What a bound our hearts gave as the gleam of the massive dome met our sight. A crowd of old associations thronged through the galleries of memory to see printed there, radiant and bright with many a glorious page of American history, the dome of the Capitol at Washington.
As we drew nearer we saw how this beautiful structure, which ranks today as one of the noblest architectural objects in the world, dominates the lovely city. This beautiful structure, which covers an area of three and one-half acres, stands on a plateau eighty-eight feet above the level of the Potomac.
The crowning glory of this magnificent edifice is the statue of freedom which surmounts its dome three hundred and seven feet above the esplanade. This great cast iron dome, from which a lovely view of the city may be had, weighs four and one-half thousand tons. It was erected at a cost of six million dollars, and required eight years for its construction. To the north, nearest the Union station, which, too, is an architectural dream, is the Senate wing of the Capitol. The senate chamber is located in the center of the building. The president's room, that of the vice-president and the marble room, are opposite the corridor from the Senate chamber. These sumptuously and elegantly furnished rooms defy description.
Connected with the new Senate wing by a corridor is the old Senate chamber, now used by the Supreme Court. To the south is the great awe-inspiring Rotunda, which is three hundred feet in circumference and over one hundred and eighty feet in height. It is adorned with marvelous life-size paintings and beautiful statuary. This dome is a little higher than that of Antwerp Cathedral, where you look upward one hundred and eighty feet, to gaze upon the glorious Assumption by Corneil Schutt. Passing through the corridor you come to the old House of Representatives, now the Hall of Statuary. "Each state may contribute bronze or marble statues of two of her most illustrious soldiers or statesmen." The south wing of the Capitol, adjoining Statuary Hall, is entirely occupied by the House of Representatives, the luxurious Speaker's Room, and many committee rooms.
On the east central portico the oath of office of each succeeding president is administered by the Chief Justice of the United States in the presence of a multitude of spectators.
You are impressed far more while gazing at this marvelous structure where the combined duties of its members represent the greatest governmental undertaking in the world than when you behold the palaces at Versailles where gilded interiors but poorly hide the corruption of their former days. Then, too, what are crumbling moss grown castles in which dwelt those robber knights, along the Rhine, seen through the glorious perspective, made radiant with American ideas of the present century! What wonderful crops from the fertile brains of men have been produced since the beginning of this mighty structure! What plans for the future greatness and prosperity of the Nation have been made. But, alas! here, too, come seasons of drought when seeds of humility, virtue and love fail to sprout and those of discord, strife and malice, like thorny cactus, crowd out the rare blossoms.
No one visiting Washington should fail to see the Library of Congress, which is the best example of exclusive American art. "The interior of this wonderful building is the most inspiring and marvelous combination of gold, silver, rare marbles and mosaics on as gigantic a scale as is to be found in America. Built primarily for congressmen, this great storehouse of valuable books and works of art is used more freely by the people than any other library in the world."
We shall never forget the lovely view we had from the Lee mansion, that stands in the beautiful Arlington Cemetery. We gazed out over the landscape, where the fields of golden grain and green meadows stretched toward the city. The broad silvery current of the Potomac flashed in the sunlight. Beyond lay the city in its Sabbath stillness. The song of a blue bird, with its softly warbled notes fell upon our ear, and the dreamy threnody of a mourning dove made a soft accompaniment. We left this charming spot and wandered slowly through this beautiful abode of the Nation's heroic dead. At one place we paused before a fuchsia-bordered plot of ground, where we read from a tablet: "To the 4,713 unknown dead who slumber here," and opposite this a coleus-lined space "dedicated to the 24,874 known dead," who offered their lives, that the black stain of slavery might be removed from the land. As we looked at the stretches of grass and flowers which shone in their midst, at the myriads of leaves upon the trees, the birds, the bees, and at the butterflies— winged blossoms hovering over duller hued plants—we thought how soon the tide of this joyous life around us would begin to ebb. Soon the frost would dull the grass, tint the leaves with rainbow hues and cause the flowers to fade. The birds would take wing and leave the place for warmer climes. Then, after the shroud of snow had been spread o'er the lifeless landscape, a new and fairer spring would lift the pall of winter, and glorious waves of warm life would cover the earth with beauty again.
While in the city of Washington the traveler should see the Corcoran Art Gallery. What a priceless treasure William Wilson Corcoran left the American people when he deeded to the public the Corcoran Gallery of Art to be used solely for the purposes of encouraging American genius in the production and preservation of works pertaining to the Fine Arts and kindred subjects.
Over one-third of the artists represented in the Corcoran gallery are American born and a look at the wonderful works of art to be seen here will convince the most pessimistic person that America has produced works that are worth while.
Among the many treasures of sculpture to be seen in this gallery are Vela's "Last Days of Napoleon First," and Powers' "Greek Slave," while among its canvases are Mueller's "Charlotte Corday," Brooke's, "A Pastoral Visit," Von Thoren's "Lost Dogs," and Renouf's, "A Helping Hand."
Landscape art seems to be our "special province," and no wonder, for what other country possesses such vast stretches of prairies, magnificent rivers and lakes, unbounded primeval forests and falls of such incomparable grandeur?
"We naturally turn to George Innes (1825-1894) as America's foremost exponent of landscape art." Fortunate indeed is the gallery to possess his "Sunset in the Woods." It is of interest to note that it was not completed until many years after the sketch was made. On July 23, 1891, Mr. Innes wrote of the "Sunset in the Woods": "The material for my picture was taken from a sketch made near Hastings, Westchester county, New York, twenty years ago. This picture was commenced seven years ago, but until last winter I had not obtained any idea commensurate with the impression received on the spot. The idea is to represent an effect of light in the woods towards sundown, but to allow the imagination to predominate." Herein perhaps lay the original power of the artist's genius; he had learned to labor and to wait. Genius, without exceeding great labor, has never accomplished much that shall last through time.
One feels when gazing on this exquisite poem of twilight, that if only this one picture of the woods had been painted it were better than to have produced a thousand inferior scenes. How beautiful that glow on the "Venerable old tree trunk and the opening beyond the great boulder." It is indeed a wonderful creation filled with the mystery and silence of approaching nightfall. As you gaze at the seemingly deepening gloom, you feel the very spirit of the violet dusk. A wood thrush is ringing her vesper bell softly. A marked stillness pervades the atmosphere. A gray rabbit hops among the swaying foxglove and fern tops; the plaintive note of the whippoorwill tells us night will soon be here. One almost fears to look again, after turning away, for a time, lest the last glow has faded and night is there.
What marvelous beauty this poet of Nature has portrayed from the common scenes of woods, meadow and stream, which so few really see until an Innes shows us how divinely beautiful they are.
If you have never had the pleasure of gazing upon Niagara you will want to pause long before Frederick E. Church's painting of it, for he seems to have caught some of its fleeting beauties and transferred them to canvas. This picture had a startling effect upon Europeans when it was exhibited in Paris. When they compared the falls of Switzerland to it, they gained a more definite idea of the vast expanse of our natural wonders.
You will not fail to admire the painting, "The Road to Con Carneau," by William Lamb Picknell. How well he has painted this scene of quaint old Normandy. As you gaze at the vast stretch of marshy country, with stone roads, marked by milestones, you begin to appreciate the wonderful genius of the artist. You can readily see that evening has come and you seem to feel its message quite as much as when gazing upon the "End of Day" by Corot.
Our day here recalled our visit to the Luxembourg gallery and the Louvre. How much better it is to see part of these magnificent palaces dedicated to art than to be used by worthless rulers.
One can never forget the impression made upon him as he gazes at the halls which are filled with the grandest works of antiquity. Any of these standing alone would challenge the admiration of all who see them, but the "Venus de Milo" and the "Winged Victory" stand out in memory among the innumerable works of art as the Alps tower above the vales of Switzerland. That magnificent piece of sculpture, Venus de Milo, was found by a peasant in the island of Milo in 1820. "It belongs to the fourth century before Christ and represents that flowery period of Greek sculpture when Praxiteles was at its head."
Here we may also enjoy the "St. John" and "Madonna and Child" by Raphael, many works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Corregio, Rubens, Mttrillo, and Titian.
Before leaving the city we climbed to the top of Washington monument. This monument is an imposing mass of white marble, rising to a height of five hundred fifty-five and one-half feet. No visitor to Washington should fail to make the ascent for no finer view of the city, the surrounding hills and the Potomac can be had than from the observation point, at a height of five hundred four feet. As we looked down on the lovely avenues, gardens and statues of this well-planned city we compared it with our view of Paris from the Arch of Triumph and Eiffel Tower. While Eiffel Tower is nearly twice as high as Washington Monument it revealed no lovelier view than we beheld in this magnificent city.
We shall never forget the spell cast over us as we said goodbye to the City of Magnificent Distances and sped along the road that led to the Nation's shrine. What memories hallowed by art and song came thronging round us as we made our pilgrimage to the pleasantly situated estate of Mount Vernon.
The old estate bears the name given it by Major Lawrence Washington in honor of his commander, Admiral Edward Vernon, of the British navy. Imagine our feelings upon arriving at this— one of the most sacred spots in America—when we found the very undesirable custom of charging a fee to view a scene that above all others should be free to the public. This place to all true Americans belongs in the same class as sublime mountain views, indescribable sunsets, whereon to place a price would be sacrilege, for they are priceless.
As soon as we entered the gates of this hallowed spot we passed through the lovely flower garden. The air was fragrant, almost heavy, with the perfume of box bushes which had been trimmed in fantastic designs of rare beauty. How slowly we walked down the paths whose sides were enameled with brilliant hued flowers, artistically arranged. There was something almost sacred in the solitude here. We seemed to see the stately form of the master, as he gazed in admiration at this charming spot or stooped to pluck a few rare blossoms for his companion. What hours of calm and unsullied enjoyment he must have spent here. What grand thoughts those lovely flowers must have suggested. How often he stood here or wandered slowly along these same paths at twilight, while the mocking-bird's song harmonized with his evening reveries.
Pausing to admire the beauty of the royal spikes of purple foxglove we were thrilled with a familiar yet much loved song, for in accord with the train of our thoughts, a mocking bird sprang into the air with the most extraordinary turns and gyrations and at last settled down on the chimney of the store room as if overcome by his own ecstatic singing—this was our welcome to Mount Vernon. With brilliant bewildering staccato phrases he started singing in one place, then mounted to the air, spread his wings and floating down to the tops of a cedar, never missing a note. It was purely a song of joy expressing exuberance of life and whole-souled enjoyment. He mimicked thirty different American birds, but their songs were hurried without the proper pauses and phrasing. It was what piano player music is to hand-played melodies, lacking the beauty and soul of the original artists.
How delightful it was to linger here. You could spend days and weeks in forgetting the maddening strife and cares gazing out over the majestic Potomac, lulled to rest by this matchless songster.
Here one can readily see that Washington was fond of trees and shrubs, and many were the excursions he made to the woods to select specimens to be transplanted to the grounds around his home. Just outside the garden are the tulip trees he planted over one hundred and thirty years ago. The master of these stately trees has long since gone, yet his spirit seems to linger there. These glorious tulips are tall and straight as the man whose hands first broke the sod and pressed the ground tenderly about their roots. They still aspire and shed delicious perfume on the balmy summer air and their verdure is perennial like the memory of a grateful nation.
Bartram, an eminent botanist of Philadelphia, was a close friend of Washington. In the rear of the mansion is a fine lawn comprising a number of acres, around which winds a carriage drive bordered by grand old trees.
We thought of the truthfulness of Mrs. Sangster's words as we gazed in admiration at these lovely trees:
"Who plants a tree for fruit or shade, In orchard fair, on verdant slope; Who plants a tree a tryst has made With future years, in faith and hope."
When visiting the palace of King Louis XIV of France at Versailles and the hundreds of rooms that accommodated his courtiers and their servants, also the two large wings which housed The State Ministers and contained their offices, you are greatly impressed at the Herculean labor and immense cost such magnificence must have required. Here the best artists of his time, by long years of patient toil, and money in profusion, were employed on this glorification of a man.
Here was laid out a vast and beautiful garden, filled with noble statues and marble basins, that extended its geometrical alleys and lines of symmetrical trees to a park around which spread the magnificent forest. You see the room in which our great and illustrious Franklin stayed and marvel at the glorious Hall of Mirrors where the Peace Conference met. Yet you are glad to get out and contemplate that wonderful avenue of European elms whose straight round trunks, bearing innumerable branches which divide again and again, form glorious fountain-like crests of verdure.
But with what a different feeling you look upon the home of Washington. Here, too, visitors find in the wonderful trees a symbol of something serene, protective, sacred, so like the man who once walked beneath them.
"The dawn of great events in which Washington was to play such an important part began to blow on the eastern horizon of New England." From the ocean-bordered shores were faint streaks of light that ere long began to deepen into hues of a sanguine color that seemed to presage a tempest. At first the sound was like the faint lisping murmur of pines along the shore or the sobbing surf as it retreated from the charge it made; but ere long it broke forth in loud, angry tones like the wailing of branches on a stormy night or the booming breakers on the stern rocks of her rugged coast, until the dwellers of the interior heard the ominous sound and made ready to defend those inalienable rights of man, liberty and justice.
The aeolian melodies of freedom were heard by the Master of Mount Vernon as he walked beneath his liberty loving trees. It was not easy to leave a charming home where happiness and love reigned supreme; yet when the call, that echoed from far New England's rugged shores, rebounded from fair Virginia's hills Washington sacrificed all the pleasures of love and home on the altar of Freedom.
We admired the picturesque seed house with its ivy covered walls and dormer windows, quite as much as the mansion itself. This was built for the storing of seed and the implements of horticulture.
We next visited the stately mansion, whose plan as well as that for all improvements made, were drawn by Washington. "Convenience and desirability he sought in his home," and last but not least, location. The mansion is built of pine. It contains two stories and is ninety-six feet long and thirty feet wide, having a piazza that is supported by sixteen square columns which are twenty-five feet in height. The width of the piazza is fifteen feet, having a balustrade of pleasing design around it; and in the center of the roof is a circular observatory from which a wonderful view of the Potomac may be had. The roof contains several dormer windows. There are six rooms on the ground floor and on entering the passage way that leads from east to west through it you are at once impressed with its wainscoting and large worked cornices which present to the eye the appearance of great solidity. The parlor, library and breakfast room are on the south side of the hall; while to the north are the reception room, parlor, and drawing room. All of the rooms are what you would expect, "tasteful and charming, yet simple."
An exquisitely wrought chimney-piece from the finest Sienite marbles in Italy was presented to Washington for his Mount Vernon home by Mr. Vaughan, of London. Upon three tablets of the frieze are pleasing pastoral scenes, so fitting for this rural home.
We were much impressed by a picture of Washington seen here. How much more inspiring is a noble human countenance than the grandest natural scenery.
Any one seeing a crowd of men in which Washington is one of the number will at once ask, "Whose is the distinguished form towering above the throng, a figure of superb strength and perfect symmetry? He at once receives that hearty admiration which youth and age alike bestow on a man who so forcibly illustrates and embellishes manhood. No one finds cause of regret for lavishing it, for that finely formed intellectual head held a clear, vigorous brain; those fine blue eyes look from the depths of a nature at once frank and noble; and in that broad chest beat a heart filled with the love of freedom, country and his fellow man."
The spirit of the boy pulsating with youth's warm blood who carved his name on the west side of the Natural Bridge, where it remained alone for nearly three-fourths of a century—that same indomitable spirit rose high above the treacherous rocks of fear, where it shone on the troubled sea of political injustice, a beacon light to the venturesome mariners, until they were landed safely upon the shore of Freedom.
Never did a family bear such an appropriate coat of arms: Exitus Acta Probat, "The end justifies the means." Here we have a man whose noble life of self-sacrifice and true devotion to his country accomplished the "greatest end by the most justifiable means." He had an Alpine grandeur of mind that towered far above the sordid lowlands of selfish ambitions to those sublime heights of whole-souled devotion to public duty and incorruptible integrity, where the great soul of the man shone forth like the lovely Pleiades on a winter night. In this "Cincinnatus of the West" resided a liberal mind, broad as his sunny acres that led far back from the river; his clearness of thought was like that of his native springs which gush in crystal clearness, leaving a path of verdure along their course; his loftiness of purpose towered sublimely above average life, like the glorious outlines of the Blue Ridge mountains.
"Skill, prudence, sagacity, energy, and wisdom marked all his acts." That wonderful trinity—candor, sincerity and simplicity— were the striking features of his character and "an air of noble dignity never left his manly features, in either defeat or battle." On following his brilliant career as a commander one realizes as never before, that "intellect and not numbers rule the world; liberty-loving ideals and not force overmaster bigness; and that truth and right, when supported by strong and worthy purposes, always prevail in the end."
Among the many interesting relics to be seen at Mount Vernon are the Sword of Washington and Franklin's staff. While gazing at these mementoes of the past we recalled these significant words of the poet:
"The sword of the Hero, The staff of the Sage, Whose valor and wisdom Are stamped on the age. Time hallowed mementoes Of those who have riven The sceptre from tyrants, The lightning from heaven.
This weapon, O, Freedom; Was drawn by thy son, And it never was sheathed Till the battle was won. No stain of dishonor Upon it we see. 'Twas never surrendered— Except to the free.
While Fame claims the hero And patriot sage Their names to emblazon On History's page, No holier relics Will Liberty hoard Than Franklin's staff guarded By Washington's sword."
Another relic is the key of that grim prison, the Bastile, sent to Washington by Lafayette as a symbol of the overthrow of despotism and triumph of free government in France. That symbol is today one of America's most treasured mementos, carefully guarded in the Nation's shrine at Mount Vernon.
An exact reproduction of the old prison was made from a stone of its walls and presented to Washington. "We felt an awe in treading these lonely halls, a feeling that hallowed the spot as if there yet lingered a faint echo of the Master's footsteps through the silence, although he had departed forever."
Having viewed the places that to him were most dear, the places still redolent of the beauty and sacredness of home life, we wanted to stand beside his tomb. Past beautiful cedars and venerable maples we made our way to a quiet secluded spot where so many had gone before us, to leave the most perfect roses of Memory, filled with the incense of grateful and loving hearts. We cannot tell with what feeling we added our sprays of blossoms, perennials springing from the garden of the heart, waxen white and fragrant as the narcissus.
We saw the wreath placed here by King Albert of Belgium as a loving tribute of respect of that brave little country.
An old colored man who conducted us to the tomb said that, as near as he could remember, about twelve years before he witnessed one of the largest crowds that he ever saw at Mount Vernon. The Ohio Corn Boys were afforded the wonderful opportunity of visiting this famous spot. What an ideal place to take them, for the farm has always been the best place on earth for the family. "It is the main source of our national wealth; the foundation of all civilized society." The welcome fact that a rural community could produce such men as Washington or Lincoln should be an added incentive for these Ohio lads to make the most of their golden opportunities.
Leaving the sacred spot to its quiet, mournful beauty, we again passed through the garden over which floated the notes of the mocking-bird, like an oft-repeated farewell.
Travelers leaving Mount Vernon should pause a while in the old city of Alexandria, for there is much of historic interest here. It is located on the right bank of the Potomac river, six miles below Washington, with which it is connected by a ferry and electric lines. Here the Potomac is a mile wide though it is one hundred miles from its mouth. It forms a harbor sufficiently deep for the largest ocean vessels. A fine view of the Capitol at Washington may be had, and from the Virginia end of the bridge spanning the Potomac a magnificent view of Lee's old home. Now Arlington cemetery opens to your gaze. This city was the headquarters of Braddock prior to his ill-fated expedition against the French in 1775. Here still stands Masonic Lodge, the building in which the governors of New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia met to form plans for the expedition.
But you forget the historical associations of the place as you enter the little brick church where Washington was one of the first Vestrymen. Washington's and Lee's pews are pointed out to the visitor. Upon the wall back of the chancel may be seen the Law, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. How often the eyes of the Father of his country must have rested upon that prayer. It was here, during the "times that tried men's souls" that thoughtfully and prayerfully he received courage and strength which led him to espouse the Cause of Liberty. A feeling of solemnity steals over you akin to that which you experience while treading the dim lighted aisle of some vast cathedral. On first beholding the Notre Dame in Cologne, you feel as if you were indeed lingering at the gates of the "Temple Beautiful." And on entering, how majestic are the arches, how long the vista, how richly illuminated and emblazoned the windows, and how heavenly the music that thrills the "iris tinted silences." It yet lacks the solemnity of these moments in which you linger in the old-fashioned church at Alexandria, where if you listen you may still catch those sky-born melodies, the chimes of a noble life. Leaving the place to its hallowed memories we started on our way to Baltimore.
>From beneath that humble roof went forth the intrepid and unselfish warrior—the magistrate who knew no glory but his country's good; to that he returned happiest when his work was done. There he lived in noble simplicity; there he died in glory and peace.
While it stands, the latest generations of the grateful children of America will make this pilgrimage to it as to a shrine, and when it shall fall, if fall it must, the memory and the name of Washington shall shed an eternal glory on the spot.
LANCASTER COUNTY AND GETTYSBURG
One of the most pleasant, recollections of travelers in Pennsylvania will be their trip through Lancaster county. For fifty years this county has led the United States in the value of cereal products. Lancaster, the county seat, has a population of fifty-eight thousand. It is one of the oldest towns in the state and was its capital in 1799. It was also the capital of the United States for one day, September 27, 1777.
We resolved to keep close watch as we drove across this wonderful agricultural county to see what we could learn of the methods employed in producing such bountiful crops. Surely, we thought, here will be a region lacking many of the beauties of rural communities. But what was our surprise when we found fine homes embowered in grand old trees. The dooryards contained many trees, shrubs and flowers—not cluttered up, but most admirably arranged, showing forethought and good taste. Then, the glowing masses of the flower-bordered gardens were a quaint commingling of use and beauty. "Squares of onions, radishes, lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries—everything edible," reminded one of the lovely weedless vegetable plots of the Rhine country. Theirs seemed the homes which Gene Stratton Porter described in her incomparable manner in her "Music of the Wild." "Peter Tumble- down" has long ago moved from Lancaster county and only a few distant relatives yet remain.
We were delighted to find large barns in which the implements were sheltered. Nearly all contained coats of paint and the stables were whitewashed, giving an added appearance of cleanliness to the place as well as destroying lice and vermin. Everything spoke of thrift. The manure was not thrown out in the barnyard but stored under sheds. The straw was kept in the barns. Noticing these things we began to learn that aside from good soil it was also good sense that made this the garden spot of the United States. Tobacco, so impoverishing to the soil, is still raised here on farms that have known cultivation two hundred years.
It is more refreshing than mountain scenery to behold such homes as you find here. The highways were not bordered by unsightly weeds but had been mown. These thrifty farmers were not afraid that they would spend their last days in the poorhouse if they chanced to leave a few shade trees standing; so, in many places along the highways, lovely maples and graceful elms make of them, instead of furnaces, a traveler's paradise. Thus we learned that those who combine use and beauty are not financial failures and live happier and longer than the people who "see no beauty and hear no songs and fail to perpetuate them for the future generations."
"For he who blesses most is blest; And God and man shall own his worth Who toils to leave as his bequest An added beauty to the earth."
The motorist will find an ideal road from Baltimore to Gettysburg. He will see a beautiful and fertile agricultural country whose well kept homes speak of refinement and prosperity among the people. It was over this wonderful highway that we sped while on our way to the famous town.
We entered Gettysburg at nightfall, passing the house where General Meade had his headquarters. The sky was overcast in the early part of the evening and now the rain began to fall. It was too dark to make out the flag as it rose and fell over the little house. But as we peered through the uncertain light, a flash of lightning revealed the banner, which at once spoke an emblematic language too powerful for words. Darkness swallowed it up again; but we knew that for those stars gleaming on their field of blue, and for the purification of its white stripes that had been blackened by slavery, these charming ridges about us had been washed in the blood of thousands of our fair land.
We had to detour on account of the repair of sewers. Red lanterns warned the traveler of danger, but it seemed as if they spoke not of the dangers of the present but of those graver dangers that once had been. We spent the night at the Eagle Hotel. The rain continued to fall and by its soothing patter on the leaves and roof above us we were ushered into the land of dreams.
The next morning we met the father of Lieutenant Ira Ellsworth Lady who was one of the first of Pennsylvania's loyal sons from Adams county to offer the supreme sacrifice in the World War. The Post of the American Legion at Arendtsville is named in his honor.
Alas! How poor, how futile are words to express the nobleness of those young men, the fairest and purest our land could offer. In cases like this there is not much to be said. As we picked up the hat that dropped from trembling hands unnoticed to the floor, we thought what a sad Christmas the year 1918 brought to this home. Then we thought, too, how in the last moments of his earthly sojourn Lieut. Lady had wandered back to the lovely hills and the old homestead with its dear remembered faces in his native county.
Our first meeting was in the Evacuation Hospital at Glorenx; almost within the shadows of the frowning citadel of Verdun. How well we remember the first day of his arrival in Ward E! The litter bearers came and went on their ceaseless journeys, bringing new patients still under the influence of ether or transferring others who were sent by ambulance to base hospitals. It was during those terrible days of the Meuse- Argonne drive, while the air overhead hummed with those cruel messengers of fate—coming from no one knew where—that the litter bearers slowly and carefully lowered a patient to the newly-made cot we had just prepared. Looking at the diagnosis card that we found, we learned that the patient, Lieut. Ira Ellsworth Lady, had had an amputation of his limb above the knee, and that he also had been gassed.
The first question that he asked as we stood by his cot, when he again regained consciousness was: "How am I wounded?" When we told him the misfortune which had befallen him, a shudder ran through his frame as he repeated: "It is bad enough, but it might have been worse." A shade of sadness spread over those noble features but it was only for a moment, and he appeared utterly resigned to his cruel fate.
Always there was that smile of appreciation as we moved among the numerous cots of the suffering and dying. Whether in the morning upon inquiring how he had spent the night, or after the thick curtains were lowered at the windows, that no gleam of light might reveal our location to hostile planes, or when we paused at his bedside to wish him a painless night and restful slumber, we were always greeted by kind words of hope and cheer and a pleasant smile. How those cheery good-nights softened the roaring cannon, and screaming shells into a mere echo, and that smiling countenance made radiant the grim halls of indescribable suffering and death!
Well do we remember that Lieut. Lady's concern was not for himself but only for the welfare of others. As he looked across the way where Private Everson of Company A, in the 26th Division, who had been wounded in such a manner as to make it impossible for him to lie down, sat propped up with blankets, he exclaimed, "I pity that poor fellow so! Oh, how I wish I could help him!" How self vanished like a blighted thing as we heard those words of pity coming from one whose suffering was beyond human words to express. Truly, a life like this had caught a glow of that redeeming light which radiates from the cross itself.
Again, we recalled that awful night in November when we moved with hurried yet silent tread among the cots on which lay figures in many uneasy attitudes, some brokenly slumbering and muttering through helpless delirium; others uttering suppressed moans as they lay tossing upon their cots.
Just as we were preparing to leave the ward to the night men, after the temperatures and pulse rates of all the patients had been taken and registered, the gas alarm sounded. Instantly we made ready to put onto the patients the gas masks which were in readiness at the head of each cot. Just then the cry of fire was whispered to the ward men, who at once began preparations for the removal of the patients to the opposite side of the hospital grounds. All out of doors was intense blackness—a blackness only relieved by the flashes of guns that made the eastern sky blaze with their crimson light.
Suddenly the flames leaped from the operating room, in the end containing the sterilizer. Soon they cast a lurid glow upon the dark clouds. Hurriedly, yet quietly, we removed the patients to a place in which they would be safe. Two of the wards had already caught fire on their sides nearest the operating room. The many patients in this room along with those undergoing operations on the thirteen operating tables were rushed into another building where the work was immediately resumed. Each patient who caught sight of the bright light that streamed in through the open doors, was busy with many eager questions on his perturbed mind. Yet no one spoke a word but watched in suspense that was almost pain, the fiery glow that spread around, until horror distorted many a face.
Suddenly, as if reflected from some unimaginable furnace the sky was all aflame. What had happened or was happening those wounded boys could only dimly imagine. Yet, how calm, how wonderful they were in their utter helplessness. Rain began to fall as we were removing the patients. Gradually the dreadful light faded from the sky and the flames that had began to eat their way in the walls of the nearest buildings were extinguished. Only the operating room was burned to the ground.
As we moved among the patients, doing what little we could to ease the pain and quiet the fears of those dear, noble boys, a hand from one of the cots seized oars in a clinging firm embrace and we recognized the voice of Lieut. Lady as he said, "I am so glad you are with me tonight."
When that eventful day of the 11th of November came and the bells from Regret and Verdun rang out the glorious news of the armistice, how the hearts of all the boys in the wards were stirred! It was a beautiful day resembling our American Indian Summer, when we threw open the doors and windows to admit the glorious message. It seemed that the prayers of not only France, but of the world, were being said and the theme that ran through them all was: "How beautiful are the feet of Him upon the mountains that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace." And chiming in with the music of the bells, the clear voice of Lieut. Lady was heard, as he exclaimed, "I hope and pray God that this will be the end of all wars." Let us sincerely hope that the noble sacrifice of such men as this shall not have been in vain. To many the bells that morning meant peace, home and love, but alas, to others they had a sadder meaning!
When spring came again to the shell-torn fields near Verdun, we saw how Nature in places was reclothing the meadows in their mantles of green and around the ruined, tenantless homes along the Meuse, how the primrose and violet were covering up the scars made by unnumbered shells. The air was filled with the joyous notes of the lark, and the linnet and the black-cap warbled among the hedgerows. Here where once had dwelt the peasant, the cuckoo called from the evergreens and nightingales made the evening breeze vocal with their rapturous notes. This wealth of flowers and song only served to call up bitter memories for, alas! how many brave hearts lay sleeping in that vast abode of the dead, all unmindful of the beauty of flower or joy of song about them.
Slowly we made our way from the flower gardens to the French cemetery, where thousands of valiant Poilus who had said: "they shall not pass" were sleeping. We saw where the hand of affection had planted the fleur-de-lis or hung beautiful bead- wrought wreaths upon the crosses until this abode of the dead resembled a vast flower garden.
Just to the west and divided by a narrow road, our own American heroes were resting. Here we reverently paused and placed a wreath of ivy inwrought with flowers, upon the grave of Lieut. Lady and another on that of our own Ambrose Schank as a last loving tribute to all who had so dearly purchased the peace we now enjoy. While thinking of those other dear friends, Corporal Edgar Browder, of Chicago, and Lieut. Erk Cottrell, of Greenville, Ohio, who perished nobly upon the field of duty, we felt the significance of the words of the poet:
"In Flanders fields the poppies grow, Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place, and in the sky, The larks still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead; short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from falling hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high; If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep though poppies grow In Flanders fields."
If you are approaching Gettysburg for the first time you cannot help but admire those even swells that stretch away from South Mountain like an emerald sea. No doubt you will begin to wonder where the town is situated as you advance. Numerous low ridges are crossed and at last the famous town lies before you.
What a charming situation it has! Vast waves of undulating meadow and farm land appear with fields of gleaming grain and clamps of elm, oak and maple to break its smoothly flowing billows. Farther away rise higher treeless ridges or wooded slopes, but all alike are smoothly flowing.
Looking out over the land in a northwestern direction on a bright day you can see South Mountain, "forerunner of the sierrated Alleghanies," looming up between the town and Cumberland Valley. Back of it the serried ranks of the Alleghanies rise in hazy indistinctness and blend imperceptibly with the blue along the far horizon.
You will soon discover the two ridges that are so important from a military point of view. These ridges are about one mile apart, although in some places they approach much nearer each other. Cemetery Ridge slopes very gently to a more level tract of ground when you compare it to the undulating land about it. "You will discover that the ridges have stopped short here, forming headlands above the lower swells. Two roads ascend this hill and the ascent is not difficult. It does not seem to you as being a formidable stronghold." Gettysburg is located here; its houses extend to the brow of the hill and the cemetery is located upon the brow itself.
Looking across the valley you will see the western ridge with its fringe of deciduous trees. These grow along the entire crest of the hill. They effectually hide the view in that direction. Rising from its setting of trees at a point opposite the town you will observe the cupola of the Lutheran Seminary from which the ridge took its name—Seminary Ridge.
Both ridges are comparatively level at the top and the undulating slopes of both are very easy of ascent. Only far down the valley will you find them cut up by ravines and water courses.
Rising like giant sentinels off some distance from the ends of Cemetery Ridge are those hills whose possession meant victory or defeat. The northern-most group consists of that memorable trio of Wolf's, McAllister's and Culp's Hills. There is a slender and low ridge joining Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill which seems to be thrown behind the ridge.
Between Culp's Hill and Wolf's Hill flows Rock Creek. It is very shallow and winds through a wild ravine. What news it could tell of those three days of fighting if we were able to interpret its rippling music. But the vast numbers who listened to its softly murmured notes have long since gone, borne down the rippling stream of Time, from which there is no returning.
Here we learned why the soldiers made such a desperate attempt to secure Culp's Hill, for what use would it have been to get Cemetery Hill and leave a back door open, as it were, for the enemy to pass through.
Here in spring the ravine is gay with the blossoming dogwood and the redbud fills the place with its royal purple.
As we gazed at the many fine monuments on this, the best marked and most beautiful of ail battlegrounds in the world, we thought of the terrible waste of life. But then had it been wasted, after all? As we passed down by the peach orchard, we saw a battle between two robins being waged. Then we thought how each spring, from remotest times this same battle-ground has been used by Nature's children to settle questions of gravest import to their race. Each season brings renewed conflicts. Down by the Devil's Den ground squirrels wage their battles again and again. Aerial battles, too, are fought by hawks above the tree tops.
In Nature, to the strongest usually comes the victory. For her children cruel, relentless, bloody war seems inevitable. But is it necessary that human life be sacrificed? What could be the plan, the purpose of it all? Perhaps there was no plan, no purpose; we do not know. But as we look across the changing scenes that come and go with the changeless years, we seem to see a plan, a purpose, and there are wars and bloodshed in them, yet, they appear Divine. It seems that only the great principle of the Universe is being fulfilled; that from the sacrifice of life a richer, fuller life is gained.
Here the birds still come to bathe and drink and their songs float to you from far and near. Among the branches of an oak top, a red-eyed vireo is saying, "brigade, brigadier," and we well know that he is not military and do not know where he learned those military terms. But, he is destroying whole battalions and even armies of caterpillars, those green coated Boches and striped convicts of our forest trees; and we think "brigadier" none too noble a title for the bravery he shows in carolling all through the hot summer day. Someone has called him a preacher, but we confess, we have listened to many a lengthy discourse whose effect was slight in comparison to his wild ringing text, so redolent of rustling leaves and murmuring brooks—one of the sermons of God's great out-of-doors. Across the "peach orchard" a cardinal, like a swiftly hurled firebrand, comes toward us and utters his clear metallic Chip, then alighting among some wild grape vines, plays several variations on his clear, ringing flute. From an elm tree, an oriole answers his bold challenge in his rich voice, while a band of chickadees indulge in their querulous calls as they inspect each leaf and twig for larva and eggs. Up in a linden tree, a blue jay is crying "Salute me, salute me." Like a second lieutenant just commissioned. He wears his close-fitting uniform and overseas cap with a dignity that becomes one of that most enviable rank. The bold bugle of the Carolina wren sounds through the leafy encampment and like the colors ascending for retreat, the red, white and blue of the red-headed woodpecker is seen rising diagonally to a dead oak stub. Like a fine accompaniment the music of the fluttering leaves blends with that of the rippling stream and the many woodland voices mellow and supplement them until the symphony rises a soothing and harmonious whole which can never be forgotten.
>From Little Round Top a night hawk screams and comes booming down to earth where squadrons of insects are manoeuvering; by the Devil's Den a red squirrel is berating an unseen enemy, hurling all sorts of abusive epithets at him in his wheezy, irate manner.
Rising in strong relief at the southern edge of Cemetery Ridge are the picturesque hills known as Little and Great Round Top. They are wooded from base to summit. What mighty forces have been at work here! Crevasses of broken ledges, immense boulders cropping out on the slopes or lying here and there all show that a battle royal has been here waged by Nature. Here, thrust out from little Round Top, is a heap of "ripped up" ledges and massive rocks where a great fissure leads back to a place where the Southern sharpshooters hid while picking off the Union officers on Little Round Top. It seemed that some great mass had slipped from Little Round Top and had been hurled still farther by some unknown force—a vast heap of stone deeply seamed by rents and scars thick set with boulders and filled with holes providing excellent hiding places for the men.
"All through that moonlight night while Buford kept watch the roads leading to Gettysburg were lighted up by gleaming campfires. How peacefully lay the little village slumbering in the quiet moonlight, with never a thought of the coming battle on the morrow. Soon the lovely valley of Willoughby Run with its emerald meadows, flashing brooks and green woods would be deformed by shot and shell."
It seems difficult even to imagine the terrible price that was paid at Gettysburg—while wandering here in this charming spot, where stretches a beautiful world of woodlands with their feast of varying shades of green whose rare vistas open up to fields of hay and grain.
Marry flowers and ferns grow here and, like the birds, they, too, have their preacher. Jack in his pulpit of light green is proclaiming wildwood messages to his flower brethren. If scarlet represents sin among the flower family then in his congregation are many sinners, for the vivid hues of the cardinal blossoms burn like coals of fire against their setting of green shrubs and vines. Joe Pye weeds blush at what they hear, as if guilty of some flagrant wrong, although they took their name from Joe Pye, the Indian who cured typhus fever in New England by means of these plants. Elecampane stands up tall and straight as if conscious of having been mentioned by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, more than two thousand years ago, as being an important stimulant to the brain and stomach. Fox gloves, those Good Samaritans among the flowers, bend low their lovely heads to catch Jack's text, and among the patron Saints John's wort humbly rears its yellow flowers, unmindful that it was hung at the doors and windows on St. John's Eve as a safeguard against thunder and evil spirits. As if to destroy the good Jack wished to do, the Devil's Paint Brush (European Hawk-weed) had been busy among the brethren, sowing seeds of strife and contention and the brilliant orange blotches interspersed among the other members told how successful were his labors.
We have not told much about the battle of Gettysburg and the observing historian may say that our time was wholly wasted, but the wonderful words of Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech still ring in our ears like heavenly music and as we turned to leave this "hallowed"—this "consecrated"—spot, the lines repeated here by Ella Wheeler Wilcox came to us like some grand triumphal strain of music:
"We know that you died for Freedom, To save our land from shame, To rescue a periled Nation, And we give you deathless fame. 'Twas the cause of Truth and Justice That you fought and perished for, And we say it, oh, so gently, 'Our boys who died in the war.'
Saviors of our Republic, Heroes who wore the blue, We owe the peace that surrounds us, And our Nation's strength to you. We owe it to you that our banner, The fairest flag in the world, Is today unstained, unsullied, On the summer air unfurled.
We look on the stripes and spangles And our hearts are filled the while With love for the brave commanders And the boys of the rank and file. The grandest deeds of valor Were never written out, The noblest acts of virtue The world knows nothing about.
And many a private soldier Who walks his humble way, With no sounding name or title, Unknown to the world today, In the eyes of God is a hero As worthy of the bays, As any mighty general To whom the world gives praise.
For next to our God is our Nation, And we cherish the honored name, Of the bravest of all brave armies Who fought for the Nation's fame."
O ye, who dwell in youth's inviting bowers, Waste not, in useless joy, your fleeting hours, But rather let the tears of sorrow roll, And sad reflection fill the conscious soul. For many a jocund spring has passed away, And many a flower has blossomed to decay; And human life, still hastening to a close, Finds in the worthless dust its last repose. Still the vain world abounds in strife and hate, And sire and son provoke each other's fate; And kindred blood by kindred hands is shed, And vengeance sleeps not—dies not, with the dead. All nature fades—the garden's treasures fall, Young bud, and citron ripe—all perish—all.
—From the Persian.
"The excessive heat of the summer of 1921 made it the first impulse of travelers to plunge straight into the cool, kindly ocean, where they could wade and bathe in the surf, sprawl for hours in the sand, or indulge in races and various games along the beach."
One is greatly impressed with the vast numbers of resorts on the Atlantic coast. All along the Jersey shore from Bar Harbor to Cape May you will find it almost as thickly settled as a town. Here along this coast an amazing degree of congestion exists. You will marvel to see all along the beach from Sandy Hook, fifty miles of crowded street, of hotels, and houses, and behind these still others. How this vast seaside population thrills one, bringing visions of the "vastness and wealth of teeming millions" of this great nation of ours. One author says, and with truth, that Atlantic City could accommodate all of France and still have room for more while Asbury Park would furnish ample room as a seaside resort for Belgium and Holland.
Atlantic City, known throughout the world as a great all-the- year resort, is situated upon Absecon Island off the Jersey coast. Absecon is an Indian name given to this island, meaning "Place of Swans." Great flocks of these graceful birds are said to have frequented this spot, where they fed on clams and oysters. The swans have long since gone, their place being taken by less graceful and more richly attired birds, that at stated times flock there in vast numbers. Its close proximity to the large eastern centers of population give it an unrivaled location. The climate is made equable by the Gulf Stream. It is much warmer here in winter than at New York or Philadelphia and weather records show sixty-two per cent sunshine. Motorists visit the seashore metropolis by tens of thousands in all seasons of the year.
Atlantic City has one thousand two hundred hotels and boarding houses to meet every purse and entertains twenty million people annually, the transient population reaching four hundred thousand in August and never being less than fifty thousand.
For six miles along one of the finest bathing beaches on the Atlantic seaboard extends the world-famed board walk, sixty feet wide, topped with planking and built upon a steel and concrete foundation, where promenade health and recreation seekers from all parts of America and foreign climes. There are four great piers varying in length from one thousand to three thousand feet, with auditoriums and all kinds of amusements which are as varied as the visitors are versatile. The shops of the board walk are one of its most attractive features.
One's motto at Atlantic City as well as the world over should be that of a certain medicine man who gave this advice to his customers: "Let your eyes be your judge, your pocketbook your guide, and your money the last thing you part with." But, alas! how few heeded the free advice he gave them, but persisted in buying his patent nostrums until their pocketbooks could scarcely raise an audible jingle!
Money may befriend one at Atlantic City but it will never admit him into real society where the passwords are wit, wisdom and beauty of character; which, united, forma truly royal life. There are people who care not whether their clothes come from Paris or Mexico just so they are comfortable, serviceable and becoming. Society of this type is not exclusive but admits alike all worthy people.
"What space bath virgin's beauty to disclose Her sweets, and triumph o'er the blooming rose. Not even an hour!"
What a motley crowd of human beings throng the board walk! How like the vast interminable deep is this thronging, surging mass of humanity, where they, like restless waves, pause awhile on the margin of the boundless sea until the ebb tide moves out in the vast sea of life. "Here the fury of fashion ebbs and flows, a constant stream, representing all the states of the Union." Here are men with silk plug hats and petite mustachios who seem "straight from Paris!" Others whose ruddy faces and commanding air proclaim them genial sons of the Emerald Isle, while still others are the possessors of so many and varied characteristics one might be justified in calling them mongrels. One would think the lovely Pleiades themselves came every night on a long journey to look at the board walk with an interrogation mark in every twinkle. Here come youth and beauty seeking pleasure. Here, too, you will see old age trying to recall their youthful days "when the serious looking canes they so carefully carry gave place to the foppish switches they so artfully carried in their younger days." Here the gilded doors of idleness and pleasure are ever ajar but they never lead to the halls of noble aims and the palaces of worthy ambition. Here the entrances are always crowded with that class of people whose motto is, "Things are good enough as they are," or "Eat, drink and be merry," or "We are weary of well doing."
Here beauty assembles, but it is ofttimes not the beauty of life. It is the glaring show and tinsel array of society that attracts great numbers, who, like the beautiful colored night moths, are enamoured of the gleaming light, venturing nearer until they scorch their wings, or blinded by the brilliant rays plunge headlong into the flames and are burned to death. "The allied army of fashion meets here." Here, then, is their Thermopylae or Argonne, it may be.
The test here as elsewhere is the using of means already acquired to some worthy end. Many can acquire wealth, but few know how to use it wisely The art of spending is more readily acquired than that of saving, as may be easily seen. An article appeared in an American newspaper telling how the appearance of the world's greatest spender startled London by blazing her way into the Prince of Wale's box in Albert Hall—a literal walking diamond mine. Her costume, which contained more than seventy- five thousand diamonds and pearls, was insured for five million dollars. The article stated that this person would visit the United States to show us something real in the art of spending. We as a people need no instruction in this art, but need to read more our illustrious Franklin's advice on saving. One wonders what this dressing may bring to the American home or how much the common interests of mankind will be helped! What a blessing is wealth when rightly used! True society looks inwardly and not outwardly, and all that does not belong to it falls away as does wheat fanned by a sheet; the trash and chaff being blown away.
One cannot tell the rich from the poor in their camouflage, but the really rich in character are easily discernible, arrayed in modest garbs as unostentatious and serviceable as those of the nightingale or the thrush. Like all great people the melody of their lives eclipses their array until only the soul-thrilling memories of what they are or were remain to gladden the weary pilgrim on life's road. The indigo bunting is arrayed in splendid robes, yet his song is high pitched and rasping. But the dull robed songsters delight the ear. Some people have not yet learned that a fifty-dollar hat can never cover the deficiency of a two-cent head. Ofttimes money only makes a mean life more conspicuous. True, some of these people dress more becomingly than they suspect for their slim, pointed-toed English shoes admirably match their few ideas. They are much persecuted for their belief, thinking that a number six shoe can be worn on a number nine foot.
It is almost as interesting to watch people in the act of scraping acquaintance as it is to see a group of flickers love- making in early spring. Some one will purposely drop her kerchief at just the right moment. If you would see the glaring look given to some sprightly lady who picks it up before the intended one arrives, you will leave kerchiefs alone, especially if you belong to the feminine gender. There are others who take a great interest in a dog or child while they examine a register or look at the thermometer, if the master or more often mistress of said dog strikes their fancy. If perchance they find they have stopped in New York or Boston at hotels of notable expensiveness, then it does not take much scraping until their acquaintance is made.
On the famous board walk may be seen girls who were sixteen some twenty years ago. They remind you of the man who has an old or repainted Ford who advertises his machine not as old but reconditioned. There are women riding in wheel chairs, being pushed along by colored men. They see, not the magnificent reaches of the vast ocean or the wild breakers that come rolling in upon the beach, but ever anon caress the poodle they have with them or notice the wart on the nose of a passer-by in the place of his charming manners. Perhaps the poodles are taken to the sea beach for their health but their vitality surely could never become so low as that of their mistresses.
These very people may have toiled most of the summer so they could feign riches by taking a few rides in the wheel chair. There are idle poor as well as idle rich and both should receive no commendation for not trying to better their lowly lot.
Rare flowers do not grow in great clumps. The orchids bloom in gloomy swamps, far removed from the haunts of men; the morning and evening hymn of the hermit thrush rises from solitary places- -along wild lakes and among high mountains.
One old dame with a glowing face like an ocean sunset and a gown that for richness of color and vivid contrast would have made Joseph's coat of many colors appear very ordinary, remarked that she came out on the board walk to study types. But types of what? Perhaps she was observing the lilies of the board walk whose raiment was so dazzling that Solomon would not have arrayed himself like one of these even though he could. They are true lilies for they toil not, neither do they spin, unless it be a fabulous yarn about some fair rivals, and for this lack of toil they lose the real meaning and significance of life. Everything about them is toil, not that grinding toil with no final goal to reach but that exhilarating joyful kind as seen in the waves, in bees and flowers. The waves come running up to shore sending silver reflections glinting along the beach, always blending beauty and usefulness; the air about the linden trees is melodious with multitudes of murmuring toilers preparing for a winter's need; the purple fox-glove, that good Samaritan among the flowers, in modest beauty holds aloft its purple bells all unmindful of the cheer it brings to lonely hearts or the hope it bears to thousands of sufferers.
It is surprising to see that by far the greater numbers of people turn their backs on the ocean while they scan the daily papers for sensational items or the latest styles. It seems a cruel waste of glorious linden trees to say nothing of the wealth of sweets that the bees have lost to record at least some vamp's trial in a murder case or some miserably rich woman's divorce scandal.
There are those who go to Europe who bring back to their native land only the latest fashions of Paris with a little knowledge of foreign profanity picked up from the cafes and boulevards. They can tell nothing about the wonders of the Louvre; the grandeur of Raphael's Madonnas; the beauty and charm of the Mediterranean shores. Their souls perhaps have never been touched by the grand sublimity of the Alps. What feasts they have attended, taking away only the husks! Far away in some foreign land they have spent years vainly seeking for pleasure only to learn that:
"Pleasures are like poppies spread. You seize the flower, its bloom is shed. Or like the snowfall in the river A moment white, then melts forever. Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm."
The first cool breeze blows away the froth of fashion, for it is composed of delicate flowers that the first chill wind of adversity causes to wilt and droop and lose their fragrance. "Now the cool forenoon serenity of the ocean is no longer profaned." They have followed the siren voices of this bewildering region until they have arrived on some shoals that hint of a coming winter, and emerge with duller plumes like birds of passage, ready to flock to sunnier climes. They remind one, too, of the gorgeous colored butterflies which flew about all summer, at first things of beauty, dazzling the eye with their brilliant colors; haunting the most fragrant flowers for nectar, reveling in the sunshine the whole day long. Now they appear in their torn and faded robes to hover over a few pale flowers as if "loath to leave the scenes of their summer's revelings."
Only the more hardy remain to enjoy the grandeur of the winter ocean like the chickadees and cardinal grosbeaks that enliven our winter woods. The many flowered asters remain regal and cheery though a thousands winds may blow. Those who see the real beauty and indescribable grandeur of the ocean here, if they cannot remain, will show evidences in their beneficent lives that they have had a wonderful summer by the sea. Here amid the most beautiful manifestations of Nature's power and grandeur they have gained broader hopes, higher aspirations and a purer life. They leave the frivolous things of life on its remotest shores, where a few returning tides bury them in the sands of forgetfulness or the receding waves wash them like clams far out to sea.
Look at the fate of summer flowers, Which blow at daybreak, droop ere evensong And, grieved for their brief date, confess that ours Measured by what we are and ought to be, Measured by all that, trembling we foresee, Is not so long!
The deepest grove whose foliage hid The happiest lovers' Arcady might boast, Could not the entrance of this thought forbid: O be thou wise as they, soul-gifted maid! Nor rate too high what must so quickly fade, So soon be lost!
Then shall love teach some virtuous youth To draw out of the object of his eyes The whilst they gaze on thee in simple truth Hues more exalted a refined form, That dreads not age, nor suffers from the worm, And never dies! —Wordsworth.
HURRIED FLIGHT THROUGH NEW JERSEY
An eight-hour drive through the interior of New Jersey is attended with much interest and some surprises. Leaving Camden, which is reached by ferry across the Delaware from Philadelphia, the road traverses many miles of level, sandy country which is almost entirely given over to truck gardening and poultry raising. To those who all their lives have been accustomed to fields of wheat, oats and corn the almost interminable rows of beets, beans, sweet potatoes and melons are very interesting. Proceeding onward through this highly cultivated section by a somewhat circuitous route, there was gradually entered as day merged into night, a wild, sparsely cultivated region which contrasted strangely with the orderly acres left behind.
The land here is flat, largely of a swampy nature, covered mostly with a thick growth of saplings, ferns and bushes. Here and there were also to be found some trees of fairly good size. It was in the east but a few miles removed from the great metropolitan district of New York and Philadelphia. There could still be found many square miles of unimproved land. It was surprising also to find excellent highways running throughout this semi-wilderness, between almost impenetrable walls of green, which though beautiful, produced a feeling of loneliness under their weird shadows. Some distance ahead the country appeared more rolling, the trees higher and the undergrowth less dense. Vistas opened up, revealing an occasional farmstead. Suddenly the scene changed for, instead of the emerald hues of thrifty vegetation, there were seen the brown, seared forms as of the desert; the charred ruins of buildings, the ashy outlines of fences and blackened stumps. The reason for this devastation was soon discovered, as exclamations arose simultaneously from all sides—"Forest Fire." Upon penetrating the ruined district a little farther the cause of this widespread destruction was soon learned. On a large bulletin board by the roadside were stenciled these words Forty thousand acres of timber, besides crops, fences and buildings destroyed by fire, started from a cigarette stub carelessly thrown away. Coupled with expressions of sincere regret over the country's irreparable loss were heard strong denunciations of the criminally careless smoker who caused it. A terrible indictment cumulative in character is being drawn against the cigarette habit, not only as being responsible for the sad scene just witnessed, but for the useless waste of money, the undermining of health, yea even to the destruction of life itself, for that day was not destined to close until there had been seen the ghastly ruins of the hotel in Hoboken where twelve lives were snuffed out by fire started from a cigarette.
It is not good, however, to dwell for a considerable time in the valley of the shadow of death, even to adorn a tale or point a moral, so the journey was continued toward fairer fields and happier surroundings.
Again highly cultivated areas were entered though much more rolling in character than upon first entering the state. Beautiful scenes abounded upon every hand not unlike Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, which seemed like a vast park under cultivation. It is significant to note at this juncture that in respect to value of agricultural products, Lancaster county ranks first in America; this section of New Jersey second; and we cannot pass this opportunity of stating that our own Darke county, Ohio, is third.
There is abundant evidence that the larger portion of the state was at the time of settlement by the white man heavily wooded. Numerous ponds provided mill sites for manufacturing logs into wood products for the use of the colonists. Most of these mills are in varying stages of decay, but the ponds filled with stagnant water remain. There are also numerous lakes and marshes which are due to the fact that New Jersey has no drainage laws.
Ponds, lakes and marshes all propagate that well-known pest the "Jersey skeeter." There can be no question of the truthfulness of all that has been said of him in song and story. This was fully attested by an erstwhile happy quintet of travelers. There was apparently nothing in the wide world to mar that happiness until the ominous growl of distant thunder gave warning of a rapidly oncoming storm. With its nearer approach it was decided to seek shelter, so upon seeing a short distance ahead the open doors of a barn, its protecting walls were soon gained, permission to enter having been readily given by the owner. It was thought afterward that there was detected in the man's face a dry sense of humor, provoked, no doubt, by the experience of many a luckless traveler who had gone that way before. No sooner had the shelter of the building been obtained and these same grateful travelers ensconced themselves in comfortable positions on the cushions of the car when from the right and the left, the front and the rear and from the ground beneath and the air above they were beset by whole companies, battalions, divisions, armies, yea, tribes and nations of thick-set, sharp-billed little devils who had come to torment them before their time and whose every impact brought blood. There was needed no council of war to determine the course to pursue, so a hasty retreat was ordered—an ignominious flight, feeling that it were better to face the perils of the storm without than go down to certain defeat before this relentless enemy within. These blood-thirsty villains began to probe eyelids, ears; in fact there was no part of one's anatomy where they did not alight; and unlike other members of their tribe that dwell farther north, who advance, buzz, sting and retreat these "Jersey Skeeters" knew no retreat. Hurriedly gaining the highway and cautiously proceeding there was seen broad grins on the faces of a detachment of soldiers in motor trucks drawn up beside the road. These boys seemed to thoroughly enjoy witnessing this inglorious retreat, from what they at first thought, a protecting smoke screen which they had provided in the rear of their trucks. This smoke screen proved to be only camouflage, for behind it were seen a number of the boys with bleared countenances whose limbs were twitching as though they had the St. Vitus dance.
It takes more than a little smouldering fire to route this pest of the marshlands and it is doubtful whether all the smoke from the forest fire, whose devastation had just been witnessed, could have sufficed to drive these fine sopranoed prima donnas of the marsh away. Preferring just mosquitoes to both smudge and mosquitoes the more fortunate party in the auto left the jolly soldiers amid many wavings of kerchiefs—those white flags of truce.
Along the road was seen a man whose attire made one think that perhaps he had started for a stroll and strayed away from Atlantic City. He wore a scissor-tailed coat, once black but now having a reddish brown tinge. His vest contained immense black and white stripes across which a great silver chain dangled. His hat had been struck so often that it resembled a battered sauce pan. He seized a branch and beat the air wildly about him but still the blood coursed in tine rivulets down his face and hands. His little dog that had a bell attached to its collar made numerous stops while he rang a suggestive peal as he scratched his ear with his hind foot. Leaving them to their tragic pantomimes and protracted agony a swift run for the highlands was made and at last there was safety from the plotting of such a fearsome foe as the "Jersey skeeter."
GLIMPSES ALONG THE HUDSON
NEW YORK CITY
You might as well leave France without seeing Paris as to travel through the East and not make a visit to New York. But there is so much to see in this great city that if you have not decided before coming what you wish to see you will miss many places of interest.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be visited, for it contains the greatest art collection in America. It is located within the borders of Central Park, its principal entrance being on Fifth Avenue, between Eighty-second and Eighty-third streets. A trip to Bronx park, where the beautiful botanical and zoological gardens are located, should not be missed. It is watered throughout its length by the Bronx river and is one of the most beautiful parks in existence.
As we crossed the ferry over to this wonderful city we thought how scarcely more than three centuries ago, when Paris and London had been great for a thousand years, New York City with its wonderful buildings rising before us was only a little wooded island with here and there scattered tepees, and in place of magnificent avenues and boulevards were found morasses crossed by streams and presided over by wild beasts.
Civilization was old in Europe before Henry Hudson appeared on this beautiful river.
Some one has described New York as a chaotic city, where huge masses of masonry and iron rise mountain high with no relationship existing between any of the structures. One views their stupendous forms as he does the mountains along the Hudson. "They are serrated, presenting ragged, irregular outlines, which are lost in the accidental sky-line, giving one at once the impression of power, wealth, and aggressiveness." The vast, impenetrable wall of solid masonry along the river is almost as wonderful as the Palisades.
The magnetic attraction of such an enormous amount of steel concentrated in so small a space is said to be so great that it frequently varies the points of the compass on boats in the harbor as much as seven degrees. Here rises the Woolworth building, towering seven hundred fifty feet above the level of the street. It is the highest inhabited structure ever built by man.
How the ceaseless activity and seemingly untiring energy of this great city thrills you! Here the sound of traffic rises continually, not unlike the booming breakers of the ocean. Here ebb and flow those vast throngs of humanity, drawn irresistibly by some compelling force like the tides of the ocean. Think of the lonely hearts among such a throng of people. Think, too, how many hunger while the wharves may be choked with food. "What lives and fates are foreshadowed here." What great souls have toiled and striven and perhaps died unknown to the world.
Then, too, what associations gather here! What sacrifice, what triumphs of the early settlers, and alas, what disasters! "Thick clustered as are its walls and chimneys, are its grand achievements, pageants, frivolities;" all interspersed with toil and care.
The scene beheld by Hudson as he came up the river must have been at once grand and of unrivaled wildness. When he made that first memorable voyage up the river, no wonder he thought that here at last was a grand passage leading to remote regions not yet visited by man. Start by boat from New York for Albany today and you, too, will feel as though you were bound for some enchanted land.
"A man by the name of Anthony VanCorlaer was dispatched on a war- like mission to the patroon van Rennselaer. When he came to the stream that forms the upper boundary of Manhattan Island, warned not to cross, he still persisted in advancing, intending to gain the other shore by swimming. "Spuyt den Duyvil," he shouted, "I will reach Shoras kappock." But his challenge to the Duyvil was his last, as at that moment his Satanic Majesty, in the form of an enormous moss bunker, took him at his word. This phrase is repeated a thousand times a day by men on the railroad with no idea of invoking the evil spirit. Here it was that the Indians came out to attack the men on the Half-Moon with bows and arrows. Here, too, was the rendezvous of the Indians who menaced Manhattan in early Colonial days. Nearly a thousand braves, hideous in war-paint and feathers, came together and threatened New York. Governor Stuyvesant was absent in the South. The frightened burghers of the little city took to their forts like deer. Fortunate indeed is the person who is privileged a trip along the River Drive on a clear sunny day."
You will probably retain longest in memory those great imposing masterpieces of nature, the Palisades, as seen from the Jersey store. You are fascinated by the wonderful detail and color effects in this picturesque mass of rocks quite as much as when viewing Niagara. What a perpetual feast of beauty and grandeur the dwellers along this river have before them. These rocks rise like airy battlements from the river, their base laved by the majestic stream, while cloud wreaths float round their emerald crowns.
Of all pleasant memories you carry with you of New York City, that of your journeys along the Riverside Drive will return most often to unroll its panorama before you.
There are few roads in the world that can compare with it, as it not only has a wealth of natural beauty and noble grandeur, but almost every hill has its historic associations no less than the far-famed Rhine.
"Across to Fort Lee along the sheer wall of the Palisades or down past the busy shipping, where Bartholdi's statue lifts her unwearied arm, the outlook presents a display of exquisite charm." The changing hues, evanescent shadows and glimpses of the rising hills—who can ever forget them?
Many people who have looked on the wonderful scenery of the Hudson still long for the time when they shall behold the Rhineland. They will find that legends and traditions, more than the wonderful scenery, give to the Rhine country an added charm. Every hilltop there is surmounted by a storied castle, which is falling into decay along with so many Old World institutions that have been kept green by the ivy of custom and tradition, which can scarcely keep them from tumbling.
It is not our object to belittle any natural scenery, but to make Americans pause to consider the incomparable beauty of their own land, before rushing to other countries.
We shall never forget our trip up the Moselle and Rhine. That the scenery is very beautiful we shall not deny. It was in the lovely month of May in the spring of 1919 that we were favored with a free ride from Uncle Sam through the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere in Germany. We cast a farewell look at the beautiful meadows of the Meuse and the old Roman towers of Verdun and a nameless longing, a vague inexpressible sadness seemed to take possession of us as our eyes rested for the last time on the gray weather-stained buildings of Glorieux hospital.
In the clear sky a crystal shower of lark notes rippled above us; from the fragrant box hedges nightingales sang their love songs; the air was filled with the riotous notes of the linnet and the loud, sweet phrases of the blackbirds, but we heard them not. For our thoughts wandered back to that spot where many of the buddies whom we had learned to love lay sleeping their long sleep. Near the hospital where thousands of French soldiers had at last found a glad relief from their pain and suffering, straight rows of white crosses met our sight and we knew the grim reaper Death had garnered his choicest sheaves. How quiet, how peaceful was the morning! No thundering cannons or whistling shells, no sputtering of machine guns or hum of hostile planes was heard. Peace had again come to the valley. The poor peasants were returning to their ruined homes, some carrying all their earthly possessions in bundles. Yet as we looked at that vast field of crosses and thought how the best blood of both France and the United States had been spilled to bring about peace, we shuddered at the awful price paid for it.
We passed a number of ruined villages on our way to Toul. From there we had a most delightful trip, motoring through Metz and Luxemburg and arriving at Coblentz late in the evening.
The scenery along the Moselle is in many places just as beautiful as that along the Rhine. The steep hills that ran down to the river were cultivated in many places to near their tops. All along the railroad track lay plats of vegetables, and the neat homes that nestled at the foot of the hills among blossoming pear trees looked as if "neither care nor want had ever crossed their threshold." The foliage had not yet clothed the vines that rose in terraces far above the houses. At Kochem we beheld the ruins of a splendid castle and monastery. The old cities of Kardon and Treves were seen through a sunlit rain, and the level rays of the descending sun produced an effect of the most singular beauty.
We spent the night in Coblentz and on the following morning set out to see Ehrenbreitstein. The view from this place is very fine. At our feet lay the town with its zigzag fortifications clasped by the silver fork of the two streams that were spanned by four bridges. The great outworks of the fortress reach far beyond, while to the right rise the dark, frowning mass Of volcanic rocks known as the "Eifel." Far away our eyes rested upon vineyards not yet clothed in verdure.
But the most delightful part of our journey was that from Coblentz to Cologne. Here we passed through the lovely region of the Seven Mountains where the old castles "still look down from their heights as if musing on the spirit of the past."
Even after viewing these medieval castles the scenery along the Hudson loses none of its charm. But what a contrast! In place of low vineyard-clad hills, as you see along the Rhine, the majestic Hudson winds in leisurely fashion among its primeval forests, the bases of its mountains laved by its current, while their summits are often shrouded in clouds. You see a grandeur in the majestic sweep of this beautiful river that you will miss in the Rhine. The latter is beautiful, we will admit, but it seems to be swallowed up in detail which detracts rather than adds to the beauty of it. Whoever has seen both rivers will see, if he looks with an impartial eye, the points of excellence found in each. But, standing above the Hudson and gazing out over the wonderful scene from West Point, you forget your Rhenish raptures and exclaim with the traveler "Few spots in the world are as beautiful as this."
As we passed through Tarrytown we thought of Stephen Henry Thayer's many "sweet transcripts" redolent with the siren voices of woods and waters of Sleepy Hollow. Like some faint, far-off lullaby we seemed to hear floating across the opposite shores of the Tappan-Zee the tranquil evening reverie of his "Nyack Bells":
"The lurking shadows, dim and mute, Fall vaguely on the dusky river; Vexed breezes play a phantom lute, Athwart the waves that curl and quiver
And hedged against an amber light, The lone hills cling, in vain endeavor To touch the curtained clouds of night, That, weird-like, form and fade forever.
Then break upon the blessed calm,— Deep dying melodies of even,— Those Nyack Bells; like some sweet psalm, They float along the fields of heaven. Now laden with a nameless balm, Now musical with song thou art, I tune thee by an inward charm And make thee minstrel of my heart.
O bells of Nyack, faintly toll Across the starry lighted sea. Thy murmurs thrill a thirsty soul, And wing a heavenly hymn to me."
How wonderfully beautiful appeared Tarrytown on that quiet Sabbath afternoon of July. The fine homes embowered in a landscape which "for two centuries had known human cultivation seemed to have that touch of ripe old world-beauty which comes from man's long association with Nature; a beauty that revealed to us its depth in warm tones, fullness of foliage of its ancient trees, and velvety smoothness of the lawns which had the appearance of being long loved and cultivated." One is strangely reminded of some charming villas of Nice and, clothed in that dreamy haze, viewed front a distance they need only the blossoming orange trees, mimosas and palms to lift their royal forms about them, to make them a reality. The town rises from the water's edge to the summit of a low hill that runs parallel with the eastern shore of the Hudson. The one main road with many laterals coming into it, is almost buried in masses of foliage.
According to Irving, Tarrytown owes its name to the fact that the farmers who used to bring their produce here found the kind hospitality of its taverns so beguiling that they tarried in town until their wives gave it the name. We, after beholding its quiet air of repose and superb charm, did not blame those old Dutch farmers for tarrying in a spot so romantic.
The Hudson here is singularly beautiful and the tranquil waters flow past many legendary and historical places. This town lay in the path of both armies during the Revolution and knew the uncertain terrors of war. It was harried alike by friend and foe. There is a monument near the west side of Broadway, marking the spot where the three patriots, Williams, Paulding and Van Wert, captured Major Andre, the British spy. He was returning from an interview with Benedict Arnold, carrying papers of a treasonable nature for the surrender of West Point to Sir Henry Clinton.
A stone memorial bridge to Irving was presented to the town by William Rockefeller, replacing the bridge over Pocantico brook, at North Tarrytown, over which the headless horsemen of Sleepy Hollow rode. On the east side of the road just north of the bridge is the old Dutch church, built probably in 1697 or possibly earlier. It is no doubt the oldest church in New York state, now holding regular services. Washington Irving is buried in the cemetery of this church, where the river almost unseen flows under its canopy of foliage, while to the north and sloping gently down to the brook lies this ancient burying ground. This peaceful spot, whose gentle slope is dotted with ancient graves, is protected on the northeast by wooded heights, crowned with high old trees. It has a commanding view of the west of the Tappan Zee, the tree embowered town and gleaming river, also the distant front of the Palisades. Andrew Carnegie, Whitelaw Reid and other men of note are buried here. It indeed seems as if when walking here you are treading upon hallowed ground, for how much the world owes to these great souls, Irving and Carnegie. Irving, whose genius combined with toil gave the people the choicest flowers of his fertile brain, and Carnegie who made it possible for millions to enjoy those treasures, make this spot, aside from its quiet beauty, a place of inspiration.
Sunnyside, the home of Washington Irving, is still kept in its original condition, and visitors are welcome certain days of the week. Mrs. Helen Gould Shepard owns a large and beautiful estate here. The Rockefellers also live here.
The glimpses of the broad blue river, the wonderful shrubs and trees and the tranquil and romantic beauty of the hills seen through the blue veil had in them faint suggestions of Indian Summer. This stanza from Hofflnan, who was a life-long friend of Irving, glided from the dim portals of memory: