Part 5 out of 7
Again you gaze at Profile lake, the source of the wild and
beautiful Pemigewasset river, which is joined by a few, small
streams the first few miles of its journey, then other branches
unite with it to form the Merrimac, which, after gradually
descending through Concord, supplies immense amounts of water
power to Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill
before passing majestically out to sea at Newbury port.
No wonder Whittier wrote so much about the Merrimac river and
Lake Winnepesaukee, because both seem to typify the Indian name
of the latter "The Smile of the Great Spirit."
In the immediate locality about the lake a botanist will find
the hours passing all too swiftly, for here is indeed a place to
commune with Nature. You will find rare flowers and ferns, and
to what rich and lovely places they lead you! Along lonely
mountain roads where the golden song of the wood thrush comes
from the cool depths and the sweet, pearly notes of the winter
wren ripple down through the gloom; out along lonely forest
lakes or where trout brooks wander beneath dark hemlock trees
and lose their way in the shadows; high up on inaccessible
mountain ledges where the river plunges in a solid amber sheet
and breaks up into avalanches of shimmering rainbow mist, and
down in the marsh where acres and acres of green grass and sedge
stretch away like gleaming stars on a winter night. Going out to
commune with Nature sounds very nice, but it requires the
patience of a job, the eyes of a Burbank, the ears of a Mozart,
and the great loving heart of a Burroughs if one is to gain the
most from one's rambles. You will never learn the hymns that the
forest and waterfalls have been singing for ages; never really
know the song of the hermit thrush or the mystery and grandeur
of mountains, if you are unwilling to pay the price. You must be
willing to climb high mountains, scramble down rocky gorges and
ravines, thread the almost impenetrable bogs and marshes, endure
fierce heat, mosquito bites, hunger and toil, "but once you are
admitted into the secrets of the out-of-doors you will begin to
wonder why you ever dined in hot stuffy restaurants, spent your
holidays in smoky, dirty cities, or did any of those
conventional things that rob us of so many fine moments of
We looked once more at the view across the lake. Someone said
God never made anything more beautiful than the scenery at
Franconia notch. But as we turned away from this entrancing
scene, we saw a boy gazing in rapt admiration away across the
lake, his face glowing with enthusiasm, his every gesture
speaking of joy and love. Here, we said, is a work more
beautiful than any mountain scenery. What infinite possibilities
are wrapped up in the soul of a boy! Leaving him standing there
we wondered what thoughts were passing through his mind, we made
our way along the mountain road.
The soul of music slumbers in the shell,
Till waked and kindled by the master's sped,
And feeling hearts--touch them but rightly--pour
A thousand melodies unheard before.
What could be more delightful than a visit to Boston? Those
motoring through the New England states will find it both
interesting and profitable to tarry a while in this quaint old
place. There are so many places of interest in this city that
space forbids an enumeration of only a few of the most
important. You will probably want to see the State House with
its gilded dome which was once covered with copper plates rolled
by Paul Revere. The corner-stone of this building was laid by
the Masons, Paul Revere, Grand Master, July 4, 7795. Three times
the original building has been enlarged--an extension to the
rear in 7889, later a wing on the east, and very recently a wing
on the west.
What a throng of past memories cluster here! Near the
intersection of Boylston and Tremont streets lies the old
Central burying ground, noted as the final resting place of
Gilbert Stuart, the famous artist. You will not want to miss
seeing Park Street church, for it was here William Lloyd
Garrison delivered his first address and "America" was sung in
public for the first time. "Standing on the steps of the State
House, facing the Common, you are looking toward Saint Gaudens'
bronze relief of Col. Robert G. Shaw, commanding his colored
regiment. This is indeed a noble work of art and should not be
overlooked. "The Atheneum is well worthy of a visit, and if you
have a penchant for graveyards, you may wander over the Granary
Burying Ground, where rest the ashes of Samuel Adams, Hancock,
Sewell, Faneuil, Otis, and Revere."
We spent a delightful morning in Cambridge. It has been the home
of some of the foremost literary lights of the United States,
and just to the west of it, in Mount Auburn cemetery, lie the
mortal remains of Longfellow, Prescott, Lowell, Holmes, Motley,
and many other prominent men.
Across the blue Charles, like Greek temples rise the buildings
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The noble marble
group of buildings of the School of Medicine of Harvard are very
impressive. As we crossed the river, we thought how often our
beloved Longfellow had looked on its peaceful tide from his
charming home in Cambridge. The view from his home is still
unobstructed, and it speaks of the veneration in which he is
held by the people of the city. It was while living at Cambridge
that he wrote his Ode to the Charles river, given below:
River, that in silence windest
Through the meadows bright and free,
Till at length thy rest thou findest
In the bosom of the sea.
Four long years of mingled feeling
Half in rest, and half in strife,
I have seen thy waters stealing
Onward, like the stream of life.
Thou hast taught me, Silent River,
Many a lesson, deep and long.
Thou hast been a generous river;
I can give thee but a song.
Oft in sadness and in illness,
I have watched thy current glide,
Till the beauty of its stillness
Overflowed me like a tide.
And in better hours and brighter,
When I saw thy waters gleam,
I have felt my heart beat lighter,
And leap upward with thy stream.
Not for this alone I love thee,
Nor because thy waves of blue
From celestial seas above thee
Take their own celestial hue.
Where yon shadowy woodlands hide thee,
And thy waters disappear,
Friends I love have dwelt beside thee,
And have made thy margin clear.
We paused in front of the old homestead to take a picture of it.
But it mattered little about the picture, for what pictures of
rarest beauty he has left us, always speaking to our hearts
messages of sympathy and love! Even as the years pass,
Longfellow is still the universal poet, and it was with pleasure
we recalled how the Belgian children in the King Leopold school
of the city of Antwerp were acquainted with his more familiar
poems. He is better known among foreigners than any one except
their own poets.
We next paid a visit to the home of James Russell Lowell, that
other sweet singer and nature lover of Cambridge. As we gazed
upon the many venerable trees that drooped their graceful
branches over the old homesteads, we did not wonder that the
people of New England became alarmed when the ravages of the
gypsy moth threatened the trees. At Elmwood we saw the efforts
the people had made to preserve them. The stately trees had been
severely pruned and their trunks wore black girdles of a sticky
substance to ensnare the female moths. The foliage had been
Henry Van Dyke said the last time he saw James Russell Lowell,
he walked with him in his garden at Elmwood to say goodbye.
There was a great horse chestnut tree beside the house, towering
above the gable, covered with blossoms. The poet looked up and
laid his trembling hands upon the trunk. "I planted the nut,"
said he, "from which the tree grew. My father was with me when I
As we admired the shrubbery and trees at Elmwood, we thought of
the inspiration this spot afforded that generous soul who dwelt
so happily here.
"Give fools their gold and knaves their power.
Let Fortune's bubbles rise and fall;
Who sows a field or trains a flower,
Or plants a tree is more than all."
Every schoolboy has read about the famous Washington elm of
Cambridge. What a marvelous tree to think about and gaze upon!
It is difficult to analyze your emotions while standing near
this historic spot gazing at this famous tree.
Since the balmy breeze of some far-off springtime caught those
winged seeds from which America's most celebrated tree sprang,
what changes have come to our land! When this patriarch was
young, in the nearby woods Indians and fierce, wild beasts
brushed past its companions. Perhaps the squaws fastened their
linden cradles to their limbs while they planted their maize in
the springtime, and when they had grown larger, orioles hung
their corded hammocks amid their pendulous branches, with no
fear of squirrels or that horror of all low nesting birds--the
Summer after summer brought new verdure to their branches. Many
autumns turned their wealth of emerald leaves to golden glory.
Winter upon winter twisted their tough branches and weighed them
down with snows until they now stand the monarchs of other days.
There is the very spot where Washington took command of the
Continental Army on July 3, 7775. How like the man who stood
beneath it was this tree then. It had beauty, strength and
grace, without signs of any weakness, proclaiming it the king of
trees. Here once stood "a man of great soundness of judgment,
moral self-control, intense fiery passions curbed by a will of
iron. His sweet, tender soul had been enshrined in a worthy
temple." His grave and handsome face, noble bearing and courtly
grace of manner all proclaimed him king of men.
But here still stands that great old elm, a nation's shrine. It
struggles bravely to clothe with verdure its few remaining
limbs, still speaking eloquently of those stirring days "that
tried men's souls." Each green leaf in its aged crest tells of
those noble patriots, whose memory of the glorious lives of self-
sacrifice shall forever remain, verdant in the hearts of a
liberty-loving people. This glorious tree, with its few broken
limbs and scanty foliage, wears signs of many a wintry combat
and summer winds surprise attacks "as heroes their scars,"
unbending still through all those years of toil and strife.
Perhaps a few more years and this venerable tree shall yield to
some wintry blast; its present site to be marked by a monument
of bronze or marble. But how much more fitting would it be to
plant a young tree where the old one stood. This would be a
living monument where its cooling shadows would still fall upon
the weary travelers "like a benediction on the road of life."
Here pilgrims from Maine to California's farthest bounds might
some day rest beneath its beneficent branches. We fancy how they
will gaze in admiration at a new tree, whose symmetrical gray
trunk rises like a mighty fluted column, from which graceful
limbs spread out to form a glorious canopy. Its serrated leaves,
each an emerald in that vast corona of verdure, will become in
autumn a topaz in its gleaming crest. When the snows of many
winters shall have clothed its slender, drooping branches with
clinging drapery of star flowers and many springs thatched its
myriad twigs with emerald that droop like sprays of art, it too
shall grow hoary and give way to some fierce blast, making room
for another and still more glorious Washington Elm.
Other places you surely will care to see are Old South Church,
often called the "Sanctuary of Freedom," lying between Milk and
Water streets. The present building was erected in 1730. Faneuil
Hall, the Cradle of Liberty, which is at the disposal of the
people for public meetings whenever certain conditions are met;
on the upper floor of this hall is the armory of The Ancient and
Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest military company in this
country. Old North Church is known to every school boy and girl
in the land as the place where Paul Revere saw the two lights
that were his signal for starting on his memorable ride. Over
the river is Bunker Hill Monument, recalling that resolute stand
made by the patriots in 1775, and from which a fine view over
the city is afforded. King's Chapel, at the corner of Tremont
and School streets, is a most interesting landmark, which was
completed in 1753. Entering, you find a decidedly old-fashioned
atmosphere in the high-backed, square pews and handsome
decorations. George Washington's pew will be pointed out to you.
The Old State House was built in 1748. In it "the child
Independence was born." Here the royal governors of the province
and the royal council sat. It was from the balcony on the State
street side that the news of the Declaration of Independence was
proclaimed. Here, in 1835, William Lloyd Garrison found refuge
from a mob which had broken up an anti-slavery meeting and
threatened the life of this brave agitator.
On the corner of Washington and School streets is a quaint
building, the oldest now standing in Boston. It was erected in
1712 and is known as The Old Corner Book Store. Some of the
largest and most influential American publishing houses had
their inception in this building.
One must not fail to see Copley Square, the center of artistic,
literary and educational life in Boston. Fronting on this square
are Trinity Church, commonly known as Phillips Brooks' church,
as his pastorate there covered a period of twenty-two years. St.
Gaudens' statue of Brooks stands in front of the church. Also
facing this square is the chaste and classic front of the Boston
Public Library. Two of Saint Gaudens' groups adorn enormous
pedestals at either side of the entrance. Inside, on the walls
of the grand stairway, are magnificent paintings by John La
Farge and others, while on the four sides of the main public
room are mural paintings by La Farge, depicting the entire
history of Sir Arthur and the Holy Grail.
Just before crossing the river into Charlestown one's attention
is directed to a small triangular space surrounded by an iron
fence, no side of which is more than five or six feet long, in
which is growing a single tree. To this is attached a sign
proclaiming that "Dogs are not allowed in this park." Just
across the river, not far from Bunker Hill Monument, is the Navy
The museum of Fine Arts in Boston contains many important works
from both the old and modern masters. Here you will see Turner's
"Slave Ship." "This picture has been the cause of more criticism
than any that has ever been brought to our shores. Every
gradation of opinion was expressed from Ruskin's extravagant
enconium where he says, 'I believe if I were induced to rest
Turner's immortality upon any single work I should choose the
Slave Ship; the color is absolutely perfect,' to the frank
disapproval of our own George Innes, when he says that it is
'the most infernal piece of clap-trap ever painted. There is
nothing in it. It is not even a fine bouquet of colors.' Some
one said it looks like a 'tortoise-shell cat having a fit in a
platter of tomatoes.' The lurid light that streams through the
mist of the angry sea intensifies a scene already too horrible."
Whoever has seen the peasants of France in their own harvest
fields near Barbizon will not fail to recognize the close
relations and the intimate knowledge Millet had of these humble
peasants. As you gaze at the great mounds of wheat with the
crowd of laborers resting, you seem to catch the very spirit of
the dignity of labor that the artist so admirably portrays in
all his work. You see not only these particular toilers but all
the laborers of earth, who by the sweat of their brows make the
earth yield her increase.
"His figures seem to be uncouth and of the earth; they are
children of Nature who have been so long in contact with the
elements and soil they seem to partake of the sternness of the
landscape quite as much as the sturdy oaks tried by the storms
and stress of unnumbered days of exposure. His Shepherdess is
also worth considering and represents his aim in art." These are
his words: "I would wish that the beings I represent should have
the air of being consecrated to their position, and that it
should be impossible to imagine that the idea could occur to
them of their being other than that which they are--the
beautiful is the suitable."
What poems of grace and beauty the works of Corot are! How well
he knew the trees, for he lived among them and loved them. No
other artist has so marvelously portrayed the very soul of trees
in their swaying, singing, dew-tipped branches. They are vast
harps through which wandering breezes murmur aeolian melodies,
"morning and evening anthems" to the Creator. His paintings have
a freshness and fragrance of the dawn; a mystery seems to hang
over them. The very spirit of the morn broods over that classic
landscape of his "Dante and Vergil." In the opening words of
Dame's Inferno he gives us the vivid setting of this wonderful
"Midway upon the journey of life he found himself within a
forest dark, for the straight forward pathway had been lost. He
wandered all night and in the morning found himself near the
foot of a mountain. He began the ascent but was met by a
panther, light and exceedingly swift. He was about to return,
but the time was the beginning of morning. A lion with uplifted
head, and a hungry she-wolf next he spied and rushed down toward
the lowlands where he beheld Vergil, who has come to guide him
to his beloved Beatrice."
One should pause to view the "Master Smith." One here sees in
very form the character Longfellow so clearly describes in his
"Village Blacksmith." It is to the eye what the melody of the
poem is to the ear, purest harmony that ever sings the dignity
One should also pause to admire the "Sphinx" by Elihu Vedder,
"The Misses Boit" by Sargent, Winslow Homer's "Fog Warning,"
John W. Alexander's "Isabella and the Pot of Basil." This last
picture we love not only as a work of art but because it is the
subject of one of Keat's poems, "Isabel."
Isabella was a beautiful Florentine maiden who lived with her
two brothers. "They planned to marry her to some high noble and
his olive trees." A certain servant, Lorenzo, loved her, and
they had him taken to a forest beyond the Arno and murdered.
Isabella had a dream in which Lorenzo appeared to her and told
of his murder and how to find his grave. In the morning she
found the grave and took the skull and kissed it. "Then in a
silken scarf she wrapped it up, and for its tomb did choose a
garden-pot wherein she laid it by, and covered it with mold, and
o'er set Sweet Basil, which her tears kept wet." Her brothers
discovered why she sat so constant by her pot of Basil and fled
from the city. Isabella pined and died with these pitiful words
upon her lips: "O cruelty, to steal my Basil-pot away from me."
Space forbids us to tell of the many beautiful works of art or
the inspiration to be had by contemplating them, but a trip to
Boston is not complete unless we take away lasting memories of
the famous masterpieces to be seen here.
While visiting the university buildings of Harvard we saw the
photographs of men who had sacrificed their lives during the
World War. Our thoughts wandered far away and we seemed to see a
road that led through Verdun to the front. Its beginning was an
avenue of stately buckeye trees in their autumn livery of faded
green and gold. Back and forth along this road went Red Cross
ambulances on their ceaseless journeys of mercy. The sky that
should have been blue and fair was filled with gray smoke. The
air that in times of peace throbbed with the notes of the lark
now trembled with the report of heavy guns and crashing shells.
Great sheets of camouflage stretched along the road to screen
One day while making an advance in the Argonne forest, taking
the place of a captain who had been killed, Lieut. Harry Hanley
of Boston fell upon the field of battle. His hip had been
fractured and he was removed to Glorieux hospital, where E. H.
No. 15 was located. It was here that we learned to know and love
him. His hopeful, helpful spirit shone above the dark gloom of
the time like a beacon light. How often, when we wistfully
sought to help those patient sufferers, while we were so weak
our faltering steps failed us ofttimes, did we hear the calm
voice of Lieutenant Hanley filling us with hope and inspiring us
with new courage.
Across the room lay a German suffering from abdominal wounds.
His pitiful moans caught the attention of Lieutenant Hanley and
he said: "I hate to see that German suffer so. How I do hope
this shall be the end of all wars." Such was the spirit of this
Well do we remember the day when the regimental band of the 26th
division played for the wounded boys at Glorieux. It was a mild
October day. As they struck up some old familiar airs the face
of Lieutenant Hanley of the 101st Infantry, Company A, of that
division, grew radiant as he said: "How I love to hear those old
melodies." Then for a time he seemed to forget his hard lot and
wandered again in fair New England fields that grew tender and
beautiful in sunset light. A robin caroled softly from a crimson
maple, the meadow brook sang a rippling accompaniment as in
fancy once more he walked with loved ones in the homeland.
We do not know whether or not all these things passed through
his mind, but we do know that among his thoughts was the fond
sister, working and praying in Boston, and a brother fitting
himself for the air-service, and a lovely mother walking and
praying in her lonely home. The burden of their prayer is ever
'the same; morning and night it rises to Him for the safe return
of a dear brother and son. As that absent one turned through the
leaves of the New Testament, wherein he found such comforting
messages in those weary days and long, anxious nights of
suffering, he too sent up a prayer for the loved ones back home.
The day of his departure, how shall we ever forget it? As we
moved about among the cots of Ward E, the cheerful voice of
Lieutenant Hanley came to us as he clasped our hands for the
last time, while he said "I shall never forget you." As the
litter bearers were passing through the door he put up his hand
as a last farewell, saying he would write us on reaching home.
But many months passed before we received the tear-stained
letter from a broken-hearted mother, telling us he had wandered
to fairer fields.
Where broad between its banks stretches the Meuse, mirroring the
bloom in the west and the evening star, where the cornflowers
look up with heaven's own blue and the poppies cover the fields
like a crimson sea, where the skylark unseen is still soaring
and singing, and the nightingale from the snowy hawthorn spray
warbles divinely at even. French mothers who have lost all their
sons in the war shall come with their tribute of blossoms to
those vast cities of the dead. Here while the flowers fall
unnoticed from their trembling hands and with tears streaming
down their careworn faces and with prayers of gratitude upon
their lips, they shall bless the memory of those noble American
boys who poured out the rich, red blood of youth who lie in a
land they crossed the ocean to save.
Among the priceless treasures we have at home is a picture of
Lieutenant Hanley standing among a bower of roses. This was sent
to his mother just before he left the United States. How like
those roses was he--the most perfect flower of all. The dew of
youth, the rosy bloom of manhood, the purity of those fragrant
petals in his soul, all speak to us from that portrait. It seems
A happy smile flits 'cross his face,
The dream of fair Elysian fields,
A vision of the old home place
To darkened memories swiftly yields.
God had turned the trenches to roses again
When they bore him home across the wave
He was true to self, to God, and man
And was leaving a land he died to save.
How quiet on that August morn
The tolling bell gave forth its sound.
In star-draped casket, slowly borne,
A treasure not of earth was found.
Like dew upon a flower sleeping
Or fairest hue of sunset skies
A jewel in the master's keeping
A radiant pearl of greatest price.
Like amber-tinted clouds of May
By many vagrant breezes driven;
That frail form swiftly passed away
To melt and fade in dawn's fair heaven.
Death is but the mist of early morn
Seen rising o'er the placid river,
An open gateway into heaven
Where the pure with God shall dwelt forever.
LEXINGTON AND CONCORD
Coming into Lexington from the south one passes Follen church,
where Emerson preached. Farther along on the right is the house
of John Harrington, last survivor of the battle; then, near the
corner of Maple street, the great elm planted by his father.
About a quarter of a mile further, on the left, is the Munroe
Tavern, headquarters and hospital of Earl Percy, now the
property of the Lexington Historical Society. The granite cannon
by the High School marks the site of one of the field-pieces
placed by Earl Percy to cover the retreat of the British troops.
In the town hall is the admirable painting of the Battle of
Lexington, by Sandham; also in the town offices statues of
Hancock and Adams.
The Hayes memorial fountain, with an ideal statue of the Minute
Man, by Henry H. Kitson, sculptor, faces the line of approach of
the British from the easterly end of the common. Behind it a
granite pulpit marks the site of the old church past which
Pitcairn led his men; a boulder to the left locates the position
of the Old Belfry from which the alarm was sounded on its bell,
April 19, 1775. A boulder on the common to the right from the
fountain, together with the old monument, under which the eight
men killed during the battle are buried, marks the line of the
Minute Men. The Jonathan Harrington house, on the corner of
Bedford street, was the scene of a touching incident of the
battle. Across Bedford street is the Masonic Temple. The main
part of this building was erected in 1822 for the Lexington
Academy, and in this building the first normal school in America
was opened on July 3, 1839, with three pupils enrolled.
It is good to be here in this section of country not alone for
its historical associations, with which it is so rich, but for
the association of great minds, from which emanated those
flowers of song "that shall bloom in fragrance and beauty in the
gardens of the human heart forever." We note in journeying here
that the scenery is superb, yet we love the land more for the
noble souls who lived and labored here that humanity might rise
to higher things.
One does not wonder that Massachusetts can boast of so many
illustrious names, for "its lovely landscape and stern climate
seem to have been made for the development of genius," and no
other period of history could have afforded more telling
inspiration than that in which they lived. Their songs had in
them the purity of its crystal springs, the beauty of its autumn
landscapes, the strength of its rock-strewn hills.
How quiet was all the landscape on that Sabbath afternoon as we
stood on the North bridge, where once stood the embattled farmer
gazing up the elm-lined vista at the alert figure of the Minute
Man. As one writer has said, it seemed difficult to associate
this charming spot with strife, and try as we would it ever
remained what its name implies, "Concord."
How peaceful the dark, slow-moving stream glided by the town,
with scarce a murmur to break the serene stillness! How gently
the Old Manse looked from its leafy elms! The noise of
automobiles passing along the highway, the rippling laughter of
our little guide, or the gurgling melody of a red-winged
blackbird scarce disturbed its peaceful slumbers. On the golden
stillness of the hot mid-summer afternoon the almost
imperceptible current seemed more sluggish still. The graceful
foliage of willow, elm and alder, joined in friendly groups by
wild grape vines, leaned over the dark water "as if still
listening for the golden thoughts of Hawthorne, Chinning,
Emerson and Thoreau." It was their spirits that seemed to rule
over the brooding landscape rather than that of the Minute Man,
clothing each rock and tree with a luster the remembrance of
which shall illuminate many a somber-colored day of life.
Yet here was the first battle of the Revolution. The only flag
we saw was the vivid red of cardinal flowers, the blue of the
chicory, and the white of the elder. We heard no gun save that
of the bittern, which savored more of love than war. The calm
skies knew no harsher sound than the explosive boom of the night-
hawk. The only drum was that of the bullfrog, calling raw
recruits from among the lily-pads. The dark waters harbored no
submarine save a great turtle who slipped from a log and
submerged, sending a mass of ripples around a much-frightened
blue heron. The woods echoed to the bold bugle of the Carolina
wren. But there, on April 19, 1775, "murmured the first faint
tide of war" that continued until, as the stone on the right
tells us, "it gave peace to the United States."
Gage sent troops to proceed to Concord to destroy the military
stores collected there, but they, like Adams and Hancock in
Lexington, had vanished. They were as much surprised as the
farmer who planted his peas near a woodchuck den; when he went
out to look at them all he had was the smell. For the British,
too, only the smell of the powder remained. After they had left
a small force to guard the bridge, the troops set fire to the
court house. They then cut down the liberty pole, spiked several
cannon, threw several barrels of flour into the river, and
proceeded to hunt for the arms and ammunition that were not
there. The burning flames from the court house kindled the wrath
of the little force of Minute Men, who had seen the ominous
clouds of smoke on that April day. Soon four hundred men were on
their way to Concord. Two hundred regulars, on arriving, seized
the bridge. Here they received and returned the British fire and
were only overcome by numbers. Major Buttrick forced them back
into the village.
As we gazed across again at the Old Manse we thought of the
wonderful essays that had been written here. In the rear of the
old house is a delightful study. It was here that Emerson wrote
"Nature." Here, too, Hawthorne wrote "Mosses from an Old Manse."
We thought of the brave clergyman who, from the north window,
commanding a broad view of the river, stood watching the first
conflict of a long and deadly struggle between the mother
country and her child.
Realizing the danger they were in, the British troops began
their retreat of eighteen miles. They had eaten little or
nothing for fourteen hours. Ages ago freedom loving Nature had
conspired to aid the Americans by shaping the field of battle.
Huge boulders had been left by the glacier, the potent rays of
the April sun made dense masses of verdure in willows, which
thus became an ally of the pine. Stone fences and haystacks
became ready-made fortifications, and every rising spot was
filled with irate hostile yeoman who harried them with aim true
and deadly. They soon began to run and leave their wounded
behind, and in place of a retreat their disorderly flight must
have had the appearance of a Marathon race, the rattle of
musketry acting or serving as signals for each to do his best on
the home stretch.
They were almost exhausted when they fell into a little hollow
square made by Percy's men to receive them. Here the weary,
frightened Redcoats took refuge as in a sanctuary, and
immediately threw themselves upon the ground to rest. Many of
them had either lost or thrown away their muskets. Pitcairn had
lost both his horse and the elegant pistols with which. the
first shot of the war for independence had been fired. They may
now be seen in the town library of Lexington. When the British
soldiers reached Arlington, several miles from Boston, they had
an obstinate fight with the Yanks. The road swarmed with Minute
Men and they could not keep order--but at sunset, when they
entered Charlestown under the welcome shelter of the fleet, it
was upon the full run. Considered as a race, the British stood
far in the lead. Two hundred and seventy-three British were lost
and but ninety-three Americans.
As we still lingered on the banks of the sleeping river we
recalled these lines from Emerson: "My home stands in lowland
with limited outlook, and on the outskirts of the village. But I
go with my friend to the shore of our little river, and with one
stroke of the paddle I leave the village politics and
personalities behind and pass into a delicate realm of sunset
and moonlight." Alert and watchful still stood the figure near
the bridge, and as we turned away from this quiet spot "his
attitude of eternal vigilance still seemed prophetic." He became
at once the noble spirit of a brave Anglo-Saxon, standing for
Freedom and Right; the spirit that gained our independence; that
of 1867 that freed the slave; and that of 1917 that sent the
sons of America across the ocean. This glorious Freeman should
be placed on some lofty mountain peak in the pure, free air of
heaven, where all might read the lesson of Freedom and Human
Rights. This is one of America's shrines of which she may be
duly proud. Could the European tourist carry back no other
memory, it would be well to cross the Atlantic to see this
sight. Leaving the guardian at the bridge standing there, we
made our way to Sleepy Hollow.
We are not particularly fond of cemeteries, but the knowledge
that finally one has to go there himself makes a visit not
wholly purposeless. We strolled past. the quiet homes to the
more quiet plot of ground, "hallowed by many congenial and great
souls." Here on a lofty elevation of ground stood the headstones
of Louise May Alcott, Thoreau and Charming, with that of
Hawthorne enclosed by a fence and withdrawn a short distance.
"What a constellation of stars, whose radiance shall shine on
undimmed through countless centuries!"
Here is what Thoreau wrote concerning monuments: "When the stone
is a light one and stands upright, pointing to the sky, it does
not repress the spirits of the traveler to meditate by it; but
these men did seem a little heathenish to us; and so are all
large monuments over men's bodies from the Pyramids down."
A monument should at least be "starry-pointing," to indicate
whither the spirit has gone, and not prostrate like the body it
has deserted. There have been some nations who could do nothing
but construct tombs, and these are the only traces they have
left. They are the heathen. But why these stones so upright and
emphatic like exclamation points? What was there so remarkable
that lived? Why should the monument be so much more enduring
than the fame which it is designed to commemorate--a stone to a
bone? "Here lies ___" Why do they not sometimes write, "There
rises?" Is it a monument to the body only that is intended?
"Having ended the term of his natural life." Would it not be
truer to say, "Having ended the term of his unnatural life?" The
rarest quality in an epitaph is truth. If any character is given
it should be as severely true as the decision of judges, and not
the partial testimony of friends. Friends and contemporaries
should supply only the name and date, and leave it to posterity
to write the epitaph.
OPPOSITE THE OLD SHORE ROAD
The Old World bended low beneath a load
Of bigotry and superstitions dark,
When Liberty, amid the tottering thrones
Of despots born, with gladness filled the homes
Of men, e'en the Eternal City bade
Her gates imperial open wide; and, like
A cloud the darkness lifted from the land.
Then Freedom's gentle, buoyant spirit, like
The Magi's wand, extended far across
The sea, and thereupon the gloomy flood
Was parted wide asunder, and revealed
A glorious paradise for Freedom's sons.
Columbia, beneath thy banner's stars,
The mind of man in rare luxuriance blooms,
Unfolding one by one the attributes
Of deity. In vision we foresee
The perfect man. In form the image of
His Maker, God. In toleration filled
With charity for all. In Reason's Ways
Profound. In thought, he mounts the throne of power
And sways the world. He tries frolic Nature's grasp
To lure her secrets still untold till we,
Amazed at his bold course, recoil abashed.
THE OLD SHORE ROAD AND THE PILGRIM SPIRIT
The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock bound coast,
And the woods against the stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed.
"Thus sang Felicia Hemans in the early years of the last
century, and anyone who has sailed in by White Horse beach and
'Hither Manomet' when one of those fierce gales that winter
brings to this section of the coast sends great billows
thundering up against the cliff and churns all the sea into
froth and foam, will readily see how truthful this singer has
portrayed the scene he has beheld. True, you will not find
granite ledges, which follow the coast almost continuously
farther north, as at Scituate, Nahant, Rockport, and farther on;
but it is rock-bound, nevertheless, with great heaps of
boulders, thickly sown, of various shapes and sizes, with a
sombre gray color that makes them appear inexpressibly stern
even on a bland summer day."
The most picturesque of all the highways leading from Boston to
Plymouth is the South Shore road, passing through Milton,
Quincy, Hingham, Scituate, Cohasset, Marshfield, and Duxbury,
for one of the chief delights of this route is the frequent
glimpses of the sea, whose jagged, rocky coast Nature has
softened until we only feel that it is rock bound. When the day
is clear how the sunshine dusts the water with purplish bloom,
mellowing its hard, cold tint of greenish blue. Here one seems
to feel the spirit, the mystery of the ocean, and a voice at
once grand and irresistible calls from those walls of siren-
haunted rocks until he is among them, listening to the music of
the waves as they come rolling against their rugged sides. Then
one never tires of gazing at the beautiful homes so charmingly
embowered amidst their grand old trees and spacious grounds
adorned with many flowers, in brilliant masses of various
colors. Thus no time is lost by the ardent admirer of the
beauties of land and sea, and the ever-varied and changing
scenes allow just that variety which the most prosaic person
cannot help enjoying.
We shall always remember this road as a sort of traveler's
paradise. It is an almost ideal shore road, indeed one of the
finest that New England can boast, and one really regrets it is
not longer. How many times we have gone over it since that first
journey! "Memory and imagination are true yoke-fellows, and
between them they are always preparing some new and greater
pleasure as we allow them the opportunity."
Many have been the times since those memorable days spent on the
old Shore Road; that memory of them gave for a moment a pleasure
more real than any we had experienced while strolling at will
along that scenic highway. Sometimes seemingly imaginary
delights are far from being imaginary. We can see the lovely
stretches of beach this moment and hear the breakers booming
among the granite boulders--yes, and the grating of the pebbles
that are being ground to shifting sand to form the beach.
Then, too, who can ever forget the exhilarating effect of a dip
in those waves? The great unfailing attraction of the place,
then as now, is the ocean, forever an emblem of unrest,
changeable in its unchangeableness. To our minds the ocean seems
alive. We could sooner believe in sirens and water-nymphs than
in many existences that are commonly spoken of as much more
certain "matters of fact." We could believe in them, we say, but
Our communings are not with any monster of the unfathomable
deeps of the ocean, but with the spirit of the ocean itself. It
grows somber and sullen under a leaden sky, and its voice has in
it something of that inexpressible sadness heard in the raging
wind among the pines. Then on a calm day in mid-summer how
placid and serene its water appears, wearing on its bosom that
exquisite blue bloom, like the haze that clothes distant
mountains. It scintillates and sparkles like rare jewels in the
sunlight, and ever its dancing waves with silvery crests
proclaim it a thing of life and motion. You might say that it is
dead, yet after all, how many know what life really is? In
certain moods, especially when strolling by the sea, you will
feel measurably sure of being alive yourself; and the longer you
tarry by it the less liable you will be to entertain doubts
about the matter.
On the afternoon of our first journey along this Shore Road the
sky was overcast with low-hung clouds that foreboded rain.
Towhees were calling noisily from wayside thickets; catbirds
sang their self-conscious airs or mewed in derision as we
passed; chickadees were calling their names and occasionally
uttered their pensive minor strains; and far away in a dim-
lighted hemlock grove we heard a new bird song that seemed in
exquisite accord with our own thoughts.
Again and again the notes came from the forest. How delicious
the music was! A perfect song of peace and spiritual tone that
told us at once the singer was a thrush--but what thrush? We had
heard the song of the hermit among the Berkshire Hills and could
never confuse his wonderful hymn with that of another species;
yet here was a song possessing the same character of sacredness.
It was a restful lullaby like ,the mingled benediction of wood
and sea on the tired spirits of weary travelers. It had in it
nothing of "pride or passion," but contained the same serene
harmony that vagrant breezes draw from the myriad-stringed
pines; something of the melodies breathed from the ocean. It
proved to be the evening hymn of the veery.
The song of the nightingale, with its trills and phrases, would
make harmony seemingly crude if compared to either the hermit or
veery thrush, nor would the skylark, famous in poetry and song,
bear off the prize were the two birds to be heard alternately.
The English blackbird has a very sweet song, which made the
weary, homesick heart of the soldier in France rejoice, when he
announced that spring was near. Yet if the European traveler
complains that our songsters are not brilliant, let him visit
our land when the brown thrasher, the bobolink or mocking bird
are singing, and he will hear melodies as full of joy and
exuberance as any he may have remembered in his native land.
We have been straying a bit from the Shore Road but, as we said,
the scenery along it is varied, so will your thoughts be as you
move enraptured from place to place.
One almost forgets to eat while so much of beauty lies all about
him; but, once reminded that it is meal time, what a ravenous
appetite he seems to have! It almost provokes a smile now as we
think of the many places along the various roads that are
connected in our minds with the question of something to eat.
Many of the places (might say nearly all of them) were places
where we had dined the year before. Remembering how voracious
and indiscriminating our appetites were, we cannot help
wondering that we are here to tell the story; for how many new
fruits we sampled because we wanted to learn their flavor!
This feeling is no doubt shared by all who recall similar
excursions, when the open air and exercise whetted their
appetites to an unusual degree. We Americans are objects of much
comment in restaurants and hotels of foreign countries, and no
doubt many of the waiters think that we have been blessed with
more than a spark of life, else it would have been smothered
long ago by the constant fuel which we furnish for it. But on a
summer trip, where one all but lives out-of-doors, breathes
deeply the resin-scented air and has little to worry about,
there is not so much of a mystery connected with his ability to
keep on the go.
We do not know whether it was the beautiful red color of some
choke cherries that hung their bunches temptingly near or
whether it was extreme hunger, or fear lest some hungrier soul
should get to the bushes first, that caused one member of our
party to recklessly cram his mouth with what he thought would be
most excellent fruit. But alas! things are not what they seem.
He began to pucker his mouth and cough in the most violent
manner. "Choke cherries, choke cherries," he repeated between
broken coughs; these cherries were evidently named by one who
knew the right word for them. This fruit is extremely attractive
just before ripening, with its handsome clusters of red
cherries; a real feast to the eye but not to the palate, until
they change to dark red or almost black. "Some things are to be
admired and not judged by the New Testament standard, very
literally interpreted, 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' We
used other tests here and valued this small tree for its beauty,
though its cherries were as bitter as wormwood."
It isn't often one is privileged to dine at the Sign of the
Lavender Kettle in Sandwich, but this is what we did in
Massachusetts. The place was neat and scrupulously clean, and
the dessert consisted of delicious raspberries, which went far
to dispel our partner's belief that, as some theologians teach,
creation is indeed under a curse. But we are making too much of
the food question, and will say nothing of the honey, fresh
buns, country butter, etc., but shall make haste to inquire
concerning our night's lodging, for Plymouth is celebrating the
Tercentenary this year, and we were informed that it is
extremely difficult to find hotel accommodations.
While making inquiries concerning a suitable place to stay, we
were approached by a motherly but very officious old lady, clad
in black, who, after telling us that she was going to entertain
some notable person at her home as a guest when he came to view
the pageant, advised us to proceed to the Mayflower Inn, where
we were sure of being accommodated for the night. She described
this hotel as a beautiful and luxurious inn, situated on the
slight elevation of Manomet Point a few miles below the town. We
decided to spend the night at Plymouth and passed the road which
led to the inn. We found that the nearer hotels were all filled,
so we had to turn back and in a cold, dreary rain return to the
road we had passed.
As we proceeded on our way we saw a fishing vessel putting out
to sea. How many scenes that vessel recalled! We thought how
many families had been engaged in this precarious livelihood,
where their perilous calling was prosecuted at the risk of life
itself. The solitude and awesomeness of a stormy night at sea
along this rough and rugged coast is heightened by the wild
tempests which brood over the waters, strewing the shore with
wrecks at all seasons of the year. The news of the frequent loss
of husbands or sons, the roar of the waves, and the atmospheric
effects which in such situations present so many strange
illusions to the eye, must have been calculated to work upon the
terrors of those who remained at home; and melancholy fancies
must have flitted across their memories as they watched at
midnight, listening to the melancholy moaning of wind and wave.
No wonder phantoms and death warnings were familiar to the
ancient Celtic fishermen, for those terrible disasters that were
constantly occurring could not help but increase the gloom which
acts so strongly upon those who are accustomed to contemplate
the sea under all its aspects.
"In the long winter nights, when the fishermen's wives whose
husbands are out at sea are scared from their uneasy sleep by
the rising of the tempest, they listen breathlessly for certain
sounds to which they attach a fatal meaning. If they hear a low,
monotonous noise of waters falling drop by drop at the foot of
their bed, and discover that it has been caused by unnatural
means and that the floor is dry, it is the unerring token of
shipwreck. The sea has made them widows! This fearful
superstition, I believe, is confined to the isle of Artz, where
a still more striking phenomenon is said to take place.
Sometimes, in the twilight, they say, large white women may be
seen moving slowly from the neighboring islands over the sea,
and seating themselves upon its borders. There they remain
throughout the night, digging in the sands with their naked
feet, and stripping off between their fingers the leaves of the
rosemary flowers culled upon the beach. Those women, according
to the tradition, are natives of the islands, who, marrying
strangers, and dying in their sins, have returned to their
beloved birthplace to beg the prayers of their friends."
Another superstition was recalled. "At the seaside village of
St. Gildas, the fishermen who lead evil lives are often
disturbed at midnight by three knocks at their door from an
invisible hand. They immediately get up and, impelled by some
supernatural power whose behests they cannot resist and dare not
question, go down to the beach, where they find long black
boats, apparently empty, yet sunk so deeply in the water as to
be nearly level with it. The moment they enter, a large white
sail streams out from the top of the mast, and the bark is
carried out to sea with irresistible rapidity, never to be seen
by mortal eyes again. The belief is that these boats are
freighted with condemned souls, and that the fishermen are
doomed to pilot them over the waste of waters until the day of
judgment. The legend, like many others, is of Celtic origin."
(footnote: Alexander Bell.)
One can readily see how the imaginative minds of those Celtic
fishermen could people their desolate coasts with spectres and
phantoms, and indeed we did not need to draw much on our own
imagination to see strange figures gliding along the shore in
the gloom on a night like this.
Soon, however, the lights from the numerous windows and veranda
sent their invitations through the mist-filled air and we
entered the hospitable building, and drew our chairs before the
glowing fireplace with a feeling of comfort not readily
imagined. On leaving the fireside to take a look at the ocean,
behold what a transformation! Instead of scudding clouds, a
clear blue sky filled with sparkling stars and a full moon, that
made a path of gold which led far away over the water. It was
such a night as one sees along the shores of the Mediterranean,
lacking only the balmy air, the fragrance of orange blossoms,
and the broad leafed date palm reflecting the glorious light.
True, the air was chilly, but the sudden transition from a dull,
melancholy scene to one so cheerful had a fascination for us,
like the lulling melody of flutes when their sweetness hushes
into silence the loud clamor of an orchestra.
>From the spacious brick piazza, we had a lovely view out over
the rolling Manomet Hills. The blue on the distant bluffs grew
silvery in the moonlight and the orchestra filled the place with
delightful music, so in accord with the murmuring waves, that we
thought as did Hogg, the poet:
Of all the arts beneath the heaven
That man has found or God has given,
None draws the soul so sweet away,
As music's melting, mystic lay.
After the orchestra ceased playing, a young man stepped to the
piano and gave a beautiful rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight
Sonata; recalling our sojourn in the city of Bonn and the
pilgrimage to the home of this wonderful genius. How like this
must have been that night on which the famous master was stirred
"One moonlight evening, while out walking with a friend, through
one of the dark, narrow streets of his native city, as they were
passing a humble dwelling, the sweet tones of a piano floated
out on the evening air, that throbbed with the sweet notes of
"Hush!" said Beethoven, "what sound is that? It is from my
Sonata in F. Hark! How well it is played!"
There was a sudden break in the finale, when a sobbing voice
"I cannot play it any more. It is so beautiful; it is beyond my
power to do it justice. O, what would I not give to go to the
Concert at Cologne!"
This appeal, coming out into the stillness of the night, was too
much for the kind-hearted musician. He resolved to gratify her
desire. As he gently opened the door, he said to his friend: "I
will play for her. Here is feeling, genius, understanding! I
will play for her and she will understand it."
It was only the humble home of a shoemaker and his blind sister.
"Pardon me," said Beethoven, "but I heard music and was tempted
to enter. I am a musician. I also overheard something of what
you said. You wish to hear--that is--shall I play for you?"
The young girl blushed while the young man apologized for the
wretched condition of the piano, which was out of tune, and said
they had no music.
"No music!" exclaimed Beethoven.
Then he discovered for the first time that the young lady was
blind. With profuse apologies, for seeming to have spoken so
abruptly, he desired to know how she had learned to play so well
by ear. When he heard that she had gained it by walking before
the open window while others practiced, he was so touched that
he sat down and played to the most interested audience that he
had ever entertained. Enraptured they listened.
"Who are you?" exclaimed the young man.
"Listen," said Beethoven, and as the sublime strains of the
"Sonata in F" filled the air their joy was unbounded. Seldom is
it given to man to have such appreciation. The flame of the
candle wavered, flickered, and went out. His friend opened the
shutters and let in a flood of moonlight. Under the influence of
the spell, the great composer began to improvise. Such a hold
did his own music create upon him that he hastened to his room
and worked till after the dawn of morning, reducing the great
composition to writing. It was his masterpiece, "The Moonlight
Sonata." Thus he found that it is indeed "more blessed to give
than to receive," and the gift returned to bless the giver many
No wonder the musician played this fitting selection, for the
silvery light made all the sky radiant and its crystal, star-
gemmed depths seemed to shine with a light of their own,
transforming its radiant sapphire gleam, shedding it over the
glowing water and shore, tipping with silver the shrubbery at
its edge which in the dim distance formed a scene that was
enchanting. The softly sighing leaves mingled their notes with
the rippling waves and:
"Peacefully the quiet stars
Came out one after one;
The holy twilight fell upon the sea,
The summer day was done."
Dawn came with a burst of glory, and the oncoming light of the
soft, deep blue and the alluring purple. bloom that spread o'er
the ocean was Nature's compensation for those who rose early.
Before the stars had all gone to their hiding place and while
the light of a few large planets was growing dim, fading into
the clay, we were making our way down to the shore through dewy
grass, azaleas, and various shrubs, where the swamp sparrows,
robins, and catbirds were greeting the new day from their bushy
coverts with their songs of gladness.
How many songsters took part in this matitudinal concert, we are
unable to state, but there were a great number. The volume of
sweet notes would sometimes swell to a full-toned orchestra, and
then for a brief time it would die away like the flow and ebb of
the tides of a sea of melody. The robins were undoubtedly the
most gifted of all the vocalists, and their old familiar songs
heard along the seashore seemed to have an added sweetness;
their notes being as strong and pure as those of a silver flute,
making the seaside echoes ring. We have heard many robins sing,
but never have been so impressed with the excellent quality of
their songs as on that early morning, when they flung out their
medley of notes upon the balmy air. No one could doubt that here
were true artists, singing for the pleasure of it.
All along the shore lay huge boulders telling of a more ancient
pilgrimage to these parts; of a great moving mass of ice in the
gray dawn of time, that crept slowly over the land, leaving a
"stern and rock bound coast." Perhaps Plymouth Rock itself may
have been one of the number that, like these huge gray boulders
on which we stood, arrived thousands of years ago.
We returned to the hotel and after breakfast, proceeded on our
way to the old historic town of Plymouth. "The road that leads
thither is daily thronged with innumerable wheels; on a summer
day the traveler may count motors by the thousand." Yet if you
pause here awhile you may soon find within a few rods of the
fine highway primitive woodland that will give you an impression
of what it must have been three hundred years ago. Here you will
see heavy forest growths consisting of oaks, for the most part,
with maple and elm, and here and there a tangle of green brier
and barberry, interspersed with several varieties of blueberry
and huckleberry bushes.
You will perhaps recall that Eric the Red, that fearless Viking,
is reported to have landed on the coast several centuries before
the English heard of the bold promontory of "Hither Manomet." It
is well worth your time to saunter along some of the old trails
to be found in this region that lead from the main highway of
today into the "wilderness of old-time romance, where you will
find them not only marked by the pioneer, but that earlier race
who worked out these paths, no one knows how many centuries
We now and then meet with people who profess to care little for
a path when walking through a forest solitude. They do not
choose to travel a beaten path, even though it was made
centuries ago. They are welcome to this freak. "Our own genius
for adventure is less highly developed and we love to wander
along some beaten path, no matter how often it has been traveled
before; and if really awake, we may daily greet new beauties and
think new thoughts, and return to the old highway with a new
lease on life, which, after all, is the main consideration,
whether traveling on old or new trails."
Then the force of those old associations, how they gild the most
ordinary objects! The trail you may be traveling may wander here
and there, beset by tangles of briers or marshy ground or loses
itself in a wilderness of barberry bushes, yet how much more
wonderful to travel it, for its soil has been pressed by pilgrim
feet. Some path may chance to lead you where a few old lilac
bushes, a mound or perhaps a gray and moss-grown house, still
stands where some hardy pioneer builded.
You will probably come across parties of boys who have spent
hours in the broiling sun, picking blueberries or huckleberries
in the woods or old stony pastures. Here grow a number of
varieties, which make the woods beautiful and fragrant. They
belong to the heath family and help to feed the world. If you
would know the value of these berries, try and purchase some
from the boys who are gathering them.
How delightful the thrill that we experienced on that lovely
morning of July as we were nearing the shrine of the nation. It
would have mattered little even though we had not tarried on our
journey here, where memories of days of the past came thronging
around us, nor little did it matter now that we saw no signs of
earlier times as we first approached the town, for in this
residence, manufacturing and thriving business center, fluttered
hundreds of flags, giving to the place a meaning at once grand
and significant; and we seemed to catch the fervent faith, the
glad hope that must have swelled in the breasts of our
forefathers three centuries ago.
All during the morning our thoughts wandered far away from the
days of the Pilgrims, for there came thronging memories of those
absent and distant friends with whom we could never talk again,
but in whose memory we once had a place, and who will always
live in ours. These dear friends have now gone to fairer shores
and they are dwelling on the banks of the "river Beautiful,
where grows the Tree of Life."
We came to visit the relatives of these departed friends, who
have proven in those terrible days of the Meuse-Argonne that
there is more in life than its grim reality; who have taught us
that not only on the bloody field of battle but while they
calmly awaited the last command from the Master of All to make
that journey to fairer camping grounds, they were soldiers not
only serving their country under General Pershing, but loyal and
faithful servants of their country's God.
The first hours of the day were spent at the home of Mrs. Emma
Howland, whose son, Chester A. Howland, after receiving gunshot
wounds in the Argonne forest, was taken to the Evacuation
Hospital, Number 15, where we were privileged to care for him.
In vain we searched for words to tell of the faith, courage, and
self-sacrifice of a dear son, of this mother, whose photograph
he so joyfully showed us on the first morning of our meeting, as
"Here is a picture of the dearest mother in all the world."
How well we remembered that morning when the cheery rays of
sunlight, the first of many days, stole through the windows and
fell in golden bands and lay on the pure white brow,
illuminating those manly features. A light divine filled his
clear, blue eyes, as he said:
"I do not know how badly I am wounded, but then it will be all
Then we thought of the once lovely region around Verdun, where
the homes were shot full of holes. In many places only heaps of
blackened stone remained. The beautiful meadows of the Meuse had
been torn full of pits, some small, others large and deep enough
to bury a truck; and trenches, barbed wire entanglements and
shattered trees were scattered all about. The American
cannonading roared along the Argonne front, and the German
artillery answered, until the air trembled with an overload of
sound. Then as the clear, fine voice of this noble lad filled
those halls of pain and death with a rippling melody of cheer,
we looked again and a vision came.
In fancy we saw once more the French peasants toiling in their
fields of grain; over the once desolate region the skylarks were
soaring and singing above emerald meadows, covered with the blue
of the corn-flower and crimson of poppies; the pines were
peacefully murmuring their age-old songs of freedom and content,
unmindful of the conquer-lust of the Hohenzollerns; the evening
sky was no longer profaned by the lurid illumination of star
shells as they looped across the ghastly field; in what were
once shell holes filled with poisonous water the frogs were
piping; in the lovely gardens overlooking the Meuse the mavis
and merle were singing; and in the violet dusk no hissing shells
screamed their songs of death and destruction, and no crashing
of forests were heard from far-thrown shells, but the heavy box-
scented breeze bore the heavenly psalm of the nightingale.
Across the road from the ward moving silently about the avenues
of that vast "city of the dead," French mothers were scattering
flowers on graves of their loved ones; and then it was
understood why Chester Howland sang while the thundering cannon
shook the wards. Soon for him there would be no weary marches,
no days of terror and nights of pain. Ah, precious gold-star
mother, rightly have you said it seems that he is just "away."
The home he once brightened and filled with the beauty of his
presence shall know him no more; but think to what radiant
fields he has gone, for which you early taught him to prepare!
There no cruel war will ever come to take him from your hearth-
I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead--he is just away!
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there,
And you--O you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here;
And loyal still, as he gave the blows
Of his warrior-strength to his country's foes.
Mild and gentle, as he was brave,
When the sweetest love of his life he gave
To simple things; where the violets grew
Blue as the eyes they were likened to,
The touches of his hands have strayed
As reverently as his lips have prayed;
While the little brown thrush that harshly chirped
Was dear to him as the mocking bird;
And he pitied as much as a man in pain
A writhing honey-bee wet with rain.
Think of him still as the same, I say
He is not dead--he is just away.
The first Pilgrim trail is now Leyden street, which leads from
the edge of the water to the fort on Burial Hill. But we first
made our way to a real wooded park whose grounds were covered
with oak trees, clethra, alder, spice bushes, and green-brier,
which we fancied still grew as they did in the days of the
Pilgrims. We saw numbers of Indian tepees in this park, which
added to its touch of original wildness. We learned that they
belonged to the Winnebagoes of Maine, who came down to Plymouth
to take part in the pageant. The park was full of blueberry and
huckleberry bushes, and companies of the Indian boys and girls
were gathering the berries which were just beginning to ripen,
giving us a good idea of what the place must have been like
before the coming of the white man.
>From this place we followed a path along the shores of a stretch
of water known as "Billington sea." It is a lovely lake, that
had been blocked off from the ocean by a great terminal moraine
until "Town Brook set it free." There is a legend current here,
that a man who brought little credit but much trouble to the
Pilgrims by his acts of wantonness, was said to have reported
the discovery of a new sea; therefore "Billington's sea." His
sons seemed to be chips of the old block and caused the
colonists no end of worry and trouble by their recklessness. One
of them wandered away and became lost, causing great concern
among the Pilgrims. He is said to have climbed up into a high
tree from which he located his home and also discovered this
body of water.
But no matter who the discoverer may have been, it was enough
for us to know that we were treading Billington's path along the
shore near the water's edge, linking the New Plymouth with that
of three hundred years ago.
Here in this seeming wilderness, wandering upon those old trails
that in many places are all but obliterated, or vanishing
altogether, for a short way among their tangles of undergrowth,
you may still glimpse the wooded region of three centuries ago,
through the perspective of the ideas and ideals of the present
day. "Here we still look back in loving remembrance to that
magical little vessel that fought her way across a cruel wintry
sea," bearing those brave souls, whose faith and courage have
left us in possession of lessons that are priceless.
Anyone who has been in England when the hedgerows are in bloom
can readily imagine how the homesick hearts of the pilgrims,
after that first terrible winter, fraught with sickness and
death, longed for these lovely flowers. The time of the
Mayflower's blossoming has long been past, but in fancy our
thoughts go back to that early spring when the first bluebird
winged his way to Burial Hill, calling up memories of the
English robin, which this harbinger of spring resembles. It was
the Pilgrims who called him the blue robin.
We love to think, too, of the joyful discovery that one of the
Pilgrims must have had, when he stooped to pluck that first
flower of spring whose aromatic fragrance was wafted to him by
the balmy south wind. Perhaps it was John Alders who first
discovered this lovely flower while the bluebird warbled his
message of love and spring from a budding alder. No doubt he
carried it in triumph to Priscilla as a token of friendship.
Looking out over the land or the lovely bay that spread before
them, the Pilgrims, in spite of their toil and hardships, found
heart to send word to their friends in England that it was a
"fayere lande and bountiful." "So in the darkest times there
came days of brightness when all nature seemed to rejoice, and
the woods and fields were filled with gladness." When the time
came for the sailing of the Mayflower, not a person of all that
little band was willing to go back to the land they had left.
Longfellow has given us a picture of the departure in his
"Courtship of Miles Standish."
O strong hearts and true! Not one went back in the May
No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this
Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the
Much endeared to them all, as something living and
Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a
Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plymouth
Said, "Let us pray!" and they prayed,
And thanked the Lord and took courage.
But let us return to the first trail of the Pilgrims that leads
to Burial Hill. "Here above the enterprise of the modern town
rises this hill, bearing the very presence of its founders,"
where you forget for a time the lure of the woods and sea as you
reverently pause to read the inscriptions on the mossy
headstones. The oldest marked grave is that of Governor
Bradford. It is an obelisk a little more than eight feet in
height. On the north side is a Hebrew sentence said to signify,
Jehovah is our help. Under this stone rests the ashes of William
Bradford, a zealous Puritan and sincere Christian; Governor of
Plymouth Colony from April, 1621, to 1657 (the year he died,
aged 69), except five years which he declined. "Qua patres
difficillime adepti sunt, nolite turpiter relinquare." Which
means, What our fathers with so much difficulty secured, do not
Then we see the monument of his son, an Indian fighter. The
epitaph reads like this:
Here lies the body of ye honorable Major Wm. Bradford, who
expired Feb. ye 20th 1703-4, aged 79 years.
He lived long but still was doing good
And in this country's service lost much blood;
After a life well spent he's now at rest,
His very name and memory is blest.
Another monument you will see is that of John Howland. The
inscription is this: Here ended the Pilgrimage of John Howland
who died February 23, 1672-23 aged 80 years. He married
Elizabeth, daughter of John Tilly, who came with him in the
Mayflower, Dec. 1620. From them are descended numerous
"He was a goodly man, and an ancient professor in the ways of
Christ. He was one of the first comers into this land and was
the last man that was left of those that came over in the ship
called the May Flower that lived in Plymouth."--Plymouth
Here in the town you may see the Howland house still standing
firm upon its foundations, although built in 1667. It has a
large Dutch chimney of red brick. The roof is sharp pitched.
Here too still stands the Harlow house, which was built in the
Old Manse style in 1671. The oak timbers were said to have been
taken from the frame of the first Pilgrim fort and common house
which stood on a hill back of the town. How like their
characters were the works of those early Pilgrims, relics of
those bygone days when character-building and home-making were
Then we thought of that other grave that was recently made in
the new cemetery; where the body of Chester Howland reposes. He
was only one of the many loyal sons of the 26th Division who
braved the cruel ocean in 1917 carrying the principles handed
down from their Pilgrim forefathers to lands beyond the waves.
They seized the golden sword of knighthood--an old inheritance
from their worthy sires--and with what valor they wielded it,
the rows of white crosses in a foreign land attest. Its hilt for
them was set with rarest gems. "A mother's love or sweetheart's
fond goodbye." A grateful nation saw fit to bring their remains
back to their native land. They merit beautiful monuments, but
memory of their noble deeds of valor and sacrifice will be all
the monument they need, and by the light of Freedom's blazing
torch the world shall read their epitaph written by the hand of
How fine again it is to stand
Where they in Freedom's soil are laid,
And from their ashes may be made
The May Flowers of their native land.
At many hearths the fires burn dim,
The vacant chairs are closer drawn
Where weary hearts draw nearer them
And softly whisper, "they are gone."
The low-hung clouds in pity sent,
Their floral tributes from the skies,
And sobbing winds their voices lent
To stifled sobs and bitter sighs.
In spotless beauty their myriads lay,
Upon Freedom's flag like frozen tears
Or petals of the flowers of May,
In perfumed softness on their bier.
Oh, may they not have died in vain,
Those gallant youths of Freedom's land,
They sought not any earthly gain
And perished that the right might stand.
The death of the following is depicted in "Dr. Le Baron and his
Daughters." "In memory of seventy-two seamen who perished in
Plymouth harbor on the 26 and 27 days of December, 1778, on
board the private armed Brig. Gen. Arnold, of twenty guns, James
Magee of Boston, Commander, sixty of whom were buried on this
"Oh falsely flattering were yon billows smooth
When forth elated sailed in evil hour
That vessel whose disastrous fate, when told,
Filled every breast with sorrow and each eye with
One of the seamen is said to have been the lover of Miss Hannah
Howland, which probably explains why she has this epitaph on her
monument: "To the memory of Miss Hannah Howland, who died of a
languishment January ye 25th, 1780."
The grave of the Elder Faunce, to whom we are indebted for the
history of Plymouth Rock and for its preservation, is here.
There are numerous other inscriptions quaint yet significant.
Here you will find the oldest Masonic stone in the country.
There is a design at the top, a skeleton whose right elbow rests
upon a tomb, the right hand grasping a scythe. Upon the tomb is
an hour glass, and on this are crossbones. At the left of the
skeleton is a flaming urn; at the base of which is a rose tree
bearing buds and flowers. Near the tomb is a skull leaning
against a dead shrub.
"Here lies buried the body of Mr. Nath Jackson who died July ye
14th, 1743, in ye 79th year of his age."
With the Baltimore oriole piping his cheery recitative in the
top of an elm; chickadees uttering their minor strains, and
mourning doves soothing our ears with their meditative cooing,
we left the sacred spot, to visit Plymouth Rock. We loved to
listen to the purling undertones of Town Brook and wondered what
its liquid music might not tell, if we could interpret its
story. Shakespeare was right when he said we could find sermons
in stones, and here if we read aright is a sermon that made the
Old World monarchs tremble. And still to us it tells of that
mighty force that brought it here in the dim past--to be the
corner stone of our republic. Its ringing text is still sounding
from shore to shore.
"Tradition has kept the memory of the rock on which the Pilgrims
first set foot, and which lay on the foot of the hill. It has
become an historic spot, to which the name Forefathers' Rock has
been given. No other in America possesses such hallowed
associations or has so often been celebrated in song and story."
"Here," said De Toqueville, "is a stone which the feet of a few
outcasts pressed for an instant, and the stone became famous. It
is treasured by a nation. Its very dust is shared as a relic.
And what has become of the gateways of a thousand palaces? Who
cares for them?"
Tradition also says that Mary Chilton and John Allen were the
first to leap upon this rock, as we read in the lines to Mary
"The first on Plymouth Rock to leap!
Among the timid flock she stood,
Rare figure, near the May Flower's prow,
With heart of Christian fortitude,
And light heroic on her brow."
But whoever was the first to step upon this stone, that act we
now cherish as the first one toward the founding of a nation,
and as typical of the heroism and daring of its founders. "And
such it will stand for all time as one of the grand stepping-
stones of history."
We wander once more along Town Brook listening to its soothing
voice as the evening shadows begin to gather upon it. The sun,
like an orb of fire, is sinking in a vast sea of gold through
which a few fleecy clouds of a delicate rose color are slowly
drifting. The shadowy forms of the night-hawk are plainly seen
as they sweep the heavens for their evening meal of insects. We
catch their eerie cries that fall from the rosy depths of the
waning sunset to the darkening glades around us, and we hear the
breeze softly sighing as it caresses the myriad leaves of the
forest. The water of the brook grows dim in the deepening
shadows. It is the sweetest hour of the day, and as this song of
peace floats out over the twilight woods it calls to holy
thoughts. It is as if one heard the Angelus of a distant
On returning to Plymouth Rock hotel we were impressed with the
crowded streets, for from far and near people had gathered to
witness the Tercentenary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. In the
gray half light of the evening we saw a majestic elm whose
gigantic size told of an earlier time. It may not be so, yet we
loved to think that the white settlers' cabins rose around it by
the seashore. Perhaps the earliest of the Pilgrim fathers heard
the first prayers on American soil uttered from beneath its now
aged boughs. It probably saw the surrounding forest disappear
and with it, the Indian villages, and now looks down on the
thriving historic town of the white man. The youths of several
generations have frolicked beneath its beneficent branches.
Armies have marched by it. The soldiers of Plymouth may have
passed it on their way to the harbor where they stepped on
Plymouth Rock before embarking on that perilous journey in 1917;
and here it is still standing a silent orator of golden deeds in
a land of noble trees. In it one sees far more than so many feet
of lumber to calculate. Its gleaming crest in autumn speaks
eloquently of priceless deeds of valor and that distant time of
the golden dawn of Freedom.
Right proper it was that a nation saw fit to meet here, to do
honor to the memory of those free and nobleminded souls who
braved the dangers of the mighty Atlantic. Long, severe winters
were endured when they had but a scanty amount of food and faced
unknown dangers from hostile Indian foes. Uncomplainingly did
they endure all of these, rather than submit to tyranny and
oppression. Heroic characters they were, with their strong
principles and high ideals, to found a great nation. What an
epic story of splendid achievement, heroic deeds, and noble
sacrifice those Pilgrim Fathers have chronicled upon the
illustrious pages of our country's history!
The time is July in place of December, the month in which the
Pilgrims arrived. In many respects the place of that first
landing has been greatly altered. The waterfront contains rough
wharves and is lined with storehouses and factories. Plymouth
Rock itself will rest beneath a beautiful granite canopy and
seems an incredible distance from the sea, and one wonders how
they managed to bridge such a distance to get to shore. Yet if
you rely somewhat upon your imagination, you may visualize the
place in all its rugged impressiveness, much the same as when
the Pilgrims beheld it. Nature seems quickly to obliterate the
footprints of man, especially along the sea, and you may wander
along Plymouth beach in the weird twilight and listen to the
sullen boom of the breakers on the cliff, and see and hear as
The sea has beaten for centuries against the great boulders, yet
the stones have been but slightly changed. The coast is still
"rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun," and the great granite
boulders gleam white in the level rays of the descending sun,
looking like great emeralds as the silvery crests of the
breakers fall upon them.
The evening sky was thickly overcast with clouds as we made our
way down to the shore. The wind blew the dark cloud masses out
to sea, and as we watched the surf curried by the rocks into
foam and heard the wind moaning and wailing among the tossing
branches of the trees on shore, we seemed to catch the spirit of
that time as if "it had been that Friday night, three centuries
before, when the shallop of the Pilgrims came by this very place
lashed by the tempestuous sea, their mast broken in three pieces
and their sail lost in the dusky welter of the angry surf."
The sky became darker, and more menacing appeared the waves as
the time drew near for the pageant to begin. A kind of weird
twilight reigned o'er land and sea. No light was visible save
that from the beacon-tower, which sent a fitful gleam o'er the
angry waves; all else was dark, primal, spectral, as was that
eventful night which these present-day pilgrims were now
gathered to commemorate. The gale dashed salt spray and
raindrops spitefully into our faces, yet it dampened neither our
spirits nor those of the performers.
A large stadium capable of accommodating forty thousand people
had been erected near the seashore behind a field of action or
immense stage four hundred feet wide and with a depth of four
hundred and fifty feet. This stage had to be illuminated from a
distance of over one hundred and fifty feet, requiring for the
pageant over three hundred kilowatts power, enough electrical
energy to operate thirteen thousand ordinary house lights, and
by far the largest installation for this purpose that has been
used in this country.
Suddenly, from a canopied rock, was heard a rich, powerful voice
speaking to the American people of the changes and vicissitudes
that the rock has witnessed since "far primordial ages." Fit
prologue it was from the "corner-stone of the Republic."
Out of the shadowy night from where is heard the mysterious
voice of the rock thirty Indians, bearing ten canoes on their
shoulders, move silently toward the shore. Suddenly one of the
Indians perceives a strange object to the left on the harbor.
Terror seizes them all, and they vanish like larger among lesser
shadows. Nine more Indians appear bearing three boats but,
seeing the phantom, fear fell upon them and they dropped to the
shore, covering themselves with their canoes. From the right
appears a Norse galley, the armor-clad warriors and their leader
Thorwald making a fine picture as they disembark, carrying their
shields, spears, and battle axes. As the men draw near they see
the three canoes, and Thorwald forms three groups from his
company, who approach rapidly toward them. The approach so
frightens the Indians under two of the canoes that they rise up
and attempt to flee; whereupon the warriors after some fierce
fighting, kill them with their javelins.
The third boat is removed and reveals three Indians too
terrified to move. One escapes and one is captured; another,
feigning death, creeps slowly and painfully to the left, where
his every gesture reveals the agonies of a mortally wounded
warrior. The canoes are taken and borne aloft, on the shoulders
of the majestic Vikings, trophies of a foreign land and
No sooner do they pass on board the ship than a watcher in the
prow warns the rest of impending danger; for, swiftly and warily
approaching; the infuriated red men seem to be planning revenge
in a surprise attack. Like a wall of flashing steel the shields
go up around the deck while the gangplank is quickly drawn in.
Suddenly a shower of arrows fly toward the wall of shields,
hitting them with a thud but seemingly doing no harm. Presently
they flee in haste, thinking perhaps these are gods who cannot
be harmed. Slowly the shields are lowered and Thorwald is shown
to be in great distress. One sees he is in a death swoon, yet,
he raises an arm and points toward the Gurnet, then reels and
falls into the arms of his stalwart men. Once more that steel
wall goes up, and the mysterious strangers with their curious
ship move out on the sea, bearing their leader's body held high
on locked shields.
Next appear three men having an English flag with the words
Here on the shore, with a band of men dressed in the costumes of
those early days, appears a right merry group of men listening
to one of their number who is playing on a gittern. As if
enamored of the melody the Indians gather around the musician.
One, who by his gesticulations, tells in actions more plainly
than words that he wishes to dance, offers this modern Orpheus a
peace-pipe. Others present various gifts until the English youth
steps out among them. They form a circle about him and try to
keep time to the music.
Suddenly a member who drops out receives a beating. Fiercer and
swifter becomes the dance until in the height of the wildest
part a number of dogs spring forward on their leashes, so
frightening the savages that they flee in terror. The player
seems to be amused yet startled at the incident and goes toward
the Indians laughing. Behind a French flag the lights reveal
three sailors. On the flag we see written: "Sieur De Champlain--
July 19, 1605."
As the lights shift, two Indians appear bearing a great number
of codfish which are being examined by Champlain and his men.
The Indians show the hooks and lines with which they catch these
fish. Noting some growing corn, Champlain tries to learn about
the strange plant. The Indians by signs show him that corn may
be raised and used as food. He barters for food and fish. Having
acquired a great variety of provender they move toward the shore
as the lights fade.
Next appear three men dressed in the Dutch mariner's uniform of
the time. The flag they carry bears the inscription: "Admiral
A crowd of Dutchmen appear to be enjoying the evening. They are
watching a band of Indians who are dancing. One cannot tell
which they are enjoying most, the long-stemmed pipes they are
smoking or the weird dances of the redmen, whom they loudly
Following this scene is the tableau of Captain John Smith in the
spring of 1614. Behind this group are seen three English sailors
holding a flag upon which is written "John Smith--Accomack--
Down by the water where streaks of foam top the dark waves and
the forms of two men loom dark and spectral, a boat is riding at
anchor. While the boulders beat the surf into white foam and the
branches of the elms wail and toss in the night wind, Smith and
four of his men are trading with the Indians; others of his men
are on guard against any treachery, while two of the men are
placing the skins which they have bought into hogsheads. There
are thirty or forty Indians when the bartering is at its height,
and Smith is seen making a bargain with an Indian for a bale of
One of Smith's men, who notices a very fine skin an Indian is
wearing, lifts it to show it to Smith. The Indian resents this
act, and there seems to be resentment and fear among all the red
men. The Englishmen stiffen to attention, but Smith, who feared
neither man nor devil, goes among the Indians carrying a copper
kettle and a gorgeous blanket. He held out his blanket
persuasively and added several strings of beads. Then he draped
the blanket on himself. The Indian at last reluctantly yields
and takes off the skin, a beautiful black fox. The lights closed
in around a group of Indians decked in their new robes.
Our attention is turned toward the shore once more where three
English sailors hold a flag bearing the words: "Thomas Hunt--
Patuxet--1615." Hunt enters stealthily at the right, and his
attention is concentrated upon a spot where his trained eye has
caught, a glimpse of something of greater interest than bird or
fish. He is evidently scouting. Then appear at his signal a band
of men moving in single file, who hide behind the bushes. Hunt
too, as if hearing something, hides himself. Silently a shadowy
procession moves from Town Brook, carrying pelts and fishing
apparatus. A canoe is borne on the shoulders of two of them.
They put the canoe down and all gather in a group to prepare for
the day's fishing.
All unconscious of danger, they lay their weapons aside. Hunt
rises and signals to his men, who quickly fall upon the Indians
as they try to flee. Several stagger across the field fatally
wounded, while most of the men are captured and bound. After
they gag the Indians they force them toward the water's edge
where a boat is waiting. As the group disappears, or is seen as
a band of faint shadows, the despairing figure of Tisquantum,
bound and struggling, is brought into relief.
There is darkness for a brief time then, as the lights come
slowly on, they reveal an absolutely empty space where before
were seen activity and plenty. The music for this scene,
composed by Henry F. Gilbert, was of a character at once weird,
awe-inspiring, almost magical, portraying by tone as plainly as
by words the scene of desolation, sickness and death. It seemed
as if there were an increasing sense of indefinite fear--a deep
impression of solemnity and gravity, as if we were conscious of
contact with the eternities.
A change as unusual as it was unwholesome came upon the ocean.
"As the lights touched the water a purple glow that was to it
like the ashen hue that beclouds the face of the dying. A filmy
green spread over the land and there seemed to arise a miasmatic
vapor like the breath of a brooding pestilence, which clung
clammily to the earth and dulled all life." Every one felt the
presence of trouble impending; one grave question breathed forth
from the haunting music and, unspoken, trembled on every lip;
one overmastering idea blended with and overpowered all others.
"The land and sea were both sick, stagnant, and foul, and there
seemed to arise from their unfathomable depths, drawn by the
weird power of the music, horrid shapes that glared steadily
into the strange twilight they had arisen to."
"Such a morbific, unwholesome condition" cast upon land and sea,
and music that seemed to breathe forth such despair and
desolation, could not but deeply move the audience.
One breathes more freely when the light falls upon a group of
ten Englishmen, who appear in single file at the right. Thomas
Dermer seems engaged in a very spirited conversation with
Samoset, an Indian, while Tisquantum, another Indian, follows
and seems absorbed in his own thoughts. While Dermer is engaged
in conversation, a group of sailors pass near the water's edge,
where they drop their burdens. They gaze out on the water as if
looking for a boat. Tisquantum goes past Dermer and Samoset and
stands looking off across the harbor, deep in gloomy thought.
>From out there, as darkness closes about the lonely figure on
the shore, there is borne to our ears by the night wind the
distant sound of voices chanting early sixteenth century music.
The music continues while the various characters appear, and
finally grows fainter until it can no longer be heard. A young
boy appears on the left as if on his way to his morning labor.
He is driving a horse that is hitched to a crude plow. There
enters from the right a group of seven men and five women, who
wear the costumes of religious pilgrims. They have the staff,
the script, and the water bottle. Two of the number have been to
Rome, for they wear the palm; two others show that they have
been to Compostella, for they wear the shell; while two others
have the bottle and bell, proving that they have been to
The next scene represented the Fleet Prison on the night of
April 5, 1593. Two heaps of straw are seen, on which a man in
Puritan garb is seated, writing rapidly. By the other heap sits
a man on a stool, who is correcting some written pages. Both men
wear chains. A woman stands by the second man with some papers.
She seems to be waiting for the other sheets which the man is
writing. As he passes the last to her she hides them all in the
bosom of her dress.
The next scene represents the Opposition, 7603. The lights are
suddenly turned, on revealing a flurry of children and young
people across the field, from left to right, and the sound of
gay music from the point toward which the children are running.
The field fills rapidly with some hundreds of people--men, women
and children, of all types and kinds. From the right to the
triumphant march, King James enters in royal progress.
Space forbids us to relate the various scenes portrayed upon
this wonderfully well-illuminated field. No one who witnessed
this wonderful production can ever forget the solemn
impressiveness of its closing scenes. A voice is heard coming
from the rock, "As one candle may light a thousand, so the
lights here kindled have shone to many, yea! in some sort, to
our whole nation."
As Bradford gazes out in the distance, the lights now
penetrating more deeply reveal in turn, George Washington and
Abraham Lincoln. The clear voice of Washington repeats these
significant words: "The basis of our political system is the
right of the people to make and to alter their constitution of
the government." Then the deep, calm voice of Lincoln is heard
to say: "Government of the people, for the people, and by the
people, shall not perish from the earth."
As Lincoln finishes speaking, two men in modern dress come
toward the rock, looking seaward.
The first speaker:
"This was the port of entry of our Freedom.
Men brought it in a box of alabaster
And broke the box and spilled it to the West,
Here on the granite wharf prepared for them.
"And so we have it."
"Have it to achieve;
We have it as they had it in their day,
A little in the grasp--more to achieve."
Then we hear these significant words:
"I wonder what the Pilgrims if they came
Would say to us, as Freemen? Is our freedom
Their freedom as they left it to our keeping,
Or would they know their own in modern guise?
Across the back of the field to the grand triumphal strains of
martial music pass the flags of the allies, so lighted that they
show brilliantly. Nearer move the French and British flags, and
then all wave and beckon. There follows a hush. Suddenly from
far out on the Mayflower a bugle calls in the darkness and light
begins to glow on the vessel, but very faintly.
Then again the voice from the Rock is heard: "The path of the
Mayflower must be forever free." Forty-eight young women bear
the state flags. The pageant ground is now ablaze with lights,
and as the wonderful chorus that has carried you on its mighty
tide of harmony dies away; the field darkens until there is only
light on the Mayflower.
Again the voice from the Rock fills the place with deep sonorous
tones, like celestial music, as we listen to these fitting
words: "With malice toward none and charity for all it is for us
to resolve that this nation under God shall have a new birth of
What is there in Europe, or the whole world, in the way of
pageants that can compare with this? When we consider its
import, viewed in the full, bright light of the rising sun of
Liberty; wafted by the delicate electric threads of this busy
commercial world which are silently conveying with a certain
majesty of movement its significance, we may well say that this
celebrated one of the most eventful deeds of man since time
"As we go back to that shadowy and evanescent period when
history and culture of ancient Chaldea unroll before us, with
the overpowering greatness of Assyria followed by the swift rise
and fall of Babylon, let us try and extract some truths in
regard to the growth of Civilization. Even though nations rise
and fall, and races come and go, has not human development been
ever upward and onward?"
Let us then look forward to the dawning of a better day. Let us
cherish those high ideals of liberty our fore-fathers so dearly
bought. Let us put on the strong armor of the Word of God which
was to them a shield and a buckler and move forward with firm,
steadfast hope toward a brighter dawn of Freedom, that shall
exceed that of the present as the light which gleamed from the
Mayflower exceeded in brilliancy that of the Old World.
Watching the lights slowly fade on the Mayflower we thought how
the Pilgrims had stood on the icy deck of the vessel, with the
winds blowing through the masts overhead and the waves roaring
about the black hull beneath, while they sang hymns of praise
for deliverance from the dangers of the sea.
And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drams,
Or the trumpet that sings of fame.
Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear,
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.
How richly glows the water's breast,
Before us tinged with evening's hues,
When facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent course pursues,
And see how dark the backward stream,
A little moment past so smiling!
And still perhaps some faithless gleam,
Some other loiterer beguiling.
Such views the youthful bard allure,
But heedless of the following gloom,
He dreams their colors shall endure
Till peace go with him to the tomb.
And let him nurse his fond deceit;
And what if he must die in sorrow
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet;
Though grief and pain may come tomorrow.
The ancients believed that the alchemists could create rose
blooms out of their ashes. We are prone to believe it for, at
the close of a fair New England day we have seen the Master
Alchemist, the sun, beneath his spacious workshop of July skies,
transmuting the gray mists and vapors into sunset's glow; and