The deep projection of the second story gave the house such a

meditative look, that you could not pass it without the idea that it

had secrets to keep, and an eventful history to moralize upon. In

front, just on the edge of the unpaved sidewalk, grew the Pyncheon Elm,

which, in reference to such trees as one usually meets with, might well

be termed gigantic. It had been planted by a great-grandson of the

first Pyncheon, and, though now four-score years of age, or perhaps

nearer a hundred, was still in its strong and broad maturity, throwing

its shadow from side to side of the street, overtopping the seven

gables, and sweeping the whole black roof with its pendant foliage. It


gave beauty to the old edifice, and seemed to make it a part of nature.

The street having been widened about forty years ago, the front gable

was now precisely on a line with it. On either side extended a ruinous

wooden fence of open lattice-work, through which could be seen a grassy

yard, and, especially in the angles of the building, an enormous

fertility of burdocks, with leaves, it is hardly an exaggeration to

say, two or three feet long. Behind the house there appeared to be a

garden, which undoubtedly had once been extensive, but was now

infringed upon by other enclosures, or shut in by habitations and

outbuildings that stood on another street. It would be an omission,

trifling, indeed, but unpardonable, were we to forget the green moss

that had long since gathered over the projections of the windows, and

on the slopes of the roof nor must we fail to direct the reader's eye

to a crop, not of weeds, but flower-shrubs, which were growing aloft in

the air, not a great way from the chimney, in the nook between two of

the gables. They were called Alice's Posies. The tradition was, that

a certain Alice Pyncheon had flung up the seeds, in sport, and that the

dust of the street and the decay of the roof gradually formed a kind of

soil for them, out of which they grew, when Alice had long been in her

grave. However the flowers might have come there, it was both sad and

sweet to observe how Nature adopted to herself this desolate, decaying,

gusty, rusty old house of the Pyncheon family; and how the

ever-returning Summer did her best to gladden it with tender beauty,

and grew melancholy in the effort.

There is one other feature, very essential to be noticed, but which, we

greatly fear, may damage any picturesque and romantic impression which

we have been willing to throw over our sketch of this respectable

edifice. In the front gable, under the impending brow of the second

story, and contiguous to the street, was a shop-door, divided

horizontally in the midst, and with a window for its upper segment,

such as is often seen in dwellings of a somewhat ancient date. This

same shop-door had been a subject of no slight mortification to the

present occupant of the august Pyncheon House, as well as to some of

her predecessors.