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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL

00025330259

This book may be kept out one month unless a recall notice is sent to you. It must be brought to the North Carolina Collection (in Wilson Library) for renewal.

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Form No. A-369

THE LIBRARY OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF

NORTH CAROLINA

AT CHAPEL HILL

THE COLLECTION OF NORTH CAROLINIANA

PRESENTED BY

John L. Sanders

C813 D86b c. 2

SHEPHERD M. DUGGER.

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THE

BALSAM GROVES

OF THE

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN:

A TALE OF THE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

MOUNTAINS.

TOGETHER WITH

INFORMATION RELATING TO THE SECTION AND ITS

HOTELS, ALSO A TABLE SHOWING THE HEIGHT

OF IMPORTANT MOUNTAINS, ETC.

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BY

SHEPHERD M. DUGGER.

ILLUSTR.A.TKD.

BANNER ELK :

SHEPHERD M. DUGGER. 1892.

Copyright, 1892, by Shepherd M. Dugger.

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

TO THE LOVERS OF

THE SUBLIME AND THE BEAUTIFUL,

AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE GRASPED MY MOUNTAIN PALM, THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED.

THE AUTHOR.

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PREFACE.

As the firm foundation of a house is less at- tractive than the painted columns and modillions which it sup2:>orts, so the first chapter of our story is the stratum of understanding that under- lies a more beautiful fabric of knowledge. It locates the scenes in Western North Carolina, on the great evergreen Grandfather Mountain, whose highest point is the everlasting corner- stone of three counties, Watauga, Caldwell, and Mitchell.

The object of the author has been to supply the great need of a book that would introduce to the outside world a section of country which, until recently, has been almost unknown and obscure, but nevertheless is rich in soil, replete with iron ore, and with fine forests of valuable trees, checkered with rapid, flowing streams of limpid water, decked with a thousand hills, fortressed with ponderous mountains tall and rugged, and pictured with wild and varied land- scapes.

The writer was cradled in the loving arms of

i* 5

6 PREFACE.

maternal toil in one of the first rude log cabins constructed in the morning and evening shadows of the beautiful mountains with which he has grown up in love, and every scene described is as familiar to him as w^ere the blooming vines in which the humming-birds nestled around the home of his childhood.

'' The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather Mountain" is a story founded on facts. The roads, streams, fountains, places, mountains, and distances are real ; the picture of the character Rollingbumb will be hailed with delight by thousands of mountaineers, who will recognize it as the likeness of a familiar friend ; the de- scription of the Salmer estate on the banks of the Linville will touch to tears a prominent gentleman now residing in the city of Richmond, Virginia ; and the genuine name William West Skiles will thrill the hearts of many a North Carolinian.

" The Western Gate- way to the Highlands," following the story, is as fair a representation of truth as the writer could possibly formulate ; and " The Hotels in the Land of the Sky" is intended to be such an unerring guide to health- and pleas- ure-seekers that strangers will not be disappointed when they visit the scenes.

The search for the body of Rev. Elisha

PREFACE. 7

Mitchell, D.D., having been written by Hon. Z. B. Vance, needs no comment.

For the ^' Journal of Andre Michaux" and its introduction, we are indebted to the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia.

Three of the poems, viz., " The Land of the Sky,'' "The Iron Horse is Coming," and " Boone," have been furnished by our esteemed friend, "The Bard of the Highlands;" while " The Ballad of the Beech" has fallen from the euphonious quill of " Chuckey Joe," our estima- ble former associate from the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

The table of North Carolina elevations has been collected from heights ascertained and pub- lished by State and United States officials.

In the ample field which our little volume discloses, the most luxuriant rambler may range at large, visiting streams and mountains in end- less variety and extent, and, after his boldest excursions, he can only wing his way in imagi- nation among the splendid objects that are still before him.

The Author.

INTRODUCTION.

"THE LAND OF THE SKY."

Will you come to Grandfather, " The Land of the

Sky," Where a banquet of glory is spread for the eye, Where scenes of enchantment enravish the soul, And reason to rapture surrenders control.

Where the mountains do rear their summits above The storm and the cloud, to the regions of love; Where waters go dashing down rocky declines. And the hills are covered with evergreen vines.

Where boastino; musicians are wont to retire

When the bird of the mountain tunes his sweet lyre,

And lends to his melody wings that can fly,

To scatter his song through " The Land of the Sky."

Where fountains are gushing from every hill-side. All sparkling and cold as a health-giving tide ; An elixir of life more tempting to sip Than the cup that presses the Bacchanal's lip.

Where the air is freighted with sweetest perfume Wafted from the flower when full in its bloom, And the breezes that float o'er mountain's tall peak Give back the invalid the rose to his cheek ?

9

10 INTRODUCTION.

Ye seekers of pleasure, oppressed by the heat, Come to this region, 'tis a pleasant retreat ; Ye ones that are feeble, why linger and die. Come up to this beautiful " Land of the Sky."

By a. M. D., the Bard of the Highlands.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTERS I.— T. pages

The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather Mountain A Story in Five Brief Chapters, associating the Quaint and Uncultured Pioneer Mountaineers with the Eefined and Learned of the City 13-93

CHAPTER YI.

The Western Gate- Way to the Highlands The Cranberry Railroad The Yale of the Watauga Andrew Johnson Thomas A. R. Nelson The Heroes of King's Mountain William G. Brownlow Andrew Jackson The Taylor Brothers, Bob and Alf Landen C. Haynes The Stem- Winder The Doe River Gorge Roan Mountain Station and Cloudland Hotel The Cranberry Iron-Mines The Future of Elizabeth town A Railroad Poem 94-107

CHAPTER YII.

The Hotels in the Land of the Sky— Elk Park— Banner Elk Cranberry Hotel The Cranberry Mines Linville Hax- lan P. Kelsey's Nursery of Wild Flowers, Forest Trees, etc. Eseeola Inn The Yonahlossee Road, the Grandest Drive in the South Grandfather Hotel ShuU's Mills Blowing Rock, the Popular Summer Resort on the Crest of the Blue Ridge Boone (the Highest Court-House in North Caro- lina) described in Elegant Yerse Yalle Crucis (Yale of the Cross) 108-143

CHAPTER YIIL

The Journal of Andre Michaux, the French Naturalist, who travelled in the Mountains of North Carolina in July and August, 1794, gathering Shrubs, Seeds, and Plants for the

11

12 CONTENTS.

PAGES

Koyal Gardens of Paris A Brief Sketch of his Life An Ex- tract from his Diary, including his Journey to Black Moun- tain, Roan, Yellow, Grandfather, Hawk-bill, Table Rock, etc., together with the Names of the Plants he collected: highly Entertaining to all Persons interested in the History of Botanical Discovery in America 144-160

A Dictionary or Altitudes showing the Heights of Im- portant Places and Mountains in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee 161-174

CHAPTER IX.

The Search for the Body of Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D.D., written by Hon. Z. B. Vance A Dispute between Dr. Mitchell and Hon. T. L. Clingman as to which of the Two Gentlemen had been First to determine the Altitude of the Highest Peak East of the Mississippi River Dr. Mitchell resolves to settle the Matter by a Second Measurement and the AflSdavits of his Former Guides He is Lost on Black Mountain A Ten Days' Search by the Good Citizens The Body found in a Pool of Water Its Removal, Inter- ment, etc 175-187

THE BALSAM GROVES

OF THE

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN.

CHAPTEE I.

THE GRANDFATHER.

A lowly thatched cottage in humble attire, With chimney adaub and a broad open fire ; A string for its latch-key, three strangers within. And far away moved from the city's loud din.

The lay of my land and tlie lays of my story are commingled in the zigzag windings of moun- tain topograj^liy.

The general direction of the Blue Ridge is from northeast to southwest, but on a sublime spot in North Carolina it swerves and runs north for the distance of three miles, and then turns again by an acute angle towards its terminus in the cotton-fields of Alabama.

The intelligent reader will now understand that the part of the Blue Ridge generally spoken of as the " South Side" here faces the west, and

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14 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

wliat would otherwise have beeu the " Western Slope" of the great water-shed catches the golden gleams of the rising sun.

This digression in the backbone of the Appa- lachians is also characterized by a deep saddle- like depression called "Linville Gap," in the centre of which the forest is now broken by a verdant meadow about a half a mile in length from east to west, and half as broad.

The pommel of this elegant land-saddle, rising to the south, forms the beautiful dome of Grand- father Mountain, five thousand nine hundred and ninety-six feet above the foam of the sea ; while the rear of the equestrian fixture rises into the less elevated but equally pleasing heights of Dun- vegan, culminating in twin towers of stone man- tled with ivy and plumed with ferns.

From the beautiful green turf on the eastern declivity of the mead referred to gushes and trickles the first streamlets of the Watauga, which, being of the Indian vernacular, is said by some to mean " Beautiful River," by others, " River of Islands," and by still others, *' River of Reeds."

On the western slope of the sweet-sodded meadow, and not more than a stone's cast from the sparkling source of the Watauga, rises the rippling river of Linville, which took its name

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 15

from a family of that nomenclature who once occupied its banks.

The Cherokee name for Linville is Eseeola; and, while those conversant with Indian lore have not defined the word, it probably had its origin in the great cataract of that stream, now designated as '"Linville Falls."

These two crystal rivers are so kindred at their sources that each could easily be turned into the other by a ditch ; and yet they flow in opposite directions and retreat into different climes, the Linville passing through the min- gled waters of the Catawba, the Wateree, and the Santee to the Atlantic Ocean, while the Watauga finds its way through the channels of the Hol- ston, the Tennessee, the Ohio, and the Mississipj)i to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Watauga, as it rushes and dallies to the northeast, rumbles and tumbles over ledges and boulders, under boughs of laurel and pine, re- ceiving its pellucid tributaries from the green glades of the Grandfather on the right, and from the Ginseng and Crawley region, in the foot-hills of Dunvegan, on the left. At the end of three precipitous miles from its rise, its united torrents have lost their leapings and blended into a sweetly murmuring stream that splits in twain a gradually widening valley, at the upper

16 THE BALSAM GROVES OF -

end of which once lived a man by the name of Tom Toddy, who obtained his bread by hus- bandry, and his meat from the spoils of his gun. His lone log cabin stood on the left bank of the " Beautiful River," leaving space between for a narrow yard and the dim road outside.

One lovely evening in the month of July, 1860, when Sol was shooting his last golden arrows across the mountain-tops from his rosy couch beyond the horizon, two men and a lady, well mounted on good steeds, called for admittance at this humble cottage.

Mr. Toddy knew the older gentleman to be the " Good" William West Skiles, an Episcopa- lian clergyman who kept a school at Valle Crucis (Vale of the Cross), ten miles below on the Watauga.

Of the two whose faces were not familiar in that quarter, the gentleman was Mr. Leather- shine, who had been expelled from an institution of learning in the eastern part of the State, and afterwards received by Mr. Skiles at Valle Crucis, because it was supposed that in that sequestered spot there was no land for the culture of wild oats.

The beautiful young lady, Miss Lidie Meaks, was one of the faculty of St. Mary's School, in the city of Raleigh. She was a medium-sized,

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 17

elegant figure, wearing a neatly fitted travelling dress of black alpaca. Her raven black hair, copious both in length and volume and figured like a deep river rippled by the wind, was parted in the centre and combed smoothly down, orna- menting her pink temples with a flowing tracery that passed round to its modillion windings on a graceful crown. Her mouth was set with pearls adorned with elastic rubies and tuned with minstrel lays, while her nose gracefully concealed its own umbrage, and her eyes im- parted a radiant glow to the azure of the sky. Jewels of plain gold were about her ears and her tapering strawberry hands, and a golden chain, attached to a timekeeper of the same material, sparkled on an elegantly rounded bosom that was destined to be pushed forward by sighs, as the reader will in due time observe. Modest, benevolent, and mild in manners, she was probably the fairest of North Carolina's daughters.

The host received his three guests with the words, " We are poor, but you are welcome to such as we have." When they had dismounted and come near the door, Mrs. Toddy apologized for the size and inconvenience of the domicile by saying, " Come in, if you can get in." But Mr. Skiles, knowing the embarrassment that strange

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18 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

company brings upon the culinary labors of a one-room cabin, replied that they would enjoy the breezes of the yard, and view the entrancing beauties of the great evergreen Grandfather, to whose lofty sum mitt they were going on the morrow.

In plain view, on the northern slope of the mountain, was the upright, stupendous profile of a man carved in rock and plumed with ferns, and in the furrows of his face, worn by the lapse of time, clung and crept the most beautiful flowers and vines. Pointing towards this figure with his cane, the minister said, '^ See the old man of the mountains; when that is silvered with frost or blanched with snow it has the ap- pearance of great age, and hence the pioneers called it the Grandfather, and the mountain of which it is a part Grandfather Mountain."

"Between the old man and the high top," said Miss Meaks, " is a beautiful green tower, as if supported within by a column of stone."

"Methinks," replied the clergyman, "that is called the Haystack, from its marked resem- blance to a mound of hay."

The dame, who was preparing supper over the open fire within, was listening with awe to the high-flown conversation without, and, as she drew a shovelful of glowing coals from beneath

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIK. 19

the forestick to put under the oven of bread, she muttered, " I don't know how to cook for * big-bugs.' I've got nothin' fit for Equality/ and I wish they'd a-stayed at home."

At this instant the attention of the party was attracted by a passing hunter, by the name of Rollingbumb, who, having some business with Mr. Toddy, stepped into the yard with a great wild turkey swung under his arm by a withe, which, passing diagonally up his breast, formed a cross with the leathern strap of his shot-pouch that hung on the other side. He was a square- shouldered man, six feet tall, with a long firelock rifle on his shoulder, while from beneath his buckskin moccasins peeped some blades of grass, as if to complain of being ill-used. His face was round, with great facilities for a beard, though, like Julius Caesar, he never wore one. His high forehead was half obscured by a brim- less coon-skin cap, having the beautifully ringed tail of the animal attached to the hinder part, where it hung down his back, and rolled to and fro at the will of a gentle breeze. He wore a Turkey-red blouse, in native parlance, "hunt- ing-shirt," the same being drawn close about him by the long corners, which were tied to- gether in front just below the waistband of his homespun pants. Such was the development of

20 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

hair about his chest and shoulders, that it grew up and hung out over his shirt-collar in black l^rofusion like a fringe. This feature of his person was so significant that a deaf-mute, who made himself understood by motioning, told that RoUingbumb had killed a bear, by indicating that it was done by the man with a hairy neck.

Mr. Skiles approached the hunter and asked to see his game, whereupon he placed his thumb under the withe and, passing it quickly over his cap, laid the great bird on the ground. The minister examined the graceful beard, which was twelve inches in length ; the lady, spreading to full width the tail, found it ornamented with a border which, in the arrangement and brilliancy of its colors, was like a miniature rainbow ; but Leathershine examined the shot which had en- tered one side and passed out on the other.

RoUingbumb, who lived but a mile farther down the Watauga, now equipped himself to continue his journey homeward; but, before taking leave, he said pleasantly, in his rude dialect, " Strangers, what mout yer names be ?'* Leathershine, speaking quickly for the party, said in reply, " They mout be Jones, or they mout be Smith, or they mout be Vance." E,oll- ingbumb, being a man of native intelligence, and therefore understanding the import of the

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, 21

sarcasm, turned his hawk eyes upon the critic and said, in a firm voice, **I*m an unlearnt man ; but if you fool with me, sir, 111 knock you as flat as a pancake."

Mr. Skiles, being mortified at the conduct of his student, took the hunter by the hand and expressed regrets, both for himself and Miss Meaks, that he had been thus insulted, while Leathershine sat upon a stump and looked " like the boy the calf ran over."

A few moments later, supper being-announced, Mr. Toddy sat at the head of the table and his wife at the opposite extremity of the small but hospitable board, with her back towards the fireplace, which was in the east end of the cabin. The two more distinguished guests occu- pied the side next the open door, while Leather- shine, seated in front of them, cast " a lean and hungry look" on the bear meat before him.

After a blessing had been asked, the host said, " Help yourselves ;" and the hostess, in her course of apologies for the plain repast and the rude table furniture, said, "Poor folks have poor ways." The minister assured them that they should ever be thankful to the Master for such as their table afforded ; and, indeed, he was right, for, in addition to the flesh of Bruin, it contained corn-bread, milk, butter, Irish potatoes, green

22 TEE BALSAM GROVES OF

corn, and that choice variety of honey gathered from the linden tree.

While the evening meal was being enjoyed with a hearty relish, the children, three in number, George, ten years old, with his younger brother and sister, waited by the fire, and sang in perfect harmony the beautiful lines below, which their mother had often sung to them as a lullaby. From the best information we can gather, these ancient stanzas were composed in " Merry Eng- land," and transmitted, through successive gen- erations, from British soldiers who were captured during the war for independence, and settled in the new republic after the terms of peace were concluded.

A sitting one cold winter's nigbt,

A drinking of sweet wine, A courting of that pretty little Miss

That stole that heart of mine.

She is like some pink or rose

That blooms in the month of June,

Or like some musical instrument That is newly put in tune.

Oh, fare you well, my dearest dear,

Oh, fare you well for a while ; I go away, but I'll come back again,

If I go ten thousand miles.

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 23

Oh, who will shoe my feet, my dear,

And who will glove my hands ? Or who will kiss my ruby lips,

When you're in foreign lands ?

Your brother will shoe your feet, my dear, Your mother will glove your hands ;

And I will kiss your ruby lips When I return again.

Oh, don't you see that turtle-dove

A flying from vine to vine ? A mourning the loss of its own true love,

As I shall mourn for mine.

In due time Mrs. Toddy replenished the dishes with warm food, and, before reoccupying her seat at the table, she set the ovens away from the fire, shovelled up the dead coals with which the supper had been cooked and threw them behind the back log, just prior to sweeping the hearth.

Subsequently the guests, together with the family, formed a social circle around the blazing logs, which were not uncomfortable, and yet not needed, except to light the conversation, in a domicile where lamps were not a part of the furniture.

Some inquiries, made by the strangers, about the fauna of the country led the host to relate rare hunting tales of his own experience, of which we will give only one, as follows : He

24 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

said that several years previous to that time, while spending a night in the woods of the Grandfather, he used a venison ham for a pillow, first placing some dry leaves between it and his head to protect his cheek from the raw flesh. When the gloom of midnight had mantled his couch of moss in darkness and Somnus scarcely lifted his chest with breathing, he was ousted by sharp claws passing over his bald scalp. As he sprang to his feet and grabbed his gun, a panther, that had now stolen his pillow, screamed forth the signal of a victorious departure.

It was now time to retire, and the house con- tained but three beds, all of which were in one room, the only room, and generally occupied by the family. But in those days the ladies con- structed temporary bed-chambers by taking two large curtains, each about the size of a counter- pane, and either hanging them from the joists or supporting them on frames, one along the side of the bed, and the other at right angles to it across the foot. These were generally made of large-flowered calico, and decorated with such ruffles and laces as the wealth and skill of the times could employ.

Such luxuriant sleeping fixtures, however, could be afforded only by the "bon-tons" of log-house society, who were sometimes classed

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 25

by their jealous inferiors among the "big- bugs."

Mrs. Toddy was not a "bon-ton," but sbe rendered one bed private, nevertheless, by hang- ing up two quilts in the manner that curtains were hung by those who could afford them.

This sleeping apartment, in the northwest corner of the cabin, was occupied by four per- sons,— Miss Meaks and her hostess at the head, and the two younger children, with their feet in the opposite direction, at the foot. This eco- nomical mode of sleeping, by which the taper- ing ends of human anatomy are fitted together like the teeth of a shark, is still practised in some remote neighborhoods around Grandfather Mountain.

Another bed, opposite the first, though not so close in the corner, was on a poorly tenoned 'stead, which sent its old-fashioned turned posts up to an extraordinary height, and, being loose in its mortise joints, had twice wrecked with its occu- pants and fallen side wise onto the floor. For this reason a low bed, that was trundled endways from beneath the one that was concealed by the curtains, was prepared for Mr. Skiles and his student. But when the minister was apprized of the arrangement, he evaded the young man by inviting Mr. Toddy to share his bed, saying

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26 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

that he wanted to tell his friends that he had slept with a hunter whose midnight pillow had been stolen by a panther.

This kind and complimentary invitation being accepted, the original sleeping plan was disor- ganized, and Leathershine slept on the perilous bedstead with little George Toddy.

An hour later, when a stray splinter about the smouldering fire caught ablaze and cast a glim- .mering light upon the log joists above, the sleep- less dame was soliloquizing about the hazardous bed. '' If Mr. Toddy had slept with George," thought she, "he would have turned himself cautiously on the mattress, and thus saved the 'stead from falling ; but now it would be most sure to tumble with the young man, in which event he would think that the cabin had been overturned by an earthquake, while iier own chum and the bed-fellow of her husband would leap from their slumber in fright."

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 27

CHAPTER 11.

HOSPITALITY.

The skies with luminaries shine,

Yet seven thunders roar; Fatality her works design,

Through cycles evermore.

When George Toddy awoke in the morning, the sweet-scented breakfast was cooking in the ovens over the glowing coals on the hearth, and the great wood fire was sweetly roaring to the strong suction of the flue above.

The little birds carolling from the trees had invited the minister from the couch of his morn- ing dreams; and he had gone from the house to view the safii'on streamers from the rising sun, or to see the speckled beauties through the crystal waters of the Watauga, or to give the lady of the cottage room and ease of mind.

The young lady, who was now dressing behind the curtain quilts, soon emerged and washed in the wooden basin on the block outside the door, wiped on the flaxen towel by the inside of the threshold, smoothed her hair with the horn comb, and, careful to ask for nothing that the

28 TEE BALSAM GROVES OF

cabin might not afford, she only inquired where she would be least in the way, and then took a seat in the corner.

It was now past George's time to be up, but he had been dreadino; to crawl over his new and sleepy partner who was in front. The head of the bed which they occupied was towards the fire, and the door opened back against it. Be- tween the foot-board and the wall beyond was a space of about three feet, which gave room for a tub that sat in the corner.

At length Leathershine awoke and, rubbing his hollow eyes, gave a sleepy groan. On his elbow he raised himself and looked wonderingly at Miss Meaks, who kept her eyes steadily on the cooking. He now put on his " studying- cap" to solve the mystery of secret dressing under the one-room government, and the aper- ture behind the foot-board was selected as a place where that task might be successfully per- formed, provided he could land himself safely into it. So, leaving one cover on George, he rolled the rest up lengthwise on the front railing, leaving between a kind of trough, in which he lay full length on his back. Pressing his heels firmly against the straw mattress, and lifting his body with his hands, he drew himself forward, his knees going upward like a measuring-worm

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 29

passing over a pair of trousers. One more measure and his long legs dangled across and beyond the foot-board.

While in this attitude, George discovered in the lower part of the under-garment that clothed the upper half of his person a large round hole, that seemed to have been made by an accidental fire in the laundry.

Leathershine was now in a position to pass safely over into the place by the tub where he could dress in seclusion ; but when, in the zenith of his leap, his quick motion, exhilarated by high hopes of success, threw the hole over the bed-post, and as he kicked and dangled in the air, the bed wrecked, and all went thundering collaterally down to the floor.

Miss Meaks and Mrs. Toddy, thinking that a tree had fallen on the house, turned quickly and saw Leathershine sprawling on his face with his palms extended. Mrs. Toddy, being conversant with log-cabin etiquette, ran out at the door, and Miss Meaks, catching on to the style, followed her example.

" Halloo, here !" exclaimed Leathershine,'' is that the kind of chinch dens you sleep on?" said he, referring to the wreck.

" Help me set up the bed," said George, and, after he had repeated the appeal, the young man

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30 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

reluctantly assisted in replacing it upon its legs. The two now passed out of the door, and as they went towards the laughing river to wash in that clear, passing medium the ladies were re-entering the threshold of the cabin ; and when they came near the hearth they discovered that the shock, created by the fall of the bed, had thrown from the chinks above the fire a number of articles, of which the pegging-awl was in the skillet of gravy, the hammer in the pan of cabbage, and the old man's last, being the mould of a very large foot, had broken through the lid into the oven of bread. Also, a lot of falling shoe-pegs had showered so thickly into the gravy and the cabbage that it was impossible to determine which one of those articles of food contained the greatest number of the wooden fastenings.

When the breakfast-table was ready to be oc- cupied, the coffee-pot, which alone had escaped, the wreck unharmed, sat on the floor beside Mrs. Toddy, who reached down and took it by the handle whenever the cups were to be refilled. At the close of the repast, each person had left on his plate a nice little pile of pegs which he had picked from his teeth while masticating fried cabbage or bread overspread with gravy.

The host now took his firelock rifle from the rack, picked his flint, poured fresh powder in the

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNT AIK 31

pan, and then, placing the long hunting-piece upon his shoulder, started to guide his guests on the grand climb. While the flowers were yet cool with the dews of night and the long shad- ows of the morning were falling towards the west, the horses were being tied to the trees at the place where Grandfather Hotel now stands near Linville Gap.

Here their way was to the left by a rising foot- path, which was overlmng with drooping violets and shaded with spreading boughs from ever- green and deciduous trees. Three beauteous miles through umbrageous leaves and fragrant wilds would take them to where morn casts her first queenly robe upon the mountain-top and Sol withdraws the last rosy curtain from the frowning rocks to his ocean bed.

When they had overcome two-thirds of the precipitous clamber, they came to a little bench- like spot of earth which was clothed with ferns, mosses, mitchella, and oxyria, and supj)orting a mixed growth of black spruce {Abies nigra) and balsam [Abies Fraseri), whose matted branches form a beautiful green canopy.

Looking east from this point, the old man of the mountains presents a bold and imposing fig- ure, which in the magnitude and perfection of his features is superior to the Sphinx of the

32 THE BALSAM OROVES OF

Nubian Desert, and always entrances tlie be- holder into dreams of wonder and admiration. While Miss Meaks was admiring this mysterious profile, Leathershine offered her a large rhododen- dron bloom, which she received and fastened on her bosom with a pin. The young man, deeming that she wore it strictly for the sake of the giver, was seized with a sudden emotion which seemed to have no hope of reciprocation from a lady who was so far his superior both in intel- lectual and moral development.

The party now continuing their journey were soon confronted by a high, steep rock, which seemed to cross their way like a wall through which there is no entrance. At its base, how- ever, the track turned to the right, and passing round by ascending curves and zigzags continued its course towards the toj).

About midway up the cliff is an overhang like a cornice, below which the rock is perpendicular, but above this it retreats with the pitch of a Gothic roof. At the top of the upper half, rhododendrons annually hang out their scarlet florescent garments in gay profusion ; but from the multiple crevices in the perpendicular part below grow beautiful grasses, ferns, and wild flowers, always kept green and moist by a little water escaping from above.

THE SPHYNX OF THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN,

NEAR GRANDFATHER HOTEL. (from a Photograph by Nat. W. Taylor, Elk Park, N. C.)

Page 32.

THE GRANDFATHER MOVNTAIK. 33

From the base of tliis cliff gushes and sparkles the coldest perennial spring, isolated from per- petual snow, in the United States. Its highest temperature is 42°, and half a pint from its unpolluted channel quenches the greatest thirst created by an exhaustive climb.

Our acquaintances were resting at this foun- tain, and, having no cup, they were drinking from a concave piece of bark pealed from an oval knot on a tree, when they saw two men ap- proaching along the path by which they had ascended. The eyes of the unknown persons were steadily fixed upon the ground, for between the rocks of this particular place are numerous holes and crevices so dangerous to careless feet that every step requires investigation.

As they came into a spot of sunshine which fell through a narrow vista in the trees, the younger and better dressed of the two turned his eyes upward to see what part of the sky was then occupied by the glorious orb, when Miss Meaks discovered in his face what she thought to be the familiar features of a long-lost friend. The beautiful rhododendron bloom that em- bossed her bosom now rose and fell with a deep sigh that pushed forward the elegantly rounded prospect behind it ; but when his brow returned to the shade of his brim, she doubted her im-

34 THE BALSAM GBOVES OF

pression, and said in silent soliloquy : " Impossi- ble that he who knows not my love could be here. No more shall my heart leap and my lips tremble to the deceitful refraction of light in woods like these. The warm palm I once re- fused will never return, alas ! to reclaim me from my folly. Farewell, good-by, my Charlie; I shall never see you again until I drink the water of Lethe, and return from the Elysian fields not knowing that I ever did you wrong !"

The aj)proaching couple had now come to a curve in the path which placed between them and the seated party the lap of a fallen tree and a little cluster of mountain maple, through whose tangled brush only glimpses of their movino; forms could be seen. The one who was guiding the other now said, in a voice distinctly audible to those who were listening near, " The spring is under the big mossy rock before us."

" Ah !" rejoined the traveller, " when we get there, I will drink to her I once loved, but now only remember ; and if the water is as icy cold as you say, it will be a most suitable beverage for the occasion ; for then I will say, ' Here is to that cold heart that drove me wandering from my country ; that stole the sweet sleep from my midnight pillow and gave me for it insomnia; the heart that charged me with all the flattery

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN: 35

belonging to the untrue of my sex ; and wliile this portion from the living fount of Grand- father shall quench the last smouldering spark of love for her that lingers in my bosom, may some messenger of the gods bear her the news that Charlie was true.' "

36 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

CHAPTEE III.

THE LOVEES.

The rocks that brave the blasts of time

Without a pulse or motion, Support the forms, reflect the sounds,

That tell the heart's commotion.

The words that close tlie previous chapter were understood by none of those at the spring save one, and she had changed her position to conceal some gracious drops that stole down over two roses that had thrice flourished and faded in a few brief moments. After the stranger had expatiated upon the destitution of his heart as set forth in the promised health, he hummed a love-tune, advanced rapidly, and suddenly emerged from behind the bramble not more than a rod from Miss Meaks. Here he raised his eyes, and drew back with shadows of confidence and doubt displacing each other upon his face as he tried to determine whether the form before him was really the object of his love, or her apparition. Observing on her part an inclination to rise, he advanced with an ex- tended hand, and expressed his pleasure and

THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN. 37

surprise in a manner that could be appreciated only when accompanied by his noble person and voice.

He was a tall, commanding man, with a grace- fully flowing moustache, aquiline nose, evenly set teeth, mobile chin, high forehead, and the elongated corners of his dark-brown eyes stretched away under dark brows around fair temples, from which beautiful black hair re- treated above his ears.

The words that Miss Meaks uttered in return for his were only of that social cast which is characterized by the meeting of friends, but their confiding tone and feeling delivery in- spired new confidence in his " heart's attorney ,'' and added fresh fuel to that smouldering spark which no draught could ever have extinguished.

Introductions now went round, revealing the fact that the arrivals were Mr. Charlie Clipper- steel and his guide, Mr. Wiseman, the latter being from the foot of the great Koan, some twenty miles to the west. They had camped the previous night about two miles from the source of the Linville, on the banks of that stream, where they had left their blankets and a light tent.

The six persons now united at the spring were within the border of one of the most beau-

4

38 THE BALSAM GROVES OF

tiful, tlie most bewildering, and the most ex- tended evergreen forests in the whole South. Here the tall and densely growing balsam and S23ruce extend their branches in united clusters that support the snows of winter and exclude the rays of the summer sun. Beneath these are many ancient trunks of fallen trees which are completely concealed, and only revealed by a soft, deep, bright, yellowish green moss growing over them and following their shapes. Up through this rich carpet, from their roots in the decaying wood, grow delicate ferns and young balsams of a fern's height and higher that wave and tremble to feeble breezes that stray off from the stronger ones that moan in the trees above. This robe of green not only mantles the old logs, but spreads its soft covering unbroken from one object to another, hugging the spreading bases of the trees, and clothing the rising rocks and sticks that help to form the extending landscape. This lovely scene extends up and over the moun- tain, broken only by great cliffs equally beauti- ful in the flowers of their crags, until it covers an area as large as the city of New York. Such were the exquisite beauties along the