warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/iovannet/public_html/explorion/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

United States

A whole week of my too short stay was given to Myanoshita, whither I was driven by the impossibility of retaining a room in either Yokohama or Tokio, and where I stayed willingly on, out of delight in the place itself. After being cooped up for so long on ships, and kept inactive under the heat of India, it was like a new existence to take immense walks among these mountains in the keen rarified air, even though there was both rain and snow. Myanoshita stands some four thousand feet high and is situated in a valley in which are many summer cottages and health resorts.

It was a relief to resume my programme by entering that abode of the dumb and detached - the aquarium in Battery Park. For the kerb uproar "the uncommunicating muteness of fishes" was the only panacea. The Bronx Zoo is not, I think, except in the matter of buffalo and deer paddocks, so good as ours in London, but it has this shining advantage - it is free. So also is the Aquarium in Battery Park, and it was pleasing to see how crowded the place can be.

The devout Hindu knows in Benares the height of ecstasy: but, if I am typical, the European experiences there both discomfort and inquietude. Nowhere else in India did I feel so foreign, so alien. To be of cool Christian traditions and an Occidental, an inquisitive sightseer among these fervent pilgrims intent upon their pious duties and rapt in exaltation and unthinking inflexible belief, was in itself disconcerting, almost to the point of shame; while the pilgrims were so remarkably of a different world, a different era, that one felt lost.

In essentials America is American, but when it comes to inessentials, to trimmings, her dependence on old England was noticeable again and again as I walked about New York. The fashion which, at the moment, the print shops were fostering was for our racing, hunting and coaching coloured prints of a century ago, while in the gallery of the distinguished little Grolier Club I found an exhibition of the work of Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway.

Calcutta and Bombay are strangely different - so different that they can only be contrasted. Bombay, first and foremost, has the sea, and I can think of nothing more lovely than the sunsets that one watches from the lawn of the Yacht Club or from the promenade on Warder Road. Calcutta has no sea - nothing but a very difficult tidal river. Calcutta, again, has no Malabar Hill. But then Bombay has no open space to compare with the Maidan; and for all its crowded bazaars it has no street so diversified and interesting as Harrison Road. It has no Chinatown.

My first experience of democracy-in-being followed swiftly upon boarding the steamboat for San Francisco, when "Show this man Number 231" was the American steward's command to a cabin boy. I had no objection to being called a man: far from it; but after years of being called a gentleman it was startling. This happened at Yokohama; and when, in the Customs House at San Francisco, a porter wheeling a truck broke through a queue of us waiting to obtain our quittances, with the careless warning, "Out of the way, fellers!" I knew that here was democracy indeed.

All visitors to New York speak of the exhilaration of its air, and I can but repeat their testimony. After the first few days the idea of going to bed became an absurdity.

Syndicate content