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of life escapes you. The many miles of scrub and underwood are diversified chiefly by crude advertisements. TIere you are asked to purchase Duke's Mixture; there Castoria Toilet Powder is thrust upon your unwilling notice. In the few cities which you approach the frame-houses and plank-walks preserve the memory of the backwoods. In vain you look for the village church, which in Europe is never far away. In vain you look for the incidents which in our land lighten the tedium of a day's journey. All is barren and bleak monotony. The thin line of railway seems a hundred miles from the life of man. At one station I caught sight of an “Exposition Car," which bore the legend, “Cuba on Wheels," and was surprised as at a miracle. Outside Niles, a little country town, a battered leather-covered shay was waiting to take wayfarers to ihe Michigan Inn; and the impression made by so simple a spectacle is the best proof of the railroad's isolation. There is but one interlude in the desolate expanse_Niagara.

Before he reaches the station called Niagara Falls, the tourist has a foretaste of what in store for him. He is assailed in the train by touts, who . would inveigle him into a hotel or let him a carriage, and to touts he is an unwilling prey so long as he remains within sight or hearing of the rapids. The trim little town which has grown up about the falls, and may be said to hang upon the water, has a holiday aspect. The sightseers, the little carriages, the summer-hotels, all wear the same garb of gaiety and leisure. There is a look of contented curiosity on the faces of all who are not busy defacing the landscape with mills and power-stations, as of those about to contemplate a supreme wonder. And yet the sight of it brings the same sense of disappointment which the colossal masterpieces of nature always inspire. Not to be amazed at it would be absurd.

To pretend to appreciate it is absurd also. "The Thunder of the Waters" can neither be painted upon canvas nor described in words. It is composed on a scale too large for human understanding. A giant might find some amuse. ment in its friendly contemplation. A man can but stand aghast at its sound and size, as at some monstrous accident. He may compare the Fall on the American side with the Horse-shoe on the Canadian. He has no other standard of comparison, since Niagara not only transcends all other phenomena of its kind, but also our human vision and imagination. When you see the far-tossed spray lit up with a flash of iridescence, you catch at something which makes a definite impression; and you feel the same relief that a may feel when he finds a friend in a mob of strangers. To heap up epithets upon this mysterious force is the idlest sport. Are you nearer to it when you have called it “deliberate. vast, and fascinating"? You might as well measure its breadth and height, or estimate the number of gallons which descend daily from the broad swirling river above. A distinguished playwright once complained of Sophocles that he lacked human interest, and the charge may be brought with greater justice against Niagara. It is only through daring and danger that you can connect it with the human race: and you find yourself wondering where it was that Captain Webb was hurled to his death, or by what route the gallant little "Maid of the Mist" shot the rapids to escape the curiosity of the excise officer.

Nothing is more curious in the history of taste than the changed view which is taken to-day of natural scenery. Time was when the band and mind of man were deemed necessary for a beautiful effect: a wild immensity of mountain or water was thought a mere form of ugliness; a garden was

waste, if it were not trimmed to for- both are monstrous; it is in size alone mality; and a savage moorland was fit that they are comparable. Long be only for the sheep to crop.

The ad- fore he reaches “the gray city," as its miration of Father Hennepin, the com- inhabitants fondly call it, the traveller panion of La Salle and the first white is prepared for the worst. At Pullman who ever gazed upon Niagara, man a thick pall already hangs over was tempered by affright. "This won- everything. The nearer the train apderful Downfal," said he in 1678, “is proaches Chicago the drearier becomes compounded of Cross-streams of Water, the aspect. You are hauled through and two Falls, with an Isle sloping mile after mile of rubbish and scrapalong the middle of it. The Waters heap. You receive an impression of which fall from this horrible Precipice, sharp-edged flints and broken bottles. do foam and boyl after the most hid- When you pass the “City-Limits” you eous manner im ginable, making an believe yourself at your journey's end. Outrageous Noise, more terrible than You have arrived only at the boundary that of Thunder; for when the wind of Chicago's ambition, and Chicago is blows out of the South, their dismal forty minutes' distant. The station, roaring may be heard more than Fif- which bears the name “102nd St.," is teen Leagues off.” These are the epi- still in the prairies. A little more pathets of the seventeenth century,-"hor- tience and you catch a first glimpse of rible," "hideous," "outrageous," "dis- the lakevast, smooth, and gray in mal." Now take the modern view, elo- the morning light. A jolt, and you are quently expressed in 1879 by the United descending, grip in hand, upon the States Commissioners, whose object platform. was to preserve the Falls untouched for The first impression of Chicago, and ever. “The value of Niagara to the the last, is of an unfinished monstrosworld," they wrote, “and that which ity. It might be a vast railway stahas obtained for it the homage of so tion, built for men and women twenty many men whom the world reveres, feet high. The sky-scrapers, in which lies in its power of appeal to the higher it cherishes an inordinate pride, shut emotional and imaginative faculties, out the few rays of sunlight which penand this power is drawn from qualities etrate its dusky atmosphere. They and conditions too subtle to be known have not the excuse of narrow space through verbal description. To which their rivals in New York may proper apprehension of these, some- plead. They are built in mere wantonthing more than passing observation is ness, for within the City Limits, whose necessary; to an enjoyment of them, distance from the centre is the best something more than an instantaneous proof of Chicago's hopefulness, are act of will." It is the old dispute be- many miles of waste ground, covered tween beauty and wonder, between only with broken fences and hattered classic and romantic. Who is in the shanties. And, as they raise their right of it, the old priest or the modern heads through the murky fog, these commissioners? Each man will answer sky-scrapers wear a morose and sullen according to his temperament. For my look. If they are not mere lumps, their part, I am on the side of Father Henne- ornament is hideously heavy and prepin.

tensive. They never combine, as they Niagara is not an inappropriate intro- combine in New York, into an impresduction to Chicago. For Chicago also sive whole. They clamor blatantly of is beyond the scale of human compre- their size, and that is all. And if the bension and endeavor. In mere size city be hideously aggressive, what


word of excuse can be found for the is their quest, and it matters not in outskirts, for the Italian and Chinese what circumstances they pursue it. quarters, for the crude, new districts The avid type is universal and insistwhich fasten like limpets upon the ent. The energy of New York is said formless mass. of Chicago? These, to to be mere leisure compared to the an enduring ugliness add a spice of bustling of Chicago. Wherever you go cruelty and debauch, which are sepa- you are conscious of the universal rate and of themselves.

search after gold. The vestibule of the In its suggestion of horror Chicago is hotel is packed with people chatterdemocratic The rich and the poor ing, calculating, and telephoning. The alike suffer from the prevailing lack of click of the machine which registers taste. The proud “residences" on the the latest quotations never ceases. In Lake Shore are no pleasanter to gaze the street every one is hurrying that upon

than the sulky sky-scrapers. he may not miss a lucrative bargain, Some of them look like prisons; some until the industry and ambition of Chimake a sad attempt at gaiety; all are cago culminate in the Board of Trade. amazingly unlike the dwelling-houses The dial of the Board of Trade, or of men and women. Yet their owners the Pit as it is called, is the magnet are very wealthy. To them nothing is which attracts all the eyes of Chicago, denied that money can buy, and it is for on its face is marked the shifting. thus that they prefer to express them- changing price of wheat. And there selves and their ambitions. What, on the floor, below the Strangers' Galthen, is tolerable in Chicago? Lincoln lery, the gamblers of the West play for Park, which the smoke and fog of the the fortunes and lives of men. They city have not obscured, and the noble stand between the farmers, whose wavlake, whose fresh splendor no villainy ing cornfields they have never seen, of man can ever deface. And at one and the peasants of Europe, whose moment of the day, when a dark cloud taste for bread they do not share. But bung over the lake, and the sun set it is more keenly exciting to bet upon in a red glory behind the sky-scrapers,

the future crop of wheat than upon each black, and blacker for its en- the speed of a horse; and far larger circling smoke, Chicago rose superior sums may be hazarded in the Pit than to berself and her surroundings.

racecourse. And so the liveAfter ugliness, the worst foe of Chi- long day the Bulls and Bears confront cago is dirt. A thick, black, sooty one another, gesticulating fiercely, and dust lies upon everything. It is at the shouting at the top of their raucous peril of filthy hands that you attempt voices. If on the one hand they ruin to open a window. In the room that the farmer, or on the other starve the was allotted to me in a gigantic hotel peasant, it matters not to them. They I found a pair of ancient side-spring have enjoyed the excitement, and made boots, once the property, no doubt, of perchance a vast fortune at another's a prominent citizen, and their appari- expense. They are, indeed, the true tion intensified the impression of un- parasites of commerce; and in spite of cleanness. The streets are as untidy their intense voices and rapid gestures, as the houses; garbage is dumped in there is an air of unreality about all the unfinished roadways; and in or out their transactions. As I watched the of your hotel you will seek comfort in fury of the combatants, I found myvain. The citizens of Chicago them- self wondering why samples of corn selves are far too busy to think whether were thrown upon the floor. Perhaps their city is spruce or untidy. Money they serve to feed the pigeons.




Materialism, then, is the frank end to the West; and there is no reason and aim of Chicago. Its citizens desire why he should not found a school. to get rich as quickly and easily as Yet with all its faults and absurdipossible. The means are indifferent to ties upon its face, Chicago is the hapthem. It is the pace alone which is piest city in America. It is protected important. All they want is "a busi- by the triple brass of pride against all ness proposition" and "found money." the assaults of its enemies. Never And when they are rich, they have no in history was so sublime a vanity reother desire than to grow richer. Their vealed; and it is hard for a stranger to money is useless to them, except to understand upon what it is based. breed more money.

The inevitable re- Chicago is• Chicago-that is what its sult is a savagery of thought and habit. citizens say, with a flattered smile, If we may believe the newspapers of which makes argument useless. Its Chicago, peaceful men of business are dirt and dust do not disconcert its self"held up" at noon in crowded streets. esteem. The oversized ugliness of its The revolver is still a potent instru- buildings are no disappointment to its ment in this city of the backwoods. candid soul, and if its peculiar virtue But savagery is never without its re- escape your observation, so much the action.

worse for you. “The marvelous city of There has seldom been a

the West”-that is its own name, and nity of barbarians which did not find it lives up to it without an effort. Its relief in an extravagant sentimentality, history, as composed by its own citiand Chicago, in its hours of ease, is an zens, is one long pean of praise. One enthusiastic patron of the higher life. chronicler, to whose unconscious humor In culture it is fast outstripping Bos- I am infinitely indebted, dedicates his ton itself. It boasts more societies work to "the children of Chicago, who, whose object is "the promotion of se- if the Lord spares them until they shall rious thought upon art, science, and lit- have attained the alloted span of life, erature" than any other city in the will see this city the greatest metropoworld.

The clubs which it has estab- lis on the globe." That is a modest lished for the proper study of Ibsen estimate, and it makes us feel the inand Browning are without number. It adequacy of our poor speech to hymn is as eager for the enlightenment of the glories of Chicago. And if you women as for sending up or down the suggest a fault, its panegyrists are alprice of corn. The craze, which is the ways ready

with counterstroke. mark of a crude society, will pass like Having no taste for slaughter, I did not many others, and, though it may ap- visit Packing Town, but, without adpear sincere while it lasts, it is not mitting all the grave charges brought characteristic. The one triumph of against Chicago's noblest industry, one Chicago is its slang. It has invented might have supposed that the sudden a lingo more various and fuller of translation of herds of cattle into fancy than any known to man, and if it potted meat was not unattended with will forget Ibsen and exercise its inven- some inconvenience. This suspicion, tion after its own fashion, why should you are told, is an insult to the city. it not invent a new literature? Mr. What might disgust the traveller elseGeorge Ade, the Shakespeare of Chi- where has terrors in Chicago. cago, has already shown us what can “This Packing-Town odor," we be done with the new speech in his told by a zealot, "has been unjustly masterly “Fables in Slang,” to read criticized. To any one accustomed to it which is almost as good as a journey there is only a pleasant suggestion of





rich, ruddy blood and long rows of They are proud of the shapeless towns tempting 'sides' hung up to cool." I which spring up about them like mushprefer not to be tempted. I can only rooms in a single night. In brief, they bow before the ingenuity of this eu- are proud of all the things of which logy, which is not ironical. And if, they should feel shame; and even when more seriously, you reproach the cyni- their buildings have been measured cism of the Pit, which on this side or and their pace has been recognized, that may compel ruin, you are met their vanity is still a puzzle. with a very easy rejoinder. “The Chi- For, when all the world has been cago Board of Trade"--it is the same satisfactorily amazed, what boast is apologist who speaks—“is a world-re- left to the citizens of Chicago? They nowned commercial organization. It cannot take delight in the soil, since exercises a wider and a more potential the most of them do not belong to it. influence over the welfare of mankind The patriotism of the cosmopolitan than any other institution of its kind horde which is huddled together amid in existence." This assurance leaves their lofty Cliffs must perforce be an you dumb.

You might as well argue artificial sentiment. They cannot look with a brass band as with a citizen of with satisfaction upon the dishevelled Chicago; and doubtless you would suburbs in which they live. They wave the flag yourself if you stayed need not suppose the slaughtering of long enough in the wonderful West. pigs and beeves is the highest duty of But the panegyrist of the Pit, already

But wherever they dwell and quoted, helps us to explain Chicago's whatever they do, they are convinced vanity. "The fortunes made and lost of their own superiority. Their pride within the walls of the great building," is not merely revealed in print; it is says he proudly, "astonish the world." evident in a general familiarity of tone If Chicago can only astonish the world, and manner. If your cabman wishes that is enough. Its citizens fondly hope to know your destination, he prefaces that everything they do is on the larg- his question with the immortal words, est scale. Size, speed, and prominence "Say, boys,” and he thinks that he has are the three gods of their idolatry. put himself on amiable terms with you They are not content until they-the at

Indeed, the newly-arrived citizens--are all prominent, and their stranger is instantly asked to underbuildings are all the largest that cum- stand that he belongs to a far meaner ber the earth. It is a great comfort city than that in which he sojourns; to those who gamble away their sub- and, even with the evidence of misapstance in the Board of Trade to reflect plied wealth before his eyes, he cannot that the weathercock that surmounts believe it. its tower is the biggest ever seen by And what amiable impressions do human eye. There is not one of them you carry away from Chicago besides that will not tell you, with a satisfied the majesty of the lake, ever changing smile, that the slowest of their fire- in color and aspect, and the beauty engines can go from one end of the of Lincoln Park? A single memory lin. city to the other in five seconds. There gers in my mind. At sunset I saw a is not one of them who, in the dark black regiment marching along Michirecesses of his mind, is not sure that gan Avenue,-marching like soldiers; New York is a "back number." They and by its side on the pavement a are proud of the senseless height of laughing, shouting mob of negresses their houses, and of the rapidity with danced a triumphant cake-walk. They which they mount towards the sky grinned and sang and chattered in per


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