網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

their deportment, the grass green and as short as a fast horse's winter coat. I could not learn whether it was kept so by clipping or singeing. I was delighted with my new property, but it cost me four dollars to get there, so far was it beyond the Pillars of Hercules of the fashionable quarter. What it will be by and by depends on circumstances; but at present it is as much central to New York'as Brookline is central to Boston. The question is not between Mr. Olmsted's admirably arranged, but remote pleasure-ground and our Common, with its batrachian pool, but between his Excentric Park and our finest suburban scenery, between its artificial reservoirs and the broad natural sheet of Jamaica Pond. I say this not invidiously, but in justice to the beauties which surround our own metropolis. To compare the situations of any dwellings in either of the great cities with those which look upon the Common, the Public Garden, the waters of the Back Bay, would be to take an unfair advantage of Fifth Avenue and Walnut Street. St. Botolph's daughter dresses in

plainer clothes than her more stately sisters, but she wears an emerald on her right hand and a diamond on her left that Cybele herself need not be ashamed of.

Va

On Monday morning, the twenty-ninth of September, we took the cars for home. cant lots, with Irish and pigs; vegetable-gardens; straggling houses; the high bridge; villages, not enchanting; then Stamford; then NORWALK. Here, on the sixth of May, 1853, I passed close on the heels of the great disaster. But that my lids were heavy on that morning, my readers would probably have had Two of my no further trouble with me.

friends saw the car in which they rode break in the middle and leave them hanging over the abyss. From Norwalk to Boston, that day's journey of two hundred miles was a long funeral-procession.

Bridgeport, waiting for Iranistan to rise from its ashes with all its phoenix-egg domes, bubbles of wealth that broke, ready to be blown again, iridescent as ever, which is pleasant, for the world likes cheerful Mr. Barnum's

success; New Haven, girt with flat marshes that look like monstrous billiard-tables, with hay-cocks lying about for balls, - romantic with West Rock and its legends, — cursed with a detestable depot, whose niggardly arrangements crowd the track so murderously close to the wall that the peine forte et dure must be the frequent penalty of an innocent walk on its platform, with its neat carriages, metropolitan hotels, precious old college-dormitories, its vistas of elms and its dishevelled weeping-willows; Hartford, substantial, well-bridged, many-steepled city, — every conical spire an extinguisher of some nineteenth-century heresy; so onward, by and across the broad, shallow Connecticut, dull red road and dark river woven in like warp and woof by the shuttle of the darting engine; then Springfield, the wide-meadowed, well-feeding, horse-loving, hot-summered, gianttreed town, city among villages, village among cities; Worcester, with its Dædalian labyrinth of crossing railroad-bars, where the snorting Minotaurs, breathing fire and smoke

[ocr errors]

and hot vapors, are stabled in their dens; Framingham, fair cup-bearer, leaf-cinctured Hebe of the deep-bosomed Queen sitting by the sea-side on the throne of the Six Nations. And now I begin to know the road, not by towns, but by single dwellings; not by miles, but by rods. The poles of the great magnet that draws in all the iron tracks through the grooves of all the mountains must be near at hand, for here are crossings, and sudden stops, and screams of alarmed engines heard all around. The tall granite obelisk comes into view far away on the left, its bevelled capstone sharp against the sky; the lofty chimneys of Charlestown and East Cambridge flaunt their smoky banners up in the thin air; and now one fair bosom of the threehilled city, with its dome-crowned summit, reveals itself, as when many-breasted Ephesian Artemis appeared with half-open chlamys before her worshippers.

Fling open the window-blinds of the chamber that looks out on the waters and towards the western sun! Let the joyous light shine

in upon the pictures that hang upon its walls and the shelves thick-set with the names of poets and philosophers and sacred teachers, in whose pages our boys learn that life is noble only when it is held cheap by the side of honor and of duty. Lay him in his own bed, and let him sleep off his aches and weariness. So comes down another night over this household, unbroken by any messenger of evil tidings, a night of peaceful rest and grateful thoughts; for this our son and brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.

« 上一頁繼續 »