« AnteriorContinua »
fell, as the quaint old ivy-mantled Battle Monument declares, "the first victims of the sword of British tyranny and oppression, on the morning of the ever memorable Nineteenth of April, 1775. A large boulder lying on the green, on which are engraved a musket and the words which Captain Parker spoke before the firing, marks the line of the handful of minute men. One of the houses facing the green on the east, was the home of John Harrington, who, wounded in the encounter, dragged himself across the street to his door and died at his wife's feet. Some of the others, to this day, bear the marks of the British bullets that were fired at them. At the end of the skirmish, the Regulars gave three huzzas, "expressive of the joy of victory and the glory of conquest," and in line again took up the march to Concord, six miles off, not stopping to hunt out Samuel Adams and John Hancock, thought to be in Lexington, and a part of their quest. These two patriots the night of the eighteenth were guests at the old parsonage, a pleasant farm house only a short walk from the green. When Revere aroused them some one in the house shouted, according to the story which is told, "Don't make so much noise.' "Noise," answered Revere, "You'll
have noise enough before morning." Elsewhere in the town are as rare old landmarks of the presence of the British Regulars that April day, all carefully preserved, as is the Hancock house, as landmarks, Lexington is proud of her dead. And justly. In Webster's words, inscribed under a statue which stands in the Lexington Memorial Hall, "they poured out their generous blood like water before they knew whether it would fertilize the land of freedom or of bondage." Nor does she lose the desire as time passes to do honor to their memory. Only a few years ago was erected the splendid statue of the minute man surmounting the cobble rock drinking fountain, which makes a most striking approach to the village green.
At Lexington the electric car line leaves the historic route and reaches Concord by the roundabout but thoroughly charming way of Bedford. The historic way leads out of Lexington up rather a long hill and then winds pleasantly on among woods and picturesque hillsides. The rail fences along the way enclose pastures more often than fields, houses are infrequent and solitary. But if we are no longer in the suburbs of Boston the way of the British is still plainly marked. At a well in the yard of one old house a tablet reads:
"At this well, April 19, 1775, James Hayward of Acton met a British soldier, who, raising his gun, said, "You're a dead man!" "And so are you," replied Hayward. Both fired. The soldier was instantly killed, and Hayward mortally wounded."
Half way to Concord, Revere was captured by British horsemen, who took him back to Lexington. A mile or so beyond, a steep bluff was used, so a tablet declares, as a rallying point by the British. At Merriam's
The Orchard House (on the left) and the Wayside (on the right) in Concord. The Orchard House was Louisa May Alcott's home. The odd little wooden structure in the yard was the meeting place of the Concord School of Philosophy, of which Bronson Alcott was the head. The Wayside was Hawthorne's home during the latter part of his life. The houses stand side by side. The Orchard House is the original of the home of the little women, and the Way- side, the original of the home of Laury, in Miss Alcott's "Little Women."
Corner, still further on, was made the first attack upon the retreating British. At the "Corner," the intersection of the road from Lexington with that from Bedford on which is the electric car line, now stand a two story farm house and a stone wall, in the rounded corner of which is a tablet giving a record of the action. The place is really at the edge of Concord to which stretches the road, flanked on one side by a wide meadow and on the other by the mile long ridge in the shelter of which the "men of Concord and neighboring towns" reached the flank of the British troops.
On the nineteenth of April Concord is full of Italian venders of fruit, and gew-gaws, who, though they may be a nuisance, can not obscure the real points of interest. On the road to the famous old town is the Wayside, Nathaniel Hawthorne's last home, with its thickets of firs and pines, on the hillside behind, and its low dense hedge in front, still possessing the quiet charm of the days when its shy owner wrought out his great romances in the tower study. Next to it is Orchard House, the unpretentious home of Louisa May Al
cott, in which she wrote "Little Women," which was the "original" of the home of the little women, just as the somewhat stately Wayside across the hedge was the "original" of the home of the wealthy Laury. In the yard of Orchard House is the old little wooden chapel, the home for ten years of the Concord School of Philosophy, of which Bronson Alcott,Louisa May's father, was the leader. What memories these houses stir! Beyond, across the street, at Concord turnpike junction, is the big plain house, behind fine chestnut trees, in which Ralph Waldo Emerson lived and thought and wrote, and in which still live his descandants. Soon we reach the Concord centre, and are again in the presence of Revolutionary landmarks: in the Unitarian Church assembled the first Provincial Congress, in Wright's tavern Mayor Pitcairn, so says tradition, stired his brandy with his finger, and declared that so "he would stir the rebels' blood before night." From the square, Monument Street leads to the north past "The Old Manse," Hawthorne's first home in Cambridge, which is still seen "between two tall gate posts of rough
The Old Manse in Concord. Hawthorne's first home in Concord. The Concord River flows through the yard behind. The North Bridge, over which the Concord fight occurred, is only a stone's throw away.
hewn stone," and still terminates "the vista of an avenue of black ashtrees." Not far beyond a lane of tall pines and firs runs down to the North Bridge over which the Concord fight occurred. A granite obelisk, perhaps twenty-five feet high, marks the British position; the statue of a minute man on the opposite bank, the position of the of the Americans. Near the monument, a chain swings between two stone posts to mark the grave of the British soldiers. Under the bridge flows the river, "the most unexcitable and sluggish stream that ever loitered imperceptibly toward its eternity-the sea." Hawthorne declares that he lived
upon its banks three weeks before he determined which way its current moves. Not, then, a "flood;" yet Emerson's words, engraved upon the pedestal of the statue of the minute man, most strikingly suggest the significance of the fight that occurred in this idyllic spot on the nineteenth of April, 1775:
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled; Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world."
From Monument Street, part way back to the centre, if we climb a hill
through a pasture, we may enter Sleepy Hollow Cemetery from the rear, and a minute or two afterward may come to the hill on which under the pines are the graves of most of the persons in whom we are interested. On a low stone at the head of one grave is the single word, "Hawthorne." A hedge of arbor vitae encloses the lot. Over Emerson's grave is a great boulder of pink quartz inscribed with these two lines from his poem The Problem:
"The passive Master lent his hand To the vast soul that o'er him planned."
Near is the grave, simply marked, of Miss Alcott. Near also, just eau's grave. below the Hawthorne lot, is ThorDown the slope are graves of the famous Hoar family, the latest, that of Senator Hoar, much more recent than the April day on which we assume we are making this pilgrimage.
Lawn and tree bordered paths lead through the sodded hollow that supplies the name for the cemetery and over the wooded ridge on the opposite side to the main entrance gate, and in a few minutes we are again in the town centre. A pleasant walk down a tree lined street brings us to the railway station,
where we shall need to take a train back to Boston if we wish to com
plete before night our hasty view of these scenes of the beginning of America's Revolution. A minute or two from the station, we pass Walden Pond, on the bank of which Thoreau lived, "close to Nature," for two years. The ride to Boston is surprisingly short. Through fields and woods, rather than along highways, though the general landscape is the same, the ride affords a pleasant contrast to the walk out.
From the North Station in Boston we shall need to hurry past ob
Old North Church, of signal lantern fame, ivy-covered, venerable with age, but still used for worship. Formerly aristocratic Boston, this part of the city is now the Italian quarter. quarter. On this holiday swarthy faces above bright colored dresses and neck ties crowd the streets, and especially the square on which stands Paul Revere's old house, now a cigar factory. If we know our Boston we may hurry to a more strictly business part of the old city. Faneuil Hall, the Cradle of Liberty, built before the Revolution, in part with the proceeds of a lottery, is now a huge city market, on the lower floor of which and outside about the walls, at an endless number of stalls, one may by meats and fish and fruits and vegetables in endless variety. The upper floor is still an assembly room, richly adorned with portraits and other paintings, and is still frequent. ly used for public meetings. The old State House, smaller than Faneuil Hall, but even richer in histo... cal association, stands in the midst. of the great banks of Boston. Its upper floor, as the Council Chamber during the provincial period, stands identified with every chapter of the story of pre-Revolutionary struggles. It is preserved to-day as an historical museum. On the lower floor which is used for modern business, are various railroad and other offices. Under one corner of the building is an entrance to the Boston subway. From the Old State House, a circuitous walk, expertly conducted, leads down crookFaneuil Hall, the Cradle of Liberty. principal business street of the city, Street, the past the Old South Meeting House, as cherished a landmark of the Rev
olutionary epoch as North Church, Faneuil Hall and Old State House, past the Corner Bookstore, the oldest building now in Boston, dating
jects over which we should linger for days. Picking our way under the tracks of the elevated street railway and dodging surface cars, we find ourselves shortly against a high cement wall holding a hil back from the street. This is the Copp's Hill Burying Ground. A stone stairway leads to it, and to the view which it gives of Boston harbor and shipping, of Charlestown and the Bunker Hill Monument just across, and of the Charlestown Navy Yard at the foot of the Monument. The slate head-stones, the old stone monuments, and the dark colored vaults mark the resting places of many colonial worthies, among them the Mathers. At the foot of the street on the opposite side from which we entered, is. the
Built in part with proceeds of a lottery. Used from the first for Boston town meetings. During the siege of Boston it was turned into a play house. The upper floor is still a public, assembly hall. On the lower floor and about the walls on the outside is now a huge city market.
The Boston Common and the Old State House. Tremont Street beside the Common is one of the chief thoroughfares of the city. The tower of Park Street Church shows at the upper corner of the Common. The Massachusetts State House with its dome is at the extreme left. The Old State House dates from 1748. On the upper floor, which is preserved in its old form, were the rooms of the officers and the law makers of Colonial days. Here "the child independence was born." The lower floor is now used for business offices.