GREAT BARRINGTON was historical groundeven before we passed the night there. I am not sure that historical ground is especially attractive to me unless it is, as well, beautiful ground. But Great Barrington comprises open plumbing with charming views, and is so modern, yet modest, in its old worldliness thatin our comfortwe were glad to grant it a prominent place in the history of the Revolution.
The inhabitants were the first to offer armed resistance to the authority of King George. Eight months before the battle of Lexington the holding of court by the crown judges was successfully prevented.
This is easily written down now, and in a few lines. But one pauses to think of the courage of those men to withstand the awful majesty of a sovereign whom they had long served. What sentiment was it within their hearts that filled them with a belief that they could win against such odds!
I once saw a body of striking tailors pass before the workshop of their rich employer. He was looking at them from the windowand laughing. He seemed so easily secure against them, and they so poor in their armament against him. Yet they won their strike. It must be that right is might, and the consciousness of right is a weapon in itself, which makes little of standing armies, and welds caution into courage.
An earlier Civil War than the one which devastated our country in the decade of 1860 held many of its scenes of diminutive battle in this neighbourhood. I am giving space to it because I never knew what Shays’s Rebellion really was until a rain of small volumes fell about me in my little corner of the library.
That an Irishman began it goes with the title. Not content to have conquered their foes, a party of disgruntled men, under Daniel Shays, became, in 1786, intent upon conquering each other.
They were not without grievance. Our government at that time paid the soldiers in notes, which had no value when the soldier, in turn, was obliged to pay his debts. Yet was the soldier punished if he could not fulfil his obligations.
For this, Shays decided to attack court houses, judges and sheriffs, and any who took sides against himand with the government. It is noteworthy that the opposing factions drove to battle in sleighs. This is a far cry from motor busses of the present day, if more humorous, yet with the exception of the chariots at the time of the Caesars, I know no other instance of so comfortable a method of warfare. This means of transportation was so similar in outline that those on Shays’s side wore sprigs of hemlock in their hats, while the government, quite lacking humour, sported the white feather.
The conflict is too insignificant, with the passing of time, to treat now with any great seriousness. It was war of a kind, even to a swift retreat when the rebels mistook a log for a cannon. For a sleighing party in retreat may be humorous only in retrospect.
Reading further, I gathered another important item, for in this age of slang it may be of interest to chronicle that the word ” Mutt ” is not of recent origin. There was one Moses Orcutt, familiarly known as ” Mutt,” whose performance in battle defined the character which we now see in the funny pages. He was a heroic man, and in the process of one conflict got out of his sleigh, placed his hat, powder-horn, and gun upon the ground, bared his bosom, and profanely called upon Shays’s men to fire upon the body of Moses.
To his surprise, they did this, nothing deterred by the Biblical significance of the name, and Mutt was a long time getting over it.
Great Barrington also was the first of the towns in Berkshire County to go to jailnot en masse, but represented by the landlord of an inn. The first indictment ever found by the grand jury of the county was against one Root, who did ” wittingly and wilfully suffer and permit singing, fiddling, and dancing in his dwelling-house, there being a tavern there, or public house.”
For this he was fined ten shillings, which he paid, feeling that the festivity was worth the money. And ever since then the landlords of the town, encouraged by his illustrious example, have kept their houses ringing with music and good cheer.
One of the descendants no doubt, George F. Root, lived not far from the town. And he, too, must have caught the musical infection, giving to the world that cure for weary feet: ” Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching.” If one must leave a tavern enlivened by fiddling, it is good to continue to the tune of a martial strain.
There are other noises now in Great Barring-ton. When the music ceases the locomotives, directly back of the Inn take up the cry, and we warn those who spend the night in that most excellent hostelry to demand rooms in front.
The proprietor, when questioned as to his choice of location for a resting-place, shook his head in bewilderment. ” Who would have thought,” said the old gentleman, ” that Great Barrington could ever support busy freight yards? Branches of bananas are the cause of that noise, the grapefruit for breakfast, the fresh fish, the lamb chops.”
We felt very guiltywe had eaten all those things, which, like an inverted indigestion, occasioned us distress before their consumption.
The only advantage of rooms at the back is the opportunity of staring out at William Cullen Bryant’s old home when the freight trains are too impelling for slumber. It has been moved back on the lot to make room for the hotel, and the clerks of the menage now sleep thereif they can.
I wondered if Bryant could have written Thanatopsis in such a din. Perhaps, extolling as he did, in many a verse, the beauties of Death, he had a poet’s premonition of a night spent in the little house. The phrase of a child’s composition recurred to me as I reflected upon these things : ” A sort of sadness kind of shone in Bryant’s poems.” Yes, he probably experienced, mentally, the freight cars.
But an revoir Barrington and bon jour Stockbridge. There were no green-aproned porters, as in Europe, to descend the baggage and strap it on the car. But the bell-boys accomplished this with celerity, and as in the older country, they lined up for the tips. Even the chambermaid appeared, although she did not line up. She sat in an elegant chair within the door. But, there ! She herself admitted that she had ” opened with the hotel and expected to close with it,” and such constancy is worthy of a throne.
The morning was divine and the road good. The graceful red arrow again appeared, con-fining itself to towns rather than a general locality, and pointed us across the bridge and up a bit of climb, once known as the Three Mile Hill road. It has changed since the Indians made a trail of it, and later, Major Talcott, in 1676, beat it into a wider course for his little army, pursuing the followers of King Philip. It must have been still imperfect when General Burgoyne, as a prisoner of war, rode over it to Boston, and one can imagine it a mire of mud from the tramping of the armies of 1812 and the Civil War.
When one considers the history of a road, especially in this country, which has had no foundation stone of the Romans for a bed, we should be lenient with chance ruts. Think of the fortitude of our forbears! They marched that we might ride.
The approach to Stockbridge is so delightful that the motorist fears the town will of necessity be a disappointment, under the adage that all good things come to an end. But the end is not Stockbridge. The streets grow ever wider and better and cleaner, and, to judge by the mass of evidence, more historical.
Here culture was applied at an earlier date than any to which Boston can lay claim, for, in 1736, John Sargent taught the Indians their letters and certain industries. His gentle influence and sympathy were so ‘pervading that the Stockbridge citizen admits, on a shaft of stone erected in the ancient Indian burial-ground, that ” These were the friends of our fathers.”
I, for one, do not know of another such admission in all the broad country which we have gradually wrested from these savages, who might not have been so savage, after all, had John Sargents been scattered through the land.
David Dudley Field, illustrious son of his illustrious father, has erected a clock-tower on the site of the schoolhouse. The passing of time is not more clearly shown on its dial than the town itself. Yet it is gently fashionable. On the wide piazzas of the Red Lion Hotel, women were knitting helmets and bands and socks of grey wool for the men in the present war. There was an air of helpfulness about the place.
There was even advancement in the modern schoolhouse windows, which were levelled to the vision of the children wriggling behind wooden desks within. The little faces were looking out as we passed. The high casements of my youth encouraged closer attention to one’s studies, I imagine, but excluded philosophising on the passing show. And one must begin his philosophy early in life to accept, without protest, the show which passes him by.
There are two roads to Lenox. We took the one by way of Lee, on the theory that the longest way round creates a fine appetite. The only things to recommend Lee are the estates outside of it and the beauty of the Congregational Church spire from a distance. Since it is impossible to find the spire after you have entered the town, I felt that its slender, far-away charm might be fitly termed an aspiration! Or I should feel that way, save that W contends if I try to pun it will make the reader ill. Upon argument, how-ever, he has allowed me to leave this in, under the plea that it will be useful as a charade.
It is a dangerous townat least on Sundays, for a notice at the railway crossing announces that the gates will not be operated on the Sabbath. This either to discourage driving to church or to give the gateman a chance to go.
We were deterred by a passing train, and, true to my belief in making conversation when I could, I asked the keeper of the gates if he did go to church. He said no, he always hung around the tracks just the same, he kind of liked to see the trains go by full of people. There was a philosopher full of years, who could watch the passing show without bitterness.
There was one household in Lee who watched us pass with real enthusiasm. We made the wrong turn going toward Lenox, and in our effort to retrace our steps, in a narrow way, had run up the carriage drive of the residence as far as the circle before the kitchen. Our arrival created hideous consternation, for the entire family were in the backyard peeling peaches for ” perserves.” I never saw such a hasty casting off of aprons when they thought unexpected guests had come, or such a glad resuming of them when it was made plain that we were as anxious to leave as they were to have us.
Formality grows to a Yankee’s back as does a shell to a turtle. He may be any kind of a dare-devil, but the deviltry goes on under a grim exterior.
The approach to Lenox was along another splendid avenue. One can find the names of all the great show places through this district by asking for a list at any hotel desk. I shall not weary the reader with a recital of them, for fear that he is an anarchist. I very nearly became an anarchist along the way myself.
There was one insufferably beautiful place be-fore whose gateway we chanced to stop to search for my typewriter. The poor creature had shrunk out of sight, fearing its appearance might suggest that we had something to do with trade. And as we brought it fearlessly to light, a man on horse-back came out of this gateway, looked at us with suspicion, and called attention to a sign by ostentatiously straightening it. ” Positively no admittance except for guests,” it read. Then, with a last glare, he rode on before I could tell him that it must be very uncomfortable to be a guest in his house, and that I was going to put him in a book.
The Illustrator grew so distressed over this pretentious approach to Lenox, that he changed his hat shortly afterwards, and I think the chauffeur would have enjoyed wearing his derby had he been encouraged.
What annoys me is that grass grows greener and flowers bloom more freely for those whose lawn mowers are of the best and whose gardeners are not limited to the efforts of the family. But they cannot rob us of the delight that these visions afford us, nor can their eyesight, dulled by continual beauty, be as keen. It is only by drinking poor wine, now and then, that one can fully enjoy the richest vintages.
Lenox, though a proud city, is too fine an aristocrat to make the modest traveller uncomfortable by its wealth. And the hotels show an eagerness to serve you, which is a pleasant combination of old-time manners and new-time thrift. The Curtis Hotel rests in the town, but we went beyond to the Aspinwall, which lies on a hill, and commandsI believe, now that the trip is overthe most lovely view of any of the chain of fine hostelries.
The position from the rear of the Aspinwall would suggest that we were at a great height. The ” high places ” affect the observer differently. An opulent gentleman, both financially and physically, who had descended from a great motor coincident with us, regarded the valley below with such a glistening eye that I thought he was really affected by the beauty of the scene.
He spoke : ” Shows how good our car can climb,” was his comment.
Far below was the golf course, and it is only fair to warn husbands playing over this ground that certain anxious wives watch them from the terrace through field-glasses. I do not think that a Lenox husband would ever do the wrong thingwhatever that isbut it is a mistake to have your wife know you have lost three balls and the game, when you are shortly coming in to luncheon to tell her you have won.
They were gathering for the midday meal as we were solemnly registering. At this hotel you do not have to pay for your luncheon before you eat it, although, farther along, we found equally proud houses which took it in advance. But register you must. The Illustrator was trying to extract some historical and literary information from the clerk, in the endeavour to prove that we were an intellectual couple and not bent upon frivolity. But he was a very present-day young man, limiting his knowledge to his businesswhich is enough for any one in life.
We knew that Nathaniel Hawthorne once lived here, and that having inhabited the House of the Seven Gables, in Salem, he came to Lenox to write about it. We did not know that his little red cottage had burned down when we asked for the Hawthorne Houseand the clerk did not know it had ever existed.
” Hawthorne House? ” he repeated skeptically.
” Never heard of it. What is ita Blue Book hotel? ”
The guests dribbled into the dining-room, and the occupation of eating was tempered by a hum of voices. We Americans are of two kinds. We either talk too loud or too low, particularly in public places. It betrays a self-consciousness that, I suppose, only the centuries will overcome. An European family will sit down in public without feeling the necessity of putting a mute on the voice and retiring as though behind a pall. They are not noisy or gaythey do not toot on tin hornsbut they say what they wish without lowering the tone to that painful depth which we mistake for a cultured note. Let us be braveand ourselves, for nothing can be better than that.
It was a charming hotel, with an arrangement of flowers throughout the rooms that would make a Japanese blush. I tried to find out who did them, and was pleased when the dressing-room attendant said she fixed hers. They were all the mauves of all the flowers in the garden. She said she ” just felt that way today.” We are all temperamental after our fashion.
There is a clock in an old Lenox church given by that most temperamental of actresses, Fanny Kemble. A guidebook dismisses her swiftly as ” a talented young woman,” as though to keep her profession a secret. But so few actors have ever left a legacy to the people more enduring than the transient memory of their art, and so few churches would be willing to accept an offering from that class known in Delaware as ” vagabonds, that it is fair both to the player and the place to make a little excursion up a little hill.
Fanny Kemble lived many years in Lenox after her retirementin 1850, I thinkand is one of those rare cases of English actresses who spend the money they make in this country. I am not sure but her form of gift is as persistent a plea not to be forgotten as any loftier monument. The pendulum swings with all the rhythm of her tragedy, and the tick-tock of the hands is as constant as the rippling laughter of her comedy.
We were some time getting away from Lenox influences, the wealth of the neighbourhood dwindling off into a recognition of it by an effort of the poorer population to ” make ” out of it. Farmhouses offer for sale anything from them-selves to red apples. The windows of the settin’-room are dressed with jars of candy, or, as a con-cession to the sins of the day, with packages of cigarettes and smoking tobacco. One ambitious effort to please every taste displays the sign : ” GROCERIES, CIGARS, ICE CREAM, GRAIN, and FEED,” and, further along, one finds an old tavern sign with a new tail offering: ” Entertainment for man, beast, and automobile.”
These poor farms are in juxtaposition with lands bought up by city folk, and if ghosts still walk they must haunt, not the shabby homes of the natives, but these newer estates. Bitter ghosts of farmers who, with a small capital, struggled for a generation or two to make their acres productive, and now witness the lands blossoming like the rose under a cultivation that is not limited to mean farming implements.
The heartache of these rocky pastures ! The backache of these stone fences, which we so much admire! They have all been built with rocks from the soil, and still the land is sown with them. One wonders why so unproductive fields are fenced in at all. But they say that a surface may be free one year from them, and the following season work their way up from a lower stratum, as though some giant of ancient times had sown the dragon’s teeth.
I never see an old farmhouse with but one ” lean-to ” that I do not feel the pathos of a lost endeavour. First, the main part of the house was built, full of hope, and with faith that riches would grow with the family. Every farmhouse of pretension must have a wing on either side for balancebut these things must come in time. After a while one wing is added, and there in many instances the additions cease while the mortgage rolls on. The old house and the ” lean-to ” age together. The children go their ways, each year they think that the following year will leave enough above the interest for fresh paint, but there is no such thing on a New England farm as ” losing interest.”
When you see a house like this, get out and buy an apple. But if you bought all the apples that your trunk and hatbox and the brass rail could hold you would have left no impression on the output last summer. Most of the New England fruit goes to Europe and there was no ex-porting of it this year. So has the war made itself felt in every cranny of our existence.
As we rolled along our very delightful way there were orchards on every side of us, in the front yards and at the back stoops, and ” apple-trees over our heads did grow,” like old Crummles in the story-book. Many of the trees do not bear fruit, and one wonders if they all bore every year what they would do with their harvests. New England would probably become a hard-cider drinking community, like Normandy and Brittany.
A motor should never encourage hard cider. It fills a man without an automobile with a hatred of the man who has one. We were sympathetically watching a Pardon in a Brittany church-yard one year. It was very touchingthe simplicity of the country people with their brave costumes and long candles following the statue of St. Anne, and chanting as decorously as they could, considering the hard cider, and we made our way back to our car sombrelyto find the tires slashed ! It was the work, no doubt, of some peasant with velvet strings to his hat, who was at the moment engaged in securing his ” Pardon.”
Hard cider is not unknown. There is a copy of an agreement between the earliest of the white men and the Indians for a portion of the land through which we were now travellinga portion equal to a county, one might addin which the newcomers agreed to pay the redskins four hundred sixty pounds, three barrels of ” syder,” and thirty quarts of rum. It appears that the early dealings were not unlike those of the government reservations of today.
The approach along the way leading into Pitts-field is uninspired. The town is lovelier in the centre than on its outskirts, like a plain old lady with a heart of gold. It is a sedate village, with magnificent elms lining its great main avenue, which constitutes a park. I am uneasy as to the age of elms or I could say that they gave pleasant shade to Lafayette when he visited Pittsfield, that fighting Parson Allen, who was the minister of the old Congregational Church here, led his men under their arch of boughs, to the battle of Bennington in August, 1777. Let us hope for all the shade our imagination can give them, for it is a ” long, long way ” to Bennington, and they did not go in chariots or sleighs or motors.
Surely both Oliver Wendell Holmes and Long-fellow enjoyed their beauty, and the Longfellow House, on East Street, still contains ” The Old Clock on the Stairs,” still ticking away : ” Forevernever, Neverforever.” Upon investigation I find that the verse runs :
“Somewhat back from the village street Stands the old-fashioned country seat. Across its ancient portico Tall poplar trees their shadows throw
Mercy, and I thought they were elms !
Pittsfield is so correct in appearance that I hesitate to record one occurrence which the elms, or whatever they are, witnessedif W ____’s story is true. A lioness, which had broken from its cage in a show nearby, made a little promenade through the town to the surprise and terror of all. Her keepers followed discreetly behind waving silently to the passerby for a track to be cleared. The animal was very savage, so goes the story, and they were at their wit’s end to know how to get it back before Pittsfield blood was shed.
But the keepers had not counted on the village drunkard. He came out of a saloon, just by the Wendell Hotel, and encountered the lioness head on. The terrified guests, looking from the windows, felt as did the keepers, that the village drunkard would now go to meet his Maker.
But he did not. He took a look at the beast, slapped her in the face, and advised her, in Yankee dialect, to go on home. And this the fierce creature did, very much alarmed.
The tale has a moral of some sort, although the Illustrator was hazy about this, and as it was the best he could do toward enlightening me historically about the place, we motored on in dignified silence.
We left for Williamstown over a road marked ” Passable but Unsafe,” which we took, as it would seem there was no alternative. Later, we found that we could have taken an excellent road by North Adams, which would have been better going.
Still, had we gone that way, we would have missed Lake Pontoosuc and our conversation with the old lady who had been fishing all day and declared she hadn’t caught a single punkin’-seed. It was a curious thing to be fishing for with her garden full of the genuine article, but she was a curious old lady. At least she gave us a thoughtor perhaps any one will give us a thought if we are sufficiently receptive.
“‘Tain’t that I need the punkin’-seed for sup-per,” she said.
” Then why do you want to catch them? ” we asked,
” I don’t know,” she answered. ” Jest to come out ahead, I guess. Why do you want to win at cards when you ain’t playin’ for a prize? I guess just all life is a race, and we’d set down and die if we didn’t feel it was nice to beat.”
We moralised on this and felt kindly toward another motorist, who expressed a desire for a friendly brush. We passed and repassed each other at times, not that there was any laurel wreath for the victor, but that we were following one of life’s principles. The daredevils of the road may be only a little more full of the joy of existence than are we.
Before reaching Pittsfield we had quitted the valley of the Housatonic (” The River Beyond the Mountains ” is the charming meaning of the word), and were now approaching the Taconic Range of the Berkshires through the valley of the Hoosac. It is a rich farming country with an air of money, not in the bank perhaps, but at least in the stocking under the mattress.
The farmhouses are scattered, yet the inhabitants along the way are held together by an innovation that has come but recently to our country, and does much to keep the lonely farmer’s wife in touch with the world.
This is only the little tin box of the rural free delivery. All along we saw women standing in their front yards, with their faces in but one direction, and presently we spied the postman’s wagon jolting along with letters and papers for the waiting ones. He did not look like a proud person, but he could well have been, for his passing was the event of the day. And his grey clothes could better have been the rosy garments of wonderful adventure.
The husbands of these women can vary their existence by making laws for the automobilist. We were continually urged by sign-posts not to go over fifteen miles an hour, and they offered a further inducement beyond a fine to limit ourselves to that modest pace by occasional ruts concealed in dust.
With less modesty than the pursued postman, they style themselves Selectmen, and as a band of the anointed urged us at every turn to ” Sound KlaxonBoard of Selectmen.”
This was difficult for us to do as we have no Klaxon, and we had not the vocal chords of a certain retired prima donna, who makes a horn of her own voice, and puts to shame any mechanical device. Still we sounded as well as we could, and it is wise to do this. A city chauffeur is not always a good country driver. While exercising every care on the corners in New York, he moves swiftly around hills, as though by no possible chance could another motor be passing along that road. It is not pleasant to be dumped out on a lonely way with a consciousness that you will have to wait until the postman comes along, and that, even then, not being stamped, he may refuse to carry you.
We reached Williamstown at the tea-hour, although it seemed to me very much later in the afternoon, for the continual change of scene has a way of lengthening the day, which is confusing to simple minds.
It was not too late for the Illustrator to make a sketch, and this he did, presenting to your vision a church which is entirely new, yet clinging so firmly to its Colonial style, that the architect is to be commended for his restraint. It appears to be a great temptation to over-elaborate a modern building in the Georgian style. One column too wide, one pediment too florid, one wreath too many.
It was the Italian, Palladio, in the eighteenth century, who first accommodated the old Greek style to dwelling-houses. He lived in Venice, and built, for the Venetian noblemen, country houses on terra firma, along a foolish little river called the Brenta. We were much amazed when, by chance, we motored out from Padua and discovered this district. Save for their dilapidation these abodes of the mighty bore the air of Long Island.
The architects of the English Georges adapted his innovation to the English landscape perfectly, and we, before we became a republic, also used it. So in our country it is Colonial, but the wise man, who is conscious of its Greek extraction, should keep his house as plain as possible.
There are no white frame churches in England, and they do not miss what they do not know : the beauty of the shadow of green trees upon the glistening surface. Some do not worship within the tabernacle, but surely we can find religion in the outside of these slender-spired habitations of the Lord.
We stopped at the Greylock Hotel for tea.
At least I stopped while W _____ worked, and upon ordering it I was told that in ten minutes tea would be served in the hotel anyway. There is no arguing with Yankee ways ; it is less arduous to accept them. I sat myself down to await developments which were, as time passed, a tea service, a cheery kettle, a table of biscuits, and an interested maid. (I could spend a great deal of time on a maid who is interested.) Guests began to drop into the hall, the cups went round, and before I knew it I was saying, ” Two lumps, please,” and conversing with a clergyman.
The clergyman asked me if I had sons in the college, and while this was trying, for I have ever (falsely) considered myself a youngish woman, I was charmed with the unaffected simplicity of the hotel that served tea for nothing and provided me with an acquaintance.
More than that, I admired the way the minister took his tea, for I think they are the only class of Americans who drink it without effort, and run no risk of slopping. I told him I had no sons, but I knew a prominent playwright whose son was there, and the lady next me had that in her face which would suggest: ” Is she an actress? No. Such an old sweater. With her husband? Oh, he is sketching. Well, artists are pleasant, still one can’t be too careful.”
Later she thawed, and I left, liking her. It is remarkable how like the New Englander is to the Briton. First one feels they are not to be endured, then one finds they are absolutely sound and simple.
The minister regretted that the mist blotted out Greylock, which is not only a hotel but a mountain. Indeed, it is the noblest peak of the Berk-shires, and we were politely wondered at for not making an ascent, as it is but twelve miles from Williamstown.
Williams College has extolled Greylock from time to time in verse, and, with a certain shrewdness, began, as early as 1790, to declare that they would do honour once a year to the mountain. To do honour in this or any other country means to take a day off, and though I inquired, I could not discover whether it was the students or the professors who first instituted the holiday.
As we sat pleasantly rocking in our mission-chairs, I learned also of the ” Spectre of the Brocken.” It is a phenomenon occasioned by a shadow of one or many individuals hugely magnified upon a cloud. Just why this should be the rich portion of Greylock, and not of all other mountains, one can only put down to atmospheric conditions.
In a small guidebook, which they brought out, giving one thousand, more or less, different ways of making the ascent, there are such solemn assertions of the truth of this spectre that I, for one, am willing to admit it and be done.
At least it is democratic in the choice of those it casts upon the gigantic screen. In 1907, as a certain Mr. Webster was ” bringing down the summer piano,” he suddenly discovered himself and entire outfit, horses, wagon, and piano, photographed in enormous dimensions against the sky.
I brushed the crumbs out of my lap and edged hastily away after this. It is bad enough to be photographed at allbut in enormous dimensions !
Even so, it was hard to leave Williamstown, full of tea for nothing and other attractions, and I advise any one else to stay over. The University buildings are very good, and delightful boys, who are probably taking summer courses for dilatory habits, mooned in and out of the fraternity houses across from the Inn. Ephraim Williams, a hero of the French and Indian wars, founded the town; and the college for the perpetuation of his name and the advancement of knowledge was established in 1750.
There is also a claim that Williamstown was the birthplace of foreign missions, and a stone, rather subtly called the Haystack Monument, gives you, on its surface, further data. All this is not as terrifying as it sounds, onlybring your flask along for Williamstown.
Only fourteen miles ahead lay Bennington, the country opening into broad stretches of farm-land as we emerged from the Hoosac Valley. We missed any definite marking between the Massachusetts and Vermont state line, but we could not mistake we were in Vermont, approaching Bennington, by a glimpse from a distance of the great monument.
This is one of the ” Soldiers and Sailors ” that we must stop to see. But we must do more than that : we must find the Walloomsac Inn. When one starts the day’s run in the morning the wish to go on forever is all possessing, but, toward nightfall, one finds this vigorous desire departing. The mists of evening can be likened, in heavy heads, to nothing more than pillows. A water-fall is figuratively emptying itself into a porcelain tub; and the first light from a farmhouse suggests the comfort of four enveloping walls.
We did not need to enter the heart of the town. The Illustrator drew up alongside a very pretty young woman and asked the way. The impression he might have created was destroyed by a prominent yawn from mewhich distracted her attention. But she pointed the way, and in a minute we were before the old-fashioned hostelry.
The landlord was at the desk, rather sternly courteous, possibly because I laughed when he retailed the prices. Our living was modest enough. But it seems out of proportion to pay but two dollars and fifty cents for a room, bath, light, attendance, and two excellent meals, when our poor motor-car must disgorge a dollar for spending one night in a dull stable, with not a mouthful of good cheer.
The luggage was bumped upstairs and we found ourselves in a suite so tremendous that we could very easily have accommodated the auto-mobile if we could have taken it in without attracting attention.
It was too good to be true for the money, and, as W said, something must be the matter with it. It turned out to be the bath, and I mildly approached the clerk as we went down to supper.
” The hot water won’t run,” I said firmly. ” Won’t run or won’t run hot? ” he asked. ” Won’t do either,” I answered.
” This house was built in 1776,” said the clerk.
I do not know whether it was an apology or a boast, but, as in Great Barrington, the reply at the desk ” held me.”