Across The Atlantic

The journey had as its principal destination Greece. Previous holidays in Europe had never included the Mediterranean, although there is no part of the world so rich in history and tradition as the countries that border the eastern end of that great inland sea.

While trying to decide where to go I happened to see an inscription on the end sheet of an old guide book attributing to the famous Dr. Johnson the re-mark that ” to visit the Mediterranean is the chief purpose of travel.” This settled things, for the great Doctor was never an easy man to please.

It is more convenient and less expensive to take a vacation in western Europe and it required not a little resolution to keep from going only to Paris and London. Mr. A. Edward Newton did not over-praise London when .he called it ” the largest community of the nicest people in the world.” As to Paris—well, everybody understands.

My business friends raised their eyebrows when I mentioned Greece. ” Why Greece? ” was the usual comment. I doubt whether I ever gave a satisfactory answer; but there were several reasons which I hope to suggest as this narrative proceeds.

There is romance associated with Greece that attaches to no other country, for it is the literary, artistic and spiritual progenitor of our western culture. That so small and so poor a nation should have produced early in human history so many men of supreme and varied genius is one of the mysteries of the world. Scholars have tried to explain it by talking of the genial climate and bright sunlight of Attica, but these views seem futile and make small impression on practical minds. I shall have to accept the opinion of Professor Mahaffy that there is no explanation of Greek genius. The presence of such abundant and diverse talent in a small community is only a strange coincidence, yet one that has been happy in its effect on all later mankind.

Greece is one of the most isolated of European countries. Though it is quite as much a part of the mainland as France or Germany, from the point of view of the traveler it is practically an island; for it is cut off from the rest of the continent by a mountain barrier that is still wild and half barbaric. It is true that there is now a railway, but it offers a long and tedious journey.

The chief access to Greece will always be by sea.

The two gateways are the harbors of the Piraeus and Patras, often referred to as the front and back doors of the country. The Piraeus is the port of Athens and practically a part of the capital, so anyone landing there plunges at once into the heart of classic Greece. Patras, on the other hand, lies on the west coast. It is 138 miles from Athens, a journey of nine hours on the narrow gauge Peloponnesian Railway. For one coming from Italy it is the natural entrance.

The Greeks, French and Italians all operate steam-ship lines direct from New York, and this is the most convenient way to go. To travel by rail from Paris by way of Nish and Salonica requires more than three days and is tedious and expensive. I went with the Italians who have a line that makes Patras a regular port of call en route to Trieste, and the journey was in all respects delightful.

My barber at home is a native of Sparta and the conversations we had during various tonsorial operations had something to do with stimulating my interest in his country. He was enthusiastic about the scenery and the merit of Salonica beer, but a little nebulous as to the details of politics, life and national development.

” What’s the matter, Pete? ” I said one day. ” You are getting letters from your brothers all the time. Don’t they tell you about these things? ”

” No,” he answered. ” The only thing they ever talk about is money.”

It seemed a bit strange at the moment, but after I had traveled through Greece I thought I caught the point. Money is mighty interesting when it is hard to get hold of any.

Tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind was another motive, though I can’t say that it was much to my credit. The fact is that I wanted compensation for the misery the Greek language and literature had caused me at an earlier stage of life, and it seemed to me a kind of poetic justice that I should loll through ” Rocky Pytho, Goodly Elis and Tiryns of the Great Walls ” in the back seat of a motor car with no obligation to learn more about them than my eyes could conveniently take in. It was a fine idea, but I forgot to consider the condition of most Greek roads. I have had my revenge now and I am afraid that Homer and Hesiod and Plutarch and Polybius still have the better of the argument.

My first step in preparation was to get some letters to responsible Greeks and Americans residing in Athens, so I started with the Minister from Greece. I must say that the country is very keenly represented in Washington, for I found Mr. Ch. Simopoulos one of the most accommodating men that ever held a diplomatic job. There is no trouble he will not take to assist a serious visitor to his country. He put me in touch with a reliable travel agency in Athens, and what is more he gave me a letter to Mr. Kalopothakes, director of the press bureau of the ministry for foreign affairs and the most useful man in Athens for a visitor to know. Of my meeting with him I shall later have something to say.

The leading American classical scholars were very nice, too. Dr. Stephen R. Duggan sent me introductions to Dr. Carl Blegen, director of the American School of Classical Research; to Mr. Harold Jaquith, the director of Near East Relief, and lastly to Professor A. Andreades, of the University of Athens, well known in Greece as a scholar and publicist.

To round out my little store of credentials the Secretary of State obliged with one of those general letters of commendation to all diplomatic and consular officers that our representatives abroad like to see about as well as an Andalusian bull enjoys the picador’s red flag. They are human and they hate to be bothered; but they also hate to have some citizen run back home and complain to his congressman that he got a raw deal at this legation or that consulate.

In the end I used only the letters to Mr. Kalopothakes and Professor Andreades. My first presentation was a great success, but after Professor Andreades had eased me out into Philhellene Street with a diplomacy worthy of a better cause the first thing I did was to go down to the Piraeus, hire a boat and sink the rest of my letters in the deepest place I could find in the Aegean Sea. But this, too, is another story, and I am not going to say whether I am more aggrieved at the learned professor or the American bumptiousness that put him in his present state of mind.

I might spin quite a yarn about my experiences in the ordinarily simple business of getting a passport and the: necessary vises, but I shall content myself by saying that it cost me a month’s time and a consider-able postage, telegraph and notarial bill to convince our sleuth-like passport bureau that my wife “M” is a tot per cent. American, though she had never previously set foot outside the country. When I was about to give it up and, like a trick billiardist who has missed three times in succession,. say ” it can’t be done,” the elusive thing finally showed up.

Then just when I had settled down to the comfortable feeling that our paternal Government was really going to let me go abroad I had the luck to run across a letter in The London Times in which it was more than intimated that if a traveler went to Turkey the only way he could get out of the country was by paying a bribe for a departure vise and probably a year’s road and school taxes as well. Now I wanted to go to Turkey, but not as a permanent resident, nor as a substantial contributor to the education and transportation of her people; so I took the trouble to write to Djelal Bey, the Turkish Consul General in New York. There was something in his letter that suggested that he was a little hurt and a good deal bored by all this talk, and he counseled me that I should do well to pay no attention to the letter in The Times, but to send him my passport and six dollars, for which sum he would do all necessary things both to get me into Turkey and out again.

I knew, of course, that Djelal Bey was a truthful man, but the thought came to me that he might have a little race prejudice, so before I parted from my money I made inquiry of our High Commissioner in Constantinople and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in Washington. Both assured me that, though we had taken the precaution to conclude no treaty with Turkey, none of our citizens traveling there had made any complaint. Now that I have myself been in Turkey I don’t think they had any reason to do so. Was it not Senator King, of Utah, who so eloquently pointed out that if we gave the Turks the same rights we demanded for ourselves he might some day go home and hear a muezzin calling the people to prayer from the tower of the Mormon Temple?

It was about 10:30 on a bright March morning when the taxi that had been hauling us for forty-five minutes through the hinterland of Brooklyn finally reached the coast somewhere in the general vicinity of the Bush Docks. I think our Jewish driver had been lost for some time, for when he caught a glimpse of the sea he shouted ” Thalassa,” like one of Xenophon’s soldiers, and turned into the roughest street in Greater New York. When he got to the dock he learned from the fat policeman on duty there that it was the wrong one.

There was nothing to do but to turn around. In getting out we jettisoned part of our luggage, but the jehu retrieved it and took us to the right pier. There was no doubt this time, for tied up alongside was a steamship and on her bow I saw the name Presidente Wilson.

” Mr. and Mrs. Greer,” said a smart-looking Italian. Then fishing among his papers and lists he added: ” I am glad to tell you that we have been able to give you a better room than we had promised.”

Whether he did I never knew for the very good reason that I never saw the one originally engaged. But the cabin in which we found our luggage was bright 2nd airy and well placed. There was nothing much to do before sailing time except to watch some seamen dancing to the guitar and playing pranks on one another. One of them made a nice sandwich out of a piece of leather belt, gave it to a companion and then dodged the throw. The sparrows on the dock roof seemed to think it good.

Leaning over the forward rail was a prosperous looking man who proved that he wanted to be sociable by telling us that he was a coal operator from my neighboring city of Cincinnati and that he was going to motor through Spain for his fifteenth European holiday. He made quite an impression on ” M ” by volunteering to take her ashore at the Azores and to buy her some native lace. This seemed very generous, but I began to grow suspicious when he boasted of buying $50 worth of lace in Madeira for $8, and of having made $20 per ton on all the coal he shipped to England during the strike of the British miners.

During the voyage as far as Gibraltar he sat at our table, and other times played solitaire in a corner of the smoking room or told of his adventures when he could find any listeners. His pet story dealt with an attack of indigestion he suffered in a hotel in Carcassonne, and the anxiety of the innkeeper to get him off the premises before he died. All through the sailing I kept hearing a voice in the corner strike up with the familiar—” one time when I was in Carcassonne.” Then I knew that some new innocent had come along to buy my table-mate a drink.

Dr. Tom Davies, of Garden City, was also at our table. When we became well enough acquainted—which doesn’t take long on shipboard—he confided to me that he had encountered a swindler before we left port. He had come down early and was joined on deck by a young man who said that he lived in Oakland, California, and that he was going to Naples to accept the post of Vice-Consul for the United States. This prospective representative of his country added that he had sent some luggage on by express and that he was greatly disturbed because it had not yet arrived. Every few minutes he went down to the dock to investigate. From one of these trips he returned with a look of great relief. ” My stuff is here,” he said. ” There are $6o charges and I must find the purser and get some money.” But he couldn’t find the purser. Nobody ever can. In the end the kindly Doctor handed him $12, which he happened to have in his pocket. ” Will this do you any good? ” he inquired. ” It will help some,” answered the diplomat in posse, and running down to the dock he was seen no more.

When I awoke next morning we were at Common-wealth Pier, in Boston, and I went down to Washington Street to do some belated errands. After I had got back to the ship and was properly thawed out it was easy to see why we took on nearly a hundred passengers here. The best way to enjoy a warm climate is to start from Boston.

During the next five days we rolled and wriggled and pitched in the teeth of a nasty head-wind. Even the ship people didn’t like it and the stewards complained of headache. Most of the women passengers had something worse, but they did not have to stay on the job. The captain, who is a nephew of the chief owner of the line, said the weather was the worst he had encountered in three years.

I had never before traveled with the Italians and I must say that they make things very pleasant. They keep a clean ship, set a good table and are courteous and attentive. The stewards were all from Trieste and they were, as a whole, the youngest staff I have ever encountered. I was really astonished when Alfredo, my table steward, mentioned a wife and baby at home. He didn’t look old enough for such responsibilities.

In all the ship’s company there was one man who stood out above the others. He was Louis Debenach, and if anyone cares to find him he may do so at Via Lorenzo Ghiberti, No. 6, Trieste. He was the maitre d’hotel and if I were the manager of a fine hotel I should certainly look him up. Had the matter been left to a vote of the passengers Louis could have been elected captain of the ship or admiral of the line, for he very soon had everybody under obligations to him. He had worked all over the earth, knew something of all languages and had more eyes than a fly. He is the only man I ever saw who could look over a hundred diners and by some sixth sense pick out the one whose salad was late, the one whose coffee was cold and the one who had ordered champagne and got Spumanti. At my first meal I asked for whole wheat bread. There was none, but after leaving Boston I always found it at my place.

The food was neither Italian nor American, but a combination of both. All the dishes familiar at home were there, but cheese and spaghetti kept bobbing up in unexpected places. The baker was the only man whose work I could not cordially approve. Maybe it was because he worked with white flour instead of the fifteen per cent. bran mixture that Fascist economy imposes on the Italian in his home-land. I was sorry the rule had not been extended to Italian shipping, for I think Italy has to-day the best bread in the world.

We were making a special sailing, with eight calls between Boston and Trieste, some as long as two days. The atmosphere was that of a cruise, rather than an ordinary crossing, and after two weeks of this lazy, luxurious life I was bitten by the germ and would gladly have been one of the twenty-thousand Americans who are now spending about $45,000,000 every winter in roaming about the seven seas. Mark Twain went on the first of these voyages in 1867 and wrote ” The Innocents Abroad ” about his experiences. He tells how soon the passengers became attached to the old Quaker City and how like a home-coming it was to return to it after each excursion. It is a tribute to the sea and to the men who work on it that travelers to-day have the same feeling. A cruise ship is like Stevenson’s canal boat. It enables one to travel and stay at home at the same time.

The only drawback to such an experience lies in the perversity of human nature. The same faces, the same games and the same stories day after day may beget ” nerves,” and when the point is reached where the passengers begin to scandalize one another the possibilities of friction are acute. I remember to have once told on shipboard the story of an adventure I had with a morphine fiend in a train near Memphis. A bright young woman at the next table caught the word morphine and by next morning she had spread the tale that I was an addict all over the ship. An Englishman said to me when we had been out about two weeks: ” I don’t see how the people who cruise around the world stand one another for five months. I should think they would all be biting their neighbors.”

The great mystery of the sea is not the ships that have disappeared nor the treasure that lies under her waters, but the speed with which time passes. I wonder if anybody ever kept a truthful diary of a voyage—one like Addison suggests that accounts for every hour of the day. If so I don’t know what it could contain unless it would be entries like this: 8 A. M., bath; 9 A. M., breakfast; 11 A. M., broth; z P. M., lunch; 4 P. M., tea; 5 P. M., cocktails; 7 P. M., dinner; to P. M., beer and sandwiches. This does not leave much time for gossip, but somehow it is found. The books one planned to read and the bridge and chess one intended to play can always wait.

There are always curious and interesting people on a ship. With us was Mr. A. Wadsworth Longfellow, nephew of the poet, whom I mistook for a German. When some chance remark revealed my error he said a bit testily: “Yes, I am German, if you can call a man born in Maine German.” His name was not his only resemblance to his noted uncle. He had the same leonine face and beard, but I don’t know where he acquired the habit of wearing light trousers with his evening coat.

His was not the only eccentricity of dress. There was the plain young woman who had given up as hopeless the quest for beauty and had made her bid for attention by affecting the bizarre. Her hair was arranged after the manner of Civil War days and her ear ornaments touched her shoulders. She sat directly in view of the crusty old bachelor from Cincinnati, and each evening, after giving her latest costume the once over he would say: ” That is the very ugliest woman in the world. No woman has a right to look like that and live. They ought to take her out and kill her—yes, I mean it—kill her.” With these charitable observations he would pour a half pound of cheese into his soup.

The merriest member of our company was beyond doubt Gino Albicri, the Roman painter. He had made his first exhibit in New York and had sold 102 of his 104 pictures, some to famous millionaires. So he was riding the top of the world and planning to be back in New York six months later with another truck load of paintings. He could do it, too, for he is the fastest painter in the world. The Government of Italy had commissioned him to paint the monuments of Rome from a dirigible balloon, and he could do a fine landscape in a half hour.

There is no use telling about the Gargantuan youth on honeymoon with his hundred pound bride. After he had pulled in a stack of chips at Monte Carlo he confided to me that he was a Rabbi.

Over the coffee one evening I heard a well-known Washington man tell a political story that is too good to be kept longer out of print.

” For a good many years before his death,” he said, ” I was an intimate friend of Mr. Bryan, though we never were in agreement on anything. He often stopped at my house and after dinner one night he said to me:

“Jim, I want you to do something for me. I have had a good many family troubles and now my daughter Grace is in bad health. The doctor says she must go to California, and I can’t afford to send her. Her husband Dick, as you know, is in the comptroller’s department. I wish you would go to Hiram Johnson and get him transferred to Los Angeles.’

“I did see Johnson and within a week the order came through.

” A month later Bryan was with me again. ` I am very grateful for what you did,’ he said. ` Dick and Grace are in Los Angeles and very happy and Grace is feeling better already. It was very kind of Hiram to have done this for me and I want you to thank him. Do you know that I think Hiram is one of the very ablest men in the Republican party. There is only one trouble with him. He is vain, very vain.’

“The next time I passed the Senate office building I called on Johnson and delivered Bryan’s message.

“Oh, that’s all right,’ said the Senator. ` I was glad to do it for Bryan. He’s a good fellow. There is only one thing the matter with him—he. is so blank, blank vain.’

“One night I had a party of Senators in for dinner. They were feeling pretty good and telling many stories, so I told my experience with Bryan and Johnson. When I finished Reed threw back his head and shouted: ` Ha ! Ha! by God for once they both told the truth.’ ”

At noon on the fifth day there was a high brown island off our port side, the hillsides dotted with windmills, white cottages and churches. Clouds hung over the summit and there was cultivation on the steep terraces that ran down to the cliffs. It was Fayal, the first of the Azores.

Two boats, manned by swarthy, barefoot men, came out and the boatmen waved their big straw hats. At the end of the island we saw, between two points of land, the ruined town of Horta where a few months before seventeen hundred people had perished in an earthquake. Then came the narrow channel of Fayal, with a cathedral rock standing like a sentinel half-way across to Pico. The mountain that marks this island was buried in the clouds and the land at the eastern end sinks into a plain. Toward evening we saw Saint Michael’s and anchored outside the breakwater at Punta Delgada, the metropolis of the Azores. The only industries along the water front were represented by two brick stacks and three oil tanks. In the town itself we caught the sheen of what appeared to be a lake. It was only the reflection of the sun on the glass-covered pineapple plantations.

A large tender, driven by a motor, came out to take us ashore. The sea was still jumpy from the long wind and the ladder was put down on the windward side. But we all got past the two somber Portuguese marines that took post on deck and got aboard without either losing a leg or gaining a bath. We landed in a stone basin under the Arcades, which are the pride and joy of Punta Delgada. The railing was lined with stolid natives, who apparently took small pleasure in our coming. The women peddling fruit and flowers alone were interested. The cobbled streets were narrow but clean and under the gnarled trees around the square were twenty or thirty American motor cars.

Everybody wanted to buy something. There was the Boston man whose cap had blown into the sea and the man from Flint who had promised his wife some embroidery and the Albanian trader who wanted native brandy and ourselves who wished photographs. The one missing man was the coal merchant who was going to buy ” M ” some lace.

There were plenty of post-cards but no photographs in the first shop but the polite young proprietor took us to the door and pointed out another store up the street. Somehow we missed it, so I addressed the tall policeman wearing a cape and long-peaked cap who was doing traffic duty.

“Do you speak English? ”

“Sure, sure. Why not? I live in New York. My parents are still out here and when I came home to visit them, like a fool I enlisted for five years in the police. I have nine months to go and then I am going back to my old place in Second Avenue. It is pretty quiet here. The people don’t make any trouble and the only places to go are to church and the picture show. We have one pretty good one. Here is the shop for your photographs. You are quite welcome. Hope I’ll see you in New York some time.”

The Azores are more or less equi-distant from three continents, but ethnically, geologically and in most other ways they are strictly European. This is entirely true so far as plant and animal life is concerned. To the islanders Lisbon and New York are the world capitals and they know Lisbon better, for a mail boat runs between all ten islands and that port once a fortnight.

From a courteous old merchant who spoke good English we bought our photographs and then strolled down to the Arcades. Madeira is famous for its wines and as every grocery store along the street was stacked high with bottles I thought the Azores must have a similar product. The largest cafe had no native wines—only port and warm beer. A brown-faced barefoot lad followed us and stood shyly in the door with outstretched hand. When I gave him an escuda his embarrassment was complete-and he fled.

Anyone who would know the size, shape and wealth of the Azores can find these particulars in books. I can only say that they have a climate like Southern California, that they look green and fertile and that they have belonged to Portugal ever since Gonzalo Cabral took possession of them in the name of Prince Henry the Navigator away back in 1432. There is a good deal of reason to believe that they were occupied in ancient times by the Carthaginians. If it were not for their plague of earthquakes they would make a fine refuge for anyone who wanted peace and quiet; and I suppose it is possible to get used to earthquakes.

The after-deck of the Wilson had been turned into a native bazaar. The people had brought out wicker chairs, baskets, laces, pineapples and flowers and did a thriving trade, particularly with the passengers in second class. All transactions were in terms of American money, which the people liked much better than the depreciated currency of Portugal. Goods were cheap from the beginning but toward sailing time there were rare bargains, for the natives did not want to carry their wares back to shore.

In the crowd we saw some examples of the strange native costume, now fast disappearing. The women looked like glorified nuns in their huge black bonnets and dark mantles. The barefoot men were somber, too, with a black cloth hanging from the back of their caps across their shoulders. This costume is the relic of a penitential vow taken by the survivors of a great earthquake in the Sixteenth Century.

In the night we sailed for Lisbon. The run is forty-three hours, most of which were spent in listening to the Spanish Doctor and the Captain discuss the relative merits of Maxime’s, the Monumental Club and the Club Mayer. ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

THE journey had as its principal destination Greece. Previous holidays in Europe had never included the Mediterranean, although there is no part of the world so rich in history and tradition as the countries that border the eastern end of that great inland sea.

While trying to decide where to go I happened to see an inscription on the end sheet of an old guide book attributing to the famous Dr. Johnson the re-mark that ” to visit the Mediterranean is the chief purpose of travel.” This settled things, for the great Doctor was never an easy man to please.

It is more convenient and less expensive to take a vacation in western Europe and it required not a little resolution to keep from going only to Paris and London. Mr. A. Edward Newton did not over-praise London when .he called it ” the largest community of the nicest people in the world.” As to Paris—well, everybody understands.

My business friends raised their eyebrows when I mentioned Greece. ” Why Greece? ” was the usual comment. I doubt whether I ever gave a satisfactory answer; but there were several reasons which I hope to suggest as this narrative proceeds.

There is romance associated with Greece that attaches to no other country, for it is the literary, artistic and spiritual progenitor of our western culture. That so small and so poor a nation should have produced early in human history so many men of supreme and varied genius is one of the mysteries of the world. Scholars have tried to explain it by talking of the genial climate and bright sunlight of Attica, but these views seem futile and make small impression on practical minds. I shall have to accept the opinion of Professor Mahaffy that there is no explanation of Greek genius. The presence of such abundant and diverse talent in a small community is only a strange coincidence, yet one that has been happy in its effect on all later mankind.

Greece is one of the most isolated of European countries. Though it is quite as much a part of the mainland as France or Germany, from the point of view of the traveler it is practically an island; for it is cut off from the rest of the continent by a mountain barrier that is still wild and half barbaric. It is true that there is now a railway, but it offers a long and tedious journey.

The chief access to Greece will always be by sea.

The two gateways are the harbors of the Piraeus and Patras, often referred to as the front and back doors of the country. The Piraeus is the port of Athens and practically a part of the capital, so anyone landing there plunges at once into the heart of classic Greece. Patras, on the other hand, lies on the west coast. It is 138 miles from Athens, a journey of nine hours on the narrow gauge Peloponnesian Railway. For one coming from Italy it is the natural entrance.

The Greeks, French and Italians all operate steam-ship lines direct from New York, and this is the most convenient way to go. To travel by rail from Paris by way of Nish and Salonica requires more than three days and is tedious and expensive. I went with the Italians who have a line that makes Patras a regular port of call en route to Trieste, and the journey was in all respects delightful.

My barber at home is a native of Sparta and the conversations we had during various tonsorial operations had something to do with stimulating my interest in his country. He was enthusiastic about the scenery and the merit of Salonica beer, but a little nebulous as to the details of politics, life and national development.

” What’s the matter, Pete? ” I said one day. ” You are getting letters from your brothers all the time. Don’t they tell you about these things? ”

” No,” he answered. ” The only thing they ever talk about is money.”

It seemed a bit strange at the moment, but after I had traveled through Greece I thought I caught the point. Money is mighty interesting when it is hard to get hold of any.

Tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind was another motive, though I can’t say that it was much to my credit. The fact is that I wanted compensation for the misery the Greek language and literature had caused me at an earlier stage of life, and it seemed to me a kind of poetic justice that I should loll through ” Rocky Pytho, Goodly Elis and Tiryns of the Great Walls ” in the back seat of a motor car with no obligation to learn more about them than my eyes could conveniently take in. It was a fine idea, but I forgot to consider the condition of most Greek roads. I have had my revenge now and I am afraid that Homer and Hesiod and Plutarch and Polybius still have the better of the argument.

My first step in preparation was to get some letters to responsible Greeks and Americans residing in Athens, so I started with the Minister from Greece. I must say that the country is very keenly represented in Washington, for I found Mr. Ch. Simopoulos one of the most accommodating men that ever held a diplomatic job. There is no trouble he will not take to assist a serious visitor to his country. He put me in touch with a reliable travel agency in Athens, and what is more he gave me a letter to Mr. Kalopothakes, director of the press bureau of the ministry for foreign affairs and the most useful man in Athens for a visitor to know. Of my meeting with him I shall later have something to say.

The leading American classical scholars were very nice, too. Dr. Stephen R. Duggan sent me introductions to Dr. Carl Blegen, director of the American School of Classical Research; to Mr. Harold Jaquith, the director of Near East Relief, and lastly to Professor A. Andreades, of the University of Athens, well known in Greece as a scholar and publicist.

To round out my little store of credentials the Secretary of State obliged with one of those general letters of commendation to all diplomatic and consular officers that our representatives abroad like to see about as well as an Andalusian bull enjoys the picador’s red flag. They are human and they hate to be bothered; but they also hate to have some citizen run back home and complain to his congressman that he got a raw deal at this legation or that consulate.

In the end I used only the letters to Mr. Kalopothakes and Professor Andreades. My first presentation was a great success, but after Professor Andreades had eased me out into Philhellene Street with a diplomacy worthy of a better cause the first thing I did was to go down to the Piraeus, hire a boat and sink the rest of my letters in the deepest place I could find in the Aegean Sea. But this, too, is another story, and I am not going to say whether I am more aggrieved at the learned professor or the American bumptiousness that put him in his present state of mind.

I might spin quite a yarn about my experiences in the ordinarily simple business of getting a passport and the: necessary vises, but I shall content myself by saying that it cost me a month’s time and a consider-able postage, telegraph and notarial bill to convince our sleuth-like passport bureau that my wife “M” is a tot per cent. American, though she had never previously set foot outside the country. When I was about to give it up and, like a trick billiardist who has missed three times in succession,. say ” it can’t be done,” the elusive thing finally showed up.

Then just when I had settled down to the comfortable feeling that our paternal Government was really going to let me go abroad I had the luck to run across a letter in The London Times in which it was more than intimated that if a traveler went to Turkey the only way he could get out of the country was by paying a bribe for a departure vise and probably a year’s road and school taxes as well. Now I wanted to go to Turkey, but not as a permanent resident, nor as a substantial contributor to the education and transportation of her people; so I took the trouble to write to Djelal Bey, the Turkish Consul General in New York. There was something in his letter that suggested that he was a little hurt and a good deal bored by all this talk, and he counseled me that I should do well to pay no attention to the letter in The Times, but to send him my passport and six dollars, for which sum he would do all necessary things both to get me into Turkey and out again.

I knew, of course, that Djelal Bey was a truthful man, but the thought came to me that he might have a little race prejudice, so before I parted from my money I made inquiry of our High Commissioner in Constantinople and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in Washington. Both assured me that, though we had taken the precaution to conclude no treaty with Turkey, none of our citizens traveling there had made any complaint. Now that I have myself been in Turkey I don’t think they had any reason to do so. Was it not Senator King, of Utah, who so eloquently pointed out that if we gave the Turks the same rights we demanded for ourselves he might some day go home and hear a muezzin calling the people to prayer from the tower of the Mormon Temple?

It was about 10:30 on a bright March morning when the taxi that had been hauling us for forty-five minutes through the hinterland of Brooklyn finally reached the coast somewhere in the general vicinity of the Bush Docks. I think our Jewish driver had been lost for some time, for when he caught a glimpse of the sea he shouted ” Thalassa,” like one of Xenophon’s soldiers, and turned into the roughest street in Greater New York. When he got to the dock he learned from the fat policeman on duty there that it was the wrong one.

There was nothing to do but to turn around. In getting out we jettisoned part of our luggage, but the jehu retrieved it and took us to the right pier. There was no doubt this time, for tied up alongside was a steamship and on her bow I saw the name Presidente Wilson.

” Mr. and Mrs. Greer,” said a smart-looking Italian. Then fishing among his papers and lists he added: ” I am glad to tell you that we have been able to give you a better room than we had promised.”

Whether he did I never knew for the very good reason that I never saw the one originally engaged. But the cabin in which we found our luggage was bright 2nd airy and well placed. There was nothing much to do before sailing time except to watch some seamen dancing to the guitar and playing pranks on one another. One of them made a nice sandwich out of a piece of leather belt, gave it to a companion and then dodged the throw. The sparrows on the dock roof seemed to think it good.

Leaning over the forward rail was a prosperous looking man who proved that he wanted to be sociable by telling us that he was a coal operator from my neighboring city of Cincinnati and that he was going to motor through Spain for his fifteenth European holiday. He made quite an impression on ” M ” by volunteering to take her ashore at the Azores and to buy her some native lace. This seemed very generous, but I began to grow suspicious when he boasted of buying $50 worth of lace in Madeira for $8, and of having made $20 per ton on all the coal he shipped to England during the strike of the British miners.

During the voyage as far as Gibraltar he sat at our table, and other times played solitaire in a corner of the smoking room or told of his adventures when he could find any listeners. His pet story dealt with an attack of indigestion he suffered in a hotel in Carcassonne, and the anxiety of the innkeeper to get him off the premises before he died. All through the sailing I kept hearing a voice in the corner strike up with the familiar—” one time when I was in Carcassonne.” Then I knew that some new innocent had come along to buy my table-mate a drink.

Dr. Tom Davies, of Garden City, was also at our table. When we became well enough acquainted—which doesn’t take long on shipboard—he confided to me that he had encountered a swindler before we left port. He had come down early and was joined on deck by a young man who said that he lived in Oakland, California, and that he was going to Naples to accept the post of Vice-Consul for the United States. This prospective representative of his country added that he had sent some luggage on by express and that he was greatly disturbed because it had not yet arrived. Every few minutes he went down to the dock to investigate. From one of these trips he returned with a look of great relief. ” My stuff is here,” he said. ” There are $6o charges and I must find the purser and get some money.” But he couldn’t find the purser. Nobody ever can. In the end the kindly Doctor handed him $12, which he happened to have in his pocket. ” Will this do you any good? ” he inquired. ” It will help some,” answered the diplomat in posse, and running down to the dock he was seen no more.

When I awoke next morning we were at Common-wealth Pier, in Boston, and I went down to Washington Street to do some belated errands. After I had got back to the ship and was properly thawed out it was easy to see why we took on nearly a hundred passengers here. The best way to enjoy a warm climate is to start from Boston.

During the next five days we rolled and wriggled and pitched in the teeth of a nasty head-wind. Even the ship people didn’t like it and the stewards complained of headache. Most of the women passengers had something worse, but they did not have to stay on the job. The captain, who is a nephew of the chief owner of the line, said the weather was the worst he had encountered in three years.

I had never before traveled with the Italians and I must say that they make things very pleasant. They keep a clean ship, set a good table and are courteous and attentive. The stewards were all from Trieste and they were, as a whole, the youngest staff I have ever encountered. I was really astonished when Alfredo, my table steward, mentioned a wife and baby at home. He didn’t look old enough for such responsibilities.

In all the ship’s company there was one man who stood out above the others. He was Louis Debenach, and if anyone cares to find him he may do so at Via Lorenzo Ghiberti, No. 6, Trieste. He was the maitre d’hotel and if I were the manager of a fine hotel I should certainly look him up. Had the matter been left to a vote of the passengers Louis could have been elected captain of the ship or admiral of the line, for he very soon had everybody under obligations to him. He had worked all over the earth, knew something of all languages and had more eyes than a fly. He is the only man I ever saw who could look over a hundred diners and by some sixth sense pick out the one whose salad was late, the one whose coffee was cold and the one who had ordered champagne and got Spumanti. At my first meal I asked for whole wheat bread. There was none, but after leaving Boston I always found it at my place.

The food was neither Italian nor American, but a combination of both. All the dishes familiar at home were there, but cheese and spaghetti kept bobbing up in unexpected places. The baker was the only man whose work I could not cordially approve. Maybe it was because he worked with white flour instead of the fifteen per cent. bran mixture that Fascist economy imposes on the Italian in his home-land. I was sorry the rule had not been extended to Italian shipping, for I think Italy has to-day the best bread in the world.

We were making a special sailing, with eight calls between Boston and Trieste, some as long as two days. The atmosphere was that of a cruise, rather than an ordinary crossing, and after two weeks of this lazy, luxurious life I was bitten by the germ and would gladly have been one of the twenty-thousand Americans who are now spending about $45,000,000 every winter in roaming about the seven seas. Mark Twain went on the first of these voyages in 1867 and wrote ” The Innocents Abroad ” about his experiences. He tells how soon the passengers became attached to the old Quaker City and how like a home-coming it was to return to it after each excursion. It is a tribute to the sea and to the men who work on it that travelers to-day have the same feeling. A cruise ship is like Stevenson’s canal boat. It enables one to travel and stay at home at the same time.

The only drawback to such an experience lies in the perversity of human nature. The same faces, the same games and the same stories day after day may beget ” nerves,” and when the point is reached where the passengers begin to scandalize one another the possibilities of friction are acute. I remember to have once told on shipboard the story of an adventure I had with a morphine fiend in a train near Memphis. A bright young woman at the next table caught the word morphine and by next morning she had spread the tale that I was an addict all over the ship. An Englishman said to me when we had been out about two weeks: ” I don’t see how the people who cruise around the world stand one another for five months. I should think they would all be biting their neighbors.”

The great mystery of the sea is not the ships that have disappeared nor the treasure that lies under her waters, but the speed with which time passes. I wonder if anybody ever kept a truthful diary of a voyage—one like Addison suggests that accounts for every hour of the day. If so I don’t know what it could contain unless it would be entries like this: 8 A. M., bath; 9 A. M., breakfast; 11 A. M., broth; z P. M., lunch; 4 P. M., tea; 5 P. M., cocktails; 7 P. M., dinner; to P. M., beer and sandwiches. This does not leave much time for gossip, but somehow it is found. The books one planned to read and the bridge and chess one intended to play can always wait.

There are always curious and interesting people on a ship. With us was Mr. A. Wadsworth Longfellow, nephew of the poet, whom I mistook for a German. When some chance remark revealed my error he said a bit testily: “Yes, I am German, if you can call a man born in Maine German.” His name was not his only resemblance to his noted uncle. He had the same leonine face and beard, but I don’t know where he acquired the habit of wearing light trousers with his evening coat.

His was not the only eccentricity of dress. There was the plain young woman who had given up as hopeless the quest for beauty and had made her bid for attention by affecting the bizarre. Her hair was arranged after the manner of Civil War days and her ear ornaments touched her shoulders. She sat directly in view of the crusty old bachelor from Cincinnati, and each evening, after giving her latest costume the once over he would say: ” That is the very ugliest woman in the world. No woman has a right to look like that and live. They ought to take her out and kill her—yes, I mean it—kill her.” With these charitable observations he would pour a half pound of cheese into his soup.

The merriest member of our company was beyond doubt Gino Albicri, the Roman painter. He had made his first exhibit in New York and had sold 102 of his 104 pictures, some to famous millionaires. So he was riding the top of the world and planning to be back in New York six months later with another truck load of paintings. He could do it, too, for he is the fastest painter in the world. The Government of Italy had commissioned him to paint the monuments of Rome from a dirigible balloon, and he could do a fine landscape in a half hour.

There is no use telling about the Gargantuan youth on honeymoon with his hundred pound bride. After he had pulled in a stack of chips at Monte Carlo he confided to me that he was a Rabbi.

Over the coffee one evening I heard a well-known Washington man tell a political story that is too good to be kept longer out of print.

” For a good many years before his death,” he said, ” I was an intimate friend of Mr. Bryan, though we never were in agreement on anything. He often stopped at my house and after dinner one night he said to me:

“Jim, I want you to do something for me. I have had a good many family troubles and now my daughter Grace is in bad health. The doctor says she must go to California, and I can’t afford to send her. Her husband Dick, as you know, is in the comptroller’s department. I wish you would go to Hiram Johnson and get him transferred to Los Angeles.’

“I did see Johnson and within a week the order came through.

” A month later Bryan was with me again. ` I am very grateful for what you did,’ he said. ` Dick and Grace are in Los Angeles and very happy and Grace is feeling better already. It was very kind of Hiram to have done this for me and I want you to thank him. Do you know that I think Hiram is one of the very ablest men in the Republican party. There is only one trouble with him. He is vain, very vain.’

“The next time I passed the Senate office building I called on Johnson and delivered Bryan’s message.

“Oh, that’s all right,’ said the Senator. ` I was glad to do it for Bryan. He’s a good fellow. There is only one thing the matter with him—he. is so blank, blank vain.’

“One night I had a party of Senators in for dinner. They were feeling pretty good and telling many stories, so I told my experience with Bryan and Johnson. When I finished Reed threw back his head and shouted: ` Ha ! Ha! by God for once they both told the truth.’ ”

At noon on the fifth day there was a high brown island off our port side, the hillsides dotted with windmills, white cottages and churches. Clouds hung over the summit and there was cultivation on the steep terraces that ran down to the cliffs. It was Fayal, the first of the Azores.

Two boats, manned by swarthy, barefoot men, came out and the boatmen waved their big straw hats. At the end of the island we saw, between two points of land, the ruined town of Horta where a few months before seventeen hundred people had perished in an earthquake. Then came the narrow channel of Fayal, with a cathedral rock standing like a sentinel half-way across to Pico. The mountain that marks this island was buried in the clouds and the land at the eastern end sinks into a plain. Toward evening we saw Saint Michael’s and anchored outside the breakwater at Punta Delgada, the metropolis of the Azores. The only industries along the water front were represented by two brick stacks and three oil tanks. In the town itself we caught the sheen of what appeared to be a lake. It was only the reflection of the sun on the glass-covered pineapple plantations.

A large tender, driven by a motor, came out to take us ashore. The sea was still jumpy from the long wind and the ladder was put down on the windward side. But we all got past the two somber Portuguese marines that took post on deck and got aboard without either losing a leg or gaining a bath. We landed in a stone basin under the Arcades, which are the pride and joy of Punta Delgada. The railing was lined with stolid natives, who apparently took small pleasure in our coming. The women peddling fruit and flowers alone were interested. The cobbled streets were narrow but clean and under the gnarled trees around the square were twenty or thirty American motor cars.

Everybody wanted to buy something. There was the Boston man whose cap had blown into the sea and the man from Flint who had promised his wife some embroidery and the Albanian trader who wanted native brandy and ourselves who wished photographs. The one missing man was the coal merchant who was going to buy ” M ” some lace.

There were plenty of post-cards but no photographs in the first shop but the polite young proprietor took us to the door and pointed out another store up the street. Somehow we missed it, so I addressed the tall policeman wearing a cape and long-peaked cap who was doing traffic duty.

“Do you speak English? ”

“Sure, sure. Why not? I live in New York. My parents are still out here and when I came home to visit them, like a fool I enlisted for five years in the police. I have nine months to go and then I am going back to my old place in Second Avenue. It is pretty quiet here. The people don’t make any trouble and the only places to go are to church and the picture show. We have one pretty good one. Here is the shop for your photographs. You are quite welcome. Hope I’ll see you in New York some time.”

The Azores are more or less equi-distant from three continents, but ethnically, geologically and in most other ways they are strictly European. This is entirely true so far as plant and animal life is concerned. To the islanders Lisbon and New York are the world capitals and they know Lisbon better, for a mail boat runs between all ten islands and that port once a fortnight.

From a courteous old merchant who spoke good English we bought our photographs and then strolled down to the Arcades. Madeira is famous for its wines and as every grocery store along the street was stacked high with bottles I thought the Azores must have a similar product. The largest cafe had no native wines—only port and warm beer. A brown-faced barefoot lad followed us and stood shyly in the door with outstretched hand. When I gave him an escuda his embarrassment was complete-and he fled.

Anyone who would know the size, shape and wealth of the Azores can find these particulars in books. I can only say that they have a climate like Southern California, that they look green and fertile and that they have belonged to Portugal ever since Gonzalo Cabral took possession of them in the name of Prince Henry the Navigator away back in 1432. There is a good deal of reason to believe that they were occupied in ancient times by the Carthaginians. If it were not for their plague of earthquakes they would make a fine refuge for anyone who wanted peace and quiet; and I suppose it is possible to get used to earthquakes.

The after-deck of the Wilson had been turned into a native bazaar. The people had brought out wicker chairs, baskets, laces, pineapples and flowers and did a thriving trade, particularly with the passengers in second class. All transactions were in terms of American money, which the people liked much better than the depreciated currency of Portugal. Goods were cheap from the beginning but toward sailing time there were rare bargains, for the natives did not want to carry their wares back to shore.

In the crowd we saw some examples of the strange native costume, now fast disappearing. The women looked like glorified nuns in their huge black bonnets and dark mantles. The barefoot men were somber, too, with a black cloth hanging from the back of their caps across their shoulders. This costume is the relic of a penitential vow taken by the survivors of a great earthquake in the Sixteenth Century.

In the night we sailed for Lisbon. The run is forty-three hours, most of which were spent in listening to the Spanish Doctor and the Captain discuss the relative merits of Maxime’s, the Monumental Club and the Club Mayer.