But she could not make it out that this was the same old Boston that her mother had told about, or where the nice neighbors were that would be likely to have little tea-parties for their children.
EAVESDROPPING IN ASPEN STREET.
Some of the old builders,—not the very old ones, for they built nothing but rope-walks down behind the hill,—but some of those who began to go northwest from the State House to live, made a pleasant group of streets down there on the level stretching away to the river, and called them by fresh, fragrant, country-suggesting names. Names of trees and fields and gardens, fruits and blossoms; and they built houses with gardens around them. In between the blocks were deep, shady places; and the smell of flowers was tossed back and forth by summer winds between the walls. Some nice old people stayed on there, and a few of their descendants stay on there still, though they are built in closely now, for the most part, and coarse, common things have much intruded, and Summit Street overshadows them with its palaces.
Here and there a wooden house, set back a little, like this of the Ripwinkleys in Aspen Street, gives you a feeling of Boston in the far back times, as you go by; and here and there, if you could get into the life of the neighborhood, you might perhaps find a household keeping itself almost untouched with change, though there has been such a rush and surge for years up and over into the newer and prouder places.
At any rate, Titus Oldways lived here in Greenley Street; and he owned the Aspen Street house, and another over in Meadow Place, and another in Field Court. He meant to stretch his control over them as long as he could, and keep them for families; therefore he valued them at such rates as they would bring for dwellings; he would not sell or lease them for any kind of “improvements;” he would not have their little door-yards choked up, or their larger garden spaces destroyed, while he could help it.
Round in Orchard Street lived Miss Craydocke. She was away again, now, staying a little while with the Josselyns in New York. Uncle Titus told Mrs. Ripwinkley that when Miss Craydocke came back it would be a neighborhood, and they could go round; now it was only back and forth between them and him and Rachel Froke. There were other people, too, but they would be longer finding them out. “You’ll know Miss Craydocke as soon as you see her; she is one of those you always seem to have seen before.”
Now Uncle Titus would not have said this to everybody; not even if everybody had been his niece, and had come to live beside him.