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List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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man for the next day.  That evening was the last of the grand
illuminations for the season, and our party went out in the Crossman
steam-launch to see it.  Although some of the cottages were vacated, and
the display was not so extensive as in August, it was still marvelously
beautiful, and the night voyage around the illuminated islands was
something long to be remembered.

There were endless devices of colored lamps and lanterns, figures of
crosses, crowns, the Seal of Solomon, and the most strange effects
produced on foliage and in the water by red and green and purple fires.
It was a night of enchantment, and the hotel and its grounds on the dark
background of the night were like the stately pleasure-house in "Kubla
Khan."

But the season was drawing to an end.  The hotels, which could not find
room for the throngs on Saturday night, say, were nearly empty on Monday,
so easy are pleasure-seekers frightened away by a touch of cold,
forgetting that in such a resort the most enjoyable part of the year
comes with the mellow autumn days.  That night at ten o'clock the band
was scraping away in the deserted parlor, with not another person in
attendance, without a single listener.  Miss Lamont happened to peep
through the window-blinds from the piazza and discover this residuum of
gayety.  The band itself was half asleep, but by sheer force of habit it
kept on, the fiddlers drawing the perfunctory bows, and the melancholy
clarionet men breathing their expressive sighs.  It was a dismal sight.
The next morning the band had vanished.

The morning was lowering, and a steady rain soon set in for the day.  No
fishing, no boating; nothing but drop, drop, and the reminiscence of past
pleasure.  Mist enveloped the islands and shut out the view.  Even the
spirits of Mrs. Farquhar were not proof against this, and she tried to
amuse herself by reconstructing the season out of the specimens of guests
who remained, who were for the most part young ladies who had duty
written on their faces, and were addicted to spectacles.

"It could not have been," she thought, "ultrafashionable or madly gay.
I think the good people come here; those who are willing to illuminate."

"Oh, there is a fast enough life at some of the hotels in the summer,"
said the artist.

"Very likely.  Still, if I were recruiting for schoolmarms, I should come
here.  I like it thoroughly, and mean to be here earlier next year.  The
scenery is enchanting, and I quite enjoy being with 'Proverbial
Philosophy' people."

Late in the gloomy afternoon King went down to the office, and the clerk
handed him a letter.  He took it eagerly, but his countenance fell when
he saw that it bore a New York postmark, and had been forwarded from
Richfield.  It was not from Irene.  He put it in his pocket and went
moodily to his room.  He was in no mood to read a homily from his uncle.

Ten minutes after, he burst into Forbes's room with the open letter in
his hand.

"See here, old fellow, I'm off to the Profile House.  Can you get ready?"

"Get ready?  Why, you can't go anywhere tonight."

"Yes I can.  The proprietor says he will send us across to Redwood to
catch the night train for Ogdensburg."

"But how about the Lachine Rapids?  You have been talking about those
rapids for two months.  I thought that was what we came here for."

"Do you want to run right into the smallpox at Montreal?"

"Oh, I don't mind.  I never take anything of that sort."

"But don't you see that it isn't safe for the Lamonts and Mrs. Farquhar
to go there?"

"I suppose not; I never thought of that.  You have dragged me all over
the continent, and I didn't suppose there was any way of escaping the
rapids.  But what is the row now?  Has Irene telegraphed you that she has
got over her chill?"

"Read that letter."

Forbes took the sheet and read:

"NEW YORK, September 2, 1885.

"MY DEAR STANHOPE,--We came back to town yesterday, and I find a
considerable arrears of business demanding my attention.  A suit has been
brought against the Lavalle Iron Company, of which I have been the
attorney for some years, for the possession of an important part of its
territory, and I must send somebody to Georgia before the end of this
month to look up witnesses and get ready for the defense.  If you are
through your junketing by that time, it will be an admirable opportunity
for you to learn the practical details of the business .  .  .  .
Perhaps it may quicken your ardor in the matter if I communicate to you
another fact.  Penelope wrote me from Richfield, in a sort of panic, that
she feared you had compromised your whole future by a rash engagement
with a young lady from Cyrusville, Ohio--a Miss Benson-and she asked me
to use my influence with you.  I replied to her that I thought that, in
the language of the street, you had compromised your future, if that were
true, for about a hundred cents on the dollar.  I have had business
relations with Mr. Benson for twenty years.  He is the principal owner in
the Lavalle Iron Mine, and he is one of the most sensible, sound, and
upright men of my acquaintance.  He comes of a good old New England
stock, and if his daughter has the qualities of her father and I hear
that she has been exceedingly well educated besides she is not a bad
match even for a Knickerbocker.

"Hoping that you will be able to report at the office before the end of
the month,

I am affectionately yours,

"SCHUYLER BREVOORT."

"Well, that's all right," said the artist, after a pause.  "I suppose the
world might go on if you spend another night in this hotel.  But if you
must go, I'll bring on the women and the baggage when navigation opens in
the morning."




XVI

WHITE MOUNTAINS, LENNOX

The White Mountains are as high as ever, as fine in sharp outline against
the sky, as savage, as tawny; no other mountains m the world of their
height so well keep, on acquaintance, the respect of mankind.  There is a
quality of refinement in their granite robustness; their desolate, bare
heights and sky-scraping ridges are rosy in the dawn and violet at
sunset, and their profound green gulfs are still mysterious.  Powerful as
man is, and pushing, he cannot wholly vulgarize them.  He can reduce the
valleys and the show "freaks" of nature to his own moral level, but the
vast bulks and the summits remain for the most part haughty and pure.

Yet undeniably something of the romance of adventure in a visit to the
White Hills is wanting, now that the railways penetrate every valley, and
all the physical obstacles of the journey are removed.  One can never
again feel the thrill that he experienced when, after a weary all-day
jolting in the stage-coach, or plodding hour after hour on foot, he
suddenly came in view of a majestic granite peak.  Never again by the new
rail can he have the sensation that he enjoyed in the ascent of Mount
Washington by the old bridlepath from Crawford's, when, climbing out of
the woods and advancing upon that marvelous backbone of rock, the whole
world opened upon his awed vision, and the pyramid of the summit stood up
in majesty against the sky.  Nothing, indeed, is valuable that is easily
obtained.  This modern experiment of putting us through the world--the
world of literature, experience, and travel--at excursion rates is of
doubtful expediency.

I cannot but think that the White Mountains are cheapened a little by the
facilities of travel and the multiplication of excellent places of
entertainment.  If scenery were a sentient thing, it might feel indignant
at being vulgarly stared at, overrun and trampled on, by a horde of
tourists who chiefly value luxurious hotels and easy conveyance.  It
would be mortified to hear the talk of the excursionists, which is more
about the quality of the tables and the beds, and the rapidity with which
the "whole thing can be done," than about the beauty and the sublimity of
nature.  The mountain, however, was made for man, and not man for the
mountain; and if the majority of travelers only get out of these hills
what they are capable of receiving, it may be some satisfaction to the
hills that they still reserve their glories for the eyes that can
appreciate them.  Perhaps nature is not sensitive about being run after
for its freaks and eccentricities.  If it were, we could account for the
catastrophe, a few years ago, in the Franconia Notch flume.  Everybody
went there to see a bowlder which hung suspended over the stream in the
narrow canon.  This curiosity attracted annually thousands of people, who
apparently cared more for this toy than for anything else in the region.
And one day, as if tired of this misdirected adoration, nature organized
a dam on the side of Mount Lafayette, filled it with water, and then
suddenly let loose a flood which tore open the canon, carried the bowlder
away, and spread ruin far and wide.  It said as plainly as possible, you
must look at me, and not at my trivial accidents.  But man is an
ingenious creature, and nature is no match for him.  He now goes, in
increasing number, to see where the bowlder once hung, and spends his
time in hunting for it in the acres of wreck and debris.  And in order to
satisfy reasonable human curiosity, the proprietors of the flume have
been obliged to select a bowlder and label it as the one that was
formerly the shrine of pilgrimage.

In his college days King had more than once tramped all over this region,
knapsack on back, lodging at chance farmhouses and second-class hotels,
living on viands that would kill any but a robust climber, and enjoying
the life with a keen zest only felt by those who are abroad at all hours,
and enabled to surprise Nature in all her varied moods.  It is the chance
encounters that are most satisfactory; Nature is apt to be whimsical to
him who approaches her of set purpose at fixed hours.  He remembered also
the jolting stage-coaches, the scramble for places, the exhilaration of
the drive, the excitement of the arrival at the hotels, the sociability
engendered by this juxtaposition and jostle of travel.  It was therefore
with a sense of personal injury that, when he reached Bethlehem junction,

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