Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]

HE Old and the New, divided, united, is probably responsible for much of this

commingled, contrasted, - surely no modern latitude.

other spot has power to so inthrall and From the table-talk at my boarding-house perplex the stranger. He lingers among the I learn that up to a period within the memrelics which give sacredness to Pilgrim Hall, ory of by no means the oldest inhabitant, studies the quaint costumes of its pictured Plymouth “had itself to itself," and that a forms, imbibes the spirit of the place, then quite primitive simplicity obtained among walks forth in reverential mood to face but the then sole possessors of the land — the the usual display of modern gimcracks in aboriginals, so to speak, of the modern Pilstore windows, and the heaped-up and run- grims who have since landed. The earliest ning-over abundance of modern groceries. of these adventurers, so far as history has Revered Pilgrim names salute his ear, but recorded, were certain wandering tribes of their owners, not anciently apparelled, ride “the better sort,” — clergymen and others, in electric cars. He has read of the simple — who discovered afar, on the high shores and united faith of the forefathers, of all of Manomet Bluff, the dwelling-house and they suffered for its sake, and the most con- farm of one Nathan Holmes and Mis' Ruth, spicuous object which greets him on step- his wife. The spot promising all that could ping from the train is a Roman Catholic be desired, an alliance was formed whereby church. Near by stands the Episcopal they entered at once upon the delights of church, while on Sundays congregations the place, one of these being what proved go in company or cross each other's paths a lasting acquaintance with the family. according to the varied summons of the The Holmes house, amplified, still receives Baptist bell, the Unitarian bell, the Metho- wanderers down at the “ Pint”-in moddist, Universalist, Congregationalist bells; ern parlance, Point — the home of the and the crowds let forth upon the town Holmeses. from Sunday trains and steamers, and the Other early adventurers, exploring in a difcontinuous roll of carriages, remind one ferent direction, discovered Clark's Island, almost regretfully of the ancient laws im- the property of the Watsons and long since posing fines for non-attendance at meeting known to me by report as hallowed by Piland for Sabbath-day travelling. Presumably grim associations, also as an ideal summerother fines are now remitted — as those for ing place, the resort of a class of ideal refusing to stand candidate for governor boarders, representatives of the learning of and the lesser offices; for selling goods at Harvard and the culture of Boston city, undue profit; for smoking in the highways. and the humbler culture of other cities. It The law which put liars and slanderers in still offers unique attractions ; but for many the stocks is doubtless obsolete, and the its glory departed with the genius of the varied styles of dress indicate more liberty place, uncle Edward Watson, familiarly and of private judgment than was allowed by lovingly called “Uncle Ed,” endeared to the old laws regulating the cut of women's the hearts of numbers privileged to know garments. The influx of summer company him as genial host, poet, philosopher, boat

Copyright, 1889, by New England Magazine Company, Boston. All rights reserved.

man, farmer, and courteous old-time gen- view, its made landing-place, and its Shore tleman.

Dinners, and lately an impertinent and outLater summer discoverers settled in di- of-its-place mite of a steamer puffed across vers places, and as it was in the time of the at intervals through the long summer day. forefathers, so at this period more settlers Not more aggressive, but more imposing came over, and continued to come ; more and vociferous, is the mighty Boston leviaand more, more and more, always more to than which makes its daily way up the follow, until now the host no

harbor, startling the ear with its piercing number. Their name is legion. Those of shriek, and sends forth its multitudes to

man can

[graphic][merged small]


them known as permanents plant their “do" the town. These swiftly swarm the summer abodes on high places command- streets. Making up in activity what is ing the best views, or in low places along lacking in time, they are everywhere at shore, to “ White Horse," beach, or pene- - at the Hall among the relics ; in trating miles and miles into the woods, by the Court House poring over ancient deeds unfrequented roads, settle on distant pond and records ; away up at the National Pilshores once sacred to the pensive fisher- grim Monument, criticising, perhaps even man or the lover of Nature in her seclusion, maligning it; on Burial Hill, vainly essaywhile the transients crowd private dwellings ing a hasty making out of its timeworn epiand swarm in hotels they alone have made taphs ; purchasing mementos at Burbank's. necessary. Even Plymouth Beach, that slen- Marching in force down Leyden Street, der strip which pushes its very peculiar self pausing at the sites of the “first dwellings,” three miles into the sea, like a long, pro- they pass along Waterside to the Rock, or, tecting arm, -as if to guard the town from diverging, spread out on the plateau of knowing too well what the wild waves are Cole's Hill at the foot of Middle Street, saying, — Plymouth Beach, seemingly se- thence down by long Nights of steps, cure in its isolation and its lack of vegeta- and high flights of imagination, — to the tion, and long time visited only by wild same Rock, very likely partaking of an fowl and the domestic clam-digger, or an irreverent meal of fish and clams under occasional sportsman taking advantage of the very shadow of — not the Rock itselfan easterly storm, or a quiet pleasure party that cannot cast a shadow, being incapaciseeking seclusion and the charms of soli- tated therefor by situation and the size of tude by the open sea; even that unshel- what has been left above the ground; but tered strip has been bereft of its loneliness, its canopy can, for this possesses in an and now has its Pavilion to interrupt the eminent degree all the requisite qualifica

tions. A pleasant story is told of an enthu- lusses,' no matter if we were on the very siastic couple who, inspired either by sen- point of hop-skip-and-jumping. The eltiment or a desire to found their wedded ders had to lay aside their work, or if life on a solid basis, journeyed hither from drowsy, to bestir themselves; the chairs afar, and planting their feet upon “ Fore- were set back against the wall, the fire fathers' Rock,” were there united in the raked over, and the fire shovel laid on top, bonds of matrimony.

candles were taken and the keeping room Thus much, and more, from certain deserted. Meetings closed seasonably, sprightly and jocose aboriginals, who en- and on the streets people caught out of liven the dinner table, and from whom I doors would be seen skurrying home. A gather that, although the new settlers have light burning as late as ten implied sickness not exterminated the natives, they have or severe affliction.” She further avers. civilized them to the extent of causing that the ghost of the old custom still haunts some departure from the sensible ways the place, and that owing to its presence, and characteristic simplicity of the olden half acknowledged, though ridiculed, eventime, and have effectually introduced the ing visits are cut short, and a call after nine art and science of turning everything into is supposed to need explanation. She money, so that various little services and denies, however, the assertion that a Plyneighborly kindnesses, once prompted only mouth audience "is tied to the nine o'clock

[graphic][merged small]

by a spirit of friendliness, are now charged bell-rope," and says that although the recfor, or made the basis of expectations. ognized summons may startle a scattering Sundry minor customs, once religiously ob- few to the point of leaving, feeling themserved, have now fallen into disuse. Nine selves in the wrong place, it is by no means o'clock, so saith my informant, was once an exeunt omnes; for its effect in the main the recognized bedtime. “Why, sir ! when is only to excite a general uneasiness and we girls used to go to visit our grand- cause the speaker to feel that his remarks mother, she used to chalk out our merrills' are no longer receiving the attention their and our 'fox and geese' for us on the 'bel- importance demands. The after nine, and lusses,' but at the first stroke of the bell often after ten, disquiet on the streets she we had to pick up our coffee-corns and thinks would quite bewilder a returned speckled beans, and hang up the bel- worthy of the immediate bygone genera


tion; and that he would be perplexed as to the day of the week by the modern latitude regarding salt fish dinners. Formerly, the whole town, rich and poor, ate salt fish with pork scraps and potatoes for their Saturday dinner, and people always knew when it was Friday night by seeing the salt fish put in soak. She tells of a certain Captain Carver who always had three salt fish boiled, bound together; the middle one for his own eating, the outside ones to dispense in charity. But all is changed, and my vivacious informant is herself “a little mixed” since the disappearance of the old brick oven with its Saturday certainties; for now, “though beans keep their place fairly well, you cannot tell when you do have a right to expect your baked Indian pudding! Its dark red and suety richness and all the sweet, hard, brown bread crusts are things of the past ; and worse than all the rest, very few now feel bound to have succo. tash on Forefathers' Day; and the benighted rising generation even confound this historical dish, peculiar to the Old Colony, confound it with that very ordinary and disgustingly modern mixture made of green corn and beans ! as if the rich favor of the genuine and only real article were not imparted by the lye used in hulling the dry corn, and as if succotash proper were not a winter dish, prominent at every Forefathers' dinner since Forefathers' dinners be

[graphic][merged small]

gan !”

One grievance she mentioned is the modern substitution of terrace for dyke, whereby Plymouth is losing a word of its very own, brought to it in the Mayflower direct from Holland. Other lamentable changes there are. Indeed, the Plymoutheans' sweet home is becoming so much like other places that it is doubtful if a found article would now be hung on Town Tree for its owner to see, as was quite recently the custom, or if Out North residents still keep their butterpails in that “Cold Spring ” which gushes out by the roadside, supplied with its handy and suggestive tin dipper.

It is playfully told that some natives of this period take part in the work of administering the laws, and that thus history repeats itself, as witness a funny warrant once issued by an Indian constable, which shows that while that race was in process pathway must have been oft trodden by of disappearance it was utilized for the Pilgrim feet. Residents who grudge the above purpose.

“I Hihoudi, you Peter time spent in travel sometimes express a Waterman; Jeremy Wickit; quick you half-earnest regret that the Pilgrims had take him, fast you hold him, straight you not landed nearer Boston. More, however, bring him before me. Hihoudi." It is rejoice that Plymouth was thus preserved recorded that in the days of Hihoudi each from becoming a “laid out" suburb, and constable owned a cage for the safe keep- allowed to keep its by-ways, and alleys, ing of offenders. That modern Jeremys and hayfields, and huckleberry hills, in have grown too numerous for such watch- peace. Every appreciative tourist must ing and guarding is shown by a grim build- feel grateful to them for landing so near ing named county jail, standing here in the centre of the town. From that spot,

[graphic][merged small]

suitable seclusion and nearness just behind marked for all posterity by the Rock, the fine large courthouse. The impartial almost any one of the main points of interweighing and balancing indicated by the est can be reached in a ten minutes' walk. white emblems conspicuous on the front And, unbeliever that I was ! it is now borne of the latter, tell as plainly as emblems in upon me that the Rock is a surety. “Of can that strict justice is always meted out course they stepped on that rock,” was within.

my sarcastic remark in the course of a The old deeds and records there to be lively table-talk. “Well, now," was the studied have been found of great use in ready answer, “it must have been a very fixing landmarks, so that one feels safe in unwise forefather who would step in the walking reverentially down Leyden Street,- mud when there was a rock so handy." where the nineteen first families set their “ And but that one?” “Even so, sir ; but log dwellings near each other " for protec- just that one, a boulder, itself a pilgrim, tion," — and thence along the Waterside landed here by none know what prehistoric Street to the Rock; for he knows that overturn or overflow. Our shore is mud

« AnteriorContinuar »