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See America First by Orville O. Hiestand

Part 2 out of 7

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many and varied have been its actors! How sanguine and gruesome
the part they played!

"Many and thrilling were the Indian massacres that occurred
here; it knew the horrors of the French and Indian War; from it
during the Revolution Morgan conducted his vigorous operations
against the British; last but not least, it was the scene of
Stonewall Jackson's brilliant "Valley Campaign" and Sheridan's
Ride made famous by Thomas Buchanan Read.

"What stirring campaigns this broad and beautiful plain,
stretching from the foot of the Blue Ridge toward the sea, has
known! How like a vast citadel, this Old Dominion above the
other confederate states to guard their capital! The parallel
rivers made a water barrier on the north where the Federals were
compelled to wade to victory; while the western front, a high
range of the Blue Ridge, stretched along the sky like a vast
wall, its purple ramparts frowning down in defiance, or the
nearer hills rising impressively up from the plain, forming in
the valley ways between well protected avenues for invading the
North." (footnote Shenandoah Valley--Pond.) Ages before any
battles transpired here, Nature threw up these beautiful
fortifications and arranged the field of battle.

The road approaches the valley through its rocky gateway of
Harper's Ferry where the Potomac, after breaking through the
vast wall of the Blue Ridge, is joined by the Shenandoah. Here
great rocks rise and tower above you and the broad stream is
filled with boulders of various sizes, making innumerable
cascades, which present a scene of rare beauty. After climbing
by many and various curves you finally reach the top of a
towering cliff and look down on the wondrous picture spread
before you. The confluence of these two rivers is one of the
many beauty spots of the valley.

The Gap was of vast strategic importance during the Civil war.
In nearly every instance the Confederates were aided by the
contour of the land in the "Valley Campaign." A confederate
advance here would lead straight toward Washington, while a
Union advance south would lead from a straight course to
Richmond. The Potomac flows at right angles to the line of the
ridge, therefore a Confederate force crossing the valley mouth
would be in the rear of the north. One day's march from
Cumberland valley would carry the Southern troops into the
farmlands of Pennsylvania. Thus did Nature seem to contribute to
the aid of the South.

We soon forgot about the conflict for the valley in all its
beauty lay before us, and every day was a holiday. So it was not
important just then which way the river flowed or in what
direction those glorious mountains led. It was the bloom-time of
the year in the uplands; the landscapes of the valley were
sparkling in the sunlight, the songs of numerous larks rose like
incense from every meadow, the vireo filled in every pause with
her rapid voluble song, the clear ringing call of the quail
resounded through every valley, and the hillsides were so
covered with different hued grasses, ferns and flowers that they
seemed like vast paintings.

Here the fine automobile road wound among scenes of incomparable
loveliness. There were vast sheets of ox-eyed daisies; the rich
flaming orange of the butterfly weed, the purple of various
mints, the gleaming gold of numerous compositae making the place
rich in floral beauty, while an ever-fragrant breeze stirred the
grain into golden billows and the meadows into slight undulating
waves like an emerald sea.

Slow indeed was our progress through these glorious places and
each stop we made on the high ridges overlooking the valleys
unfolded a view more beautiful than the last we beheld.
Cultivation had been here many years, yet this only served to
enhance the loveliness of the scene; and we wandered enchanted
from place to place in long wavering curves, knowing that each
new turn held a vision of delight. Wander where you will in this
valley the Blue Ridge mountains are always in sight wearing
those misty blue veils on their graceful forest crowned ridges.

Harper's Ferry was not only of great strategic importance as a
gateway for the armies but it will ever be associated with the
memory of John Brown, that impulsive but noble soul for whom
Freedom was a passion. What matter though he was hanged, the
nation shall ever honor his memory. There is a monument marking
the site of the old John Brown fort near the railroad station
which may he seen from the high-way intersecting the valley.

As we looked at the monument we thought of this poem which, in
its majestic sweep of thought, is as stately as the Potomac:

John Brown of Ossawatomie spoke on his dying day:
"I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery's pay,
But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
With her children, from the gallows stair put up a prayer
for me."

John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die;
And lo! a poor slave mother with her little child pressed nigh.
Then the bold blue eye grew tender, and the old harsh face
grew mild
As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the Negro's

The shadows of his stormy life that moment fell apart,
And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart,
That kiss from all its guilty means redeemed the good intent,
And around the grisly fighter's hair the martyr's aureole bent!

Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good!
Long live the generous purpose unstained by human blood!
Not the raid of midnight terror, but the thought which
Not the borderer's pride of daring, but the Christian's

Nevermore may yon Blue Ridges the northern rifle hear,
Nor see the light of blazing homes flash on the Negro's
But let the free-winged angel Truth their guarded passes
To teach that right is more than might, and justice more
than mail!

So vainly shall Virginia set her battle in array;
In vain her trampling squadrons knead the winter snows
with clay.
She may strike the pouncing eagle, but she dares not
harm the dove;
And every gate she bars to Hate shall open wide to Love.


Lee captured Harper's Ferry with eleven thousand men, seventy-
three heavy guns and thirteen thousand small arms. After he beat
Hooker at Chancelorsville this valley was his route of invasion.
After the battle of Gettysburg he fell back and pitched his camp
here. In fact, it witnessed so many captures and defeats that it
was known as the "Valley of Humiliation." It had to be wrested
from the enemy before the Richmond Campaign could be carried
out. General J. F. Johnston, commander of the forces known as
the Army of the Shenandoah, was stationed at the outlet of the
valley. Jackson, too, began his campaign in 1862. Being checked
by Shields, he fell upon Fort Republic, defeated Fremont at
Cross Keys, captured the garrison at Front Royal, drove Banks
across the Potomac and alarmed Washington by breaking up the
junction of McDowell's and McClellan's forces which threatened
the capture of Richmond.

Our campaign in search of beauty was a brilliant success, and
from many points of vantage did we spy upon the vast expanse of
golden grain and fresh green meadows in which cattle were
grazing, or ruminating in the shade of friendly elms. Here gush
clear springs, whose courses may be traced by tall waving ferns
and creeping vines that weave their spell of green. Swift
tumbling brooks have worn down the soil and enriched the valley.
This valley was called the "Granary of the Confederacy" and a
granary it really was, "for it was rich not only in grain but an
abundance of fruit and live stock; and what more would the North
want for the support of its army? It was in the possession of
the Confederates; much wanted by the Federals, and in time came
to be a great campaign ground of both armies"--the Belgium of
America. What thrilling marching and counter-marching the lower
valley might tell! What a history those villages must have had
from 1861 to 1865! Perhaps at dawn they sheltered an army of
"Yanks," at noon they may have been swarming with men from the
South, while night, with her ever-watchful stars, looked down
and saw them sleeping beneath the Stars and Stripes! In fact, it
was traversed so often that the men from both armies called it,
the "Race Course." So many were their journeys over the famous
"Valley Pike" that they knew the various springs, houses, and in
many instances, the citizens who lived there.

Alas! How many brave sons in the North said farewell to scenes
and friends to enter the Union Army in the valley, never to
return. How often, too, the gallant sons of the "Sunny South"
gazed with tear dimmed eyes for the last time on those purple
hills they knew from childhood. How many were the battles fought
here! How terrible the scenes of devastation and the toll of
life! Waste were the golden fields of grain upon which we gaze
with such rapt admiration. Waste, too, were these mills with
their whir of industry. The fury of war fell on those sunny
acres like a great pestilence, and their usefulness and beauty
became desolation. The only grist mill not burned by Sheridan
and his men when they went through is still pointed out to the
traveler. But Nature has again asserted her right and on this
delightful morning the valley smiles beneath its veil of dreamy
blue like the peaceful glow that spreads over the countenance of
some great and beneficent soul.

The high range of the Blue Ridge was seen stretching along the
sky like a vast purple wall, while, nearer, the lower hills rose
impressively up from the plain. How clean and pare and shining
the woods appear this lovely morning! The glorious old chestnut
trees reflect the sunlight and shimmering masses from their
shining green leaves, while their creamy white flowers make a
grand display amidst the various tinted foliage of all the
forest; and the stately basswood, covered with light yellow
bloom filled with the hum of innumerable bees, heightens the
picture. The shadowy hemlock and fragrant pine swaying in the
breeze still tell their age-old songs. The sunbeams spangled on
the broad green leaves of the sycamore tree, their tracery of
white boughs relieved against the dense groves of evergreens,
made studies in light and shade worthy of an Innes; while
beneath these grand trees tall ferns and velvety mosses
contrasted their various shades of green over which rose spikes
of flaming cardinal flowers and blue mists of mints making the
picture complete. Then, too, song birds enlivened the fair scene
with their notes. In the bushes along the highway Maryland
yellow-throats threw back their masked heads and called,
"Witchery, witchery, witchery," as if they appreciated their
charming home, while nearby, a cardinal appeared like an arrow
of flame from the bow of some unseen archer, and whistled
several variations that rang through all the woodland. The house
wren was fairly bubbling over with music and his rippling notes
seemed to express the exuberance of life in all Nature; while
the serene song of the woodthrush floated from far, dim forest
depths--fit prelude for the Angelic Choir.

Amid such inspiring music and scenes as this, it is not easy to
tell much about the topography of the country in reference to
its strategic importance. It is enough to know that from the
boughs of the elm above hang the orioles' gray castles where the
females' beady eyes from their dangling citadels look out on the
alien foes who pass beneath or up above where the great hawk
swims the aerial blue like a plane without bombs. The spider
weaves pontoons from tree to bush and sits in his silvery
fortress trying to beguile the unwary flies by his kingly
demeanor. The great blue heron, like a French sentinel on duty
along the muddy Meuse, awaits in silence any hostile
demonstrations from those green-coated Boches among their
camouflaged fortresses of spatterdocks and lily pads. The
muskrat goes scouring the water, searching for booty near the
river's bank or submerges like a submarine when discovered by a
noisy convoy of Senegalese boys on the bank. A wily weasel, no
doubt considered by those cliff-dwellers, the kingfishers, as
one of the "Ladies from Hell," was being hustled out of their
dugout at the point of the bayonet. No matter about the "kilts";
if he ever had them they were lost by his hurried flight.

The North, South and Middle rivers join in sisterly union near
Port Republic to form the Shenandoah. From Lexington to Harper's
Ferry at the foot of the valley the distance is one hundred
fifty-five miles. The "Valley's Turnpike" runs northward through
Harrisonburg, New Market, Woodstock, Strassburg, and Winchester
to Martinsburg. And what a pike it is! And through what superb
scenes it leads you! "At Staunton the Virginia Central railroad
crosses the valley on the way to Charlottesville. Fifty-five
miles north of Staunton an isolated chain of mountains known as
the Massanutten range, which is high and abrupt, divides the
valley for more than forty miles until at Strassburg it falls
again suddenly to the plain. Like the Appalachians it breaks
into two ridges--Massanutten and Kells mountain." Between these
mountains you will see a narrow and very picturesque valley
known as Powell's Fort Valley. Passage creek, a most delightful
little stream, winds through it and joins the Shenandoah below.
West of Kells may be seen a parallel sub-range containing Peaked
Ridge, Three Top and Little Massanutten, which is crossed by a
road that connects New Market and Luray.

New Market is a quaint old town on the valley pike eight miles
from above Mount Jackson and is joined by the turn-pike which
comes from Front Royal. It traverses the Massanutten mountain by
the Massanutten Gap. It was of vast military importance, for
here Breckenridge and Siegel met. Moore occupied an elevation
north of New Market. Now in place of the thundering cannon and
rattling musketry we were listening to a medley of bird notes
that fell thick as shrapnel around us. The vast hills covered
with their leafy verdure of summer; the rich valley spread below
us made radiant by the beauty of the descending sun and a light
rain; voices rising on the misty air from the valley below--all
seemed to unite in weaving a magic spell for the coming scene.
As we gazed out over the peaceful valley a rainbow seemed to
spring from a wooded hillside and arch the lovely meadow below
us, coloring the fields in the most singular beauty; while its
second reflection with softer colors arched like a corona above
a high wooded hill. Then followed sunset and twilight with the
hymn of the thrush. A single star like a great silver lamp
trembled above the summit of a hill, where the gathering mist
like a thin gossamer film was settling on its sides.

How different that night of inky blackness, in which a pouring
rain continued to fall daring the stormy night drenching the
Union men under Moore! Just as the gray of the eastern sky
announced the approach of dawn, skirmishers were leaving the
camp. A few hours later Siegel came up with the rest of his army
to accept battle. The night's rain made the march through the
sticky mud of the young wheat very toilsome. Moore was sent in
advance to break the enemy's onset. With him were the troops
from the 18th Connecticut and 123rd Ohio infantry; the 34th
Massachusetts brought up the artillery, while one company was
detached and thrown out as skirmishers in the woods of the river
bank. The line across the rising ground of another slope in
front was held by Moore. What a moment of awful suspense it must
have been when Breckenridge moved to attack with the veteran
brigades of Echols and Whartons! How the mountain must have sent
back the roaring echoes as McLaughlin's artillery went into
action on a sharp ridge that ran parallel with the pike!
Breckenridge overlapping Moore drove him in confusion to the
rear and with scarcely a pause came in excellent order against
Thoburn's position, but the gallant men of the Union right
checked him, whereupon Imboden, who was in command of
Breckenridge's cavalry, galloped with all possible haste down
Smith creek on the east bank to the bridge on Luray road in
order to get on Siegel's left flank. Here the cavalry were
routed and retreated hastily up the road, one battery being
captured. Moore's troops rallied on Rude's Hill and the 28th and
116th Ohio were brought up from the charge of the wagons. Siegel
resumed his retreat up the pike, crossed the Shenandoah river to
Jackson, burned the bridge behind him and went into camp behind
Cedar creek.

The country which now lies in quiet beauty here was ravaged.
Beeves, sheep, and grain were taken; the mills and factories of
Staunton were burned, also the railroad bridges and telegraph
wires were destroyed. It must have been a most dreadful sight
for the inhabitants of this fertile valley to witness the
eighteen thousand men under Crook, Averell, and Hunter marching
through the fields of luxuriant wheat that half hid them from
view. The ground was comparatively level and an army could
spread out and march with much greater rapidity although its
numbers were large.

Hunter had to retreat from Lynchburg with Early in pursuit. So
closely was he pursued that the mules and horses died for want
of fodder and rest; cattle were driven along by day and eaten at
night; many wagons had to be burned because there were not
enough animals to draw them. Such was the cruel fate of war in
this lovely and fertile valley.

But you quickly forget scenes like this as you see these
glorious mountains clothed in exquisite veils that brood over
their serene loveliness, steeping their sunny outlines in
infinite gradations of azure and purple hues. The swift flowing
streams with their liquid music rising from the distant woods;
the graceful forms of hemlock and elm; the dim twilight vistas
always cool and soft with emerald mosses redolent with the
breath of pine and sweet scented fern--all combine to make this
a place of wonderful charm where you are prone to tarry.

We saw men loading hay in the meadows that were bounded by rail
fences, and the fragrance from the fields was wafted to us as we
passed. As the road wound among fair scenes where beautiful
homes reposed among their delightful setting of trees, shrubbery
and vines, we noticed hill rising above hill, some covered with
fields of grass and grain, others clothed with forest; while the
main line of the Blue Ridge rose sharp and clear against the sky
with a series of undulating billows of woodland; green fading
into gray-green and gray-green into blue where the Alleghanies
lifted their rugged crests and divided the Atlantic from the
Middle states, blending imperceptibly into the skyline.

The high hill on which we stood, sloped down to the lovely
valley. Across it, other hills began to emerge, imperceptibly at
first, then plainly in the distance, then became more and more
abrupt, until they grew precipitous and climbed high up,
printing their faint outline on the azure sky of June. Looking
out over the valley we beheld a memorable scene. What wonderful
vistas, with unnumbered miles of fields, forests and mountains,
with the blue of the sky for a background!

We were forced to take refuge from a heavy rain storm in a
garage located in Charles Town, the county seat of Jefferson
county, West Virginia. While we lingered, we were told that the
old courthouse in which John Brown was tried was located here.
He was hanged in this city. Sadly we turned to look at the old
courthouse on Main street where he was sentenced to death. Seven
miles from here are located Shennondale springs which are said
to be very much like those of Baden-Baden. The town was occupied
by both Sheridan's and Banks' army during the Civil war. Two and
one-half miles southeast of the city is "Washington's Masonic
Cave," where it is said George Washington and other prominent
men held Masonic meetings.

We soon were passing through Berryville, admiring the beautiful
residences and well kept grounds of the old town, dating from
the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth
centuries. "Greenway Court," the home in which lived Thomas Lord
Fairfax, and "Saratoga," the former residence of Daniel Morgan,
are located here.

As you near the city of Winchester you see many fine apple
orchards with their well cultivated trees extending in long
converging lines and "disappearing over the top of some distant
hill as if they had no end." It must be a beautiful sight in
spring to see the pink and white blossoms of these extensive
orchards foretelling an abundant harvest. In June it is one vast
expanse of green and gold that lies before you, or stretches
away beneath its silvery veils of misty blue. More than three-
quarters of a million barrels of apples are shipped from here

But it is not alone for its scenic beauty and bountiful harvests
of its valley that we remember Winchester, for north of the city
on a high knoll situated in a clump of trees is the remains of
the old "Star Fort" which figured in the fiercest engagements in
the Civil war.

Winchester is said to have been occupied and abandoned eighty
times during the war. It was held by the Confederates until
March, 1862, when after Johnston's defeat at Manassas the
southern forces withdrew up the Shenandoah valley and the
northern forces occupied the city. Two armies surged back and
forth over the territory until March 23, 1862, when the Federal
forces under General Shields defeated an inferior federate force
at Kernstown, four miles south of Winchester. The second battle
of Winchester occurred on June 14, 1864, when the Confederates,
under General Early, drove the Union troops from the town. The
third or most important battle of Winchester occurred on
September 19, 1864. This is one of the most memorable battles of
the war, for, out of a seeming defeat the magnetic presence of
Sheridan brought to the Union men an almost miraculous victory.
We shall quote the famous Sheridan's Ride by Thomas Buchanan

Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the Chieftain's door,
The terrible rumble, grumble and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester roll'd
The road of that red sea uncontroll'd,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good broad highway leading down;
And there through the flush of the morning light
A steed as black as the steeds of night,
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,
As if he knew the terrible need;
He stretched away with his utmost speed;
Hills rose and fell but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south;
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster,
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battlefield calls;
Every nerve of the chargers has strain'd to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.

Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flow'd,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed like a bark fed with furnace ire;
Swept on, with wild eye full of fire.
But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was done? What to do? A glance told him both,
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dash'd down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat, checked his course there,
The sight of the master compell'd it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and the red nostrils' play
He seem'd to the whole great army to say,
I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day.

Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high,
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American Soldiers' Temple of Fame,
There with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright;
Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight
From Winchester--twenty miles away.

Strassburg, a strategical point in the historical Stonewall
Jackson valley campaign, is situated at the base of the
Massanutten mountain, which rising abruptly as it does and
extending parallel with the Blue Ridge divides the valley into
two parts. Thus it may readily be seen why the possession of
this place was all important to the Union troops, for with
Strassburg in the hands of the Confederates, they could have
menaced Washington, "either by way of Harper's Ferry over the
Valley pike, or by the way of Manassas, over what was then the
old Virginia Midland Railway. Flowing through the two parts are
the north and south forks of the Shenandoah river, which unite
near this point."

Passing through Woodstock, the county seat of Shenandoah county,
and its sister towns Edinburg and Mount Jackson, we were
impressed by the fine landscape about us. Vast stretches of
golden grain extended far up the ridges, whose meadows and oats
fields bounded in some places by rail fences made a charming
picture. As we journeyed on, the landscape had that luxuriance
of foliage that reminded us of the vales and hills of Scotland.
We became aware that our observation was correct, for we soon
saw in the distance the town of Edinburgh. In Scotland we miss
the vast wealth of forest-crowned ridges we have in the Blue
Ridge, and the sweep of unfenced grain-clad hills, stretch far
away, reaching the very tops except where they are too steep and
rocky. As we paused long and often to gaze in admiration at
these wonderful pictures we were always thrilled with their
indescribable beauty.

Little did it seem that here, where all was peace and
contentment, the cruel scourge of war had fallen upon the land
with its blighting power, leaving in its wake thousands of
widows and orphans. "But here are evidences of gruesome warfare
between unknown Indian tribes long before the day of the
Pioneer. At Redbanks Farm, north of Mount Jackson, is a great
mound filled with the skeletons of a whole tribe exterminated by
a war party of Indians from North Carolina," and throughout this
part of the valley there have been repeated and bloody massacres
and constant warfare that had other causes than that of slavery
for their waging.

Under the bright sky of June that was wonderfully clear and deep
lay the charmed landscape before us, with its ever-changing
scenery as we wound among its glorious hills or swept with
varied speed across the fertile plains. The old-fashioned
country homes, quaint and peaceful villages, and variety of
forest clad hills, all made this scene one that shall long be
treasured in memory for the magnificence and grandeur of its

Far across the cultivated reaches, the smoothly flowing ridges
printed their faint outlines along the horizon in gray veils,
resembling a far-distant mass of water; nearer, the ranges were
blue-gray while those next to them wore a delicate shade of
ethereal blue. The peaks still nearer were clothed in a misty
veil of deeper blue while high hills ranked themselves on each
side of us with their forests of varying shades of green.
Hemlock and pine made dark green patches interspersed with the
brighter green of maple, tulip, poplar and beech, enlivened with
the frosty blossoms of the chestnut and the creamy tints of the
basswood; then there was the rich green of the meadows, the
silvery bluegreen of the oats fields, and the golden green of
the ripening wheat--all so well blended and harmonized by that
mysterious illuminating veil of blue that it challenged the
admiration of the most critical observer. On such glorious days
as these we seem to imbibe the gladness of the hills. Every
nerve thrills and vibrates, and the happy songs of the birds,
the myriad insect voices, the softly singing pines, make no more
music than our own happy hearts.

What a place is this in which to dine, while the noonday sun
sends his sweltering rays on the valley below! Away with your
grand hotels with their pretentions of cleanliness and comfort,
away with your stuffy restaurants with semi-intoxicating odors
of beeves long slaughtered and fish long hooked or chicken a-la-
King, whose husky voices have long since ceased to awaken the
sleeping farm hands. Away with all these, we say, and let us
dine in Nature's terraced roof garden at Hotel de Roadside at
the Sign of the Running Board or White Pine Bough. Give us some
fresh baked buns with country butter and honey, a dish of
delicious berries picked by our own hands fresh from the bushes,
a drink of sparkling ale from Nature's fountain among the cool
fern-clad rocks, and we shall not lament the fact that we are so
far removed from the public boarding house! Here in place of
soulless melodies issuing from automatic players we have the
heavenly notes of the woodthrush, the clear call of the crested
titmouse, and the wild ringing notes of the cardinal. A
matchless trio, accompanied by the vagrant breezes played upon
the tree-harps, seconded by the singing of distant waterfalls.
With greater reverence one breaks bread out here where spicy
aromatic fragrance drifts by. Here you have become a pilgrim
unawares, for before you are stately tulip poplars and graceful
hemlocks like long sought shrines, both reflecting the Creator.
Our table flowers were the pungent burgamot amid its border of
sweet- scented fern, but it would have been useless to tear them
from their places so near to our table did they grow. Other
travelers pass along the highway and these very ferns and
flowers may be to them "another sacred scripture," as Thoreau
would phrase it, cheering them along the road of life. If one
really loves these mountains with their wealth of ferns and
mosses and floral beauty, few, if any, of these children of the
mountains are disturbed. Out here in Nature's garden we feed not
only the body, but the soul, which hungers and thirsts for the
beautiful--which is not the least of our varied repast.

Like the youth in Excelsior one is always glad to accept the
invitation or challenge of the mountain to go higher, especially
when the heat flows in tremulous waves in the valley and even
the breeze seems like a draught of air from an open oven. The
intense heat only serves to make the insects more active. The
locusts shrill through the long sultry noon, the bees hum with
greater industry among the flowers, multitudes of butterflies
flit joyfully from place to place, and the turkey-vulture soars
high above the forest, for the intense heat only serves to make
his dinner more plentiful and for him more palatable. The small
animals now seek the shade of the forest and the birds, with
bills open and wings drooping, haunt the streams and seem to
enjoy the charm of their cool leafy wilderness that every lover
of nature finds.

Memory shall always linger fondly about the wonderful drive from
Cumberland to Hagerstown, Maryland. Here may be had the
loveliest of Blue Ridge views. Cumberland contains about twenty-
nine thousand people and is the second city in the state in
size. It is most picturesquely situated on the Potomac river,
about six hundred and fifty feet above tide water. It is on the
edge of the Cumberland Gorges creek coal region, and its rapid
growth and prosperity are largely due to the traffic in coal
collected here for shipment over the canal. It is also a
manufacturing center possessing extensive rolling mills for the
manufacture of railroad materials. It has iron foundries and
steel shafting works. The city occupies the site of Fort
Cumberland, which by order of General Burgoyne at the beginning
of the French and Indian war, Braddock constructed as a base for
his expedition against Fort Duquesne. After Braddock's defeat
and death the remnant of the ill-fated expedition returned to it
under command of Washington. Cumberland was the starting point
of the great National road often called the Cumberland road,
which was an important agent in the settlement of the West.

The route between Cumberland and Hagerstown is grand beyond
telling. This route takes you over a section of the old National
road. It would be difficult indeed to find another stretch of
road sixty-five miles in length that would lead through another
country of such varied and picturesque scenery. The road wound
through a very hilly, wooded, and farming country. The fields of
wheat were a rich gold that sparkled and gleamed in the warm,
mellow light. The oat fields wore a light bluish tinge which
contrasted with the deep green of the fresh meadows, thickly
starred with ox-eye daisies.

Near Cumberland the finest of mountain scenery is spread out
before you. Here you see many beds of tilted strata, vast rocks
standing on their heads as it were. How vast and immeasurable
the forces to bring to these hills their present contour! How
wonderful still those forces at work crumbling these rocks,
forming new soil for myriads of new plants to gladden the place
with their beauty. Beauty lingers all around; there is much
knowledge never learned from books and you receive from many
sources, invitations to pursue and enjoy it. How one gazes at
those glorious hills clad in their many green hues or distant
purple outlines lest their beauty be lost! You will need neither
notebook nor camera to aid you in the future to recall their
loveliness, for those haunting distances, mysterious
illuminations and filmy veils will make delicate yet indelible
etchings on your memory while those blue barriers, thrusting
their graceful and smoothly-flowing outlines into a clear sky,
will remain as long as memories of beautiful things last.

>From scene to scene we drifted along, enchanted, now gazing at a
broader, more wondrous view from some lofty ridge, now looking
upward in mute admiration and wonder from some charming valley,
now seeing again and again the wondrous beauty of the trees,
flowers and ferns, now gazing far out over some point to streams
and woods and softly lighted fields or vast orchards whose
straight rows disappear over the edge of some distant hill to
reappear upon another. "In the midst of such manifold scenery
where all is so marvelously beautiful, he would be a laggard
indeed" who was not touched by its import.

Here, along the roadside where the woods started to climb those
high rocky hills, grew innumerable ferns and wild flowers. Great
Osmundas, the most beautiful fern of all this region, were like
palms, so graceful and airy did their broad fronds appear. Here,
too, the giant brake with its single umbrella-like frond
appeared clad in its bright green robes; then where the shade
became more dense the lovely maiden-hair with its fragile,
graceful wave-edged leaflets swayed on its delicate dark brown
stems, and the ostrich fern stood in vase-like clusters along
the mountain side or spread their lovely fronds along some river
bank, while the dainty bladder bulblet draped ravines, gorges
and steep banks of streams with long feathery fronds whose
points overlapped the delicate light green of which formed a
vast composite picture in sunlight and shadow. Here we first
discovered the lizard's-tail, a tall plant crowned with a
terminal spike whose point bent gracefully over, no doubt giving
it its name. The stout stalks of elecampane with their large
leaves and yellowish brown flowers were seen, and numerous small
plants peeped from among their rich setting of vines and mosses.
If the ferns are numerous, charming the eye with delicate and
graceful beauty, the birds are more so, delighting the ear with
their rich and varied melodies. Here one catches the cheerful
strain of the Maryland yellow throat, a bird whose nest Audubon
never chanced to discover. The Baltimore Oriole now and then
favored us with rich notes and displayed his plumage of black
and orange, the colors of the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore.

Making our way over such enchanted ground we finally arrived at
Hancock, a town of about a thousand inhabitants located in the
center of a fruit belt, including one of the most extensive
orchard developments in America. To the west may be seen the
famous "Tonoloway orchards," also R. S. Dillon's orchard on the
state road where the mountain side is covered with nearly a
hundred thousand apple trees. This delightful summer resort
overlooking three states, as well as the broad Potomac and the
Chesapeake and Ohio canal, is worthy of a visit. About eleven
miles from Hancock we crossed a long stone bridge over a stream
with the unpronounceable name of "Conococheaque creek." This
valley was inhabitated by other than the whites in days gone by.
Here, where the golden harvest waits to be garnered, the Indian
maize grew in abundance; their camps and villages were scattered
here and there when the country was a wilderness. The dogwood
pitched its white tent here in early spring and the royal color
of the redbud shone from the steep hillsides like purple
bonfires, the same hepaticas with their blue, pink and white
blossoms peeped from among the moss and leaves to gladden their

One afternoon we saw rolling masses of cumulus clouds rising
above the far blue ridges; then as they drifted nearer the
bright green of the forest made a background which brought out
in relief their finely modeled forms. They seemed to hang
motionless there until the sudden crash of thunder burst upon
the hushed air with violent explosions, where the cliffs took it
up and repeated it to the neighboring hills, and they in turn
told it to still others until its far away echoes died among the
more distant ridges. For a time the rain came down in torrents,
and as we watched its silvery sheets spreading over the hills
and through the valley it seemed as if every leaf and flower and
grass blade instantly took on new life. How fresh and pure the
old trees looked! The fragrance from the pine, sweet-scented
fern and numerous mints was more pronounced. "Detached clouds
seemed to be continually leaving the main mass like scouts sent
out in advance to drop their silver spears on the heads of ferns
and flowers on other hills." Some of the detached portions moved
up the valley, others rose slowly above the wooded ridges or
trailed their tattered fringes near the tree tops that seemed to
have torn their edges. Every bush and leaf was saturated with
their life-giving elixir. How the wild sweet carols of the birds
ascended from every forest! It seemed as if all Nature was
sending up a paean of praise for the beneficent rain, and our
thoughts took on that same serenity and calm, glad joy and the
melody of our hearts joined the universal anthem of praise to
the Creator. Amidst these fair scenes we watched the passing
clouds that were crossing the distant ridges and the whole mass
of verdant hill sides were brought out in fine relief; while the
darker mass of clouds seemed to be copying the outlines of the
far seen hills like another Blue Ridge range.

New Market is the oldest and most beautifully situated town in
the valley. The north fork of the Shenandoah river is seen
disappearing behind a range of hills that rises high above the
town to the northwest; while to the southeast one sees the
meandering mill stream known as Smith's creek, flowing 'round
the foot of the Massanutten mountains.

Near this spot the Indians had their camping ground in a ravine,
visible from the pike to the north. This ravine is known as
Indian Hollow, and well into the nineteenth century the smoke
could be seen rising from their numerous tepees, like small
clouds of vapor after a summer rain. Here if you look westward
you may see the gap in the Massanuttens, through which Stonewall
Jackson's army marched to Front Royal, where, by a surprise
attack, Banks' left flank was turned, thereby starting a retreat
of the Federal army which did not end until it had crossed the
Potomac at Harper's Ferry.

In the battle of New Market, which was fought along the
northwestern edge of town, occurred an episode of the Civil war
so remarkable as to equal the bravery of that of the three
hundred Spartans. The V. M. I. Cadets, a battalion of boys, from
fourteen to twenty years of age, was ordered from school at
Lexington, Virginia, to join Breckenridge's forces. In this
desperate crisis of the last months of the war, these brave lads
reached New Market at night after a strenuous march of three
days. "The early hours of the morning found them in battle line,
where for several hours they held their position in spite of a
galling fire from the infantry and a heavy destructive fire from
the artillery. Just when the Union troops were contemplating a
speedy victory at the most decisive moment of the battle, these
gallant boys rose as a unit, and charging across an open wheat
field, in spite of severe losses in killed and wounded, broke
the Federal lines and turned what seemed to be a defeat into a

In this village lives the noble old lady who in those awful days
of horror that knew no Red Cross organized the care of this
boys' army and carried on the nursing and relief work. No wonder
those brave lads called her the "Mother of the V. M. I." Her
deeds of mercy shine forth like stars on a winter night.

How many and delightful are the windings of the famous valley
Pile beginning at Winchester! Through what fertile stretches of
well cultivated land it leads you! The more serrated lines of
the Alleghanies rise faint and blue on the western horizon; the
lovely contour of the Blue Ridge is seen in the east while about
half way down the valley rises that wonder of wonders, Old
Massanutten. It may be an outcast among mountains, for the other
ranges leave it severely alone. It is a short range and rises
very abruptly from the valley being parallel to the other
ranges. Its rough bouldered sides form a striking contrast to
the other ranges of the valley. It is a strange, solitary range,
drifted away from its brother companions in the beginning of
time and was stranded there--a regular outcast of a mountain.
Perhaps it is no outcast but was set apart by Nature in the
early dawn of time. "It not only towers above the beautiful
valley but draws itself haughtily away from the other hills as
if it had a better origin than they."

Indeed, if you cross the range in an automobile, you think the
contrast with its sharp precipices quite dramatic. How the shock
absorbers of your spine are brought into play and how infinite
are the windings on this mountain road; yet it is worth climbing
for the scenes are thrilling. At a very steep incline, still far
from the top, we met a colored man holding a parley with some
others who were climbing the mountain in a Ford. He must have
been prejudiced toward this type of auto for he was heard to
repeat again and again: "No, sah, I'se nebber gwine to go to de
top ob old Massanutten in a 'Fod.' No, sah, yo ain't nebber
gwine to ketch me goin' up dat frien'ly invitation to de open
grave, in dat Fod. Man, Oh man! you-all don' know what chances
you-all is takin. Look away out over the valley to de homes you
am leaben for you sure'll nebber see dem any mo." With all the
solicitous advise given by their fearful companion the occupants
of the car were not to be stopped by this calamity-howler and
the little Ford soon stood triumphant upon the very crown of old
Massanutten. A lady also seen, walking down a very steep
descent, concluded that she too would rather push up daisies in
Shenandoah valley than ferns on old Massanutten.

No matter how steep the road or how numerous its windings no
fear seized upon us unless it was the fear of missing some of
Nature's most wonderful scenes. How often we admired the lovely
Dicksonia ferns with their lanceolate green fronds pointing in
all directions; how many times we heard the melody of the wood-
thrush as evening drew on and the shadowy ravines seemed hushed
and serene as his "angelus" sounded in these vast mountain
solitudes. Each note was a pearl to string on the sacred rosary
of memory and how often "we shall count them over, every one
apart" and be drawn nearer the Master of all Music! Oh these
vast, immeasurable days, filled to overflowing with sunlight and
fragrance and song! Out here in these beautiful hills there can
be no unbelief, for in a thousand mingled voices, caroling
birds, singing waterfalls, chirruping insects and whispering
breezes is told the story of Divine Love, and dull indeed is the
ear that cannot hear it.

On this famous mountain top we were hailed by a man of middle
age who belongs to that class of men who are constantly
reminding you they would have made good in life if they only had
a chance, despite the fact that many constant toilers find the
places of more educated men who are deceived into thinking their
education would take the place of honest toil. This particular
man doubtless never learned that "all values have their basis in
cost, and labor is the first cost of everything on which we set
a price." The prizes of life are not laid upon easily accessible
shelves but are placed out of reach to be labored for, like the
views one gets of the valley here only after paying the price in
an exceedingly toilsome journey. He was content to grope in a
dead past for glories that once had been.

"I stopped you," said he, "because I saw you are from Ohio and I
thought you might know some people for whom I once worked."
Looking across the way at the poorly kept home with its untidy
surroundings, where pigs, chickens, dogs, pet crows and children
alike had access to both parlor and kitchen, we doubted whether
the man could be located, for whom he ever had worked. We
learned that he had business that brought him from the fertile
valleys of Ohio to his mountain home. When anyone unsolicited
begins to tell of his business or what it used to be, beware,
for the real workers of the world have no time to tell what they
are doing. "Now, you see it is like this," he said, "a man who
owns forty-eight acres of timber here hired me to guard it
against timber thieves. He gives me the house and all I can
raise on the cleared ground, which is not much--just a few
potaters, beans, and sich like. Of course, I don't live high
like some, just bread and meat, no pie and cake and ice cream.
The kids ain't like they used to be, they like goin's on now and
then; but when I was a boy I allus tended to my business and
didn't keer to be goin' all the time."

With a stick he marked in the sand the better to represent the
exact boundaries of his master's possessions. Such was his
accuracy of observation. We verily believe he knew every bush-
heap and stonepile on this and his neighbor's line. It had been
evident from his conversation that there had been some changing
of stone piles and many disputes in regard to their right
location. To save a certain strip of land he "done bought eleven
acres more or less, then he goes down on the other side and buys
twenty-nine acres more or less, twenty-eight for sure." We soon
became fairly familiar with the lay of the land over which this
man held ever a watchful eye while he overlooked constantly the
bigger, better things of life. With such accuracy of observation
of minute details, looking inwardly and not outwardly, what a
character would have been his. As far as we could discern this
land was mostly stone piles and bushes, with growth of evergreen
and deciduous trees in some places not worth guarding.

To look at this policeman of Old Massanutten you would never
surmise that he ever had a worry in all his life, but he told us
that he had one. This even to us was not an imaginary one as he
had seriously contemplated moving down in the valley some day.
He said "'a rolling stone gathers no moss,' neither does a
settin' hen grow fat, but, I'll have to find a place to set for
I'm gettin' old." We thought he had set too much already. "I'd
as leave move a thousand miles as one hundred yards. It's the
startin' I hate."

How much of what he considered his misfortune was clue to no
other than his phrase, "I hate to start." He reminded us of the
girl we saw in the valley sitting out at the front gate beneath
an elm tree, waiting for something to turn up. She had failed to
see patches of weeds in the yard and the vegetables were crying
for help, yet she heard them not. Be wary, young men, for the
person who waits for something to turn up usually finds only

"I was born in 1871. Yes, I was born, bred and raised near
Yellow Sulphur Springs, Ohio. I ramped around thar many a day."
Looking at the flock of children who lacked many of the bare
necessities of life, we thought what the Book of Books says: "He
who careth not for his own is worse than an infidel."

Out across the valley we beheld the beautiful Blue Ridge rising
like a grand graded way. Here was displayed a panorama that of
all our Shenandoah journeys still appears as one of our most
memorable mountain scenes. At our feet lay the valley
interspersed with villages, homes and vast stretches of corn,
oats and wheat, all clothed in that blue filmy veil making all
appear like a rich garden of various emerald tints. Far away
toward the horizon rose a lovely forest-crowned ridge so
gloriously colored and luminous it seemed like the scene of a
vast painting. Out over the tremulous billowy fields of grain
and over the forest and meadow the sunlight fell in pale
spangles of light over which a few gray shadows chased one

The sun was gilding the west as we started down the mountain
side. The radiant host of evergreens stood silent in bold relief
against their luminous background. High in the azure dome a few
rose-colored clouds were drifting, scarce seeming to move in the
light filled ether. Over all the vast expanse of sky a crimson
spread which was followed by pink that was quickly succeeded by
violet purple. Never had we beheld such a striking crimson sea.

Soon those radiant splendors vanished in the purple twilight. We
watched the last faint color fade from the distant ridges. A
soft breeze sighed among the pines and rustled the aspen leaves,
then, died away. Mingled odors of pine and fern floated to us
from the nearby forests. The light vanished from the sky but the
mysterious charm of the time was not broken. In the east a
softer and more quiet splendor tipped the foliage with silvery
radiance, edging the fleecy clouds with mellow light. Only the
purling music of the distant waterfall now broke the restful
solemnity of the mountain solitudes. Night with its thoughts of
other fairer worlds than this, was here and we with all Nature
were preparing for rest.

As we drew near the Lawrence Hotel at Luray, the Moonlight
Sonata floated dreamily upon the calm night air, and we seemed
to feel the beauty of Hugo's lines:

Come child, to prayer; the busy day is done,
A golden star gleams through the dusk of night;
The hills are trembling in the rising mist,
The rumbling wain looms dim upon the sight;
All things wend home to rest; the roadside trees
Shake off their dust, stirred by the evening breeze.

The sparkling stars gush forth in sudden blaze,
As twilight open flings the doors of night;
The bush, the path-all blend in one dull gray--
The doubtful traveler gropes his anxious way.

Oh, day; with toil, with wrong, with hatred rife;
Oh, blessed night! with sober calmness sweet,
The age-worn hind, the sheep's sad broken bleat--
All Nature groans opprest with toil and care,
And wearied craves for rest, and love and prayer.

At eve the babes with angels converse hold,
While we to our strange pleasures wend our way,
Each with its little face upraised to heaven,
With folded hands, barefoot kneels down to pray,
At selfsame hour with selfsame words they call
On God, the common Father of us all.

And then they sleep, the golden dreams anon,
Born as the busy day's last murmurs die,
In swarms tumultuous flitting through the gloom,
Their breathing lips and golden locks descry,
And as the bees o'er bright flowers joyous roam,
Around their clustered cradles clustering come.

Oh, prayer of childhood! simple, innocent;
Oh, infant slumbers! peaceful, pure and light;
Oh, happy worship! ever gay with smiles,
Meet prelude to the harmonies of night;
As birds beneath the wing enfold their head,
Nestled in prayer the infant seeks its bed.



O! bear me then to vast embowering shades,
To twilight groves and visionary vales,
To weeping grottoes and prophetic glooms,
Where angel forms, athwart the solemn dusk
Tremendous, sweep, or seem to sweep, along,
And voices more than man through the void,
Deep sounding, seize the enthusiastic ear.
Or is this gloom too much?
Where creeping water ooze, and where rivers wind,
Cluster the rolling fogs and swim along
The dusky mantled lawns. --Thompson.

The Shenandoah valley is not only famous for its beauty,
picturesque scenery and many historical associations, but here
in Page county, Virginia, are located the beautiful caverns of
Luray. Here we find caverns that for variety and beauty of their
calcite formations excel many if not all caverns of the same
kind in the world.

The valley at Luray is ten miles wide, extends from the Blue
Ridge to the Massanutten mountain, and displays remarkably fine
scenery. These ridges lie in vast folds and wrinkles, and
elevations in the valley are often found to be pierced by
erosion. Cave Hill, three hundred feet above the water level,
had long been an object of local interest on account of its pits
and oval hollows, through one of which, August 13, 1878, Mr.
Andrew J. Campbell and others entered, thus discovering the
extensive and beautiful caverns.

There is a house built on the entrance to these caverns and one
does not realize that such a remarkable region is located here.
The natural arch that admits one to Mammoth Cave has a span of
seventy feet. It is very high and on its edges grow ferns,
vines, and various wild flowers, and the phoebe builds her nest
and fills all the space about with her sweet prophecy of spring.
It is what the entrance to a place so vast should be.

At the Luray Caverns cement walks have been laid, stairways,
bridges and iron railings have been erected, and the entire
route through this most beautiful of subterranean palaces is
illuminated by brilliant electric lights. On entering the
caverns you experience a thrill of strange emotion and mute
wonder. One speaks, if at all, in whispers. It is too much for
your imagination to grasp at once and you are overwhelmed as
much as you were on first seeing Niagara. Here is silence such
as never came to the outer world, darkness that far exceeds the
blackest midnight; glittering stalactites that gleam like
diamonds from the ceiling above; massive artistic drapery which
falls in graceful folds; cascades of rarest beauty formed by
stone of marble whiteness, in place of falling water; tinted
walls like evening skies; all these seen by the gleam of
brilliant electric lights fill one with admiration and deepest
awe. Here the Master Artist has carved spacious palaces of
rarest beauty. Columns of yellowish-brown, resembling
transparent amber, support great vaulting domes above you. These
lovely pillars seem to rise toward their proper arches as
majestically as those of Rheims, Amiens, and Cologne, only here
we find "no signs of decay" and "they never knew the cruel
ravages of war."

This calls to memory a visit to the Steen, the old Spanish
prison built in the eighth century in the city of Antwerp. A
crowd of English soldiers and American doughboys were viewing
the time-worn relics of the place when they found an old map of
the world dating from the year 1300, A. D., whereupon one of the
Englishmen exclaimed, "Where is America? Why, your bloomin',
bloody country was not on the map. at that time!" Such good-
natured humor was borne with about the same patience as the
bites of "cooties" or Jersey mosquitoes. As they journeyed on, a
companion of the first speaker said, "You don't have such
wonderfully old and interesting things in America." The fiery
American doughboys accepted this remark as a challenge and could
keep silent no longer. One of them, voicing the sentiment of
all, exclaimed in a voice that fairly awoke the echoes of those
aged walls, "No, we do not have much of this old trash in our
country. Everything in America is new and up-to-date." But in
Luray Caverns we have one of the world's great wonders "that was
old long before the foundation of the Pyramid of Cheops." Here
are columns of gigantic proportions, one of which has lain on
the floor of the cave for more than four thousand years. Some
geologists state that the glacial period was sixty thousand
years ago. If their deductions be true; we have in Luray a
cavern that was fifty-four thousand years old when Adam gazed on

These caverns are carved from the Silurian limestone, although
they are considered to date from the Tertiary period. Long after
the cave was formed, and after many stalactites had been hung on
those spacious halls with their down-grown crystals, it was
completely filled with glacial mud charged with acid, whereby
the dripstones were eroded in singular grotesque shapes. The
eroded forms remained after the mud had been mostly removed by
flowing water. Massive columns have been wrenched from the
ceiling by this aqueous energy and lie prostrate on the floor; a
hollow column, forty feet high and thirty feet in diameter,
stands erect, but has been pierced by a tubular passage from top
to bottom in the same manner; a leaning column almost as large
has been undermined so as to resemble the leaning tower of Pisa;
these are only a few of the many wonderful forms of Nature's
architecture formed by no other tools than time and waterdrops.

We find no streams and true springs here as in Mammoth Cave, but
there are numerous basins of pellucid water, varying from one to
fifty feet in diameter, and from six to fifteen feet in depth.
Crystal Lake is a clear body of water surrounded by sparkling
stalactites. How long its waters must have waited to mirror
these lovely formations! They gleam and sparkle, forming an arch
of dazzling splendor; fit drapery for such a gem of water, which
shows again their marvelous beauty.

Here these waters have lain for countless ages with never a
breeze to ripple their surface. At Mammoth Cave the waters enter
through numerous domes and pits in cascades of great volume, and
are finally collected in River Hall where they form several
extensive lakes or rivers, which are connected with Green river
by two deep springs that appear under arches on its margin. The
water has been known to rise sixty feet above low water mark
when there is a freshet in Green river. The waters of these
rivers are navigable from May to October.

The first lake approached is called the Dead Sea. Here you gaze
upward at vast cliffs sixty feet high and one hundred feet long,
above which you go with cautious tread, then up a stone stairway
that leads to the river Styx, a body of water forty feet wide
and four hundred feet long, which is crossed by a natural
bridge. A beach of finest yellow sand extends for five hundred
yards to Echo river, the largest of all, being from twenty to
two hundred feet wide, ten to forty feet deep, and about three
miles long.

You never can forget your trip on this river of Stygian
darkness. With oil lanterns that emit but a feeble flickering
flame you see ghostlike figures, goblins and grim cave monsters
that loom before you; your imagination peoples these
subterranean halls and their titanic masonry with fantastic
forms of its own creation. At this place these lines from Poe
will perhaps flash through your mind:

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where the Eidalon, named night
On a black throne reigns upright;
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule,
From a wild, weird chink sublime,
Out of space and out of time.

When you speak loudly your words have a weird sepulchral tone
that echoes far and near through the spacious halls and avenues
that makes the black pall of mystery all the more uncanny. As
you first enter on your journey on this stream of inky blackness
you are appalled by the awful darkness, and the stillness so
intense is like that of some vast primeval forest at midnight.
The ceiling is so low at one place you can touch it with your
hands. With rock above and on both sides of you and water
beneath, you think you have a faint conception of Hades. You
hear no sound but the gentle splash of the water struck by the
oars, or the labored and rapid breathing of the more timid ones
of your party.

Suddenly your boat stops and the guide utters a few tones
beginning low in the scale and running higher, when, lo! the
whole subterranean cavern seems filled with fairy tongues and
becomes melodious with softer, sweeter tones until they die away
among those avenues, like the music heard only in the realm of
dreams. Some one suggests that a song be sung, whereupon an
Irishman with deep sonorous voice starts, "Nearer, My God, to
Thee," but he only sings but one line, for the clamor of voices
insisting on another selection, is like that of a flock of crows
in autumn who have discovered an owl. The multitudinous echoes,
if not as musical as the voice of the guide, made more obvious

Thus do these aged halls send back rarest melodies for the
discordant notes received. How like the noble souls one knows
who take the discordant jeers and taunts of the world and by a
life of serenity and steadfastness of purpose (which is ever to
help mankind onward) build for them an admiration and devotion
that returns from a multitude of grateful hearts like musical
echoes, perhaps too late unheard.

The temperature of both Luray Caverns and Mammoth Cave is
uniformly fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, and
the atmosphere is both chemically and optically of singular
purity. For this reason stone huts were once erected for
consumptives in Mammoth Cave. Thirteen was the original number
and for the poor unfortunates who inhabited them it was most
unlucky; the patients became worse, and on being taken from
their subterranean homes in Mammoth Cave quickly died. Only two
of the huts still remain.

"Those curious mortals who are always seeking morgues and
graveyard scenes should come here." What a place for
contemplation! "Into what vast unrecorded ages the philosopher
could let his thoughts go back!"

On entering Luray Caverns one of the first of the many curious
formations to attract your attention will be rows of stalactites
resembling fish on market. Here are fish that were on exhibit
before Noah entered the ark. How patient the old fisherman must
be to have stood through innumerable years and not yet have had
a sale. You will see other forms that represent hams and
sidemeat. You will, perchance, detect the lean streak as most
people do. This meat needs no sugarcuring or smoking and will
keep many more years with no fear of the blue-bottle fly.
Glittering stalactites. blaze in front of you; fluted columns
and draperies in broad folds with a formation that resembles the
finest hemstitching may be seen all around you, while Pluto's
chasm, a wide rift in the walls, contains a spectre clothed in
shadowy draperies. One wonders how long this grim, ghastly
person has stood here. Long ages came and went in that shadowy
and evanescent time with no record save these stony ghosts, and
over all a black pall of mystery still broods.

One of the most remarkable formations as well as one of the most
beautiful which may be seen in Mammoth Cave is the flower
garden. Dr. Hovery describes its beauty thus: "Each rosette is
made of countless fibrous crystals; each tiny crystal is in
itself a study; each fascicle of carved prisms is wonderful and
the whole glorious blossom is a miracle of beauty. Now multiply
this mimic blossom from one to a myriad as you move down the
dazzling vista as if in a dream of Elysium; not for a few yards,
but for two magnificent miles all is virgin white, except here
and there a patch of gray limestone, or a spot bronzed by
metallic stain, or as we purposely vary the lonely monotony by
burning chemical lights. We admire the effective grouping done
by Nature's skillful fingers. Here is a great cross made by a
mass of stone rosettes; while floral coronets, clusters,
wreaths, and garlands embellish nearly every foot of the ceiling
and walls. The overgrown ornaments actually crowd each other
till they fall on the floor and make the pathway sparkle with
crushed and trodden jewels."

We find several forms of life in Mammoth Cave, such as light
gray or stone colored crickets, with antennae and legs twice the
length of our black musician. If this cave dweller is a musician
like our cheery outdoor fiddler, how the empty walls must ring!
We found several of these odd insects near Echo river and on the
walls of the cave near the well known as the "Bottomless Pit."
White crayfish moved back and forth on the sand at the edge of
Echo river and backed away from us when we tried to procure one
for a specimen. His subterranean home has seemingly not affected
his habits. This cave also contains a fish known to scientists
as "Amblyopsis Speloens," meaning "A weak-eyed cave dweller."

At one place in the caverns rows of stalactites are arranged in
lines of various lengths in reference to tone, just like the
strings of a piano, in regular graduated system. A small boy who
accompanies the guide will strike those stone harps in rapid
succession which give forth delicious liquid tones, sweet and
silvery as the chimes of Antwerp Cathedral. They waver and float
through those vast halls until the ear catches only a faint echo
from some far, dim aisle. "How many centuries elapsed before
this subterranean organ gave forth its delightful tones!" It
lacked only the soul of a Beethoven or Chopin to interpret them
aright. How like many noble lives whose talents perhaps shall
only bud "unseen" or waste upon the desert air of environment.
One thinks of Keats, whose wonderful Ode to the Nightingale and
lovely Nature Poems might never have been sung had he not gone
out into the fragrant fields and woods, where the song of the
lark and the breezes, "heaven born," touched his great soul like
an Aeolian harp which dispersed sweetest melodies for all
mankind to hear.



We spent another memorable day on the mountain roads marveling
again at the omnipotent power that creates such beauty. Looking
out over the valley from the slope of a hill we had a glorious
view. From the ravishing beauty of the scene, our minds fell to
musing over that other race who had dwelt here, whose destiny
the coming of the white man changed. We wondered how the valley
appeared to them and what bird songs burst upon the fragrant air
when that other race possessed the land. Our thoughts were soon
recalled from the vague past; for over the summit of a green
hill a thunder head pushed itself into view. As the great mass
spread swiftly over the heavens, darkness began to creep over
the land like a premature twilight. The songs of the birds that
had been so noticeable before were hushed, the passing breeze
paused a moment as if undecided which course to pursue, then in
sudden fury swept over the land, hurling the leaves and dead
branches in wild confusion through the air.

Like a mighty trumpet summoning those cloud warriors to battle
sounded the thunder, whose terrific peals shook the hills around
us. The clouds, as if obedient to the summons rushed from all
directions, like frightened soldiers. The lightning began to
leap to the earth in angry flashes, or spread through the masses
of rolling clouds like golden chains, or leaped and darted like
the lurid tongues of serpents. The trees rocked and roared on
the hills about us; now and then one fell with a mighty crash
scarcely discernible in the awful roar of the raging wind. The
rain came in blinding sheets to the earth. Soon, however, the
fury of the storm was spent and we heard the echoing peals of
thunder among the distant hills.

The sun came out again and shone among the water drops that
clung in countless myriads to the leaves. They glittered and
scintillated like vast emerald crowns studded with millions of
diamonds. Not an hour had passed and there again was the
heavenly blue smiling down upon the glorious woods. A rainbow,
like a radiant, triumphal arch, bent lovingly over the earth,
now more tranquil and beautiful than ever. It was as if Nature
had made a fitting frame for the endless variety and beauty of
the picture she had painted. The birds came forth from their
leafy coverts and shook the water drops from their feathers
while their notes rained like "liquid pearls" around us. As we
watched the fading hues of the lovely bow and listened to the
bird song that rose and fell in tides of rarest melody we
thought how like life the passing storm had been. The early
hours of summer sky, how quickly they pass away, to be overcast
by dark foreboding clouds of doubt and fear. Yet, after the
storm of life is almost past a radiant bow of promise, tender as
memory and bright as hope, lingers on its ebon folds and we seem
to glimpse through the dispersing gloom fairer fields beyond.

We neared the old historical town of Frederick on a Saturday
afternoon. The rose light from the west that shone upon the
hillsides of green seemed to mingle its hues with that of its
own, and it sifted through the transparent leaves and spread
itself in a mellow glow upon the ground beneath. Never did light
seem so impressive as that which streamed through the forest and
lit up the hills with "strange golden glory." There had been a
rain in the afternoon and the shimmering light from the west was
trying his color effects. It was such an evening as Longfellow
describes in Hiawatha:

Slowly o'er the shimmering landscape,
Fell the evening's dusk and coolness,
And the long and pleasant sunbeams
Shot their spears into the forest,
Breaking through its shields of shadow,
Rushed into each secret ambush,
Searched each thicket, dingle, hollow.

Gazing at the quiet and luxuriant loveliness of the landscape
about us we almost forgot we were entering the town where
Washington met Braddock to prepare for the expedition against
Fort Duquesne. This town was twice taken by the Confederates and
when occupied by the troops of General Early the inhabitants
were forced to pay a ransom of two hundred thousand dollars. It
was occupied in 1862 by General McClellan.

It was not of armies or their generals of whom we were thinking
as we entered the old town, now wearing its evening smile. The
twilight song of birds came to us from the maple trees as we
passed, or broken phrases were just audible from the distant
meadows. It seemed that plenty, purity and peace had always
reigned here and it was with a feeling of rare delight we
approached the charming Wayside Inn, peeping from its gracefully
overhanging elms. After procuring rooms for the night we went in
search of the spot where Barbara Frietchie lived. The day had
been extremely oppressive, but since the shower we were enjoying
a cool breeze that was stirring the leaves and rippling the
grass with its purifying breath. Slowly we made our way along
the streets of the town until we arrived in front of the spot
where Old Glory had been flaunted over the Confederate troops.
We thought of that day when,

"Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,
Flapped in the morning wind; the sun
Of noon looked down and saw not one."


"Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed by her three score years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town
She took up the flag the men hauled down."

We proceeded from this spot to the beautiful Mount Olivet
cemetery. Here we were thrilled anew, for near the entrance we
beheld the splendid monument erected in memory of Francis Scott
Key. This, aside from its significance, is one of the finest
statues our country affords. The grace and beauty of that
figure, as if still pointing toward his country's glorious
emblem, causes the heart of the beholder to swell with emotion.
We seemed to catch from those lips the grave question: "O! Say,
does the Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the
free, and the home of the brave?" Something in this monument
made us think of the fine statue erected to the memory of Vauban
in Verdun.

We passed the grave of Barbara Frietchie over which waved the
flag she so dearly loved, and in a twinkling came the answer to
the eager questioner of bronze, as the west wind caught the
lovely banner and waved it, oh, so gently, over this hallowed
spot. A robin repeated his evening song softly from a maple near
it, and a mourning dove began his meditative cooing. Slowly we
left the secluded place where the hero and heroine slumber and
returned to the Wayside Inn, while myriads of stars began to
sparkle and gleam on the vast field of blue above, reminding us
that "ever the stars above look down on the stars below in

What a bound our hearts gave as the gleam of the massive dome
met our sight. A crowd of old associations thronged through the
galleries of memory to see printed there, radiant and bright
with many a glorious page of American history, the dome of the
Capitol at Washington.

As we drew nearer we saw how this beautiful structure, which
ranks today as one of the noblest architectural objects in the
world, dominates the lovely city. This beautiful structure,
which covers an area of three and one-half acres, stands on a
plateau eighty-eight feet above the level of the Potomac.

The crowning glory of this magnificent edifice is the statue of
freedom which surmounts its dome three hundred and seven feet
above the esplanade. This great cast iron dome, from which a
lovely view of the city may be had, weighs four and one-half
thousand tons. It was erected at a cost of six million dollars,
and required eight years for its construction. To the north,
nearest the Union station, which, too, is an architectural
dream, is the Senate wing of the Capitol. The senate chamber is
located in the center of the building. The president's room,
that of the vice-president and the marble room, are opposite the
corridor from the Senate chamber. These sumptuously and
elegantly furnished rooms defy description.

Connected with the new Senate wing by a corridor is the old
Senate chamber, now used by the Supreme Court. To the south is
the great awe-inspiring Rotunda, which is three hundred feet in
circumference and over one hundred and eighty feet in height. It
is adorned with marvelous life-size paintings and beautiful
statuary. This dome is a little higher than that of Antwerp
Cathedral, where you look upward one hundred and eighty feet, to
gaze upon the glorious Assumption by Corneil Schutt. Passing
through the corridor you come to the old House of
Representatives, now the Hall of Statuary. "Each state may
contribute bronze or marble statues of two of her most
illustrious soldiers or statesmen." The south wing of the
Capitol, adjoining Statuary Hall, is entirely occupied by the
House of Representatives, the luxurious Speaker's Room, and many
committee rooms.

On the east central portico the oath of office of each
succeeding president is administered by the Chief Justice of the
United States in the presence of a multitude of spectators.

You are impressed far more while gazing at this marvelous
structure where the combined duties of its members represent the
greatest governmental undertaking in the world than when you
behold the palaces at Versailles where gilded interiors but
poorly hide the corruption of their former days. Then, too, what
are crumbling moss grown castles in which dwelt those robber
knights, along the Rhine, seen through the glorious perspective,
made radiant with American ideas of the present century! What
wonderful crops from the fertile brains of men have been
produced since the beginning of this mighty structure! What
plans for the future greatness and prosperity of the Nation have
been made. But, alas! here, too, come seasons of drought when
seeds of humility, virtue and love fail to sprout and those of
discord, strife and malice, like thorny cactus, crowd out the
rare blossoms.

No one visiting Washington should fail to see the Library of
Congress, which is the best example of exclusive American art.
"The interior of this wonderful building is the most inspiring
and marvelous combination of gold, silver, rare marbles and
mosaics on as gigantic a scale as is to be found in America.
Built primarily for congressmen, this great storehouse of
valuable books and works of art is used more freely by the
people than any other library in the world."

We shall never forget the lovely view we had from the Lee
mansion, that stands in the beautiful Arlington Cemetery. We
gazed out over the landscape, where the fields of golden grain
and green meadows stretched toward the city. The broad silvery
current of the Potomac flashed in the sunlight. Beyond lay the
city in its Sabbath stillness. The song of a blue bird, with its
softly warbled notes fell upon our ear, and the dreamy threnody
of a mourning dove made a soft accompaniment. We left this
charming spot and wandered slowly through this beautiful abode
of the Nation's heroic dead. At one place we paused before a
fuchsia-bordered plot of ground, where we read from a tablet:
"To the 4,713 unknown dead who slumber here," and opposite this
a coleus-lined space "dedicated to the 24,874 known dead," who
offered their lives, that the black stain of slavery might be
removed from the land. As we looked at the stretches of grass
and flowers which shone in their midst, at the myriads of leaves
upon the trees, the birds, the bees, and at the butterflies--
winged blossoms hovering over duller hued plants--we thought how
soon the tide of this joyous life around us would begin to ebb.
Soon the frost would dull the grass, tint the leaves with
rainbow hues and cause the flowers to fade. The birds would take
wing and leave the place for warmer climes. Then, after the
shroud of snow had been spread o'er the lifeless landscape, a
new and fairer spring would lift the pall of winter, and
glorious waves of warm life would cover the earth with beauty

While in the city of Washington the traveler should see the
Corcoran Art Gallery. What a priceless treasure William Wilson
Corcoran left the American people when he deeded to the public
the Corcoran Gallery of Art to be used solely for the purposes
of encouraging American genius in the production and
preservation of works pertaining to the Fine Arts and kindred

Over one-third of the artists represented in the Corcoran
gallery are American born and a look at the wonderful works of
art to be seen here will convince the most pessimistic person
that America has produced works that are worth while.

Among the many treasures of sculpture to be seen in this gallery
are Vela's "Last Days of Napoleon First," and Powers' "Greek
Slave," while among its canvases are Mueller's "Charlotte
Corday," Brooke's, "A Pastoral Visit," Von Thoren's "Lost Dogs,"
and Renouf's, "A Helping Hand."

Landscape art seems to be our "special province," and no wonder,
for what other country possesses such vast stretches of
prairies, magnificent rivers and lakes, unbounded primeval
forests and falls of such incomparable grandeur?

"We naturally turn to George Innes (1825-1894) as America's
foremost exponent of landscape art." Fortunate indeed is the
gallery to possess his "Sunset in the Woods." It is of interest
to note that it was not completed until many years after the
sketch was made. On July 23, 1891, Mr. Innes wrote of the
"Sunset in the Woods": "The material for my picture was taken
from a sketch made near Hastings, Westchester county, New York,
twenty years ago. This picture was commenced seven years ago,
but until last winter I had not obtained any idea commensurate
with the impression received on the spot. The idea is to
represent an effect of light in the woods towards sundown, but
to allow the imagination to predominate." Herein perhaps lay the
original power of the artist's genius; he had learned to labor
and to wait. Genius, without exceeding great labor, has never
accomplished much that shall last through time.

One feels when gazing on this exquisite poem of twilight, that
if only this one picture of the woods had been painted it were
better than to have produced a thousand inferior scenes. How
beautiful that glow on the "Venerable old tree trunk and the
opening beyond the great boulder." It is indeed a wonderful
creation filled with the mystery and silence of approaching
nightfall. As you gaze at the seemingly deepening gloom, you
feel the very spirit of the violet dusk. A wood thrush is
ringing her vesper bell softly. A marked stillness pervades the
atmosphere. A gray rabbit hops among the swaying foxglove and
fern tops; the plaintive note of the whippoorwill tells us night
will soon be here. One almost fears to look again, after turning
away, for a time, lest the last glow has faded and night is

What marvelous beauty this poet of Nature has portrayed from the
common scenes of woods, meadow and stream, which so few really
see until an Innes shows us how divinely beautiful they are.

If you have never had the pleasure of gazing upon Niagara you
will want to pause long before Frederick E. Church's painting of
it, for he seems to have caught some of its fleeting beauties
and transferred them to canvas. This picture had a startling
effect upon Europeans when it was exhibited in Paris. When they
compared the falls of Switzerland to it, they gained a more
definite idea of the vast expanse of our natural wonders.

You will not fail to admire the painting, "The Road to Con
Carneau," by William Lamb Picknell. How well he has painted this
scene of quaint old Normandy. As you gaze at the vast stretch of
marshy country, with stone roads, marked by milestones, you
begin to appreciate the wonderful genius of the artist. You can
readily see that evening has come and you seem to feel its
message quite as much as when gazing upon the "End of Day" by

Our day here recalled our visit to the Luxembourg gallery and
the Louvre. How much better it is to see part of these
magnificent palaces dedicated to art than to be used by
worthless rulers.

One can never forget the impression made upon him as he gazes at
the halls which are filled with the grandest works of antiquity.
Any of these standing alone would challenge the admiration of
all who see them, but the "Venus de Milo" and the "Winged
Victory" stand out in memory among the innumerable works of art
as the Alps tower above the vales of Switzerland. That
magnificent piece of sculpture, Venus de Milo, was found by a
peasant in the island of Milo in 1820. "It belongs to the fourth
century before Christ and represents that flowery period of
Greek sculpture when Praxiteles was at its head."

Here we may also enjoy the "St. John" and "Madonna and Child" by
Raphael, many works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Corregio, Rubens,
Mttrillo, and Titian.

Before leaving the city we climbed to the top of Washington
monument. This monument is an imposing mass of white marble,
rising to a height of five hundred fifty-five and one-half feet.
No visitor to Washington should fail to make the ascent for no
finer view of the city, the surrounding hills and the Potomac
can be had than from the observation point, at a height of five
hundred four feet. As we looked down on the lovely avenues,
gardens and statues of this well-planned city we compared it
with our view of Paris from the Arch of Triumph and Eiffel
Tower. While Eiffel Tower is nearly twice as high as Washington
Monument it revealed no lovelier view than we beheld in this
magnificent city.

We shall never forget the spell cast over us as we said goodbye
to the City of Magnificent Distances and sped along the road
that led to the Nation's shrine. What memories hallowed by art
and song came thronging round us as we made our pilgrimage to
the pleasantly situated estate of Mount Vernon.

The old estate bears the name given it by Major Lawrence
Washington in honor of his commander, Admiral Edward Vernon, of
the British navy. Imagine our feelings upon arriving at this--
one of the most sacred spots in America--when we found the very
undesirable custom of charging a fee to view a scene that above
all others should be free to the public. This place to all true
Americans belongs in the same class as sublime mountain views,
indescribable sunsets, whereon to place a price would be
sacrilege, for they are priceless.

As soon as we entered the gates of this hallowed spot we passed
through the lovely flower garden. The air was fragrant, almost
heavy, with the perfume of box bushes which had been trimmed in
fantastic designs of rare beauty. How slowly we walked down the
paths whose sides were enameled with brilliant hued flowers,
artistically arranged. There was something almost sacred in the
solitude here. We seemed to see the stately form of the master,
as he gazed in admiration at this charming spot or stooped to
pluck a few rare blossoms for his companion. What hours of calm
and unsullied enjoyment he must have spent here. What grand
thoughts those lovely flowers must have suggested. How often he
stood here or wandered slowly along these same paths at
twilight, while the mocking-bird's song harmonized with his
evening reveries.

Pausing to admire the beauty of the royal spikes of purple
foxglove we were thrilled with a familiar yet much loved song,
for in accord with the train of our thoughts, a mocking bird
sprang into the air with the most extraordinary turns and
gyrations and at last settled down on the chimney of the store
room as if overcome by his own ecstatic singing--this was our
welcome to Mount Vernon. With brilliant bewildering staccato
phrases he started singing in one place, then mounted to the
air, spread his wings and floating down to the tops of a cedar,
never missing a note. It was purely a song of joy expressing
exuberance of life and whole-souled enjoyment. He mimicked
thirty different American birds, but their songs were hurried
without the proper pauses and phrasing. It was what piano player
music is to hand-played melodies, lacking the beauty and soul of
the original artists.

How delightful it was to linger here. You could spend days and
weeks in forgetting the maddening strife and cares gazing out
over the majestic Potomac, lulled to rest by this matchless

Here one can readily see that Washington was fond of trees and
shrubs, and many were the excursions he made to the woods to
select specimens to be transplanted to the grounds around his
home. Just outside the garden are the tulip trees he planted
over one hundred and thirty years ago. The master of these
stately trees has long since gone, yet his spirit seems to
linger there. These glorious tulips are tall and straight as the
man whose hands first broke the sod and pressed the ground
tenderly about their roots. They still aspire and shed delicious
perfume on the balmy summer air and their verdure is perennial
like the memory of a grateful nation.

Bartram, an eminent botanist of Philadelphia, was a close friend
of Washington. In the rear of the mansion is a fine lawn
comprising a number of acres, around which winds a carriage
drive bordered by grand old trees.

We thought of the truthfulness of Mrs. Sangster's words as we
gazed in admiration at these lovely trees:

"Who plants a tree for fruit or shade,
In orchard fair, on verdant slope;
Who plants a tree a tryst has made
With future years, in faith and hope."

When visiting the palace of King Louis XIV of France at
Versailles and the hundreds of rooms that accommodated his
courtiers and their servants, also the two large wings which
housed The State Ministers and contained their offices, you are
greatly impressed at the Herculean labor and immense cost such
magnificence must have required. Here the best artists of his
time, by long years of patient toil, and money in profusion,
were employed on this glorification of a man.

Here was laid out a vast and beautiful garden, filled with noble
statues and marble basins, that extended its geometrical alleys
and lines of symmetrical trees to a park around which spread the
magnificent forest. You see the room in which our great and
illustrious Franklin stayed and marvel at the glorious Hall of
Mirrors where the Peace Conference met. Yet you are glad to get
out and contemplate that wonderful avenue of European elms whose
straight round trunks, bearing innumerable branches which divide
again and again, form glorious fountain-like crests of verdure.

But with what a different feeling you look upon the home of
Washington. Here, too, visitors find in the wonderful trees a
symbol of something serene, protective, sacred, so like the man
who once walked beneath them.

"The dawn of great events in which Washington was to play such
an important part began to blow on the eastern horizon of New
England." From the ocean-bordered shores were faint streaks of
light that ere long began to deepen into hues of a sanguine
color that seemed to presage a tempest. At first the sound was
like the faint lisping murmur of pines along the shore or the
sobbing surf as it retreated from the charge it made; but ere
long it broke forth in loud, angry tones like the wailing of
branches on a stormy night or the booming breakers on the stern
rocks of her rugged coast, until the dwellers of the interior
heard the ominous sound and made ready to defend those
inalienable rights of man, liberty and justice.

The aeolian melodies of freedom were heard by the Master of
Mount Vernon as he walked beneath his liberty loving trees. It
was not easy to leave a charming home where happiness and love
reigned supreme; yet when the call, that echoed from far New
England's rugged shores, rebounded from fair Virginia's hills
Washington sacrificed all the pleasures of love and home on the
altar of Freedom.

We admired the picturesque seed house with its ivy covered walls
and dormer windows, quite as much as the mansion itself. This
was built for the storing of seed and the implements of

We next visited the stately mansion, whose plan as well as that
for all improvements made, were drawn by Washington.
"Convenience and desirability he sought in his home," and last
but not least, location. The mansion is built of pine. It
contains two stories and is ninety-six feet long and thirty feet
wide, having a piazza that is supported by sixteen square
columns which are twenty-five feet in height. The width of the
piazza is fifteen feet, having a balustrade of pleasing design
around it; and in the center of the roof is a circular
observatory from which a wonderful view of the Potomac may be
had. The roof contains several dormer windows. There are six
rooms on the ground floor and on entering the passage way that
leads from east to west through it you are at once impressed
with its wainscoting and large worked cornices which present to
the eye the appearance of great solidity. The parlor, library
and breakfast room are on the south side of the hall; while to
the north are the reception room, parlor, and drawing room. All
of the rooms are what you would expect, "tasteful and charming,
yet simple."

An exquisitely wrought chimney-piece from the finest Sienite
marbles in Italy was presented to Washington for his Mount
Vernon home by Mr. Vaughan, of London. Upon three tablets of the
frieze are pleasing pastoral scenes, so fitting for this rural

We were much impressed by a picture of Washington seen here. How
much more inspiring is a noble human countenance than the
grandest natural scenery.

Any one seeing a crowd of men in which Washington is one of the
number will at once ask, "Whose is the distinguished form
towering above the throng, a figure of superb strength and
perfect symmetry? He at once receives that hearty admiration
which youth and age alike bestow on a man who so forcibly
illustrates and embellishes manhood. No one finds cause of
regret for lavishing it, for that finely formed intellectual
head held a clear, vigorous brain; those fine blue eyes look
from the depths of a nature at once frank and noble; and in that
broad chest beat a heart filled with the love of freedom,
country and his fellow man."

The spirit of the boy pulsating with youth's warm blood who
carved his name on the west side of the Natural Bridge, where it
remained alone for nearly three-fourths of a century--that same
indomitable spirit rose high above the treacherous rocks of
fear, where it shone on the troubled sea of political injustice,
a beacon light to the venturesome mariners, until they were
landed safely upon the shore of Freedom.

Never did a family bear such an appropriate coat of arms: Exitus
Acta Probat, "The end justifies the means." Here we have a man
whose noble life of self-sacrifice and true devotion to his
country accomplished the "greatest end by the most justifiable
means." He had an Alpine grandeur of mind that towered far above
the sordid lowlands of selfish ambitions to those sublime
heights of whole-souled devotion to public duty and
incorruptible integrity, where the great soul of the man shone
forth like the lovely Pleiades on a winter night. In this
"Cincinnatus of the West" resided a liberal mind, broad as his
sunny acres that led far back from the river; his clearness of
thought was like that of his native springs which gush in
crystal clearness, leaving a path of verdure along their course;
his loftiness of purpose towered sublimely above average life,
like the glorious outlines of the Blue Ridge mountains.

"Skill, prudence, sagacity, energy, and wisdom marked all his
acts." That wonderful trinity--candor, sincerity and simplicity--
were the striking features of his character and "an air of noble
dignity never left his manly features, in either defeat or
battle." On following his brilliant career as a commander one
realizes as never before, that "intellect and not numbers rule
the world; liberty-loving ideals and not force overmaster
bigness; and that truth and right, when supported by strong and
worthy purposes, always prevail in the end."

Among the many interesting relics to be seen at Mount Vernon are
the Sword of Washington and Franklin's staff. While gazing at
these mementoes of the past we recalled these significant words
of the poet:

"The sword of the Hero,
The staff of the Sage,
Whose valor and wisdom
Are stamped on the age.
Time hallowed mementoes
Of those who have riven
The sceptre from tyrants,
The lightning from heaven.

This weapon, O, Freedom;
Was drawn by thy son,
And it never was sheathed
Till the battle was won.
No stain of dishonor
Upon it we see.
'Twas never surrendered--
Except to the free.

While Fame claims the hero
And patriot sage
Their names to emblazon
On History's page,
No holier relics
Will Liberty hoard
Than Franklin's staff guarded
By Washington's sword."

Another relic is the key of that grim prison, the Bastile, sent
to Washington by Lafayette as a symbol of the overthrow of
despotism and triumph of free government in France. That symbol
is today one of America's most treasured mementos, carefully
guarded in the Nation's shrine at Mount Vernon.

An exact reproduction of the old prison was made from a stone of
its walls and presented to Washington. "We felt an awe in
treading these lonely halls, a feeling that hallowed the spot as
if there yet lingered a faint echo of the Master's footsteps
through the silence, although he had departed forever."

Having viewed the places that to him were most dear, the places
still redolent of the beauty and sacredness of home life, we
wanted to stand beside his tomb. Past beautiful cedars and
venerable maples we made our way to a quiet secluded spot where
so many had gone before us, to leave the most perfect roses of
Memory, filled with the incense of grateful and loving hearts.
We cannot tell with what feeling we added our sprays of
blossoms, perennials springing from the garden of the heart,
waxen white and fragrant as the narcissus.

We saw the wreath placed here by King Albert of Belgium as a
loving tribute of respect of that brave little country.

An old colored man who conducted us to the tomb said that, as
near as he could remember, about twelve years before he
witnessed one of the largest crowds that he ever saw at Mount
Vernon. The Ohio Corn Boys were afforded the wonderful
opportunity of visiting this famous spot. What an ideal place to
take them, for the farm has always been the best place on earth
for the family. "It is the main source of our national wealth;
the foundation of all civilized society." The welcome fact that
a rural community could produce such men as Washington or
Lincoln should be an added incentive for these Ohio lads to make
the most of their golden opportunities.

Leaving the sacred spot to its quiet, mournful beauty, we again
passed through the garden over which floated the notes of the
mocking-bird, like an oft-repeated farewell.

Travelers leaving Mount Vernon should pause a while in the old
city of Alexandria, for there is much of historic interest here.
It is located on the right bank of the Potomac river, six miles
below Washington, with which it is connected by a ferry and
electric lines. Here the Potomac is a mile wide though it is one
hundred miles from its mouth. It forms a harbor sufficiently
deep for the largest ocean vessels. A fine view of the Capitol
at Washington may be had, and from the Virginia end of the
bridge spanning the Potomac a magnificent view of Lee's old
home. Now Arlington cemetery opens to your gaze. This city was
the headquarters of Braddock prior to his ill-fated expedition
against the French in 1775. Here still stands Masonic Lodge, the
building in which the governors of New York, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, and Virginia met to form plans for the expedition.

But you forget the historical associations of the place as you
enter the little brick church where Washington was one of the
first Vestrymen. Washington's and Lee's pews are pointed out to
the visitor. Upon the wall back of the chancel may be seen the
Law, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. How often the eyes of the
Father of his country must have rested upon that prayer. It was
here, during the "times that tried men's souls" that
thoughtfully and prayerfully he received courage and strength
which led him to espouse the Cause of Liberty. A feeling of
solemnity steals over you akin to that which you experience
while treading the dim lighted aisle of some vast cathedral. On
first beholding the Notre Dame in Cologne, you feel as if you
were indeed lingering at the gates of the "Temple Beautiful."
And on entering, how majestic are the arches, how long the
vista, how richly illuminated and emblazoned the windows, and
how heavenly the music that thrills the "iris tinted silences."
It yet lacks the solemnity of these moments in which you linger
in the old-fashioned church at Alexandria, where if you listen
you may still catch those sky-born melodies, the chimes of a
noble life. Leaving the place to its hallowed memories we
started on our way to Baltimore.

>From beneath that humble roof went forth the intrepid
and unselfish warrior--the magistrate who knew no glory
but his country's good; to that he returned happiest
when his work was done. There he lived in noble
simplicity; there he died in glory and peace.

While it stands, the latest generations of the grateful
children of America will make this pilgrimage to it as
to a shrine, and when it shall fall, if fall it must,
the memory and the name of Washington shall shed an
eternal glory on the spot.




One of the most pleasant, recollections of travelers in
Pennsylvania will be their trip through Lancaster county. For
fifty years this county has led the United States in the value
of cereal products. Lancaster, the county seat, has a population
of fifty-eight thousand. It is one of the oldest towns in the
state and was its capital in 1799. It was also the capital of
the United States for one day, September 27, 1777.

We resolved to keep close watch as we drove across this
wonderful agricultural county to see what we could learn of the
methods employed in producing such bountiful crops. Surely, we
thought, here will be a region lacking many of the beauties of
rural communities. But what was our surprise when we found fine
homes embowered in grand old trees. The dooryards contained many
trees, shrubs and flowers--not cluttered up, but most admirably
arranged, showing forethought and good taste. Then, the glowing
masses of the flower-bordered gardens were a quaint commingling
of use and beauty. "Squares of onions, radishes, lettuce,
rhubarb, strawberries--everything edible," reminded one of the
lovely weedless vegetable plots of the Rhine country. Theirs
seemed the homes which Gene Stratton Porter described in her
incomparable manner in her "Music of the Wild." "Peter Tumble-
down" has long ago moved from Lancaster county and only a few
distant relatives yet remain.

We were delighted to find large barns in which the implements
were sheltered. Nearly all contained coats of paint and the
stables were whitewashed, giving an added appearance of
cleanliness to the place as well as destroying lice and vermin.
Everything spoke of thrift. The manure was not thrown out in the
barnyard but stored under sheds. The straw was kept in the
barns. Noticing these things we began to learn that aside from
good soil it was also good sense that made this the garden spot
of the United States. Tobacco, so impoverishing to the soil, is
still raised here on farms that have known cultivation two
hundred years.

It is more refreshing than mountain scenery to behold such homes
as you find here. The highways were not bordered by unsightly
weeds but had been mown. These thrifty farmers were not afraid
that they would spend their last days in the poorhouse if they
chanced to leave a few shade trees standing; so, in many places
along the highways, lovely maples and graceful elms make of
them, instead of furnaces, a traveler's paradise. Thus we
learned that those who combine use and beauty are not financial
failures and live happier and longer than the people who "see no
beauty and hear no songs and fail to perpetuate them for the
future generations."

"For he who blesses most is blest;
And God and man shall own his worth
Who toils to leave as his bequest

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