Amusement Parks by Dianne Irving

By Dianne Irving

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My whole family history, with its succession of links, from the first settlement down to date, told here—three centuries concentrate on this sterile acre. The next day, July 30, I devoted to the maternal locality, and if possible was still more penetrated and impress’d. ) Two or three-score graves quite plain; as many more almost rubb’d out. My grandfather Cornelius and my grandmother Amy (Naomi) and numerous relatives nearer or remoter, on my mother’s side, lie buried here. The scene as I stood or sat, the delicate and wild odor of the woods, a slightly drizzling rain, the emotional atmosphere of the place, and the inferr’d reminiscences, were fitting accompaniments.

This last time, I read it on the cusp between summer and fall, over the course of a month in which I was traveling quite frequently. I read it all over the world: by a diamond stand at the Dubai airport, on an overnight bus ride through Sri Lanka, in a concrete hot tub in the middle of a corporate Kentucky hotel; beneath the shadow of a bronze Nordic king in the dappled sunlight of Oslo’s Slottsparken; and at home—in the irritable humidity of the 4 train during rush hour, rattling under the East River, and at the counter of a diner on Third Avenue while an old woman ate cottage cheese for dinner, alone, tucked into a vinyl booth behind me.

Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Seguin, Ellen Tree, Hackett, the younger Kean, Macready, Mrs. Richardson, Rice—singers, tragedians, comedians. What perfect acting! ” These, and many more, the years of youth and onward. Fanny Kemble—name to conjure up great mimic scenes withal—perhaps the greatest. ” Nothing finer did ever stage exhibit—the veterans of all nations said so, and my boyish heart and head felt it in every minute cell. The lady was just matured, strong, better than merely beautiful, born from the footlights, had had three years’ practice in London and through the British towns, and then she came to give America that young maturity and roseate power in all their noon, or rather forenoon, flush.

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