Urban Sketches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 70 pages of information about Urban Sketches.

With this brief sketch I conclude my record of the neighborhoods I have moved from.  I have moved from many others since then, but they have generally presented features not dissimilar to the three I have endeavored to describe in these pages.  I offer them as types containing the salient peculiarities of all.  Let no inconsiderate reader rashly move on account of them.  My experience has not been cheaply bought.  From the nettle Change I have tried to pluck the flower Security.  Draymen have grown rich at my expense.  House-agents have known me and were glad, and landlords have risen up to meet me from afar.  The force of habit impels me still to consult all the bills I see in the streets, nor can the war telegrams divert my first attention from the advertising columns of the daily papers.  I repeat, let no man think I have disclosed the weaknesses of the neighborhood, nor rashly open that closet which contains the secret skeleton of his dwelling.  My carpets have been altered to fit all sized odd-shaped apartments from parallelopiped to hexagons.  Much of my furniture has been distributed among my former dwellings.  These limbs have stretched upon uncarpeted floors, or have been let down suddenly from imperfectly established bedsteads.  I have dined in the parlor and slept in the back kitchen.  Yet the result of these sacrifices and trials may be briefly summed up in the statement that I am now on the eve of removal from my present neighborhood.


I live in the suburbs.  My residence, to quote the pleasing fiction of the advertisement, “is within fifteen minutes’ walk of the City Hall.”  Why the City Hall should be considered as an eligible terminus of anybody’s walk, under any circumstances, I have not been able to determine.  Never having walked from my residence to that place, I am unable to verify the assertion, though I may state as a purely abstract and separate proposition, that it takes me the better part of an hour to reach Montgomery Street.

My selection of locality was a compromise between my wife’s desire to go into the country, and my own predilections for civic habitation.  Like most compromises, it ended in retaining the objectionable features of both propositions; I procured the inconveniences of the country without losing the discomforts of the city.  I increased my distance from the butcher and green-grocer, without approximating to herds and kitchen-gardens.  But I anticipate.

Fresh air was to be the principal thing sought for.  That there might be too much of this did not enter into my calculations.  The first day I entered my residence, it blew; the second day was windy; the third, fresh, with a strong breeze stirring; on the fourth, it blew; on the fifth, there was a gale, which has continued to the present writing.

Project Gutenberg
Urban Sketches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.