Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/84

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64
OUR PHILADELPHIA

of military parades in broiling sunshine and of the City Troop filling the quiet streets with their gorgeousness which awed me long before the knowledge of their historic origin and uniform inspired me with reverence.


VI

Other duties and pleasures and observances that for most Philadelphia children were scattered through the interminable year, were crowded into my short holiday: visits to the dentist, to Dr. Hopkins, Dr. White's assistant, it being a test of Philadelphia respectability to have one's teeth seen to by Dr. White or one of his assistants or students, and the regular appointment was as much of obligation for me as Mass on Sunday; visits to the Academy of Fine Arts in the old Chestnut Street building, as I remember set back at the end of a court that made of it a place apart, a consecrated place which I entered with as little anticipation of amusement as St. Joseph's Church hidden in Willing's Alley, and was the more surprised therefore to be entertained, as I must have been, by Benjamin West, for of no other painter there have I the faintest recollection; visits to the Academy of Natural Sciences, where I liked the rows upon rows of stuffed birds, and the strange things in bottles, and the colossal skeletons that filled me with the same delicious shivers as the stories of afreets and genii in The Arabian Nights; visits to Fairmount Park, leagues away, houses left behind before it