It was erected by a man called Solomon Pearson (not to give his name too closely), a quiet, thoughtful farmer, long-bearded, low-voiced, and with that aspect of refinement which an ideal life brings forth even in quite uninstructed men. At the height of the "Second Advent" excitement this man resolved to build for himself upon these remote rocks a house which should escape the wrath to come, and should endure even amid a burning and transformed earth. Thinking, as he had once said to me, that, "if the First Dispensation had been strong enough to endure, there would have been no need of a Second," he resolved to build for his part something which should possess permanence at least. And there still remains on that high hillside the small beginning that he made.
There are four low stone walls, three feet thick, built solidly together without cement, and without the trace of tools. The end-walls are nine feet high (the sides being lower) and are firmly united by a strong iron ridge-pole, perhaps fifteen feet long, which is imbedded at each end in the stone. Other masses of iron lie around unused, in sheets, bars, and coils, brought with slow labor by the builder from far below. The whole building was designed to be made of stone and iron. It is now covered with creeping vines and the debris of the hillside; but though its construction had been long discontinued when I saw it, the interior was still kept scrupulously clean through the care of this modern Solomon, who often visited his shrine.
An arch in the terminal wall admits the visitor to the small roofless temple, and he sees before him, imbedded in the centre of the floor, a large smooth block of white marble, where the deed of this spot of land was to be recorded, in the hope to preserve it even after the globe should have been burned and renewed. But not a stroke of this inscription was ever cut, and now the young chestnut boughs droop into the uncovered interior, and shy forest-birds sing fearlessly among them, having learned that this house belongs to God, not man. As if to reassure them, and perhaps in allusion to his own vegetarian habits, the architect has spread some rough plaster at the head of the apartment and marked on it in bold characters, "Thou shalt not kill." Two slabs outside, a little way from the walls, bear these inscriptions, "Peace on Earth," "Good-Will to Men." When I visited it, the path was rough and so obstructed with bushes that it was hard to comprehend how it had afforded passage for these various materials; it seemed more as if some strange architectural boulder had drifted from some Runic period and been stranded there. It was as apt a confessional as any of Wordsworth's nooks among the Trossachs; and when one thinks how many men are wearing out their souls in trying to conform to the traditional mythologies of others, it seems nobler in this man to have reared upon that lonely hill the unfinished memorial of his own.
I recall another path which leads from the Lower Saranac Lake, near "Martin's," to what the guides call, or used to call, "The Philosopher's Camp" at Amperzand. On this oddly named lake, in the Adirondack region, a tract of land was bought by Professor Agassiz and his friends, who made there a summer camping-ground, and with one comrade I once sought the spot. I remember with what joy we left the boat,-- o delightful at first, so fatiguing at last; for I cannot, with Mr. Murray, call it a merit in the Adirondacks that you never have to walk,--and stepped away into the free forest. We passed tangled swamps, so dense with upturned trees and trailing mosses that they seemed to give no opening for any living thing to pass, unless it might be the soft and silent owl that turned its head almost to dislocation in watching us, ere it flitted vaguely away. Farther on, the deep, cool forest was luxurious with plumy ferns; we trod on moss-covered roots, finding the emerald steps so soft we scarcely knew that we were ascending; every breath was aromatic; there seemed infinite healing in every fragrant drop that fell upon our necks from the cedar boughs. We had what I think the pleasantest guide for a daylight tramp,--one who has never before passed over that particular route, and can only pilot you on general principles till he gladly, at last, allows you to pilot him. When we once got the lead we took him jubilantly on, and beginning to look for "The Philosopher's Camp," found ourselves confronted by a large cedar-tree on the margin of a wooded lake. This was plainly the end of the path. Was the camp then afloat? Our escort was in that state of hopeless ignorance of which only lost guides are capable. We scanned the green horizon and the level water, without glimpse of human abode. It seemed an enchanted lake, and we looked about the tree-trunk for some fairy horn, that we might blow it. That failing, we tried three rifle-shots, and out from the shadow of an island, on the instant, there glided a boat, which bore no lady of the lake, but a red-shirted woodsman. The artist whom we sought was on that very island, it seemed, sketching patiently while his guides were driving the deer.
This artist was he whose "Procession of the Pines" had identified his fame with that delightful forest region. He it was who had laid out with artistic taste "The Philosopher's Camp," and who was that season still awaiting philosophers as well as deer. He had been there for a month, alone with the guides, and declared that Nature was pressing upon him to an extent that almost drove him wild. His eyes had a certain remote and questioning look that belongs to imaginative men who dwell alone. It seemed an impertinence to ask him to come out of his dream and offer us dinner; but his instincts of hospitality failed not, and the red-shirted guide was sent to the camp, which was, it seemed, on the other side of the lake, to prepare our meal, while we bathed. I am thus particular in speaking of the dinner, not only because such is the custom of travellers, but also because it was the occasion of an interlude which I shall never forget. As we were undressing for our bath upon the lonely island, where the soft, pale water almost lapped our feet, and the deep, wooded hills made a great amphitheatre for the lake, our host bethought himself of something neglected in his instructions.
"Ben!" vociferated he to the guide, now rapidly receding. Ben paused on his oars.
"Remember to bo-o-oil the venison, Ben!" shouted the pensive artist, while all the slumbering echoes arose to applaud this culinary confidence.
"And, Ben!" he added, imploringly, "don't forget the dumplings!" Upon this, the loons, all down the lake, who had hitherto been silent, took up the strain with vehemence, hurling their wild laughter at the presumptuous mortal who thus dared to invade their solitudes with details as trivial as Mr. Pickwick's tomato-sauce. They repeated it over and over to each other, till ten square miles of loons must have heard the news, and all laughed together; never was there such an audience; they could not get over it, and two hours after, when we had rowed over to the camp and dinner had been served, this irreverent and invisible chorus kept bursting out, at all points of the compass, with scattered chuckles of delight over this extraordinary bill of fare. Justice compels me to add that the dumplings were made of Indian-meal, upon a recipe devised by our artist; the guests preferred the venison, but the host showed a fidelity to his invention that proved him to be indeed a dweller in an ideal world.
Source of this article：http://nyhps.medkent.com/html/781e998225.html
Copyright statement: The content of this article was voluntarily contributed by internet users, and the views expressed in this article only represent the author themselves. This website only provides information storage space services and does not hold any ownership or legal responsibility. If you find any suspected plagiarism, infringement, or illegal content on this website, please send an email to report it. Once verified, this website will be immediately deleted.