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A Holiday In A Vacation
by [?]

It was really a good little summer resort where the boy and I were pegging away at our vacation. There were the mountains conveniently arranged, with pleasant trails running up all of them, carefully marked with rustic but legible guide-posts; and there was the sea comfortably besprinkled with islands, among which one might sail around and about, day after day, not to go anywhere, but just to enjoy the motion and the views; and there were cod and haddock swimming over the outer ledges in deep water, waiting to be fed with clams at any time, and on fortunate days ridiculously accommodating in letting themselves be pulled up at the end of a long, thick string with a pound of lead and two hooks tied to it. There were plenty of places considered proper for picnics, like Jordan’s Pond, and Great Cranberry Island, and the Russian Tea-house, and the Log Cabin Tea-house, where you would be sure to meet other people who also were bent on picnicking; and there were hotels and summer cottages, of various degrees of elaboration, filled with agreeable and talkable folk, most of whom were connected by occupation or marriage with the rival colleges and universities, so that their ambitions for the simple life had an academic thoroughness and regularity. There were dinner parties, and tea parties, and garden parties, and sea parties, and luncheon parties, masculine and feminine, and a horse-show at Bar Harbor, and a gymkhana at North East, and dances at all the Harbors, where Minerva met Terpischore on a friendly footing while Socrates sat out on the veranda with Midas discussing the great automobile question over their cigars.

It was all vastly entertaining and well-ordered, and you would think that any person with a properly constituted mind ought to be able to peg through a vacation in such a place without wavering. But when the boy confessed to me that he felt the need of a few “days off” in the big woods to keep him up to his duty, I saw at once that the money spent upon his education had not been wasted; for here, without effort, he announced a great psychological fact–that no vacation is perfect without a holiday in it. So we packed our camping-kit, made our peace with the family, tied our engagements together and cut the string below the knot, and set out to find freedom and a little fishing in the region around Lake Nicatous.

The south-east corner of the State of Maine is a happy remnant of the ancient wilderness. The railroads will carry you around it in a day, if you wish to go that way, making a big oval of two or three hundred miles along the sea and by the banks of the Penobscot, the Mattawamkeag, and the St. Croix. But if you wisely wish to cross the oval you must ride, or go afoot, or take to your canoe; probably you will have to try all three methods of locomotion, for the country is a mixed quantity. It reminds me of what I once heard in Stockholm: that the Creator, when the making of the rest of the world was done, had a lot of fragments of land and water, forests and meadows, mountains and valleys, lakes and moors, left over; and these He threw together to make the southern part of Sweden. I like that kind of a promiscuous country. The spice of life grows there.

When we had escaped from the railroad at Enfield on the Penobscot, we slept a short night in a room over a country store, and took wagon the next morning for a twenty-five mile drive. At the somnolent little village of Burlington we found our guides waiting for us. They were sitting on the green at the cross-roads, with their paddles and axes and bundles beside them. I knew at a glance that they were ready and all right: Sam Dam, an old experienced, seasoned guide, and Harry, a good-looking young woodsman who had worked in lumber camps and on “the drive,” but had never been “guiding” before. He was none the worse for that, for he belonged to the type of Maine man who has the faculty of learning things by doing them.