previous next

[459] There was one strong chimney in the centre of the building; and the windows were glazed with diamond-glass. It was deemed of primary importance that the dwelling should face the south. A very few specimens of this style of architecture remain unaltered among us.

The first houses of the farmers in this plantation were loghuts of one story, with thatched roof, having lofts inside, like our barns. The fireplaces were made of rough stones, and the upper half of the chimneys with short sticks, crossing each other, and plastered inside with clay. The houses always fronted the south, like sun-dials, so that the mid-day sun might “shine square.”

Let us look at a family thus conditioned. They have chosen a spot near the Mystic River, where the highest tides cannot annoy them; and their house seems thrust into the thickest wood. No yard in front, no wall behind, no path, no gate,--all open as an unfenced forest: there seems not even an outlet into the civilized world. The young undergrowth of wood is springing up beneath the windows; the wild sumachs and blackberry vines are breaking into the cellar; the sturdy pitch-pines are rubbing and crackling against the thatch-poles; the golden-rod is intertwining itself among the white birch and dark hazel; while a centenarian oak and a towering walnut stand near enough to promise shade and take the lightning. Here each member of the family in the log-hut can run up a pleasant acquaintance with a blooming beech-tree or a tapering cedar, with a graceful “dressed elm” or a glossy-leaved chestnut.

“ He who loves to hold communion with Nature's beautiful forms” will not need other society here. The wind labors and roars in the forest; the susurum murmurs its Aeolian music through the pines; the tide goes and comes like a faithful messenger; and the sun, moon, and stars seem to belong to that little world.

Add to all these the frolic and movements of animals. How social were they with the early comers! European eyes, for the first time, could watch the racing of the American weazel, that agile hunter of the woods; the dodging of the gray squirrel in the nut-tree; the undisturbed meal of the woodchuck in the clover; the patient labor of the beaver in building his house; and the craft of the fox, as he barks in the moonlight to start his game.

There was something to engage attention even in the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Mystick River (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Europe (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: