We caught the first train out this morning. It didn’t occur to us that it might be hard to find a restaurant open that early in Boston Square. We wandered through four…five…eight blocks of closed stores in the clothing district. Jenny saying, every block or so, that she was sure we were on the verge of it, she had a feeling, and loving every minute of it. I was sore. We ate breakfast at Au Bon Pain. Jenny repeated it every time I said it, though I was sure I was saying it just the way she was. There was a shop where we stopped to buy her a hat, because she was cold. I bought one instead, and wore it the rest of the day.
We found a wonderful little church with a Parish House and courtyard. A single leafless tree stood in the center, and by it a statue of St. Francis holding a bird in his hands. The lady in the church entry told me wandering wasn’t allowed on Good Friday. “I guess we’ll pray then,” I said. I like to wander while I pray. We spent the morning at the central library where I discovered a George McDonald book I have long wanted to read and been unable to find. “You have to have a bill with a Massachusetts address to get a library card,” said Jenny, “They never let anyone without one.” “They’ll let me,” I said. “They’ll never let you,” she said. I now have a new library card.
Lunch was had at an Irish Pub, the music and waitress’ accent were great, as was the ale, naturally. At least, Jenny pointed out that I might very well try some even if she couldn’t, and I pointed out that it would be in poor character, since I’d just joined a temperance society. We sat in the corner and read outloud Mr. Vane’s conversation with the Raven, which was better even than reading poetry on the train.
From there we went to the Fine Arts Museum, hoping it would be free with our student IDs. “It will be,” I said. “And I’m going to believe you this time,” said Jenny. The student price was $12.00. We hung our heads and left, but decided before we got to the bottom of the steps outside that it would be an insult to the day if we gave up so easily. So we turn back and ended up seeing the whole museum without having to pay a cent. I tarried long at one of the paintings in the main gallery. Jesus lay on the ground, naked, beaten, and bleeding, reaching helplessly for the purple robe they’d given him, and the angels hung back for the sheer presence of his glory, their faces filled with adoration. We found St. Francis there, also, standing in his crypt, staring up at the sky. “He looks so intent,” said Jenny, “almost deliriously happy.”
We bought a pretzel from a man with a cart at the train station, he literally took the pretzel off it’s rack and heated it up in a microwave, then gave it to us. Inevitably, we got on the wrong train going back and ended up in a place called Manchester by the Sea, where we found a used book store called Manchester by the Book and sat leafing through classics till our Uncle Todd found us and brought us home. The pleasant thing about living on a cape is that it’s fairly hard to get far from where you’re supposed to be, since you’re surrounded by water on three sides. Dinner was an odd assortment of wonderful things. We watched North & South and all fell in love, just a little. And came home dreaming.