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The Master of the Inn   By: (1868-1938)

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BY Robert Herrick

NEW YORK Charles Scribner's Sons 1910

Copyright, 1908, by Charles Scribner's Sons

Published April, 1908 Second Impression, July, 1908 Third Impression, September, 1908 Fourth Impression, December, 1908 Fifth Impression, December, 1908 Sixth Impression, July, 1909 Seventh Impression, October, 1909 Eighth Impression, January, 1910 Ninth Impression, July, 1910


The author of "The Master of the Inn" having received many inquiries as to what foundation in fact this tale has wishes to state explicitly that both incidents and persons are purely imaginary, and that so far as he is aware there is neither Master nor Inn in existence.

Chicago, Ills., 12 May, 1909.





It was a plain brick house, three full stories, with four broad chimneys, and overhanging eaves. The tradition was that it had been a colonial tavern a dot among the fir covered northern hills on the climbing post road into Canada. The village scattered along the road below the inn was called Albany and soon forgotten when the railroad sought an opening through a valley less rugged, eight miles to the west.

Rather more than thirty years ago the Doctor had arrived, one summer day, and opened all the doors and windows of the neglected old house, which he had bought from scattered heirs. He was a quiet man, the Doctor, in middle life then or nearly so; and he sank almost without remark into the world of Albany, where they raise hay and potatoes and still cut good white pine off the hills. Gradually the old brick tavern resumed the functions of life: many buildings were added to it as well as many acres of farm and forest to the Doctor's original purchase of intervale land. The new Master did not open his house to the public, yet he, too, kept a sort of Inn, where men came and stayed a long time. Although no sign now hung from the old elm tree in front of the house, nevertheless an ever widening stream of humanity mounted the winding road from White River and passed through the doors of the Inn, seeking life....

That first summer the Doctor brought with him Sam, the Chinaman, whom we all came to know and love, and also a young man, who loafed much while the Doctor worked, and occasionally fished. This was John Herring now a famous architect and it was from his designs, sketched those first idle summer days, that were built all the additions to the simple old house the two low wings in the rear for the "cells," with the Italian garden between them; the marble seat curving around the pool that joined the wings on the west; also the substantial wall that hid the Inn, its terraced gardens and orchards, from Albanian curiosity. Herring found a store of red brick in some crumbling buildings in the neighborhood, and he discovered the quarry whence came those thick slabs of purple slate. The blue veined marble was had from a fissure in the hills, and the Doctor's School made the tiles.

I think Herring never did better work than in the making over of this old tavern: he divined that subtle affinity which exists between north Italy, with all its art, and our bare New England; and he dared to graft boldly one to the other, having the rear of the Inn altogether Italian with its portico, its dainty colonnades, the garden and the fountain and the pool... Continue reading book >>

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