List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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islands of rock.  The whole aspect of the place is peaceful.  The hotel
does not assert itself very loudly, and if occasionally transient guests
appear with flash manners, they do not affect the general tone of the

One finds, indeed, nature and social life happily blended, the
exclusiveness being rather protective than offensive.  The special charm
of this piece of coast is that it is bold, much broken and indented,
precipices fronting the waves, promontories jutting out, high rocky
points commanding extensive views, wild and picturesque, and yet softened
by color and graceful shore lines, and the forest comes down to the edge
of the sea.  And the occupants have heightened rather than lessened this
picturesqueness by adapting their villas to a certain extent to the rocks
and inequalities in color and form, and by means of roads, allies, and
vistas transforming the region into a lovely park.

Here, as at Newport, is cottage life, but the contrast of the two places
is immense.  There is here no attempt at any assembly or congregated
gayety or display.  One would hesitate to say that the drives here have
more beauty, but they have more variety.  They seem endless, through
odorous pine woods and shady lanes, by private roads among beautiful
villas and exquisite grounds, with evidences everywhere of wealth to be
sure, but of individual taste and refinement.  How sweet and cool are
these winding ways in the wonderful woods, overrun with vegetation, the
bayberry, the sweet-fern, the wild roses, wood-lilies, and ferns! and it
is ever a fresh surprise at a turn to find one's self so near the sea,
and to open out an entrancing coast view, to emerge upon a promontory and
a sight of summer isles, of lighthouses, cottages, villages--Marblehead,
Salem, Beverly.  What a lovely coast! and how wealth and culture have set
their seal on it.

It possesses essentially the same character to the north, although the
shore is occasionally higher and bolder, as at the picturesque promontory
of Magnolia, and Cape Ann exhibits more of the hotel and popular life.
But to live in one's own cottage, to choose his calling and dining
acquaintances, to make the long season contribute something to
cultivation in literature, art, music--to live, in short, rather more for
one's self than for society--seems the increasing tendency of the men of
fortune who can afford to pay as much for an acre of rock and sand at
Manchester as would build a decent house elsewhere.  The tourist does not
complain of this, and is grateful that individuality has expressed itself
in the great variety of lovely homes, in cottages very different from
those on the Jersey coast, showing more invention, and good in form and

There are New-Yorkers at Manchester, and Bostonians at Newport; but who
was it that said New York expresses itself at Newport, and Boston at
Manchester and kindred coast settlements?  This may be only fancy.
Where intellectual life keeps pace with the accumulation of wealth,
society is likely to be more natural, simpler, less tied to artificial
rules, than where wealth runs ahead.  It happens that the quiet social
life of Beverly, Manchester, and that region is delightful, although it
is a home rather than a public life.  Nowhere else at dinner and at the
chance evening musicale is the foreigner more likely to meet sensible men
who are good talkers, brilliant and witty women who have the gift of
being entertaining, and to have the events of the day and the social and
political problems more cleverly discussed.  What is the good of wealth
if it does not bring one back to freedom, and the ability to live
naturally and to indulge the finer tastes in vacation-time?

After all, King reflected, as the party were on their way to the Isles of
Shoals, what was it that had most impressed him at Manchester?  Was it
not an evening spent in a cottage amid the rocks, close by the water,
in the company of charming people?  To be sure, there were the magical
reflection of the moonlight and the bay, the points of light from the
cottages on the rocky shore, the hum and swell of the sea, and all the
mystery of the shadowy headlands; but this was only a congenial setting
for the music, the witty talk, the free play of intellectual badinage,
and seriousness, and the simple human cordiality that were worth all the

What a kaleidoscope it is, this summer travel, and what an entertainment,
if the tourist can only keep his "impression plates" fresh to take the
new scenes, and not sink into the state of chronic grumbling at hotels
and minor discomforts!  An interview at a ticket-office, a whirl of an
hour on the rails, and to Portsmouth, anchored yet to the colonial times
by a few old houses, and resisting with its respectable provincialism the
encroachments of modern smartness, and the sleepy wharf in the sleepy
harbor, where the little steamer is obligingly waiting for the last
passenger, for the very last woman, running with a bandbox in one hand,
and dragging a jerked, fretting child by the other hand, to make the
hour's voyage to the Isles of Shoals.

(The shrewd reader objects to the bandbox as an anachronism: it is no
longer used.  If I were writing a novel, instead of a veracious
chronicle, I should not have introduced it, for it is an anachronism.
But I was powerless, as a mere narrator, to prevent the woman coming
aboard with her bandbox.  No one but a trained novelist can make a long-
striding, resolute, down-East woman conform to his notions of conduct and

If a young gentleman were in love, and the object of his adoration were
beside him, he could not have chosen a lovelier day nor a prettier scene
than this in which to indulge his happiness; and if he were in love, and
the object absent, he could scarcely find a situation fitter to nurse his
tender sentiment.  Doubtless there is a stage in love when scenery of the
very best quality becomes inoperative.  There was a couple on board
seated in front of the pilot-house, who let the steamer float along the
pretty, long, landlocked harbor, past the Kittery Navy-yard, and out upon
the blue sea, without taking the least notice of anything but each other.
They were on a voyage of their own, Heaven help them!  probably without
any chart, a voyage of discovery, just as fresh and surprising as if they
were the first who ever took it.  It made no difference to them that
there was a personally conducted excursion party on board, going, they
said, to the Oceanic House on Star Island, who had out their maps and
guide-books and opera-glasses, and wrung the last drop of the cost of
their tickets out of every foot of the scenery.  Perhaps it was to King
a more sentimental journey than to anybody else, because he invoked his
memory and his imagination, and as the lovely shores opened or fell away
behind the steamer in ever-shifting forms of beauty, the scene was in
harmony with both his hope and his longing.  As to Marion and the artist,
they freely appropriated and enjoyed it.  So that mediaeval structure,
all tower, growing out of the rock, is Stedman's Castle--just like him,
to let his art spring out of nature in that way.  And that is the famous
Kittery Navy-yard!

"What do they do there, uncle?" asked the girl, after scanning the place
in search of dry-docks and vessels and the usual accompaniments of a

"Oh, they make 'repairs,' principally just before an election.  It is
very busy then."

"What sort of repairs?"

"Why, political repairs; they call them naval in the department.  They
are always getting appropriations for them.  I suppose that this country
is better off for naval repairs than any other country in the world."

"And they are done here?"

"No; they are done in the department.  Here is where the voters are.  You
see, we have a political navy.  It costs about as much as those navies
that have ships and guns, but it is more in accord with the peaceful
spirit of the age.  Did you never hear of the leading case of 'repairs'
of a government vessel here at Kittery?  The 'repairs' were all done
here, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire; the vessel lay all the time at
Portsmouth, Virginia.  How should the department know that there were two
places of the same name?  It usually intends to have 'repairs' and the
vessel in the same navy-yard."

The steamer was gliding along over smooth water towards the seven blessed
isles, which lay there in the sun, masses of rock set in a sea sparkling
with diamond points.  There were two pretty girls in the pilot-house, and
the artist thought their presence there accounted for the serene voyage,
for the masts of a wrecked schooner rising out of the shallows to the
north reminded him that this is a dangerous coast.  But he said the
passengers would have a greater sense of security if the usual placard
(for the benefit of the captain) was put up: "No flirting with the girl
at the wheel."

At a distance nothing could be more barren than these islands, which
Captain John Smith and their native poet have enveloped in a halo of
romance, and it was not until the steamer was close to it that any
landing-place was visible on Appledore, the largest of the group.

The boat turned into a pretty little harbor among the rocks, and the
settlement was discovered: a long, low, old-fashioned hotel with piazzas,
and a few cottages, perched on the ledges, the door-yards of which were
perfectly ablaze with patches of flowers, masses of red, yellow, purple-
poppies, marigolds, nasturtiums, bachelor's-buttons, lovely splashes of
color against the gray lichen-covered rock.  At the landing is an
interior miniature harbor, walled in, and safe for children to paddle
about and sail on in tiny boats.  The islands offer scarcely any other
opportunity for bathing, unless one dare take a plunge off the rocks.

Talk of the kaleidoscope!  At a turn of the wrist, as it were, the
elements of society had taken a perfectly novel shape here.  Was it only
a matter of grouping and setting, or were these people different from all
others the tourists had seen?  There was a lively scene in the hotel

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