List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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value of chance bits of pasteboard, in certain combinations, with a
liberality and faith for which the world gives them no credit.  And lest
their life should become monotonous, the enterprising young men are
continually organizing entertainments, mock races, comical games.
The idea seems to prevail that a summer resort ought to be a place of

The White Sulphur is the only watering-place remaining in the United
States where there is what may be called an "assembly," such as might
formerly be seen at Saratoga or at Ballston Spa in Irving's young days.
Everybody is in the drawing-room in the evening, and although, in the
freedom of the place, full dress is not exacted, the habit of parade in
full toilet prevails.  When King entered the room the scene might well be
called brilliant, and even bewildering, so that in the maze of beauty and
the babble of talk he was glad to obtain the services of Mrs. Farquhar as
cicerone.  Between the rim of people near the walls and the elliptical
centre was an open space for promenading, and in this beauty and its
attendant cavalier went round and round in unending show.  This is called
the "tread-mill."  But for the seriousness of this frank display, and the
unflagging interest of the spectators, there would have been an element
of high comedy in it.  It was an education to join a wall group and hear
the free and critical comments on the style, the dress, the physical
perfection, of the charming procession.  When Mrs. Farquhar and King had
taken a turn or two, they stood on one side to enjoy the scene.

"Did you ever see so many pretty girls together before?  If you did,
don't you dare say so."

"But at the North the pretty women are scattered in a thousand places.
You have here the whole South to draw on.  Are they elected as
representatives from the various districts, Mrs. Farquhar?"

"Certainly.  By an election that your clumsy device of the ballot is not
equal to.  Why shouldn't beauty have a reputation?  You see that old lady
in the corner?  Well, forty years ago the Springs just raved over her;
everybody in the South knew her; I suppose she had an average of seven
proposals a week; the young men went wild about her, followed her,
toasted her, and fought duels for her possession--you don't like duels?--
why, she was engaged to three men at one time, and after all she went off
with a worthless fellow."

"That seems to me rather a melancholy history."

"Well, she is a most charming old lady; just as entertaining!  I must
introduce you.  But this is history.  Now look!  There's the belle of
Mobile, that tall, stately brunette.  And that superb figure, you
wouldn't guess she is the belle of Selma.  There is a fascinating girl.
What a mixture of languor and vivacity!  Creole, you know; full blood.
She is the belle of New Orleans--or one of them.  Oh! do you see that
Paris dress?  I must look at it again when it comes around; she carries
it well, too--belle of Richmond.  And, see there; there's one of the
prettiest girls in the South--belle of Macon.  And that handsome woman--
Nashville?--Louisville?  See, that's the new-comer from Ohio."  And so
the procession went on, and the enumeration--belle of Montgomery, belle
of Augusta, belle of Charleston, belle of Savannah, belle of Atlanta--
always the belle of some place.

"No, I don't expect you to say that these are prettier than Northern
women; but just between friends, Mr. King, don't you think the North
might make a little more of their beautiful women?  Yes, you are right;
she is handsome" (King was bowing to Irene, who was on the arm of Mr.
Meigs), "and has something besides beauty.  I see what you mean" (King
had not intimated that he meant anything), "but don't you dare to say

"Oh, I'm quite subdued."

"I wouldn't trust you.  I suppose you Yankees cannot help your critical

"Critical?  Why, I've heard more criticism in the last half-hour from
these spectators than in a year before.  And--I wonder if you will let me
say it?"

"Say on."

"Seems to me that the chief topic here is physical beauty--about the
shape, the style, the dress, of women, and whether this or that one is
well made and handsome."

"Well, suppose beauty is worshiped in the South--we worship what we have;
we haven't much money now, you know.  Would you mind my saying that Mr.
Meigs is a very presentable man?"

"You may say what you like about Mr. Meigs."

"That's the reason I took him away this morning."

"Thank you."

"He is full of information, and so unobtrusive--"

"I hadn't noticed that."

"And I think he ought to be encouraged.  I'll tell you what you ought to
do, Mr. King: you ought to give a german.  If you do not, I shall put
Mr. Meigs up to it--it is the thing to do here."

"Mr. Meigs give a german!" --[Dance, cotillion--always lively.  D.W.]

"Why not?  You see that old beau there, the one smiling and bending
towards her as he walks with the belle of Macon?  He does not look any
older than Mr. Meigs.  He has been coming here for fifty years; he owns
up to sixty-five and the Mexican war; it's my firm belief that he was out
in 1812.  Well, he has led the german here for years.  You will find
Colonel Fane in the ballroom every night.  Yes, I shall speak to Mr.

The room was thinning out.  King found himself in front of a row of
dowagers, whose tongues were still going about the departing beauties.
"No mercy there," he heard a lady say to her companion; "that's a jury
for conviction every time."  What confidential communication Mrs.
Farquhar made to Mr. Meigs, King never knew, but he took advantage of the
diversion in his favor to lead Miss Benson off to the ballroom.



The days went by at the White Sulphur on the wings of incessant gayety.
Literally the nights were filled with music, and the only cares that
infested the day appeared in the anxious faces of the mothers as the
campaign became more intricate and uncertain.  King watched this with the
double interest of spectator and player.  The artist threw himself into
the melee with abandon, and pacified his conscience by an occasional
letter to Miss Lamont, in which he confessed just as many of his
conquests and defeats as he thought it would be good for her to know.

The colored people, who are a conspicuous part of the establishment,
are a source of never-failing interest and amusement.  Every morning the
mammies and nurses with their charges were seated in a long, shining row
on a part of the veranda where there was most passing and repassing,
holding a sort of baby show, the social consequence of each one depending
upon the rank of the family who employed her, and the dress of the
children in her charge.  High-toned conversation on these topics occupied
these dignified and faithful mammies, upon whom seemed to rest to a
considerable extent the maintenance of the aristocratic social
traditions.  Forbes had heard that while the colored people of the South
had suspended several of the ten commandments, the eighth was especially
regarded as nonapplicable in the present state of society.  But he was
compelled to revise this opinion as to the White Sulphur.  Nobody ever
locked a door or closed a window.  Cottages most remote were left for
hours open and without guard, miscellaneous articles of the toilet were
left about, trunks were not locked, waiters, chambermaids, porters,
washerwomen, were constantly coming and going, having access to the rooms
at all hours, and yet no guest ever lost so much as a hairpin or a cigar.
This fashion of trust and of honesty so impressed the artist that he said
he should make an attempt to have it introduced elsewhere.  This sort of
esprit de corps among the colored people was unexpected, and he wondered
if they are not generally misunderstood by writers who attribute to them
qualities of various kinds that they do not possess.  The negro is not
witty or consciously humorous, or epigrammatic.  The humor of his actions
and sayings lies very much in a certain primitive simplicity.  Forbes
couldn't tell, for instance, why he was amused at a remark he heard one
morning in the store.  A colored girl sauntered in, looking about
vacantly.  "You ain't got no cotton, is you?"  "Why, of course we have
cotton."  "Well" (the girl only wanted an excuse to say something),
"I only ast, is you?"

Sports of a colonial and old English flavor that have fallen into disuse
elsewhere varied the life at the White.  One day the gentlemen rode in a
mule-race, the slowest mule to win, and this feat was followed by an
exhibition of negro agility in climbing the greased pole and catching the
greased pig; another day the cavaliers contended on the green field
surrounded by a brilliant array of beauty and costume, as two Amazon
baseball nines, the one nine arrayed in yellow cambric frocks and sun-
bonnets, and the other in bright red gowns--the whiskers and big boots
and trousers adding nothing whatever to the illusion of the female

The two tables, King's and the Benson's, united in an expedition to the
Old Sweet, a drive of eighteen miles.  Mrs. Farquhar arranged the affair,
and assigned the seats in the carriages.  It is a very picturesque drive,
as are all the drives in this region, and if King did not enjoy it, it
was not because Mrs. Farquhar was not even more entertaining than usual.
The truth is that a young man in love is poor company for himself and for
everybody else.  Even the object of his passion could not tolerate him
unless she returned it.  Irene and Mr. Meigs rode in the carriage in
advance of his, and King thought the scenery about the tamest he had ever
seen, the roads bad, the horses slow.  His ill-humor, however, was
concentrated on one spot; that was Mr. Meigs's back; he thought he had
never seen a more disagreeable back, a more conceited back.  It ought to
have been a delightful day; in his imagination it was to be an eventful
day.  Indeed, why shouldn't the opportunity come at the Old Sweet, at the
end of the drive?--there was something promising in the name.  Mrs.

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