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for the literary taste of its people, and its vicinity has been the dwelling place of a remarkable number of celebrated authors.

One of these was Francis Parkman, whom many consider the best of our American historians. He was born in Boston in 1823. Not long after he finished his college course he and a friend joined a tribe of the Dakotas,

and spent several months beyond the Mississippi. They went as far west as the Rocky Mountains. His purpose was to acquaint himself with Indians who still lived primitively. That remarkably readable book of his for both old and young, “The


“ Oregon Trail,” is the record of his experiences. The hardships he endured on the trip made him

a semi-invalid all the rest of his Ralph Waldo Emerson

life. Another great American of Boston origin was Emerson, who was born there in 1803. When he was eight years old his father died, and the family was so poor that there were times when Ralph and his brother, Edward, had to share the use of one overcoat. Jeering school-fellows would ask, “Whose turn is it to wear the coat to-day?” The State House fronts on a corner of Boston Com

The Common is a park of mild hills and hollows

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forty acres in extent, shaded with noble old elm trees, which are the pride of all Bostonians. Formerly the water of the Charles River lapped its western borders, but now the shore of the Back Bay has been pushed more than a mile away to the northward. This tract of made land is larger than all of the original peninsula.

In the early days the Common was an almost treeless, rocky, and barren pasture. People used to get stones from it with which to make their cellar walls, and the cows grazed there until after 1820. Wild roses and bayberry bushes grew on the hillsides. It contained marshes and several shallow ponds and four hills. Only the largest of the four hills now remains. This formerly had a powder house on it.

One of the Common's important uses was as a parade ground for the militia. On the annual muster day all the train-bands of the country were there, and nearly all the townspeople, too. At such a time many booths and tents were set up along the borders for the sale of eatables and drinkables.

On the Beacon Street side there used to be a Wishing Stone. The young people would walk around it nine times, then stand on it, or sit down on it, and wish. Their wishes would come true if they did not tell any one what they had wished.

One of the most tragic incidents in the history of the Common occurred in the summer of 1728 when two young men fought a midnight duel on it. The elder was a bookseller's son. The younger, who was only

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twenty, was the son of a clergyman. They quarrelled over cards at a tavern, and resorted to the Common, where they fought with swords. The younger fell, mortally wounded. The other took refuge on a frigate in the harbor which sailed at daybreak for France. There he died of grief within a year.

The Common had a gallows on it and was a place of public execution. Pirates have been hung there, and Quakers have suffered the death penalty for their faith. When the British troops were quartered in the town, at least one of them was shot on the Common by


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a file of his comrades for deserting. All these victims lie somewhere beneath the sod there in unknown graves.

Near the centre of the Common is a stone-rimmed body of water known as the Frog Pond. The old-time


Boston boys used to slide down hill on to this pond, and they heaped up the snow to make a steeper descent. Just before the Revolution, the English soldiers who were camped on the Common destroyed the slides again and again while the boys were gone to school. The boys protested in vain to the soldiers, and then went to their general and complained. He asked who sent them. “Nobody sent us, sir," one of them replied. “Your

“ soldiers have spoiled our snow-slides and broken the ice where we skate. When we complained to them, they called us young rebels, and told us to help ourselves if we could. Now we will bear it no longer.”

The general turned to an officer and exclaimed, Good heavens! the very children draw in a love of liberty with the air they breathe.”

Then he assured the boys that if any of the soldiers molested them again, they would be severely punished.

A short walk from the Frog Pond are several historic churches. One of these is the Park Street Church, whose slender spire overlooks the Common from “Brimstone Corner." In this church our national hymn “ America" was first sung in 1832 as part of the program for the celebration of the Fourth of July.

Not much more than a stone's throw away is King's Chapel, where the British officials and loyalist gentry worshipped in colonial days. Close to each of these buildings is an ancient cemetery with its lowly gray stones. Some say that in the King's Chapel church


yard the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd, lies buried. Before his reputation became as black as it did later, he was employed by the colonial governor of New England and certain others to go on a voyage to catch pirates. After a while rumors came that he had himself turned pirate. However, in a few years he appeared in Boston and delivered to the governor the treasure he had acquired in capturing various ships. This included IIII ounces of gold, 2353 ounces of silver, 57 bags of sugar, and 41 bales of goods.

Orders came from England for his arrest, and he was locked up in Boston Jail. This was in 1699. The prison was a gloomy building with thick stone walls, ponderous oaken doors, and dark passages; and the keys that the jailer carried at his girdle weighed from one to three pounds each. Captain Kidd was later sent to London, where he was tried and hung. How his body happens to be in King's Chapel churchyard is not explained, but the statement is made that if a person will visit his tomb there at midnight, tap on it three times, and ask in a whisper, “Captain Kidd, for ,

, what were you hung ?” the pirate will answer nothing.

Another famous church in this vicinity is the Old South Meeting-house at the corner of Washington and Milk streets. It stands on what was once Governor Winthrop's garden. When the British were besieged in the town they turned the building into a ridingschool. The furniture was cut to pieces and removed, and the floor covered with dirt and gravel. Deacon


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