My local feelings were stirred very sadly by my first view of
New England, on arriving from Montreal, and journeying all
one day through the beautiful desolate country of
Vermont. Those hills had once, I suppose, been covered with
primæval forest; the forest was razed to make sheep
pastures for the English settlers; now the sheep are gone,
and most of the descendants of the settlers; and a new forest
appeared blazing with the melancholy glory of October maple
and beech and birch scattered among the evergreens; and
after this procession of scarlet and gold and purple
wilderness you descend to the sordor of the halfdead mill
towns of southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It is
not necessarily those lands which are the most fertile or
most favoured in climate that seem to me the happiest, but
those in which a long struggle of adaptation
between man and his environment has brought out the best
qualities of both; in which the landscape has been moulded
by numerous generations of one race, and in which the
landscape in turn has modified the race to its own character.
And those New England mountains seemed to me to give
evidence of a human success ) meagre and transitory as to
be more desperate than the desert.
Eliot, T.S. AFTER TRANGE GODS. lONDON: fABER, 1934: 16-17.