This illustration first appeared in Harper’s Monthly Magazine and later in a book to accompany the poem, The Little Past, composed by Josephine Preston Peabody. In the age of the horse and buggy when life moved at a slower speed, Peabody described the sensational thrill of a child’s first train ride.
I never saw the hills so far
And blue the way the pictures are;
And flowers, flowers, growing thick,
But not a one for me to pick!
The land was running from the train,
All blurry through the window-pane.
And then it all looked flat and still,
When up there jumped a little hill!
I saw the windows and the spires,
And sparrows sitting on the wires;
And fences running up and down;
And then we cut straight through a town.
I saw a valley. Like a cup;
And ponds that twinkled, and dried up.
I counted meadows, that were burnt;
And there were trees—and then there weren’t!
We crossed the bridges with a roar,
Then hummed, the way we went before.
And tunnels made it dark and light
Like open-work of day and night.
Until I saw the chimneys rise,
And lights and lights and lights, like eyes.
And when they took me through the door,
I heard it all begin to roar.—
I thought—as far as I could see—
That everybody wanted Me!