BOSTON

Once the lay-out of New York has been mastered - its avenues and numbered cross streets - it is the most difficult city in the world in which to lose one's way. But Boston is different. I found Boston hard to learn, although it was a pleasant task to acquire knowledge, for I was led into some of the quietest little Georgian streets I have ever been in, steep though some of them were, and along one of the fairest of green walks - that between the back of Beacon Street and the placid Charles.

Against Boston I have a certain grudge, for I could find no one to direct me to the place where the tea was thrown overboard. But that it was subjected to this indignity we may be certain - partly from the testimony of subsequent events not too soothing to English feelings, and partly from the unpopularity which that honest herb still suffers on American soil. Coffee, yes; coffee at all times; but no one will take any but the most perfunctory interest in the preparation of tea. I found the harbour; I traversed wharf after wharf; but found no visible record of the most momentous act of jettison since Jonah. In the top room, however, of Faneuil Hall, in the Honourable Artillery Company's headquarters, the more salient incidents of the struggle which followed are all depicted by enthusiastic, if not too talented, painters; and I saw in the distance the monument on Bunker's Hill.

My cicerone must be excused, for he was a Boston man, born and bred, and I ought never to have put him to the humiliation of confessing his natural ignorance. But the record is there, and legible enough. The tablet (many kind correspondents have informed me since certain of these notes appeared in the Outlook) is at 495 Atlantic Avenue, in the water-front district, just a short walk from the South Station, and it has the following inscription:

       * * * * *

HERE FORMERLY STOOD

GRIFFIN'S WHARF

at which lay moored on Dec. 16, 1773, three British ships with cargoes of tea. To defeat King George's trivial but tyrannical tax of three pence a pound, about ninety citizens of Boston, partly disguised as Indians, boarded the ships, threw the cargoes, three hundred and forty- two chests in all, into the sea and made the world ring with the patriotic exploit of the

BOSTON TEA PARTY

  "No! ne'er was mingled such a draught 
     In palace, hall, or arbor, 
   As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed 
     That night in Boston Harbor."

       * * * * *

Boston has a remarkable art gallery and museum, notable for its ancient Chinese paintings, its collection of Japanese prints - one of the best in the world, I believe - and a dazzling wall of water-colours by Mr. Sargent. It was here that I saw my first Winslow Homers - two or three rapid sketches of fishermen in full excitement - and was conquered by his verve and actuality. In the Metropolitan Museum in New York I found him again in oils and my admiration increased. Surely no one ever can have painted the sea with more vividness, power and truth! We have no example of his work in any public gallery in London; nor have we anything by W. M. Chase, Arthur B. Davies, Swain Gifford, J. W. Alexander, George Inness, or De Forest Brush. It is more than time for another American Exhibition. As it is, the only modern American artists of whom there is any general knowledge in England are Mr. Sargent, Mr. Epstein and Mr. Pennell, and the late E. A. Abbey, G. H. Boughton, and Whistler. Other Americans painting in our midst are Mr. Mark Fisher, R.A., Mr. J. J. Shannon, R.A., Mr. J. McLure Hamilton, and Mr. G. Wetherbee.

The Boston Gallery is the proud possessor of the rough and unfinished but "speaking" likeness of George Washington by his predestined limner Gilbert Stuart, and also a companion presentment of Washington's wife. Looking upon this lady's countenance and watching a party of school girls who were making the tour of the rooms, not uncomforted on their arduous adventure by chocolate and other confections, it occurred to me that if America increases her present love of eating sweets, due, I am told, not a little to Prohibition, George Washington will gradually disappear into the background and Martha Washington, who has already given her name to a very popular brand of candy, will be venerated instead, as the Sweet Mother of her Country.

An American correspondent sends me the following poem in order to explain to me the deviousness of Boston's principal thoroughfare. The poet is Mr. Sam Walter Foss: -

  One day through the primeval wood 
  A calf walked home, as good calves should;

  But made a trail all bent askew, 
  A crooked trail, as all calves do.

  Since then two hundred years have fled, 
  And, I infer, the calf is dead.

  But still he left behind his trail, 
  And thereby hangs my moral tale.

  The trail was taken up next day 
  By a lone dog that passed that way;

  And then a wise bell-wether sheep 
  Pursued the trail o'er vale and steep,

  And drew the flock behind him too, 
  As good bell-wethers always do.

  And from that day o'er hill and glade 
  Through those old woods a path was made,

  And many men wound in and out, 
  And dodged and turned and bent about,

  And uttered words of righteous wrath 
  Because 'twas such a crooked path;

  But still they followed - do not laugh - 
  The first migrations of that calf,

  And through this winding wood-way stalked 
  Because he wabbled when he walked.

  The forest path became a lane 
  That bent and turned and turned again;

  This crooked lane became a road, 
  Where many a poor horse with his load

  Toiled on beneath the burning sun, 
  And travelled some three miles in one.

  And thus a century and a half 
  They trod the footsteps of that calf.

  The years passed on in swiftness fleet, 
  The road became a village street,

  And then before men were aware, 
  A city's crowded thoroughfare,

  And soon the central street was this 
  Of a renowned metropolis.

  And men two centuries and a half 
  Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

  Each day a hundred thousand rout 
  Followed the zigzag calf about;

  And o'er his crooked journey went 
  The traffic of a continent.

  A hundred thousand men were led 
  By one calf near three centuries dead.

  They followed still his crooked way 
  And lost one hundred years a day;

  For thus such reverence is lent 
  To well-established precedent.

  A moral lesson this might teach, 
  Were I ordained and called to preach.

  For men are prone to go it blind 
  Along the calf-paths of the mind,

  And work away from sun to sun 
  To do what other men have done.

  They follow in the beaten track, 
  And out and in and forth and back

  And still their devious course pursue, 
  To keep the paths that others do.

  But how the wise old wood-gods laugh 
  Who saw the first primeval calf!

  Ah, many things this tale might teach - But 
  I am not ordained to preach.