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Midsummer Idling

Midsummer Idling image
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Trom tliu Salas; for Amrust. SMnflmt growlstímt, hisclerksdo nothing nowadoya but dream of their week's vacation. What is it that Holmes sings ' Foor drudgp of the city ! now happy lic feels wi'.h the mn tit Ms baak and the grass at las heels! Only Charles Lamb. who smolt city oil even in Xaylor's desoription of süjurise, 01 Dr. Johnson can ahvays be content with bricks and mortar, books and porter ; and these wortbies themselvcs did not Bcorn n trip iïom Fleet strect and the Strand to Lek or the Hebrides " leot street and the Strand," says Lanib, that trueet of fcown-men, " are better places to live in tor good and all tlnm amidst Skiddaw. Slill, 1 turn back to tliose great places where 1 wandered about parlicipating in their greatness. I could spend a year, two, tbree yeira among them." It is not vears of'rustic leisure that clerks in thi'"lndia House and at Stewart's sigh, luit for their short allowanoe of annual hoüdiivs. ' Eeorefttion," says Fuller, "is the breatbing of the soul, which otherwise would be stilled with contimial busiaeSS." 8ee - the aecountant's hcad is on his desk ; leders vaniah ; he smells the woodbine trailing over the farmhouse, lesbadowB of elma mottling the green, heata the surf roaring aud clatteri tlu beach, olimba the gray inountain-peak, strolls in clover-scentod meadOWB, and lounges by the brook to watch the pickrel dart; he is wandering into an Arcadian región, Actom tho hills and far away Beyond tin-ir utmost purple rim ; And deep into the dying dft) - Steani bas rct( lutionized our customs of' sumruering. Journeys ai-e no longer a terror as in the era of the Btage-coaeh. It is as easy and oheap to make the trip to Berlin or Paris as to take a house af Newport or Saratoga. Jones checks bis 'trunk? for Babyion and the Pyramids as coolly as for Long Braopb or Niágara, and Mra, J.' marsKals her brood with superb equanimity alike for a trip to Lapland or the Canuibal Islands. Do you try Kew Mexico or Newfoundland this year 'f Iluw did you like the üeysers- or w;:s it the Domes of the Yo Semite you s;nv lasi season 'i Bryant, to expresa majestio lonelinesa and inaocessibility, asks bis reader to take the wings of tho morning and the Barcan desert pierce, i hyeell in t!ic contiuuoua wooda Where rolln the ( Iregon, and hears no sound f-Hvc Lisuwndasl.ii -. We in modern days take the piston of the engine, and outfly the wings of the morning. We shriek over Barcan deserts at sixty miles ui hour, utopplng at the oases for wood and water. The foresta of the Oregon ring with the woodman's axe, and its waters d ive the milis of a swarruing population. What slander was it. that Campbell wrote, seventy odd y ars ago, about M r. Seward's Alaska purchaso 'i It was BOmethine about " the wolfs long howl from Oonoïaska's sliore." That was the ante-steamship age, when "ye marinera of England " wereeailors instead of stoken, ml wheti ISritarmia "thiindered trom her native pak " instead of from the iron aruior of Sir John Brown ; whereas Oonalaska is now deseribed as a "thriving village of 12") inhabitants," having a good harbor and plenty of fresh beef and potatoes. Campbell'a wolf, unless he is fond of powder, liad botter not howl innch around there. Steun, in opening the globe to travel, malees havoc of old deBcriptive pocti-y. I saw yesterday in a tcli ■mn from Nevada or some othor región consigned to solitude by the geographyofthe barda, that this year two tliousand tourists, oven beforc the first of June, had visited the Yo Bemite, once an ideal of inaocessible grandeur. The great poet who forecastg iill onr modern mirai:vm, was more provident when he placed I 'i cpero's isle in i realm not to be reach( il 1 y steam or telegraph, nor mftpped by the land agent, nor patronizingly soanned through the tourist's eyo-glass. Wheü Jim and I first went to the White Mountains, no railroad girdled Mount Washington. We should almost as soo n have welcomed a saw-mill over Niágara as such a profanation ; vet they say this jjint'iination is as convenieiit !is the hotel elevator, or the oar whioh viuda yon uji the Bunker Hill Monument - good for aathmatic, for fat, for lazy people, indeed foi cverybody but college youth in training, This is the way that mechanica] profanatione have ; they are comfortablt and labor-eaTingi these modern contrivannoa mul if vt fillic.v it. al! fBsthatic OUililiTi to send the iron horsc snoTting along a región naored of old to Bolitude, lot us bc appoased by Emcr-on's theory that the locomotivo does not hurt n landscape. " What wc need," said Jim, fanning and mopping himself, " is to get out of this furnace, meaning Manhattan, "and try a whiff of mountain air." In six-andthirty hours we entered the White Mountains throufrh their eaetem alley, anc caught our first " whiff of air" trom ht stablfe and kitchens whiob imprégnate tin hotels with a choking odor. This wasaga ago, when we wero a couple of youthfu bachelors ; and we seemed on this exeur sion to have been entrapped iri somo end less marringe procession, so continuous was the rain of young brides and grooms winding through the hills. A famous route we have in all that región for iuptial joumeys. Anywhere aloogthe Hudgon, JjftkeaGeorge and Champlain, Niágara, the St. Lawrence, fehe White Mountains, to Üie poetíoal youth theairisloaded with orange blossoms and the Hane üutters with long white veils. We first notecl this fact on the Androscoggin railroad, whose good-nafcured, neighborly iron steed rtopped short at evcry barnyard to sec if anybody wantcd a rido. In the guide-book we learned where it would be the oorreot thing to first look out of the window. The spot was Bryant's pond, which made us guiltily rocalla breach of propriety in having thrown a furtive glanf at a previons point oalled Mocliiinics' Falls, which, siviiiz worthy Eastinan's presenoe, was not unattractive. Eastman, like tho historian of Polkvüle who begins his yülage annals ut the Garden of Eden, starts his routes to the mountain fi-om the ends of the United Statosi Let not the gentle reader despair, nor yot let tlie gruit one swear - I am not going to follow this bcaten track of tourists in its loi't"'i and grandeurs of mountain, cataraut, and glen, nor to describe that gazu f rom Stt. Willard into theguHthat jiiKiis Ix'twixt the oorve of Willey and tin.' splondid flank of fiowning Webster, while on th(; thread of a rod bclow men and wagons appear like ants. In Gorham, near the fo ,t of Mt. Washington; whioh we purposod noxt day to elinib, I oonsulted a local eacpwt ou the probabilities of rain ; forthore was thcii no kindly Bigna] Bureau to tip us an occasional fair day, and the surly clerk of the weather (sincc rosigned) was not to be "iuterviewi'd " tliat week for love or HHiïii'y. Tho oracle gave a satisfaclory opinión, ar.d by the way of ÖOB tini'.iug the t:ilk ou a cognate braneh of the subject, I : " It seomcd coldcr hero ycsterday than to-day." "'Wall, no," says the authority, "not coldcr. Yisterday warn't coldei'n to-day, but 'tiva! more t&fious" " More boi8terous or witidyi1" I suggestcd, somewliat mystified, but venturing a possible synonym. "Tos; iniiri; windy, more tedious," was the reply. Then, glancing at the oloudoapped cl'oet of AVashington, our acqiwiiitance exprossed the belief that it "must seem ratuer cur'oua up there." " tiurious 'f But you don't mean you never went to the top V " Ne'er a timo. Kever could understand why so ïuany of you folks come hoi'. Never went up the mounting gitLOe 1 lived here. AVcll, arter all, when you do go up you have to turn round and come down ! " Vorily, a mountain [is not without honor save in its own country. I sunvinli r tliis skeptio to tlic patifical thotigillg of the hotel-keepers, knowing they will lash him well ; for wheré would theii gains be did all mankind share the indolent increduüty of this local lout, so void of villagepride? Luekily for them, travelera covet the sublime oven at the sicrifice of the OOmfortable, and go to any extreme of exertion in pursuit of midsummer idling. Staofca oí mattressea were in the halls, and a fresh load of them driving up t?1 the door as we entercd our hotel. What wcre they for? "Show these gen tlemen to 209 and 210," says the clerk. 20Ü was a cot at the end of a corridor, screened by a sheet from public gaze ; '210 was a billiard table. In these clays of steam we do a great deal of rapid railroading aiul steamboating, work very hard, and put up with great discomforts in our pretended inidsummer idling - insolent clerks, merciless hackmea, mercenary waitors, reckless chambermaids, deflant bootblucks, nonchalant landlords, lean lardera, bloated hills, porters with the burap of destructiveness abnormally developed, and tlm t deceptive interval between the " black fl y season " or the gnat season" and the 'mosquito season," which were specially oounscllcd to be on the watch for, proving infmitesiinally small. We used tü p.ull tlie landlord " mine host." Whosu host is he now ? The general's, the senator's, the mayor's. thö millionairo's, not yovm, you foolish old nobody ; even the " gentlemanly eashier" will snub the like of yoii, and your host is John, whodeseits you on getting his retainer for the seaon. Midsumiuer idling of a better sort dons tuit itLClude so much trunk-pneking and traveling and toilettes, such scanty, closetloss, sixth story rooms, so much hop and hotel gong, dres.x and dianiond-powdor, so much liquefacción of oneself with mineral waters, so much gavmtlet-nmning of piazas lined with critics of two mxes and uil ages, Buoh i round of ennui and exertion, Kuch dcarth of comfort, enjoyment, freedoni, self-respect, and rest. Better for dog-day weather are days of rest and content, of quiet and favorita pastimes, with draughts of wholesome air, and that feoundating leisure which makes vacation the seed-time of the year.


Old News
Michigan Argus