Part 6 out of 7
lo! we had the blooming roses there. He melted his many
ingredients with the falling dew and distilled from them the
gold with which he burnished the western sky, making it glow
like a glassy sea. Seizing upon some more potent fluid, he threw
it among the fleecy clouds, kindling them all along the horizon
until they shone like a vast lake of flame; then taking his
magic wand, he waved it over the glowing mass and crimson
changed to rosy pink, pink to glowing purple; forming those
royal gates through which the magician passed behind the distant
foothills of the Adirondacks.
During such a pageant of splendor as this o'er head, did we
first behold the placid waters of Lake Champlain.
Far away beyond the Vermont shore rose the Green mountains
behind their misty veils of purplish-blue. High above the lower
undulations loomed the forest crowned ridges, gloriously colored
and radiant, forming a mysterious yet fitting background for the
exquisite picture before us. The nearer hills from their tops
and extending far down their sides were covered with evergreens;
below them a purple belt of deciduous trees and bright green
meadows made a vivid contrast; while the nearer valley was
filled with clumps of trees, fields of grain and crimson clover.
Before us lay the tranquil lake flecked with islands, which
looked like floating gardens of green on a purple mirror. Near
us a wooden bridge led across a shallow cove passing between
myriads of pickerel weed whose light purple spathes formed a
striking mass of color. Beneath it long, slender patches of
silvery blue rushes made magic hedges, so symmetrical as to seem
clipped by the hand of art. So ethereal in their loveliness were
they, we could account for their presence in no other way than
being woven by the genii of the lake out of the purple bloom
that surrounded it.
It was a royal path fit for any of the nobility of earth to
journey upon. The air was so clear and transparent and the
surface of the lake so calm that a boat with some fishermen
appeared to be drifting in mid-air among a "veiled shower of
shadowy roses." The flight of a kingfisher was revealed in the
lake below as distinctly as in the sky above. A great blue-
heron, making one think of a French soldier at attention, was
silently awaiting a green-coated Boche to make his appearance
over the top of his lily-pad dugout. The stillness was so
pronounced it seemed as if all Nature held her breath while
super-powers of both lake and mountain wrought their miracles.
It must have been such a scene as this which Tennyson portrayed
in his "Lotus-Eaters:"
There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentler on the spirit lies
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes,
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful
Here are cool mosses deep,
And through the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.
Another heaven arched below us in which the Green mountains
joined their bases with still others that seemed like fairy
creations floating upon the water. An ideal remoteness and
perfection were thrown o'er the landscape by the crystalline
atmosphere. Mountains, fields, woods and lake all made "ethereal
pictures" in the mild evening light. Above in the blue dome,
Nature hung her finely woven drapery of rose-colored clouds,
whose glory was repeated by the unfathomable lake, seemingly as
deep as the blue dome it reflected. Its hues were not those of
earth, but were borrowed from heaven with which the poem of
evening was written on the twilight sky, for the delight of all
Such scenes as this naturally call for comparisons, but having
seen but one that will in any measure compare with it, we shall
try to recall an evening on the Mediterranean.
The afternoon had been spent on the island of St. Marguerite, a
short distance off the coast of Nice. Here we visited the old
tower where Marshal Bazaine got over the stone wall, the cell in
which the prisoner of the Iron Mask resided, and the old Spanish
well dating from the eleventh century. How delicious it was--the
rest, the quiet, the box-scented breeze, the sheen of the sunset
on the dark blue waves! The very atmosphere breathed of romance.
The sinking sun was gilding the distant peaks of the Alps,
causing them to grow radiant with rosy splendor, as we pushed
out from the island in our sail-boat. The place was remarkably
still. Only the nightingale broke into song among the fragrant
bushes by the frowning prison. All else was silent, save the
silvery plash of the oars that broke the surface of the water in
measured and rythmical strokes.
Rising from the edge of the glorious Bay of the Angels at Nice,
domes, palaces and casino, all steeped in those deep, delicious
hues, appeared like some vast work of art. As we drew nearer the
whole scene opened to us in all its marvelous beauty. We floated
slowly o'er the deep blue water which so perfectly mirrored a
few pearly clouds that we seemed to be drifting above rather
than beneath them. Then the little boats with their orange-
colored sails made the place more romantic still. Just in front
of us lay the dome-shaped casino, whose windows glowed like rare
jewels; all along the shore magnificent hotels of white stone
with red tile roofs looked from among their royal palms; while
numberless villas, rising one above another with their orange
trees, vines and flowers, made a picture of rare beauty. Higher
still the rich green, brown and gray of the mountains rose,
until they blended with the serene and airy hues of the snow-
Fair as this scene was, it yet lacked that irresistible and
magic charm that we beheld in Lake Champlain. It was the most
divinely placid and clear sheet of water we ever beheld; one of
Nature's famous works of art, that perchance come to one only
once in a lifetime. As we gazed in admiration and wonder at
those ethereal hues that seem unrealized in Nature, we said,
"Here is beauty enough, not for one evening, but for all future
evenings of our lifetime." It was a vast mirror that carried in
its bosom heaven itself, reflecting the Master Artist's most
A boat came round a point of land with three fishermen in it.
One of the occupants was heard to exclaim "I am fifty cents to
the good, old man Grump, for remember, on each black bass caught
we had a nickel up. Whoopee! Say, d'ye see that darned big bass
I would have got if the line would of held him? Oh, man! My
heart stopped throbbing and I felt it in my throat and had ter
swaller it fore I could breathe again. Such luck as that would
of made a preacher go wrong."
His companions began talking now, telling how if something or
other hadn't interfered they would have made their record catch;
which has been the tale of woe of all hunters and fishers from
Esau's time on down.
"Been a most ungodly hot day. My old hide is blistered all
"Serves you right, old dill pickle. If you had got your just
dues for robbing me of that pike I'll be switched you'd be burnt
to a cinder."
Such was the general trend of the conversation. As the boat
disappeared round a jutting point of land, one of the number was
heard to exclaim:
"Gee, but I got a peachy bunch of black bass. Golly, we'll have
to hurry or it'll be dark fore we git to camp."
Thus they drifted over the waters far out to where the huge
purple rocks made soft outlines with wild, mysterious
impressiveness. They may have been expert fishermen, but it is
to be feared not real anglers; although they took a fine string
of black bass, they caught but few of the glorious reflections
and little of the unearthly beauty of the lake. Heaven had come
down to earth for them and "beauty pervaded the atmosphere like
a Presence." Think of fishing amid scenes like this! One wonders
if there will be fishing in Paradise.
What glorious vistas those waters opened up to all, stretching
away to those purple haunting distances, where may be had a
fleeting glimpse of things which are eternal and the perceiving
ear may catch strains of long remembered melodies ("those songs
without words") which only the finest souls may know. Yet here
were three men who, in their modern Ago, were returning from
their search of the golden fleece. Jason, Hercules and Theseus
could have experienced no greater joy in object won, than these
three "heroes" of the lake returning in the resin-scented
twilight with their long-sought prize of bass! A nickel up on
each black bass and not one red cent on the placid lake and the
radiant sky! Columbus, when he viewed from afar the fronded
palms of the Indies, could not have been more enraptured than
the one with fifty cents to the good.
Looking out over the lake and then at the wonderful grouping of
the elms, birches, vines and sedge along the shore that stood
hushed and expectant, as the glory slowly faded from the sky, we
said, "had this place a voice, how full of hope and calm
serenity it would be!"
Near us a boat grated softly on the pebbly bottom of a cove and
swung in. From the deep purple shadow of the wooded shore, out
over the lake a thin white veil was slowly creeping as if the
purple bloom had faded to silvery whiteness. It seemed not
unlike the breath of the sleeping water, and the spirit of the
Suddenly a melody that seemed as serene as the mountains and as
pure as the lake broke the silence; far up on a wooded ridge a
thrush was chanting his evening hymn to the Creator. It was as
if the soul of the quiet lake spoke to us; the spirit that
haunts high mountains, clear lakes, shadowy forests, and all
that is pure and beautiful in life; its hopes, longings and
faith were voiced in that mellow "angelus" of the forest.
We would love to see the twilight linger, but all things must
end, and we pursued our way down the winding shore road, already
gray with the coming night. Before we said good-night the mister
said, "I wonder what eternity will be like?" His comrade spoke
with a clearness of speech, declaring a truth that no one could
doubt: "Eternity is here and now, and this is our first glimpse
Long after retiring the words of George Herbert came and went
"Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so bright
The bridal of the earth and sky,
The dews shall weep thy fall tonight;
For thou must die.
Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in the grave
And thou must die.
Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses;
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows you have your closes
And all must die.
Only a great and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;
But, though the whole world turns to coal
Then chiefly lives."
Whoever passes through the Green mountains and arrives at
Burlington in the evening of a fair day will he rewarded by one
of the most beautiful views of natural scenery the world has to
offer. The outlook from the hilltop here is enchanting. Looking
westward you see the beautiful expanse of Lake Champlain, dotted
with numerous islands that stretch away to the purple wall of
the Adirondacks, whose summits are outlined by a bright golden
light which slowly ascends and diffuses along the horizon as if
striving to linger around the loveliness below. The sun
disappears, leaving an ocean of flame where he passes, and the
fleecy clouds which swim in the ether look down at their images
in the lake. Here you behold the Green mountains, showing
majestically against the sky. They are clothed in soft blue
veils, as lovely as any that Italian mountains can boast. The
highest peaks of the range, Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump,
thrust their outlines like purple silhouettes against their
William Dean Howells, standing with a friend on the shore of the
Bay of Naples, remarked that he considered one scene in the
world more beautiful than that upon which they were gazing--Lake
Champlain and the Adirondacks, as seen from Burlington.
Morning came bright and clear; a cool breeze waved the clinging
foliage of birch and elm, rippling the lake near the shore and
tossing the waves far out on its bosom, which gleamed white
along their crests. This was the real Lake Champlain, for it is
a very turbulent mass of water and rarely presents a picture of
such calm and quiet beauty as we beheld on the preceding
evening. Numerous islands, "each fair enough to have keen the
Garden of Eden," seen through the level rays of the morning sun,
formed a glorious veil of color. Dark green arbor vitae trees
grew near their edges; nearer still the elm and willows flung
down their lighter masses of foliage to the water, and birch
gleamed silvery white against their shadowy background.
"After the French had built Fort Saint Anne on Isle la Motte a
party of men went out in search of game. They crossed the lake
in a southwesterly direction and were surprised by a band of
Mohawk Indians, who took some of the white men prisoners, and
killed Captain de Traversy and Sieur de Chasy." The place where
they were killed has since been known as Chasy's landing. We
crossed a long causeway, which led to the landing, where we took
the ferry across to Chasy. The first auto on the boat was from
Massachusetts, followed by "another Nash" from New Hampshire;
then Ohio filled the middle space of the boat, and was followed
by a horse and buggy; as neither bore a license, we could not
tell the state from which they came. The distance to Chasy was
about one mile, and we were soon on our way to Plattsburg.
Fields of ripening wheat, oats, alfalfa and buckwheat, all
divided by stone fences into squares and triangles, began to
appear. Meadows in which Holstein cattle were grazing dotted the
low ranges of foothills that spread away until lost in blue
Between the Adirondack mountains in New York state and the Green
mountains of Vermont on the shore of Lake Champlain, in the
heart of Champlain valley, lies the historic town of Plattsburg.
It is noted in recent years as the home of the "Plattsburg
Idea," the movement for universal military training inaugurated
by Major General Leonard Wood, through the establishment at
Plattsburg in the summer of 1915 of the first summer camp of
military instruction for the regular army. It was noon when we
arrived here, and we found that quite a few had adopted the
idea, for a long line of hungry khaki-clad men were awaiting
their turn at the mess hall.
The first battle of Lake Champlain occurred near here as early
as 1609, when Samuel de Champlain, with two other white men, led
the Algonquins and Hurons in an attack upon their enemies, the
Mohawks. A British and American naval engagement, October 11,
1776, resulted in victory for the British. September 11, 1814,
the last naval battle between English speaking peoples was
fought here, known as the Battle of Plattsburg Bay.
Eight miles south of Plattsburg is located the Alaskan silver
fox farm, which is the largest in the United States. This farm
comprises forty acres and contains one hundred silver foxes. It
is open to visitors from July to September.
The road leading to this farm passes through one of most
picturesque of all the Adirondack regions. As we made our way
across the beautiful Ausable valley we beheld an enchanting
scene spread out around us. Green meadows sloped up to wooded
heights and fields of grain like golden lakes flashed in the
sunlight. The hills became more rugged as we wound our way among
them. Farmers were loading hay in the meadows, through which
streams glistened as they slipped over their sinuous stone-
strewn bottoms. Groups of cattle stood knee-deep in the meadow
brooks, or rested beneath the shade of elms and willows. In the
center of the picture, disclosing its bends and reaches, Ausable
river flowed on its way to Lake Champlain. In places its waters
were almost hidden by grape vines that clambered and twisted
around bush and tree, forming "Laocoon groups" in which they
were hopelessly intertwined.
Far beyond the valley sharp summits and irregular ridges printed
their bold outlines on the sky. Nearer were farms, groves, and
hills, with now and then a placid lake which caught the color of
the sky and mirrored it back to us. But our eyes were fastened
upon the grand summits and pinnacles that rose dreamy and silent
through the summer haze, beckoning us on to those enchanted
realms we were soon to behold. Old White Face reared his
colossal pyramid above the woods and waved his dull white banner
from afar. Soon we entered higher hills, where giant maples
threw their cooling shadows across the road and a faint breeze
made the balsam boughs breathe and sigh. The road became more
sinuous and the hills more grand and imposing. Over the notched
summits of the clustered peaks the outlines of thunder heads,
luminous and edged with gold, appeared through the blue haze.
At length a broad summit rising against another one still
taller, broke suddenly above the foliage where the amber colored
falls of Ausable river saluted us. We were in the midst of one
of the finest pieces of natural scenery in the eastern United
States. We were only fifteen miles from Lake Champlain, but what
a change! Here in Ausable chasm we beheld one of the many
natural wonders of the Adirondack region. The Ausable river at
this point flows through a tortuous channel two miles in length.
A rustic walk with many bridges and stairways has been built
along the chasm, passing all the wild beauty spots in the gorge.
The silvery babble of water passing over rocks, mingled with the
gurgling liquid notes of the woodthrush.
The sides of the canyon in places were vast streets of ferns,
moss and vines, which resembled cataracts of varying shades of
green or great pieces of hanging tapestry inwrought with rare
designs of woodland flowers. We could stay in so romantic a spot
many days, for in a short time we had seen paintings; read
poems, heard the silvery tongues of running brooks, and ringing
texts from the sermons in stone. We only tarried long enough to
pass up the gorge and view Rainbow falls, which drop seventy
feet to the rock below. To the opposite bank from this we made
our way and were amply repaid by a commanding view of the
tumbling waters. The rays of the sun falling upon this sheet of
water produced an exquisite effect. Here from the thick-growing
shrubbery as we watched the amber waters concentrate for their
fall, and break into silken streamers of irised spray, we knew
they had been appropriately named "Rainbow Falls."
We recalled many a cascade among the Alps, where from remote
heights the small avalanches of snowy water form comet-like
streamers of rarest beauty. We saw again the shimmering rainbow
mist of others more remote, whose murmurs died away in the
gloomy depth of some Italian forest.
Soon we were gazing at distant peaks that had such a savage
aspect as to again call forth comparisons. Balsam fir, pine,
hemlock, maple, birch, and beech were the principal forest
trees. Lakes gleamed like silver mirrors in the lap of wild
rugged hills that stretched far away. We saw huge rocks that had
fallen from above as if shattered in the original upheaval of
the range, presenting sharp, forcible outlines and rugged facets
of shadow so striking in comparison with the flowing outlines of
the Catskills or Blue Ridge. The road wound back and forth as it
climbed the stony wilderness and soon unfolded to our view a
picture of utter desolation. We had just emerged from a stretch
of road lined as far as the eye could see on either side with
ash, hemlock, birch, beech, and balsam fir. Here we rested among
cool shadows, where beautifully fronded ferns rose all about.
Weary pedestrians had fallen asleep beneath their cooling
shadows and groups of boy scouts pitched their tents along this
Our eyes fell upon a sign that read like this: "A careless
smoker caused the fire that destroyed thousands of acres of
these forests. You love the forests. Help keep them green by
being careful about your fires." Looking forward we beheld a
vast and awful scene of desolation. Miles and miles on either
side of the road stretched that sea of blackened stumps and
charred logs where once the evergreens rose heavenward with all
their wealth of whispering leaves. Blackened stubs rose all
around as if they were huge exclamation points or pointing
fingers of accusation at the carelessness and thoughtlessness of
Carelessness! How that word rang in our ears as we journeyed
through this lonely region, with all its grandeur and beauty
gone! Here we realized the kindly and beneficent influence of
streams and trees upon mountain scenery. True, mountains may be
grand without forests, but it is the grandeur of death we behold
in the vast untrodden fields of the show-clad Alps. Forests and
streams give life, fragrance, and beauty to those rough forms as
a pure soul adds beauty to the countenance of man. Only heated
waves of air rose from the fiery rocks and road around us, whose
shimmering lines made a fit perspective to such a scene. No
mossy rock where one could sit and listen to the singing birds;
no ancient trees through which the fragrant west wind could sing
its songs of rest and contentment; no purifying river where it
was once so pleasant for man to linger before going back to the
heat and smoke of the city; all because of one man's
carelessness. How much of sorrow and crime is in that word; what
failures, what wrecks of humanity stranded along the steep
precipice of that mountain.
Who would even want to climb those blackened summits? The
elevation would only make the view more terrible. The thousands
of travellers who pass this way were all affected by these
unsightly monuments to one man's carelessness, proving that "Man
liveth not to himself alone."
As we emerged from that scene of heat and desolation, a prayer
trembled upon every lip and its only theme was, "Lord, help us
to be careful."
What an awful spectacle that vast stretch of burning forest must
have presented! We shall quote from Headley, who witnessed such
a scene in these mountains: "One night the whole mountain was
wrapped in a fiery mantle, a mighty bosom of fire from which
rose waving columns and lofty turrets of flame. Trees a hundred
feet high and five and six and eight feet in circumference, were
on fire from the root to the top. Vast pyramids of flame, now
surging in eddies of air that caught them, now bending as if
about to yield the struggle, then lifting superior to the foe
and dying, martyr-like, in the vast furnace. Shorn of their
glory, their flashing, trembling forms stood crisping and
writhing in the blaze till, weary of their long suffering, they
threw themselves with a sudden and hurried sweep on the funeral
pile around. From the noble pine to the bending sprout, the
trees were aflame, while the crackling underbrush seemed a fiery
network cast over the prostrate forms of the monarchs of the
forest. When the fire caught a dry stump, it ran up the huge
trunk like a serpent, and coiling around the withered branches,
shot out its fiery tongue as if in mad joy over the raging
element below; while ever and anon came a crash that
reverberated far away in the gorges--the crash of falling trees,
at the overthrow of which there went up a cloud of sparks and
cinders and ashes. Sweeping along its terrible path, the tramp
of that conflagration filled the air with an uproar like the
bursting of billows on a rocky shore."
Across a narrow valley gigantic boulders seemed to have
accumulated and formed masses that appeared to be slowly
creeping downward. Farther away we beheld the serrated mountains
breaking into the wildest confusion of pinnacles, which rose
above the forest and relieved their masses of vivid green tints
like ruined castles along the Rhine, clothing them with an
atmosphere of age. Far up as the eye could reach, the broken
rocks were piled in huge chaos. "Here as your eye sweeps over
these fragments of a former earthquake, your imagination recalls
that remote period when the mountains were split like lightning-
riven oaks, and the great peaks swayed like trees in a blast and
the roar of a thousand storms rolled away from the yawning gulf,
into which precipices and forests went down with a deafening
crash as of a falling world."
The rugged sides of mountains often gave us views on almost as
grand a scale as that of the Alps. Only there, height above
height, rise those rocky ramparts where snowy cascades leap
hundreds of feet, then leap again where those chaotic and
fantastic rocks and immeasurable sweep of terraced hills stretch
away like another world. You will ever remember the Gorge du
Loup with its seven-arched viaduct and stream of vivid green and
the white foam that pours between its piers. On the road which
leads from Nice to the town of Grasse, where are located the
famous perfumeries, you will pass orange orchards, flower farms,
and charming meadows with patches of wild broom lying iii vast
sheets of gold. The dark gray rocks are filled with pits and
holes, and when viewed from a distance resemble the homes of the
cliff dwellers. The views here are frowning and awesome.
As you near the Gorge du Loup you will see Gourdon perched far,
far up on its rocky throne, whose gray, weatherbeaten buildings
give to this wild scenery an infinite charm. You are sure that
you never can reach this far-distant town, but are agreeably
surprised when you gaze at the vastness of the gray, sterile
mountain sides you have left. Far below you the terraced
vineyards rise in emerald waves against their silvery background
of century-old olives.
Yet we have experienced almost as strong emotions of vagueness,
terror, sublimity, strength, and beauty while gazing upon the
vast panorama of groups and clusters of chaotic peaks that
stretch away in almost endless variety of form in confused and
disorderly arrangement. Here almost interminable forests are
only interrupted with beautiful lakes that now and then peep
from their hiding places in vast expanse of forest-crowned
wilderness. But here is beauty as well as grandeur. "Those three-
months European travelers who hurry through our lowlands by
steam and perhaps take a night boat up the Hudson, Lake
Champlain, or St. Lawrence and presume to belittle our natural
scenery, are not the most reliable persons in the world."
Let them go to the summit of Mount Marcy on a clear day and look
out over the magnificent panorama spread out before them, and
they will not say we have no natural scenery worth viewing in
the Atlantic States from Canada to New Orleans, except Niagara
and Burlington. Here in every direction countless summits pierce
the sky, and the unnumbered miles of forests that clothe with
green garments the ridges and slopes of this vast wilderness,
who can ever forget them? How wonderful are these wild and
rugged scenes, still fresh from the hand of God! Call us idle
triflers if you will, but we shall ever try to read the messages
from these stone pages from the book of God, where all day long
the breezes whisper messages fuller of meaning than any lines
from the hand of man.
But to return to the view from the mountain peak, glorious,
indeed, is the scene spread out below you from Mount Marcy. How
unlike the Alps is the prospect you obtain from its summit.
True, you will see no snow-capped peaks and shining glaciers,
but what a chaos of gray and green mountains extend as far as
the eye can reach.
One writer gives this vivid description of the scene that meets
the enraptured gaze of the traveler here: "It looked as if the
Almighty had once set this vast earth rolling like the sea; and
then, in the midst of its maddest flow, bid all the gigantic
billows stop and congeal in their places, and there they stood,
just as He froze them grand and gloomy. There was the long
swell, and there the cresting, bursting billow--and there, too,
the deep, black, cavernous gulf." Those in our country who think
only the Alps and Apennines can inspire awe and veneration
should force their way through thick fir, dwarf evergreen and
deep moss to the top of Mount Marcy, where it pushes its rocky
forehead high into the heavens. Here in these beautiful wild
regions you will find lakes over whose waters you may glide in a
canoe, whose forest-clad shores seem never to have been marred
by the axe of civilization. Here as the sun sinks to repose amid
these purple mountains, and the last rays of light on their
waters seem like sheets of fluid gold, and the lonely cry of the
loon breaks the solitude, you too will feel that you do not need
to go to Europe for natural mountain beauty when such glorious
scenes lie spread out before you.
We shall never forget our first impression of Lake Colder,
perfectly embosomed among the gigantic mountains which rise it
all their wild and savage grandeur around it. What absolute
freedom and absence of conventional forms are found here by him
who loves Nature as God made it.
Toward Canada stretches the vast expanse of Lake Champlain with
its numerous islands, while along the eastern horizon the
distant Green mountains lift their granite summits, at whose
bases the charming city of Burlington lies dreamily silent
beneath its smoky veil. Far away to the north and west repose
many lakes. Some lie dark and silent beneath the shadows of
their guarding mountains, others reflect the shy above in
silvery blue sheen as if to cheer this vast and lonely solitude.
How your thoughts reach out toward the Infinite as the wondrous
vision unrolls before you! This interminable mass of different
shades of green and gray presents one of the most beautiful
scenes your eye ever gazed upon.
No wonder Christ gave to the world his glorious lessons from a
mountain top; in which he urged the disciples to be worthy
examples to their fellow men. Up in these everlasting hills,
where He has manifested His wonderful power and left a symbol of
His omnipotence, we can draw nearer the Creator than elsewhere.
How puny, how insignificant seems man and all his works out here
in these unbounded solitudes! "I will lift up mine eyes to the
hills from whence cometh my help," chants the psalmist.
Wandering among these glorious hills that rise above the distant
horizon, or stretch away in endless majesty from you, as your
heart swells over the thrilling scene, you too shall feel the
presence of a great and mighty power, and realize in part what
the psalmist meant.
We passed through the town of Schroon Lake, situated along a
picturesque sheet of water bearing the same name, which lies to
the west of Kayaderrossera range. It has been compared by some
to Lake Como. On one side a bold mountain rears its green wall,
while the shores slope down to it as if eager to behold their
lovely forms in its crystal water. In places it is very narrow
and its windings seem more like a great river than a lake. It is
fed by Schroon river, along which are Schroon falls. Numerous
tents peeped from their guarding trees along its banks. How we
rejoiced in the refreshing shade of the forests and vistas,
revealing this "gleaming pearl set in emeralds," as some one has
appropriately called it. Its water is very pure and cold, and
fishermen will find ample compensation for all the time they
spend here, even though few fish are caught. Its crystal waters
are dotted with green islands.
The name Schroon was given this lake by the early French
settlers at Crown Point in honor of Madam Scarron, the widow of
a celebrated French dramatist and novelist, Paul Scarron. Along
the margin of this lake we saw a Sunday-school teacher who had
brought his class of boys for an outing. What lessons these
growing lads will imbibe from the beauty of Nature around them.
How can they help but think of the Creator when they dwell so
near the primal source of life. The crystal waters of the lake
will teach them purity, the leaves of the trees will rustle
messages of self-denial, and the majestic mountains will speak
to them of endurance and courage, a religion which dwells in
Nature until they, "like Moses, will see in the bushes the
radiant Deity and know they are treading on holy ground."
Wonderfully rich in lakes is this charming mountain region. No
other country is blessed with greater numbers of lovely lakes
than North America. Lake Placid, Echo, Loon, and a host of
others were encircled by green hills with sturdy evergreens,
graceful elms and scattered tents that framed them pleasantly.
Here amidst such sylvan beauty, where the air is rife with the
fragrance of birch and balsam, as you gaze at the Adirondacks
that lift their startling cliffs into the air, or farther along
the horizon stand bathed in a radiant glow, while a gold tangle
of sunset glitters among the white birch trees or casts a soft
sheen like the tints on a mourning dove's neck--pray tell me,
have you ever seen anything fairer than your own placid lakes?
On such evenings as these your thoughts will become as serene as
the lake and ripple now and then with a thousand vague, sweet
visions like its placid surface when dimpled by the leap of a
Morning here brings scenes almost as fair. Singing brooks flash
like silver across green valleys, the rays of the sun fall upon
the yellow and white birch boles that look mellow and rich as
"pillars of amber and gleaming pearl." The rocky ledges are
covered with lichens, ferns and mosses; myriads of campanula
look blue-eyed towards a bluer sky; and out over the lake white-
bellied swallows write poems of grace and beauty on the air. The
frescoes of dawn touch the tips of the eastern ranges whose
stern gray summits break into rosy flame.
We climbed to the summit of a towering mountain and a glorious
prospect met our view. Looking out over the billows of verdure
that seemed to be rolling down the mountains, we saw Lake
Placid, with its green islands, like a lovely painting in the
quiet morning light. Far as the eye can reach the forest-crowned
mountains stretched, now surging into summits, now sinking into
valleys, holding in their embrace the lovely Saranac lakes that
gleamed like the flashing of distant shields. Far beyond to the
south like a glittering mirror lay Tupper's lake, while farther
away the pointed pinnacles of the Adirondacks thrust themselves
boldly into the sky. Looking northward we beheld a lovely
cultivated region with meadows and grain fields. We also caught
sight of several towns, and glimpses of dark forests between the
billowy folds of other ranges, that melted into the sky. Like a
narrow band of light, Lake Champlain was just visible, while the
faint summits of the Green mountains with their misty veils
seemed like far, thin shadows.
LONG LAKE, LAKE GEORGE, AND SARATOGA
Long Lake is one of the most charming of any found in the
Adirondacks. Its islands are lovely beyond words to describe. No
artist, not even Turner, has ever caught the magic sheen that
clothes it, nor portrayed the rosy clouds the crimson west has
painted, that seem to hang motionless above it. Neither has
anyone caught those ethereal blues or royal purples that the
soft semi-light of evening makes upon its bosom where the darker
mountains seem to be floating.
But this lake requires not the aid of morning or evening to make
it fair. When the rays of the sun sprinkle the trees along its
sides like golden rain, or while stirred with darkening ripples
beneath a clouded sky, it is clothed in grandest beauty.
But if it were indeed possible for any lake to be fairer than
this, surely Lake George is that one. No wonder artists flock to
its shores, for what picturesque combinations of cove and cliff
they find there! Then, too, what lovely reaches, what mountain
views, what rich and varied combinations of forest with
retreating slopes bathed in the tender purple of distance!
The valleys were covered with a silvery, shimmering atmosphere,
on which we traced the outlines of meadows, forests, and lakes,
like the first sketching of an artist picture that ere long,
under our good genius the automobile, would grow into reality.
The road that wound among forest crowned hills was one of the
most pleasant we remember. The air was filled with silvery haze,
which made distance mysterious; and grain fields and the nearer
hills, touched with the rarest delicacy of tone and softly
blended color, were dreamy and full of suggestion of Indian
summer. Through the trees we beheld a fine sheet of water and
presently emerged upon a grand view of the lake. It has fine
boat landings, even though set in rugged hills, which in places
tower above it, while over its surface are countless scattered
isles of romantic beauty. It has a wild, primeval character,
which no association of man upon its banks can quite dispel. One
almost fancies he sees the rising smoke from the teepees of the
fierce Mohawks or hears their ringing warwhoops amid the wild
This lake is thirty-two miles in length and has been the scene
of many thrilling historic events. West of the railroad station,
near Lake George village, are the ruins of ancient forts, and
there also stands the monument erected in 1903 to commemorate
the battle of Lake George, in which General Johnson, with his
army of twenty-two hundred, defeated the French, under Baron
Diesken. The lake offers excellent fishing. Trout, salmon,
pickerel and perch abound in great numbers. Bolton road, known
as "Millionaires' Row," begins at the village of Lake George and
continues along the west shore as far as Bolton landing.
Beautiful views of the surrounding country may be had along this
At sunset, as we made our way along the shore, the wonderful
beauty of the scene became more evident. Out over the lake,
studded with numerous isles, a rosy glow began to gather, the
high hills along its shores were rosy purple, "some were a
mingling of stiff spruce and pine in shadow," while others wore
a lighter green and the lush grass near this shore was golden
green when struck by the rays of the declining sun. The swift
lights and shades stole over the distant peaks like color on
In the waning light that tinged the west with lucent gold the
lake made a wonderful picture. It wore on its blue a silver
sheen, in which we beheld a few cloud paintings; and along the
shore it mirrored the graceful birch and elm. At length the
clouds in the zenith blushed into rose; mingled colors of
sapphire, emerald, topaz, and amethyst glinted on the lake. Over
this lovely expanse an eagle sailed in majestic flight, turning
his head from side to side as if enamored of the fair scene
beneath him. Later we beheld only a vast expanse of imperial
purple with its dark mountains and green islands.
Soon a few stars appeared in the sky, where the dark points and
ridges rose against it like airy battlements. In the east the
moon looked down on the lake and made a path of gold on its
placid surface. In the distance a boat, a fairy shallop, glided
noiselessly out across the radiant water until we lost it among
the deep shadows of an island. Scarce a ripple on the surface of
the lake or a fluttering leaf disturbed the peaceful scene. As
we made our way to the automobile which carried us back to the
village of Lake George we said, "What moonlight scene or sunset
hues have we ever beheld on the Tyrol that could rival this?"
"Saratoga lies in an angle formed by a long valley whose beauty,
aside from its historical associations, is fair enough to stop
whole armies of tourists as they come and go through this lovely
region. The old Indian War Trail was indeed the pathway of
armies, and the beautiful Hudson and Mohawk rivers here bore on
their waters many swift canoes filled with Algonquins and
French. The English marched and fought here from Hudson's time
and that of Samuel Champlain until the close of the
revolutionary period. This fair land, with its green, velvety
meadows, peaceful, fruitful valleys, and broad, majestic streams
has indeed been rightly named 'the dark and bloody ground.'
"The Five Nations built lodges on the shores of the lake near
Saratoga, and here it was that the French and Indians came down
from Quebec and Montreal to meet them. In 1690 the French and
Indians bivouacked at these springs as they descended to the
cruel massacre of Schenectady. The French, urged by Frontenac,
came down the valley in 1693 and destroyed the village of the
Mohawks and started on their return with the prisoners they had
taken. Here one thousand hostile warriors threw up intrenchments
on the exact place where the gay streets of Saratoga now stand.
They retreated in a storm after the English sustained three
In 1743 there occurred a terrible massacre at Old Saratoga. All
of the houses in the village were burned to the ground and only
one or two of the inhabitants escaped to tell the tale. For
seven years the French and Indian war raged through the valley,
proving its importance as a northern gateway. The rattle of
arms, the tread of soldiers, the hurrying of street boys were
heard in town from morning till night. Indians in war-paint and
feathers joined each side, burning with the hate of over a
hundred years. Garrets were ransacked for great-grandfather's
swords, rusted with the blood of King Philip's war. French
officers in gold lace, trappers in doeskin, priests in their
black robes, soldiers in the white uniform of the French king,
gathered on the banks of the St. Lawrence. English grenadiers in
red coats, Scotch Highlanders in plaids and colonial troops in
homespun rallied from all the frontiers; and again this great
gateway knew the horrors of a long, devastating, and bloody war.
"In 1767 Sir William Johnson, who had suffered for years from a
wound received in his hip in the war with the Indians, was told
of the Great Medicine Waters. The Indians seemed to know of
their location many years previous to this, for they were the
ones who told Johnson about their great healing qualities. He
was carried on stretchers to this mysterious spring. The waters
proved so beneficial that he was able to return over the
'carrying place' on foot. The waters he drank were said to have
been taken from High Rock spring of Saratoga Springs."
The city contains many spacious, imposing hotels and fine tree-
bordered streets, which at once suggest that Saratoga was the
one time "Queen of Spas." But if the people no longer come here
in such great numbers, Nature still reigns over the place, and
it possesses that quiet and repose which make it an ideal place
in which to spend a vacation. Here are wonderful old elms whose
branches intermingle to form a canopy over the streets. So
gracefully do their drooping sprays of green descend that we
could think of nothing with which to compare them save emerald
fountains. These old trees are more stately, more graceful than
those at Versailles. Beautiful villas, public halls and handsome
churches are scattered about the city. Viewed from the
surrounding hills, the buildings seem to nestle in a leafy
wilderness. The annual horseraces held here still draw large
crowds, but as a summer resort Saratoga, like Trenton Falls, has
seen its day.
It is not Old Saratoga that contains the most interest for the
traveler, but the region around Schuylerville. Here the green
carpet covers all the hills, whose smooth, velvety appearance
adds greatly to the beauty of the country.
The day of our arrival at Saratoga was extremely sultry, and
heavy masses of clouds darkened the sky. Soon bursting peals of
thunder told us that the warrior clouds were bringing their
heavy artillery into action. This storm passed around us,
however, and we hastened to the site of the beautiful monument
commemorating the decisive victory of the Revolution. It stands
on the site of Burgoyne's fortified camp, overlooking the place
of his surrender. The height of this monument is one hundred and
fifty-four feet, its base is forty feet square, and it contains
one hundred and eighty-four steps, which lead up to the last
windows, which command an enchanting view of from ten to thirty
miles in all directions.
The country all around is full of very picturesque, scenic
surprises, and the lordly Hudson winding among its hills of
vernal loveliness is not the least of them. Your attention is
quickly recalled from the dead past, whether you like it or not,
to the living present. From this place you will see and hear
things which no historian can ever record; paragraphs of the
life history of the palpitant beauty and pulsing song of
existence. The true lover of Nature will find no greater delight
than to linger here to drink in the beauty of the place as his
eyes rove over the vast expanse of gently undulating hills that
melt away in the blue haze. The river flowing through masses of
verdue, the towering trees that climb the surrounding heights
and skirt the pastoral landscapes, afford constant evidence of
the natural wealth and beauty of this historic region.
Standing here, gazing out over the beautiful scene, we recalled
our visit to the famous battlegrounds of Waterloo.
It was on a lovely June day that we left the Belgium capital,
turning again and again to look at the wonderful Palace of
Justice which dominates this city, as the capitol does at
The country around the field of Waterloo is very level, hardly
relieved by an undulation, and dotted at intervals with a few
trees that heighten the loneliness of the scene rather than
relieve it. Here we became aware that we were gazing at one of
the finest sites that man has ever known for the purpose of
mutual destruction. We readily saw that this level region gave
ample room for both infantry and cavalry, where the many
thousands of human beings were brought together in deadly
collision. It was apparently designed by Nature to feed the
hungry toilers of earth, but "was consecrated by man for a
solemn spectacle of deliberate slaughter."
How often this fertile country was made the battleground of
surrounding nations! Here it was we felt that indomitable spirit
that rose above every oppression forced upon its people,
stopping the hordes of invading armies.
We ascended the hill that flanked the right wing of the position
of the English where the fight was hottest. From this eminence
we looked down on vast cultivated fields with acres of waving
barley and verdant meadows in which fine Holstein cattle were
grazing. This hill is composed of soil dug from Mount St. Jean
to cover the bones of the slain of both armies. This conical
tumulus contains upon its summit, set in a spacious and lofty
pedestal, a huge bronze lion cast from the cannon taken in
As we stood on its top the scene unrolled before us like a
wonderful panoramic painting, and we gazed out on this "great
chessboard, where the last hard game of Napoleon's and
Wellington's protracted match was played."
Here where all Nature seemed to breathe of peace and joy it
seemed difficult to believe that at that very season, one
hundred and four years ago, on this spot was fought one of the
memorable battles of the world. Here, after participating in the
activities of a world war, how like a dream it seemed to be
gazing down upon this fertile plain. The larks were soaring in
the blue above, uttering the same sweet notes that charmed the
poet, Shelley, while we gazed out upon the fair scene toward La
Belle Alliance and La Haye Sainte. Nearer our eyes rested upon
the place that formed the key to the English position, where
they successfully resisted, throughout the day of the eighteenth
of June, the hottest assaults of the enemy. Then we beheld the
high road to Namur which passed through the center of the lovely
picture "as if inviting us to look upon the road Napoleon took
to make his escape when in the agony of his heart he exclaimed
'Sauve qui peut!' and fled from the field."
Near La Belle Alliance is a monument to the memory of the German
legion. Corning down from the tumulus we made our way past
fields of barley and paused to pluck a few cornflowers and
poppies, and over all the blue sky like an angel of peace the
skylark was still flooding the blue dome with melodies which for
us can never die.
But we have been straying somewhat from Saratoga. The view we
had from the monument reminded us a little of that to be
obtained from the plateau of the citadel of Namur where we
beheld the Sambre, the Meuse, and the forest of Ardennes. The
valley of the Meuse through which we passed on our way to Liege,
though wild, varied and secluded, full of unexpected turns and
scenic surprises, has no more charm than Saratoga.
We were greatly impressed with the tablet presented in memory of
the women of 1776 by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
It represents one woman busy with spinning while another is
making bullets at a fireplace. These noble and brave women
deserve much credit for helping to win our independence, for
while their husbands and sons fought they gathered in the crops,
melted into bullets their treasured pewter ware, learned to
shoot, bar their homes against Indians and conceal themselves
from preying bands of Indians and Tories.
Before leaving the monument at Schuylerville we discovered that
the birds had chosen the monument as a place for their nests. On
General Gates' shoulder was a robin's nest, while another chose
the center of an officer's hat for her domicile. Looking into
the mouth of the twenty-four pounder presented by J. Watts de
Peyster to the monument association, we discovered a blue bird's
nest containing four eggs. This gun was at one time a part of
the armament of a British vessel. The vessel becoming disabled,
the gun was then mounted on wheels and placed on a bluff at
Ticonderoga, where it was captured by the Americans. Right glad
we were that the place knows no harsher sound than the soft,
melodious warble of the bluebird and cherry carol of the robin.
We thought how glorious the time when all monuments may be not
merely grim reminders of war, but give shelter to the "color-
bearer of the Spring Brigade."
Most admirable plans had been made by the British for a very
brilliant campaign, but their success depended, like so many
other things, in the ability of the British to work them.
Burgoyne, three thousand miles away, received his orders while
in England. Howe did not receive his until the 16th of August,
when he was entering Chesapeake Bay. "Burgoyne was already being
defeated at Bennington while Howe was reading his dispatch and
learning for the first time that he was expected to cooperate
King George said, "any means of discouraging the Americans will
meet with my approval." So the scalping knife and tomahawk were
associated with English arms.
Burgoyne had seven thousand picked troops, three thousand of
whom were Germans in the pay of the British Army. This army was
divided into three corps; Frazer, Riedesel and Phillips were
their officers. "The excellent discipline, spirit and equipment
of his army led Burgoyne to do and dare anything."
Overconfidence in war as elsewhere usually proves disastrous.
Burgoyne is reported to have said, "The enemy will probably
fight at Ticonderoga. Of course I will beat them, then we will
have a nice little promenade of eight days down to Albany." But
the trip toward Albany turned out to be anything but a promenade
and the British soldiers failed to see the nice part of it.
General Schuyler, on hearing that Burgoyne was on the march,
seized all the firearms he could and hurried to his camp.
Schuyler was superseded by General Gates. We learn that he was
not on the line when the great fighting occurred, but that he
was a very conspicuous character in "the final wind up." He
reminds one of those ministers who are intensely interested in
the welfare of the souls of those of their members who happen to
have an exceptionally fine strawberry patch.
But let us turn our attention for a brief time to some of
Saratoga's deserving heroes. It was at Bennington that John
Stark pointed toward the redoubt of the enemy and exclaimed,
"There, my lads, are the Hessians! Tonight our flag floats over
yonder hill or Molly Stark is a widow." With New England
yeomanry rudely equipped with pouches, powder horns and armed
with old brown firelocks he stormed the trenches of the best
trained soldiers of Europe and won a glorious victory. At
Oriskany, Herkimer, in an unlooked-for battle, won undying fame,
although most of his gallant little band were slaughtered.
Schuyler sent Arnold with Larned's brigade to retrieve
Herkimer's disaster, which he did in an admirable manner.
Gansevoort held the fort against St. Leger, but his situation
was growing desperate, when one day without apparent cause the
enemy fled in haste, leaving camps, baggage and artillery. This
inglorious flight was brought about by a half-wined fellow, who
wandered into the enemy's camp and on being asked how many men
were coming, pointed to the leaves on the trees, thus
frightening the Indians and British into a hasty retreat.
It is singular that the fiercest fighting of Saratoga occurred
on a farm hearing the significant name of Freeman. The ground
around the old well was covered with bodies of dead soldiers
after the battle. The British held persistently the position at
the farm they gained in a line to the east on the bank of the
river, where they built three redoubts on three hills.
"The fortified camp of the Americans lay about one and one-half
miles below, in a parallel line, from the British. Here within
bugle call from each other, for two weeks the hostile forces sat
upon the hill of Saratoga; frowning defiance at each other as
boys who are afraid to start a fight but persist in making faces
from back doors, or like cocks who stand immovable and try to
stare each other out of countenance, yet ready to open the
conflict with a moment's notice."
On October the 7th the British moved from their entrenchments in
battle array. Gates took up the gauntlet thus thrown down to him
and exclaimed: "Order out Morgan to begin the game."
It must have been a thrilling scene that fair October morning,
for autumn had wrought her oriental magic and far and near the
lovely forests were arrayed in chromatic harmony. The maples
were ablaze for miles, and so vivid seemed the flame of sumac
berries one almost expected to see smoke ascending on the
tranquil morning air. The scarlet banner of the woodbine
fluttered from many a tree like a bloody omen, the ash was clad
in purple robes, the elm and linden trees were like yellow
flames among the bright red fires of gum and dogwood. The purple
haze over all gave to the scene an air of mystery.
The stillness was intense. Only the chink of the bobolinks bound
for the plains of the Orinoco or the chonk, chonking of ground
squirrels broke the silence. This stillness must have been more
awful than any noise of battle could possibly be. Amid such
lovely and peaceful surroundings as this, Morgan dashed to the
fray and scattered Burgoyne's advance guard, then rushed on the
trained forces of Fraser and swept them from their position to
the left, which they had taken in advance.
"Fraser rallied his men and was forming a second line when he
fell, mortally wounded. The sharp whistle of Morgan once more
called his men into action, while Poor and Larned attacked the
center and right. The battle swayed back and forth through the
great ravine. Another charge from Morgan and the British
retreated to their entrenchments.
"At this moment the indignant Arnold, stung to madness by the
slights put upon him by Gates, dashed across the field. He
gathered the regulars under his leadership by enthusiasm,
bravery, and vehemence. He broke through the lines of
entrenchments at Freeman's farm. Repulsed for a moment, he
assailed the left and charged the strong redoubt of Breyman,
which flanked the British camp at the place now called
Burgoyne's Hill. The patriotic army, fired with new hope and
courage, crowded fearlessly up to the very mouths of the
belching guns of the redoubt and won the final victory of the
day; then, exhausted by the deadly fight, before they took
possession of the British camp, sullenly dropped down for a
"Silently and sullenly the defeated army withdrew from the works
of Freeman's farm and huddled closely together under the three
redoubts by the river. Here the women trembled over the drying
form of Fraser. In the cellar of the old Marshall House Madame
Riedesel, with her three little girls, found refuge from the
American bullets during the week preceding Burgoyne's surrender.
Here Surgeon Jones had his remaining leg shot away while the
other was being amputated. Eleven cannon balls passed through
the house. The splintered beams and other relics well preserved
are still shown. With slight alterations the house remains as at
the time of the surrender.
"The hospital stood with its overflowing of wounded and dead.
The great and princely army awaited in doubt and despair while
the commander hesitated and wavered in his plans. Should he risk
another engagement or retreat? He decided to retreat, and it
began as the Americans fired the guns for Fraser's funeral at
sunset. The blood-red sun sank behind the heights in which the
exultant and victorious American army lay. Heavy clouds
followed, and quickly after a drenching rain the army of the
British, abandoning their sick and wounded, began the retreat up
the river, Retracing their steps from Bemis Heights, the scene
of their disaster, they followed the river road to the Fishkill
and the Schuyler mansion, which they burned to the ground. It
was an illumination of their own defeat.
"Failing here to make an advancing stand against the Americans
they fell back, formed an entrenched camp and planted their
batteries along the heights of old Saratoga. In this camp they
still hoped to hold out until relief came up the Hudson from New
York. Here the pathos of the campaign culminated. The sick and
wounded took up refuge in cellars. Burgoyne was entrenched on
the hills with the river below, yet had no water to drink except
a cupful brought now and then by the British women. The gallant
Americans would not fire upon them. Burgoyne sent in the terms
of surrender near the site of the old Schuyler mansion so
recently burned. Here he laid down his arms and surrendered to
General Gates. Along the road just across the Fishkill the
disarmed prisoners were marched to the tune of 'Yankee Doodle,'
played first as a national air.
"When the last cannon was heard to die among to hills it was as
if the expiring note of British domination in America was
sounded. This victory decided the fate of that mighty empire. It
will stand unrivaled and alone, deriving lustre and perpetuity
in its singleness."
There was soon to he peace throughout the land and independence.
Again the golden grain would wave and the Hudson would be white
with the sails of ships from many seas.
We left Schuylerville under a gloomy sky that foreboded rain.
The clouds gathered thicker and thicker, and soon the rain was
descending in torrents. We took refuge in a kind of barn erected
for the purpose of sheltering horses during church services. We
did not know the denomination of the church that stood near this
shelter. We believed more strongly in a religion that is kind to
dumb animals and does not have them standing for hours in a
cruel storm while they shout "Glory to God." After the storm had
abated we started onward once more.
"Flow on forever in thy glorious robe
Of terror and of beauty; * * * God hath set
His rainbow on thy forehead; and the cloud
Mantles around thy feet."
Niagara! What a wealth of memories come thronging to you as you
repeat the name! Some with visions of an emerald sea, filled
with the eternal roar and grandeur of many waters; others with
haunting melodies, quiet and tender as an Aeolian harp thrummed
by an unseen hand. What a poem of blended power and beauty was
here unfolded by Nature through countless centuries! Geological
grandeur such as one seldom sees elsewhere awaits you here;
splendor inconceivable is here wrought in ever varied and
powerful forms of beauty, giving rise to a sublimity of thought
and exuberance of feeling too powerful for words.
The awe felt in looking at this wild mass of raging water
humbles and overwhelms you; you feel the presence of a majesty
and grandeur in its onward sweep before unknown to you. When it
is dashed to gauzy, irised spray it seems as gentle as the
pearly mists of dawn, but its deep thunder-like detonations tell
of a mighty power. Beauty blended with the most awe-inspiring
sublimity is the order of passionate, impetuous Niagara.
The broad river takes the waters of the four lakes--Superior,
Huron, Michigan and Erie--to its turbulent bosom and bears them
about twenty-two miles from Lake Erie, where it becomes a raging
torrent and rushes in frenzied madness over the precipice
forming the incomparable falls. Then, before reaching Lake
Ontario, its water forgets its scourging and glides smoothly
again in its wider channel, presenting a picture of peace and
quietness in striking contrast to the surging tumult of the
noisy rapids above.
The country through which Niagara passes is comparatively level,
interspersed here and there with hills of "vernal loveliness."
Niagara seems to have only one all-absorbing interest. "Not many
features of the country through which it flows correspond in
that wildness and savage grandeur with which the falls are
clothed." The mahogany colored soil is devoted to vegetable and
fruit growing. In spring the well-cultivated trees, including
pear, plum, peach, and cherry, burst into a miracle of delicious
bloom, making patches of pink as vivid as a sunset sea or others
of pure white like snows new-fallen. Such scenes of pastoral
beauty enhance its wildness and surpassing grandeur.
The strange beauty of the ocean is comprehended long before one
reaches its shores. Mountain peaks are seen from afar, blending
imperceptibly with the horizon; at first only their faint
outlines are revealed as you gradually approach. You have,
perhaps, been looking for a rough country with great glacier-
sculptured walls or imposing rugged scenery on nearing the
falls. You do not suspect they are near and if you approach
Prospect Point in an automobile, you are in sight and sound of
them ere you are aware.
Here the vast panorama is presented to you. You are hardly
prepared for so much at once. One gentleman, on being asked what
effect the falls had upon his wife, replied: "She was struck
speechless." Whereupon the other gentleman said: "I shall bring
my wife tomorrow." Had Niagara this beneficent effect upon both
sexes who gaze upon it, one is almost certain that its number of
visitors instead of one million, would amount to many millions
annually, and "there would be more of heaven on earth, before it
is journeyed to."
Those who can see no beauty in Niagara (may the Lord pity such)
may still be rewarded by learning that this river is the
boundary between the United States and Canada and was therefore
the scene of many stirring conflicts between the Mother Country
and her young but plucky, wayward, willful child. Nearby, on the
Canadian side, are the battlefields of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane
and Queenstown Heights. On the steep bank of the river on the
top of a well-wooded height stands a graceful Doric shaft
erected by the British in memory of their commander, General
Brock, who fell on the battlefield of Queenstown Heights October
12, 1812. The monument has a lightning rod on it and on being
asked the reason for this a fellow traveler replied: "It is
because he has such striking features."
A trip to Niagara is not complete without a visit to the old
fort. How beautiful the tree bordered road leading from Niagara
along the river to its outlet at Lake Ontario! At first you
catch glimpses now and then through the tree and bush covered
banks of the river. The scenery along the river about half way
between Niagara and the lake consists of beautiful homes with
the orchards, vineyards and fields that stretch away over the
As you approach Fort Niagara you will see the post's cemetery.
On the river between the cemetery and the fort is a lighthouse
and near it, under the walls of the old fort, a government life-
saving station. Entering the government ground the road winds
through a beautiful grove in which are located the officers'
homes. The barracks are adjacent to these and the road skirts
the parade grounds just beyond.
At right angles with the river and lake is located Fort Niagara.
This old fort is entered under an arched driveway, which may be
closed by two massive doors. Its walls are fourteen feet high
and four feet thick, built of stones that have been laid without
mortar. It has been remarkably well preserved. It was built by
the French approximately on the site occupied by LaSalle and
Denouville. It was taken by the British in 1789 and held by them
as a base of warfare against the American frontier during the
war of the Revolution. It was then occupied by the Americans.
You will be impressed with the old Lombardy poplars that were
planted by the French along the lake. Here they have stood,
buffeted by the winds of more than two centuries until they
resemble grim, sturdy warriors who have known many conflicts.
They stand near the water's edge, defiant still, like brave
soldiers unable to move farther, who have faced about to meet
the enemy. With their few scattered limbs still pointing upward,
they seem almost as old as the fort itself. Nature was kind and
had clothed their few aged limbs with bright green leaves, which
will retain their tints almost as long as any deciduous trees.
But why recall these tales of bygone days when the British and
the Americans were engaged in these terrible struggles? Let us
go back to the falls where a voice at once grand and awesome
speaks of a day so old we have no record, save the geological
hieroglyphics; those vast manuscripts written on the tables of
rocks by the hand of Time.
On going to Niagara for the first time, one fears that his
impression will not be great, for has he not heard from
childhood, that name reiterated a thousand times until it has
lost much of its glamour? Then, too, has he not seen pictures of
Niagara in his geography and heard his older brothers tell about
it until its grandeur seems, from what he had at first pictured
in fancy, to lose much of its significance? "But like sunsets,
mountains, lakes and some people he may know, who are still
strikingly beautiful though common, he will find a significance
in the real Niagara like these."
You will perhaps be advised not to follow the beaten trail and
rush to Prospect Point, but save the best portion of the trip
for the last. Through the park to Goat Island bridge you go in
eager anticipation to learn whether your fancy had pictured with
accurateness the real scene. From this massive stone structure
you gaze up the river and behold the so-called American rapids.
Here the view awes one into silence. Even the "Isn't it lovely?"
and "oh, how wonderful!" types of people can scarcely say more
than "Niagara!" Strange, too, it is that one seldom hears the
word "scrumptious." Perhaps the people have chosen the adjective
we heard a German use, who on being asked how he enjoyed the
view from the bridge replied, "Bully."
America should be justly proud that one of her great natural
wonders has views like this. You gaze enraptured at the
swishing, swirling, lapping mass of water above you, that falls
from a series of terrace-like cascades. As it draws nearer, you
are impressed by the glorious display of the wild, raging waters
around you. How slowly you walk across the bridge, still noting
the turbulent mass of water rushing past with amazing velocity
and grand display of power.
Directly in front of the bridge you will see a vast flat rock
over whose polished surface the water comes tumbling in a great
fan-shaped mass, which is as grand as anything at Niagara. The
waters loom up at this point like some majestic living creature
who is marshaling his forces for the final plunge after they
have been scourged and seem impatient and glad to escape. To
gaze down at this place, one seems to be near some "vast and
awful Presence." The writhing, seething waters seem always
advancing, yet never arrive; hurrying to escape but never are
gone; halting against stones still ever are moving; seeming
changeless across the flood of years.
Your companions who have contracted that strange disease, not
"Hookworm," but "Americanitis," tell you it is exceedingly
beautiful here, but you must hurry on as your time is limited.
One wonders if a certain time was set for the sculpturing of
Niagara. Slowly you move on, turning away reluctantly from a
scene so fair; pausing again to look at the beautiful elms and
willows that grow so near the edge of the stream, their drooping
branches almost touching the wild swirling waters, as if trying
to get a fleeting glimpse of their own beauty.
On one of the small islands you catch a glint of metallic blue
and you see a kingfisher alight on the limb of a dead pine tree
that hangs over the water. He is gazing so intently at the swift
rushing waters below him that you almost fancy he is attracted
by the view. Suddenly he darts from his perch and, holds himself
poised in mid-air until he sights a fish. He drops like a
plummet and disappears. He quickly reappears and flies to a near-
by rock with a fish, where he beats it to pieces and devours it.
You forget about going so slowly until some one admonishes you
that the rest of your party are treading the various paths of
Goat Island. You hurry now and are soon among your friends.
What a beauty spot is this group of islands and islets! It is
only half a mile long and contains but seventy acres. But where
in all this universe does one's fancy take such long aerial
flights or the mind become conscious of such grandeur and power?
You seem to wander in fairyland where the wild throng of many
voiced waters are telling aloud, "Nature's industry to create
beauty and usefulness." Lower and sweeter the voices, too, are
rising like musical incense to the Creator, pouring out their
passionate songs which tell of joy and enthusiasm in silvery
cataracts of melody, pitched in a higher key, yet not unlike
Niagara. You hear the cardinal's rich flute-like song of "What,
what cheer!" ringing from a wild grapevine. Again he seems to
say "Come, come here!" Whether it be an invitation to all
mankind or just a message to his coy mate you know he learned it
from the same teacher as Niagara, and their voices are alike
full of rarest melody. The leisurely golden chant of the wood
thrush, where the misty spray and cool shadows enfold you, seems
like a spirit voice speaking audibly to you, and the song-
sparrow sends his sweet wavering tribute to tell you he, too,
enjoys the shady nooks of Niagara.
Here if we could only interpret aright are still small voices
speaking of divine love and infinite beauty, just as audibly as
the more powerful voice of Niagara.
At the edge of Goat Island are numerous rocks where you may get
a remarkable view of the rapids; "and the forest invites the
lover of trees to linger long amid its dim-lighted aisles, where
he will find for his vivid imagination an ideal place for
On inquiring why Goat Island is thus named you will perhaps be
told that it was once owned by a man who pastured several
animals on it; among them a goat, which perished during a severe
winter. Any one visiting the Falls during the winter, when a
cold wind sweeps across the island, can readily see how they
"got this man's goat."
The earliest description of the Falls is that by Father
Hennepin, a Franciscan monk, who with LaSalle visited it in 1678
and published this account of it: "Betwixt Lake Ontario and Erie
there is a vast and prodigious column of water which falls down
after a manner surprising and astonishing, inasmuch that the
universe does not afford a parallel. 'Tis true--Italy and
Switzerland boast of some such things; but we may well say that
they are sorry patterns when compared to this of which we speak.
At the foot of the horrible descent, we meet with the Niagara
river, which is not above a quarter of a league broad, but is
wonderfully deep in some places. It is so rapid above the
descent that it violently hurries down the wild beasts, while
endeavoring to pass it to feed on the other side, they not being
able to withstand the force of the current, which invariably
casts them headlong about six hundred feet high.
"This wonderful downfall is composed of two cross streams of
water, and two falls with an aisle sloping along the middle of
it. The waters which fall from this horrible precipice do foam
and boil after the most hideous manner imaginable, making an
outrageous noise more terrible than that of thunder." One can
easily see that the imaginative and excitable Frenchman is under
the spell of the great cataract.
But let us return to the island and follow the path that winds
among the trees until Stedman's Bluff is gained. Your reverie is
broken by the news that you are near this point. You go
hurriedly now and your speed is accelerated by hearing the noise
of the falls.
"Crowds of people fill the cool woodland paths; dark evergreens
and aged beech trees form a leafy screen on which the sunlight
falls, making a trembling, shifting mosaic as the branches open
and close in the passing breeze." The air is filled with melody
and redolent with the breath of the pine that is mingled with
various wild flowers. Here one is impressed with the awe he
feels while treading the dim aisles of some vast cathedral. Your
attention is diverted for a brief time by a species of flower
unknown to you. You pause long enough to recognize it, then
hurry on scarce noting the livid green of the waters going to
their fate, swiftly and with unbounded freedom, as if glad to
escape some pursuing demon of the watery underworld. One almost
feels sad as he watches the waters dash in utter helplessness
over the awful precipice.
Following the shore line from this point you come to a spiral
stairway that leads to the little wooden bridges that connect
the various rocks. Many visitors still go in front of that
superb sheet of water called, "The Bridal Veil." But owing to an
accident resulting in the death of three people, they no longer
permit visitors to enter the Cave of the Winds. A huge rock
whose estimated weight is many tons fell from above, crushing
the luckless victims. Even though you do not go behind the falls
this trip is full of fascinating interest. The Cave of the Winds
is situated between Luna and Goat Islands, at the foot of the
rock. At the present site of the Falls the edge of the cataract
is formed by a stratum of hard limestone reaching to a depth of
about eighty feet; and by the action of the spray the softer
shaly strata below have been hollowed out so as to form this
cave. It is about one hundred feet wide, one hundred and sixty
feet high, and about one hundred feet across.
You will perhaps go from here to a very commanding point known
as Porter's Bluff. Here, when the wind is favorable, you are
away from the drenching spray of the Falls. Here, too, the
American Falls are seen in all their grandeur. They shoot free
from the upper edge of the cliff, owing to the velocity they
have acquired in descending from the rapids above. As this vast
mass of water strikes the rocks below, loud, thunder-like
detonations are heard not unlike the reverberating tones of the
breakers of the ocean. There is a mellowness in the sound that
is soothing rather than a deafening roar as some seem to think.
At one point in the American Falls the water strikes a
projecting shelf of rock a short distance below the upper ledge
and is pulverized yet finer, making it gush out in silvery
plumes, which are worn to lustrous threads of marble whiteness.
They form long gauzy streamers as fine as sifted snow, giving to
it the name of "Bridal Veil." No bride ever wore a veil of such
delicate and exquisite texture unless it was some water sprite,
fit creature to be adorned with such gauzy and wind-woven
drapery. Only the fairy looms of Nature can produce lace-like
gossamer films of such intricate and varied designs.
>From this point the colors of the American Falls are superb. How
remarkably soft and fine they are! The pearl-grey, snow-white,
lavender and green masses seem to mingle together, blending
imperceptibly from one to the other, making a novel and
beautiful effect that surpasses the rarest dreams of the most
gifted decorative painter. The extreme beauty of delicate and
striking variety of coloring, like evening skies and sunset
seas, baffle any attempt at description. When the morning
sunbeams stream through the mist of the Falls their exquisite
tones of purple and gray and the marvelous fineness of the
American Falls come to one like a revelation.
One can never forget his morning visit to the American Falls
when the sunlight comes from the required angles, heightening
the beauty of the whole wild mass of waters, sifting in
ravishing splendor through the clouds of drifting spray. What an
artist Nature is! One has seen nothing in the delicate colored
wing of night moths, in the purple bloom of the ocean, the color
of autumn woods or clouds of fair Italian skies, that could
rival this "evanescent bow" in exquisite fineness. A huge mass
of lovely colors, like an arch of glory, rises from the boiling
spray near you, while a breeze causes the larger mass to waver
from color to color and mingle with the trees on the Canadian
shore. A secondary bow with softer colors is visible like a long
remembered dream you have had with which you associate some real
event of life.
What a sublime view we get from the Terrapin Rocks! "Here are
tremendous flat-shaped boulders left here ages ago, when those
vast geological forces were at work hewing out this gorge. Here
you gaze through ever rising columns of spray into the bright
green water. Here the velocity is amazing and in its deep bass
roar that, "night and day, weeks, months, years and centuries,
speaks in the same mighty voice," you gain the real might and
majesty of Niagara. Here you will have that trinity of grandeur,
power, and beauty indelibly impressed upon your memory. Here,
too, you gaze again in silence and admiration at the awful mass
of troubled water. The marvelous flood of livid green waters
rushes into the yawning abyss below, where it is broken into
fine spray that rises like steam from an immense cauldron. One
feels an irresistible fascination at this point but all good
things must end and you reluctantly turn away.
Now you find yourself observing the wild flowers, ferns, and
grasses with which the cliffs are clothed. All along these
inaccessible walls are "hanging gardens" whose masses of the
dainty fern make smaller Niagaras of brightest verdure. Virginia
creeper and various vines throw down long ropes of green, as if
to help their flower friends up the steep walls; thatching their
sides with softest beauty. The bluemint, butterfly weed and
harebell venture far out along the slightest ledges where only a
few, "who are willing to gain beauty as well as bread by the
sweat of their brows observe them."
People are after all more interesting than natural phenomena.
Here some will sit through the long summer hours discussing
morals, industry, women's suffrage, the immortality of the soul
or some item about the latest divorce scandal, while the
sublimity of Niagara lies all unnoticed before them. One feels
as if his senses were playing him false, and that he is back
again in some particular town, the memory of which is painfully
familiar, where from daylight till dawn and dawn till daylight
such timely topics are discussed from that loafer's haven, the
Goat Island is said to be covered with verdant forest, but it is
no longer verdant, for it shows the ravages of those who wish
some one to know they had visited Niagara. Important news, this,
that requires those beautiful registers of God's own building
for its recording. The large majestic beech trees, among whose
verdant branches the orioles and tanagers poured forth their
rich notes once whispered from all their wealth of emerald
leaves invitations to the weary to come and enjoy the sanctuary
of healing coolness and restful shade and shelter. Many were the
travelers who left the hot, dusty highways for the cool, dewy
carpet of velvety moss in the woodland solitude, where numerous
wild flowers and sweet-scented ferns filled all the air with
fragrance. The noble beech trees throw up their naked branches
as if pointing ghostly fingers of accusation to the carelessness
and indifference of those vandal days. Now these decaying
emblems stand scarred and desolate, "Monuments to fond hearts
and foolish heads."
"Here, as in by-gone days, no song of bird or wealth of plumage
gladdens its forlorn branches; no lovely flowers or shade-loving
moss and fern make patches of emerald and gold;" no weary
pedestrian turns aside from the hot, dusty path where the heated
air flows in tremendous rays unless to decipher some name on the
bark where Nature in pity is covering the scars with the lovely
Some people evidently spent more time in laboriously carving
their names than in viewing the wondrous beauty of the Falls.
When they perchance do gaze at them one can almost hear them
shooting, "Behold us, Niagara, we are here," or "Just as we
expected, only a big pile of water." Better it were to leave a
living tree like the palm that the loving hands of Queen
Victoria planted in the Hiles' estate at Cannes, France. Here
groups of weary American soldiers gazing up at its lovely
fronded foliage, then out over the deep blue Mediterranean,
beheld a sunset sky like a more vast sea of amethyst through
which a few orange colored clouds were idly drifting. They
forgot for a time the horrors of war and as they caught a view
of the far-flushing Alpine peaks that appeared like vast walls
of alternate shades of crimson and purple rising from a golden
sea of light they joined in the twilight prayer of the universe
to Him who made such wondrous beauty for the delight of man.
It was here that Victoria showed by her queenly life the right
to her title. Her memory still remains verdant in the hearts of
her countrymen whom she showed in a thousand acts of charity and
nobleness that "The crown does not make the queen."
Memories of delight steal o'er you as you recall again the many
noble trees at Mt. Vernon. Just north of the brick wall of the
flower garden are two magnificent tulip trees towering in their
stately grandeur far above their companions; filling their
branches with a wealth of creamy bell-shaped blossoms which like
innumerable swinging censers scatter delicious incense on the
passing breeze. The master of those beautiful and spacious
grounds has long since departed; but when we gaze upon those
magnificent trees planted by his hands we seem to catch the
spirit of the man whispered by all their green leaves, melodies
clearer and sweeter than any music we had heard before.
We have been straying from the Falls but as we said people are
At the edge of the Canadian channel are the Three Sister
Islands, so named because the three daughters of General Whitney
were the first white women to cross to the outer island long
before the bridges were built.
The river below the Falls is very narrow and the descent is very
steep, about three-quarters of a mile below the suspension
bridge. Here a sudden turn in the channel causes the waters to
impinge against the Canadian shore, where they have made a deep
indentation, and to rush back to the American side in a great
whirl or eddy, rendered more furious by the uneven bed of the
river, and the narrow space into which it contracts. "Here the
most terrific commotion of any of Niagara's tumultuous
demonstrations is seen. The frenzied waters form a seething
vortex, the terror of the most daring navigators." Here the
hissing, clashing, seething, upswirling mass of water where it
strikes the rocks is whirled in swift eddies as if drawn
downward by some awful river monster below. The waves produced
are like the billows of the ocean, and have the same quality of
loud booming tones, possessing the same wild exuberance of
motion. The passionate torrent swirls in wild ecstasy around the
rocks, springing aloft and tipping the waves with a silvery
radiance or clashing its emerald waters in plumes of spray. One
never tires gazing at the waters leaping and gliding like living
creatures as they dash themselves to pieces on the rocks, or
listening to the swash and gurgle of the rapid waters or the
keen clash of heavier waves.
In Niagara we have a wonder that typifies the rugged grandeur,
the restless, tireless energy of the Western World. In
contemplating it one almost invariably thinks of New York city,
that human Niagara, where the restless, crowding, surging waves
of humanity are dashed against the rough crags of adversity
where many are crushed and broken in body and spirit. Others are
drawn into the swift stream of competition and are plunged over
the precipice of financial gloom, where they seek solace in the
whirlpool rapids of society, till at last with blighted hopes
and ruined lives they go plunging into the abyss of despair, as
if glad to escape some pursuing demon of financial disaster or
more hideous monster of social vice. Only a few great and
magnanimous souls show in the rainbows of a kindly beneficence
that they have seen the beauty and grandeur of Niagara.
Between Whirlpool Rapids and the American Falls the water seems
to rest in a quiet reach, where it grows calm and composed
before it enters upon its boisterous journey at the rapids.
An electric car runs along the edge of the bluff, high above the
waters of the gorge, passing the cantilever bridge, completed
December, 1883, which carries a double line of rails. About one
hundred yards away is another steel arch railroad bridge.
"Before you reach these bridges you will see the outlet of the
great tunnel through which pours a miniature Niagara, the water
that has passed through the turbine wheels of the great
powerhouse up the river, and which has furnished power for
running factories and electric railways in Niagara Falls,
Buffalo, and other neighboring cities." When one sees how the
great cataract has been harnessed and made to develop thousands
of horse-power for driving the industries of man, he marvels
almost as much at man's ingenuity as at the Falls themselves.
The waters at the Falls plunge into an abyss about one thousand
feet wide, and during the next seven miles make a descent of
about one hundred and four feet through a deep ravine with
perpendicular banks rising to a height of from two hundred to
three hundred and fifty feet, the breadth of the river varying
from two hundred and fifty to four hundred yards. It is a
thrilling experience to view.
More glorious is Niagara in the garish light of a cloudless day,
slipping and rushing in wildest extravagance from the rapids
above. But at night the beauty is enchanting. There is a dim
veiled grandeur as in viewing mountains from a great distance.
While standing at Terrapin Point you are overwhelmed by the
spirit of the scene around you, which seems more grand and
awesome as the dusk of evening begins to throw a dark veil over
the landscape; the sense of hearing is made more receptive by
the lessening of the vision and you realize the awful sublimity
of Niagara. The islands, like dark phantoms, loom in the dim
shadows. Then in the east the moon rises mellowing and softening
the beautiful scene, while all about you is the eternal roar of
the waters. The vast spectral terribleness is quickly
transformed into a scene of indescribable loveliness.
The name "Niagara" was given to the falls by the Iroquois
Indians and means "The thunder of waters." How significant the
name, for with its hundred million tons of water every hour
pouring over the rocks, it sounds like the solemn roar of the
sea. Ever the varied voices about you tuned to the sighing of
the night and gently murmuring pine mingle and blend with the
sound of the falls.
How often will memory recall those glacier-sculptured walls! How
often you shall see in fancy as you once did in reality, the
wonderful opulence of colors! How often, too, you shall behold
those glorious curtains that seem to have fallen from the sky
and hang poised before you!
How many untold centuries have its thunders reverberated among
the rocks! How long have those restless waters flowed on in
frenzied madness without a moment's pause! Yet will Niagara
remain the same? The rate of recession is very uncertain. There
can be no doubt that within the last two hundred years the
aspect of the Falls has been greatly altered. Goat Island
extended, up to a comparatively recent period, for another half
mile northerly in a triangular prolongation; some parts have
receded much over one hundred feet since 1841, others have
remained more or less stationary. In June, 1850, Table Rock
disappeared. Geologists tell us that the recession of the
Canadian Falls by erosion is five feet in one year. Even judging
it to be one foot in a year, the falls at the commencement of
the Christian era were near Prospect Point; three thousand years
ago it was at the upper steel arch bridge. Niagara shall in due
time pass away. The eroding power that has made Niagara will
perhaps be its undoing.
Nations shall rise into being and write a record of their
glorious supremacy, then pass away, forgotten perhaps save by a
record of their deeds or history of their decline. Nature plans
not for one season, but for all time. The years as they came to
the painted Iroquois will come with never-ending delight to
generations yet to be. Our faith in Nature's grandeur and beauty
becomes stronger as each succeeding year slips away; the
kingfisher shall still watch from his perch on some pine bough
the finny inhabitants below him; the chimney swifts will still
fly through the spray of the falls for their bath; the flowers,
if not on Goat Island, will be just as fair as those that
blossomed long ago in their pristine loveliness; the stars when
day is done will gleam in the velvet sky as brightly as those of
far Judea. But what about Niagara? It may pass away, but not a
drop of its waters will be lost. The same powers that carved
Niagara are still at work creating new and more wondrous beauty
as the seasons pass.
One is here reminded that our sojourn is not much more a than
the wild water lapping against the rocks or the waves that beat
against the rocky ledges and are gone. Yet will they never
reappear? Even while we linger here the spray forms cloud fleets
to float across the azure sky of June; drifting like white-
sailed ships far out to sea. The resurrection of Niagara Waters!
"This is the place which I love the best,
A little brown house, like a ground-bird's nest,
Hid among grasses and vines and trees,
Summer retreat of the birds and bees.
The tenderest light that ever was seen
Sifts through the vine-made window screen--
Sifts and quivers and flits and falls,
On home-made carpets and gray-hung walls.
All through June the west wind free
The breath of the clover brings to me.
All through the languid July day
I catch the scent of the newmown hay.
The morning-glories and scarlet vine,
Over the doorway twist and twine
And every day, when the house is still,
The humming-bird comes to the window-sill.
In the cunningest chamber under the sun
I sink to sleep when the day is done;
And am waked at morn in my snow-white bed,
By a singing-bird on the roof o'erhead.
Better than treasures brought from Rome,
Are the living pictures I see at home--
My aged father, with frosted hair,
And mother's face, like a painting rare.
Far from the city's dust and heat,
I get but sounds and odors sweet.
Who can wonder I love to stay
Week after week here, hidden away,
In this sly nook that I love the best
The little brown house like a ground-bird's nest.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
We have included this itinerary so that others who are
contemplating a trip over the Old National Road to the East may
in some measure find it helpful in planning a journey.
Without undue haste we have gone over the route herein
designated, and have a world of delightful recollections of
those forever memorable excursions.
FIRST DAY--Richmond, Ind., via Greenville, O., through the fine
agricultural region of Darke County, passing through Xenia,
which deserves more than passing notice, for, on the outskirts
of the town William Dean Howells lived in a log cabin with his
father, Wm. D. Gallagher and Coates Kinney, two poets of note,
lived here; and here, too, is the birthplace of Whitelaw Reid.
If the traveler wishes to spend a day in Dayton he will find a
visit to the National Cash Register plant full of interest.
SECOND DAY--Dayton to Hillsborough, via Germantown and
Farmersville, across the great conservancy dam on Twin creek,
through Middletown and Lebanon, crossing the Miami valley, famed
for its richness of natural beauty and thrifty towns and cities.
THIRD DAY--Hillsborough to Portsmouth, Ohio, via the caves and
FOURTH DAY--Portsmouth to Columbus, over the Scioto trail,
passing through the beautiful hill country via Waverly,
Chillicothe and Circleville.
FIFTH DAY--Columbus to Wheeling, via Zanesville and Cambridge.
At Zanesville we crossed the bridge over the Muskingum river.
There are only one or two other examples of this type of bridge
in the world; one being in Germany. Stopped at the Windsor
hotel, which is recommended not only for its surrounding
scenery, but is of special interest to the tourist because of
its location on the banks of the Ohio river. A breakfast on the
terrace overlooking this beautiful river will be a never-to-be-
forgotten experience. We passed McCullough's Leap on the
national road at the crest of Fulton Hill, at Wheeling. A
monument marks the spot where the famous Indian fighter escaped
his pursuers by going over a precipice one hundred and fifty
feet in height.
SIXTH DAY--From Wheeling to Cumberland, Md., passing Washington,
Pa., which was the first city in the United States to be named
for its first president. Here is still standing the house of
Thomas Braddock, leader of the Whiskey Rebellion. At this place
the first community building in the United States was erected.
You will pass Braddock's grave, where a fine monument marks the
spot along the old national highway. It leads through the great
meadows of history, near where Ft. Necessity was built and which
marks the site of the first and only surrender Washington ever
made. Two centuries ago an Indian trail led through the
Allegheny mountains. Here may still be seen the place where
Washington crossed the road and tried to make his way to
Pittsburg, then called Ft. Duquesne. The mountain scenery here
is superb. Travelers will find a delightful place to rest in the
Ft. Cumberland Hotel.
SEVENTH DAY--Cumberland via Hagerstown across Massanutten
mountain to Luray Caverns, staying overnight at the Lawrence
EIGHTH DAY--Luray Caverns via Harpers Ferry to Frederick, Md.
Spent the night at the delightful Wayside Inn.
NINTH DAY--Frederick to Washington, D. C.
TENTH, ELEVENTH, TWELFTH DAYS--Washington and vicinity.
THIRTEENTH DAY--Washington to Wt. Vernon, and Alexandria. The
Metropolitan hotel while in Washington will be found a most
pleasant stopping place.
FOURTEENTH DAY--Washington to Gettysburg via Baltimore. While
here pay a visit to Ft. McHenry, Poe's tomb, and Druid Hill
Park, which is one of the most beautiful of America's fine
FIFTEENTH DAY--Gettysburg to Lancaster via Harrisburg. Travelers
should not miss the wonderful drive along the Susquehanna river
at Harrisburg, for few in the east are as beautiful. It might be
well at this juncture to sound a note of warning in regard to
the use of chains while crossing the mountains, as one cannot be
too careful in using every safeguard.
SIXTEENTH DAY--Lancaster to Valley Forge to Philadelphia.
SEVENTEENTH DAY--Philadelphia. Visit historical places and
EIGHTEENTH Day--Cross ferry over the Delaware at Philadelphia,
through New Jersey to Atlantic City.
NINETEENTH DAY--Atlantic City.
TWENTIETH DAY--Atlantic City to Belmar.
TWENTY-FIRST DAY--Belmar via Asbury Park, Newark and Metuchen to
New York City.
TWENTY-SECOND, TWENTY-THIRD, TWENTY-FOURTH AND TWENTY-FIFTH DAYS-
- New York City. Travelers will find a fine place to stop while
here in the Hotel Theresa.
TWENTY-SIXTH DAY--New York City via Tarrytown to Poughkeepsie.
TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY--Poughkeepsie to Greenfield, Mass., through
the Berkshire hills on the Mohawk trail.
TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY--Greenfield to Providence, Rhode Island, down
the Connecticut river valley, which affords scenery as fine as
any which New England has to offer. The fertile farm lands of
the valley give beauty by way of contrast. The traveler will be
interested in the fields of tobacco which are grown under
canvas. Some of these fields contain thirty acres and others we
were told were still larger.
A most delightful close to a perfect day is the hotel Weldon at
this lovely town. The motorist will find here a quiet, restful
charm that makes for the tired traveler a delightful halt and a
tranquil stopping place for more permanent guests.
"One rarely finds in a rural town a hotel which affords all the
essentials of a city hotel of the first class. The picturesque
entrance with greenery and Italian stone settles, the handsome
office and lounging hall of library effect, the broad passages
and solid woodwork of each floor, the spacious glass-roofed sun
parlor and outer porch, with plentiful vines and other verdure,
and which in summer time are opened widely to the lawn, the
lofty topmost floor recently built (for warm weather guests) of
a semi- Spanish effect by way of broad screen doors on open air
corridors, from airy suites overlooking the woody hill country--
these items are likely to impress the guests with pleasant
Then, too, the Weldon is situated in the charming residential
section of the town, of no small natural beauty. But of all
pleasing memories of Greenfield, that of its beautiful tree-
bordered streets will remain the longest.
In passing through the old town of Windsor you will think of
John Fitch whose birthplace was here. John Mason, leader of the
Colonists during the Pequot War, also had his home in Windsor.
Here, too, is the fine old home of Oliver Ellsworth, now kept as
a museum by the Daughters of The American Republic.
You will pass through Pomfert, the town whose special point of
interest is Wolf Den, where Israel Putnam slew a sheep-killing
wolf single handed. The story was geographically described in
our school readers of two centuries ago.
At Willamantic is a monument to Nathan Hale, the martyr spy of
the Revolution, who had his home here, as did also General Lyon,
killed at Eastport in the Revolutionary War. Here, too, was the
home of Jonathan Trumbull, one of the financiers of the
Revolution, and Commodore Swift, U. S. N. This town is widely
known as the home of Willamantic thread.
TWENTY-NINTH DAY--Providence to Newport.
THIRTIETH DAY--Newport to Plymouth via Fall River, Cape Cod and
Provincetown, staying at the Plymouth Rock Hotel.
THIRTY-SECOND, THIRTY-THIRD AND THIRTY-FOURTH DAYS--Plymouth to
Boston via the Shore Road.
THIRTY-FIFTH DAY--Boston to Portsmouth, N. H. Here was signed
the treaty which closed the Russo-Japanese War.
THIRTY-SIXTH DAY--Portsmouth to Crawford's Notch, via Portland,
THIRTY-SEVENTH DAY--Crawford's Notch through Green mountains to
THIRTY-EIGHTH DAY--Lake Champlain through Adirondacks to Lake
THIRTY-NINTH AND FORTIETH DAYS--Among mountains and lakes.
FORTY-FIRST DAY--Lake George to Albany.
FORTY-SECOND DAY--Albany through Catskills to Mt. Tremper, where
we spent a most delightful evening at the Howland House.
FORTY-THIRD DAY--Mt. Tremper to Utica.
FORTY-FOURTH DAY--Utica and Trenton Falls to Syracuse. Spent the
night at the Mizpah hotel. This hotel is unique in that it is
run in connection with a Baptist church. The building is a
beautiful specimen of Gothic architecture. The surplus money is
used for the various church expenses. You may listen to the
noted Belgian organist while resting in your own room. This
undertaking has proven to be a success in numerous ways.
FORTY-FIFTH DAY--Syracuse to Lake Chautauqua via Jamestown.
FORTY-SIXTH DAY--Jamestown to Niagara Falls via Indian
FORTY-SEVENTH AND FORTY-EIGHTH DAYS--Niagara Falls, via Albion,
Pa., to Ashtabula, Ohio.
FORTY-NINTH DAY--Ashtabula to Richmond, Ind.
It is to be sincerely hoped that all the youth of our land may
some day visit the nation's shrines and there drink deep from
the fountains of truth and patriotism which our worthy
forefathers have established. To follow the old Pilgrim trail,
to climb Bunker Hill Monument, to reverently tread the halls of
Mt. Vernon, to muse by the monuments at Valley Forge,
Gettysburg, and Arlington; to be thrilled with the grandeur and
power of our great nation while in Washington: and to behold the
unsurpassed beauty of the countless places of natural grandeur
our country affords would help to solve many of the serious
problems confronting our nation today.