gray folds. For a garret is like a sea-shore, where wrecks are thrown up and slowly go to pieces. There is the cradle which the old man you just remember was rocked in; there is the ruin of the bedstead he died on; that ugly slanting contrivance used to be put under his pillow in the days when his breath came hard; there is his old chair with both arms gone, symbol of the desolate time when he had nothing earthly left to lean on; there is the large wooden reel which the blear-eyed old deacon sent the minister's lady, who thanked him graciously, and twirled it smilingly, and in fitting season bowed it out decently to the limbo of troublesome conveniences. And there are old leather portmanteaus, like stranded porpoises, their mouths gaping in gaunt hunger for the food with which they used to be gorged to bulging repletion; and old brass andirons, waiting until time shall revenge them on their paltry substitutes, and they shall have their own again, and bring with them the forestick and the back-log of ancient days; and the empty churn, with its idle dasher, which the Nancys and Phoebes, who have left their comfortable places to the Bridgets and Norahs, used to handle to good purpose; and the brown, shaky old spinning-wheel, which was running, it may be, in the days when they were hanging the Salem witches. Under the dark and haunted garret were attic chambers which themselves had histories. The southeast chamber was the Library Hospital. Every scholar should have a book infirmary attached to his library. There should find a peaceable refuge the many books, invalids from their birth, which are sent ‘with the best regards of the Author;’ the respected, but unpresentable cripples which have lost a cover; the odd volumes of honored sets which go mourning all their days for their lost brother; the school-books which have been so often the subjects of assault and battery, that they look as if the police court must know them by heart; these, and still more the pictured story-books, beginning with Mother Goose (which a dear old friend of mine has just been amusing his philosophic leisure with turning most ingeniously and happily into the tongues of Virgil and Homer), will be precious mementos by and by, when children and grandchildren come along. The rooms of the second story, the chambers of birth and death, are sacred to silent memories.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
The beginnings of Cambridge .
Cambridge town , 1750 - 1846 .
Cambridge a city.
The Cambridge idea.
The Cambridge littoral.
Burial-places in Cambridge .
Harvard University in its relations to the city of Cambridge .
Harvard University .
Radcliffe College .
The public schools of Cambridge .
Private schools in Cambridge .
The Protestant churches of Cambridge .
The Catholics and their churches.
Financial and manufacturing.
Government of the city of Cambridge , 1896 .
General Index .
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