Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/561

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541
AFTER A QUARTER OF A CENTURY

VI

After all, there is beauty enough left to last my time, and I suppose with that I should be content. But I cannot help thinking of the future, cannot help wondering, now that I see the change the last quarter of a century has made, what the next will do for Philadelphia—whether after twenty-five years more a vestige of my Philadelphia will survive. I do not believe it will; I may be wrong, but I am giving my impressions for what they are worth, and nothing on my return impressed me so much as the change everywhere and in everything. I think any American, from no matter what part of the country, who has been away so long, must, on going back, be impressed in the same way—must feel with me that America is growing day by day into something as different as possible from his America. For my part, I am just as glad I shall not live to see the Philadelphia that is to emerge from the present chaos, since I have not the shadow of a doubt that, whatever it may be, it will be as unlike Philadelphia as I have just learned to know it again, as this new Philadelphia is unlike my old Philadelphia, the beautiful, peaceful town where roses bloomed in the sunny back-yards and people lived in dignity behind the plain red brick fronts of the long narrow streets.