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The Last Leaf

User: Rupak
The Last Leaf
I came to consciousness in the then small town of Buffalo in western
New York, whither, in Andrew Jackson's day, our household gods and
goods were conveyed from Massachusetts for the most part by the Erie
Canal, the dizzy rate of four miles an hour not taking away my baby
breath. Speaking of men and affairs of state, as I shall do in this
opening paper, I felt my earliest political thrill in 1840. I have a
distinct vision, the small boy's point of view being not much above
the sidewalk, of the striding legs in long processions, of wide-open,
clamorous mouths above, and over all of the flutter of tassels and
banners. Then began my knowledge of log-cabins, coon-skins, and of
the name hard cider, the thump of drums, the crash of brass-bands,
cockades, and torch-lights. My powers as a singer, always modest,
I first exercised on "For Tippecanoe and Tyler too," which still
obtrudes too obstinately upon my tympanum, though much fine harmony
heard since in cathedrals and the high shrines of music is quite
powerless now to make that organ vibrate. Four years later, my
emerging voice did better justice to "Harry Clay of Old Kentucky," and
my early teens found me in an environment that quickened prematurely
my interest in public affairs. My father, the pioneer apostle of an
unpopular faith, ministered in a small church of brick faced with
stone to a congregation which, though few in numbers, contained some
remarkable people.

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