Brattleboro, as the guide book tells us, is celebrated for its beautiful scenery, its cultivated and intellectual society, and "last but not least," for its charming and romantic drives and walks. Having very pleasant reminiscences of a short sojourn in Brattleboro some years ago, during which time we made the ascent of Wantasquet, the mountain that stands overlooking the village like a sentinel; made an excursion to Chesterfield lake, drove round the "North Star," through "The Gulf," and then went away hearing that there were more than twenty more drives in the vicinity equally charming. It was with a very cheerful feeling that we found, a few days ago, that business would call us thither again.
Late in the afternoon of September 30th, we arrived in town, and after an excellent supper at the Brooks House determined to go up town and make a call. A friendly light from the Brooks House guided our steps for the first few rods but not another light was to be seen, and proceeding northward we very soon found ourselves in total darkness. It was a cloudy night and not a star was to be seen. However, we managed to keep ourselves upon the sidewalk, partly guided by the uncertain glimmerings from some of the windows of the houses when all at once we came to a halt rather more suddenly than was agreeable a violent blow on the forehead, which nearly knocked our hat off and sent us reeling backward. (Let not the reader imagine we were at fault, we are strictly temperate.)
Recovering ourselves we found we had run against a large tree which was growing near the middle of the sidewalk. Standing by the tree an instant to rub our nose and forehead, which organs were somewhat bruised from the concussion, we were just in the act of re-adjusting our hat and walking on when we heard a light quick step approaching, and straining our eyes, saw a shadowy form, hardly perceptible in the darkness or as a flash from a lantern across the street, suddenly revealed us when a girl rushed past us with a scream evidently frightened half out of her wits, and no doubt concluding we must be some dreadful creature standing behind the tree ready to waylay her.
As the lantern was going in the opposite direction we were soon left in darkness again. We now cautiously resumed our walk, trying to feel our way by the fences, when we heard a carriage approaching, then a sudden crash and a horse dashed violently past us, galloping down the street, and again all was perfect stillness, which in the pitchy darkness seemed frightful. Was any one hurt? there was no scream. We were trying to make our way toward the spot where the accident occured when we saw two men issue from a house with a lantern and crossing the street proceed to a pile of lumber and stone that lay on one side of the street, pick up a man who lay there and carry him into the house.
As they took him up, he being limp as though dead, and as they went in and shut the door, I heard the words "seriously injured." All was now dark again, but the friendly light of the lantern had served to show that we were near the junction of Maine and Asylum streets, and making a bold dash forward we were just congratulating ourselves upon having crossed the street in safety and thinking we must be near the residence of our friend Gen. Phelps when we found ourselves rolling down a bank into the street which was exceedingly muddy from the recent rains. Somewhat disconcerted we arose and after groping about for our hat began to meditate upon the probable points of the compass.
No friendly lamp post was near, or if near was not lighted, which so far as travelers are concerned amounts to the same thing, but seeing just then a man hanging out a lantern over a gate at a little distance from us we hastened towards it, and found we had retraced our steps and were again on Main street. Concluding we had seen enough of Brattleboro for one evening we returned to our hotel, full of thoughts of the dark ages, viz, when there were no street lamps, and feeling glad that we should henceforth know how to appreciate the beauty and blessing of light.
Vermont Phoenix, October 16, 1874.
Reprinted from the Rutland Globe.
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX
NUNQUAM DRACO SIT MIHI DUX
May the Holy Cross be my light!
May the dragon never be my guide!
Inscription on the St. Benedict Medal.