We have been straying a bit from the Shore Road but, as we said, the scenery along it is varied, so will your thoughts be as you move enraptured from place to place.
One almost forgets to eat while so much of beauty lies all about him; but, once reminded that it is meal time, what a ravenous appetite he seems to have! It almost provokes a smile now as we think of the many places along the various roads that are connected in our minds with the question of something to eat. Many of the places (might say nearly all of them) were places where we had dined the year before. Remembering how voracious and indiscriminating our appetites were, we cannot help wondering that we are here to tell the story; for how many new fruits we sampled because we wanted to learn their flavor!
This feeling is no doubt shared by all who recall similar excursions, when the open air and exercise whetted their appetites to an unusual degree. We Americans are objects of much comment in restaurants and hotels of foreign countries, and no doubt many of the waiters think that we have been blessed with more than a spark of life, else it would have been smothered long ago by the constant fuel which we furnish for it. But on a summer trip, where one all but lives out-of-doors, breathes deeply the resin-scented air and has little to worry about, there is not so much of a mystery connected with his ability to keep on the go.
We do not know whether it was the beautiful red color of some choke cherries that hung their bunches temptingly near or whether it was extreme hunger, or fear lest some hungrier soul should get to the bushes first, that caused one member of our party to recklessly cram his mouth with what he thought would be most excellent fruit. But alas! things are not what they seem. He began to pucker his mouth and cough in the most violent manner. "Choke cherries, choke cherries," he repeated between broken coughs; these cherries were evidently named by one who knew the right word for them. This fruit is extremely attractive just before ripening, with its handsome clusters of red cherries; a real feast to the eye but not to the palate, until they change to dark red or almost black. "Some things are to be admired and not judged by the New Testament standard, very literally interpreted, 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' We used other tests here and valued this small tree for its beauty, though its cherries were as bitter as wormwood."
It isn't often one is privileged to dine at the Sign of the Lavender Kettle in Sandwich, but this is what we did in Massachusetts. The place was neat and scrupulously clean, and the dessert consisted of delicious raspberries, which went far to dispel our partner's belief that, as some theologians teach, creation is indeed under a curse. But we are making too much of the food question, and will say nothing of the honey, fresh buns, country butter, etc., but shall make haste to inquire concerning our night's lodging, for Plymouth is celebrating the Tercentenary this year, and we were informed that it is extremely difficult to find hotel accommodations.
While making inquiries concerning a suitable place to stay, we were approached by a motherly but very officious old lady, clad in black, who, after telling us that she was going to entertain some notable person at her home as a guest when he came to view the pageant, advised us to proceed to the Mayflower Inn, where we were sure of being accommodated for the night. She described this hotel as a beautiful and luxurious inn, situated on the slight elevation of Manomet Point a few miles below the town. We decided to spend the night at Plymouth and passed the road which led to the inn. We found that the nearer hotels were all filled, so we had to turn back and in a cold, dreary rain return to the road we had passed.
As we proceeded on our way we saw a fishing vessel putting out to sea. How many scenes that vessel recalled! We thought how many families had been engaged in this precarious livelihood, where their perilous calling was prosecuted at the risk of life itself. The solitude and awesomeness of a stormy night at sea along this rough and rugged coast is heightened by the wild tempests which brood over the waters, strewing the shore with wrecks at all seasons of the year. The news of the frequent loss of husbands or sons, the roar of the waves, and the atmospheric effects which in such situations present so many strange illusions to the eye, must have been calculated to work upon the terrors of those who remained at home; and melancholy fancies must have flitted across their memories as they watched at midnight, listening to the melancholy moaning of wind and wave.
No wonder phantoms and death warnings were familiar to the ancient Celtic fishermen, for those terrible disasters that were constantly occurring could not help but increase the gloom which acts so strongly upon those who are accustomed to contemplate the sea under all its aspects.
"In the long winter nights, when the fishermen's wives whose husbands are out at sea are scared from their uneasy sleep by the rising of the tempest, they listen breathlessly for certain sounds to which they attach a fatal meaning. If they hear a low, monotonous noise of waters falling drop by drop at the foot of their bed, and discover that it has been caused by unnatural means and that the floor is dry, it is the unerring token of shipwreck. The sea has made them widows! This fearful superstition, I believe, is confined to the isle of Artz, where a still more striking phenomenon is said to take place. Sometimes, in the twilight, they say, large white women may be seen moving slowly from the neighboring islands over the sea, and seating themselves upon its borders. There they remain throughout the night, digging in the sands with their naked feet, and stripping off between their fingers the leaves of the rosemary flowers culled upon the beach. Those women, according to the tradition, are natives of the islands, who, marrying strangers, and dying in their sins, have returned to their beloved birthplace to beg the prayers of their friends."
Another superstition was recalled. "At the seaside village of St. Gildas, the fishermen who lead evil lives are often disturbed at midnight by three knocks at their door from an invisible hand. They immediately get up and, impelled by some supernatural power whose behests they cannot resist and dare not question, go down to the beach, where they find long black boats, apparently empty, yet sunk so deeply in the water as to be nearly level with it. The moment they enter, a large white sail streams out from the top of the mast, and the bark is carried out to sea with irresistible rapidity, never to be seen by mortal eyes again. The belief is that these boats are freighted with condemned souls, and that the fishermen are doomed to pilot them over the waste of waters until the day of judgment. The legend, like many others, is of Celtic origin." (footnote: Alexander Bell.)
One can readily see how the imaginative minds of those Celtic fishermen could people their desolate coasts with spectres and phantoms, and indeed we did not need to draw much on our own imagination to see strange figures gliding along the shore in the gloom on a night like this.
Soon, however, the lights from the numerous windows and veranda sent their invitations through the mist-filled air and we entered the hospitable building, and drew our chairs before the glowing fireplace with a feeling of comfort not readily imagined. On leaving the fireside to take a look at the ocean, behold what a transformation! Instead of scudding clouds, a clear blue sky filled with sparkling stars and a full moon, that made a path of gold which led far away over the water. It was such a night as one sees along the shores of the Mediterranean, lacking only the balmy air, the fragrance of orange blossoms, and the broad leafed date palm reflecting the glorious light. True, the air was chilly, but the sudden transition from a dull, melancholy scene to one so cheerful had a fascination for us, like the lulling melody of flutes when their sweetness hushes into silence the loud clamor of an orchestra.
>From the spacious brick piazza, we had a lovely view out over the rolling Manomet Hills. The blue on the distant bluffs grew silvery in the moonlight and the orchestra filled the place with delightful music, so in accord with the murmuring waves, that we thought as did Hogg, the poet:
Of all the arts beneath the heaven That man has found or God has given, None draws the soul so sweet away, As music's melting, mystic lay.
After the orchestra ceased playing, a young man stepped to the piano and gave a beautiful rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata; recalling our sojourn in the city of Bonn and the pilgrimage to the home of this wonderful genius. How like this must have been that night on which the famous master was stirred with emotion.
"One moonlight evening, while out walking with a friend, through one of the dark, narrow streets of his native city, as they were passing a humble dwelling, the sweet tones of a piano floated out on the evening air, that throbbed with the sweet notes of the nightingale.
"Hush!" said Beethoven, "what sound is that? It is from my Sonata in F. Hark! How well it is played!"
There was a sudden break in the finale, when a sobbing voice exclaimed:
"I cannot play it any more. It is so beautiful; it is beyond my power to do it justice. O, what would I not give to go to the Concert at Cologne!"
This appeal, coming out into the stillness of the night, was too much for the kind-hearted musician. He resolved to gratify her desire. As he gently opened the door, he said to his friend: "I will play for her. Here is feeling, genius, understanding! I will play for her and she will understand it."
It was only the humble home of a shoemaker and his blind sister.
"Pardon me," said Beethoven, "but I heard music and was tempted to enter. I am a musician. I also overheard something of what you said. You wish to hear—that is—shall I play for you?"
The young girl blushed while the young man apologized for the wretched condition of the piano, which was out of tune, and said they had no music.
"No music!" exclaimed Beethoven.
Then he discovered for the first time that the young lady was blind. With profuse apologies, for seeming to have spoken so abruptly, he desired to know how she had learned to play so well by ear. When he heard that she had gained it by walking before the open window while others practiced, he was so touched that he sat down and played to the most interested audience that he had ever entertained. Enraptured they listened.
"Who are you?" exclaimed the young man.
"Listen," said Beethoven, and as the sublime strains of the "Sonata in F" filled the air their joy was unbounded. Seldom is it given to man to have such appreciation. The flame of the candle wavered, flickered, and went out. His friend opened the shutters and let in a flood of moonlight. Under the influence of the spell, the great composer began to improvise. Such a hold did his own music create upon him that he hastened to his room and worked till after the dawn of morning, reducing the great composition to writing. It was his masterpiece, "The Moonlight Sonata." Thus he found that it is indeed "more blessed to give than to receive," and the gift returned to bless the giver many times."
No wonder the musician played this fitting selection, for the silvery light made all the sky radiant and its crystal, star- gemmed depths seemed to shine with a light of their own, transforming its radiant sapphire gleam, shedding it over the glowing water and shore, tipping with silver the shrubbery at its edge which in the dim distance formed a scene that was enchanting. The softly sighing leaves mingled their notes with the rippling waves and:
"Peacefully the quiet stars Came out one after one; The holy twilight fell upon the sea, The summer day was done."
Dawn came with a burst of glory, and the oncoming light of the soft, deep blue and the alluring purple. bloom that spread o'er the ocean was Nature's compensation for those who rose early. Before the stars had all gone to their hiding place and while the light of a few large planets was growing dim, fading into the clay, we were making our way down to the shore through dewy grass, azaleas, and various shrubs, where the swamp sparrows, robins, and catbirds were greeting the new day from their bushy coverts with their songs of gladness.
How many songsters took part in this matitudinal concert, we are unable to state, but there were a great number. The volume of sweet notes would sometimes swell to a full-toned orchestra, and then for a brief time it would die away like the flow and ebb of the tides of a sea of melody. The robins were undoubtedly the most gifted of all the vocalists, and their old familiar songs heard along the seashore seemed to have an added sweetness; their notes being as strong and pure as those of a silver flute, making the seaside echoes ring. We have heard many robins sing, but never have been so impressed with the excellent quality of their songs as on that early morning, when they flung out their medley of notes upon the balmy air. No one could doubt that here were true artists, singing for the pleasure of it.
All along the shore lay huge boulders telling of a more ancient pilgrimage to these parts; of a great moving mass of ice in the gray dawn of time, that crept slowly over the land, leaving a "stern and rock bound coast." Perhaps Plymouth Rock itself may have been one of the number that, like these huge gray boulders on which we stood, arrived thousands of years ago.
We returned to the hotel and after breakfast, proceeded on our way to the old historic town of Plymouth. "The road that leads thither is daily thronged with innumerable wheels; on a summer day the traveler may count motors by the thousand." Yet if you pause here awhile you may soon find within a few rods of the fine highway primitive woodland that will give you an impression of what it must have been three hundred years ago. Here you will see heavy forest growths consisting of oaks, for the most part, with maple and elm, and here and there a tangle of green brier and barberry, interspersed with several varieties of blueberry and huckleberry bushes.
You will perhaps recall that Eric the Red, that fearless Viking, is reported to have landed on the coast several centuries before the English heard of the bold promontory of "Hither Manomet." It is well worth your time to saunter along some of the old trails to be found in this region that lead from the main highway of today into the "wilderness of old-time romance, where you will find them not only marked by the pioneer, but that earlier race who worked out these paths, no one knows how many centuries ago."
We now and then meet with people who profess to care little for a path when walking through a forest solitude. They do not choose to travel a beaten path, even though it was made centuries ago. They are welcome to this freak. "Our own genius for adventure is less highly developed and we love to wander along some beaten path, no matter how often it has been traveled before; and if really awake, we may daily greet new beauties and think new thoughts, and return to the old highway with a new lease on life, which, after all, is the main consideration, whether traveling on old or new trails."
Then the force of those old associations, how they gild the most ordinary objects! The trail you may be traveling may wander here and there, beset by tangles of briers or marshy ground or loses itself in a wilderness of barberry bushes, yet how much more wonderful to travel it, for its soil has been pressed by pilgrim feet. Some path may chance to lead you where a few old lilac bushes, a mound or perhaps a gray and moss-grown house, still stands where some hardy pioneer builded.
You will probably come across parties of boys who have spent hours in the broiling sun, picking blueberries or huckleberries in the woods or old stony pastures. Here grow a number of varieties, which make the woods beautiful and fragrant. They belong to the heath family and help to feed the world. If you would know the value of these berries, try and purchase some from the boys who are gathering them.
How delightful the thrill that we experienced on that lovely morning of July as we were nearing the shrine of the nation. It would have mattered little even though we had not tarried on our journey here, where memories of days of the past came thronging around us, nor little did it matter now that we saw no signs of earlier times as we first approached the town, for in this residence, manufacturing and thriving business center, fluttered hundreds of flags, giving to the place a meaning at once grand and significant; and we seemed to catch the fervent faith, the glad hope that must have swelled in the breasts of our forefathers three centuries ago.
All during the morning our thoughts wandered far away from the days of the Pilgrims, for there came thronging memories of those absent and distant friends with whom we could never talk again, but in whose memory we once had a place, and who will always live in ours. These dear friends have now gone to fairer shores and they are dwelling on the banks of the "river Beautiful, where grows the Tree of Life."
We came to visit the relatives of these departed friends, who have proven in those terrible days of the Meuse-Argonne that there is more in life than its grim reality; who have taught us that not only on the bloody field of battle but while they calmly awaited the last command from the Master of All to make that journey to fairer camping grounds, they were soldiers not only serving their country under General Pershing, but loyal and faithful servants of their country's God.
The first hours of the day were spent at the home of Mrs. Emma Howland, whose son, Chester A. Howland, after receiving gunshot wounds in the Argonne forest, was taken to the Evacuation Hospital, Number 15, where we were privileged to care for him. In vain we searched for words to tell of the faith, courage, and self-sacrifice of a dear son, of this mother, whose photograph he so joyfully showed us on the first morning of our meeting, as he exclaimed:
"Here is a picture of the dearest mother in all the world."
How well we remembered that morning when the cheery rays of sunlight, the first of many days, stole through the windows and fell in golden bands and lay on the pure white brow, illuminating those manly features. A light divine filled his clear, blue eyes, as he said:
"I do not know how badly I am wounded, but then it will be all right."
Then we thought of the once lovely region around Verdun, where the homes were shot full of holes. In many places only heaps of blackened stone remained. The beautiful meadows of the Meuse had been torn full of pits, some small, others large and deep enough to bury a truck; and trenches, barbed wire entanglements and shattered trees were scattered all about. The American cannonading roared along the Argonne front, and the German artillery answered, until the air trembled with an overload of sound. Then as the clear, fine voice of this noble lad filled those halls of pain and death with a rippling melody of cheer, we looked again and a vision came.
In fancy we saw once more the French peasants toiling in their fields of grain; over the once desolate region the skylarks were soaring and singing above emerald meadows, covered with the blue of the corn-flower and crimson of poppies; the pines were peacefully murmuring their age-old songs of freedom and content, unmindful of the conquer-lust of the Hohenzollerns; the evening sky was no longer profaned by the lurid illumination of star shells as they looped across the ghastly field; in what were once shell holes filled with poisonous water the frogs were piping; in the lovely gardens overlooking the Meuse the mavis and merle were singing; and in the violet dusk no hissing shells screamed their songs of death and destruction, and no crashing of forests were heard from far-thrown shells, but the heavy box- scented breeze bore the heavenly psalm of the nightingale.
Across the road from the ward moving silently about the avenues of that vast "city of the dead," French mothers were scattering flowers on graves of their loved ones; and then it was understood why Chester Howland sang while the thundering cannon shook the wards. Soon for him there would be no weary marches, no days of terror and nights of pain. Ah, precious gold-star mother, rightly have you said it seems that he is just "away." The home he once brightened and filled with the beauty of his presence shall know him no more; but think to what radiant fields he has gone, for which you early taught him to prepare! There no cruel war will ever come to take him from your hearth- side.
I cannot say, and I will not say That he is dead—he is just away! With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand He has wandered into an unknown land, And left us dreaming how very fair It needs must be, since he lingers there, And you—O you, who the wildest yearn For the old-time step and the glad return Think of him faring on, as dear In the love of There as the love of Here; And loyal still, as he gave the blows Of his warrior-strength to his country's foes. Mild and gentle, as he was brave, When the sweetest love of his life he gave To simple things; where the violets grew Blue as the eyes they were likened to, The touches of his hands have strayed As reverently as his lips have prayed; While the little brown thrush that harshly chirped Was dear to him as the mocking bird; And he pitied as much as a man in pain A writhing honey-bee wet with rain. Think of him still as the same, I say He is not dead—he is just away.
The first Pilgrim trail is now Leyden street, which leads from the edge of the water to the fort on Burial Hill. But we first made our way to a real wooded park whose grounds were covered with oak trees, clethra, alder, spice bushes, and green-brier, which we fancied still grew as they did in the days of the Pilgrims. We saw numbers of Indian tepees in this park, which added to its touch of original wildness. We learned that they belonged to the Winnebagoes of Maine, who came down to Plymouth to take part in the pageant. The park was full of blueberry and huckleberry bushes, and companies of the Indian boys and girls were gathering the berries which were just beginning to ripen, giving us a good idea of what the place must have been like before the coming of the white man.
>From this place we followed a path along the shores of a stretch of water known as "Billington sea." It is a lovely lake, that had been blocked off from the ocean by a great terminal moraine until "Town Brook set it free." There is a legend current here, that a man who brought little credit but much trouble to the Pilgrims by his acts of wantonness, was said to have reported the discovery of a new sea; therefore "Billington's sea." His sons seemed to be chips of the old block and caused the colonists no end of worry and trouble by their recklessness. One of them wandered away and became lost, causing great concern among the Pilgrims. He is said to have climbed up into a high tree from which he located his home and also discovered this body of water.
But no matter who the discoverer may have been, it was enough for us to know that we were treading Billington's path along the shore near the water's edge, linking the New Plymouth with that of three hundred years ago.
Here in this seeming wilderness, wandering upon those old trails that in many places are all but obliterated, or vanishing altogether, for a short way among their tangles of undergrowth, you may still glimpse the wooded region of three centuries ago, through the perspective of the ideas and ideals of the present day. "Here we still look back in loving remembrance to that magical little vessel that fought her way across a cruel wintry sea," bearing those brave souls, whose faith and courage have left us in possession of lessons that are priceless.
Anyone who has been in England when the hedgerows are in bloom can readily imagine how the homesick hearts of the pilgrims, after that first terrible winter, fraught with sickness and death, longed for these lovely flowers. The time of the Mayflower's blossoming has long been past, but in fancy our thoughts go back to that early spring when the first bluebird winged his way to Burial Hill, calling up memories of the English robin, which this harbinger of spring resembles. It was the Pilgrims who called him the blue robin.
We love to think, too, of the joyful discovery that one of the Pilgrims must have had, when he stooped to pluck that first flower of spring whose aromatic fragrance was wafted to him by the balmy south wind. Perhaps it was John Alders who first discovered this lovely flower while the bluebird warbled his message of love and spring from a budding alder. No doubt he carried it in triumph to Priscilla as a token of friendship.
Looking out over the land or the lovely bay that spread before them, the Pilgrims, in spite of their toil and hardships, found heart to send word to their friends in England that it was a "fayere lande and bountiful." "So in the darkest times there came days of brightness when all nature seemed to rejoice, and the woods and fields were filled with gladness." When the time came for the sailing of the Mayflower, not a person of all that little band was willing to go back to the land they had left. Longfellow has given us a picture of the departure in his "Courtship of Miles Standish."
O strong hearts and true! Not one went back in the May Flower! No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this ploughing! Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the vessel, Much endeared to them all, as something living and human; Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vision prophetic Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plymouth Said, "Let us pray!" and they prayed, And thanked the Lord and took courage.
But let us return to the first trail of the Pilgrims that leads to Burial Hill. "Here above the enterprise of the modern town rises this hill, bearing the very presence of its founders," where you forget for a time the lure of the woods and sea as you reverently pause to read the inscriptions on the mossy headstones. The oldest marked grave is that of Governor Bradford. It is an obelisk a little more than eight feet in height. On the north side is a Hebrew sentence said to signify, Jehovah is our help. Under this stone rests the ashes of William Bradford, a zealous Puritan and sincere Christian; Governor of Plymouth Colony from April, 1621, to 1657 (the year he died, aged 69), except five years which he declined. "Qua patres difficillime adepti sunt, nolite turpiter relinquare." Which means, What our fathers with so much difficulty secured, do not basely relinquish."
Then we see the monument of his son, an Indian fighter. The epitaph reads like this:
Here lies the body of ye honorable Major Wm. Bradford, who expired Feb. ye 20th 1703-4, aged 79 years.
He lived long but still was doing good And in this country's service lost much blood; After a life well spent he's now at rest, His very name and memory is blest.
Another monument you will see is that of John Howland. The inscription is this: Here ended the Pilgrimage of John Howland who died February 23, 1672-23 aged 80 years. He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Tilly, who came with him in the Mayflower, Dec. 1620. From them are descended numerous posterity.
"He was a goodly man, and an ancient professor in the ways of Christ. He was one of the first comers into this land and was the last man that was left of those that came over in the ship called the May Flower that lived in Plymouth."—Plymouth Records.
Here in the town you may see the Howland house still standing firm upon its foundations, although built in 1667. It has a large Dutch chimney of red brick. The roof is sharp pitched. Here too still stands the Harlow house, which was built in the Old Manse style in 1671. The oak timbers were said to have been taken from the frame of the first Pilgrim fort and common house which stood on a hill back of the town. How like their characters were the works of those early Pilgrims, relics of those bygone days when character-building and home-making were considered essentials.
Then we thought of that other grave that was recently made in the new cemetery; where the body of Chester Howland reposes. He was only one of the many loyal sons of the 26th Division who braved the cruel ocean in 1917 carrying the principles handed down from their Pilgrim forefathers to lands beyond the waves. They seized the golden sword of knighthood—an old inheritance from their worthy sires—and with what valor they wielded it, the rows of white crosses in a foreign land attest. Its hilt for them was set with rarest gems. "A mother's love or sweetheart's fond goodbye." A grateful nation saw fit to bring their remains back to their native land. They merit beautiful monuments, but memory of their noble deeds of valor and sacrifice will be all the monument they need, and by the light of Freedom's blazing torch the world shall read their epitaph written by the hand of Time.
How fine again it is to stand Where they in Freedom's soil are laid, And from their ashes may be made The May Flowers of their native land.
At many hearths the fires burn dim, The vacant chairs are closer drawn Where weary hearts draw nearer them And softly whisper, "they are gone."
The low-hung clouds in pity sent, Their floral tributes from the skies, And sobbing winds their voices lent To stifled sobs and bitter sighs.
In spotless beauty their myriads lay, Upon Freedom's flag like frozen tears Or petals of the flowers of May, In perfumed softness on their bier.
Oh, may they not have died in vain, Those gallant youths of Freedom's land, They sought not any earthly gain And perished that the right might stand.
The death of the following is depicted in "Dr. Le Baron and his Daughters." "In memory of seventy-two seamen who perished in Plymouth harbor on the 26 and 27 days of December, 1778, on board the private armed Brig. Gen. Arnold, of twenty guns, James Magee of Boston, Commander, sixty of whom were buried on this spot."
"Oh falsely flattering were yon billows smooth When forth elated sailed in evil hour That vessel whose disastrous fate, when told, Filled every breast with sorrow and each eye with piteos tear."
One of the seamen is said to have been the lover of Miss Hannah Howland, which probably explains why she has this epitaph on her monument: "To the memory of Miss Hannah Howland, who died of a languishment January ye 25th, 1780."
The grave of the Elder Faunce, to whom we are indebted for the history of Plymouth Rock and for its preservation, is here. There are numerous other inscriptions quaint yet significant. Here you will find the oldest Masonic stone in the country. There is a design at the top, a skeleton whose right elbow rests upon a tomb, the right hand grasping a scythe. Upon the tomb is an hour glass, and on this are crossbones. At the left of the skeleton is a flaming urn; at the base of which is a rose tree bearing buds and flowers. Near the tomb is a skull leaning against a dead shrub.
"Here lies buried the body of Mr. Nath Jackson who died July ye 14th, 1743, in ye 79th year of his age."
With the Baltimore oriole piping his cheery recitative in the top of an elm; chickadees uttering their minor strains, and mourning doves soothing our ears with their meditative cooing, we left the sacred spot, to visit Plymouth Rock. We loved to listen to the purling undertones of Town Brook and wondered what its liquid music might not tell, if we could interpret its story. Shakespeare was right when he said we could find sermons in stones, and here if we read aright is a sermon that made the Old World monarchs tremble. And still to us it tells of that mighty force that brought it here in the dim past—to be the corner stone of our republic. Its ringing text is still sounding from shore to shore.
"Tradition has kept the memory of the rock on which the Pilgrims first set foot, and which lay on the foot of the hill. It has become an historic spot, to which the name Forefathers' Rock has been given. No other in America possesses such hallowed associations or has so often been celebrated in song and story."
"Here," said De Toqueville, "is a stone which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant, and the stone became famous. It is treasured by a nation. Its very dust is shared as a relic. And what has become of the gateways of a thousand palaces? Who cares for them?"
Tradition also says that Mary Chilton and John Allen were the first to leap upon this rock, as we read in the lines to Mary Chilton—
"The first on Plymouth Rock to leap! Among the timid flock she stood, Rare figure, near the May Flower's prow, With heart of Christian fortitude, And light heroic on her brow."
But whoever was the first to step upon this stone, that act we now cherish as the first one toward the founding of a nation, and as typical of the heroism and daring of its founders. "And such it will stand for all time as one of the grand stepping- stones of history."
We wander once more along Town Brook listening to its soothing voice as the evening shadows begin to gather upon it. The sun, like an orb of fire, is sinking in a vast sea of gold through which a few fleecy clouds of a delicate rose color are slowly drifting. The shadowy forms of the night-hawk are plainly seen as they sweep the heavens for their evening meal of insects. We catch their eerie cries that fall from the rosy depths of the waning sunset to the darkening glades around us, and we hear the breeze softly sighing as it caresses the myriad leaves of the forest. The water of the brook grows dim in the deepening shadows. It is the sweetest hour of the day, and as this song of peace floats out over the twilight woods it calls to holy thoughts. It is as if one heard the Angelus of a distant village.
On returning to Plymouth Rock hotel we were impressed with the crowded streets, for from far and near people had gathered to witness the Tercentenary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. In the gray half light of the evening we saw a majestic elm whose gigantic size told of an earlier time. It may not be so, yet we loved to think that the white settlers' cabins rose around it by the seashore. Perhaps the earliest of the Pilgrim fathers heard the first prayers on American soil uttered from beneath its now aged boughs. It probably saw the surrounding forest disappear and with it, the Indian villages, and now looks down on the thriving historic town of the white man. The youths of several generations have frolicked beneath its beneficent branches. Armies have marched by it. The soldiers of Plymouth may have passed it on their way to the harbor where they stepped on Plymouth Rock before embarking on that perilous journey in 1917; and here it is still standing a silent orator of golden deeds in a land of noble trees. In it one sees far more than so many feet of lumber to calculate. Its gleaming crest in autumn speaks eloquently of priceless deeds of valor and that distant time of the golden dawn of Freedom.
Right proper it was that a nation saw fit to meet here, to do honor to the memory of those free and nobleminded souls who braved the dangers of the mighty Atlantic. Long, severe winters were endured when they had but a scanty amount of food and faced unknown dangers from hostile Indian foes. Uncomplainingly did they endure all of these, rather than submit to tyranny and oppression. Heroic characters they were, with their strong principles and high ideals, to found a great nation. What an epic story of splendid achievement, heroic deeds, and noble sacrifice those Pilgrim Fathers have chronicled upon the illustrious pages of our country's history!
The time is July in place of December, the month in which the Pilgrims arrived. In many respects the place of that first landing has been greatly altered. The waterfront contains rough wharves and is lined with storehouses and factories. Plymouth Rock itself will rest beneath a beautiful granite canopy and seems an incredible distance from the sea, and one wonders how they managed to bridge such a distance to get to shore. Yet if you rely somewhat upon your imagination, you may visualize the place in all its rugged impressiveness, much the same as when the Pilgrims beheld it. Nature seems quickly to obliterate the footprints of man, especially along the sea, and you may wander along Plymouth beach in the weird twilight and listen to the sullen boom of the breakers on the cliff, and see and hear as did they.
The sea has beaten for centuries against the great boulders, yet the stones have been but slightly changed. The coast is still "rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun," and the great granite boulders gleam white in the level rays of the descending sun, looking like great emeralds as the silvery crests of the breakers fall upon them.
The evening sky was thickly overcast with clouds as we made our way down to the shore. The wind blew the dark cloud masses out to sea, and as we watched the surf curried by the rocks into foam and heard the wind moaning and wailing among the tossing branches of the trees on shore, we seemed to catch the spirit of that time as if "it had been that Friday night, three centuries before, when the shallop of the Pilgrims came by this very place lashed by the tempestuous sea, their mast broken in three pieces and their sail lost in the dusky welter of the angry surf."
The sky became darker, and more menacing appeared the waves as the time drew near for the pageant to begin. A kind of weird twilight reigned o'er land and sea. No light was visible save that from the beacon-tower, which sent a fitful gleam o'er the angry waves; all else was dark, primal, spectral, as was that eventful night which these present-day pilgrims were now gathered to commemorate. The gale dashed salt spray and raindrops spitefully into our faces, yet it dampened neither our spirits nor those of the performers.
A large stadium capable of accommodating forty thousand people had been erected near the seashore behind a field of action or immense stage four hundred feet wide and with a depth of four hundred and fifty feet. This stage had to be illuminated from a distance of over one hundred and fifty feet, requiring for the pageant over three hundred kilowatts power, enough electrical energy to operate thirteen thousand ordinary house lights, and by far the largest installation for this purpose that has been used in this country.
Suddenly, from a canopied rock, was heard a rich, powerful voice speaking to the American people of the changes and vicissitudes that the rock has witnessed since "far primordial ages." Fit prologue it was from the "corner-stone of the Republic."
Out of the shadowy night from where is heard the mysterious voice of the rock thirty Indians, bearing ten canoes on their shoulders, move silently toward the shore. Suddenly one of the Indians perceives a strange object to the left on the harbor. Terror seizes them all, and they vanish like larger among lesser shadows. Nine more Indians appear bearing three boats but, seeing the phantom, fear fell upon them and they dropped to the shore, covering themselves with their canoes. From the right appears a Norse galley, the armor-clad warriors and their leader Thorwald making a fine picture as they disembark, carrying their shields, spears, and battle axes. As the men draw near they see the three canoes, and Thorwald forms three groups from his company, who approach rapidly toward them. The approach so frightens the Indians under two of the canoes that they rise up and attempt to flee; whereupon the warriors after some fierce fighting, kill them with their javelins.
The third boat is removed and reveals three Indians too terrified to move. One escapes and one is captured; another, feigning death, creeps slowly and painfully to the left, where his every gesture reveals the agonies of a mortally wounded warrior. The canoes are taken and borne aloft, on the shoulders of the majestic Vikings, trophies of a foreign land and victorious conflict.
No sooner do they pass on board the ship than a watcher in the prow warns the rest of impending danger; for, swiftly and warily approaching; the infuriated red men seem to be planning revenge in a surprise attack. Like a wall of flashing steel the shields go up around the deck while the gangplank is quickly drawn in. Suddenly a shower of arrows fly toward the wall of shields, hitting them with a thud but seemingly doing no harm. Presently they flee in haste, thinking perhaps these are gods who cannot be harmed. Slowly the shields are lowered and Thorwald is shown to be in great distress. One sees he is in a death swoon, yet, he raises an arm and points toward the Gurnet, then reels and falls into the arms of his stalwart men. Once more that steel wall goes up, and the mysterious strangers with their curious ship move out on the sea, bearing their leader's body held high on locked shields.
Next appear three men having an English flag with the words "Martin Pring-Patuxet—1603."
Here on the shore, with a band of men dressed in the costumes of those early days, appears a right merry group of men listening to one of their number who is playing on a gittern. As if enamored of the melody the Indians gather around the musician. One, who by his gesticulations, tells in actions more plainly than words that he wishes to dance, offers this modern Orpheus a peace-pipe. Others present various gifts until the English youth steps out among them. They form a circle about him and try to keep time to the music.
Suddenly a member who drops out receives a beating. Fiercer and swifter becomes the dance until in the height of the wildest part a number of dogs spring forward on their leashes, so frightening the savages that they flee in terror. The player seems to be amused yet startled at the incident and goes toward the Indians laughing. Behind a French flag the lights reveal three sailors. On the flag we see written: "Sieur De Champlain— July 19, 1605."
As the lights shift, two Indians appear bearing a great number of codfish which are being examined by Champlain and his men. The Indians show the hooks and lines with which they catch these fish. Noting some growing corn, Champlain tries to learn about the strange plant. The Indians by signs show him that corn may be raised and used as food. He barters for food and fish. Having acquired a great variety of provender they move toward the shore as the lights fade.
Next appear three men dressed in the Dutch mariner's uniform of the time. The flag they carry bears the inscription: "Admiral Blok—1614."
A crowd of Dutchmen appear to be enjoying the evening. They are watching a band of Indians who are dancing. One cannot tell which they are enjoying most, the long-stemmed pipes they are smoking or the weird dances of the redmen, whom they loudly applaud.
Following this scene is the tableau of Captain John Smith in the spring of 1614. Behind this group are seen three English sailors holding a flag upon which is written "John Smith—Accomack— 1614."
Down by the water where streaks of foam top the dark waves and the forms of two men loom dark and spectral, a boat is riding at anchor. While the boulders beat the surf into white foam and the branches of the elms wail and toss in the night wind, Smith and four of his men are trading with the Indians; others of his men are on guard against any treachery, while two of the men are placing the skins which they have bought into hogsheads. There are thirty or forty Indians when the bartering is at its height, and Smith is seen making a bargain with an Indian for a bale of beaver.
One of Smith's men, who notices a very fine skin an Indian is wearing, lifts it to show it to Smith. The Indian resents this act, and there seems to be resentment and fear among all the red men. The Englishmen stiffen to attention, but Smith, who feared neither man nor devil, goes among the Indians carrying a copper kettle and a gorgeous blanket. He held out his blanket persuasively and added several strings of beads. Then he draped the blanket on himself. The Indian at last reluctantly yields and takes off the skin, a beautiful black fox. The lights closed in around a group of Indians decked in their new robes.
Our attention is turned toward the shore once more where three English sailors hold a flag bearing the words: "Thomas Hunt— Patuxet—1615." Hunt enters stealthily at the right, and his attention is concentrated upon a spot where his trained eye has caught, a glimpse of something of greater interest than bird or fish. He is evidently scouting. Then appear at his signal a band of men moving in single file, who hide behind the bushes. Hunt too, as if hearing something, hides himself. Silently a shadowy procession moves from Town Brook, carrying pelts and fishing apparatus. A canoe is borne on the shoulders of two of them. They put the canoe down and all gather in a group to prepare for the day's fishing.
All unconscious of danger, they lay their weapons aside. Hunt rises and signals to his men, who quickly fall upon the Indians as they try to flee. Several stagger across the field fatally wounded, while most of the men are captured and bound. After they gag the Indians they force them toward the water's edge where a boat is waiting. As the group disappears, or is seen as a band of faint shadows, the despairing figure of Tisquantum, bound and struggling, is brought into relief.
There is darkness for a brief time then, as the lights come slowly on, they reveal an absolutely empty space where before were seen activity and plenty. The music for this scene, composed by Henry F. Gilbert, was of a character at once weird, awe-inspiring, almost magical, portraying by tone as plainly as by words the scene of desolation, sickness and death. It seemed as if there were an increasing sense of indefinite fear—a deep impression of solemnity and gravity, as if we were conscious of contact with the eternities.
A change as unusual as it was unwholesome came upon the ocean. "As the lights touched the water a purple glow that was to it like the ashen hue that beclouds the face of the dying. A filmy green spread over the land and there seemed to arise a miasmatic vapor like the breath of a brooding pestilence, which clung clammily to the earth and dulled all life." Every one felt the presence of trouble impending; one grave question breathed forth from the haunting music and, unspoken, trembled on every lip; one overmastering idea blended with and overpowered all others. "The land and sea were both sick, stagnant, and foul, and there seemed to arise from their unfathomable depths, drawn by the weird power of the music, horrid shapes that glared steadily into the strange twilight they had arisen to."
"Such a morbific, unwholesome condition" cast upon land and sea, and music that seemed to breathe forth such despair and desolation, could not but deeply move the audience.
One breathes more freely when the light falls upon a group of ten Englishmen, who appear in single file at the right. Thomas Dermer seems engaged in a very spirited conversation with Samoset, an Indian, while Tisquantum, another Indian, follows and seems absorbed in his own thoughts. While Dermer is engaged in conversation, a group of sailors pass near the water's edge, where they drop their burdens. They gaze out on the water as if looking for a boat. Tisquantum goes past Dermer and Samoset and stands looking off across the harbor, deep in gloomy thought.
>From out there, as darkness closes about the lonely figure on the shore, there is borne to our ears by the night wind the distant sound of voices chanting early sixteenth century music. The music continues while the various characters appear, and finally grows fainter until it can no longer be heard. A young boy appears on the left as if on his way to his morning labor. He is driving a horse that is hitched to a crude plow. There enters from the right a group of seven men and five women, who wear the costumes of religious pilgrims. They have the staff, the script, and the water bottle. Two of the number have been to Rome, for they wear the palm; two others show that they have been to Compostella, for they wear the shell; while two others have the bottle and bell, proving that they have been to Canterbury.
The next scene represented the Fleet Prison on the night of April 5, 1593. Two heaps of straw are seen, on which a man in Puritan garb is seated, writing rapidly. By the other heap sits a man on a stool, who is correcting some written pages. Both men wear chains. A woman stands by the second man with some papers. She seems to be waiting for the other sheets which the man is writing. As he passes the last to her she hides them all in the bosom of her dress.
The next scene represents the Opposition, 7603. The lights are suddenly turned, on revealing a flurry of children and young people across the field, from left to right, and the sound of gay music from the point toward which the children are running. The field fills rapidly with some hundreds of people—men, women and children, of all types and kinds. From the right to the triumphant march, King James enters in royal progress.
Space forbids us to relate the various scenes portrayed upon this wonderfully well-illuminated field. No one who witnessed this wonderful production can ever forget the solemn impressiveness of its closing scenes. A voice is heard coming from the rock, "As one candle may light a thousand, so the lights here kindled have shone to many, yea! in some sort, to our whole nation."
As Bradford gazes out in the distance, the lights now penetrating more deeply reveal in turn, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The clear voice of Washington repeats these significant words: "The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitution of the government." Then the deep, calm voice of Lincoln is heard to say: "Government of the people, for the people, and by the people, shall not perish from the earth."
As Lincoln finishes speaking, two men in modern dress come toward the rock, looking seaward.
The first speaker:
"This was the port of entry of our Freedom. Men brought it in a box of alabaster And broke the box and spilled it to the West, Here on the granite wharf prepared for them.
"And so we have it."
"Have it to achieve; We have it as they had it in their day, A little in the grasp—more to achieve."
Then we hear these significant words:
"I wonder what the Pilgrims if they came Would say to us, as Freemen? Is our freedom Their freedom as they left it to our keeping, Or would they know their own in modern guise?
Across the back of the field to the grand triumphal strains of martial music pass the flags of the allies, so lighted that they show brilliantly. Nearer move the French and British flags, and then all wave and beckon. There follows a hush. Suddenly from far out on the Mayflower a bugle calls in the darkness and light begins to glow on the vessel, but very faintly.
Then again the voice from the Rock is heard: "The path of the Mayflower must be forever free." Forty-eight young women bear the state flags. The pageant ground is now ablaze with lights, and as the wonderful chorus that has carried you on its mighty tide of harmony dies away; the field darkens until there is only light on the Mayflower.
Again the voice from the Rock fills the place with deep sonorous tones, like celestial music, as we listen to these fitting words: "With malice toward none and charity for all it is for us to resolve that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom."
What is there in Europe, or the whole world, in the way of pageants that can compare with this? When we consider its import, viewed in the full, bright light of the rising sun of Liberty; wafted by the delicate electric threads of this busy commercial world which are silently conveying with a certain majesty of movement its significance, we may well say that this celebrated one of the most eventful deeds of man since time began.
"As we go back to that shadowy and evanescent period when history and culture of ancient Chaldea unroll before us, with the overpowering greatness of Assyria followed by the swift rise and fall of Babylon, let us try and extract some truths in regard to the growth of Civilization. Even though nations rise and fall, and races come and go, has not human development been ever upward and onward?"
Let us then look forward to the dawning of a better day. Let us cherish those high ideals of liberty our fore-fathers so dearly bought. Let us put on the strong armor of the Word of God which was to them a shield and a buckler and move forward with firm, steadfast hope toward a brighter dawn of Freedom, that shall exceed that of the present as the light which gleamed from the Mayflower exceeded in brilliancy that of the Old World.
Watching the lights slowly fade on the Mayflower we thought how the Pilgrims had stood on the icy deck of the vessel, with the winds blowing through the masts overhead and the waves roaring about the black hull beneath, while they sang hymns of praise for deliverance from the dangers of the sea.
And the heavy night hung dark The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true hearted came; Not with the roll of the stirring drams, Or the trumpet that sings of fame.
Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear, They shook the depths of the desert gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free.
How richly glows the water's breast, Before us tinged with evening's hues, When facing thus the crimson west, The boat her silent course pursues, And see how dark the backward stream, A little moment past so smiling! And still perhaps some faithless gleam, Some other loiterer beguiling.
Such views the youthful bard allure, But heedless of the following gloom, He dreams their colors shall endure Till peace go with him to the tomb. And let him nurse his fond deceit; And what if he must die in sorrow Who would not cherish dreams so sweet; Though grief and pain may come tomorrow.
The ancients believed that the alchemists could create rose blooms out of their ashes. We are prone to believe it for, at the close of a fair New England day we have seen the Master Alchemist, the sun, beneath his spacious workshop of July skies, transmuting the gray mists and vapors into sunset's glow; and lo! we had the blooming roses there. He melted his many ingredients with the falling dew and distilled from them the gold with which he burnished the western sky, making it glow like a glassy sea. Seizing upon some more potent fluid, he threw it among the fleecy clouds, kindling them all along the horizon until they shone like a vast lake of flame; then taking his magic wand, he waved it over the glowing mass and crimson changed to rosy pink, pink to glowing purple; forming those royal gates through which the magician passed behind the distant foothills of the Adirondacks.
During such a pageant of splendor as this o'er head, did we first behold the placid waters of Lake Champlain.
Far away beyond the Vermont shore rose the Green mountains behind their misty veils of purplish-blue. High above the lower undulations loomed the forest crowned ridges, gloriously colored and radiant, forming a mysterious yet fitting background for the exquisite picture before us. The nearer hills from their tops and extending far down their sides were covered with evergreens; below them a purple belt of deciduous trees and bright green meadows made a vivid contrast; while the nearer valley was filled with clumps of trees, fields of grain and crimson clover.
Before us lay the tranquil lake flecked with islands, which looked like floating gardens of green on a purple mirror. Near us a wooden bridge led across a shallow cove passing between myriads of pickerel weed whose light purple spathes formed a striking mass of color. Beneath it long, slender patches of silvery blue rushes made magic hedges, so symmetrical as to seem clipped by the hand of art. So ethereal in their loveliness were they, we could account for their presence in no other way than being woven by the genii of the lake out of the purple bloom that surrounded it.
It was a royal path fit for any of the nobility of earth to journey upon. The air was so clear and transparent and the surface of the lake so calm that a boat with some fishermen appeared to be drifting in mid-air among a "veiled shower of shadowy roses." The flight of a kingfisher was revealed in the lake below as distinctly as in the sky above. A great blue- heron, making one think of a French soldier at attention, was silently awaiting a green-coated Boche to make his appearance over the top of his lily-pad dugout. The stillness was so pronounced it seemed as if all Nature held her breath while super-powers of both lake and mountain wrought their miracles.
It must have been such a scene as this which Tennyson portrayed in his "Lotus-Eaters:"
There is sweet music here that softer falls Than petals from blown roses on the grass, Or night-dews on still waters between walls Of shadowy granite in a gleaming pass; Music that gentler on the spirit lies Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes, Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies Here are cool mosses deep, And through the moss the ivies creep, And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep, And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.
Another heaven arched below us in which the Green mountains joined their bases with still others that seemed like fairy creations floating upon the water. An ideal remoteness and perfection were thrown o'er the landscape by the crystalline atmosphere. Mountains, fields, woods and lake all made "ethereal pictures" in the mild evening light. Above in the blue dome, Nature hung her finely woven drapery of rose-colored clouds, whose glory was repeated by the unfathomable lake, seemingly as deep as the blue dome it reflected. Its hues were not those of earth, but were borrowed from heaven with which the poem of evening was written on the twilight sky, for the delight of all mankind.
Such scenes as this naturally call for comparisons, but having seen but one that will in any measure compare with it, we shall try to recall an evening on the Mediterranean.
The afternoon had been spent on the island of St. Marguerite, a short distance off the coast of Nice. Here we visited the old tower where Marshal Bazaine got over the stone wall, the cell in which the prisoner of the Iron Mask resided, and the old Spanish well dating from the eleventh century. How delicious it was—the rest, the quiet, the box-scented breeze, the sheen of the sunset on the dark blue waves! The very atmosphere breathed of romance. The sinking sun was gilding the distant peaks of the Alps, causing them to grow radiant with rosy splendor, as we pushed out from the island in our sail-boat. The place was remarkably still. Only the nightingale broke into song among the fragrant bushes by the frowning prison. All else was silent, save the silvery plash of the oars that broke the surface of the water in measured and rythmical strokes.
Rising from the edge of the glorious Bay of the Angels at Nice, domes, palaces and casino, all steeped in those deep, delicious hues, appeared like some vast work of art. As we drew nearer the whole scene opened to us in all its marvelous beauty. We floated slowly o'er the deep blue water which so perfectly mirrored a few pearly clouds that we seemed to be drifting above rather than beneath them. Then the little boats with their orange- colored sails made the place more romantic still. Just in front of us lay the dome-shaped casino, whose windows glowed like rare jewels; all along the shore magnificent hotels of white stone with red tile roofs looked from among their royal palms; while numberless villas, rising one above another with their orange trees, vines and flowers, made a picture of rare beauty. Higher still the rich green, brown and gray of the mountains rose, until they blended with the serene and airy hues of the snow- clad Alps.
Fair as this scene was, it yet lacked that irresistible and magic charm that we beheld in Lake Champlain. It was the most divinely placid and clear sheet of water we ever beheld; one of Nature's famous works of art, that perchance come to one only once in a lifetime. As we gazed in admiration and wonder at those ethereal hues that seem unrealized in Nature, we said, "Here is beauty enough, not for one evening, but for all future evenings of our lifetime." It was a vast mirror that carried in its bosom heaven itself, reflecting the Master Artist's most rare designs.
A boat came round a point of land with three fishermen in it. One of the occupants was heard to exclaim "I am fifty cents to the good, old man Grump, for remember, on each black bass caught we had a nickel up. Whoopee! Say, d'ye see that darned big bass I would have got if the line would of held him? Oh, man! My heart stopped throbbing and I felt it in my throat and had ter swaller it fore I could breathe again. Such luck as that would of made a preacher go wrong."
His companions began talking now, telling how if something or other hadn't interfered they would have made their record catch; which has been the tale of woe of all hunters and fishers from Esau's time on down.
"Been a most ungodly hot day. My old hide is blistered all over."
"Serves you right, old dill pickle. If you had got your just dues for robbing me of that pike I'll be switched you'd be burnt to a cinder."
Such was the general trend of the conversation. As the boat disappeared round a jutting point of land, one of the number was heard to exclaim:
"Gee, but I got a peachy bunch of black bass. Golly, we'll have to hurry or it'll be dark fore we git to camp."
Thus they drifted over the waters far out to where the huge purple rocks made soft outlines with wild, mysterious impressiveness. They may have been expert fishermen, but it is to be feared not real anglers; although they took a fine string of black bass, they caught but few of the glorious reflections and little of the unearthly beauty of the lake. Heaven had come down to earth for them and "beauty pervaded the atmosphere like a Presence." Think of fishing amid scenes like this! One wonders if there will be fishing in Paradise.
What glorious vistas those waters opened up to all, stretching away to those purple haunting distances, where may be had a fleeting glimpse of things which are eternal and the perceiving ear may catch strains of long remembered melodies ("those songs without words") which only the finest souls may know. Yet here were three men who, in their modern Ago, were returning from their search of the golden fleece. Jason, Hercules and Theseus could have experienced no greater joy in object won, than these three "heroes" of the lake returning in the resin-scented twilight with their long-sought prize of bass! A nickel up on each black bass and not one red cent on the placid lake and the radiant sky! Columbus, when he viewed from afar the fronded palms of the Indies, could not have been more enraptured than the one with fifty cents to the good.
Looking out over the lake and then at the wonderful grouping of the elms, birches, vines and sedge along the shore that stood hushed and expectant, as the glory slowly faded from the sky, we said, "had this place a voice, how full of hope and calm serenity it would be!"
Near us a boat grated softly on the pebbly bottom of a cove and swung in. From the deep purple shadow of the wooded shore, out over the lake a thin white veil was slowly creeping as if the purple bloom had faded to silvery whiteness. It seemed not unlike the breath of the sleeping water, and the spirit of the silent lake.
Suddenly a melody that seemed as serene as the mountains and as pure as the lake broke the silence; far up on a wooded ridge a thrush was chanting his evening hymn to the Creator. It was as if the soul of the quiet lake spoke to us; the spirit that haunts high mountains, clear lakes, shadowy forests, and all that is pure and beautiful in life; its hopes, longings and faith were voiced in that mellow "angelus" of the forest.
We would love to see the twilight linger, but all things must end, and we pursued our way down the winding shore road, already gray with the coming night. Before we said good-night the mister said, "I wonder what eternity will be like?" His comrade spoke with a clearness of speech, declaring a truth that no one could doubt: "Eternity is here and now, and this is our first glimpse into paradise."
Long after retiring the words of George Herbert came and went through memory:
"Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so bright The bridal of the earth and sky, The dews shall weep thy fall tonight; For thou must die.
Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave, Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye; Thy root is ever in the grave And thou must die.
Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses; A box where sweets compacted lie; My music shows you have your closes And all must die.
Only a great and virtuous soul, Like seasoned timber, never gives; But, though the whole world turns to coal Then chiefly lives."
Whoever passes through the Green mountains and arrives at Burlington in the evening of a fair day will he rewarded by one of the most beautiful views of natural scenery the world has to offer. The outlook from the hilltop here is enchanting. Looking westward you see the beautiful expanse of Lake Champlain, dotted with numerous islands that stretch away to the purple wall of the Adirondacks, whose summits are outlined by a bright golden light which slowly ascends and diffuses along the horizon as if striving to linger around the loveliness below. The sun disappears, leaving an ocean of flame where he passes, and the fleecy clouds which swim in the ether look down at their images in the lake. Here you behold the Green mountains, showing majestically against the sky. They are clothed in soft blue veils, as lovely as any that Italian mountains can boast. The highest peaks of the range, Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump, thrust their outlines like purple silhouettes against their glowing background.
William Dean Howells, standing with a friend on the shore of the Bay of Naples, remarked that he considered one scene in the world more beautiful than that upon which they were gazing—Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, as seen from Burlington.
Morning came bright and clear; a cool breeze waved the clinging foliage of birch and elm, rippling the lake near the shore and tossing the waves far out on its bosom, which gleamed white along their crests. This was the real Lake Champlain, for it is a very turbulent mass of water and rarely presents a picture of such calm and quiet beauty as we beheld on the preceding evening. Numerous islands, "each fair enough to have keen the Garden of Eden," seen through the level rays of the morning sun, formed a glorious veil of color. Dark green arbor vitae trees grew near their edges; nearer still the elm and willows flung down their lighter masses of foliage to the water, and birch gleamed silvery white against their shadowy background.
"After the French had built Fort Saint Anne on Isle la Motte a party of men went out in search of game. They crossed the lake in a southwesterly direction and were surprised by a band of Mohawk Indians, who took some of the white men prisoners, and killed Captain de Traversy and Sieur de Chasy." The place where they were killed has since been known as Chasy's landing. We crossed a long causeway, which led to the landing, where we took the ferry across to Chasy. The first auto on the boat was from Massachusetts, followed by "another Nash" from New Hampshire; then Ohio filled the middle space of the boat, and was followed by a horse and buggy; as neither bore a license, we could not tell the state from which they came. The distance to Chasy was about one mile, and we were soon on our way to Plattsburg.
Fields of ripening wheat, oats, alfalfa and buckwheat, all divided by stone fences into squares and triangles, began to appear. Meadows in which Holstein cattle were grazing dotted the low ranges of foothills that spread away until lost in blue distance.
Between the Adirondack mountains in New York state and the Green mountains of Vermont on the shore of Lake Champlain, in the heart of Champlain valley, lies the historic town of Plattsburg. It is noted in recent years as the home of the "Plattsburg Idea," the movement for universal military training inaugurated by Major General Leonard Wood, through the establishment at Plattsburg in the summer of 1915 of the first summer camp of military instruction for the regular army. It was noon when we arrived here, and we found that quite a few had adopted the idea, for a long line of hungry khaki-clad men were awaiting their turn at the mess hall.
The first battle of Lake Champlain occurred near here as early as 1609, when Samuel de Champlain, with two other white men, led the Algonquins and Hurons in an attack upon their enemies, the Mohawks. A British and American naval engagement, October 11, 1776, resulted in victory for the British. September 11, 1814, the last naval battle between English speaking peoples was fought here, known as the Battle of Plattsburg Bay.
Eight miles south of Plattsburg is located the Alaskan silver fox farm, which is the largest in the United States. This farm comprises forty acres and contains one hundred silver foxes. It is open to visitors from July to September.
The road leading to this farm passes through one of most picturesque of all the Adirondack regions. As we made our way across the beautiful Ausable valley we beheld an enchanting scene spread out around us. Green meadows sloped up to wooded heights and fields of grain like golden lakes flashed in the sunlight. The hills became more rugged as we wound our way among them. Farmers were loading hay in the meadows, through which streams glistened as they slipped over their sinuous stone- strewn bottoms. Groups of cattle stood knee-deep in the meadow brooks, or rested beneath the shade of elms and willows. In the center of the picture, disclosing its bends and reaches, Ausable river flowed on its way to Lake Champlain. In places its waters were almost hidden by grape vines that clambered and twisted around bush and tree, forming "Laocoon groups" in which they were hopelessly intertwined.
Far beyond the valley sharp summits and irregular ridges printed their bold outlines on the sky. Nearer were farms, groves, and hills, with now and then a placid lake which caught the color of the sky and mirrored it back to us. But our eyes were fastened upon the grand summits and pinnacles that rose dreamy and silent through the summer haze, beckoning us on to those enchanted realms we were soon to behold. Old White Face reared his colossal pyramid above the woods and waved his dull white banner from afar. Soon we entered higher hills, where giant maples threw their cooling shadows across the road and a faint breeze made the balsam boughs breathe and sigh. The road became more sinuous and the hills more grand and imposing. Over the notched summits of the clustered peaks the outlines of thunder heads, luminous and edged with gold, appeared through the blue haze.
At length a broad summit rising against another one still taller, broke suddenly above the foliage where the amber colored falls of Ausable river saluted us. We were in the midst of one of the finest pieces of natural scenery in the eastern United States. We were only fifteen miles from Lake Champlain, but what a change! Here in Ausable chasm we beheld one of the many natural wonders of the Adirondack region. The Ausable river at this point flows through a tortuous channel two miles in length. A rustic walk with many bridges and stairways has been built along the chasm, passing all the wild beauty spots in the gorge. The silvery babble of water passing over rocks, mingled with the gurgling liquid notes of the woodthrush.
The sides of the canyon in places were vast streets of ferns, moss and vines, which resembled cataracts of varying shades of green or great pieces of hanging tapestry inwrought with rare designs of woodland flowers. We could stay in so romantic a spot many days, for in a short time we had seen paintings; read poems, heard the silvery tongues of running brooks, and ringing texts from the sermons in stone. We only tarried long enough to pass up the gorge and view Rainbow falls, which drop seventy feet to the rock below. To the opposite bank from this we made our way and were amply repaid by a commanding view of the tumbling waters. The rays of the sun falling upon this sheet of water produced an exquisite effect. Here from the thick-growing shrubbery as we watched the amber waters concentrate for their fall, and break into silken streamers of irised spray, we knew they had been appropriately named "Rainbow Falls."
We recalled many a cascade among the Alps, where from remote heights the small avalanches of snowy water form comet-like streamers of rarest beauty. We saw again the shimmering rainbow mist of others more remote, whose murmurs died away in the gloomy depth of some Italian forest.
Soon we were gazing at distant peaks that had such a savage aspect as to again call forth comparisons. Balsam fir, pine, hemlock, maple, birch, and beech were the principal forest trees. Lakes gleamed like silver mirrors in the lap of wild rugged hills that stretched far away. We saw huge rocks that had fallen from above as if shattered in the original upheaval of the range, presenting sharp, forcible outlines and rugged facets of shadow so striking in comparison with the flowing outlines of the Catskills or Blue Ridge. The road wound back and forth as it climbed the stony wilderness and soon unfolded to our view a picture of utter desolation. We had just emerged from a stretch of road lined as far as the eye could see on either side with ash, hemlock, birch, beech, and balsam fir. Here we rested among cool shadows, where beautifully fronded ferns rose all about. Weary pedestrians had fallen asleep beneath their cooling shadows and groups of boy scouts pitched their tents along this highway.
Our eyes fell upon a sign that read like this: "A careless smoker caused the fire that destroyed thousands of acres of these forests. You love the forests. Help keep them green by being careful about your fires." Looking forward we beheld a vast and awful scene of desolation. Miles and miles on either side of the road stretched that sea of blackened stumps and charred logs where once the evergreens rose heavenward with all their wealth of whispering leaves. Blackened stubs rose all around as if they were huge exclamation points or pointing fingers of accusation at the carelessness and thoughtlessness of one individual.
Carelessness! How that word rang in our ears as we journeyed through this lonely region, with all its grandeur and beauty gone! Here we realized the kindly and beneficent influence of streams and trees upon mountain scenery. True, mountains may be grand without forests, but it is the grandeur of death we behold in the vast untrodden fields of the show-clad Alps. Forests and streams give life, fragrance, and beauty to those rough forms as a pure soul adds beauty to the countenance of man. Only heated waves of air rose from the fiery rocks and road around us, whose shimmering lines made a fit perspective to such a scene. No mossy rock where one could sit and listen to the singing birds; no ancient trees through which the fragrant west wind could sing its songs of rest and contentment; no purifying river where it was once so pleasant for man to linger before going back to the heat and smoke of the city; all because of one man's carelessness. How much of sorrow and crime is in that word; what failures, what wrecks of humanity stranded along the steep precipice of that mountain.
Who would even want to climb those blackened summits? The elevation would only make the view more terrible. The thousands of travellers who pass this way were all affected by these unsightly monuments to one man's carelessness, proving that "Man liveth not to himself alone."
As we emerged from that scene of heat and desolation, a prayer trembled upon every lip and its only theme was, "Lord, help us to be careful."
What an awful spectacle that vast stretch of burning forest must have presented! We shall quote from Headley, who witnessed such a scene in these mountains: "One night the whole mountain was wrapped in a fiery mantle, a mighty bosom of fire from which rose waving columns and lofty turrets of flame. Trees a hundred feet high and five and six and eight feet in circumference, were on fire from the root to the top. Vast pyramids of flame, now surging in eddies of air that caught them, now bending as if about to yield the struggle, then lifting superior to the foe and dying, martyr-like, in the vast furnace. Shorn of their glory, their flashing, trembling forms stood crisping and writhing in the blaze till, weary of their long suffering, they threw themselves with a sudden and hurried sweep on the funeral pile around. From the noble pine to the bending sprout, the trees were aflame, while the crackling underbrush seemed a fiery network cast over the prostrate forms of the monarchs of the forest. When the fire caught a dry stump, it ran up the huge trunk like a serpent, and coiling around the withered branches, shot out its fiery tongue as if in mad joy over the raging element below; while ever and anon came a crash that reverberated far away in the gorges—the crash of falling trees, at the overthrow of which there went up a cloud of sparks and cinders and ashes. Sweeping along its terrible path, the tramp of that conflagration filled the air with an uproar like the bursting of billows on a rocky shore."
Across a narrow valley gigantic boulders seemed to have accumulated and formed masses that appeared to be slowly creeping downward. Farther away we beheld the serrated mountains breaking into the wildest confusion of pinnacles, which rose above the forest and relieved their masses of vivid green tints like ruined castles along the Rhine, clothing them with an atmosphere of age. Far up as the eye could reach, the broken rocks were piled in huge chaos. "Here as your eye sweeps over these fragments of a former earthquake, your imagination recalls that remote period when the mountains were split like lightning- riven oaks, and the great peaks swayed like trees in a blast and the roar of a thousand storms rolled away from the yawning gulf, into which precipices and forests went down with a deafening crash as of a falling world."
The rugged sides of mountains often gave us views on almost as grand a scale as that of the Alps. Only there, height above height, rise those rocky ramparts where snowy cascades leap hundreds of feet, then leap again where those chaotic and fantastic rocks and immeasurable sweep of terraced hills stretch away like another world. You will ever remember the Gorge du Loup with its seven-arched viaduct and stream of vivid green and the white foam that pours between its piers. On the road which leads from Nice to the town of Grasse, where are located the famous perfumeries, you will pass orange orchards, flower farms, and charming meadows with patches of wild broom lying iii vast sheets of gold. The dark gray rocks are filled with pits and holes, and when viewed from a distance resemble the homes of the cliff dwellers. The views here are frowning and awesome.
As you near the Gorge du Loup you will see Gourdon perched far, far up on its rocky throne, whose gray, weatherbeaten buildings give to this wild scenery an infinite charm. You are sure that you never can reach this far-distant town, but are agreeably surprised when you gaze at the vastness of the gray, sterile mountain sides you have left. Far below you the terraced vineyards rise in emerald waves against their silvery background of century-old olives.
Yet we have experienced almost as strong emotions of vagueness, terror, sublimity, strength, and beauty while gazing upon the vast panorama of groups and clusters of chaotic peaks that stretch away in almost endless variety of form in confused and disorderly arrangement. Here almost interminable forests are only interrupted with beautiful lakes that now and then peep from their hiding places in vast expanse of forest-crowned wilderness. But here is beauty as well as grandeur. "Those three- months European travelers who hurry through our lowlands by steam and perhaps take a night boat up the Hudson, Lake Champlain, or St. Lawrence and presume to belittle our natural scenery, are not the most reliable persons in the world."
Let them go to the summit of Mount Marcy on a clear day and look out over the magnificent panorama spread out before them, and they will not say we have no natural scenery worth viewing in the Atlantic States from Canada to New Orleans, except Niagara and Burlington. Here in every direction countless summits pierce the sky, and the unnumbered miles of forests that clothe with green garments the ridges and slopes of this vast wilderness, who can ever forget them? How wonderful are these wild and rugged scenes, still fresh from the hand of God! Call us idle triflers if you will, but we shall ever try to read the messages from these stone pages from the book of God, where all day long the breezes whisper messages fuller of meaning than any lines from the hand of man.
But to return to the view from the mountain peak, glorious, indeed, is the scene spread out below you from Mount Marcy. How unlike the Alps is the prospect you obtain from its summit. True, you will see no snow-capped peaks and shining glaciers, but what a chaos of gray and green mountains extend as far as the eye can reach.
One writer gives this vivid description of the scene that meets the enraptured gaze of the traveler here: "It looked as if the Almighty had once set this vast earth rolling like the sea; and then, in the midst of its maddest flow, bid all the gigantic billows stop and congeal in their places, and there they stood, just as He froze them grand and gloomy. There was the long swell, and there the cresting, bursting billow—and there, too, the deep, black, cavernous gulf." Those in our country who think only the Alps and Apennines can inspire awe and veneration should force their way through thick fir, dwarf evergreen and deep moss to the top of Mount Marcy, where it pushes its rocky forehead high into the heavens. Here in these beautiful wild regions you will find lakes over whose waters you may glide in a canoe, whose forest-clad shores seem never to have been marred by the axe of civilization. Here as the sun sinks to repose amid these purple mountains, and the last rays of light on their waters seem like sheets of fluid gold, and the lonely cry of the loon breaks the solitude, you too will feel that you do not need to go to Europe for natural mountain beauty when such glorious scenes lie spread out before you.
We shall never forget our first impression of Lake Colder, perfectly embosomed among the gigantic mountains which rise it all their wild and savage grandeur around it. What absolute freedom and absence of conventional forms are found here by him who loves Nature as God made it.
Toward Canada stretches the vast expanse of Lake Champlain with its numerous islands, while along the eastern horizon the distant Green mountains lift their granite summits, at whose bases the charming city of Burlington lies dreamily silent beneath its smoky veil. Far away to the north and west repose many lakes. Some lie dark and silent beneath the shadows of their guarding mountains, others reflect the shy above in silvery blue sheen as if to cheer this vast and lonely solitude. How your thoughts reach out toward the Infinite as the wondrous vision unrolls before you! This interminable mass of different shades of green and gray presents one of the most beautiful scenes your eye ever gazed upon.
No wonder Christ gave to the world his glorious lessons from a mountain top; in which he urged the disciples to be worthy examples to their fellow men. Up in these everlasting hills, where He has manifested His wonderful power and left a symbol of His omnipotence, we can draw nearer the Creator than elsewhere. How puny, how insignificant seems man and all his works out here in these unbounded solitudes! "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help," chants the psalmist. Wandering among these glorious hills that rise above the distant horizon, or stretch away in endless majesty from you, as your heart swells over the thrilling scene, you too shall feel the presence of a great and mighty power, and realize in part what the psalmist meant.
We passed through the town of Schroon Lake, situated along a picturesque sheet of water bearing the same name, which lies to the west of Kayaderrossera range. It has been compared by some to Lake Como. On one side a bold mountain rears its green wall, while the shores slope down to it as if eager to behold their lovely forms in its crystal water. In places it is very narrow and its windings seem more like a great river than a lake. It is fed by Schroon river, along which are Schroon falls. Numerous tents peeped from their guarding trees along its banks. How we rejoiced in the refreshing shade of the forests and vistas, revealing this "gleaming pearl set in emeralds," as some one has appropriately called it. Its water is very pure and cold, and fishermen will find ample compensation for all the time they spend here, even though few fish are caught. Its crystal waters are dotted with green islands.
The name Schroon was given this lake by the early French settlers at Crown Point in honor of Madam Scarron, the widow of a celebrated French dramatist and novelist, Paul Scarron. Along the margin of this lake we saw a Sunday-school teacher who had brought his class of boys for an outing. What lessons these growing lads will imbibe from the beauty of Nature around them. How can they help but think of the Creator when they dwell so near the primal source of life. The crystal waters of the lake will teach them purity, the leaves of the trees will rustle messages of self-denial, and the majestic mountains will speak to them of endurance and courage, a religion which dwells in Nature until they, "like Moses, will see in the bushes the radiant Deity and know they are treading on holy ground."
Wonderfully rich in lakes is this charming mountain region. No other country is blessed with greater numbers of lovely lakes than North America. Lake Placid, Echo, Loon, and a host of others were encircled by green hills with sturdy evergreens, graceful elms and scattered tents that framed them pleasantly.
Here amidst such sylvan beauty, where the air is rife with the fragrance of birch and balsam, as you gaze at the Adirondacks that lift their startling cliffs into the air, or farther along the horizon stand bathed in a radiant glow, while a gold tangle of sunset glitters among the white birch trees or casts a soft sheen like the tints on a mourning dove's neck—pray tell me, have you ever seen anything fairer than your own placid lakes?
On such evenings as these your thoughts will become as serene as the lake and ripple now and then with a thousand vague, sweet visions like its placid surface when dimpled by the leap of a trout.
Morning here brings scenes almost as fair. Singing brooks flash like silver across green valleys, the rays of the sun fall upon the yellow and white birch boles that look mellow and rich as "pillars of amber and gleaming pearl." The rocky ledges are covered with lichens, ferns and mosses; myriads of campanula look blue-eyed towards a bluer sky; and out over the lake white- bellied swallows write poems of grace and beauty on the air. The frescoes of dawn touch the tips of the eastern ranges whose stern gray summits break into rosy flame.
We climbed to the summit of a towering mountain and a glorious prospect met our view. Looking out over the billows of verdure that seemed to be rolling down the mountains, we saw Lake Placid, with its green islands, like a lovely painting in the quiet morning light. Far as the eye can reach the forest-crowned mountains stretched, now surging into summits, now sinking into valleys, holding in their embrace the lovely Saranac lakes that gleamed like the flashing of distant shields. Far beyond to the south like a glittering mirror lay Tupper's lake, while farther away the pointed pinnacles of the Adirondacks thrust themselves boldly into the sky. Looking northward we beheld a lovely cultivated region with meadows and grain fields. We also caught sight of several towns, and glimpses of dark forests between the billowy folds of other ranges, that melted into the sky. Like a narrow band of light, Lake Champlain was just visible, while the faint summits of the Green mountains with their misty veils seemed like far, thin shadows.
LONG LAKE, LAKE GEORGE, AND SARATOGA
Long Lake is one of the most charming of any found in the Adirondacks. Its islands are lovely beyond words to describe. No artist, not even Turner, has ever caught the magic sheen that clothes it, nor portrayed the rosy clouds the crimson west has painted, that seem to hang motionless above it. Neither has anyone caught those ethereal blues or royal purples that the soft semi-light of evening makes upon its bosom where the darker mountains seem to be floating.
But this lake requires not the aid of morning or evening to make it fair. When the rays of the sun sprinkle the trees along its sides like golden rain, or while stirred with darkening ripples beneath a clouded sky, it is clothed in grandest beauty.
But if it were indeed possible for any lake to be fairer than this, surely Lake George is that one. No wonder artists flock to its shores, for what picturesque combinations of cove and cliff they find there! Then, too, what lovely reaches, what mountain views, what rich and varied combinations of forest with retreating slopes bathed in the tender purple of distance!
The valleys were covered with a silvery, shimmering atmosphere, on which we traced the outlines of meadows, forests, and lakes, like the first sketching of an artist picture that ere long, under our good genius the automobile, would grow into reality. The road that wound among forest crowned hills was one of the most pleasant we remember. The air was filled with silvery haze, which made distance mysterious; and grain fields and the nearer hills, touched with the rarest delicacy of tone and softly blended color, were dreamy and full of suggestion of Indian summer. Through the trees we beheld a fine sheet of water and presently emerged upon a grand view of the lake. It has fine boat landings, even though set in rugged hills, which in places tower above it, while over its surface are countless scattered isles of romantic beauty. It has a wild, primeval character, which no association of man upon its banks can quite dispel. One almost fancies he sees the rising smoke from the teepees of the fierce Mohawks or hears their ringing warwhoops amid the wild scenery.
This lake is thirty-two miles in length and has been the scene of many thrilling historic events. West of the railroad station, near Lake George village, are the ruins of ancient forts, and there also stands the monument erected in 1903 to commemorate the battle of Lake George, in which General Johnson, with his army of twenty-two hundred, defeated the French, under Baron Diesken. The lake offers excellent fishing. Trout, salmon, pickerel and perch abound in great numbers. Bolton road, known as "Millionaires' Row," begins at the village of Lake George and continues along the west shore as far as Bolton landing. Beautiful views of the surrounding country may be had along this route.
At sunset, as we made our way along the shore, the wonderful beauty of the scene became more evident. Out over the lake, studded with numerous isles, a rosy glow began to gather, the high hills along its shores were rosy purple, "some were a mingling of stiff spruce and pine in shadow," while others wore a lighter green and the lush grass near this shore was golden green when struck by the rays of the declining sun. The swift lights and shades stole over the distant peaks like color on velvet.
In the waning light that tinged the west with lucent gold the lake made a wonderful picture. It wore on its blue a silver sheen, in which we beheld a few cloud paintings; and along the shore it mirrored the graceful birch and elm. At length the clouds in the zenith blushed into rose; mingled colors of sapphire, emerald, topaz, and amethyst glinted on the lake. Over this lovely expanse an eagle sailed in majestic flight, turning his head from side to side as if enamored of the fair scene beneath him. Later we beheld only a vast expanse of imperial purple with its dark mountains and green islands.
Soon a few stars appeared in the sky, where the dark points and ridges rose against it like airy battlements. In the east the moon looked down on the lake and made a path of gold on its placid surface. In the distance a boat, a fairy shallop, glided noiselessly out across the radiant water until we lost it among the deep shadows of an island. Scarce a ripple on the surface of the lake or a fluttering leaf disturbed the peaceful scene. As we made our way to the automobile which carried us back to the village of Lake George we said, "What moonlight scene or sunset hues have we ever beheld on the Tyrol that could rival this?"
"Saratoga lies in an angle formed by a long valley whose beauty, aside from its historical associations, is fair enough to stop whole armies of tourists as they come and go through this lovely region. The old Indian War Trail was indeed the pathway of armies, and the beautiful Hudson and Mohawk rivers here bore on their waters many swift canoes filled with Algonquins and French. The English marched and fought here from Hudson's time and that of Samuel Champlain until the close of the revolutionary period. This fair land, with its green, velvety meadows, peaceful, fruitful valleys, and broad, majestic streams has indeed been rightly named 'the dark and bloody ground.'
"The Five Nations built lodges on the shores of the lake near Saratoga, and here it was that the French and Indians came down from Quebec and Montreal to meet them. In 1690 the French and Indians bivouacked at these springs as they descended to the cruel massacre of Schenectady. The French, urged by Frontenac, came down the valley in 1693 and destroyed the village of the Mohawks and started on their return with the prisoners they had taken. Here one thousand hostile warriors threw up intrenchments on the exact place where the gay streets of Saratoga now stand. They retreated in a storm after the English sustained three furious assaults.
In 1743 there occurred a terrible massacre at Old Saratoga. All of the houses in the village were burned to the ground and only one or two of the inhabitants escaped to tell the tale. For seven years the French and Indian war raged through the valley, proving its importance as a northern gateway. The rattle of arms, the tread of soldiers, the hurrying of street boys were heard in town from morning till night. Indians in war-paint and feathers joined each side, burning with the hate of over a hundred years. Garrets were ransacked for great-grandfather's swords, rusted with the blood of King Philip's war. French officers in gold lace, trappers in doeskin, priests in their black robes, soldiers in the white uniform of the French king, gathered on the banks of the St. Lawrence. English grenadiers in red coats, Scotch Highlanders in plaids and colonial troops in homespun rallied from all the frontiers; and again this great gateway knew the horrors of a long, devastating, and bloody war.