Hawkers & Walkers in Early America, Strolling Peddlers, Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, Players, and Others, from the Beginning to the Civil War

Hawkers & Walkers in Early America, Strolling Peddlers, Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, Players, and Others, from the Beginning to the Civil War

Hawkers & Walkers in Early America, Strolling Peddlers, Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, Players, and Others, from the Beginning to the Civil War

Hawkers & Walkers in Early America, Strolling Peddlers, Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, Players, and Others, from the Beginning to the Civil War

Excerpt

Look down upon a road and you see people endlessly coming and going. Stand a moment and watch them. Where are they going? Why are they travelling? What do they carry? Whence have they come?

Many things may set a man's feel upon the road: love of a woman; the quest of adventure; the need and desire for money; the pursuing of pleasure.

To-day the traffic is bent mostly on pleasure and the pursuit of money. Huge trucks rumbling along with their burdens of merchandise, oil, machinery, food. Obese buses swollen with travellers and their luggage. A doctor's car, the green cross on its radiator. The mail-truck crammed with bags and packages. Countless groups of men and women, youths and maidens, speeding for the pleasure of the ride, and to get where pleasure is to be found. Men darting along to business appointments. Workmen in luxurious or decrepit cars going to or coming from the fat job or the lean one. Whole families squeezed into ancient, baggage- freighted motors. Even Gypsies, gaudy in bright clothes and spangles, ride proudly by in automobile-caravans gaily bedecked. Scarce anyone is afoot. Such glimpses as the swift passing affords bear witness to the great variety of nationalities and races in the pageant.

And still, through the hastening and obvious tides of to-day's traffic weave the slower and almost ghostly tides of all the past. Let the eye pierce this palpable and vivid scene before us to the more deliberate panorama of a hundred years ago!

The truck fades into a blue and red Conestoga wagon, goods piled under its canvas-covered top, and horses straining at the load. The Gargantuan bus shrinks to a stage coach. The doctor's motor to a doctor's gig. The mail wagon is drawn by horses and carries a passenger or two. There are fewer men and women going forth for pleasure, and such as do, ride in a coach and four, though now and then a farm wagon holds a family going to the . . .

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