Vermont League Outing [excerpt]
summer outing of the Vermont Fish and Game League at Isle La Motte,
in the northern end of Lake Champlain, came to a dramatic close
with the announcement of the dastardly attack on President McKinley
at Buffalo. The business had been transacted, the dinner eaten and
the speeches made, and the thousand members and guests of the League
were gathered in groups on the lawn of the Fisk mansion waiting
for an opportunity to shake hands with Vice-President Roosevelt.
The scene was idyllically beautiful.
To the west the sun was sinking in a cherry-red wave of glory behind
the Chateaugay Mountains, a penciled line of the faintest blue,
while nearer other ranges came into darker prominence, till at the
mouth of the Little Chazy the sentinel elms stood out almost in
silhouette, casting black shadows on the lake glimmering with the
sheen of iridescent silk, bluish-green shading into red with glints
of azure and lapis lazuli, and, far off, a streak of the faintest,
Vice-President Roosevelt, Senator
Proctor of Vermont and other distinguished guests were inside the
house, which is of stone, with a long stone wing surmounted by a
belfry. The lake washes the lawn in front, while on one hand in
the sward tennis court, and on the other, separated by a hedge of
plum trees, the deer park, where the dining tent was erected.
Suddenly all eyes turned toward the
house as Senator Proctor, followed by President Titcomb of the League
and ex-Lieutenant-Governor Fisk, appeared on the stone portico.
There was a momentary hush of expectancy, pending the arrival of
the Vice-President, but no apprehension of anything wrong until
Senator Proctor raised his hand and, in a choked voice, said:
“Gentlemen, it is my sad duty to announce
that word has just been received by telephone—I trust it may prove
Here a steamboat whistled, momentarily
breaking the  thread of the
statement and giving the crowd, whose ears were strained to catch
the words, time to realize that an event of more than ordinary moment
had occurred. In a moment hats were doffed and the assemblage stood
bare-headed, waiting anxiously for the name that each one was trying
to fit to the fateful announcement.
“At 4 o’clock this afternoon our beloved
President was shot twice by an anarchist in the Temple of Music
at Buffalo, just as he had finished speaking and was shaking hands.”
The Senator stood with bowed head,
while a great sigh of horror went up from the listeners. Men’s faces
paled and then grew red with anger.
Governor Fisk, with tears in his eyes,
called out: “I believe it is a lie; we will yet hear it contradicted.”
His words had little effect, however, for the assemblage was inclined
to accept the first statement as true. All were sickened by the
conviction that another tragedy had come to stain the fair name
of the nation, which, however innocently, had harbored a Booth and
Senator Proctor re-entered the house,
and a few moments later returned and announced that the report of
the attack had been confirmed by an Associated Press dispatch, but
that there were hopeful features and that the President was resting
comfortably and was conscious. The crowd made their way to the steamboat
dock, talking in low voices, but before all had embarked a faint
cheer went up from the house, and the word quickly passed from mouth
to mouth of a later dispatch containing the hopeful news that the
President was likely to recover.
Vice-President Roosevelt did not appear
until after this last report, when he was rowed out to the Elfrida,
Dr. Webb’s steam yacht, which carried him at once to Burlington,
from which place he proceeded shortly afterward by special train
to Buffalo. During the speech-making Mr. Roosevelt had frequently
been mentioned as the next occupant of the White House. Little did
the orators realize that even as they spoke the act of a crazy fanatic
in a neighboring State had made the goal so perilously near!