The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire
Author: C.M. Mayo
Main Themes:Excerpt: Once upon a time there was a little girls named Alice Green who lived on what people who don't know any better would call a farm, bait which her family called their country estate. Rosedale's main house was not especially fine, a clapboard box with a center hall and, upstairs, a warren of bedrooms (Alice shared one of the smallest with her two sisters). However, it had a fireplace in every room, a gleaming piano in the parlor, and Hepplewhite-style chairs in the dining room. It was said that Pierre L'Enfant, who laid out the plan of the city of Washington, had advised with the landscaping. There were avenues of dogwood and ornamental hedges; peach, pear, cherry, fig, and apple orchards, grape arbors, strawberry bushes, vegetable patches, including sensationally a prolific asparagus beds. ("O Moses," Alice's mother, Mrs. Green, would lament each spring with scarcely disguised pride. "What am I to do with all this asparagus?"). One might also mention their chickens, ducks, geese, prize hogs, and feeding on the hilly pastures that here and there dropped down to the wooded canyon of Rock Creek, a herd of scrupulously tended milk cows. As was common in those days, the family owned slaves; these had their dowdy little cabins out back behind a the stables so as not to ruin the pleasing view from the main driveway. Rosedale crowned the heights above Georgetown, the nearly century-old tobacco port town that had been drawn into the western corner of the District of Columbia. From the dormer window of her bedroom, Alice could see hills undulating down for the few miles yonder to the one they called Rome, where the national Capitol sat, then no more than a tooth of a building. To the south, below, lay the Potomac, with its Jerry-built wharves and, shooting out from the foot of the Francis Scott Key house, the rickety-looking Aqueduct Bridge. On the opposite shore, in the blue distance: the chip that was Arlington House, with its back to the fields and forests of Virginia. Alas, oftentimes this vista was sullied by smoke from one of Georgetown's paper mills or bone factories.
Excerpt Page Number: 3-4
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