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HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY,
Boston and New York.
THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY
W. D. HOWELLS
AUTHOR OF "VENETIAN LIFE," "ITALIAN JOURNEYS ? '
WITH AN ADDITIONAL CHAPTER ON NIAGARA
ILLUSTRATED BY AUGUSTUS ffOPPIX
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
Copyright, 1871 and 1888,
By W. D. HOWELLS.
All rights reserved.
I'm. Outset 1
A MlD8UMXl Dr.EAM ...,.,. 35
The Night BÂ«>at 56
A Day's Railroading 80
I'm: Enchanted City, and beyond .Â«.,.. 97
Down the St. Lawrence 172
The Sentiment of Montreal 195
Homeward and Home 279
Niagara Revisited, Twelve Years after their Wedding
THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.
They first met in
Boston, but the
match was made
in Europe, where
saw each other ;
he followed her ;
and there the
match was also
broken off. Why
it was broken off,
and why it was
renewed after a lapse of years, is part of quite a
long love-story, which I do not think myself qual-
ified to rehearse, distrusting my fitness for a
sustained or involved narration; though I am
persuaded that a skillful romancer could turn the
courtship of Basil and Isabel March to excellent
account. Fortunately for me, however, in attempt-
2 THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.
ing to tell the reader of the wedding-journey of
a newly married couple, no longer very young, to
be sure, but still fresh in the light of their love, I
shaill have nothing to do but to talk of some ordi-
nary traits of American life as these appeared to
them, to speak a little of well-known and easily
accessible places, to present now a bit of landscape
and now a sketch of character.
They had agreed to make their wedding-journey
in the simplest and quietest way, and as it did not
take place at once after their marriage, but some
weeks later, it had all the desired charm of privacy
from the outset.
** How much better," said Isabel, "to go now,
when nobody cares whether you go or stay, than to
have started off upon a wretched wedding-break-
fast, all tears and teousseau, and had people want-
ing to see you aboard the cars. Now there will not
be a suspicion of honey-moonshine about us ; we
shall go just like anybody else, â€” with a difference,
dear, with a difference !" and she took Basil's
cheeks between her hands. In order to do this, she
had to run round the table ; for they were at dinner,
and Isabel's aunt, with whom they had begun
married life, sat substantial between them. It was
rather a girlish thing for Isabel, and she added, with
a conscious blush, " We are past our first youth,
you know ; and we shall not strike the public as
bridal, shall we ? My one horror in life is an ev-
THE OUTSET. 8
Basil looked at her fondly, as if he did not think
her at all too old to be taken for a bride ; and for
my part I do not object to a woman's being of Isa-
bel's age, if she is of a good heart and temper.
Life must have been very unkind to her if at that
age she have not won more than she has lost. It
seemed to Basil that his wife was quite as fair as
when they met first, eight years before ; but he
could not help recurring with an inextinguishable
regret to the long interval of their broken engage-
ment, which but for that fatality they might have
spent together, he imagined, in just Â»uch rapture
as this. The regret always haunted him, more or
less ; it was part of his love ; the loss accounted
irreparable really enriched the final gain.
" I don't know," he said presently, with as much
gravity as a man can whose cheeks are clasped
between a lady's hands, " you don't begin very well
for a bride who wishes to keep her secret. If you
behave in this way, they will put us into the ' bridal
chambers ' at all the hotels. And the cars â€” they're
beginning to have them on the palace-cars."
Just then a shadow fell into the room.
" Wasn't that thunder, Isabel ? " asked her
nunt, who had been contentedly surveying the ten-
ier spectacle before her. " O dear ! you'll never be
able to go by the boat to-night, if it storms. It J s
actually raining now ! "
In fact, it was the beginning of that terrible
storm of June, 1870. All in a moment, out of the
THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY".
hot sunshine of the day it burst upon us before we
quite knew that it threatened, even before we had
fairly noticed the clouds, and it went on from passion
to passion with an inexhaustible violence. In the
square upon which our friends looked out of their
dining-room windows the trees whitened in the
gusts, and darkened in the driving floods of the rain-
fall, and in some paroxysms of the tempest bent
themselves in desperate submission, and then with
a great shudder rent away whole branches and flung
them far off upon the ground. Hail mingled with
the rain, and now the few umbrellas that had braved
the storm vanished, and the hurtling ice crackled
upon the pavement, where the lightning played like
flames burning from the earth, while the thunder
roared overhead without ceasing. There was some-
thing splendidly theatrical about it all ; and when a
street-car, laden to the last inch of its capacity,
came by, with horses that pranced and leaped under
the stinging blows of the hail-stones, our friends
felt as if it were an effective and very naturalistic
bit of pantomime contrived for their admiration.
Yet as to themselves they were very sensible of a
fcwtent reality in the affair, and at intervals during
the storm they debated about going at aU that day,
and decided to go and not to go, according to the
changing complexion of the elements. Basil had
said that as this was their first journey together in
America, he wished to give it at the beginning aa
pungent a national character as possible, and that
THE OUTSET. 6
Ad be could imagine nothing more peculiarly Amer-
ican than a voyage to New York by a Fall River
boat, they ought to take that route thither. So
much upholstery, so much music, such variety cf
company, he understood, could not be got in any
other way, and it might be that they would even
catch a glimpse of the inventor of the combination,
who represented the very excess and extremity of a
certain kind of Americanism. Isabel had eagerly
consented ; but these aesthetic motives were para-
lyzed for her by the thought of passing Point Judith
in a storm, and she descended from her high intents
first to the Inside Boats, without the magnificence
and the orchestra, and then to the idea of going by
land in a sleeping-car. Having comfortably ac-
complished this feat, she treated Basil's consent as a
matter of course, not because she did not regard
him, but because as a woman she could not conceive
of the steps to her conclusion as unknown to him,
and always treated her own decisions as the product
of their common reasoning. But her husband held
out for the boat, and insisted that if the storm fell
before seven o'clock, they could reach it at Newport
by the last express ; and it was this obstinacy that,
in proof of Isabel's wisdom, obliged them to wait
two hours in the station before going by the land
route. The storm abated at five o'clock, and tho'igh
the rain continued, it seemed well by a quarter of
seven to set out for the Old Colony Depot, in sight
of which a sudden and vivid flash of lightning
d THEIR WEDDING JOUBNEY.
caused Isabel to seize her husband's arm, and to
implore him, " O don't go by the boat ! " On this,
Basil had the incredible weakness to yield; and
bade the driver take them to the Worcester Depot.
It was the first swerving from the ideal in their
wedding journey, but it was by no means the last ,*
though it must be confessed that it was early to
They both felt more tranquil when they were
irretrievably committed by the purchase of their
tickets, and when they sat down in the waiting-
room of the station, with all the time between
Beven and nine o'clock before them. Basil would
have eked out the business of checking the trunks
into an affair of some length, but the baggage-mas-
ter did his duty with pitiless celerity ; and so Ba-
sil, in the mere excess of his disoccupation, bough;
an accident-insurance ticket. This employed him
half a minute, and then he gave up the unequal
contest, and went and took his place beside Isabel,
who sat prettily wrapped in her shawl, perfectly
" Isn't it charming," she said gayly, " having to
wait so long ? It puts me in mind of some of those
other journeys we took together. But I can't
think of those times with any patience, when we
might really have had each other, and didn't !
Do you remember how long we had to wait at
Chambe"ry ? and the numbers of military gentlemen
that waited too, with their little waists, and their
THE OUTSET. 1
kisses when they met ? and that poor married mili-
tary gentleman, with the plain wile and the two
children, and a tarnished uniform ? He seemed to
be somehow in misfortune, and his mustache huug
down in such a spiritless way, while all the other
military mustaches about curled and bristled with
so much boldness. I think salles d'attente every-
where are delightful , and there is such a commun-
ity of interest in them all, that when I come here
only to go out to Brookline, I feel myself a travel-
ler once more, â€” a blessed stranger in a strange
land. O dear, Basil, those were happy times after
all, when we might have had each other and
didn't ! And now we're the more precious foi hav
ing been so long lost."
She drew closer and closer to him, and looked at
him in a way that threatened betrayal of her bri-
" Isabel, you will be having your head on my
shoulder, next," said he.
" Never I " she answered fiercely, recovering her
distance with a start. " But, dearest, if you do see
me going to â€” act absurdly, you know, do stop
'â€¢ I'm very sorry, but I've got myself to stop.
Besides, I didn't undertake to preserve the incog-
nito of this bridal party."
If any accident of the sort dreaded had really
happened, it would not have mattered so much, for
as yet they were the sole occupants of the waiting
THEIB WEDDING JOURNEY.
room. To be sure *I>8 ticket-seller was there, a^i
the lady who checked packages left in her charge ,
but these must have seen so many endearment
pass between passengers, that a fleeting caress
THE OUTSET. 9
huo would scarcely have drawn their notice to oui
pair. Yet Isabel did not so much even as put her
hand into her husband's ; and as Basil afterwards
said, it was very good practice.
Our temporary state, whatever it is, is often
mirrored in all that come near us, and our friends
were fated to meet frequent parodies of their hap-
piness from first to last on this journey. The trav-
esty began with the very first people who entered
the waiting-room after themselves, and who were a
very young couple starting like themselves upon a
pleasure tour, which also was evidently one of the
first tours of any kind that they had made. It was
of modest extent, and comprised going to New
York and back ; but they talked of it with a flut-
tered and joyful expectation as if it were a voyage
to Europe. Presently there appeared a burlesque
of their happiness (but with a touch of tragedy)
in that kind of young man who is called by the fe-
males of his class a fellow, and two young women
of that kind known to him as girls. He took a
place between these, and presently began a robust
flirtation with one of them. He possessed himself,
after a brief struggle, of her parasol, and twirled it
about, as he uttered, with a sort of tender rude-
ness, inconceivable vapidities, such as you would
expect from none but a man of the highest fashion.
The girl thus courted became selfishly unconscious
of everything but her own joy, and made no at-
tempt to bring the other girl within its warmth.
THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.
but left her to languish forgotten on the other side.
The latter sometimes leaned forward, and tried to
divert a little of the flirtation to herself, but the
flirters snubbed her with short answers, and pres-
ently she gave up and sat still in the sad patience
of uncourted women. In this attitude she became
a burden to Isabel, who was glad when the three
took themselves away, and were succeeded by a
very stylish couple â€” from New York, she knew as
well as if they had given her their address on West
999th Street. The lady was not pretty, and she
was not, Isabel thought, dressed in the perfect taste
of Boston ; but she owned frankly to herself that
the New-Yorkeress was stylish, undeniably effective.
The gentleman bought a ticket for New York, and
remained at the window of the office talking quite
easily with the seller.
" You couldn't do that, my poor Basil," said
Isabel, "you'd be afraid."
" O dear, yes ; I'm only too glad to get off with-
out browbeating ; though I must say that this offi-
cer looks affable enough. Really," he added, as an
acquaintance of the ticket-seller came in and nod-
ded to him and said Â« Hot, to-day ! " Â« this is very
strange. I always felt as if these men had no pri-
vate life, no friendships like the rest of us. On
duty they seem so like sovereigns, set apart from
mankind, and above us all, that it 's quite incredible
they should have the common personal relations."
At intervals of their talk and silence there cam*
THE OUTSET. 1\
vivid flash os of lightning and quite heavy shoeks of
thunder, very eonsoling to our friends, who took
them as so many compliments to their prudenc
Uv)t going by the boat, and who had secret doubte
of their wisdom whenever these acknowledgment*
were withheld. Isabel went so far as to say thai
she hoped nothing would happen to the boat, but I
think she would cheerfully have learnt that the
ressel had been obliged to put back to Newport, on
Account of the storm, or even that it had been
driven ashore at a perfectly safe pla<
Ppople constantly came and went in the waiting-
room, which was sometimes quite full, and again
empty of all but themselves. In the course of
their observations they formed many cordial friend-
ships and bitter enmities upon the ground of per-
sonal appearance, or particulars of dress, with peo-
ple whom they saw for half a minute upon an
average ; and they took such a keen interest in
every one, that it would be hard to say whether
they were more concerned in an old gentleman
with vigorously upright iron-gray hair, who sat
fronting them, and reading all the evening papers,
or \ young man who hurled himself through the
door, bought a ticket with terrific precipitation,
burst out again, and then ran down a departing
train before it got out of the station : they loved
the old gentleman for a certain stubborn benevo-
lence of expression, and if they had been friends
of the young man and his family for generations.
12 THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.
and felt bound if any harm befell him to go ana
break the news gently to his parents, their nervea
could not have been more intimately wrought upon
by his hazardous behavior. Still, as they had their
tickets for New York, and he was going out on a
merely local train, â€” to Brookline, I believe, â€”
they could not, even in their anxiety, repress a feel-
ing of contempt for his unambitious destination.
They were already as completely cut off from
local associations and sympathies as if they were a
thousand miles and many months away from Bos-
ton. They enjoyed the lonely flaring of the gas-
jets as a gust of wind drew through the statioa ;
they shared the gloom and isolation of a man who
took a seat in the darkest corner of the room, and
sat there with folded arms, the genius of absence.
In the patronizing spirit of travellers in a foreign
country they noted and approved the vases of cut
flowers in the booth of the lady who checked pack-
ages, and the pots of ivy in her windows. " These
poor Bostonians," they said, " have some love of
the beautiful in their rugged natures."
But after all was said and thought, it was only
eight o'clock, and they still had an hour to wait.
Basil grew restless, and Isabel said, with a sub-
tile interpretation of his uneasiness, "J don't want
anything to eat, Basil, but I think I know the
weaknesses of men ; and you had better go and
jAass the next half-hour over a plate of something
THE OUTSET. 13
This was said con stizza, the least little sugges-
tion of it ; but Basil rose with shameful alacrity.
" Darling, if it 's your wish " â€”
" It 's my fate, Basil," said Isabel.
â€” " I'll go," he exclaimed, " because it isn't
bridal, and will help us to pass for old married
" No, no, Basil, be honest ; fibbing isn't your
forte : I wonder you went into the insurance busi â€¢
ness ; you ought to have been a lawyer. Go
because you like eating, and are hungry, perhaps,
or think you may be so before we get to New York.
I shall amuse myself well enough here."
I suppose it is always a little shocking and griev
ous to a wife when she recognizes a rival in butch
era' -meat and the vegetables of the season. With
her slender relishes for pastry and confectionery
and her dainty habits of lunching, she cannot rec-
oncile with the ideal her husband's capacity for
breakfasting, dining, supping, and hot meals at all
hours of the day and night â€” as they write it on
the sign-boards of barbaric eating-houses. But
Isabel would have only herself to blame if she had
not perceived this trait of Basil's before marriage
She recurred now, as his figure disappeared down
the station, to memorable instances of his appetite
In :heir European travels during their first engage-
ment. " Yes, he ate terribly at Susa, when I was
too full of the notion of getting into Italy to care
for bouillon and cold roast chicken. At Rome I
THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.
thought T must break with him on account oi the
wild-boar ; and at Heidelberg, the sausage and the
ham! â€” how could he, in my presence? Bat 1
took him with all his faults, â€” and was glad to get
him/' she added, ending her meditation with a
little burst of candor ; and she did not even think
of Basil's appetite when he reappeared,
With the thronging of many sorts of people, in
parties and singly, into the waiting room, they be-
came once again mere observers of their kind, more
or less critical in temper, until the crowd grew so
THE OUTSET. 15
that individual trails were merged in the character
of multitude. Even then, they could catch glimpse*
of faces so sweet or fine that they made themselves
felt like moments of repose in the tumult, and here
and there was something so grotesque in dress or
manner that it showed distinct from the rest. The
ticket-seller's stamp clicked incessantly as he sold
tickets to all points South and West : to New
York, Philadelphia, Charleston; to New Orleans,
Chicago, Omaha ; to St. Paul, Duluth, St. Louis ;
and it would not have been hard to find in that
anxious bustle, that unsmiling eagerness, an image
of the whole busy affair of life. It was not a par-
ticularly sane spectacle, that impatience to be off
Ko some place that lay not only in the distance, but
also in the future â€” to which no line of road carries
you with absolute certainty across an interval of
time full of every imaginable chance and influence.
It is easy enough to buy a ticket to Cincinnati, but
it is somewhat harder to arrive there. Say that
all goes well, is it exactly you who arrive ?
In the midst of the disquiet there entered at last
an old woman, so very infirm that she had to be
upheld on either hand by her husband and the
hackman who had brought them, while a young
girl went before with shawls and pillows which Bhe
arranged upon the seat. There the invalid lay
down, and turned towards the crowd a white, suffer-
ing face, which was yet so heavenly meek and
peaceful that it comforted whoever looked at it.
16 iflEIB WEDDING JOURNEY.
In spirit our happy friends bowed themselves before
it and owned that there was something better than
happiness in it.
" What is it like, Isabel ? "
" O, I don't know, darling," she said ; but she
thought, " Perhaps it is like some blessed sorrow
that takes us out of this prison of a world, and seta
us free of our every-day hates and desires, our
aims, our fears, ourselves. Maybe a long and mor-
tal sickness migbt come to wear such a face in one
of us two, and the other could see it, and not regret
the poor mask of youth and pretty looks that had
She rose and went over to the sick woman, on
whose face beamed a tender smile, as Isabel spoke
to her. A chord thrilled in two lives hitherto un-
known to each other ; but what was said Basil
would not ask when the invalid had taken Isabel's
hand between her own, as for adieu, and she came
back to his side with swimming eyes. Perhaps his
wife could have given no good reason for her emo-
tion, if he had asked it. But it made her very
sweet and dear to him ; and I suppose that when a
tolerably unselfish man is once secure of a woman's
love, he is ordinarily more affected by her compas-
sion and tenderness for other objects than by her
feelings towards himself. He likes well enough to
think, " She loves me," but still better, " How kind
*nd good she is ! "
They lost sight of the invalid in the hurry ol
THE OUTSET. 17
getting places on the cars, and they never saw her
again. The man at the wicket-gate leading to the
train had thrown it up, and the people were press â€¢
ing furiously through as if their lives hung upon
the chance of instant passage. Basil had secured
Ins ticket for the sleeping-car, and so he and Isabel
atood aside and watched the tumult. When the
rush was over they passed through, and as they
walked up and down the platform beside the train,
" I was thinking," said Isabel, " after I spoke to
that poor old lady, of what Clara Williams says :
that she wonders the happiest women in the world
can look each other in the face without bursting
into tears, their happiness is so unreasonable, and so
built upon and hedged about with misery. She
declares that there 's nothing so sad to her as a
bride, unless it 's a young mother, or a little girl
growing up in the innocent gayety of her heart.
She wonders they can live through it."
" Clara is very much of a reformer, and would
make an end of all of us men, I suppose, â€” except
her father, who supports her in the leisure that en-
ables her to do her deep thinking. She little
knows what we poor fellows have to suffer, and
aow often we break down in business hours, and
90b upon one another's necks. Did that old ladv