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ght a new home among the strange Indians of the North. But what has all this to do with the falls? When the rail-cars came thundering through his lake country, Wordsworth attempted to exorcise them by a sonnet; and, were I not a very decided Yankee, I might possibly follow his example, and utter in this connection my protest against the desecration of Patucket Falls, and battle with objurgatory stanzas these dams and mills, as Balmawhapple shot off his horse-pistol at Stirling Castle. Rockir abode in the hostelry and daily held conversation with each other in the capacious parlor. I have heard those who at the time visited the tavern say that it was literally thronged for several weeks. Small, squeaking voices spoke in a sort of Yankee-Irish dialect, in the haunted room, to the astonishment and admiration of hundreds. The inn, of course, was blessed by this fairy visitation; the clapboards ceased their racket, clear panes took the place of rags in the sashes, and the little ti
Wordsworth (search for this): chapter 3
hites, with the exception of the tract in the angle of the two rivers on which the Patuckets were settled. The Indian title to this tract was not finally extinguished until 1726, when the beautiful name of Wamesit was lost in that of Chelmsford, and the last of the Patuckets turned his back upon the graves of his fathers and sought a new home among the strange Indians of the North. But what has all this to do with the falls? When the rail-cars came thundering through his lake country, Wordsworth attempted to exorcise them by a sonnet; and, were I not a very decided Yankee, I might possibly follow his example, and utter in this connection my protest against the desecration of Patucket Falls, and battle with objurgatory stanzas these dams and mills, as Balmawhapple shot off his horse-pistol at Stirling Castle. Rocks and trees, rapids, cascades, and other water-works are doubtless all very well; but on the whole, considering our seven months of frost, are not cotton shirts and wool
John Woolman (search for this): chapter 3
s sin, and that goodness evermore hallows and sanctifies its dwelling-place? When the soul is at rest, when the passions and desires are all attuned to the divine harmony,— Spirits moving musically To a lute's well-ordered law, The haunted palace, by Edgar A. Poe. do we not read the placid significance thereof in the human countenance? I have seen, said Charles Lamb, faces upon which the dove of peace sat brooding. In that simple and beautiful record of a holy life, the Journal of John Woolman, there is a passage of which I have been more than once reminded in my intercourse with my fellow-beings: Some glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces who dwell in true meekness. There is a harmony in the sound of that voice to which divine love gives utterance. Quite the ugliest face I ever saw was that of a woman whom the world calls beautiful. Through its silver veil the evil and ungentle passions looked out hideous and hateful. On the other hand, there are faces which
sed his Bible; and the whole group crowded closer together. It is surely a war party of the heathen, said Mr. Ward, as he listened intently to the approaching sound. God grant they mean us no evil! The sounds drew nearer. The swarthy figure of an Indian came gliding through the brush-wood into the clearing, followed closely by several Englishmen. In answer to the eager inquiries of Mr. Ward, Captain Eaton, the leader of the party, stated that he had left Boston at the command of Governor Winthrop, to secure and disarm the sachem, Passaconaway, who was suspected of hostile intentions towards the whites. They had missed of the old chief, but had captured his son, and were taking him to the governor as a hostage for the good faith of his father. He then proceeded to inform Mr. Ward, that letters had been received from the governor of the settlements of Good Hoop and Piquag, in Connecticut, giving timely warning of a most diabolical plot of the Indians to cut off their white neig
es of his own composing, coarsely printed and illustrated with rude wood-cuts, for the delectation of the younger branches of the family. No lovesick youth could drown himself, no deserted maiden bewail the moon, no rogue mount the gallows, without fitting memorial in Plummer's verses. Earthquakes, fires, fevers, and shipwrecks he regarded as personal favors from Providence, furnishing the raw material of song and ballad. Welcome to us in our country seclusion as Autolycus to the clown in Winter's Tale, we listened with infinite satisfaction to his readings of his own verses, or to his ready improvisation upon some domestic incident or topic suggested by his auditors. When once fairly over the difficulties at the outset of a new subject, his rhymes flowed freely, as if he had eaten ballads and all men's ears grew to his tunes. His productions answered, as nearly as I can remember, to Shakespeare's description of a proper ballad,— doleful matter merrily set down, or a very pleasant
Rip Winkles (search for this): chapter 3
unpleasing horror the hearts of the old Norse sea-robbers. What child, although Anglo-Saxon born, escapes a temporary sojourn in fairy-land? Who of us does not remember the intense satisfaction of throwing aside primer and spelling-book for stolen ethnographical studies of dwarfs and giants? Even in our own country and time old superstitions and credulities still cling to life with feline tenacity. Here and there, oftenest in our fixed, valley-sheltered, inland villages,—slumberous Rip Van Winkles, unprogressive and seldom visited,—may be found the same old beliefs in omens, warnings, witchcraft, and supernatural charms which our ancestors brought with them two centuries ago from Europe. The practice of charms, or what is popularly called trying projects, is still, to some extent, continued in New England. The inimitable description which Burns gives of similar practices in his Halloween may not in all respects apply to these domestic conjurations; but the following needs onl
Dick Wilson (search for this): chapter 3
last place the Lord made, I reckon. What, from Dick Wilson? Sartin, said the Skipper. And how is he? Well, you see, said the Skipper, this young Wilson comes down here from Hanover College, in the springite haze above us. You're right, Skipper, says Wilson to me; Nature is better than books. And from ther, but just takes a bit of a nap at midnight. Here Wilson went ashore, more dead than alive, and found comfora binnacle. They all took a mighty liking to young Wilson, and were ready to do anything for him. He was soonot ready to sail I called at the Frenchman's to let Wilson know when to come aboard. He really seemed sorry t, I should be willing to winter at the North Pole. Wilson gave me a letter for his brother; and we shook handn at last; when who should I see on shore but young Wilson, so stout and hearty that I should scarcely have kn; and the old Frenchman and his wife seemed to love Wilson as if he was their son. I've never seen him since;
Roger Williams (search for this): chapter 3
towns, where they are forbidden to speak on matters of religion. But there are said to be many still at large, who, under the encouragement of the arch-heretic, Williams, of the Providence plantation, are even now zealously doing the evil work of their master. But, Alice, he continued, as he saw his few neighbors gathering arounparted into the thick wilderness, under the guidance of Passaconaway, and in a few days reached the Eldorado of the heretic and the persecuted, the colony of Roger Williams. Passaconaway, ever after, remained friendly to the white men. As civilization advanced he retired before it, to Pennacook, now Concord, on the Merrimac, whetraditions and beliefs of the heathen round about them. Some hints of them we glean from the writings of the missionary Mayhew and the curious little book of Roger Williams. Especially would one like to know more of that domestic demon, Wetuomanit, who presided over household affairs, assisted the young squaw in her first essay
Polly Wiggin (search for this): chapter 3
y have taken counsel of their honest affections rather than of the opinions of the multitude, and have dared to be true to themselves in defiance of impertinent gossip. You speak of the young farmer Barnet and his wife, I suppose? said I. Yes. I will give their case as an illustration. Julia Atkins was the daughter of Ensign Atkins, who lived on the mill-road, just above Deacon Warner's. When she was ten years old her mother died; and in a few months afterwards her father married Polly Wiggin, the tailoress, a shrewd, selfish, managing woman. Julia, poor girl! had a sorry time of it; for the Ensign, although a kind and affectionate man naturally, was too weak and yielding to interpose between her and his strong-minded, sharp-tongued wife. She had one friend, however, who was always ready to sympathize with her. Robert Barnet was the son of her next-door neighbor, about two years older than herself; they had grown up together as school companions and playmates; and often in
sinners, —mingle with the beautiful and soothing promises of the prophets. There are indeed occasionally to be found among the believers men of refined and exalted spiritualism, who in their lives and conversation remind one of Tennyson's Christian knight-errant in his yearning towards the hope set before him: to me is given Such hope I may not fear; I long to breathe the airs of heaven, Which sometimes meet me here. I muse on joys that cannot cease, Pure spaces filled with living beams, White lilies of eternal peace, Whose odors haunt my dreams. One of the most ludicrous examples of the sensual phase of Millerism, the incongruous blending of the sublime with the ridiculous, was mentioned to me not long since. A fashionable young woman in the western part of this State became an enthusiastic believer in the doctrine. On the day which had been designated as the closing one of time she packed all her fine dresses and toilet valuables in a large trunk, with long straps attached
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