And yet there are places where Time seems to linger lovingly long after youth has departed , and to which
he 2 seems loath to bring the evil day .
Who has not known
some even-tempered old man or woman who seemed to have drunk of the fountain of youth 3 ?
Who has not seen somewhere
an old town that , having long since ceased to grow , yet held
own without perceptible decline 4
Some such trite reflection -- as apposite to the subject as most random reflections are -- passed through the mind of
a young man who came out of the front door of
the Patesville Hotel 6
about nine o'clock one fine morning in spring , a few years after the Civil War , and started down
Front Street 7
the market-house 8 5
the town 4 late the previous evening ,
he 5 had been driven up from
the steamboat 9 in
a carriage 10 , from which
he 5 had been able to distinguish only the shadowy outlines of
; so that this morning walk was
the houses along
the street 7 11
his 5 first opportunity to see
the town 4 by daylight .
He 5 was dressed in a suit of linen duck -- the day was warm -- a panama straw hat , and patent leather shoes .
he 5 was tall , dark , with straight , black , lustrous hair , and very clean-cut , high-bred features .
he 5 paused by
the clerk 12 's desk on
his 5 way out , to light
his 5 cigar ,
the day clerk , who had just come on duty 13 , glanced at the register and read the last entry : -- " '
JOHN WARWICK 5 ,
CLARENCE 14 ,
SOUTH CAROLINA 1 . '
" One of the
South Ca ' lina 1 bigbugs ,
I 13 reckon -- probably in cotton , or turpentine . "
, walking down
The gentleman from
South Carolina 1 5
the street 7 , glanced about
him 5 with an eager look , in which curiosity and affection were mingled with a touch of bitterness .
He 5 saw little that was not familiar , or that
he 5 had not seen in
his 5 dreams a hundred times during the past ten years .
There had been some changes , it is true , some melancholy changes , but scarcely anything by way of addition or improvement to counterbalance them .
Here and there blackened and dismantled walls marked the place where
handsome buildings 15 once had stood , for
Sherman 16 's march to
the sea 17 had left its mark upon
the town 4 .
The stores 18 were mostly of brick , two stories high , joining one another after the manner of
cities 19 .
Some of the names on the signs were familiar ; others , including a number of Jewish names , were quite unknown to
him 5 .
A two minutes ' walk brought
Warwick 5 -- the name
he 5 had registered under , and as
we 20 shall call
him 5 -- to
the market-house 8 , the central feature of
Patesville 4 , from both the commercial and the picturesque points of view .
Standing foursquare in the heart of
the town 4 , at
, a " jog " at
the intersection of
the two main streets 22 21
each street corner 23 left around
the market-house 8
a little public square 24 , which at this hour was well occupied by
carts 25 and
wagons 26 from
the country 27 and empty drays awaiting hire .
Warwick 5 was unable to perceive much change in
the market-house 8 .
Perhaps the surface of the red brick , long unpainted , had scaled off a little more here and there .
There might have been a slight accretion of the moss and lichen on the shingled roof .
the tall tower 28 , with
its 28 four-faced clock , rose as majestically and uncompromisingly as though
the land 29 had never been subjugated .
Was it so irreconcilable ,
Warwick 5 wondered , as still to peal out the curfew bell , which at nine o'clock at night had clamorously warned
all negroes 30 , slave or free , that it was unlawful for
them 30 to be abroad after that hour , under penalty of imprisonment or whipping ?
the old constable , whose chief business it had been to ring the bell 31 , still alive and exercising the functions of , and had age lessened or increased the number of times that
obliging citizens 33 performed this duty for
him 31 during
his 31 temporary absences in the company of
convivial spirits 34 ?
A few moments later ,
Warwick 5 saw
a colored policeman 35 in
-- a stronger reminder than even
the old constable 31
's place 36
the burned buildings 15 that war had left its mark upon
the old town 4 , with which Time had dealt so tenderly .
was open on all four of
The lower story of
the market-house 8 37
its 37 sides to
the public square 24 .
Warwick 5 passed through one of the wide brick arches and traversed
the building 8 with a leisurely step .
He 5 looked in vain into the stalls for
the butcher who had sold fresh meat twice a week , on market days 38 , and
he 5 felt a genuine thrill of pleasure when
he 5 recognized the red bandana turban of
old Aunt Lyddy 39 ,
the ancient negro woman who had sold
gingerbread and fried fish , and told
weird tales of witchcraft and conjuration , in the old days when , as
an idle boy 5
had loafed about
the market-house 8 75
He 5 did not speak to
her 39 , however , or give
her 39 any sign of recognition .
He 5 threw a glance toward a certain corner where steps led to
the town hall above 40 .
this stairway 41
he 5 had once seen
a manacled free negro 42 shot while being taken
upstairs 40 for examination under a criminal charge .
Warwick 5 recalled vividly how the shot had rung out .
He 5 could see again the livid look of terror on
the victim 42 's face ,
the gathering crowd 43 , the resulting confusion .
The murderer 44 ,
he 5 recalled , had been tried and sentenced to imprisonment for life , but was pardoned by
a merciful governor 45 after serving a year of
his 44 sentence .
Warwick 5 was neither
a prophet 46 nor
the son of
a prophet 48 47
he 5 could not foresee that , thirty years later , even this would seem an excessive punishment for so slight a misdemeanor .
the market-house 8 ,
Warwick 5 turned to the left , and kept on
his 5 course until
he 5 reached the next corner .
After another turn to the right , a dozen paces brought
him 5 in front of
a small weather-beaten frame building , from which projected a wooden sign-board bearing the inscription : --
ARCHIBALD STRAIGHT 50
LAWYER 51 49
He 5 turned the knob , but the door was locked .
his 5 steps past
a vacant lot 52 ,
the young man 5 entered
a shop where
a colored man 54
was employed in varnishing a coffin , which stood on two trestles in the middle of the floor 53
Not at all impressed by the melancholy suggestiveness of
his 54 task ,
he 54 was whistling a lively air with great gusto .
Warwick 5 's entrance this effusion came to a sudden end , and
the coffin-maker 54 assumed an air of professional gravity .
" Good-mawnin ' ,
suh 5 , "
he 54 said , lifting
his 54 cap politely .
" Good-morning , " answered
Warwick 5 .
you 54 tell
me 5 anything about
Judge Straight 55 's
office 56 hours ? "
De ole jedge 55 has be 'n a little onreg ' lar sence de wah ,
suh 5 ; but
he 55 gin ' ally gits roun ' ' bout ten o'clock er so .
He 55 's be 'n kin ' er feeble fer de las ' few yeahs .
I 54 reckon , " continued
the undertaker 54 solemnly ,
his 54 glance unconsciously seeking a row of fine caskets standing against the wall , -- "
I 54 reckon
he 55 'll soon be goin ' de way er
all de earth 57 .
Man 58 dat is bawn er '
oman 59 hath but a sho ' t time ter lib , an ' is full er mis ' ry .
He 58 cometh up an ' is cut down lack as a flower . '
' De days er
his 58 life is three-sco ' an ' ten ' -- an '
de ole jedge 55 is libbed mo ' d' n dat ,
suh 5 , by five yeahs , ter say de leas ' . " "
' Death , ' " quoted
Warwick 5 , with whose mood
the undertaker 54 's remarks were in tune , " ' is the penalty that all must pay for the crime of living . ' "
" Dat 's a fac ' ,
suh 5 , dat 's a fac ' ; so dey mus ' -- so dey mus ' .
An ' den
all de dead 60 has ter be buried .
we 61 does ou ' sheer of it ,
suh 5 ,
we 61 does ou ' sheer .
We 61 conduc 's de obs ' quies er
all de bes ' w ' ite folks er
de town 4 62
suh 5 . "
Warwick 5 left
the undertaker 54
's shop 53
his 5 steps until
he 5 had passed
, toward which
the lawyer 55
's office 63
he 5 threw an affectionate glance .
A few rods farther led
him 5 past
the old black Presbyterian church 64 , with
its 64 square tower , embowered in
a stately grove 65 ; past
, and a painted wooden figure of
the Catholic church , with
many crosses 66
St. James 67 in a recess beneath the gable ; and past
the old Jefferson House 68 , once
, in front of which political meetings had been held , and political speeches made , and political hard cider drunk , in the days of " Tippecanoe and
the leading hotel of
the town 4 68
Tyler 69 too . "
The street down which
had come 70
Front Street 7 at a sharp angle in front of
the old hotel 6 , forming a sort of flatiron block at the junction , known as
Liberty Point 71 , -- perhaps because
slave 72 auctions were sometimes held
there 71 in the good old days .
Warwick 5 reached
Liberty Point 71 ,
a young woman 73 came down
Front Street 7 from the direction of
the market-house 8 .
their 74 paths converged ,
Warwick 5 kept on down
Front Street 7 behind
her 73 , it having been already
his 5 intention to walk in this direction .
Warwick 5 's first glance had revealed the fact that
the young woman 73 was strikingly handsome , with a stately beauty seldom encountered .
he 5 walked along behind
her 73 at a measured distance ,
he 5 could not help noting the details that made up this pleasing impression , for
his 5 mind was singularly alive to beauty , in whatever embodiment .
The girl 73 's figure ,
he 5 perceived , was admirably proportioned ;
she 73 was evidently at the period when the angles of childhood were rounding into the promising curves of adolescence .
Her 73 abundant hair , of a dark and glossy brown , was neatly plaited and coiled above an ivory column that rose straight from a pair of gently sloping shoulders , clearly outlined beneath the light muslin frock that covered them .
He 5 could see that
she 73 was tastefully , though not richly , dressed , and that
she 73 walked with an elastic step that revealed a light heart and the vigor of perfect health .
Her 73 face , of course ,
he 5 could not analyze , since
he 5 had caught only the one brief but convincing glimpse of it .