Next morning, Sunday the 8th, we left the inn at eleven o'clock for Providence. It was a perfect morning, neither hot nor cold, sun bright, and the air stirring.

We took the narrow road almost opposite the entrance to the inn, climbed the hill, threaded the woods, and were soon travelling almost due south through Framingham, Holliston, Medway, Franklin, and West Wrentham towards Pawtucket.

That route is direct, the roads are good, the country rolling and interesting. The villages come in close succession; there are many quaint places and beautiful homes.

In this section of Massachusetts it does not matter much what roads are selected, they are all good. Some are macadamized, more are gravelled, and where there is neither macadam nor gravel, the roads have been so carefully thrown up that they are good; we found no bad places at all, no deep sand, and no rough, hard blue clay.

When we stopped for luncheon at a little village not far from Pawtucket, the tire which had been put on in Boston was leaking badly. It was the tire that had been punctured and sent to the factory for repairs, and the repair proved defective. We managed to get to Pawtucket, and there tried to stop the leak with liquid preparations, but by the time we reached Providence the tire was again flat and - as it proved afterwards - ruined.

Had it not been for the tire, Narragansett Pier would have been made that afternoon with ease; but there was nothing to do but wire for a new tire and await its arrival.

It was not until half-past three o'clock Monday that the new one came from New York, and it was five when we left for the Pier.

The road from Providence to Narragansett Pier is something more than fair, considerably less than fine; it is hilly and in places quite sandy. For some distance out of Providence it was dusty and worn rough by heavy travel.

It was seven o'clock, dark and quite cold, when we drew up in front of Green's Inn.

The season was over, the Pier quite deserted. A summer resort after the guests have gone is a mournful, or a delightful, place - as one views it. To the gregarious individual who seeks and misses his kind, the place is loneliness itself after the flight of the gay birds who for a time strutted about in gorgeous plumage twittering the time away; to the man who loves to be in close and undisturbed contact with nature, who enjoys communing with the sea, who would be alone on the beach and silent by the waves, the flight of the throng is a relief. There is a selfish satisfaction in passing the great summer caravansaries and seeing them closed and silent; in knowing that the splendor of the night will not be marred by garish lights and still more garish sounds.

Were it not for the crowd, Narragansett Pier would be an ideal spot for rest and recreation. The beach is perfect, - hard, firm sand, sloping so gradually into deep water, and with so little undertow and so few dangers, that children can play in the water without attendants. The village itself is inoffensive, the country about is attractive; but the crowd - the crowd that comes in summer - comes with a rush almost to the hour in July, and takes flight with a greater rush almost to the minute in August, - the crowd overwhelms, submerges, ignores the natural charms of the place, and for the time being nature hides its honest head before the onrush of sham and illusion.

Why do the people come in a week and go in a day? What is there about Narragansett that keeps every one away until a certain time each year, attracts them for a few weeks, and then bids them off within twenty-four hours? Just nothing at all. All attractions the place has - the ocean, the beach, the drives, the country - remain the same; but no one dares come before the appointed time, no one dares stay after the flight begins; no one? That is hardly true, for in every beautiful spot, by the ocean and in the mountains, there are a few appreciative souls who know enough to make their homes in nature's caressing embrace while she works for their pure enjoyment her wondrous panorama of changing seasons. There are people who linger at the sea-shore until from the steel-gray waters are heard the first mutterings of approaching winter; there are those who linger in the woods and mountains until the green of summer yields to the rich browns and golden russets of autumn, until the honk of the wild goose foretells the coming cold; these and their kind are nature's truest and dearest friends; to them does she unfold a thousand hidden beauties; to them does she whisper her most precious secrets.

But the crowd - the crowd - the painted throng that steps to the tune of a fiddle, that hangs on the moods of a caterer, whose inspiration is a good dinner, whose aspiration is a new dance, - that crowd is never missed by any one who really delights in the manifold attractions of nature.

Not that the crowd at Narragansett is essentially other than the crowd at Newport - the two do not mix; but the difference is one of degree rather than kind. The crowd at Newport is architecturally perfect, while the crowd at Narragansett is in the adobe stage, - that is the conspicuous difference; the one is pretentious and lives in structures more or less permanent; the other lives in trunks, and is even more pretentious. Neither, as a crowd, has more than a superficial regard for the natural charms of its surroundings. The people at both places are entirely preoccupied with themselves - and their neighbors. At Newport a reputation is like an umbrella - lost, borrowed, lent, stolen, but never returned. Some one has cleverly said that the American girl, unlike girls of European extraction, if she loses her reputation, promptly goes and gets another, - to be strictly accurate, she promptly goes and gets another's. What a world of bother could be saved if a woman could check her reputation with her wraps on entering the Casino; for, no matter how small the reputation, it is so annoying to have the care of it during social festivities where it is not wanted, or where, like dogs, it is forbidden the premises. Then, too, if the reputation happens to be somewhat soiled, stained, or tattered, - like an old opera cloak, - what woman wants it about. It is difficult to sit on it, as on a wrap in a theatre; it is conspicuous to hold in the lap where every one may see its imperfections; perhaps the safest thing is to do as many a woman does, ask her escort to look out for it, thereby shifting the responsibility to him. It may pass through strange vicissitudes in his careless hands, - he may drop it, damage it, lose it, even destroy it, but she is reasonably sure that when the time comes he will return her either the old in a tolerable state of preservation, or a new one of some kind in its place.

Narragansett possesses this decided advantage over Newport, the people do not know each other until it is too late. For six weeks the gay little world moves on in blissful ignorance of antecedents and reputations; no questions are asked, no information volunteered save that disclosed by the hotel register, - information frequently of apocryphal value. The gay beau of the night may be the industrious clerk of the morrow; the baron of the summer may be the barber of the winter; but what difference does it make? If the beau beaus and the baron barons, is not the feminine cup of happiness filled to overflowing? the only requisite being that beau and baron shall preserve their incognito to the end; hence the season must be short in order that no one's identity may be discovered.

At Newport every one labors under the disadvantage of being known, - for the most part too well known. How painful it must be to spend summer after summer in a world of reality, where the truth is so much more thrilling than any possible fiction that people are deprived of the pleasure of invention and the imagination falls into desuetude. At Narragansett every one is veneered for the occasion, - every seam, scar, and furrow is hidden by paint, powder, and rouge; the duchess may be a cook, but the count who is a butler gains nothing by exposing her.

The very conditions of existence at Newport demand the exposure of every frailty and every folly; the skeleton must sit at the feast. There is no room for gossip where the facts are known. Nothing is whispered; the megaphone carries the tale. What a ghastly society, where no amount of finery hides the bald, the literal truth; where each night the same ones meet and, despite the vain attempt to deceive by outward appearances, relentlessly look each other through and through. Of what avail is a necklace of pearls or a gown of gold against such X-ray vision, such intimate knowledge of one's past, of all one's physical, mental, and moral shortcomings? The smile fades from the lips, the hollow compliment dies on the tongue, for how is it possible to pretend in the presence of those who know?

At Narragansett friends are strangers, in Newport they are enemies; in both places the quality of friendship is strained. The two problems of existence are, Whom shall I recognize? and, Who will recognize me? A man's standing depends upon the women he knows; a woman's upon the women she cuts. At a summer resort recognition is a fine art which is not affected by any prior condition of servitude or acquaintance. No woman can afford to sacrifice her position upon the altar of friendship; in these small worlds recognition has no relation whatsoever to friendship, it is rather a convention. If your hostess of the winter passes you with a cold stare, it is a matter of prudence rather than indifference; the outside world does not understand these things, but is soon made to.

Women are the arbiters of social fate, and as such must be placated, but not too servilely. In society a blow goes farther than a kiss; it is a warfare wherein it does not pay to be on the defensive; those are revered who are most feared; those who nail to their mast the black flag and show no quarter are the recognized leaders, - Society is piracy.

Green's Inn was cheery, comfortable, and hospitable; but then the season had passed and things had returned to their normal routine.

The summer hotel passes through three stages each season, - that of expectation, of realization, and of regret; it is unpleasant during the first stage, intolerable during the second, frequently delightful during the third. During the first there is a period when the host and guest meet on a footing of equality; during the second the guest is something less than a nonentity, an humble suitor at the monarch's throne; during the third the conditions are reversed, and the guest is lord of all he is willing to survey. It is conducive to comfort to approach these resorts during the last stage, - unless, of course, they happen to be those ephemeral caravansaries which close in confusion on the flight of the crowd; they are never comfortable.

The best road from Boston to New York is said to be by way of Worcester, Springfield, and through central Connecticut via Hartford and New Haven; but we did not care to retrace our wheels to Worcester and Springfield, and we did want to follow the shore; but we were warned by many that after leaving the Pier we would find the roads very bad.

As a matter of fact, the shore road from the Pier to New Haven is not good; it is hilly, sandy, and rough; but it is entirely practicable, and makes up in beauty and interest what it lacks in quality.

We did not leave Green's Inn until half-past nine the morning after our arrival, and we reached New Haven that evening at exactly eight, - a delightful run of eighty or ninety miles by the road taken.

The road is a little back from the shore and it is anything but straight, winding in and out in the effort to keep near the coast. Nearly all day long we were in sight of the ocean; now and then some wooded promontory obscured our view; now and then we were threading woods and valleys farther inland; now and then the road almost lost itself in thickets of shrubbery and undergrowth, but each time we would emerge in sight of the broad expanse of blue water which lay like a vast mirror on that bright and still September day.

We ferried across the river to New London. At Lyme there is a very steep descent to the Connecticut River, which is a broad estuary at that point. The ferry is a primitive side-wheeler, which might carry two automobiles, but hardly more. It happened to be on the far shore. A small boy pointed out a long tin horn hanging on a post, the hoarse blast of which summons the sleepy boat.

There was no landing, and it seemed impossible for our vehicle to get aboard; but the boat had a long shovel-like nose projecting from the bow which ran upon the shore, making a perfect gang-plank.

Carefully balancing the automobile in the centre so as not to list the primitive craft, we made our way deliberately to the other side, the entire crew of two men - engineer and captain - coming out to talk with us.

The ferries at Lyme and New London would prove great obstacles to anything like a club from New York to Newport along this road; the day would be spent in getting machines across the two rivers.

It was dark when we ran into the city. This particular visit to New Haven is chiefly memorable for the exceeding good manners of a boy of ten, who watched the machine next morning as it was prepared for the day's ride, offered to act as guide to the place where gasoline was kept, and, with the grace of a Chesterfield, made good my delinquent purse by paying the bill. It was all charmingly and not precociously done. This little man was well brought up, - so well brought up that he did not know it.

The automobile is a pretty fair touchstone to manners for both young and old. A man is himself in the presence of the unexpected. The automobile is so strange that it carries people off their equilibrium, and they say and do things impulsively, and therefore naturally.

The odd-looking stranger is ever treated with scant courtesy and unbecoming curiosity; the strange machine fares no better. The man or the boy who is not unduly curious, not unduly aggressive, not unduly loquacious, not unduly insistent, who preserves his poise in the presence of an automobile, is quite out of the ordinary, - my little New Haven friend was of that sort.

It is a beautiful ride from New Haven to New York, and to it we devoted the entire day, from half-past eight until half-past seven.

At Norwalk the people were celebrating the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the town; the hotel where we dined may have antedated the town a century or two.

Later in the afternoon, while wheeling along at twenty miles an hour, we caught a glimpse of a signpost pointing to the left and reading, "To Sound Beach." The name reminded us of friends who were spending a few weeks there; we turned back and made them a flying call.

Again a little farther on we stopped for gasoline in a dilapidated little village, and found it was Mianus, which we recalled as the home of an artist whose paintings, full of charm and tender sentiment, have spread the fame of the locality and river. It was only a short run of two or three miles to the orchard and hill where he has his summer home, and we renewed an acquaintance made several years before.

It is interesting to follow an artist's career and note the changes in manner and methods; for changes are inevitable; they come to high and low alike. The artist may not be conscious that he no longer sees things and paints things as he did, but time tells and the truth is patent to others. But changes of manner and changes of method are fundamentally unlike. Furthermore, changes of either manner or method may be unconscious and natural, or conscious and forced.

For the most part, an artist's manner changes naturally and unconsciously with his environment and advancing years; but in the majority of instances changes in method are conscious and forced, made deliberately with the intention - frequently missed - of doing better. One painter is impressed with the success of another and strives to imitate, adopts his methods, his palette, his key, his color scheme, his brush work, and so on; - these conscious efforts of imitation usually result in failures which, if not immediately conspicuous, soon make their shortcomings felt; the note being forced and unnatural, it does not ring true.

A man may visit Madrid without imitating Velasquez; he may live in Harlem without consciously yielding to Franz Hals; he may spend days with Monet without surrendering his independence; but these strong contacts will work their subtle effects upon all impressionable natures; the effects, however, may be wrought unconsciously and frequently against the sturdy opposition of an original nature.

No painter could live for a season in Madrid without being affected by the work of Velasquez; he might strive against the influence, fight to preserve his own eccentric originality and independence, but the very fact that for the time being he is confronted with a force, an influence, is sufficient to affect his own work, whether he accepts the influence reverentially or rejects it scoffingly.

There is infinitely more hope for the man who goes to Madrid, or any other shrine, in a spirit of opposition, - supremely egotistical, supremely confident of his own methods, disposed to belittle the teaching and example of others, - than there is for the man who goes to servilely copy and imitate. The disposition to learn is a good thing, but in all walks of life, as well as in art, it may be carried too far. No man should surrender his individuality, should yield that within him which is peculiarly and essentially his own. An urchin may dispute with a Plato, if the urchin sticks to the things he knows.

Between the lawless who defy all authority and the servile who submit to all influences, there are the chosen few who assert themselves, and at the same time clearly appreciate the strength of those who differ from them. The urchin painter may assert himself in the presence of Velasquez, providing he keeps within the limits of his own originality.

It is for those who buy pictures to look out for the man who arbitrarily and suddenly changes his manner or method; he is as a cork tossed about on the surface of the waters, drifting with every breeze, submerged by every ripple, fickle and unstable; if his work possess any merit, it will be only the cheap merit of cleverness; its brilliancy will be simply the gloss of dash.

It requires time to absorb an impression. Distance diminishes the force of attraction. The best of painters will not regain immediately his equilibrium after a winter in Florence or in Rome. The enthusiasm of the hour may bring forth some good pictures, but the effect of the impression will be too pronounced, the copy will be too evident. Time and distance will modify an impression and lessen the attraction; the effect will remain, but no longer dominate.

It was so dark we could scarcely see the road as we approached New York.

How gracious the mantle of night; like a veil it hides all blemishes and permits only fair outlines to be observed. Details are lost in vast shadows; huge buildings loom up vaguely towards the heavens, impressive masses of masonry; the bridges, outlined by rows of electric lights, are strings of pearls about the throat of the dusky river. The red, white, and green lights of invisible boats below are so many colored glow-worms crawling about, while the countless lights of the vast city itself are as if a constellation from above had settled for the time being on the earth beneath.

It is by night that the earth communes with the universe. During the blinding brightness of the day our vision penetrates no farther than our own great sun; but at night, when our sun has run its course across the heavens, and we are no longer dazzled by its overpowering brilliancy, the suns of other worlds come forth one by one until, as the darkness deepens, the vault above is dotted with these twinkling lights. Dim, distant, beacons of suns and planets like our own, what manner of life do they contain? what are we to them? what are they to us? Is there aught between us beyond the mechanical laws of repulsion and attraction? Is there any medium of communication beyond the impalpable ether which brings their light? Are we destined to know each other better by and by, or does our knowledge forever end with what we see on a cloudless night?

It was Wednesday evening, September 11, when we arrived in New York. The Endurance Contest organized by the Automobile Club of America had started for Buffalo on Monday morning, and the papers each day contained long accounts of the heartbreaking times the eighty-odd contestants were having, - hills, sand, mud, worked havoc in the ranks of the faithful, and by midweek the automobile stations in New York were crowded with sick and wounded veterans returning from the fray.

The stories told by those who participated in that now famous run possessed the charm of novelty, the absorbing fascination of fiction.

Once upon a time, two fishermen, who were modestly relating exploits, paused to listen to three chauffeurs who began exchanging experiences. After listening a short time, the fishermen, hats in hand, went over to the chauffeurs and said, "On behalf of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Fishermen, which from time immemorial has held the palm for large, generous, and unrestricted stories of exploits, we confess the inadequacy of our qualifications, the bald literalness of our narratives, the sober and unadorned realism of our tales, and abdicate in favor of the new and most promising Order of Chauffeurs; may the blessing of Ananias rest upon you."

It is not that those who go down the pike in automobiles intend to prevaricate, or even exaggerate, but the experience is so extraordinary that the truth is inadequate for expression and explanation. It seems quite impossible to so adjust our perceptions as to receive strictly accurate impressions; therefore, when one man says he went forty miles an hour, and another says he went sixty, the latter assertion is based not upon the exact speed, - for that neither knows, - but upon the belief of the second man that he went much faster than the other. The exact speeds were probably about ten and fifteen miles an hour respectively; but the ratio is preserved in forty and sixty, and the listening layman is deeply impressed, while no one who knows anything about automobiling is for a moment deceived. At the same time, in fairness to guests and strangers within the gates, each club ought to post conspicuously the rate of discount on narratives, for not only do clubs vary in their departures from literal truth, but the narratives are greatly affected by seasons and events; for instance, after the Endurance Contest the discount rate in the Automobile Club of America was exceedingly high.

Every man who started finished ahead of the others, - except those who never intended to finish at all. Each man went exactly as far as he intended to go, and then took the train, road, or ditch home. Some intended to go as far as Albany, others to Frankfort, while quite a large number entered the contest for the express purpose of getting off in the mud and walking to the nearest village; a few, a very few, intended to go as far as Buffalo.

At one time or another each made a mile a minute, and a much higher rate of speed would have been maintained throughout had it not been necessary to identify certain towns in passing. Nothing happened to any machine, but one or two required a little oiling, and several were abandoned by the roadside because their occupants had stubbornly determined to go no farther. One man who confessed that a set-screw in his goggles worked loose was expelled from the club as too matter-of-fact to be eligible for membership, and the maker of the machine he used sent four-page communications to each trade paper explaining that the loosening of the set-screw was due to no defect in the machine, but was entirely the fault of the driver, who jarred the screw loose by winking his eye.

Each machine surmounted Nelson Hill like a bird, - or would have, if it had not been for the machine in front. There were those who would have made the hill in forty-two seconds if they had not wasted valuable time in pushing. The pitiful feat of the man who crawled up at the rate of seventeen miles an hour was quite discounted by the stories of those who would have made it in half that time if their power had not oozed out in the first hundred yards.

Then there was mud along the route, deep mud. According to accounts, which were eloquently verified by the silence of all who listened, the mud was hub deep everywhere, and in places the machines were quite out of sight, burrowing like moles. Some took to the tow-path along the canal, others to trolley lines and telegraph wires.

Each man ran his own machine without the slightest expert assistance; the men in over-alls with kits of tools lurking along the roadside were modern brigands seeking opportunities for hold-ups; now and then they would spring out upon an unoffending machine, knock it into a state of insensibility, and abuse it most unmercifully. A number of machines were shadowed throughout the run by these rascals, and several did not escape their clutches, but perished miserably. In one instance a babe in arms drove one machine sixty-two miles an hour with one hand, the other being occupied with a nursing-bottle.

There were one hundred and fifty-six dress-suit cases on the run, but only one was used, and that to sit on during high tide in Herkimer County, where the mud was deepest.

It would be quite superfluous to relate additional experience tales, but enough has been told to illustrate the necessity of a narrative discount notice in all places where the clans gather. All men are liars, but some intend to lie, - to their credit, be it said, chauffeurs are not among the latter.