Society at Amherst, Folder 3: Church Architecture - 1

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Architecture was never thought of or mentioned except by Professor Snell, in an
accidental way in a stiff lecture. The old village church, with its Grecian
pillars, late in its life was a target for any lazy wit, but that it survived behea
beheading once, and lived bravely on in defiance of jests, and with little external
change stands today rather Grecian in effect, defying its malefactors, -- bespeaks its
integrity of composition. The original interior was truly an odd picture. There
were high pews painted white, with doors fastened securely with a brass button;
affording something of a sense of tribal ownership and comfort in one's | feeling sentiment
of worship. They were too often slammed carelessly, -- but that only set off the noise
made by Mr Armstrrng [sic] the sexton just as the sermon ended, by throning [sic] open the doors of the two cast
iron box stoves with violence, and hurling some strange looking geometrical wood
called felly wood, into the vast Satanic depths, so that the farmers and their families who
remained for the afternoon service at one oclock might warm their half frozen
members and re-fill their foot stoves. As they sat on the circular seats about
the red hot stove neighborly visiting was indulged in, in, with low sad tones.
A meagre chilling lunch was drawn from from the large yallow [sic] muffs to stay them up
for the long afternoon service, which while from drawn the same capacious quarter small soap-stones
were re-heated for the cold drive home in the early Winter dusk.

The light, much weather-stained walls,
patched and cracked, were brought into bold relief by the heavy mahogany furniture
pulpit and the really immense red damask curtain draped for the background. Whoever
conceived & executed the plan of that end of the meeting-house must have been fresh
from an exciting mince-pie dream of Solomon's temple! The pulpit was so high the minister
was obliged to mostly infer the effect of his sermon from the tops of the heads and
bonnets before him, to the exclusion of the more normal and favorable angles for
sympathetic observation of human expression. I have often wondered what became of
all those ramparts of rich old mahogany, forming the sides of the pulpit. The chairs
I think are in the pulpit of college church.

When Dr Dwight a nephew of President