A senator from one of the states on the Pacific Coast at a public dinner recently told of his boyhood ambition to become a United States senator. All paths led to the Capitol, and the Senate chamber was the land of all his dreams. At length, after long years of toil and waiting, his state sent him to Congress. He entered with fear and trembling, and when the doorkeeper brushed him unceremoniously aside he felt that he was never born for such high honor. But after a few days in the Senate, instead of wondering how it was that the people of his state had sent him to the august body, he fell to wondering how the others had ever got there. He had attained the goal of his early ambition— but it seemed dull and commonplace.
In one of her novels George Sand tells of a French marchioness who in her old age related the story of the one consuming passion of her life. As a mere girl she had married a rich, dissipated, and worn-out marquis; and she was left a widow at seventeen. She had many suitors, but only one love. One night at the Comedie Francaise she happened to see an Italian actor, Leilio, who played some of the parts of Racine and the other great French dramatists. The marchioness became passionately attached to this actor, whom she had never seen except on the stage. She rejoiced in his triumphs; and if in a given character he was put to death, she had to stifle her screams of distress with her handkerchief. Month after month this went on; but one night as she was leaving her private box by a side entrance she saw a stage carpenter remove his hat to an undersized man who was passing and salute him as M. Leilio. Instantly alert, she followed the cloaked figure to a restaurant and took a table not far from her idol. But alas, when she saw him eat, heard his rough language, and saw those who were his intimates, he was no longer Hippolytus, or any of the great characters of the stage, but just ordinary Italian Leilio.
One who comes much in contact with the official and social life of Washington recently said: "You have no conception of the tragedies of disappointment and disillusionment, and bitterness and cynicism, which are to be found here in Washington under the showy surface of political and social life." The nation's capital is a City of Disillusionment.