Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

An Old Town By The Sea by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Adobe PDF icon
An Old Town By The Sea by Thomas Bailey Aldrich - Full Text Free Book
File size: 0.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

An Old Town By The Sea

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

PISCATAQUA RIVER

Thou singest by the gleaming isles,
By woods, and fields of corn,
Thou singest, and the sunlight smiles
Upon my birthday morn.

But I within a city, I,
So full of vague unrest,
Would almost give my life to lie
An hour upon upon thy breast.

To let the wherry listless go,
And, wrapt in dreamy joy,
Dip, and surge idly to and fro,
Like the red harbor-buoy;

To sit in happy indolence,
To rest upon the oars,
And catch the heavy earthy scents
That blow from summer shores;

To see the rounded sun go down,
And with its parting fires
Light up the windows of the town
And burn the tapering spires;

And then to hear the muffled tolls
From steeples slim and white,
And watch, among the Isles of Shoals,
The Beacon's orange light.

O River! flowing to the main
Through woods, and fields of corn,
Hear thou my longing and my pain
This sunny birthday morn;

And take this song which fancy shapes
To music like thine own,
And sing it to the cliffs and capes
And crags where I am known!

CONTENTS

I. CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH
II. ALONG THE WATER SIDE
III. A STROLL ABOUT TOWN
IV. A STROLL ABOUT TOWN (continued)
V. OLD STRAWBERRY BANK
VI. SOME OLD PORTSMOUTH PROFILES
VII. PERSONAL REMINISCENCES

INDEX OF NAMES

AN OLD TOWN BY THE SEA

I.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH

I CALL it an old town, but it is only relatively old. When one
reflects on the countless centuries that have gone to the
for-mation of this crust of earth on which we temporarily move,
the most ancient cities on its surface seem merely things of the
week before last. It was only the other day, then--that is to
say, in the month of June, 1603--that one Martin Pring, in the
ship Speedwell, an enormous ship of nearly fifty tons burden,
from Bristol, England, sailed up the Piscataqua River. The
Speedwell, numbering thirty men, officers and crew, had for
consort the Discoverer, of twenty-six tons and thirteen men.
After following the windings of "the brave river" for twelve
miles or more, the two vessels turned back and put to sea again,
having failed in the chief object of the expedition, which was to
obtain a cargo of the medicinal sassafras-tree, from the bark of
which, as well known to our ancestors, could be distilled the
Elixir of Life.

It was at some point on the left bank of the Piscataqua, three or
four miles from the mouth of the river, that worthy Master Pring
probably effected one of his several landings. The beautiful
stream widens suddenly at this place, and the green banks, then
covered with a network of strawberry vines, and sloping
invitingly to the lip of the crystal water, must have won the
tired mariners.

The explorers found themselves on the edge of a vast forest of
oak, hemlock, maple, and pine; but they saw no sassafras-trees to
speak of, nor did they encounter--what would have been infinitely
less to their taste--and red-men. Here and there were
discoverable the scattered ashes of fires where the Indians had
encamped earlier in the spring; they were absent now, at the
silvery falls, higher up the stream, where fish abounded at that
season. The soft June breeze, laden with the delicate breath of
wild-flowers and the pungent odors of spruce and pine, ruffled
the duplicate sky in the water; the new leaves lisped pleasantly
in the tree tops, and the birds were singing as if they had gone
mad. No ruder sound or movement of life disturbed the primeval
solitude. Master Pring would scarcely recognize the spot were he
to land there to-day.

Eleven years afterwards a much cleverer man than the commander of
the Speedwell dropped anchor in the Piscataqua--Captain John
Smith of famous memory. After slaying Turks in hand-to-hand
combats, and doing all sorts of doughty deeds wherever he chanced
to decorate the globe with his presence, he had come with two
vessels to the fisheries on the rocky selvage of Maine, when
curiosity, or perhaps a deeper motive, led him to examine the
neighboring shore lines. With eight of his men in a small boat,
a ship's yawl, he skirted the coast from Penobscot Bay to Cape
Cod, keeping his eye open. This keeping his eye open was a
peculiarity of the little captain; possibly a family trait. It
was Smith who really discovered the Isles of Shoals, exploring in
person those masses of bleached rock--those "isles assez hautes,"
of which the French navigator Pierre de Guast, Sieur de Monts,
had caught a bird's-eye glimpse through the twilight in 1605.
Captain Smith christened the group Smith's Isles, a title which
posterity, with singular persistence of ingratitude, has ignored.
It was a tardy sense of justice that expressed itself a few years
ago in erecting on Star Island a simple marble shaft to the
memory of JOHN SMITH--the multitudinous! Perhaps this long delay
is explained by a natural hesitation to label a monument so
ambiguously.

The modern Jason, meanwhile, was not without honor in his own
country, whatever may have happened to him in his own house, for
the poet George Wither addressed a copy of pompous verses "To his
Friend Captain Smith, upon his Description of New England.""Sir,"
he says--

"Sir: your Relations I haue read: which shew
Ther's reason I should honor them and you:
And if their meaning I have vnderstood,
I dare to censure thus: Your Project's good;
And may (if follow'd) doubtlesse quit the paine
With honour, pleasure and a trebble gaine;
Beside the benefit that shall arise
To make more happy our Posterities."

The earliest map of this portion of our seaboard was prepared by
Smith and laid before Prince Charles, who asked to give the
country a name. He christened it New England. In that remarkable
map the site of Portsmouth is call Hull, and Kittery and York are
known as Boston.

It was doubtless owing to Captain John Smith's representation on
his return to England that the Laconia Company selected the banks
of the Piscataqua for their plantation. Smith was on an intimate
footing with Sir Ferinand Gorges, who, five years subsequently,
made a tour of inspection along the New England coast, in company
with John Mason, then Governor of Newfoundland. One of the
results of this summer cruise is the town of Portsmouth, among
whose leafy ways, and into some of whose old-fashioned houses, I
purpose to take the reader, if he have an idle hour on his hands.
Should we meet the flitting ghost of some old-time worthy, on the
staircase or at a lonely street corner, the reader must be
prepared for it.

II.
ALONG THE WATER SIDE

IT is not supposable that the early settlers selected the site of
their plantation on account of its picturesqueness. They were
influenced entirely by the lay of the land, its nearness and easy
access to the sea, and the secure harbor it offered to their
fishing-vessels; yet they could not have chosen a more beautiful
spot had beauty been the sole consideration. The first settlement
was made at Odiorne's Point--the Pilgrims' Rock of New Hampshire;
there the Manor, or Mason's Hall, was built by the Laconia
Company in 1623. It was not until 1631 that the Great House was
erected by Humphrey Chadborn on Strawberry Bank. Mr. Chadborn,
consciously or unconsciously, sowed a seed from which a city has
sprung.

The town of Portsmouth stretches along the south bank of the
Piscataqua, about two miles from the sea as the crow flies--three
miles following the serpentine course of the river. The stream
broadens suddenly at this point, and at flood tide, lying without
a ripple in a basin formed by the interlocked islands and the
mainland, it looks more like an island lake than a river. To the
unaccustomed eye there is no visible outlet. Standing on one of
the wharves at the foot of State Street or Court Street, a
stranger would at first scarcely suspect the contiguity of the
ocean. A little observation, however, would show him that he was
in a seaport. The rich red rust on the gables and roofs of
ancient buildings looking seaward would tell him that. There is
a fitful saline flavor in the air, and if while he gazed a dense
white fog should come rolling in, like a line of phantom
breakers, he would no longer have any doubts.

It is of course the oldest part of the town that skirts the
river, though few of the notable houses that remain are to be
found there. Like all New England settlements, Portsmouth was
built of wood, and has been subjected to extensive
conflagrations. You rarely come across a brick building that is
not shockingly modern. The first house of the kind was erected
by Richard Wibird towards the close of the seventeenth century.

Though many of the old landmarks have been swept away by the
fateful hand of time and fire, the town impresses you as a very
old town, especially as you saunter along the streets down by the
river. The worm-eaten wharves, some of them covered by a sparse,
unhealthy beard of grass, and the weather-stained, unoccupied
warehouses are sufficient to satisfy a moderate appetite for
antiquity. These deserted piers and these long rows of empty
barracks, with their sarcastic cranes projecting from the eaves,
rather puzzle the stranger. Why this great preparation for a
commercial activity that does not exist, and evidently had not
for years existed? There are no ships lying at the pier-heads;
there are no gangs of stevedores staggering under the heavy cases
of merchandise; here and there is a barge laden down to the
bulwarks with coal, and here and there a square-rigged schooner
from Maine smothered with fragrant planks and clapboards; an
imported citizen is fishing at the end of the wharf, a ruminative
freckled son of Drogheda, in perfect sympathy with the indolent
sunshine that seems to be sole proprietor of these crumbling
piles and ridiculous warehouses, from which even the ghost of
prosperity has flown.

Once upon a time, however, Portsmouth carried on an extensive
trade with the West Indies, threatening as a maritime port to
eclipse both Boston and New York. At the windows of these musty
counting-rooms which overlook the river near Spring Market used
to stand portly merchants, in knee breeches and silver
shoe-buckles and plum-colored coats with ruffles at the wrist,
waiting for their ships to come up the Narrows; the cries of
stevedores and the chants of sailors at the windlass used to echo
along the shore where all is silence now. For reasons not worth
setting forth, the trade with the Indies abruptly closed, having
ruined as well as enriched many a Portsmouth adventurer. This
explains the empty warehouses and the unused wharves. Portsmouth
remains the interesting widow of a once very lively commerce. I
fancy that few fortunes are either made or lost in Portsmouth
nowadays. Formerly it turned out the best ships, as it did the
ablest ship captains, in the world. There were families in which
the love for blue water was in immemorial trait. The boys were
always sailors; "a grey-headed shipmaster, in each generation,
retiring from the quarter-deck to the homestead, while a boy of
fourteen took the hereditary place before the mast, confronting
the salt spray and the gale, which had blasted against his sire
and grandsire." (1. Hawthorne in his introduction to The Scarlet
Letter.) With thousands of miles of sea-line and a score or two
of the finest harbors on the globe, we have adroitly turned over
our carrying trade to foreign nations.

In other days, as I have said, a high maritime spirit was
characteristic of Portsmouth. The town did a profitable business
in the war of 1812, sending out a large fleet of the sauciest
small craft on record. A pleasant story is told of one of these
little privateers--the Harlequin, owned and commanded by Captain
Elihu Brown. The Harlequin one day gave chase to a large ship,
which did not seem to have much fight aboard, and had got it into
close quarters, when suddenly the shy stranger threw open her
ports, and proved to be His Majesty's Ship-of-War Bulwark,
seventy-four guns. Poor Captain Brown!

Portsmouth has several large cotton factories and one or two
corpulent breweries; it is a wealthy old town, with a liking for
first mortgage bonds; but its warmest lover will not claim for it
the distinction of being a great mercantile centre. The majority
of her young men are forced to seek other fields to reap, and
almost every city in the Union, and many a city across the sea,
can point to some eminent merchant, lawyer, or what not, as "a
Portsmouth boy." Portsmouth even furnished the late king of the
Sandwich Islands, Kekuanaoa, with a prime minister, and his
nankeen Majesty never had a better. The affection which all these
exiles cherish for their birthplace is worthy of remark. On two
occasions--in 1852 and 1873, the two hundred and fiftieth
anniversary of the settlement of Strawberry Bank--the
transplanted sons of Portsmouth were seized with an impulse to
return home. Simultaneously and almost without concerted action,
the lines of pilgrims took up their march from every quarter of
the globe, and swept down with music and banners on the motherly
old town.

To come back to the wharves. I do not know of any spot with such
a fascinating air of dreams and idleness about it as the old
wharf at the end of Court Street. The very fact that it was once
a noisy, busy place, crowded with sailors and soldiers--in the
war of 1812--gives an emphasis to the quiet that broods over it
to-day. The lounger who sits of a summer afternoon on a rusty
anchor fluke in the shadow of one of the silent warehouses, and
look on the lonely river as it goes murmuring past the town,
cannot be too grateful to the India trade for having taken itself
off elsewhere.

What a slumberous, delightful, lazy place it is! The sunshine
seems to lie a foot deep on the planks of the dusty wharf, which
yields up to the warmth a vague perfume of the cargoes of rum,
molasses, and spice that used to be piled upon it. The river is
as blue as the inside of a harebell. The opposite shore, in the
strangely shifting magic lights of sky and water, stretches along
like the silvery coast of fairyland. Directly opposite you is
the navy yard, and its neat officers' quarters and workshops and
arsenals, and its vast shiphouses, in which the keel of many a
famous frigate has been laid. Those monster buildings on the
water's edge, with their roofs pierced with innumerable little
windows, which blink like eyes in the sunlight, and the
shiphouses. On your right lies a cluster of small islands,--there
are a dozen or more in the harbor--on the most extensive of which
you see the fading-away remains of some earthworks thrown up in
1812. Between this--Trefethren's Island--and Peirce's Island lie
the Narrows. Perhaps a bark or a sloop-of-war is making up to
town; the hulk is hidden amoung the islands, and the topmasts
have the effect of sweeping across the dry land. On your left is
a long bridge, more than a quarter of a mile in length, set upon
piles where the water is twenty or thirty feet deep, leading to
the navy yard and Kittery--the Kittery so often the theme of
Whittier's verse.

This is a mere outline of the landscape that spreads before you.
Its changeful beauty of form and color, with the summer clouds
floating over it, is not to be painted in words. I know of many a
place where the scenery is more varied and striking; but there is
a mandragora quality in the atmosphere here that holds you to the
spot, and makes the half-hours seem like minutes. I could fancy a
man sitting on the end of that old wharf very contentedly for two
or three years, provided it could be always in June.

Perhaps, too, one would desire it to be always high water. The
tide falls from eight to twelve feet, and when the water makes
out between the wharves some of the picturesqueness makes out
also. A corroded section of stovepipe mailed in barnacles, or the
skeleton of a hoopskirt protruding from the tide mud like the
remains of some old-time wreck, is apt to break the enchantment.

I fear I have given the reader an exaggerated idea of the
solitude that reigns along the river-side. Sometimes there is
society here of an unconventional kind, if you care to seek it.
Aside from the foreign gentleman before mentioned, you are likely
to encounter, farther down the shore toward the Point of Graves
(a burial-place of the colonial period), a battered and aged
native fisherman boiling lobsters on a little gravelly bench,
where the river whispers and lisps among the pebbles as the tide
creeps in. It is a weather-beaten ex-skipper or ex-pilot, with
strands of coarse hair, like seaweed, falling about a face that
has the expression of a half-open clam. He is always ready to
talk with you, this amphibious person; and if he is not the most
entertaining of gossips--more weather-wise that Old
Probabilities, and as full of moving incident as Othello
himself--then he is not the wintery-haired shipman I used to see
a few years ago on the strip of beach just beyond Liberty Bridge,
building his drift-wood fire under a great tin boiler, and making
it lively for a lot of reluctant lobsters.

I imagine that very little change has taken place in this
immediate locality, known prosaically as Puddle Dock, during the
past fifty or sixty years. The view you get looking across
Liberty Bridge, Water Street, is probably the same in every
respect that presented itself to the eyes of the town folk a
century ago. The flagstaff, on the right, is the representative
of the old "standard of liberty" which the Sons planted on this
spot in January, 1766, signalizing their opposition to the
enforcement of the Stamp Act. On the same occasion the patriots
called at the house of Mr. George Meserve, the agent for
distributing the stamps in New Hampshire, and relieved him of his
stamp-master's commission, which document they carried on the
point of a sword through the town to Liberty Bridge (the Swing
Bridge), where they erected the staff, with the motto, "Liberty,
Property, and no Stamp!"

The Stamp Act was to go into operation on the first day of
November. On the previous morning the "New Hampshire Gazette"
appeared with a deep black border and all the typographical
emblems of affliction, for was not Liberty dead? At all events,
the "Gazette" itself was as good as dead, since the printer could
no longer publish it if he were to be handicapped by a heavy tax.
"The day was ushered in by the tolling of all the bells in town,
the vessels in the harbor had their colors hoisted half-mast
high; about three o'clock a funeral procession was formed, having
a coffin with this inscription, LIBERTY, AGED 145, STAMPT. It
moved from the state house, with two unbraced drums, through the
principal streets. As it passed the Parade, minute-guns were
fired; at the place of interment a speech was delivered on the
occasion, stating the many advantages we had received and the
melancholy prospect before us, at the seeming departure of our
invaluable liberties. But some sign of life appearing, Liberty
was not deposited in the grave; it was rescued by a number of her
sons, the motto changed to Liberty revived, and carried off in
triumph. The detestable Act was buried in its stead, and the
clods of the valley were laid upon it; the bells changed their
melancholy sound to a more joyful tone." (1. Annals of
Portsmouth, by Nathaniel Adams, 1825.)

With this side glance at one of the curious humors of the time,
we resume our peregrinations.

Turning down a lane on your left, a few rods beyond Liberty
Bridge, you reach a spot known as the Point of Graves, chiefly
interesting as showing what a graveyard may come to if it last
long enough. In 1671 one Captain John Pickering, of whom we
shall have more to say, ceded to the town a piece of ground on
this neck for burial purposes. It is an odd-shaped lot,
comprising about half an acre, inclosed by a crumbling red brick
wall two or three feet high, with wood capping. The place is
overgrown with thistles, rank grass, and fungi; the black slate
headstones have mostly fallen over; those that still make a
pretense of standing slant to every point of the compass, and
look as if they were being blown this way and that by a
mysterious gale which leaves everything else untouched; the
mounds have sunk to the common level, and the old underground
tombs have collapsed. Here and there the moss and weeds you can
pick out some name that shines in the history of the early
settlement; hundreds of the flower of the colony lie here, but
the known and the unknown, gentle and simple, mingle their dust
on a perfect equality now. The marble that once bore a haughty
coat of arms is as smooth as the humblest slate stone guiltless
of heraldry. The lion and the unicorn, wherever they appear on
some cracked slab, are very much tamed by time. The once
fat-faced cherubs, with wing at either cheek, are the merest
skeletons now. Pride, pomp, grief, and remembrance are all at
end. No reverent feet come here, no tears fall here; the old
graveyard itself is dead! A more dismal, uncanny spot than this
at twilight would be hard to find. It is noticed that when the
boys pass it after nightfall, they always go by whistling with a
gayety that is perfectly hollow.

Let us get into some cheerfuler neighborhood!

III.
A STROLL ABOUT TOWN

AS you leave the river front behind you, and pass "up town," the
streets grow wider, and the architecture becomes more
ambitious--streets fringed with beautiful old trees and lined
with commodious private dwellings, mostly square white houses,
with spacious halls running through the centre. Previous to the
Revolution, white paint was seldom used on houses, and the
diamond-shaped window pane was almost universal. Many of the
residences stand back from the brick or flagstone sidewalk, and
have pretty gardens at the side or in the rear, made bright with
dahlias and sweet with cinnamon roses. If you chance to live in a
town where the authorities cannot rest until they have destroyed
every precious tree within their blighting reach, you will be
especially charmed by the beauty of the streets of Portsmouth.
In some parts of the town, when the chestnuts are in blossom, you
would fancy yourself in a garden in fairyland. In spring,
summer, and autumn the foliage is the glory of the fair town--her
luxuriant green and golden treeses! Nothing could seem more like
the work of enchantment than the spectacle which certain streets
in Portsmouth present in the midwinter after a heavy snowstorm.
You may walk for miles under wonderful silvery arches formed by
the overhanging and interlaced boughs of the trees, festooned
with a drapery even more graceful and dazzling than springtime
gives them. The numerous elms and maples which shade the
principal thoroughfares are not the result of chance, but the
ample reward of the loving care that is taken to preserve the
trees. There is a society in Portsmouth devoted to
arboriculture. It is not unusual there for persons to leave
legacies to be expended in setting out shade and ornamental trees
along some favorite walk. Richards Avenue, a long, unbuilt
thoroughfare leading from Middle Street to the South
Burying-Ground, perpetuates the name of a citizen who gave the
labor of his own hands to the beautifying of that windswept and
barren road the cemetery. This fondness and care for trees seems
to be a matter of heredity. So far back as 1660 the selectmen
instituted a fine of five shillings for the cutting of timber or
any other wood from off the town common, excepting under special
conditions.

In the business section of the town trees are few. The chief
business streets are Congress and Market. Market Street is the
stronghold of the dry-goods shops. There are seasons, I suppose,
when these shops are crowded, but I have never happened to be in
Portsmouth at the time. I seldom pass through the narrow
cobble-paved street without wondering where the customers are
that must keep all these flourishing little establishments going.
Congress Street--a more elegant thoroughfare than Market--is the
Nevski Prospekt of Portsmouth. Among the prominent buildings is
the Athenaeum, containing a reading-room and library. From the
high roof of this building the stroller will do well to take a
glance at the surrounding country. He will naturally turn
seaward for the more picturesque aspects. If the day is clear, he
will see the famous Isle of Shoals, lying nine miles
away--Appledore, Smutty-Nose, Star Island, White Island, etc.;
there are nine of them in all. On Appledore is Laighton's Hotel,
and near it the summer cottage of Celia Thaxter, the poet of the
Isles. On the northern end of Star Island is the quaint town of
Gosport, with a tiny stone church perched like a sea-gull on its
highest rock. A mile southwest form Star Island lies White
Island, on which is a lighthouse. Mrs. Thaxter calls this the
most picturesque of the group. Perilous neighbors, O mariner! in
any but the serenest weather, these wrinkled, scarred, are
storm-smitten rocks, flanked by wicked sunken ledges that grow
white at the lip with rage when the great winds blow!

How peaceful it all looks off there, on the smooth emerald sea!
and how softly the waves seem to break on yonder point where the
unfinished fort is! That is the ancient town of Newcastle, to
reach which from Portsmouth you have to cross three bridges with
the most enchanting scenery in New Hampshire lying on either
hand. At Newcastle the poet Stedman has built for his summerings
an enviable little stone chateau--a seashell into which I fancy
the sirens creep to warm themselves during the winter months. So
it is never without its singer.

Opposite Newcastle is Kittery Point, a romantic spot, where Sir
William Pepperell, the first American baronet, once lived, and
where his tomb now is, in his orchard across the road, a few
hundred yards from the "goodly mansion" he built. The knight's
tomb and the old Pepperell House, which has been somewhat
curtailed of it fair proportions, are the objects of frequent
pilgrimages to Kittery Point.

From the elevation (the roof of the Athenaeun) the navy yard, the
river with its bridges and islands, the clustered gables of
Kittery and Newcastle, the illimitable ocean beyond make a
picture worth climbing four or five flights of stairs to gaze
upon. Glancing down on the town nestled in the foliage, it seems
like a town dropped by chance in the midst of a forest. Among the
prominent objects which lift themselves above the tree tops are
the belfries of the various churches, the white faade of the
custom house, and the mansard and chimneys of the Rockingham, the
principal hotel. The pilgrim will be surprised to find in
Portsmouth one of the most completely appointed hotels in the
United States. The antiquarian may lament the demolition of the
old Bell Tavern, and think regretfully of the good cheer once
furnished the wayfarer by Master Stavers at the sign of the Earl
of Halifax, and by Master Stoodley at his inn on Daniel Street;
but the ordinary traveler will thank his stars, and confess that
his lines have fallen in pleasant places, when he finds himself
among the frescoes of the Rockingham.

Obliquely opposite the doorstep of the Athenaeum--we are supposed
to be on terra firma again--stands the Old North Church, a
substantial wooden building, handsomely set on what is called The
Parade, a large open space formed by the junction of Congress,
Market, Daniel, and Pleasant streets. Here in days innocent of
water-works stood the town pump, which on more than one occasion
served as whipping-post.

The churches of Portsmouth are more remarkable for their number
than their architecture. With the exception of the Stone Church
they are constructed of wood or plain brick in the simplest
style. St. John's Church is the only one likely to attract the
eye of a stranger. It is finely situated on the crest of Church
Hill, overlooking the ever-beautiful river. The present edifice
was built in 1808 on the site of what was known as Queen's
Chapel, erected in 1732, and destroyed by fire December 24, 1806.
The chapel was named in honor of Queen Caroline, who furnished
the books for the altar and pulpit, the plate, and two solid
mahogany chairs, which are still in use in St. John's. Within
the chancel rail is a curious font of porphyry, taken by Colonel
John Tufton Mason at the capture of Senegal from the French in
1758, and presented to the Episcopal Society on 1761. The
peculiarly sweet-toned bell which calls the parishioners of St.
John's together every Sabbath is, I believe, the same that
formerly hung in the belfry of the old Queen's Chapel. If so, the
bell has a history of its own. It was brought from Louisburg at
the time of the reduction of that place in 1745, and given to the
church by the officers of the New Hampshire troops.

The Old South Meeting-House is not to be passed without mention.
It is among the most aged survivals of pre-revolutionary days.
Neither its architecture not its age, however, is its chief
warrant for our notice. The absurd number of windows in this
battered old structure is what strikes the passer-by. The church
was erected by subscription, and these closely set large windows
are due to Henry Sherburne, one of the wealthiest citizens of the
period, who agreed to pay for whatever glass was used. If the
building could have been composed entirely of glass it would have
been done by the thrifty parishioners.

Portsmouth is rich in graveyards--they seem to be a New England
specialty--ancient and modern. Among the old burial-places the
one attached to St. John's Church is perhaps the most
interesting. It has not been permitted to fall into ruin, like
the old cemetery at the Point of Graves. When a headstone here
topples over it is kindly lifted up and set on its pins again,
and encouraged to do its duty. If it utterly refuses, and is not
shamming decrepitude, it has its face sponged, and is allowed to
rest and sun itself against the wall of the church with a row of
other exempts. The trees are kept pruned, the grass trimmed, and
here and there is a rosebush drooping with a weight of pensive
pale roses, as becomes a rosebush in a churchyard.

The place has about it an indescribable soothing atmosphere of
respectability and comfort. Here rest the remains of the
principal and loftiest in rank in their generation of the
citizens of Portsmouth prior to the Revolution--stanch,
royalty-loving governors, counselors, and secretaries of the
Providence of New Hampshire, all snugly gathered under the
motherly wing of the Church of England. It is almost impossible
to walk anywhere without stepping on a governor. You grow haughty
in spirit after a while, and scorn to tread on anything less than
one of His Majesty's colonels or secretary under the Crown. Here
are the tombs of the Atkinsons, the Jaffreys, the Sherburnes, the
Sheafes, the Marshes, the Mannings, the Gardners, and others of
the quality. All around you underfoot are tumbled-in coffins,
with here and there a rusty sword atop, and faded escutcheons,
and crumbling armorial devices. You are moving in the very best
society.

This, however, is not the earliest cemetery in Portsmouth. An
hour's walk from the Episcopal yard will bring you to the spot,
already mentioned, where the first house was built and the first
grave made, at Odiorne's Point. The exact site of the Manor is
not known, but it is supposed to be a few rods north of an old
well of still-flowing water, at which the Tomsons and the Hiltons
and their comrades slaked their thirst more than two hundred and
sixty years ago. Oriorne's Point is owned by Mr. Eben L. Odiorne,
a lineal descendant of the worthy who held the property in 1657.
Not far from the old spring is the resting-place of the earliest
pioneers.

"This first cemetery of the white man in New Hampshire," writes
Mr. Brewster, (1. Mr. Charles W. Brewster, for nearly fifty years
the editor of the Portsmouth Journal, and the author of two
volumes of local sketches to which the writer of these pages here
acknowledges his indebtedness.) "occupies a space of perhaps one
hundred feet by ninety, and is well walled in. The western side
is now used as a burial-place for the family, but two thirds of
it is filled with perhaps forty graves, indicated by rough head
and foot stones. Who there rest no one now living knows. But the
same care is taken of their quiet beds as if they were of the
proprietor's own family. In 1631 Mason sent over about eighty
emigrants many of whom died in a few years, and here they were
probably buried. Here too, doubtless, rest the remains of
several of those whose names stand conspicuous in our early state
records."

IV.
A STROLL ABOUT TOWN (continued)

WHEN Washington visited Portsmouth in 1789 he was not much
impressed by the architecture of the little town that had stood
by him so stoutly in the struggle for independence. "There are
some good houses," he writes, in a diary kept that year during a
tour through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, "
among which Colonel Langdon's may be esteemed the first; but in
general they are indifferent, and almost entirely of wood. On
wondering at this, as the country is full of stone and good clay
for bricks, I was told that on account of the fogs and damp they
deemed them wholesomer, and for that reason preferred wood
buildings."

The house of Colonel Langdon, on Pleasant Street, is an excellent
sample of the solid and dignified abodes which our
great-grandsires had the sense to build. The art of their
construction seems to have been a lost art these fifty years.
Here Governor John Langdon resided from 1782 until the time of
his death in 1819--a period during which many an illustrious man
passed between those two white pillars that support the little
balcony over the front door; among the rest Louis Philippe and
his brothers, the Ducs de Montpensier and Beaujolais, and the
Marquis de Chastellus, a major-general in the French army,
serving under the Count de Rochambeau, whom he accompanied from
France to the States in 1780. The journal of the marquis contains
this reference to his host: "After dinner we went to drink tea
with Mr. Langdon. He is a handsome man, and of noble carriage; he
has been a member of Congress, and is now one of the first people
of the country; his house is elegant and well furnished, and the
apartments admirably well wainscoted" (this reads like Mr. Samuel
Pepys); "and he has a good manuscript chart of the harbor of
Portsmouth. Mrs. Langdon, his wife, is young, fair, and tolerably
handsome, but I conversed less with her than her husband, in
whose favor I was prejudiced from knowing that he had displayed
great courage and patriotism at the time of Burgoynes's
expedition."

It was at the height of the French Revolution that the three sons
of the Due d'Orleans were entertained at the Langdon mansion.
Years afterward, when Louis Philippe was on the throne of France,
he inquired of a Portsmouth lady presented at his court if the
mansion of ce brave Gouverneur Langdon was still in existence.

The house stands back a decorous distance from the street, under
the shadows of some gigantic oaks or elms, and presents an
imposing appearance as you approach it over the tessellated
marble walk. A hundred or two feet on either side of the gate,
and abutting on the street, is a small square building of brick,
one story in height--probably the porter's lodge and tool-house
of former days. There is a large fruit garden attached to the
house, which is in excellent condition, taking life comfortably,
and having the complacent air of a well-preserved beau of the
ancien regime. The Langdon mansion was owned and long occupied by
the late Rev. Dr. Burroughs, for a period of forty-seven years
the esteemed rector or St. John's Church.

At the other end of Pleasant Street is another notable house, to
which we shall come by and by. Though President Washington found
Portsmouth but moderately attractive from an architectural point
of view, the visitor of to-day, if he have an antiquarian taste,
will find himself embarrassed by the number of localities and
buildings that appeal to his interest. Many of these buildings
were new and undoubtedly commonplace enough at the date of
Washington's visit; time and association have given them a
quaintness and a significance which now make their architecture a
question of secondary importance.

One might spend a fortnight in Portsmouth exploring the nooks and
corners over which history has thrown a charm, and by no means
exhaust the list. I cannot do more than attempt to describe--and
that very briefly--a few of the typical old houses. On this same
Pleasant Street there are several which we must leave unnoted,
with their spacious halls and carven staircases, their antiquated
furniture and old silver tankards and choice Copleys. Numerous
examples of this artist's best manner are to be found here. To
live in Portsmouth without possessing a family portrait done by
Copley is like living in Boston without having an ancestor in the
old Granary Burying-Ground. You can exist, but you cannot be said
to flourish. To make this statement smooth, I will remark that
every one in Portsmouth has a Copley--or would have if a fair
division were made.

In the better sections of the town the houses are kept in such
excellent repair, and have so smart an appearance with their
bright green blinds and freshly painted woodwork,that you are
likely to pass many an old landmark without suspecting it.
Whenever you see a house with a gambrel roof, you may be almost
positive that the house is at least a hundred years old, for the
gambrel roof went out of fashion after the Revolution.

On the corner of Daniel and Chapel streets stands the oldest
brick building in Portsmouth--the Warner House. It was built in
1718 by Captain Archibald Macpheadris, a Scotchman, as his name
indicates, a wealthy merchant, and a member of the King's
Council. He was the chief projector of one of the earliest
iron-works established in America. Captain Macpheadris married
Sarah Wentworth, one of the sixteen children of Governor John
Wentworth, and died in 1729, leaving a daughter, Mary, whose
portrait, with that of her mother, painted by the ubiquitous
Copley, still hangs in the parlor of this house, which is not
known by the name of Captain Macpheadris, but by that of his
son-in-law, Hon. Jonathan Warner, a member of the King's Council
until the revolt of the colonies. "We well recollect Mr. Warner,"
says Mr. Brewster, writing in 1858, "as one of the last of the
cocked hats. As in a vision of early childhood he is still before
us, in all the dignity of the aristocratic crown officers. That
broad-backed, long-skirted brown coat, those small-clothes and
silk stockings, those silver buckles, and that cane--we see them
still, although the life that filled and moved them ceased half a
century ago."

The Warner House, a three-story building with gambrel roof and
luthern windows, is as fine and substantial an exponent of the
architecture of the period as you are likely to meet with
anywhere in New England. The eighteen-inch walls are of brick
brought from Holland, as were also many of the materials used in
the building--the hearth-stones, tiles, etc. Hewn-stone
underpinnings were seldom adopted in those days; the brick-work
rests directly upon the solid walls of the cellar. The interior
is rich in paneling and wood carvings about the mantel-shelves,
the deep-set windows, and along the cornices. The halls are wide
and long, after a by-gone fashion, with handsome staircases, set
at an easy angle, and not standing nearly upright, like those
ladders by which one reaches the upper chambers of a modern
house. The principal rooms are paneled to the ceiling, and have
large open chimney-places, adorned with the quaintest of Dutch
files. In one of the parlors of the Warner House there is a
choice store of family relics--china, silver-plate, costumes, old
clocks, and the like. There are some interesting paintings,
too--not by Copley this time. On a broad space each side of the
hall windows, at the head of the staircase, are pictures of two
Indians, life size. They are probably portraits of some of the
numerous chiefs with whom Captain Macphaedris had dealings, for
the captain was engaged in the fur as well as in the iron
business. Some enormous elk antlers, presented to Macpheadris by
his red friends, are hanging in the lower hall.

By mere chance, thirty or forty years ago, some long-hidden
paintings on the walls of this lower hall were brought to light.
In repairing the front entry it became necessary to remove the
paper, of which four or five layers had accumulated. A one place,
where several coats had peeled off cleanly, a horse's hoof was
observed by a little girl of the family. The workman then began
removing the paper carefully; first the legs, then the body of a
horse with a rider were revealed, and the astonished paper-hanger
presently stood before a life-size representation of Governor
Phipps on his charger. The workman called other persons to his
assistance, and the remaining portions of the wall were speedily
stripped, laying bare four or five hundred square feet covered
with sketches in color, landscapes, views of unknown cities,
Biblical scenes, and modern figure-pieces, among which was a lady
at a spinning-wheel. Until then no person in the land of the
living had had any knowledge of those hidden pictures. An old
dame of eighty, who had visited at the house intimately ever
since her childhood, all but refused to believe her spectacles
(though Supply Ham made them(1.)) when brought face to face with
the frescoes. (1. In the early part of this century, Supply Ham
was the leading optician and watchmaker of Portsmouth.)

The place is rich in bricabrac, but there is nothing more curious
that these incongruous printings, clearly the work of a practiced
hand. Even the outside of the old edifice is not without its
interest for an antiquarian. The lightening-rod which protects
the Warner House to-day was put up under Benjamin Franklin's own
supervision in 1762--such at all events is the credited
tradition--and is supposed to be the first rod put up in New
Hampshire. A lightening-rod "personally conducted" by Benjamin
Franklin ought to be an attractive object to even the least
susceptible electricity. The Warner House has another imperative
claim on the good-will of the visitor--it is not positively known
that George Washington ever slept there.

The same assertion cannot be made on connection with the old
yellow barracks situated in the southwest corner of Court and
Atkinson streets. Famous old houses seem to have an intuitive
perception of the value of corner lots. If it is a possible
thing, they always set themselves down on the most desirable
spots. It is beyond a doubt that Washington slept not only one
night, but several nights, under this roof; for this was a
celebrated tavern previous and subsequent to the War of
Independence, and Washington made it his headquarters during his
visit to Portsmouth in 1797. When I was a boy I knew an old
lady--not one of the preposterous old ladies in the newspapers,
who have all their faculties unimpaired, but a real old lady,
whose ninety-nine years were beginning to tell on her--who had
known Washington very well. She was a girl in her teens when he
came to Portsmouth. The President was the staple of her
conversation during the last ten years of her life, which she
passed in the Stavers House, bedridden; and I think those ten
years were in a manner rendered short and pleasant to the old
gentlewoman by the memory of a compliment to her complexion which
Washington probably never paid to it.

The old hotel--now a very unsavory tenement-house--was built by
John Tavers, innkeeper, in 1770, who planted in front of the door
a tall post, from which swung the sign of the Earl of Halifax.
Stavers had previously kept an inn of the same name on Queen, now
State Street.

It is a square three-story building, shabby and dejected, giving
no hint of the really important historical associations that
cluster about it. At the time of its erection it was no doubt
considered a rather grand structure, for buildings of three
stories were rare in Portsmouth. Even in 1798, of the six hundred
and twenty-six dwelling houses of which the town boasted,
eighty-six were of one story, five hundred and twenty-four were
of two stories, and only sixteen of three stories. The Stavers
inn has the regulation gambrel roof, but is lacking in those wood
ornaments which are usually seen over the doors and windows of
the more prominent houses of that epoch. It was, however, the
hotel of the period.

That same worn doorstep upon which Mr. O'Shaughnessy now
stretches himself of a summer afternoon, with a short clay pipe
stuck between his lips, and his hat crushed down on his brows,
revolving the sad vicissitude of things--that same doorstep has
been pressed by the feet of generals and marquises and grave
dignitaries upon whom depended the destiny of the
States--officers in gold lace and scarlet cloth, and high-heeled
belles in patch, powder, and paduasoy. At this door the Flying
Stage Coach, which crept from Boston, once a week set down its
load of passengers--and distinguished passengers they often were.
Most of the chief celebrities of the land, before and after the
secession of the colonies, were the guests of Master Stavers, at
the sign of the Earl of Halifax.

While the storm was brewing between the colonies and the mother
country, it was in a back room of the tavern that the adherents
of the crown met to discuss matters. The landlord himself was a
amateur loyalist, and when the full cloud was on the eve of
breaking he had an early intimation of the coming tornado. The
Sons of Liberty had long watched with sullen eyes the secret
sessions of the Tories in Master Stavers's tavern, and one
morning the patriots quietly began cutting down the post which
supported the obnoxious emblem. Mr. Stavers, who seems not to
have been belligerent himself, but the cause of belligerence in
others, sent out his black slave with orders to stop proceedings.
The negro, who was armed with an axe, struck but a single blow
and disappeared. This blow fell upon the head of Mark Noble; it
did not kill him, but left him an insane man till the day of his
death, forty years afterward. A furious mob at once collected,
and made an attack on the tavern, bursting in the doors and
shattering every pane of glass in the windows. It was only
through the intervention of Captain John Langdon, a warm and
popular patriot, that the hotel was saved from destruction.

In the mean while Master Stavers had escaped through the stables
in the rear. He fled to Stratham, where he was given refuge by
his friend William Pottle, a most appropriately named gentleman,
who had supplied the hotel with ale. The excitement blew over
after a time, and Stavers was induced to return to Portsmouth. He
was seized by the Committee of Safety, and lodged in Exeter jail,
when his loyalty, which had really never been very high, went
down below zero; he took the oath of allegiance, and shortly
after his released reopened the hotel. The honest face of William
Pitt appeared on the repentant sign, vice Earl of Halifax,
ignominiously removed, and Stavers was himself again. In the
state records is the following letter from poor Noble begging for
the enlargement of John Stavers:--

PORTSMOUTH, February 3, 1777.
To the Committee of Safety of the Town of Exeter:
GENTLEMEN,--As I am informed that Mr. Stivers is in confinement
in gaol upon my account contrary to my desire, for when I was at
Mr. Stivers a fast day I had no ill nor ment none against the
Gentleman but by bad luck or misfortune I have received a bad
Blow but it is so well that I hope to go out in a day or two. So
by this gentlemen of the Committee I hope you will release the
gentleman upon my account. I am yours to serve.
MARK NOBLE,
A friend to my country.

From that period until I know not what year the Stavers House
prospered. It was at the sign of the William Pitt that the
officers of the French fleet boarded in 1782, and hither came the
Marquis Lafayette, all the way from Providence, to visit
them.John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry, Rutledge, and other signers of
the Declaration sojourned here at various times. It was here
General Knox--"that stalwart man, two officers in size and three
in lungs"--was wont to order his dinner, and in a stentorian
voice compliment Master Stavers on the excellence of his larder.
One day--it was at the time of the French Revolution--Louis
Philippe and his two brothers applied at the door of the William
Pitt for lodgings; but the tavern was full, and the future king,
with his companions, found comfortable quarters under the
hospitable roof of Governor Langdon in Pleasant Street.

A record of the scenes, tragic and humorous, that have been
enacted within this old yellow house on the corner would fill a
volume. A vivid picture of the social and public life of the old
time might be painted by a skillful hand, using the two Earl of
Halifax inns for a background. The painter would find gay and
sombre pigments ready mixed for his palette, and a hundred
romantic incidents waiting for his canvas. One of these romantic
episodes has been turned to very pretty account by Longfellow in
the last series of The Tales of a Wayside Inn--the marriage of
Governor Benning Wentworth with Martha Hilton, a sort of second
edition of King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid.

Martha Hilton was a poor girl, whose bare feet and ankles and
scant drapery when she was a child, and even after she was well
in the bloom of her teens, used to scandalize good Dame Stavers,
the innkeeper's wife. Standing one afternoon in the doorway of
the Earl of Halifax, (1. The first of the two hotels bearing that
title. Mr. Brewster commits a slight anachronism in locating the
scene of this incident in Jaffrey Street, now Court. The Stavers
House was not built until the year of Governor Benning
Wentworth's death. Mr. Longfellow, in the poem, does not fall
into the same error.
"One hundred years ago, and something more,
In Queen Street, Portsmouth, at her tavern door,
Neat as a pin, and blooming as a rose,
Stood Mistress Stavers in her furbelows.")

Dame Stavers took occasion to remonstrate with the sleek-limbed
and lightly draped Martha, who chanced to be passing the tavern,
carrying a pail of water, in which, as the poet neatly says, "the
shifting sunbeam danced."

"You Pat! you Pat!" cried Mrs. Stavers severely; "why do you go
looking so? You should be ashamed to be seen in the street."

"Never mind how I look," says Miss Martha, with a merry laugh,
letting slip a saucy brown shoulder out of her dress; "I shall
ride in my chariot yet, ma'am."

Fortunate prophecy! Martha went to live as servant with Governor
Wentworth at his mansion at Little Harbor, looking out to sea.
Seven years passed, and the "thin slip of a girl," who promised
to be no great beauty, had flowered into the loveliest of women,
with a lip like a cherry and a cheek like a tea-rose--a lady by
instinct, one of Nature's own ladies. The governor, a lonely
widower, and not too young, fell in love with his fair handmaid.
Without stating his purpose to any one, Governor Wentworth
invited a number of friends (among others the Rev. Arthur Brown)
to dine with him at Little Harbor on his birthday. After the
dinner, which was a very elaborate one, was at an end, and the
guests were discussing their tobacco-pipes, Martha Hilton glided
into the room, and stood blushing in front of the chimney-place.
She was exquisitely dressed, as you may conceive, and wore her
hair three stories high. The guests stared at each other, and
particularly at her, and wondered. Then the governor, rising from
his seat,

"Played slightly with his ruffles, then looked down,
And said unto the Reverend Arthur Brown:
'This is my birthday; it shall likewise be
My wedding-day; and you shall marry me!'"

The rector was dumfounded, knowing the humble footing Martha had
held in the house, and could think of nothing cleverer to say
than, "To whom, your excellency?" which was not cleaver at all.

"To this lady," replied the governor, taking Martha Hilton by the
hand. The Rev. Arthur Brown hesitated. "As the Chief Magistrate
of New Hampshire I command you to marry me!" cried the choleric
old governor.

And so it was done; and the pretty kitchen-maid became Lady
Wentworth, and did ride in her own chariot. She would not have
been a woman if she had not taken an early opportunity to drive
by Staver's hotel!

Lady Wentworth had a keen appreciation of the dignity of her new
station, and became a grand lady at once. A few days after her
marriage, dropping her ring on the floor, she languidly ordered
her servant to pick it up. The servant, who appears to have had a
fair sense of humor, grew suddenly near-sighted, and was unable
to the ring until Lady Wentworth stooped and placed her
ladyship's finger upon it. She turned out a faultless wife,
however; and Governor Wentworth at his death, which occurred in
1770, signified his approval of her by leaving her his entire
estate. She married again without changing name, accepting the
hand, and what there was of the heart, of Michael Wentworth, a
retired colonel of the British army, who came to this country in
1767. Colonel Wentworth (not connected, I think, with the
Portsmouth branch of Wentworths) seems to have been of a
convivial turn of mind. He shortly dissipated his wife's fortune
in high living, and died abruptly in New York--it was supposed by
his own hand. His last words--a quite unique contribution to the
literature of last words--were, "I have had my cake, and ate it,"
which showed that the colonel within his own modest limitations
was a philosopher.

The seat of Governor Wentworth at Little Harbor--a pleasant walk
from Market Square--is well worth a visit. Time and change have
laid their hands more lightly on this rambling old pile than on
any other of the old homes in Portsmouth. When you cross the
threshold of the door you step into the colonial period. Here the
Past seems to have halted courteously, waiting for you to catch
up with it. Inside and outside the Wentworth mansion remains
nearly as the old governor left it; and though it is no longer in
the possession of the family, the present owners, in their
willingness to gratify the decent curiosity of strangers, show a
hospitality which has always characterized the place.

The house is an architectural freak. The main building--if it is
the main building--is generally two stories in height, with
irregular wings forming three sides of a square which opens in
the water. It is, in brief, a cluster of whimsical extensions
that look as if they had been built at different periods, which I
believe was not the case. The mansion was completed in 1750. It
originally contained fifty-two rooms; a portion of the structure
was removed about half a century ago, leaving forty-five
apartments. The chambers were connected in the oddest manner, by
unexpected steps leading up or down, and capricious little
passages that seem to have been the unhappy afterthoughts of the
architect. But it is a mansion on a grand scale, and with a grand
air. The cellar was arranged for the stabling of a troop of
thirty horse in times of danger. The council-chamber, where for
many years all questions of vital importance to the State were
discussed, is a spacious, high-studded room, finished in the
richest style of the last century. It is said that the
ornamentation of the huge mantel, carved with knife and chisel,
cost the workman a year's constant labor. At the entrance to the
council-chamber are still the racks for the twelve muskets of the
governor's guard--so long ago dismissed!

Some valuable family portraits adorn the walls here, among which
is a fine painting-yes, by our friend Copley--of the lovely
Dorothy Quincy, who married John Hancock, and afterward became
Madam Scott. This lady was a niece of Dr. Holme's "Dorothy Q."
Opening on the council-chamber is a large billiard-room; the
billiard-table is gone, but an ancient spinnet, with the prim air
of an ancient maiden lady, and of a wheezy voice, is there; and
in one corner stands a claw-footed buffet, near which the
imaginative nostril may still detect a faint and tantalizing odor
of colonial punch. Opening also on the council-chamber are
several tiny apartments, empty and silent now, in which many a
close rubber has been played by illustrious hands. The stillness
and loneliness of the old house seem saddest here. The jeweled
fingers are dust, the merry laughs have turned themselves into
silent, sorrowful phantoms, stealing from chamber to chamber. It
is easy to believe in the traditional ghost that haunts the
place--

"A jolly place in times of old,
But something ails it now!"

The mansion at Little Harbor is not the only historic house that
bears the name of Wentworth. On Pleasant Street, at the head of
Washington Street, stands the abode of another colonial worthy,
Governor John Wentworth, who held office from 1767 down to the
moment when the colonies dropped the British yoke as if it had
been the letter H. For the moment the good gentleman's occupation
was gone. He was a royalist of the most florid complexion. In
1775, a man named John Fenton, and ex-captain in the British
army, who had managed to offend the Sons of Liberty, was given
sanctuary in this house by the governor, who refused to deliver
the fugitive to the people. The mob planted a small cannon
(unloaded) in front of the doorstep and threatened to open fire
if Fenton were not forthcoming. He forth-with came. The family
vacated the premises via the back-yard, and the mob entered,
doing considerable damage. The broken marble chimney-place still
remains, mutely protesting against the uncalled-for violence.
Shortly after this event the governor made his way to England,
where his loyalty was rewarded first with a governorship and then
with a pension of L500. He was governor of Nova Scotia from 1792
to 1800, and died in Halifax in 1820. This house is one of the
handsomest old dwellings in the town, and promises to outlive
many of its newest neighbors. The parlor has undergone no change
whatever since the populace rushed into it over a century ago.
The furniture and adornments occupy their original positions and
the plush on the walls has not been replaced by other hangings.
In the hall--deep enough for the traditional duel of baronial
romance--are full-length portraits of the several governors and
sundry of their kinsfolk.

There is yet a third Wentworth house, also decorated with the
shade of a colonial governor--there were three Governors
Wentworth--but we shall pass it by, though out of no lack of
respect for that high official personage whose commission was
signed by Joseph Addison, Esq., Secretary of State under George
I.

V.
OLD STRAWBERRY BANK

THESE old houses have perhaps detained us too long. They are
merely the crumbling shells of things dead and gone, of persons
and manners and customs that have left no very distinct record of
themselves, excepting here and there in some sallow manuscript
which has luckily escaped the withering breath of fire, for the
old town, as I have remarked, has managed, from the earliest
moment of its existence, to burn itself up periodically. It is
only through the scattered memoranda of ancient town clerks, and
in the files of worm-eaten and forgotten newspapers, that we are
enabled to get glimpses of that life which was once so real and
positive and has now become a shadow. I am of course speaking of
the early days of the settlement on Strawberry Bank. They were
stormy and eventful days. The dense forest which surrounded the
clearing was alive with hostile red-men. The sturdy pilgrim went
to sleep with his firelock at his bedside, not knowing at what
moment he might be awakened by the glare of his burning hayricks
and the piercing war-whoops of the Womponoags. Year after year he
saw his harvest reaped by a sickle of flames, as he peered
through the loop-holes of the blockhouse, whither he had flown in
hot haste with goodwife and little ones. The blockhouse at
Strawberry Bank appears to have been on an extensive scale, with
stockades for the shelter of cattle. It held large supplies of
stores, and was amply furnished with arquebuses, sakers, and
murtherers, a species of naval ordnance which probably did not
belie its name. It also boasted, we are told, of two drums for
training-days, and no fewer than fifteen hautboys and soft-voiced
recorders--all which suggests a mediaeval castle, or a grim
fortress in the time of Queen Elizabeth. To the younger members
of the community glass or crockery ware was an unknown substance;
to the elders it was a memory. An iron pot was the
pot-of-all-work, and their table utensils were of beaten pewter.
The diet was also of the simplest--pea-porridge and corn-cake,
with a mug of ale or a flagon of Spanish wine, when they could
get it.

John Mason, who never resided in this country, but delegated the
management of his plantation at Ricataqua and Newichewannock to
stewards, died before realizing any appreciable return from his
enterprise. He spared no endeavor meanwhile to further its
prosperity. In 1632, three years before his death, Mason sent
over from Denmark a number of neat cattle, "of a large breed and
yellow colour." The herd thrived, and it is said that some of the
stock is still extant on farms in the vicinity of Portsmouth.
Those old first families had a kind of staying quality!

In May, 1653, the inhabitants of the settlement petitioned the
General Court at Boston to grant them a definite township--for
the boundaries were doubtful--and the right to give it a proper
name. "Whereas the name of this plantation att present being
Strabery Banke, accidentlly soe called, by reason of a banke
where strawberries was found in this place, now we humbly desire
to have it called Portsmouth, being a name most suitable for this
place, it being the river's mouth, and good as any in this land,
and your petit'rs shall humbly pray," etc.

Throughout that formative period, and during the intermittent
French wars, Portsmouth and the outlying districts were the
scenes of bloody Indian massacres. No portion of the New England
colony suffered more. Famine, fire, pestilence, and war, each in
turn, and sometimes in conjunction, beleaguered the little
stronghold, and threatened to wipe it out. But that was not to
be.

The settlement flourished and increased in spite of all, and as
soon as it had leisure to draw breath, it bethought itself of the
school-house and the jail--two incontestable signs of budding
civilization. At a town meeting in 1662, it was ordered "that a
cage be made or some other meanes invented by the selectmen to
punish such as sleepe or take tobacco on the Lord's day out of
the meetinge in the time of publique service." This salutary
measure was not, for some reason, carried into effect until nine
years later, when Captain John Pickering, who seems to have had
as many professions as Michelangelo, undertook to construct a
cage twelve feet square and seven feet high, with a pillory on
top; "the said Pickering to make a good strong dore and make a
substantiale payre of stocks and places the same in said cage." A
spot conveniently near the west end on the meeting-house was
selected as the site for this ingenious device. It is more than
probable that "the said Pickering" indirectly furnished an
occasional bird for his cage, for in 1672 we find him and one
Edward Westwere authorized by the selectmen to "keepe houses of
publique entertainment." He was a versatile individual, this John
Pickering--soldier, miller, moderator, carpenter, lawyer, and
innkeeper. Michelangelo need not blush to be bracketed with him.
In the course of a long and variegated career he never failed to
act according to his lights, which he always kept well trimmed.
That Captain Pickering subsequently became the grandfather, at
several removes, of the present writer was no fault of the
Captain's, and should not be laid up against him.

Down to 1696, the education of the young appears to have been a
rather desultory and tentative matter; "the young idea" seems to
have been allowed to "shoot" at whatever it wanted to; but in
that year it was voted "that care be taken that an abell
scollmaster [skullmaster!] be provided for the towen as the law
directs, not visious in conversation." That was perhaps demanding
too much; for it was not until "May ye7" of the following year
that the selectmen were fortunate enough to put their finger on
this rara avis in the person of Mr. Tho. Phippes, who agreed "to
be scollmaster for the the towen this yr insewing for teaching
the inhabitants children in such manner as other schollmasters
yously doe throughout the countrie: for his soe doinge we the
sellectt men in behalfe of ower towen doe ingage to pay him by
way of rate twenty pounds and yt he shall and may reserve from
every father or master that sends theyer children to school this
yeare after ye rate of 16s. for readers, writers and cypherers
20s., Lattiners 24s."

Modern advocates of phonetic spelling need not plume themselves
on their originality. The town clerk who wrote that delicious
"yously doe" settles the question. It is to be hoped that Mr.
Tho. Phippes was not only "not visious in conversation," but was
more conventional in his orthography. He evidently gave
satisfaction, and clearly exerted an influence on the town clerk,
Mr. Samuel Keais, who ever after shows a marked improvement in
his own methods. In 1704 the town empowered the selectmen "to
call and settell a gramer scoll according to ye best of yower
judgement and for ye advantag [Keais is obviously dead now] of ye
youth of ower town to learn them to read from ye primer, to
wright and sypher and to learne ym the tongues and good-manners."
On this occasion it was Mr. William Allen, of Salisbury, who
engaged "dilligently to attend ye school for ye present yeare,
and tech all childern yt can read in thaire psallters and
upward." From such humble beginnings were evolved some of the
best public high schools at present in New England.

Portsmouth did not escape the witchcraft delusion, though I
believe that no hangings took place within the boundaries of the
township. Dwellers by the sea are generally superstitious;
sailors always are. There is something in the illimitable expanse
of sky and water that dilates the imagination. The folk who live
along the coast live on the edge of a perpetual mystery; only a
strip of yellow sand or gray rock separates them from the
unknown; they hear strange voices in the winds at midnight, they
are haunted by the spectres of the mirage. Their minds quickly
take the impress of uncanny things. The witches therefore found a
sympathetic atmosphere in Newscastle, at the mouth of the
Piscataqua--that slender paw of land which reaches out into the
ocean and terminates in a spread of sharp, flat rocks, lie the
claws of an amorous cat. What happened to the good folk of that
picturesque little fishing-hamlet is worth retelling in brief. In
order properly to retell it, a contemporary witness shall be
called upon to testify in the case of the Stone-Throwing Devils
of Newcastle. It is the Rev. Cotton Mather who addresses you--
"On June 11, 1682, showers of stones were thrown by an invisible
hand upon the house of George Walton at Portsmouth [Newcastle was
then a part of the town]. Whereupon the people going out found
the gate wrung off the hinges, and stones flying and falling
thick about them, and striking of them seemingly with a great
force, but really affecting 'em no more than if a soft touch were
given them. The glass windows were broken by the stones that came
not from without, but from within; and other instruments were in
a like manner hurled about. Nine of the stones they took up,
whereof some were as hot as if they came out of the fire; and
marking them they laid them on the table; but in a little while
they found some of them again flying about. The spit was carried
up the chimney, and coming down with the point forward, stuck in
the back log, from whence one of the company removing it, it was
by an invisible hand thrown out at the window. This disturbance
continued from day to day; and sometimes a dismal hollow
whistling would be heard, and sometimes the trotting and snorting
of a horse, but nothing to be seen. The man went up the Great Bay
in a boat on to a farm which he had there; but the stones found
him out, and carrying from the house to the boat a stirrup iron
the iron came jingling after him through the woods as far as his
house; and at last went away and was heard no more. The anchor
leaped overboard several times and stopt the boat. A cheese was
taken out of the press, and crumbled all over the floor; a piece
of iron stuck into the wall, and a kettle hung thereon. Several
cocks of hay, mow'd near the house, were taken up and hung upon
the trees, and others made into small whisps, and scattered about
the house. A man was much hurt by some of the stones. He was a
Quaker, and suspected that a woman, who charged him with
injustice in detaining some land from here, did, by witchcraft,
occasion these preternatural occurrences. However, at last they
came to an end."

Now I have done with thee, O credulous and sour Cotton Mather! so
get thee back again to thy tomb in the old burying-ground on
Copp's Hill, where, unless thy nature is radically changed, thou
makest it uncomfortable for those about thee.

Nearly a hundred years afterwards, Portsmouth had another
witch--a tangible witch in this instance--one Molly Bridget, who
cast her malign spell on the eleemosynary pigs at the Almshouse,
where she chanced to reside at the moment. The pigs were
manifestly bewitched, and Mr. Clement March, the superintendent
of the institution, saw only one remedy at hand, and that was to
cut off and burn the tips of their tales. But when the tips were
cut off they disappeared, and it was in consequence quite
impracticable to burn them. Mr. March, who was a gentleman of
expedients, ordered that all the chips and underbrush in the yard
should be made into heaps and consumed, hoping thus to catch and
do away with the mysterious and provoking extremities. The fires
were no sooner lighted than Molly Bridget rushed from room to
room in a state of frenzy. With the dying flames her own vitality
subsided, and she was dead before the ash-piles were cool. I say
it seriously when I say that these are facts of which there is
authentic proof.

If the woman had recovered, she would have fared badly, even at
that late period, had she been in Salem; but the death-penalty
has never been hastily inflicted in Portsmouth. The first
execution that ever took place there was that of Sarah Simpson
and Penelope Kenny, for the murder of an infant in 1739. The
sheriff was Thomas Packer, the same official who, twenty-nine
years later, won unenviable notoriety at the hanging of Ruth
Blay. The circumstances are set forth by the late Albert Laighton
in a spirited ballad, which is too long to quote in full. The
following stanzas, however, give the pith of the story--

"And a voice among them shouted,
"Pause before the deed is done;
We have asked reprieve and pardon
For the poor misguided one.'

"But these words of Sheriff Packer
Rang above the swelling noise:
'Must I wait and lose my dinner?
Draw away the cart, my boys!'

"Nearer came the sound and louder,
Till a steed with panting breath,
From its sides the white foam dripping,
Halted at the scene of death;

"And a messenger alighted,
Crying to the crowd, 'Make way!
This I bear to Sheriff Packer;
'Tis a pardon for Ruth Blay!'"

But of course he arrived too late--the Law led Mercy about twenty
minutes. The crowd dispersed, horror-stricken; but it assembled
again that night before the sheriff's domicile and expressed its
indignation in groans. His effigy, hanged on a miniature gallows,
was afterwards paraded through the streets.

"Be the name of Thomas Packer
A reproach forevermore!"

Laighton's ballad reminds me of that Portsmouth has been prolific
in poets, one of whom, at least, has left a mouthful of perennial
rhyme for orators--Jonathan Sewell with his

"No pent-up Utica contracts your powers,
But the whole boundless continent is yours."

I have somewhere seen a volume with the alliterative title of
"Poets of Portsmouth," in which are embalmed no fewer than sixty
immortals!

But to drop into prose again, and have done with this iliad of
odds and ends. Portsmouth has the honor, I believe, of
establishing the first recorded pauper workhouse--though not in
connection with her poets, as might naturally be supposed. The
building was completed and tenanted in 1716. Seven years later,
an act was passed in England authorizing the establishment of
parish workhouses there. The first and only keeper of the
Portsmouth almshouse up to 1750 was a woman--Rebecca Austin.

Speaking of first things, we are told by Mr. Nathaniel Adams, in
his "Annals of Portsmouth," that on the 20th of April, 1761, Mr.
John Stavers began running a stage from that town to Boston. The
carriage was a two-horse curricle, wide enough to accommodate
three passengers. The fare was thirteen shillings and sixpence
sterling per head. The curricle was presently superseded by a
series of fat yellow coaches, one of which--nearly a century
later, and long after that pleasant mode of travel had fallen
obsolete--was the cause of much mental tribulation (1. Some idle
reader here and there may possibly recall the burning of the old
stage-coach in The Story of a Bad Boy.) to the writer of this
chronicle.

The mail and the newspaper are closely associated factors in
civilization, so I mention them together, though in this case the
newspaper antedated the mail-coach about five years. On October
7, 1756, the first number of "The New Hampshire Gazette and
Historical Chronicle" was issued in Portsmouth from the press of
Daniel Fowle, who in the previous July had removed from Boston,
where he had undergone a brief but uncongenial imprisonment on
suspicion of having printed a pamphlet entitled "The Monster of
Monsters, by Tom Thumb, Esq.," an essay that contained some
uncomplimentary reflections on several official personages.The
"Gazette" was the pioneer journal of the province. It was
followed at the close of the same year by "The Mercury and Weekly
Advertiser," published by a former apprentice of Fowle, a certain
Thomas Furber, backed by a number of restless Whigs, who
considered the "Gazette" not sufficiently outspoken in the cause
of liberty. Mr. Fowle, however, contrived to hold his own until
the day of his death. Fowle had for pressman a faithful negro
named Primus, a full-blooded African. Whether Primus was a
freeman or a slave I am unable to state. He lived to a great age,
and was a prominent figure among the people of his own color.

Negro slavery was common in New England at that period. In 1767,
Portsmouth numbered in its population a hundred and eighty-eight
slaves, male and female. Their bondage, happily, was nearly
always of a light sort, if any bondage can be light. They were
allowed to have a kind of government of their own; indeed, were
encouraged to do so, and no unreasonable restrictions were placed
on their social enjoyment. They annually elected a king and
counselors, and celebrated the event with a procession. The
aristocratic feeling was highly developed in them. The rank of
the master was the slave's rank. There was a great deal of ebony
standing around on its dignity in those days. For example,
Governor Langdon's manservant, Cyrus Bruce, was a person who
insisted on his distinction, and it was recognized. His massive
gold chain and seals, his cherry-colored small-clothes and silk
stockings, his ruffles and silver shoe-buckles, were a tradition
long after Cyrus himself was pulverized.

In cases of minor misdemeanor among them, the negros themselves
were permitted to be judge and jury. Their administration of
justice was often characteristically naive. Mr. Brewster gives an
amusing sketch of one of their sessions. King Nero is on the
bench, and one Cato--we are nothing if not classical--is the
prosecuting attorney. The name of the prisoner and the nature of
his offense are not disclosed to posterity. In the midst of the
proceedings the hour of noon is clanged from the neighboring
belfry of the Old North Church. "The evidence was not gone
through with, but the servants could stay no longer from their
home duties. They all wanted to see the whipping, but could not
conveniently be present again after dinner. Cato ventured to
address the King: Please you Honor, best let the fellow have his
whipping now, and finish the trial after dinner. The request
seemed to be the general wish of the company: so Nero ordered ten
lashes, for justice so far as the trial went, and ten more at the
close of the trial, should he be found guilty!"

Slavery in New Hampshire was never legally abolished, unless
Abraham Lincoln did it. The State itself has not ever pronounced
any emancipation edict. During the Revolutionary War the slaves
were generally emancipated by their masters. That many of the
negros, who had grown gray in service, refused their freedom, and
elected to spend the rest of their lives as pensioners in the
families of their late owners, is a circumstance that illustrates
the kindly ties which held between slave and master in the old
colonial days in New England.

The institution was accidental and superficial, and never had any
real root in the Granite State. If the Puritans could have found
in the Scriptures any direct sanction of slavery, perhaps it
would have continued awhile longer, for the Puritan carried his
religion into the business affairs of life; he was not even able
to keep it out of his bills of lading. I cannot close this
rambling chapter more appropriately and solemnly than by quoting
from one of those same pious bills of landing. It is dated June,
1726, and reads: "Shipped by the grace of God in good order and
well conditioned, by Wm. Pepperills on there own acct. and
risque, in and upon the good Briga called the William, whereof is
master under God for this present voyage George King, now riding
at anchor in the river Piscataqua and by God's grace bound to
Barbadoes." Here follows a catalogue of the miscellaneous cargo,
rounded off with: "And so God send the good Briga to her desired
port in safety. Amen."

VI.
SOME OLD PORTSMOUTH PROFILES

I DOUBT if any New England town ever turned out so many eccentric
characters as Portsmouth. From 1640 down to about 1848 there must
have been something in the air of the place that generated
eccentricity. In another chapter I shall explain why the
conditions have not been favorable to the development of
individual singularity during the latter half of the present
century. It is easier to do that than fully to account for the
numerous queer human types which have existed from time to time
previous to that period.

In recently turning over the pages of Mr. Brewster's entertaining
collection of Portsmouth sketches, I have been struck by the
number and variety of the odd men and women who appear
incidentally on the scene. They are, in the author's intention,
secondary figures in the background of his landscape, but they
stand very much in the foreground of one's memory after the book
is laid aside. One finds one's self thinking quite as often of
that squalid old hut-dweller up by Sagamore Creek as of General
Washington, who visited the town in 1789. Conservatism and
respectability have their values, certainly; but has not the
unconventional its values also? If we render unto that old
hut-dweller the things which are that old hut-dweller's, we must
concede him his picturesqueness. He was dirty, and he was not
respectable; but he is picturesque--now that he is dead.

If the reader has five or ten minutes to waste, I invite him to
glance at a few old profiles of persons who, however substantial
they once were, are now leading a life of mere outlines. I would
like to give them a less faded expression, but the past is very
chary of yielding up anything more than its shadows.

The first who presents himself is the ruminative hermit already
mentioned--a species of uninspired Thoreau. His name was Benjamin
Lear. So far as his craziness went, he might have been a lineal
descendant of that ancient king of Britain who figures on
Shakespeare's page. Family dissensions made a recluse of King
Lear; but in the case of Benjamin there were no mitigating
circumstances. He had no family to trouble him, and his realm
remained undivided. He owned an excellent farm on the south side
of Sagamore Creek, a little to the west of the bridge, and might
have lived at ease, if personal comfort had not been distasteful
to him. Personal comfort entered into no part of Lear's. To be
alone filled the little pint-measure of his desire. He ensconced
himself in a wretched shanty, and barred the door, figuratively,
against all the world. Wealth--what would have been wealth to
him--lay within his reach, but he thrust it aside; he disdained
luxury as he disdained idleness, and made no compromise with
convention. When a man cuts himself absolutely adrift from
custom, what an astonishingly light spar floats him! How few his
wants are, after all! Lear was of a cheerful disposition, and
seems to have been wholly inoffensive--at a distance. He
fabricated his own clothes, and subsisted chiefly on milk and
potatoes, the product of his realm. He needed nothing but an
island to be a Robinson Crusoe. At rare intervals he flitted like
a frost-bitten apparition through the main street of Portsmouth,
which he always designated as "the Bank," a name that had become
obsolete fifty or a hundred years before. Thus, for nearly a
quarter of a century, Benjamin Lear stood aloof from human
intercourse. In his old age some of the neighbors offered him
shelter during the tempestuous winter months; but he would have
none of it--he defied wind and weather. There he lay in his
dilapidated hovel in his last illness, refusing to allow any one
to remain with him overnight--and the mercury four degrees below
zero. Lear was born in 1720, and vegetated eighty-two years.

I take it that Timothy Winn, of whom we have only a glimpse,
would like to have more, was a person better worth knowing. His
name reads like the title of some old-fashioned novel--"Timothy
Winn, or the Memoirs of a Bashful Gentleman." He came to
Portsmouth from Woburn at the close of the last century, and set
up in the old museum-building on Mulberry Street what was called
"a piece goods store." He was the third Timothy in his monotonous
family, and in order to differentiate himself he inscribed on the
sign over his shop door, "Timothy Winn, 3d," and was ever after
called "Three-Penny Winn." That he enjoyed the pleasantry, and
clung to his sign, goes to show that he was a person who would
ripen on further acquaintance, were further acquaintance now
practicable. His next-door neighbor, Mr. Leonard Serat, who kept
a modest tailoring establishment, also tantalizes us a little
with a dim intimation of originality. He plainly was without
literary prejudices, for on one face of his swinging sign was
painted the word Taylor, and on the other Tailor. This may have
been a delicate concession to that part of the community--the
greater part, probably--which would have spelled it with a y.

The building in which Messrs. Winn and Serat had their shops was
the property of Nicholas Rousselet, a French gentleman of
Demerara, the story of whose unconventional courtship of Miss
Catherine Moffatt is pretty enough to bear retelling, and
entitles him to a place in our limited collection of etchings. M.
Rousselet had doubtless already mad excursions into the pays de
tendre, and given Miss Catherine previous notice of the state of
his heart, but it was not until one day during the hour of
service at the Episcopal church that he brought matters to a
crisis by handing to Miss Moffatt a small Bible, on the fly-leaf
of which he had penciled the fifth verse of the Second Epistle of
John--

"And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I
wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that
which we had from the beginning, that we love one another."

This was not to be resisted, at lease not by Miss Catherine, who
demurely handed the volume back to him with a page turned down at
the sixteenth verse in the first chapter of Ruth--

"Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I
will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the
Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and
me."

Aside from this quaint touch of romance, what attaches me to the
happy pair--for the marriage was a fortunate one--is the fact
that the Rousselets made their home in the old Atkinson mansion,
which stood directly opposite my grandfather's house on Court
Street and was torn down in my childhood, to my great
consternation. The building had been unoccupied for a quarter of
a century, and was fast falling into decay with all its rich
wood-carvings at cornice and lintel; but was it not full of
ghosts, and if the old barracks were demolished, would not these
ghosts, or some of them at least, take refuge in my grandfather's
house just across the way? Where else could they bestow
themselves so conveniently? While the ancient mansion was in
process of destruction, I used to peep round the corner of our
barn at the workmen, and watch the indignant phantoms go soaring
upward in spiral clouds of colonial dust.

A lady differing in many ways from Catherine Moffatt was the Mary
Atkinson (once an inmate of this same manor house) who fell to
the lot of the Rev. William Shurtleff, pastor of the South Church
between 1733 and 1747. From the worldly standpoint, it was a fine
match for the Newcastle clergyman--beauty, of the eagle-beaked
kind; wealth, her share of the family plate; high birth, a sister
to the Hon. Theodore Atkinson. But if the exemplary man had cast
his eyes lower, peradventure he had found more happiness, though
ill-bred persons without family plate are not necessarily
amiable. Like Socrates, this long-suffering divine had always
with him an object on which to cultivate heavenly patience, and
patience, says the Eastern proverb, is the key to content. The
spirit of Xantippe seems to have taken possession of Mrs.
Shurtleff immediately after her marriage. The freakish disrespect
with which she used her meek consort was a heavy cross to bear at
a period in New England when clerical dignity was at its highest
sensitive point. Her devices for torturing the poor gentleman
were inexhaustible. Now she lets his Sabbath ruffs go unstarched;
now she scandalizes him by some unseemly and frivolous color in
her attire; now she leaves him to cook his own dinner at the
kitchen coals; and now she locks him in his study, whither he has
retired for a moment or two of prayer, previous to setting forth
to perform the morning service. The congregation has assembled;
the sexton has tolled the bell twice as long as is custom, and is
beginning a third carillon, full of wonder that his reverence
does not appear; and there sits Mistress Shurtleff in the family
pew with a face as complacent as that of the cat that has eaten
the canary. Presently the deacons appeal to her for information
touching the good doctor. Mistress Shurtleff sweetly tells them
that the good doctor was in his study when she left home. There
he is found, indeed, and released from durance, begging the
deacons to keep his mortification secret, to "give it an
understanding, but no tongue." Such was the discipline undergone
by the worthy Dr. Shurtleff on his earthly pilgrimage. A portrait
of this patient man--now a saint somewhere--hangs in the rooms of
the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in Boston.
There he can be seen in surplice and bands, with his lamblike,
apostolic face looking down upon the heavy antiquarian labors of
his busy descendants.

Whether or not a man is to be classed as eccentric who vanishes
without rhyme or reason on his wedding-night is a query left to
the reader's decision. We seem to have struck a matrimonial vein,
and must work it out. In 1768, Mr. James McDonough was one of the
wealthiest men in Portsmouth, and the fortunate suitor for the
hand of a daughter of Jacob Sheafe, a town magnate. The home of
the bride was decked and lighted for the nuptials, the
banquet-table was spread, and the guests were gathered. The
minister in his robe stood by the carven mantelpiece, book in
hand, and waited. Then followed an awkward interval--there was a
hitch somewhere. A strange silence fell upon the laughing groups;
the air grew tense with expectation; in the pantry, Amos Boggs,
the butler, in his agitation split a bottle of port over his new
cinnamon-colored small-clothes. Then a whisper--a whisper
suppressed these twenty minutes--ran through the
apartments,--"The bridegroom has not come!". He never came. The
mystery of that night remains a mystery after the lapse of a
century and a quarter.

What had become of James McDonough? The assassination of so
notable a person in a community where every strange face was
challenged, where every man's antecedents were known, could not
have been accomplished without leaving some slight traces. Not a
shadow of foul play was discovered. That McDonough had been
murdered or had committed suicide were theories accepted at first
by a few, and then by no one. On the other hand, he was in love
with his fiancee, he had wealth, power, position--why had he
fled? He was seen a moment on the public street, and then never
seen again. It was as if he turned into air. Meanwhile the
bewilderment of the bride was dramatically painful. If McDonough
had been waylaid and killed, she could mourn for him. If he had
deserted her, she could wrap herself in her pride. But neither
course lay open to her, then or afterward. In one of the Twice
Told Tales Hawthorne deals with a man named Wakefield, who
disappears with like suddenness, and lives unrecognized for
twenty years in a street not far from his abandoned hearthside.
Such expunging of one's self was not possible in Portsmouth; but
I never think of McDonough without recalling Wakefield. I have an
inexplicable conviction that for many a year James McDonough, in
some snug ambush, studied and analyzed the effect of his own
startling disappearance.

Some time in the year 1758, there dawned upon Portsmouth a
personage bearing the ponderous title of King's Attorney, and
carrying much gold lace about him. This gilded gentleman was Mr.
Wyseman Clagett, of Bristol, England, where his father dwelt on
the manor of Broad Oaks, in a mansion with twelve chimneys, and
kept a coach and eight or ten servants. Up to the moment of his
advent in the colonies, Mr. Wyseman Clagett had evidently not
been able to keep anything but himself. His wealth consisted of
his personal decorations, the golden frogs on his lapels, and the
tinsel at his throat; other charms he had none. Yet with these he
contrived to dazzle the eyes of Lettice Mitchel, one of the young
beauties of the province, and to cause her to forget that she had
plighted troth with a Mr. Warner, then in Europe, and destined to
return home with a disturbed heart. Mr. Clagett was a man of
violent temper and ingenious vindictiveness, and proved more than
a sufficient punishment for Lettice's infidelity. The trifling
fact that Warner was dead--he died shortly after his return--did
not interfere with the course of Mr. Clagett's jealousy; he was
haunted by the suspicion that Lettice regretted her first love,
having left nothing undone to make her do so. "This is to pay
Warner's debts," remarked Mr. Clagett, as he twitched off the
table-cloth and wrecked the tea-things.

In his official capacity he was a relentless prosecutor. The noun
Clagett speedily turned itself into a verb; "to Clagett" meant
"to prosecute;" they were convertible terms. In spite of his
industrious severity, and his royal emoluments, if such existed,
the exchequer of the King's Attorney showed a perpetual deficit.
The stratagems to which he resorted from time to time in order to
raise unimportant sums reminded one of certain scenes in
Moliere's comedies.

Mr. Clagett had for his ame damnee a constable of the town. They
were made for each other; they were two flowers with but a single
stem, and this was their method of procedure: Mr. Clagett
dispatched one of his servants to pick a quarrel with some
countryman on the street, or some sailor drinking at an inn: the
constable arrested the sailor or the countryman, as the case
might be, and hauled the culprit before Mr. Clagett; Mr. Clagett
read the culprit a moral lesson, and fined him five dollars and
costs. The plunder was then divided between the conspirators--two
hearts that beat as one--Clagett, of course, getting the lion's
share. Justice was never administered in a simpler manner in any
country. This eminent legal light was extinguished in 1784, and
the wick laid away in the little churchyard in Litchfield, New
Hampshire. It is a satisfaction, even after such a lapse of time,
to know that Lettice survived the King's Attorney sufficiently
long to be very happy with somebody else. Lettice Mitchel was
scarcely eighteen when she married Wyseman Clagett.

About eighty years ago, a witless fellow named Tilton seems to
have been a familiar figure on the streets of the old town. Mr.
Brewster speaks of him as "the well-known idiot, Johnny Tilton,"
as if one should say, "the well-known statesman, Daniel Webster."
It is curious to observe how any sort of individuality gets
magnified in this parochial atmosphere, where everything lacks
perspective, and nothing is trivial. Johnny Tilton does not
appear to have had much individuality to start with; it was only
after his head was cracked that he showed any shrewdness
whatever. That happened early in his unobtrusive boyhood. He had
frequently watched the hens flying out of the loft window in his
father's stable, which stood in the rear of the Old Bell Tavern.
It occurred to Johnny, one day, that though he might not be as
bright as other lads, he certainly was in no respect inferior to
a hen. So he placed himself on the sill of the window in the
loft, flapped his arms, and took flight. The New England Icarus
alighted head downward, lay insensible for a while, and was
henceforth looked upon as a mortal who had lost his wits. Yet at
odd moments his cloudiness was illumined by a gleam of
intelligence such as had not been detected in him previous to his
mischance. As Polonius said of Hamlet--another unstrung
mortal--Tilton's replies had "a happiness that often madness hits
on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be
delivered of." One morning, he appeared at the flour-mill with a
sack of corn to be ground for the almshouse, and was asked what
he knew. "Some things I know," replied poor Tilton, "and some
things I don't know. I know the miller's hogs grow fat, but I
don't know whose corn they fat on." To borrow another word from
Polonius, though this be madness, yet there was method in it.
Tilton finally brought up in the almshouse, where he was allowed
the liberty of roaming at will through the town. He loved the
water-side as if he had had all his senses. Often he was seen to
stand for hours with a sunny, torpid smile on his lips, gazing
out upon the river where its azure ruffles itself into silver
against the islands. He always wore stuck in his hat a few hen's
feathers, perhaps with some vague idea of still associating
himself with the birds of the air, if hens can come into that
category.

George Jaffrey, third of the name, was a character of another
complexion, a gentleman born, a graduate of Harvard in 1730, and
one of His Majesty's Council in 1766--a man with the blood of the
lion and the unicorn in every vein. He remained to the bitter
end, and beyond, a devout royalist, prizing his shoe-buckles, not
because they were of chased silver, but because they bore the
tower mark and crown stamp. He stoutly objected to oral prayer,
on the ground that it gave rogues and hypocrites an opportunity
to impose on honest folk. He was punctilious in his attendance at
church, and unfailing in his responses, though not of a
particularly devotional temperament. On one occasion, at least,
his sincerity is not to be questioned. He had been deeply
irritated by some encroachments on the boundaries of certain
estates, and had gone to church that forenoon with his mind full
of the matter. When the minister in the course of reading the
service came to the apostrophe, "Cursed be he who removeth his
neighbor's landmark," Mr. Jeffrey's feelings were too many for
him, and he cried out "Amen!" in a tone of voice that brought
smiles to the adjoining pews.

Mr. Jaffrey's last will and testament was a whimsical document,
in spite of the Hon. Jeremiah Mason, who drew up the paper. It
had originally been Mr. Jaffrey's plan to leave his possessions
to his beloved friend, Colonel Joshua Wentworth; but the colonel
by some maladroitness managed to turn the current of Pactolus in
another direction. The vast property was bequeathed to George
Jaffrey Jeffries, the testator's grandnephew, on condition that
the heir, then a lad of thirteen, should drop the name of
Jeffries, reside permanently in Portsmouth, and adopt no
profession excepting that of gentleman. There is an immense
amount of Portsmouth as well as George Jaffrey in that final
clause. George the fourth handsomely complied with the
requirements, and dying at the age of sixty-six, without issue or
assets, was the last of that particular line of Georges. I say
that he handsomely complied with the requirements of the will;
but my statement appears to be subject to qualification, for on
the day of his obsequies it was remarked of him by a caustic
contemporary: "Well, yes, Mr. Jaffrey was a gentleman by
profession, but not eminent in his profession."

This modest exhibition of profiles, in which I have attempted to
preserve no chronological sequence, ends with the silhouette of
Dr. Joseph Moses.

If Boston in the colonial days had her Mather Byles, Portsmouth
had her Dr. Joseph Moses. In their quality as humorists, the
outlines of both these gentlemen have become rather broken and
indistinct. "A jest's prosperity lies in the ear that hears it."
Decanted wit inevitably loses its bouquet. A clever repartee
belongs to the precious moment in which it is broached, and is of
a vintage that does not usually bear transportation. Dr.
Moses--he received his diploma not from the College of
Physicians, but from the circumstance of his having once drugged
his private demijohn of rum, and so nailed an inquisitive negro
named Sambo--Dr. Moses, as he was always called, had been handed
down to us by tradition as a fellow of infinite jest and of most
excellent fancy; but I must confess that I find his high spirits
very much evaporated. His humor expended itself, for the greater
part, in practical pleasantries--like that practiced on the
minion Sambo--but these diversions, however facetious to the
parties concerned, lack magnetism for outsiders. I discover
nothing about him so amusing as the fact that he lived in a
tan-colored little tenement, which was neither clapboarded nor
shingled, and finally got an epidermis from the discarded
shingles of the Old South Church when the roof of that edifice
was repaired.

Dr. Moses, like many persons of his time and class, was a man of
protean employment--joiner, barber, and what not. No doubt he had
much pithy and fluent conversation, all of which escapes us. He
certainly impressed the Hon. Theodore Atkinson as a person of
uncommon parts, for the Honorable Secretary of the Province, like
a second Haroun Al Raschid, often summoned the barber to
entertain him with his company. One evening--and this is the only
reproducible instance of the doctor's readiness--Mr. Atkinson
regaled his guest with a diminutive glass of choice Madeira. The
doctor regarded it against the light with the half-closed eye of
the connoisseur, and after sipping the molten topaz with
satisfaction, inquired how old it was. "Of the vintage of about
sixty years ago," was the answer. "Well," said the doctor
reflectively, "I never in my life saw so small a thing of such an
age." There are other mots of his on record, but their faces are
suspiciously familiar. In fact, all the witty things were said
aeons ago. If one nowadays perpetrates an original joke, one
immediately afterward finds it in the Sanskirt. I am afraid that
Dr. Joseph Moses has no very solid claims on us. I have given him
place here because he has long had the reputation of a wit, which
is almost as good as to be one.

VII.

PERSONAL REMINISCENCES

THE running of the first train over the Eastern Road from Boston
to Portsmouth--it took place somewhat more than forty years
ago--was attended by a serious accident. The accident occurred in
the crowded station at the Portsmouth terminus, and was
unobserved at the time. The catastrophe was followed, though not
immediately, by death, and that also, curiously enough, was
unobserved. Nevertheless, this initial train, freighted with so
many hopes and the Directors of the Road, ran over and
killed--LOCAL CHARACTER.

Up to that day Portsmouth had been a very secluded little
community, and had had the courage of its seclusion. From time to
time it had calmly produced an individual built on plans and
specifications of its own, without regard to the prejudices and
conventionalities of outlying districts. This individual was
purely indigenous. He was born in the town, he lived to a good
old age in the town, and never went out of the place, until he
was finally laid under it. To him, Boston, though only fifty-six
miles away, was virtually an unknown quantity--only fifty-six
miles by brutal geographical measurement, but thousands of miles
distant in effect. In those days, in order to reach Boston you
were obliged to take a great yellow, clumsy stage-coach,
resembling a three-story mud-turtle--if zoologist will, for the
sake of the simile, tolerate so daring an invention; you were
obliged to take it very early in the morning, you dined at noon
at Ipswich, and clattered into the great city with the golden
dome just as the twilight was falling, provided always the coach
had not shed a wheel by the roadside or one of the leaders had
not gone lame. To many worthy and well-to-do persons in
Portsmouth, this journey was an event which occurred only twice
or thrice during life. To the typical individual with whom I am
for the moment dealing, it never occurred at all. The town was
his entire world; he was a parochial as a Parisian; Market Street
was his Boulevard des Italiens, and the North End his Bois de
Boulogne.

Of course there were varieties of local characters without his
limitations; venerable merchants retired from the East India
trade; elderly gentlewomen, with family jewels and personal
peculiarities; one or two scholarly recluses in by-gone cut of
coat, haunting the Athenaeum reading-room; ex-sea captains, with
rings on their fingers, like Simon Danz's visitors in
Longfellow's poem--men who had played busy parts in the bustling
world, and had drifted back to Old Strawberry Bank in the
tranquil sunset of their careers. I may say, in passing, that
these ancient mariners, after battling with terrific hurricanes
and typhoons on every known sea, not infrequently drowned
themselves in pleasant weather in small sail-boats on the
Piscataqua River. Old sea-dogs who had commanded ships of four or
five hundred tons had naturally slight respect for the
potentialities of sail-boats twelve feet long. But there was to
be no further increase of these odd sticks--if I may call them
so, in no irreverent mood--after those innocent-looking parallel
bars indissolubly linked Portsmouth with the capital of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All the conditions were to be
changed, the old angles to be pared off, new horizons to be
regarded. The individual, as an eccentric individual, was to
undergo great modifications. If he were not to become extinct--a
thing little likely--he was at least to lose his prominence.

However, as I said, local character, in the sense in which the
term is here used, was not instantly killed; it died a lingering
death, and passed away so peacefully and silently as not to
attract general, or perhaps any, notice. This period of gradual
dissolution fell during my boyhood. The last of the cocked hats
had gone out, and the railway had come in, long before my time;
but certain bits of color, certain half obsolete customs and
scraps of the past, were still left over. I was not too late, for
example, to catch the last town crier--one Nicholas Newman, whom
I used to contemplate with awe, and now recall with a sort of
affection.

Nicholas Newman--Nicholas was a sobriquet, his real name being
Edward--was a most estimable person, very short, cross-eyed,
somewhat bow-legged, and with a bell out of all proportion to his
stature. I have never since seen a bell of that size disconnected
with a church steeple. The only thing about him that matched the
instrument of his office was his voice. His "Hear All!" still
deafens memory's ear. I remember that he had a queer way of
sidling up to one, as if nature in shaping him had originally
intended a crab, but thought better of it, and made a town-crier.
Of the crustacean intention only a moist thumb remained, which
served Mr. Newman in good stead in the delivery of the Boston
evening papers, for he was incidentally newsdealer. His authentic
duties were to cry auctions, funerals, mislaid children,
traveling theatricals, public meetings, and articles lost or
found. He was especially strong in announcing the loss of
reticules, usually the property of elderly maiden ladies. The
unction with which he detailed the several contents, when fully
confided to him, would have seemed satirical in another person,
but on his part was pure conscientiousness. He would not let so
much as a thimble, or a piece of wax, or a portable tooth, or any
amiable vanity in the way of tonsorial device, escape him. I have
heard Mr. Newman spoken of as "that horrid man." He was a
picturesque figure.

Possibly it is because of his bell that I connect the town crier
with those dolorous sounds which I used to hear rolling out of
the steeple of the Old North every night at nine o'clock--the
vocal remains of the colonial curfew. Nicholas Newman has passed
on, perhaps crying his losses elsewhere, but this nightly tolling
is still a custom. I can more satisfactorily explain why I
associate with it a vastly different personality, that of Sol
Holmes, the barber, for every night at nine o'clock his little
shop on Congress Street was in full blast. Many a time at that
hour I have flattened my nose on his window-glass. It was a gay
little shop (he called it "an Emporium"), as barber shops
generally are, decorated with circus bills, tinted prints, and
gaudy fly-catchers of tissue and gold paper. Sol Holmes--whose
antecedents to us boys were wrapped in thrilling mystery, we
imagined him to have been a prince in his native land--was a
colored man, not too dark "for human nature's daily food," and
enjoyed marked distinction as one of the few exotics in town. At
this juncture the foreign element was at its minimum; every
official, from selectman down to the Dogberry of the watch, bore
a name that had been familiar to the town for a hundred years or
so. The situation is greatly changed. I expect to live to see a
Chinese policeman, with a sandal-wood club and a rice-paper
pocket handkerchief, patrolling Congress Street.

Holmes was a handsome man, six feet or more in height, and as
straight as a pine. He possessed his race's sweet temper,
simplicity, and vanity. His martial bearing was a positive factor
in the effectiveness of the Portsmouth Greys, whenever those
bloodless warriors paraded. As he brought up the rear of the last
platoon, with his infantry cap stuck jauntily on the left side of
his head and a bright silver cup slung on a belt at his hip, he
seemed to youthful eyes one of the most imposing things in the
display. To himself he was pretty much "all the company." He used
to say, with a drollness which did not strike me until years
afterwards, "Boys, I and Cap'n Towle is goin' to trot out 'the
Greys' to-morroh." Though strictly honest in all business
dealings, his tropical imagination, whenever he strayed into the
fenceless fields of autobiography, left much to be desired in the
way of accuracy. Compared with Sol Holmes on such occasions,
Ananias was a person of morbid integrity. Sol Holmes's tragic end
was in singular contrast with his sunny temperament. One night,
long ago, he threw himself from the deck of a Sound steamer,
somewhere between Stonington and New York. What led or drove him
to the act never transpired.

There are few men who were boys in Portsmouth at the period of
which I write but will remember Wibird Penhallow and his sky-blue
wheelbarrow. I find it difficult to describe him other than
vaguely, possibly because Wilbird had no expression whatever in
his countenance. With his vacant white face lifted to the clouds,
seemingly oblivious of everything, yet going with a sort of
heaven-given instinct straight to his destination, he trundled
that rattling wheelbarrow for many a year over Portsmouth
cobblestones. He was so unconscious of his environment that
sometimes a small boy would pop into the empty wheelbarrow and
secure a ride without Wibird arriving at any very clear knowledge
of the fact. His employment in life was to deliver groceries and
other merchandise to purchasers. This he did in a dreamy,
impersonal kind of way. It was as if a spirit had somehow go hold
of an earthly wheelbarrow and was trundling it quite
unconsciously, with no sense of responsibility. One day he
appeared at a kitchen door with a two-gallon molasses jug, the
top of which was wanting. It was not longer a jug, but a tureen.
When the recipient of the damaged article remonstrated with
"Goodness gracious, Wibird! You have broken the jug," his
features lighted up, and he seemed immensely relieved. "I
thought, " He remarked, "I heerd somethink crack!"

Wibird Penhallow's heaviest patron was the keeper of a variety
store, and the first specimen of a pessimist I ever encountered.
He was an excellent specimen. He took exception to everything. He
objected to the telegraph, to the railway, to steam in all its
applications. Some of his arguments, I recollect, made a deep
impression on my mind. "Nowadays," he once observed to me, "if
your son or your grandfather drops dead at the other end of
creation, you know of it in ten minutes. What's the use? Unless
you are anxious to know he's dead, you've got just two or three
weeks more to be miserable in." He scorned the whole business,
and was faithful to his scorn. When he received a telegram, which
was rare, he made a point of keeping it awhile unopened. Through
the exercise of this whim he once missed an opportunity of buying
certain goods to great advantage. "There!" he exclaimed, "if the
telegraph hadn't been invented the idiot would have written to
me, and I'd have sent a letter by return coach, and got the goods
before he found out prices had gone up in Chicago. If that boy
brings me another of those tapeworm telegraphs, I'll throw an
axe-handle at him." His pessimism extended up, or down, to
generally recognized canons of orthography. They were all
iniquitous. If k-n-i-f-e spelled knife, then, he contended,
k-n-i-f-e-s was the plural. Diverting tags, written by his own
hand in conformity with this theory, were always attached to
articles in his shop window. He is long since ded, as he himself
would have put it, but his phonetic theory appears to have
survived him in crankish brains here and there. As my
discouraging old friend was not exactly a public character, like
the town crier or Wibird Penhallow, I have intentionally thrown a
veil over his identity. I have, so to speak, dropped into his
pouch a grain or two of that magical fern-seed which was supposed
by our English ancestors, in Elizabeth's reign, to possess the
quality of rendering a man invisible.

Another person who singularly interested me at this epoch was a
person with whom I had never exchanged a word, whose voice I had
never heard, but whose face was as familiar to me as every day
could make it. For each morning as I went to school, and each
afternoon as I returned, I saw this face peering out of a window
in the second story of a shambling yellow house situated in
Washington Street, not far from the corner of State. Whether some
malign disease had fixed him to the chair he sat on, or whether
he had lost the use of his legs, or, possible, had none (the
upper part of him was that of a man in admirable health),
presented a problem which, with that curious insouciance of youth
I made no attempt to solve. It was an established fact, however,
that he never went out of that house. I cannot vouch so
confidently for the cobwebby legend which wove itself about him.
It was to this effect: He had formerly been the master of a large
merchantman running between New York and Calcutta; while still in
his prime he had abruptly retired from the quarter-deck, and
seated himself at that window--where the outlook must have been
the reverse of exhilarating, for not ten persons passed in the
course of the day, and the hurried jingle of the bells on Parry's
bakery-cart was the only sound that ever shattered the silence.
Whether it was an amatory or a financial disappointment that
turned him into a hermit was left to ingenious conjecture. But
there he sat, year in and year out, with his cheek so close to
the window that the nearest pane became permanently blurred with
his breath; for after his demise the blurr remained.

In this Arcadian era it was possible, in provincial places, for
an undertaker to assume the dimensions of a personage. There was
a sexton in Portsmouth--his name escapes me, but his attributes
do not--whose impressiveness made him own brother to the massive
architecture of the Stone Church. On every solemn occasion he was
the striking figure, even to the eclipsing of the involuntary
object of the ceremony. His occasions, happily, were not
exclusively solemn; he added to his other public services that of
furnishing ice-cream for the evening parties. I always
thought--perhaps it was the working of an unchastened
imagination--that he managed to throw into his ice-creams a
peculiar chill not attained by either Dunyon or Peduzzi--arcades
ambo--the rival confectioners.

Perhaps I should not say rival, for Mr. Dunyon kept a species of
restaurant, while Mr. Peduzzi restricted himself to preparing
confections to be discussed elsewhere than on his premises. Both
gentlemen achieved great popularity in their respective lines,
but neither offered to the juvenile population quite the charm of
those prim, white-capped old ladies who presided over certain
snuffy little shops, occurring unexpectedly in silent
side-streets where the football of commerce seemed an incongruous
thing. These shops were never intended in nature. They had an
impromptu and abnormal air about them. I do not recall one that
was not located in a private residence, and was not evidently the
despairing expedient of some pathetic financial crisis, similar
to that which overtook Miss Hepzibah Pyrcheon in The House of the
Seven Gables. The horizontally divided street door--the upper
section left open in summer--ushered you, with a sudden jangle of
bell that turned your heart over, into a strictly private hall,
haunted by the delayed aroma of thousands of family dinners.
Thence, through another door, you passed into what had formerly
been the front parlor, but was now a shop, with a narrow, brown,
wooden counter, and several rows of little drawers built up
against the picture-papered wall behind it. Through much use the
paint on these drawers was worn off in circles round the polished
brass knobs. Here was stored almost every small article required
by humanity, from an inflamed emery cushion to a peppermint
Gibraltar--the latter a kind of adamantine confectionery which,
when I reflect upon it, raises in me the wonder that any
Portsmouth boy or girl ever reached the age of fifteen with a
single tooth left unbroken. The proprietors of these little
knick-knack establishments were the nicest creatures, somehow
suggesting venerable doves. They were always aged ladies,
sometimes spinsters, sometimes relicts of daring mariners,
beached long before. They always wore crisp muslin caps and
steel-rimmed spectacles; they were not always amiable, and no
wonder, for even doves may have their rheumatism; but such as
they were, they were cherished in young hearts, and are, I take
it, impossible to-day.

When I look back to Portsmouth as I knew it, it occurs to me that
it must have been in some respects unique among New England
towns. There were, for instance, no really poor persons in the
place; every one had some sufficient calling or an income to
render it unnecessary; vagrants and paupers were instantly
snapped up and provided for at "the Farm." There was, however, in
a gambrel-roofed house here and there, a decayed old gentlewoman,
occupying a scrupulously neat room with just a suspicion of
maccaboy snuff in the air, who had her meals sent in to her by
the neighborhood--as a matter of course, and involving no sense
of dependency on her side. It is wonderful what an extension of
vitality is given to an old gentlewoman in this condition!

I would like to write about several of those ancient Dames, as
they were affectionately called, and to materialize others of the
shadows that stir in my recollection; but this would be to go
outside the lines of my purpose, which is simply to indicate one
of the various sorts of changes that have come over the vie
intime of formerly secluded places like Portsmouth--the
obliteration of odd personalities, or, if not the obliteration,
the general disregard of them. Everywhere in New England the
impress of the past is fading out. The few old-fashioned men and
women--quaint, shrewd, and racy of the soil--who linger in
little, silvery-gray old homesteads strung along the New England
roads and by-ways will shortly cease to exist as a class, save in
the record of some such charming chronicler as Sarah Jewett, or
Mary Wilkins, on whose sympathetic page they have already taken
to themselves a remote air, an atmosphere of long-kept lavender
and pennyroyal.

Peculiarity in any kind requires encouragement in order to reach
flower. The increased facilities of communication between points
once isolated, the interchange of customs and modes of thought,
make this encouragement more and more difficult each decade. The
naturally inclined eccentric finds his sharp outlines rubbed off
by unavoidable attrition with a larger world than owns him.
Insensibly he lends himself to the shaping hand of new ideas. He
gets his reversible cuffs and paper collars from Cambridge,
Massachusetts, the scarabaeus in his scarf-pin from Mexico, and
his ulster from everywhere. He has passed out of the chrysalis
state of Odd Stick; he has ceased to be parochial; he is no
longer distinct; he is simply the Average Man.

INDEX OF NAMES

ADAMS, NATHANIEL
ADDISON, JOSEPH
ALLEN, WILLIAM
ANANIAS
ATKINSON, THEODORE
AUSTIN, REBECCA
BEAUJOLAIS, DUC DE
BLAY, RUTH
BOGGS, AMOS
BREWSTER, CHARLES WARREN
BRIDGET, MOLLY
BROWN, REV. ARTHUR
BROWN, CAPTAIN ELIHU D.
BRUCE, CYRUS
BURROUGHS, REV. DR. CHARLES
BYLES, REV. MATHER
CAROLINE, QUEEN
CHADBORN, HUMPHREY
CHARLES, PRINCE
CHASTELLUX, MARQUIS DE
CLAGETT, WYSEMAN
COPLEY, JOHN SINGLETON
D'ORLEANS, DUC
DUNYON, WILLIAM
ELIZABETH, QUEEN
FENTON, JOHN
FOWLE, DANIEL
FOWLE, PRIMUS
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN
FURBER, THOMAS
GEORGE I
GERRY, ELBRIDGE
GORGES, SIR FERDINAND
GUAST, PIERRE DE
HAM, SUPPLY
HANCOCK, JOHN
HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL
HILTON, MARTHA
HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL
HOLMES, SOL
JAFFREY, GEORGE
JAFFRIES, GEORGE JAFFREY
JEWETT, SARAH ORNE
KEAIS, SAMUAL
KEKUANAOA
KENNY, PENELOPE
KNOX, GENERAL HENRY
LAFAYETTE, MARQUIS DE
LAIGHTON, ALBERT
LAIGHTON, OSCAR
LANGDON, COLONEL JOHN
LEAR, BENJAMIN
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH
MACPHEADRIS, ARCHIBALD
MCDONOUGH, JAMES
MASON, JEREMIAH
MASON, JOHN
MASON, JOHN TUFTON
MARCH, CLEMENT
MATHER, REV. COTTON
MESERVE, GEORGE
MICHELANGELO
MITCHEL, LETTUCE
MOFFATT, CATHERINE
MOLIERE
MONTPENSIER, DUC DE
MOSES, JOSEPH
NEWMAN, EDWARD
NOBLE, MARK
ODIORNE, EBEN L.
PACKER, THOMAS
PEDUZZI, DOMINIC
PENHALLOW, WIBIRD
PEPPERELL, SIR WILLIAM
PEPYS, SAMUAL
PHILIPPE, LOUIS
PHIPPES, THOMAS
PHIPPS, GOVERNOR
PICKERING, JOHN
PITT, WILLIAM
POTTLE, WILLIAM
PRING, MARTIN
QUINCY, DOROTHY
ROCHAMBEAU, COUNT DE
ROUSSELET, NICHOLAS
RUTLEDGE, EDWARD
SERAT, LEONARD
SEWELL, JONATHAN
SHAKESPEARE
SHEAFE, JACOB
SHERBURNE, HENRY
SHURTLEFF, MARY ATKINSON
SHURTLEFF, REV. WILLIAM
SIMPSON, SARAH
SMITH, CAPTAIN JOHN
SOCRATES
STAVERS, DAME
STAVERS, JOHN
STEDMAN, EDMUND CLARENCE
STOODLEY, JAMES
THAXTER, CELIA
THOREAU, HENRY DAVID
TILTON, JOHNNY
TOWLE, GEORGE WILLIAM
WALTON, GEORGE
WARNER, JONATHAN
WASHINGTON, GEORGE
WEBSTER, DANIEL
WENTWORTH, BENNING
WENTWORTH, JOHN
WENTWORTH, JOHN 2D
WENTWORTH, COLONEL JOSHUA
WENTWORTH, MARY
WENTWORTH, MICHAEL
WENTWORTH, SARAH
WESTWERE, EDWARD
WHITTIER, JOHN GREENLEAF
WIBIRD, RICHARD
WILKINS, MARY E.
WINN, TIMOTHY
WITHER, GEORGE
XANTIPPE

Book of the day: