Familiar Scenes And Faces
From: Doctor Jones' Picnic
Silver Cloud was wafted by a gentle breeze to the center of Lower
Michigan. For two or three hours after sunrise there was nearly a dead
calm. Then a brisk breeze from due east arose, and they started for Lake
Michigan at a great speed.
"This will never do," said Dr. Jones. "We will go down and get fresh
supplies and the morning papers. There lies a good-looking town a few
miles west. We will anchor there. Stand by the anchor, boys."
In a few moments Silver Cloud, with her characteristic swiftness,
descended upon the town, and soon was safely anchored to several large
trees in the center of it. It proved to be the thrifty little town of
L----r, of between three and four thousand inhabitants. Silver Cloud was
drawn to within fifty or sixty feet of the earth, and the voyagers
rapidly descended in the cage to the main street.
That all the men, women, and children crowded to the vicinity of the
globe, and that our friends were the cynosure of thousands of wondering
eyes will be readily believed. And the glistening sphere that gently
oscillated in the breeze above the city excited the unbounded
astonishment and praise of all. Newspaper reporters gathered eagerly
about the party, and plied them with questions concerning their trip and
adventures. All, of course, were acquainted with the facts concerning
their sailing from Washington four months previously, and a few of them
had witnessed that notable event. The travelers were informed that they
had been mourned as lost for many weeks past, and Government was fitting
out a party to seek them as soon as possible. The general opinion was,
that the globe had collapsed or exploded, and that the foolhardy
explorers had all perished in the forests of Upper Canada. This was the
accepted theory, and nothing could exceed the severity with which the
editors of the papers politically opposed to the administration censured
it for the extravagance and all-round idiocy of the whole "Aluminum
Bubble Scheme," as they termed it. Dr. Jones was voted a lunatic, and
the balance of the party was commiserated in the "Ahs!" and "Dear me's!"
and "Poor things!" of the whole nation.
And we can well imagine that the telegraph wires were kept busy that day
all over the land. And the papers which in their previous issues had
inveighed so cuttingly and mercilessly against the Government and Dr.
Jones, and everybody in any way connected with the Aluminum Globe
Bubble, now came out in flaming double headings, under telegraphic
dispatches and in editorials, sounding the praises of Dr. Jones and
company in unbounded terms of commendation. They had always predicted
their speedy and triumphant return, so they had, etc.
Telegrams and phonograms poured in upon them until they were really
unable to attend to them. Very numerous were the offers of engagements
to Dr. Jones and Professor Gray for a course of lectures at liberal
"I was satisfied, Professor, that we should stir them up," said Dr.
Jones, perspiring and glowing with the excitement and hurry, "but I did
not look for this avalanche. I would rather be off into our native
element, the deep blue sky, than to be smothered in this fashion."
"Keep cool, Doctor," replied Professor Gray. "You may as well get used
to being lionized, for you will get no end of it at Washington."
"All right, Professor. I'll do the best I can, but I really do not enjoy
so much of it. Suppose we give the people a reception at the Opera
"O good!" cried Mattie. "And let's give them a concert. We can render
them an hour of music that I am sure will please them very much."
"Good girl!" shouted Fred, who was always in for anything in the line of
music and innocent pleasure.
All instantly agreed, and the town and neighboring places were informed
of the fact of the intended reception that night. All necessary
preparations were made, and it is needless to say that the building was
packed to its utmost limits long before the appointed hour.
At eight o'clock the curtain raised, and our friends marched upon the
stage and sang in their best form an anthem of praise and thanksgiving
to God. All were in the pink of health, free from all carking cares and
vanities of life, and they sang as if inspired. Such singing had never
been heard by the audience; and this fact, added to the romance
connected with the occasion, carried the thousands of listeners
completely off their feet. The encore that went up at the conclusion of
the piece was tremendous beyond description. Nor would the excited
audience cease an instant until our friends had rendered another song.
Then Dr. Jones stepped forward, and raising his hand to invoke silence,
"Your mayor will now address a few words to you."
The mayor, a typical aldermanic looking person, advanced to the front of
the stage and began a set speech after the stereotyped fashion. He was
thoroughly imbued with the idea that the navigators of the great
aluminum ship had premeditatedly visited their important city before
going on to Washington, and it was no matter of surprise to him that
they had done so. He thanked them, however, etc. He was discussing the
landing of the Pilgrim Fathers and was evidently wound up for an hour,
and the audience was beginning to move restlessly. A low murmur of
disapprobation ran through the house as the untimely, uninteresting
speech dragged its weary length, when a gallery god cried out: "Did you
bring that thing from the North Pole, Dr. Jones? Trot it off and give us
some more music." The audience received this shot with shouts of
laughter and approval, and they did not stop until the crestfallen mayor
backed off the stage.
An hour was then spent in solos, duets, quartettes, choruses, etc. Then
Dr. Jones made a speech of a few moments' length, in which he gave an
account of the leading incidents of their wonderful trip. He especially
dwelt upon the planting of the aluminum flagstaff at the North Pole, and
when he assured them that the flag of our Union, as they sat in that
comfortable opera-house, was flying at the peak of that superlatively
splendid shaft at the very apex of the earth, the emotions of the
assemblage could not be restrained, and they broke forth in thunders of
Their return to the ship was a triumphal procession. The streets were
packed with people who waited to see them ascend to their cabin.
Early the following morning the wind had shifted to the northwest, and
the anchors were hoisted immediately. How beautiful the little town and
surrounding country appeared to the aeronauts in the early morning light
from their one thousand feet elevation.
"I had no conception of the beauty of this world until I saw it from the
balcony of the Silver Cloud," observed Professor Gray.
"There is but one trouble in this beautiful world, and that is with its
inhabitants," replied Dr. Jones. "We should have the restoration of Eden
immediately if all men would but serve God and observe the Golden Rule.
Not another tear or sigh would ever be seen or heard again upon earth.
But O the pity of it! Man, willfully blind, goes stumbling on through
the short span of life, blighted and blighting everything about him with
unbelief. Full of misery and heartaches here, he goes into Eternity to
stand at the bar of God, naked and undone, and hears the fearful
sentence, 'Anathema Maranatha!' or 'Cursed and banished from God!' And
all this in the lovely world that lies spread out before us this morning
like the primitive Garden of the Lord, fresh as it came from His
bountiful hand. It fills my soul with sadness when I think of our
infinite foolishness. I do not wonder that Jesus wept over Jerusalem."
The whole company were assembled upon the balcony, and drew in long
inspirations of the balmy morning air.
"What a panorama!" cried Mrs. Jones. "I am forever spoilt for living a
terrestrial life again. We are Children of the Skies, and those low
vales are well enough for those who are contented therewith. But this is
our native element!" and she spread her hands toward the upper blue.
"Why, if I were to be confined to that humdrum existence again, I should
"--a fish out of water," suggested Fred.
"Now that is real mean," pouted Mrs. Jones. "I was trying to give
expression to the inspiration excited by this lovely scene in the form
of poesy, but you have spoilt it all with your prosaic comparison."
"I am just too sorry for any use at all," returned Fred, looking
anything but regretful. "But, really now, Mrs. Jones, how could you
possibly express the idea better?"
"We are moving straight for Washington," said the Professor, consulting
a map in his hand, "and at this speed we shall not be far from it at
"We can prepare ourselves for a grand reception," remarked Denison. "The
good people of L----r gave us an earnest of what we may expect."
"It is rather pleasant to be lionized, but we shall be obliged to draw
the lines somewhere," said Dr. Jones.
"We can always retreat to Silver Cloud when tired of being interviewed,
wined, and dined," interposed Will.
"Let's plant another flagstaff at the South Pole, Doctor," cried Mattie.
"I never feel so well as when afloat upon this boundless sea."
"Well done, Mattie," returned the Doctor, patting her on the head. "What
a bold little navigator you have grown to be! And boundless sea is quite
poetic, too. But as to starting immediately for the South Pole, I do not
think we can do so. Perhaps we may, however, and you can rest assured
that this sort of life suits me amazingly. I shall favor sailing for the
South Pole at the earliest practicable moment."
"One thing is certain, and that is, that if we are to be the first to
reach the South Pole, we cannot put the expedition off too long," said
Will. "Others will imitate us and get there before us if we give them
time. We must sail within a few weeks at farthest."
"That is true," assented Dr. Jones. "But let us see what Sing has for
So they entered the dining-room and ate with appetites known to but few
terrestrials. And why shouldn't they? Their sanitary environments were
perfect; their minds were free from all worldly cares. Ennui and
monotony were entirely unknown aboard Silver Cloud, because of the
constantly changing panorama of land and sea. There were no heartaches
nor burning envies among them, for all were pure-minded and lived as
God's children should live the world over. Why shouldn't they be plump
and pure and clean, inside and out? "We have all outgrown our clothes,"
as Dr. Jones expressed it.
It was a busy day aboard ship. The whole country was on the lookout for
them. The Doctor lowered to within five or six hundred feet of the
earth, and the cries of the multitudes that gathered in every town and
country corner continually rang in their ears.
"Detroit lies directly in our course. Do you see it yonder?" said
"O yes!" cried Mrs. Jones. "I am glad that we shall get a good view of
the beautiful city of Detroit. Away to the left is Lake St. Clair, isn't
"Yes," answered the Professor, "and that is the Detroit River. There is
the city. Across upon the opposite side is the city of Windsor. Just see
the crowds of people! We are being well advertised by telegraph."
The squares, streets, and housetops of Detroit were black with people.
Such cheering was never heard in that city as when Silver Cloud
majestically passed over it. The guns of the fort below the city poured
out thundering salutes of welcome.
"The poor, dear people!" said Mrs. Jones. "I am so glad that we can give
them a few moment's pleasure."
"And yet we have done nothing marvelous," returned Dr. Jones. "We have
only made use of one of God's laws, and without any hardship or special
exertion, have been to the North Pole and back through the kindness of
Providence, who furnishes us with extraordinarily favoring gales. The
people, as well as ourselves, should give all the glory to God."
"You are too modest by far, Doctor," replied Professor Gray. "You may as
well prepare yourself for unstinted praise and honor. What you have done
is simple and easy enough now that it has been accomplished; but it is
the conception of the idea, and courage and faith that you have
exhibited, that the world will honor. It was precisely so with
Christopher Columbus. To cross the Atlantic was a comparatively easy
affair after he had led the way. You may as well prepare yourself to
stand in the niche beside the discoverer of America. You are in for it,
sir, and I am exceedingly pleased that you are. For I know that you are
worthy of these honors, and will not become spoilt and puffed up
thereby. Accept my heartfelt congratulations, Doctor Jones," and the two
shook hands cordially.
"And mine," said Denison, also shaking the Doctor's hand. So they all
expressed their spontaneous and sincere respect for the hero of the
expedition who had so evidently excited the praise and honor of the
entire civilized earth. The little man was deeply affected.
"I should be but an arrant humbug to affect to despise the honor that
the world seems disposed to bestow upon us. I say us, for I cannot and
will not take it all to myself. I may have been the originator of the
idea, but I could have done nothing without your co-operation, dear
friends. But this is very unprofitable conversation. Let's talk about
something else. There's my old duck pond, Lake Erie. Scores of times
have I sailed from one end of it to the other; and hundreds of times
have I bathed in its limpid waters. There is no spot on earth that I
love as I do beautiful, historic Lake Erie."
This was the grand and peculiar feature of Dr. Jones' character--an
utter disregard for his own aggrandizement and self-interest, and a
sincere desire to make everybody about him happy and comfortable. And,
underlying it all, was a sublime faith in Almighty God. These three
essentials make the great man: modesty, unselfishness, and faith in God.
Anyone is great who possesses them, and no one is great who lacks either
of them. If the reader has not gathered that Dr. Jones' character was a
most happy combination of these cardinal virtues, then we have in no
degree done him justice. And while he was kind and loving to all about
him, yet he was terribly severe with the incorrigibly mean and vicious.
If he had a great fault, it was in this particular. No one could be more
loving and tender with a penitent; but the stiff-necked and haughty, the
oppressors of the poor, were an abomination unto him.
"I used to fear that I was too savage when I came into contact with such
people," said he; "but one day, while reading the 15th Psalm, I received
a flood of light upon the subject. This psalm begins by asking: 'Lord,
who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?' In
enumerating the qualifications of such person, the psalmist says: 'He
that contemneth the evil man, but he honoreth them that fear the Lord,'
Now that word 'contemn,' for the first time, attracted my special
attention. I had read it scores of times, but had never realized how
strong a term was here used. No stronger is to be found in the language.
It means to despise, detest, spurn, etc. I was startled, but I was at
the same time glad. I could not help it, but I always did despise and
detest a man who would grind the face of the poor, or who would keep
back the wage of the laborer. Not that I would judge him, or take
vengeance upon him; and I must forgive him and receive him as my brother
when he repents. But until he does turn from the evil of his ways, and
does his best at making restitution, I can do a jolly good job at
The blue south shore of the lake soon became visible. A more entrancing
picture than that of Silver Cloud floating swiftly over the great lake,
so thickly dotted with steamers and sailing vessels, cannot be imagined.
The exhilaration of the occupants as they looked from their commanding
altitude upon this delightful scenery was extreme. Many adjectives are
used in describing the scenery and experiences connected with this
notable voyage, but language is far too feeble to do the subject full
The Doctor pointed out the various islands, lakeports, etc., with all of
which he was perfectly familiar. The wind became more westerly, and they
passed into Ohio away to the east of Cleveland.
"I would have been glad to have stopped a little while at Cleveland,"
said Dr. Jones, "but we must hasten on while the wind is favorable."
"Is it absolutely necessary that we take Silver Cloud to Washington?"
asked Denison. "Suppose the winds should be contrary for a considerable
time, could we not anchor, and Professor Gray, the ladies, and yourself
take the train for the Capital?"
"Yes, and we will do that if necessary. But I much prefer that we sail
there together. It would then look as if we could come and go as we
liked, and give some degree of color to my theory, that we can find any
current we wish by hunting for it."
"That is all right in America, but doesn't hold good in Russia, Doctor,"
said Will, laughingly.
"Never mind, sonny," good-humoredly replied the Doctor. "All rules have
their exceptions, and we happened to strike a full-grown, lusty one that
time. But I shall always be thankful that my rule failed for once. I
think more of the seed I sowed there than I do of our planting the
flagstaff at the North Pole."
The wind continued very brisk, a little north of west, and the ship was
heading considerably north of Washington.
"We are pointing straight as a gun barrel for New York City," said Will,
who was consulting a map.
"New York is considerably east of Washington," remarked the Doctor,
looking over the map with Will. "I will tell you what we will do. If the
wind continues as it now is we will go on to New York and await a
favorable wind. What do you all think of that proposition?"
"Nothing could be more appropriate, since we must anchor, than that it
should be at the metropolis of America," answered Professor Gray.
So it was agreed that they should make New York their next anchorage if
possible. Along in the afternoon they were near the center of
Pennsylvania and were approaching a large town. The people were
evidently looking for them, for immense crowds could be seen gathered in
"I think that I will send a telegram from here to the mayor of New York
that we will try and make that city to-night. At what time should we
arrive there at our present speed?" he inquired of Professor Gray.
The Professor consulted his watch and map a moment, and replied, "About
eight o'clock this evening, Doctor."
The telegram was written accordingly. Silver Cloud descended to within
four hundred feet of the earth, and when over the center of the city,
the Doctor leaned over the balustrade and shouted, "Will you please
forward this message for me?" As he said this he dropped the message,
wrapped about a silver half dollar. One of the thousands of willing
hands caught it, and a voice answered, "Aye, aye, Doctor Jones!"
"They all have your name, Doctor. You are the best known man in America
to-day. And I doubt if there is one in the world so much talked of as
you are," said Professor Gray.
"And that just shows how small a matter makes one famous. A few months
ago I was an humble, inconsequential country doctor. My greatest delight
and ambition at that time was to find the indicated remedy, and see the
sick recover. And I declare to you now, that while I enjoy this racing
through the skies, and the roar and acclamation of the multitudes, yet
all these are but secondary and insignificant to my mind, when compared
with that other great ambition of my life--the recognition by the
medical world of the fact that there is an immutable law of God for our
guidance in the selection of the remedy for the sick. And my daily
prayer now is that my Father will keep me humble, so that he can use me
to this end. For I tell you, friends," and the Doctor struck the table
near him a mighty blow with his fist by way of emphasis, "that God can
use no man who feels his own importance, and is inclined to take all the
glory to himself. He is simply a weak-minded bungler, who gets into the
way and frustrates whatever designs God might otherwise have worked
The Doctor was upon his favorite theme--the propagandism of the peculiar
system of medicine of which he was so faithful and successful a
practitioner--and they had left the city far behind them, when he again
paid attention to the rapidly changing scenery below. The wind had
increased to a strong gale, and they were crossing the full length of
Pennsylvania at astounding speed. They passed over the mountain ranges
of the eastern part of the state, with as little concern or thought as
if they had been level plain or water. So greatly had their speed
accelerated, that by six o'clock the smoke of the great city was
discernible immediately before them. The beautiful Hudson looked like a
silver ribbon trending away to the north. New York bay with its shipping
from all quarters of the earth, Liberty Lighting the World, the
suspension bridge, and the tall buildings of the city, were all
distinctly seen by the voyagers at a great distance. The booming of
cannon announced to our friends that they had been sighted by those upon
the lookout for them. A few moments later they had crossed the river
and were skimming over the housetops, looking for an anchorage.
"There is Central Park. We shall pass over the south end of it. That is
the place for us to drop anchor," said the Professor.
"All right, Professor. Stand by boys! Let them go!" cried the Doctor.
Down to the earth went two anchors. They almost immediately caught in
the strong limbs of the shade trees and Silver Cloud was again safely
anchored. It was well that this immense park had chanced to be their
stopping place, for the people were wild with excitement, and poured
into it like a mighty flood. The shout that went up was deafening as the
Doctor and Professor descended to the ground. The whole party came down,
two by two, the fastenings of the globe were made doubly secure, a posse
of policemen put in charge of it, and then they submitted themselves to
the committee of reception appointed by the mayor. Carriages awaited
them, and they were conveyed to a hotel as rapidly as the densely
crowded streets would permit. No conqueror ever received a more
tremendous ovation! Frequently the carriages were brought to a dead
standstill, and only the most strenuous efforts of scores of policemen
could make a passage for them. But finally their enthusiasm broke
through all barriers. The horses were taken from the vehicles, and
hundreds of friendly hands grasped the ropes attached to the ends of the
tongues, and then better progress was made. The Doctor bore his honors
with gentle dignity, taking off his hat, and bowing frequently to the
right and left to his excited and enthusiastic countrymen who thus
delighted to do him honor. If Mrs. Jones' eyes filled with tears of
pride and delight as she witnessed this outpouring of the hearts of the
people to the man whom she loved above anything upon earth, surely no
one will censure her for that. The travelers had met with some hearty
receptions, but never with anything like this. It was not the male
portion only who were demonstrative, but the ladies were equally active
in their expressions of appreciation. The carriages were literally
filled with rich bouquets of flowers that rained into them. And when
they could bring them to a standstill, the crush about the vehicles
almost threatened their destruction. They shook hands with as many as
climbed up within reach, not a few of whom were ladies.
"Upon my word, girls, I don't know but they will eat us up," said the
Doctor to his wife and Mattie, who sat beside him in the leading landau.
But all things earthly have an end, and the party finally landed at the
entrance of the hotel. Here the press was tremendous, and it was with
extreme difficulty that they at last reached the parlor, where the mayor
and many distinguished citizens awaited them.
"I fear you have had a rough passage through our streets," said the
"I give you my word, sir, that we have been in more danger during the
last half hour than in all the balance of our voyage," replied Dr.
"You have stirred the world, and turned it upside down, and you will
have to stand the consequences of your unprecedented popularity. It is
so refreshing to see a man do the impossible with the nonchalance and
ease that you have displayed that you must not complain if we nearly
kill you with the best intentions in the world. But I promise that we
will endeavor to make it as easy for you as possible, while with us."
"I have lived all my life in New York, but I am sure that I never saw
our city so excited as it is to-night," said another gentleman. "Just
listen to them! Come out upon the balcony and look at them."
As they stepped out and looked up and down Broadway, far as they could
see the great thoroughfare was filled with people. The voyagers were
instantly recognized, and such a roar as went up from that vast
multitude! It continued until the mayor stepped forward and raised his
hand to command silence.
"Speak to them a few words, Doctor, and send them home," said he.
The Doctor stepped forward and cried at the top of his powerful voice:
"Friends and fellow countrymen. Of course, I expected you would be glad
to see a party who travel in so splendid a chariot as the great aluminum
ship. And I take it for granted that you are all aware that Silver
Cloud, as we have named the globe, carried us to the North Pole and
back safely and pleasantly. And to-night, as we stand in the great
metropolis of the Western hemisphere, there flies from the most splendid
flagstaff upon earth, located precisely at the northern extremity of the
earth's axis, the Flag of our Union! (At this point, the patriotic
enthusiasm of the hearers could not be restrained, and for several
minutes the Doctor stood and awaited the subsidence of the cheering.)
But I have a proposition to make you. The Mayor desires that you all
retire now to your homes, and I promise you that to-morrow night we will
tell you all about our trip, and show you how we planted the flagstaff
at the North Pole. I bid you all good night."
"That was good, Doctor, and I think that now they will disperse quite
satisfied," said the mayor. "You are the city's guests, remember, and we
are extremely desirous of rendering you every possible honor and
pleasure. I do not doubt that you are all fatigued with so much
excitement and sightseeing as you have been through to-day, and we will
let you retire. Good-night."
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