The Amiable American Stranger
I went to the Farmers’ Market yesterday morning which was full of its usual hustle and bustle. Unusually though, the bells from the nearby church were tolling throughout my whole time there. I don’t know whether it was the bells or whether it was the sun shining down into the church yard, but I decided to take a wander through the cemetery before catching my bus.
The graves in St Cuthbert’s cemetery all seem to date from the 1700s – 1800s, and some are in states of better repair than others. Some of the stones are completely illegible now due to time, weather, and sometimes, vandalism. One of the stones that I came across was extraordinarily clear and it greatly intrigued me. For me, it was like the fragment of a story; a greatly abbreviated narrative of a character in a historical romance.
This is the marker:
In case it doesn’t show up clearly on your browser, here’s the transcript:
IN MEMORY OF
BORN AT TORRINGFORD, CONNECTICUT
16th JULY 1793
GRADUATED AT YALE COLLEGE, 1816
VISITED EUROPE TO PURSUE HIS STUDIES
AND RESTORE HIS HEALTH, 1823
DIED AT EDINBURGH, 24TH NOV 1823
HIS FRIENDS HERE
WHO CHEERED HIS LAST HOURS
AND COMMITTED HIS REMAINS
TO THIS GRAVE
KNEW, AND RECOGNIZED, HIM AS
THE AMIABLE AMERICAN STRANGER
I don’t know what it is exactly, but I find this really moving, and it makes me want to know more. What a wonderful epitaph, though: “The Amiable American Stranger”.