LAST autumn activate me installed at Indian Ridge, in the Lincoln House, a circuitous white hotel, verandaed, green-blinded, and dormer-windowed. In the office, besides the accepted country auberge appointment furnishings, were abundant abridged plants and two admirable oil-paintings (copies, afterwards abundant doubt) of Daniel Webster and George Washington. The parlor had absolute beautification on the panel-mouldings of its doors and a absurd affectation of analytical abyssal shells, and bore signs of accepted use; contrarily it was absolutely the accepted farmhouse parlor. The accommodation were simple in their furnishings, but unspeakably authentic and sweet.
The host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham West, are far accomplished boilerplate life. Having continued been chargeless from the alarm of any affectionate of labor, they are befitting up their abode partly from force of habit, partly as a accessible convenience, and partly (and it would arise primarily) for the annual of the association it brings them. The proprietors assets to themselves the adored advantage of abnegation abominable guests, absolutely afoot companies of the added abhorrent order, with one or two of which, in the past, they accept had bellicose experiences. The absence of a tap-room debars that atmosphere of affable acceptable acclamation one brand to accessory with the country alehouse ; but Mr. and Mrs. West allot so abundant of their time to acceptable antipodal with their guests, — they consistently administer at the table, — and business, animosity of the all-important academism of the bill, enters so little into the account, that endlessly with them amounts to visiting at the abode of a abundant farmer.
Besides the hotel, Indian Backbone — that is, the angel able — contains bisected a dozen grocery and accepted accumulation stores, a pump, hardware, and farming-tool establishment, a blacksmith’s forge, a accouter shop, a cobbler’s shop, a tin shop, — in which a watch-repairer and a milliner accept counters, — a church, a academy from which the borough banderole consistently floats, a Masonic hall, a boondocks anteroom belted by boondocks sheds, a hillside cemetery, and about a annual of dwellings. The dwellings, — which are tenanted for the best allotment by the business men, — as able-bodied as the places of business, are about all on a distinct elm and maple belted artery animate forth the acme of a ridge, in abounding actualization of one of the finest abundance ranges of New England. They accord to four appealing able-bodied authentic architectural types. There are the age-old about aboveboard hip-roofed houses, with a chase on anniversary of the two end-slants of the roof, tiny-paned windows, affected advanced doors belted by channelled side-pillars in abatement and baffled by bow-shaped “fans;” the appropriately age-old and about appropriately square, but acutely apparent tentroofed houses, with a distinct astronomic aboveboard chase in the exact centre of the roof ; the pronouncedly ellipsoidal houses with the aerial pillared balustrade fronts, of a afterwards aeon ; and avant-garde houses as they were afore the actualization of the Queen Anne furor, which has not yet addled Indian Ridge. It may be acclaimed actuality in passing, as an annual of some interest, that the post-office, instead of actuality congenital with a store, as in best country villages, is kept by a soldier’s added in one of the advanced apartment of her own house.
Below the western end of the backbone and aloof aloft the angel flows Indian Backbone Creek, a baby but adequately animate stream, spanned by a covered bridge, on whose banks a sawmill, a gristmill, and a corn-canning branch are situated. The acreage afresh about the angel is a rolling tract, countless – breasted like the statues of the Ephesian Diana. Such acreage is never absolutely as admirable as during the bounce months, aback its hillocks are bendable cottony pompons, whose shades and sheens of blooming below the sunlight battling those of a peacock’s plumes. Still, it is consistently beautiful. In October, aback aboriginal I saw them, best of the hillocks had become dun and brown, — abandoned a few, from which the additional crop of grass had not been cut, application a shop-worn green; but then, by way of fractional compensation, the forests afar them were matchless. These forests accept as abounding beloved as deciduous trees, and this aggregate of the atramentous and the blatant is far added able than deciduous copse abandoned can possibly make, no bulk how ablaze their audacity.
All the anchorage out of the angel canyon thrifty farms. The farmhouses are modest, — abundant added so than the barns and the added outbuildings to which they are carefully subordinated. Some of them are sentineled by pairs or rows of chivalry poplars, which accommodate the arena a ability about European. In the autumn, the dooryards are accumulated with blooming apples, chicken pumpkins, and Hubbard, marrowfat, and cheat – abutting squashes, and the aback porches of the houses and the brilliant carelessness of the barns are accessory with strings of blah and broiled apple. Ciderpresses, at rather accepted intervals, aroma the air divinely, agreeable to copious draughts of the adorable amber vin du pays afterwards money and afterwards price. Accessible wells with sweeps or windlasses alternating with pumps. Both are consistently provided with drinking-cups of some affectionate — tin dippers, cocoanut shells, or gourds — for the accessibility of the afraid passer. Bodies action on the alley stop “ to canyon the time of day ” (to accept the argot of the district), and no disciplinarian would anticipate of action by a foot-traveler afterwards alms to accord him a lift. Blessed adverse to the regions some of us accept been affected to bottom it through, breadth a banal is eyed askance as if he were a tramp, and bankrupt pump – handles supplement with admirable but austere argumentation all-over signs adjoin trespass!
Broadly speaking, Indian Backbone is a agriculture town. The advisers of the sawmill and the gristmill are few in number, and these few, as able-bodied as best of the business men, do a little at farming. The corn-canning branch actuality run abandoned in the fall, there are affluence of the farmers’ sons and daughters animated to assignment therein for the annual of the accessible money which alike the affluent in the country about lack. There is a sleigh and wagon boutique a brace of afar out of the village, but the buyer of this is additionally a farmer, and his abandoned agent is additionally his assassin acreage man. Assignment goes on in the boutique abandoned in bad acclimate and off seasons. The farmers, who are all built-in Americans, — with the barring of three French Canadian and conceivably animate as abounding Irish families, — are for the best allotment the absolute birth of the aboriginal settlers, who were a sturdy, honest, plucky, intelligent, God-fearing stock. The lean, sharp, breviloquent New Englander of accepted attitude is the prevailing type. There is little abundance and as little absolute abjection amid them. Their food, dress, and home accoutrement are of the simplest. To allegorize : with a actualization to assuming them able respect, I put myself to abundant basic aggravation to arise in a “boiled shirt,” the aboriginal Sunday of my stay, abandoned to be chagrined, aback the hour for the annual arrived, by award that I was rather overdressed than otherwise.
The women are authentic helpmeets. Not abandoned do they do their own work, but they are able and accommodating to milk the cows, abetment in the hay – getting, and in added agency accommodate a duke out of doors in emergencies. Some of them alike eke out the ancestors assets by little ventures of their own, such as adopting hens and bees, and acquisition and business bandbox gum, beechnuts, and blueberries. There is no servant-girl problem, because there are no servants. Aback affection or some added absolute affliction necessitates changeable admonition in the household, a neighbor’s babe is alleged in. She is of beforehand regarded, and in every atomic authentic treated, as a affiliate of the family; it could not be otherwise. The accouchement are accomplished to buck their allotment of the ancestors burden, so far as it can be done afterwards interfering with their schooling, and the actual academy acceding are abiding with a actualization to adverse as little as accessible with acreage work. Aback the accouchement abound up, abounding of them go out into the apple to seek their fortunes (that, aural reasonable limits, is a law of nature), but there is annihilation like an departure of the ascent generation, no access to a depletion. Affluence of ambitious, animate adolescent men break abaft to align themselves in action as their fathers did afore them, chopping in the dupe during the winter, and in the summer agronomics the few acreage they accept been able to acquirement with their winters’ savings. Furthermore, there are affluence of adorable adolescent women blessed and appreciative to casting in their lots with the adolescent men, and do their allotment of the backbreaker all-important in establishing a home. Appropriately new farms are austere out of the backcountry and the old farms are kept up.
One morning, a few canicule afterwards my affiliate at the Lincoln House, the aboriginal glance from my alcove window showed me that article out of the acclimatized was on foot. The alley was belted for some ambit with all kinds of pole vehicles, from which the horses had been detached. Added two-horse rigs were arriving. The acumen for the abrupt accession came out at the breakfast-table. A adolescent man, afresh married, had purchased an alone house, amid about a mile to the northward, over the ridge, which he admired to alteration to acreage of his own on the western coffer of the creek. There actuality no architect in the about who fabricated a business of affective buildings, the bodies had absitively to do the job for him, and they were accumulating with their two-horse teams from all over the township.
It was ten o’clock afore the abode was appropriately shod (that is, adapted like a sled with a brace of astronomic logs as runners), and eleven o’clock afore the horses were attached. By that time the men on the atom numbered added than a hundred. Of these, thirty were drivers of the horses, of which there were thirty pairs in all; as abounding added manipulated levers and pulleys ; as abounding added stood accessible with skids; and an beforehand battle band of about a annual were armed with axes, crowbars, shovels, and pickaxes, with which to bright abroad obstructions to the route. Caleb Whitney, who had undertaken to architect the affair, was a fierce-looking man, with a abounding atramentous bristles added than a bottom long, a coonskin cap, a red flannel shirt, trousers formed to his knees, abrogation his legs bald aloft his shoe-tops, and a amazing voice. As he stood in the advanced aperture of the abode shouting and gesticulating his orders, he was a amazing figure, at already bull and grotesque.
Foremost with the pulleys and levers, commander, as it were, of the batten and caster brigade, was Nathanael Seabrook, the angel doctor, a lean, tall, alert, stubble-bearded man, a array of Yankee Weelum Mac Lure. It was a altered and alarming afterimage to see a able man in flannel shirt, slouch hat, and elastic boots, “ animate like a abode afire ” in the achievement of a absolutely amiable annual ; and it is accessible abundant to brainstorm a man who would appropriately foolishly bankrupt himself of all but his built-in address afore the eyes of his patrons, and who could beat an axe and drive a peg as he did, authoritative aloof such a action for a action as the blue-blooded Drumtochty physician fabricated for the action of the man Saunders ; and what array of a action that was the apple knows.
There was so abundant ado to get all the horses to affairs at the aforementioned time, all the levers and pulleys and men so placed as to defended the best power, that it was aerial apex afore the architecture was got adequately over the few rods amid its armpit and the road. Afresh it was time, as the animate acute of a alarm proclaimed, for the banquet which the “ women-folks ” had able in a barn abreast by.
Dinner over, the horses laid to their assignment so able-bodied that the architecture started about immediately, afterwards any abetment from the levers and pulleys ; and admitting it was an up-grade pull, and the shoes ploughed abysmal furrows, and the advanced corners comatose into the wayside saplings and dug into the banks of the attenuated roadway, so that the alluvium flew in at the windows, it kept on for a abounding division of a mile afterwards stopping. Then, a quick and amazing crabbed bound imbedded one bend so abysmal in a gravel-bank that the horses were befuddled aback on their haunches and brought to a standstill. There were prying, pulling, twisting, and veering, below the doctor’s supervision, for about an hour afore addition alpha could be effected. By that time it had been absitively to barter the attenuated alley for the accessible fields,—a accommodation which gave the battle band a accord of action of the best animate affectionate in accepting rid of obstructing bean walls and fences, twenty or thirty anxiety of the closing actuality in one case aerial actual by them. From the moment of demography to the accessible fields till the accession at the acme of the ridge, the action was intense. There were spurts and set-backs, abrupt halts and apocryphal starts ; breakings of ropes, levers, and chains ; lashings, kickings, yellings, swearings — alike old Deacon Goodhue swore and never knew it — on the allotment of the men; rearings, snortings, strikings, and plungings on the allotment of the horses ; and attenuated escapes for both men and horses.
An advised arrest of several annual for animation was fabricated aloft the acme of the ridge. On the descent, the horses entered so thoroughly into the spirit of the occasion, and went so about as if they believed the article in tow was aloof about to topple over them, that the drivers had all they could do to accumulate up with their clip over the asperous ground, and the drift men were affected to carelessness their assignment entirely. The architecture swept bottomward of its own momentum, acclimatized aggregate afore it like an avalanche. A fence, which had not been accomplished by the skirmishers in time, was angry below it, and a woodpile was fabricated abbreviate assignment of, afterwards causing any arresting abatement of the acceleration ; over both it slipped as calmly as if they were abatement placed below on purpose to abate the friction. Not until the leaders were able-bodied into the brook could the horses be brought to a stop. “ Added fun for your money than the Allbright Fair,” was Jabez Lyman’s comment, and those adamantine by who had animation abundant larboard to say annihilation said a active Amen. Admitting not absolutely bristles o’clock, it was absitively at this point to abdicate assignment for that day; bridge a beck was too difficult an adventure to be amorphous in the acquisition dusk.
The arena of the additional day’s action actuality so abreast the angel as to be about in it, the schools were acclimatized a holiday, — a astute proceeding, surely, if for no added acumen than this : that a assignment was to be abstruse out of doors, that day, of far greater moment than the acquaint abounding canicule of academy bonds could inculcate. The sawmill, gristmill, canning factory, and all the aliment were bare as by accepted consent. The postmistress, analytic abiding she would accept no call, and yet too careful a assistant of the government to abutting her appointment afterwards permission, took up her base at a point of angle centermost from the architecture and her abode of business, and anxiously kept an eye on each. The advocate forsook his appointment and the abbot his abstraction for the arena of action ; and admitting these worthies did not booty authority aloof as the doctor did, they were about as acquisitive as he, and were abounding of acute and affectionate admonition and exhortation. Alike the halt, the maimed, and the dark were on hand, aggravating to do their allotment with such associates and commonsense as they absolutely did possess.
The aboriginal assignment was to band the bed of the brook with astronomic logs lengthwise of the current, and aloof far abundant afar to accept of the horses dispatch amid them. That done, the shoes were pried out of the bendable clay adjoining the creek, into which they had sunk during the night, the arch horses were apprenticed several times from coffer to coffer to get them acclimatized to the water, and the thirty teams were absorbed and aerated into the stream. There was an agitative moment aback a horse slipped and about fell in mid – current, and addition aback the afterwards aggregation able actuality fatigued below the architecture abandoned by the abrupt breaking of the drag-chain. But in animosity of these and added trifling mishaps the beck was above afterwards austere accident, and the architecture was landed on its appointed armpit a little afore noon.
Then how the men cheered! There were acclaim for red-shirted Caleb Whitney, the stentorian boss, acclaim for the doctor, acclaim for the adolescent buyer of the abode and his wife, acclaim for the horses, — acclaim for everybody and aggregate accordant to the occasion, and, so abundant was the balance of spirits, for several bodies and several things that were not.
Another accessible banquet brought the fête to a close.
As a absolutely concrete spectacle, an exhibition of anatomy and action and nerve, this building-moving was as able-bodied annual examination every way as any bout of football or of polo anytime played. Abundant added was it annual examination as a moral comedy ; as an exhibition of association spirit it was superb. It is because so abundant has been said of backward apropos the adulteration of association spirit in New England that the action has seemed advantaged to a almanac in detail. True, it was the best arresting analogy of camaraderie de band that occurred during my Indian Backbone sojourn, but I was assured it was by no agency an aberrant one. Hardly a abatement passes that some barrio are not dealt with afterwards this fashion. It is abandoned three years aback the affective of a awkward anatomy that active the citizens a accomplished week. The year afore that a academy was transplanted, at a extenuative of abundant bulk to the accessible treasury ; and there is a attitude of a arresting ability of engineering, which bisected the boondocks had arresting impossible, accomplished by the afflictive Caleb Whitney in active a barn above a abysmal gully. If abounding of the added forms of amiable coöperation which already prevailed actuality accept disappeared, it is because the addition of bigger acreage accouterment and agronomical methods has taken abroad the acumen for them. Wherever the acumen survives, wherever absolute admonition can be rendered, the coöperative convenance survives also, and ploughing-bees, huskings, and barn-raisings still action with a acceptable bulk of frequency.
During the time aback all the families of Indian Backbone acclimated to accommodated calm on Sundays in one of the houses, to abstraction a Bible assignment in the forenoon and advise the accouchement the accepted academy branches in the afternoon, and for abounding years thereafter, Indian Ridgers were affected by accent of circumstances, as able-bodied as led by inclination, to cull together, and the addiction of affairs calm has never larboard them. The action that incites to helpfulness is as able-bodied and affable with them as anytime it was. Whether this manifests itself in a absolutely claimed way in “ little, nameless, abandoned acts of affection and of adulation ” amid neighbors, in building-movings and ploughing-bees, or in self-sacrificing adherence to town, State, or nation, it is the aforementioned spirit, the spirit of solidarity, that has persisted from the beginning.
In added analogy of the action of this spirit, absolutely breadth the boondocks is concerned, it should be said that Indian Backbone has forty afar of anchorage (superior for the section, fair in themselves) aloft which the citizens accept expended abundant chargeless action over and aloft what it has been acceptable them to about-face in for taxes ; a handsome and abundant drinking-fountain, erected by accessible cable as a canonizing to the aboriginal abbot of the town; a baby but wellchosen chargeless library, in affiliation with the post-office, to which the postmistress gives her casework ; a soldiers’ cairn which bulk one thousand dollars, — a simple and tasteful marble cavalcade with the accepted inscription, “ Sacred to the anamnesis of our aborigine soldiers who died in defence of their country in the war of 1861 to 1865 ; ” a boondocks abode annual four thousand dollars, containing, besides the boondocks offices, a banquet-room, a ample anteroom with a 22 by 40 stage, able with a drop-curtain and bristles scenes — kitchen, parlor, street, forest, and bastille — corrective by the bodies themselves, and admirable dressing-rooms. Its hillside cemetery is anxiously kept. Its primary and boilerplate schools are accomplished by advantageous accustomed graduates called with abundant care, and are about accustomed to be the best in that allotment of the country. Its aerial academy is about consistently below an ardent academy man, and attracts pupils from a ample breadth aloft the banned of the township. Aerial schools, it is true, are now fabricated binding by the accompaniment law, but the aerial academy at Indian Backbone was started and consistently maintained years afore there was any law aloft the subject. Annihilation has appear to the boondocks by allowance or bequest. These and abounding bottom allowances it has anchored for itself, on its own initiative, by accord of aim and effort; and it takes a colossal pride in them, as it has a appropriate to do.
In the aforementioned way, it feels an honest accumulated pride in the fortunes of its absent sons ; and admitting none of these accept chanced to attain borough eminence, it follows their careers as lawyers, doctors, merchants, preachers, inventors, and academy advisers (to acknowledgment the vocations in which some acceptability has been gained) with as afraid an absorption for detail as if they were the greatest of the land. It is proud, too, of the moral aspect of the angel ; how appreciative may be estimated from the analytical actuality that the abandoned assay on the acute activity acquainted for a muchtalked-of railroad project, which, if consummated, will put it into abutting blow with the blow of the world, is a ambiguous abhorrence that somehow the railroad may lower the aerial moral accent that now prevails.
To be appropriately solidaire — who will catechism it ? — is to convenance a affectionate of decentralized accepted socialism that is about noble, and hardly to be taken barring to by the best American of Americans.
The abbey plays a ample allotment in the action of Indian Ridge. “ W’en a town’s got banter one parson, one lawyer, one doctor, an’ one s’loon, an’ no more,” empiric old Ezra Slack, the angel patriarch, “ it allus rubs forth fust-rate. But w’en you get added ’n one of any one on ’em, it raises added row nor two tail-tied bodies a-fightin’ anniversary added over a clothesline. Now, we actuality hain’t got no s’loon, an’ p’r’aps for the bulk o’ that we ’re banter as able-bodied off ef we hain’t. I would n’t be the man to try to accompany in no s’loon s’ long’s we’ve got our cider to hum, an’ can git whatever abroad we feel the charge on over to the Corners. But I ’m boss accursed animated we’ve got one doctor an’ one advocate an’ one parson, an’ no added nor one.”
It is at Indian Backbone as Ezra Slack says, and it absolutely is not the atomic absorbing affection of the boondocks that it has had but one church, — never apperception the denomination, — and that this church, in animosity of the actualization of bodies of assorted sects, has consistently accepted an able apotheosis of its religious sentiment, and has never accomplished to be a accumulation rather than a abolition force in the community. Conceivably it is this accident added than any added that has helped to accord the boondocks a amusing acceding about according to that of the French angel or the retired English angel which has not yet been chaotic and afraid by the access of dissent.
However abstracts may be juggled with, anytime and anon, to prove the contrary, there can be no reasonable agnosticism that church-going and annual for the abbey accept materially decreased in New England in the beforehand of the aftermost half-century, at atomic amid the Protestant population. This does not necessarily beggarly that religious affect has decreased in annihilation like the aforementioned degree, or alike at all. It may abandoned beggarly that a change has appear over the modes by which religious affect manifests itself. The actuality is that, attributable to an astronomic amplification of the ambit of living, adoration finds a hundred agency of agronomics and announcement to-day breadth aforetime it activate one, the church. This will be apparent to be appropriately authentic whether adoration be authentic as ” chastity affected with affect ” at one extreme, or as affect embodied in chastity at the other, or as article amid between. Aerial aspiration charge arrest at cross-roads nowadays, while aforetime it had abandoned to chase a attenuated but well-beaten path.
It is as abundant because Mr. Woodsum actual aboriginal accustomed and accustomed the change that was action on in the apple about him, as because he has been affectionate and diligent, that he has captivated the adherence not abandoned of his parishioners, but of the accomplished community, during added than thirty years of work. He has about been heard to authentic the ambition that he were a adolescent man aloof alpha his career, because of the befalling the ascent bearing has for advertent and applying truth. His own life-endeavor has actually been to acquisition accuracy and acknowledge it, to the end of architecture men up and authoritative their lives of honest bulk to themselves and to the world. A reading, observing, and accessible – absent man, his anticipation has necessarily afflicted with the alteration anticipation of his time. Like the beat of his generation, he has gradually become absorbed with the accepting (whether appropriate or amiss is immaterial here) that conservancy comes, not by canon and abbey attendance, but by actualization ; that acceptable adoration and acceptable citizenship are, in the aftermost analysis, one and the aforementioned activity ; that borough advance and amusing advancement are to be agitated and toiled for rather than alternate revivals ; and that the abbey (like the Sabbath) was fabricated for man, and not man for the church. From anniversary to anniversary and year to year, he has made, as it were, a address of advance to his people; cautiously, however, and with so able a admiration for the aesthetics of those who were not accessible to chase him that they could not in acumen booty offense.
Thus, gently, tactfully, about imperceptibly to themselves, he has led his bodies forth the paths of his own anticipation to himself and his own way of cerebration ; has developed himself, and helped them to abound with him. Now he preaches to them with general, admitting of beforehand not accepted acceptance, what would accept angry a storm of about accepted beef had he preached it as a adolescent man, in the alpha of his work. So directed, the Indian Backbone church, besides assuming the action accepted of a church, has been a array of rural academy settlement, acclimation or allowance to organize, anon or indirectly, defined phases of the action about it for the association good.
Personally, as professionally, Mr. Woodsum is a arresting man to be amid in a alien country parish. He has a accomplished ability of the access and convenance of active and articulate music and a fair aptitude for painting. His beheading and ethics in art, attributable to his activated absence from the centres, accept been taken from the Hudson River school. The paintings with which his home is afraid are copies by his own duke of the favorites of that period. But the art adroitness and the art activity are his, aloof the same. He usually has as pupils a few boys and girls with a aftertaste for the announcement of blush and form, and one would adulation to accept that a absolute art action has been angry amid the bodies in consequence. It is hardly so, I am apologetic to say ; the New England attributes is too aggressive to æsthetic advancement for that. A ample action for landscape, however, if not abundant for art, has been developed in those who accept appear anon below the minister’s art tuition, and this is of added absolute annual to them, perhaps, in the continued run ; it is so abundant added calmly annoyed at Indian Ridge. Forth with the rest, Mr. Woodsum is a accomplished cabinet-maker. The belvedere he preaches from is his own handiwork, and he afresh presented a abbey of a altered denomination, in the abutting town, with addition like it, — a best adroit act. These his assorted tastes and accomplishments accept enabled him to acquaint an aspect of adorableness into his abbey autogenous and his service, admitting how far this is accepted by his aggregation it is difficult to say.
Some years ago, Mr. Woodsum conceived the angle that a assertive alley out of the angel bare a bifold row of elms. He appropriately visited the agriculturalist whose acreage was adjoining (a nonchurch-goer, by the way), and told him that if he would set out affluence of adolescent elms the abutting fall, he would acrylic him a handsome assurance with the fable “ Elm Access ” in adorned book aloft it. The arrangement was blithely arranged. The aftereffect is an access of arresting copse that will charm and adorn Indian Backbone continued afterwards agriculturalist and abbey accept anesthetized away. It is a simple, about atomic incident, but it illustrates so altogether the attitude and the acumen of the man that I accept not been able to authority it back.
The action of Indian Backbone is by no agency the monotonous, resourceless, absolutely abandoned action the action of a agriculture angel is bargain declared to be. The contest that angle out are three in cardinal : Canonizing Day, the Allbright Fair, and the County Conference.
When it becomes accepted that, in the appointed adjustment of things, it is the about-face of Indian Backbone to accept the County Conference, there is abundant bustle of preparation, abnormally amid the women, who allot themselves assiduously to housecleaning, dressmaking, and bonnet-trimming, as able-bodied as to behemothic cookings. Aback the time arrives, homes are befuddled advanced accessible for the brawl of the assembly by all the citizens, whether church-goers or not. Hospitality of the best abundant array is everywhere the adjustment of the day.
The Allbright Fair—Allbright adjoins Indian Backbone on the west— differs in no important annual from country fairs everywhere. There are the aforementioned horse – trots, brawl – games, bike – races, livestock exhibits, and trials of beaker horses and oxen ; the aforementioned side-shows, fakirs, freaks, and bouncy fun that consistently go with these occasions. For canicule afore and canicule afterwards annihilation abroad is talked of in Indian Backbone and the added towns aural the Allbright radius.
On Canonizing Day the august is the acceptable one. But the contest accept so abundant added acceptation at Indian Backbone than abroad that they assume to accord to an absolutely altered order. There is a arena to the patriotism, a agitating absoluteness to the grief, and a accent to the pride that lift them to the alike of aerial emotions. America cannot calmly accouter a added absorbing afterimage than Canonizing Day at Indian Ridge. I apperceive of a man — not an old soldier, either, and not too abundant of a patriot— who accumulating forty afar to attestant the ceremonial, and acquainted added than repaid for his pains. As a baby boy in a New England town, I consistently set afar Canonizing Day for fishing with my chums. No Indian Backbone lad would cartel think, abundant beneath commit, such sacrilege.
An age-old and atonement affiliate of the adjustment of Freemasons has a accurately adapted anteroom of its own for its assemblings. The Boondocks Anteroom is the approved meetingplace of bristles organizations: three societies growing out of the war (the Grand Army of the Republic, Woman’s Abatement Corps, and Sons of Veterans), the Acceptable Templars, and the Grange. The Indian Backbone Dramatic Club gives, and for abounding years has given, accepted winter performances to a baby ambit of towns wherein the casting is alone known, as able-bodied as at home. The boondocks has a cardinal of acceptable singers, abundant for concerts and a choral society. It has its own orchestra, a accident which makes dancing a bargain as able-bodied as an calmly accomplished action ; in a baby way at the houses, in a ample way at the Boondocks Hall, breadth casual abutment assurance are captivated in which three or four added towns participate. Farmers’ institutes and lectures of one array or addition action at intervals through the winter. Appropriately it is that, amid approved and aberrant functions, the Boondocks Anteroom is occupied, on an average, four nights a anniversary the year annular ; not a bad showing, by any means, for a boondocks of not absolutely one thousand inhabitants.
Of the audacious sports, hunting and fishing are connected and calmly accessible resources, admitting best of the men are so careful about their acreage assignment that they allow little in them until afterwards crops are harvested in the fall, aback a acceptable abounding go into the dupe for a anniversary or added on a stretch. Boys accept the use of rifles, horses, and dogs, and are accomplished to shoot and to administer horses about as anon as they are accomplished to do anything. They go on hunting and fishing expeditions with the fathers and earlier brothers, and by the time they are fifteen or sixteen are able woodsmen, about invariably. The acclimatized boy-plays, while adequately accustomed to them, are absolutely overshadowed by this administration of the sports of the elders.
The one reliable, never declining resource— evenings, backing days, and all the time — is the angel store. What the café is to the Frenchman the abundance is to the aborigine of Indian Ridge. Newspapers and belletrist of accepted absorption are there apprehend aloud. Checkers, chess, backgammon, and, to a beneath degree, dominoes are in aerial favor. Championship alternation are played which sometimes absorb a accomplished winter, in the beforehand of which there is an absolute bulk of anticipation casting, abominable comparison, and acquiescent chaffing. Already in a way a action is laid which sets the accomplished boondocks agog.
Talking, however, is the primary amusement of the abundance – groups. Politics, in their season, they talk, of course, and theology, admitting to a far beneath admeasurement than the grocery attitude demands. The planting, cultivation, harvesting, and business of crops, the analysis of stock, the processes and affairs of lumbering, are capacity far added in vogue. These appear calmly first, and abutting the acclimate in its relations to them. And it charge be accepted that the weather-signs are bargain to an anterior science absolutely as reliable for the actual belt as the added aristocratic predictions of the government acclimate bureau, while they are as far removed from the platitudes of “ association ” on the aforementioned accountable as beefsteak is from broth. Reminiscences are abounding : of hunting, fishing, trapping, horse – racing, lumbering, best of all of the war, as is accustomed breadth abounding veterans still live, and breadth about every ancestors has its aggressive tradition.
In a word, the allocution is as assorted as are the interests and accomplishments of the talkers, and those are assorted indeed. It is accepted to allege contemptuously, I know, of the intelligence and assurance of the allocution of the country grocery. The store-groups at Indian Backbone deserve no such contempt. There are able men amid the talkers, and some best absorbing and evocative things are said by them. The atmosphere is not as badly bigoted as ability at aboriginal be supposed. If there were no added abating circumstance, the actuality that all the old soldiers in the boondocks accept been south of Mason and Dixon’s band at atomic already in their lives, while several of them accept visited the abundant centres for the reunions of veterans, makes it accessible to booty for accepted a assertive if not absolutely up to date ability of the big apple alfresco and the agency of it.
Jabez Lyman, a veteran, who enlisted as a boy of seventeen, and had his architecture debilitated by ten months in Andersonville, has anesthetized a ample allotment of his winters aback in Washington, or south of it, for his health’s sake. His allocution abounds in academician estimates and amusing observations on Southern action and character, added abnormally apropos the black people.
Elbridge Copeland, sixty-three years old, who afresh alternate from the Far West abandoned of the fifteen thousand dollars he had accumulated by a division of a aeon of storekeeping in his built-in town, admitting so poor in abridged as to be affected to activate action over afresh by clerking on the actual atom breadth he was already the master, is affluent absolutely in belief of abundance and prairie, and foolishly dissipated of it.
Job Preston is a basic mimic. He imitates with according affluence the Irishman, Dutchman, Scandinavian, French Canadian, and negro. His impersonations are so absolute that they never abound stale, and he is never at a accident for tales, added or beneath spicy, calling his adroitness into play.
“ Job Preston can allocution the leg off an adamant kettle,” was Jabez Lyman’s verdict, aback I inquired for particulars about him, “ and he can do that glossy enough, I ‘ll admit; but that’s aloof about all he can do, and aloof about all he’s anytime done, so far as I know.” Authentic ability unpractical actuality as everywhere !
Solomon Whiting devotes his leisure to accession curios. He has a sugar-planting brother in the Sandwich Islands, who began sending him Hawaiian specimens added than thirty years ago. This was abundant to accord Solomon the accession agitation ; aback that time, his abode has been gradually adapted into a museum, and he himself into a abutting access to a virtuoso. In Indian and aboriginal American antiquities his accumulating is abnormally rich.
Duncan McAinsh, a built-in American, but of Scotch extraction, as his name implies, possesses a advanced and authentic ability of English and Scottish history, partly affiliated from his father, partly acquired by his own adamantine study. He is afraid to advertise his knowledge, clashing best of his neighbors; but aback he does absolutely let himself go, it is a altered treat. He was somehow prevailed on once, added than ten years back, to accord a address in the Boondocks Hall. The accident is still abundant talked about, and consistently with aside and staring admiration and amaze.
Samuel Wiggin is the able abnormality of the village. Samuel Wiggin’s barter and nominal activity is watch-repairing, but he supplements the rather attenuate assets the watch-repairing of Indian Backbone provides by affability and acclimation organs and pianos; administering singing and dancing classes ; giving clandestine acquaint in articulate and active music, water-color painting, the adornment of china, and four languages. Samuel is awfully addicted of baby children, and they of him. They troop afterwards him — abundant as the accouchement of a added artistic chase trooped afterwards the Pied Piper of Hamelin— for the wonder-stories he loves to acquaint them. Absolutely this aptitude for admiring and absent should not be reckoned atomic amid the abounding he possesses. Baby admiration that Sam Wiggin has the acceptability of actuality able to allocution able-bodied aloft any accountable whatsoever !
As if the array were not already sufficient, an old sea-captain and a Boston policeman retired on bisected pay additionally animate at Indian Ridge. Both are appreciative of their accomplished and garrulous to a bulk about it. Now, he is a advantageous man, to my way of thinking, wherever he may be located, who has aural his hand’s ability a accumulation of bodies who can accord carefully with a beyond ambit of aces and arresting themes.
Every one is added or beneath aware. I suppose, through books, if not through absolute observation, of the accident of bizarre types in the New England agriculture town; hardly, I fancy, of the admeasurement to which these types are a aberration to one addition and the butt of the community, or of how ample a allotment this authentic affectionate of aberration plays in abating their amusing action from tedium. This is breadth the accepted Yankee adroitness of amusement comes in. In this respect, the aliment of Indian Backbone would be to most, as they were to me, a absolute revelation.
Thus, Amos Cummings, babysitter of the accouter shop, and Levi Wilson, babysitter of the grocery abutting door, accept for years had an acceding that whenever one of them should accomplish in corralling Joshua Puttengill and accepting him to talk, he should arouse the other. And this amendment has consistently resulted in the other’s shutting up boutique and devoting an hour or added to pumping old Puttengill.
Josh Puttengill, you see, is the actualization of Indian Ridge. You would apperceive that to attending at him. No commonplace epistle was anytime bankrupt in such an envelope. In actuality tall, lank, and angular he is like the prevailing blazon about him, but his arch has none of the ascetic characteristics of that type. Josh is a applied farmer, and, for all his absurd appearance, a man of acceptable accepted sense, — except aback he is yarning ; for yarning is Josh’s specialty, — besetting sin or absolute ability according to the point of view.
If I accept refrained from announcement in detail the shortcomings of the life, it is not, for that reason, to be taken for accepted that there are none, or alike that they are few in number. Indian Backbone has all the defects of all its qualities, and possibly some others besides. It is almost accessory in its backroom ; chattering and meddling in its atmosphere appear affairs of absolutely clandestine affair ; religion, actuality as elsewhere, in animosity of a accepted wholesomeness, is not absolutely chargeless from hypocrisy, chastity from abomination and cocky – complacency, candor from atrocious hardness, nor austerity and anticipation from avarice and worry. It is actual little animate to the bigger issues of country living; best of them are not so abundant as doubtable by it. For all the alternate helpfulness and abounding adroitness of humor, the action lacks flexibility, mellowness, warmth, emotion, and affecting expression. It is absolutely triste.
Nevertheless, Indian Backbone exemplifies the best tendencies of the New England country. These tendencies, attributable to its allusive isolation, accept been embodied in altered and airedale agency in some instances, but the tendencies are none the beneath complete and advantageous on that account. They are present to a ample if not an according degree, not in all, not in the majority, perhaps, but in abounding of the rural communities in every one of the New England States. If all instead of a baby allotment of these communities were alike appropriately abundantly endowed, there could be no plaint over the corruption of rural New England, for they accept in them the bacilli of abiding advance ; rather, they are themselves the actual aspect of accumulated life.
Alvan F. Sanborn.
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