Looking in through the keyholes we could see old leather portmanteaux looking “like stranded porpoises,” as Holmes
describes them, or andirons waiting to resume their places in the chimneys.
In the large outer garret we could see names written with diamonds on the windowpanes — names of students who had taken their degrees before the Revolutionary War
. Among them was the name of John Tracy
, beneath which some one, possibly a rival in scholarship or love, had written stultus
by way of brief verdict.
We knew that in this house the battle of Bunker Hill
was planned, and we knew that on yonder green the American
soldiers had halted for prayers from the college president ere they marched to the field.
Looking across the common, then unfenced, we saw the tree beneath which Washington
had taken command of the Continental Army
, and not far off was the old churchyard, and Dr. Holmes
had made that plot of ground classic to us by poems which we knew by heart.
We pondered over those long inscriptions where, as Holmes
himself has said, “The dead presidents stretched their weary bones under epitaphs stretched out at as full ”