Mention of the beautiful solicitude with which these treasures are surrounded, suggests the reflection that the old country has something to learn from the new in the matter of distinguished custodianship. We have no place of national pilgrimage in England that is so perfect a model as Washington's home at Mount Vernon. It is perhaps through lack of a figure of the Washington type that we have nothing to compare with it; for any parallel one must rather go to Fontainebleau; but certain shrines are ours and none of them discloses quite such pious thoroughness as this. When I think of the completeness of the preservation and reconstruction of Mount Vernon, where, largely through the piety of individuals, a thousand personal relics have been reassembled, so that, save for the sightseers, this serene and simple Virginian mansion is almost exactly as it was, I am filled with admiration. For a young people largely in a hurry to find time to be so proud and so reverent is a significant thing.
Nor is this spirit of pious reverence confined to national memorials. Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Massachusetts, although still only a hostelry, compares not unfavourably with Dove Cottage at Grasmere and Carlyle's house in Chelsea. The preservation is more minute. But to return to Mount Vernon, the orderliness of the place is not its least noticeable feature. There is no mingling of trade with sentiment, as at Stratford-on-Avon, for example. Within the borders of the estate everything is quiet. I have never seen Americans in church (not, I hasten to add, because they abstain, but because I did), but I am sure that they could not, even there, behave more as if the environment were sacred. To watch the crowds at Mount Vernon, and to contemplate the massive isolated grandeur of the Lincoln Memorial now being finished at Washington, is to realise that America, for all its superficial frivolity and cynicism, is capable of a very deep seriousness.