Page images
PDF
EPUB

running it round the rim, she finally gave it a picture be doubted? Was it not a vineyardpound on the side that made the whole apart- Martha's own vineyard—and honored with the ment ring again, and almost stunned one to name of its fair and lovely mistress? There deafness. I now understood the reason of her certainly was no room for mistake. She, bappy cantion, and was glad to depart without suffer- soul, was ever reveling in the luxuries of her ing deafness by the operation.

native islet, and while envying none was envied From our allusion to the ancient family of the of the world. These treasures were by undisEarl of Warwick we would not have the reader puted title all her own, and, suppose that he is a descendant of the redoubta

“ From the center all round to the sea, ble Guy. The castle and estates have escheated

Her right there was none to dispute." to the crown since his day more than once, and have been conferred on various parties. The Thus we grew up to maturer years with no first Earl of Warwick of the present line was further knowledge of this isolated spot than was Sir Fulke Greville, afterward created Lord Brook, furnished by its peculiar locality and its name. on whom the title of Earl of Warwick with the in all our reading we found no other key to its castle and estates was conferred by King James character or history. We met none who had I. Neither is the present castle to be con landed on its shores or mingled with its citizens. founded with the original structure. At first it Our experience with the world, however, had was merely a rough fortification, spacious and caused these ideal sketches to grow somewhat strong, but without any pretension to elegance dim, till at length the pictures themselves bad or grandeur. It has been repeatedly enlarged almost faded from memory. Amid the scenes and beautified till the grandfather of the present of active life the miniature queen and her seaEarl brought it to its high state of perfection girt abode were well-nigh forgotten. and splendor, combining the elegance and com For a few years past, she who has chosen to fort of a modern mansion with the outer aspect accompany as in the journey of life has been in and characteristics of an ancient castle.

declining health, and it was thought that a change from the interior to the sea-board might

invigorate a wasting constitution, and, perhaps, A SUMMER AT MARTHA'S VINEYARD. reclaim its wonted energy. Such a change was

accordingly determined upon, and, in the order

of Providence, Martha's Vineyard was selected A MONG the first objects that attracted our at as the place of temporary abode. Here, it

BY REV. L. D. DAVIS.

as

tention in the study of geography was the said all the winds came fresh from the sea, appearance on the map of a little island off the freighted with those qualities that are best calsouthern coast of Massachusetts bearing the culated to strengthen the invalid and enliven the suggestive name of Martha's Vineyard. With weary. It must be confessed, also, that the inout any specific information as to the nature of fluence of early impressions, however vague and its soil or the character of its inhabitants, we indistinct they may have been, was not altogether concluded in our childhood meditations that it lost in giving this the preference to other localiwas a land abounding in grapes, and distin- ties similarly situated. guished alike for its fertility and beauty. Many Early in the spring of 1859 we set out from times while sitting at our accustomed place in a our home in central New York to thus establish country school-house have we allowed the eye to ourselves in proximity to the sea. There were rest on this little spot amid the waste of waters, in our company, including the little ones of the while the imagination roamed through the forest, househoid, six persons, to most of whom the whose lofty trees were bearing up the heavy- route was entirely new. We were soon passing laden vines, and vying with Italy itself in the down the noble Hudson with its splendid scenery riches of the vintage. Fancy thus aroused as on either band, and thence through Long Island sured us that all along the path of the traveler Sound, scarcely less than its equal for beauty, the purple clusters met his eye, and at conveui- till we came to New Bedford, the place of ement distances hung low within his reach. He barkation for what was already looked upon as had but to put forth his hand, and, with scarce & our island home. Here we took the steamer pause in his journey, it was filled with most " Eagle's Wing," which was in a few hours to delicious fruits. As in the charms which the land us at the Vineyard. As the boat pushed nursery ascribed to Fairy-Land," beauty and out into Buzzard's Bay, the sea proved somegladness seemed here combined without those what rugged, but not so much so as to render fatal admixtures that every-where else appear. the voyage especially unpleasant. It is true

And why should the correctness of such a Neptune in his usual way demanded tribute of

64

1

many on board, though for some reason our lit- neither pavement nor flagging. Instead of these tle company was allowed to escape. Whether ordinary appendages of village life, there was this was because it was our first intrusion on his an abundance of dry sand, which, as the wind dominions, or because we were more willing to blew through the open spaces, paid but little rerender homage to the vastness of his empire and spect to the passers-by, unless it was by rudely the supremacy of his reign, he did not deign to throwing itself in their faces, and thus claiming inform us. Certain it is we were left free to a familiarity altogether too intimate. watch the varying scene and enjoy the sail. mained for a further acquaintance to reveal the And, under the circumstances, this was no small fact that other parts of the town were much privilege.

It re

more inviting, and that the village really posBefore coming to the Vineyard there is a sessed unusual attractions as a pleasant and degroup of some half dozen in number known as

sirable place of residence. the Elizabeth Islands. They are small in size, It is not strange that one who all through life and to the passer-by look barren and uninviting, has been accustomed to an unlimited view of and yet are not without interest. One of them, broad acres should be the subject of peculiar Cuttyhunk by name, was the first white settle- reflections on taking up his residence in a small ment in New England. Here, seventeen years island. He feels himself for the first time literbefore the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, was a ally “ont at sea,” and in a measure exposed to building erected and used as a human habita- the perils of the deep. As the roar of the surf tion. It is a little singular that the fact is not is heard at nightfall, while the waters of the made more prominent in our allusions to the Atlantic are rolling themselves up into big past. On another we were pointed to a large waves and dasbing furiously against the beach, mansion, said to have been built as a summer the question as to the security of his anchorage residence by a wealthy gentleman from Boston, instinctively presents itself to the mind. It is who was the owner of the island. It must cer- only when he feels assured that this warfare tainly be a fine retreat from the noise and beat between land and sea has been going on for of the city, worth a thousand times as much as ages, and that the results are before him, that a visit to Saratoga or Newport.

his fears are altogether dismissed. Now that we Passing these islands through a narrow and were here surrounded by the deep blue waters rocky channel that requires most skillful pilot- that stretch across to the old world, how otherage, we were soon in sight of the Vineyard itself, wise could we be satisfied with our moorings? that looked for all the world as if it might have how know but the billows, as borne a less pretentious name. The steamer

“ Each wave behind impels the wave before,” first stopped at Holmes's Hole, a beautiful village as seen from the water, and having a har- maddened at length by the resistance, should bor much used by vessels engaged in the coast rise higher still, and in the fury of the storm ing trade between New England and the south. sweep across the plain? But as the past is ever On leaving this port we caught sight of Edgar- a premonition of the future, the conclusion was town, eight miles distant, in which, as it was the reached that He who bath appointed the bounds place of our destination, we felt a more especial of the ocean, had here at our very feet bid its interest. Already we had begun to call it home, proud waves pause and return to the depths and it is impossible to be indifferent to the char- whence they came. acter of the spot bearing that endearing name. Martha's Vineyard is about twenty miles long, It is not as fully in view from the deck of the and from five to ten miles wide. It possesses a steamer as the town just left behind, and seemed sandy soil, much of which is poor and worthless. at this distance to be sitting on the very borders These sections are covered with a growth of low, of the sea with an air of calm and quiet beauty. stunted oaks, standing so thickly together that it We were informed by one of our traveling com is almost impossible to pass among them. Other i panions, a resident of the place, that it was the parts of the island are rich and valuable, and county seat of Dukes county, and the principal contain cultivated farms that will compare favortown of the island.

ably with any in New England. Wild grapes of Arrived at our journey's end, and stepping a large size and good flavor are found in differupon the warf, the first appearance of things ent localities, but scarcely in sufficient ahandaround us was not especially inviting. Huge ance to give it the name of a vineyard. How casks of whale oil lined the passage from the this name originated we have been unable to landing to the hotel, and emitted an odor to learn. Dame Martha is yet as much of a myth which we were altogether unaccustomed. The as in our school-boy days. Nobody here can tell streets, too, were narrow and crooked, with who she was or when she lived. A recent writer

in the “ Atlantic Monthly " has given a tradition, bushes, with which much of the island is covered. but it is neither satisfactory nor reliable. In- Passing through Tisbury into Chilmark, we deed, the entire article is more of a caricature crossed a range of high hills, and went to the than a representation of facts. The writer was heart of the reservation without seeing a single a passing visitor, and has taken up and repeated native. The roads were far from being good, and the language of several porters and loungers at it was not till the journey grew wearisome that we the steamboat landing as specimens of the man reached the point of destination. The keeper of ners and customs of the island. It is well the light-house received our company, and enterknown that no community can be correctly tained us with the utmost cordiality, at the same judged by such a standard. A residence of six time directing our attention to the points of prinmonths and a somewhat extended intercourse cipal interest, and assisting us in the search for with the people has led us to the conclusion that fossils, which are here found in great abundance. they will not suffer, intellectually or morally, by We were soon convinced that the “Gay Head" comparison with any other section of the coun cliffs are to be reckoned among the wonders of try. Though isolated in a measure, there are nature. They form a bold promontory about probably more persons among the Vineyarders one hundred and fifty feet high, pushing out into that have circumnavigated the globe, and looked the sea as if in defiance of the waters that wage upon all phases of human society, than can be unceasing warfare against the intrusion. Their found any where else in the same amount of construction is altogether peculiar. They are population. In churches and schools they are composed chiefly of ocher of almost every conalso fully up to the reputation of New England ceivable color and hue, in irregular but distinct at large.

layers. Seen at a little distance from the shore, The Vineyard, with some small islands in the with the rays of the setting sun upon them, this immediate vicinity, formerly belonged to New coloring stands out with more distinctness than York, but is now attached to the state of Massa- that of the rainbow, and, stretching along with chusetts. It embraces three townships; namely, its lofty attitude for nearly a mile, is truly magEdgartown, Tisbury, and Chilmark, which to- nificent. Excursion parties not unfrequently gether constitute Dukes county, with a popula- visit the place, and lie off in their boats at suntion of from five to six thousand. A large pro- set, that they may witness the display. As it is portion of these depend on the sea for a liveli- difficult landing, such companies do not usually hood, though agriculture and the mechanic arts go on shore. are by no means neglected. There is on the The cliffs also contain masses of rock, seawestern portion of the island an Indian reserva- pebbles, and sand that have evidently been fused tion of eleven hundred acres, still owned and by intense heat, and are now as firmly bound occupied by the original “lords of the manor."' | together as the component parts of granite itself. The natives, however, are now few in number, And then, too, there are layers or ledges of and are rapidly melting away. Their existence gravel that contain great quantities of fossils. as a tribe is already more nominal than real, Here, more than a hundred feet above the level and the indications are clear that before the of the sea, we found sharks' teeth in a most perresistless tread of the white man's civilization fect state of preservation, together with petrified they will soon wholly disappear. Their lands bones of the body, as also clams, and a variety include many rich cranberry meadows, and are of specimens not easily classified.

We were reckoned of considerable value.

also shown the vertebræ of the whale and other This section is much visited by strangers, who monsters that it is generally thought have no are attracted thither by the natural wonders con business on dry land. How they came in this nected with the “Gay Head" cliffs. We had position it is of course impossible to tell; but not been many days on the island before we met they are so numerous and so easily secured that visitors on their way to this locality, and all with a few moments' labor every visitor can obwhom we saw returned eloquent in the descrip- tain a supply. Could some of those overhangtion of what they had seen. Among the number ing crags but speak and tell us their history, we were several distinguished geologists and agents should doubtless listen to a wondrous tale of inof scientific institutions from distant parts of the ternal and outbursting fires, and upheaving country. Having a desire to see for ourselves, masses, and hissing waters when their foundawe at length set out by land conveyance for a tions were laid. But they speak not. The tour of the island. The distance from Edgar- secrets of the past are securely locked up, and town is about twenty miles. It was a beautiful the visitor is left to his own reflections. While summer's morning, with a fresh breeze from the gazing on the billows as they come in from a open sea, when we struck into the forest of low heavy sea and leap high against the rocks, it

requires no great stretch of fancy to suppose concealed rocks, and thus aids in giving directhat here is a perpetual war.

Some time in the tion to the commerce of the nation. remote past the crags have won a signal victory, Having occupied two days in the visit to Gay and have made prisoners of multitudes of the Head, and having procured as many specimens denizens of the deep. And now as the elemental as we could wish, our party returned to Edgarbattle rages, when the ocean is stirred to its town, well repaid for the trouble and fatigue of depths and rises up in its fury from the open the journey. With the exception of Niagara, we side of the cliffs, these petrified remains are have never seen its equal for magnificence and laughingly held out to view as trophies of vic- beauty. We doubt not that all who have looked tory. The recoiling billows, maddened at the upon it will agree with us in saying that it is sight, renew the attack, and, while the winds and well worthy a visit from afar. the tides remain their allies, will not cease the Other parts of Martha's Vineyard possess strife. And thus from year to year and age to features of more than ordinary interest. But age the contest continues, and shall continue to we will not detain the reader's attention by the the end of time.

continuance of this article. It is possible that From the brow of the precipice there is a at some future time we may resume the sketch prospect of indescribable beauty. Standing thus by calling attention to the extended whale high above the waters we could look in every fisheries carried on from this and the neighbordirection as far as the eye can reach. Away to ing ports. Connected with this business these the right the main land was dimly seen stretch islanders are able to furnish many facts and in- i ing along the border of the horizon, while with cidents of a most thrilling character. But we the help of the glass the white spires of several will leave them for the present. populous towns were brought within the range of vision. Between us and the continent were several small islands like specks on the bosom

THE PAST. of the ocean, high above which the sea-birds

BY ANNIE M. BEACH. were circling in the air, ever and anon bending

The scenes of the past—they are ours, all ours, to the water in search of prey. To the left was

The buds and blossoms, the sunshine and showers; “No Man's Land," an island whose character

They are painted in colors that never ean die, and history is suggested by its peculiar name. And are hung in the palace of memory. All else seemed a world of restless, moving

The eyes that are now in the death-sleep closed, waters, and we could but exclaim,

The forms that have long in the dust reposed

They are there, all there, as they used to be “ The sea! the sea! the open sea!

Ere they went to the great eternity.
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound,

We sit again by the bright home-blaze
It runneth the earth's wide regions round;

With the friends we sat with in other days,
It plays with the clouds, it mocks the skies,

And we listen to voices, soft and low,
Or like a cradled creature lies."

We have heard in the distant " long ago."

We walk again in the path well trod Near by us stood the lofty tower from whose top

That led us up to the house of God; the light is flashed far out upon the deep, mark We sit in the old accustomed place, ing the course of the mariner, and guiding his And look on each well-remembered face. way amid the perils of storm and darkness.

Again we list to the morning prayer; The channel around “Gay Head" is rocky and The choir are all in their places there; dangerous, and yet the official records assure us And the same sweet bymn to our childhood dear, that more than seventy thousand sail annually Through the long, dim halls of the past, we bear. pass this point. It is not strange, therefore, that

But the years that were have the present been, the United States Government maintains here

And the present now was the future then; one of the best lights on American shores. The And the time to come it shall be our own, present lantern has more than one thousand When now is joined to the ages flown. lenses and prisms, so arranged as once in thirty

We know life cometh not free from care, seconds to give out a flash that can be seen in

And we mingle its colors both sad and fair; favorable weather a distance of sixty miles. It But that which we picture most clear and bright, is the famous Fresnel light, that was on exhibi May change ere then to the darkest night, tion at the World's Fair at Paris, and afterward

And scenes over which a gloom we throw, removed to this place. A few miles off shore As the future cometh may brighter grow. there is also a light carried at the mast-head of We can not tell, it is all unknown, a boat securely anchored, that marks a ledge of But the past is changeless-our own, onr own.

BY MRS. H. C. GARDNER.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE IRISH PEDDLER.

down again on the door-step and began to make faces at the baby, which sat on the ground and

was luxuriously digging its bare toes into the NHERE is that good-for-nothing, lazy Irish- warm, loose sand.

man again. I believe he thinks he was “So you are not at work, Phelim," I began created on purpose to enjoy himself. His wife is without any preface, for I was outraged by his off to her work bright and early, and it is nearly evident content. dark when she comes back. I declare I've “No, ma'am. Work is all down now. Eh, watched them till I am thoroughly disgusted with Teddy? Have a care, lad. Sit sthraighter an' him."

ye would not bury yer purty nose in the gravel." “Well then, Mary,” said my father, as I hand- The baby righted itself, and with a little help from ed him his fourth cup of Mocha at the breakfast its father gained its feet and stood up holding by table, “I will give you a word of advice. Sup some twigs and grass that grew out between the pose you try to confine your energies to the super- steps. vision of your own affairs."

"Your wife seems to get work without any "I can't, father. To think of that little spirit- trouble,” said I. ed woman slaving all day over the wash-tub to “ Thrue for ye! Nelly has plinty to do, bless feed and clothe such a great lazy lout! And he her! An' she had ten hands, it's busy and minds the baby!" I added quickly, for I saw my profitable would be the whole o' the lot. She's father was ready to interrupt me. My nose fairly a rare one, is Nelly. There! Kape on yer feet, twitched with contempt.

Teddy, acushla, or ye 'll be afther splittin' yer “I have inquired about the man, Mary,” said swate countenance on the door-sill.

Steady, my father, calmly, "and I find that the stopping boy!" of the mills has thrown him and many others out

Have

you tried to get work?” I asked. “You of work. I hear that he has worked at garden- look well and strong." ing in the north of England, and as we shall “Sthrong! That's the word. It's thrue as a need some one as soon as Peter leaves for Kan- praste's oath. Ivery word o' it. Sthrong!" He sas, perhaps you had better go over there after stretched up his great brawny arm to confirm his breakfast and find out something about him."

words. “There's timber for ye. None o' yer “0, father!" I remonstrated. "You don't pine splinters, but rigelar heart o' oak. An' it think of hiring such a shiftless, lazy person! The plaze ye, miss, I was called the sthrongest man grounds and garden will go to ruin, and you will in all the counthree at home. An' we've no dilhave it all to pay for.”

icate well paple there, barrin' the sick. Sthrong! “Why, Mary!" exclaimed my father, turning It's enough to make a hin howl wi' pure rapture, toward me with some surprise, “you seem to to hear yer American native brag o' his mighty have lost all your charitable feelings.”

backbone. An' little Teddy here has a fist o' "I have none for him, that it is certain." his own that they might pattern afther wi' profit.

I was really indignant with the big good | Teddy knows it is so." natured Irishman, who spent half of his time in The baby laughed merrily as if he understood the sun before his door, whistling and singing it all. His face dimpled all over, and his little and talking to the baby or carrying it about in short curls blowing in the breeze made liim a his arms while it slept. Long years of illness very attractive picture. But I was not out on a had made me a little querulous and uncertain tour of admiration, so I stifled the impulse I felt in regard to the doings of those around me, and to pat the round chubby cheek. I had very little patience with want of thrift or "But why do n't you work, Phelim?" I asked shiftlessness in any form. I had watched him again. “It's a shame for such a great stout day after day for a fortnight, hoping that such a man to sit idle." spectacle of lazy enjoyment would vanish, and " It's the mill, miss, as is gin out intirely, an' every succeeding day feeling more and more as no wonder at all. The jarring and sthraining if I had a right to meddle with the matter. And and thumpin' were enough to wear out a mountnow, as I stood at the dining-room window after ain. It's bad ack, miss, but ye see, grumblin' breakfast and impatiently listened to the merry won't mend the broken ould wheels or pay us the tune he was whistling, I felt that I could endure wages. Whist! Teddy, darlin'. Ye'll trip yeit no longer, so I resolutely put on my bonnet self, may be, if ye reach for the leddy's mantle.” and went over to give him a piece of my mind. “But why," I persisted, “do n't you try someHe received me with the greatest respect and thing else? If the mills have stopped it is no deference, and invited me to sit down on a rough reason for letting your family starve." bench in the shade of the house. Then he sat "Starve!" No words can describe the con

« PreviousContinue »