Part 4 out of 7
portion of rocky earth they still had, like determined Belgians
to hold fast their rightful heritage. Out among this scene of
partial desolation a great hawk circled and added his eerie cry
to the lonely place, announcing that we were not the only
watchers in this wild domain. A great blue heron rose slowly
into the air and flew across the stream, breaking the silence
with his harsh squawk. "Here," we said, "is a quiet nook away
from the rest of the world. No need of a monastery here where
reigns such perfect seclusion and the charm of its natural
scenery makes it a place in which to dream."
Slowly you walk along the embankment opposite the falls, now
gazing at the amber sheet of water nearest you, now listening
for the voices of the other falls, again stooping to note the
beauty of the delicate harebells along the rocky ledge or
pausing reverently to listen to the songs of the birds coming to
you pure, sweet and peaceful above the song of the falls,
speaking the soul of the delightful place.
A thin, silvery mist from the spray of the falls floats here and
there, spreading out in broad sheets over the damp earth, and
gathering into filmy ropes and patches as the breeze catches it
among the spruce, pine and maple trees above the edge of the
falls. A short distance ahead the water glitters again where the
river makes a slight turn and plunges over another precipice. It
is like the flashing of distant shields. Overhead drift massed
white clouds that enfold the valley as far as the eye can see,
causing shadows to chase each other swiftly across the vast
expanse of green uplands. The alternate gleams of sunshine and
shadow seem like the various moods chasing across your memory.
But the amber colored etching of Trenton remains visible through
it all. Reluctantly you turn away to view the monstrous flume
along your path. Then you wander out in the forest of beech and
maple, whose solitude heightens your impressions of this wild
You return again for another view, for the song of water is the
same the world over, and you seem drawn irresistibly toward the
sound as though sirens were singing. Now you try to gain a
lasting impression of the first falls.
True, the voice of Trenton would hardly make an echo of Niagara,
but are not the echoes the most glorious of all sounds? The same
forces that carved the mighty Niagara made Trenton falls, too,
and it should not be ignored just because it is small. Having
seen the Madonnas by Raphael, shall we now ignore the works of
Powers? Or having seen the Rose of Sharon, shall we cease to
admire the humbler flowers of spring? The wood thrush's song
today is divine, yet, the simpler ditty of the wren has a
sweetness not found in the larger minstrel's song. Here one is
not bored with the "ohs" and "ahs" of gasping tourists, who
scream their delights in tones that drown the voice of the
falls. You can at least grow intimate with them, and their
beauty although not awesome, grows upon you like a river into
the life of childhood. It is a very graceful stream with wilder
surroundings than Niagara.
One fears his visit to Niagara will spoil his journey to
Trenton, and finds himself repeating these significant lines of
"When the moon shone, we did not see the candle;
So doth the greater glory dim the less."
But, Shakespeare never saw Trenton falls, or he never would have
written those lines. What could be more beautiful than its
lovely cascades flashing in the sun or hidden away among the
shadows among the pine and maple?
A little red squirrel barked and chattered among the pine boughs
as if reprimanding us for eating so many of the luscious
blackberries that grew near the falls. Seeing that his attempts
to make us move were of no avail, he scampered down the tree,
coming quite near us and giving vent to his outraged feelings,
punctuating each remark with a sudden jerk of his bushy red
tail, scolding and gesticulating like an Irish cop. He seemed to
be by far the most important personage of the forest, not
excepting the inquisitive bluejay who rightfully cried "thief!
thief!" at us from a maple near by. Both the red squirrel and
bluejay have been classed as villains by all Nature writers; yet
when we thought of the wonderful part they both play in
disseminating seeds far and wide, we readily forgave them their
bloody deeds and treated both with the respect due Nature's
Master Foresters, which both of them truly are.
"Gaily, freely, see me, hear me," sang a small olive colored
bird in the leafy maples above us. We agreed that his song came
to us gaily and most freely, and all heard it so well that we
paused as often amidst our berry-eating as he, while he
refrained from singing just long enough to knock a luscious
green canker worm in the head and devour it. It was the warbling
vireo we heard. What a lesson is his mingling melody with work
uncomplainingly and helping to keep the woods green and
beautiful by his constant industry, co-partner with the squirrel
Seeing we had to leave the blackberry patch while we were able,
we departed from the place, taking a last long look at the
exquisite falls and another at the powerhouse where was made the
electricity that illuminated a certain hotel in Utica. We
thought, too, of the proprietor so blinded by the glare of his
own lamps as to exclaim: "There is no such place."
Talk about an Irish cop and you are sure to see one. Before we
were fairly started we were hailed by one; the very size of him
and his ruddy face as if a danger signal had been waved in front
of us were enough to stop the most venturesome driver. He soon
turned out to be more inquisitive than a bluejay, and although
he did not cry "thief" he hurled a volley of questions at us in
such rapid succession we could hardly find answers. Where are
you from? Where do you live? Where are you going? We told him we
were from Ohio, lived in Indiana and were going home. We soon
bade our friend adieu, neither party made the wiser for the hold-
On our return one of the finest landscapes of the Mohawk region
was suddenly unrolled before us. Miles and miles away stretched
the rolling swells of forest and grain land, fading into the
dimmest blue of the Catskills where the far distant peaks were
just discernible along the horizon. Such a superb and imposing
view as we had was worth all the anxieties of the morning. Each
turn we made brought new views; undulating land of brightest
green, through which wound sparkling streams; and villages lying
here and there with their rising spires that twinkled in the
dreamy atmosphere like stars in a lower firmament.
The landscape in one direction consisted of dark wooded hills
between which a stream flowed on its way like a ribbon of silver
until it disappeared behind the purple headlands. Here was a
picture to surpass the wildest dream of any painter; such
infinite details and inexhaustible variety, blended forms and
flowing contour, dim and elusive shadows, imperceptible blending
of color-all were spread out before us, and so extensive was the
view that the distant peaks of the Adirondacks printed their
faint outlines on the sky. Winding among the numerous hills in
this vast amphitheatre, we looked back regretfully at each
marvelous picture we were leaving, and said "our journey to
Trenton falls has been worth while."
It was three o'clock when we reached the town of Little Falls
where we ate our dinner. By this time George had grown
despondent over our prospect for provender. Little Falls did not
appeal to him as a place of "good eats." One restaurant had the
appearance of having recently been sacked. We soon found a more
inviting place, but this being Sunday the proprietor gave us
that quizzical look as if he regarded our journey as three-
fourths epicurean and only one-fourth devotional. Even a nice,
white table cloth and a fresh roll of bread could not quiet
George's apprehensions. Not until the savory odor of the
steaming soup reached his nostrils was he wholly at ease. His
clouded countenance brightened at the aroma, grew radiant at its
flavor, and long before we reached the pudding he expressed his
delight with New York cookery. The melodious voice of the
waitress was "like oil on troubled waters" and when she said,
"you certainly must be from the South for your voice is so soft
and musical," his countenance had the appearance of one of the
elect. One member of the party here learned that large pork
chops are in most cases inferior to smaller fry, and that, like
Niagara, it may be very large, yet too strong to admit of an
Two and one-half miles east of Little Falls is where the boyhood
home of General Herkimer stood. The barge canal and Lover's Leap
offer an inspiring view on the south side of the Mohawk.
We traveled from Little Falls to Syracuse that afternoon,
reaching Syracuse before nightfall. Over a vast undulating
region, interspersed with tawny grain fields, green meadows and
forests, we made our way. The valleys were covered with a
silvery shimmering atmosphere, on which country homes, orchards
and tree-bordered highways were dimly blotted. Watching the
mellow colors of the broadening landscape as we climbed the long
waves of earth that smiled good night to the sinking sun, we
entered Syracuse, while the bells from a church tower filled the
evening's silence with rare melody. Having procured comfortable
quarters for the night, we retired to dream of Trenton falls,
for which we again searched and said: "There is no such place."
To one who wishes to carry away something of the solemn grandeur
of the sea, its vast immensity, immeasurable energy and ageless
haunting mystery we would say, "go to Newport."
The authentic discovery of this harbor dates back to April,
1524, and to the French explorer, Verrazano, who anchored two
weeks in the harbor and was visited by the Indians of the
island. About 1726 Dean Berkley of the English Church built
White Hall which still stands, much in its original condition.
Trinity is claimed to be the oldest Episcopal church in the
United States. But we have traces of an earlier discovery in the
old stone tower still standing in Touro park, probably erected
by the Norsemen as early as 1000 A. D. But, out in the ocean
where the blue water is flecked with myriads of shifting
whitecaps rise dark gray rocks, telling of an earlier time than
Verrazano, or the Norsemen, and repeating fragments of that
great epic of the Past.
One finds his impression confused on first entering this city.
The population is as variable as the breezes that blow over the
ocean, for Newport has gained fame the world over as one of
America's most fashionable watering places. As early as 1830 it
began to attract health seekers and others wishing a brief
respite from toil in the unnumbered factories in the east, and
the movement has continued until the section of the island
adjacent to Newport is dotted all over with cottages. villas and
cheerful, luxurious homes.
One is delighted to find well paved streets and a city that is
withal sunny, gay, and full of color.
You never want for new beauty here, for the face of the sea is
as changeable as a human countenance. Then, too, it is
interesting to try and separate the motley throngs into their
various elements. You find it useless to attempt to catch and
paint its fluctuating character. It is as capricious as the hues
of the ocean. Here, as at Atlantic City, from morning till
night, and night till morning, flows that human tide; some
attracted by the beauty of the place, others by the glamour of
social gayety, and still others seeking health in the life-
giving breezes. People of all ages and climes are captivated by
the majesty and grandeur found in the ocean. The step of the old
is quickened as if at last they had found the "Fountain of
Youth." Here the sublime ocean scenery and the health-giving
winds are much less tolerant of disease than most anywhere one
There are many people who continue to pursue pleasure while they
pretend to hunt for health. Here as at Aix-les-Bains, Baden-
Baden, and Ostend, it is the glitter and pomp of the place which
attract them. Here fashion and folly, side by side, call them
with siren voices, instead of the medicinal qualities of their
healing waters. If they can't furnish as an excuse that they
have a pain under the left shoulder blade and are fearful for
their lung, then they may say they have a twitching of the upper
right eyelid and are almost certain of a nervous breakdown
unless they secure a few weeks' rest beside the life-giving sea.
Even if they are unable to furnish such justifiable excuses as
these, they might take some aged, wealthy relative to a health
resort for the purpose of boiling the rheumatism out of him.
Then, after tucking him away for the night, how much easier to
spend the evening at the dance or card party!
The days for elegant ladies to trail elaborate gowns along the
hotel corridors are past. How styles do change!
There are more people thronging the bathing beaches, who know a
good poker hand when they see one, than those who can appreciate
a fine ocean scene, and even though the states have all gone
dry, alas how many still prefer champagne to mineral water from
a spring! As Thoreau put it: "More people used to be attracted
to the ocean by the wine than the brine."
At Newport you constantly hear jokes, laughter and song, but
studying the drama of the various faces one sees pride,
sensuality, cruelty, and fear that no ocean brine can cleanse.
Mingled with these, too, are noble countenances lighted up by
the fires of holy living within, whose radiance seems to
overflow in kindly thoughts and deeds, attracting those sublime
qualities to them as the moon the tides. How grand it is to see
here the faces of age wearing that calm look of serene hope;
victory over self and purity of soul plainly dramatized there!
Then, too, how glorious the face of youth glowing with life's
enthusiasm, whose dream of the yet unclouded future is the Fata
Morgana which he pursues. A noble ambition seems to linger in
his soul and transfigure his countenance until we see the light
of joy and nobleness shining there. What a contrast the dejected
look of those who travel the paths of ease and self-indulgence
Many there are who meet here not on the common ground of the
brotherhood of man, but of human appetite and desire. Whether
they hail from Japan, Spain, or Turkey, or whether they come
from Maine or California, they all succumb to the same
allurements. The test here is the manner in which people use the
wealth they have acquired. "Almost any man may quarry marble or
stone," but how few can build a Rheims or "create an Apollo."
When one thinks of the gambling, quackery, and other vocations
far less respectable upon which vast fortunes are spent he
thinks how dreadful the results of all of this spending. "What
if all this wealth that is spent foolishly were used to advance
the common interests of mankind? What if all this indulgence
could be used to promote helpful and healthful ideals so that
they could be disseminated to all points from which tourists
come? Surely a reformation would spread to the uttermost parts
of the earth; but as has been in days past, games, feasts, and
the dance have far more force than the highest ideals, the most
sane theories of improvement and helpfulness," and the careful
observer does not need to come to Newport for this discovery.
One evening, on entering the city, Nature seemed to be planning
to run the gaily attired tourists from the place. How sombre and
sullen appeared the sea, seen through the dim perspective of the
murky, mist-drenched air. Over this vast expanse, low-hung
clouds trailed their gray tattered edges in long misty streaks
which hid the setting sun. It was a gloomy prospect, this, with
the darkening water beneath a leaden sky that gave no promise of
a brighter view. It was as if suddenly we had landed at Brest,
and our view of the dark gray rocks and the penetrating air made
the picture so real our teeth began to chatter.
We soon arrived at our comfortable quarters where we hastily
withdrew, for the rumbling thunder that followed the vivid
flashes of lightning which darted from the black masses of
flying clouds told us that a storm was imminent. While partaking
of our evening meal we heard the mingled sound of wind and
waves. As soon as we had finished we passed through a spacious
room which led to a long veranda, from which a commanding view
of the ocean and surrounding country could be had.
What a scene! All was now darkness save the crests of the
breakers that pierced the gloom with their silvery whiteness.
The sea was torn and shattered by the wild raging wind and hid
its far-sounding waves in a mystery of dread. Several people
paced to and from the veranda, appearing suddenly and as
suddenly vanishing in the gloom. Only the light of a vessel far
out at sea penetrated the darkness and shone with a muffled,
sullen glare. The red flashes of lightning revealed low-hung
clouds of inky blackness rolling toward us; and the deep roar of
the advancing storm, broken only by the loud booming breakers,
Fiercer and louder shrieked the gale; while the doleful sound of
a bell on a buoy warned mariners of impending danger as it
rocked upon the bewildered sea. The water was invisible save
where the long flashing lines of the surf plunged from the gray
gloom. Their immense volumes rose in pyramidal heaps, whose tops
shone white where they seemed to gather at one point and then
their silvery lines spread slowly away on both sides as though
unseen hands were pulling them out in even terraces that broke
tip on the rocks with a deafening roar. Back of the first wave
was another, and farther back still others, that advanced to a
certain point and then spread out evenly, like terraced cascades
of purest marble.
The loud crashes of thunder mingled with the shriek of the wind,
the booming breakers became more awful, and we could imagine
unknown foes advancing to combat along the shore. Like phalanxes
with walls of silver shields they followed each other swiftly
and disappeared like a line of soldiers cut down in battle. The
howling wind and moaning waves "were like laments for the
vanquished hosts." This ceaseless welter of the elements became
more awe-inspiring as another boat appeared in the distance like
some fiery monster of the deep. It seemed the very spirit of the
sullen storm. As it drew nearer we beheld a vast fortress
besieged by the angry waves.
The desolateness of the scene was heightened by listening to
George relate his tales of storm and disaster while homeward
bound on the U. S. S. Roanoke in Mine Squadron One.
"We left England in the month of December. The first day at sea
was fine. No fear or anxious moments were ours. We sped swiftly
over the peaceful water that glittered with a dazzling metallic
luster. In the level rays of the morning sun we beheld a
gradation of rare tints 'infinitely harmonious and yet
superlatively rich.' A short distance away from us the ocean was
deep blue; nearer it was light green, while far out toward the
horizon it attained that iridescence which is indescribable.
Everyone on board was supremely happy. All ten mine layers with
the flagship had their homeward bound pennants flying. We gazed
for hours at the play of light on the water, ever discovering
new and wonderful combinations.
"The second day out we ran into a storm that lasted three days
and nights. The dismal curtains of the sky were drawn and we
could hear the sullen tone of the advancing storm as onward we
plowed through the ever-growing foam-crested waves. The second
day the sea became awesome, and breathlessly we watched each
mountain wave that swept past leaving us still unharmed. Great
masses of frothing billows came hurtling out of the gloom, which
grew blacker and more menacing every hour. The sight of the
ships tossing upon the mountainous masses was ominous, almost
appalling. The billows broke with deafening roar, hurling tons
of water on board, often filling the spacious decks fore and aft
with their seething flood.
"About the middle of the second day the storm began gradually to
abate. The few cheerless gleams on the third day revealed a most
awe-inspiring view. Far as the eye could see in every direction
the ocean was torn into snowy foam by the raging wind. After the
storm we had but five of the original ten ships left in the
fleet. Several were disabled and three of the other boats towed
them to near ports.
"After the fourth day out we had fine weather for several days.
On Christmas morn we ran into a heavy fog. We could not see from
one end of the boat to the other, but no accidents befell us.
This day brought many thoughts of home, especially at dinner
time, for our menu was simply beans and nothing more, our
supplies of other edibles being exhausted. We each received a
cigar as a present. At eight o'clock on Christmas eve I went on
lifeboat watch. The relieved watch all went below and crawled up
in their hammocks for the night. The lights from the boat showed
she was groping her way through fantastic wreaths of fog, whose
dense white masses enclosed us like a wall. We were unable to
see the lights of the other ships, and when at one end of ours
we could not distinguish the lights at the other.
"'An ominous stillness seemed to pervade the atmosphere--a
stillness which was oppressive and awesome like that which
reigns in the home where death is.' Only the dull rumbling sound
of the engines broke the silence. Soon all the fellows who were
on lifeboat watch were gathered in a group about the smoke
stack, where they had procured a number of life-preservers from
a near-by locker and arranged them for beds in available places
on the deck. Here some reclined as best they could and others
sat up telling stories or woke the echoes with their ringing
songs. Sleep became impossible, and no wonder, for they were too
glad to sleep, even had the rest of the gang permitted it. Soon
a lusty-lunged Gob, the 'Caruso' of the gang, was singing the
official song of Mine Squadron One in his deep sonorous voice,
which drowned all other sounds. The title is 'The Force of
Mine,' and it goes like this:
We sailed across the water,
We sailed across the foam
For fourteen days and fourteen nights
We sailed away from home.
But now three thousand miles away
We love our country more,
Let's give three cheers for Uncle Sam
From off the German shore.
"The rest of the fellows all joined in the chorus:
It's a mine here and a mine there,
Over the ocean everywhere;
Now our ships can cross the sea
And win the war for Liberty;
Uncle Sammy brought his ships
To France' and Belgium's shores.
That force of mine has done its share;
We've fixed the U-boat fair and square;
When victory comes they'll all declare
That mines have won the war.
"Then the strong voice of 'Caruso' again was heard:
We may not look like dreadnaughts,
But from all present signs
Davy Jones has told the Kaiser
That "we're there" on laying mines.
Awhile ago the subs, you know,
Thought they had the gravy,
But when they hit our mine fields, Oh!
They leave the Germany navy.
"By this time the crew on the boat next the Roanoke had caught
the spirit and both lookouts joined in the swelling chorus:
It's a mine here and a mine there,
Over the ocean everywhere.
Now our ships can cross the sea
And win the war for Lib--
"Just at that part of the chorus we felt a crash which broke
suddenly into the song with the thrilling tones of the siren's
danger signal. Instantly those on watch rushed to the lifeboats
and hurriedly unlashed them, ready to drop at the proper signal.
"Our ship carried eight hundred and forty mines at the time she
"The men below came up through the hatches like bees. Many were
in their night clothes, others were only half dressed. Some were
crying, others praying, all thought that the boat was sinking.
One of the fellows was so frightened he tried to jump overboard.
He was hit on the head by a comrade and dragged down below. It
was with great difficulty that order was again restored and the
hatches had to be guarded by men with revolvers. Finally the
panic-stricken sailors, who were running here and there on the
deck, were forced below. Several boats came alongside and threw
lights on our ship. The light revealed a hole cut in her side
from about ten feet below the water line clear to the top.
"She had been struck on the starboard stern while some of the
men were crawling into their hammocks for the night. An English
vessel stood by us with her nose rammed into the side of our
ship. Breathlessly, expectant we all waited by our boats ready
to lower them. The biggest job I had was in keeping some of the
men out of mine. So violent had been the impact that the sailor
in the hammock near the side where the ship was struck was
pitched over three others. A few of the men were scalded by the
hot water and steam from the broken pipes. Our chaplain, who was
just in the act of getting into his hammock, was thrown
violently down, cutting the side of his head open, which
necessitated his removal to the hospital.
"The collision mat was dropped down the side of the ship, which
stopped the inpour of the water. All the large pumps in the ship
were started and the water was pumped out as fast as it came in.
The hole was patched up with a prodigious quantity of cement and
at 12:30 the old ship was under way again."
Thus ended the story of those terrible nights at sea. We went to
our rooms, but not to sleep, for through the semi-conscious
hours that came and went we seemed to hear voices calling for
help from sinking ships and to see again those frightful billows
of the boundless deep.
"Late to bed and early to rise; makes tired travelers rub sore
eyes," said George, as we rapped on his door at what he
considered an unearthly hour for rising. On asking him "why the
trouble with his eyes" he exclaimed, "too much sea in them." We
told him that to sleep away the wondrous beauty of the dawn
instead of imbibing the fragrance and freshness of the morning
hours would be a sin of omission that would require yards of
sack-cloth and barrels of ashes for forgiveness. He arose in due
time (also dew-time), though he at first murmured and grumbled
like a soldier on hearing reveille.
Out in the east a faint glimmer was seen to delicately edge the
pearl gray of the sky along the horizon. The sheen spread
swiftly toward the zenith; pale bars of light shot up like
advance guards to herald the coming splendor. Along the far blue
rim of the ocean a narrow saffron band was seen, which soon
became a broader belt, blazing like molten gold. The western
horizon flushed like a rose-colored sea in which floated clouds
of crimson. How grand this morning pageant and how quickly the
king of day was ushered in! The chafing ocean wore on its bosom
a tender turquoise bloom decked with millions of flashing
jewels. Later it resembled a sapphire sky coruscating with
tremulous stars. As we felt the soft south breeze, which rustled
the leaves of the trees, in which birds were just beginning to
stir, we seemed to catch the delicious melody of Long fellow's
"Daybreak," which is like the fragrance of roses in a dreamy
A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, "O mists, make room for me."
It hailed the ships and cried, "Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone."
And hurried landward far away.
Crying, "Awake, it is the day."
It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out."
It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, "O Bird, awake and sing."
And o'er the farms, "O Chanticleer,
Your clarion blow, the day is near."
It whispered to the fields of corn,
"Bow down and hail the coming morn."
It shouted through the belfry tower,
"Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour."
It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
And said, "not yet! in quiet lie."
Words fail to describe the exhilarating effect of the morning
air, the marvelous beauty of the vast expanse of sea and sky
seen through the luminous trembling haze, or the vines, flowers
and shrubs that grow with wonderful luxuriance, which in many
places presented an almost tropical aspect. If we add to this
the most startling contrasts and picturesque details with a
delightful breeze blowing over all you have still but a faint
idea of the picture.
How bright the morning was! "The leaves were newly washed, every
flower refreshed, their colors. flashing with brighter tints
like new dyes just put on." How pure the air was made! There was
no contamination by smoke or dust and the very breeze came like
a tonic, and we breathed deeply and thanked the Creator for each
potent draught. There was an exuberance of joy in the dance of
the waves as they came rolling in to shore, and the swaying
branches of the trees were only wordless rhythmical songs that
the birds were singing among their branches.
On some bland morning like this when you view the breezy,
sparkling sea, whereon the haze lies like the soft bloom on
grapes, everything will appear dreamy and beautiful, while
recollections of Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo with their
majestic shore lines rising from a sea of sapphire, are
recalled. Those dazzling white buildings rising as they seem to
do from the sea, steeped in that effulgent golden haze, seem
almost unearthly in their splendor. One wonders if he has not
gotten to heaven before his time, for here are terraced garden
walls where fall cascades of exquisite blossoms, vast sheets of
delicate pink geraniums, purple of clematis, lustrous yellow of
mimosas, scarlet anemones and variegated tulips that hang poised
before you like glorious curtains of richly wrought mosaic.
The broad fronds of the palms catch the gold of the morning
sunbeams. The air is laden with the fragrance of myriads of
flowers and has the softness of sea-born breezes. Rose wreathed
villas with their pure white or cream tinted walls; shutters of
turquoise blue and red tile roofs only add to the glory of the
tropical luxuriance and charming views of mountain and sea.
And such a sea! How futile are words to describe. Its blue has
been characterized as a "vast expanse of sapphire sparkling with
diamonds." It does not owe its marvelous effects to reflections
from the sky, for no sky ever had such an intense blue, filled
with lambent light. Then its greens, blues, and purples, seen
from the lovely mountain roads, especially from the road leading
from Monte Carlo, seem more like leaping prismatic flame than a
vast expanse of water. Then the old gold, red, and orange
colored sails of the boats, gliding like magic through the
water, add their picturesque touches to the scene. The sound of
boatmen calling to one another with their soft musical voices is
like the trilling of the nightingale from some leafy bower.
Having felt the charm of those magical scenes you will enjoy the
ocean at Newport none the less.
Always amid Nature's most powerful manifestations one observes
the frailest and most delicate types of creation. Here along the
beach were shells, exquisitely tinted like a sunset sky, cast on
shore by the cruel waves. Tender mosses and fragile sea-weed lay
upon the sand revealing the infinite tenderness of these frail
children of the boundless deep. Looking upon the seething,
surging mass of water that rolled on the troubled sea only last
night, who would have thought it the home of such delicate
beauty? "Truly," we said, as we gazed in admiration and wonder
at the fair scene before us, "the sea as well as the heavens
declares the glory of God and showeth His handiwork." But alas!
"how prone we are to forget the Power that calms the fiercest
storms and so quickly makes all nature glow with beauty again."
One is well repaid for the time he spends along the charming
Cliff Walk, but space forbids us to attempt to describe it. But
then, what is the use?
We were particularly impressed with the beauty of the coast near
Newport. At one place lovely velvety meadows run down near the
sea and form a remarkable contrast to most ocean views. Here we
saw a group of dark gray rocks which formed a sort of a
promontory that jutted out into the ocean. So fantastic did
these rocks appear from a distance that we readily peopled them
with sirens. Standing on the shore opposite them, we watched the
breakers dash themselves to pieces at their feet and the gulls,
those fairy squadrons of air craft, whirling above them. The
bell on the buoy gave forth its warning sound, but the siren
voices kept calling from rocks with a melody that was
irresistible, and heeding not the threnody of the bell, we were
soon looking down in triumph at the broken array of restless
waters from the hollow crest of a great boulder.
>From this point the sea appears as a vast poem, "one of those
charming idyls in which no element of beauty or power is
lacking." From this rough pulpit of masonry we gazed at the
booming breakers rolling in with their crests of gleaming
silver, that were shattered to fragments immediately below us.
Their long sprays of phosphorescent blossoms vanished like stars
in the golden light of dawn. The sea was now bathed in a flood
of mellow light and its gradations of color revealed palest
amethyst along the horizon, while nearer it glowed with
brightest sapphire. In such a place and at such a time as this
you take no note of time. "Your soul is flooded with a sense of
such celestial beauty as you ne'er dreamed of before, and a
nameless inexpressible music enthralls you."
Here we saw forty destroyers in the harbor and two others
entering it. As we gazed at these groups of vessels lying at
anchor, we wondered whether America would always need these grim
objects of destruction and death to guard her liberty. Looking
at these vessels, what memories were revived! Our hearts
sickened at the thought of those thirteen awful days spent in
crossing the ocean, when we were packed like livestock in those
horrible quarters. Ah, God! the memory of it yet brings a
sickening sensation. Then, too, that tempestuous wintry sea that
grew black and white as death with horrible billows, while the
storm raged, cruel, inexorable, unmerciful, bitter. But why let
one's thoughts dwell upon such terrible scenes while standing on
the fair shores of our beloved homeland, over which waves the
glorious flag, now doubly dear to us.
As we watched the coming and going of the vessels we thought of
the many experiences that must have been theirs! For what ports
are those vessels bound? From what distant climes have these
just returned? What perils they may have encountered! What
refreshing memories of the magic beauty of southern seas!
Our reverie was broken by the plaintive cries of the sea birds
circling around us. How the hours have slipped by unnoticed
since we were out here! Slowly we retraced our steps, pausing
now and then to gaze at the fishing boats putting out to sea, or
to look at the hosts of gulls alighting and departing from the
rocks, as restless as the ocean waves. Again we noted the
wonderful blue bloom, like a tropical sea, on which a million
points of light were glinting; now we found a delicate shell and
marvelled at its exquisite colors; we turned again to look at
the sea-birds to learn what the unusually loud clamor was about.
At last the shore was gained and we reluctantly turned away from
those rocks where Undine dwells in the silvery stream and
melodies sweeter than those of the Lorelei still called to us
across the waves.
We passed the old Jewish cemetery which gave Longfellow his
theme, "The Old Jewish Burial Ground at Newport." What exiles,
what persecutions have been theirs, yet here we repeat by the
sounding sea the sad history of their race:
How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves;
Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!
The trees are white with dust that o'er their sleep
Wave their broad curtains in the south wind's breath,
While underneath these leafy tents they keep
The long, mysterious exodus of Death.
And these sepulchral stones so old and brown,
That pave with level flags their burial place,
Seem like the tablets of the Law thrown down
And broken by Moses at the Mountain's base.
Gone are the living, but the dead remain
And not neglected, for a hand unseen,
Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their memories green.
How came they here? What burst of Christian hate,
What persecution, merciless and blind
Drove o'er the sea--that desert desolate--
These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind?
Pride and humiliation hand in hand
Walked with them through the world where'er they went;
Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,
And yet unshaken as the continent.
For in the background figures vague and vast
Of patriarchs and prophets rose sublime,
And all the great traditions of the Past
Then saw reflected in the coming Time.
And then forever with reverted look
The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,
Till life became a Legend of the Dead.
But ah! What once has been shall be no more!
The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again!
Leaving this quiet abode of the dead we were surprised to find
multitudes of people strolling about the town. Of all that
motley throng we met with no one save a solitary fisher out on
the rocks, from which such glorious vistas of the sea may be
had. Then we recalled how few there were who witnessed the
wonderful pageant of the dawn. Surely influences of nature so
beautiful and profound should touch our feeble hopes and lowly
aspirations with new life, inspiring grander visions.
We should leave the frivolous things of life, like the surf, the
offal, washed ashore. We should take back for our winter's need
bits of brightness gleaned from our summer sojourn by the sea.
As we thought of our coming departure, these questions came to
us: Have we treasured up a few of the tints in our lives like
the rare colors of the dawn on the boundless sea? Have we filled
our earthly horizon with golden thoughts, fair visions of the
sea of memory that reach the infinite? Are they transient as the
crimson and rose-colored west or shall they flash and gleam
silent, yet eternal as the stars above?
How often will the ocean's clean-washed sands, those ever-
changing hues and sunsets re-appear when we shall long have been
absent from them! How often, too, shall we hear in fancy as we
do now in reality the moaning of the storm and the booming
breakers along the shore!
The sirens were still calling and their weird enticing melodies
yet rippled through our memories. Out over the harbor beyond
those enchanted rocks the water was o'erspread with the delicate
blue bloom. Later they seemed to withdraw, fading slowly away
into blue and mysterious shadows in the deepening twilight. "Far
out toward the horizon we watched a vessel fade in the violet
dusk; the evening star trembled low on the horizon as if
enamored of the waters." Thus Newport passed into memory.
Little Rhode Island! What a surprise it was to find in this,
this smallest member of a family group of forty-eight states, so
much of the wild and primeval wilderness. Through long stretches
of forest bordered road, stony fields and rough pasture land our
road led. Great clusters of ferns grew in the swampy meadows,
and many brilliant colored swamp flowers were in blossom, giving
the otherwise desolate scene a touch of color. Stone fences
bordered some of the meadows and now and then a rustic cottage
with its brown-stained sides appeared. For a number of miles we
passed through a country where on both sides of the road grew
thickets of oak, yellow and white birch and fragrant pine.
Interspersed among this growth were numberless chestnut, maple
and larch trees.
We soon emerged from this desolate region, however, and at a
more attractive spot our eyes fell upon a boulder monument
erected by the state of Rhode Island in memory and honor of
Thomas Wilson Dorr, whom in an earlier time was considered a
menace to his country. How long this man was in receiving the
true verdict of his country! Pausing to read the latter verdict,
so different from the former, we noted these significant words:
"Thomas Wilson Dorr, 1805-1854; of distinguished lineage, of
brilliant talents, eminent in scholarship, a public spirited
citizen, lawyer, educator, statesman, advocator of popular
sovereignty, framer of the people's Constitution of 1842,
elected Governor under it, adjudged revolutionary in 1842.
Principle acknowledged right in 1912." Then below these words
were added: "I stand before you with great confidence in the
final verdict of my country. The right of suffrage is the
guardian of our liberty."
Here in this charming spot where the beautiful maples stood in
groups or grew singly we ate our luncheon beneath these trees
whose liberty-loving branches stirred by a passing breeze
rustled a leafy accompaniment to a nation's paean of praise. His
principles were right, but he was in advance of his time. We
were glad to know that such a small state could produce so great
Here we were entering the city where Williams with five others
landed at the foot of the hill which he chose as the place of
his settlement. In gratitude for "God's merciful providence to
him in distress" he called the place Providence. Roger Williams,
with his grand idea of religious tolerance, stood far ahead of
his time. His aim, like his character, was pure and noble. He
was educated at London, and was a friend of Vane, Cromwell and
Milton. While at Plymouth and Salem he spent much time in
learning the Indian tongue.
Little did he dream as he slept in their filthy wigwams what a
great benefit the learning of their language would be to him
The land along the east shore of Narragansett bay was the
country of Massasoit; that on the west side, and the islands,
belonged to the Narragansetts.
It was in the heart of winter when he made his way in secrecy
through snow and ice to a place not far from where Blackstone
lived. Here he began to plant and build, and others came to join
him. Williams was shown great kindness by the Indians, and he
bought the land of natives, thereby soon gaining great influence
I know where wild things lurk and linger
In groves as gray and grand as Time;
I know where God has written poems
Too strong for words or rhyme.
To one who has lived in a level country how full of joyful
experience is a winding mountain road!
None of our journeys will be remembered with keener delight than
the days spent in sauntering along the Mohawk trail. What
incomparable trout streams, what vast primeval forests, how
charming the peaceful valleys, what trails leading to the tops
of wooded hills or fern-clad cool retreats of the forest! What a
life the Indians must have had here, moving from place to place
enjoying new homes and new scenery! Here the fierce child of
Nature lived amidst the grandest temples of God's building,
where the song of the hermit thrush as old as these fragrant
aisles, still rings like a newly-strung lute; while the wind
among the myriad keyed pines thrums a whispering accompaniment
and the yellow and white birch fill the place with incense.
Many mourn because they have no money to purchase a noble work
of art, or pay a visit to the Vatican or the Louvre. But here in
their own beloved America God has an open gallery, filled with
pictures fairer than the grandest dream of any landscape artist,
which wear no trace of age and no fire can destroy. Here no
curtains need be drawn, as over the masterpieces of Raphael and
Rubens to preserve their tints for future generations. They grow
more mellow and tender as countless years roll by. All of these
you may have, to hang on the walls of memory where no Napoleon
can come to take them to a Louvre.
THE LURE OF THE MOHAWK TRAIL
Along the Mohawk trail, standing gold and white
Where the crystal rivers flash and gleam;
The fragrant birch trees greet the sight,
And gently droop to kiss the steam.
And the lure of the pine on the Mohawk trail,
Is tuned to the spirits' restful mood,
It murmurs and calls on the passing gale,
For all to enjoy its solitude.
Still, the birch and pine all silver and gray,
Call from the Berkshires and seem to say:
"Leave your lowland worries behind
The petty cares that hinder and blind;
Come hither and find a quieter spot
Where troubles and cares and sorrow are not.
Come out where the heavens just drip with gold
And the Divine Artist's paintings ne'er grow old.
--O. O. H.
Scenery such as you meet with here has a more telling effect
upon one than a masterpiece of sculpture, literature or music,
and infinitely surpasses man's most worthy efforts. Why cross
the ocean or spend an over-amount of time in the art galleries
of our own country, when we dwell so near Art's primal source?
Out here the Divine Artist, with all rare colors, has painted
scenes of panoramic splendor and every day new and grander views
are displayed, for He sketches no two alike. Then, what
harmonious blending of light and shadow; what glowing veils of
color that no Turner has ever caught! At every turn in the road
new pictures are passed, revealing rare and unrivaled beauty.
You need not sigh because you are so far removed from grand
opera, for the very trees and ferns are eloquent with melodies
irresistible; although their silence may be perfect, the heart
perceives the richest, fullest harmonies.
You should not lament the fact that you have never heard the
skylark or nightingale for, their melody, although infinitely
rich and varied, do not attain that sublime height of harmony
found in the thrush's song. If you long to go to Europe to hear
the lark and nightingale, save the best trip for the last and
come out to the White mountains, where you can hear more
With such pure air, stately trees, sparkling brooks, and singing
birds, surely the sick would all speedily recover and the lines
of suffering and care be smoothed from their pain-traced faces,
could they spend a few weeks on the Mohawk trail.
This trail is one of the newest and by far the most beautiful
opened by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That grand old
state, whose valiant sons were ever ready to guard the rights of
a freedom and liberty loving people, can be justly proud of the
part she has always played in progressive movements. This superb
stretch of macadam road traverses a bit of mountain country
hitherto untraveled, save by chance pedestrians or wandering
Indians. It passes through a region whose marvelous beauty and
varied scenery is unrivaled in the East.
Centuries ago the savage Mohawk, in his annual journeys from the
valley of the Hudson to the valley of the Connecticut, traveled
this scenic highway. This is one of the oldest and most
beautiful highways on the continent. It was built at a cost of
over a third of a million dollars. This seems a large sum to pay
for a stretch of road only fifteen miles in length, "but a trip
over it" as one traveler said, "is well worth the price." "Each
day in summer, thousands of tourists pass over it, attracted by
the freshness and beauty of the Berkshire Hills."
The old trail crossed parts of three states: Eastern New York,
northern Vermont, and western Massachusetts. After the white man
came and subdued the Indian, this old trail was still used as
the only communication between the East and West in this section
of the country. What historic ground it traverses, and what
stirring scenes were witnessed here! From the Hudson eastward it
passes the home of the original knickerbocker, celebrated by
Washington Irving, and runs near Bennington, famous as the place
in which General Stark, with the aid of reinforcements led by
Colonel Seth Warner, defeated two detachments of Burgoyne's
Here were collected the supplies the British did not get. Here,
too, is located a beautiful monument three hundred and one feet
in height, which commemorates the event. It leads through
Pownal, the oldest permanent settlement in Vermont, where both
Garfield and Aruthur taught school and near which, is located
"Snow Hole," a cave of perpetual snow and ice. Williamstown,
Mass., also lies along this highway. It grew up near Fort Mass,
which was constructed by Colonel Ephraim Williams as a barrier
to guard the western frontier of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Here is located Williams College, one of the most famous of the
smaller New England institutions; also Thompson Memorial Chapel,
which is considered by architectural authorities to be one of
the finest in this country. In Mission Park is located the
famous haystack monument, marking the birthplace of foreign
missions, a spot visited by pilgrims from all over the world.
We were indeed entering the Switzerland of America. Hawthorne in
his notebook characterized its beauty thus: "I have never driven
through such romantic scenery, where there was such a variety of
mountain shapes as this, and though it was a bright sunny day,
the mountains diversified the air with sunshine and shadow and
glory and gloom."
"Never came day more joyfully upon mountains," and never was any
more fully enjoyed. The dew was almost as refreshing as rain, so
copiously had it gathered on the grass and flowers. Their
brilliant spikes of blossoms were like magic wands, enticing us
through the place like fair enchantresses. Ferns, the like of
which we never beheld, grew all about the highway. Great Osmunda
ferns, nearly as high as our heads, formed vase-like clusters,
whose magic shields seemed guarding the home of some forest
nymphs. It is a delight to be alive amid scenes so fair and on
days which are as perfect as July days can be.
Imagine if you can a balmy south wind, heavily laden with the
fragrance of pine mint, balsam and scented fern; myriads of pine
needles each tipped with its diamond drop; musical brooks far-
flashing in the morning light; twittering swallows in the sky
above; add to this the mysterious veil of color that makes
distance so magical, and you yet have a faint idea of the
In the valleys lay velvety meadows with their stately groups of
elms, beneath which droves of cattle and sheep were grazing. Now
and then lakes gleamed like sheets of molten beryl in their
forest setting. Here and there we observed spaces in the valley
resembling sunken gardens, with houses surrounded by their
graceful elms, or having tree-bordered fields in their midst. We
knew not in which direction to look, for beauty was on every
side and we absorbed new life, new hope, and spiritual tone from
our wonderful environment.
"Today we dine at the sign of the White Pine Bough," we said, as
we beheld a fine forest of evergreens, whose myriad needles
seemed to be calling us to enjoy their "restful solitude."
Chickadees and warblers sang among their branches. The ground
beneath them was covered with a thick soft carpet of rich brown
needles. Large boulders covered with moss and lichens were
scattered about, which served us for tables. Tall ferns grew in
abundance. The air was heavy with fragrance of pine and hemlock.
Our appetites were made unusually keen by our sampling of choke
cherries that grew in abundance along the highway. How delicious
is a meal of buns, with honey and butter, berries and pure
spring water! One learns the real flavor of food out here where
the odors of restaurants are but a memory.
Thinking that there was a waterfall somewhere near, we
penetrated quite a distance the forest, only to learn that we
had heard naught but the wind among the pines.
Here in the lovely Berkshire country near a charming lake we saw
the sturdy New England farmers at work in their harvest fields.
One farmer was still using the old self rake-reaper. It was
interesting to watch the old reaper in operation. A real old
gentleman seeing us, came out to the road and after a friendly
greeting, asked: "And what be ye doing in Yankee land?" Mr. H.
could not resist the temptation to bind a few sheaves for old
times' sake, and soon was binding the golden bundles, and so
fascinated was he, that an hour passed by (to the utter delight
of the old man's son, let it be known) while he neatly bound his
first New England sheaves.
He was well aware that this stop had undoubtedly meant the
missing of some grand natural scenery, but he declared with
amazing indifference that he would not have missed this
opportunity for many mountain scenes, however fair. The same
mysterious power that threw over the hills that filmy veil of
delicate blue had turned to gold the standing wheat, which so
lately undulated in the rippling wind with its sea-like tints of
shimmering, shining green.
Bidding our friends adieu, we thought what a grand harvest of by-
gone memories the day had brought.
One can never forget the groups of yellow and silver birch that
grow like beautiful bouquets along the trail. Druids built their
altars and worshiped beneath the aged oaks, but surely there
were no lovely groups of white and yellow birch there, or they
would have forsaken their oaks for these graceful, fragrant
trees. What lessons of humility they teach by their modest,
Where the forest contains so many noble trees to challenge one's
admiration, you will linger fondly among these glorious
creations of God's art, where each new group is more beautiful
than the last, and extol their beauty above all other New
England trees. They are indeed the gold and silver censers in
Nature's vast cathedral which scatter incense on every passing
breeze. One could wish for no lovelier monument to mark his last
resting place--and it would indeed be a noble life to be worthy
of such distinction.
The most beautiful of all eastern evergreen trees is the
hemlock, which forms a most vivid contrast to the groups of
birch, and when they are massed in the background the birch
stand out in fine relief. Then how different from the vigorous
aspiring pines they are. Poor soil seems to be no drawback to
the pines, for they appear to possess a native vitality found in
no other tree, and push upward sturdily toward the light; their
"spiry summits pointing always heavenward." The slender,
graceful branches of the hemlock trees are hung with innumerable
drooping sprays of bluish green foliage, beautiful as the
Osmunda ferns that grow in these wonderful woods. Then how
charming their blue flowers and rich brown cones that form
clusters at the ends of their numerous sprays They are just the
ornaments to enhance their delicate foliage, and a bloom of
silvery-blue clothes the trees like that which veils the distant
The trees became thicker and the scenery more rugged as we
neared a place where the road doubled back, forming a sort of
triangular piece of land known as "Hairpin Curve." This seems to
be one of the shrines of travelers, and the goal of many a
summer pilgrimage. There is an observation tower here, where a
wonderful view of the country may be had. The view, though not
so extensive, is very much like that obtained from Whitcomb's
summit. Here we met two boys with pails well filled with
blueberries and huckleberries. They kindly gave us a sample of
each variety, the quest of which would furnish an excuse for so
many memorable rambles in the days to come.
Indeed the Mecca of travelers is Mount Whitcomb, from whose
summit you look over a vast expanse of mountain peaks stretching
away in all directions like a huge sea. Standing on the summit
of Whitcomb, one of the finest views of pure wild mountain
scenery in the East is disclosed. Immediately in front of you
loom vast numbers of wooded slopes with their varied tints of
green in grand variety, stretching shoulder to shoulder like
works of art. A great many peaks, rivers and dark blue lakes,
all saturated in the warm, purple light, lie dreamily silent in
the far distance. Rounded summits rise up from the vast
undulating mass like a never-ending sea, whose surface is broken
as far as the eye can reach with their immense billows of blue
The nearer forests comprise the green-tinted waves, which recede
and blend imperceptibly into infinite gradations of color from
palest sapphire to darkest purple tones. Standing here, gazing
at the glorious landscape circling round with its far-flashing
streams, placid lakes, and the infinite blue dome of the sky
above, and an air of mystery brooding over all, we exclaimed
with the poet: "And to me mountains high are a feeling, but the
hum of human cities torture."
What a wealth of natural beauty greets you here! It is the
highest point along the Mohawk trail, twenty-two hundred and two
feet above sea level. From the sixty-foot observatory the eye
sweeps sections of four states: Vermont, New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, and New York. Among the prominent peaks that
distinguish themselves are Monadnock, in New Hampshire, Mount
Berlin in New York, Wachuset, Mount Tom, and Graylock in
Massachusetts, the latter being monarch of them all, rising to a
height of thirty-five hundred and five feet. A remarkable
feature of the place is a spring issuing from the rocks near
Mount Whitcomb's summit.
There is more sublimity in the towering snow-clad Alps, more
real wildness in the Adirondacks, more gracefulness in the
flowing contour of the Catskills, yet few are so beautiful or
"bring more lasting and inspiring memories." Lying dreamily
silent in thick purple hues, old Graylock is a vision of
splendor that looms as a charming surprise to all observers. The
sunbeams that filter through innumerable leaves give the place a
cathedral-like solemnity. How all sordid thoughts disappear,
vanishing on the far shores of forgetfulness like the pale tints
that grow dim and melt along the sky-line! How the so-called
splendors and pomp of your cities pale into insignificance out
here among God's eternal hills! The eye roves over this vast
domain in unwonted freedom.
How quickly one imbibes disdain for all unrighteous restraint.
No wonder the inhabitants dwelling among the Swiss Alps could
not bear the crushing yoke of tyranny thrust upon them. The very
atmosphere they breathed had in it an elixir, and the lofty,
snow-clad hills, as they gazed upon their seeming
unchangeableness, were only loftier principles that led their
souls in trial flights heavenward.
As you look out again at this vast wilderness of mountains
towering together you are aware how many and superb are the
views you never could have enjoyed by remaining in the valleys
below. Only by continued effort can one leave the lowlands of
self, and it requires a courageous soul indeed not to look back
as did Lot's wife at the smoking ruins of her village. How much
of indomitable courage and firmness is taught by those hills!
How much of humility by the little blue campanula peeping from
rocky ledges, with heaven's own blue "gladdening the rough
mountain-side like a happy life that toils and faints not."
We do not know why the Florida range in the Hoosacs was so named
unless it was on account of the wonderfully luxuriant ferns that
present an almost tropical appearance along its sides. Here are
vast meadows of Osmundas, waving their plume-like fronds of rich
green in tropical beauty. These are the most luxurious plants
our low wet woods or mountain meadows know. They are all superb
plants whose tall, sterile fronds curve gracefully outward,
forming vase-like clusters with their resplendent shields.
The regal fern belonging to this family is all that its name
implies. It has smooth pale green sterile fronds, with a crown
that encircles the fertile, flower-like fronds, forming a vase-
like cluster of singular beauty. This fern was one time used by
herbalists to prepare a salve for wounds and bruises. We thought
that it would be harder to destroy such beauty than to bear the
wounds and bruises. It has in it the very essence and spirit of
the woods, and "as you approach and raise these fronds you feel
their mysterious presence."
Here, too, you meet with the interrupted fern, whose graceful,
sterile fronds fall away in every direction, holding you captive
with its charm. It is fair enough to interrupt Satan himself.
An old English legend relates that near Loch Tyne dwelt an
Englishman, Osmund, who saved his wife and child from imminent
danger by hiding them upon an island among masses of flowered
fern, and the child in later years named the plant for her
Wordsworth was familiar with these ferns, for he writes:
Often, trifling with a privilege
Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now,
And now the other, to point out, perchance
To pluck some flower or water weed, too fair,
Either to be divided from the place
On which it grew, or to be left alone
To its own beauty. Many such there are,
Fair ferns and flowers and chiefly that tall fern,
So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named:
Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode
On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side
Of Grecian brook or Lady of the Mere,
Sole sitting by the shores of old romance.
The mngled beauty and majesty of the landscape near Deerfield
was so simple, yet so charming, that thoughts of serious
questions were out of the question. The sky was partly overcast
with clouds offering lovely breadths of light and shade. Every
ledge of rocks along the brown, foaming water of the Deerfield
river was draped with weld clematis, ferns, vines, and moss. As
the stream dashed along at our left it broke the rich mass of
verdure with its silvery gleam.
By the side of the road a woman was selling honey made from
mountain flowers. We bought several pounds and found it most
excellent. The comb was so thin that it seemed to melt in one's
mouth, and the flavor had in it a "subtle deliciousness" clearly
indicating its source.
We halted here not so much, because we wanted the honey, but to
have more time in which to take a last look at the valley. What
a picture it made! The few scattered houses reposing in the
valley or nestling along the edge of the towering hills made a
frame for the rich green and gold of the fields whenever the sun
peeped out from behind the clouds. Higher up we caught the
outlines of the hills whose light, gray sides of purest aspect,
peeping froth their rich verdure, made a picture which we can
never forget. The rustic homes scattered about had always some
noble elms to shelter them. Soon we beheld clusters of wooded
heights with here and there a single pointed summit rising above
the rest. Each spot possessed a beauty, differing only in its
type and not in quantity.
Again we were traveling along a trout stream that sang its songs
of freedom as cheerily as the cardinal or vireo nearby. A glow
of color permeated its banks where it was more open. A host of
blue mints, fragrant burgamot, and glowing masses of cardinal
flowers attracted the eye. Over these hovered, like larger
flowers, the black and yellow tiger swallowtail, argynnis,
painted lady, and mourning-cloak butterflies. Earlier in the
season laurel and honeysuckle shed their fragrance into it.
Blackberries, redbud and dogwood enliven its banks in the
spring, and we saw where hepatica, bloodroot, and anemone grew
At Deerfield amid so much repose, who could think that here was
committed one of the most terrible of Indian massacres. Men,
women and children were put to death in the most horrible
manner. A company of ninety, with eighteen wagons, went to
Deerfield to get a quantity of grain, which had been left behind
by the fleeing citizens. After securing the grain, they forded a
little stream, throwing their fire-arms into the wagons. In an
instant hundreds of bullets and arrows came whizzing from the
surrounding thickets. Only seven out of the number were not
killed, and this stream where they fell bears the significant
name of Bloody Brook to this day.
"Captain Mosley, (the pale-face-with-two-heads) arrived with
seventy militia before the Indians could escape. He hung his wig
on a bush while he fought. "Come, paleface-with-two-heads," they
shouted, "you seek Indians? You want Indians? Here are Indians
enough for you!" And they brandished aloft the scalp-locks they
had taken. Mosley stationed his men under a shower of arrows,
and began the struggle with over a thousand savages. He was
beaten back, but was re-enforced by one hundred and sixty
Mohican and English troops, and beat the enemy back with great
The memorial association of Deerfield has erected a stone
monument, marking the spot where Eunice Williams, wife of
Reverend John Williams of Deerfield, was slain by her Indian
captor on the march to Canada after the sacking of the town,
February 29, 1704.
How often the meadows were damp with the blood of their victims!
How often the gold of the buttercups were stained ruby red! It
is impossible to dwell at length on scenes of such terrible
cruelty in a spot where all is so peaceful. We seemed to catch
the restful spirit of the place, and yielding to its soothing
influence, sauntered on into deeper solitudes where we viewed
nature in one of her wildest strongholds. Here ferns and mosses
grew in abundance.
What a place to commune with Nature! "Was ever temple
consecrated by man like this in beauty and filled with such holy
These glorious hills seemed to be calling the dwellers of the
hot and dusty lowlands to come and enjoy their cool, leafy
retreats. The slopes were covered with large leaved maples;
pines that always towered so straight; and birch that grew in
clusters all along the highway. These comprised the foreground.
The middle of the picture was composed of many hills rising one
above the other in finely modeled forms with evergreen and
deciduous trees fitting so closely together they appeared as a
great, rich tapestry.
While in Massachusetts it is well worth while to go to the old
historical town of Springfield. As we viewed the old arsenal
located there, these significant lines from Longfellow's
"Arsenal at Springfield," kept singing themselves over in our
Is it, O man, with such discordant noises,
With such accursed instruments as these
Thou drownest Nature's kindly voices,
And jarrest the Celestial Harmonies?
Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals and forts.
Down the dark future, through long generations,
The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease;
And like a bell with solemn sweet vibrations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say, "Peace."
Peace no longer from its brazen portals
The blast of war's great organ shakes the skies!
But beautiful as songs of the immortals
The holy melodies of love arise.
The arsenal of Springfield was built in 1794. In 1846 it had a
storage capacity of five hundred thousand rifles. It is
earnestly to be hoped that the old arsenal's mission is over,
and that future generations will visit it only because our
illustrious Longfellow was inspired to write his poem about it.
One will be well repaid for a trip to Charlemont. Many memories
of bygone days fraught with gravest meaning are recalled at this
"Charlemont has many places of historical interest. At the
western end of the village near the long bridge across the
Deerfield river is, the famous sycamore tree under which the
first settlers slept. Just back of it is the place where Charles
Dudley Warner lived, when he had the experiences related in
"Being a Boy." Back of the house on a hill is a monument marking
the resting place of Captain Rice and Phineas Arms, who were
shot by Indians in June, 1775. About two miles from the crossing
of the river on the Mohawk trail on a high ridge is a tall,
lonesome pine which marks the point where the aboriginal Mohawk
trail ascended the hills. The trail can be very clearly traced
at the present day from Cold river up the mountains and along
the ridge to the west for several miles." What a different scene
the road presents today when compared with that of two hundred
What a charming location North Adams has in the hollow of the
hills! They seem to surround it on all sides like sentinels
watching over the birthplace of one of the world's great souls,
Susan B. Anthony.
A silvery brook comes stealing
From shadow of its trees
Where slender herbs of forest stoop
Before the entering breeze.
The silvery stream seems to grow wider, dashing its mossy rocks
with foam, and swaying from side to side with its swift,
impetuous flow as it descends. Past leaning willows it goes;
past graceful elms and fragrant groups of gleaming birch;
whether fast or slow, morning or night, it fills all the
woodland with its liquid music. One turns again and again to
admire the white birch arranged in groups, each lovelier than
the one just beheld. It takes an artist's soul to really enjoy
these wonderful and harmonious scenes. We carried notebooks and
a camera, but used them slightly. Shall we ever forget the azure
sky, the gleaming yellow and white of the birch, the green
meadows, the silvery flashing of the happy streams, or the
bright green and blue of far lakes? No, they shall remain as
long as memories of beautiful things last.
What fine traveling companions these lovely New England brooks
make! What grace and freedom is theirs ! What songs of joy they
sing, telling of the grandeur of the hills through which they
flow! Gladly we followed their winding way, "asking for no
better friend or finer music." No wonder they are so cool and
refreshing, for in what crystal pure springs do they find their
source? Like well born children with a beautiful environment,
they bathe all the wood land flowers and trees with their
beneficent water until they leave a trail of richest verdure
from the mountain to the sea, where they mingle in the great
expanse of waters not to perish, but to be resurrected, into
glorious summer clouds, to carry life and health to the thirsty
plants of earth.
The very sight of their rushing crystal waters beside the
widening road on a hot day gives one a new lease on life. Truly
did Wordsworth say, "earth has not anything to show more fair."
All afternoon we wandered "by shallow rivers to whose falls
melodious birds sang madrigals." We, like the river, were
journeying "at our own sweet will."
Grand balsam fir sprang from the crevices of the rock, family
groups of white birch rose and spread their graceful masses of
foliage on either side of us; mounds of virgin bowers, wild
grape vines, and bittersweet crowned the rocky sides of the
cliffs, spreading from tree to tree or hung from them like
folded curtains; and the sunlight and shadow among pine and
hemlock where grew mosses, ferns and flowers, made vast sheets
of rich mosaic. The hermit and veery thrush sang in the woods
around, tree swallows cut the air above in graceful flight, and
even the lone scout out for a hike, carrying his supplies, had
yielded to his environment and sang such a rapturous strain (to
which a redwing whistled a gurgling accompaniment), we were
reminded of these lines from Roger's "Human Life": "And feeling
hearts, touch them but rightly, pour a thousand melodies unheard
before." He seemed to sing out of very wantonness, and his song
seemed to have that soft undercurrent of melody heard in the
chimes of Belgium--with just a hint of plaintiveness in it to
make the joy and the brightness of the day complete.
No wonder the Indians thought these majestic white mountains the
abodes of their god. Marvelous stories were told about great
shining stones that glittered on the cliffs through the darkness
of the night. Now and then specimens of crystal were shown to
white settlers which they said came from the greatest mountain.
The whites at first called it the "Crystal Hill."
"But," said the Indians to the whites, "nobody can go to the top
of Agiochook, to get these glittering stones, because it is the
abode of the great god of storms, famine and pestilence. Once,
indeed, some foolish Indians had attempted to do so, but they
never came back, for the spirit that guarded the gems from
mortal hands had raised great mists, through which the hunters
wandered on like blind men until the spirit led them to the edge
of some dreadful gulf, into which he cast them, shrieking."
These mountains were not discovered until 7642, when a bold
settler by the name of Darby Field determined to search for the
precious stones. It must have been wonderful, this trip through
these beautiful hills in June. He came to the neighborhood of
the present town of Fryeburg, where the Indian village of the
Pigwackets was then located.
With the aid of some Indian guides he was led to within a few
miles of the summit when, for fear of the evil spirit, all
except two refused to go farther. On he went with these two
guides clambering over rocks, crossing rocky mountain torrents,
until he came to a stony plain where were located two ponds.
Above this plain rose the great peak that overlooks all this
wonderful New England region. This they also climbed. How the
sight of this great wilderness of forest and mountain must have
thrilled him. He has said that the mountain, falling away into
dark gulfs, was "dauntingly terrible." Here, as you stand upon
this great watershed of New England, you will indeed find
precious stones worth coming from afar to see. You, like Field,
will carry away crystals, but unlike his, which he thought were
diamonds, yours will gleam and sparkle in the halls of memory
with a clearer radiance than any gems this world affords. While
Field was above the clouds, a sudden storm swept over the Indian
guides who remained below. Here he found them drying their
clothes by a fire, and they were greatly surprised at seeing him
again, for they had given him up for lost.
We came to Crawford's notch by way of the Mohawk trail with
visions of the lovely Berkshires and old Mount Graylock still
vivid. Richer and wilder still seemed this vast mountain range
with its glorious forests and songful streams. Here indeed is
the tree lover's paradise. Here you will find primeval woods
with decayed leaves and plants underneath, almost a foot in
thickness. The massed foliage at noon let in the light in
shimmering patches of sunshine and shade, making squares and
angles like a Persian rug with flower and fern designs.
Here weary travelers may find a camper's heaven. Just opposite
Mount Jackson is a velvety lawn with grass and flowers in
abundance. Water may be had not far distant. The lovely birch
trees gleam where your camp fire is kindled and the larger
evergreens stand like sombre sentinels on watch through the
night. But one sometimes learns a camper's life is not all
places of cool retreats, bright camp fires, dry beds of plush-
like boughs, with delicious breaths of birch, pine and mountain
wild flowers sifting through his tent. Because the wood thrush
and cardinal sang while you ate your supper of well-cooked trout
is no sign you will be so highly favored the next time you pitch
your tent. Instead you often find unsuitable places for camping
with dust and heat in place of cool retreats; instead of the
cheerful campfire anticipated, you may work hard to get a
"smudgy smouldering fire." Your meal will in all probability
consist of raw salmon eaten at The Sign of the Smoke Screen;
while your dry bed of balsam boughs may turn out to be rain
trickling down your neck, Niagara-like, and your resting place a
veritable Lake Erie. Your fragrance of a thousand flowers may be
the pungent aroma of the skunk, borne by the evening breeze; and
your evening serenade perhaps will be made by an immense number
of "no see ems" whose shrill and infinitely fine soprano is paid
for in so many installments of blood, to say nothing of the
furious itching and nights of "watchful waiting." Even to enjoy
Nature in her finer moods you must always pay a price, and
people gain "beauty, as well as bread, by the sweat of their
But here we are at Crawford's notch, gazing at the mountains
that tower far above us. Their bases already lie in deep shadows
which are creeping continually upward. We lifted our eyes toward
the masses of light gray rock many hundreds of feet in height,
which kept watch over the lovely glen below. There were the tops
of the mountains bathed in floods of golden light, while their
lower levels were already dim with twilight gloom. How true, in
life, we said, are the sunshine and shadow. The paths of ease
and self-indulgence are full of mortals because they wind and
diverge from the way of truth, leading to lower and more easily
attained levels. But up on the mountain top no dissatisfied
throng stirs up the dust and we feel that joyous exaltation of
spirit which comes to those who climb a little nearer heaven.
In the park-like space in which we find the Crawford House, how
quiet and beautiful all things are! Towering all around are
lofty peaks as if to shut out the beauty from the rest of the
world. We are not artists, so we sit down in this quiet-retreat
and let Nature paint the picture. The breath of the pine and
birch fills the place like incense. The softly sighing pines
with the distant waterfalls are singing their age-old songs. The
evergreens are marshalled in serried ranks, spire above spire,
like a phalanx of German soldiers clad in their green coats,
their spiked helmets gleaming in the evening light. But they are
pushing on to "victory and peace," and each soldier with aeolian
melodies marches to his own accompaniment while the evening
breeze softly thrums its anthem of divine love. We wished our
lives might be pierced by the mystery of their gleaming javelins
that we too might learn their lessons of strength, endurance and
noble aspiration. As we stood at the base of these glorious
forest-crowned mountains, gazing in rapt admiration and wonder
at God's "handiwork," we were conscious of a revelation
whispered through the myriad needles of the pine. How small seem
the honors, customs, cares, and petty bickerings of men seen
through the vast perspective of these eternal hills. How quickly
we forget our seeming ills and are more in "tune with the
"The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration."
As the shadows crept higher along the ridges the breeze died
away. The great artist, evening, with all rare colors was
painting another masterpiece. The last rays of the sun were now
gilding the mountain peaks; long ago their bases rested in
purple shadow and the yellow light seemed to be reflected from
all their wooded heights. At our right lay Mount Tom in deep
shadow; the pines on Mount Jackson to the east cut the blue
vault of the sky with their serrated edges. The drooping birch
trees stood silent as if awaiting a benediction. The sky all
along the eastern horizon was a broad belt of old rose which
deepened to crimson, then crimson was succeeded by daffodil
yellow. Far up in the mountain above a wood thrush poured forth
his clear notes. "The last rays that lingered above the purple
peaks were slowly withdrawn into that shadowy realm called
night." Only the wind sighed again among the faint silvery
clashing of distant waterfalls. How like a prayer was that vast
sea of changing colors. The poem of creation was written
unmistakably upon the evening sky. Out here God himself is
teaching his grandest lessons, but alas! how few there are who
really hear them.
How wonderful the dawns and twilights; how vast and changeable
the ocean; how pure and deep the lakes; how strong and high the
mountains; how infinite and full of mystery the sky, yet how few
there are who really see and enjoy them.
If only all people would accept the invitation froth that sweet
singer of the Wabash, Maurice Thompson, we would hear fewer
people say, "It isn't much," or "We are exceedingly disappointed
"Come, let us go, each pulse is precious,
Come, ere the day has lost its dawn;
And you shall quaff life's finest essence
From primal flagons drawn!
Just for a day to slip off the tether
Of hot-house wants, and dare to be
A child of Nature, strong and simple,
Out in the woods with me."
How calmly and soothingly night came on! Over the quiet glen at
Crawford's notch, the sunset, moonlight, and starlight were
weaving the mysterious spell of the night. On the very edge of a
mountain ridge glowed the evening star. There was no sound
except the rhythmical murmur of the pines and far-heard sound of
waterfalls. Presently a night hawk rose from a wooded ridge and
uttered her weird cry, then a bat darted "hither and thither, as
if tethered by invisible strings." Then began the real serenade
of the evening. Down in the waters of Lake Waco the frogs broke
the silence. We moved slowly to the edge of the water,
disturbing some of the members of the aquatic orchestra, who
kept springing into the lake with a final croak of disapproval.
We made our way back to the hotel across the velvety grass,
already wet with dew, to find a crowd of splendidly attired
tourists, poring over their cards or dancing away those rare
hours, at the close of "one of those heavenly days that cannot
"Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds."
So thought we as the day that was breaking found us out in the
lovely glen; hemmed in on all sides by lofty hills. The birds at
this season of the year do most of their singing in the morning
hours. Early as the time was, we were not the first to greet the
The blue mantle that clothed the mountains had been withdrawn so
that the serrated points of spruce and pine stood out in bold
relief against the pale blue of the morning sky. The stars, like
far-off beacon lights along the mountain tops, slowly melted
into the dawn. Over in the direction of Mount Willard the rich
contralto of the wood thrush sounded; the white crowned
sparrow's sweet, wavering whistle rang from the spruce crested
slopes; from the telephone poles down by the railroad station
the king birds were loudly disputing with the indigo buntings
for full possession of the wires; flickers and downy woodpeckers
called loudly or gave vent to their morning enthusiasm by
beating a lively tattoo upon the dead pine stubs; while the
ringing reveille of the cardinal must have awakened the
sleepiest denizen of the forest.
But another song rises pure and serene above the general chorus
of vireos and warblers. You saunter along a murmuring stream,
scarce noting the fresh green of bush and tree, or the ferns,
flowers and moss that are massed in marvelous beauty. Nature has
arranged her stage in the amphitheater of the hills for some
great pageant. All the while you are listening to the rich
melody coming from the shadowy depths of hemlock in the
direction of Mount Willard. "It seemed as if some unseen Orpheus
had strayed to earth and from some remote height was thrumming a
divine accompaniment." Here among the majesty and stillness of
the White Mountains was a song most fitting and infinitely
beautiful to express their loveliness. It seemed to have in it
the purity and depth of crystal clear lakes; the solemn and
shadowy grandeur of hemlock forests, the faint, far-away spirit
music of mountain echoes, the calm serenity of evening skies,
the prayers and hopes and longings of all creation. With such a
prelude as this did we behold the coming of the dawn. Nature had
erected an emerald portal for the triumphal entry of the king of
day. The curtains of misty green were drawn back at the signal
of some nymph. Between the broken ridges of Mount Clinton and
Jackson the sun appeared long after his first beams were old on
the opposite side of the mountains.
While the swallows that built their nests beneath the eaves of
the Crawford House were busy many hours with their family cares,
the card-crazed players and the dancers of the night before were
sleeping the troubled sleep of the idlers.
The traveler who comes to the White Mountains should not fail to
see Chocorua. "Chocorua," how rich and sonorous is that word. It
has in it something expressing the wildness and loneliness of
these lovely hills. Its rhythm suggests the sigh of the wind
among mountain pines or the continuous and far-heard melody of
distant waterfalls. This famous peak is everything that a New
Hampshire mountain should be. It bears the name of an Indian
chief. It is invested with traditional and poetic interest. In
form it is massive and symmetrical. The forests of its lower
slopes are crowned with rock that is sculptured into a peak with
lines full of haughty energy in whose gorges huge shadows are
entrapped and whose cliffs blaze with morning gold, and it has
the fortune to be set in connection with lovely water scenery,
with squam and Winnepesaukee, and the little lake directly at
"On one side of its jagged peak a charming lowland prospect
stretches east and south of the Sandwich range, indented by the
emerald shores of Winnepesaukee, which lies in queenly beauty
upon the soft, far-stretching landscape. Pass around a huge rock
to the other side of the steep pyramid, and you have turned to
another chapter in the book of nature. Nothing but mountains
running in long parallels, or bending ridge behind ridge,
visible, here blazing in sunlight, there gloomy with shadow, and
all related to the towering mass of the imperial Washington.
"And Chocorua is the only mountain here whose summit is honored
with a legend. 'In the valley where the lovely forest-clad
mountains tower above the blue lakes dwelt Chocorua, the last
chief of his tribe. Here too lived a settler by the name of
"Chocorua had a son, nine or ten years old, to whom Caroline
Campbell had occasionally made such gaudy present as were likely
to attract his savage fancy. This won the child's affections, so
that he became a familiar visitant, almost an inmate of their
dwelling, and, being unrestrained by the courtesies of civilized
life, he would inspect everything which came in his way. Some
poison, prepared for a mischievous fox which had long troubled
the little settlement, was discovered and drunk by the Indian
boy, and he went home to his father to sicken and die. When
Chocorua had buried his wife by the side of a brook, all that
was left to him was his little son. After the death of the boy,
jealousy and hatred took possession of Chocorua's soul. He never
told his suspicions, but he brooded over them in secret, to
nourish the deadly revenge he contemplated against Cornelius
"The story of Indian animosity is always the same. Campbell left
his but for the fields early one bright, balmy morning in June.
Still a lover, though ten years a husband, his last look was
towards his wife, answering her parting smile; his last action a
kiss for each of his children. When he returned to dinner, they
were dead--all dead--and their disfigured bodies too cruelly
showed that an Indian's hand had done the work.
"In such a mind, grief, like all other emotions, was
tempestuous. Home had been to him the only verdant spot in the
desert of life. In his wife and children he had centered all
affection, and now they were torn from him. The remembrance of
their love clung to him like the death grapple of a drowning
man, sinking him down into darkness and death. This was followed
by a calm a thousand times more terrible, the creeping agony of
despair, that brings with it no power of resistance.
"It was as if the dead could feel
The icy worm around him steal."
Such for many days was the state of Cornelius Campbell. Those
who knew and reverenced him feared that the spark of reason was
forever extinguished. But it rekindled, and with it came a wild,
demoniac spirit of revenge. The death groan of Chocorua would
make him smile in his dreams, and when he waked, death seemed
too pitiful a vengeance for the anguish that was eating into his
Chocorua's brethren were absent on a hunting expedition at the
time he committed the murder, and those who watched his
movements observed that he frequently climbed the high
precipice, which afterwards took his name. He was probably
looking for indications of their return. Here Campbell resolved
to carry out his deadly plan. A party was formed, under his
guidance, to cut off all chance of retreat, and the dark-minded
prophet was to be hunted like a wild beast to his lair.
"The morning sun had scarce cleared away the fogs when Chocorua
started at a loud voice from beneath the precipice, commanding
him to throw himself into the deep abyss below. He knew the
voice of his enemy, and replied with an Indian's calmness, 'The
Great Spirit gave life to Chocorua, and Chocorua will not throw
it way at the command of the white roan.' 'Then hear the Great
Spirit speak in the white man's thunder,' exclaimed Campbell, as
he pointed his gun to the precipice. Chocorua, though fierce and
fearless as a panther, had never overcome his dread for
firearms. He placed his hands upon his ears to shut out the
stunning report. The next moment the blood bubbled from his
neck, and he reeled fearfully on the edge of the precipice, but
he recovered and, raising himself on his hand, he spoke in a
loud voice, that grew more terrific as its huskiness increased:
'A curse upon ye, white men. May the Great Spirit curse ye when
he speaks in the clouds, and his words are fire. Chocorua had a
son and ye killed him while the sun looked bright. Lightning
blast your crops. Winds and fire destroy your dwellings. The
Evil Spirit breathe death upon your cattle. Your graves lie in
the warpath of the Indian. Panthers howl and wolves fatten over
your bones. Chocorua goes to the Great Spirit--his curse stays
with the white man.'
"The prophet sank upon the ground, still uttering curses, and
they left his bones to whiten in the sun, but his curse rested
upon that settlement. The tomahawk and scalping knife were busy
among them; the winds tore up the trees, and hurled them at
their dwellings; their crops were blasted; their cattle died,
and sickness came upon their strongest men. At last the remnant
of them departed from the fatal spot to mingle with more
populous and prosperous colonies. Campbell became a hermit,
seldom seeking or seeing his fellowmen, and two years after he
was found dead in his hut." (footnote: From The White Hills, by
As we looked out over the sylvan beauty of the scenery that is
unsurpassed, we realized that long ago the curse had been
removed. The hills are intersected by charming labyrinths of
wood that lead to peaceful valleys. These dreamy forest
solitudes, with their deep foliage and singing rills which
wander here and there, lull your senses like an enchantment
after the noise and scrambling bustle of the busy manufacturing
centers from which you no doubt have so recently come.
"The Appalachian mountains in their long majestic course from
northeast to southwest rise to their greatest height in the New
England states, culminating in Mount Washington, sixty-two
hundred and ninety feet elevation, surrounded on all sides by
lesser peaks, mostly from two thousand to five thousand feet
high. "Bretton Woods," an estate of ten thousand acres, lies in
a very picturesque section of these mountains. The Amonoosuc
valley is somewhat less than four miles west from the head of
Crawford's notch. Here a railroad and the one through highway
skirt the east side of the Amonoosuc river; while on the west
side a level meadow extends about a half mile directly across to
a range of low foot-hills back of which Mount Washington rears
his immense bulk. All through this region you will find the most
ample accommodations that tourists could wish; along the
tributary routes as well as in and about the mountains, you will
find comfortable, well-kept rooms and good, wholesome food, and
the finest of American resort hotels, with all the luxuries to
be found in the city. Notably among the latter class is the
Mount Washington, a three-million-dollar hotel, and said to be
the finest tourist hotel in the world.
When we left Crawford's notch the pine needles were still
shimmering with sparkling points of light; the long bright green
of the balsam fir and the silvery blue of the graceful hemlocks
were full of glory and splendor; myriads of luminous green
scalloped beech leaves sent back a million glinting beams of
light as they caught the rays of the morning sun. The yellow and
white birch waved their spicy branches soothingly above the
songful streams, like emerald sprays of art. The vireo's cheery
strain sounded from many points in the vast wilderness of
foliage. This song coming from afar, only served to heighten the
vast and lonely grandeur of the forest solitudes. From the
wooded hills of southeastern Ohio to the Green Mountains of
Vermont we heard his cheery notes. Whether in the morning when
the pine needles glistened in the bright light; at noon when the
heat flowed in tremulous waves; or at evening when the last rosy
beam gladdened the west, his song was alike full of contentment
and rarest melody.
As we proceeded on our journey we beheld country homes
charmingly embowered among their trees and vines, yet the region
still retains that wild and primeval beauty that defies
Boys and men were busy making hay and their industry proclaimed
that they had heeded the proverb of "make hay while the sun
shines." Now and then herds of cattle were grazing or standing
up to their knees in the cool of streams. What pictures of
homely contentment they made! How much they add to the beauty of
More and more we were impressed with the grandeur and grace of
the restful, flowing outlines of these mountains. With the light
gray of their granite walls and the vivid green of their
forests, they make beautiful harmony.
We paused along a beautiful sheet of water, Echo lake. A bugler
whom some tourists paid for his crude attempts was doing his
best (which was none too good) to awake the echoes. How harsh
and grating were the tones he made, seeming like the bleat of a
choking calf; yet, with what marvelous sweetness were those
rasping tones transformed by the nymphs of the mountains. After
a few moments' pause they were repeated among the nearer ridges,
but softer and with a rare sweetness as pure and clear as a
thrush's vesper bell. Again a short pause and we heard them
higher, fainter, sweeter, until they died away among the hills;
too fine for our mortal ears to catch. It seemed as if some
sylvan deity, some Mendelssohn or Chopin of this vast forest
solitude heard those harsh notes and putting a golden cornet to
his lips, sent back the melodies the bugler meant to make. As
the last reverberations died away among the hills we thought of
those lines in Emerson's "May Day":
Echo waits with Art and Care
And will the faults of song repair.
How crude the attempts of man at producing the melodies of life!
How beautiful the discordant notes become when the Master
Musician breathes into them the melodies of infinite love!
"O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on field, or hill or river
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever."
The water of the lake was so clear we could see the white
pebbles at the bottom, or the pike that swam slowly to the edge.
How pure the mountains looked! How fresh and new the grass and
flowers! The sky above was blue; the water of Profile lake was
dark blue; the mountains wore a delicate veil of misty blue;
blue were the myriads of delicate campanula that peeped from
their rocky ledges; silvery blue was the smoke that curled from
the forest's green from a dozen camp fires; and out of that
mysterious all-pervading blue lifted the benign countenance of
the Great Stone Face.
When Nature made this grand masterpiece, she set it on the
topmost edge of Cannon Range so that all could see it. It may be
seen from the edge of Profile lake, and stands in the midst of a
magnificent forest preserve of six thousand acres, rising nearly
two thousand feet above sea level. On either side are Profile
and Echo lakes, vieing with each other in their crystal
clearness; behind it are towering cliffs and wooded heights, and
in every direction lead woodland paths and rocky trails offering
ever-changing glimpses of wonderful White mountain scenery.
With what infinite patience has Nature sculptured this great
face! Centuries ago among the American Indians there was a
legend that in time there should appear in the valley a boy
whose features would not only be a resemblance to, but be like
those of the face on the mountain side. When the people of the
valley heard the legend, they too looked for the coming of a
great man who would tower far above the ordinary life of those
who dwelt in the lowly valley. How long they waited in vain for
the appearance of one with features noble, tender and serene as
those upon which they gazed! How many years slipped by and only
rumors came concerning those who were thought to bear a
resemblance to the wonderful "old Man of the Mountains." Yet,
those very people had infinite possibilities with their own
faces while in their youth. Only by having a vision of some day
attaining that far mountain height of purity and victory, as
written on those features, could they carve out a countenance so
Gazing out over the lake through vistas of maple and beech we
thought of Hawthorne's words: "It was a happy lot for the
children to grow up to manhood or womanhood with the Great Stone
Face before their eyes; for all of the features were noble, and
the expression was at once grand and sweet, as if it were the
glow of a vast, warm heart, that embraced all mankind in its
affections and had room for more."
Truly, this face appears like a great mountain god. A wreath
seems to adorn his brow like that which was worn by the poets of
ancient Greece. A faint light surrounds and illuminates his
features scarcely discernible from the valley below. How one's
earthly schemes seem to pale and fade, as did "Gathergold's"
fortune when he beheld the wealth and beauty of Nature about
him! How sordid the striving for fame and power appear, which as
quickly fade as did that of "Old Blood and Thunder" and "Old
Stoney Phiz!" "Nature is the Art of God." How mighty the forces
that lined these majestic features! How wonderful still the
unseen hands at work to make life richer as the years go by!
You almost imagine you see the natural pulpit set in its rich
framework of verdure and festooned with vines placid in a nook
in the hills. You seem to hear the words of life uttered by the
pure lips of Ernest because "a life of good deeds and holy love
is melted into them." The ancient pines stand hushed and
tranquil in the quiet light as if awaiting a message from those
lips of stone. You gain new faith in the beauty and freshness of
Nature out here. Those lips seem to say "do not live in the mean
valleys of earthly ambition, but strive to gain higher
conceptions of life with truer, nobler aims, that soar above the
sordid world until you attain that benign look of the Great
Stone Face." It comes to you like a far-off echo of a divine
chant, sweeter than any melody you have ever caught.
Many people on first beholding the Great Stone Face ascribe
firmness to its features. They perhaps judge their fellowmen in
like manner. They fail to see the depth of thought or honest
sincerity of soul that shines forth from many a rough exterior,
beneath which beats a heart of purest gold. How many seek high
positions, notoriety, or public approbation, but alas! how few,
like Ernest, put forth the effort to fit them for the places
Almost as remarkable as the Great Stone Face itself are the
cannon that seem to guard the abode of the Man of the Mountains.
Indeed, they have been sculptured so remarkably well that some
tourists exclaim, "I wonder how they ever got those huge guns up
there." On being told these guns too, had been carved out of
rock and set in place to guard ever this beautiful and vast
domain since the beginning of time, they still were not
convinced that they were only harmless piles of stones, whose
thundering tones never had awakened the echoes of this peaceful
spot. One of the party said, "but see, up there are the gun
carriages!" True, they were very like the original implements of
destruction, but no lurid light ever profaned the night skies,
and no warriors shall ever drag these guns across the ocean to
do grim service in a "Meuse-Argonne."