CHAPTER XV
INFLUENCES AND PROGRESS

THE period covered by this narrative happens to be almost exactly the last third of the nineteenth century and the first third of the twentieth, or what would be called one generation in each of the centuries. This was an era of extraordinary change in every phase of human life on this planet. It was quite the proper thing in 1901, at the turn of the century, for academic persons to try to make a just assessment of the wonderful progress in the century just closed, and there was much insistence on the part of newspapers and magazines that this should be done. It then seemed scarcely possible that another thirty years could be so fruitful in change as had been the last thirty years, representing quite accurately the last half of the reign of Queen Victoria. That was truly a Victorian age drawn to a close with the end of the century. Young people may underestimate the influence of England upon life in America, particularly in its eastern portion. We were just beginning to develop authors, painters, sculptors, and even engineers. When I was a small boy my colored picturebooks were printed in England. It was hard for me to understand why the locomotive engines looked so strange with the engineer and fireman standing behind the boiler unprotected by a cab. The slender smokestack for engines using coal was quite different from the flaring ones which I was accustomed to see, and the exposed machinery of cylinders and around the driving wheels was quite different from the colored pictures in my London story-book of the alphabetic sort.

My little velvet suit came from England, and I was very glad when I outgrew both my own and my brother's. Our parents still thought in terms of Thackeray and Dickens, of Tennyson, Wordsworth, and Scott. It was customary to strew over the parlor tables all the miscellaneous bric-à-brac which the household possessed. 'Whatnots' stood in convenient corners covered with products of the English porcelain factories and with decanters that were never used. Magazines, it is true, had become much more highly developed in America

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