From the little stone station a queer old coach rumbles away down a wide country road. It carries the mail and the village supplies and, less often, a traveler; and the driver, “Old Joe” Pike, has grown gray between the station and the Eagle Tavern. If, instead of going on to the north, you had descended from the train, and had mounted to the seat beside “Old Joe,” you would have made the acquaintance of a very worthy member of Hillton society, and, besides, have received a deal of information as the two stout grays trotted along.
“Yes, that’s the ‘Cademy up there among them trees, That buildin’ with the tower’s the ‘Cademy Buildin’, and the squatty one that you can just see is one of the halls—Masters they call it, after the man that founded the school. The big, new buildin’ is another of ’em, Warren; and Turner’s beyond it; and if you look right sharp you can see Bradley Hall to the left there.
“Here’s where we turn. Just keep your foot on that mail-bag, if you please, sir. There’s the village, over yonder to the right. Kind of high up, ain’t it? Ev’ry time any one builds he goes higher up the hill. That last house is old man Snyder’s. Snyder says he can’t help lookin’ down on the rest of us. He, he!
“That road to the left we’re comin’ to ’s Academy Road. This? Well, they used to call it Elm Street, but it’s generally just ‘the Station Road’ nowadays. Now you can see the school pretty well, sir. That squatty place’s the gymnasium; and them two littler houses of brick’s the laboratories. Then the house with the wide piazza, that’s Professor Wheeler’s house; he’s the Principal, you know. And the one next it, the yellow wooden house, I mean, that’s what they call Hampton House. It’s a dormatory, same as the others, but it’s smaller and more select, as you might say.
“Hold tight, sir, around this corner. Most of them, the lads, sir, live in the village, however. You see, there ain’t rooms enough in the ’Cademy grounds. I heard the other day that there’s nigh on to two hundred and twenty boys in the school this year; I can remember when they was’nt but sixty, and it was the biggest boardin’ school for boys in New York State. And that wa’n’t many years ago, neither. The boys? Oh, they’re a fine lot, sir; a bit mischievous at times, of course, but we’re used to ’em in the village. And, bless you, sir, what can you expect from a boy anyhow? There ain’t none of ’em perfect by a long shot; and I guess I ought to know—I’ve raised eight on ’em. There’s the town hall and courthouse, and the Methodist church beyond. And here we are, sir, at the Eagle, and an hour before supper. Thank you, sir. Get ap!”
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