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List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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party here and taken the water.  But you can go down and look if you want
to, and it won't cost you a cent."

They went down, and saw where the falls ought to be.  The artist said it
was a sort of dry-plate process, to be developed in the mind afterwards;
Mr. King likened it to a dry smoke without lighting the cigar; and the
doctor said it certainly had the sanitary advantage of not being damp.
The party even penetrated the Platerskill Cove, and were well rewarded by
its exceeding beauty, as is every one who goes there.  There are sketches
of all these lovely places in a certain artist's book, all looking,
however, very much alike, and consisting principally of a graceful figure
in a great variety of unstudied attitudes.

"Isn't this a nervous sort of a place?" the artist asked his friend, as
they sat in his chamber overlooking the world.

"Perhaps it is.  I have a fancy that some people are born to enjoy the
valley, and some the mountains."

"I think it makes a person nervous to live on a high place.  This feeling
of constant elevation tires one; it gives a fellow no such sense of
bodily repose as he has in a valley.  And the wind, it's constantly
nagging, rattling the windows and banging the doors.  I can't escape the
unrest of it."  The artist was turning the leaves and contemplating the
poverty of his sketch-book.  "The fact is, I get better subjects on the
seashore."

"Probably the sea would suit us better.  By the way, did I tell you that
Miss Lamont's uncle came last night from Richmond?  Mr. De Long, uncle on
the mother's side.  I thought there was French blood in her."

"What is he like?"

"Oh, a comfortable bachelor, past middle age; business man; Southern;
just a little touch of the 'cyar' for 'car.'  Said he was going to take
his niece to Newport next week.  Has Miss Lamont said anything about
going there?"

"Well, she did mention it the other day."

The house was filling up, and, King thought, losing its family aspect.
He had taken quite a liking for the society of the pretty invalid girl,
and was fond of sitting by her, seeing the delicate color come back to
her cheeks, and listening to her shrewd little society comments.  He
thought she took pleasure in having him push her wheel-chair up and down
the piazza at least she rewarded him by grateful looks, and complimented
him by asking his advice about reading and about being useful to others.
Like most young girls whose career of gayety is arrested as hers was, she
felt an inclination to coquet a little with the serious side of life.
All this had been pleasant to Mr. King, but now that so many more guests
had come, he found himself most of the time out of business.  The girl's
chariot was always surrounded by admirers and sympathizers.  All the
young men were anxious to wheel her up and down by the hour; there was
always a strife for this sweet office; and at night, when the vehicle had
been lifted up the first flight, it was beautiful to see the eagerness of
sacrifice exhibited by these young fellows to wheel her down the long
corridor to her chamber.  After all, it is a kindly, unselfish world,
full of tenderness for women, and especially for invalid women who are
pretty.  There was all day long a competition of dudes and elderly
widowers and bachelors to wait on her.  One thought she needed a little
more wheeling; another volunteered to bring her a glass of water; there
was always some one to pick up her fan, to recover her handkerchief (why
is it that the fans and handkerchiefs of ugly women seldom go astray?),
to fetch her shawl--was there anything they could do?  The charming
little heiress accepted all the attentions with most engaging sweetness.
Say what you will, men have good hearts.

Yes, they were going to Newport.  King and Forbes, who had not had a
Fourth of July for some time, wanted to see what it was like at Newport.
Mr. De Long would like their company.  But before they went the artist
must make one more trial at a sketch-must get the local color.  It was a
large party that went one morning to see it done under the famous ledge
of rocks on the Red Path.  It is a fascinating spot, with its coolness,
sense of seclusion, mosses, wild flowers, and ferns.  In a small grotto
under the frowning wall of the precipice is said to be a spring, but it
is difficult to find, and lovers need to go a great many times in search
of it.  People not in love can sometimes find a damp place in the sand.
The question was where Miss Lamont should pose.  Should she nestle under
the great ledge, or sit on a projecting rock with her figure against the
sky?  The artist could not satisfy himself, and the girl, always
adventurous, kept shifting her position, climbing about on the jutting
ledge, until she stood at last on the top of the precipice, which was
some thirty or forty feet high.  Against the top leaned a dead balsam,
just as some tempest had cast it, its dead branches bleached and scraggy.
Down this impossible ladder the girl announced her intention of coming.
"No, no," shouted a chorus of voices; "go round; it's unsafe; the limbs
will break; you can't get through them; you'll break your neck."  The
girl stood calculating the possibility.  The more difficult the feat
seemed, the more she longed to try it.

"For Heaven's sake don't try it, Miss Lamont," cried the artist.

"But I want to.  I think I must.  You can sketch me in the act.  It will
be something new."

And before any one could interpose, the resolute girl caught hold of the
balsam and swung off.  A boy or a squirrel would have made nothing of the
feat.  But for a young lady in long skirts to make her way down that
balsam, squirming about and through the stubs and dead limbs, testing
each one before she trusted her weight to it, was another affair.
It needed a very cool head and the skill of a gymnast.  To transfer her
hold from one limb to another, and work downward, keeping her skirts
neatly gathered about her feet, was an achievement that the spectators
could appreciate; the presence of spectators made it much more difficult.
And the lookers-on were a good deal more excited than the girl.
The artist had his book ready, and when the little figure was half-way
down, clinging in a position at once artistic and painful, he began.
"Work fast," said the girl.  "It's hard hanging on."  But the pencil
wouldn't work.  The artist made a lot of wild marks.  He would have given
the world to sketch in that exquisite figure, but every time he cast his
eye upward the peril was so evident that his hand shook.  It was no use.
The danger increased as she descended, and with it the excitement of the
spectators.  All the young gentlemen declared they would catch her if she
fell, and some of them seemed to hope she might drop into their arms.
Swing off she certainly must when the lowest limb was reached.  But that
was ten feet above the ground and the alighting-place was sharp rock and
broken bowlders.  The artist kept up a pretense of drawing.  He felt
every movement of her supple figure and the strain upon the slender arms,
but this could not be transferred to the book.  It was nervous work.
The girl was evidently getting weary, but not losing her pluck.  The
young fellows were very anxious that the artist should keep at his work;
they would catch her.  There was a pause; the girl had come to the last
limb; she was warily meditating a slide or a leap; the young men were
quite ready to sacrifice themselves; but somehow, no one could tell
exactly how, the girl swung low, held herself suspended by her hands for
an instant, and then dropped into the right place--trust a woman for
that; and the artist, his face flushed, set her down upon the nearest
flat rock.  Chorus from the party, "She is saved!"

"And my sketch is gone up again."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Forbes."  The girl looked full of innocent regret.
"But when I was up there I had to come down that tree.  I couldn't help
it, really."




IV

NEWPORT

On the Fourth of July, at five o'clock in the morning, the porters called
the sleepers out of their berths at Wickford Junction.  Modern
civilization offers no such test to the temper and to personal appearance
as this early preparation to meet the inspection of society after a night
in the stuffy and luxuriously upholstered tombs of a sleeping-car.
To get into them at night one must sacrifice dignity; to get out of them
in the morning, clad for the day, gives the proprietors a hard rub.
It is wonderful, however, considering the twisting and scrambling in the
berth and the miscellaneous and ludicrous presentation of humanity in the
washroom at the end of the car, how presentable people make themselves in
a short space of time.  One realizes the debt of the ordinary man to
clothes, and how fortunate it is for society that commonly people do not
see each other in the morning until art has done its best for them.
To meet the public eye, cross and tousled and disarranged, requires
either indifference or courage.  It is disenchanting to some of our
cherished ideals.  Even the trig, irreproachable commercial drummer
actually looks banged-up, and nothing of a man; but after a few moments,
boot-blacked and paper-collared, he comes out as fresh as a daisy, and
all ready to drum.

Our travelers came out quite as well as could be expected, the artist
sleepy and a trifle disorganized, Mr. King in a sort of facetious humor
that is more dangerous than grumbling, Mr. De Long yawning and stretching
and declaring that he had not slept a wink, while Marion alighted upon
the platform unruffled in plumage, greeting the morning like a bird.
There were the usual early loafers at the station, hands deep in pockets,
ruminant, listlessly observant.  No matter at what hour of day or night a
train may arrive or depart at a country station in America, the loafers
are so invariably there in waiting that they seem to be a part of our
railway system.  There is something in the life and movement that seems
to satisfy all the desire for activity they have.

Even the most sleepy tourist could not fail to be impressed with the

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