List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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exquisite beauty of the scene at Wickford Harbor, where the boat was
taken for Newport.  The slow awaking of morning life scarcely disturbed
its tranquillity.  Sky and sea and land blended in a tone of refined
gray.  The shores were silvery, a silvery light came out of the east,
streamed through the entrance of the harbor, and lay molten and glowing
on the water.  The steamer's deck and chairs and benches were wet with
dew, the noises in transferring the baggage and getting the boat under
way were all muffled and echoed in the surrounding silence.  The sail-
boats that lay at anchor on the still silver surface sent down long
shadows, and the slim masts seemed driven down into the water to hold the
boats in place.  The little village was still asleep.  It was such a
contrast; the artist was saying to Marion, as they leaned over the taff-
rail, to the new raw villages in the Catskills.  The houses were large,
and looked solid and respectable, many of them were shingled on the
sides, a spire peeped out over the green trees, and the hamlet was at
once homelike and picturesque.  Refinement is the note of the landscape.
Even the old warehouses dropping into the water, and the decaying piles
of the wharves, have a certain grace.  How graciously the water makes
into the land, following the indentations, and flowing in little streams,
going in and withdrawing gently and regretfully, and how the shore puts
itself out in low points, wooing the embrace of the sea--a lovely union.
There is no haze, but all outlines are softened in the silver light.
It is like a dream, and there is no disturbance of the repose when a
family party, a woman, a child, and a man come down to the shore, slip
into a boat, and scull away out by the lighthouse and the rocky entrance
of the harbor, off, perhaps, for a day's pleasure.  The artist has
whipped out his sketch-book to take some outlines of the view, and his
comrade, looking that way, thinks this group a pleasing part of the
scene, and notes how the salt, dewy morning air has brought the color
into the sensitive face of the girl.  There are not many such hours in a
lifetime, he is also thinking, when nature can be seen in such a charming
mood, and for the moment it compensates for the night ride.

The party indulged this feeling when they landed, still early, at the
Newport wharf, and decided to walk through the old town up to the hotel,
perfectly well aware that after this no money would hire them to leave
their beds and enjoy this novel sensation at such an hour.  They had the
street to themselves, and the promenade was one of discovery, and had
much the interest of a landing in a foreign city.

"It is so English," said the artist.

"It is so colonial," said Mr. King, "though I've no doubt that any one of
the sleeping occupants of these houses would be wide-awake instantly, and
come out and ask you to breakfast, if they heard you say it is so

"If they were not restrained," Marion suggested, "by the feeling that
that would not be English.  How fine the shade trees, and what brilliant
banks of flowers!"

"And such lawns!  We cannot make this turf in Virginia," was the
reflection of Mr. De Long.

"Well, colonial if you like," the artist replied to Mr. King.  "What is
best is in the colonial style; but you notice that all the new houses are
built to look old, and that they have had Queen Anne pretty bad, though
the colors are good."

"That's the way with some towns.  Queen Anne seems to strike them all of
a sudden, and become epidemic.  The only way to prevent it is to
vaccinate, so to speak, with two or three houses, and wait; then it is
not so likely to spread."

Laughing and criticising and admiring, the party strolled along the
shaded avenue to the Ocean House.  There were as yet no signs of life at
the Club, or the Library, or the Casino; but the shops were getting open,
and the richness and elegance of the goods displayed in the windows were
the best evidence of the wealth and refinement of the expected customers
--culture and taste always show themselves in the shops of a town.
The long gray-brown front of the Casino, with its shingled sides and
hooded balconies and galleries, added to the already strong foreign
impression of the place.  But the artist was dissatisfied.  It was not at
all his idea of Independence Day; it was like Sunday, and Sunday without
any foreign gayety.  He had expected firing of cannon and ringing of
bells--there was not even a flag out anywhere; the celebration of the
Fourth seemed to have shrunk into a dull and decorous avoidance of all
excitement.  "Perhaps," suggested Miss Lamont, "if the New-Englanders
keep the Fourth of July like Sunday, they will by and by keep Sunday like
the Fourth of July.  I hear it is the day for excursions on this coast."

Mr. King was perfectly well aware that in going to a hotel in Newport he
was putting himself out of the pale of the best society; but he had a
fancy for viewing this society from the outside, having often enough seen
it from the inside.  And perhaps he had other reasons for this eccentric
conduct.  He had, at any rate, declined the invitation of his cousin,
Mrs. Bartlett Glow, to her cottage on the Point of Rocks.  It was not
without regret that he did this, for his cousin was a very charming
woman, and devoted exclusively to the most exclusive social life.
Her husband had been something in the oil line in New York, and King had
watched with interest his evolution from the business man into the full-
blown existence of a man of fashion.  The process is perfectly charted.
Success in business, membership in a good club, tandem in the Park,
introduction to a good house, marriage to a pretty girl of family and not
much money, a yacht, a four-in-hand, a Newport villa.  His name had
undergone a like evolution.  It used to be written on his business card,
Jacob B. Glow.  It was entered at the club as J. Bartlett Glow.  On the
wedding invitations it was Mr. Bartlett Glow, and the dashing pair were
always spoken of at Newport as the Bartlett-Glows.

When Mr. King descended from his room at the Ocean House, although it was
not yet eight o'clock, he was not surprised to see Mr. Benson tilted back
in one of the chairs on the long piazza, out of the way of the scrubbers,
with his air of patient waiting and observation.  Irene used to say that
her father ought to write a book--"Life as Seen from Hotel Piazzas."  His
only idea of recreation when away from business seemed to be sitting
about on them.

"The women-folks," he explained to Mr. King, who took a chair beside him,
"won't be down for an hour yet.  I like, myself, to see the show open."

"Are there many people here?"

"I guess the house is full enough.  But I can't find out that anybody is
actually stopping here, except ourselves and a lot of schoolmarms come to
attend a convention.  They seem to enjoy it.  The rest, those I've talked
with, just happen to be here for a day or so, never have been to a hotel
in Newport before, always stayed in a cottage, merely put up here now to
visit friends in cottages.  You'll see that none of them act like they
belonged to the hotel.  Folks are queer.

At a place we were last summer all the summer boarders, in boarding-
houses round, tried to act like they were staying at the big hotel, and
the hotel people swelled about on the fact of being at a hotel.  Here
you're nobody.  I hired a carriage by the week, driver in buttons, and
all that.  It don't make any difference.  I'll bet a gold dollar every
cottager knows it's hired, and probably they think by the drive."

"It's rather stupid, then, for you and the ladies."

"Not a bit of it.  It's the nicest place in America: such grass, such
horses, such women, and the drive round the island--there's nothing like
it in the country.  We take it every day.  Yes, it would be a little
lonesome but for the ocean.  It's a good deal like a funeral procession,
nobody ever recognizes you, not even the hotel people who are in hired
hacks.  If I were to come again, Mr. King, I'd come in a yacht, drive up
from it in a box on two wheels, with a man clinging on behind with his
back to me, and have a cottage with an English gardener.  That would
fetch 'em.  Money won't do it, not at a hotel.  But I'm not sure but I
like this way best.  It's an occupation for a man to keep up a cottage."

"And so you do not find it dull?"

"No.  When we aren't out riding, she and Irene go on to the cliffs, and I
sit here and talk real estate.  It's about all there is to talk of."

There was an awkward moment or two when the two parties met in the lobby
and were introduced before going in to breakfast.  There was a little
putting up of guards on the part of the ladies.  Between Irene and Marion
passed that rapid glance of inspection, that one glance which includes a
study and the passing of judgment upon family, manners, and dress, down
to the least detail.  It seemed to be satisfactory, for after a few words
of civility the two girls walked in together, Irene a little dignified,
to be sure, and Marion with her wistful, half-inquisitive expression.
Mr. King could not be mistaken in thinking Irene's manner a little
constrained and distant to him, and less cordial than it was to Mr.
Forbes, but the mother righted the family balance.

"I'm right glad you've come, Mr. King.  It's like seeing somebody from
home.  I told Irene that when you came I guess we should know somebody.
It's an awful fashionable place."

"And you have no acquaintances here?"

"No, not really.  There's Mrs. Peabody has a cottage here, what they call
a cottage, but there no such house in Cyrusville.  We drove past it.
Her daughter was to school with Irene.  We've met 'em out riding several
times, and Sally (Miss Peabody) bowed to Irene, and pa and I bowed to
everybody, but they haven't called.  Pa says it's because we are at a
hotel, but I guess it's been company or something.  They were real good
friends at school."

Mr. King laughed.  "Oh, Mrs. Benson, the Peabodys were nobodys only a few
years ago.  I remember when they used to stay at one of the smaller

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