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The Old Corner Bookstore

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Krom Harper's Magazine for July. The ánnala of pabtfehuig and tlic traditions of publishers In this ceoatry will alwavs mentioii the littlc Oomer Book-store in Boston as you tuur out of Washington ' into Cuurch Street, and those who recall it in other dayi will alwavs remember the curtaiucd dik at which poet and phlloeopber and historian and divine, and Um doubtwg, tiniid yoiinji aullior. were sure to -ce t lic hrijjlit Í5CÍ :unl to hear the in-nrty welcome "i James '1'. Field. What a erowded, buay u it was, with the shelves full of books, and p0M of books 11 poi i llic counters aiul tables, and letteren ; t )i in with their eyes, and torning the glossy new pages- lofterers at whora you looked euriously, saspeoting tin-m to be makers of books ai well m readers. You knew that you iniglit be seelng there in Um llesh and coninion clothes the fanious men and romen whow genios and skill made the old world ¦ dw world fof orery one upon wliom tlieir spell lay. Suddenly trom bcliinil the green curtain oanie a ripple ot laughter.tbof] a barst, a chorus; gay voices of two or lliree or more, bilt alnay's of one the one who sat at tb desk and whoaa placa was baWad Üm enríala, the litaran portMroftha hou-. Um tïiend of I eb ra teel circje which luis made the Boston of ilic middle of this centurv as jusiiy renowned as.thc Edinborah of the close ot tl uiury, the Edinburgh that san líiirns, hut. did DOt know kim. That curtained corner ol the loi nor Bookstore is remembered by thoae who kaew il in its reat days, as Beaumont rccalled the reveis at the inmortal tavern: "WTiat tiilnira have we seen Done at the Merrnaid ! heard word that have nible and so full of subüle flame. As 11 that every one from whence tbey cune 1 lul iiifHiit to put this wliole wit In a Jest ! Wiiat merry pealsl What fun and ohafl and story! Not only the poet brougfat his pOt'Ill lln.v. (All _ --¦tp5 fWri M hMPt, at the lecturer camc trom the train with bis freahest touches of local humor. It was the exebange of wit, the Rlalto of current rood things, the bub of the hub. And it w:is the work of imc man. Fielda ta - i. Fit'lds with hia Mntle spirit, hisgenerous andy readsytnpathy, his love of letters and literary men, lus One taste, liis dcliirhtfiil humor, hi.s busineu tart and tkilli arew, as a magnet draws itown, every kind of man, the shv and the elutive as well as the gay men of the world and the self poaaeawd favorita! of the people. It MM lii prille ui have so many of the American worthics upoo his list of auth.ii-. to place there if lie could the English inl"lelles-lettn-" n liters, and thou to cali them all personal l'ricnds. Next year it will b torly ears -inee ÜM house at the Corner llook-store is.sued the two pretty poema n hich introduced Tcnnyson to America. liarry f'ornwall followèd in 1 1 1 - mm dreaa. Tbey oavrbt all the siojriiiL'-liird- at the corner and bOJDf thein up in prelly CAgel M that e er body luijiht bear the sons. Transcendentalism and The Dial rere active also at the same time. The i.lyl ot ürook Farm was proceedin_r in the W e-t Hoxbury uplands and meadows ou the ihores of the placid (liarles. The abolltionists were kindlüi'r tiip naiiuiiai eonscrenco n muumi .-irrer ehapel and kfatborooga chapel. Theodore I'arkiT was appalling the staid pulpits and doclle pews. There tra a universal moral and intellectaal fennentatlon, but at the Corner Book ¦atore the distinctive Totea w is that of ''pure literature"; and hospitable tonard all, and n ith an open heait of adtniration for the fervent refonners, Fields had also the moH humorous apprecflttlon of "the apoatlea of the newaeaa, hut mtnded with cal what he Ml to bc especially hiown busii It was a very remarkable jjroup of men - Indeed it nas the tirst roiip of really great American author-- which famüiarly lrc'iieiitei the eoiner as the gtteal "1 Fields. There had licen Kryant and Irvíng and Cooper and Halleck andPaulding and Willis in Nen ork. but there had been nothin; like the New ËngUnd circle It was thal ( irele wlneh conipt.'lU-d the world to acknon ledi' that there was an American literature. Of mOSl of thi'se authors the house it the corner carne to be th imhlishers, and to the end Ihev niaintained the warme-t relations with Fields, who was not the puhlisher only, but their upprec iative and syinpathetic friend. His kindred taste made hun a falthfnl student ofKnirlish literature. and almost as a boy he Pead poetna of his own upon public occasions, and published a volume or two, ujii'-li iiuju liiw crt"''tt ¦ la ta nwiYibct'sti i l Intheguild. Later, his lectures upon glish authors, many of whom he personalU knen, were very entertainin;; and suggestivo, llke the chrming converaatioo ofoni w ho has heen w ilh ob-ervin and s-ympa thetic eyea, those ot whom all men ladly hear. The singular alt niet ion of F'iclds for nidely dillVrent natures WM shown hy the aticen, ,n entertalned tor him by two men as different as Hawthorne and Oickens. In his latei ears Hawthorm's ;hoine in Boston was L'enernllv KieldV house, and Dlck{'lis uoiild hardly have Diada his second and most triuruphaul aml protitable vlsit to thii country except for Fields, who n ahis "next fricud"' throughotit the tour. Diekens speaks of hini mo-t kindly in one ot the "l neouuuercial Travcller"' papen, after his return to Eagland. It was certainly renarkable that Dickens, who. tnenty-tive years before, bad none home from his tir-t visit indignant because we would not pay biin copyright upon his works which wc had read and enjoyed - aml his CÖmplaltal was most just - sbould Me home trom his SBOOBd visit with more nioney made in a sborter time thau any foreign author ever ollected from os Fields' service to him was thuni and Diekens was sincerely grateful. ' such talk is but a reminiscenee of "yesterdays with authors." FielUs bimself was sixty-four years ohl when he ('ied; but there was such essentia] and indefeasible yotath in his ieelin's and tcni)'rment that even a latal and painlul malady would not quench it. On the very day, or the day he died he went over to see Aldrich - for he was the friend of the vomiteras well as the older authors - and it is a deep satistac.tion to know that the end was as pataleas as it wus sudden, sitting in his chair at evealng, in the midst of friend-, and llslenlng to the vtrice that was the -t of all musie to his heart. Long before be had left the old corner and the curtained nook, juid had gone to more stately puhli.-hinj; quartvrs. From these also lie liad also withdrawn some years ago, leaTtng Imableas altogether, and deInm-i'lt theiiecinrward to lecturing. But the hOBPitable heart made his beautiful home what that curtained nook had heen. Yoangei men wen: takin the that loitered in the old t)ook-stoie. but they found in the home the old corner welcome. and they will onderstand why thcir eider brethren recall with such fond and lagUilfnl affection tbe ( urtained nook at the old corner, and the kind haart and generous hand that made it so memorable. .. .Ienkin9. can yon teil a voiiiií:, tender chicken from an old toagh MM "( t eoin -e I can." ¦Wr-ll, howf" ¦Ky the teeth " "Cnlckeni have do taeth " ¦¦; hut I have." ¦ KI moruing." ¦od morning."


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News