North and South Pack Mountains, and on a
very clear day, Crotched Mountain in Francestown, New Hampshire. Continu-
ing in a southerly direction, you descended to a long stretch of
woodland, carpeted with pine needles and abounding in many varieties of
fern. There were occasional ledges fringed with
violets and, in season, patches of lady's slippers which we were
not allowed to pick, the theory being that once picked they
never grow again. Occasionally in the summer I used to see a mysterious
elderly couple walking along this part of Highland Street. They were
unsteady on their feet and leaned on each other for
support while their chauffeur, in a big black limousine, followed at a
snail's pace about fifty yards behind. They were evidently rich city
people who had come for an outing in the country, but who they were or
where they came from I never knew.
Mr. Welcome, the Nolte's caretaker, and later the Noltes themselves
lived across the street from us on Love Lane; farther down was our
farmhouse and still farther, the Freemans who lived
there only in summer. I used to call on Mrs. Freeman occasionally
because I liked to feed the goldfish in her garden pool and
to have her read me stories or show me tricks with string.
She had had several children of her own but they all died
in infancy except one who lived to be about nine.
In winter we seemed completely isolated, especially after a
big snowstorm. The boardwalks around the house were shoveled into deep
canyons whose walls towered high above my head, while the driveway
was broken out with a homemade plow, pulled by a
single horse. As wheeled vehicles could not be used during this season,
there was no need for any extensive plowing.