The walk was then, as is certainly not now the case, a plunge into darkness; and there is no other point from which the transformation of the older Boston
is more conspicuous.
You now cross the bridge at night through a circle of radiant lights glancing in brilliant lines through all the suburbs; but in the old nights there was here and there in the distance a dim oil lamp; in time oil gave place to kerosene; then came gas, then electricity, and still the brighter the lamps, the more they multiplied.
The river itself was different; there were far more vessels, and I have myself been hailed on the bridge and offered money to pilot a coasting schooner to Watertown
Seals also came above the wharves and gave Lowell
the material for one of his best stories, but one which he never, I think, quite ventured to print.
He saw two farmer lads watching from the bridge one of these visitors as he played in the water.
“Wal, neaow,” said one of the youths, “be them kind oa critters common up this way, do ye suppose?
Be they-or be they?”
“Wal,” responded the other, “dunno's they be, and dunno ez they be.”
This perfect flower of New England
speech, twin blossoms on one stem, delighted Lowell
hugely; and it was so unexampled in my own experience that it always inspired in me a slight distrust,