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The Elms of New England

trees, street, village and little

THE ELMS OF NEW ENGLAND I wish every one could visit New England. It is a necessary part of the education of an American. To the historical student each rood of 1;111d is holy ground. I wish you all could see the little villages in that goodly country, each with its wide street shaded by majestic, overaruh ing elms and buttonwoods. To the people who see them year after year these trees may become commonplace. But to the prairie-born, they are simply overwhelming when first seen, and the wonder of them deepens as time goes on.

Especially impressive to me was the little village whose main street forms the frontispiece of this volume. It is hardly what you would call a populous village. There is just this one long avenue, with a. few little feints at CD/SS Streets; no railroad, no factory, 110 noise, no bustle—just the quiet industries of a village whose commerce is with the thrifty farmer folk round about. It is not a village you could duplicate in the west, for the houses are century old, solidly built, and mostly innocent of paint. There are lilacs, purple and white, leaning up against the houses, and quaint, old-fashioned gardens shut in behind low picket fences.

The glory of the old place is its double row of superb American elms, which arch above the long street, intermingling their tops, and mak ing of it a shadowy aisle with vaulted arches, like some vast cathedral.

Long ago the villagers dug little trees in the neighboring woods and lined the road on both. sides with them. Then they let them alone! Violets and ferns came with them fnun the wtods and spread undis turbed in their new environment. Today they may still be seen among the gnarled roots of the patriarchal trees, springing out here and there as they have been doing for a hundred years. Like the trees, the houses that front upon this street have a distinguished air. They, too, are old, but they wear their years with gracious dignity. Among the New Eng land villagers one finds a pride that is not vanity, and a self-respect that vaunteth not itself. Could the most heedless person. going in and out from day to day under those venerable trees, miss the influence of those mighty arms spread above as if in perpetual benediction? The elms of New England are passing. have been patriarchs through three generations of men. For them perhaps it is time to be old ! Drought. diseases, and insect ravages, and together, have attacked the trees in late years. Let its hope that New England people will plant more freely, and will succeed in controlling the enemies of the elm, that their venerable trees may 1)e spared until they are replaced by worthy successors.