Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 466

Ellen Terhu.ne
Edmund Wilson
when I went to the Terhune house, that I was get–
ting back into the past-or rather, perhaps, that an atmosphere
which had first been established at the beginning of the eighties,
when the house in which she lived had been built, had been pre–
served there as a vital medium down into the nineteen twenties.
Most of the places in Hecate County seemed either newer or older
-modern households or old-fashioned farms; but the moment I
entered the gate in the high green picket-fence, which was matted
with honeysuckle in summer, and caught sight of the white obelisk
of the windmill, dismantled though it was of its sails, towering
behind the trees, I felt that I had come back into something which
had definitely vanished with the War but which was perfectly
familiar from my childhood.
There was a drive, always covered with gravel, that sw.ept
around in a beautiful curve and brought you up under a big porte–
cochere, which reminded you of horses with fly-nets, and shiny and
black closed carriages; and the house, which was yellow and cov–
ered with shingles that overlapped with rounded ends like scales,
was an impressive though rather formless mass of cupolas with
fool's-cap tops, dormers with diamond panes, balconies with little
white railings, and porches with Ionian columns, all pointing in
different directions. It had been built or bought by Ellen Terhune's
grandfather, a brilliant and highly successful doctor. Dr. Bristead,
even in that period when doctors were more "humanistic" and had
wider interests than now, had been a man of remarkable cultiva–
tion, and the house was richly lined with the evidences of his pas–
times, his studies and his travels. One saw, among many other
things in the downstairs rooms, signed photographs of or framed
letters from Theodore Roosevelt, Kipling, Pierre Loti, Mark
Twain, Adelina Patti, Paderewski, Mechnikov and Pasteur, all
whom had been patients or correspondents of his; a statue of Hebe
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