List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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the whole party, although they said it was unreasonable, confessed that
they were almost afraid to stay longer; the roar, the trembling, the
pervading sense of a blind force and rage, inspired a nameless dread.
The artist said, the next morning at the station, that he understood the
feelings of Lot.



The occupation of being a red man, a merchant of baskets and beadwork,
is taken up by so many traders with a brogue and a twang at our watering-
places that it is difficult for the traveler to keep alive any sentiment
about this race.  But at a station beyond Lewiston our tourists were
reminded of it, and of its capacity for adopting our civilization in its
most efflorescent development.  The train was invaded by a band of
Indians, or, to speak correctly, by an Indian band.  There is nothing in
the world like a brass band in a country town; it probably gives more
pleasure to the performers than any other sort of labor.  Yet the delight
it imparts to the listeners is apt to be tempered by a certain sense of
incongruity between the peaceful citizens who compose it and the
bellicose din they produce.  There is a note of barbarism in the brassy
jar and clamor of the instruments, enhanced by the bewildering ambition
of each player to force through his piece the most noise and jangle,
which is not always covered and subdued into a harmonious whole by the
whang of the bass drum.

There was nothing of this incongruity between this band of Tuscaroras and
their occupation.  Unaccustomed to associate the North American Indian
with music, the traveler at once sees the natural relation of the Indians
with the brass band.  These Tuscaroras were stalwart fellows, broad-
faced, big-limbed, serious, and they carried themselves with a clumsy but
impressive dignity.  There was no uniformity in their apparel, yet each
one wore some portion of a martial and resplendent dress--an ornamented
kepi, or a scarlet sash, or big golden epaulets, or a military coat
braided with yellow.  The leader, who was a giant, and carried the
smallest instrument, outshone all the others in his incongruous splendor.
No sooner had they found seats at one end of the car than they
unlimbered, and began through their various reluctant instruments to
deploy a tune.  Although the tune did not get well into line, the effect
was marvelous.  The car was instantly filled to bursting.  Miss Lamont,
who was reading at the other end of the car, gave a nervous start, and
looked up in alarm.  King and Forbes promptly opened windows, but this
gave little relief.  The trombone pumped and growled, the trumpet blared,
the big brass instrument with a calyx like the monstrous tropical water-
lily quivered and howled, and the drum, banging into the discord, smashed
every tympanum in the car.  The Indians looked pleased.  No sooner had
they broken one tune into fragments than they took up another, and the
car roared and rattled and jarred all the way to the lonely station where
the band debarked, and was last seen convoying a straggling Odd-Fellows'
picnic down a country road.

The incident, trivial in itself, gave rise to serious reflections
touching the capacity and use of the red man in modern life.  Here is a
peaceful outlet for all his wild instincts.  Let the government turn all
the hostiles on the frontier into brass bands, and we shall hear no more
of the Indian question.

The railway along the shore of Lake Ontario is for the most part
monotonous.  After leaving the picturesque highlands about Lewiston, the
country is flat, and although the view over the lovely sheet of blue
water is always pleasing, there is something bleak even in summer in this
vast level expanse from which the timber has been cut away.  It may have
been mere fancy, but to the tourists the air seemed thin, and the scene,
artistically speaking, was cold and colorless.  With every desire to do
justice to the pretty town of Oswego, which lies on a gentle slope by the
lake, it had to them an out-of-doors, unprotected, remote aspect.  Seen
from the station, it did not appear what it is, the handsomest city on
Lake Ontario, with the largest starch factory in the world.

It was towards evening when the train reached Cape Vincent, where the
steamer waited to transport passengers down the St. Lawrence.  The
weather had turned cool; the broad river, the low shores, the long
islands which here divide its lake-like expanse, wanted atmospheric
warmth, and the tourists could not escape the feeling of lonesomeness, as
if they were on the other side of civilization, rather than in one of the
great streams of summer frolic and gayety.  It was therefore a very
agreeable surprise to them when a traveling party alighted from one of
the cars, which had come from Rome, among whom they recognized Mrs.

"I knew my education never could be complete," said that lady as she
shook hands, "and you never would consider me perfectly in the Union
until I had seen the Thousand Islands; and here I am, after many Yankee

"And why didn't you come by Niagara?" asked Miss Lamont.

"My dear, perhaps your uncle could tell you that I saw enough of Niagara
when I was a young lady, during the war.  The cruelest thing you Yankees
did was to force us, who couldn't fight, to go over there for sympathy.
The only bearable thing about the fall of Richmond was that it relieved
me from that Fall.  But where," she added, turning to King, "are the rest
of your party?"

"If you mean the Bensons," said he, with a rather rueful countenance,
"I believe they have gone to the White Mountains."

"Oh, not lost, but gone before.  You believe?  If you knew the nights I
have lain awake thinking about you two, or you three!  I fear you have
not been wide-awake enough yourself."

"I knew I could depend on you, Mrs. Farquhar, for that."

The steamer was moving off, taking a wide sweep to follow the channel.
The passengers were all engaged in ascertaining the names of the islands
and of the owners of the cottages and club-houses.  "It is a kind of
information I have learned to dispense with," said Mrs. Farquhar.  And
the tourists, except three or four resolutely inquisitive, soon tired of
it.  The islands multiplied; the boat wound in and out among them in
narrow straits.  To sail thus amid rocky islets, hirsute with firs,
promised to be an unfailing pleasure.  It might have been, if darkness
had not speedily fallen.  But it is notable how soon passengers on a
steamer become indifferent and listless in any sort of scenery.  Where
the scenery is monotonous and repeats itself mile after mile and hour
after hour, an intolerable weariness falls upon the company.  The
enterprising group who have taken all the best seats in the bow, with the
intention of gormandizing the views, exhibit little staying power; either
the monotony or the wind drives them into the cabin.  And passengers in
the cabin occupying chairs and sofas, surrounded by their baggage, always
look bored and melancholy.

"I always think," said Mrs. Farquhar, "that I am going to enjoy a ride on
a steamer, but I never do.  It is impossible to get out of a draught, and
the progress is so slow that variety enough is not presented to the eye
to keep one from ennui."  Nevertheless, Mrs. Farquhar and King remained
on deck, in such shelter as they could find, during the three hours'
sail, braced up by the consciousness that they were doing their duty in
regard to the enterprise that has transformed this lovely stream into a
highway of display and enjoyment.  Miss Lamont and the artist went below,
frankly confessing that they could see all that interested them from the
cabin windows.  And they had their reward; for in this little cabin,
where supper was served, a drama was going on between the cook and the
two waiting-maids and the cabin boy, a drama of love and coquetry and
jealousy and hope deferred, quite as important to those concerned as any
of the watering-place comedies, and played with entire unconsciousness of
the spectators.

The evening was dark, and the navigation in the tortuous channels
sometimes difficult, and might have been dangerous but for the
lighthouses.  The steamer crept along in the shadows of the low islands,
making frequent landings, and never long out of sight of the
illuminations of hotels and cottages.  Possibly by reason of these
illuminations this passage has more variety by night than by day.  There
was certainly a fascination about this alternating brilliancy and gloom.
On nearly every island there was at least a cottage, and on the larger
islands were great hotels, camp-meeting establishments, and houses and
tents for the entertainment of thousands of people.  Late as it was in
the season, most of the temporary villages and solitary lodges were
illuminated; colored lamps were set about the grounds, Chinese lanterns
hung in the evergreens, and on half a dozen lines radiating from the
belfry of the hotel to the ground, while all the windows blazed and
scintillated.  Occasionally as the steamer passed these places of
irrepressible gayety rockets were let off, Bengal-lights were burned, and
once a cannon attempted to speak the joy of the sojourners.  It was like
a continued Fourth of July, and King's heart burned within him with
national pride.  Even Mrs. Farquhar had to admit that it was a fairy
spectacle.  During the months of July and August this broad river, with
its fantastic islands, is at night simply a highway of glory.  The
worldlings and the camp-meeting gatherings vie with each other in the
display of colored lights and fireworks.  And such places as the Thousand
Islands Park, Wellesley and Wesley parks, and so on, twinkling with lamps
and rosy with pyrotechnics, like sections of the sky dropped upon the
earth, create in the mind of the steamer pilgrim an indescribable earthly
and heavenly excitement.  He does not look upon these displays as
advertisements of rival resorts, but as generous contributions to the
hilarity of the world.

It is, indeed, a marvelous spectacle, this view for thirty or forty

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