Septimius Felton, or, the Elixir of Life

Septimius Felton, or, the Elixir of Life

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Excerpt from Septimius Felton: Or the Elixir of Life

Stretched, with one or two breaks and interruptions, into the heart of the village of Concord, the county town. It was in the side of this hill that, according to tradition, the first settlers of the village had burrowed in caverns which they had dug out for their shelter, like swallows and woodchucks. As its slope was towards the south, and its ridge and crowning woods defended them from the northern blasts and snow-drifts, it was an admirable situation for the fierce New England winter; and the temperature was milder, by several degrees, along this hillside than on the unprotected plains, or by the river, or in any other part of Concord. So that here, during the hundred years that had elapsed since the first settle ment of the place, dwellings had successively risen close to the hill's foot, and the meadow that lay on the other side of the road a fertile tract had been cultivated; and these three young people were the children's chil dren's children of persons of respectability who had dwelt there, Rose Garfield, in a small house, the site of which is still indicated by the cavity of a cellar, in which I this very past summer planted some sunflowers to thrust their great disks out from the hollow and allure the bee and the humming-bird; Robert Hagburn, in a house of some what more pretension, a hundred yards or so nearer to the village, standing back from the road in the broader space which the retreating hill, cloven by a gap in that place, afforded; where some elms intervened between it and the road, offering a site which some person of a nat ural taste for the gently picturesque had seized upon.

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