National Geographic : 1966 Dec
Land of fairy tales-of knights jousting for her favor-comes alive for a young lady at the John Woodman Higgins Armory in Worcester. She kneels beside life-size models of a hunting dog armored against wild boar and a prince wearing a steel suit of the 16th century. The Worcester Pressed Steel Com pany maintains the collection in tribute to the metalworker's craft. students can take courses at any of the colleges. I came away from Amherst with Massa chusetts' reverence for cultural achievement very much in my thoughts. In Concord I was reminded of it again. In soft sunshine I walked to "the rude bridge that arched the flood" (pages 820-21). Across the Concord River stands the famous Minuteman statue, the first major work of a young Concord sculptor, Daniel Chester French. He later created the colossal Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial at Washington, D. C. Thoreau Shrine Draws Foreign Visitors "The shot heard round the world" was not the only explosion in Concord's history. A literary and intellectual explosion rocked the town in the early part of the 19th century. It was as if everyone in Concord began thinking and writing at the same time. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Haw thorne, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa May, William Ellery Channing, and Henry David Thoreau poured out the words a large part of the Nation listened to. In a way it was the gentle Thoreau, the nonconforming naturalist, who left the most lasting mark. He departed Concord society for the nearby solitude of Walden Pond, where he spent the two years described in his famed Walden, or Life in the Woods.* His forest was soft and cool as I walked the path to the pond (page 823). Two dogs, a Lab rador and a beagle, raced up and down the shore barking loudly, clearly leading lives of noisy desperation. Near the site of Thoreau's cabin, marked by a cairn and outlined by chains, a state park policeman told me, "We get many visitors from India. Thoreau is a minor saint there. Mahatma Gandhi got some of his ideas about civil disobedience from Thoreau." At nearby Lexington I revisited my favor ite spot in Massachusetts, the village green. I could almost hear the stirring words that tradition-if not history-attributes to Lex ington Capt. John Parker on that April day in 1775: "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless 818 fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." As so many times before, I read the history evoking inscription on the monument erected in 1799 to honor the men "...Who fell on this field, the first Victims to the Sword of British Tyranny & Oppression.On the morn ing of the ever memorable Nineteenth of April, An. Dom. 1775. The Die was cast!!!" And so it was. I drove to Breed's Hill in Charlestown, where the Bunker Hill Monu ment, a 221-foot obelisk, bayonets a blue sky (page 803). It commemorates the battle of *In the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, see "Literary Land marks of Massachusetts," by William H. Nicholas, March, 1950; and "New England, a Modern Pilgrim's Pride," by Beverley M. Bowie, June, 1955.