Then there must be the staircase with the double twist in the newel post, the dark mahogany hand-rail - such a delightful sliding place, a charming portrait of a lady with head-dress and cashmere shawl, a sampler or so, and the stern forbidding old gentleman with his forefingers stuck in the breast of his high-necked coat. We might continue to My Lady's chamber floor, or wander through the dining-room, open up the slatted shutters for a little light, so that we may see the conch shells on either side of a befluted mantel, china dogs, white with iridescent black spots, and always staring straight ahead at the other dog on the opposite end of the mantel. I always thought the old ship model, with its stiff American flag on the poop, rather frightened them and kept them apart.
Come into the library. We don't care much for the parlor. In the house of dreams this room is going to be opened up at all times, and not only for weddings and funerals. But we must not miss the library; books behind glass doors reaching to the ceiling, in Chippendale cabinets of mahogany, and leather - smelly book leather - and we must hare a Franklin stove with brass balls and spread eagles - - but we do really want that sort of thing. Now please tell me why - or shall I repeat what I have already said? That type of house represents dignity, education, cultivation and home, as no other style devised by man can do. It is the apogee of civilized domestic architecture. Your kiddies will grow up here with respect for the truth and an admiration for gentle cultivation. You the mother and you the father will go about your several duties with the assurance of being properly garbed for all occasions, and you will welcome the coming and sigh with the parting guest. Is this not your dream?
The man's house - his castle - where Ms kiddies have the measles, and his daughter marries (not in the parlor), and his son grows to college years, and carries away with his grit, along with his sister, the memory of home. Imagine, if you dare, this being done with that monstrosity, the so-called, misnamed "Mission" with its wooden walls, wire lath and stucco.
I cannot think of any other fit style for a house, except Elizabethan, which has much of the classic - enough to save it, and the Tudor, which also leans in a most suggestive manner toward the same influence. There is, of course, nothing in the way of a French domestic style - and what have you left?
There are two dominating types of the classic in this country, though they overlap and slip the one into the other in the most interesting manner. Each district or township has its peculiarities. The two predominant factors were the Puritan or Roundhead (a synonym for hard-head) and the Cavalier or gentry of England. The influence of the Dutch is slight and the type of William Penn differed little from his neighbor of New England. In the extreme north and south were the Latins, who had little influence.
While the Latins were brilliant, they did not have the staying qualities of the Anglo-Saxon,
We have, therefore, the two types with the local variations and traditions of caste and religion as influences. Remember, also, that the element of trade, which settled the coast and the rivers, helped to combine the ship carver or joiner with the landsman, and that prosperity, which always comes because of trade, allowed this type to develop faster towards a more finished product. They were travelers also, and, of course, took advantage of their opportunities.
New England is, or was, primarily Massachusetts and the smaller states along the Sound. The best examples of our style in the north are within a radius of one hundred miles of the city of Boston, though I have found most beautiful examples of Christopher Wren churches and of squire's houses, with delightful detail, in the remote towns of northern New England. And, of course, when we examine the Berkshires, we find evidence of wealth and culture also. Long Island got some of this New England influence, though we will discover a subtle change taking place in New York State - an influence which is traceable to the remnants of the Dutch temperament. This extends throughout Jersey, and loses itself in another shade in Pennsylvania, The Philadelphians had the same separate and distinct color that we have found among the Boston people. The Swedes, Quakers and Shakers, and what-nots of that sort, have left local colorings throughout Delaware, West Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Then we begin to slip softly into another distinct area before we reach the Virginian or the Cavalier gentleman. Baltimore and its environs is something of the South, a little bit of New England, Jacobite and Roundhead. And then the delightful atmosphere of the Middle South, the tobacco-producing and slave-using country, with its feudal lords and great plantations.
The people are mostly of the same breed as the Northerners, but with gentler blood, and a more continued and intimate association with the progress going on in the mother country; people educated more in the fancies of life, possibly, than in the facts, as were the more austere type of the North, but still English and loyal to the Crown.
The Colonial gentlemen used brick for the walls, with the Flemish bond, a "header" and "stretcher," a method of bonding intended for a two-brick-thick wall, as the header properly ties and appears on both faces. These headers frequently being used as arch brick, coming near the fire in the kiln, were darker and were laid with wide joints, which was not an affectation, shell lime not finely ground calling for a coarse mixture in the mortar. At the levels where floor beams are supported by the wall, you will notice a projection or band, and in the gables, a twisted scrap of iron, which ties through the brickwork into the framing and prevents spreading.