while. Every time its squat domes disappeared
from my view, I had a despondent feeling; when-
A Tramp Abroad 255
ever they reappeared, I felt an honest rapture I
have not known any happier hours than those I
daily spent in front of Florian s, looking across the
Great Square at it. Propped on its long row of low
thick-legged columns, its back knobbed with domes,
it seemed like a vast warty bug taking a meditative
St. Mark is not the oldest building in the world,
of course, but it seems the oldest, and looks the
oldest especially inside. When the ancient mo
saics in its walls become damaged, they are repaired
but not altered; the grotesque old pattern is pre
served. Antiquity has a charm of its own, and to
smarten it up would only damage it. One day I
was sitting on a red marble bench in the vestibule
looking up at an ancient piece of apprentice-work,
in mosaic, illustrative of the command to " multiply
and replenish the earth." The Cathedral itself had
seemed very old ; but this picture was illustrating a
period in history which made the building seem
young by comparison. But I presently found an
antique which was older than either the battered
Cathedral or the date assigned to that piece of his
tory; it was a spiral-shaped fossil as large as the
crown of a hat; it was embedded in the marble
bench, and had been sat upon by tourists until it
was worn smooth. Contrasted with the inconceiv
able antiquity of this modest fossil, those other
things were flippantly modern jejune mere mat
ters of day-bef ore-yesterday. The sense of the old
256 A Tramp Abroad
ness of the Cathedral vanished away under the
influence of this truly venerable presence.
St. Mark s is monumental; it is an imperishable
remembrancer of the profound and simple piety of
the Middle Ages. Whoever could ravish a column
from a pagan temple, did it and contributed his
swag to this Christian one. So this fane is upheld
by several hundred acquisitions procured in that
peculiar way. In our day it would be immoral to
go on the highway to get bricks for a church, but
it, was no sin in the old times. St. Mark s was itself
the victim of a curious robbery once. The thing is
set down in the history of Venice, but it might be
smuggled into the Arabian Nights and not seem out
of place there :
Nearly four hundred and fifty years ago, a
Candian named Stammato, in the suite of a prince
of the house of Este, was allowed to view the riches
of St. Mark. His sinful eye was dazzled and he hid
himself behind an altar, with an evil purpose in his
heart, but a priest discovered him and turned him
out. Afterward he got in again by false keys,
this time. He went there, night after night, and
worked hard and patiently, all alone, overcoming
difficulty after difficulty with his toil, and at last
succeeded in removing a great block of the marble
paneling which walled the lower part of the treasury ;
this block he fixed so that he could take it out and
put it in at will. After that, for weeks, he spent all
his midnights in his magnificent mine, inspecting it
A Tramp Abroad 257
in security, gloating over its marvels at his leisure,
and always slipping back to his obscure lodgings
before dawn, with a duke s ransom under his cloak.
He did not need to grab, haphazard, and run
there was no hurry. He could make deliberate and
well-considered selections; he could consult his
aesthetic tastes. One comprehends how undisturbed
he was, and how safe from any danger of interrup
tion, when it is stated that he even carried off a
unicorn s horn a mere curiosity which would
not pass through the egress entire, but had to be
sawn in two a bit of work which cost him hours
of tedious labor. He continued to store up his
treasures at home until his occupation lost the charm
of novelty and became monotonous ; then he ceased
from it, contented. Well he might be ; for his col
lection, raised to modern values, represented nearly
He could have gone home much the richest citizen
of his country, and it might have been years before
the plunder was missed; but he was human he
could not enjoy his delight alone, he must have
somebody to talk about it with. So he exacted a
solemn oath from a Candian noble named Crioni,
then led him to his lodgings and nearly took his
breath away with a sight of his glittering hoard.
He detected a look in his friend s face which excited
his suspicion, and was about to slip a, stiletto into
him when Crioni saved himself by explaining that
that look was only an expression of supreme and
258 A Tramp Abroad
happy astonishment. Stammato made Crioni a
present of one of the state s principal jewels a
huge carbuncle, which afterward figured in the
Ducal cap of state and the pair parted. Crioni
went at once to the palace, denounced the criminal,
and handed over the carbuncle as evidence. Stam
mato was arrested, tried, and condemned, with the
old-time Venetian promptness. He was hanged
between the two great columns in the Piazza with
a gilded rope, out of compliment to his love of
gold, perhaps. He got no good of his booty at
all it was all recovered.
In Venice we had a luxury which very seldom fell
to our lot on the Continent a home dinner with a
private family. If one could always stop with
private families, when traveling, Europe would have
a charm which it now lacks. As it is, one must
live in the hotels, of course, and that is a sorrowful
business. A man accustomed to American food
and American domestic cookery would not starve to
death suddenly in Europe; but I think he would
gradually waste away, and eventually die.
He would have to do without his accustomed
morning meal. That is too formidable a change
altogether; he would necessarily suffer from it. He
could get the shadow, the sham, the base counter
feit cf that meal; but that would do him no good,
and money could not buy the reality.
To particularize : the average American s simplest
and commonest form of breakfast consists of coffee
A Tramp Abroad 259
and beefsteak; well, in Europe, coffee is an un
known beverage. You can get what the European
hotel-keeper thinks is coffee, but it resembles the
real thing as hypocrisy resembles holiness. It i? r<
feeble, characterless, uninspiring sort of stuff, and
almost as undrinkable as if it had been made in an
American hotel. The milk used for it is what the
French call " Christian " milk, milk which has
After a few months acquaintance with European
" coffee/ one s mind weakens, and his faith with
it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of
home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top
of it, is not a mere dream, after all, and a thing
which never existed.
Next comes the European bread, fair enough,
good enough, after a fashion, but cold; cold and
tough, and unsympathetic; and never any change,
never any variety, always the same tiresome thing.
Next, the butter, the sham and tasteless butter;
no salt in it, and made of goodness knows what.
Then there is the beefsteak. They have it in
Europe, but they don t know how to cook it.
Neither will they cut it right. It comes on the table
in a small, round, pewter platter. It lies in the
center of this platter, in a bordering bed of grease-
soaked potatoes; it is the size, shape, and thickness
of a man s hand with the thumb and fingers cut
off. It is a little overdone, is rather dry, it tastes
pretty insipidly, it rouses no enthusiasm.
260 A Tramp Abroad
Imagine a poor exile contemplating that inert
thing; and imagine an angel suddenly sweeping
down out of a better land and setting before him a
mighty porterhouse steak an inch and a half thick,
hot and sputtering from the griddle; dusted with
fragrant pepper; enriched with little melting bits of
butter of the most unimpeachable freshness and
genuineness ; the precious juices of the meat trick
ling out and joining the gravy, archipelagoed with
mushrooms; a township or two of tender, yellowish
fat gracing an outlying district of this ample county
of beefsteak ; the long white bone which divides the
sirloin from the tenderloin still in its place; and
imagine that the angel also adds a great cup of
American home-made coffee, with the cream a-froth
on top, some real butter, firm and yellow and fresh,
some smoking-hot biscuits, a plate of hot buckwheat
cakes, with transparent syrup, could words de
scribe the gratitude of this exile?
The European dinner is better than the European
breakfast, but it has its faults and inferiorities; it
does not satisfy. He comes to the table eager and
hungry; he swallows his soup, there is an unde-
finable lack about it somewhere ; thinks the fish is
going to be the thing he wants, eats it and isn t
sure ; thinks the next dish is perhaps the one that
will hit the hungry place, tries it, and is conscious
that there was a something wanting about it, also.
And thus he goes on, from dish to dish, like a boy
after a butterfly which just misses getting caught
A Tramp Abroad 261
every time it alights, but somehow doesn t get
caught after all ; and at the end the exile and the
boy have fared about alike ; the one is full, but
grievously unsatisfied, the other has had plenty of
exercise, plenty of interest, and a fine lot of hopes,
but he hasn t got any butterfly. There is here and
there an American who will say he can remember
rising from a European table d hote perfectly satis
fied ; but we must not overlook the fact that there is
also here and there an American who will lie.
The number of dishes is sufficient ; but then it is
such a monotonous variety of unstriking dishes. It
is an inane dead level of " fair-to-middling." There
is nothing to accent it. Perhaps if the roast of
mutton or of beef, a big, generous one, were
brought on the table and carved in full view of the
client, that might give the right sense of earnestness
and reality to the thing; but they don t do that,
they pass the sliced meat around on a dish, and so
you are perfectly calm, it does not stir you in the
least. Now a vast roast turkey, stretched on the
broad of his back, with his heels in the air and the
rich juices oozing from his fat sides but I may
as well stop there, for they would not know how to
cook him. They can t even cook a chicken respect
ably; and as for carving it, they do that with a
This is about the customary table d hote bill in
262 A Tramp Abroad
Fish sole, salmon, or whiting usually toler
Roast mutton or beef tasteless and some
last year s potatoes.
A pate, or some other made dish usually good
One vegetable brought on in state, and all
alone usually insipid lentils, or string beans, or
Roast chicken, as tasteless as paper.
Lettuce-salad tolerably, good.
Decayed strawberries or cherries.
Sometimes the apricots and figs are fresh, but this
is no advantage, as these fruits are of no account
The grapes are generally good, and sometimes
there is a tolerably good peach, by mistake.
The variations of the above bill are trifling. After
a fortnight one discovers that the variations are only
apparent, not real ; in the third week you get what
you had the first, and in the fourth week you get
what you had the second. Three or four months of
this weary sameness will kill the robustest appetite.
It has now been many months, at the present
writing, since I have had a nourishing meal, but I
shall soon have one, a modest, private affair, all
to myself. I have selected a few dishes, and made
out a little bill of fare, which will go home in the
steamer that precedes me, and be hot when I arrive
as follows :
A Tramp Abroad
Radishes. Baked apples, with
Fried oysters; stewed oysters.
American coffee, with real cream.
Fried chicken, Southern style.
Broiled chicken, American style.
Hot biscuits, Southern style.
Hot wheat-bread, Southern style.
Hot buckwheat cakes.
American toast. Clear maple
Virginia bacon, broiled.
Blue points, on the half shell.
San Francisco mussels, steamed.
Oyster soup. Clam soup.
Philadelphia Terrapin soup.
Oysters roasted in shell Northern
Soft-shell crabs. Connecticut shad.
Brook trout, from Sierra Nevadas.
Lake trout, from Tahoe.
Sheephead and croakers from New
Prairie hens, from Illinois.
Missouri partridges, broiled.
Boston bacon and beans.
Bacon and greens, Southern style.
Hominy. Boiled onions. Tur
Pumpkin. Squash. Asparagus.
Butter Beans. Sweet potatoes.
Lettuce. Succotash. String beans.
Mashed potatoes. Catsup.
Boiled potatoes, in their skins.
New potatoes, minus the skins.
Early rose potatoes, roasted in the
ashes, Southern style, served
Sliced tomatoes, with sugar or vine
gar. Stewed tomatoes.
Green corn, cut from the ear and
served with butter and pepper.
Green corn, on the ear.
Hot corn-pone, with chitlings,
Hot hoe-cake, Southern style.
Hot egg-bread, Southern style.
Hot light-bread, Southern style.
Buttermilk. Iced sweet milk.
Apple dumplings, with real cream.
Black bass from the Mississippi.
American roast beef.
Roast turkey, Thanksgiving style.
Cranberry sauce. Celery.
Roast wild turkey. Woodcock.
Canvasback-duck, from Baltimore.
Fresh American fruits of all sorts, including strawberries, which are
not to be doled out as if they were jewelry, but in a more liberal way.
Ice-water not prepared in the ineffectual goblet, but in the sincere
and capable refrigerator.
Apple pie. Apple fritters.
Apple puffs, Southern style.
Peach cobbler, Southern style.
Peach pie. American mince pie.
Pumpkin pie. Squash pie.
All sorts of American pastry.
264 A Tramp Abroad
Americans intending to spend a year or so in
European hotels, will do well to copy this bill and
carry it along. They will find it an excellent thing
to get up an appetite with, in the dispiriting pres
ence of the squalid table d hote.
Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, I suppose, any
more than we can enjoy theirs. It is not strange ;
for tastes are made, not born. I might glorify my
bill of fare until I was tired ; but after all, the
Scotchman would shake his head and say, " Where s
your haggis?" and the Fijian would sigh and say,
" Where s your missionary?"
I have a neat talent in matters pertaining to
nourishment. This has met with professional recog
nition. I have often furnished recipes for cook
books. Here are some designs for pies and things,
which I recently prepared for a friend s projected
cook-book, but as I forgot to furnish diagrams and
perspectives, they had to be left out, of course.
Recipe for an Ash- Cake.
Take a lot of water and add to it a lot of coarse
Indian meal and about a quarter of a lot of salt.
Mix well together, knead into the form of a
"pone," and let the pone stand a while, not on
its edge, but the other way. Rake away a place
among the embers, lay it there, and cover it an inch
deep with hot ashes. When it is done, remove it;
blow off all the ashes but one layer; butter that
one and eat.
N. B, No household should ever be without this
A Tramp Abroad 265
talisman. It has been noticed that tramps never
return for another ash-cake.
Recipe for New England Pie.
To make this excellent breakfast dish, proceed as
follows : Take a sufficiency of water and a sufficiency
of flour, and construct a bullet-proof dough. Work
this into the form of a disk, with the edges turned
up some three-fourths of an inch. Toughen and
kiln-dry it a couple of days in a mild but unvarying
temperature. Construct a cover for this redoubt in
the same way and of the same material. Fill with
stewed dried apples; aggravate with cloves, lemon-
peel, and slabs of citron ; add two portions of New
Orleans sugar, then solder on the lid and set in a
safe place till it petrifies. Serve cold at breakfast
and invite your enemy.
Recipe for German Coffee.
Take a barrel of water and bring it to a boil ; rub
a chiccory berry against a coffee berry, then convey
the former into the water. Continue the boiling and
evaporation until the intensity of the flavor and
aroma of the coffee and chiccory has been diminished
to a proper degree; then set aside to cool. Now
unharness the remains of a once cow from the plow,
insert them in a hydraulic press, and when you shall
have acquired a teaspoonful of that pale blue juice
which a German superstition regards as milk, modify
266 A Tramp Abroad
the malignity of its strength in a bucket of tepid
water and ring up the breakfast. Mix the beverage
in a cold cup, partake with moderation, and keep a
wet rag around your head to guard against over-
To Carve Fowls in the German Fashion.
Use a club, and avoid the joints.
I WONDER why some things are? For instance,
Art is allowed as much indecent license to-day
as in earlier times but the privileges of Literature
in this respect have been sharply curtailed within
the past eighty or ninety years. Fielding and
Smollett could portray the beastliness of their day
in the beastliest language ; we have plenty of foul
subjects to deal with in our day, but we are not
allowed to approach them very near, even with nice
and guarded forms of speech. But not so with Art.
The brush may still deal freely with any subject,
however revolting or indelicate. It makes a body
ooze sarcasm at every pore, to go about Rome and
Florence and see what this last generation has been
doing with the statues. These works, which had
stood in innocent nakedness for ages, are all fig-
leaved now. Yes, every one of them. Nobody
noticed their nakedness before, perhaps; nobody
can help noticing it now, the fig-leaf makes it so
conspicuous. But the comical thing about it all, is,
that the fig-leaf is confined to cold and pallid marble,
which would be still cold and unsuggestive without
268 A Tramp Abroad
this sham and ostentatious symbol of modesty,
whereas warm-blooded paintings which do really
need it have in no case been furnished with it.
At the door of the Uffizzi, in Florence, one is
confronted by statues of a man and a woman, nose
less, battered, black with accumulated grime, they
hardly suggest human beings yet these ridiculous
creatures have been thoughtfully and conscientiously
fig-leaved by this fastidious generation. You enter,
and proceed to that most-visited little gallery that
exists in the world the Tribune and there,
against the wall, without obstructing rag or leaf,
you may look your fill upon the foulest, the vilest,
the obscenest picture the world possesses Titian s
Venus. It isn t that she is naked and stretched out
on a bed no, it is the attitude of one of her arms
and hand. If I ventured to describe that attitude,
there would be a fine howl but there the Venus
lies, for anybody to gloat over that wants to and
there she has a right to lie, for she is a work of art,
and Art has its privileges. I saw young girls SJeal-
ing furtive glances at her ; I saw young men gaze
long and absorbedly at her; I saw aged, infirm men
hang upon her charms with a pathetic interest.
How I should like to describe her just to see what
a holy indignation I could stir up in the world
just to hear the unreflecting average man deliver
himself about my grossness and coarseness, and all
that. The world says that no worded description of
a moving spectacle is a hundredth part as moving as
A Tramp Abroad 269
the same spectacle seen with one s own eyes yet
the world is willing to let its son and its daughter
and itself look at Titian s beast, but won t stand a
description of it in words. Which shows that the
world is not as consistent as it might be.
There are pictures of nude women which suggest
no impure thought I am well aware of that. I
am not railing at such. What I am trying to em
phasize is the fact that Titian s Venus is very far
from being one of that sort. Without any question
it was painted for a bagnio and it was probably re
fused because it was a trifle too strong. In truth,
it is too strong for any place but a public Art
Gallery. Titian has two Venuses in the Tribune;
persons who have seen them will easily remember
which one I am referring to.
In every gallery in Europe there are hideous pic -
tures of blood, carnage, oozing brains, putrefaction
pictures portraying intolerable suffering pic
tures alive with every conceivable horror, wrought
out fa dreadful detail and similar pictures are
being put on the canvas every day and publicly ex
hibited without a growl from anybody for they
are innocent, they are inoffensive, being works of
art. But suppose a literary artist ventured to go
into a painstaking and elaborate description of one
of these grisly things the critics would skin him
alive. W T ell, let it go, it cannot be helped; Art
retains her privileges, Literature has lost hers.
Somebody else may cipher out the whys and the
270 A Tramp Abroad
wherefores and the consistencies of it I haven t
Titian s Venus defiles and disgraces the Tribune,
there is no softening that fact, but his "Moses"
glorifies it. The simple truthfulness of this noble
work wins the heart and the applause of every
visitor, be he learned cr ignorant. After wearying
one s self with the acres of stuffy, sappy, expression
less babies that populate the canvases of the Old
Masters of Italy, it is refreshing to stand before this
peerless child and feel that thrill which tells you you
are at last in the presence of the real thing. This is
a human child, this is genuine. You have seen him
a thousand times you have seen him just as he is
here and you confess, without reserve, that Titian
was a Master. The doll-faces of other painted
babes may mean one thing, they may mean another,
but with the "Moses" the case is different. The
most famous of all the art critics has said, "There
is no room for doubt, here plainly this child is in
I consider that the " Moses " has no equal among
the works of the Old Masters, except it be the
divine Hair Trunk of Bassano. I feel sure that if
all the other Old Masters were lost and only these
two preserved, the world would be the gainer by it.
My sole purpose in going to Florence was to see
this immortal " Moses," and by good fortune I was
just in time, for they were already preparing to
remove it to a more private and better protected
A Tramp Abroad 271
place because a fashion of robbing the great galleries
was prevailing in Europe at the time.
I got a capable artist to copy the picture ; Panne-
maker, the engraver of Bore s books, engraved it
for me, and I have the pleasure of laying it before
the reader in this volume.
We took a turn to Rome and some other Italian
cities then to Munich, and thence to Paris
partly for exercise, but mainly because these things
were in our projected program, and it was only
right that we should be faithful to it.
From Paris I branched out and walked through
Holland and Belgium, procuring an occasional lift
by rail or canal when tired, and I had a tolerably
good time of it " by and large." I worked Spain
and other regions through agents to save time and
We crossed to England, and then made the
homeward passage in the Cunarder Galiia, a very
fine ship. I was glad to get home immeasurably
glad; so glad, in fact, that it did not seem possible
that anything could ever get me out of the country
again. I had not enjoyed a pleasure abroad which
seemed to me to compare with the pleasure I felt in
seeing New York harbor again. Europe has many
advantages which we have not, but they do not
compensate for a good many still more valuable
ones which exist nowhere but in our own country.
Then we are such a homeless lot when we are over
272 A Tramp Abroad
there ! So are Europeans themselves, for that
matter. They live in dark and chilly vast tombs,
costly enough, maybe, but without conveniences.
To be condemned to live as the average European
family lives would make life a pretty heavy burden
to the average American family.
On the whole, I think that short visits to Europe
are better for us than long ones. The former pre
serve us from becoming Europeanized ; they keep
our pride of country intact, and at the same time
they intensify our affection for our country and our
people ; whereas long visits have the effect of dull
ing those feelings, at least in the majority of
cases. I think that one who mixes much with