List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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and carriages, with a piano and a cow.  There was a farmer's lodge at the
landing, and over the rocks and amid the trees the picturesque roof of
the villa of the sole proprietor of the island appeared, and gave a
feudal aspect to the domain.  The sweet grass affords good picking for
sheep, and besides the sheep the owner raises deer, which are destined to
be chased and shot in the autumn.

The artist noted that there were several distinct types of women on
board, besides the common, straight-waisted, flat-chested variety.
One girl who was alone, with a city air, a neat, firm figure, in a
traveling suit of elegant simplicity, was fond of taking attitudes about
the rails, and watching the effect produced on the spectators.  There was
a blue-eyed, sharp-faced, rather loose-jointed young girl, who had the
manner of being familiar with the boat, and talked readily and freely
with anybody, keeping an eye occasionally on her sister of eight years, a
child with a serious little face in a poke-bonnet, who used the language
of a young lady of sixteen, and seemed also abundantly able to take care
of herself.  What this mite of a child wants of all things, she
confesses, is a pug-faced dog.  Presently she sees one come on board in
the arms of a young lady at Wood's Holl.  "No," she says," I won't ask
her for it; the lady wouldn't give it to me, and I wouldn't waste my
breath;" but she draws near to the dog, and regards it with rapt
attention.  The owner of the dog is a very pretty black-eyed girl with
banged hair, who prattles about herself and her dog with perfect freedom.
She is staying at Cottage City, lives at Worcester, has been up to Boston
to meet and bring down her dog, without which she couldn't live another
minute.  "Perhaps," she says, "you know Dr. Ridgerton, in Worcester; he's
my brother.  Don't you know him?  He's a chiropodist."

These girls are all types of the skating-rink--an institution which is
beginning to express itself in American manners.

The band was playing on the pier when the steamer landed at Cottage City
(or Oak Bluff, as it was formerly called), and the pier and the gallery
leading to it were crowded with spectators, mostly women a pleasing
mingling of the skating-rink and sewing-circle varieties--and gayety was
apparently about setting in with the dusk.  The rink and the, ground
opposite the hotel were in full tilt.  After supper King and Forbes took
a cursory view of this strange encampment, walking through the streets of
fantastic tiny cottages among the scrub oaks, and saw something of family
life in the painted little boxes, whose wide-open front doors gave to
view the whole domestic economy, including the bed, centre-table, and
melodeon.  They strolled also on the elevated plank promenade by the
beach, encountering now and then a couple enjoying the lovely night.
Music abounded.  The circus-pumping strains burst out of the rink,
calling to a gay and perhaps dissolute life.  The band in the nearly
empty hotel parlor, in a mournful mood, was wooing the guests who did not
come to a soothing tune, something like China--"Why do we mourn departed
friends?"  A procession of lasses coming up the broad walk, advancing out
of the shadows of night, was heard afar off as the stalwart singers
strode on, chanting in high nasal voices that lovely hymn, which seems to
suit the rink as well as the night promenade and the campmeeting:

     "We shall me--um um--we shall me-eet, me-eet--um um--
               we shall meet,
     In the sweet by-am-by, by-am-by-um um-by-am-by.
     On the bu-u-u-u--on the bu-u-u-u--on the bu-te-ful shore."

In the morning this fairy-like settlement, with its flimsy and eccentric
architecture, took on more the appearance of reality.  The season was
late, as usual, and the hotels were still waiting for the crowds that
seem to prefer to be late and make a rushing carnival of August, but the
tiny cottages were nearly all occupied.  At 10 A.M.  the band was playing
in the three-story pagoda sort of tower at the bathing-place, and the
three stories were crowded with female spectators.  Below, under the
bank, is a long array of bath-houses, and the shallow water was alive
with floundering and screaming bathers.  Anchored a little out was a
raft, from which men and boys and a few venturesome girls were diving,
displaying the human form in graceful curves.  The crowd was an immensely
good-humored one, and enjoyed itself.  The sexes mingled together in the
water, and nothing thought of it, as old Pepys would have said, although
many of the tightly-fitting costumes left less to the imagination than
would have been desired by a poet describing the scene as a phase of the
'comedie humaine.'  The band, having played out its hour, trudged back to
the hotel pier to toot while the noon steamboat landed its passengers,
in order to impress the new arrivals with the mad joyousness of the
place.  The crowd gathered on the high gallery at the end of the pier
added to this effect of reckless holiday enjoyment.  Miss Lamont was
infected with this gayety, and took a great deal of interest in this
peripatetic band, which was playing again on the hotel piazza before
dinner, with a sort of mechanical hilariousness.  The rink band opposite
kept up a lively competition, grinding out go-round music, imparting,
if one may say so, a glamour to existence.  The band is on hand at the
pier at four o'clock to toot again, and presently off, tramping to some
other hotel to satisfy the serious pleasure of this people.

While Mr. King could not help wondering how all this curious life would
strike Irene--he put his lonesomeness and longing in this way--and what
she would say about it, he endeavored to divert his mind by a study of
the conditions, and by some philosophizing on the change that had come
over American summer life within a few years.  In his investigations he
was assisted by Mr. De Long, to whom this social life was absolutely new,
and who was disposed to regard it as peculiarly Yankee--the staid
dissipation of a serious-minded people.  King, looking at it more
broadly, found this pasteboard city by the sea one of the most
interesting developments of American life.  The original nucleus was the
Methodist camp-meeting, which, in the season, brought here twenty
thousand to thirty thousand people at a time, who camped and picnicked in
a somewhat primitive style.  Gradually the people who came here
ostensibly for religious exercises made a longer and more permanent
occupation, and, without losing its ephemeral character, the place grew
and demanded more substantial accommodations.  The spot is very
attractive.  Although the shore looks to the east, and does not get the
prevailing southern breeze, and the beach has little surf, both water and
air are mild, the bathing is safe and agreeable, and the view of the
illimitable sea dotted with sails and fishing-boats is always pleasing.
A crowd begets a crowd, and soon the world's people made a city larger
than the original one, and still more fantastic, by the aid of paint and
the jigsaw.  The tent, however, is the type of all the dwelling-houses.
The hotels, restaurants, and shops follow the usual order of flamboyant
seaside architecture.  After a time the Baptists established a camp,
ground on the bluffs on the opposite side of the inlet.  The world's
people brought in the commercial element in the way of fancy shops for
the sale of all manner of cheap and bizarre "notions," and introduced the
common amusements.  And so, although the camp-meetings do not begin till
late in August, this city of play-houses is occupied the summer long.
The shops and shows represent the taste of the million, and although
there is a similarity in all these popular coast watering-places, each
has a characteristic of its own.  The foreigner has a considerable
opportunity of studying family life, whether he lounges through the
narrow, sometimes circular, streets by night, when it appears like a
fairy encampment, or by daylight, when there is no illusion.  It seems to
be a point of etiquette to show as much of the interiors as possible, and
one can learn something of cooking and bed-making and mending, and the
art of doing up the back hair.  The photographer revels here in pictorial
opportunities.  The pictures of these bizarre cottages, with the family
and friends seated in front, show very serious groups.  One of the
Tabernacle--a vast iron hood or dome erected over rows of benches that
will seat two or three thousand people--represents the building when it
is packed with an audience intent upon the preacher.  Most of the faces
are of a grave, severe type, plain and good, of the sort of people ready
to die for a notion.  The impression of these photographs is that these
people abandon themselves soberly to the pleasures of the sea and of this
packed, gregarious life, and get solid enjoyment out of their recreation.

Here, as elsewhere on the coast, the greater part of the population
consists of women and children, and the young ladies complain of the
absence of men--and, indeed, something is desirable in society besides
the superannuated and the boys in round-abouts.

The artist and Miss Lamont, in search of the picturesque, had the
courage, although the thermometer was in the humor to climb up to ninety
degrees, to explore the Baptist encampment.  They were not rewarded by
anything new except at the landing, where, behind the bath-houses, the
bathing suits were hung out to dry, and presented a comical spectacle,
the humor of which seemed to be lost upon all except themselves.  It was
such a caricature of humanity!  The suits hanging upon the line and
distended by the wind presented the appearance of headless, bloated
forms, fat men and fat women kicking in the breeze, and vainly trying to
climb over the line.  It was probably merely fancy, but they declared
that these images seemed larger, more bloated, and much livelier than
those displayed on the Cottage City side.  When travelers can be
entertained by trifles of this kind it shows that there is an absence of
more serious amusement.  And, indeed, although people were not wanting,

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