National Geographic : 1942 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine she would have to entertain herself by looking through the museum while I went through the monastery. My guide led me across a beautiful garden to the main building. As we mounted the steps, the door swung mysteriously open before us. I was a little startled to see the door keeper in pale robes walk on his knees to close the portal. Along the spacious halls monks in the same sort of robes padded soundlessly on amorphous moccasins as they read their breviaries. The abbot was most cordial. An ardent reader of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, he wel comed a visitor from its staff. The monks, who have taken a vow of si lence, never speak save to chant their serv ices. They rise at 2 A. M. to begin their pray ers. Before dawn they prepare the vegetables, bread, and milk for their day's meals. They eat no meat except under doctor's orders. In their refectory I saw the long, bare tables set with wooden dishes and spoons. A bottle of cod-liver oil was at each place. These men eke a living from the poor soil of a large farm. Devoting life to prayer and meditation, they are out of the world. From Bardstown we returned to Lexington through country sweet with honey locust, past fields of young tobacco plants. Kentucky was smiling for us. Following Route 60 again, we left Lexington behind and drove by way of Versailles to Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky, immor talized by the novels of John Fox, Jr. The magnificent New Capitol and State of fice buildings occupy a commanding site above the Kentucky River. On both sides of the stream the old town invites visitors with its stately homes on tree-shaded streets. Historic Relics in Old Statehouse Grand as is the new Statehouse, the Old Capitol has greater romantic appeal. It is now a museum rich in relics of the past. Up the famous circular staircase we climbed to the legislative halls, and passed an hour looking at the exhibits. Among them is the dueling pistol with which Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton. On a hill high above the Kentucky River where Boone once stood and looked out for the first time over what he called "Cuntucke, the Great Meadow," is the old Frankfort Cemetery. Under the shade of its spreading trees rest the bodies of Boone and his wife, Rebecca; the Kentucky soldier-poet, Theodore O'Hara, author of "The Bivouac of the Dead"; and many another famous in history. An impressive marble shaft surmounted by a Statue of Victory stands in the cemetery as a fitting monument to Kentucky war heroes. A year ago we drove out to Louisville from Washington for our first visit to the Kentucky Derby. If one wishes to see the Derby at Churchill Downs in comfort, he should obtain his ticket and accommodations a year in advance. No accurate figures on the crowd are given out, but estimates put the throng at 93,000. The Kentucky Derby, Race of Races From the moment we entered the gates of the famous track, we could feel the thrill of the scene. People were climbing on sills and ledges in the clubhouse to get a glimpse of the track. Every seat in the huge stands was occupied. If one got a place in the clubhouse from which the track was visible, he was fortu nate-until a race started. Then people in the stands rose and blotted out the view. Mint juleps were being sold like soft drinks at a baseball game. A dollar each in souvenir cups, they were vended by girls in pretty frocks. Bettors were rushing from stands to ticket windows before each race. It was rumored that a famous motion-picture star, for a prank, purloined the Derby winner's wreath of flowers. Just before the great race, the band, in keeping with tradition, played "My Old Ken tucky Home." The "hardboots" (horse-rac ing devotees) stood uncovered, tears actually streaming down the cheeks of many. The Kentucky Derby is more than a race; it is the glory of the "sport of kings." How Warren Wright's Whirlaway broke the track record in winning the 1941 Derby every body knows. That was a brilliant race-what little one could see of it, over, around, or under the milling crowd. Residential Louisville is always lovely, par ticularly in springtime when the wide lawns around the stately homes are gay with flowers, and the pale green of young leaves contrasts strikingly with the dark trunks of the fine oaks lining the beautiful parkway that leads out to the Zachary Taylor monument. On the Sunday of Derby week this year I went to church near my hotel. Before service, I gazed enchanted at the ex quisite stained-glass windows. They were the work, I learned later from Eugene Stuart, sec retary-manager of the 39-year-old Louisville Automobile Club, of John Bernard Alberts, who established in Louisville in 1890 the John B. Alberts Studio. Until his death 16 years ago he carried on his creation of stained glass. His son, Gisbert B. Alberts, expresses his artistry not in stained glass but in orchids.