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The spur to Hyannis, only about four miles in length, crosses a low place in the moraine for about a mile and at Yarmouth Camp Ground begins abruptly to traverse the outwash plain to Nantucket Sound. The main line after leaving Yarmouth also crosses the moraine to a south-central position as far as Harwich Station, and then turns north into the moraine from Harwich and Brewster to Orleans, and northward runs through a field of morainic hills and lakes about Eastham Center.
Northward the railway crosses the Eastham plain to South Wellfleet, from which it rises upon the back of the high Wellfleet plain northward to North Truro. In Truro, by the Provincetown waterworks, the road descends to the beach, which it follows until it enters the dunes of Provincetown.
A main line of highway joins Duxbury, Kingston, Plymouth and Sagamore. Two main lines, as above said, follow the upper Cape. The northshore route is much like that of the railway. Both run south of certain morainic elevations that are north of the principal belt of hills. These are—Town Neck in Sandwich, Spring Hill near East Sandwich and Scorton Neck.
At Yarmouth Port this road keeps near the shore through the towns of Yarmouth, Den
nis and Brewster, and then follows nearly a middle course between the inner and outer shores to Provincetown. From Wellfleet to North Truro it is well hidden from both sea borders, winding among the hills, pine forests and lakes of the northern wilderness.
The southshore route pursues its way around the heads of the deep bays of the outwash plain through Falmouth, Cotuit and Marston's Mills to Hyannis, thence to Chatham nearer the shore. From Buzzards Bay to Woods Hole, the description of the railway route is equally true of the highway.
For nearly a hundred and fifty years the colonists had to depend on chance travelers for sending letters. In days that still were early, a postrider took the whole mail in his saddlebags and they were lean at that. He required a week for going down the Cape and accomplishing his return. The first regular mail was established in 1754, between Plyn> outh and Nauset. In 1775 there was a route from Cambridge to Plymouth, Sandwich and Falmouth, a round trip occupying the days from Monday to Saturday. The first United States mail was sent from Boston to Barnstable in 1792. The pay of the carrier was one dollar per day, which was criticised as an extravagant use of the public money.
The first post office in Yarmouth was opened in 1794, with mails once a week and no post office below it on the Cape. In 1797 there was a weekly mail from Yarmouth to Truro, but it was not thought worth while to extend the service to Provincetown. The period of the second war with Great Britain saw mails carried down the Cape twice a week, a third mail being added a few years later. In 1854 Yarmouth had mails twice each day.
Telegraph wires began to be strung on the Cape in 1855 and even rival lines were not long in being set up. The Cape has had its share in Atlantic cables and wireless flashings, and the aeroplane sailed over with the coming of the war. The isolation of the Cape has passed away, and the hotel keeper phones in his orders to Boston, and the motor truck and the express car are in the land. If the old foreland was ever asleep, which may be doubted, it has awakened to the modern call. None can predict when flight will put Truro and Chatham among the suburbs of Boston, when Old Colony trains will cease to run uphill and downhill, and the Dorothy Bradford will find undisturbed repose.
THREE CENTURIES OF POPULATION
The problem of population ties itself up in endless complications. Soil and mine, harbors and highways, world position, human invention and duration of occupation are all involved. The wealth of the soil is much but can hardly be said to control. If one doubts this let him think of the United Kingdom, or of Belgium, or the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, none of these raising more than a fraction of its food. Other resources count, particularly if there be stores of coal and iron, and other materials which invite hand or machine craft. Situation, harbors and roads may be such as to favor trade. Thus all resources and conditions have a share in determining whether the people will be scattered and few, or compact and many.
One might compare the United Kingdom and Norway—about equal in square miles— with forty-five million over against two million of human beings. Perhaps the Norwegian
is as enterprising as the Briton, and he has plenty of harbors and a fair situation. But there is not much underground material that is useful and hardly a decent county area of good soil in the whole kingdom. The Orient is different, with dense population, rich soil, and little manufacture save of simple home necessities. Natural wealth is large, but except as to soils, is little used, while the age of these countries makes western Europe look young.
The development of the Old Colony is favored or hindered by what goes on in New York or the Mississippi Valley. The human factor after all may outweigh the rest—what has been bred into a race, what they bring to their land, may be more than all that their environment brings to them.
The circuit of Cape Cod Bay has its full share of these enigmas. Some things are plain enough—that the soils are poor, that the mineral wealth is almost nothing, and that the situation, so far as the great world is concerned, is good. The harbors used to be good, but human invention has made over our sailing contrivances and made most of the harbors poor, nature helping here and there in the process. The prairies have drawn off the Cape farmer. The trout of the Great Lakes and the