Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches

Text for Page 203

              [Gunn�s handwriting]
Morris� doings.     From the Home Journal.

[newspaper clipping]
Letter from K. N. Pepper.
  MESSRS. EDITORS,�Did you ever hear of �Ber-
lin Falls��with the accent on the first sylla-
ble of �Berlin?�  As your reply to this straight-
forward question would be several days coming,
and I can�t wait, I will make bold to say �No!�
in your stead, for I�m quite sure you never did.
Out of sympathy, I am sorry; for it is my delib-
erate conviction�based on a stay which already
has extended to six weeks, and now bids fair to
cover at least six more�that �not to know�
Berlin Falls, ought to �argue one�s self un-
known.�  Had it received its plain deserts, all
such as love refined enjoyments would long ago
have known this lovely valley and paid tribute
to its charms.
  How well I remember the reluctance with
which I left New-York�much as I wished to
escape the terrific �Fourth,� and vitally as I
languished in the fearful atmosphere whose poi-
son had begun to infuse itself into my veins�to
gratify a friend who had spent a summer here,
and who kept �The mountains!�the moun-
tains!� ringing in my ears perpetually for two
weeks before I finally �succumbed� and packed
up!  For, like Lamb, I love the city, and my
bosom ever yearns toward it with affection.  I
hate to travel; I always did hate to travel.  I
now confess, with groans and other signs of con-
trition, that I grumbled all the way, hurting my
friend�s feelings by indulging the frequent wish
that we were �well out of this,� and back in
New-York, whose dust and heat, and even the
exasperating chimes of Trinity church, I declared
were grown dear to me.  Now we were freezing,
now melting; now starving, and now obliged to
eat under circumstances of profound aggravation.
There were fogs, there was rain, there was rolling
of boats, there were cars running away from us,
cars that never would start, wrong cars, bad
tickets, and a thousand other genii whom I 
called up, only so see them waved back to no-
thingness, with a placid smile, by my sweet-
tempered friend, whom I suppose I should call
Magnanimity herself, and done with it.
  At last, the courteous conductor�who had
seemed, soon after leaving Portland, to single
me out as an object of compassion�called our
attention to a not very distant view of Mount
Washington and some of his sisters and brothers
�not the conductor�s, but the mountain�s.  Then
I waked up.  I hadn�t the heart to murmur 
any longer.
  �This is Gorham,� soon afterward explained
our friend, �where people usually stop who
come to visit Mount Washington.�
  We glanced at the big �Alpine House,� look-
ing rather stiff and uninviting, and I was glad
we weren�t going to stop there, any way, tired
and hungry as I was.
  �Only six miles farther,� said my companion,
  By and by we swept into the valley where
rushes, leaps, and struggles the glorious Andro-
scoggin�our future friend, whose voice, all
music, was thenceforth to sing perpetually in our
  �Here we are!� cried the enchanter who had
spirited me away, and who was scarcely more
delighted than I, at having arrived in safety, and
left all care and trouble behind.  The conductor
bowed, and off we started for the �Hotel.�
  �This is �the country,� isn�t it?� I exclaimed,
as we paused in our uneven path and surveyed
the scenery of the place, and took in, at a glance,
the half-score buildings which comprise the vil-
  �And aren�t you glad it is!� said my friend,
with a sort of quiet fervor that I thought I could
understand.  �Listen to the sweet noise of the
falls!�breathe this scented air, so balmy and
delicious!�look at that fine wooded height be-
fore us, at this lovely mountain close behind
us, at those glorious peaks in the distance!
They are Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Moriah;
and there�do you see that ghostly shape that
seems to shrink behind the others?  That is 
Mount Washington, the noblest height this side
the Rocky Mountains!  And don�t you feel the
quiet of the spot�the sweet repose, the Sabbath
stillness?  Isn�t it good to be with Nature?�
  �It is!� I replied.  �And although we are
but four hours from Portland�where, I dis-
tinctly remember, we had a sumptuous break-
fast�I feel that it would be good to be with
some of Nature�s fruits and vegetables, and even 
some of your friend Mr. Forist�s beefsteak; for
I am hungered.�
  �Enough,� sighed my companion; �you
have taken that fatal step which banishes one
from the realm of the sublime and inducts him
into the domain of the ridiculous.  Let�s go to
  Our host�who is two or three uncommon men
rolled into one�advanced, like a well-fed Saul,
to meet us.  He gladly welcomed my companion
back to the mountains; and, as for me, his
warm and kindly greeting would have broken
ice of prodigious thickness, had there been any
to break.
  How good that diner tasted!  What nice
people we were to have for fellow sojourners!
How orderly and quiet the attendants seemed!
How pleasant it was to get somewhere, at last, with
no more thought of trunks, checks, dust, whis-
tles, accidents, damages, wooden legs, etc.
  I am in love!�in love with a mountain!  It
is the noblest, loveliest, sweetest, gracefulest,
charmingest thing in nature!  It is only half-a-
mile or so from the hotel, and has the odd habit
of following one all over town, like a dog!�
pshaw! like a benevolent genius that takes a
friendly interest in one and �hankers� after
one�s society.  That isn�t it, either; but I won�t
try again.
  It�s a great thing to be among mountains.  It
is supreme delight to stroll, of an evening, along
by the noisy Androscoggin, and listen to its
never-tiring declamation, and at the same time
to watch the sunset in the distant mountains,
which glow and �warm up,� as our young artist-
friend W�st says, splendidly, and in variety of
tints rival the dying dolphin�and then slowly
robe themselves in a sober night-dress and go to
sleep in the moonlight!  Then one may return,
by the winding road, inhaling eagerly the exqui-
site scent of the moist balsamic trees, and now
and then going to the high banks of the river,
to be delighted with the waves sporting in the
cool beams of the moon, or the shadowy and
enchanting mist that eases from the numerous
falls, to complete the engaging picture.  It is
time, then, to gather in the sitting-room of the
hotel, where a crackling fire blazes on the open
hearth, and have a good �old-fashioned� sort
of chat, enlivened by Mr. Forist�s graphic and
side-splitting stories, of which he seems to possess
an inexhaustible supply, and now and then a
song, or a quiet game of cards.  Think of a place
where fires may be a treat in midsummer!  And
think of going to bed at ten, and rather liking
it!�and of walks before breakfast!�and fresh
berries and milk, and spirits (not the kind you
drink,) to begin the day with!
  T. Starr King, in his recent exquisite volume,
devoted to the scenery of the White Mountains,
pays warm regard to Berlin Falls; but the en-
gravings with which he illustrates some of its
�views� are certainly inadequate.  Mr. King
has a high opinion of our host, with whom he
has corresponded since going to California.  The
Rev. Mr. Magoon, now of Albany, who is a well-
known patron of the fine arts, came out here,
the other day, with the young artist I have
mentioned, whom he commissioned to paint a
number of scenes in the vicinity.  He was
charmed with Mr. Forist, with whom he laughed
and joked at a great rate, and, finally, taking
his hand, spoke as follows:
  �Most men are like their portraits, all head
and shoulders; but you {surveying him with
admiration}are a man all over.�
  People are just waking up to the charms of
Berlin Falls.  Several lawyers, who have resided
in the country for years, lately �stopped� to try
a case before Mr. Forist, (who is Justice of the
Peace, Road Commissioner, and what not,) and
in the evening took a survey of the falls by
moonlight.  They were amazed that they had
lived in ignorance of such a spot!  If they had
ever passed through the village, it had been as
lawyers, and not as men of feeling.  What a
  It isn�t a watering-place.  It isn�t fashionable,
and never will be.  Here is no place for display.
The people are plain, simple, honest, straight-
forward, (except the man who stole my hat,)
and they naturally like persons of a similar
  If I write again, I�ll tell you some funny sto-
ries.  Come up, if you want to be made over
new.			JACQUES MAURICE.               
Loading content ...