The house in which Forester lived was the largest in the village. It was a square house of two stories. It stood back a little from the road, in the middle of a large yard, ornamented with rows of trees along the sides, and groups of shrubbery in the corners and near the house. There were gravel walks leading in different directions through this yard, and on one side of the house was a carriage-way, which led from a great gate in front, to a door in one end of the house, and thence to the stable in the rear. On the other side of the house, near the street, was the office,—for Forester’s father was a lawyer. The office was a small square building, with the lawyer’s name over the door. There was a back door to the office, and a footpath, winding among trees and shrubbery, which led from the office to the house.
The morning after they arrived, Forester took Marco out to see the village. He intended not only to show him the various objects of interest which were to be seen, but also to explain to him why it was that such villages would spring up in a farming country, and what were the occupations of the inhabitants.
“The first thing which causes the commencement of a village in New England,” said Forester, “is a water-fall.”
“Why is that?” asked Marco.
“There are certain things,” replied Forester, “which the farmers can not very well do for themselves, by their own strength, particularly grinding their corn, and sawing logs into boards for their houses. When they first begin to settle in a new country, they make the houses of logs, and they have to take the corn and grain a great many miles on horseback, through paths in the woods, or, in the winter, on hand-sleds, to get it ground. But as soon as any of them are able to do it, they build a dam on some stream in the neighborhood, where there is a fall in the water, and thus get a water power. This water power they employ, to turn a saw-mill and a grist-mill. Then all the farmers, when they want to build houses or barns, haul logs to the mill to get them sawed into boards, and they carry their grain to the grist-mill and get it ground. They pay the owner of the mills for doing this work for them. And thus, if there are a great many farms in the country around, and no other mills very near, so that the mills are kept all the time at work, the owner gets a great deal of pay, and gradually acquires property.
“Now, as soon as the mills are built, perhaps a blacksmith sets up a shop near them. If a blacksmith is going to open a shop anywhere in that town, it will be better for him to have it near the mills, because, as the farmers all have to come to the mills at any rate, they can avail themselves of the opportunity, to get their horses shod, or to get new tires to their wheels, when they are broken.”
“Tires?” repeated Marco. “What are tires?”
“They are the iron rims around wheels. Every wheel must have an iron band about it, very tight, to strengthen it and to hold it firmly together. Without a tire, a wheel would very soon come to pieces, in rattling over a stony road.