List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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pleasing artificial scenes in the world; to be sure, nature set the great
pine-trees on the hills, and made the graceful little valley, but art and
exquisite taste have increased the apparent size of the small plot of
ground, and filled it with beauty.  It is a gem of a place with a
character of its own, although its prettiness suggests some foreign Spa.
Groups of people, having taken the water, were strolling about the
graveled paths, sitting on the slopes overlooking the pond, or wandering
up the glen to the tiny deer park.

"So you have been at the White Sulphur?" said Mrs. Glow.  "How did you
like it?"

"Immensely.  It's the only place left where there is a congregate social

"You mean provincial life.  Everybody knows everybody else."

"Well," King retorted, with some spirit, "it is not a place where people
pretend not to know each other, as if their salvation depended on it."

"Oh, I see; hospitable, frank, cordial-all that.  Stanhope, do you know,
I think you are a little demoralized this summer.  Did you fall in love
with a Southern belle?  Who was there?"

"Well, all the South, pretty much.  I didn't fall in love with all the
belles; we were there only two weeks.  Oh! there was a Mrs. Farquhar

"Georgiana Randolph!  Georgie!  How did she look?  We were at Madame
Sequin's together, and a couple of seasons in Paris.  Georgie!  She was
the handsomest, the wittiest, the most fascinating woman I ever saw.
I hope she didn't give you a turn?"

"Oh, no.  But we were very good friends.  She is a very handsome woman--
perhaps you would expect me to say handsome still; but that seems a sort
of treason to her mature beauty."

"And who else?"

"Oh, the Storbes from New Orleans, the Slifers from Mobile--no end of
people--some from Philadelphia--and Ohio."

"Ohio?  Those Bensons!" said she, turning sharply on him.

"Yes, those Bensons, Penelope.  Why not?"

"Oh, nothing.  It's a free country.  I hope, Stanhope, you didn't
encourage her.  You might make her very unhappy."

"I trust not," said King stoutly.  "We are engaged."

"Engaged!" repeated Mrs. Glow, in a tone that implied a whole world of
astonishment and improbability.

"Yes, and you are just in time to congratulate us.  There they are!"
Mr. Benson, Mrs. Benson, and Irene were coming down the walk from the
deer park.  King turned to meet them, but Mrs. Glow was close at his
side, and apparently as pleased at seeing them again as the lover.
Nothing could be more charming than the grace and welcome she threw into
her salutations.  She shook hands with Mr. Benson; she was delighted to
meet Mrs. Benson again, and gave her both her little hands; she almost
embraced Irene, placed a hand on each shoulder, kissed her on the cheek,
and said something in a low voice that brought the blood to the girl's
face and suffused her eyes with tenderness.

When the party returned to the hotel the two women were walking lovingly
arm in arm, and King was following after, in the more prosaic atmosphere
of Cyrusville, Ohio.  The good old lady began at once to treat King as
one of the family; she took his arm, and leaned heavily on it, as they
walked, and confided to him all her complaints.  The White Sulphur
waters, she said, had not done her a mite of good; she didn't know but
she'd oughter see a doctor, but he said that it warn't nothing but
indigestion.  Now the White Sulphur agreed with Irene better than any
other place, and I guess that I know the reason why, Mr. King, she said,
with a faintly facetious smile.  Meantime Mrs. Glow was talking to Irene
on the one topic that a maiden is never weary of, her lover; and so
adroitly mingled praises of him with flattery of herself that the girl's
heart went out to her in entire trust.

"She is a charming girl," said Mrs. Glow to King, later.  "She needs a
little forming, but that will be easy when she is separated from her
family.  Don't interrupt me.  I like her.  I don't say I like it.  But if
you will go out of your set, you might do a great deal worse.  Have you
written to your uncle and to your aunt?"

"No; I don't know why, in a matter wholly personal to myself, I should
call a family council.  You represent the family completely, Penelope."

"Yes.  Thanks to my happening to be here.  Well, I wouldn't write to them
if I were you.  It's no use to disturb the whole connection now.  By the
way, Imogene Cypher was at Newport after you left; she is more beautiful
than ever--just lovely; no other girl there had half the attention."

"I am glad to hear it," said King, who did not fancy the drift their
conversation was taking.  "I hope she will make a good match.  Brains are
not necessary, you know."

"Stanhope, I never said that--never.  I might have said she wasn't a bas
bleu.  No more is she.  But she has beauty, and a good temper, and money.
It isn't the cleverest women who make the best wives, sir."

"Well, I'm not objecting to her being a wife.  Only it does not follow
that, because my uncle and aunts are in love with her, I should want to
marry her."

"I said nothing about marriage, my touchy friend.  I am not advising you
to be engaged to two women at the same time.  And I like Irene

It was evident that she had taken a great fancy to the girl.  They were
always together; it seemed to happen so, and King could hardly admit to
himself that Mrs. Glow was de trop as a third.  Mr. Bartlett Glow was
very polite to King and his friend, and forever had one excuse and
another for taking them off with him--the races or a lounge about town.
He showed them one night, I am sorry to say, the inside of the Temple of
Chance and its decorous society, its splendid buffet, the quiet tables of
rouge et noir, and the highly respectable attendants--aged men,
whitehaired, in evening costume, devout and almost godly in appearance,
with faces chastened to resignation and patience with a wicked world,
sedate and venerable as the deacons in a Presbyterian church.  He was
lonesome and wanted company, and, besides, the women liked to be by
themselves occasionally.

One might be amused at the Saratoga show without taking an active part in
it, and indeed nobody did seem to take a very active part in it.
Everybody was looking on.  People drove, visited the springs--in a vain
expectation that excessive drinking of the medicated waters would
counteract the effect of excessive gormandizing at the hotels--sat about
in the endless rows of armchairs on the piazzas, crowded the heavily
upholstered parlors, promenaded in the corridors, listened to the music
in the morning, and again in the afternoon, and thronged the stairways
and passages, and blocked up the entrance to the ballrooms.  Balls?  Yes,
with dress de rigueur, many beautiful women in wonderful toilets, a few
debutantes, a scarcity of young men, and a delicious band--much better
music than at the White Sulphur.

And yet no society.  But a wonderful agglomeration, the artist was
saying.  It is a robust sort of place.  If Newport is the queen of the
watering-places, this is the king.  See how well fed and fat the people
are, men and women large and expansive, richly dressed, prosperous
--looking!  What a contrast to the family sort of life at the White
Sulphur!  Here nobody, apparently, cares for anybody else--not much;
it is not to be expected that people should know each other in such a
heterogeneous concern; you see how comparatively few greetings there are
on the piazzas and in the parlors.  You notice, too, that the types are
not so distinctively American as at the Southern resort--full faces,
thick necks--more like Germans than Americans.  And then the everlasting
white hats.  And I suppose it is not certain that every man in a tall
white hat is a politician, or a railway magnate, or a sporting man.

These big hotels are an epitome of expansive, gorgeous American life.
At the Grand Union, King was No.  1710, and it seemed to him that he
walked the length of the town to get to his room after ascending four
stories.  He might as well, so far as exercise was concerned, have taken
an apartment outside.  And the dining-room.  Standing at the door, he had
a vista of an eighth of a mile of small tables, sparkling with brilliant
service of glass and porcelain, chandeliers and frescoed ceiling.  What
perfect appointments! what well-trained waiters!--perhaps they were not
waiters, for he was passed from one "officer" to another "officer" down
to his place.  At the tables silent couples and restrained family
parties, no hilarity, little talking; and what a contrast this was to the
happy-go-lucky service and jollity of the White Sulphur!  Then the
interior parks of the United States and the Grand Union, with corridors
and cottages, close-clipped turf, banks of flowers, forest trees,
fountains, and at night, when the band filled all the air with seductive
strains, the electric and the colored lights, gleaming through the
foliage and dancing on fountains and greensward, made a scene of
enchantment.  Each hotel was a village in itself, and the thousands of
guests had no more in common than the frequenters of New York hotels and
theatres.  But what a paradise for lovers!

"It would be lonesome enough but for you, Irene," Stanhope said, as they
sat one night on the inner piazza of the Grand Union, surrendering
themselves to all the charms of the scene.

"I love it all," she said, in the full tide of her happiness.

On another evening they were at the illumination of the Congress Spring
Park.  The scene seemed the creation of magic.  By a skillful arrangement
of the colored globes an illusion of vastness was created, and the little
enclosure, with its glowing lights, was like the starry heavens for
extent.  In the mass of white globes and colored lanterns of paper the
eye was deceived as to distances.  The allies stretched away
interminably, the pines seemed enormous, and the green hillsides
mountainous.  Nor were charming single effects wanting.  Down the winding
walk from the hill, touched by a distant electric light, the loitering
people, in couples and in groups, seemed no more in real life than the

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