seems to me that keeping toll-bridge on a glacier is
the softest one I have encountered yet.
That was a blazing hot day, and it brought a
persistent and persecuting thirst with it. What an
unspeakable luxury it was to slake that thirst with
the pure and limpid ice-water of the glacier ! Down
the sides of every great rib of ice poured limpid rills
in gutters carved by their own attrition; better still,
wherever a rock had lain, there was now a bowl-
shaped hole, with smooth white sides and bottom of
ice, and this bowl was brimming with water of such
absolute clearness that the careless observer would
not see it at all, but would think the bowl was
empty. These fountains had such an alluring look
that I often stretched myself out when I was not
220 A Tramp Abroad
thirsty and dipped my face in and drank till my
teeth ached. Everywhere among the Swiss moun
tains we had at hand the blessing not to be found
in Europe except in the mountains of water capa
ble of quenching thirst. Everywhere in the Swiss
highlands brilliant little rills of exquisitely cold water
went dancing along by the roadsides, and my com
rade and I were always drinking and always deliver
ing our deep gratitude.
But in Europe everywhere except in the moun
tains, the water is flat and insipid beyond the power
of words to describe. It is served lukewarm; but
no matter, ice could not help it ; it is incurably flat,
incurably insipid. It is only good to wash with; I
wonder it doesn t occur to the average inhabitant to
try it for that. In Europe the people say con
temptuously, " Nobody drinks water here." In
deed, they have a sound and sufficient reason. In
many places they even have what may be called
prohibitory reasons. In Paris and Munich, for in
stance, they say, "Don t drink the water, it is
Either America is healthier than Europe, notwith
standing her "deadly" indulgence in ice-water, or
she does not keep the run of her death rate as
sharply as Europe does. I think we do keep up the
death statistics accurately; and if we do, our cities
are healthier than the cities of Europe. Every
month the German government tabulates the death
rate of the world and publishes it. I scrap-booked
A Tramp Abroad 221
these reports during several months, and it was
curious to see how regular and persistently each city
repeated its same death rate month after month.
The tables might as well have been stereotyped,
they varied so little. These tables were based upon
weekly reports showing the average of deaths in
each 1 ,000 of population for a year. Munich was
always present with her 33 deaths in each 1,000 of
her population (yearly average), Chicago was as
constant with her 15 or 17, Dublin with her 48
and so on.
Only a few American cities appear in these tables,
but they are scattered so widely over the country
that they furnish a good general average of city health
in the United States ; and I think it will be granted
that our towns and villages are healthier than our
Here is the average of the only American cities
reported in the German tables:
Chicago, deaths in 1,000 of population annually,
16; Philadelphia, 18; St. Louis, 18; San Fran
cisco, 19; New York (the Dublin of America), 23.
See how the figures jump up, as soon as one
arrives at the transatlantic list:
Paris, 27; Glasgow, 27; London, 28; Vienna,
28; Augsburg, 28; Braunschweig, 28; Konigs-
berg, 29 ; Cologne, 29 ; Dresden, 29 ; Hamburg,
29; Berlin, 30; Bombay, 30; Warsaw, 31; Bres-
lau, 31; Odessa, 32; Munich, 33; Strasburg, 33;
Pesth, 35; Cassel, 35; Lisbon, 36; Liverpool, 36;
222 A Tramp Abroad
Prague, 37; Madras, 37; Bucharest, 39; St. Peters
burg, 40; Trieste, 40; Alexandria (Egypt), 43;
Dublin, 48; Calcutta, 55.
Edinburgh is as healthy as New York -23; but
there is no city in the entire list which is healthier,
except Frankfort-on-the-Main 20. But Frankfort
is not as healthy as Chicago, San Francisco, St.
Louis, or Philadelphia.
Perhaps a strict average of the world might de
velop the fact that where I in 1,000 of America s
population dies, 2 in 1,000 of the other populations
of the earth succumb.
I do not like to make insinuations, but I do think
the above statistics darkly suggest that these people
over here drink this detestable water " on the sly."
We climbed the moraine on the opposite side of
the glacier, and then crept along its sharp ridge a
hundred yards or so, in pretty constant danger of a 1
tumble to the glacier below. The fall would have
been only 100 feet, but it would have closed me out
as effectually as 1,000, therefore I respected the
distance accordingly, and was glad when the trip
was done. A moraine is an ugly thing to assault
head-first. At a distance it looks like an endless
grave of fine sand, accurately shaped and nicely
smoothed; but close by, it is found to be made
mainly of rough bowlders of all sizes, from that of
a man s head to that of a cottage.
By and by we came to the Mauvais Pas, or the
Villainous Road, to translate it feelingly. It was a
A Tramp Abroad 223
breakneck path around the face of a precipice forty
or fifty feet high, and nothing to hang on to but
some iron railings. I got along, slowly, safely, and
uncomfortably, and finally reached the middle. My
hopes began to rise a little, but they were quickly
blighted; for there I met a hog a long-nosed,
bristly fellow, that held up his snout and worked his
nostrils at me inquiringly. A hog on a pleasure
excursion in Switzerland think of it. It is striking
and unusual ; a body might write a poem about it.
He could not retreat, if he had been disposed to do
it. It would have been foolish to stand upon our
dignity in a place where there was hardly room to
stand upon our feet, so we did nothing of the sort.
There were twenty or thirty ladies and gentlemen
behind us ; we all turned about and went back, and
the hog followed behind. The creature did not
seem set up by what he had done ; he had probably
done it before.
We reached the restaurant on the height called
the Chapeau at four in the afternoon. It was a
memento-factory, and the stock was large, cheap,
and varied. I bought the usual paper-cutter to re
member the place by, and had Mont Blanc, the
Mauvais Pas, and the rest of the region branded on
my alpenstock; then we descended to the valley
and walked home without being tied together. This
was not dangerous, for the valley was five miles
wide, and quite level.
We reached the hotel before nine o clock. Next
224 A Tramp Abroad
morning we left for Geneva on top of the diligence,
under shelter of a gay awning. If I remember
rightly, there were more than twenty people up
there. It was so high that the ascent was made by
ladder. The huge vehicle was full everywhere, in
side and out. Five other diligences left at the same
time, all full. We had engaged our seats two days
beforehand, to make sure, and paid the regulation
price, five dollars each; but the rest of the company
were wiser ; they had trusted Baedeker, and waited ;
consequently some of them got their seats for one
or two dollars. Baedeker knows all about hotels,
railway and diligence companies, and speaks his
mind freely. He is a trustworthy friend of the
We never saw Mont Blanc at his best until we
were many miles away; then he lifted his majestic
proportions high into the heavens, all white and cold
and solemn, and made the rest of the world seem
little and plebeian, and cheap and trivial.
As he passed out of sight at last, an old English
man settled himself in his seat and said :
"Well, I am satisfied, I have seen the principal
features of Swiss scenery Mont Blanc and the
goitre now for home !
WE spent a few pleasant restful days at Geneva,
that delightful city where accurate time-pieces
are made for all the rest of the world, but whose
own clocks never give the correct time of day by
Geneva is filled with pretty little shops, and the
shops are filled with the most enticing gimcrackery,
but if one enters one of these places he is at once
pounced upon, and followed up, and so persecuted
to buy this, that, and the other thing, that he is very
grateful to get out again, and is not at all apt to
repeat his experiment. The shopkeepers of the
smaller sort, in Geneva, are as troublesome and
persistent as are the salesmen of that monster hive
in Paris, the Grands Magasins du Louvre an
establishment where ill-mannered pestering, pur
suing, and insistence have been reduced to a science.
In Geneva, prices in the smaller shops are very
elastic that is another bad feature. I was looking
in at a window at a very pretty string of beads,
suitable for a child. I was only admiring them ; I
had no use for them; I hardly ever wear beads.
226 A Tramp Abroad
The shopwoman came out and offered them tc me
for thirty-five francs. I said it was cheap, but I did
not need them.
" Ah, but monsieur, they are so beautiful!"
I confessed it, but said they were not suitable for
one of my age and simplicity of character. She
darted in and brought them out and tried to force
them into my hands, saying:
" Ah, but only see how lovely they are ! Surely
monsieur will take them ; monsieur shall have them
for thirty francs. There, I have said it it is a
loss, but one must live."
I dropped my hands, and tried to move her to
respect my unprotected situation. But no, she
dangled the beads in the sun before my face, ex
claiming, " Ah, monsieur cannot resist them ! ; She
hung them on my coat button, folded her hands
resignedly, and said: "Gone, and for thirty
francs, the lovely things it is incredible! but
the good God will sanctify the sacrifice to me."
I removed them gently, returned them, and walked
away, shaking my head and smiling a smile of silly
embarrassment while the passers-by halted to ob
serve. The woman leaned out of her door, shook
the beads, and screamed after me :
" Monsieur shall have them for twenty-eight!"
I shook my head.
"Twenty-seven! It is a cruel loss, it is ruin
but take them, only take them."
I still retreated, still wagging my head.
A Tramp Abroad 227
* Mon Dieu, they shall even go for twenty-six!
There, I have said it. Come!"
I wagged another negative. A nurse and a little
English girl had been near me, and were following
me, now. The shopwoman ran to the nurse, thrust
the beads into her hands, and said :
** Monsieur shall have them for twenty-five!
Take them to the hotel he shall send me the
money to-morrow next day when he likes. "
Then to the child : * * When thy father sends me the
money, come thou also, my angel, and thou shalt
have something oh so pretty !
I was thus providentially saved. The nurse re
fused the beads squarely and firmly, and that ended
The "sights" of Geneva are not numerous. I
made one attempt to hunt up the houses once in
habited by those two disagreeable people, Rousseau
and Calvin, but had no success. Then I concluded
to go home. I found it was easier to propose to do
that than to do it; for that town is a bewildering
place. I got lost in a tangle of narrow and crooked
streets, and stayed lost for an hour or two. Finally
I found a street which looked somewhat familiar,
and said to myself, " Now I am at home, I judge."
But I was wrong; this was " Hell street." Pres
ently I found another place which had a familiar look,
and said to myself, "Now I am at home, sure."
It was another error. This was " Purgatory street."
After a little I said, " Now I ve got the right place,
228 A Tramp Abroad
anyway no, this is * Paradise street * ; I m
further from home than I was in the beginning."
Those were queer names Calvin was the author of
them, likely. " Hell" and " Purgatory" fitted
those two streets like a glove, but the "Paradise"
appeared to be sarcastic.
I came out on the lake front, at last, and then I
knew where I was. I was walking along before the
glittering jewelry shops when I saw a curious per
formance, A lady passed by, and a trim dandy
lounged across the walk in such an apparently care
fully-timed way as to bring himself exactly in front
of her when she got to him ; he made no offer to
step out of the way; he did not apologize; he did
not even notice her. She had to stop still and let
him lounge by. I wondered if he had done that
piece of brutality purposely. He strolled to a chair
and seated himself at a small table; two or three
other males were sitting at similar tables sipping
sweetened water. I waited ; presently a youth came
by, and this fellow got up and served him the same
trick. Still, it did not seem possible that any one
could do such a thing deliberately. To satisfy my
curiosity I went around the block, and sure enough,
as I approached, at a good round speed, he got up
and lounged lazily across my path, fouling my
course exactly at the right moment to receive all my
weight. This proved that his previous performances
had not been accidental, but intentional.
I saw that dandy s curious game played after-
A Tramp Abroad 229
wards, in Paris, but not for amusement; not with a
motive of any sort, indeed, but simply from a selfish
indifference to other people s comfort and rights.
One does not see it as frequently in Paris as he
might expect to, for there the law says, in effect,
"it is the business of the weak to get out of the
way of the strong." We fine a cabman if he runs
over a citizen ; Paris fines the citizen for being run
over. At least so everybody says but I saw
something which caused me to doubt; I saw a
horseman run over an old woman one day, the
police arrested him and took him away. That
looked as if they meant to punish him.
It will not do for me to find merit in American
manners for are they not the standing butt for the
jests of critical and polished Europe? Still, I must
venture to claim one little matter of superiority in
our manners; a lady may traverse our streets all
day, going and coming as she chooses, and she will
never be molested by any man ; but if a lady, un
attended, walks abroad in the streets of London,
even at noonday, she will be pretty likely to be ac
costed and insulted and not by drunken sailors,
but by men who carry the look and wear the dress
of gentlemen. It is maintained that these people
are not gentlemen, but are a lower sort, disguised as
gentlemen. The case of Colonel Valentine Baker
obstructs that argument, for a man cannot become
an officer in the British army except he hold the
rank of gentleman. This person, finding himself
230 A Tramp Abroad
alone in a railway compartment with an unprotected
girl, but it is an atrocious story, and doubtless the
reader remembers it well enough. London must
have been more or less accustomed to Bakers, and
the ways of Bakers, else London would have been
offended, and excited. Baker was " imprisoned "
in a parlor; and he could not have been more
visited, or more overwhelmed with attentions, if he
had committed six murders and then while the
gallows was preparing " got religion" after the
manner of the holy Charles Peace, of saintly mem
ory. Arkansaw it seems a little indelicate to be
trumpeting forth our own superiorities, and com
parisons are always odious, but still Arkansaw
would certainly have hanged Baker. I do not say
she would have tried him first, but she would have
hanged him, anyway.
Even the most degraded woman can walk our
streets unmolested, her sex and her weakness being
her sufficient protection. She will encounter less
polish than she would in the old world, but she will
run across enough humanity to make up for it.
The music of a donkey awoke us early in the
morning, and we rose up and made ready for a
pretty formidable walk to Italy ; but the road was
so level that we took the train. We lost a good
deal of time by this, but it was no matter, we were
not in a hurry. We were four hours going to
Chambery. The Swiss trains go upwards of three
miles an hour, in places, but they are quite safe.
A Tramp Abroad 231
That aged French town of Chambery was as
quaint and crooked as Heilbronn. A drowsy re
poseful quiet reigned in the back streets which made
strolling through them very pleasant, barring the
almost unbearable heat of the sun. In one of these
streets, which was eight feet wide, gracefully curved,
and built up with small antiquated houses, I saw
three fat hogs lying asleep, and a boy (also asleep)
taking care of them. From queer old-fashioned
windows along the curve projected boxes of bright
flowers, and over the edge of one of these boxes
hung the head and shoulders of a cat asleep.
The five sleeping creatures were the only living
things visible in that street. There was not a sound ;
absolute stillness prevailed. It was Sunday; one
is not used to such dreamy Sundays on the Conti
nent. In our part of the town it was different that
night. A regiment of brown and battered soldiers
had arrived home from Algiers, and I judged they
got thirsty on the way. They sang and drank till
dawn, in the pleasant open air.
We left for Turin at ten the next morning by a
railway which was profusely decorated with tunnels.
We forgot to take a lantern along, consequently we
missed all the scenery. Our compartment was full.
A ponderous tow-headed Swiss woman, who put on
many fine-lady airs, but was evidently more used to
washing linen than wearing it, sat in a corner seat
and put her legs across into the opposite one, prop
ping them intermediately with her up-ended valise
232 A Tramp Abroad
In the seat thus pirated, sat two Americans, greatly
incommoded by that woman s majestic coffin-clad
feet. One of them begged her, politely, to remove
them. She opened her wide eyes and gave him a
stare, but answered nothing. By and by he pre
ferred his request again, with great respectfulness.
She said, in good English, and in a deeply offended
tone, that she had paid her passage and was not
going to be bullied out of her " rights " by ill-bred
foreigners, even if she was alone and unprotected.
"But I have rights, also, madam. My ticket
entitles me to a seat, but you are occupying half
44 1 will not talk with you, sir. What right have
you to speak to me? I do not know you. One
would know you came from a land where there are
no gentlemen. No gentleman would treat a lady as
you have treated me."
" I come from a region where a lady would hardly
give me the same provocation."
** You have insulted me, sir! You have intimated
that I am not a lady and I hope I am not one,
after the pattern of your country."
"I beg that you will give yourself no alarm on
that head, madam; but at the same time I must
insist always respectfully that you let me have
Here the fragile laundress burst into tears and
" I never was so insulted before! Never, never!
A Tramp Abroad 233
It is shameful, it is brutal, it is base, to bully and
abuse an unprotected lady who has lost the use of
her limbs and cannot put her feet to the floor with
out agony !
" Good heavens, madam, why didn t you say that
at first ! I offer a thousand pardons. And I offer
them most sincerely. I did not know I could not
know that anything was the matter. You are
most welcome to the seat, and would have been
from the first if I had only known. I am truly sorry
it all happened, I do assure you."
But he couldn t get a word of forgiveness out of
her. She simply sobbed and snuffled in a subdued
but wholly unappeasable way for two long hours,
meantime crowding the man more than ever with
her undertaker-furniture and paying no sort of atten
tion to his frequent and humble little efforts to do
something for her comfort. Then the train halted
at the Italian line and she hopped up and marched
out of the car with as firm a leg as any washer
woman of all her tribe ! And how sick I was, to
see how she had fooled me,
Turin is a very fine city. In the matter of roomi
ness it transcends anything that was ever dreamed of
before, I fancy. It sits in the midst of a vast dead-
level, and one is obliged to imagine that land may
be had for the asking, and no taxes to pay, so
lavishly do they use it. The streets are extrava
gantly wide, the paved squares are prodigious, the
houses are huge and handsome, and compacted into
234 A Tramp Abroad
uniform blocks that stretch away as straight as an
arrow, into the distance. The sidewalks are about
as wide as ordinary European streets, and are cov
ered over with a double arcade supported on great
stone piers 01 columns. One walks from one end
to the other of these spacious streets, under shelter
all the time, and all his course is lined with the
prettiest of shops and the most inviting dining-
There is a wide and lengthy court, glittering with
the most wickedly-enticing shops, which is roofed
with glass, high aloft overhead, and paved with
soft-toned marbles laid in graceful figures; and at
night when this place is brilliant with gas and
populous with a sauntering and chatting and laugh
ing multitude of pleasure-seekers, it is a spectacle
Everything is on a large scale; the public build
ings, for instance -and they are architecturally im
posing, too, as well as large. The big squares have
big bronze monuments in them. At the hotel they
gave us rooms that were alarming, for size, and a
parlor to match It was well the weather required
no fire in the parlor, for I think one might as well
have tried to warm a park. The place would have
a warm look, though, in any weather, for the win
dow curtains were of red silk damask, and the walls
were covered with the same fire-hued goods so,
also, were the four sofas and the brigade of chairs.
The furniture, the ornaments, the chandeliers, the
A Tramp Abroad 235
carpets, were all new and bright and costly. We
did not need a parlor, at all, but they said it be
longed to the two bedrooms and we might use it if
we chose. Since it was to cost nothing, we were
not averse from using it, of course.
Turin must surely read a good deal, for it has
more bookstores to the square rod than any other
town I know of. And it has its own share of mili
tary folk. The Italian officers uniforms are very
much the most beautiful I have ever seen ; and, as
a general thing, the men in them were as handsome
as the clothes. They were not large men, but they
had fine forms, fine features, rich olive complexions,
and lustrous black eyes.
For several weeks I had been culling all the in
formation I could about Italy, from tourists. The
tourists were all agreed upon one thing one must
expect to be cheated at every turn by the Italians.
I took an evening walk in Turin, and presently came
across a little Punch and Judy show in one of the
great squares. Twelve or fifteen people constituted
the audience. This miniature theater was not much
bigger than a man s coffin stood on end ; the upper
part was open and displayed a tinseled parlor a
good-sized handkerchief would have answered for a
drop-curtain ; the footlights consisted of a couple of
candle-ends an inch long; various manikins the size
of dolls appeared on the stage and made long
speeches at each other, gesticulating a good deal,
and they generally had a fight before they got
236 A Tramp Abroad
through. They were worked by strings from above,
and the illusion was not perfect, for one saw not only
the strings but the brawny hand that manipulated
them and the actors and actresses all talked in the
same voice, too. The audience stood in front of the
theater, and seemed to enjoy the performance heartily.
When the play was done, a youth in his shirt
sleeves started around with a small copper saucer to
make a collection. I did not know how much to
put in, but thought I would be guided by my pre
decessors. Unluckily, I only had two of these, and
they did not help me much because they did not
put in anything. I had no Italian money, so I put
in a small Swiss coin worth about ten cents. The
youth finished his collection-trip and emptied the
result on the stage; he had some very animated
talk with the concealed manager, then he came
working his way through the little crowd seeking
me, I thought. I had a mind to slip away, but
concluded I wouldn t; I would stand my ground,
and confront the villainy, whatever it was. The
youth stood before me and held up that Swiss coin,
sure enough, and said something. I did not under
stand him, but I judged he was requiring Italian
money of me. The crowd gathered close, to listen.
I was irritated, and said, in English, of course:
" I know it s Swiss, but you ll take that or none.