| At seven in the morning we reached Hannibal,
Missouri, where my boyhood was spent . . . The only notion of the town that
remained in my mind was the memory of it as I had known it when I first
quitted it twenty-nine years ago. That picture of it was still as clear
and vivid to me as a photograph.
I stepped ashore with the feeling of one who returns out of a dead-and-gone generation. . . I passed through the vacant streets, still seeing the town as it was, and not as it is . . . and finally climbed Holiday's Hill to get a comprehensive view. The whole town lay spread out below me then, and I could mark and fix every locality, every detail. . .
"Sunday afternoon with John Briggs
he walked over Holliday's Hill."
Illustration from ST. NICHOLAS, September 1916
The things about me and before me made me feel like a boy again--convinced me that I was a boy again, and that I had simply been dreaming an unusually long dream . . . From this vantage ground the extensive view up and down the river, and wide over the wooded expanses of Illinois, is very beautiful--one of the most beautiful on the Mississippi it was satisfyingly beautiful to me. . . it had suffered no change; it was as young and fresh and comely and gracious as ever it had been; whereas, the faces of the others would be old, and scarred with the campaigns of life, and marked with their griefs and defeats, and would give me no upliftings of spirit.
During my three days' stay in the town, I woke up every morning with the impression
that I was a boy--for in my dreams the faces were all young again, and looked
as they had looked in the old times--but I went to bed a hundred years old,
every night--for meantime I had been seeing those faces as they are now.
- passages from Life on the Mississippi
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