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MASSACHUSETTS! A word surrounded with an aura of hope! A state with a soul! There is gathered up into her name the brilliant program of a new world. Her name summons before us a procession of benignant faces, their eyes filled with faith when first they gazed on her shores. She is the only state founded on an ideal, built on a principle. She is the state where character came in before cash and where men united for freedom but not for conquest. Her sons, foremost to give their blood for their own independence, were also foremost again to give it for the freedom of the slave. Small in area, great in influence, there is not a hill within her borders but calls to memory an action which dignifies human nature; not a stream but carries to the sea the moral and mental current of truth embellished by learning. Here Bradford prayed, Edwards taught, Warren fought! Each gave his heart and his brain to humanity. The sound judgment of Endicott and Hopkins and an innumerable company of prophets, sages, soldiers, to the day of Andrew, Webster and Sumner, have laid their talents on the altar of their country.
Her fair domain is not an unworthy field for her glory. Where gleams there an island-studded bay more safe and inviting than that of Massachusetts? Where opens a fairer valley or one richer in the bounty of the earth than that of the Connecticut, as seen in all its sweet expanse from the summit of Mount Tom? Where are the hills more fragrant with blossoms than in the heart of her commonwealth, or more splendid with October glory than in the Berkshires? On what shores do the breakers surge with more of majesty or the sea wrinkle with more luring beauty than on Cape Ann and Cape Cod? Is there a stream where spindles hum more steadily than on the Merrimac, or where paper rolls out to feed the presses of our literature more generously than on the Housatonic and the Connecticut? Is there any other similar area where so many inventions for benignant use have been brought to perfection as in Massachusetts?
What village speaks more for developed human character than Concord? What center in the Nineteenth Century in America held so much of teeming intellectual life as that at the mouth of the Charles? Are there any hospitals nobler than hers, any legislatures that have originated so much of love embodied in law to shield the lives of women and children?
We cannot deny that the defects of our incomplete nature have left their scars on the history of Massachusetts,, and that she has shared with humanity some touch of its bigotry, some fire of its baser passion. But in this state no decade has been without a host of witnesses for truth, for faith, for learning and for sacrifice. She has never lacked competence in leadership nor does she now. The men of Massachusetts have ever wanted to know and to do. They have learned. They have achieved. In every state of America there are laws and institutions and inspirations which, born here, have gone on with irresistible growth and developed potency to become the strength of America.
Massachusetts is worthy of our love; her history deserves our reverent study. She supplies an adequate theater for a greater development of mind and soul than has yet been attained.
Her stimulating climate, her well-watered slopes, her varied ocean shores, her strategic location, her resources in trained men are the fitting basis for a satisfactory future. But her proud heritage of victory over the obstacles of the flesh and the spirit, the heritage of truths tested, lifted and established in power and beauty, are a richer and more faithful prophecy of the Massachusetts that is to be.
THE stranger entering Massachusetts, especially if he comes from the western states, too often thinks of the Bay State as a region notable indeed historically but limited in scenic interest, or, if at all excellent in landscapes, to be so chiefly in the Berkshires.
Fashion plays a much larger part in the matter of travel than it has any right to assume. To the writer, the heart of the commonwealth in Worcester County has in its orchards and streams more beauty perhaps than the Berkshires themselves. It is remarkable that the orchard districts of most states are nearly unknown to tourists, They are situated in fertile regions not noted as tourists' resorts. But as beautiful farm land desirable for the practical farmer, who is defined as one who takes his money out of the land, and to the agriculturist, who is defined as one who puts his money in, the gentle slopes of Grafton, Berlin, Bolton and Harvard and the fair plains of Lancaster, are thoroughly satisfactory. Groton, which was the original seat of the author's family, of course appeals to him. All about North Andover there is a beautiful district. Mention is made of these regions because there does not exist in any of them, perhaps, a famous seasonal resort.
Cape Cod, indeed, has appealed very strongly to many, more particularly since it came so much under the public eye as the scene of literary effort. Mrs. Hemans speaks of the Pilgrims landing "on a stern and rock-bound coast." While any shore is stern in time of storm, the "south shore" of Massachusetts, at least beyond Cohasset, is seldom bold and perhaps never rocky. There are those, indeed, who think that Plymouth Rock is kept under a canopy because rocks are so rare in its region. The remark has been made, based we believe on the United States Coast Survey, that after one leaves the cliffs in the vicinity of Gloucester there are no bold crags on the Atlantic coast all the way to Mexico with the exception of those found at Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The author hopes he may never be compelled to follow this entire distance and he, therefore, is under the necessity of quoting. In a general way it may be said that Maine monopolizes, with a small share grudged to Massachusetts, nearly all the boldly picturesque Atlantic coast.
We find, then, in glorious old Massachusetts a good variety of sea, mountain and meadow. She has aspects which win all her faithful children, some of whom are now in every quarter of the wide American domain and, indeed, in every part of the earth.
ON THE CHARLES - NEEDHAM
THE GARFIELD HOMESTEAD - LINCOLN
A NOOK IN PLYMOUTH
There is an inspirational effect in touring Massachusetts because back of its beauty lies its quaintness, its romance, its ideals and the glory of standing for the first great experiment in a free and expansible principle of government. People come from the West and the South and stand, often with uncovered heads, at the patriotic shrines of this state, feeling that hence sprung those virile, germinal ideas, which, shot through the entire fabric of national life, make it mean more than the life of any other nation. It is impossible to separate the sense of beauty from the sense of the past, giving a halo to every landscape. Howsoever gloomy the day there is an ancient hidden fire discernible pulsating through the atmosphere and always a rainbow of hope. For here, if the ideals of Massachusetts prove immortal, will be an enduring and uplifted human society. And here, if those ideals must die, how glorious will be their burial place! As in Holland the flattest landscape and the tamest material surroundings often thrill us with the memory of the contests of those sturdy people, so here every old roadside is eloquent with the echoes of ancient marches to liberty and light and power.
We need not confine ourselves to the historic route of Paul Revere in order to move along amidst challenges to memory and beckonings to nobler living. On many hundreds of miles of her beautiful highways there are, here and there, edifices which embody ennobling events, or granite memorials of a past which never lived as vitally as now. It is true that some old states seem to have outlived their history. But are not these instances where there was never a really free people, as in Egypt and Mesopotamia? Wherever human life has struck the high and fine note the spirit of the fathers seems never to depart. From the Acropolis and from the Forum we can never miss the glorious shades that have stood for something fine and strong and helpful in human nature.
Still less in this dear state of our birth, a state now starting on its fourth century of civilization, can we ever get away from the history that inspires us.
forward to the time, we believe not far distant, when patriotic societies, or
the state itself, shall restore and mark appropriately all those homes or
scenes where bold and far-seeing men have taken advance ground and given to us
new standards of thought and action.
RIVER GROWTHS - HARDING
PLEASANT BAY CREEK - ORLEANS
ALL IN A GARDEN FAIR - FRAMINGHAM
FRAMINGHAM ELM CURVES
THE residents of Plymouth and vicinity are particular to make it plain to the traveler that Cape Cod does not begin until we reach the canal. The contour of Cape Cod and what one sees there are always a surprise to the visitor on his first journey. These notable aspects of surprise may be mentioned: in the first place, although Cape Cod is narrow and runs away into the sea, one may journey the length of the Cape and seldom see the ocean. In part this is owing to the necessity of keeping a through route away from the inlets in order to secure a reasonable directness; in part it is due to the hills; but in part it seems a mystery.
The second surprise awaiting the strange visitor lies in the extremely hilly nature of the Cape. We are almost ready to say that it is the hilliest part of Massachusetts. This notably uneven contour adds much to the charm of the Cape, which one would otherwise find monotonous, Of course the hills being no more than huge dunes are the effect of wind and sea, but some of them have great height. One would hardly suppose the elements were so powerful as to create such a contour. But it is well known that since the settlement of Massachusetts small estuaries which enabled one to sail through a canal across the narrow portion of the Cape have silted up. Again, at Chatham the great bluff has been eaten into by the fierce seas so that within our life-time lighthouses have been removed to safer foundations. This is stranger inasmuch as many shoals off the eastern part of the Cape would seem to compel the sea to tame its wrath. We remember with a shudder even now that the Mayflower came near foundering in the unknown shallows east of the Cape in her effort to round it and reach "Virginia." The captain put back because he felt that his position was altogether too hazardous, and therefore Provincetown became the first landing place.
The third surprising feature of the Cape is its numerous and large fresh water ponds. These ponds nestling at the foot of sharp dunes are objects of great beauty, especially as the pond lily, either by nature or cultivation, often spreads its beauty in their coves. Some of these ponds are of great size; some are divided from the sea by a mere low sand dike. The water is generally delicious and pure. In this particular Cape Cod is only exceeded by the region around Plymouth.
It is useless to follow Thoreau after his classical description of a journey to Cape Cod. There are, however, many who challenge various conclusions of his and the native does not regard him at all with favor. Probably the most striking phrase in his volume is that in which he says that the Cape Codder ploughs the ocean and his plough is moved by a white sail.
It is eminently true that whatever prosperity the Cape used to enjoy arose from the wealth of the sea and the industries which were allied with fisheries and commerce.
An agreeable sleepiness which we trust may not be disturbed pervades some of the old villages, though these same villages would probably resent being thought somnolent. Their somnolence is their charm because the traveler does or should seek rest, and there is a fine aroma about a quiet old village by the sea not comparable to or equalled by other haunts. Aroma as here used refers to the spiritual essence and not to the fishy odors which we do not otherwise mention, but we could, oh, we could!
Provincetown itself has of late, indeed, been seized by a new band of Pilgrims, the Portuguese who succeeded the Yankee in the fisheries, and who now themselves are finding other lines of effort more attractive. One finds himself as much in a foreign land, as is possible here in America, in Provincetown, in spite of the lofty monument which commemorates the first landing of our fathers.
The finest attractions connected with Provincetown are her back yards, her sea gardens as one may say, where the rollicking hollyhocks hold undisputed sway, towering over their humbler floral neighbors. There are little lanes and alleys and nooks loved by the artist and sought out by the tourist where the flowers, seeming to get a permanence of beauty by the seaside, are allowed full scope. It has probably been remarked a great many times that the near influence of the sea is very favorable to floral development, giving it a brightness and a longevity of blossom quite superior to that of flowers grown in the interior. This effect is seen all along as one comes down from Boston.
There is something good to be said for the Portuguese which is not so marked in the natives of Cape Cod. These natives are quiet and reserved, following the more usual habit of the English people. The Portuguese are rather notably courteous and lively and have added a note of joyousness and vivacity which may be more superficial than the sturdy graces of the English character, but is, nevertheless, agreeable as met by the traveler.
The fine summer air of the forearm of the Cape affords an escape from the severe heats of the interior which is scarcely inferior to the same relief afforded by Nantucket. The land is here so narrow that the climate is essentially insular and free from the extremes which are so trying in America.
It has become a chronic habit to joke about the barren soil of the Cape; to say that it is so poor that one cannot raise an umbrella on it, and to indulge in all sorts of jibing or contemptuous remarks regarding its sands. It is found, however, that certain flowers and produce if well fed by artificial means come to a fine maturity and flavor on the Cape. There are also streaks here and there on the lower lands of fair loam which can hardly be surpassed for many sorts of cultivation. Thus, though the dominant feature may be sand, there is, what with the use of the sandy sites for summer cottages, and the use of the better soil for crops, no small opportunity for much larger development on the Cape than has hitherto existed.
AN APPLE-ELM CURVE - HARVARD
PLEASANT BAY - ORLEANS
A WEYMOUTH HOLLYHOCK DOOR
A BELCHERTOWN MARGIN
THE POOL AT SANDWHICH, CAPE COD
Some portions of the Cape have gone backward and that to a very great extent, there being a lonely aspect to certain of the districts which formerly harbored a considerable number of bold fishermen, nor is this to be regretted. On the other hand a great many sections of the Cape have developed to an extent far beyond anything in their previous history. The Cape stands out as the only readily accessible portion of our shores where summer mildness is obtainable. It has been said with probable truth that had not the winter of the Pilgrims' landing been mild the entire enterprise connected with the Mayflower would have perished and with it the fine moral stimulus which they, in the course of Providence, imparted to our continent.
Provincetown was the point whence they explored southerly, and they found even then that the Indians, who from the crudeness of their civilization were obliged to take advantage of every superficial source of supply, had their scattered habitations on this portion of the Cape. Provincetown is a delightful sail from Boston and like all termini has a certain emphatic effect upon the traveler's memory. It is an agreeable prowling place for those sated with the usual.
Moving southward along the forearm of the Cape one finds in the rolling hills of Truro a certain romantic lift and stimulus to dream of the strenuous past. Off this shore innumerable wrecks have brought to an end many a career and have tossed up, still clinging to life, many a denizen of other regions to take up, in this precarious manner, his new career in America.
Now that the Cape Cod canal is in operation, coastwise shipping no longer has an incentive to hug the shoals of the Cape and we may hope, what with the lighthouses and the experiences of the past, that generations to come will escape the fearful wrecks which are the most dominant thought in one's mind as he wanders along these treacherous shores.
A BARRE BROOK
A PETERSHAM WOODLAND
AN OLD DANVERS HOME ROOM
CAPE COD COTTAGES
THE Cape Cod cottage has achieved the distinction of receiving this specific name. There are many thousands of houses of precisely the same type scattered through New England but this cottage is so uniformly found at the Cape that we take no issue with the appellation. The stranger at Cape Cod is often puzzled by the term "double house." In the Cape Cod significance this phrase refers to a house with a chimney in the middle and a room on both sides. Frequently the space on either side of the chimney is divided into more than one room. Of course, the term "double house" used elsewhere of a dwelling for two families, confuses the stranger. The name arose on Cape Cod from the fact that the first settler built a tiny house with the chimney at one end and with perhaps a front and rear room downstairs, the rear room being a small bedroom opening off the kitchen. This is called a "single house." The addition of a duplication of the structure on the other side of the chimney gives the local significance of the "double house."
These dwellings are uniformly of one story in height although they are often erroneously called one and a half stories, as they have, generally, two rooms in the attic. The eaves, however, rise directly above the first floor, as a rule, without any side wall on the second story. Further, these houses are almost always shingled. Where they are left unpainted, as is usually the case, they acquire a beautiful gray which cannot be distinguished from the stone walls found before one reaches the Cape where such houses also appear. This gray effect is the result of intimacy with the weather and requires some years to reach its perfection. In many instances white paint has been applied to these houses and never with aesthetic advantage. The dweller within the cottage may indeed protect his dwelling and feel that he has a trimmer anchorage with a painted house, but he loses that mellow melting into the atmosphere, and that nameless charm of roof and side wall in the same natural tint.
No possible preparation of the shingle can give an artificial color matching this superb gray. Furthermore, the side wall of a house will last for generations without paint. The "John Alden" house at Duxbury has some of the original side shingles applied about 1663. It is true they are getting to need some repairs! Of course the old shingles were often made of shaved pine which render them almost eternal. The sawed shingle catches and holds the water whereas the shaved shingle sheds it.
There is a remarkable absence of gambrel roofs on Cape Cod, The author was informed that there were none whatever on the Cape. It was with some glee, therefore, that he discovered a very ancient gambrel roof in Chatham, but he admits that it is the only one that he has seen.
The usual Cape Cod cottage is very simple but has a winning quality. Persons of wealth sometimes construct such cottages. If they are erected so that two or even three cottages meet each other by a lap wide enough for a door, the effect is very excellent and one has the advantage of all possible light and air. In such a case the attic may be left in the rough and soon becomes the receptacle of all sorts of useless but delightful lumber.
The Cape Cod cottage at its best should have a large chimney. Unfortunately the reasonless craze for improvement has resulted in the destruction of such chimneys in many instances and the erection of shabby, spindling affairs under the alleged excuse of getting more room within the cottage. Of course this means the abolition of the old fireplaces. Even if a new chimney is erected there is no reason for drawing it down to so minute a dimension since to do so takes away all dignity from the house. We cannot enough deplore the hateful and tasteless arrangement of a wooden frame work around some chimneys in recent construction to give the effect of size. This work is false to art, to taste, to sentiment and to reason.
These old chimneys sometimes have a rounded top to keep out the weather as is the case with one shown in this book. More often, however, they were left so that the storm might beat in. This fault may be overcome by placing a stone set up at the corners over the chimney so as to permit egress of smoke if one does not care to take the trouble to construct the arch.
Cod house is further characterized in its best form by three minute windows on
each end in the gable, one on each side under the eaves lighting the long
closets in the otherwise useless space divided off from the attic room, and the
third at the point of the gable, ventilating the dead air space over the attic
room. These little windows, invariably with four lights of glass, are sometimes
called "dog house windows." A lady of
our acquaintance in trying to recall the name referred to them as "little
A CORNER IN CHINA - NANTUCKET
QUEEN OF MAY - ASHFIELD
In rare instances, the excellent architectural feature of a slight overhang on a line with the eaves, on the gable end, gives the house a great deal of added beauty and dignity. The front doors of these houses do not have head room permitting an elliptic light but semi-occasionally there is a line of low transom sash. In the best examples of earlier houses the window frames are well set out, being constructed of solid sizeable joists pinned together and enhancing the good lines of the dwelling.
Within, of course, there is a substantial fireplace on each side of the chimney in the double house, which greatly preponderates. In the rear there is sometimes a lean-to, although there is very little room to run a roof down, as the eave line is already low. In any case, however, there is sometimes in the rear a small kitchen and a third fireplace on that side of the chimney.
The front door opens into a small square entry formerly called the porch, and there is a narrow, steep stair running sidewise across the face of the chimney.
A cottage such as we have described, if it still has a stone wall or a post and rail fence about it, or even a picket fence, a few shade trees, and if it stands back somewhat from the street, is a very good example of the sort of home which meets all human need and possibly may be looked forward to as a future possession of every family, even the poorest. Meantime, it appeals to persons of the best taste as a desirable summer residence and by its unpretentious merits and simple beauty is in a way to teach us the quiet life.
Occasionally in the larger towns of the Cape, especially as one gets back toward the shoulder of the arm, we see the conventional two story house. Some of these are of a very excellent type, as in Brewster, Yarmouth and Sandwich. Such a house shows adjoining the church across the pool in the little sketch called "The Pond at Sandwich."
For those who are somewhat ambitious or are so thoroughly wonted to a sizeable house as not to be satisfied with the Cape Cod cottage, these last mentioned towns and others, as Hyannis and Falmouth, offer very attractive residences even for the whole year. The snows upon the Cape are not so deep as are found inland and winter motoring is less often interfered with. There is, to be sure, more wind even in this quarter of the Cape than farther inland, but compensating advantages are found.
VEGETATION ON THE CAPE
THE trees of the Cape as we first enter it from the west are in many cases noble elms shading the villages with dignity and spreading arching beauty. As we journey eastward the elms become very rare and the characteristic shade tree of the Cape is the poplar. We seldom see such noble poplars as seem to flourish here. It is very common to see rows of them before cottages. Evidently the soil is well adapted to their growth. Another tree unusual elsewhere is called the Tree of Heaven. It is uncommon even on the Cape. If you look at a blue china plate of the common willow ware you see this tree reaching over the waters where the runaway couple is hastening across. The foliation and the small branches remind one somewhat of the locust. At first glance it is often mistaken for that tree. It is probable that seedlings were brought from China by some of the old captains. The possession of such a tree, especially if of dignified size, gives a Cape Cod cottage a singular distinction.
The prevailing winds have governed all trees well out on the Cape, and they slant to leeward. This is the more remarkable as there are, it is to be presumed, prevailing winds far inland but this effect is seldom seen except on the shores.
There is little need to call particular attention to other vegetation on the Cape perhaps more than elsewhere except as relates to the small fruits already hinted at. On one occasion as we wound along a by-road we came upon a neat cottage worthy of portrayal. As we skirted about it we discovered the most luscious and wonderful cultivated blackberries we have ever seen. They were at the acme of perfection and we look back to the hour as that in which we exhibited a marked degree of Christian fortitude. With mouths watering and fingers itching, with no one looking, and even the cottage locked and everyone absent, was it not a mark of a deep-down religion which prevented our even tasting? How we wanted to try those berries! "'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life one quart of their array!" But we didn't, we didn't! But whether as much character would assert itself in us again we are entirely uncertain.
A DECORATED PINE - DUXBURY
THE MAJOR BRADFORD HOUSE - JONES RIVER
A HYANNIS BYWAY
A PROVINCETOWN BACK YARD
The vegetation of the Cape is not particularly early. The sea holds back the spring just as it holds off the autumn and tends to equalize the seasons but the fruits and flowers are wonderfully attractive. Of late, also, certain areas are being exploited commercially with rye.
The water growths of the Cape are strikingly attractive. All about the margins of salt lagoons there are lovely grasses, and by the brook sides and wherever lowlands encourage water to lie, the tall reeds with their blossoms or their cattails, according to the season, form artistic borders. By a cottage near a brook where children played as seen on these pages we lingered with them by the hour. The clear sand, the luscious high swaying reeds, the near-by cottage door where the housewife sang, the mellow sunlight and the little bridge by the side of which a turn-out for watering horses ran down across the brook, — all this held us and gave us back our childhood.
Doubtless botanists revel in the flora of the region, for to us laymen the general effect has no less charm, though we are unable to name all the varieties that decorate the scene.
Various narrow and sometimes modern roads meander across the Cape here and there and to us they are fully more attractive than the main thoroughfare. It is here, too, that we find the gnarled pines surrounded by carpets of needles and graced by innumerable little cones. Such an one on a private by-road is shown whose artistry is enhanced by a clinging vine.
THE BAYS AND SHORES OF THE CAPE
has its estuary which at full tide, bordered as it is with waving sea grasses,
is most appealing. Farther out through the town we come upon a hostelry, built
on a dock. Americans are not nowadays, at least, a sea-faring people, nor do
they love the sea, nor do they love the water like the British people. We have
noted here and there inland, or on the seashore, boathouses and every
preparation for water journeys, but many an instance we know where from year to
year the boathouse is not opened and many other instances where it is opened
but once or twice. The English seem natural water dogs, and they go boating not
as a fad, but because they cannot resist the temptation. One can but note how
few and far between are the American coast points where boating is much
indulged in. Before the days of railroads it was otherwise. Now the entire
flavor of the shore life is being lost so far as playing or laboring with
watercraft is concerned. Even at the bathing beaches it has become a joke that
the fair bather spends her time upon the sands and seldom wets her feet. The
delight of battling with the water seems to have been lost out of the American
temperament, with here and there an exception which proves the statement.
BLOSSOMS AND GRASSES - ERVING
THE JOHN ALDEN HOUSE - DUXBURY
The harbor at Wellfleet is one of the few of considerable extent on Cape Cod and at one time the district was a center for whalers. Provincetown appears busier on the water than other Cape regions except possibly one or two of the larger centers near Hyannis and Falmouth.
The artist on the Cape may find much inspiration in the long tongues of shallow water that creep through the lagoons and wind serpent-like in the marshes. About Orleans, on Pleasant Bay, and on the road to Chatham there are wonderful curving shores and tufts of marsh grass and dune reflections that enable one to become lost in the spectacle and linger long in the late afternoon and into the afterglow, heedless of the call of hotel repasts.
As a summer site what can exceed in beauty some high dune looking over the shimmering sea which plays in and out with indefinable contour lines along the sands? Here and there appear a winding bit of road, a clump of hardy pines, a cluster of poplars. Above there is today a flock of the sheep of the sky feeding on the azure plains, tomorrow a curdled mass of wide flung clouds, and the next day the glories of purple, gold, sea-green and the entire gamut of the rainbow list. Rising, spreading, changing until the chameleon-like clouds assume not only in color but in form a variety of aspect which must seem to a savage race as, indeed, it should to us, the play of God with nature!
To those who love change, Cape Cod is infinite in her variety! From summer to summer her coast line changes. One season she fills up an estuary and opens another far away. Some say that in time there will he no Cape. Others would say that once the Cape ran far, far out to sea beyond its present bounds and reached its long finger toward fabled Atlantis. The Cape stands for the beauty and instability of the earth.
Continuous dredging, far beyond the commercial warrant for it, would be required to keep deep water at some small ports where once the arctic whalers rode at ease.
Thoreau describes the Cape in a storm. The usual traveler sees it only when it is on its good behavior, — when it is putting its best foot, or perhaps we ought to say its crooked finger forward. Then it can be most alluring. It is the Calypso of the Massachusetts coast, charming us on to admire her softer and playful moods and leaving us totally unsuspicious of the fierceness of her wrath, when facing a boreal blast she waves her ruffled train of sand and howls with the furies of the storm.
Cape Cod is now an island. There are drives each side of the canal for its entire length and both are pleasing.
A HAZY WOODLAND - ORLEANS
WHERE CHILDREN PLAY - NEAR HYANNIS
THE THATCHER COTTAGE - YARMOUTHPORT
SUMMERING ON THE CAPE
SAD to say, the Cape is becoming fashionable. The Great War increased the importance of Chatham as a naval station and all the region of the south shore westward from Chatham is now being possessed, so far as hotel life is concerned, by Society, with a very large "S." If this trend continues there will inevitably follow the construction of many large, modern hotels. At present it is almost impossible to secure accommodations except one provides far in advance. Sophistication possesses all the south shore and although here and there many pleasing summer places, some modest, some pretentious, escape the whirligig and vapidity of the centers, one finds too much of transported but not transformed metropolitan life. The shops are branches of the well known city caterers to luxury.
We ourselves, who are given to the collection of antique furniture and its allied subjects, find no lack of places where the wise and the foolish congregate seeking some old heirloom. It is true that one sees perhaps a chair which leaves him puzzled. It reminds him of the professor in entomology whose students thought "to put one over on the old man." They took the body of one bug, the thorax of another, the head of a third, the wings of a fourth and fifth, the antennae of a sixth and the legs of a seventh and further decorated the nondescript creature with such odds and ends of insect creation as pleased their antic fancy. After carefully connecting these incongruous parts into the semblance of a strange creation they took their bug to the professor and stood about in a body while they said, "Will you please tell us the name of this bug?" "Gentlemen," he answered, after a sardonic glance through his glasses, "I will. It is a humbug."
In looking at this chair those who really know will recognize a pair of front legs that have known each other long but are unacquainted with the legs behind. The rungs are recent neighbors who formerly were far apart. The stretcher "knows no brother." The slats are certainly wondrous between such posts and the seat is a marvel of oddness. The offerer of this striking piece of furniture, who possibly himself is merely passing it along from the genius who contrived it, will, indeed, give you its name called after some of the great masters of old cabinet work. Nevertheless, my friend, remember what kind of a bug it is!
We are not saying that the dealers in these wares are anything like as unethical as the farmer who, also by the roadside, displays his baskets of fruit, always with the fairest on top. This is something which no dealer in antiques would do. Nor do we intend to hint that the dealer in heirlooms misrepresents one half as much as the average advertisement of a city emporium. But what would the Cape Codder do in summer without a resort to such a shop where he may sharpen his wits against the Parthian, the Mede and the Elamite? And if the deponent saith true he is against an efficient grindstone, Not for a moment, however, would we be understood to intimate that the purchase of such articles is any more dangerous or deceptive than a flirtation with a girl of doll-blue eyes, nor more dangerous than a speculation in real estate next door to this same shop, nor more dangerous than motoring on a summer Saturday. Life is so full of its perils and just now it is fuller than usual. All we do wish to say as to the aforesaid dealer, is that he is every whit as good and as bad as his neighbor; that he is not a bit different from folks; and that he has an advantage merely in this, that the buyer is more ignorant of a good chair than of a good potato or a good house lot, and therefore is at a disadvantage.
Perhaps the largest summer industry of the Cape is the disposal of Victorian antiques, which are very real and honest, as pre-Revolutionary relics. Some of these "came over" and some of them "come it over" us. They probably were not on the first lading of the Mayflower, but please remember she has lately been found to have made various other voyages and who knows what she brought! But with all the strictures that have preceded this sentence we gladly allow that the west end of the Cape has lately brought to light two of the most marvelous pieces of the Seventeenth Century furniture known to antiquarians. It is the spirit that moves the prospector for gold that is also found in the seeker for old treasures on Cape Cod. Mankind are by nature, and often by training, gamblers. They love the thousand to one chance and if they would all stand up to be counted how few of us there are who have not taken that desperate venture! It would be well worth while to spend a summer to run to earth one treasure that the Cape gave up a year ago. The finder lost his chance by being a trifle too canny and to the writer was thus opened his opportunity, Others labored and he entered into their labors.
A PROTECTING HOME TREE - FRAMINGHAM
MORNING DUTIES - NANTUCKET
WHITTIER'S HOME, NEAR AMESBURY
A VILLAGE MANSION
Another industry of the Cape which may be said to have added to its picturesqueness, but perhaps not to its calm and beauty, is the innumerable wooden whirligig toys that ride their wires and poles by the wayside, painted in colors such as no sunset ever showed. It is little to be wondered at that the windmill figures largely in these toys because it is so scarce on the Cape. In fact, we think there is scarcely a region where windmills are more rare. A few, indeed, of these fine relics abide, and some have been incorporated into homes, and others are tea houses or show places. The march of improvement and the tooth of decay have alike contributed to their extinction.
To the average citizen an attractive summer on the Cape is perhaps to be obtained most easily by the purchase or lease of a Cape Cod cottage from which little journeys may be made as one lists. If the Cape continues to grow in popularity it is likely to stand out as the most distinctive of our American summer resorts. It is even a question of whether it may not surpass Newport. Happily, fashionable folk no longer look to the exquisite hills of Berkshire County with the same undivided attention as formerly. The trend to Cape Cod is no less than a furor, and when all its advantages are considered one can hardly say that it is too much sought. Ridiculous experiences in stuffy kitchen bedrooms or low and torrid chambers, or even in barns, are now met by the unwary traveler, not forewarned of the great demand for accommodations.
If Cape Cod is to sink into the sea and be forgotten, obviously Americans intend to have a good look at it first. It is an old axiom forgotten every day that we find what we are looking for. If we look for gimcracks, gimcracks will be produced. If we want beauty we shall find it, or if we look only at the surface we shall not see below the surface. Those who come to Massachusetts with the discerning eye will be filled with the sense of the pathos in her past and will respond to the. meaning of her efforts, whether or not those efforts have reached full accomplishment. The spirits and the true hearts of all ages thrill to the same chords and answer to the same beckonings. The deep without speaks to the deep within. Whether it is a picture or an ideal it means whatever the largeness of our nature can grasp. History is "bunk" according to the apostle of the mechanical age, but those who are making history naturally carry on faithfully all the great beginnings which the ages have left us. To them Cape Cod is not a sand bank but an adequate foundation where truth and honor and an outstretching faith limned forth in the sky a permanent and glorious state in which human character was to reach a dignity transcending time and space and capable of making every square foot of the earth prophetic of perfection.
BELOW THE DAM - FRAMINGHAM
HONEYMOON STROLL - WESTMINSTER
PROVINCETOWN NAN OF NANTUCKET
IN AND ABOUT PLYMOUTH
THERE is no spot on earth more significant in human history than Plymouth. There is less to speak of the past here in the way of adequate recognition in worthy monuments than one would hope for. As a child the writer wandered through a stone-cutting yard on a Maine river and looked up to a huge stone forearm which loomed high above him. Many years after he saw the massive granite monument at Plymouth of a female figure, we can scarcely say feminine, where that same hand points upward. It is the colossal misfortune of America that she desires monuments but largely lacks the artistic genius. Had the execution of the Plymouth monument been equal to its conception the result would have given us a proud shrine for the peoples of the broad nation to visit. Yet the motive was good. That generation tried. It had the ideal but it could not embody it in stone. The monument stands for love and faith and truth, indeed, but the expression of these qualities is somewhat short of what it should be.
The Standish monument at Duxbury is a graceful shaft, but Miles was far away from us on the summit and the lightning recently cast him down. If we catch the meaning of his character at all, he was a man never up in the air but had both feet firmly on the ground.
We have to think of Duxbury and Kingston and the adjacent regions as Plymouth for once they were so. They belonged to the colony as an historical and spiritual entity.
We have, indeed, in Plymouth a very satisfactory statue of Massasoit, evidently a man of much native nobility whose fine physique and character have been cunningly apprehended by the sculptor.
At Pilgrim Hall, now made a permanent structure, there are certain priceless memorials of the Pilgrim days, but there is nowhere in Plymouth nor, for that matter, in America, a worthy house of the Seventeenth Century restored and furnished as the second Pilgrim generation would have had it. No museum has a full representation of the household economy of the Pilgrims. Such an assemblage was very easy to secure ten years ago and is not wholly out of the question at present. But there has not been in any one man or corporation at once the knowledge, the zeal and the resources to attain this very highly desirable accomplishment. Further, the real American, aware of the general lines of the Mayflower, must have blushed at the nondescript affair which came into the harbor of Plymouth during the great recent celebration. We know the contour of the Mayflower and we know its dimensions and it is entirely feasible to re-construct such a vessel of old timbers and place it in a ship house. Such a work, set near a dwelling in which all parts should be strictly accurate historically, would be more interesting, more educational and a finer work of patriotism than anything ever done in America along these lines. As this is written a photograph comes to hand of an apparently correct Mayflower just constructed in California by descendants of her passengers.
The persons appointed by the national government to pass on improvements in Plymouth were not specially fitted either by taste or education for their duties. Their sojourn in Plymouth was very brief. The state of New York has spent great sums in the purchase and reclamation of Seventeenth Century houses, but the state of Massachusetts which has greater reason for doing that thing has never done so.
We may rejoice that the water front of Plymouth was very satisfactorily improved and that the Rock has been placed under a dignified canopy. The bold bluff above it, however, should be in the possession of a patriotic corporation or of the nation itself.
There are one or two dwellings in Plymouth which have in them material from Seventeenth Century structures or possibly were erected themselves in the latter part of that period, but for the most part the growth of the town has obliterated such ancient landmarks. The most dignified and worthy and interesting feature of Plymouth at present is Pilgrim Hall and its contents. Here one may go repeatedly with delight and profit. Referring to what we have said elsewhere regarding Cape Cod wrecks, the ancient skeleton of a vessel, exhumed from the Cape Cod sands, now in the basement of Pilgrim Hall, fills one with a sense of our nearness to that period, and with astonishment at the small, size of the craft that dared the Atlantic and sometimes, as in this case, dared fatally.
The gardens of Plymouth, bits of which we show, are among its more pleasing features as we call to mind the English custom of having a flower plot in front of every cottage.
The most striking feature about the township of Plymouth taken at large, is the great number of fresh water lakes, one being named from the black sheep of the Mayflower, "Billington Sea." These lakes are increasingly valuable as water supplies. The region south of Plymouth is a striking example of the scrub growth of oak and pine which is so common in this part of the state. We find Bradford in his history lamenting the continuous exodus from Plymouth and its slow growth after more than a generation had elapsed since the settlement. Such a condition was inevitable, since better lands called to a people engaged almost exclusively in agriculture, excepting only fisheries.
FRAGRANT WAY - MOHAWK TRAIL
THE ROAD TO UNCLE JONATHAN'S - BERKSHIRES
SLENDER BIRCHES - STOCKBRIDGE
The Major Bradford house in Kingston on the road to Duxbury at Jones River has lately been redeemed. If one stands well back from it on the front it affords a very good example of the second period of Colonial houses. It may be hoped that in the process of time greater knowledge and resources may endow some of these early houses with valuable contents matching their period.
It is markedly true not only of Plymouth but of most other Massachusetts towns which have grown beyond the small village stage that they have lost most of their simple and quiet architecture. No doubt this is inevitable. It is not set down here as an adverse criticism but only to call attention to the fact that if we would see a village as it was a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago we must go to one which has not developed into a mart or into a manufacturing center. In this particular, Kingston, Duxbury, and Marshfield have an advantage over other towns more nationally known. They retain many of the early edifices, and although the Seventeenth Century house is uncommon, something more than one hundred such houses have been tallied, and perhaps two or three hundred between York, Maine, and New York City and up the main rivers of most ancient settlement.
The occupants of early houses are themselves frequently lacking a special study of early architecture and as a consequence, having lost the authentic records of changes made in their dwellings, if any such records existed, these residents are not seldom mistaken as to the date of their dwellings, but they are more frequently mistaken as to the date of the present appearance of these dwellings. Very few of these early houses have escaped what were thought to be improvements. The same remark may apply to furniture. We have often observed owners far more taken up with furniture of their Aunt Sarah than with that which preceded it by two or three generations and was ten times as important from the historical and constructional point of view. It is practically impossible to find a house of harmonious style throughout, still less such a house with interior decorations also in keeping with its time.
The first range of towns inland from Plymouth was also on an inferior soil, and it is not until we get into the vicinity of Taunton and towns of about that distance from the shore that we see marks of general and successful cultivation of profitable fields.
The two main routes from Boston to Plymouth are both most interesting and quite different. Some of the villages like Cohasset, Scituate and Hingham possess numerous fascinating old dwellings and one can consume weeks in a thoroughly satisfactory meandering over the main and cross roads of this entire section.A comparison is often made between the better lands and the greater development of the north shore to the detriment of the south shore. This distinction is not warranted so far as regards that part of the south shore within twenty miles, we will say, of Boston. Not only are there many fine fields, but the development of this region is certainly more attractive than that on the north shore south of Salem.