America is a vast country, likewise a vast subject to tackle.
Everything there is vast, its mercantile projects, its successes,
its catastrophes—but, above all, it possesses a vast wealth in the
warm hearts of its kindly people. I have so many friends on the other
side of the “herring pond,” that my memory lingers with pleasure and
interest in the United States.
I wonder how many times since I returned from my last delightful visit
in 1904 people have asked me what I thought of Roosevelt (Rosie-felt).
Those last weeks of the year had been spent in Mexico—my second visit
to that remarkable and enchanting land—as the guest of President
Diaz and his charming wife. Their great kindness, together with the
interesting phase of life unfolded to me day by day, as I made notes
for the _Diaz Life_, brought a desire to make the acquaintance of His
Excellency’s neighbour-President of the United States—Mr. Roosevelt.
It was about as difficult to see Mr. Roosevelt as to see the King of
England, perhaps even more so, for a good introduction would produce
a presentation to our sovereign, whereas in America even a good
introduction is looked upon with suspicion. President Roosevelt was
surrounded by a perfect cordon of officials.
The White House is one of the best things in America. It is a low,
rambling building, quite attractive in style, and like the homes of a
great many noblemen in England. There is nothing of the palace about
it; it does not seem big enough for the President of the United States,
although standing on rising ground, amid beautiful surroundings. It
is in a way more handsome externally—and decidedly more imposing—than
Buckingham Palace, and a great deal cleaner. The decorations of the
interior I thought appalling, but that may be my bad taste. They were
so horribly new, and American.
The day on which I was received at the White House happened to be the
eighteenth anniversary of the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt. They
had been the recipients of congratulatory messages from all parts of
the country, but the President was busy as ever. Except his annual
recess, he knew no holiday.
I presented myself at the portico. Policemen were everywhere; at each
corner was a blue coat.
“Pass on, if you please,” was the order of proceedings, until I arrived
at a sort of conservatory door, where another policeman bade me enter.
Horrors! a gaunt, square room with a small, empty writing-table in the
middle, and chairs standing all round close against the four walls. It
was enough to chill one’s enthusiasm. Worse than all! on nearly every
chair sat a man who stared obtrusively at the entrance of a woman.
Had I known the sort of ordeal to be passed through, in spite of my
excellent introductions, I doubt if I should have ventured at all.
Not daring to run away, I sat on a chair like the rest, and felt that,
instead of my best, my worst frock would have been the most appropriate
for the occasion. One man was summoned to a particular door, and his
neighbour to another, and then an old gentleman came forward to me and
“Mrs. Alec Tweedie, I believe? Would you please to step this way? The
President will see you immediately.”
“A haven of refuge at last,” thought I, “anyway a carpet and a
cushioned seat.” But even here three men were sitting and waiting in
solemn silence, and all the staring had to be gone through again.
Ten minutes or a quarter of an hour of this awful tension passed, and
then two more individuals were ushered in, and sat down, not one—of all
the five staring beings—uttering a word. I was getting quite nervous,
and wondering how best to slip away, when the door opened again.
Merely expecting a sixth sitter, I did not even take the trouble to
look up. A vision stopped before me.
“Mrs. Tweedie, I am delighted to meet you,” it said. But somehow it
was so short and round and smiling, that I did not grasp the fact that
President Roosevelt himself was addressing me. A few pleasant words and
he added, “If you will go in there, I will be with you in a moment.”
I went in. This was his own private room, large, plain, and neat, with
an enormous, highly polished table reflecting a few roses in a vase. It
was just a nice sort of office and nothing more. The only interesting
personal thing appeared to be a business-like gun standing in a corner.
I sat and waited, but as the door was wide open I could see and hear
“How do you do? Delighted to see you. Am very busy at the moment, but
if there is anything I could do for you quickly, well——” Hesitancy, and
a few murmured remarks.
“Well, I’m afraid I can’t spare any time for that this morning.
Good-bye!” So in five minutes the President got rid of all those five
long-suffering, long-waiting mortals.
That was enough to make one run away without even waiting to say
Good-bye. But feeling how foolish that kind of thing would be, I braced
myself for the effort, and murmured:
“I’ve not come to ask you to make me a Bishop, or my uncle a Senator,
or my nephew an Ambassador, so perhaps I’ve no business here at all. In
fact, I’ve not come to ask for anything.”
The President laughed heartily, and, throwing himself back into a
capacious arm-chair, soon proved himself to be a very human specimen of
There is no doubt about it, Roosevelt is an extraordinary man, and a
strong one. There may be a little of the ungoverned schoolboy about
him, but he is right at heart. His energy and enthusiasm prompted him
to do things which, in his position, may not always have been discreet,
but he accomplished a vast deal more for America than folk in his own
country yet realise.
It was all the more interesting to see and talk to this amazing
personality as I had just come direct from Mexico. No greater contrast
was possible than that between the two then Presidents of those
Diaz—calm, quiet, reserved, strong, determined, thoughtful, and
Roosevelt—impetuous, outspoken, fearless, hasty in action, and hurried
in forming opinions.
Both remarkable men, very remarkable men, and utterly dissimilar in
character as in physiognomy; each admiring the other in a perfectly
delightful way. Roosevelt writes a hand like a schoolboy’s, and, with
all his business rush and appetite for work, it somehow seemed to me
that he would love quiet sentimental songs and pretty poems. No doubt
there may be more clever men in America, more learned men, more suave
and polished diplomatists, but this man is a judicious mixture that
makes him great. In truth he is a gigantic personality. He is not in
the least American except in his unrestrained enthusiasm and rough
exterior. He gesticulates like a foreigner, his mind works quickly.
Withal he was the right man in the right place, and the United States
had every cause to be proud of him.
Once more I met, or rather saw and heard, America’s greatest living
President. But how this chanced was at a sad time for our country.
As told elsewhere, I was doing a cure at Woodhall Spa at the time
of King Edward VII.’s death. It happened that on my return to town
I tumbled across my old friend the late Sir Joseph Dimsdale, in the
railway dining-car, when the conversation turned on Mr. Roosevelt and
his visit to England.
I regretted the circumstances that had saddened his reception; also
that he should see nothing of our Court and alas! of the Monarch whom
he had so much admired. And then we talked of the Freedom of the City,
which was to be conferred on the ex-President in a few days’ time.
“Although my Cambridge boy was made a Freeman of the City of London the
other day, I have never witnessed the ceremony,” I said.
“Would you like to see one of these public ones?” asked the ex-Lord
“Immensely,” I replied.
“If it is possible to manage it, you shall have a seat,” he replied,
and accordingly I was invited to see Mr. Roosevelt made free of the
Ancient City of London, and enjoyed the privilege of hearing one of the
most memorable speeches ever made within the Guildhall walls: certainly
one of the most abused, admired, discussed.
Was Roosevelt playing to the gallery?
Was he angling for the Presidency of the United States? Or was he
really trying to do England a good turn in correcting her stupidity in
Anyway, it was a bold stroke, but done so skilfully that it did not
seem so rude as it looked in cold print.
I had been much struck with Roosevelt’s personality when I spent that
hour _tête-à-tête_ with him in Washington—his rough-and-ready manner,
his fearless, overflowing geniality—but I had never heard him speak in
The giving of the Freedom of the City of London is a great event, very
old, very historic, very interesting, surrounded by ancient ritual.
As the Guildhall only holds about twelve hundred people, and that
twelve hundred is mainly composed of Aldermen and aldermanic wives,
sheriffs, ex-Lord Mayors, Masters of City Companies and burgesses, and
a very business element, with a very business-like class of femininity,
ordinary outsiders like myself are rare.
Owing to the death of Edward VII. everyone wore black. This made the
Hall look its best, for the red robes, or dark blue and fur of the
officials, contrasted well with the sombre hue of the audience.
Roosevelt was the personification of quiet dignity as he walked up the
central aisle, subdued possibly by nervousness, and he was very still
on the platform seated on the right of the Lord Mayor, with the Mace
and other Insignia of Pomp on the table before him.
Sir Joseph Dimsdale’s speech as Chamberlain of the City was excellent.
Well delivered by a far-reaching voice, with the manners of a
gentleman, the learning of a scholar, and the tact of a diplomat. It
was all that a speech of the kind ought to be.
Then rose Roosevelt the Democrat.
He bowed to everybody. To the right, to the left, behind and before,
and while doing so, walked about the platform, as he did at intervals
during the whole of his speech.
Speech? It was no address, no oration. He is not an orator. He merely
had a friendly chat with an audience he hoped was friendly disposed.
Although no speaker, he is convincing. He continually stretched out his
right arm and pointed his finger at some particular person and spoke
directly to him, as he thundered forth:
“You won’t like it. You won’t like what I am going to say! but I am
going to say it, and it is this!” Then glancing at the papers in his
left hand, he read all the important parts. He had evidently prepared
it with great care, and he said exactly so much and no more. He never
gave more than three or four words without a pause; in a staccato way
he hurled his ideas at his audience in the simplest language possible,
but with a real American accent.
He was grave and weighty. He was very deliberate as he addressed
different people by gesture, but he named no one, although Lord Cromer,
Sir Edward Grey, and Mr. Balfour, were all at his elbow. One could
not help feeling the earnestness of the man, and his claim to be an
idealist when he spoke of the future of nations, and begged the public
to throw aside the question, “Will it pay?” “Great nations must do
great work,” he said, “such work as Panama, or Egypt, and not ask that
eternal question, ‘Will it pay?’”
Personally, I think he did it extremely well, and feel also that,
coming from a stranger, his words may probably have the desired effect,
and make us strengthen our government in Egypt and India before we lose
these two grand possessions.
While I was in Washington I again saw my old friend Secretary John Hay,
who gave me his photograph taken in December, 1904, and consequently
his last. He looked ill then, but was so keenly interested in Mexican
affairs, and spoke so eulogistically of General Diaz, that on my return
to England I ventured to ask him if he would write a few lines for the
Biography of the Mexican President, on which I was by that time working.
He had already started for Europe when the letter arrived, but he
wrote the following hurried lines, penned a week after his return to
Washington from his last trip in search of health, when he must have
been very busy:
“DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON,
“_June 20th, 1905_.
“DEAR MRS. TWEEDIE,
“I have received your letter of the 14th of March, asking me to
contribute something to your _Life of Diaz_.
“It would be a very great pleasure to me to have my name associated
with yours in what I am sure will be a very interesting work, but
I am obliged to decline all such requests, however agreeable and
flattering they may be.
“I am, with many thanks,
(Signed) “JOHN HAY.”
The letter was delivered in London the day following his death.
America has always sent us of her best in Ambassadors, but none was
more popular or more respected than Colonel John Hay. The most shy and
retiring of men, he abhorred ovations; public speaking was torture to
him, yet he was the constant recipient of the first, and was excellent
at the second. One of the most cultured of American Ambassadors, he was
really a man of letters. He had not the acute legal knowledge of Mr.
Choate, nor the diplomatic manner of Mr. Whitelaw Reid, but the world
knew him and admired him as a man who was honest to the core.
No Secretary of State ever did more to bring his country to the front
than John Hay. A number of most difficult foreign questions requiring
prompt decision—Cuba and the Philippines, Japan and China—came to the
forefront during his term of office; and the position, maintained in
the world of diplomacy by the United States, was, at the time of his
death, totally different from that existing when he first entered her
service in the Senate at Washington.
Napoleon may have merely boasted when he declared that every French
soldier carried a field-marshal’s baton in his knapsack. The saying
would be literally true if applied to those who march in the ranks of
industry and politics in America. There is no office in the State which
is not open to the man of brains and grit.
If asked for a type of the go-ahead American who is making his mark,
I should be inclined to name John Barrett. I have run across him in
several quarters of the globe.
Keen and shrewd, with a Gargantuan appetite for work, Barrett, at the
age of some forty years, had already been United States Minister to
Siam, Argentina, Panama, and Colombia; he was Commissioner General
to Foreign Nations of the St. Louis World’s Fair, and a year or
two later held the important post of Director of the International
Bureau of American Republics, towards the establishment of which in
Washington, Carnegie gave a million sterling. One of his most marked
characteristics is his readiness to act in sudden emergency.
An open-air gathering in a very small New England town was being held
in support of Mr. Roosevelt. From the platform a man with a high
forehead and intellectual features was making a speech; clearly and
logically he dealt with the manner in which his country was fulfilling
its obligations in the Philippines and Panama. The speaker showed
remarkable personal familiarity with America’s Far Eastern possessions,
and with Central American affairs. Many farmers were in the audience.
Seeing this, the orator emphasised one of his points with a homely
illustration from farm life, adding:
“I know what it is to work on a farm myself.”
That was too much for a stalwart young Democratic rustic, who, with
others of the same party, had been attracted to the meeting by
curiosity. He eyed the speaker’s faultless frock coat, immaculate shirt
front and grey striped trousers, likewise the shining hat on the table
behind him. Then he arose in his place and blustered out:
“What bluff are you giving us? _You_ never worked on a farm! Bet yer
never milked a cow in your life!”
“Not only have I milked cows,” replied the orator quietly, “but, what
is more, I will put up a hundred dollars against the same amount
to be put up by you and your party friends—the sum to go to local
charity—that I can milk a cow faster than you can. Appoint a committee
and produce the cows.”
The challenge was taken up. By the time the speech was brought to
its close a committee was selected. It consisted of a Democrat, a
Republican, and a woman. Two Jersey cows, procured from a neighbouring
farm, were driven on to the platform. In full view of the electors each
of the contestants seated himself on a milking stool and took a pail
between his legs, the orator—“spell-binder” is the Americanism—still in
his frock coat, with silk hat tilted on the back of his head.
“Are you ready?” came the words.
The milk rattled in the bottoms of the pails. It was still rattling
in the young farmer’s pail when it already had begun to swash in the
“spell-binder’s,” and the latter had his cow milked dry before his
opponent was half through. The meeting wound up in a blaze of glory for
That was Mr. John Barrett, the diplomatic representative of his country
in Panama, who was spending his leave in electioneering. He paid his
way in part through college with money he earned as a day labourer on
farms during the summer. First a schoolmaster, he drifted early into
journalism, with its wider opportunities, and working on San Francisco
newspapers, he divined what had remained hidden from people who had
spent all their lives on the Pacific coast—the opportunity that was
awaiting America across that vast body of water.
I first met Mr. Barrett when he was brought to call on me in London.
Later, on an October day in 1904, I was sitting in the “Waldorf” in New
York, talking to Colonel John Wier, when a man passed. He paused and
“Mrs. Alec Tweedie,” he exclaimed. “Why, where have you come from?”
“London; and you, Mr. Barrett?”
We had both travelled far over the world since he had dined with me
in London a couple of years before, and yet our paths crossed in that
great meeting-place, the “Waldorf.” It was during his leave from duty
which I have just mentioned, and he was very busy. Unfortunately I was
leaving the same day for Chicago, but we met again in that city. His
enthusiasm for Roosevelt was delightful; “the greatest man on earth,”
according to him, “delightful to work under.” They had just been having
an hour’s conversation on the telephone, though Washington lies nearly
a thousand miles away.
“Won’t you come to Panama and write a book?” he said. “The Canal is to
be the revolution of the world’s traffic, and one of the finest spokes
in the American wheel.”
Poor old Lesseps; adored over Suez, damned over Panama, and then,
thirty years later, to have his dearest scheme realised by America,
through the aid of hygienic science. But more of my Lesseps friends in
a later volume.
Early in 1908 came a charming letter from Mr. Barrett, then at
Washington, part of which may be quoted here:
“… Now I want to tell you something I am sure will delight you.
When Mr. Elihu Root, whom I regard as the greatest Secretary of
State we have had in fifty years, made his recent trip to Mexico,
I placed in his hands your two books relating to that country
and President Diaz. Both of these he read with exceeding care,
and I heard him say that he found the one on President Diaz most
interesting and instructive. He has recommended many men to read
them both. We have the two volumes in the Library, and they are
consulted with much frequency.
“With kind personal regards, I remain,
“Yours very cordially,
(Signed) “JOHN BARRETT.”
John Barrett is now the head of the Great Pan-American Union of
American Republics in Washington.
Clara Morris, another personality of the West, was one of the greatest
actresses America has produced, and her book was one of the most
realistic presentations of stage life. On going to the States in 1900 I
wanted to see her, but she had retired. However, when I returned on my
second visit, she was back on the stage—the usual story of reverses.
It so chanced I was in Chicago that October, paying a visit to those
delightful people the Francis Walkers. _Behind the Footlights_ was
selling well in an American edition, and on learning that I was in
the city, the managers of the different theatres most kindly sent me
boxes. Success cannot adequately be gauged by gold, it brings friends
and opportunities beyond mere dross. One night we went to the Illinois
Theatre (since destroyed by fire, with frightful loss of life), and
occupied Mr. William Davis’s own box, to see _The Two Orphans_. There
was an “all-star” cast.
I had never seen that play since I was a little girl. It had been
almost my first theatrical experience; and, as the first act proceeded,
the story came back with more force than in any production seen for
the second time nowadays, after even only a week or two’s interval.
These childish impressions had sunk deep in the memory. In Chicago this
inferior drama was well acted, and again I noticed how many English
people were upon the boards. More than half the actors and actresses of
America are English, or of British parentage.
Clara Morris played the nun. She received a perfect ovation, and needed
to bow again and again before she was allowed to proceed with her small
part. There was a quiet dignity about her, and when she told the lie to
save the girl, she rose to a high level of dramatic power. After that
Mr. Davis came and took me to her dressing-room.
We did not get into the wings through an iron door direct from the
boxes, as in London, but had to go right to the back of the theatre,
down some stairs, under the stalls (there never is a pit), below the
stage, and upstairs again to the stage, where Clara Morris had a small
dressing-room almost on the footlights, it was so far in front. This
was _the_ star dressing-room, but it was certainly smaller than those
in our theatres, and one cannot imagine how three or four dresses and a
dresser ever squeezed into it.
She welcomed us at the door. “Mam, I am delighted to see you,” she
said, with a true American “Mam.” Her hand trembled, for she had just
left the stage after her big scene, and she was an elderly woman. I
told her how keen had been my wish to see her, and how I had quoted her
in my book. She knew that, and thanked me, saying many pretty things,
“No, I never dared play in England, although I have been there, and
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because of my ac-cent. You see, I was born in the West, where from
the age of thirteen I toiled at this profession. I starved and cried,
worked and struggled, and when success did come and I moved up East the
critics always rubbed in two things—my intonation and my accent. My
voice was criticised up hill and down dale. ‘A great actress, _but_——’
Then came down the hail. Mam, if my accent grated in America, among
all our awful accents here, what would it have done in Britain, with
your soft, beautiful voices? So I refused to go again and again. Then
also when success had come I felt, ‘This public likes me, my bed and
bread depend upon them; if I go to England and fail they will turn
their back upon me, and I shall starve again.’ And so, Mam, regretfully
She spoke dramatically, fire shot from those large, wonderful grey
eyes. I noticed she was not painted. Only the tiniest amount of
make-up I have ever seen on any actress was upon her face, and then I
remembered her words of warning upon the subject. In all those years
she had not changed her mind.
Her husband, an elderly man with white hair, stood or sat while we
talked in the tiny room, and as the last curtain came down I rose to
“Will you give me your photograph, please?”
“My dear, I haven’t one. My ugliness has caused me so much pain in life
that I have almost never let a camera be turned upon me. That was my
second horror: ‘She is a great actress, _but_——’ And then down came the
bricks upon my looks. God made me this way, but my critics have found
it a personal sin.”
And she waxed warm on the subject. Her grey eyes were beautiful,
however, they were so expressive; still her mouth was large, and her
features heavy and bad. Her voice certainly _had_ grated upon me when
I first heard it. With those who found fault with her voice I had
sympathy, but none with the beauty-seekers, for expression comes before
everything, and Clara Morris’s expression was wonderful.
She wore her wedding ring upon her little finger, for whatever part she
played through life she had never taken it off.
“You see how sentimental I have been,” she laughed.
In reply to a question, I replied that I had to be back in England for
my boys’ holidays. Only once was I absent at holiday time, and on that
occasion they were with my mother.
“Happy woman!” she exclaimed. “How I have always longed for children;
though such happiness never came to me. But I have an old mother who
still lives, thank God; and as long as a woman has a mother she can
never grow old or feel lonely.”
Another remarkable figure in America, when I was over there in 1904,
was Dowie the prophet, or as some on this side of the Atlantic more
correctly termed him—the “Profit”; perhaps the biggest humbug that even
his own vast country of adoption has produced.
Of course I went to see Dowie and Zion City; everybody did. The place
lay within an hour’s railway journey of Chicago. Four years before it
had been waste land. In the interval there had sprung up a railway
station, an hotel called Elijah House, a whole town of residences,
a huge tabernacle capable of holding seven thousand people, and a
population of over ten thousand souls.
Knowing his gross life, the horrible language he used, knowing also
that he was hounded out of England for his vituperation against King
Edward—his King, for Dowie was born in Edinburgh and had lived only
sixteen years in the States—I was surprised to find such a charming,
kindly old gentleman. A man nearly seventy years of age, short and
stout like Ibsen, with a large strong head and a grey beard; such was
“Elijah,” as he pleased to call himself.
Dowie received me in a most magnificent, book-lined library; thousands
of well-bound volumes—for which I have since heard he never paid—filled
the shelves. Beside him on the table stood a machine that was clicking.
“What is that?” I asked, having visions of dynamite.
He solemnly handed me a telegram which read:
“Tom and Mary Bateson” (or some such names) “are seriously ill; pray
Looking me full in the face, he remarked:
“Tom and Mary Bateson were cured at 2.55.”
It was then 3.30.
“How?” I asked.
“Through my prayers,” he replied, “by faith.” And taking up a little
piece of paper, he clicked on it through the machine.
“A duplicate of this,” he explained, “has been posted to the sick man’s
friends so that they may have the record, but of course they felt the
benefit of the prayer the moment I gave it.”
He spoke so solemnly, so impressively, and with such apparent belief in
his own infallibility, that he greatly impressed me. I kept the piece
of paper as a memento of the occasion. It is short and business-like,
and is here reproduced:
NOV 2 2-55 PM 1904
JOHN ALEX. DOWIE.
The man was a charlatan. One felt it in his eyes and in the grasp of
his hand; and yet at the same time there was so much enthusiasm about
him, it was easy to understand how people came under his sway.
Not one of those ten thousand persons, who then filled Zion City, drank
alcohol, smoked tobacco, swore, gambled, or ate swine’s flesh.
The people, whether from fear or love I know not, certainly worshipped
the prophet. Unlike the Christian Scientists, he believed in illness,
and said it was punishment for sin and would be cured by prayer.
When I saw him he was revelling in every imaginable luxury, decked his
wife in diamonds and fine gowns, ate off superb mahogany and handsome
silver. Dowie was rich and prosperous, for every one of his followers
was forced to give him a tenth of all he earned. Yet such were his
extravagances that the largest shop in Chicago took possession of one
of his summer residences, and let it, so that the rent might pay their
Prophet or no prophet, Dowie had a keen eye to business. Everything
stood in his own name: land, houses, furniture, and, as his son showed
no spiritual desires, he educated him as a lawyer, with a view that he
should continue in the town, in a business-like way presumably.
Dowie owned also factories of lace, sweets, biscuits, soap, harness,
brooms, tailoring, even sewing machines and pianos. His disciples
generally came to him with a knowledge of various trades, and he made
use of that knowledge in a profitable way.
Dowie was a prodigious humbug, and died a beggar.
After many happy weeks spent in the States I am not in the least
surprised that Englishmen should marry American women. They show their
good taste—I should do the same were I a man. Nor am I surprised that
American women should prefer Englishmen—for the same remark applies.
There is a delightful freedom, an air of comradeship coupled with
pleasant manners and pretty looks in the American woman which are most
attractive. Her hospitality is unbounded, her generosity thoughtful,
and she is an all-round good sort.
The American woman is an excellent speaker. It is surprising to hear
her oratory at one of her large club luncheons, such as the Sorosis
in New York. I was honoured with an invitation as their special guest
(1900), and for the first time in my life saw two hundred women sit
down together for a meal. The club woman is young and handsome, well
dressed and pleasing, and she stands up and addresses a couple of
hundred women just as easily as she would begin a _tête-à-tête_ across
a luncheon table. She is not shy, or if she is she hides it cleverly.
Americans entertain royally; they almost overpower the stranger with
hospitality. They are generous in a high degree, not only in big
things, but in constantly thinking of “little gifts or kindnesses”
to shower upon their guests. They become the warmest and truest of
friends, in spite of their sensitiveness and hatred of criticism.
Never were any people so sensitive about their country or themselves,
or so ready to take offence at the slightest critical word. But we
all have our weaknesses, and while we are too terribly thick-skinned
and self-satisfied, Americans are perhaps too sensitive for their own
happiness. They are not only warm friends amongst themselves both in
sunshine and in shade, but they are equally staunch to their English
visitors. They may in the main be a tiny bit jealous of England, but
individually they seem to love British people, and welcome them so
warmly one can only regret that more English do not travel in America
where they would see her people at their best, for, alas! many of the
Americans who come over here leave a wrong impression altogether of the
charms of our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.
The more the inhabitants of these two countries see of one another,
the better they understand and appreciate each other’s feelings, the
stronger are forged the links of the chain of brotherhood. And the
stronger this chain is made, the better for the whole world.
America! It is impossible to mention here all the delightful people I
met in America, from Mark Twain to Thompson Seton; from Kate Douglas
Wiggin to Gertrude Atherton; from Agnes Lant to Julia Marlowe; from
Jane Addams to Louise Chandler Moulton; from Dana Gibson to Roosevelt.
Their names are legion, and in grateful remembrance they lie until I
can visit their shores again, and shake them by the hand. I simply
loved the American women.
The following delightful Christmas note from Dr. Horace Howard Furness,
the great Shakespearian writer of America, and one of her foremost
sons, is an instance of the kindly remembrance and loyal friendliness
the American people keep green for their English friends, bridging not
only the billowy Atlantic but the swift stream of Time.
_December 12, 1910_.
“MRS. ALEC TWEEDIE,
“DEAR MRS. TWEEDIE,
“’Tis very pleasant to know that you still hold me in remembrance,
whether it be in the bright days of Christmas-tide or in the grey
days of the rest of the year.
“It is good to know that you have been journeying with your boys.
What happy fellows they must have been, and what a proud, proud
“Politics in England, at present, are intensely interesting, and
it is certainly pleasanter to look on from afar than to be in the
turmoil itself. Having lived through that horrible nightmare, our
own Civil War, I have learned that it is far from pleasant to live
in times which the Germans call ‘epoch-machende.’
“One thing seems certain, that after this fierce struggle, England
will never again be in such a waveless bay as in the Victorian
period. England must grow, and a growing boy’s clothes must be
either made larger or they will rip.
“I had a delightful, affectionate letter from your Uncle a week
or two ago. He tells me that your mother is staying with him, and
suffers from rheumatism, a terrible ailment, which is so widespread
that it never receives half the deep sympathy to which it is
entitled. Do give my kindest remembrances to her when you write.
“With every friendly wish for the happiness of you and yours at
Christmas time and throughout the coming year,
“I remain, dear Mrs. Tweedie,
“Yours cordially and affectionately,
“HORACE HOWARD FURNESS.”