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MODERN Washington society is composed of three classes, with separating lines quite distinctly drawn: The official class, the old Southern element, very exclusive, and said to be very charming; and the newer people of wealth and leisure from the North and West. Official society is composed of the officers of government, Senators and Representatives, army and navy officers, and their families. In this circle social customs obtain quite the opposite of those observed elsewhere. The stranger, for instance, is expected to call first, and in the case of the higher officers of government, the person called upon is under no obligation to return the call.
The routine of official society comprises stated receptions at the White House,—which every one is privileged to attend,-Cabinet receptions, and state dinners to the justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Senators and Representatives, given by the President at the White House, and to stated receptions by ladies of Cabinet Ministers, Senators, and Representatives at their homes. Members of the Diplomatic Corps also receive and entertain during the season.
That factor of modern social life, the club, is fairly well developed in Washington. The directory gives eighteen purely social clubs. Of these one of the most notable is the Metropolitan, whose membership is drawn chiefly from the Army and Navy, the Diplomatic Corps, and the officers of government. This club was organized on the 15th of March, 1882, "for literary, mutual improvement, and social purposes,” and now numbers some five hundred and eighty-two members, including permanent and non-resident. It has an elegant club-house on H Street, in the fashionable quarter, furnished with restaurant, reading-room, library, and all other necessary conveniences. Perhaps the club of most marked individuality is the Gridiron, a dining club composed solely of Washington journalists and correspondents. Its membership is limited to forty members. It was organized in January, 1885, by several journalists, who had been in the habit of meeting daily at dinner, at first casually, and later by design, with so much pleasure and profit, that they decided to organize a club of their fellow-workers, with the object of uniting them in closer bonds of friendship, and for the promotion of good fellowship. That veteran journalist, Ben: Perley Poore, was the first president; the second was Fred. Perry Powers, of the Chicago Times; the third, Major John M. Carson, of the Philadelphia Ledger. Mr. Powers is now president. The club gives stated dinners at Welcker's or Chamberlain's—usually six or eight in the course of the season, to which members are privileged to bring guests; these guests are usually their friends among senators, representatives, and high officers of government. All the members of the present Cabinet, Speaker Carlisle, Max 0. Rell, Henry Watterson, and the brilliant Clover Club of Philadelphia, have been numbered among the guests of the club. Recently the club has provided that ten members may be chosen outside of the journalistic profession, but they have not as yet been elected.
The Cosmos Club has also a national reputation. It is composed of the scientists, artists, and literary men of the capital, and was incorporated December 13, 1878, as the successor of the old Washington Scientific Club.
Its particular objects, as stated in its articles of incorporation, are "the advancement of its members in science, literature, and art, their mutual improvement by social intercourse, and the acquisition and maintenance of a library.” A specialist in any branch of physics, art, or letters introduced at the Cosmos usually finds men there proficient in and able to talk intelligently upon his special theme. A review of the more prominent members shows how completely Washington has become the scientific centre of the country. In astronomy are such specialists as Professors J. R. Eastman of the Naval Observatory, S. P. Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, William Harkness and Simon Newcomb, the latter also able to inform one as to the latest experiments in psychology, or to write an exhaustive essay on the wages question. In geology there is Major J. W. Powell, of the United States Geological Survey, an authority on all matters relating to the earth's crust, with S. F. Emmons, G. K. Gilbert, Arnold Hague, Marcus Baker, and Captain C. E. Dutton. In ethnology Major Powell, who is also a specialist in that science, with Colonel Garrick Mallery (author and defender of the theory that there are now more Indians on the North American continent than there were when Columbus discovered it), Dr. J. S. Billings, Director of the Army Medical Museum, W. H. Holmes, whose studies of aboriginal art in pottery have been reinforced by clever sketches of his subjects, H. W. Henshaw, Otis T. Mason, Dr. Washington Matthews, who attended General Sheridan in his last illness, and Dr. H. C. Yarrow, the present president of the club, who as an ethnologist is noted for his knowledge of the mortuary customs of the world. Among explorers and geographers are General Greely, whose polar expedition reached a higher latitude than any that had preceded it, Henry Gannett, Chief Topographer of the Geological Survey, George Kennan, the famous Siberian explorer, Commander J. R. Bartlett, of the Navy, William T. Hornaday (both familiar to the reading public from their tales of travel and adventure), and Gardiner G. Hubbard, who is at the head of one of the great geographical societies of the world. In chemistry there are Dr. J. H. Kidder, of the Swatara expedition, H. W. Wiley, F. W. Clarke, and Dr. Carl Barus. Among naturalists, Colonel McDonald, United States Commissioner of Fisheries, Professor G. Brown Goode, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Professor C. V. Riley, entomologist of the Agricultural Department, Lester F. Ward,