List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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useless to attempt to resist feminine power, that shapes our destiny in
spite of all our rough-hewing of its outlines.  He had become very uneasy
at the friendship between Irene and Penelope, but he could give no reason
for his suspicion, for it was the most natural thing in the world for his
cousin to be interested in the girl who was about to come into the
family.  It seemed also natural that Penelope should be attracted by her
nobility of nature.  He did not know till afterwards that it was this
very nobility and unselfishness which Penelope saw could be turned to
account for her own purposes.  Mrs. Bartlett Glow herself would have said
that she was very much attached to Irene, and this would have been true;
she would have said also that she pitied her, and this would have been
true; but she was a woman whose world was bounded by her own social
order, and she had no doubt in her own mind that she was loyal to the
best prospects of her cousin, and, what was of more importance, that she
was protecting her little world from a misalliance when she preferred
Imogene Cypher to Irene Benson.  In fact, the Bensons in her set were
simply an unthinkable element.  It disturbed the established order of
things.  If any one thinks meanly of Penelope for counting upon the
heroism of Irene to effect her unhappiness, let him reflect of how little
consequence is the temporary happiness of one or two individuals compared
with the peace and comfort of a whole social order.  And she might also
well make herself believe that she was consulting the best interests of
Irene in keeping her out of a position where she might be subject to so
many humiliations.  She was capable of crying over the social adventures
of the heroine of a love story, and taking sides with her against the
world, but as to the actual world itself, her practical philosophy taught
her that it was much better always, even at the cost of a little
heartache in youth, to go with the stream than against it.

The lake at Saratoga is the most picturesque feature of the region, and
would alone make the fortune of any other watering-place.  It is always
a surprise to the stranger, who has bowled along the broad drive of five
miles through a pleasing but not striking landscape, to come suddenly,
when he alights at the hotel, upon what seems to be a "fault," a sunken
valley, and to look down a precipitous, grassy, tree-planted slope upon
a lake sparkling at the bottom and reflecting the enclosing steep shores.
It is like an aqua-marine gem countersunk in the green landscape.  Many
an hour had Irene and Stanhope passed in dreamy contemplation of it.
They had sailed down the lake in the little steamer, they had whimsically
speculated about this and that couple who took their ices or juleps under
the trees or on the piazza of the hotel, and the spot had for them a
thousand tender associations.  It was here that Stanhope had told her
very fully the uneventful story of his life, and it was here that she had
grown into full sympathy with his aspirations for the future.

It was of all this that Irene thought as she sat talking that day with
Penelope on a bench at the foot of the hill by the steamboat landing.
It was this very future that the woman of the world was using to raise in
the mind of Irene a morbid sense of her duty.  Skillfully with this was
insinuated the notion of the false and contemptible social pride and
exclusiveness of Stanhope's relations, which Mrs. Bartlett Glow
represented as implacable while she condemned it as absurd.  There was
not a word of opposition to the union of Irene and Stanhope: Penelope was
not such a bungler as to make that mistake.  It was not her cue to
definitely suggest a sacrifice for the welfare of her cousin.  If she let
Irene perceive that she admired the courage in her that could face all
these adverse social conditions that were conjured up before her, Irene
could never say that Penelope had expressed anything of the sort.  Her
manner was affectionate, almost caressing; she declared that she felt a
sisterly interest in her.  This was genuine enough.  I am not sure that
Mrs. Bartlett Glow did not sometimes waver in her purpose when she was in
the immediate influence of the girl's genuine charm, and felt how sincere
she was.  She even went so far as to wish to herself that Irene had been
born in her own world.

It was not at all unnatural that Irene should have been charmed by
Penelope, and that the latter should gradually have established an
influence over her.  She was certainly kind-hearted, amiable, bright,
engaging.  I think all those who have known her at Newport, or in her New
York home, regard her as one of the most charming women in the world.
Nor is she artificial, except as society requires her to be, and if she
regards the conventions of her own set as the most important things in
life, therein she does not differ from hosts of excellent wives and
mothers.  Irene, being utterly candid herself, never suspected that
Penelope had at all exaggerated the family and social obstacles, nor did
it occur to her to doubt Penelope's affection for her.  But she was not
blind.  Being a woman, she comprehended perfectly the indirection of a
woman's approaches, and knew well enough by this time that Penelope,
whatever her personal leanings, must feel with her family in regard to
this engagement.  And that she, who was apparently her friend, and who
had Stanhope's welfare so much at heart, did so feel was an added reason
why Irene was drifting towards a purpose of self-sacrifice.  When she was
with Stanhope such a sacrifice seemed as impossible as it would be cruel,
but when she was with Mrs. Bartlett Glow, or alone, the subject took
another aspect.  There is nothing more attractive to a noble woman of
tender heart than a duty the performance of which will make her suffer.
A false notion of duty has to account for much of the misery in life.

It was under this impression that Irene passed the last evening at
Saratoga with Stanhope on the piazza of the hotel--an evening that the
latter long remembered as giving him the sweetest and the most
contradictory and perplexing glimpses of a woman's heart.



After weeks of the din of Strauss and Gungl, the soothing strains of the
Pastoral Symphony.  Now no more the kettle-drum and the ceaseless
promenade in showy corridors, but the oaten pipe under the spreading
maples, the sheep feeding on the gentle hills of Otsego, the carnival of
the hop-pickers.  It is time to be rural, to adore the country, to speak
about the dew on the upland pasture, and the exquisite view from Sunset
Hill.  It is quite English, is it not? this passion for quiet, refined
country life, which attacks all the summer revelers at certain periods in
the season, and sends them in troops to Richfield or Lenox or some other
peaceful retreat, with their simple apparel bestowed in modest fourstory
trunks.  Come, gentle shepherdesses, come, sweet youths in white flannel,
let us tread a measure on the greensward, let us wander down the lane,
let us pass under the festoons of the hop-vines, let us saunter in the
paths of sentiment, that lead to love in a cottage and a house in town.

Every watering-place has a character of its own, and those who have given
little thought to this are surprised at the endless variety in the
American resorts.  But what is even more surprising is the influence that
these places have upon the people that frequent them, who appear to
change their characters with their surroundings.  One woman in her season
plays many parts, dashing in one place, reserved in another, now gay and
active, now listless and sentimental, not at all the same woman at
Newport that she is in the Adirondack camps, one thing at Bar Harbor and
quite another at Saratoga or at Richfield.  Different tastes, to be sure,
are suited at different resorts, but fashion sends a steady procession of
the same people on the round of all.

The charm of Richfield Springs is in the character of the landscape.
It is a limestone region of gentle slopes and fine lines; and although
it is elevated, the general character is refined rather than bold, the
fertile valleys in pleasing irregularity falling away from rounded wooded
hills in a manner to produce the impression of peace and repose.  The lay
of the land is such that an elevation of a few hundred feet gives a most
extensive prospect, a view of meadows and upland pastures, of lakes and
ponds, of forests hanging in dark masses on the limestone summits, of
fields of wheat and hops, and of distant mountain ranges.  It is scenery
that one grows to love, and that responds to one's every mood in variety
and beauty.  In a whole summer the pedestrian will not exhaust the
inspiring views, and the drives through the gracious land, over hills,
round the lakes, by woods and farms, increase in interest as one knows
them better.  The habitues of the place, year after year, are at a loss
for words to convey their peaceful satisfaction.

In this smiling country lies the pretty village of Richfield, the rural
character of which is not entirely lost by reason of the hotels,
cottages, and boardinghouses which line the broad principal street.  The
centre of the town is the old Spring House and grounds.  When our
travelers alighted in the evening at this mansion, they were reminded of
an English inn, though it is not at all like an inn in England except in
its atmosphere of comfort.  The building has rather a colonial character,
with its long corridors and pillared piazzas; built at different times,
and without any particular plans except to remain old-fashioned, it is
now a big, rambling white mass of buildings in the midst of maple-trees,
with so many stairs and passages on different levels, and so many nooks
and corners, that the stranger is always getting lost in it -turning up
in the luxurious smoking-room when he wants to dine, and opening a door
that lets him out into the park when he is trying to go to bed.  But
there are few hotels in the country where the guests are so well taken

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