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and in ordinary years by the extreme South. It is the babit of Americans to go to some watering place every summer, that is, to some place either of sea water or of inland waters. This is done much in England; more in Ireland than in England; but, I think, more in the States than even in Ireland. But of all such summer haunts, Newport is supposed to be in many ways the most captivating. In the first place it is certainly the most fashionable, and in the next place it is said to be the most beautiful. We decided on going to Newport, led thither by the latter reputation rather than the former. As we were still in the early part of September we expected to find the place full, but in this we were disappointed ;-disappointed, I say, rather than gratified, although a crowded house at such a place is certainly a nuisance. But a house which is prepared to make up six hundred beds, and which is called on to make up only twenty-five becomes, after a while, somewhat melancholy. The natural depression of the landlord communicates itself to his servants, and from the servants it descends to the twenty-five guests, who wander about the long passages and deserted balconies like the ghosts of those of the summer visitors, who cannot rest quietly in their graves at home.
In England we know nothing of hotels prepared for six hundred visitors, all of whom are expected to live in common. Domestic architects would be frightened at the dimensions which are needed, and at the number of apartments which are required to be clustered under one roof. We went to the Ocean Hotel at Newport, and fancied, as we first entered the hall under a verandah as high as the house, and made our way into the passage, that we had been taken to a well-arranged' barrack. T'Have you rooms ?” I asked, as a man always does ask on first reaching his inn. “Rooms enough,” the clerk said. “We have only fifty here.” But that fifty dwindled down to twentyfive during the next day or two. . We were a melancholy set, the ladies appearing to be afflicted in this way worse than the gentlemen, on account of their enforced abstinence from tobacco. What can twelve ladies do scattered about a drawing-room, so-called, intended for the accommodation of two hundred? The drawing-room at the Ocean Hotel, Newport, is not as big as Westminster Hall, but would, I should think, make a very good House of Commons for the British nation. Fancy the feelings of a lady when she walks into such a room intending to spend her evening there, and finds six or seven other ladies located on various sofas at terrible distances-all strangers to her. She has come to Newport probably to enjoy herself; and as, in accordance with the customs of the place, she has dined at two, she has nothing before her for the evening but the society of that huge furnished cavern. Her husband, if she have one, or her father, or her lover, has probably entered the room with her. But a man has never the courage to endure such a position long. He sidles out with some muttered excuse, and seeks solace with a cigar. The lady, after half an hour of contemplation, creeps silently near some companion in the desert, and suggests in a whisper that Newport does not seem to be very full at present.
We stayed there for a week, and were very melancholy; but in our melancholy we still talked of the war. Americans are said to be given to bragging, and it is a sin of which I can not altogether acquit them. But I have constantly been surprised at hearing the Northern speak of their own military achievements with any thing but self-praise. “We've been whipped, sir; and we shall be whipped again before we've done; uncommon well whipped we shall be.” “We began cowardly, and were afraid to send our own regiments through one of our own cities.” This alluded to a demand that had been made on the Government, that troops going to Washington should not be sent through Baltimore, because of the strong feeling for rebellion which was known to exist in that city. President Lincoln complied with this request, thinking it well to avoid a collision between the mob and the soldiers. “We began cowardly, and now we're going on cowardly, and darn't attack them. Well; when we've been whipped often enough, then we shall learn the trade.” Now all this,-and I heard much of such a nature, could not be called boasting. But yet with it all there was a substratum of confidence. I have heard northern gentlemen complaining of the President, complaining of all his ministers one after another, complaining of the contractors who were robbing the army, of the commanders who did not know how to command the army, and of the army itself which did not know how to obey; but I do not remember that I have discussed the matter with any Northerner who would admit a doubt as to ultimate success.
We were certainly rather melancholy at Newport, and the empty house may perhaps have given its tone to the discussions on the war. I confess that I could not stand the drawing-room-the ladies' drawing-room as such-like rooms are always called at the hotels, and that I basely deserted my wife. I could not stand it either here or elsewhere, and it seemed to me that other husbands,--ay, and even lovers,—were as hard
pressed as myself. I protest that there is no spot on the earth's surface so dear to me as my own drawing-room, or rather my wife's drawing-room at home; that I am not a man given hugely to clubs, but one rather rejoicing in the rustle of petticoats. I like to have women in the same room with me. But at these hotels I found myself driven away,-propelled as it were by some unknown force,- to absent myself from the feminine haunts. Anything was more palatable than them; even “liquoring up” at a nasty bar, or smoking in a comfortless reading-room among a deluge of American newspapers. And I protest also,-hoping as I do so that I may say much in this volume to prove the truth of such protestation, that this comes from no fault of the American women. They are as lovely as our own women. Taken generally, they are better instructed -though perhaps not better educated. They are seldom troubled with mauvaise honte,- I do not say it in irony, but begging that the words may be taken at their proper meaning. They can always talk, and very often can talk welī. But when assembled together in these vast, cavernous, would-be luxurious, but in truth horribly comfortless hotel drawing-rooms, they are unapproachable. I have seen lovers, whom I have known to be lovers, unable to remain five minutes in the same cavern with their beloved ones.
And then the music? There is always a piano in an hotel drawing-room, on which, of course, some one of the forlorn ladies is generally employed. I do not suppose that these pianos are in fact, as a rule, louder and harsher, more violent and less musical, than other instruments of the kind. They seem to be so, but that, I take it, arises from the exceptional mental depression of those who have to listen to them. Then the ladies, or probably some one lady, will sing, and as she hears her own voice ring and echo through the lofty corners and round the empty walls, she is surprised at her own force, and with increased efforts sings louder and still louder. She is tempted to fancy that she is suddenly gifted with some power of vocal melody unknown to her before, and filled with the glory of her own performance shouts till the whole house rings. At such moments she at least is happy, if no one else is so. . Looking at the general sadness of her position, who can grudge her such happiness?
And then the children,-babies, I should say if I were speaking of English bairns of their age; but seeing that they are Americans, I hardly dare to call them children. The actual age of these perfectly civilized and highly educated beings may
be from three to four. One will often see five or six such seated at the long dinner-table of the hotel, breakfasting and dining with their elders, and going through the ceremony with all the gravity, and more than all the decorum of their grandfathers. When I was three years old I had not yet, as I im. agine, been promoted beyond a silver spoon of my own wherewith to eat my bread and milk in the nursery, and I feel assured that I was under the immediate care of a nursemaid, as I gobbled up my minced mutton mixed with potatoes and gravy. But at hotel life in the States the adult infant lisps to the waiter for everything at table, handles his fish with epicurean delicacy, is choice in his selection of pickles, very particular that his beefsteak at breakfast shall be hot, and is instant in his demand for fresh ice in his water. But perhaps his, or in this case her, retreat from the room when the meal is over, is the chef d'oeuvre of the whole performance. The little precocious, full-blown beauty of four signifies that she has completed her meal,-or is “through” her dinner, as she would express it,—by carefully extricating herself from the napkin which has been tucked around her. Then the waiter, ever attentive to her movements, draws back the chair on which she is seated, and the young lady glides to the floor. A little girl in Old England would scramble down, but little girls in New England never scramble. Her father and mother, who are no more than her chief ministers, walk before her out of the saloon, and then she,--swims after them. But swimming is not the proper word. Fishes in making their way through the water assist, or rather impede, their motion with no dorsal riggle. No animal taught to move directly by its Creator adopts a gait so useless, and at the same time so graceless. Many women, having received their lessons in walking from a less eligible instructor, do move in this way, and such women this unfortunate little lady has been instructed to copy. The peculiar step to which I allude is to be seen often on the Boulevards in Paris. It is to be seen more often in second rate French towns, and among fourth rate French women. Of all signs in women betokening vulgarity, bad taste, and aptitude to bad morals, it is the surest. And this is the gait of going which American mothers,--some American mothers I should say,-- love to teach their daughters! As a comedy at an hotel, it is very delightful, but in private life I should object to it.
To me Newport could never be a place charming by reason of its own charms. That it is a very pleasant place when it is full of people and the people are in spirits and happy, I do not
doubt. But then the visitors would bring, as far as I am concerned, the pleasantness with them. The coast is not fine. To those who know the best portions of the coast of Wales or Cornwall,-or better still, the western coast of Ireland, of Clare and Kerry for instance, -it would not be in any way remarkable. It is by no means equal to Dieppe or Biarritz, and not to be talked of in the same breath with Spezzia. The hotels, too, are all built away from the sea; so that one cannot sit and watch the play of the waves from one's window. Nor are there pleasant rambling paths down among the rocks, and from one short strand to another. There is excellent bathing for those who like bathing on shelving sand. I don't. The
spot is about half a mile from the hotels, and to this the bathers are carried in omnibuses. Till one o'clock ladies bathe ;-which operation, however, does not at all militate against the bathing of men, but rather necessitates it as regards those men who have ladies with them. For here ladies and gentlemen bathe in decorous dresses, and are very polite to each other. I must say, that I think the ladies have the best of it. My idea of seabathing for my own gratification is not compatible with a full suit of clothing. I own that my tastes are vulgar and perhaps indecent; but I love to jump into the deep clear sea from off a rock, and I love to be hampered by no outward impediments as I do so. For ordinary bathers, for all ladies, and for men less savage in their instincts than I am, the bathing at Newport is very good.
The private houses-villa residences as they would be termed by an auctioneer in England--are excellent. Many of them are, in fact, large mansions, and are surrounded with grounds, which, as the shrubs grow up, will be very beautiful. Some have large, well-kept lawns, stretching down to the rocks, and these to my taste give the charm to Newport. They extend about two miles along the coast. Should my lot have made me a citizen of the United States, I should have had no objection to become the possessor of one of these “ villa residences, but I do not think that I should have "gone in" for hotel life at Newport.
We hired saddle-horses, and rode out nearly the length of the island. It was all very well, but there was little in it remarkable either as regards cultivation or scenery. We found nothing that it would be possible either to describe or remember. The Americans of the United States have had time to build and populate vast cities, but they have not yet had time to surround themselves with pretty scenery. Outlying grand