The trees became thicker and the scenery more rugged as we neared a place where the road doubled back, forming a sort of triangular piece of land known as "Hairpin Curve." This seems to be one of the shrines of travelers, and the goal of many a summer pilgrimage. There is an observation tower here, where a wonderful view of the country may be had. The view, though not so extensive, is very much like that obtained from Whitcomb's summit. Here we met two boys with pails well filled with blueberries and huckleberries. They kindly gave us a sample of each variety, the quest of which would furnish an excuse for so many memorable rambles in the days to come.
Indeed the Mecca of travelers is Mount Whitcomb, from whose summit you look over a vast expanse of mountain peaks stretching away in all directions like a huge sea. Standing on the summit of Whitcomb, one of the finest views of pure wild mountain scenery in the East is disclosed. Immediately in front of you loom vast numbers of wooded slopes with their varied tints of green in grand variety, stretching shoulder to shoulder like works of art. A great many peaks, rivers and dark blue lakes, all saturated in the warm, purple light, lie dreamily silent in the far distance. Rounded summits rise up from the vast undulating mass like a never-ending sea, whose surface is broken as far as the eye can reach with their immense billows of blue and green.
The nearer forests comprise the green-tinted waves, which recede and blend imperceptibly into infinite gradations of color from palest sapphire to darkest purple tones. Standing here, gazing at the glorious landscape circling round with its far-flashing streams, placid lakes, and the infinite blue dome of the sky above, and an air of mystery brooding over all, we exclaimed with the poet: "And to me mountains high are a feeling, but the hum of human cities torture."
What a wealth of natural beauty greets you here! It is the highest point along the Mohawk trail, twenty-two hundred and two feet above sea level. From the sixty-foot observatory the eye sweeps sections of four states: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Among the prominent peaks that distinguish themselves are Monadnock, in New Hampshire, Mount Berlin in New York, Wachuset, Mount Tom, and Graylock in Massachusetts, the latter being monarch of them all, rising to a height of thirty-five hundred and five feet. A remarkable feature of the place is a spring issuing from the rocks near Mount Whitcomb's summit.
There is more sublimity in the towering snow-clad Alps, more real wildness in the Adirondacks, more gracefulness in the flowing contour of the Catskills, yet few are so beautiful or "bring more lasting and inspiring memories." Lying dreamily silent in thick purple hues, old Graylock is a vision of splendor that looms as a charming surprise to all observers. The sunbeams that filter through innumerable leaves give the place a cathedral-like solemnity. How all sordid thoughts disappear, vanishing on the far shores of forgetfulness like the pale tints that grow dim and melt along the sky-line! How the so-called splendors and pomp of your cities pale into insignificance out here among God's eternal hills! The eye roves over this vast domain in unwonted freedom.
How quickly one imbibes disdain for all unrighteous restraint. No wonder the inhabitants dwelling among the Swiss Alps could not bear the crushing yoke of tyranny thrust upon them. The very atmosphere they breathed had in it an elixir, and the lofty, snow-clad hills, as they gazed upon their seeming unchangeableness, were only loftier principles that led their souls in trial flights heavenward.
As you look out again at this vast wilderness of mountains towering together you are aware how many and superb are the views you never could have enjoyed by remaining in the valleys below. Only by continued effort can one leave the lowlands of self, and it requires a courageous soul indeed not to look back as did Lot's wife at the smoking ruins of her village. How much of indomitable courage and firmness is taught by those hills! How much of humility by the little blue campanula peeping from rocky ledges, with heaven's own blue "gladdening the rough mountain-side like a happy life that toils and faints not."
We do not know why the Florida range in the Hoosacs was so named unless it was on account of the wonderfully luxuriant ferns that present an almost tropical appearance along its sides. Here are vast meadows of Osmundas, waving their plume-like fronds of rich green in tropical beauty. These are the most luxurious plants our low wet woods or mountain meadows know. They are all superb plants whose tall, sterile fronds curve gracefully outward, forming vase-like clusters with their resplendent shields.
The regal fern belonging to this family is all that its name implies. It has smooth pale green sterile fronds, with a crown that encircles the fertile, flower-like fronds, forming a vase- like cluster of singular beauty. This fern was one time used by herbalists to prepare a salve for wounds and bruises. We thought that it would be harder to destroy such beauty than to bear the wounds and bruises. It has in it the very essence and spirit of the woods, and "as you approach and raise these fronds you feel their mysterious presence."
Here, too, you meet with the interrupted fern, whose graceful, sterile fronds fall away in every direction, holding you captive with its charm. It is fair enough to interrupt Satan himself.
An old English legend relates that near Loch Tyne dwelt an Englishman, Osmund, who saved his wife and child from imminent danger by hiding them upon an island among masses of flowered fern, and the child in later years named the plant for her father.
Wordsworth was familiar with these ferns, for he writes:
Often, trifling with a privilege Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now, And now the other, to point out, perchance To pluck some flower or water weed, too fair, Either to be divided from the place On which it grew, or to be left alone To its own beauty. Many such there are, Fair ferns and flowers and chiefly that tall fern, So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named: Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side Of Grecian brook or Lady of the Mere, Sole sitting by the shores of old romance.
The mngled beauty and majesty of the landscape near Deerfield was so simple, yet so charming, that thoughts of serious questions were out of the question. The sky was partly overcast with clouds offering lovely breadths of light and shade. Every ledge of rocks along the brown, foaming water of the Deerfield river was draped with weld clematis, ferns, vines, and moss. As the stream dashed along at our left it broke the rich mass of verdure with its silvery gleam.
By the side of the road a woman was selling honey made from mountain flowers. We bought several pounds and found it most excellent. The comb was so thin that it seemed to melt in one's mouth, and the flavor had in it a "subtle deliciousness" clearly indicating its source.
We halted here not so much, because we wanted the honey, but to have more time in which to take a last look at the valley. What a picture it made! The few scattered houses reposing in the valley or nestling along the edge of the towering hills made a frame for the rich green and gold of the fields whenever the sun peeped out from behind the clouds. Higher up we caught the outlines of the hills whose light, gray sides of purest aspect, peeping froth their rich verdure, made a picture which we can never forget. The rustic homes scattered about had always some noble elms to shelter them. Soon we beheld clusters of wooded heights with here and there a single pointed summit rising above the rest. Each spot possessed a beauty, differing only in its type and not in quantity.
Again we were traveling along a trout stream that sang its songs of freedom as cheerily as the cardinal or vireo nearby. A glow of color permeated its banks where it was more open. A host of blue mints, fragrant burgamot, and glowing masses of cardinal flowers attracted the eye. Over these hovered, like larger flowers, the black and yellow tiger swallowtail, argynnis, painted lady, and mourning-cloak butterflies. Earlier in the season laurel and honeysuckle shed their fragrance into it. Blackberries, redbud and dogwood enliven its banks in the spring, and we saw where hepatica, bloodroot, and anemone grew in abundance.
At Deerfield amid so much repose, who could think that here was committed one of the most terrible of Indian massacres. Men, women and children were put to death in the most horrible manner. A company of ninety, with eighteen wagons, went to Deerfield to get a quantity of grain, which had been left behind by the fleeing citizens. After securing the grain, they forded a little stream, throwing their fire-arms into the wagons. In an instant hundreds of bullets and arrows came whizzing from the surrounding thickets. Only seven out of the number were not killed, and this stream where they fell bears the significant name of Bloody Brook to this day.
"Captain Mosley, (the pale-face-with-two-heads) arrived with seventy militia before the Indians could escape. He hung his wig on a bush while he fought. "Come, paleface-with-two-heads," they shouted, "you seek Indians? You want Indians? Here are Indians enough for you!" And they brandished aloft the scalp-locks they had taken. Mosley stationed his men under a shower of arrows, and began the struggle with over a thousand savages. He was beaten back, but was re-enforced by one hundred and sixty Mohican and English troops, and beat the enemy back with great loss."
The memorial association of Deerfield has erected a stone monument, marking the spot where Eunice Williams, wife of Reverend John Williams of Deerfield, was slain by her Indian captor on the march to Canada after the sacking of the town, February 29, 1704.
How often the meadows were damp with the blood of their victims! How often the gold of the buttercups were stained ruby red! It is impossible to dwell at length on scenes of such terrible cruelty in a spot where all is so peaceful. We seemed to catch the restful spirit of the place, and yielding to its soothing influence, sauntered on into deeper solitudes where we viewed nature in one of her wildest strongholds. Here ferns and mosses grew in abundance.
What a place to commune with Nature! "Was ever temple consecrated by man like this in beauty and filled with such holy solemnity?"
These glorious hills seemed to be calling the dwellers of the hot and dusty lowlands to come and enjoy their cool, leafy retreats. The slopes were covered with large leaved maples; pines that always towered so straight; and birch that grew in clusters all along the highway. These comprised the foreground. The middle of the picture was composed of many hills rising one above the other in finely modeled forms with evergreen and deciduous trees fitting so closely together they appeared as a great, rich tapestry.
While in Massachusetts it is well worth while to go to the old historical town of Springfield. As we viewed the old arsenal located there, these significant lines from Longfellow's "Arsenal at Springfield," kept singing themselves over in our mind:
Is it, O man, with such discordant noises, With such accursed instruments as these Thou drownest Nature's kindly voices, And jarrest the Celestial Harmonies?
Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error, There were no need of arsenals and forts.
Down the dark future, through long generations, The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease; And like a bell with solemn sweet vibrations, I hear once more the voice of Christ say, "Peace."
Peace no longer from its brazen portals The blast of war's great organ shakes the skies! But beautiful as songs of the immortals The holy melodies of love arise.
The arsenal of Springfield was built in 1794. In 1846 it had a storage capacity of five hundred thousand rifles. It is earnestly to be hoped that the old arsenal's mission is over, and that future generations will visit it only because our illustrious Longfellow was inspired to write his poem about it.
One will be well repaid for a trip to Charlemont. Many memories of bygone days fraught with gravest meaning are recalled at this place.
"Charlemont has many places of historical interest. At the western end of the village near the long bridge across the Deerfield river is, the famous sycamore tree under which the first settlers slept. Just back of it is the place where Charles Dudley Warner lived, when he had the experiences related in "Being a Boy." Back of the house on a hill is a monument marking the resting place of Captain Rice and Phineas Arms, who were shot by Indians in June, 1775. About two miles from the crossing of the river on the Mohawk trail on a high ridge is a tall, lonesome pine which marks the point where the aboriginal Mohawk trail ascended the hills. The trail can be very clearly traced at the present day from Cold river up the mountains and along the ridge to the west for several miles." What a different scene the road presents today when compared with that of two hundred years ago!
What a charming location North Adams has in the hollow of the hills! They seem to surround it on all sides like sentinels watching over the birthplace of one of the world's great souls, Susan B. Anthony.
A silvery brook comes stealing From shadow of its trees Where slender herbs of forest stoop Before the entering breeze.
The silvery stream seems to grow wider, dashing its mossy rocks with foam, and swaying from side to side with its swift, impetuous flow as it descends. Past leaning willows it goes; past graceful elms and fragrant groups of gleaming birch; whether fast or slow, morning or night, it fills all the woodland with its liquid music. One turns again and again to admire the white birch arranged in groups, each lovelier than the one just beheld. It takes an artist's soul to really enjoy these wonderful and harmonious scenes. We carried notebooks and a camera, but used them slightly. Shall we ever forget the azure sky, the gleaming yellow and white of the birch, the green meadows, the silvery flashing of the happy streams, or the bright green and blue of far lakes? No, they shall remain as long as memories of beautiful things last.
What fine traveling companions these lovely New England brooks make! What grace and freedom is theirs ! What songs of joy they sing, telling of the grandeur of the hills through which they flow! Gladly we followed their winding way, "asking for no better friend or finer music." No wonder they are so cool and refreshing, for in what crystal pure springs do they find their source? Like well born children with a beautiful environment, they bathe all the wood land flowers and trees with their beneficent water until they leave a trail of richest verdure from the mountain to the sea, where they mingle in the great expanse of waters not to perish, but to be resurrected, into glorious summer clouds, to carry life and health to the thirsty plants of earth.
The very sight of their rushing crystal waters beside the widening road on a hot day gives one a new lease on life. Truly did Wordsworth say, "earth has not anything to show more fair." All afternoon we wandered "by shallow rivers to whose falls melodious birds sang madrigals." We, like the river, were journeying "at our own sweet will."
Grand balsam fir sprang from the crevices of the rock, family groups of white birch rose and spread their graceful masses of foliage on either side of us; mounds of virgin bowers, wild grape vines, and bittersweet crowned the rocky sides of the cliffs, spreading from tree to tree or hung from them like folded curtains; and the sunlight and shadow among pine and hemlock where grew mosses, ferns and flowers, made vast sheets of rich mosaic. The hermit and veery thrush sang in the woods around, tree swallows cut the air above in graceful flight, and even the lone scout out for a hike, carrying his supplies, had yielded to his environment and sang such a rapturous strain (to which a redwing whistled a gurgling accompaniment), we were reminded of these lines from Roger's "Human Life": "And feeling hearts, touch them but rightly, pour a thousand melodies unheard before." He seemed to sing out of very wantonness, and his song seemed to have that soft undercurrent of melody heard in the chimes of Belgium—with just a hint of plaintiveness in it to make the joy and the brightness of the day complete.
No wonder the Indians thought these majestic white mountains the abodes of their god. Marvelous stories were told about great shining stones that glittered on the cliffs through the darkness of the night. Now and then specimens of crystal were shown to white settlers which they said came from the greatest mountain. The whites at first called it the "Crystal Hill."
"But," said the Indians to the whites, "nobody can go to the top of Agiochook, to get these glittering stones, because it is the abode of the great god of storms, famine and pestilence. Once, indeed, some foolish Indians had attempted to do so, but they never came back, for the spirit that guarded the gems from mortal hands had raised great mists, through which the hunters wandered on like blind men until the spirit led them to the edge of some dreadful gulf, into which he cast them, shrieking."
These mountains were not discovered until 7642, when a bold settler by the name of Darby Field determined to search for the precious stones. It must have been wonderful, this trip through these beautiful hills in June. He came to the neighborhood of the present town of Fryeburg, where the Indian village of the Pigwackets was then located.
With the aid of some Indian guides he was led to within a few miles of the summit when, for fear of the evil spirit, all except two refused to go farther. On he went with these two guides clambering over rocks, crossing rocky mountain torrents, until he came to a stony plain where were located two ponds. Above this plain rose the great peak that overlooks all this wonderful New England region. This they also climbed. How the sight of this great wilderness of forest and mountain must have thrilled him. He has said that the mountain, falling away into dark gulfs, was "dauntingly terrible." Here, as you stand upon this great watershed of New England, you will indeed find precious stones worth coming from afar to see. You, like Field, will carry away crystals, but unlike his, which he thought were diamonds, yours will gleam and sparkle in the halls of memory with a clearer radiance than any gems this world affords. While Field was above the clouds, a sudden storm swept over the Indian guides who remained below. Here he found them drying their clothes by a fire, and they were greatly surprised at seeing him again, for they had given him up for lost.
We came to Crawford's notch by way of the Mohawk trail with visions of the lovely Berkshires and old Mount Graylock still vivid. Richer and wilder still seemed this vast mountain range with its glorious forests and songful streams. Here indeed is the tree lover's paradise. Here you will find primeval woods with decayed leaves and plants underneath, almost a foot in thickness. The massed foliage at noon let in the light in shimmering patches of sunshine and shade, making squares and angles like a Persian rug with flower and fern designs.
Here weary travelers may find a camper's heaven. Just opposite Mount Jackson is a velvety lawn with grass and flowers in abundance. Water may be had not far distant. The lovely birch trees gleam where your camp fire is kindled and the larger evergreens stand like sombre sentinels on watch through the night. But one sometimes learns a camper's life is not all places of cool retreats, bright camp fires, dry beds of plush- like boughs, with delicious breaths of birch, pine and mountain wild flowers sifting through his tent. Because the wood thrush and cardinal sang while you ate your supper of well-cooked trout is no sign you will be so highly favored the next time you pitch your tent. Instead you often find unsuitable places for camping with dust and heat in place of cool retreats; instead of the cheerful campfire anticipated, you may work hard to get a "smudgy smouldering fire." Your meal will in all probability consist of raw salmon eaten at The Sign of the Smoke Screen; while your dry bed of balsam boughs may turn out to be rain trickling down your neck, Niagara-like, and your resting place a veritable Lake Erie. Your fragrance of a thousand flowers may be the pungent aroma of the skunk, borne by the evening breeze; and your evening serenade perhaps will be made by an immense number of "no see ems" whose shrill and infinitely fine soprano is paid for in so many installments of blood, to say nothing of the furious itching and nights of "watchful waiting." Even to enjoy Nature in her finer moods you must always pay a price, and people gain "beauty, as well as bread, by the sweat of their brows."
But here we are at Crawford's notch, gazing at the mountains that tower far above us. Their bases already lie in deep shadows which are creeping continually upward. We lifted our eyes toward the masses of light gray rock many hundreds of feet in height, which kept watch over the lovely glen below. There were the tops of the mountains bathed in floods of golden light, while their lower levels were already dim with twilight gloom. How true, in life, we said, are the sunshine and shadow. The paths of ease and self-indulgence are full of mortals because they wind and diverge from the way of truth, leading to lower and more easily attained levels. But up on the mountain top no dissatisfied throng stirs up the dust and we feel that joyous exaltation of spirit which comes to those who climb a little nearer heaven.
In the park-like space in which we find the Crawford House, how quiet and beautiful all things are! Towering all around are lofty peaks as if to shut out the beauty from the rest of the world. We are not artists, so we sit down in this quiet-retreat and let Nature paint the picture. The breath of the pine and birch fills the place like incense. The softly sighing pines with the distant waterfalls are singing their age-old songs. The evergreens are marshalled in serried ranks, spire above spire, like a phalanx of German soldiers clad in their green coats, their spiked helmets gleaming in the evening light. But they are pushing on to "victory and peace," and each soldier with aeolian melodies marches to his own accompaniment while the evening breeze softly thrums its anthem of divine love. We wished our lives might be pierced by the mystery of their gleaming javelins that we too might learn their lessons of strength, endurance and noble aspiration. As we stood at the base of these glorious forest-crowned mountains, gazing in rapt admiration and wonder at God's "handiwork," we were conscious of a revelation whispered through the myriad needles of the pine. How small seem the honors, customs, cares, and petty bickerings of men seen through the vast perspective of these eternal hills. How quickly we forget our seeming ills and are more in "tune with the Infinite."
"The holy time is quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration."
As the shadows crept higher along the ridges the breeze died away. The great artist, evening, with all rare colors was painting another masterpiece. The last rays of the sun were now gilding the mountain peaks; long ago their bases rested in purple shadow and the yellow light seemed to be reflected from all their wooded heights. At our right lay Mount Tom in deep shadow; the pines on Mount Jackson to the east cut the blue vault of the sky with their serrated edges. The drooping birch trees stood silent as if awaiting a benediction. The sky all along the eastern horizon was a broad belt of old rose which deepened to crimson, then crimson was succeeded by daffodil yellow. Far up in the mountain above a wood thrush poured forth his clear notes. "The last rays that lingered above the purple peaks were slowly withdrawn into that shadowy realm called night." Only the wind sighed again among the faint silvery clashing of distant waterfalls. How like a prayer was that vast sea of changing colors. The poem of creation was written unmistakably upon the evening sky. Out here God himself is teaching his grandest lessons, but alas! how few there are who really hear them.
How wonderful the dawns and twilights; how vast and changeable the ocean; how pure and deep the lakes; how strong and high the mountains; how infinite and full of mystery the sky, yet how few there are who really see and enjoy them.
If only all people would accept the invitation froth that sweet singer of the Wabash, Maurice Thompson, we would hear fewer people say, "It isn't much," or "We are exceedingly disappointed in it."
"Come, let us go, each pulse is precious, Come, ere the day has lost its dawn; And you shall quaff life's finest essence From primal flagons drawn!
Just for a day to slip off the tether Of hot-house wants, and dare to be A child of Nature, strong and simple, Out in the woods with me."
How calmly and soothingly night came on! Over the quiet glen at Crawford's notch, the sunset, moonlight, and starlight were weaving the mysterious spell of the night. On the very edge of a mountain ridge glowed the evening star. There was no sound except the rhythmical murmur of the pines and far-heard sound of waterfalls. Presently a night hawk rose from a wooded ridge and uttered her weird cry, then a bat darted "hither and thither, as if tethered by invisible strings." Then began the real serenade of the evening. Down in the waters of Lake Waco the frogs broke the silence. We moved slowly to the edge of the water, disturbing some of the members of the aquatic orchestra, who kept springing into the lake with a final croak of disapproval. We made our way back to the hotel across the velvety grass, already wet with dew, to find a crowd of splendidly attired tourists, poring over their cards or dancing away those rare hours, at the close of "one of those heavenly days that cannot die."
"Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds."
So thought we as the day that was breaking found us out in the lovely glen; hemmed in on all sides by lofty hills. The birds at this season of the year do most of their singing in the morning hours. Early as the time was, we were not the first to greet the coming dawn.
The blue mantle that clothed the mountains had been withdrawn so that the serrated points of spruce and pine stood out in bold relief against the pale blue of the morning sky. The stars, like far-off beacon lights along the mountain tops, slowly melted into the dawn. Over in the direction of Mount Willard the rich contralto of the wood thrush sounded; the white crowned sparrow's sweet, wavering whistle rang from the spruce crested slopes; from the telephone poles down by the railroad station the king birds were loudly disputing with the indigo buntings for full possession of the wires; flickers and downy woodpeckers called loudly or gave vent to their morning enthusiasm by beating a lively tattoo upon the dead pine stubs; while the ringing reveille of the cardinal must have awakened the sleepiest denizen of the forest.
But another song rises pure and serene above the general chorus of vireos and warblers. You saunter along a murmuring stream, scarce noting the fresh green of bush and tree, or the ferns, flowers and moss that are massed in marvelous beauty. Nature has arranged her stage in the amphitheater of the hills for some great pageant. All the while you are listening to the rich melody coming from the shadowy depths of hemlock in the direction of Mount Willard. "It seemed as if some unseen Orpheus had strayed to earth and from some remote height was thrumming a divine accompaniment." Here among the majesty and stillness of the White Mountains was a song most fitting and infinitely beautiful to express their loveliness. It seemed to have in it the purity and depth of crystal clear lakes; the solemn and shadowy grandeur of hemlock forests, the faint, far-away spirit music of mountain echoes, the calm serenity of evening skies, the prayers and hopes and longings of all creation. With such a prelude as this did we behold the coming of the dawn. Nature had erected an emerald portal for the triumphal entry of the king of day. The curtains of misty green were drawn back at the signal of some nymph. Between the broken ridges of Mount Clinton and Jackson the sun appeared long after his first beams were old on the opposite side of the mountains.
While the swallows that built their nests beneath the eaves of the Crawford House were busy many hours with their family cares, the card-crazed players and the dancers of the night before were sleeping the troubled sleep of the idlers.
The traveler who comes to the White Mountains should not fail to see Chocorua. "Chocorua," how rich and sonorous is that word. It has in it something expressing the wildness and loneliness of these lovely hills. Its rhythm suggests the sigh of the wind among mountain pines or the continuous and far-heard melody of distant waterfalls. This famous peak is everything that a New Hampshire mountain should be. It bears the name of an Indian chief. It is invested with traditional and poetic interest. In form it is massive and symmetrical. The forests of its lower slopes are crowned with rock that is sculptured into a peak with lines full of haughty energy in whose gorges huge shadows are entrapped and whose cliffs blaze with morning gold, and it has the fortune to be set in connection with lovely water scenery, with squam and Winnepesaukee, and the little lake directly at its base.
"On one side of its jagged peak a charming lowland prospect stretches east and south of the Sandwich range, indented by the emerald shores of Winnepesaukee, which lies in queenly beauty upon the soft, far-stretching landscape. Pass around a huge rock to the other side of the steep pyramid, and you have turned to another chapter in the book of nature. Nothing but mountains running in long parallels, or bending ridge behind ridge, visible, here blazing in sunlight, there gloomy with shadow, and all related to the towering mass of the imperial Washington.
"And Chocorua is the only mountain here whose summit is honored with a legend. 'In the valley where the lovely forest-clad mountains tower above the blue lakes dwelt Chocorua, the last chief of his tribe. Here too lived a settler by the name of Cornelius Campbell.
"Chocorua had a son, nine or ten years old, to whom Caroline Campbell had occasionally made such gaudy present as were likely to attract his savage fancy. This won the child's affections, so that he became a familiar visitant, almost an inmate of their dwelling, and, being unrestrained by the courtesies of civilized life, he would inspect everything which came in his way. Some poison, prepared for a mischievous fox which had long troubled the little settlement, was discovered and drunk by the Indian boy, and he went home to his father to sicken and die. When Chocorua had buried his wife by the side of a brook, all that was left to him was his little son. After the death of the boy, jealousy and hatred took possession of Chocorua's soul. He never told his suspicions, but he brooded over them in secret, to nourish the deadly revenge he contemplated against Cornelius Campbell.
"The story of Indian animosity is always the same. Campbell left his but for the fields early one bright, balmy morning in June. Still a lover, though ten years a husband, his last look was towards his wife, answering her parting smile; his last action a kiss for each of his children. When he returned to dinner, they were dead—all dead—and their disfigured bodies too cruelly showed that an Indian's hand had done the work.
"In such a mind, grief, like all other emotions, was tempestuous. Home had been to him the only verdant spot in the desert of life. In his wife and children he had centered all affection, and now they were torn from him. The remembrance of their love clung to him like the death grapple of a drowning man, sinking him down into darkness and death. This was followed by a calm a thousand times more terrible, the creeping agony of despair, that brings with it no power of resistance.
"It was as if the dead could feel The icy worm around him steal."
Such for many days was the state of Cornelius Campbell. Those who knew and reverenced him feared that the spark of reason was forever extinguished. But it rekindled, and with it came a wild, demoniac spirit of revenge. The death groan of Chocorua would make him smile in his dreams, and when he waked, death seemed too pitiful a vengeance for the anguish that was eating into his very soul.
Chocorua's brethren were absent on a hunting expedition at the time he committed the murder, and those who watched his movements observed that he frequently climbed the high precipice, which afterwards took his name. He was probably looking for indications of their return. Here Campbell resolved to carry out his deadly plan. A party was formed, under his guidance, to cut off all chance of retreat, and the dark-minded prophet was to be hunted like a wild beast to his lair.
"The morning sun had scarce cleared away the fogs when Chocorua started at a loud voice from beneath the precipice, commanding him to throw himself into the deep abyss below. He knew the voice of his enemy, and replied with an Indian's calmness, 'The Great Spirit gave life to Chocorua, and Chocorua will not throw it way at the command of the white roan.' 'Then hear the Great Spirit speak in the white man's thunder,' exclaimed Campbell, as he pointed his gun to the precipice. Chocorua, though fierce and fearless as a panther, had never overcome his dread for firearms. He placed his hands upon his ears to shut out the stunning report. The next moment the blood bubbled from his neck, and he reeled fearfully on the edge of the precipice, but he recovered and, raising himself on his hand, he spoke in a loud voice, that grew more terrific as its huskiness increased: 'A curse upon ye, white men. May the Great Spirit curse ye when he speaks in the clouds, and his words are fire. Chocorua had a son and ye killed him while the sun looked bright. Lightning blast your crops. Winds and fire destroy your dwellings. The Evil Spirit breathe death upon your cattle. Your graves lie in the warpath of the Indian. Panthers howl and wolves fatten over your bones. Chocorua goes to the Great Spirit—his curse stays with the white man.'
"The prophet sank upon the ground, still uttering curses, and they left his bones to whiten in the sun, but his curse rested upon that settlement. The tomahawk and scalping knife were busy among them; the winds tore up the trees, and hurled them at their dwellings; their crops were blasted; their cattle died, and sickness came upon their strongest men. At last the remnant of them departed from the fatal spot to mingle with more populous and prosperous colonies. Campbell became a hermit, seldom seeking or seeing his fellowmen, and two years after he was found dead in his hut." (footnote: From The White Hills, by Starr King.)
As we looked out over the sylvan beauty of the scenery that is unsurpassed, we realized that long ago the curse had been removed. The hills are intersected by charming labyrinths of wood that lead to peaceful valleys. These dreamy forest solitudes, with their deep foliage and singing rills which wander here and there, lull your senses like an enchantment after the noise and scrambling bustle of the busy manufacturing centers from which you no doubt have so recently come.
"The Appalachian mountains in their long majestic course from northeast to southwest rise to their greatest height in the New England states, culminating in Mount Washington, sixty-two hundred and ninety feet elevation, surrounded on all sides by lesser peaks, mostly from two thousand to five thousand feet high. "Bretton Woods," an estate of ten thousand acres, lies in a very picturesque section of these mountains. The Amonoosuc valley is somewhat less than four miles west from the head of Crawford's notch. Here a railroad and the one through highway skirt the east side of the Amonoosuc river; while on the west side a level meadow extends about a half mile directly across to a range of low foot-hills back of which Mount Washington rears his immense bulk. All through this region you will find the most ample accommodations that tourists could wish; along the tributary routes as well as in and about the mountains, you will find comfortable, well-kept rooms and good, wholesome food, and the finest of American resort hotels, with all the luxuries to be found in the city. Notably among the latter class is the Mount Washington, a three-million-dollar hotel, and said to be the finest tourist hotel in the world.
When we left Crawford's notch the pine needles were still shimmering with sparkling points of light; the long bright green of the balsam fir and the silvery blue of the graceful hemlocks were full of glory and splendor; myriads of luminous green scalloped beech leaves sent back a million glinting beams of light as they caught the rays of the morning sun. The yellow and white birch waved their spicy branches soothingly above the songful streams, like emerald sprays of art. The vireo's cheery strain sounded from many points in the vast wilderness of foliage. This song coming from afar, only served to heighten the vast and lonely grandeur of the forest solitudes. From the wooded hills of southeastern Ohio to the Green Mountains of Vermont we heard his cheery notes. Whether in the morning when the pine needles glistened in the bright light; at noon when the heat flowed in tremulous waves; or at evening when the last rosy beam gladdened the west, his song was alike full of contentment and rarest melody.
As we proceeded on our journey we beheld country homes charmingly embowered among their trees and vines, yet the region still retains that wild and primeval beauty that defies civilization.
Boys and men were busy making hay and their industry proclaimed that they had heeded the proverb of "make hay while the sun shines." Now and then herds of cattle were grazing or standing up to their knees in the cool of streams. What pictures of homely contentment they made! How much they add to the beauty of pastoral scenes!
More and more we were impressed with the grandeur and grace of the restful, flowing outlines of these mountains. With the light gray of their granite walls and the vivid green of their forests, they make beautiful harmony.
We paused along a beautiful sheet of water, Echo lake. A bugler whom some tourists paid for his crude attempts was doing his best (which was none too good) to awake the echoes. How harsh and grating were the tones he made, seeming like the bleat of a choking calf; yet, with what marvelous sweetness were those rasping tones transformed by the nymphs of the mountains. After a few moments' pause they were repeated among the nearer ridges, but softer and with a rare sweetness as pure and clear as a thrush's vesper bell. Again a short pause and we heard them higher, fainter, sweeter, until they died away among the hills; too fine for our mortal ears to catch. It seemed as if some sylvan deity, some Mendelssohn or Chopin of this vast forest solitude heard those harsh notes and putting a golden cornet to his lips, sent back the melodies the bugler meant to make. As the last reverberations died away among the hills we thought of those lines in Emerson's "May Day":
Echo waits with Art and Care And will the faults of song repair.
How crude the attempts of man at producing the melodies of life! How beautiful the discordant notes become when the Master Musician breathes into them the melodies of infinite love!
"O love, they die in yon rich sky, They faint on field, or hill or river Our echoes roll from soul to soul, And grow forever and forever."
The water of the lake was so clear we could see the white pebbles at the bottom, or the pike that swam slowly to the edge. How pure the mountains looked! How fresh and new the grass and flowers! The sky above was blue; the water of Profile lake was dark blue; the mountains wore a delicate veil of misty blue; blue were the myriads of delicate campanula that peeped from their rocky ledges; silvery blue was the smoke that curled from the forest's green from a dozen camp fires; and out of that mysterious all-pervading blue lifted the benign countenance of the Great Stone Face.
When Nature made this grand masterpiece, she set it on the topmost edge of Cannon Range so that all could see it. It may be seen from the edge of Profile lake, and stands in the midst of a magnificent forest preserve of six thousand acres, rising nearly two thousand feet above sea level. On either side are Profile and Echo lakes, vieing with each other in their crystal clearness; behind it are towering cliffs and wooded heights, and in every direction lead woodland paths and rocky trails offering ever-changing glimpses of wonderful White mountain scenery.
With what infinite patience has Nature sculptured this great face! Centuries ago among the American Indians there was a legend that in time there should appear in the valley a boy whose features would not only be a resemblance to, but be like those of the face on the mountain side. When the people of the valley heard the legend, they too looked for the coming of a great man who would tower far above the ordinary life of those who dwelt in the lowly valley. How long they waited in vain for the appearance of one with features noble, tender and serene as those upon which they gazed! How many years slipped by and only rumors came concerning those who were thought to bear a resemblance to the wonderful "old Man of the Mountains." Yet, those very people had infinite possibilities with their own faces while in their youth. Only by having a vision of some day attaining that far mountain height of purity and victory, as written on those features, could they carve out a countenance so divine.
Gazing out over the lake through vistas of maple and beech we thought of Hawthorne's words: "It was a happy lot for the children to grow up to manhood or womanhood with the Great Stone Face before their eyes; for all of the features were noble, and the expression was at once grand and sweet, as if it were the glow of a vast, warm heart, that embraced all mankind in its affections and had room for more."
Truly, this face appears like a great mountain god. A wreath seems to adorn his brow like that which was worn by the poets of ancient Greece. A faint light surrounds and illuminates his features scarcely discernible from the valley below. How one's earthly schemes seem to pale and fade, as did "Gathergold's" fortune when he beheld the wealth and beauty of Nature about him! How sordid the striving for fame and power appear, which as quickly fade as did that of "Old Blood and Thunder" and "Old Stoney Phiz!" "Nature is the Art of God." How mighty the forces that lined these majestic features! How wonderful still the unseen hands at work to make life richer as the years go by!
You almost imagine you see the natural pulpit set in its rich framework of verdure and festooned with vines placid in a nook in the hills. You seem to hear the words of life uttered by the pure lips of Ernest because "a life of good deeds and holy love is melted into them." The ancient pines stand hushed and tranquil in the quiet light as if awaiting a message from those lips of stone. You gain new faith in the beauty and freshness of Nature out here. Those lips seem to say "do not live in the mean valleys of earthly ambition, but strive to gain higher conceptions of life with truer, nobler aims, that soar above the sordid world until you attain that benign look of the Great Stone Face." It comes to you like a far-off echo of a divine chant, sweeter than any melody you have ever caught.
Many people on first beholding the Great Stone Face ascribe firmness to its features. They perhaps judge their fellowmen in like manner. They fail to see the depth of thought or honest sincerity of soul that shines forth from many a rough exterior, beneath which beats a heart of purest gold. How many seek high positions, notoriety, or public approbation, but alas! how few, like Ernest, put forth the effort to fit them for the places sought!
Almost as remarkable as the Great Stone Face itself are the cannon that seem to guard the abode of the Man of the Mountains. Indeed, they have been sculptured so remarkably well that some tourists exclaim, "I wonder how they ever got those huge guns up there." On being told these guns too, had been carved out of rock and set in place to guard ever this beautiful and vast domain since the beginning of time, they still were not convinced that they were only harmless piles of stones, whose thundering tones never had awakened the echoes of this peaceful spot. One of the party said, "but see, up there are the gun carriages!" True, they were very like the original implements of destruction, but no lurid light ever profaned the night skies, and no warriors shall ever drag these guns across the ocean to do grim service in a "Meuse-Argonne."
Again you gaze at Profile lake, the source of the wild and beautiful Pemigewasset river, which is joined by a few, small streams the first few miles of its journey, then other branches unite with it to form the Merrimac, which, after gradually descending through Concord, supplies immense amounts of water power to Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill before passing majestically out to sea at Newbury port.
No wonder Whittier wrote so much about the Merrimac river and Lake Winnepesaukee, because both seem to typify the Indian name of the latter "The Smile of the Great Spirit."
In the immediate locality about the lake a botanist will find the hours passing all too swiftly, for here is indeed a place to commune with Nature. You will find rare flowers and ferns, and to what rich and lovely places they lead you! Along lonely mountain roads where the golden song of the wood thrush comes from the cool depths and the sweet, pearly notes of the winter wren ripple down through the gloom; out along lonely forest lakes or where trout brooks wander beneath dark hemlock trees and lose their way in the shadows; high up on inaccessible mountain ledges where the river plunges in a solid amber sheet and breaks up into avalanches of shimmering rainbow mist, and down in the marsh where acres and acres of green grass and sedge stretch away like gleaming stars on a winter night. Going out to commune with Nature sounds very nice, but it requires the patience of a job, the eyes of a Burbank, the ears of a Mozart, and the great loving heart of a Burroughs if one is to gain the most from one's rambles. You will never learn the hymns that the forest and waterfalls have been singing for ages; never really know the song of the hermit thrush or the mystery and grandeur of mountains, if you are unwilling to pay the price. You must be willing to climb high mountains, scramble down rocky gorges and ravines, thread the almost impenetrable bogs and marshes, endure fierce heat, mosquito bites, hunger and toil, "but once you are admitted into the secrets of the out-of-doors you will begin to wonder why you ever dined in hot stuffy restaurants, spent your holidays in smoky, dirty cities, or did any of those conventional things that rob us of so many fine moments of life!"
We looked once more at the view across the lake. Someone said God never made anything more beautiful than the scenery at Franconia notch. But as we turned away from this entrancing scene, we saw a boy gazing in rapt admiration away across the lake, his face glowing with enthusiasm, his every gesture speaking of joy and love. Here, we said, is a work more beautiful than any mountain scenery. What infinite possibilities are wrapped up in the soul of a boy! Leaving him standing there we wondered what thoughts were passing through his mind, we made our way along the mountain road.
The soul of music slumbers in the shell, Till waked and kindled by the master's sped, And feeling hearts—touch them but rightly—pour A thousand melodies unheard before.
What could be more delightful than a visit to Boston? Those motoring through the New England states will find it both interesting and profitable to tarry a while in this quaint old place. There are so many places of interest in this city that space forbids an enumeration of only a few of the most important. You will probably want to see the State House with its gilded dome which was once covered with copper plates rolled by Paul Revere. The corner-stone of this building was laid by the Masons, Paul Revere, Grand Master, July 4, 7795. Three times the original building has been enlarged—an extension to the rear in 7889, later a wing on the east, and very recently a wing on the west.
What a throng of past memories cluster here! Near the intersection of Boylston and Tremont streets lies the old Central burying ground, noted as the final resting place of Gilbert Stuart, the famous artist. You will not want to miss seeing Park Street church, for it was here William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first address and "America" was sung in public for the first time. "Standing on the steps of the State House, facing the Common, you are looking toward Saint Gaudens' bronze relief of Col. Robert G. Shaw, commanding his colored regiment. This is indeed a noble work of art and should not be overlooked. "The Atheneum is well worthy of a visit, and if you have a penchant for graveyards, you may wander over the Granary Burying Ground, where rest the ashes of Samuel Adams, Hancock, Sewell, Faneuil, Otis, and Revere."
We spent a delightful morning in Cambridge. It has been the home of some of the foremost literary lights of the United States, and just to the west of it, in Mount Auburn cemetery, lie the mortal remains of Longfellow, Prescott, Lowell, Holmes, Motley, and many other prominent men.
Across the blue Charles, like Greek temples rise the buildings of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The noble marble group of buildings of the School of Medicine of Harvard are very impressive. As we crossed the river, we thought how often our beloved Longfellow had looked on its peaceful tide from his charming home in Cambridge. The view from his home is still unobstructed, and it speaks of the veneration in which he is held by the people of the city. It was while living at Cambridge that he wrote his Ode to the Charles river, given below:
River, that in silence windest Through the meadows bright and free, Till at length thy rest thou findest In the bosom of the sea.
Four long years of mingled feeling Half in rest, and half in strife, I have seen thy waters stealing Onward, like the stream of life.
Thou hast taught me, Silent River, Many a lesson, deep and long. Thou hast been a generous river; I can give thee but a song.
Oft in sadness and in illness, I have watched thy current glide, Till the beauty of its stillness Overflowed me like a tide.
And in better hours and brighter, When I saw thy waters gleam, I have felt my heart beat lighter, And leap upward with thy stream.
Not for this alone I love thee, Nor because thy waves of blue From celestial seas above thee Take their own celestial hue.
Where yon shadowy woodlands hide thee, And thy waters disappear, Friends I love have dwelt beside thee, And have made thy margin clear.
We paused in front of the old homestead to take a picture of it. But it mattered little about the picture, for what pictures of rarest beauty he has left us, always speaking to our hearts messages of sympathy and love! Even as the years pass, Longfellow is still the universal poet, and it was with pleasure we recalled how the Belgian children in the King Leopold school of the city of Antwerp were acquainted with his more familiar poems. He is better known among foreigners than any one except their own poets.
We next paid a visit to the home of James Russell Lowell, that other sweet singer and nature lover of Cambridge. As we gazed upon the many venerable trees that drooped their graceful branches over the old homesteads, we did not wonder that the people of New England became alarmed when the ravages of the gypsy moth threatened the trees. At Elmwood we saw the efforts the people had made to preserve them. The stately trees had been severely pruned and their trunks wore black girdles of a sticky substance to ensnare the female moths. The foliage had been sprayed.
Henry Van Dyke said the last time he saw James Russell Lowell, he walked with him in his garden at Elmwood to say goodbye. There was a great horse chestnut tree beside the house, towering above the gable, covered with blossoms. The poet looked up and laid his trembling hands upon the trunk. "I planted the nut," said he, "from which the tree grew. My father was with me when I planted it."
As we admired the shrubbery and trees at Elmwood, we thought of the inspiration this spot afforded that generous soul who dwelt so happily here.
"Give fools their gold and knaves their power. Let Fortune's bubbles rise and fall; Who sows a field or trains a flower, Or plants a tree is more than all."
Every schoolboy has read about the famous Washington elm of Cambridge. What a marvelous tree to think about and gaze upon! It is difficult to analyze your emotions while standing near this historic spot gazing at this famous tree.
Since the balmy breeze of some far-off springtime caught those winged seeds from which America's most celebrated tree sprang, what changes have come to our land! When this patriarch was young, in the nearby woods Indians and fierce, wild beasts brushed past its companions. Perhaps the squaws fastened their linden cradles to their limbs while they planted their maize in the springtime, and when they had grown larger, orioles hung their corded hammocks amid their pendulous branches, with no fear of squirrels or that horror of all low nesting birds—the black snake.
Summer after summer brought new verdure to their branches. Many autumns turned their wealth of emerald leaves to golden glory. Winter upon winter twisted their tough branches and weighed them down with snows until they now stand the monarchs of other days.
There is the very spot where Washington took command of the Continental Army on July 3, 7775. How like the man who stood beneath it was this tree then. It had beauty, strength and grace, without signs of any weakness, proclaiming it the king of trees. Here once stood "a man of great soundness of judgment, moral self-control, intense fiery passions curbed by a will of iron. His sweet, tender soul had been enshrined in a worthy temple." His grave and handsome face, noble bearing and courtly grace of manner all proclaimed him king of men.
But here still stands that great old elm, a nation's shrine. It struggles bravely to clothe with verdure its few remaining limbs, still speaking eloquently of those stirring days "that tried men's souls." Each green leaf in its aged crest tells of those noble patriots, whose memory of the glorious lives of self- sacrifice shall forever remain, verdant in the hearts of a liberty-loving people. This glorious tree, with its few broken limbs and scanty foliage, wears signs of many a wintry combat and summer winds surprise attacks "as heroes their scars," unbending still through all those years of toil and strife. Perhaps a few more years and this venerable tree shall yield to some wintry blast; its present site to be marked by a monument of bronze or marble. But how much more fitting would it be to plant a young tree where the old one stood. This would be a living monument where its cooling shadows would still fall upon the weary travelers "like a benediction on the road of life." Here pilgrims from Maine to California's farthest bounds might some day rest beneath its beneficent branches. We fancy how they will gaze in admiration at a new tree, whose symmetrical gray trunk rises like a mighty fluted column, from which graceful limbs spread out to form a glorious canopy. Its serrated leaves, each an emerald in that vast corona of verdure, will become in autumn a topaz in its gleaming crest. When the snows of many winters shall have clothed its slender, drooping branches with clinging drapery of star flowers and many springs thatched its myriad twigs with emerald that droop like sprays of art, it too shall grow hoary and give way to some fierce blast, making room for another and still more glorious Washington Elm.
Other places you surely will care to see are Old South Church, often called the "Sanctuary of Freedom," lying between Milk and Water streets. The present building was erected in 1730. Faneuil Hall, the Cradle of Liberty, which is at the disposal of the people for public meetings whenever certain conditions are met; on the upper floor of this hall is the armory of The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest military company in this country. Old North Church is known to every school boy and girl in the land as the place where Paul Revere saw the two lights that were his signal for starting on his memorable ride. Over the river is Bunker Hill Monument, recalling that resolute stand made by the patriots in 1775, and from which a fine view over the city is afforded. King's Chapel, at the corner of Tremont and School streets, is a most interesting landmark, which was completed in 1753. Entering, you find a decidedly old-fashioned atmosphere in the high-backed, square pews and handsome decorations. George Washington's pew will be pointed out to you.
The Old State House was built in 1748. In it "the child Independence was born." Here the royal governors of the province and the royal council sat. It was from the balcony on the State street side that the news of the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. Here, in 1835, William Lloyd Garrison found refuge from a mob which had broken up an anti-slavery meeting and threatened the life of this brave agitator.
On the corner of Washington and School streets is a quaint building, the oldest now standing in Boston. It was erected in 1712 and is known as The Old Corner Book Store. Some of the largest and most influential American publishing houses had their inception in this building.
One must not fail to see Copley Square, the center of artistic, literary and educational life in Boston. Fronting on this square are Trinity Church, commonly known as Phillips Brooks' church, as his pastorate there covered a period of twenty-two years. St. Gaudens' statue of Brooks stands in front of the church. Also facing this square is the chaste and classic front of the Boston Public Library. Two of Saint Gaudens' groups adorn enormous pedestals at either side of the entrance. Inside, on the walls of the grand stairway, are magnificent paintings by John La Farge and others, while on the four sides of the main public room are mural paintings by La Farge, depicting the entire history of Sir Arthur and the Holy Grail.
Just before crossing the river into Charlestown one's attention is directed to a small triangular space surrounded by an iron fence, no side of which is more than five or six feet long, in which is growing a single tree. To this is attached a sign proclaiming that "Dogs are not allowed in this park." Just across the river, not far from Bunker Hill Monument, is the Navy Yard.
The museum of Fine Arts in Boston contains many important works from both the old and modern masters. Here you will see Turner's "Slave Ship." "This picture has been the cause of more criticism than any that has ever been brought to our shores. Every gradation of opinion was expressed from Ruskin's extravagant enconium where he says, 'I believe if I were induced to rest Turner's immortality upon any single work I should choose the Slave Ship; the color is absolutely perfect,' to the frank disapproval of our own George Innes, when he says that it is 'the most infernal piece of clap-trap ever painted. There is nothing in it. It is not even a fine bouquet of colors.' Some one said it looks like a 'tortoise-shell cat having a fit in a platter of tomatoes.' The lurid light that streams through the mist of the angry sea intensifies a scene already too horrible."
Whoever has seen the peasants of France in their own harvest fields near Barbizon will not fail to recognize the close relations and the intimate knowledge Millet had of these humble peasants. As you gaze at the great mounds of wheat with the crowd of laborers resting, you seem to catch the very spirit of the dignity of labor that the artist so admirably portrays in all his work. You see not only these particular toilers but all the laborers of earth, who by the sweat of their brows make the earth yield her increase.
"His figures seem to be uncouth and of the earth; they are children of Nature who have been so long in contact with the elements and soil they seem to partake of the sternness of the landscape quite as much as the sturdy oaks tried by the storms and stress of unnumbered days of exposure. His Shepherdess is also worth considering and represents his aim in art." These are his words: "I would wish that the beings I represent should have the air of being consecrated to their position, and that it should be impossible to imagine that the idea could occur to them of their being other than that which they are—the beautiful is the suitable."
What poems of grace and beauty the works of Corot are! How well he knew the trees, for he lived among them and loved them. No other artist has so marvelously portrayed the very soul of trees in their swaying, singing, dew-tipped branches. They are vast harps through which wandering breezes murmur aeolian melodies, "morning and evening anthems" to the Creator. His paintings have a freshness and fragrance of the dawn; a mystery seems to hang over them. The very spirit of the morn broods over that classic landscape of his "Dante and Vergil." In the opening words of Dame's Inferno he gives us the vivid setting of this wonderful scene:
"Midway upon the journey of life he found himself within a forest dark, for the straight forward pathway had been lost. He wandered all night and in the morning found himself near the foot of a mountain. He began the ascent but was met by a panther, light and exceedingly swift. He was about to return, but the time was the beginning of morning. A lion with uplifted head, and a hungry she-wolf next he spied and rushed down toward the lowlands where he beheld Vergil, who has come to guide him to his beloved Beatrice."
One should pause to view the "Master Smith." One here sees in very form the character Longfellow so clearly describes in his "Village Blacksmith." It is to the eye what the melody of the poem is to the ear, purest harmony that ever sings the dignity of labor.
One should also pause to admire the "Sphinx" by Elihu Vedder, "The Misses Boit" by Sargent, Winslow Homer's "Fog Warning," John W. Alexander's "Isabella and the Pot of Basil." This last picture we love not only as a work of art but because it is the subject of one of Keat's poems, "Isabel."
Isabella was a beautiful Florentine maiden who lived with her two brothers. "They planned to marry her to some high noble and his olive trees." A certain servant, Lorenzo, loved her, and they had him taken to a forest beyond the Arno and murdered. Isabella had a dream in which Lorenzo appeared to her and told of his murder and how to find his grave. In the morning she found the grave and took the skull and kissed it. "Then in a silken scarf she wrapped it up, and for its tomb did choose a garden-pot wherein she laid it by, and covered it with mold, and o'er set Sweet Basil, which her tears kept wet." Her brothers discovered why she sat so constant by her pot of Basil and fled from the city. Isabella pined and died with these pitiful words upon her lips: "O cruelty, to steal my Basil-pot away from me."
Space forbids us to tell of the many beautiful works of art or the inspiration to be had by contemplating them, but a trip to Boston is not complete unless we take away lasting memories of the famous masterpieces to be seen here.
While visiting the university buildings of Harvard we saw the photographs of men who had sacrificed their lives during the World War. Our thoughts wandered far away and we seemed to see a road that led through Verdun to the front. Its beginning was an avenue of stately buckeye trees in their autumn livery of faded green and gold. Back and forth along this road went Red Cross ambulances on their ceaseless journeys of mercy. The sky that should have been blue and fair was filled with gray smoke. The air that in times of peace throbbed with the notes of the lark now trembled with the report of heavy guns and crashing shells. Great sheets of camouflage stretched along the road to screen the view.
One day while making an advance in the Argonne forest, taking the place of a captain who had been killed, Lieut. Harry Hanley of Boston fell upon the field of battle. His hip had been fractured and he was removed to Glorieux hospital, where E. H. No. 15 was located. It was here that we learned to know and love him. His hopeful, helpful spirit shone above the dark gloom of the time like a beacon light. How often, when we wistfully sought to help those patient sufferers, while we were so weak our faltering steps failed us ofttimes, did we hear the calm voice of Lieutenant Hanley filling us with hope and inspiring us with new courage.
Across the room lay a German suffering from abdominal wounds. His pitiful moans caught the attention of Lieutenant Hanley and he said: "I hate to see that German suffer so. How I do hope this shall be the end of all wars." Such was the spirit of this noble man.
Well do we remember the day when the regimental band of the 26th division played for the wounded boys at Glorieux. It was a mild October day. As they struck up some old familiar airs the face of Lieutenant Hanley of the 101st Infantry, Company A, of that division, grew radiant as he said: "How I love to hear those old melodies." Then for a time he seemed to forget his hard lot and wandered again in fair New England fields that grew tender and beautiful in sunset light. A robin caroled softly from a crimson maple, the meadow brook sang a rippling accompaniment as in fancy once more he walked with loved ones in the homeland.
We do not know whether or not all these things passed through his mind, but we do know that among his thoughts was the fond sister, working and praying in Boston, and a brother fitting himself for the air-service, and a lovely mother walking and praying in her lonely home. The burden of their prayer is ever 'the same; morning and night it rises to Him for the safe return of a dear brother and son. As that absent one turned through the leaves of the New Testament, wherein he found such comforting messages in those weary days and long, anxious nights of suffering, he too sent up a prayer for the loved ones back home.
The day of his departure, how shall we ever forget it? As we moved about among the cots of Ward E, the cheerful voice of Lieutenant Hanley came to us as he clasped our hands for the last time, while he said "I shall never forget you." As the litter bearers were passing through the door he put up his hand as a last farewell, saying he would write us on reaching home. But many months passed before we received the tear-stained letter from a broken-hearted mother, telling us he had wandered to fairer fields.
Where broad between its banks stretches the Meuse, mirroring the bloom in the west and the evening star, where the cornflowers look up with heaven's own blue and the poppies cover the fields like a crimson sea, where the skylark unseen is still soaring and singing, and the nightingale from the snowy hawthorn spray warbles divinely at even. French mothers who have lost all their sons in the war shall come with their tribute of blossoms to those vast cities of the dead. Here while the flowers fall unnoticed from their trembling hands and with tears streaming down their careworn faces and with prayers of gratitude upon their lips, they shall bless the memory of those noble American boys who poured out the rich, red blood of youth who lie in a land they crossed the ocean to save.
Among the priceless treasures we have at home is a picture of Lieutenant Hanley standing among a bower of roses. This was sent to his mother just before he left the United States. How like those roses was he—the most perfect flower of all. The dew of youth, the rosy bloom of manhood, the purity of those fragrant petals in his soul, all speak to us from that portrait. It seems as if:
A happy smile flits 'cross his face, The dream of fair Elysian fields, A vision of the old home place To darkened memories swiftly yields.
God had turned the trenches to roses again When they bore him home across the wave He was true to self, to God, and man And was leaving a land he died to save.
How quiet on that August morn The tolling bell gave forth its sound. In star-draped casket, slowly borne, A treasure not of earth was found.
Like dew upon a flower sleeping Or fairest hue of sunset skies A jewel in the master's keeping A radiant pearl of greatest price.
Like amber-tinted clouds of May By many vagrant breezes driven; That frail form swiftly passed away To melt and fade in dawn's fair heaven.
Death is but the mist of early morn Seen rising o'er the placid river, An open gateway into heaven Where the pure with God shall dwelt forever.
LEXINGTON AND CONCORD
Coming into Lexington from the south one passes Follen church, where Emerson preached. Farther along on the right is the house of John Harrington, last survivor of the battle; then, near the corner of Maple street, the great elm planted by his father.
About a quarter of a mile further, on the left, is the Munroe Tavern, headquarters and hospital of Earl Percy, now the property of the Lexington Historical Society. The granite cannon by the High School marks the site of one of the field-pieces placed by Earl Percy to cover the retreat of the British troops. In the town hall is the admirable painting of the Battle of Lexington, by Sandham; also in the town offices statues of Hancock and Adams.
The Hayes memorial fountain, with an ideal statue of the Minute Man, by Henry H. Kitson, sculptor, faces the line of approach of the British from the easterly end of the common. Behind it a granite pulpit marks the site of the old church past which Pitcairn led his men; a boulder to the left locates the position of the Old Belfry from which the alarm was sounded on its bell, April 19, 1775. A boulder on the common to the right from the fountain, together with the old monument, under which the eight men killed during the battle are buried, marks the line of the Minute Men. The Jonathan Harrington house, on the corner of Bedford street, was the scene of a touching incident of the battle. Across Bedford street is the Masonic Temple. The main part of this building was erected in 1822 for the Lexington Academy, and in this building the first normal school in America was opened on July 3, 1839, with three pupils enrolled.
It is good to be here in this section of country not alone for its historical associations, with which it is so rich, but for the association of great minds, from which emanated those flowers of song "that shall bloom in fragrance and beauty in the gardens of the human heart forever." We note in journeying here that the scenery is superb, yet we love the land more for the noble souls who lived and labored here that humanity might rise to higher things.
One does not wonder that Massachusetts can boast of so many illustrious names, for "its lovely landscape and stern climate seem to have been made for the development of genius," and no other period of history could have afforded more telling inspiration than that in which they lived. Their songs had in them the purity of its crystal springs, the beauty of its autumn landscapes, the strength of its rock-strewn hills.
How quiet was all the landscape on that Sabbath afternoon as we stood on the North bridge, where once stood the embattled farmer gazing up the elm-lined vista at the alert figure of the Minute Man. As one writer has said, it seemed difficult to associate this charming spot with strife, and try as we would it ever remained what its name implies, "Concord."
How peaceful the dark, slow-moving stream glided by the town, with scarce a murmur to break the serene stillness! How gently the Old Manse looked from its leafy elms! The noise of automobiles passing along the highway, the rippling laughter of our little guide, or the gurgling melody of a red-winged blackbird scarce disturbed its peaceful slumbers. On the golden stillness of the hot mid-summer afternoon the almost imperceptible current seemed more sluggish still. The graceful foliage of willow, elm and alder, joined in friendly groups by wild grape vines, leaned over the dark water "as if still listening for the golden thoughts of Hawthorne, Chinning, Emerson and Thoreau." It was their spirits that seemed to rule over the brooding landscape rather than that of the Minute Man, clothing each rock and tree with a luster the remembrance of which shall illuminate many a somber-colored day of life.
Yet here was the first battle of the Revolution. The only flag we saw was the vivid red of cardinal flowers, the blue of the chicory, and the white of the elder. We heard no gun save that of the bittern, which savored more of love than war. The calm skies knew no harsher sound than the explosive boom of the night- hawk. The only drum was that of the bullfrog, calling raw recruits from among the lily-pads. The dark waters harbored no submarine save a great turtle who slipped from a log and submerged, sending a mass of ripples around a much-frightened blue heron. The woods echoed to the bold bugle of the Carolina wren. But there, on April 19, 1775, "murmured the first faint tide of war" that continued until, as the stone on the right tells us, "it gave peace to the United States."
Gage sent troops to proceed to Concord to destroy the military stores collected there, but they, like Adams and Hancock in Lexington, had vanished. They were as much surprised as the farmer who planted his peas near a woodchuck den; when he went out to look at them all he had was the smell. For the British, too, only the smell of the powder remained. After they had left a small force to guard the bridge, the troops set fire to the court house. They then cut down the liberty pole, spiked several cannon, threw several barrels of flour into the river, and proceeded to hunt for the arms and ammunition that were not there. The burning flames from the court house kindled the wrath of the little force of Minute Men, who had seen the ominous clouds of smoke on that April day. Soon four hundred men were on their way to Concord. Two hundred regulars, on arriving, seized the bridge. Here they received and returned the British fire and were only overcome by numbers. Major Buttrick forced them back into the village.
As we gazed across again at the Old Manse we thought of the wonderful essays that had been written here. In the rear of the old house is a delightful study. It was here that Emerson wrote "Nature." Here, too, Hawthorne wrote "Mosses from an Old Manse." We thought of the brave clergyman who, from the north window, commanding a broad view of the river, stood watching the first conflict of a long and deadly struggle between the mother country and her child.
Realizing the danger they were in, the British troops began their retreat of eighteen miles. They had eaten little or nothing for fourteen hours. Ages ago freedom loving Nature had conspired to aid the Americans by shaping the field of battle. Huge boulders had been left by the glacier, the potent rays of the April sun made dense masses of verdure in willows, which thus became an ally of the pine. Stone fences and haystacks became ready-made fortifications, and every rising spot was filled with irate hostile yeoman who harried them with aim true and deadly. They soon began to run and leave their wounded behind, and in place of a retreat their disorderly flight must have had the appearance of a Marathon race, the rattle of musketry acting or serving as signals for each to do his best on the home stretch.
They were almost exhausted when they fell into a little hollow square made by Percy's men to receive them. Here the weary, frightened Redcoats took refuge as in a sanctuary, and immediately threw themselves upon the ground to rest. Many of them had either lost or thrown away their muskets. Pitcairn had lost both his horse and the elegant pistols with which. the first shot of the war for independence had been fired. They may now be seen in the town library of Lexington. When the British soldiers reached Arlington, several miles from Boston, they had an obstinate fight with the Yanks. The road swarmed with Minute Men and they could not keep order—but at sunset, when they entered Charlestown under the welcome shelter of the fleet, it was upon the full run. Considered as a race, the British stood far in the lead. Two hundred and seventy-three British were lost and but ninety-three Americans.
As we still lingered on the banks of the sleeping river we recalled these lines from Emerson: "My home stands in lowland with limited outlook, and on the outskirts of the village. But I go with my friend to the shore of our little river, and with one stroke of the paddle I leave the village politics and personalities behind and pass into a delicate realm of sunset and moonlight." Alert and watchful still stood the figure near the bridge, and as we turned away from this quiet spot "his attitude of eternal vigilance still seemed prophetic." He became at once the noble spirit of a brave Anglo-Saxon, standing for Freedom and Right; the spirit that gained our independence; that of 1867 that freed the slave; and that of 1917 that sent the sons of America across the ocean. This glorious Freeman should be placed on some lofty mountain peak in the pure, free air of heaven, where all might read the lesson of Freedom and Human Rights. This is one of America's shrines of which she may be duly proud. Could the European tourist carry back no other memory, it would be well to cross the Atlantic to see this sight. Leaving the guardian at the bridge standing there, we made our way to Sleepy Hollow.
We are not particularly fond of cemeteries, but the knowledge that finally one has to go there himself makes a visit not wholly purposeless. We strolled past. the quiet homes to the more quiet plot of ground, "hallowed by many congenial and great souls." Here on a lofty elevation of ground stood the headstones of Louise May Alcott, Thoreau and Charming, with that of Hawthorne enclosed by a fence and withdrawn a short distance.
"What a constellation of stars, whose radiance shall shine on undimmed through countless centuries!"
Here is what Thoreau wrote concerning monuments: "When the stone is a light one and stands upright, pointing to the sky, it does not repress the spirits of the traveler to meditate by it; but these men did seem a little heathenish to us; and so are all large monuments over men's bodies from the Pyramids down."
A monument should at least be "starry-pointing," to indicate whither the spirit has gone, and not prostrate like the body it has deserted. There have been some nations who could do nothing but construct tombs, and these are the only traces they have left. They are the heathen. But why these stones so upright and emphatic like exclamation points? What was there so remarkable that lived? Why should the monument be so much more enduring than the fame which it is designed to commemorate—a stone to a bone? "Here lies _" Why do they not sometimes write, "There rises?" Is it a monument to the body only that is intended? "Having ended the term of his natural life." Would it not be truer to say, "Having ended the term of his unnatural life?" The rarest quality in an epitaph is truth. If any character is given it should be as severely true as the decision of judges, and not the partial testimony of friends. Friends and contemporaries should supply only the name and date, and leave it to posterity to write the epitaph.
OPPOSITE THE OLD SHORE ROAD
The Old World bended low beneath a load Of bigotry and superstitions dark, When Liberty, amid the tottering thrones Of despots born, with gladness filled the homes Of men, e'en the Eternal City bade Her gates imperial open wide; and, like A cloud the darkness lifted from the land. Then Freedom's gentle, buoyant spirit, like The Magi's wand, extended far across The sea, and thereupon the gloomy flood Was parted wide asunder, and revealed A glorious paradise for Freedom's sons. Columbia, beneath thy banner's stars, The mind of man in rare luxuriance blooms, Unfolding one by one the attributes Of deity. In vision we foresee The perfect man. In form the image of His Maker, God. In toleration filled With charity for all. In Reason's Ways Profound. In thought, he mounts the throne of power And sways the world. He tries frolic Nature's grasp To lure her secrets still untold till we, Amazed at his bold course, recoil abashed.
THE OLD SHORE ROAD AND THE PILGRIM SPIRIT
The breaking waves dashed high On a stern and rock bound coast, And the woods against the stormy sky Their giant branches tossed.
"Thus sang Felicia Hemans in the early years of the last century, and anyone who has sailed in by White Horse beach and 'Hither Manomet' when one of those fierce gales that winter brings to this section of the coast sends great billows thundering up against the cliff and churns all the sea into froth and foam, will readily see how truthful this singer has portrayed the scene he has beheld. True, you will not find granite ledges, which follow the coast almost continuously farther north, as at Scituate, Nahant, Rockport, and farther on; but it is rock-bound, nevertheless, with great heaps of boulders, thickly sown, of various shapes and sizes, with a sombre gray color that makes them appear inexpressibly stern even on a bland summer day."
The most picturesque of all the highways leading from Boston to Plymouth is the South Shore road, passing through Milton, Quincy, Hingham, Scituate, Cohasset, Marshfield, and Duxbury, for one of the chief delights of this route is the frequent glimpses of the sea, whose jagged, rocky coast Nature has softened until we only feel that it is rock bound. When the day is clear how the sunshine dusts the water with purplish bloom, mellowing its hard, cold tint of greenish blue. Here one seems to feel the spirit, the mystery of the ocean, and a voice at once grand and irresistible calls from those walls of siren- haunted rocks until he is among them, listening to the music of the waves as they come rolling against their rugged sides. Then one never tires of gazing at the beautiful homes so charmingly embowered amidst their grand old trees and spacious grounds adorned with many flowers, in brilliant masses of various colors. Thus no time is lost by the ardent admirer of the beauties of land and sea, and the ever-varied and changing scenes allow just that variety which the most prosaic person cannot help enjoying.
We shall always remember this road as a sort of traveler's paradise. It is an almost ideal shore road, indeed one of the finest that New England can boast, and one really regrets it is not longer. How many times we have gone over it since that first journey! "Memory and imagination are true yoke-fellows, and between them they are always preparing some new and greater pleasure as we allow them the opportunity."
Many have been the times since those memorable days spent on the old Shore Road; that memory of them gave for a moment a pleasure more real than any we had experienced while strolling at will along that scenic highway. Sometimes seemingly imaginary delights are far from being imaginary. We can see the lovely stretches of beach this moment and hear the breakers booming among the granite boulders—yes, and the grating of the pebbles that are being ground to shifting sand to form the beach.
Then, too, who can ever forget the exhilarating effect of a dip in those waves? The great unfailing attraction of the place, then as now, is the ocean, forever an emblem of unrest, changeable in its unchangeableness. To our minds the ocean seems alive. We could sooner believe in sirens and water-nymphs than in many existences that are commonly spoken of as much more certain "matters of fact." We could believe in them, we say, but do not.
Our communings are not with any monster of the unfathomable deeps of the ocean, but with the spirit of the ocean itself. It grows somber and sullen under a leaden sky, and its voice has in it something of that inexpressible sadness heard in the raging wind among the pines. Then on a calm day in mid-summer how placid and serene its water appears, wearing on its bosom that exquisite blue bloom, like the haze that clothes distant mountains. It scintillates and sparkles like rare jewels in the sunlight, and ever its dancing waves with silvery crests proclaim it a thing of life and motion. You might say that it is dead, yet after all, how many know what life really is? In certain moods, especially when strolling by the sea, you will feel measurably sure of being alive yourself; and the longer you tarry by it the less liable you will be to entertain doubts about the matter.
On the afternoon of our first journey along this Shore Road the sky was overcast with low-hung clouds that foreboded rain. Towhees were calling noisily from wayside thickets; catbirds sang their self-conscious airs or mewed in derision as we passed; chickadees were calling their names and occasionally uttered their pensive minor strains; and far away in a dim- lighted hemlock grove we heard a new bird song that seemed in exquisite accord with our own thoughts.
Again and again the notes came from the forest. How delicious the music was! A perfect song of peace and spiritual tone that told us at once the singer was a thrush—but what thrush? We had heard the song of the hermit among the Berkshire Hills and could never confuse his wonderful hymn with that of another species; yet here was a song possessing the same character of sacredness. It was a restful lullaby like ,the mingled benediction of wood and sea on the tired spirits of weary travelers. It had in it nothing of "pride or passion," but contained the same serene harmony that vagrant breezes draw from the myriad-stringed pines; something of the melodies breathed from the ocean. It proved to be the evening hymn of the veery.
The song of the nightingale, with its trills and phrases, would make harmony seemingly crude if compared to either the hermit or veery thrush, nor would the skylark, famous in poetry and song, bear off the prize were the two birds to be heard alternately. The English blackbird has a very sweet song, which made the weary, homesick heart of the soldier in France rejoice, when he announced that spring was near. Yet if the European traveler complains that our songsters are not brilliant, let him visit our land when the brown thrasher, the bobolink or mocking bird are singing, and he will hear melodies as full of joy and exuberance as any he may have remembered in his native land.