List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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care of.

This was the unbought testimony of Miss Lamont, who, with her uncle, had
been there long enough to acquire the common anxiety of sojourners that
the newcomers should be pleased, and who superfluously explained the
attractions of the place to the artist, as if in his eyes, that rested on
her, more than one attraction was needed.  It was very pleasant to see
the good comradeship that existed between these two, and the frank
expression of their delight in meeting again.  Here was a friendship
without any reserve, or any rueful misunderstandings, or necessity for
explanations.  Irene's eyes followed them with a wistful look as they
went off together round the piazza and through the parlors, the girl
playing the part of the hostess, and inducting him into the mild gayeties
of the place.

The height of the season was over, she said; there had been tableaux and
charades, and broom-drills, and readings and charity concerts.  Now the
season was on the sentimental wane; every night the rooms were full of
whist-players, and the days were occupied in quiet strolling over the
hills, and excursions to Cooperstown and Cherry Valley and "points of
view," and visits to the fields to see the hop-pickers at work.  If there
were a little larking about the piazzas in the evening, and a group here
and there pretending to be merry over tall glasses with ice and straws in
them, and lingering good-nights at the stairways, why should the aged and
rheumatic make a note of it?  Did they not also once prefer the dance to
hobbling to the spring, and the taste of ginger to sulphur?

Of course the raison d'etre of being here is the sulphur spring.  There
is no doubt of its efficacy.  I suppose it is as unpleasant as any in the
country.  Everybody smells it, and a great many drink it.  The artist
said that after using it a week the blind walk, the lame see, and the
dumb swear.  It renews youth, and although the analyzer does not say that
it is a "love philter," the statistics kept by the colored autocrat who
ladles out the fluid show that there are made as many engagements at
Richfield as at any other summer fair in the country.

There is not much to chronicle in the peaceful flow of domestic life,
and, truth to say, the charm of Richfield is largely in its restfulness.
Those who go there year after year converse a great deal about their
liking for it, and think the time well spent in persuading new arrivals
to take certain walks and drives.  It was impressed upon King that he
must upon no account omit a visit to Rum Hill, from the summit of which
is had a noble prospect, including the Adirondack Mountains.  He tried
this with a walking party, was driven back when near the summit by a
thunder, storm, which offered a series of grand pictures in the sky and
on the hills, and took refuge in a farmhouse which was occupied by a band
of hop-pickers.  These adventurers are mostly young girls and young men
from the cities and factory villages, to whom this is the only holiday of
the year.  Many of the pickers, however, are veterans.  At this season
one meets them on all the roads, driving from farm to farm in lumber
wagons, carrying into the dull rural life their slang, and "Captain
Jinks" songs, and shocking free manners.  At the great hop fields they
lodge all together in big barracks, and they make lively for the time
whatever farmhouse they occupy.  They are a "rough lot," and need very
much the attention of the poet and the novelist, who might (if they shut
their eyes) make this season as romantic as vintage-time on the Rhine,
or "moonshining " on the Southern mountains.  The hop field itself, with
its tall poles draped in graceful vines which reach from pole to pole,
and hang their yellowing fruit in pretty festoons and arbors, is much
more picturesque than the vine-clad hills.

Mrs. Bartlett Glow found many acquaintances here from New York and
Philadelphia and Newport, and, to do her justice, she introduced Irene
to them and presently involved her in so many pleasure parties and
excursions that she and King were scarcely ever alone together.  When
opportunity offered for a stroll a deux, the girl's manner was so
constrained that King was compelled to ask the reason of it.  He got very
little satisfaction, and the puzzle of her conduct was increased by her
confession that she loved him just the same, and always should.

"But something has come between us," he said.  "I think I have the right
to be treated with perfect frankness."

"So you have," she replied.  "There is nothing--nothing at least that
changes my feeling towards you."

"But you think that mine is changed for you?"

"No, not that, either, never that;" and her voice showed excitement as
she turned away her head.  "But don't you know, Stanhope, you have not
known me very long, and perhaps you have been a little hasty, and--how
shall I say it?--if you had more time to reflect, when you go back to
your associates and your active life, it might somehow look differently
to you, and your prospects--"

"Why, Irene, I have no prospects without you.  I love you; you are my
life.  I don't understand.  I am just yours, and nothing you can do will
ever make it any different for me; but if you want to be free--"

"No, no," cried the girl, trying in vain to restrain her agitation and
her tears, "not that.  I don't want to be free.  But you will not
understand.  Circumstances are so cruel, and if, Stanhope, you ever
should regret when it is too late!  It would kill me.  I want you to be
happy.  And, Stanhope, promise me that, whatever happens, you will not
think ill of me."

Of course he promised, he declared that nothing could happen, he vowed,
and he protested against this ridiculous phantom in her mind.  To a man,
used to straightforward cuts in love as in any other object of his
desire, this feminine exaggeration of conscientiousness is wholly
incomprehensible.  How under heavens a woman could get a kink of duty in
her mind which involved the sacrifice of herself and her lover was past
his fathoming.

The morning after this conversation, the most of which the reader has
been spared, there was an excursion to Cooperstown.  The early start of
the tally-ho coaches for this trip is one of the chief sensations of the
quiet village.  The bustle to collect the laggards, the importance of the
conductors and drivers, the scramble up the ladders, the ruses to get
congenial seat-neighbors, the fine spirits of everybody evoked by the
fresh morning air, and the elevation on top of the coaches, give the
start an air of jolly adventure.  Away they go, the big red-and-yellow
arks, swinging over the hills and along the well-watered valleys, past
the twin lakes to Otsego, over which hangs the romance of Cooper's tales,
where a steamer waits.  This is one of the most charming of the little
lakes that dot the interior of New York; without bold shores or anything
sensational in its scenery, it is a poetic element in a refined and
lovely landscape.  There are a few fishing-lodges and summer cottages on
its banks (one of them distinguished as "Sinners' Rest"), and a hotel or
two famous for dinners; but the traveler would be repaid if there were
nothing except the lovely village of Cooperstown embowered in maples at
the foot.  The town rises gently from the lake, and is very picturesque
with its church spires and trees and handsome mansions; and nothing could
be prettier than the foreground, the gardens, the allees of willows, the
long boat wharves with hundreds of rowboats and sail-boats, and the exit
of the Susquehanna River, which here swirls away under drooping foliage,
and begins its long journey to the sea.  The whole village has an air of
leisure and refinement.  For our tourists the place was pervaded by the
spirit of the necromancer who has woven about it a spell of romance; but
to the ordinary inhabitants the long residence of the novelist here was
not half so important as that of the very distinguished citizen who had
made a great fortune out of some patent, built here a fine house, and
adorned his native town.  It is not so very many years since Cooper died,
and yet the boatmen and loungers about the lake had only the faintest
impression of the man-there was a writer by that name, one of them said,
and some of his family lived near the house of the great man already
referred to.  The magician who created Cooperstown sleeps in the old
English-looking church-yard of the Episcopal church, in the midst of the
graves of his relations, and there is a well-worn path to his head-stone.
Whatever the common people of the town may think, it is that grave that
draws most pilgrims to the village.  Where the hillside cemetery now is,
on the bank of the lake, was his farm, which he visited always once and
sometimes twice a day.  He commonly wrote only from ten to twelve in the
morning, giving the rest of the time to his farm and the society of his
family.  During the period of his libel suits, when the newspapers
represented him as morose and sullen in his retirement, he was, on the
contrary, in the highest spirits and the most genial mood.  "Deer-slayer"
was written while this contest was at its height.  Driving one day from
his farm with his daughter, he stopped and looked long over his favorite
prospect on the lake, and said, "I must write one more story, dear, about
our little lake.  At that moment the "Deerslayer " was born.  He was
silent the rest of the way home, and went immediately to his library and
began the story.

The party returned in a moralizing vein.  How vague already in the
village which his genius has made known over the civilized world is the
fame of Cooper!  To our tourists the place was saturated with his
presence, but the new generation cares more for its smart prosperity than
for all his romance.  Many of the passengers on the boat had stopped at a
lakeside tavern to dine, preferring a good dinner to the associations
which drew our sentimentalists to the spots that were hallowed by the
necromancer's imagination.  And why not?  One cannot live in the past
forever.  The people on the boat who dwelt in Cooperstown were not

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