Publication information

Forest and Stream
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Vermont League Outing”
Author(s): Burnham, J. B.
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 57
Issue number: 11
Pagination: 208-09

Burnham, J. B. “Vermont League Outing.” Forest and Stream 14 Sept. 1901 v57n11: pp. 208-09.
Vermont Fish and Game League; Theodore Roosevelt (at Isle La Motte, VT); Redfield Proctor (public statements); McKinley assassination.
Named persons
John Wilkes Booth; Nelson W. Fisk; Charles J. Guiteau; William McKinley; Redfield Proctor; Theodore Roosevelt; John W. Titcomb; W. Seward Webb.
The following notice appears on the front page (p. 201) of this issue: “We give a very complete and well-written report of the September outing of the Vermont Fish and Game League at Isle La Motte, Lake Champlain, on Friday of last week. The meeting was one which under and circumstances would have been notable for the speakers, chief among whom were Senator Proctor and Vice-President Roosevelt; and it was made an historic occasion by the tragic climax of the day, when the news was received of the would-be assassin’s shot at Buffalo.”

“From FOREST AND STREAMS Special Representative.”

Vermont League Outing

     THE 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, filmiest, ashen-gray.
     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 false—that—”
     Here a steamboat whistled, momentarily breaking the [208][209] 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 a Guiteau.
     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!