Above: The "Stockbridge Bowl," or Mountain Mirror.--Cottage in Which Hawthorne wrote the "House of Seven Gables."
A PROPER New England village is a thing unique, the product of a new and peculiar type of civilization. As such, the history of hardly any one can be sketched without unfolding much that is of general interest. Some of these villages, however, stand out by themselves, and eminent above the rest, on account of certain marked peculiarities which have characterized their origin or their subsequent development. Among such, and yielding to none in features calculated to interest general readers, is one near the centre of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
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The tide of summer tourists sets strongly every year through this westernmost portion of the State, and many a denizen of the crowded and sultry city has learned that there is new life to be found in an abode of even a few weeks among its picturesque hills and valleys. But as the traveler, threading his way among them, comes upon the wide plain which had been made by Housatonic in its almost vain effort to pass the mountain barriers that seem here to hem it in, and say, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther," obliging it to turn and double upon itself for a distance of nearly six miles without gaining as many rods in its general course toward the south; and as he passes along the noble street, level as the meadow whose course it follows, and of proportionate width, bordered on either side by stately elms, such as are found only in the valleys of New England, and from beneath their emerald arches looks out upon the gleaming river and the graceful slopes which stretch away in every direction, save where their gentle beauty is contrasted and heightened by the bare and rugged cliffs of Monument Mountain on the south, whose touching legend Bryant has sung in his own sweet verse, and as all around him, on every house,
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