THE HUB OF THE UNIVERSE
THIS was where he belonged, and he knew it. How he loved the city; he had seen Rome and Florence, Vienna and Prague, and many a neat German town, but not one of them could compare with Boston as he looked down upon it from the State House, its harbor studded with island jewels and the masts of the sailboats rising like lances to the sky. It was the city of Hunkerism: the Custom House was its Temple and Webster was its God; but it was not unregenerate. The winds of doctrine blew noisily down its crooked streets and rattled many a windowpane, and not all of the windows were closed. Surely a city that listened, however reluctantly, to a Garrison, a Phillips, a Mann, would find room for a Parker.
His friends had organized the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society, and rented the old Melodeon on Washington Street: from his study windows Parker could see the great ugly building. He had taken a house on Exeter Place -- Number 1, it was, an unpretentious dwelling of four stories located in the heart of fashionable Boston: at the end of the little lane was a huge trellis covered with ivy, and before it stood a plaster Flora as if to apologize for this sorry attempt to simulate a rural atmosphere. To the north was Summer Street, the loveliest street in all Boston, lined with magnificent chestnut trees; to the south Essex Street, with its great English elms. Near by were Otis Place and Winthrop Place and Franklin Square with its sixteen mansions built by Bulfinch himself. This was the citadel of the Boston merchants; here in the stately houses behind the elms and