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restaurant, a rest parlor, a piano, and There are great things yet to be done many pleasant things about, together for the public in Buffalo. Indeed, one with the entire absence of patronage in of these great things concerns all Amer this service to others, seemed to me to ica; for many experiences cause me to make especially pleasing the motto, surmise that if one sat long enough in the stone-carved above a fountain, “ Honest so-called Union Station on Exchange labor needs no master-simple justice Street in Buffalo, he would be certain needs no slaves."
to see, passing through, any particular Hardly less impressive to me—a con- friend from anywhere, in this real fessed “crank" in the crusade against "exchange." But what an unpleasant the bill-board ugliness which is endeav- wait it would be, in a dirty, inadequate, oring selfishly to prevail in and about ill-managed, and utterly inexcusable place all American communities—is Buffalo's that was a nuisance in Pan-American notable attitude as to obtrusive adver- times and is a positive scandal now! tising signs. In many cities the bill- Maintained by a railway calling itself board men have taken refuge in the great, it is great only in its discomforts "sacred ” right of private property, and and dangers, and in its daily showing have defied regulation, restraint, and of how very poorly poor facilities can be limitation. But Buffalo has a charter handled, when those who must use them which gives her some unique rights of self- have prepaid their passage. The respongovernment. Outraged by the Gunning sibility for the continuance of this vast system " sky-scraper sign incursions, an impropriety is said to rest upon the peoordinance was passed limiting signs to ple of Buffalo, who, while realizing that seven feet in height. Did the Gunning it hurts them to have such an entrance, system accept? No; it defied the law. and vigorously trying to rid themselves Able city officials have recently affirmed of grade crossings, have in some way the rights of the people through all the failed in adequately dealing with the courts, and while signs yet disagreeably thirteen railways that entei the city. pervade, Judge Lacombe's decision Some time, and soon, I hope, Buffalo will downs the double-deckers.
have a real Union Station which will An eminent physician and educator, unite facilities rather than annoyances, himself completely opposed to certain and which will be universally recognized movements fostered by the business men to be architecturally fine as well as pracof Buffalo, spoke to me admiringly of tically complete. these men, nevertheless, Said he, “So- But, aside from this somewhat large ciety here is exceedingly good; there Aly in the ointment, Buffalo has so many are a great many cultivated and edu- glories, and is an American city of such cated people, with almost an entire fine spirit and fine accomplishments, absence of what might be called the that many other communities may well fast set.'” I think Buffalo can spare turn to her as an example and an inspithe latter, and glory in her deprivation / ration. Hail, Buffalo I
BY HERBERT FRANCIS
HENCE came they? Doubt
less this question has framed
itself in the minds of many persons as they have stood in front of the big immigration building on Ellis Island and watched the men, women, and children in their foreign dress pouring across the plaza from the barges, to be swallowed up by the wide portals of the stationthree thousand, four thousand, five thousand, in the course of a cycle of twentyfour hours. While looking upon the broad bosom of some majestically rolling river, one wonders if the source may never be drained. So one wonders on beholding the flow of this great human river.
On May 31, last year, as I stood in
the “new port” at Naples, the query framed itself in my mind. Before me moved a line of Italian men, women, and children, two thousand strong, dragging bundles after them. A United States hospital surgeon, officially protecting the health of America—really advising the steamship companies, in addition, who would be rejected at Ellis Island-was turning inside out the eyelids and running his hands through the hair of each as the line slowly passed him. The inspection card of each was duly stamped with the American consular seal, and one by one the procession of short, bronzed Sicilians and Calabrians filed out, the pamphlet-like Italian passport in hand. Whence came they?
A few days later I was on the Palermo express bound for Calabria and Sicily. The sun had set behind the Vomero and the stolid walls of St. Elmo. rolled around the foot of the soft green and garnet slope of Vesuvius, through the orange groves and vineyards, the heavy perfume of blossoms drifted in through the open window. It was not yet so dark that one could not rejoice in the riot of color that contributes so much to the enchantment of Neapolitan scenery. In the foreground were the red of fields of poppies, the yellow-green of festoons of grapevines swinging between the trees, and the soft pink and gray of the villas and old houses. Behind this was the blue of the Gulf of Naples, which, on the horizon, was softened into the dreamy blue of the cloud-shapes of Capri and Sorrento. As one looked out upon the fields with their high walls, watered by the contents of wells drawn forth by crude wooden mechanisms operated by the stolid and omnipresent donkey, one understood why the Italians in America are so successful as growers of garden truck. The Italian, however weary he may be, is never-ending in his care of his piece of ground. He, his barefooted signora," and their children are always occupied in the field, working with unflagging energy to make their slender patch“ blossom as the rose.” They, too, are artists, with an annual renaissance to their credit.
Calabria's morning greeting was a characteristic picture of herself. of the train were almost treeless hills, rocky as a New England hillside and deeply scored with dry, stony wateicourses. On the right lay the Mediterranean with waters as many-hued as those of Capri, yellow, sea-green, blue, violet, purple. The train was traveling through a lane bounded by Nature's barbed-wire fencing, the
thick-tongued cactus and the century Mediterranean greeted one's vision and plant, and geraniums, red and pink, in the eyes focused on the Lipari Islands blossom. Here and there one saw one- and the smoking, truncated cone of story, tile-roofed houses, gray with the Stromboli. mold of time, standing in the middle An hour's ride down the mountainof tiny farms set off by cactus hedges. side brought us to Gesso. On the outAlthough it was only 5:30 o'clock when skirts of the town I left the carriage and I raised my curtain and looked out, men walked down through the main street. were already in the fields tearing up the It was almost as deserted as the streets soil with a Calabrian plow, a large-bladed of Pompeii. The appearance of an hoe, and afloat watching for swordfish. American drew forth from the dank, Barefooted girls, with flowing kerchiefs stone-flagged houses scores of women, on their heads, tending grazing giant gray children, and wrinkled old men. One cattle, waved their hands to the train as was surprised to see so few young and it ambled past them. In the door of a middle-aged men. The reason 'as give hut near the track sat a mother with a by the syndic, or mayor. They were naked babe on her lap, the morning sun in America. A few years ago Gesso had bathing its fat, ruddy body.
a population of nearly six thousand perThe sun glared hotly down out of an sons. To-day the houses with the wormunclouded blue sky. I raised the hood eaten wooden doors are peopled by only of the carrossa as it turned up the long about eighteen hundred women, chilstreet which leaves Messina by way of dren, and old men, who are supported the valley of the dry river-bed and climbs largely by money sent home from Amerover the treeless hills to Gesso. For two ica by the able-bodied men who have hours we climbed at nail's pace along gone hence. the hard, white macadamized ribbon In a crowd of children that followed that winds back and forth, labyrinthine me as if I were some Pied Piper was a fashion, through the convolutions of the hunchbacked youth. Had he any relahills, until the mind is ready to believe tives in America ? Yes, two brothers that a map of it would look like a seismo- and a brother-in-law, in Brooklyn and graph record and all sense of the points Philadelphia. He had wished to go of the compass is lost. But if the mind himself, but had been rejected at Naples can no longer follow the turnings of the because of his bent back. The effectroad, the imagination has opportunity to iveness of the American law excluding regale itself upon almost celestial food. those of poor physique was demonstrated As one climbs, wider and wider views in the residuum of men in Gesso. In are caught of the band of deep blue the course of an hour's walk through the water flowing between Scylla and Charyb- town I did not see a dozen men in the dis, ancient Rhegium gleaming on the prime of life. far siele, and the theatrical background I came upon a small piazza in front of deeply scored Calabrian hills, their of the ruined walls of a deserted church. colors of garnet, pink, and green soft- From the parapet one looked across a ened by a blue haze. We stopped a valley with precipitous sides, whose mazy moment to rest the horses and moisten windings were marked by the gray line their mouths at a wayside trough ; two of a waterless river-bed. Crowning the or three high, two-wheeled farm carts hill on the far side as one looked toward drawn by small horses trapped in red the snow-streaked, cloud-wreathed suniand brass, and driven by good-natured mit of Etna was a village apparently of peasants, approached. The carts were the same size and population as Gesso. gay with scenes from Ariosto’s “ Orlando Within a few years this village, Serro by Furioso," and Sicilian history, painted name, had also lost two-thirds of its popuin the primary colors, on their sides. lation, declared my volunteer guide, a
A herd of goats tended by a bronzed man who had been a barber in Philadeland wrinkled ancient scrambled up the phia, and therefore could speak a little steep bank as we rounded the shoulder English. Its able-bodied men, also, had of the summit and the expanse of the
As one looked upon
gone to America.
the steep hillsides on every hand, hill- to see “ whence they came.” Passing sides so precipitous that one wondered through a small village, many of the if the goats could scramble along them, houses of which had an appearance of one realized why Gesso and Serro helped newness and were said to have been to answer the query,
“ Whence came built by American money, we came upon they?"
a town different from many Italian comThe day spent at Reggio di Calabria, munities. Instead of being compactly while waiting for the automobile which built with narrow streets, its houses, like
was to take us over the mountains of those of a New England village, were Calabria and Basilicata to Naples, was assembled about a green upon which the occupied in visiting Gallina, a
church fronted. Leaving the teams to which, being interpreted, means "chick- rest in the shade of the trees which boren," a village a few miles behind Reggio. dered the green, we inquired for the synIt was a hot, dusty ride up the mountain- dic. We were led across another square side, but there was a compensating reward devoid of grass, and like a furnace under which included more than the beautiful the rays of the midday sun. Entering view of the blue Strait of Messina and one of the rectangular two-story cementthe rugged mountains of Sicily terminat- covered houses of the type seen in all ing in Etna, with its snow collar, pour- Italian towns, we climbed a flight of ing forth a boiling cloud. Again I was narrow stairs. We were shown into a