Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker: Minister of the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society, Boston - Vol. 1

By John Weiss | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.

House and neighbourhood--Early spiritual troubles--Sin--Immortality--His character in boyhood--School--Reading at home--Enters Havard College, 1830.

OF the old homestead furniture Theodore possessed an oaken table, which once belonged to John Parker, his grandfather's grandfather. It was a substantial piece of work, and always stood in the library. Two new legs were made for it out of the oaken frame of the old rude farm-house, of which, excepting these, scarcely a vestige remains. The old barn, however, is still in existence. This farm-house faced towards the south, and stood nearly in the centre of the farm which had been in the family for 150 years. A cart-path led up to it from the turnpike and went no farther. Now there is a road passing in front of the new house, which faces to the east. The old workshop still stands on the spot to which it was moved in 1794 from Lexington Green. A workshop indeed! What work it did on that April morning, when it was the little belfry of Lexington Church, and stood alone on the right hand of the Boston Road; in the early light it gathered well-seasoned timber from the country side, to make therefrom a cunning piece of American joinery. When, in 1794, the new meeting-house put forth a steeple of its own, and the bell was raised to its loft, this old belfry was sold to Theodore's father, who moved it to his farm, and made spokes and felloes, cider presses and screws in the space where the voice vibrated for the divine service of liberty. But that reveillé never got out of the rafters. It got into Theodore, chipping and chiselling, planing and bevelling, wasting a good deal, but learning at last not to spoil his work; it was the old sound which afterwards rang in the sentences of his manly indignation as he strove to rouse a new generation to complete the father's labour.

Near the workshop stands a white ash tree which Theodore planted thirty-six years ago from a seed, and which until the year of his death always bore two crops of leaves, but has now

-27-

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