Friday, February 07, 2014


Tired of the Town

[Addison Peale Russell (1826-1912)], A Club of One: Passages from the Note-Book of a Man who Might Have Been Sociable, 9th ed. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891), pp. 69-70:
I am tired of the town,—man made it; I pine for the country,—that God made. (Pope for authority.) Oh, the noises, the noises of the eternal Babel! The rattling milk-carts; the lumbering ice-wagons; the cries of the street-venders; the jingle of the bells of the horse-cars, day and night, that always seem to stop just before my door; the squeaking hand-organs; the infernal brass-bands; the roar and roar of multitudinous wheels, wheels; the whirr of the locomotive, like a hurricane,—thank Heaven, several blocks away; the dashing state carriages till far into the early morning, when wise people should be asleep,—at least be left undisturbed; all together, enough to hammer the brain into a jelly, and destroy every vestige of humanity in the soul. How any one should be in love with the town is past my comprehension. Johnson thought that when a man tired of London he was tired of his life. Macaulay was alike infatuated with London. Jekyll used to say that, if compelled to live in the country, he would have the road before his door paved like a street, and hire a hackney-coach to drive up and down all day. Lamb had a like aversion to the the country, and pronounced a garden the primitive prison, till man, with Promethean felicity and boldness, luckily sinned himself out of it. For my part, I hate the town cordially, and—at times—everything in it.

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