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[Note: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber.
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AUGUST, 1885.














Daniel Webster's "Moods." by F.C.M.
Feuds and Lynch-Law in the Southwest. by J.A.M.
The Etymology of "Babe." by S.E.T.


Recent Fiction.


* * * * *


_AUGUST, 1885_.

* * * * *



Not the least delightful of Sir Robert's qualities was his capacity for
enjoying most things that came in his way, and finding some interest in
all. When Mr. Ketchum joined him in the library, where he was jotting
down "the _sobriquets_ of the American States and cities," and told him
of the Niagara plan, his ruddy visage beamed with pleasure.

"A delightful idea. Capital," he said. "I suppose I can read up a bit
about it before we start, and not go there with my eyes shut.
Ni-a-ga-rah, - monstrously soft and pretty name. Isn't there something on
your shelves that would give me the information I want? But we can come
to that presently. Just now I want to find out, if I can, how these
nicknames came to be given. They must have originated in some great
popular movement, eh? I thought I saw my way, as, for example, the
'Empire State' and the 'Crescent City' and some others, but this 'Sucker
State,' now, and 'Buckeye' business, - what may that mean in plain

Mr. Ketchum shed what light he could on these interesting questions, and
Sir Robert thoughtfully ran his hands through his side-whiskers, while,
with an apologetic "One moment, I beg," or "Very odd, very; that must go
down verbatim," he entered the gist of Mr. Ketchum's queer remarks in
his note-book.

On the following morning he rose with Niagara in his soul. He had more
questions to ask at the breakfast-table than anybody could answer, and
was eager to be off. Mr. Ketchum, who had that week made no less than
fifty thousand dollars by a lucky investment, was in high spirits.
Captain Kendall, who had been allowed to join the party, was vastly
pleased by the prospect of another week in Ethel's society. Mrs. Sykes
was tired of Fairfield, and longed to be "on the move" again, as she
frankly said. So that, altogether, it was a merry company that finally
set off.

The very first view of "the ocean unbound" increased their pleasure to
enthusiasm. Mrs. Sykes, without reservation, admitted that it was "a
grand spot," and felt as though she were giving the place a certificate
when she added, "_Quite_ up to the mark." She was out on the Suspension
Bridge, making a sketch, as soon as she could get there; she took one
from every other spot about the place; and when tired of her pencil, she
stalked about with her hammer, chipping off bits of rock that promised
geological interest. But she found her greatest amusement in the brides
that "infested the place" (to quote from her letter to her sister
Caroline), indulged in much satirical comment on them, and, choosing one
foolish young rustic who was there as her text, wrote in her diary,
"American brides like to go from the altar to some large hotel, where
they can display their finery, wear their wedding-dresses every evening,
and attract as much attention as possible. The national passion for
display makes them delight in anything that renders them conspicuous, no
matter how vulgar that display may be. If one must have a fools'
paradise, generally known as a honeymoon, this is about as pleasant a
place as any other for it; and, as there are several runaway couples
stopping here, and the place is just on the border, this is doubtless
the American Gretna Green, where silly women and temporarily-infatuated
men can marry in haste, to repent at leisure."

Mr. Heathcote gave his camera enough to do, as may be imagined. He and
Sir Robert traced the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and
photographed it at every turn, made careful estimates of its length,
breadth, depth, the flow of currents, scale of descent to the mile, wear
of precipice, and time necessary for the river to retire from the falls
business altogether and meander tranquilly along on a level like other
rivers. They arrayed themselves in oil-skin suits and spent an
unconscionable time at the back of the Horseshoe Fall, roaring out
observations about it that were rarely heard, owing to the deafening
din, and had more than one narrow escape from tumbling into the water in
these expeditions. They carefully bottled some of it, which they
afterward carefully sealed with red wax and duly labelled, intending to
add it to a collection of similar phials which Sir Robert had made of
famous waters in many countries. They went over the mills and factories
in the neighborhood, and Sir Robert had long confabs with the managers,
of whom he asked permission to "jot down" the interesting facts
developed in the course of their conversations, surprising them by his
knowledge of mechanics and the subjects in hand.

"Man alive! what do you want with _those_?" said he to one of them, a
keen-faced young fellow, who was showing him the boiler-fires. He
pointed with his stick as he spoke, and rattled it briskly about the
brick-work by way of accompaniment as he went on: "Such a waste of
force, of money! downright stupidity! You don't want it. You don't need
it, any more than you need an hydraulic machine tacked to the back of
your trains. You have got water enough running past your very door to - "

"I've told that old fool Glass that a thousand times," broke in the
young man; "but if he wants to try and warm and light the world with a
gas-stove when the sun is up I guess it's no business of mine, though it
does rile me to see the power thrown away and good coal wasted. If I had
the capital, here's what _I_'d do. Here."

Seizing Sir Robert's stick, the enthusiast drew a fondly-loved ideal
mill in the coal-dust at his feet, while Sir Robert looked and listened,
differed, suggested, with keen interest, and Mr. Heathcote gave but
haughty and ignorant attention to the talk that followed.

"Yes, that's the way of it; but Glass has lived all his life with his
head in a bag, and he can't see it. I am surprised to see you take an
interest in it. Ever worked at it?" said the man in conclusion.

"A little," said Sir Robert affably, who could truthfully have said as
much of anything. "Who is this Glass?"

"Oh, he's the man that owns all this; the stupidest owl that ever lived.
I wish he could catch on like you. I'd like very well to work with you,"
was the reply.

"A bumptious fellow, that," commented Mr. Heathcote when they left.
"He'd 'like to work with you,' indeed!"

"A fellow with ideas. I'd like to work with him," replied his uncle;
"though he isn't burdened with respect for his employers."

Miss Noel meanwhile tied on her large straw hat, took her cane, basket,
trowel, tin box, and, followed by Parsons with her sketching-apparatus,
went off to hunt plants or wash in sketches, a most blissfully occupied
and preoccupied old lady.

To Mr. Ketchum's great amusement, Miss Noel, Mrs. Sykes, and Mr.
Heathcote all arrived at a particular spot within a few moments of each
other one morning, all alike prepared and determined to get the view it

Miss Noel had said to Job _en route,_ "Do you think that I shall be able
to get a fly and drive about the country a bit? I should so like it. Are
they to be had there?"

And he had replied, "You will have some difficulty in _not_ taking 'a
fly' there, I guess. The hackmen would rather drive your dead body
around town for nothing than let you enjoy the luxury of walking about
unmolested. But I will see to all that."

Accordingly, a carriage had been placed at their disposal, and they had
taken some charming drives, in the course of which Parsons, occupying
the box on one occasion, was seen to be peering very curiously about

"A great pity, is it not, Parsons, that we can't see all this in the
autumn, when the thickets of scarlet and gold are said to be so very
beautiful?" said Miss Noel, addressing her affably.

"Yes, mem," agreed Parsons. "And, if you please, mem, where are the
estates of the gentry, as I 'ave been lookin' for ever since we came

"Not in this part," replied Miss Noel. "The red Indians were here not
very long since. You should really get a pin-cushion of their
descendants, those mild, dirty creatures that work in bark and beads.
Buy of one that has been baptized: one shouldn't encourage them to
remain heathens, you know. Your friends in England will like to see
something made by them; and they were once very powerful and spread all
over the country as far as - as - I really forget where; but I know they
were very wild and dreadful, and lived in wigwams, and wore moccasins."

"Oh, indeed, mem!" responded Parsons, impressed by the extent of her
mistress's information.

"A wigwam is three upright poles, such as the gypsies use for their
kettles, thatched with the leaves of the palm and the plantain," Miss
Noel went on. "Dear me! It is very odd! I certainly remember to have
read that; but perhaps I am getting back to the Southern Americans
again, which does so vex Robert. I wonder if one couldn't see a wigwam
for one's self? It can't be plantain, after all: there is none growing
about here."

She asked Mabel about this that evening, and the latter told her husband
how Miss Noel was always mixing up the two continents.

"I don't despair, Mabel. They will find this potato-patch of ours after
a while," he said good-humoredly.

But he was less amiable when Mrs. Sykes said at dinner next day, "I
should like to try your maize. Quite simply boiled, and eaten with
butter and salt, I am told it is quite good, really. I have heard that
the Duke of Slumborough thought it excellent."

"You don't say so! I am so glad to hear it! I shall make it generally
known as far as I can. Such things encourage us to go on trying to make
a nation of ourselves. It would have paralyzed all growth and
development in this country for twenty years if he had thought it
'nasty,'" said Job. "Foreigners can't be too particular how they express
their opinions about us. Over and over again we have come within an ace
of putting up the shutters and confessing that it was no use pretending
that we could go on independently having a country of our own, with
distinct institutions, peculiarities, customs, manners, and even
productions. It would be so much better and easier to turn ourselves
over to a syndicate of distinguished foreigners who would govern us
properly, - stamp out ice-water and hot rolls from the first, as unlawful
and not agreeing with the Constitution, give us cool summers, prevent
children from teething hard, make it a penal offence to talk through the
nose, and put a bunch of Bourbons in the White House, with a divine
right to all the canvas-back ducks in the country. There are so many
kings out of business now that they could easily give us a bankrupt one
to put on our trade dollar, or something really _sweet_ in emperors who
have seen better days. And a standing army of a hundred thousand men,
all drum-majors, in gorgeous uniforms, helmets, feathers, gold lace,
would certainly scare the Mexicans into caniptious and unconditional
surrender. The more I think of it, the more delightful it seems. It is
mere stupid obstinacy our people keeping up this farce of
self-government, when anybody can see that it is a perfect failure, and
that the country has no future whatever."

"Oh, you talk in that way; but I don't think you would really like it,"
said Mrs. Sykes. "Americans seem to think that they know everything:
they are above taking any hints from the Old World, and get as angry as
possible with me when I point out a few of the more glaring defects that
strike me."

"I am surprised at that. Our great complaint is that we can't get any
advice from Europeans. If we only had a little, even, we might in time
loom up as a fifth-rate power. But no: they leave us over here in this
wilderness without one word of counsel or criticism, or so much as a
suggestion, and they ought not to be surprised that we are going to the
dogs. What else can they expect?" said Mr. Ketchum.

"Husband, dear, you were very sharp with my cousin to-day, and it was
not like you to show temper, - at least, not temper exactly, but
vexation," said Mabel to him afterward in mild rebuke. "She has told me
that you quite detest the English, so that she wonders you should have
married me. And I said that you were far too intelligent and just to
cherish wrong feelings toward any people, much less my people."

"Well, if _she_ represented England I should drop England quietly over
the rapids some day when I could no longer stand her infernal
patronizing, impertinent airs, and rid the world of a nuisance," said
Mr. Ketchum, with energy. "Excuse my warmth, but that woman would poison
a prairie for me. Fortunately, I happen to know that she only represents
a class which neither Church nor State there has the authority to shoot,
_yet_, and I am not going to cry down white wool because there are black
sheep. Look at Sir Robert, and Miss Noel, and all the rest of them, how
different they are."

Captain Kendall certainly found Niagara delightful, for, owing to the
absorption of the party in their different pursuits, he was able to see
more of Ethel than he had ever done. He was so different from the men
she had known that he was a continual study to her. Instead of the
studied indifference, shy avoidance, shy advances, culminating in a
blunt and straightforward declaration of "intentions," which she would
have thought natural in an admirer, followed by transparent, honest
delight in the event of acceptance, or manly submission to the
inevitable in the event of rejection, Captain Kendall had surprised her
by liking her immediately, or at least by showing that he did, and
seeking her persistently, without any pretence of concealment. He talked
to her of politics, of social questions in the broadest sense, of books,
scientific discoveries, his travels, and the travels of others. He read
whole volumes of poetry to her. He discoursed by the hour on the manly
character, its faults, merits, peculiarities, and possibilities, and
then contrasted it with the womanly one, trait for trait, and it seemed
to her that women had never been praised so eloquently,
enthusiastically, copiously. At no time was he in the least choked by
his feelings or at a loss for a fresh word or sentiment. Such romance,
such ideality, such universality, as it were, she had never met. When
his admiration was most unbridled it seemed to be offered to her as the
representative of a sex entirely perfect and lovely. Everything in
heaven and earth, apparently, ministered to his passion and made him
talk all around the beloved subject with a wealth of simile and
suggestion that she had never dreamed of. But, if he gave full
expression to his agitated feelings in these ways, he was extremely
delicate, respectful, reserved, in others. He wrapped up his heart in so
many napkins, indeed, that, being a practical woman not extraordinarily
gifted in the matter of imagination, she frequently lost sight of it
altogether, and she sometimes failed to follow him in a broad road of
sentiment that (like the Western ones which Longfellow has described)
narrowed and narrowed until it disappeared, a mere thread, up a tree. If
he looked long, after one of these flights, at her sweet English face to
see what impression he had made, he was often forced to see that it was
not the one he had meant to make at all.

"Is anything amiss?" she asked once, in her cool, level tone, fixing
upon him her sincerely honest eyes. "Are there blacks on my nose?"
Although she had distinctly refused him at Kalsing, as became a girl
destitute of vanity and coquetry and attached to some one else, she had
not found him the less fluent, omnipresent, persuasive, at Niagara. It
was diverting to see them seated side by side on Goat Island, he waving
his hand toward the blue sky, apostrophizing the water, the foliage, the
clouds, and what not, in prose and verse, quite content if he but got a
quiet glance and assenting word now and then, she listening demurely in
a state of protestant satisfaction, her fair hair very dazzling in the
sunshine, an unvarying apple-blossom tint in her calm face, her fingers
tatting industriously not to waste the time outright. It was very
agreeable in a way, she told herself, but something must really be done
to get rid of the man. And so, one morning when they chanced to be
alone, and he was being unusually ethereal and beautiful in his remarks,
telling her that, as Byron had said, she would be "the morning star of
memory" for him, she broke in squarely, "That is all very nice; very
pretty, I am sure. But I do hope you quite understand that I have not
the least idea of marrying you. There is no use in going on like this,
you know, and you would have a right to reproach me if I kept silent and
led you to think that I was being won over by your fine speeches. You
see, you don't really want a star at all. You want a wife; though
military men, as a rule, are better off single. I do thank you heartily
for liking me for myself, and all that, and I shall always remember the
kind things you have done, and our acquaintance, but you must put me
quite out of your head as a wife. I should not suit you at all. You
would have to leave the American service, and I should hate feeling I
had tied you down, and I couldn't contribute a penny toward the
household expenses, and, altogether, we are much better apart. It would
not answer at all. So, thank you again for the honor you have conferred
upon me, and be - be rather more - like other people, won't you, for the
future? Auntie fancies that I am encouraging you, and is getting very
vexed about it. Perhaps you had better go away? Yes, that would be best,
I think."

Thus solicited, Captain Kendall went away, taking a mournfully-eloquent
farewell of Ethel, which she thought final; but in this she was

Our party did not linger long after this. Sir Robert met a titled
acquaintance, who inflamed his mind so much about Manitoba that he
decided to go to Canada at once, taking Miss Noel, Ethel, and Mr.
Heathcote; Mrs. Sykes had taken up on her first arrival with some New
York people, who asked her to visit them in the central part of the
State, - which disposed of her; Mabel was secretly longing to get back to
her "American child," as Mrs. Sykes called little Jared Ponsonby; and
they separated, with the understanding that they should meet again
before the English guests left the country, and with a warm liking for
each other, the Sykes not being represented in the pleasant covenants of
friendship formed.

"I am glad that we have not to bid Ketchum good-by here," said Sir
Robert. "Such a hearty, genial fellow! And how kind he has been to us!
His hospitality is the true one; not merely so much food and drink and
moneyed outlay for some social or selfish end, but the entertainment of
friends because they _are_ friends, with every possible care for their
pleasure and comfort, and the most unselfish willingness to do anything
that can contribute to either. I am afraid he would not find many such
hosts as himself with us. We entertain more than the Americans, but I do
not think we have as much of the real spirit of hospitality as a nation.
The relation between host and guest is less personal, there is little
sense of obligation, or rather sacredness, on either side, and the
convenience, interest, or amusement of the Amphitryon is more apt to be
considered, as a general thing, than the pleasure of the guest: at least
this has been growing more and more the case in the last twenty years,
as our society has broken away from old traditions and levelled all its
barriers, to the detriment of our social graces, not to speak of our
morals and manners. As for that charmingly gentle, sweet woman Mrs.
Ketchum, it is my opinion that we are not likely to improve on that type
of Englishwoman. A modest, simple, religious creature, a thorough
gentlewoman, and a devoted wife and mother. My cousin Guy Rathbone is
engaged to a specimen of a new variety, - one of the 'emancipated,'
forsooth; a woman who has a betting-book instead of a Bible and plays
cards all day Sunday. He tells me that she is wonderfully clever, and
that it is all he can do to keep her from running about the kingdom
delivering lectures on Agnosticism; as if one wanted one's wife to be a
trapesing, atheistical Punch-and-Judy! And the fellow seemed actually
pleased and flattered. He told me that she had 'an astonishing grasp of
such subjects' and was 'attracting a great deal of attention.' And I
told him that if I had a wife who attracted attention in such ways I
would lock her up until she came to her senses and the public had
forgotten her want of modesty and discretion. This ought to be called
the Age of Fireworks. The craze for notoriety is penetrating our very
almshouses, and every toothless old mumbler of ninety wants to get
himself palmed off as a centenarian in the papers and have a lot of
stuff printed about him."

"I see what you mean, Robert," said Miss Noel, "and it certainly cannot
be wholesome for women to thirst for excitement, and one would think a
lady would shrink from being conspicuous in any way; but things are very
much changed, as you say. And I agree with you in your estimate of the
Ketchums. She is a sweet young thing, and I heartily like him. Only
think! his last act was to send a great basket of fine fruits up to my
room, and quite an armful of railway-novels for the journey. Such
beautiful thought for our comfort as they have shown!"

"He is rather a good sort in some ways, but a very ignorant man. I
showed him some of my specimens the other day, and he thought them
granitic, when they were really Silurian mica schist of some kind," put
in Mrs. Sykes, who never could bear unqualified praise. "Still, on the
whole, the Americans are less ignorant than might have been expected."

"_I_ consider Mr. Ketchum a most kind, gentlemanly, sociable, clever
man," said Miss Noel, with an emphatic nod of her head to each
adjective, "geology or no geology. And I must say that it is very
ungrateful of you to speak of him so sneeringly always."

Sir Robert only waited to write the usual batch of letters, including a
last appeal to the editor of the "Columbia Eagle" to know whether he
intended to apologize for and publicly retract a certain article, and
asking "whether it was possible that any considerable or respectable
portion of the Americans could be so arbitrary, illiberal, and exclusive
as to wish to exclude the English from America." This done, he left for
Canada with his relatives. With his stay there we have nothing to do. It
consumed six weeks of exhaustive travel and study of Canadian conditions
and resources, resulting ultimately in the conclusion that Manitoba was
not the place he was looking for. The ladies, who had been left in
Montreal, were then taken for a short tour through the country, which
they all enjoyed, after which Sir Robert asked Miss Noel whether she
would be willing to take Ethel back to Niagara and wait there a
fortnight, or perhaps a little longer, while he and Mr. Heathcote came
back by way of New England and from there went down into Maryland and
Virginia, where, according to "a member of the Canadian Parliament,"
lands were to be had for a song.

"A fortnight? I could spend a twelve-month there," exclaimed she. "Had
it not been that I was ashamed to insist upon being let off this
journey, I should have stopped there as it was."

To Niagara the aunt and niece and Parsons went, as agreed, and there

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