On Tour with Queen Marie


Tilts at Windmills


With two such devoted admirers of Her Majesty's charm as are aboard, there is bound to arise some mêlée. The Queen, like the perfect guest she is, and, I might add, philosopher also, ignores all unpleasantness and goes quietly about her business of being America's honored guest. It is only out of the conflict of characters that any drama whatever arises, and the thought of this long trip drawn out to an eternity of tedium by people all on their P's and Q's would drive me to a head long plunge into the Columbia River. The news papers somewhat distorted the facts and got all out of shape like a boa constrictor who has swallowed a kid whole.

We were to arrive in Seattle, Mr. Hill's "home town," at eleven o'clock, where a huge parade had been organized to escort us through the city to a luncheon especially arranged by him; but our dear friend is to be disappointed in his cherished scheme as the train stopped this morning at 7:30 at a Western town which had miraculously grown up over night, where there happened to be a "remarkable sawmill"—a place called Longwood. It was a bleak foggy morning, and we drove for miles over macadam roads and at last arrived at the mill, which was very interesting but might have been seen in other places, as the entourage said, who were greatly annoyed at having to arise so early. As we had gone off without any breakfast everybody was somewhat disagreeable, and in consequence of this delay we did not arrive in Seattle until after one o'clock— four hours late.

Mr. Hill was exceedingly annoyed on account of this performance. But things calmed down a bit when we arrived at Seattle, where Mr. Hill took the Queen under his wing and was "king for a day," having entire control of the situation for the time we spent in his town. The first thing we did was to stop at the Mayor's office. The Mayor, Mrs. Landis, has unfortunately been defeated in the recent elections. She, however, did the honors of the town very graciously. Mrs. Landis also accompanied the Queen and Mr. Hill through the beautiful city situated incomparably on hills overlooking Puget Sound. These Northwestern cities are positively amazing the way their sites have been selected by the pioneers to embody every necessary feature. Here in this "Queen City of the Northwest" they have on the west the wonderful harbor that could accommodate the shipping of the world, where pause the vessels bound for Alaska and the Orient, and on the east a fresh-water lake and the snow-covered Cascade Mountains. It is so cleverly situated as to be easily reached from the interior for all shipping purposes; it is far enough inland to be protected from all ocean storms, and the climate, from all one hears and can see of the sturdy, high-colored people, makes "men that are men." One easily sees that it can be the great railway and marine center of the Northwest. Surrounded as it is by wood and water, fisheries and lumber mills abound. The people outside the charming, spruce little homes have an air of rested alertness, the content that comes from being in a city that has room to use every man's efforts, to grow.

At one high school we visited—the Roosevelt— a fine lot of young people crowded the high flight of steps leading to the front door—boys and girls looking the picture of health. A few of them ushered the Queen up the front steps while the rest of the assembled crowd shouted "M-A-R-I-E" in unison a number of times, ending with a loud war-whoop. When the Queen reached the top landing, she saw a row of red-headed girls, and she immediately remembered that she had been corresponding with these girls for some time as they had sent her their pictures to Roumania, and called themselves 'The Red-Headed Band." They seemed like old friends, she said. It was a unique demonstration, and she enjoyed it thoroughly, and often laughed about it afterwards.

We then proceeded through the lovely city of Seattle, passing on the way the University of Washington, a group of buildings possessing much dignity and charm. The Library Building in the Gothic style reminds one of King's Chapel at Eton, and the Forestry Building is a marvel of rustic architecture, being built of huge trunks of trees with their rough barks as nature made them. It is semicircular in shape and most attractive, but unfortunately, I learned recently, an insect is devouring the wood so as to make the building almost unsafe. Concluding this tour of the fair city of Seattle, Sam Hill escorted his dear friend, Queen Marie, to the Yacht Club where we were greeted by a great crowd. It is a delightful place built on a cliff overlooking the bay, in the midst of a beautiful garden where the roses were blooming the same as if it were June. A group of pretty girls surrounded the Queen and led her to a spot in the garden where a very picturesque tree-planting ceremony took place.

At the reception following, I presented to Her Majesty Colonel Worthington Holliday, my friend, who was visiting in Seattle at that time. The Queen was most gracious to him. He went with us to Mr. Hill's to tea later.

The Dreamer's house is much like the Maryhill museum—built on high land overlooking the bay. The roof is its unique feature, covered with grass and turned into a veritable garden which overlooks all the glorious country surrounding. We dressed on the train that night, as no provisions had been made at the hotel, where Mr. Morris's customary clever arrangements were interfered with. He had always arranged for us to go to a hotel in each place where we were at least allowed a bath and some rest before dinner. But as Mr. Hill had insisted that he should do as he pleased in Seattle, Mr. Morris stepped aside. The dinner in Seattle was given by the Seattle Business Women's Club, and Mr. Hill gave an address telling the Queen's interest in the business women of America and introducing a friend of his in the audience who looked more like Uncle Sam than any one I have ever seen. This gentleman, with his goatee and his scrawny, loose-jointed figure, walked straight across the hall, and standing opposite the Queen with his hands on the table, began to lecture her. He said that perhaps America could teach her something; that we could perhaps tell her something about business and industry and organization which they didn't know in her country; that on the spot where she was standing lions and wolves prowled not more than forty years ago. How was that for progress? She smiled at him while he talked, and then arose and said that she had already learned much in America; that she marveled at the great gift of organization possessed by us, which had built these wonderful cities. She said that she rejoiced to find a woman mayor in Seattle, which also marked great progress, and that the business women of America were a marvel to her; but that she also realized that beauty must not be neglected in the scheme of life. The tree-planting ceremony that day, she said, convinced her that they had not forgotten it.

Friday, November 5.

At 8 A.M. we found that the train had stopped at a place called Elaine, on the border of Canada. Mr. Hill had stated very distinctly that he wished to escort the Queen and her children to his house where they would have breakfast together. He implied that nobody else was invited. The dear man had his way, except for one or two of the entourage who said it was their duty to accompany Her Majesty. Later they told me that when they entered the house a few young ladies were there to wait on the Queen, who took her into the kitchen where the batter was all ready for the pancakes, and this she poured with her own hands on to the electric frying-pan, and the family sat down to eat "pancakes and honey" which a queen had prepared. It was a quaint performance and our friend Mr. Sam Hill reigned supreme that day.

We left for Vancouver at ten o'clock. Here we were met by the Mayor, and by Lieutenant-Governor Bruce, a dear man, who took the Queen on a tour around the town. We drove through Stanley Park, with its magnificent cedar trees and all its primeval beauty left intact. At the luncheon given by the Mayor everything was done in a most punctilious and formal fashion, for we were in Canada again. Beautiful engraved souvenirs were given us at the table, as was the case in nearly every place we lunched or dined, so that I have a monumental collection of these mementos which will probably require another trunk to cart home. After toasts were drunk, the Mayor announced that there would be no more speeches as the time was so short and there was so much to be seen.

Our first stop of the excursion was at the University of British Columbia, an agricultural college and, as such, all the developments especially appealed to the Queen, as did the botanical gardens. We got our feet full of mud there, as the rain had been pouring, and we were glad to reach our hotel again where we could make ourselves comfortable. A reception of hundreds of women took place after our return there, at which the Queen again spoke and enlisted the sympathies of the Canadian women.

Lieutenant-Governor Bruce quite lost his heart to Her Majesty, and he and the committee outdid themselves that night at a most magnificent banquet, one of the finest and most picturesque of our entire trip. A colorful group of Scotch bag pipers in their kilts led the Queen into the banquet hall, and a truly noble feast was served to the music of pipes in wild Highland skirls. Everything that could be done to honor a queen and a charming lady was done that night. I sat next to a gentleman, evidently one of the leading men in Vancouver, who edified me on the subject of middle age, saying that people should learn to be sensible as they grow older and not expect to live with the same ardor at forty-five as at eighteen. I learned afterward that he was divorced and had just married a pretty young girl! He was wearing countless decorations, as were all the officials, including the Queen who wore the Star of the Empire, something out of the usual for her. The dinner was followed by a dance, at which the Prince and Princess were thoroughly enjoying themselves when the hour came to leave. In the meantime, the Queen, beautiful in the jade-green velvet frock with a long train and her loveliest tiara, was holding court in a room off the ballroom. During the dance I sat next a Canadian woman who presumably took me for a Roumanian as she began to malign the United States, saying that we were a nation of up starts and that our influence was contaminating Canada. I let her talk as I was amused to learn her real opinion about us, and anything I might have said would not have changed her point of view. She was that kind of woman.

At dinner there was a great deal of discussion as to whether we should go on to Victoria. The Lieutenant-Governor had arranged a special ship of the Empress Line to take us across to the island, and Mr. Hill was doing his utmost to disarrange all the plans of the train and include this excursion. After a council of war in an antechamber, at which Mr. Morris held out for adhering to the original plans, the idea of Victoria was abandoned and we turned our faces toward Seattle that night.