Графични страници
PDF файл

elsewhere; I have remarked upon the elegant dress of the American women; I have remarked upon the lounging and rocking-chairs in which they rock and fan themselves incessantly: but I have not remarked


their care of their children on those occasions; I have not remarked on any wish to inform their minds, shown by the books carried with them; I have not remarked upon any endeavour to amuse and employ their fingers with fancy-work:- I have not remarked on these, because in no saloon throughout America did I ever see any female even momentarily employed with children, with books, or with needle-work. Let it not be said, that I came di. rect to the backwoods, and had no opportunity of forming an opinion. I came by fashionable steamboats and large towns; and I so returned. I lingered at fashionable watering-places. Every where I saw the same listless, whining apathy, the same idleness and affectation of helpless fine-ladyism. Where an Englishwoman, of whatever class, would have had her embroidery-frame or her crochetwork, or even a novel, the American woman, whether rich or poor, had her rocking-chair and her fan, her simper and her sigh, her whine and her finery.

“ From what I saw of American women at Terre Haute, I believe much of this idleness to be affected. Here, at all events, I know that they work, and are obliged to work, in private. The marvel to me is that American men, who are so active-minded themselves, can admire such listless apathy in the other sex. That they do admire it, is proved by the fact that the women practise it. Certainly they have every right to please themselves :

"Non equidem invideo : miror magis :' but I believe that few English travellers, who are won by the frank kind-hearted energy of the American men, do not turn disgusted from the lack-a-daisical conceit of their women."

The difficulty of finding good servants has been a householder's complaint in all ages and all climes; but in America it is impossible to rely upon having a servant at all. This is a constantly recurring grievance throughout the book; and that so many instances should have happened in so short a time, and at so many places, is a proof of the generality of the fact.

But, however unpleasant it may be to Europeans to be always prepared to remove to an hotel, in consequence of the flight of their household, the causes which produce this state of things prevent our considering it an evil much to be regretted. Mr. Beste, indeed, notices the general well-being of the people, and the opportunities open to every one who will work of being his own master; and though he recognises a little poverty as one of the wants of America, the general kindness and good-nature of Americans both to himself and to one another, to which he bears ample and willing testimony, is some compensation for nuisances of this kind. That the

[ocr errors]

two are closely connected we think there is little reason to doubt. It is, however, easy to perceive, that entire personal independence and absolute practical equality, not merely claimed in theory, but acted on as a thing of course, were not wholly suited to the taste of the English gentleman, whose praises of the black servants in the United States are bestowed liberally and with an emphasis very natural. Some of the little incidents he records are amusing enough to read of, though very likely we should have felt ourselves “run into” in similar circumstances as sharply as our traveller. One day, at Terre Haute, when he was very unwell,

“ The waiter boy there again threw open the door and announced 'a gentleman.

" A well-dressed labourer entered, and, without waiting for word or sign from me, seated himself upon a sofa opposite.

• You do not remember me, sir?' he asked. I do not,' But I knew you very well in England.' Did you?' 'Is not your name so and so ?'It is.' • Did not you live in Hampshire ? I did. Will you please to come to the point.' 'I used to see you very often at the Catholic church in Southampton.' 'Did you ? • I used to be working in the docks there; but I thought it better to emigrate. And what are you doing now?' • I am working on the railway here. This is a fine country, sir. How do you like it ? • Better than it likes me.

I am very unwell.'

• Yes. A great many people are when they first come;' and he settled himself in his seat, put down his hat beside him, and wiped his forehead, with the evident intention of paying me a long visit.

I am not well, Mr. Murphy; and I am afraid I can't entertain you,' I said. • Oh, don't mintion it. Sure we'll talk about old times in Hampshire.' 'Mr. Murphy, I am not well, and I must request you to leave me.'

“ He stared as if doubting whether his ears had properly conveyed to him my impertinent insinuation.

• I am not well, Mr. Murphy; if I can do any thing for you, let me know, and I will attend to it when I am better.'

He arose quickly; and muttering something implying that he would come and visit me again, left the room with a pitying expression, as if he knew that delirium only could account for

my incivility.

“ Dr. Read had been present; and though much amused, was shocked at my behaviour. In vain I tried to make him understand that such an one, in England, if he had come to any gentleman's house, would not have presumed to enter even the servants' hall, but would have waited in the courtyard while his message was being delivered. The American shook his head disapprovingly.

Mr. Murphy was only another instance of an Irish emigrant in the novel predicament of feeling that he had enough to eat.

Here, again, some of the party are in contact with a dress

[ocr errors]

making “ lady," at a time too when sorrow had made them peculiarly indisposed for roughing it:

“Our mourning dresses,' writes Louie, 'had been made up by a dressmaker who lived at some little distance. One evening Catherine and I walked there to fetch them home. We arrived at the cottage, and found a little girl in the kitchen. She ran up stairs to call her mother; and an ill-tempered, disagreeable-looking woman came down in a few minutes. Catherine said that we had come to fetch the dresses.

* And where's the money?' demanded the woman abruptly.

• If you will call at the Prairie House to-morrow morning.' replied Catherine, your bill shall be paid.'

• That won't do, I guess,' observed another woman who joined us. 'Pay the



shall have the dresses.' I have not brought the money with me,' said my sister ; but surely you can trust us for a single night.'

• Who knows,' said the first woman, but what you may be off before the morning ?

We're not a-going to trust emigrant folks like you,' chimed in the second woman.

• Catherine reddened; but she smothered her anger, and said, • We are too large a party to move so quietly that you should not hear of it. But

are your people here such rogues that you suspect all travellers ?'

No, it's different with our own folks ; but folks such as

“ Here the dressmaker cast a contemptuous glance at us, as if we were something far below the worthy inhabitants of Terre Haute.

Why, what in the world do you take us for,' said I, indignantly intruding into the conversation, that you think we are not as good as yourselves ?'

I guess you think yourselves so at least,' said the dressmaker, eyeing me from head to foot.

Come,' said Catherine, who knew my rather excitable temper, and dreaded an explosion; 'come, my dear Louie, we must go home. Then you will bring the dresses and the bill to be paid tomorrow?' she continued, turning to the dressmaker.

• Well now, I guess you may as well take the walk as me, seeing that I have plenty else to do.'

Very well,' said Catherine, quietly ; 'we will bring the money to-morrow.'"

The vast immigration from Ireland, followed by a revulsion in popular feeling, and the great extension of the Know-nothing conspiracy, have greatly changed the prospects of Catholics in the United States since 1851. At the time of Mr. Beste's visit things were in a better state:

6 Mention has often been made of Mr. Lalumière, the good

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

Catholic priest of Terre Haute. He was a mild, gentlemanly-mannered nian ; a Frenchman, I believe, by birth, or of French extraction, but educated in America, and a citizen at heart. He was respected in the town, and lived on good terms with every one, of whatsoever creed. The Protestants, of every denomination, were the principal supporters of his church; his own congregation being poor. In his garden, he told me, was a great bell waiting for a belfry to hang it in; and the Protestants had promised to build him a belfry if he would put up a good town-clock in it for the use of all. The clock was on its road to Terre Haute; and it was hoped by all that bell and clock would both be mounted before long.

Four nuns, I know not of what order, lived in a house adjoining the church, and took in day-scholars, such as Miss Read. The people of the town had been long anxious to have Sisters of Mercy settled amongst them; and had engaged to build them a house and to provide for them so soon as the priest could procure them. These shrewd Protestant calculators were so convinced of the good effected by that sisterhood, that, without reference to differences of religious belief, they were prepared to welcome and support them. Will it be said that they were indifferent to all religion? if so, why were there five times as many churches, of various denominations, built and supported by voluntary contribution in Terre Haute as are to be found in any town of the same size in England ?

“ It has been already stated that all the best schools and colleges in the United States are in the hands of Catholics —either Jesuits or religious of other orders. It has been stated that the bulk of scholars at all these schools, convents, and colleges, are Protestants; that their religion is not tampered with by their teachers; but that they are received because the Catholics are too few to support exclusive establishments. In the towns, the majority of pupils are day-scholars--the children, therefore, of parents who have not time, as yet, to think of any religious creed for themselves or their offspring--the children of parents who have risen, or are rising, out of a state of labour, of toil, of traffic, of thrift, and of consequent domestic habits which ill qualify them to associate with the children of more refined classes or households.

American colleges are considerably more expensive than the Catholic colleges of England."

On the great question of emigration Mr. Beste's views are stated in a sensible and well-reasoned chapter. A young Englishman, with 50001. and no profession, who wishes to marry and to have the comforts of an independent home, cannot, he tells us, secure these in England, and maintain his position as a gentleman. Should he decide to emigrate, he is advised to reject Australia, Canada, and the slave-states, for the newly-settled free-states. We have not space to follow Mr. Beste through the details of the advice he gives the emigrant with respect to his land, but we cannot omit what VOL. IV.-NEW SERIES.


he says on the all-important topic, “whom to marry, and how to choose a wife :"

“ The experience of all emigrants in every country asserts that the whole comfort and success of the undertaking depends upon the good-will and adaptability of the disposition of the wife. Let no one, therefore, attempt it, if he has an old or a young wife whose temperament, character, or caprice is opposed to his plans."

There are, as usual, three courses to pursue : shall he take a wife with him, or marry an American, or return and fetch a countrywoman? The third being rejected upon sufficient grounds, hear Mr. Beste upon the second :

“Marrying an American implies devoting himself to a perpetual colic; for the whining, pining, helpless, lackadaisical affectation of fine-ladyism, which the American sex appear to think so attractive, must act as a perpetual blister, or rather colic, upon any Englishman, when he remembers the frankness, heartiness, life, and nature of a well-born, well-bred Englishwoman, who has no position to affect or to strive for. No doubt all this that I object to in American females is only manner; they are loving, faithful, virtuous, thrifty wives, and most affectionate mothers. I merely describe their manners as they impressed me; if my would-be emigrant thinks them attractive, let him select his wife from amongst them."

In parting from Mr. Beste, and expressing our hopes of again meeting him in some other equally pleasant and genuine book, we must express our regret that he should have marred it by occasional passages which will find little sympathy with most good Catholics of the present day. What right has any Catholic to use such expressions as this, that vested interests give people “a right to be a „nuisance, like Established Churches in all countries, from Rome to Ireland" ? Such sayings only lead the reader to suspect the writer's religious sincerity. Nor is a book of travels exactly the place for a violent personal attack on the editor of the Tablet newspaper, whatever may be the intensity of Mr. Beste's dislike to Mr. Lucas,-a dislike in which we no more share than we do in the extreme admiration professed for him by others, quite as good men as Mr. Beste.

Our author has sufficiently high ideas of the difference between a gentleman who is an English landed proprietor and the vulgar herd: we submit to him, therefore, that needlessly to put into print such nasty particulars as he enters into in


postscript" to one of his chapters, is by no means indicative of refinement and good taste. Nor, again, was it at all necessary to inform the reader of the exact number of pieces of plate which are in Mr. Beste's possession, nor of the number

« ПредишнаНапред »