “And, oh, our Holy Father, the Pope, will be there on a great golden throne, smiling at the faithful; with big bunches of our angelic garlic under his chair to give to each of his flock as St. Peter brings them to him.” If that idea of Paradise were presented to many good Christians, I fear their faith might be shaken, for of all the sickening, clinging odours, a whiff of garlic-scented air is the worst.

This old town is nearly devoid of interest. There are even no curio shops, and after one walk the average English tourist comes back to his hotel to “take a tub,” and leaves its mysteries undisturbed in future. To any one, however, brave enough to pick his way through the overhanging[32] alleys and dark streets, up to the very top of the hill, an old church presents itself, the “Madonna della Costa,” where there is a wonderful picture of the Virgin which is supposed to be a certain cure for leprosy. (The method of applying the cure is an unsolved mystery.)

Most people here go to Mentone to get gloves and stockings, and smuggle them back over the frontier to avoid paying the absurd prices asked in San Remo. The new town is built at the foot of the hill and consists of two streets, with a few good shops, where the tradesmen speak bad French and charge enormous prices for the necessaries of life. On each side of this new town stretch the English and German colonies, the English settling at the west end and the Teutons preferring the east. Ever since the Emperor Frederick lived in a villa here the east end has been a resort for patriotic Germans who want the warm breezes of the Riviera, but do not care to enjoy them on French territory. It is not the most pleasant part of the town, and English and Americans are very chary of settling there, as the more aristocratic west end turns the cold shoulder to the unfortunate villa holders and dwellers in hotels and pensions[33] at the east end, and has a tendency to consider them doubtful or déclassé.

The west end has all the best hotels and pensions as well as villas scattered along the pretty Promenade overlooking the sea and bordered with wide-branching date palms. The Promenade ends in lovely gardens, and both Promenade and gardens are called after the late Empress of Russia, who spent a winter here early in the seventies. The Promenade is used as a scene for “church parade” after service on Sunday mornings by the English colony, and every afternoon, from four onward, one may meet the world and his wife there. The municipal band plays twice a week in the public gardens, but the performance—a rather poor one—is attended mainly by Italians. The language of San Remo is a curious patois made up of Ligurian Italian—very different to the pure Lingua Toscana of Florence, and the bastard French heard in Nice and Cannes.

Five days in every week are bright and sunny, one of the remaining two is usually cloudy and the other rainy. The average temperature is fifty-two degrees in winter. The winds are hardly ever troublesome, as the high chain of hills behind the[34] town act as a natural barrier. Among the many bad shops there is one really good one: Squire’s, the English chemist’s, who dubs himself (but by real Letters Patent) “Court Chemist to the late German Emperor and to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales.”

When the late Emperor Frederick was ill here in ’88 at his villa and all his affairs and correspondence were in confusion, his much-loved wife, the popular Empress Victoria (who looks so much like her mother, the Queen of England) used to have all her English letters sent to the villa enclosed in this chemist’s prescription envelopes, to keep them safe from Bismarck’s spies; for the relations, never very cordial, between the grim Chancellor and the Illustrious Lady were then at a dangerous tension and the friends of the Empress claimed that he did not scruple to confiscate her private letters from the English Court when he could get hold of them. The young Princesses were very fond of taking long walks in the endless olive groves about San Remo, and sketching the town from either of the two high rocks that shut in the bay on each side.

A pretty peasant girl in a small fruit shop near the Emperor’s villa[35] made a small fortune by selling mouldy pears and sour oranges to enthusiastic British tourists who thronged the shop, because the Empress Victoria had made a lovely study of her in oils, which has appeared in a London exhibition.

Another permanent memorial of the visit of the Royal Family to San Remo is the constant appearance of the highly-gilt arms of the Hohenzollerns over most of the shops in the new town, which, one and all, describe themselves as “Court Grocer to the Emperor Frederick”; “Court Bootmaker to the Imperial Family,” when possibly the chef may have bought some candles from the one and the Emperor’s valet may have been measured for a pair of boots at the other. I have even seen the advertising card of one “Guiseppa Candia, Court Laundress to the German Empress.”

The English set in San Remo is charming and very hospitable when one comes with letters of introduction. The leading English physician, Dr. Freeman, and his wife are always ready to extend the courtesies of the place to fresh arrivals; and any visitor at the English Club will easily recall the jovial person of Mr. Benecke. But when one comes without letters or other[36] credentials, the English colony can be very freezing; as a third-rate American author found some years since, when, with his wife, he tried to take the town by storm.

The country round about San Remo is full of pleasant walks. Ospedaletti is only two miles away, and one may take a charming walk there and back in the afternoon. It is an interesting place, albeit a dreary one, for it is the monument of a great failure. Some years ago a great International Company bought up all the land along the lovely bay, built splendid hotels and shops, made good roads and put up the magnificent Casino still to be seen there. The shares were at a high premium and every one was sure the company would make a huge fortune, and so it would if it had not neglected the trifling formality of obtaining the consent of King Humbert to the establishment of a large gambling hell in his dominions. The result was that he stepped in at the last minute and intimated that while he had no objections to a Casino, he was not prepared to allow games of chance. Of course, this ruined not only the company, but the place, for Ospedaletti’s only raison d’être was in the Casino, and the Casino’s in the roulette table.[37] The hotels and shops are all closed now and the beautiful building is gradually falling to pieces from decay. The roads are all overgrown, and a few poor Italian families are the only representatives of the gay world that was to make Ospedaletti a successful rival of Monte Carlo.

Then, beyond, is the town of Bordighera, an Anglo-Italian resort nearer the frontier and especially loved by consumptives. George McDonald, the Scotch author, has a beautiful house there and his daughters are famous in the tennis courts along the Riviera. Bordighera is a garden of palms and supplies all the churches of Rome on Palm Sunday.

A more interesting walk from San Remo is to take the Corniche road as far as the Pietra Lunga on the east side of San Remo, and then to strike inland through the olive groves until one finds the dreary village of Bussana, a place totally destroyed by the earthquake of 1886. The ruins of the quaint old church are still shown (with the inevitable monogram of the Virgin on everything), where a service was being held when the first shock came on that eventful Sunday. The peasants say there are still bodies hidden under the massive masonry and swear that the place is haunted. This was the[38] earthquake that startled Cannes early on the same morning, when walls were falling and people flying from the hotels and houses in various stages of undress. The Prince of Wales was there then on his yearly visit to the Riviera, and one of his valets rushed in to call him at five o’clock for the hotel walls had fallen at the back, and there was danger that the others might go. But the Prince only scolded the valet sleepily for waking him and refused to get up in spite of the man’s entreaties, finally turning over and going to sleep again amid the noise of falling chimneys and crashing walls. It is needless to say that H. R. H. was not injured and that the other walls did not fall.

The local government of San Remo is vested in the Syndic, the jovial Cavvaliere Bartolomeo Aquasciati, who is practically elected for life and who has an almost despotic authority over the civil affairs of the town; while the Sous Prefect is at the head of the police and ranks above the Colonel of the regiment of Bersaglieri (or sharpshooters) now here.

San Remo is particularly suited, on account of its peculiarly antiseptic climate, to persons troubled with throat complaints, and several really[39] wonderful cures have been wrought by its balmy air. Living is much cheaper than in Cannes, Nice or Mentone; there is capital medical advice available, and very pleasant society. The old rhyme that applies to Zante:

“Zante, Zante,
Fior di Levante,”
might be paraphrased to suit San Remo, for it is certainly the fine fleur of the Riviera.





GENOA.—Streets of palaces, dingy and dirty with the mould of ages, but with interiors adorned with all the lavish luxury of the East, such is Genoa to the cursory view. The tourist, rushing through the Cathedral and the Cemetery, his Murray in hand; hastily conning the names of old masters and then going away satisfied, does not begin to know his Genoa.

It is a city to linger in, to study slowly and lovingly, to muse over, in its deserted squares and sleepy parks. Certainly it is a famous introduction to Italian art. Every one knows it was called La Superba in the old days, so there is no need for me to do anything but jot down a few random memories of the place. Genoa, of course, is chiefly interesting on account of its past, not its present, but it may be as well to say that its capacious harbour accommodates steamers sailing daily to nearly every port in the Mediterranean[41] and that in 1888 the total tonnage entered amounted to 3,000,000 tons. The lanterna or lighthouse in the harbour is old enough to be a curiosity, for it was built in 1547, and is apparently good for another couple of centuries. Near its foot are the dockyard and arsenal, which were established in 1276. But since 1860 the Italian government has made Spezia its chief dockyard, to the disgust of the Genoese.

The one wide modern street in Genoa is the Via Vittorio Emanuele, on which are all the good hotels. In every Italian city and village one meets this name, and a certain degree of monotony attaches to it after one has shopped in fifty or sixty such streets in as many towns; but it shows the popularity of the late king, Il Re Galant’uomo, as they still call him. The shops in this street in Genoa are Parisian in every way, and there is an indescribable air of cheerfulness and gayety as one moves along past crowds of handsome black-browed Italian women. This word comes involuntarily to one in thinking of Italian women or girls. They could never be called pretty, or even beautiful, with their dark, glowing skins, large, warm eyes, thick, perfectly-curved eyebrows, and a more or less faint[42] down on the upper lip; but they are undeniably handsome.

Then, too, their way of walking out in afternoon or evening in full toilette and with perfectly-arranged coiffures, but without hat or bonnet, is attractive and gives a cosy air to the open street. Behind our hotel is a long, glass-covered arcade about the length of two city blocks, always filled with a gay, chattering crowd of both sexes, who promenade up and down, now stopping to look at the brilliantly-lighted window of some shop rich in statues and statuettes of Parian and Carrara marble, or to sit at small tables in front of some smart café to eat ices, or the Italian equivalent, granita.

This arcade is one of the sights of the city and forms one of the most attractive features of Genoa. One often thinks of the gay scenes enacted there nightly, when far away.

A walk about the town is delightful, provided one is unfettered by that abomination, a valet-de-place, or local guide. Such narrow streets running in all directions past grim palaces and squalid houses (but all of stone, for wood has no part in the internal economy of Genoese building) ending frequently in some odourous cul de sac, or doubling on themselves, to bring the helpless[43] wanderer back to his starting point, after an hour’s walk!

The Cathedral must form the objective point of a first walk in Genoa. Indeed, it would be hard to miss it, for it is built of squares of black and white marble and resembles an immense chess board on end. But there is a pathetic dignity about it, for it is very old.

It was begun in the twelfth century, and it is most probable that Columbus said his Aves and Paters under its vaulted roof, for he was a native of the erst-while republic of Genoa, when that power ruled the Mediterranean and boasted, like Venice, of a Doge. There is a curious inscription above the arches which part the nave from the aisles, near the Doge’s gallery, to the effect that the great-grandson of Noah founded Genoa and that the nave was restored in 1307.

But this is only one of the curious things about this curious Cathedral, for the verger who was gorgeous in his cocked hat and wand-of-office, showed us two huge pictures on either side of the high altar, which had been taken by the great Napoleon from Genoa to Paris when he conquered Italy; which had gone thence to Vienna and had finally returned to their former resting[44] place. They showed the effect of travel, but were wonderfully well preserved. One represented the martyrdom of St. Sebastian—that ever-present product of Italian galleries, but in this case the arrows were happily absent. We saw, too, the picture of the Madonna, painted by St. Luke and alluded to by Mark Twain. It had not grown at all clearer since he saw it twenty odd years ago.

A wonderfully beautiful Byzantine tomb was shown us in John the Baptist’s chapel, and was declared to contain the ashes of that saint. Certainly it must have been old, and the carving was exquisitely done. The original chains worn by John the Baptist were also shown. They were very rusty! No woman but the Queen is allowed in this little side chapel, erected to commemorate the crime of Herodias, but why Her Majesty should be excepted from the rule is not quite clear, unless we accept the theory of the divine right of Kings which Kaiser Wilhelm holds so strongly. There they also show the sacro catina, supposed to be made of a single emerald given by the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. This vessel formed part of the spoils of the Genoese at Cæsarea in 1101. It is brought out of the treasury three[45] times a year for the veneration of the faithful, but no one is allowed to touch it under severe penalties. But as I was admiring this and preparing to enthuse over its associations, the verger asked if I understood Latin and immediately launched forth into the original text of the Excommunication pronounced against any female who should dare to enter that sanctum sanctorum where John the Baptist reposed. But, alas, if his accent was not that I had learned at Oxford, it was still less that of Yale; and I could only guess at the meaning of most of his sonorous periods. We left the Church with this avalanche of mediæval Latin ringing in our ears. The interior, taken as a whole, is impressive. The nave and two aisles are unusually long, and standing at one end a semi-gloomy vista of respectable length is opened up. There are other Churches in Genoa, but none so rich in tradition or saintly relics. The Via Balbi is worth a visit, for there stand the famous Palazzo Rosso or Red Palace, built entirely of dark red stone; and the Galliera Palace with its magnificent collection of paintings. The Galliera family has done much for Genoa as well as for Paris. The late Duke gave £80,000 to the harbour works a few years ago, and[46] now the city of Genoa owns the fine gallery of paintings. The Duchess, who has been dead only a short time, left her splendid house in Paris to the Austrian Emperor to be used as the permanent house of his Embassy in Paris and (as she was childless) willed her large private fortune to the clever Empress Frederick, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, in trust for deeds of charity.

A description of one of these immense palace galleries may stand for all. Always there is a grand hall supported in part on columns leading to an arcade-surrounded court. Beyond comes the great staircase, in two ascents. All this is open to the public view, and the long perspective of halls, courts, columns and arcades is magnificent in the extreme. In a splendid suite of rooms on the second floor of this Palazzo Rosso is the largest collection of pictures in Genoa.

The Palazzo Reale or Royal Palace is interesting, having been splendidly fitted up by King Charles Albert in 1842. There are palaces innumerable in Genoa, many rich in historical interest and full of pictures by the old masters, and if one were compiling a guide book one could write quires of description about gilding that cost a million[47] francs in one, and mosaic floors worth several fortunes in another.

But the crowning glory of Genoa is its Campo Santo or Holy Field, where the noble families of Genoa bury their dead. Imagine vast arcades surrounding an open space of several acres and these arcades crowded with wonderfully beautiful statues. Each family pays a sum (no small one) for a niche in one of these arcades with the accompanying vault beneath and then erects a life-size statue of the departed, or some symbolical figure. Some are pathetic and tender—the fairy-like child dancing on roses, for example, or the full-sized sailing boat crossing the Styx, every rope and sail wrought with wondrous grace in snowy marble. Others succeed in being only grotesque. One huge figure of Father Time sitting cross-legged on a coffin with his knee cocked up, for instance; or an unpleasantly realistic model of an old man with one foot in an open grave with his face turned over his shoulder. This was erected by an old Count, still living, when his wife died. And so on ad infinitum. This is a place to muse, to think grave thoughts and to reflect upon sudden death, but not a place to get up an appetite.


Genoa is an attractive city, although they say that, unlike Florence and Pisa, it is not an economical town for strangers of limited means and that lodgings are scarce.

The character of the inhabitants betrays little of the fiery valour that gave Genoa its proud position in the Middle Ages. Now its people are quiet, hard-working and practical; they take little interest in politics and are well content to live under a constitutional Monarchy, without showing any disturbing tendency toward an anarchistic Republic.






ROME.—Prince Napoleon, the head of the Bonaparte family and de jure Emperor of the French, has died at Rome after a long and serious illness, during the course of which, faithful to his declared principles, he refused to accept a drop of medicine. His has been a strange and eventful life. Nephew of the great Napoleon, born in Trieste in 1822, he has been four times in exile. He was born in exile and he has died in exile. One of the most brilliant men who ever lived, one of the most statesmanlike, his whole life has been ruined, and the great promise of his youth spoiled, by the cynical disregard of the opinion of others which has always distinguished him. He was far the superior of his cousin, the Emperor Napoleon III., and if his advice had had more weight with the Emperor, the Republic in France would still be a hopeless dream, and the mud of Panama would not have soiled France.

Prince Napoleon had, of course[50] no connection with the coup d’état of the Second December that gave Napoleon III. the French Empire, for his claims were indisputably superior to those of the successful plotter; and although a reconciliation did take place between them, their relations were never very cordial, in spite of the fact that the Emperor placed great reliance upon Prince Napoleon’s judgment. It may be safely said that if Prince Napoleon had been in Paris during the fatal days of 1870, the unfortunate war with Prussia would never have been declared. It is ancient history now that the Empress Eugénie was the cause of that war, and in private conversation often referred to it as “Ma Guerre.”

Not long since I met the famous Doctor Cordes of Geneva, who had been called in consultation by the Emperor before he started on the fatal campaign that culminated in Sedan; and he told me that the Emperor was simply a child in the hands of the Empress, for he was, at that time, suffering the most terrible agony from stone in the bladder. At that time, however, Prince Napoleon was traveling in Spitzbergen with his bon amis, Ernest Renan, the clever author of the “Vie de Jésus,” and knew nothing of passing events.[51] A warning dispatch was indeed sent to him, but he shrugged his shoulders on receiving it and remarked that although the members of the government in France were “imbeciles,” still they were not all fools.

But events proved that they were, and Prince Napoleon hurried back upon the declaration of war, meeting with a hostile reception on his way through Scotland, where the sympathies of the people were with Prussia. He found the French Ambassador in London, M. de la Vallette, jubilant and repeating the boomerang-like phrase, “A Berlin.” The Prince foretold the result clearly and exactly, and after Sedan quietly devoted himself to scientific pursuits until the time for the third Empire should arrive. He had never liked the Empress Eugénie. He saw clearly the mistake the Emperor had made in not allying himself with one of the reigning houses; and in espousing the beautiful Mademoiselle de Montijo. He assumed a spiteful attitude toward the Empress whom he called “Ni-Ni,” and once refused to drink her health in public.

M. Renan says of him that his grasp of a subject was wonderful, his wit extraordinary, and his executive ability unsurpassed. His sister, the brilliant Princess Mathilde, who[52] shares so many of his gifts, has the only salon in Paris to-day, and with her brother’s death and the union of his party it will become historical.

Prince Napoleon was so reserved that he went through life without inspiring or receiving any real affection, and without meaning it he unconsciously repelled adherents who wished to become devoted. He had the misfortune of passing for a Republican under the Empire and for an Imperialist under the Republic, which was the more unfortunate as he despised all forms of government, and in his ambition to rule would have put up with any. A curious thing about him was the fact that his followers liked him better at a distance. Only the other day one of his staunchest friends exclaimed: “I never liked him so well as now, when I know I shall not see him again.”

At a distance people remembered only his brilliancy, culture, eloquence and the surprising ease with which he mastered every problem, however difficult, in public affairs. He was superior everywhere and popular nowhere, and although he had the personal magnetism which enforces admiration at first sight, he had also the unfortunate power of inducing antipathy toward him on further acquaintance.


The deceased Prince’s life was in all its vicissitudes an extraordinary one and is rich in anecdotes and stories. His career was a succession of false steps, and again and again the cup of power was at his lips, only to be dashed to the ground by his own mistake. A man of majestic person, high ambitions and unexcelled ability, his singular lack of tact and knack of doing the wrong thing in the right place ruined his chances of success.

Prince Jerome Napoleon, or the Emperor Napoleon the Fifth—to give him his real title—was the son of Jerome Bonaparte (the brother of the great Napoleon), King of Westphalia, by his marriage with the Princess Catherine of Wurtemburg. He was brought up in Rome, Austria and Geneva, and finished his education under the supervision of his uncle, the King of Wurtemburg, at the military school of Ludwisburg, near Stuttgart. On the establishment of the Empire, under his cousin, he took rank as Heir Apparent before the Prince Imperial’s birth, after which he became Heir Presumptive, and was for some time Governor-General of Algeria. The Emperor often employed him upon various diplomatic military and scientific missions. Many people may[54] have forgotten that at one time Prince Napoleon was a prominent rival of the Emperor. When the future Napoleon III. was indulging in various little escapades that made it seem unlikely he would ever rise to any great position, fortune favoured his more youthful cousin. Prince Napoleon had every advantage. In looks he was weirdly like the first Napoleon. I saw him here last year and instinctively looked for the cocked hat and knee breeches associated forever with “le petit caporal.” No one who saw his massive, clean-shaven, powerful face could doubt that he stood face to face with a veritable Napoleon. He seemed to hold the winning card when the Revolution of 1848 broke out, but every day he lost ground, notwithstanding his active interference in affairs, and every day Prince Louis Napoleon gained more influence in spite of his reserve. And this illustrates French nature. It prefers a man who is impenetrable rather than one who bustles about and allows his plans to be found out. After a few pitched battles Prince Napoleon allowed it to appear that he recognized his cousin as the stronger man, and attached himself to his cause. But he had no sympathy with the men who planned the[55] coup d’état. He distrusted and disliked them, and they returned the compliment. But he became Heir Presumptive, was made a general and had the Palais-Royal as a residence with £40,000 a year.

In 1859 he married Princess Clotilde, the daughter of King Victor Emanuel, and sister of the present King of Italy. He leaves three children, Prince Victor Napoleon—now Napoleon the Sixth,—Princess Letitia, widow of the Duke of Aosta, and Prince Louis, a colonel in the Russian Dragoons. And now we come to two mistakes generally made as to the dead Prince’s character. He was not a coward and he was not an atheist. Ever since the Crimean war Prince Napoleon has been dogged with a reputation for cowardice and was given the nicknames of “Plon Plon” and “Cringe Plomb” by the Parisian mob. There is not a doubt, however, that he behaved with all the courage of his race at the battle of the Alma, and that his recall was not due to his own choosing, but to the intrigues of his enemies.

The report of the Marshal Commanding confirms this. But a damning story of his ill-health was circulated at the time by the semi-official papers, and the mob was[56] ready to put the worst construction on it. Report says the Empress Eugénie was in no small degree responsible for these rumours, for she cordially disliked him and he returned the feeling with interest.

Fate was again cruel to him in the war with Prussia in 1870-’71. When he returned from Spitzbergen he was anxious to be given a responsible command in the Imperial army, but instead was sent off to Italy to keep King Victor Emanuel in a good humour. He had one more chance, before the war, of redeeming his honour, when the Duc d’Aumale challenged him to a duel, but lost it by too much conscientiousness. He hastened to the Tuilleries to ask if he ought to fight. Of course the Emperor said no, and then the Empress made her famous but ill-natured bon mot, “If a bullet is ever found in our cousin’s body it will be that he has swallowed it.”

Prince Napoleon was not an atheist. This is proved by his whole life, by his friends and by his death, and will be proved by his memoirs, for in his last moments, while still conscious, he received Extreme Unction from Cardinal Bonaparte, and he has had a religious funeral. He was an anti-clerical, and while certainly not a religious man, he[57] inclined towards the doctrines of Rousseau.

The famous Good Friday dinner at which the Prince and his guests ate charcuterie and drank a somewhat profane toast was the base of the belief respecting his religious opinions—a belief greatly magnified and spread by the Empress Eugénie. Prince Napoleon never knew when to speak and when to remain silent, although a magnificent orator, and his failing has been well summed up by a famous senator: “The Prince speaks well, he is the best of orators—but he says only too well what had best been left unsaid.”

His friends were the most famous men of the day, Victor Hugo, Edmond About, Ste. Beuve and Père Hyacinthe, who sent him his blessing as he lay dying. His relations with the Emperor show many instances of his want of tact. Having been complimented by Napoleon upon two speeches delivered in the Senate against the temporal power of the Pope, he resolved to improve upon them, and then delivered his famous anti-Papal speech at Ajaccio, a speech which drew forth the following interesting letter of remonstrance from the Emperor:

Monsieur Mon Cousin,—I cannot help informing you of the painful[58] impression which I received on reading the speech you delivered at Ajaccio. When I left you in Paris with the Empress and my son and as President of the Privy Council, I hoped that you would prove yourself by your acts, conduct and speeches, worthy of the trust which I had placed in you, and that you would set the example of that unity which ever ought to exist in our family. You have raised questions which no longer concern our day. It is necessary to have borne, as I have, the responsibilities of power in order to judge how far the ideas of Napoleon I. are applicable to the present time. Before the great statue of the founder of our family, what are we but pigmies, only able to behold a part and incapable of grasping the whole? One thing, however, is certain, and that is that Napoleon exercised—first of all in his family and then in his government—that severe discipline without which all government is impossible, and without which all liberty leads to anarchy. Having said this much, my cousin, I pray God to have you in his holy keeping.


This letter was written in 1866, when the Emperor was traveling in Algeria.

After the fall of the Empire and[59] the death of the Emperor, Prince Napoleon kept up a sort of armed neutrality with the Empress Eugénie and his young cousin, the Prince Imperial (then Napoleon the Fourth), after whom, he was the head of the Bonapartist party. When the Prince Imperial fell in Zululand in 1879, Prince Napoleon became the head of the family. But the Prince Imperial had made a foolish, boyish will in which he named his cousin, Prince Victor, the eldest son of Prince Napoleon, his heir and successor. The Empress Eugénie was only too glad to annoy her hated foe by pretending to accept this absurd arrangement, and unfortunately Prince Victor Napoleon fell into the hands of foolish advisers, quarreled with his father and set up a party of his own. For several years father and son have not spoken, each claiming to represent the Imperialist party in France. But it is now stated with authority that Prince Victor Napoleon was reconciled to his father on his death-bed, and this will do much towards wiping out the memory of his unfilial conduct. But he was strongly tempted. The Empress Eugénie urged him, all the old adherents of his great family urged him, to set up the Napoleonic standard, while his father seemed apathetic[60] and indifferent. Then, of course, he commanded a divided allegiance. Now he stands at the head of a united party. Thousands of men who would not join Prince Napoleon on account of his anti-clerical opinions and who refused to support Prince Victor Napoleon against his father, are now rallying to the Imperial standard.

Scoffers said the Napoleonic legend was dead when the first Napoleon died. Scoffers say so now. Yet Napoleon III. proved that it was very much alive in the fifties, and it is well on the cards that Napoleon VI. may do so in the nineties. The new Emperor de jure, is clever, eloquent and possesses tact, above all the sine qua non of one in his position. He has few enemies and many friends and will inherit the Empress Eugénie’s large fortune upon her death.

And so the greatest service Prince Napoleon has ever done for his family and cause is by dying, for his death unites, while his life divided, his party.

History will judge him fairly. Brilliant, clever, witty, statesmanlike, eloquent and masterful, his life has been ruined by want of tact. His last words are significant: (I quote from the London Times.)


“He declared that he died an Emperor, adhering to the principles of the Concordat, and fully imbued with the religious sentiments of the Bonapartes.”

Such was the Emperor Napoleon the Fifth, a man misjudged by many and loved by few, but a man whose talents will one day be recognized by France.






NEWTON ABBOT, DEVON.—At the first blush the sudden change from the balmy breezes of the Riviera to the comparatively harsh winds that blow over Dartmoor, would seem to be a trial. But such is hardly the case. I am writing to-day in a private sitting room of the quaint Globe Inn in this little-visited town, with the windows wide open and the sun streaming in with a warmth that is almost too genial. One never hears of a tourist visiting Newton Abbot, and from all I can gather Newton Abbot is in the same position. It is a queer, quiet little market town in South Devon, about six miles from Torquay, the great southern watering place, and not far from Dartmouth and the moors. One can have hunting and fishing in the neighbourhood, for the South Devon fox hounds meet near by three times a week and the rivers Eske and Culme supply capital salmon fishing. Several big country houses are close by, and to[63] the casual observer Newton Abbot exists simply to form a coterie of tradespeople for the benefit of the County Families in the neighbourhood. It has no society of its own, and even its Mechanics’ Institute gives entertainments only by the suffrages of the “surrounding Nobility and Gentry,” to quote from its programmes. And yet it is a happy, quiet little town enough, sunning itself in its own small valley, and with many of its by-streets running up the numerous hills at the back, whose brows are dotted with genteel (how popular that word is among the lower-middle class in England) semi-detached “villas.” The London papers get down at mid-day, and until noon Newton Abbot gets on very well with a local print which reproduces the news from yesterday’s Times.

By the way, “The Thunderer” is too dear for the average man (it is three-pence a copy as against a penny for the other London dailies) and so it is lent out to read by the local library which advertises itself as “in connection with Mudie’s.” One rather wonders where the “connection” comes in when a copy of “Robert Elsmere” is handed one as the “last thing out, sir, just down from London.”


But Newton Abbot has some historical interest. In the midst of the town, just in front of the old ivy-covered tower of St. Leonard’s, is a remarkably ugly stone surmounted by a modern lamp-post. The stone bears an inscription to the effect that in 1688 the then Mayor of the town, standing thereon, read the first proclamation made by William of Orange after landing in England. Enthusiastic Orangemen visit the stone to this day, and zealous members of the Order of the White Rose curse it heartily, as they regret King James and the Stuart dynasty; which, whatever its faults, at least inspired more romantic loyalty and personal devotion than the phlegmatic Dutch Prince ever did.

I visited several houses near Newton Abbot with a view to taking one furnished for the sake of the good fishing near, and although none was found to suit I had some droll experiences. One house was very well furnished, and the family seemed in a remarkable hurry to get away while offering the place at a low rent, but it afterwards turned out that the paterfamilias—a clergyman—had just eloped with the parlourmaid.

At another house I was received by a smartly-dressed person who[65] tried hard to give me the impression that she was a lady, and who at length airily inquired: “And would you like to move in, at once, forthwith directly?” But her drawing room was decorated with wax flowers under glass shades; and mottoes done in Berlin wool, with a chromo-lithograph of the late Lord Palmerston over the mantel; so I was not exposed to much temptation. The occupant of another cottage waxed confidential as she showed me over the house, told me her name was Mrs. Mudge and that she “laundered” for a living. She looked as if she did something for a living, for her face was fiery red and she diffused an odour of gin and cloves as she slowly maundered on.

Nearly every street in the town shows by its name some connection with the Courtenay family—Earls of Devon—who in the old days owned most of the property in South Devon. Now evil times have come upon them and beautiful old Powderham Castle, near Dartmouth, alone remains to them. But they are venerated still in the county and the “Courtenay interest” is a great help to the candidate for Parliamentary honours.

Newton Abbot has the distinction—if it be a distinction, which is very[66] strongly debated—of having as its representative in Parliament the only Liberal member from Devonshire.

Mr. Seale-Hayne is a wealthy follower of Mr. Gladstone and is faithful to his chief, but even he owes his seat to a prudent refusal to accept Mr. Gladstone’s extreme views on the subject of home rule. The sturdy farmers of Devon have ideas of their own and do not see why the efforts of a few Irish agitators should be allowed to break up an Empire.

The Conservatives and Liberal-Unionists divide the representation of Devon between them, with the solitary exception of the aforesaid Mr. Seale-Hayne, and the Conservatives are working hard to defeat him at the next general election. The echoes of the great gathering at Exeter last year, when Lord Salisbury addressed an audience of several thousand working people upon the fallacies of home rule for Ireland, have not yet died away, and his speech will bear fruit at the next general election. The tactics of the Gladstonians in the rural districts are now devoted to drawing off the attention of the rural voters from home rule—an attention that, to Gladstonian minds, is too closely fixed upon the struggles of the rival Irish parties, and the probability of their following[67] the lead of the famous Kilkenny cats—and fixing it upon co-called “rural reforms.” The Conservatives and Liberal-Unionists, on the other hand, place home rule in the front and make it the main issue; so the curious spectacle is presented of the party responsible for the measure placing it in the background, and the party opposed to it making it the main issue in the campaign.

Turning to sweeter subjects—who, having once tasted Devonshire clotted cream can forget it? And when to a glass dish of clotted cream is added a sunny morning, a well-laid breakfast table and a hissing tea urn, life looks at least cheerful.






OXFORD.—Everything at Oxford is quaint and charming, but its inns are unique and it is impossible to find one that sells bad beer,—the undergrads would never stand it,—and where a better judge of bitter beer than a Christ-Church, or a Magdalen, or a “Johns” man is to be found, it is hard to say. The names even of these inns are soothing. It is such a relief to get away from the American hotel abomination, with its gilded radiator, and from its cold, stiff restaurants and pretentious name; to the sanded coffee room of the quaint, cosy “Mitre,” or to the bar-parlour of the “Bell” or the “Plough.” And although these small, low-built inns are old—older than New York City several of them—they are radiant with a fresh lavender-smelling cleanliness that is never found in the big American hostelries, where the befringed and be-ribboned Irish importation reigns in her pride.


Rosy-cheeked country lasses serve the public here, and are shining examples of civil service, while behind the bar stands a lively, neat and pretty barmaid, who is an adept in chaffing the college men, but with too much self-respect to allow any vulgar jesting in her domain. We undergrads were not allowed to frequent every inn, but the “Clarendon” was a great favourite, and I have heard many jolly stories in its quaint old “Smoke Room,” lined with prints after Hogarth. When I was “in residence” at the University, three years ago, there used to be a very pretty barmaid who officiated at the “Plough,” opposite my rooms, and I noticed that she was usually at the window when Connigsby Disraeli, nephew to the great Earl of Beaconsfield, who was then a student at “New,” passed by. A queer fellow, Disraeli, and sure to make his mark if he lives. I met him at the theatre constantly, where he always led the applause. He is very popular still in Oxford, for he is hail fellow well met with everyone, be it “town” or “gown”; and he is “up” on dogs and horses as well as in the classics. His kennels were famous when he was “in residence” or “up,” as it is sometimes called. If his uncle had not been the first Earl, and had the[70] title not therefore been confined to his direct line (he had no sons), Disraeli would have been “Milord”; but he is sure to make his own way. At the last general election he was elected to Parliament from the Altrincham Division of Sussex by a large majority over his Liberal opponent. The Queen is said to take a personal interest in his success, and Her Majesty’s partiality for his uncle is well known. He has already begun to attract attention by active work in the Conservative cause and by clever addresses at Primrose League meetings all over England.

My rooms in the college days were in Cornmarket Street, near the “High,” and my landlord (who was duly licensed by the all-powerful Proctors) rejoiced in the name of Huckings. He was formerly valet to the Marquis of Queensberry, and never allowed one to forget the fact; few were the days when allusions to “His Lordship the Markis” failed to greet my ears. Huckings is very proud of his “acquaintance” with the Nobility, and often boasted that Prince Christian-Victor, a grandson of Her Majesty and a student of Magdalen, once knocked him down in the cricket field. But Huckings is eminently respectable and very civil.

His furniture was usually covered[71] with a green material stiffly starched, that crackled and rustled like an Irish-American servant out for a Sunday walk,—no English housemaid would dream of taking the liberty of allowing herself to rustle. Huckings was a capital cook and an experienced butler, and his welsh-rarebits were as light as air.

There is but one theatre in Oxford, and that is directly under the supervision of the Vice-Chancellor, and no play can be performed without his sanction. The programmes are headed “By permission of the Reverend the Vice-Chancellor, and the Right-Worshipful the Mayor.” For Oxford, as a ’Varsity town, is under the control of the head of the University as well as of the Mayor.

The unsophisticated crowd in the gallery always hisses the villain, who is usually the best actor, and applauds the hero, who is often a poor one; but this is usual all through England, and is taken by the heavy villain of the play as a tribute to his genius. Very good entertainments are given as a rule: “The Pirates,” Toole in “The Don,” and the inimitable Corney Grain have appeared among others. The bar is forbidden to sell whiskey to the undergrads, so the call is for “lime-juice,” which answers the same purpose!


I met my old tutor, or coach for “cramming,” in the street to-day, and I have just had him to dine. He is typical—a short, squat man with a heavy, unkempt beard, and with countless lines seaming his face. He has not been out of Oxford for twenty years and spends all his time in coaching backward students. He reminds one in some ways of a ripe and somewhat mouldy Stilton cheese.

His rooms are musty and cobwebby, for he tells me no one has dusted them for two years, as he cannot stand having his papers disturbed. And how he smokes! His pipe rack must hold twenty pipes at least, and most of them are beautifully coloured.

The walks about Oxford are charming and on returning from a long tramp it is delightful to stand on Folly Bridge at dusk and watch the punts and canoes come dropping down the “Char,” or to see a college eight dash swiftly down the Isis to Iffley. The old inn at Godstow, just opposite the ruins of the famous Nunnery, is very quaint; and the fame of Mumby’s cherry brandy is known to all the colleges in Oxford.

The author of “Alice in Wonderland” is a Fellow of Christ Church College, and lives in two rooms looking out over the green old “Quad.”[73] He is fond of children and has them always with him. They tell a droll story of him in Oxford. The Queen enjoyed “Alice” so much that she requested the author, by letter, to send her another of his “charming books.” Much flattered, he forwarded Her Majesty his “Treatise on the Differential Calculus.”

When I was an undergrad it was almost impossible to pay for what one bought in Oxford, for the tradespeople insist on one’s taking long credits—a neat little plan by which they make a good deal in the long run, as they charge heavy interest. Oxford changes little as the years go by. It was lovely spring weather to-day and everyone wandered to the river, through the green Christ Church meadows, just as they have done for hundreds of years and will do in future centuries; and they are wise, for nothing is so delightful on a warm afternoon in June as to take a punt and slowly glide along the Cherwell, or to drop down the Isis in a canoe and take a plunge at “Parson’s Pleasure.”

Descriptions of College life at Oxford have been done to death and it is hardly worth while to go over the well-worn ground. “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green” still give a fair idea of ’Varsity life, and[74] “Tom Brown” is as good to-day as when it was written.

The contrast between American and English college life is sharply marked. A short experience of Yale made me enjoy Oxford all the more. There is no class spirit, but the tone in the twenty-odd colleges—each a small Yale—is more athletic and more Commencement-de-siècle in every way.

A curious thing is the way in which cap and gown are worn here. The gown with its two short tails reaches only to the small of the back, and is only worn when absolutely necessary. There has been a good deal of amused talk “in Hall” over the report that some upper classmen at Yale actually wear a long gown reaching to the feet. It would be considered bad form for Oxford undergrads to wear such a thing, as long gowns are worn only by dons and tutors.

Americans are coming in increased numbers every year; and for some unknown reason they usually go to New College, or to “Ch. Ch.,” as Christ Church is familiarly called. But I found St. John’s College—or “Johns,”—with its lovely gardens and long, low, time-worn buildings, a delightful place to study in or at. “Ch. Ch.” is pre-eminently the “swell college.” Balliol is for hard students, and Magdalen is very aristocratic;[75] Jesus is for Welshmen, Wadham for men who want an easy time, and Brazenose and Oriel for athletes. “Johns” combines the happiest features of each. The others have no marked characteristics.

The good old dons are a feature of Oxford, and it is easy to see from their rosy cheeks and well-fed look that they do not despise the famous Oxford ale, which is pure and wholesome, while the wine is bad and dear. Consequently everyone drinks beer, except a few old Deans and Masters of Colleges, whose gout confines them to toast and water.

The thought of dons brings up memories of the payment of gate fines, if one happened to be out of college after the great bell of Christ Church had boomed out the hour of nine; and it was harder than may be supposed to dodge the Proctor and his “bull dogs” if one was out “in mufti,” i. e., without cap or gown. But take it all in all, college life at Oxford is an enviable thing, and Oxford itself is a delightful place.






BOURNEMOUTH.—Imagine a few houses set down in the midst of a forest of pines on two great cliffs overhanging the sea; with a sandy soil, and you have Bournemouth. There are shops, indeed, and a principal street, but they are so mixed up with the pines and so divided, one from the other, that they do not give an impression of town life at all, and one easily imagines oneself to be in the depths of the country. The pines are the fetishes of Bournemouth. You breathe in their healing balsam, you bathe in pine juice and sleep on pine pillows. You walk in pine groves, and sit on furniture made exclusively of pine and, when you die, you are laid under the shade of the pines. I don’t doubt the fact that pines are healthy in moderation, but they are monotonous.

Bournemouth is a new place, for everything dates back only forty years. Before that there were only plantations of pines on the cliff. The name of the discoverer of Bournemouth[77] is unknown, but the man who has “made” the place, and made it, too, with wonderful taste and skill, building all the houses in the pine woods and cutting hardly any of them down, is Sir George Meyrick, ably assisted by the Lord of the Manor who owns the half not belonging to Sir George. One cannot call Bournemouth wildly gay, but it is eminently select—so are the prices, which are high enough to frighten away any one under the rank (and income) of a Marquis. There is no theatre in the town, the aforesaid Lord of the Manor who owns most of the freehold objecting to such worldly amusements; but the inhabitants have managed to get around him by fitting up the town hall as an amateur play-house, where occasional third-rate companies perform.

But people hardly come here to go to the play. They come for rest and change. Bournemouth is a good long way from London: three hours from Waterloo station, and in Hampshire, on the border line of Dorset. The climate is wonderfully dry, and milder than that of London, but not warm. Indeed, there is little difference between the climates of Geneva and Bournemouth, except that, of course, there is more snow in Geneva, and the air is less relaxing.[78] One can easily understand how consumptives may derive benefit from it (lately many have hurried off to Berlin to place themselves in Dr. Koch’s clinic), but to healthy people it is debilitating, even more so than the climate of Nice and San Remo.

The scenery around is lovely. Great hollows (locally called chines) extend to the sea between the cliffs, and a drive along the coast reminds one forcibly of the drive along the Corniche road between Monte Carlo and Mentone. Indeed, this part of the Hampshire coast is beginning to be called the British Riviera, and it deserves the name, although the sea is less blue and the sky has a duller tinge than those of the Mediterranean coast can show. The neighbouring drives are full of interest. The ruins of Corfe Castle will repay a visit, and Canford Manor, Lord Wimborne’s place, is well worth seeing. There are drives to Poole, a sea-port near, and to Christchurch, with which Bournemouth is incorporated for the purpose of Parliamentary representation. Boscombe Chine and Branksome Chine are lovely spots, a little way out of Bournemouth.

Bournemouth is rich in churches. St. Peter’s is a noble bit of architecture, and Holy Trinity is a remarkable building, whose steeple is[79] a tower distinct from the main building. Its rector, Canon Eliot, has recently been appointed Dean of Windsor and Domestic Chaplain to the Queen; and people are lamenting his departure, for he has been here twenty years and during that time has gained for his church, by his own efforts, the sum of £40,000.

The inhabitants of Bournemouth have been anxious for some time to have the place granted a charter of incorporation, so that they might rejoice in a bona fide Mayor of their own instead of having to put up with a simple Chairman of Commissioners. A member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council came down to inspect the town and advised the Queen to grant the charter, which she did last month. Lately political feeling has been running high over the election of the Mayor, and there have been several Richmonds in the field, one of whom put forward the fact that he had been for seven years caterer to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales and to the Guards’ Club in London as a claim to the office. He came within a few votes of election, but was beaten by the leading stationer of the town.

Now to celebrate this important epoch in the history of Bournemouth[80], Lord and Lady Portarlington, who live very near, decided to give a conversazione in the Winter Garden of the Hotel Mont Doré. Of course, the Mayor and Aldermen appeared; and now the current of feeling in Bournemouth is at fever heat, for “the right worshipful, the Mayor,” to give him his proper title, appeared in robes and chains of office—hinc illæ lachrymæ. England is divided equally on this subject; about half the Mayors of provincial towns wearing robes and badges, with cocked hats and the other half confining themselves to a simple chain of office. The Bournemouth papers are fighting the matter tooth and nail, and one worthy Alderman (an Irish-American green-grocer) has resigned office rather than submit to wear “these relics of mediævalism.” It will be news to most of us that cocked hats were en evidence in the middle ages.

But Bournemouth is really a charming place and well worth a visit.






WINDSOR, BERKS.—“Personally conducted” parties have done Windsor to death; and the place has been described so often and so poorly that it needs a bold pen to make another attempt. My day at Windsor was passed during the cold month of January; when the Royal Borough was hung with crape, when the flags were at half mast and when everything was redolent of gloom and sadness.

I saw the highest in the land weeping, and Royalty when overcome with grief; for the Heir Presumptive to the English Throne had been cut off and the nation was in mourning. The clearest memory that remains with me after the splendid ceremonial in St. George’s Chapel, is the recollection of the bowed figure and grief-worn face of the Prince of Wales as he stood at the foot of his older son’s coffin, between his only remaining son, Prince George, and his son-in-law, the Duke of Fife. He raised his head as Sir Albert[82] Woods, Garter King of Arms, proclaimed the “style and title of His late Royal Highness”; and his terrible loss was evident to the most unobservant there. But the funeral has been everywhere fully described, and it would be useless to repeat a catalogue of its many and varied incidents.

After it was over, I walked through the grassy stretches of Windsor Great Park with an old Oxford friend, who had known “Prince Eddie” well, both on the Bacchante and afterward at York. He told me much that was new of him and several stories of his wonderful tact in social matters, by means of which he had averted serious scandal from a family well known to readers of Burke and Debrett. I parted from him that evening with a better appreciation of the dead Prince and his character than I had ever had before.

His death has been a terrible blow to all the Royal Family, but in the midst of their terrible grief the Prince and Princess of Wales cannot but feel consoled by the overwhelming sympathy that has been poured out upon them not only by English hearts; but from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and from the greater England beyond the sea.

There is something infinitely pathetic about the death of their eldest[83] son, just a week after his twenty-eighth birthday and the month before his wedding. All England has wept with the Royal Family, and foreigners realize as never before the depth and strength of English loyalty. The crowds that lined the streets in front of Marlborough House when Prince Eddie lay ill, contained many work-people and clerks; and the grief and respect shown by the lower classes everywhere has been a wonder to all, and a complete refutation of Andrew Carnegie’s windy diatribes as to the progress of democracy in England. There is no jarring note in the sympathy of grief, for no word has been said against the dead Prince—nothing but praise and a hearty recognition of his modesty and hard work. We shall see, when we review the history of his engagement, something of his strength of character.

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward was born at Frogmore, Windsor, on January 8, 1864, and his names were carefully chosen, representing two grandfathers (the Prince Consort, and the King of Denmark); one grandmother (the Queen); and a great-grandfather (the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father). The Queen preferred the two first names, and so, until he was[84] created Duke of Clarence in 1890, his official designation was Prince Albert Victor of Wales. But to the great mass of the English people he was always Prince Edward, or Prince Eddie as he was affectionately called, for Edward was a name that held glorious associations for them and they looked forward to having another “Long-shanks” on the throne.

The history of his life has been repeated so often that it is only necessary to recall a few incidents: his two years as naval cadet in the training ship Britannia at Dartmouth with his brother; his three years’ cruise around the world in the Bacchante; his studies at Cambridge and Heidelberg; and his tour in India. He and his brother, Prince George, had always been together until their choice of professions separated them. Prince Eddie went with all his soul into army work and Prince George chose the navy. The grief of the British army at Prince Eddie’s death shows what Tommy Atkins thought of him.

During the last six years in England every one has been wondering why Prince Eddie did not marry and settle the succession; and, finally, the truth leaked out last year, although long before that his attentions[85] to his pretty cousin, Princess May of Teck, had attracted attention. Ever since they had played together as children he had been devoted to her, and his father and mother heartily approved his choice. The Queen, his royal grandmother, resolutely opposed all thoughts of this match and brought pressure to bear to get Prince Eddie to marry his cousin, Princess Margaret of Prussia, a daughter of the Empress Frederick and sister of the present Kaiser. But Prince Eddie was firm and declared if he could not marry Princess May he would not marry any one. And so matters stood for several years. But when Princess Louise of Wales (who is next in succession after Prince George) married the Duke of Fife, the necessity for the marriage of Prince Eddie grew greater, as there was a shrewd suspicion that the great English nobles would hardly care to have the children of the Duke of Fife rule over them if the other branches failed. But even yet Prince Eddie stood firm and would not yield, although at last even the Prince of Wales urged compliance with the Queen’s wishes. And finally Prince Eddie’s reward came. When Prince George was so ill with typhoid, popular sentiment urged Prince Eddie’s marriage and[86] then the Queen gave in and made the two young people happy.

The public announcement of the engagement was received with universal joy, for Princess May was thoroughly English, and both the fiancées leaped at once into great popularity. They went down to Windsor together to salute the Queen, and everything seemed to give universal satisfaction. Even Her Majesty relaxed when she saw how joyfully her subjects received the news of the royal betrothal, and the Prince of Wales declared at a public dinner his delight that his son was to marry a Princess who was English by birth, education and preference. The ground of the Queen’s objection to the marriage was simple, and she was soon convinced that the English nation attached no importance to it. On her mother’s side, Princess May is descended from King George III. and stands in nearly the same relationship to that monarch as her late betrothed, for the Duchess of Teck is the daughter of King George’s son, the Duke of Cambridge; and Queen Victoria’s father the Duke of Kent, was another son; so the Queen and the Duchess of Teck are first cousins; Princess May and the Prince of Wales second cousins; and[87] Princess May and Prince Eddie second cousins once removed. But the Duke of Teck’s pedigree was the trouble, for he is the descendant of a morganatic marriage, and but for that would now be heir to the throne of Wurtemburg. The English people found no fault with Princess May’s descent, and, indeed, a sweeter, more gracious, more charming Princess it would be hard to find. The marriage was fixed for February, and soon wedding gifts began to pour in. Committees were formed all over the British Empire for the purpose of subscribing to a national gift. In Ireland it had been decided to present the royal bride and bridegroom with a castle, and Scotland and Wales were planning the same gifts. Bridesmaids were chosen and everything seemed to smile upon the national rejoicing. When Princess May went with her father and mother to pay a visit to the Prince and Princess of Wales at Sandringham early in January, huge shooting parties were organized in which Prince Eddie joined, and every morning the ladies of the Royal Family drove out to join the sportsmen at luncheon. On one of these occasions, on a rainy, misty day, Prince Eddie complained of feeling very cold, and instead of[88] waiting to drive back with the others, walked briskly home to Sandringham with Princess May. The next day he was better and insisted upon going out with the other sportsmen. Again he was compelled to leave them, and again he walked back with Princess May. How she must value the remembrance of those two walks now! This was on the Friday. On Sunday he was ill, on Tuesday alarming bulletins were issued, and on Thursday he was dead. Oh, the pity of it! On the threshold of his career, on the eve of his marriage he was taken. One is tempted to ask Cui bono?

He will have his place in English History; and the memory of my day at Windsor will always linger; for I have seen what is of more interest than the Castle, with all its wealth of art—the loyalty of a people to their Royal House in its time of trial.






SCARBOROUGH.—The seaside resorts of England are numberless, and yet there is a curious lack of similarity in their surroundings, their atmosphere and in their class of visitors. Scarborough is to the north of England what Bournemouth is to the south. It is select and exclusive, but the ultra smart London set is not found in its purlieus. It is a great place of resort for the old Yorkshire families—families who can trace their descent back to Norman William and behind him to the Saxon Thanes and Earls; and who look with ill-concealed disgust upon the nouveaux riches who are so painfully to the fore just now in Belgravian drawing rooms and at crushes in Mayfair. Scarborough is not wildly gay; its visitors take their pleasures sedately, and the voice of the imitation nigger-minstrel is unheard in the land. One needs to be in rude health to enjoy Scarborough, for the sea breezes come rushing in from the lap of the Atlantic to mingle with the keen air of the downs; and if one’s lungs are sound it is a delight[90] to live. Hotel prices are fearfully and wonderfully conceived in Scarborough, but the landlords say people eat so much on account of the splendid air that they must charge high prices in self-defence.

The amusements and distractions of Scarborough? If one hunts or shoots there is plenty of sport. Several packs of hounds meet on the downs near by, and although the country is a bit stiff, the going is fairly decent. It may perhaps be considered a drawback that hounds occasionally disappear over the cliffs in the ardour of the chase, and that a too-eager hunter might easily do the same—with his rider on his back; but most men who hunt here say that they enjoy the spice of danger.

Scarborough has two features distinctively its own: its “Spa” and its cabs. Just why the long promenade where the band plays should be called the “Spa” no one knows, but the fact remains, and every Sunday all the world and his wife walk there for “Church Parade.” The Scarborough cab is really a small Victoria, drawn by one horse, ridden by a correctly-got-up tiger, who lends a picturesque air to the trap. They go well, these small horses, and gallop up and down the long hills on which Scarborough is built, with[91] greatest ease. The “day tripper,” with his ’Arriet, is unknown here, for the simple reason that there would be nothing for him to do.

There are no stands in the streets to display “s’rimps,” “whilks” and other questionable marine delicacies, put up in brown paper bags at “tuppence the quart”; no merry-go-rounds; no cheap photographic studios; or one-horse circuses where the manager is clown, acrobat and owner in one, to tempt the taste and gratify the curiosity of the lower classes. And there are no Americans in Scarborough. It is too far from Paris, and too quiet for the extraordinary specimens of nasal tendencies, who make an annual descent upon the Continent and swarm from Dan to Beersheba. One never meets them at home, these painfully rich and newly varnished Yankees who travel through Great Britain in great state and pomp, and whose breeding is shamed by that of the scullery maid in the cosy little inns they so disdain. It is really trying to see the impression most Englishmen have of Americans—impressions gathered simply from these inflictions who, knowing no one but the green-grocer on their corner at home, come abroad to astonish the natives; and who succeed in doing nothing[92] but in making the appellation of American to stink in the nostrils of the foreigner.

Of course there are ruins near Scarborough, and again of course the favourite drive is to these ruins. Another excursion is to a hill overlooking the town, where tradition says that unsavoury individual yclept Oliver Cromwell, once stood, or sat or performed some other operation equally important.

Politically, as becomes its staid and exclusive clientèle, Scarborough is Conservative; and has no sympathy with an old man’s visionary plans to break up a great Empire. Irish agitators appear occasionally but not often, and they rarely carry away a full purse from the collections they invariably take up.

Descriptions of places are invariably tiresome. One place is usually like another, and the best way to know a town or city is to go there; but anyone who can picture a town built up on the cliffs and down in the hollows between, with stretches of sandy beach in front, will have a fair idea of the Bournemouth of the north. The country round about Scarborough is attractive. Quaint villages quite out of the world like Symsbury, are met with at every turn; small market towns, like Yarm, where the old[93] custom of engaging servants by the “hold fast” in the market-place on the yearly appointed day still obtains; and small seaside resorts, like Redcar and Coatbridge; with Whitby famous for its jet; all these are worth a visit. Yorkshire men are canny, and good at a bargain and no better judges of horseflesh are found anywhere. The only drawback connected with Scarborough is its distance from London, but that is really only a drawback to Londoners. The Scarborough man is rather proud of the fact. He looks with pity upon the benighted south of England man, and has no words to express his contempt for the finnicky foreigner, who comes to Scarborough and drinks sour red wine, instead of quaffing huge draughts of the glorious old Yorkshire ale.






ROSTHWAITE, NEAR KESWICK.—A couple of days since I started off with a barrister friend to do a days’ climb in the Lake country. He promised me a good view from the top of Scafell Pike, but a rough time in getting there; and took an almost pathetic interest in my boots and “shorts,” hinting darkly that certain mysterious “screes,” over which the path lay, would test their strength and durability to the utmost. We travelled third class, of course, for my friend would have thought me insane to propose anything else; and, really, we were very comfortable, as all the seats were cushioned. He wore the regulation British walking costume: stout, heavy, hob-nail boots, thick woolen stockings, and loose and impossibly wide knickerbockers; while a blue serge jacket and a peaked cloth cap clothed his upper man. Of course, his short briar-wood pipe was to the fore, and on the whole, he looked[95] comfortable. My own get-up was more ordinary, as I had started at half an hour’s notice.

We rushed into Darlington station before long—an immense glass-covered structure, with platforms half a mile long—and there changed for Penrith and Keswick. We began to ascend soon after leaving Darlington, passing by Barnard Castle, the “beauty spot of Yorkshire”—the tracks lying over breezy moorlands. We changed at Penrith, a dreary junction, and reached Keswick about seven o’clock in a mist of half-twilight that was very kind to the distant mountains, making them appear much bigger and grander than they were ever meant to be. Fortunately, we found the Borrowdale coach still running, and as it would take us within two miles of our destination, we were well pleased. Before it started we had time to attend a very lively meeting of the Salvation Army in the Keswick market-place, where the tall, thin man who dealt out freely sundry dismal prophecies, betrayed painful need of a bronchial trochee.

The drive on the box seat of the four-in-hand was glorious. The moon came out as we reached the edge of Derwentwater and threw her[96] soft light full on the lonely lake; and, what was of more importance, on the broad road ahead of us. The horses were fresh and the road inclining to a descent, so we rolled gaily on past the Lodore Hotel, hard-by the famous falls, until, too soon, we stopped before the Borrowdale Inn. Then, with a cheery good-night from the coachman, we started to walk the remaining two miles, our appetites forcibly reminding us that we had eaten nothing since early morning; and with a cheery feeling of expectancy for the comforts of the inn presided over by the famous Mrs. Rigg. The lights of the little hamlet of Rosthwaite soon appeared and we halted at a long, low, straggling house, buried in vines. A tall, stout lady stood in the doorway and proved herself to be the Mrs. Rigg by the way in which she bustled about in all directions, calling several buxom country lasses to her aid. She sent two of them to prepare our much-wanted supper, while she herself piloted us to our quaint, low-ceilinged bed-rooms, where every bed had curtains. Now, Mrs. Rigg is a widow, and has been ever since the memory of man, and concerning the original Mr. Rigg nothing is known; but, whoever he was, people take[97] more interest in the fact that his wife knows how to keep a good homely inn, called by Mrs. Rigg herself the “Royal Oak,” but known to all the neighbourhood as “Mrs. Rigg’s.” Mrs. R. herself is a tall, stout old lady with a false front and an imposing cap, and when she sits in the little bar parlour behind the steaming tea kettle, reading the Family Herald, she presents a picture of comfort not easily surpassed. Mrs. Rigg is suspected of a leaning toward the village painter, to the regret of all concerned, and dismal are the forebodings of the aforesaid country lassies should she yield herself (and her inn) to his fascinations. We enjoyed our supper—huge chops served with mealy potatoes and foaming tankards of “bitter”—and then in the cozy smoke room (why never smoking room in England?), we proceeded to lay out the route for the next day. Our intention in coming to Rosthwaite had been to climb Scafell Pike and, possibly Glaramara; so we confidently looked forward to a fine day. But, oh, the despair when we woke up next morning, for the rain was coming down in a steady drizzle and the mist was floating gently over and about all the mountain tops within view. We[98] met with rueful faces in the coffee room, for now Scafell was quite out of the question as well as Glaramara; for, of course, no view could be had on such a day, and the idea of wandering along the edge of precipices in the mist was hardly tempting.

But an inspiration came to us. It was unanimously voted a pity to waste that day, as we should be obliged to return on the next; so, after much poring over maps and guides, we decided to go as far up Scafell as possible and then, making a circuit, to return by Sty Head Pass. This sounded easy and I began to congratulate myself—rather previously, as it afterward turned out—upon the probability of getting back in time for dinner at six. We had scraped acquaintance with an “undergrad” from Oxford—Wadham College—and we invited him to go with us. We hurried over breakfast, taking care, fortunately, to eat a hearty one; and then, with a rueful look at the cozy, firelit room we were leaving, tramped out into the rain about ten o’clock. We knew we should get wet through, so we took no overcoats and simply buttoned our jackets tight about our necks to keep our flannel shirts dry as long as possible.


The road was very good for some distance, being the coach road to Buttermere, so we went gaily on. About two miles from Rosthwaite we reached the queerly-named little village of Seatollar (which our Wadham friend insisted on referring to as “Tolloller”), where we turned off into a rustic road overgrown with grass, which for some time led us among pine groves before bringing us to the famous Borrowdale yews: a group of fine old firs upon the hillside. Here our Oxonian again would have it that the name applied to the various flocks of sheep grazing near and pointed out to us some “genuine Borrowdale ewes.” It got damper and damper as we went on, but I ceased to wonder when I heard we were drawing near the “wettest place in England,” the hamlet of Seathwaite, where the annual rainfall is actually one hundred and fifty-six inches! There is not much of interest in Seathwaite except its moisture and the fact that it has no public house, as Sir Wilfred Lawson the great temperance advocate owns all the freehold.

Here we left the road and struck up the side of the valley, having Glaramara and Great Gable in front of us, two big mountains covered with clouds; while Talyors-Gill[100] poured its rushing, thread-like stream down the hillside opposite. Here we first began to walk on grass, and grass that had been rained on for the last hundred years without intermission, judging from its appearance. But we said little and pushed on by the side of the beck for some time, until it became necessary to go straight up the mountain by the sheep track, which was marked only by an occasional cairn or small heap of stones. It was hard work to climb over slippery rocks almost perpendicular; but we persevered and surmounted the hill, only to find ourselves struggling in a green bog at the top. The rain now came down harder than ever and as the Oxford man began to whistle “Wot Ch’er?” we felt gloomy. We pushed on in single file, each one dripping as he walked, the sound of the water swashing about inside our boots being painfully evident. We went on like this for some time. My friend suddenly broke into a shout, “Here we are, boys, thank goodness, this is Eske Hause.” “Oh, then we are half way up Scafell,” said the Oxonian—“hang the mist!”

This last observation was timely, for a thick Scotch mist had now shut in upon the small plateau known as Eske Hause, where we[101] stood, but as to the derivation of that name deponent sayeth not. We stopped here for a few minutes while our Oxonian produced a guide map, and with the water pouring down from the peak of his cap, proceeded to mark out our path. The rest of us wrung ourselves out and paid as much attention as we could.

“We must go down by Sprinkling Tarn (good name, that) and then by Sty Head Tarn until we get to the Pass. Now, shall we lunch up here or down by the tarn?” We decided to postpone luncheon until we reached a lower and presumably warmer level, and we eagerly proceeded to make the descent. The path, or track, was steep and stony and the stones were slippery. I will draw a veil over that descent, but when we got down by Sprinkling Tarn (a small, lonely bit of water) we felt like being put through a wringer. We hurried on, not noticing that the path had merged itself imperceptibly in the surrounding turf, until our Wadham friend exclaimed: “Oh, I say, you know, this can’t be right. It’s quite time we were at that confounded tarn and I haven’t seen a cairn this half hour.” It was too true. We were off the track. There was mist all about us and the keen rain was chilling us through and[102] through. We searched for the path in vain, until we were entirely discouraged, when some one suggested that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a bite; so we stood about in a dripping group as we got out our sandwiches and flasks. We were wet and chilled, and I doubt if Sir Wilfred himself would have objected to a taste of Scotch whisky under the circumstances. But the sandwiches! Oh, Mrs. Rigg, Mrs. Rigg, how we blessed you, there, on the steep side of Scafell as we found that the ham of which they were exclusively composed had “gone bad!” We said little, but we thought hard just then.

After that we went sadly and silently on. Soon we found we were going down instead of up, which we knew to be wrong, as Sty Head Pass was above us. And now the thunders of a torrent swollen by recent rains began to be heard, and presently we came in sight of a tumbling mass of water hurrying along the bottom of the valley. We stood aghast, for this we knew must be Lingmell Beck, and the valley the one leading to Wastwater, miles away from the Pass. Night was closing in and the mist was nothing lighter, while it was really hard to carry the wet and dripping mass our[103] clothes had become. We wandered up and down this valley for some time in bewilderment, not finding any trace of a path. But at last my friend, who had been carefully examining the mountain side, cried but: “Look, boys, there’s the Pass, way above us! We must push straight up if we ever want to get back to-night.”

We looked doubtfully at the thin black line that might be the Pass, and which seemed miles above us, and then, with one determined look, set our teeth and went up the mountain. I say went, for we didn’t walk, although we used every other means of progression, for we crawled and crept and stumbled along, sometimes on our hands and knees, frequently sliding back with great agility. I never experienced such a climb anywhere, even in Greece among the wild Theban mountains; for, dripping wet, with our clammy clothes clinging to us, we went a solid mile up that hill before we found the Sty Head Pass. That, although rough, was child’s play compared with what we had come through, and when we reached the small cairn that marks the highest part of the Pass, we shuddered as we looked down the almost perpendicular mountain and wondered how on earth we ever came up.


From the top of the Pass it was a fairly easy walk to Rosthwaite by Sty Head Tarn, which, owing to the encircling mist, looked like an immense ocean.

Mrs. Rigg was at the door when we got down and looked so cheerful and glad to see us that we forgot to mention that ham. But we haven’t got the damp of that walk out of ourselves yet; and it is doubtful if anything but the warm Italian sun is capable of removing the general mildew that enshrouds us.






AMBLESIDE.—The chief peculiarity of the Lake country is the ever-present dampness. But once used to this one begins to enter into its peace and quiet. A month here away from the world would be, to a tired and overworked man, better than all “cures” or sanitoriums, for the damp is not the city pest, but that peculiar kind of moisture which makes the hard, smooth turf as green as an emerald and gives to the temporary visitor an appetite wolfish in its intensity.

Ambleside is five miles from Windermere village (the nearest station) and is reached by four-horse drags running three times a day. The road is as smooth as a billiard table, the horses always fresh, and on the day it doesn’t rain, a drive to Ambleside by the Lake is a thing to be remembered.

Ambleside is a village of a few thousand inhabitants and primitive, to a certain degree. The Post Office, for instance, is in a stationer’s[106] shop and the drapers’ and tailors’ establishments are one. Ambleside is nestled at the foot of Wansfell Pike and is built on the side of a hill, consequently the streets are steep. There is but one street really, and the chemist, the butcher and the inevitable relic shop are to be found in it. The village is honeycombed with lodgings and there are many inns, for it is a great centre for excursions. The immediate neighbourhood is rich in attractions. Stock-Ghyll Force is but a short distance off—through the stable yard of the “Salutation Inn,” and although a turn-stile with the sign “No Admission” appears, one may enter boldly without paying. The waterfall is not high but is wonderfully picturesque as it falls down the moss-covered rocks and dashes away through a deep ravine. The Stock-Ghyll is a favorite resort for newly-married couples and is certainly romantic enough for the purpose. Then there is a charming walk to Rydal—Wordsworth’s village—by the banks of the Rothay, past Fox-How, where the noble Arnold of Rugby, beloved by all readers of “Tom Brown’s School Days,” lived; and Fox-Ghyll, the residence of the late Mr. Foster. Fox-How is an ideally perfect place, situate on the[107] side of a hill, with a smooth green expanse of lawn in front, and buried in rose vines and honeysuckles. It is a low stone building with old-fashioned windows and has a cheery, hospitable look. The name is curious and a frequent one in the lake country. It comes, I believe, from the old Norwegian word “hague” (a sepulchral mound). Dr. Arnold named the three roads between Rydal and Grassmere. The highest he called Corruption Road, the middle Bit-by-Bit Reform (now called Bitbit Road), and the most level, Radical Reform. A little further on is Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home, a charming old place, cushioned in trees. There the road goes on by Rydal Water, a small lake almost covered with rushes, and then through a gap in the mountain to Grassmere. This is all haunted ground, for Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge and De Quincy all walked and mused by the side of these lakes and on these hills, and one hardly wonders that they were inspired by the lovely scenery. Then, in another direction, one may walk from Ambleside to the quaint little village of Clappersgate, which is made up entirely of low grey stone cottages covered with vines and roses. The resources of Ambleside[108] in providing day excursions for its visitors are really unbounded, and one of the pleasantest of these is to walk down to Waterhead, at the end of Windermere, and take passage on one of the small steamers that run several times a day. As the small vessel starts out from the pier one gets a splendid view of the mountains at the back of Ambleside, and the little village looks like a cluster of one or two houses in a vast amphitheatre. Then we turn around a wooded point and stop for a minute at Low-wood, the big hotel on the border of the lake, and then go on past hills and valleys and flocks of sheep to Bowness, passing two or three small islands, one of which, Holm Crag, is a favorite resort of birds in the winter months. Then we dart over the lake to the little island of Ferry, and then go straight on past a bewildering number of bays and islets to Lakeside at the foot of the lake where the railway station of the Midland line gives access to Ulverston and the iron country of Furness.

Windermere is almost equal to Lake Geneva, and although it has become the fashion to cry down the English lakes, it is a fact that more enjoyment at an extremely moderate outlay may be obtained in the small[109] belt of country that contains them, than in Switzerland, overrun as it is by the cockneys and parvenues of every nation. I know of hardly any greater treat to a person of any artistic appreciation than that trip up and down Windermere on a clear day. Then the drives from Ambleside are charming. One may drive to Grassmere by Red Bank, a steep hill overlooking that lake and Rydal Water, and also to Hawkshead, where a very curious old church demands attention; and to High Wray, where there is an inn rejoicing in the name of “The Dun Cow.” A hill outside High Wray commands a splendid view of the hills behind and about Ambleside: Loughrigg Fell, Wansfell Pike, Nab-Scar, Crinkle Crags, Coniston-Old-Man and Great Gable. On a clear day one may also see Helvellyn. The road passes Wray Castle, a modern house built to imitate perfectly a mediæval fortress. The owner is a retired M. D. of Liverpool. Another delightful drive is to Langdale Pikes and to Megeon Ghyll, a lovely waterfall rather bigger than most of the cascades in Lakeland.

On this drive one may have a capital view of Red Screes, another of the high mountains. Curious names are met with all through[110] Westmoreland. For instance, three peaks not far from here are called Harrison Stickle, Pike O’Stickle and Pike O’Blisco.

There are many curious customs still extant in and about Ambleside. Christmas is celebrated in the old hospitable way. At that time the farmer and his family are away at other houses night after night and one must look for them anywhere but at home. At Christmas every Cumberland and Westmoreland farmer gives two banquets, one called “t’auld foak’s neet” and the other, “t’young foak’s neet;” the first of which is for those who are married and the second for those who are single. The tables groan under old-fashioned dainties: raised and mince pies, goose, caudle cup, “guid strang yell,” as they call the home-brewed October, and a huge bowl of punch. Intoxication never happens at these Cumberland feasts.

Among others, Mrs. Hemans once had a cottage on Windermere called “Dove’s Nest,” and wrote some verses on the scenery, which are well known; but she can hardly be ranked with the school of “Lake Poets.”

There is a queer old rhyme current in the district, in itself a significant[111] comment on the weather of the country:

“When Wansfell wears a cap of cloud
The roar of Brathay will be loud;
When mists come down on Loughrigg Fell,
A drenching day we all foretell;
When Red Screes frown on Ambleside,
The rain will pour both far and wide.
When Wansfell smiles and Loughrigg’s bright,
’Twill surely rain before the night;
If breezes blow from Bowness Bay,
’Tis certain to be wet all day;
And if they blow from Grassmere Lake,
You’d better an umbrella take.
But if no rain should fall all day
From Ambleside to Morecambe Bay,
Upon that morning you will see
Fishes and eels in every tree;
When in the nets on Windermere
Twelve pickled salmon shall appear,
No rain shall fall upon that day
And men may safely make their hay.”





WOLVERTON.—The country in Norfolk is real country and the scenery is typically English. The Prince Consort could hardly have selected a more suitable spot than Sandringham for the country seat of the Heir Apparent; and the fact that the Prince and Princess of Wales make Sandringham House their headquarters for the greater part of the year has naturally given an impetus to property in the neighbourhood.

Sandringham House is not a palace. It is simply large, genial, hospitable and attractive, like its master. The Prince of Wales is a much discussed man, and the ordinary American who has not travelled and who derives his knowledge of English affairs from the American daily papers—which usually give only that side of the question which is acceptable to the Liberals and Radicals of Great Britain—has little idea of his personality, and does not begin to gauge the strength of his character.


The Prince is usually supposed to be a jovial, good-natured man who devotes his whole time to pleasure, and who has no ideal in life beyond the pursuit of social gayeties and field sports. This is a total and gross mistake. The Prince of Wales is one of the most hard-working men in the Kingdom, and the humblest of his future subjects has probably more time to himself than the Heir Apparent; and, I venture to say, does not spend it half so usefully as this much-abused Prince.

For many years he has been King of England in everything but name, and he is far more than the figurehead of the nation. His knowledge of public affairs is remarkable; he is a master of diplomacy and his tact is famous. Like his father, he possesses a fine mind, and sometimes displays a depth of foresight astonishing even to his old friend, Mr. Gladstone. He has a happy knack of looking at all sides of a question, and his mature judgment upon matters of public import is often sought by statesmen of all shades of opinion.

He has never meddled in politics, and his success in steering a straight course among the quicksands of party passion and strife is well shown by a dinner he gave in London only the other day to the King of the[114] Belgians, at which Mr. Gladstone sat next to Lord Salisbury, and Mr. Balfour chatted pleasantly with Mr. John Morley. The Prince of Wales alone could give such a dinner. A fair estimate of the Prince is rarely found in American papers. Because he is Prince and will some day become King, they think it their duty to spatter his reputation with mud; and to show their “Republican sympathies” (I use the word in its widest sense) by ill-digested diatribes against royalty. The Conservative party, like the English Court, has hardly a representative among us, and our knowledge of important events on the other side usually comes from a “Liberal” source. It is evident that in many cases the American papers know a bitter editorial against the Prince of Wales may serve some political end of their own; and they never hesitate to sacrifice him on such occasions.

It is no exaggeration to say that the most popular man in England is the Prince of Wales. Even the Radicals cheer him, for he is always ready to do anyone a good turn, while still careful of his dignity. It is interesting to note the Prince’s daily life at Sandringham, his country seat, where he appears as a simple Squire.

Saturday-to-Monday parties are[115] frequent at Sandringham in the autumn when the shooting has begun; and often seven or eight gentlemen; a General, an Admiral, a Diplomat or two, with their wives, a foreign Prince or Nobleman, and possibly a Bishop, assemble on Friday evening. These with the household officers make up the party; and gathered under the rose-shaded candles around the flower-laden table in the dining room they present a varied picture of gay and stern humanity. No sooner is the substantial dinner over than McKay, the Scotch piper, emerges from a neighbouring room and intones some wild Scotch air on his bag-pipes. In the evening the Prince and Princess move from group to group in the drawing room, saying a few pleasant words to each of the guests, and then withdraw to their private apartments, while music by some famous pianist usually closes the evening. Baccarat is never played at Sandringham, and the smoking-room cohort breaks up early. Breakfast is served at half-after-nine (previous to which several gongs have sent their echoes loudly through the house) at small round tables in the dining room, and the meal must be quickly despatched, for at eleven the carriages start for the meeting-place, whether all the[116] guests are ready or not. A four-horse drag carries eight or ten guests with their guns and game bags; and an array of dog-carts, village-carts and various traps is at the disposal of the remaining visitors. A breezy morning on the moors is followed by a merry al-fresco meal in a tent, where curries from India await the Hindoo Maharajahs, and a juicy ham sent by the King of Portugal tempts the ordinary appetite, while savoury Irish stews show the Hibernian sympathies of the Prince. The genial Host always rides a grey cob to and from the moors; at dusk the traps and drags again appear; and the party, indulging in cigars and lively chat, returns gaily to the house. After a change of garments and a “tub,” they are just in the mood to enjoy the comfort of the sitting room, where the charming Princess presides behind the tea tray, looking more like a sister of her three tall daughters than anything else. No one, of course, really sits down to tea; each one takes his cup and wanders through the rooms, stopping to listen for a moment to the piano, or to admire the small green parrot who gives three very emphatic and loyal cheers for the Queen. When the guests finally leave this most hospitable and royal house they are sure[117] to find among their luggage at the station a well-filled hamper of game. Another morning the Prince takes an early train to London, lays the corner stone of a Masonic asylum; drives to a new hospital which he opens; presides over a meeting of the British Bible Society; and then attends a meeting at the Imperial Institute, finally returning to Sandringham by a late train.

The hearty cheers which meet him in London on his way to and from the station are, if anything, more cordial than those which greet his Royal Mother on her drives through the town.

Very little of the Prince’s time is spent in amusing himself. He is at the nation’s disposal, and the nation is a hard taskmaster. His is a difficult position to fill, and in the fierce, white light that beats upon a throne, his slightest actions are distorted. The present baccarat affair is a good illustration of the way in which the Prince’s affairs are twisted to suit the scandal-loving readers of the Radical press; but the storm of adverse criticism now raging around his head has already begun to create a reaction in his favour, and thoughtful people are commencing to ask themselves whether it is quite fair to shower so much abuse upon the Heir[118] Apparent for what is admitted to be an error of judgment, but which amounts to nothing more.

His attitude in this baccarat affair has been strictly honourable, although open to criticism. It may be worth while to analyze the charges against him. A slight examination will show the flimsy character of the foundation upon which they rest. In the first place, people are under the impression that the fact of his connection in any way with the affair was disgraceful. This view of the case will hardly be accepted upon mature reflection. When the Prince ran down to Tranby Croft for a few days’ rest, and in the evening sat down to a friendly game of baccarat, he never dreamed that one of his oldest friends would deliberately try to cheat him. With the fact of his playing cards for money the world has nothing to do. Each man must decide for himself whether games of chance when played for money are wrong or right. It may be claimed that the Prince was not a man, but a Personage; but it is well to remember that he played cards in his private capacity and not as Heir Apparent.

The jury has decided that Sir William Gordon-Cumming did cheat at cards; and to any one knowing the game, his very feeble explanation[119] appears absurd; while the fact that five witnesses saw him push his counters over the line to add to his stake at an improper time practically places the matter beyond dispute. The only fault that the Prince of Wales committed was one of kindness. He signed the paper, prepared by Lord Coventry and General Owen Williams, promising secrecy if Sir William would agree never to touch cards again.

That is: he, a Field Marshal of the British Army, tacitly agreed to allow Sir. William to remain in the Army and in his regiment while knowing that he had cheated at cards. His duty as an officer was to report Sir William’s conduct at once to the Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief.

This he failed to do out of regard for his friend; and for this he has been so bitterly attacked in the press! Again, he has been criticised for his continued presence at the trial, where he came—it was suggested—for the purpose of muzzling eminent Counsel. Can any one fail to see what scorn and contempt the press would have poured out upon him had he failed to appear in person? Every one would have said he was afraid to be present.

No one recognizes more fully than[120] the Prince himself that an error of judgment was committed when he condoned Sir William’s offence; and his recognition of this fact has been proved by the apology offered in his name by Mr. Stanhope, Secretary-of-State for War, in the House of Commons. All this talk and discussion in England is merely froth on the surface. The resolutions and strictures passed by various Dissenting bodies with much display of bad taste appear to be equally due to a desire on their part to condemn gambling in high places, and at the same time to draw public attention to themselves. The lower-middle class and the agricultural labourers, who compose the great bulk of the population of England, go placidly on their way, paying no attention to this noisy affair and only longing for their beef and beer.

The upper-middle class is more deeply stirred; for does it not count many a Mr. Pecksniff among its members, and are not Mr. Stiggins and Mr. Chadband to be met within its chaste and highly moral circles?

There is no doubt that the Prince will be decidedly more careful in future as to whom he admits to the honour of his acquaintance. This baccarat affair may cause him some slight temporary loss of popularity, but a generous fault often makes a[121] man more popular than a miserly virtue; and the enthusiastic cheers which greeted the Prince at Ascot only a day or so ago are perhaps a better indication of what the people of England think of their future King’s course in this matter.

A significant fact is Mr. Gladstone’s loyal adherence to his Prince, and his stern discouragement of the intention of his unruly Radical colleagues to attack the Prince in Parliament. Mr. Labouchere, too, the cynical editor of the Radical Truth, as well as the Liberal Daily News, supports the Prince; and the authors and literary men whom he has so often helped are rallying to his aid.

The Prince of Wales, like every one, is mortal; but far more than his great-uncle, King George IV., does he deserve his well-earned title of “The First Gentleman in Europe.”






CHARING CROSS.—A few years ago Mr. Gladstone brought down upon himself a perfect hailstorm of remonstrance, reproach and denial by a statement in a public letter, to a candidate for Parliamentary honours in the Liberal interest. This statement was to the effect that no one ever now dreamed of objecting to the Revolution of 1688, and its results. Previous to this, the great majority of English and Americans had thought the cause of the Stuarts forever dead; and that a romantic interest—chiefly historical—alone remained of the intense devotion shown to that fated family in the unsuccessful risings of 1715 and 1745. But the great majority was undeceived upon the appearance of Mr. Gladstone’s letter, and learned with a degree of sympathetic amazement that there existed in Great Britain two “Orders” or “Leagues,” both aiming at the return and recall of the heiress of the Stuarts, to the throne of her ancestors. One of these, the “Order of the[123] White Rose,” was merely platonic and existed to gratify a passion for historical romance on the part of its members. Its principal object was to hold meetings on the anniversary of the death of Mary Queen of Scots, King Charles I., and the battle of Culloden—the battle that proved the death-blow to the cause of the gallant young “Pretender.” I say its object “was,” advisedly; for the stupid action of the powers that be, on a certain day in February last (1892), has changed its somewhat lukewarm hero-worship to working zeal, and has brought it into closer relations with the other association: the “Legitimist Jacobite League,” This society makes no secret of the fact that it meditates treason. Its avowed purpose is to restore the Stuarts; and on its books appear the names of seven thousand people devoted to its cause. Most of these rebels in embryo hail from the Highlands, where the old loyalty to the Stuarts still exists, and where the last desperate stand was made against the bloodhounds of the butcher-Duke of Cumberland.

This League always refers to Her Majesty as “The Lady Victoria” and recognizes as Queen the heiress of the Stuarts—the wife of the oldest son of the Prince Regent of Bavaria.


It would be interesting to digress here and wander in the fascinating paths of the genealogy and descent of the Stuarts; but it would fill columns. However, the Order of the White Rose and the Jacobite League are satisfied with the descent of the Princess, and they are the ones chiefly concerned. Lest my information be considered apocryphal, I may say that all my statements have been verified by a member of the Order. Lately the League has turned its attention to Parliamentary matters, and although the members consider that the last legal Parliament was held when King James II. was cheated out of his throne by his Dutch son-in-law, they are not above agitating in a constitutional way, and have secured several Legitimist candidates to stand at the general election. So to sum up in a few words: Before last February there existed in Great Britain two associations each looking upon the present Royal Family as usurpers, and each devoted to the Stuart cause; one theoretically, the other practically. Both these associations had existed since the rising of 1745, but in a more or less chrysalis condition until Mr. Gladstone’s letter aroused them to declare themselves, when they were amazed at the adherents that poured[125] in from all over the United Kingdom—principally from Scotland and Ireland, many from England, but not one from Wales.

Some of these recruits were animated simply by a desire for something new and were people who are never happy unless in pursuit of some interesting fad; but the majority consisted of those whose ancestors had fought either at Killiekrankie, at Culloden or at Preston Pans. There is more or less mystery as to the attitude assumed by the object of all these hopes. But she is believed to take up a position of innocuous desuetude, so to speak. That is, if the royal lightning should strike her, she would, like Barkis, “be willin’;” but until the Jacobite thunderstorm gathers, and the White Rose lightning illumines the political sky, she bides her time. For Bavaria is at peace with England. A glimpse at the incident of last February before referred to and another which happened a short time before, may be instructive. Everyone knows the statue of King Charles the First, which stands at Charing Cross. The Order of the White Rose had decided to decorate this statue of the King upon the anniversary of his martyrdom, and about three o’clock in the morning a small[126] band of zealous Jacobites, with wreaths of white roses, gathered near the statue—as on Primrose Day the Conservatives gather to cover the statue of the great Earl with primroses—but to their annoyed surprise a surly policeman was stationed there who told them gruffly to “move on”—that no decorations would be allowed on or near the statue. Many were the murmurs and loud the remonstrances, but both were unavailing, until one of the party sarcastically inquired if they might leave the wreaths at the foot of the statue of George III. hard by. No objection was made to this (mark the distinction drawn!) but the Legitimist sympathizers preferred to carry their wreaths away as souvenirs, and moved on with many muttered observations on the “Hanoverian pack,” hated of their fathers. Several of the papers referred to this peculiar action of the authorities with ridicule, and blamed the Home Secretary for giving an unnecessary prominence to the lately resuscitated party. This was the first thing which quickened the lukewarm zeal of the Order while it inflamed the ardour of the League. The next blunder of the authorities was more serious, and to this may be ascribed the Stuart revival. Of this incident I was fortunate[127] enough to be an eye witness. I had happened to see a paragraph in an obscure little evening paper on the seventh of February to the effect that as the next day was the anniversary of the death of Mary Queen of Scots, the Order of the White Rose would form a procession in Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath upon her tomb. The Jacobite League was not mentioned, but, as events proved, many of its members had learned of the purpose of the Order and had arranged to be present. Mindful of the refusal to allow the Order to decorate King Charles’s statue, and yet hardly thinking that any opposition would be offered to the attempt to honour the memory of the unfortunate Queen, especially as on that day the Chapels Royal were opened to the public, I arrived early at the Abbey and as soon as I entered could see that something unusual was in the air. Small knots of people were whispering in the nave, and excited vergers bustled about, dropping their h’s all over the Abbey. The daily afternoon service was to commence at half-past three, so there was some anxiety to get the function over.

The Marquis de Ruvigny—a name familiar to all versed in the history[128] of the Stuart cause—and Mr. Clifford Mellish were waiting at the door for the arrival of the wreaths, when the appearance of a score of stalwart police-constables created some surprise. The majority of the strangers present (there were about six hundred) had evidently come for the ceremony of placing the wreaths on Queen Mary’s tomb and were waiting silently and reverently until everything should be ready. Fortunately, as we all thought, the day was one when the royal tombs were open to visitors; but soon an ominous murmur arose that the gates leading to the chapels where the royal tombs were had been closed. The Marquis de Ruvigny indignantly refused to believe that such a bétise was possible on the part of the Dean; but a surging of the now increasing, crowd towards the chapels showed that the gates were secured.

Then in no measured terms the disgust and anger of the Jacobites broke forth: “Intolerable Stupidity!” “Afraid of the consequences!” “Absurd!” “Idiotic!” were some of the expressions used. But one braw Scotchman summed up the situation in a few words: “The government has turned a romantic pilgrimage into real treason, and has raised us to the dignity of a political party.”[129] The leaders now got together near the gates and talked earnestly while waiting for the wreaths to come. I was curious as to the effect of the closing of the gates on the British public in general, and wandered through the Abbey, catching expressions here and there. “It’s a perfect shame,” exclaimed a rosy-cheeked vicar evidently just up from the country. “It makes me sympathize with the Jacobites—the idea of depriving Englishmen of their right of free assembly.” And a stout old gentleman near him, who was evidently something in the city, turned with the plaint: “My ancestors lent King George the First money, and I have always been a staunch Hanoverian; but by Jove this is too much. Do you suppose if these people wished to decorate the tomb of George III. or of Dutch William they would be stopped?” And many more spoke to the same effect.

The impression made on the general public present was evidently bad. But the sight of a well-known figure pacing up the nave suggested Archdeacon Farrar, and it was indeed he. Soon the leaders of the abortive procession spied him and entered into eager expostulation, but all to no purpose. Dean Bradley was in Algiers, and the Canon-in-residence for[130] the time being (Canon Ainger) had decided to close the Chapels Royal. He could not interfere. But then the large wreath appeared, a beautiful affair of white roses and camellias, and it was hastily decided to affix it to the gates leading to the royal tombs. Then a short, stout man with sandy hair and beard pressed forward, eager to take it.

“My grandfather, Robbie Anderson, led the way for Prince Charlie at the Battle of Preston Pans and I’ll be proud to lead ye now,” he said. A scarcely suppressed cheer broke forth as the wreath was placed on the gates, in which those of us who claimed a touch of the old Scotch Cavalier blood joined. A card was attached, and by general request the descendant of Robbie Anderson read it aloud. I afterwards copied it:

“In memory of Mary, Queen of Great Britain, France and Scotland. Presented by the Legitimist (Jacobite) League. February 8th, 1892.”

Then as the inspectors from Scotland Yard drew nearer, a red-faced verger bustled through the crowd up to the gates and pointing to the wreath exclaimed, “Take that thing down!” This gave rise to murmurs of remonstrance and indignation and the Marquis de Ruvigny spoke for all:


“I decline,” said the Marquis, “to touch that wreath. Take it down yourself.” But this the verger had no orders to do, and retreated in discomfiture. Then it was proposed to hold a meeting in Deans’ Yard to protest, but Mr. Stuart Mellor very sensibly observed that it would do no good to be arrested for brawling, and that public opinion would know what to think. And as most of the Jacobites present were Catholics this exclamation of one of them was to the point and caused a quick clearance:

“I say, if we don’t look sharp, we shall be in a Protestant place of wash-up at time of service.” And so the crowd faded gradually away, and what but for the tact of the leaders might have turned into a “demonstration” in the Abbey, was safely over. But the moral effect of the gathering and the severe measures used by the authorities has not yet died away, and many Englishmen who cared little for the Stuarts have joined the Order or the League as protest against this act of the government. The Dean, I believe, refers the matter to the Bishop of London, and he mentions the Ecclesiastical Commissioners more or less vaguely. It is difficult, therefore, to fit the blame. But there is no doubt that this incident has given renewed force[132] to the Jacobite cause. Their Parliamentary candidates are busy, and the coming general election will afford a practical test of their strength with the common people. There is no doubt that in Ireland they could secure many seats if they tried, for the Irishmen of the south still remember the Battle of the Boyne.

Sensible people all around regret the blunder of the government, and as usual H. R. H., the Prince of Wales, voiced the universal sentiment when he declared the suppression of the pilgrimage a shame.

“Why,” said he, “I would have gone with them myself, and would have worn a white rose, too, if they had asked me.”

And no doubt if the Canon-in-residence, or the Dean of Westminster, or the Bishop of London, or the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, or whoever was responsible, had acted in this sensible, unprejudiced way, the incident would have closed and people would have smiled at the archæological enthusiasm of the Jacobites, instead of thinking them hardly used, and, ergo, sympathizing with them.


Transcriber’s Notes:

Page 115, “Princesss” changed to “Princess” (and Princess move from)

Page 125, “inocuous” changed to “innocuous” (of innocuous desuetude)

Page 129, “sympatize” changed to “sympathize” (makes me sympathize)