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List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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down by the sea atmosphere.  These cottages have excellent lawns set with
brilliant beds of flowers; and the turf rivals that of Newport; but
without a tree or shrub anywhere along the shore the aspect is too
unrelieved and photographically distinct.  Here as elsewhere the cottage
life is taking the place of hotel life.

There were few handsome turn-outs on the main drive, and perhaps the
popular character of the place was indicated by the use of omnibuses
instead of carriages.  For, notwithstanding Elberon and such fashion as
is there gathered, Long Branch lacks "style."  After the White Sulphur,
it did not seem to King alive with gayety, nor has it any society.
In the hotel parlors there is music in the evenings, but little dancing
except by children.  Large women, offensively dressed, sit about the
veranda, and give a heavy and "company" air to the drawing-rooms.  No,
the place is not gay.  The people come here to eat, to bathe, to take the
air; and these are reasons enough for being here.  Upon the artist, alert
for social peculiarities, the scene made little impression, for to an
artist there is a limit to the interest of a crowd showily dressed,
though they blaze with diamonds.

It was in search of something different from this that King and Forbes
took the train and traveled six miles to Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.
These great summer settlements are separated by a sheet of fresh water
three-quarters of a mile long; its sloping banks are studded with pretty
cottages, its surface is alive with boats gay with awnings of red and
blue and green, and seats of motley color, and is altogether a fairy
spectacle.  Asbury Park is the worldly correlative of Ocean Grove, and
esteems itself a notch above it in social tone.  Each is a city of small
houses, and each is teeming with life, but Ocean Grove, whose centre is
the camp-meeting tabernacle, lodges its devotees in tents as well as
cottages, and copies the architecture of Oak Bluffs.  The inhabitants of
the two cities meet on the two-mile-long plank promenade by the sea.
Perhaps there is no place on the coast that would more astonish the
foreigner than Ocean Grove, and if he should describe it faithfully he
would be unpopular with its inhabitants.  He would be astonished at the
crowds at the station, the throngs in the streets, the shops and stores
for supplying the wants of the religious pilgrims, and used as he might
be to the promiscuous bathing along our coast, he would inevitably
comment upon the freedom existing here.  He would see women in their
bathing dresses, wet and clinging, walking in the streets of the town,
and he would read notices posted up by the camp-meeting authorities
forbidding women so clad to come upon the tabernacle ground.  He would
also read placards along the beach explaining the reason why decency in
bathing suits is desirable, and he would wonder why such notices should
be necessary.  If, however, he walked along the shore at bathing times he
might be enlightened, and he would see besides a certain simplicity of
social life which sophisticated Europe has no parallel for.  A peculiar
custom here is sand-burrowing.  To lie in the warm sand, which
accommodates itself to any position of the body, and listen to the dash
of the waves, is a dreamy and delightful way of spending a summer day.
The beach for miles is strewn with these sand-burrowers in groups of two
or three or half a dozen, or single figures laid out like the effigies of
Crusaders.  One encounters these groups sprawling in all attitudes, and
frequently asleep in their promiscuous beds.  The foreigner is forced to
see all this, because it is a public exhibition.  A couple in bathing
suits take a dip together in the sea, and then lie down in the sand.
The artist proposed to make a sketch of one of these primitive couples,
but it was impossible to do so, because they lay in a trench which they
had scooped in the sand two feet deep, and had hoisted an umbrella over
their heads.  The position was novel and artistic, but beyond the reach
of the artist.  It was a great pity, because art is never more agreeable
than when it concerns itself with domestic life.

While this charming spectacle was exhibited at the beach, afternoon
service was going on in the tabernacle, and King sought that in
preference.  The vast audience under the canopy directed its eyes to a
man on the platform, who was violently gesticulating and shouting at the
top of his voice.  King, fresh from the scenes of the beach, listened a
long time, expecting to hear some close counsel on the conduct of life,
but he heard nothing except the vaguest emotional exhortation.  By this
the audience were apparently unmoved, for it was only when the preacher
paused to get his breath on some word on which he could dwell by reason
of its vowels, like w-o-r-1-d or a-n-d, that he awoke any response from
his hearers.  The spiritual exercise of prayer which followed was even
more of a physical demonstration, and it aroused more response.  The
officiating minister, kneeling at the desk, gesticulated furiously,
doubled up his fists and shook them on high, stretched out both arms, and
pounded the pulpit.  Among people of his own race King had never before
seen anything like this, and he went away a sadder if not a wiser man,
having at least learned one lesson of charity--never again to speak
lightly of a negro religious meeting.

This vast city of the sea has many charms, and is the resort of thousands
of people, who find here health and repose.  But King, who was immensely
interested in it all as one phase of American summer life, was glad that
Irene was not at Ocean Grove.




XI

SARATOGA

It was the 22d of August, and the height of the season at Saratoga.
Familiar as King had been with these Springs, accustomed as the artist
was to foreign Spas, the scene was a surprise to both.  They had been
told that fashion had ceased to patronize it, and that its old-time
character was gone.  But Saratoga is too strong for the whims of fashion;
its existence does not depend upon its decrees; it has reached the point
where it cannot be killed by the inroads of Jew or Gentile.  In ceasing
to be a society centre, it has become in a manner metropolitan; for the
season it is no longer a provincial village, but the meeting-place of as
mixed and heterogeneous a throng as flows into New York from all the
Union in the autumn shopping period.

It was race week, but the sporting men did not give Saratoga their
complexion.  It was convention time, but except in the hotel corridors
politicians were not the feature of the place.  One of the great hotels
was almost exclusively occupied by the descendants of Abraham, but the
town did not at all resemble Jerusalem.  Innumerable boarding-houses
swarmed with city and country clergymen, who have a well-founded
impression that the waters of the springs have a beneficent relation to
the bilious secretions of the year, but the resort had not an oppressive
air of sanctity.  Nearly every prominent politician in the State and a
good many from other States registered at the hotels, but no one seemed
to think that the country was in danger.  Hundreds of men and women were
there because they had been there every year for thirty or forty years
back, and they have no doubt that their health absolutely requires a week
at Saratoga; yet the village has not the aspect of a sanitarium.  The
hotel dining-rooms and galleries were thronged with large, overdressed
women who glittered with diamonds and looked uncomfortable in silks and
velvets, and Broadway was gay with elegant equipages, but nobody would go
to Saratoga to study the fashions.  Perhaps the most impressive spectacle
in this lowly world was the row of millionaires sunning themselves every
morning on the piazza of the States, solemn men in black broadcloth and
white hats, who said little, but looked rich; visitors used to pass that
way casually, and the townspeople regarded them with a kind of awe, as if
they were the king-pins of the whole social fabric; but even these
magnates were only pleasing incidents in the kaleidoscopic show.

The first person King encountered on the piazza of the Grand Union was
not the one he most wished to see, although it could never be otherwise
than agreeable to meet his fair cousin, Mrs. Bartlett Glow.  She was in a
fresh morning toilet, dainty, comme il faut, radiant, with that
unobtrusive manner of "society" which made the present surroundings,
appear a trifle vulgar to King, and to his self-disgust forced upon him
the image of Mrs. Benson.

"You here?" was his abrupt and involuntary exclamation.

"Yes--why not?"  And then she added, as if from the Newport point of view
some explanation were necessary: "My husband thinks he must come here for
a week every year to take the waters; it's an old habit, and I find it
amusing for a few days.  Of course there is nobody here.  Will you take
me to the spring?  Yes, Congress.  I'm too old to change.  If I believed
the pamphlets the proprietors write about each other's springs I should
never go to either of them."

Mrs. Bartlett Glow was not alone in saying that nobody was there.  There
were scores of ladies at each hotel who said the same thing, and who
accounted for their own presence there in the way she did.  And they were
not there at all in the same way they would be later at Lenox.  Mrs.
Pendragon, of New Orleans, who was at the United States, would have said
the same thing, remembering the time when the Southern colony made a very
distinct impression upon the social life of the place; and the Ashleys,
who had put up at the Congress Hall in company with an old friend,
a returned foreign minister, who stuck to the old traditions--even the
Ashleys said they were only lookers-on at the pageant.

Paying their entrance, and passing through the turnstile in the pretty
pavilion gate, they stood in the Congress Spring Park.  The band was
playing in the kiosk; the dew still lay on the flowers and the green
turf; the miniature lake sparkled in the sun.  It is one of the most

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