BLTC Press Titles


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The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi


A winter in the West

by Charles Fenno Hoffman

Excerpt:

I think you would be much pleased with Easton. The situation of the village itself is eminently happy—almost picturesque—and the country around it delightful. Imagine a lap of land, not quite a mile square, embosomed among green hills, bounded by two fine rivers and a pretty mill-stream —the straight rectangular streets now terminating with a bold bluff, descending so immediately to their very pavements that its rocky sides, skirted with copsewood, seem to overhang the place, and again either washed by one of the streams that determine the site of the town, or facing some narrow ravine which leads the eye off through a wild vista to the open country; and the remarkably flourishing and well-built appearance of the village itself, with its two bridges, and the extensive works of the Morris and the Lehigh Canals adjacent,—and you have almost as favourable a combination of rural objects and city improvements as could well be effected on one spot .

The chief buildings are the County Court-house, situated in a fine square in the centre of the place, and the Lafayette College, which, from a commanding position over the Bushkill, faces one of the principal streets. The latter is a Manual labour institution (a term I need hardly explain to you), recently incorporated, and likely to flourish under the energetic superintendence of the Rev. Mr. Junkin, its able principal. Easton, as you are probably aware, is celebrated for the rich mineralogical specimens found in its vicinity. The salubrity of the place, as I am informed by an eminent physician, is remarkable; and one can readily believe in its exemption from most of the fevers of the country, from the fact of there being no woodcock ground within five miles of the Court-house. The site was chosen and the town-plat laid out by Penn, a town-monger who, if he did cut his plans with a scissors from paper, as a recent foreign traveller has hinted was the case with regard to Philadelphia, had certainly a happy knack in adapting the model to the locality. The descendants of the great colonizer are still said to own property in Easton, while the peaceful members of his brotherhood, in our day, bless his memory when turning up the jasper arrow-head within the precincts of the village; and thank Heaven for the teacher whose gentle counsels withdrew for ever from this lovely valley the red archers that shot them.

Eagerly as I am now treading on the steps of that fated race to their fleeting home in the far west, with what emotions of pleasure shall I not count every returning mile that will bring me near you.

LETTER II.

Rodrocksville, Pa., Oct. 19. The last red hues of sunset were just dying over the western extremity of the road we had long been following, when a herd of cattle, under the guidance of a woolly-headed urchin, collecting indolently around an extensive farm-yard, reminded us alike that it was time to seek shelter, and that one was at hand. A few paces farther brought us to the door of a large stone building, displaying, with the usual insignia of an inn, an unwonted neatness in all its out-door arrangements: unharnessing our four-footed fellow-travellers, we proceeded, in spite of the threatening outcry of a huge bandog chained at its entrance, to bestow them comfortably in a stable near at hand. A Canadian pony, with a couple of goats, the companionable occupants, seemed hardly to notice the intrusion; and leaving an active mulatto ostler to reconcile any difficulties which might arise between our pampered steeds and a sorry-looking jade which just then entered to claim a share of the comforts at hand, we soon ensconced ourselves before a crackling wood-fire in the comfortable apartment where I am now writing.

Every mile of our route to-day has given some new occasion to admire the scale upon which farming is conducted in Pennsylvania. The fences, indeed, are not remarkable for the order in which they are kept; but while the enclosures themselves are tilled with a nicety which preserves the utmost verge of a field from shooting up into weeds or brushwood, the barns into which their harvests are gathered are so spaciously and solidly built, that they want only architectural design to rival in appearance the most ambitious private mansions. Stone is almost the only material used here in building; and the massive profusion in which not only the barns, but the smallest outhouses upon the premises of these sturdy husbandmen, are piled upon their fertile acres, is such as would astonish and delight the agriculturist accustomed only to the few and frail structures with which the farmers of most other sections of our country content themselves. The establishment of our host is admirably supplied with these lordly appurtenances in which a true tiller of the soil may so justly show his pride. The huge cathedral-looking edifice which towers above his farm-yard would make as proud a temple as could be well reared to Ceres, even by Triptolemus himself.

The most picturesque country we have yet seen is that immediately around Easton. Indeed, the first view that opened upon us when gaining the brow of a wooded hill, about half a mile from the town, was so fine as to make us forget the regret with which we had a few moments before bid adieu to our prince of landlords and his blooming daughters.


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