A SECOND TRIP "ABROAD AT HOME" BY
WITH PICTORIAL SIDELIGHTS BY WALLACE MORGAN
NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1917
Copyright, 1917, by THE CENTURY CO.
Copyright, 1916, 1917, by P.F. COLLIER & SON, INC.
Published, November, 1917
TO MY AUNT AND SECOND MOTHER
JULIA ROSS LOW
Though much has been written of the South, it seems to me that this part of our country is less understood than any other part. Certainly the South, itself, feels that this is true. Its relationship to the North makes me think of nothing so much as that of a pretty, sensitive wife, to a big, strong, amiable, if somewhat thick-skinned husband. These two had one great quarrel which nearly resulted in divorce. He thought her headstrong; she thought him overbearing. The quarrel made her ill; she has been for some time recovering. But though they have settled their difficulties and are living again in amity together, and though he, man-like, has half forgotten that they ever quarreled at all, now that peace reigns in the house again, she has not forgotten. There still lingers in her mind the feeling that he never really understood her, that he never understood her problems and her struggles, and that he never will. And it seems to me further that, as is usually the case with wives who consider themselves misunderstood, the fault is partly, but by no means altogether, hers. He, upon one hand, is inclined to pass the matter off with a: "There, there! It's all over now. Just be good and forget it!" while she, in the depths of her heart, retains a little bit of wistfulness, a little wounded feeling, which causes her to say to herself: "Thank God our home was not broken up, but—I wish that he could be a little more considerate, sometimes, in view of all that I have suffered."
For my part, I am the humble but devoted friend of the family. Having known him first, having been from boyhood his companion, I may perhaps have sympathized with him in the beginning. But since I have come to know her, too, that is no longer so. And I do think I know her—proud, sensitive, high-strung, generous, captivating beauty that she is! Moreover, after the fashion of many another "friend of the family," I have fallen in love with her. Loving her from afar, I send her as a nosegay these chapters gathered in her own gardens. If some of the flowers are of a kind for which she does not care, if some have thorns, even if some are only weeds, I pray her to remember that from what was growing in her gardens I was forced to make my choice, and to believe that, whatever the defects of my bouquet, it is meant to be a bunch of roses.
J.S. October 1, 1917.
The Author makes his grateful acknowledgments to the old friends and the new ones who assisted him upon this journey. And once more he desires to express his gratitude to the friend and fellow-traveler whose illustrations are far from being his only contribution to this volume.
—J.S. New York, October, 1917.
I ON JOURNEYS THROUGH THE STATES 3
II A BALTIMORE EVENING 13
III WHERE THE CLIMATES MEET 27
IV TRIUMPHANT DEFEAT 38
V TERRAPIN AND THINGS 44
VI DOUGHOREGAN MANOR AND THE CARROLLS 53
VII A RARE OLD TOWN 69
VIII WE MEET THE HAMPTON GHOST 80
IX ARE WE STANDARDIZED? 89
X HARPER'S FERRY AND JOHN BROWN 97
XI THE VIRGINIAS AND THE WASHINGTONS 105
XII I RIDE A HORSE 117
XIII INTO THE OLD DOMINION 136
XIV CHARLOTTESVILLE AND MONTICELLO 150
XV THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 159
XVI FOX-HUNTING IN VIRGINIA 169
XVII "A CERTAIN PARTY" 186
XVIII THE LEGACY OF HATE 193
XIX "YOU-ALL" AND OTHER SECTIONAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS 203
XX IDIOMS AND ARISTOCRACY 214
XXI THE CONFEDERATE CAPITAL 222
XXII RANDOM RICHMOND NOTES 233
XXIII JEDGE CRUTCHFIELD'S COT 242
XXIV NORFOLK AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD 248
XXV COLONEL TAYLOR AND GENERAL LEE 258
THE HEART OF THE SOUTH
XXVI RALEIGH AND JOSEPHUS DANIELS 273
XXVII ITEMS FROM "THE OLD NORTH STATE" 285
XXVIII UNDER ST. MICHAEL'S CHIMES 296
XXIX HISTORY AND ARISTOCRACY 312
XXX POLITICS, A NEWSPAPER AND ST. CECILIA 326
XXXI "GULLA" AND THE BACK COUNTRY 338
XXXII OUT OF THE PAST 349
XXXIII ALIVE ATLANTA 356
XXXIV GEORGIA JOURNALISM 369
XXXV SOME ATLANTA INSTITUTIONS 384
XXXVI A BIT OF RURAL GEORGIA 392
XXXVII A YOUNG METROPOLIS 403
XXXVIII BUSY BIRMINGHAM 417
XXXIX AN ALLEGORY OF ACHIEVEMENT 426
XL THE ROAD TO ARCADY 440
XLI A MISSISSIPPI TOWN 447
XLII OLD TALES AND A NEW GAME 458
XLIII OUT OF THE LONG AGO 467
XLIV THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND HIM 474
XLV VICKSBURG OLD AND NEW 482
XLVI SHREDS AND PATCHES 494
XLVII THE BAFFLING MISSISSIPPI 500
XLVIII OLD RIVER DAYS 508
XLIX WHAT MEMPHIS HAS ENDURED 518
L MODERN MEMPHIS 535
LI BEAUTIFUL SAVANNAH 553
LII MISS "JAX" AND SOME FLORIDA GOSSIP 572
LIII PASSIONATE PALM BEACH 579
LIV ASSORTED AND RESORTED FLORIDA 595
LV A DAY IN MONTGOMERY 603
LVI THE CITY OF THE CREOLE 619
LVII HISTORY, THE CREOLE, AND HIS DUELS 629
LVIII FROM ANTIQUES TO PIRATES 648
LIX ANTOINE'S AND MARDI GRAS 663
LX FINALE 675
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
FACING PAGE Charleston is the last stronghold of a unified American upper class; the last remaining American city in which Madeira and Port and noblesse oblige are fully and widely understood, and are employed according to the best traditions Frontispiece
"Railroad tickets!" said the baggageman with exaggerated patience 8
Can most travellers, I wonder, enjoy as I do a solitary walk, by night, through the mysterious streets of a strange city? 17
Coming out of my slumber with the curious and unpleasant sense of being stared at, I found his eyes fixed upon me 24
Mount Vernon Place is the centre of Baltimore 32
If she is shopping for a dinner party, she may order the costly and aristocratic diamond-back terrapin, sacred in Baltimore as is the Sacred Cod in Boston 48
Doughoregan Manor—the house was a buff-colored brick 65
I began to realize that there was no one coming 80
Harper's Ferry is an entrancing old town; a drowsy place piled up beautifully yet carelessly upon terraced roads clinging to steep hillsides 100
"What's the matter with him?" I asked, stopping 117
When I came down, dressed for riding, my companion was making a drawing; the four young ladies were with him, none of them in riding habits 124
Claymont Court is one of the old Washington houses 132
Chatham, the old Fitzhugh house, now the residence of Mark Sullivan 148
Monticello stands on a lofty hilltop, with vistas, between trees of neighboring valleys, hills, and mountains 157
Like Venice, the University of Virginia should first be seen by moonlight 168
One party was stationed on the top of an old-time mail-coach, bearing the significant initials "F.F.V." 180
The Piedmont Hunt Race Meet 189
The Southern negro is the world's peasant supreme 200
The Country Club of Virginia, out to the west of Richmond 216
Judge Crutchfield 228
Negro women squatting upon boxes in old shadowy lofts stem the tobacco leaves 237
The Judge: "What did he do, Mandy?" 244
Some genuine old-time New York ferryboats help to complete the illusion that Norfolk is New York 253
"The Southern statesman who serves his section best, serves his country best" 280
St. Philip's is the more beautiful for the open space before it 300
Opposite St. Philip's, a perfect example of the rude architecture of an old French village 305
In the doorway and gates of the Smyth house, in Legare Street, I was struck with a Venetian suggestion 316
Nor is the Charleston background a mere arras of recollection 320
Charleston has a stronger, deeper-rooted city entity than all the cities of the Middle West rolled into one 328
The interior is the oldest looking thing in the United States—Goose Creek Church 344
A reminder of the Chicago River—Atlanta 353
With the whole Metropolitan Orchestra playing dance music all night long 368
The office buildings are city office buildings, and are sufficiently numerous to look very much at home 376
The negro roof-garden, Odd Fellows' Building, Atlanta 385
I was never so conscious, as at the time of our visit to the Burge Plantation, of the superlative soft sweetness of the spring 396
The planters cease their work 400
Birmingham—the thin veil of smoke from far-off iron furnaces softens the city's serrated outlines 408
Birmingham practices unremittingly the pestilential habit of "cutting in" at dances 424
Gigantic movements and mutations, Niagara-like noises, great bursts of flame like falling fragments from the sun 437
A shaggy, unshaven, rawboned man, gray-haired and collarless, sat near the window 444
Gaze upon the character called Daniel Voorhees Pike! 456
The houses were full of the suggestion of an easy-going home life and an informal hospitality 465
Her hands looked very white and small against his dark coat 480
As water flows down the hills of Vicksburg to the river, so the visitor's thoughts flow down to the great spectacular, mischievous, dominating stream 485
Over the tenement roofs one catches sight of sundry other buildings of a more self-respecting character 492
Vicksburg negroes 497
On some of the boats negro fish-markets are conducted 504
The old Klein house 512
Citizens go at midday to the square 520
Hanging in the air above the middle of the stream 536
These small parks give Savannah the quality which differentiates it from all other American cities 556
The Thomas house, in Franklin Square 561
You will see them having tea, and dancing under the palm fronds of the cocoanut grove 576
Cocktail hour at The Breakers 581
Nowhere is the sand more like a deep warm dust of yellow gold 588
The couples on the platform were "ragging" 600
Harness held together by that especial Providence which watches over negro mending 613
It was a very jolly fair 616
The mysterious old Absinthe House, founded 1799 620
St. Anthony's Garden 632
Courtyard of the old Orleans Hotel 641
The little lady who sits behind the desk 656
The lights are always lowered at Antoine's when the spectacular Cafe Boulot Diabolique is served 664
Passing between the brilliantly illuminated buildings, the Mardi Gras parades are glorious sights for children from eight to eighty years of age 672
O magnet-South! O glistening, perfumed South! O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse and love! good and evil! O all dear to me!
ON JOURNEYS THROUGH THE STATES
On journeys through the States we start, ... We willing learners of all, teachers of all, lovers of all.
We dwell a while in every city and town ...
Had my companion and I never crossed the continent together, had we never gone "abroad at home," I might have curbed my impatience at the beginning of our second voyage. But from the time we returned from our first journey, after having spent some months in trying, as some one put it, to "discover America," I felt the gnawings of excited appetite. The vast sweep of the country continually suggested to me some great delectable repast: a banquet spread for a hundred million guests; and having discovered myself unable, in the time first allotted, to devour more than part of it—a strip across the table, as it were, stretching from New York on one side to San Francisco on the other—I have hungered impatiently for more. Indeed, to be quite honest, I should like to try to eat it all.
Months before our actual departure for the South the day for leaving was appointed; days before we fixed upon our train; hours before I bought my ticket. And then, when my trunks had left the house, when my taxicab was ordered and my faithful battered suitcase stood packed to bulging in the hall, my companion, the Illustrator, telephoned to say that certain drawings he must finish before leaving were not done, that he would be unable to go with me that afternoon, as planned, but must wait until the midnight train.
Had the first leap been a long one I should have waited for him, but the distance from New York to the other side of Mason and Dixon's Line is short, and I knew that he would join me on the threshold of the South next morning. Therefore I told him I would leave that afternoon as originally proposed, and gave him, in excuse, every reason I could think of, save the real one: namely, my impatience. I told him that I wished to make the initial trip by day to avoid the discomforts of the sleeping car, that I had engaged hotel accommodations for the night by wire, that friends were coming down to see me off.
Nor were these arguments without truth. I believe in telling the truth. The truth is good enough for any one at any time—except, perhaps, when there is a point to be carried, and even then some vestige of it should, if convenient, be preserved. Thus, for example, it is quite true that I prefer the conversation of my fellow travelers, dull though it may be, to the stertorous sounds they make by night; so, too, if I had not telegraphed for rooms, it was merely because I had forgotten to—and that I remedied immediately; while as to the statement that friends were to see me off, that was absolutely and literally accurate. Friends had, indeed, signified their purpose to meet me at the station for last farewells, and had, furthermore, remarked upon the very slight show of enthusiasm with which I heard the news.
The fact is, I do not like to be seen off. Least of all, do I like to be seen off by those who are dear to me. If the thing must be done, I prefer it to be done by strangers—committees from chambers of commerce and the like, who have no interest in me save the hope that I will live to write agreeably of their city—of the civic center, the fertilizer works, and the charming new abattoir. Seeing me off for the most practical of reasons, such gentlemen are invariably efficient. They provide an equipage, and there have even been times when, in the final hurried moments, they have helped me to jam the last things into my trunks and bags. One of them politely takes my suitcase, another kindly checks my baggage, and all in order that a third, who is usually the secretary of the chamber of commerce, may regale me with inspiring statistics concerning the population of "our city," the seating capacity of the auditorium, the number of banks, the amount of their clearings, and the quantity of belt buckles annually manufactured. When the train is ready we exchange polite expressions of regret at parting: expressions reminiscent of those little speeches which the King of England and the Emperor of Germany used to make at parting in the old days before they found each other out and began dropping high explosives on each other's roofs.
Such a committee, feeling no emotion (except perhaps relief) at seeing me depart, may be useful. Not so with friends and loved ones. Useful as they may be in the great crises of life, they are but disturbing elements in the small ones. Those who would die for us seldom check our trunks.
By this I do not mean to imply that either of the two delightful creatures who came to the Pennsylvania Terminal to bid me good-by would die for me. That one has lived for me and that both attempt to regulate my conduct is more than enough. Hardly had I alighted from my taxicab, hardly had the redcap seized my suitcase, when, with sweet smiles and a twinkling of daintily shod feet, they came. Fancy their having arrived ahead of me! Fancy their having come like a pair of angels through the rain to see me off! Enough to turn a man's head! It did turn mine; and I noticed that, as they approached, the heads of other men were turning too.
Flattered to befuddlement, I greeted them and started with them automatically in the direction of the concourse, forgetting entirely the driver of my taxicab, who, however, took in the situation and set up a great shout—whereat I returned hastily and overpaid him.
This accomplished, I rejoined my companions and, with a radiant dark-haired girl at one elbow and a blonde, equally delectable, at the other, moved across the concourse.
How gay they were as we strolled along! How amusing were their prophecies of adventures destined to befall me in the South. Small wonder that I took no thought of whither I was going.
Presently, having reached the wall at the other side of the great vaulted chamber, we stopped.
"Which train, boss?" asked the porter who had meekly followed.
Train? I had forgotten about trains. The mention of the subject distracted my attention for the moment from the Loreleien, stirred my drugged sense of duty, and reminded me that I had trunks to check.
My suggestion that I leave them briefly for this purpose was lightly brushed aside.
"Oh, no!" they cried. "We shall go with you."
I gave in at once—one always does with them—and inquired of the porter the location of the baggage room. He looked somewhat fatigued as he replied:
"It's away back there where we come from, boss."
It was a long walk; in a garden, with no train to catch, it would have been delightful.
"Got your tickets?" suggested the porter as we passed the row of grilled windows. He had evidently concluded that I was irresponsible.
As I had them, we continued on our way, and presently achieved the baggage room, where they stood talking and laughing, telling me of the morning's shopping expedition—hat-hunting, they called it—in the rain. I fancy that we might have been there yet had not a baggageman, perhaps divining that I had become a little bit distrait and that I had business to transact, rapped smartly on the iron counter with his punch and demanded:
Turning, not without reluctance, from a pair of violet eyes and a pair of the most mysterious gray, I began to fumble in my pockets for the claim checks.
"How long shall you stay in Baltimore?" asked the girl with the gray eyes.
"Yes, indeed!" I answered, still searching for the checks.
"That doesn't make sense," remarked the blue-eyed girl as I found the checks and handed them to the baggageman. "She asked how long you'd stay in Baltimore, and you said: 'Yes, indeed.'"
"About a week I meant to say."
"Oh, I don't believe a week will be enough," said Gray-eyes.
"We can't stay longer," I declared. "We must keep pushing on. There are so many places in the South to see."
"My sister has just been there, and she—"
"Where to?" demanded the insistent baggageman.
"Why, Baltimore, of course," I said. Had he paid attention to our conversation he might have known.
"You were saying," reminded Violet-eyes, "that your sister—?"
"She just came home from there, and says that—"
"Railroad ticket!" said the baggageman with exaggerated patience.
I began again to feel in various pockets.
"She says," continued Gray-eyes, "that she never met more charming people or had better things to eat. She loves the southern accent too."
I don't know how the tickets got into my upper right vest pocket; I never carry tickets there; but that is where I found them.
"Do you like it?" asked the other girl of me.
"Why, the southern accent."
"Any valuation?" the baggageman demanded.
"Yes," I answered them both at once.
"Oh, you do?" cried Violet-eyes, incredulously.
"Why, yes; I think—"
"Put down the amount and sign here," the baggageman directed, pushing a slip toward me and placing a pencil in my hand.
I obeyed. The baggageman took the slip and went off to a little desk. I judged that he had finished with me for the moment.
"But don't you think," my fair inquisitor continued, "that the southern girls pile on the accent awfully, because they know it pleases men?"
"Perhaps," I said. "But then, what better reason could they have for doing so?"
"Listen to that!" she cried to her companion. "Did you ever hear such egotism?"
"He's nothing but a man," said Gray-eyes scornfully. "I wouldn't be a man for—"
"A dollar and eighty-five cents," declared the baggageman.
I paid him.
"I wouldn't be a man for anything!" my fair friend finished as we started to move off.
"I wouldn't have you one," I told her, opening the concourse door.
"Hay!" shouted the baggageman. "Here's your ticket and your checks!"
I returned, took them, and put them in my pocket. Again we proceeded upon our way. I was glad to leave the baggageman.
This time the porter meant to take no chances.
"What train, boss?" he asked.
"The Congressional Limited."
"You got jus' four minutes."
"Goodness!" cried Gray-eyes.
"I thought," said Violet-eyes as we accelerated our pace, "that you prided yourself on always having time to spare?"
"Usually I do," I answered, "but in this case—"
"What car?" the porter interrupted tactfully.
Again I felt for my tickets. This time they were in my change pocket. I can't imagine how I came to put them there.
"But in this case—what?" The violet eyes looked threatening as their owner put the question.
"Seat seven, car three," I told the porter firmly as we approached the gate. Then, turning to my dangerous and lovely cross-examiner: "In this case I am unfortunate, for there is barely time to say good-by."
There are several reasons why I don't believe in railway station kisses. Kisses given in public are at best but skimpy little things, suggesting the swift peck of a robin at a peach, whereas it is truer of kissing than of many other forms of industry that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Yet I knew that one of these enchantresses expected to be kissed, and that the other very definitely didn't. Therefore I kissed them both.
Then I bolted toward the gate.
"Tickets!" demanded the gateman, stopping me.
At last I found them in the inside pocket of my overcoat. I don't know how they got there. I never carry tickets in that pocket.
As the train began to move I looked at my watch and, discovering it to be three minutes fast, set it right. That is the sort of train the Congressional Limited is. A moment later we were roaring through the blackness of the Hudson River tunnel.
There is something fine in the abruptness of the escape from New York City by the Pennsylvania Railroad. From the time you enter the station you are as good as gone. There is no progress between the city's tenements, with untidy bedding airing in some windows and fat old slatterns leaning out from others to survey the sordidness and squalor of the streets below. A swift plunge into darkness, some thundering moments, and your train glides out upon the wide wastes of the New Jersey meadows. The city is gone. You are even in another State. Far, far behind, bathed in glimmering haze which gives them the appearance of palaces in a mirage, you may see the tops of New York's towering sky-scrapers, dwarfed yet beautified by distance. Outside the wide car window the advertising sign-boards pass to the rear in steady parade, shrieking in strong color of whiskies, tobaccos, pills, chewing gums, cough drops, flours, hams, hotels, soaps, socks, and shows.
A BALTIMORE EVENING
I felt her presence by its spell of might, Stoop o'er me from above; The calm, majestic presence of the night, As of the one I love.
Before I went to Baltimore I had but two definite impressions connected with the place: the first was of a tunnel, filled with coal gas, through which trains pass beneath the city; the second was that when a southbound train left Baltimore the time had come to think of cleaning up, preparatory to reaching Washington.
Arriving at Baltimore after dark, one gathers an impression of an adequate though not impressive Union Station from which one emerges to a district of good asphalted streets, the main ones wide and well lighted. The Baltimore street lamps are large and very brilliant single globes, mounted upon the tops of substantial metal columns. I do not remember having seen lamps of the same pattern in any other city. It is a good pattern, but there is one thing about it which is not good at all, and that is the way the street names are lettered upon the sides of the globes. Though the lettering is not large, it is large enough to be read easily in the daytime against the globe's white surface, but to try to read it at night is like trying to read some little legend printed upon a blinding noon-day sun. I noticed this particularly because I spent my first evening in wandering alone about the streets of Baltimore, and wished to keep track of my route in order that I might the more readily find my way back to the hotel.
Can most travelers, I wonder, enjoy as I do a solitary walk, by night, through the mysterious streets of a strange city? Do they feel the same detached yet keen interest in unfamiliar highways, homes, and human beings, the same sense of being a wanderer from another world, a "messenger from Mars," a Harun-al-Rashid, or, if not one of these, an imaginative adventurer like Tartarin? Do they thrill at the sight of an ill-lighted street leading into a no-man's-land of menacing dark shadows; at the promise of a glowing window puncturing the blackness here or there; at the invitation of some open doorway behind which unilluminated blackness hangs, threatening and tempting? Do they rejoice in streets the names of which they have not heard before? Do they—as I do—delight in irregularity: in the curious forms of roofs and spires against the sky; in streets which run up hill or down; or which, instead of being straight, have jogs in them, or curves, or interesting intersections, at which other streets dart off from them obliquely, as though in a great hurry to get somewhere? Do they love to emerge from a street which is narrow, dim, and deserted, upon one which is wide, bright, and crowded; and do they also like to leave a brilliant street and dive into the darkness of some somber byway? Does a long row of lights lure them, block by block, toward distances unknown? Are they tempted by the unfamiliar signs on passing street cars? Do they yearn to board those cars and be transported by them into the mystic caverns of the night? And when they see strangers who are evidently going somewhere with some special purpose, do they wish to follow; to find out where these beings are going, and why? Do they wish to trail them, let the trail lead to a prize fight, to a church sociable, to a fire, to a fashionable ball, or to the ends of the world?
For the traveler who does not know such sensations and such impulses as these—who has not at times indulged in the joy of yielding to an inclination of at least mildly fantastic character—I am profoundly sorry. The blind themselves are not so blind as those who, seeing with the physical eye, lack the eye of imagination.
Residence streets like Chase and Biddle, in the blocks near where they cross Charles Street, midway on its course between the Union Station and Mount Vernon Place, are at night, even more than by day, full of the suggestion of comfortable and settled domesticity. Their brick houses, standing wall to wall and close to the sidewalk, speak of honorable age, and, in some cases of a fine and ancient dignity. One fancies that in many of these houses the best of old mahogany may be found, or, if not that, then at least the fairly old and quite creditable furniture of the period of the sleigh-back bed, the haircloth-covered rosewood sofa, and the tall, narrow mirror between the two front windows of the drawing room.
Through the glass panels of street doors and beneath half-drawn window shades the early-evening wayfarer may perceive a feeble glow as of illuminating gas turned low; but by ten o'clock these lights have begun to disappear, indicating—or so, at all events, I chose to believe—that certain old ladies wearing caps and black silk gowns with old lace fichus held in place by ancient cameos, have proceeded slowly, rustlingly, upstairs to bed, accompanied by their cats.
At Cathedral Street, a block or two from Charles, Biddle Street performs a jog, dashing off at a tangent from its former course, while Chase Street not only jogs and turns at the corresponding intersection, but does so again, where, at the next corner, it meets at once with Park Avenue and Berkeley Street. After this it runs but a short way and dies, as though exhausted by its own contortions.
Here, in a region of malformed city blocks—some of them pentagonal, some irregularly quadrangular, some wedge-shaped—Howard Street sets forth upon its way, running first southwest as far as Richmond Street, then turning south and becoming, by degrees, an important thoroughfare.
Somewhere near the beginning of Howard Street my attention was arrested by shadowy forms in a dark window: furniture, andirons, chinaware, and weapons of obsolete design: unmistakable signs of a shop in which antiquities were for sale. After making mental note of the location of this shop, I proceeded on my way, keeping a sharp lookout for other like establishments. Nor was I to be disappointed. These birds of a feather bear out the truth of the proverb by flocking together in Howard Street, as window displays, faintly visible, informed me.
Since we have come naturally to the subject of antiques, let us pause here, under a convenient lamp-post, and discuss the matter further.
Baltimore—as I found out later—is probably the headquarters for the South in this trade. It has at least one dealer of Fifth Avenue rank, located on Charles Street, and a number of humbler dealers in and near Howard Street. Among the latter, two in particular interested me. One of these—his name is John A. Williar—I have learned to trust. Not only did I make some purchases of him while I was in Baltimore, but I have even gone so far, since leaving there, as to buy from him by mail, accepting his assurance that some article which I have not seen is, nevertheless, what I want, and that it is "worth the price."
At the other antique shop which interested me I made no purchases. The stock on hand was very large, and if those who exhibited it to me made no mistakes in differentiating between genuine antiques and copies, the assortment of ancient furniture on sale in that establishment, when I was there, would rank among the great collections of the world.
However, human judgment is not infallible, and antique dealers sometimes make mistakes, offering, so to speak, "new lamps for old." The eyesight of some dealers may not be so good as that of others; or perhaps one dealer does not know so well as another the difference between, say, an old English Chippendale chair and a New York reproduction; or again, perhaps, some dealers may be innocently unaware that there exist, in this land of ours, certain large establishments wherein are manufactured most extraordinary modern copies of the furniture of long ago. I have been in one of these manufactories, and have there seen chairs of Chippendale and Sheraton design which, though fresh from the workman's hands, looked older than the originals from which they had been plagiarized; also I recall a Jacobean refectory table, the legs of which appeared to have been eaten half away by time, but which had, in reality, been "antiqued" with a stiff wire brush. I mention this because, in my opinion, antique dealers have a right to know that such factories exist.
What curious differences there are between the customs of one trade and those of another. Compare, for instance, the dealer in old furniture with the dealer in old automobiles. The latter, far from pronouncing a machine of which he wishes to dispose "a genuine antique," will assure you—and not always with a strict regard for truth—that it is "practically as good as new." Or compare the seller of antiques with the horse dealer. Can you imagine the latter's taking you up to some venerable quadruped—let alone a three-year-old—and discoursing upon its merits in some such manner as the following:
"This is the oldest and most historic horse that has ever come into my possession. Just look at it, sir! The farmer of whom I bought it assured me that it was brought over by his ancestors in the Mayflower. The place where I found it was used as Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War, and it is known that Washington himself frequently sat on this very horse. It was a favorite of his. For he was a large man and he liked a big, comfortable, deep-seated horse, well braced underneath, and having strong arms, so that he could tilt it back comfortably against the wall, with its front legs off the floor, and—"
But no! That won't do. It appears I have gotten mixed. However, you know what I meant to indicate. I merely meant to show that a horse dealer wouldn't talk about a horse as an antique dealer would talk about a chair. Even if the horse was once actually ridden by the Father of his Country, the dealer won't stress the point. You can't get him to admit that a horse has reached years of discretion, let alone that it is one hundred and forty-five years old, or so. It is this difference between the horse dealer and the dealer in antiques which keeps us in the dark to-day as to exactly which horses Washington rode and which he didn't ride; although we know every chair he ever sat in, and every bed he ever slept in, and every house he ever stopped in, and how he is said to have caught his death of cold.
Having thus wandered afield, let me now resume my nocturnal walk.
Proceeding down Howard Street to Franklin, I judged by the signs I saw about me—the conglomerate assortment of theaters, hotels, rathskellers, bars, and brilliantly lighted drug stores—that here was the center of the city's nighttime life.
Not far from this corner is the Academy, a very spacious and somewhat ancient theater, and although the hour was late, into the Academy I went with a ticket for standing room.
Arriving during an intermission, I had a good view of the auditorium. It is reminiscent, in its interior "decoration," of the recently torn-down Wallack's Theater in New York. The balcony is supported, after the old fashion, by posts, and there are boxes the tops of which are draped with tasseled curtains. It is the kind of theater which suggests traditions, dust, and the possibility of fire and panic.
After looking about me for a time, I drew from my pocket a pamphlet which I had picked up in the hotel, and began to gather information about the "Monumental City," as Baltimore sometimes calls itself—thereby misusing the word, since "monumental" means, in one sense, "enduring," and in another "pertaining to or serving as a monument": neither of which ideas it is intended, in this instance, to convey. What Baltimore intends to indicate is, not that it pertains to monuments, but that monuments pertain to it: that it is a city in which many monuments have been erected—as is indeed the pleasing fact. My pamphlet informed me that the first monument to Columbus and the first to George Washington were here put up, and that among the city's other monuments was one to Francis Scott Key. I had quite forgotten that it was at Baltimore that Key wrote the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and, as others may have done the same, it may be well here to recall the details.
In 1814, after the British had burned a number of Government buildings in Washington, including "the President's palace" (as one of their officers expressed it), they moved on Baltimore, making an attack by land at North Point and a naval attack at Fort McHenry on Whetstone Point in the estuary of the Patapsco River—here practically an arm of Chesapeake Bay. Both attacks were repulsed. Having gone on the United States cartel ship Minden (used by the government in negotiating exchanges of prisoners) to intercede for his friend, Dr. William Beanes, of Upper Marlborough, Maryland, who was held captive on a British vessel, Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the deck of the Minden, and when he perceived "by the dawn's early light" that the flag still flew over the fort, he was moved to write his famous poem. Later it was printed and set to music; it was first sung in a restaurant near the old Holliday Street Theater, but neither the restaurant nor the theater exists to-day. It is sometimes stated that Key was himself a prisoner, during the bombardment, on a British warship. That is a mistake.
By a curious coincidence, only a few minutes after my pamphlet had reminded me of the origin of "The Star-Spangled Banner" here in Baltimore, I heard the air played under circumstances very different from any which could have been anticipated by the author of the poem, or the composer who set it to music.
The entertainment at the Academy that night was supplied by an elaborate "show" of the burlesque variety known as "The Follies," and it so happened that in the course of this hodgepodge of color, comedy, scenery, song, and female anatomy, there was presented a "number" in which actors, garbed and frescoed with intent to resemble rulers of various lands, marched successively to the front of the stage, preceded in each instance by a small but carefully selected guard wearing the full-dress-uniform of Broadway Amazons. This uniform consists principally of tights and high-heeled slippers, the different nations being indicated, usually, by means of color combinations and various types of soldiers' hats. No arms are presented save those provided by nature.
The King of Italy, the Emperor of Austria, the Czar, the Mikado, the British Monarch, the President of France, the King of the Belgians, the Kaiser (for the United States had not then entered the war), and, I think, some others, put in an appearance, each accompanied by his Paphian escort, his standard, and the appropriate national air. Apprehending that this symbolic travesty must, almost inevitably, end in a grand orgy of Yankee-Doodleism, I was impelled to flee the place before the thing should happen. Yet a horrid fascination held me there to watch the working up of "patriotic" sentiment by the old, cheap, stage tricks.
Presently, of course, the supreme moment came. When all the potentates had taken their positions, right and left, with their silk-limbed soldiery in double ranks behind them, there came into view upstage a squad of little white-clad female naval officers, each, according to my recollection, carrying the Stars and Stripes. As these marched forward and deployed as skirmishers before the footlights, the orchestra struck up "The Star-Spangled Banner," fortissimo, and with a liberal sounding of the brasses. Upon this appeared at the back a counterfeit President of the United States, guarded on either side by a female militia—or were they perhaps secret-service agents?—in striking uniforms consisting of pink fleshings partially draped with thin black lace.
As this incongruous parade proceeded to the footlights, American flags came into evidence, and, though I forget whether or not Columbia appeared, I recollect that a beautiful young woman, habited in what appeared to be a light pink union suit of unexceptionable cut and material, appeared above the head of the pseudo-chief executive, suspended at the end of a wire. Never having heard that it was White House etiquette to hang young ladies on wires above the presidential head, I consulted my program and thereby learned that this young lady represented that species of poultry so popular always with the late Secretary of State, Mr. Bryan, and so popular also at one time with the President himself: namely, the Dove of Peace.
The applause was thunderous. At the sound of "The Star-Spangled Banner" a few members of the audience arose to their feet; others soon followed—some of them apparently with reluctance—until at last the entire house had risen. Meanwhile the members of the company lined up before the footlights: the mock president smirking at the center, the half-clad girls posing, the pink young lady dangling above, the band blaring, the Stars and Stripes awave. It was a scene, in all, about as conducive to genuine or creditable national pride as would be the scene of a debauch in some fabulous harem.
The difference between stupidity and satire lies, not infrequently, in the intent with which a thing is done. Presented without essential change upon the stage of a music hall in some foreign land, the scene just described would, at that time, when we were playing a timid part amongst the nations, have been accepted, not as a glorification of the United States, but as having a precisely opposite significance. It would have been taken for burlesque; burlesque upon our country, our President, our national spirit, our peace policy, our army, and perhaps also upon our women—and insulting burlesque at that.
Some years since, it was found necessary to pass a law prohibiting the use of the flag for advertising purposes. This law should be amended to protect it also from the even more sordid and vulgarizing associations to which it is not infrequently submitted on the American musical-comedy stage.
* * * * *
In the morning, before I was awake, my companion arrived at the hotel, and, going to his room, opened the door connecting it with mine. Coming out of my slumber with that curious and not altogether pleasant sense of being stared at, I found his eyes fixed upon me, and noticed immediately about him the air of virtuous superiority which is assumed by all who have risen early, whether they have done so by choice or have been shaken awake.
"Hello," I said. "Had breakfast?"
"No. I thought we could breakfast together if you felt like getting up."
Though the phraseology of this remark was unexceptionable, I knew what it meant. What it really meant was: "Shame on you, lying there so lazy after sunup! Look at me, all dressed and ready to begin!"
I arose at once.
For all that I don't like to get up early, it recalled old times, and was very pleasant, to be away with him again upon our travels; to be in a strange city and a strange hotel, preparing to set forth on explorations. For he is the best, the most charming, the most observant of companions, and also one of the most patient.
That is one of his greatest qualities—his patience. Throughout our other trip he always kept on being patient with me, no matter what I did. Many a time instead of pushing me down an elevator shaft, drowning me in my bath, or coming in at night and smothering me with a pillow, he has merely sighed, dropped into a chair, and sat there shaking his head and staring at me with a melancholy, ruminative, hopeless expression—such an expression as may come into the face of a dumb man when he looks at a waiter who has spilled an oyster cocktail on him.
All this is good for me. It has a chastening effect.
Therefore in a spirit happy yet not exuberant, eager yet controlled, hopeful yet a little bit afraid, I dressed myself hurriedly, breakfasted with him (eating ham and eggs because he approves of ham and eggs), and after breakfast set out in his society to obtain what—despite my walk of the night before—I felt was not alone my first real view of Baltimore, but my first glimpse over the threshold of the South: into the land of aristocracy and hospitality, of mules and mammies, of plantations, porticos, and proud, flirtatious belles, of colonels, cotton, chivalry, and colored cooking.
WHERE THE CLIMATES MEET
Here, where the climates meet, That each may make the other's lack complete—
Because Baltimore was built, like Rome, on seven hills, and because trains run under it instead of through, the passing traveler sees but little of the city, his view from the train window being restricted first to a suburban district, then to a black tunnel, then to a glimpse upward from the railway cut, in which the station stands. These facts, I think, combine to leave upon his mind an impression which, if not actually unfavorable, is at least negative; for certainly he has obtained no just idea of the metropolis of Maryland.
Let it be declared at the outset, then, that Baltimore is not in any sense to be regarded as a suburb of Washington. Indeed, considering the two merely as cities situated side by side, and eliminating the highly specialized features of Washington, Baltimore becomes, according to the standards by which American cities are usually compared, the more important city of the two, being greater both in population and in commerce. In this aspect Baltimore may, perhaps, be pictured as the commercial half of Washington. And while Washington, as capital of the United States, has certain physical and cosmopolitan advantages, not only over Baltimore, but over every other city on this continent, it must not be forgotten that, upon the other hand, every other city has one vast advantage over Washington, namely, a comparative freedom from politicians. To be sure, Congress did once move over to Baltimore and sit there for several weeks, but that was in 1776, when the British approached the Delaware in the days before the pork barrel was invented.
As a city Baltimore has marked characteristics. Though south of Mason and Dixon's Line, and though sometimes referred to as the "metropolis of the South" (as is New Orleans also), it is in character neither a city entirely northern nor entirely southern, but one which partakes of the qualities of both; where, in the words of Sidney Lanier, "the climates meet," and where northern and southern thought and custom meet, as well. This has long been the case. Thus, although slaves were held in Baltimore before the Civil War, a strong abolitionist society was formed there during Washington's first Administration, and the sentiment of the city was thereafter divided on the slavery question. Thus also, while the two candidates of the divided Democratic party who ran against Lincoln for the presidency in 1860 were nominated at Baltimore, Lincoln himself was nominated there by the Union-Republican party in 1864.
Speaking of the blending of North and South in Baltimore, you will, of course, remember that the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment was attacked by a mob as it passed through the city on the way to the Civil War. The regiment arrived in Baltimore at the old President Street Station, which was then the main station of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and which, now used as a freight station, looks like an old war-time woodcut out of Harper's Weekly. It was the custom in those days to hitch horses to passenger coaches which were going through and draw them across town to the Baltimore & Ohio Station; but when it was attempted thus to transport the northern troops a mob gathered and blocked the Pratt Street bridge over Jones's Falls, forcing the soldiers to leave the cars and march through Pratt Street, along the water front, where they were attacked. It is, however, a noteworthy fact that Mayor Brown of Baltimore bravely preceded the troops and attempted to stop the rioting. A few days later the city was occupied by northern troops, and the warship Harriet Lane anchored at a point off Calvert Street, whence her guns commanded the business part of town. After this there was no more serious trouble. Moreover, it will be remembered that though Maryland was represented by regiments in both armies, the State, torn as it was by conflicting feeling, nevertheless held to the Union.
A pretty sequel to the historic attack on the Sixth Massachusetts occurred when the same regiment passed through Baltimore in 1898, on its way to the Spanish War. On this occasion it was "attacked" again in the streets of the city, but the missiles thrown, instead of paving-stones and bricks, were flowers.
Continuing the category of contrasts, one may observe that while the general appearance of Baltimore suggests a northern city rather than a southern one—Philadelphia, for instance, rather than Richmond—Baltimore society is strongly flavored with the tradition and the soft pronunciation of the South; particularly of Virginia and the "Eastern Shore."
So, too, the city's position on the border line is reflected in its handling of the negro. Of American cities, Washington has the largest negro population, 94,446, New York and New Orleans follow with almost as many, and Baltimore comes fourth with 84,749, according to the last census. New York has one negro to every fifty-one whites, Philadelphia one to every seventeen whites, Baltimore one to every six, Washington a negro to every two and a half whites, and Richmond not quite two whites to every negro. But, although Baltimore follows southern practice in maintaining separate schools for negro children, and in segregating negro residences to certain blocks, she follows northern practice in casting a considerable negro vote at elections, and also in not providing separate seats for negroes in her street cars.
Have you ever noticed how cities sometimes seem to have their own especial colors? Paris is white and green—even more so, I think, than Washington. Chicago is gray; so is London usually, though I have seen it buff at the beginning of a heavy fog. New York used to be a brown sandstone city, but is now turning to one of cream-colored brick and tile; Naples is brilliant with pink and blue and green and white and yellow; while as for Baltimore, her old houses and her new are, as Baedeker puts it, of "cheerful red brick"—not always, of course, but often enough to establish the color of red brick as the city's predominating hue. And with the red-brick houses—particularly the older ones—go clean white marble steps, on the bottom one of which, at the side, may usually be found an old-fashioned iron "scraper," doubtless left over from the time (not very long ago) when the city pavements had not reached their present excellence.
The color of red brick is not confined to the center of the city, but spreads to the suburbs, fashionable and unfashionable. At one margin of the town I was shown solid blocks of pleasant red-brick houses which, I was told, were occupied by workmen and their families, and were to be had at a rental of from ten to twenty dollars a month. For though Baltimore has a lower East Side which, like the lower East Side of New York, encompasses the Ghetto and Italian quarter, she has not tenements in the New York sense; one sees no tall, cheap flat houses draped with fire escapes and built to make herding places for the poor. Many of the houses in this section are instead the former homes of fashionables who have moved to other quarters of the city—handsome old homesteads with here and there a lovely, though battered, doorway sadly reminiscent of an earlier elegance. So, also, red brick permeates the prosperous suburbs, such as Roland Park and Guilford, where, in a sweetly rolling country which lends itself to the arrangement of graceful winding roads and softly contoured plantings, stand quantities of pleasing homes, lately built, many of them colonial houses of red brick. Indeed, it struck us that the only parts of Baltimore in which red brick was not the dominant note were the downtown business section and Mount Vernon Place.
Mount Vernon Place is the center of Baltimore. Everything begins there, including Baedeker, who, in his little red book, gives it the asterisk of his approval, says that it "suggests Paris in its tasteful monuments and surrounding buildings," and recommends the view from the top of the Washington Monument.
This monument, standing upon an eminence at the point where Charles and Monument Streets would cross each other were not their courses interrupted by the pleasing parked space of Mount Vernon Place, is a gray stone column, surmounted by a figure of Washington—or, rather, by the point of a lightning rod under which the figure stands. Other monuments are known as this monument or that, but when "the monument" is spoken of, the Washington Monument is inevitably meant. This is quite natural, for it is not only the most simple and picturesque old monument in Baltimore, but also the largest, the oldest, and the most conspicuous: its proud head, rising high in air, having for nearly a century dominated the city. One catches glimpses of it down this street or that, or sees it from afar over the housetops; and sometimes, when the column is concealed from view by intervening buildings, and only the surmounting statue shows above them, one is struck by a sudden apparition of the Father of his Country strolling fantastically upon some distant roof.
Though it may be true that Mount Vernon Place, with its symmetrical parked center and its admirable bronzes (several of them by Barye), suggests Paris, and though it is certainly true that it is more like a Parisian square than a London square, nevertheless it is in reality an American square—perhaps the finest of its kind in the United States. If it were Parisian, it would have more trees and the surrounding buildings would be uniform in color and in cornice height. It is perhaps as much like Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia as any other, and that resemblance is of the slightest, for Mount Vernon Place has a quality altogether its own. It has no skyscrapers or semi-skyscrapers to throw it out of balance; and though the structures which surround it are of white stone, brown stone, and red brick, and of anything but homogeneous architecture, nevertheless a comparative uniformity of height, a universal solidity of construction, and a general grace about them, combine to give the Place an air of equilibrium and dignity and elegance.
Including the Washington Monument, Baltimore has three lofty landmarks, likely to be particularly noticed by the roving visitor. Of the remaining two, one is the old brick shot-tower in the lower part of town, which legend tells us was put up without the use of scaffolding nearly a hundred years ago; while the other, a more modern, if less modest structure, proudly surmounts a large commercial building and is itself capped by the gigantic effigy of a bottle. This bottle is very conspicuous because of its emplacement, because it revolves, and because it is illuminated at night. You can never get away from it.
One evening I asked a man what the bottle meant up there.
"It's a memorial to Emerson," he told me.
"Are they so fond of Emerson down here?"
"I don't know as they are so all-fired fond of him," he answered.
"But they must be fond of him to put up such a big memorial. Why, even in Boston, where he was born, they have no such memorial as that."
"He put it up himself," said the man.
That struck me as strange. It seemed somehow out of character with the great philosopher. Also, I could not see why, if he did wish to raise a memorial to himself, he had elected to fashion it in the form of a bottle and put it on top of an office building.
"I suppose there is some sort of symbolism about it?" I suggested.
"Now you got it," approved the man.
I gazed at the tower for a while in thought. Then I said:
"Do you suppose that Emerson meant something like this: that human life or, indeed, the soul, may be likened to the contents of a bottle; that day by day we use up some portion of the contents—call it, if you like, the nectar of existence—until the fluid of life runs low, and at last is gone entirely, leaving only the husk, as it were—or, to make the metaphor more perfect, the shell, or empty bottle: the container of what Emerson himself called, if I recollect correctly, 'the soul that maketh all'—do you suppose he meant to teach us some such thing as that?"
The man looked a little confused by this deep and beautiful thought.
"He might of meant that," he said, somewhat dubiously. "But they tell me Captain Emerson's a practical man, and I reckon what he mainly meant was that he made his money out of this-here Bromo Seltzer, and he was darn glad of it, so he thought he'd put him up a big Bromo Seltzer bottle as a kind of cross between a monument and an ad."
If the bottle tower represents certain modern concepts of what is suitable in architecture, it is nevertheless pleasant to record the fact that many honorable old buildings—most of them residences—survive in Baltimore, and that, because of their survival, the city looks older than New York and fully as old as either Philadelphia or Boston. But in this, appearances are misleading, for New York and Boston were a century old, and Philadelphia half a century, when Baltimore was first laid out as a town. Efforts to start a settlement near the city's present site were, it is true, being made before William Penn and his Quakers established Philadelphia, but a letter written in 1687 by Charles Calvert, third Baron Baltimore, explains that: "The people there [are] not affecting to build nere each other but soe as to have their houses nere the watters for conveniencye of trade and their lands on each side of and behynde their houses, by which it happens that in most places there are not fifty houses in the space of thirty myles."
 From "Historic Towns of the Southern States."
The difficulty experienced by the Barons Baltimore, Lords Proprietary of Maryland, in building up communities in their demesne was not a local problem, but one which confronted those interested in the development of the entire portion of this continent now occupied by the Southern States. Generally speaking, towns came into being more slowly in the South than in the North, and it seems probable that one of the principal reasons for this may be found in the fact that settlers throughout the South lived generally at peace with the Indians, whereas the northern settlers were obliged to congregate in towns for mutual protection. Thus, in colonial days, while the many cities of New York and New England were coming into being, the South was developing its vast and isolated plantations. Farms on the St. Lawrence River and on the Detroit River, where the French were settling, were very narrow and very deep, the idea being to range the houses close together on the river front; but on such rivers as the Potomac, the Rappahannock and the James, no element of early fear is to be traced in the form of the broad baronial plantations.
Nevertheless, when Baltimore began at last to grow, she became a prodigy, not only among American cities, but among the cities of the world. Her first town directory was published in 1796, and she began the next year as an incorporated city, with a mayor, a population of about twenty thousand, and a curiously assorted early history containing such odd items as that the first umbrella carried in the United States was brought from India and unfurled in Baltimore in 1772; that the town had for some time possessed such other useful articles as a fire engine, a brick theater, a newspaper, and policemen; that the streets were lighted with oil lamps; that such proud signs of metropolitanism as riot and epidemic were not unknown; that before the Revolution bachelors were taxed for the benefit of his Britannic Majesty; and that at fair time the "lid was off," and the citizen or visitor who wished to get himself arrested must needs be diligent indeed.
There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
Following the incorporation of the city, Baltimore grew much as Chicago was destined to grow more than a century later; within less than thirty years, when Chicago was a tiny village, Baltimore had become the third city in the United States: a city of wealthy merchants engaged in an extensive foreign trade; for in those days there was an American merchant marine, and the swift, rakish Baltimore clippers were known the seven seas over.
The story of modern Baltimore is entirely unrelated to the city's early history. It consists in a simple but inspiring record of regeneration springing from disaster. It is the story of Chicago, of San Francisco, of Galveston, of Dayton, and of many a smaller town: a cataclysm, a few days of despair, a return of courage, and another beginning.
Imagine yourself being tucked into bed one night by your valet or your maid, as the case may be, calm in the feeling that all was secure: that your business was returning a handsome income, that your stocks and bonds were safe in the strong box, that the prosperity of your descendants was assured. Then imagine ruin coming like lightning in the night. In the morning you are poor. Your business, your investments, your very hopes, are gone. Everything is wiped out. The labor of a lifetime must be begun again.
Such an experience was that of Baltimore in the fire of 1904.
On the sickening morning following the conflagration two Baltimore men, friends of mine, walked down Charles Street to a point as near the ruined region as it was possible to go.
"Well," said one, surveying the smoking crater, "what do you think of it?"
"Baltimore is gone," was the response. "We are off the map."
How many citizens of Chicago, of San Francisco, of Galveston, of Dayton have known the anguish of that first aftermath of hopelessness! How many citizens of Baltimore knew it that day! And yet how bravely and with what magic swiftness have these cities risen from their ruins! Was not Rome burned? Was not London? And is it not, then, time for men to learn from the history of other men and other cities that disaster does not spell the end, but is oftentimes another name for opportunity?
Always, after disaster to a city, come improvements, but because disaster not only cleans the slate but simultaneously stuns the mind, a portion of the opportunity is invariably lost. The task of rebuilding, of widening a few streets, looks large enough to him who stands amidst destruction—and there, consequently, improvement usually stops. That is why the downtown boulevard system of Chicago has yet to be completed, in spite of the fact that it might with little difficulty have been completed after the Chicago fire (although it is only just to add that city planning was almost an unknown art in America at that time); and that also is why the hills of San Francisco are not terraced, as it was suggested they should be after the fire, but remain to-day inaccessible to frontal attack by even the maddest mountain goat of a taxi driver.
These matters are not mentioned in the way of criticism: I have only admiration for the devastated cities and for those who built them up again. I call attention to lost opportunities with something like reluctance, and only in the wish to emphasize the fact that our crippled or destroyed cities do invariably rise again, and that if the next American city to sustain disaster shall but have this simple lesson learned in advance, it may thereby register a new high mark in municipal intelligence and a new record among the rebuilt cities, by making more sweet than any other city ever made them, the uses of adversity.
The fire of 1904 found Baltimore a town of narrow highways, old buildings, bad pavements, and open gutter drains. The streets were laid in what is known as "southern cobble," which is the next thing to no pavement at all, being made of irregular stones, large and small, laid in the dirt and tamped down. For bumps and ruts there is no pavement in the world to be compared with it. There were no city sewers. Outside a few affluent neighborhoods, the citizens of which clubbed together to build private sewers, the cesspool was in general use, while domestic drainage emptied into the roadside gutters. These were made passable, at crossings, by stepping stones, about the bases of which passed interesting armadas of potato peelings, floating, upon wash days, in water having the fine Mediterranean hue which comes from diluted blueing. Everybody seemed to find the entire system adequate; for, it was argued, the hilly contours of the city caused the drainage quickly to be carried off, while as for typhoid and mosquitoes—well, there had always been typhoid and mosquitoes, just as there had always been these open gutters. It was all quite good enough.
Then the fire.
And then the upbuilding of the city—not only of the acres and acres comprising the burned section, in which streets were widened and skyscrapers arose where fire-traps had been—but outside the fire zone, where sewers were put down and pavements laid. Nor was the change merely physical. With the old buildings, the old spirit of laissez faire went up in smoke, and in the embers a municipal conscience was born. Almost as though by the light of the flames which engulfed it, the city began to see itself as it had never seen itself before: to take account of stock, to plan broadly for the future.
Nor has the new-born spirit died. Only last year an extensive red-light district was closed effectively and once for all. Baltimore is to-day free from flagrant commercialized vice. And if not quite all the old cobble pavements and open-gutter drains have been eliminated, there are but few of them left—left almost as though for purposes of contrast—and the Baltimorean who takes you to the Ghetto and shows you these ancient remnants may immediately thereafter escort you to the Fallsway, where the other side of the picture is presented.
The Fallsway is a brand-new boulevard of pleasing aspect, the peculiar feature of which is that it is nothing more or less than a cover over the top of Jones's Falls, which figured in the early history of Baltimore as a water course, but which later came to figure as a great, open, trunk sewer.
Every one in Baltimore is proud of the Fallsway, but particularly so are the city engineers who carried the work through. While in Baltimore I had the pleasure of meeting one of these gentlemen, and I can assure you that no young head of a family was ever more delighted with his new cottage in a suburb, his wife, his children, his garden, and his collie puppy, than was this engineer with his boulevard sewer. Like a lover, he carried pictures of it in his pocket, and like a lover he would assure you that it was "not like other sewers." Nor could he speak of it without beginning to wish to take you out to see it—not merely for a motor ride along the top of it, either. No, his hospitality did not stop there. When he invited you to a sewer he invited you in. And if you went in with him, no one could make you come out until you wanted to.
As he told my companion and me of the three great tubes, the walks beside them, the conduits for gas and electricity, and all the other wonders of the place, I began to wish that we might go with him, for, though we have been to a good many places together, this was something new: it was the first time we had ever been invited to drop into a sewer and make ourselves as much at home as though we lived there.
My companion, however, seemed unsympathetic to the project.
"Sewers, you know," he said, when I taxed him with indifference, "have come to have a very definite place in both the literary and the graphic arts. How do you propose to treat it?"
"What do you mean?"
"When you write about it: Are you going to write about it as a realist, a mystic, or a romanticist?"
I said I didn't know.
"Well, a man who is going to write of a sewer ought to know," he told me severely. "You're not up to sewers yet. They're too big for you. If you take my advice you'll keep out of the sewers for the present and stick to the gutters."
So I did.
TERRAPIN AND THINGS
Baltimore society has a Maryland and Virginia base, but is seasoned with families of Acadian descent, and with others descended from the Pennsylvania Dutch—those "Dutch" who, by the way, are not Dutch at all, being of Saxon and Bavarian extraction. Many Virginians settled in Baltimore after the war, and it may be in part owing to this fact, that fox-hunting with horse and hound, as practised for three centuries past in England, and for nearly two centuries by Virginia's country gentlemen, is carried on extensively in the neighborhood of Baltimore, by the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, the Elkridge Fox-Hunting Club and some others—which brings me to the subject of clubs in general.
The Baltimore Country Club, at Roland Park, just beyond the city limits, has a large, well-set clubhouse, an active membership, and charming rolling golf links, one peculiarity of the course being that a part of the city's water-supply system has been utilized for hazards.
The two characteristic clubs of the city itself, the Maryland Club and the Baltimore Club, are known the country over. The former occupies a position in Baltimore comparable with that of the Union Club in New York, the Chicago Club in Chicago, or the Pacific Union in San Francisco, and has to its credit at least one famous dish: Terrapin, Maryland Club Style.
The Baltimore Club is used by a younger group of men and has a particularly pleasant home in a large mansion, formerly the residence of the Abell family, long known in connection with that noteworthy old sheet, the Baltimore "Sun," which, it may be remarked in passing, is curiously referred to by many Baltimoreans, not as the "Sun," but as the "Sun-paper."
This odd item reminds me of another: In the Balti-telephone book I chanced to notice under the letter "F" the entry:
Fisher, Frank, of J.
Upon inquiry I learned that the significance of this was that, there being more than one gentleman of the name of Frank Fisher in the city, this Mr. Frank Fisher added "of J" to his name (meaning "son of John") for purposes of differentiation. I was informed further that this custom is not uncommon in Baltimore, in cases where a name is duplicated, and I was shown another example: that of Mr. John Fyfe Symington of S.
A typically southern institution of long standing, and highly characteristic of the social life of Baltimore, is the Bachelors' Cotillion, one of the oldest dancing clubs in the country. During the season this organization gives a series of some half-dozen balls which are the events of the fashionable year.
The organization and general character of the Bachelors' Cotillion is not unlike that of the celebrated St. Cecilia Society of Charleston. The cost of membership is so slight that almost any eligible young man can easily afford it. There is, however, a long waiting-list. The club is controlled by a board of governors, the members of which hold office for life, and who, instead of being elected by the organization are selected in camera by the board itself, when vacancies occur.
The balls given by this society are known as the Monday Germans, and at these balls, which are held in the Lyric Theater, the city's debutantes are presented to society. As in all southern cities, much is made of debutantes in Baltimore. On the occasion of their first Monday German all their friends send them flowers, and they appear flower-laden at the ball, followed by their relatives who are freighted down with their darlings' superfluous bouquets. The modern steps are danced at these balls, but there are usually a few cotillion figures, albeit without "favors." And perhaps the best part of it all is that the first ball of the season, and the Christmas ball, end at one o'clock, and that all the others end at midnight. That seems to me a humane arrangement, although the opinion may only signify that I am growing old.
Another very characteristic phase of Baltimore life, and of southern life—at least in many cities—is that, instead of dealing with the baker, and the grocer, and the fish-market man around the corner, all Baltimore women go to the great market-sheds and do their own selecting under what amounts to one great roof.
The Lexington Market, to which my companion and I had the good fortune to be taken by a Baltimore lady, is comparable, in its picturesqueness with Les Halles of Paris, or the fascinating market in Seattle, where the Japanese pile up their fresh vegetables with such charming show of taste. The great sheds cover three long blocks, and in the countless stall-like shops which they contain may be found everything for the table, including flowers to trim it and after-dinner sweets. I doubt that any northern housewife knows such a market or such a profusion of comestibles. In one stall may be purchased meat, in the next vegetables, in the next fish, in the next bread and cake, in the next butter and buttermilk, in the next fruit, or game, or flowers, or—at Christmas time—tree trimmings. These stalls, with their contents, are duplicated over and over again; and if your fair guide be shopping for a dinner party, at which two men from out of town are to be initiated into the delights of the Baltimore cuisine, she may order up the costly and aristocratic Malacoclemmys, the diamond-back terrapin, sacred in Baltimore as is the Sacred Cod himself in Boston.
The admirable encyclopedia of Messrs. Funk & Wagnall's informs me that "the diamond-back salt-water terrapin ... is caught in salt marshes along the coast from New England to Texas, the finest being those of the Massachusetts and the northern coasts." The italics are mine; and upon the italicized passage I expect the mayor and town council of Baltimore, or even the Government of the State of Maryland, to proceed against Messrs. Funk & Wagnalls, whose valuable volumes should forthwith be placed upon the State's index expurgatorius.
Of a marketman I obtained the following lore concerning the tortoise of the terrapin species:
In the Baltimore markets four kinds of terrapin are sold—not counting muskrat, which is sometimes disguised with sauce and sherry and served as a substitute. The cheapest and toughest terrapin is known as the "slider." Slightly superior to the "slider" is the "fat-back," measuring, usually, about nine or ten inches in length, and costing, at retail, fifty cents to a dollar, according to season and demand. Somewhat better than the "fat-back," but of about the same size and cost, is the "golden-stripe" terrapin; but all these are the merest poor relations of the diamond-back. Some diamond-back terrapin are supplied for the Baltimore market from North Carolina, but these, my marketman assured me, are inferior to those of Chesapeake Bay. (Everything in, or from, North Carolina seems to be inferior, according to the people of the other Southern States.)
Although there is a closed season for terrapin, the value of the diamond-back causes him to be relentlessly hunted during the open season, with the result that, like the delectable lobster, he is passing. As the foolish lobster-fishermen of northern New England are killing the goose—or, rather, the crustacean—that lays the golden eggs, so are the terrapin hunters of the Chesapeake. Two or three decades ago, lobster and terrapin alike were eaten in the regions of their abundance as cheap food. One Baltimore lady told me that her father's slaves, on an Eastern Shore plantation, used to eat terrapin. Yet behold the cost of the precious diamond-back to-day! In his smaller sizes, according to my marketman, he is worth about a dollar an inch, while when grown to fair proportions he costs as much as a railroad ticket from Baltimore to Chicago. And for my part I would about as soon eat the ticket as the terrapin.
Of a number of other odd items which help to give Baltimore distinct flavor I find the following in my notebooks:
There are good street railways; also 'bus lines operated by the United Railways Company. Under the terms of its charter this company was originally obliged to turn over to the city thirteen per cent. of its gross income, to be expended upon the upkeep of parks. Of late years the amount has been reduced to nine per cent. The parks are admirable.
Freight rates from the west to Baltimore are, I am informed, enough lower than freight rates to New York, Boston, or Philadelphia, to give Baltimore a decided advantage as a point of export. Also she is admirably situated as to sources of coal supply. (I do not care much for the last two items, myself, but put them in to please the Chamber of Commerce.)
* * * * *
It is the habit of my companion and myself, when visiting strange cities, to ask for interesting eating-places of one sort or another. In Baltimore there seems to be no choice but to take meals in hotels—unless one may wish to go to the Dutch Tea room or the Woman's Exchange for a shoppers' lunch, and to see (in the latter establishment) great numbers of ladies sitting upon tall stools and eating at a lunch-counter—a somewhat curious spectacle, perhaps, but neither pleasing to the eye nor thrilling to the senses.
The nearest thing to "character" which I found in a Baltimore eating-place was at an establishment known as Kelly's Oyster House, a place in a dark quarter of the town. It had the all-night look about it, and the negro waiters showed themselves not unacquainted with certain of the city's gilded youth. Kelly's is a sort of southern version of "Jack's"—if you know Jack's. But I don't think Jack's has any flight of stairs to fall down, such as Kelly's has.
The dining rooms of the various hotels are considerably used, one judges, by the citizens of Baltimore. The Kernan Hotel, which we visited one night after the theater, looked like Broadway. Tables were crowded together and there was dancing between them—and between mouthfuls. So, too, at the Belvedere, which is used considerably by Baltimore's gay and fashionable people.
My companion and I stayed at the Belvedere and found it a good hotel, albeit one which has, I think, become a shade too well accustomed to being called good. Perhaps because of a city ordinance, perhaps because the waiters want to go to bed, they have a trick, in the Belvedere dining-room, during the cold weather, of opening the windows and freezing out such dilatory supper-guests as would fain sit up and talk. This is a system even more effective than the ancient one of mopping up the floors, piling chairs upon the tables, and turning out enough lights to make the room dull. A good post-midnight conversationalist—and Baltimore is not without them—can stand mops, buckets, and dim lights, but turn cold drafts upon his back and he gives up, sends for his coat, buttons it about his paunch and goes sadly home.
It is fitting that last of all should be mentioned the man who views you with keen eye as you arrive in Baltimore, and who watches you depart. If you are in Baltimore he knows it. And when you go away he knows that, too. Also, during racing season, he knows whether you bet, and whether you won or lost. He is always at the station and always at the race track, and if you don't belong in Baltimore he is aware of it the instant he sets eyes upon you, because he knows every man, woman, child, and dog in Baltimore, and they all know him. If you are a Baltimorean you are already aware that I refer to the sapient McNeal, policeman at the Union Station.
McNeal and Cardinal Gibbons are, I take it, the two preeminent figures of the city. Their duties, I admit, are not alike, but each performs his duties with discretion, with devotion, with distinction. The latter has already celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his nomination as cardinal, but the former is well on the way toward his fortieth anniversary as officer at the Union Station.
McNeal is an artist. He loves his work. And when his day off comes and he puts on citizen's clothing and goes out for a good time, where do you suppose he goes?
Why down to the station, of course, to talk things over with the man who is relieving him!
DOUGHOREGAN MANOR AND THE CARROLLS
If I am to be honest about the South, and about myself—and I propose to be—I must admit that, though I approached the fabled land in a most friendly spirit, I had nevertheless become a little tired of the southern family tree, the southern ancestral hall, and the old southern negro servant of stage and story, and just a little skeptical about them. Almost unconsciously, at first, I had begun to wonder whether, instead of being things of actuality, they were not, rather, a mere set of romantic trade-marks, so to speak; symbols signifying the South as the butler with side whiskers signifies English comedy; as "Her" visit to "His" rooms, in the third act, signifies English drama; or as double doorways in a paneled "set" signify French farce.
Furthermore, it had occurred to me that of persons of southern accent, or merely southern extraction, whom I had encountered in the North, a strangely high percentage were not only of "fine old southern family," but of peculiarly tenacious purpose in respect to having the matter understood.
I cannot pretend to say when the "professional Southerner," as we know him in New York, began to operate, nor shall I attempt to place the literary blame for his existence—as Mark Twain attempted to place upon Sir Walter Scott the blame for southern "chivalry," and almost for the Civil War itself. Let me merely say, then, that I should not be surprised to learn that "Colonel Carter of Cartersville"—that lovable old fraud who did not mean to be a fraud at all, but whose naivete passed the bounds of human credulity—was not far removed from the bottom of the matter.
In the tenor of these sentiments my companion shared—though I should add that he complained bitterly about agreeing with me, saying that with hats alike, and overcoats alike, and trunks alike, and suitcases alike, we already resembled two members of a minstrel troupe, and that now since we were beginning to think alike, through traveling so much together, our friends would not be able to tell us apart when we got home again—in spite of this he admitted to the same suspicion of the South as I expressed. Wherefore we entered the region like a pair of agnostics entering the great beyond: skeptical, but ready to be "shown."
It was with the generous purpose of "showing" us that a Baltimore friend of ours called for us one day with his motor car and was presently wafting us over the good oiled roads of Maryland, through sweet, rolling country, which seemed to have been made to be ridden over upon horseback.
It was autumn, but though the chill of northern autumn was in the air, the coloring was not so high in key as in New York or New England, the foliage being less brilliant, but rich with subtle harmonies of brown and green, blending softly together as in a faded tapestry, and giving the landscape an expression of brooding tenderness.
After passing through Ellicott City, an old, shambling town quite out of character with its new-sounding name, which has such a western ring to it, we traversed for several miles the old Frederick Turnpike—formerly a national highway between East and West—swooping up and down over a series of little hills and vales, and at length turned off into a private road winding through a venerable forest, which was like an old Gothic cathedral with its pavement of brown leaves and its tree-trunk columns, tall, gray, and slender.
When we had progressed for perhaps a mile, we emerged upon a slight eminence commanding a broad view of meadow and of woodland, and in turn commanded by a great house.
The house was of buff-colored brick. It was low and very long, with wings extending from its central structure like beautiful arms flung wide in welcome, and at the end of each a building like an ornament balanced in an outstretched hand. The graceful central portico, rising by several easy steps from the driveway level, the long line of cornice, the window sashes, the delicate wooden railing surmounting the roof, the charming little tower which so gracefully held its place above the geometrical center of the house, the bell tower crowning one wing at its extremity—all these were white.
No combination of colors can be lovelier, in such a house, than yellow-buff and white, provided they be brightened by some notes of green; and these notes were not lacking, for several aged elms, occupying symmetrical positions with regard to the house, seemed to gaze down upon it with the adoration of a group of mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, as they held their soft draperies protectively above it. The green of the low terrace—called a "haha," supposedly with reference to the mirth-provoking possibilities of an accidental step over the edge—did not reach the base of the buff walls, but was lost in a fringe of clustering shrubbery, from which patches of lustrous English ivy clambered upward over the brick, to lay strong, mischievous fingers upon the blinds of certain second-story windows. The blinds were of course green; green blinds being as necessary to an American window as eyelashes to an eye.