List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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were willing to put up with wretched accommodations, and enjoyed a mild
sort of "roughing it."  But some society people in New York, who have the
reputation of setting the mode, chanced to go there; they declared in
favor of it; and instantly, by an occult law which governs fashionable
life, Bar Harbor became the fashion.  Everybody could see its preeminent
attractions.  The word was passed along by the Boudoir Telephone from
Boston to New Orleans, and soon it was a matter of necessity for a
debutante, or a woman of fashion, or a man of the world, or a blase boy,
to show themselves there during the season.  It became the scene of
summer romances; the student of manners went there to study the "American
girl."  The notion spread that it was the finest sanitarium on the
continent for flirtations; and as trade is said to follow the flag, so in
this case real-estate speculation rioted in the wake of beauty and

There is no doubt that the "American girl" is there, as she is at divers
other sea-and-land resorts; but the present peculiarity of this watering-
place is that the American young man is there also.  Some philosophers
have tried to account for this coincidence by assuming that the American
girl is the attraction to the young man.  But this seems to me a
misunderstanding of the spirit of this generation.  Why are young men
quoted as "scarce" in other resorts swarming with sweet girls, maidens
who have learned the art of being agreeable, and interesting widows in
the vanishing shades of an attractive and consolable grief?  No.  Is it
not rather the cold, luminous truth that the American girl found out that
Bar Harbor, without her presence, was for certain reasons, such as
unconventionality, a bracing air, opportunity for boating, etc.,
agreeable to the young man?  But why do elderly people go there?  This
question must have been suggested by a foreigner, who is ignorant that in
a republic it is the young ones who know what is best for the elders.

Our tourists passed a weary, hot day on the coast railway of Maine.
Notwithstanding the high temperature, the country seemed cheerless, the
sunlight to fall less genially than in more fertile regions to the south,
upon a landscape stripped of its forests, naked, and unpicturesque.
Why should the little white houses of the prosperous little villages on
the line of the rail seem cold and suggest winter, and the land seem
scrimped and without an atmosphere?  It chanced so, for everybody knows
that it is a lovely coast.  The artist said it was the Maine Law.
But that could not be, for the only drunken man encountered on their tour
they saw at the Bangor Station, where beer was furtively sold.

They were plunged into a cold bath on the steamer in the half-hour's sail
from the end of the rail to Bar Harbor.  The wind was fresh, white-caps
enlivened the scene, the spray dashed over the huge pile of baggage on
the bow, the passengers shivered, and could little enjoy the islands and
the picturesque shore, but fixed eyes of hope upon the electric lights
which showed above the headlands, and marked the site of the hotels and
the town in the hidden harbor.  Spits of rain dashed in their faces, and
in some discomfort they came to the wharf, which was alive with vehicles
and tooters for the hotels.  In short, with its lights and noise, it had
every appearance of being an important place, and when our party, holding
on to their seats in a buckboard, were whirled at a gallop up to
Rodick's, and ushered into a spacious office swarming with people, they
realized that they were entering upon a lively if somewhat haphazard
life.  The first confused impression was of a bewildering number of slim,
pretty girls, nonchalant young fellows in lawn-tennis suits, and
indefinite opportunities in the halls and parlors and wide piazzas for
promenade and flirtations.

Rodick's is a sort of big boarding-house, hesitating whether to be a
hotel or not, no bells in the rooms, no bills of fare (or rarely one),
no wine-list, a go-as-you-please, help-yourself sort of place, which is
popular because it has its own character, and everybody drifts into it
first or last.  Some say it is an acquired taste; that people do not take
to it at first.  The big office is a sort of assembly-room, where new
arrivals are scanned and discovered, and it is unblushingly called the
"fish-pond" by the young ladies who daily angle there.  Of the
unconventional ways of the establishment Mr. King had an illustration
when he attempted to get some washing done.  Having read a notice that
the hotel had no laundry, he was told, on applying at the office, that if
he would bring his things down there they would try to send them out for
him.  Not being accustomed to carrying about soiled clothes, he declined
this proposal, and consulted a chambermaid.  She told him that ladies
came to the house every day for the washing, and that she would speak to
one of them.  No result following this, after a day King consulted the
proprietor, and asked him point blank, as a friend, what course he would
pursue if he were under the necessity of having washing done in that
region.  The proprietor said that Mr. King's wants should be attended to
at once.  Another day passed without action, when the chambermaid was
again applied to.  "There's a lady just come in to the hall I guess will
do it."

"Is she trustworthy?"

"Don't know, she washes for the woman in the room next to you."  And the
lady was at last secured.

Somebody said that those who were accustomed to luxury at home liked
Rodick's, and that those who were not grumbled.  And it was true that
fashion for the moment elected to be pleased with unconventionality,
finding a great zest in freedom, and making a joke of every
inconvenience.  Society will make its own rules, and although there are
several other large hotels, and good houses as watering-place hotels go,
and cottage-life here as elsewhere is drawing away its skirts from hotel
life, society understood why a person might elect to stay at Rodick's.
Bar Harbor has one of the most dainty and refined little hotels in the
world-the Malvern.  Any one can stay there who is worth two millions of
dollars, or can produce a certificate from the Recorder of New York that
he is a direct descendant of Hendrick Hudson or Diedrich Knickerbocker.
It is needless to say that it was built by a Philadelphian--that is to
say one born with a genius for hotel-keeping.  But though a guest at the
Malvern might not eat with a friend at Rodick's, he will meet him as a
man of the world on friendly terms.

Bar Harbor was indeed an interesting society study.  Except in some of
the cottages, it might be said that society was on a lark.  With all the
manners of the world and the freemasonry of fashionable life, it had
elected to be unconventional.  The young ladies liked to appear in
nautical and lawn-tennis toilet, carried so far that one might refer to
the "cut of their jib," and their minds were not much given to any
elaborate dressing for evening.  As to the young gentlemen, if there were
any dress-coats on the island, they took pains not to display them, but
delighted in appearing in the evening promenade, and even in the
ballroom, in the nondescript suits that made them so conspicuous in the
morning, the favorite being a dress of stripes, with striped jockey cap
to match, that did not suggest the penitentiary uniform, because in
state-prisons the stripes run round.  This neglige costume was adhered to
even in the ballroom.  To be sure, the ballroom was little frequented,
only an adventurous couple now and then gliding over the floor, and
affording scant amusement to the throng gathered on the piazza and about
the open windows.  Mrs. Montrose, a stately dame of the old school,
whose standard was the court in the days of Calhoun, Clay, and Webster,
disapproved of this laxity, and when a couple of young fellows in striped
array one evening whirled round the room together, with brier-wood pipes
in their mouths, she was scandalized.  If the young ladies shared her
sentiments they made no resolute protests, remembering perhaps the
scarcity of young men elsewhere, and thinking that it is better to be
loved by a lawn-tennis suit than not to be loved at all.  The daughters
of Mrs. Montrose thought they should draw the line on the brier-wood

Dancing, however, is not the leading occupation at Bar Harbor, it is
rather neglected.  A cynic said that the chief occupation was to wait at
the "fishpond" for new arrivals--the young ladies angling while their
mothers and chaperons--how shall we say it to complete the figure?--held
the bait.  It is true that they did talk in fisherman's lingo about this,
asked each other if they had a nibble or a bite, or boasted that they had
hauled one in, or complained that it was a poor day for fishing.  But
this was all chaff, born of youthful spirits and the air of the place.
If the young men took airs upon themselves under the impression they were
in much demand, they might have had their combs cut if they had heard how
they were weighed and dissected and imitated, and taken off as to their
peculiarities, and known, most of them, by sobriquets characteristic of
their appearance or pretentions.  There was one young man from the West,
who would have been flattered with the appellation of "dude," so
attractive in the fit of his clothes, the manner in which he walked and
used his cane and his eyeglass, that Mr. King wanted very much to get him
and bring him away in a cage.  He had no doubt that he was a favorite
with every circle and wanted in every group, and the young ladies did
seem to get a great deal of entertainment out of him.  He was not like
the young man in the Scriptures except that he was credited with having
great possessions.

No, the principal occupation at Bar Harbor was not fishing in the house.
It was outdoor exercise, incessant activity in driving, walking, boating,
rowing and sailing--bowling, tennis, and flirtation.  There was always an
excursion somewhere, by land or sea, watermelon parties, races in the

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