List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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harbor in which the girls took part, drives in buckboards which they
organized--indeed, the canoe and the buckboard were in constant demand.
In all this there was a pleasing freedom--of course under proper
chaperonage.  And such delightful chaperons as they were, their business
being to promote and not to hinder the intercourse of the sexes!

This activity, this desire to row and walk and drive and to become
acquainted, was all due to the air.  It has a peculiar quality.  Even the
skeptic has to admit this.  It composes his nerves to sleep, it
stimulates to unwonted exertion.  The fanatics of the place declare that
the fogs are not damp as at other resorts on the coast.  Fashion can make
even a fog dry.  But the air is delicious.  In this latitude, and by
reason of the hills, the atmosphere is pure and elastic and stimulating,
and it is softened by the presence of the sea.  This union gives a
charming effect.  It is better than the Maine Law.  The air being like
wine, one does not need stimulants.  If one is addicted to them and is
afraid to trust the air, he is put to the trouble of sneaking into masked
places, and becoming a party to petty subterfuges for evading the law.
And the wretched man adds to the misdemeanor of this evasion the moral
crime of consuming bad liquor.

"Everybody" was at Bar Harbor, or would be there in course of the season.
Mrs. Cortlandt was there, and Mrs. Pendragon of New Orleans, one of the
most brilliant, amiable, and charming of women.  I remember her as far
back as the seventies.  A young man like Mr. King, if he could be called
young, could not have a safer and more sympathetic social adviser.
Why are not all handsome women cordial, good-tempered, and well-bred!
And there were the Ashleys--clever mother and three daughters, au-fait
girls, racy and witty talkers; I forget whether they were last from
Paris, Washington, or San Francisco.  Family motto: "Don't be dull."
All the Van Dams from New York, and the Sleiderheifers and Mulligrubs of
New Jersey, were there for the season, some of them in cottages.  These
families are intimate, even connected by marriage, with the Bayardiers of
South Carolina and the Lontoons of Louisiana.  The girls are handsome,
dashing women, without much information, but rattling talkers, and so
exclusive! and the young men, with a Piccadilly air, fancy that they
belong to the "Prince of Wales set," you know.  There is a good deal of
monarchical simplicity in our heterogeneous society.

Mrs. Cortlandt was quite in her element here as director-general of
expeditions and promoter of social activity.  "I have been expecting
you," she was kind enough to say to Mr. King the morning after his
arrival.  "Kitty Van Sanford spied you last night, and exclaimed, 'There,
now, is a real reinforcement!"  You see that you are mortgaged already."

"It's very kind of you to expect me.  Is there anybody else here I know?"

"Several hundreds, I should say.  If you cannot find friends here, you
are a subject for an orphan-asylum.  And you have not seen anybody?"

"Well, I was late at breakfast."

"And you have not looked on the register?"

"Yes, I did run my eye over the register."

"And you are standing right before me and trying to look as if you did
not know that Irene Benson is in the house.  I didn't think, Mr. King, it
had gone that far-indeed I didn't.  You know I'm in a manner responsible
for it.  And I heard all about you at Newport.  She's a heart of gold,
that girl."

"Did she--did Miss Benson say anything about Newport?"

"No.  Why?"

"Oh, I didn't know but she might have mentioned how she liked it."

"I don't think she liked it as much as her mother did.  Mrs. Benson talks
of nothing else.  Irene said nothing special to me.  I don't know what
she may have said to Mr. Meigs," this wily woman added, in the most
natural manner.

"Who is Mr. Meigs?"

"Mr. Alfred Meigs, Boston.  He is a rich widower, about forty--the most
fascinating age for a widower, you know.  I think he is conceited, but he
is really a most entertaining man; has traveled all over the world--
Egypt, Persia--lived in Japan, prides himself a little on never having
been in Colorado or Florida."

"What does he do?"

"Do?  He drives Miss Benson to Otter Cliffs, and out on the Cornice Road,
about seven days in the week, and gets up sailing-parties and all that in
the intervals."

"I mean his occupation."

"Isn't that occupation enough?  Well, he has a library and a little
archaeological museum, and prints monographs on art now and then.  If he
were a New-Yorker, you know, he would have a yacht instead of a library.
There they are now."

A carriage with a pair of spirited horses stood at the bottom of the
steps on the entrance side.  Mrs. Cortlandt and King turned the corner of
the piazza and walked that way.  On the back seat were Mrs. Benson and
Mrs. Simpkins.  The gentleman holding the reins was just helping Irene to
the high seat in front.  Mr. King was running down the long flight of
steps.  Mrs. Benson saw him, bowed most cordially, and called his name.
Irene, turning quickly, also bowed--he thought there was a flush on her
face.  The gentleman, in the act of starting the horses, raised his hat.
King was delighted to notice that he was bald.  He had a round head,
snugly-trimmed beard slightly dashed with gray, was short and a trifle
stout--King thought dumpy.  "I suppose women like that kind of man," he
said to Mrs. Cortlandt when the carriage was out of sight.

Why not?  He has perfect manners; he knows the world--that is a great
point, I can tell you, in the imagination of a girl; he is rich; and he
is no end obliging."

"How long has he been here?"

"Several days.  They happened to come up from the Isles of Shoals
together.  He is somehow related to the Simpkinses.  There!  I've wasted
time enough on you.  I must go and see Mrs. Pendragon about a watermelon
party to Jordan Pond.  You'll see, I'll arrange something."

King had no idea what a watermelon party was, but he was pleased to think
that it was just the sort of thing that Mr. Meigs would shine in.  He
said to himself that he hated dilettante snobs.  His bitter reflections
were interrupted by the appearance of Miss Lamont and the artist, and
with them Mr. Benson.  The men shook hands with downright heartiness.
Here is a genuine man, King was thinking.

"Yes.  We are still at it," he said, with his humorous air of
resignation.  "I tell my wife that I'm beginning to understand how old
Christian felt going through Vanity Fair.  We ought to be pretty near the
Heavenly Gates by this time.  I reckoned she thought they opened into
Newport.  She said I ought to be ashamed to ridicule the Bible.  I had to
have my joke.  It's queer how different the world looks to women."

"And how does it look to men?" asked Miss Lamont.

"Well, my dear young lady, it looks like a good deal of fuss, and
tolerably large bills."

"But what does it matter about the bills if you enjoy yourself?"

"That's just it.  Folks work harder to enjoy themselves than at anything
else I know.  Half of them spend more money than they can afford to, and
keep under the harrow all the time, just because they see others spend

"I saw your wife and daughter driving away just now," said King, shifting
the conversation to a more interesting topic.

"Yes.  They have gone to take a ride over what they call here the
Cornneechy.  It's a pretty enough road along the bay, but Irene says it's
about as much like the road in Europe they name it from as Green Mountain
is like Mount Blanck.  Our folks seem possessed to stick a foreign name
on to everything.  And the road round through the scrub to Eagle Lake
they call Norway.  If Norway is like that, it's pretty short of timber.
If there hadn't been so much lumbering here, I should like it better.
There is hardly a decent pine-tree left.  Mr. Meigs--they have gone
riding with Mr. Meigs--says the Maine government ought to have a Maine
law that amounts to something--one that will protect the forests, and
start up some trees on the coast."

"Is Mr. Meigs in the lumber business?" asked King.

"Only for scenery, I guess.  He is great on scenery.  He's a Boston man.
I tell the women that he is what I call a bric-er-brac man.  But you come
to set right down with him, away from women, and he talks just as
sensible as anybody.  He is shrewd enough.  It beats all how men are with
men and with women."

Mr. Benson was capable of going on in this way all day.  But the artist
proposed a walk up to Newport, and Mr. King getting Mrs. Pendragon to
accompany them, the party set out.  It is a very agreeable climb up
Newport, and not difficult; but if the sun is out, one feels, after
scrambling over the rocks and walking home by the dusty road, like taking
a long pull at a cup of shandygaff.  The mountain is a solid mass of
granite, bare on top, and commands a noble view of islands and ocean, of
the gorge separating it from Green Mountain, and of that respectable
hill.  For this reason, because it is some two or three hundred feet
lower than Green Mountain, and includes that scarred eminence in its
view, it is the most picturesque and pleasing elevation on the island.
It also has the recommendation of being nearer to the sea than its sister
mountain.  On the south side, by a long slope, it comes nearly to the
water, and the longing that the visitor to Bar Harbor has to see the
ocean is moderately gratified.  The prospect is at once noble and poetic.

Mrs. Pendragon informed Mr. King that he and Miss Lamont and Mr. Forbes
were included in the watermelon party that was to start that afternoon at
five o'clock.  The plan was for the party to go in buckboards to Eagle
Lake, cross that in the steamer, scramble on foot over the "carry" to
Jordan Pond, take row-boats to the foot of that, and find at a farmhouse
there the watermelons and other refreshments, which would be sent by the
shorter road, and then all return by moonlight in the buckboards.

This plan was carried out.  Mrs. Cortlandt, Mrs. Pendragon, and Mrs.

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