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noise of parting waters, and, with its multitude of electric lights, shines like a street in the New Jerusalem. Although the harbor continues to be used by the fishing fleet, costly yachts often outnumber the fishing boats there.
Newport's most widely famed relic of the past is what is known as “The Old Stone Mill” in one of the city parks. It is a low circular tower supported on eight arches. Formerly there was a floor above the arches making a second story to the building. The walls stand firm, and probably are much what they were in the first place. Little is known with certainty about its history except that it was used at one time as a storehouse for hay. But most investigators agree that it was erected for a windmill by an early governor of the colony about 1675. Others, however, claim that it was built by the Norsemen hundreds of years before Columbus discovered America.
Longfellow in his well-known poem, “The Skeleton in Armor,” makes it the home of a bold Norse sailor and his bride. This Norseman wooed a “blue-eyed maid” in his native land, but she was a "prince's child, and he only a Viking wild.” When he asked to be allowed to marry her, the father's reply was a loud laugh of scorn. Soon afterward the two lovers ran away and put to sea. They were pursued, and they sailed out on the open ocean and continued westward for three weeks. Then they came to land, and there for his lady's bower the Viking built the stone tower
“Which to this very hour
Stands looking seaward.” But at length the lady died, and he buried her under the tower and killed himself by falling on his spear.
The skeleton which inspired the poem was unearthed in digging down a hill near the neighboring city of Fall
River. The body had been buried in a sitting posture and was enveloped in a covering of coarse bark. With the skeleton were an oval breastplate and a belt, both of brass, and some brass-tipped arrows in a quiver of bark which fell to pieces as soon as it was exposed to the air. The romantically inclined fancied the bones were those of a Norseman, but more probably they were those of an Indian.
HODE ISLAND is the smallest state in the Union,
and it is the most thickly populated. There are more than five hundred persons to the square mile, while Nevada has less than one to the square mile. The settlement of the state was begun in 1636 by that famous Puritan preacher, Roger Williams. He had won considerable fame in England before he came with his newly wedded wife across the Atlantic to Boston, which was just being settled. Soon Salem called him to be its minister, but his preaching aroused such opposition that he was presently banished from the colony. To escape his persecutors he left home at night in midwinter and fled alone through the deep snow to his Indian friend, Massasoit, with whom he stayed until spring. Then he was joined by five of his Salem flock, and they made their way to Rhode Island, where they started a settlement which Mr. Williams called Providence. The name expressed his thankfulness. for finding there a satisfactory spot to establish a new home after his wanderings.
The liberty of conscience allowed in the colony made it a popular refuge, and more and more people flocked to it and settled along the shores of Narragansett Bay. There were fresh water meadows and salt marshes that served as pastures for their horses and cows, and on which they mowed grass to make a winter store of hay. The sheep and swine were turned loose in the woods and on the barrens.
Providence for a long time grew very slowly. In 1740 it was much as it had been for a half century previous a long, straggling street by the water front, where, on summer evenings, the inhabitants sat in their doorways, the men smoking their clay pipes, and they and all the rest fighting the swarms
of mosquitoes that from
the neighboring marshes.
One of the most noteworthy incidents in the history of the city occurred in that time of irritation between the colonies and the mother country just before the Revolution. In March, 1772, the British schooner Gaspee of eight guns took station in Narragansett Bay, and began stopping and searching all incoming vessels to prevent the smuggling of sugar and the evasion of paying taxes on it. This went much against the grain of the colonists, who were insistent that they
could not be taxed without their consent. The British admiral at Boston assumed that the Rhode Islanders were “a set of lawless piratical people,” and threatened