“No, papa,” she replied, “can you tell us?”
“It took one hundred and fifty years of toil by exiles, convicts, and slaves to construct the heavy walls, curtains, bastions, and towers of defence. Its bloodiest days were more than a century before our Civil War, in which it did not take a very prominent part.”
“Where are the curtains, papa?” asked little Elsie. “I don’t see any.”
“It is the name given to that part of the rampart which connects the flanks of two bastions,” replied her father.
“And it was here that the Apaches were imprisoned,” remarked Walter.
“Yes,” returned his mother, “and a most gloomy prison it must have proved to them, used as they were to the free life of the mountains, prairies, and forests.”
Some little time longer was spent in viewing the tropical plants and trees that adorned the exterior of the fort, then they passed inside and examined the many beautiful things to be seen there.
Their next visit was to the headquarters of the State of Washington, where they were much interested in the display of her native woods and the rockery built of native ores, showing pure streaks of gold and silver, so illustrating the mineral wealth of the State.
“Where next?” asked Mr. Dinsmore as they passed out.
“Papa, I’m so tired,” little Elsie was saying at the same moment, in a low aside to her father.
“I, too,” added Ned, overhearing her. “Please can’t we take a ride now?”
“Surely,” said Grandpa Dinsmore, overhearing the request. “I invite you all to try an electric boat on the lagoon.”
No one seemed disposed to decline the invitation; some time was spent on the water, then on the Intramural Railway. After that the whole party, at the invitation of Violet and the captain, went aboard the yacht, still lying in the lake at no great distance from the Peristyle, and partook of a supper which was no unpleasant contrast to the enjoyable dinner with which Grandma Elsie had provided them.
The little folks were ready for bed, on leaving the table; the older ones rested for a time on the Dolphin’s deck, chatting together while enjoying the sunset, then they returned to the Court of Honor, to revel in its beauties as seen by the witchery of the electric light.
Morning found them all rested, refreshed, and eager to spend another day amid the beauties of the Fair. They started early, as on the previous day, found Harold and Herbert with the other young gentlemen friends waiting for them in the Peristyle, spent a little time enjoying its beauties and the never wearying view it afforded of the lake on the one side, and the Court of Honor on the other, then at the earnest solicitation of the little ones they again entered an electric launch and glided swiftly along the quiet waters of the lagoon.