Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adirondack Country. William Chapman White (5).

New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1954.

Why read it? The history of the Adirondacks, the names, the lakes, the peaks, the guides and impressions of the tourists and the seasons. “As a man tramps the woods to the lake…he knows he will find pines and lilies, blue heron and golden shiners, shadows on the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets, just as they were in the summer of 1954, as they will be in 2054 and beyond; he can stand on a rock by the shore and be in a past he could not have known, in a future he will never see; he can be a part of time that was and time yet to come.”

“A ‘camp’ means more things up here than a ;porcupine’s got quills.” P. 140. ……….. “One caretaker complained that he had to hire ten guides, and guides were hard to find; ‘You see, the Missus has a rough camp back in the woods and she has twenty guests at a time,’ he said; ‘She decides each week to rough it for lunch at the ‘rough camp’; so in the morning a maid goes round to each guest asking whether he’d like squab or filet mignon and what kind of cold soup and dessert; then all the lunches are put in pack baskets; I need a guide for each two guests to cart the stuff so they can rough it.’ ” P. 149. ………. “The Adirondack guide was portrayed variously as a limitless fount of stories and yarns, a tracker with the skill of a bloodhound, a better shot than Annie Oakley, a chef who could take baking powder, flour, and salt and out-cook Delmonico’s, and an all-knowing rustic philosopher. His proudest boast was that he could take a city man into the woods, shoot his deer for him, drag it out, cut it up, and knock down anyone who said the patron hadn’t shot it.” P. 153.

To be continued.

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