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The New England Magazine Volume 1, No. 3, March, 1886 Bay State Monthly Volume 4, No. 3, March, 1886   By:

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First Page:

THE

NEW ENGLAND MAGAZINE

AND

BAY STATE MONTHLY.

OLD SERIES MARCH, 1886. NEW SERIES VOL. IV. NO. 3 VOL. I. NO. 3.

Copyright, 1886, by Bay State Monthly Company. All rights reserved.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article.

Along the Kennebec

BY HENRY S. BICKNELL

[Illustration]

The first glimpse of the Kennebec, on approaching it from the sea, presents to the stranger a barren and uninviting picture. Hemmed in on either side by low, rocky isles, studded with scraggy pines that have long defied old Atlantic's blasts, it must have been a dreary and disappointing sight, indeed, to the little band of voyagers who were seeking a home in the new world over two centuries ago. Many treacherous sand bars reach out to the circuitous channel that extends seaward a mile or more, and numerous wrecks along shore bear evidence of their hidden dangers. Before the age of skilful pilots and steam fog whistles, the mariner must have had a busy time with his lead in threading this watery pathway, unaided by a single sign or sound from shore. A few days' sojourn among the charming bays and inlets dispels all feelings of lonesomeness, and unfolds a scene of continued interest and keen enjoyment. On a pleasant morning, from the summit of any hilltop the view is delightful. Scores of crafts, from the saucy mackerel catcher to the huge three master, are leaving their anchorage under the shadows of Sequin, and the lofty white shaft of the lighthouse above looms clear and grand against the sky. At the weirs along the river fishermen are pulling in their nets, which glimmer with their night's catch. The bustling little tugs, with half a dozen "icers" in tow, are struggling nobly against the tide. The merry shouts of bathers on Popham beach mingle with the roar and rush of the incoming tide. The dark pine clad hills trending northward form a fitting background to the scene. A fine government light on Pond Island guards the entrance to the river. The cliffs on the ocean side are quite precipitous, and rise to a height of sixty feet, over which the spray is dashed in severe storms. Why it was named Pond Island has always been a mystery, for the drinking water even is caught from the showers that fall upon the light keeper's roof. From the summit the island slopes to the western shore, where a small cove affords the only landing place, and in rough weather great skill is required in embarking safely. We were informed that the island furnished pasturage sufficient for one cow, but, from a close observation, it was evident that she must be content with two meals a day, or get an occasional donation from the meadows on the mainland. Twice a year the district inspector makes his rounds, and, during the week previous to his visit, the entire family devote all their energy in scouring and polishing, until everything about the place, from the doorknob to the lenses, fairly sparkles with brilliancy. On these occasions, the light keeper is seen in his best mood, and is the perfection of politeness and urbanity, for then a hope of reappointment is betrayed in every movement. Across the channel, Stage and Salter's Islands, and the Georgetown shore, forms the eastern boundary of the river, and is the home of numerous camping and fishing parties during the summer. Here the artist may find many rare bits of picturesque scenery that are almost unknown. Further up the river, on the left, Hunnewell's Point with its magnificent beach stretches away for miles to the west. At its northern extremity stands Fort Popham, named after the first English explorer who visited the coast. It was erected some years ago, but has never been completed, and, as proven, the government saved money by neglecting it. Imposing and impregnable as it might have been then, it would now offer but a feeble resistance to the onslaught of modern naval warfare. Numerous pyramids of cannon balls are scattered about within the enclosure, and many old fashioned guns have been rusting away in peace for the past decade... Continue reading book >>


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