Dürer would have seen a reason for living in a town like this, with eight stranded whales to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house on a fine day, from water etched with waves as formal as the scales on a fish.
One by one in two's and three's, the seagulls keep flying back and forth over the town clock, or sailing around the lighthouse without moving their wings -- rising steadily with a slight quiver of the body -- or flock mewing where
a sea the purple of the peacock's neck is paled to greenish azure as Dürer changed the pine green of the Tyrol to peacock blue and guinea gray. You can see a twenty-five- pound lobster; and fish nets arranged to dry. The
whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so much confusion. Disguised by what might seem the opposite, the sea- side flowers and
trees are favored by the fog so that you have the tropics first hand: the trumpet-vine, fox-glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has spots and stripes; morning-glories, gourds, or moon-vines trained on fishing-twine at the back door;
cat-tails, flags, blueberries and spiderwort, striped grass, lichens, sunflowers, asters, daisies -- yellow and crab-claw ragged sailors with green bracts -- toad-plant, petunias, ferns; pink lilies, blue ones, tigers; poppies; black sweet-peas. The climate
is not right for the banyan, frangipani, or jack-fruit trees; or for exotic serpent life. Ring lizard and snake-skin for the foot, if you see fit; but here they've cats, not cobras, to keep down the rats. The diffident little newt
with white pin-dots on black horizontal spaced- out bands lives here; yet there is nothing that ambition can buy or take away. The college student named Ambrose sits on the hillside with his not-native books and hat and sees boats
at sea progress white and rigid as if in a groove. Liking an elegance of which the sourch is not bravado, he knows by heart the antique sugar-bowl shaped summer-house of interlacing slats, and the pitch of the church
spire, not true, from which a man in scarlet lets down a rope as a spider spins a thread; he might be part of a novel, but on the sidewalk a sign says C. J. Poole, Steeple Jack, in black and white; and one in red and white says
Danger. The church portico has four fluted columns, each a single piece of stone, made modester by white-wash. Theis would be a fit haven for waifs, children, animals, prisoners, and presidents who have repaid sin-driven
senators by not thinking about them. The place has a school-house, a post-office in a store, fish-houses, hen-houses, a three-masted schooner on the stocks. The hero, the student, the steeple-jack, each in his way, is at home.
It could not be dangerous to be living in a town like this, of simple people, who have a steeple-jack placing danger signs by the church while he is gilding the solid- pointed star, which on a steeple stands for hope.