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Title: Hillsboro People
Author: Dorothy Canfield
Release Date: August 2, 2004 [EBook #13091]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HILLSBORO PEOPLE ***
WITH OCCASIONAL VERMONT VERSES
SARAH N. CLEGHORN
HEMLOCK MOUNTAIN (Poem)
AT THE FOOT OF HEMLOCK MOUNTAIN
PETUNIAS--THAT'S FOR REMEMBRANCE
THE HEYDAY OF THE BLOOD
AS A BIRD OUT OF THE SNARE
PORTRAIT OF A PHILOSOPHER
FLINT AND FIRE
A SAINT'S HOURS (Poem)
IN MEMORY OF L.H.W.
IN NEW NEW ENGLAND
NOCTES AMBROSIANAE (Poem)
HILLSBORO'S GOOD LUCK
SALEM HILLS TO ELLIS ISLAND (Poem)
BY ABANA AND PHARPAR (Poem)
A VILLAGE MUNCHAUSEN
WHO ELSE HEARD IT? (Poem)
A DROP IN THE BUCKET
THE GOLDEN TONGUE OF IRELAND (Poem)
By orange grove and palm-tree, we walked the southern shore,
Each day more still and golden than was the day before.
That calm and languid sunshine! How faint it made us grow
To look on Hemlock Mountain when the storm hangs low!
To see its rocky pastures, its sparse but hardy corn,
The mist roll off its forehead before a harvest morn;
To hear the pine-trees crashing across its gulfs of snow
Upon a roaring midnight when the whirlwinds blow.
Tell not of lost Atlantis, or fabled Avalon;
The olive, or the vineyard, no winter breathes upon;
Away from Hemlock Mountain we could not well forego,
For all the summer islands where the gulf tides flow.
"In connection with this phase of the problem of transportation it must be
remembered that the rush of population to the great cities was no temporary
movement. It is caused by a final revolt against that malignant relic of
the dark ages, the country village and by a healthy craving for the deep,
full life of the metropolis, for contact with the vitalizing stream of
humanity."--Pritchell's "Handbook of Economics," page 247.
Sometimes people from Hillsboro leave our forgotten valley, high among the
Green Mountains, and "go down to the city," as the phrase runs, They always
come back exclaiming that they should think New Yorkers would just die of
lonesomeness, and crying out in an ecstasy of relief that it does seem so
good to get back where there are some folks. After the desolate isolation
of city streets, empty of humanity, filled only with hurrying ghosts, the
vestibule of our church after morning service fills one with an exalted
realization of the great numbers of the human race. It is like coming into
a warmed and lighted room, full of friendly faces, after wandering long
by night in a forest peopled only with flitting shadows. In the
phantasmagoric pantomime of the city, we forget that there are so many real
people in all the world, so diverse, so unfathomably human as those who
meet us in the little post-office on the night of our return to Hillsboro.
Like any other of those gifts of life which gratify insatiable cravings of
humanity, living in a country village conveys a satisfaction which is
incommunicable. A great many authors have written about it, just as a great
many authors have written about the satisfaction of being in love, but in
the one, as in the other case, the essence of the thing escapes. People
rejoice in sweethearts because all humanity craves love, and they thrive in
country villages because they crave human life. Now the living spirit of
neither of these things can be caught in a net of words. All the foolish,
fond doings of lovers may be set down on paper by whatever eavesdropper
cares to take the trouble, but no one can realize from that record
anything of the glory in the hearts of the unconscious two. All the queer
grammar and insignificant surface eccentricities of village character may
be ruthlessly reproduced in every variety of dialect, but no one can guess
from that record the abounding flood of richly human life which pours along
the village street.
This tormenting inequality between the thing felt and the impression
conveyed had vexed us unceasingly until one day Simple Martin, the town
fool, who always says our wise things, said one of his wisest. He was
lounging by the watering-trough one sunny day in June, when a carriage-load
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