ePub 版

No word was spoken :
There stood the Hurons
On the dank greensward,
With their swart faces
Bowed in the twilight.
What did they see there?
Only a Lily
Rocked on the azure
Breast of the water.

Then they turned sadly
Each to the other,
Tenderly murmuring,
“ Miantowona !”
Soft as the der falls
Down through the midnight,
Cleaving the starlight,
Echo repeated,
“ Miantowona !”




UNDAY, April 9, 1843.— .... Af- came a knock at my study-door, and,

ter finishing my record in the jour- behold, there was Molly with a letter ! nal, I sat a long time in grandmother's How she came by it I did not ask, bechair, thinking of many things..... ing content to suppose it was brought My spirits were at a lower ebb than by a heavenly messenger. I had not exthey ever descend to when I am not pected a letter ; and what a comfort it alone; nevertheless, neither was I ab- was to me in my loneliness and sombresolutely sad. Many times I wound and ness! I called Molly to take her note rewound Mr. Thoreau's little musical (enclosed), which she received with a box; but certainly its peculiar sweet- face of delight as broad and bright as ness had evaporated, and I am pretty the kitchen fire. Then I read, and resure that I should throw it out of the read, and re-re-read, and quadruply, window were I doomed to hear it long quintuply, and sextuply re-read my and often. It has not an infinite soul. epistle, until I had it all by heart, and When it was almost as dark as the then continued to re-read it for the moonlight would let it be, I lighted the sake of the penmanship. Then I took lamp, and went on with Tieck's tale, up the phrase-book again ; but could slowly and painfully, often wishing for not study, and so bathed and retired, help in my difficulties. At last I de- it being now not far from ten o'clock. termined to learn a little about pro- I lay awake a good deal in the night, nouns and verbs before proceeding but saw no ghost. further, and so took up the phrase- I arose about seven, and found that book, with which I was commendably the upper part of my nose, and the region busy, when, at about a quarter to nine, round about, was grievously discolored ;

[ocr errors]

and at the angle of the left eye there ice came floating down the current, is a great spot of almost black purple, which, though not very violent, hurried and a broad streak of the same hue along at a much swifter pace than the semicircling beneath either eye, while ordinary one of our sluggish river-god. green, yellow, and orange overspread These ice-masses, when they struck the the circumjacent country. It looks not barrier of ice above mentioned, acted unlike a gorgeous sunset, throwing its upon it like a battering-ram, and were splendor over the heaven of my coun- themselves forced high out of the water, tenance. It will behoove me to show or sometimes carried beneath the main myself as little as possible ; else people sheet of ice. At last, down the stream will think I have fought a pitched bat- came an immense mass of ice, and, tle. .... The Devil take the stick of striking the barrier about at its centre, wood! What had I done, that it should it gave way, and the whole was swept bemaul me so ? However, there is no onward together, leaving the river enpain, though, I think, a very slight tirely free, with only here and there a affection of the eyes.

cake of ice floating quietly along. The This forenoon I began to write, and great accumulation, in its downward caught an idea by the skirts, which I course, hit against a tree that stood in intend to hold fast, though it struggles mid-current, and caused it to quiver to get free. As it was not ready to be like a reed; and it swept quite over the put upon paper, however, I took up the shrubbery that bordered what, in sumDial, and finished reading the article mer-time, is the river's bank, but which on Mr. Alcott. It is not very satisfac- is now nearly the centre of the stream. tory, and it has not taught me much. Our river in its present state has quite Then I read Margaret's article on a noble breadth. The little hillock Canova, which is good. About this which formed the abutment of the old time the dinner-bell rang, and I went bridge is now an island with its tuft of down without much alacrity, though trees. Along the hither shore a row with a good appetite enough. .... It of trees stand up to their knees, and was in the angle of my right eye, not the smaller ones to their middles, in the my left, that the blackest purple was water; and afar off, on the surface of collected. But they both look like the the stream, we see tufts of bushes very Devil.

emerging, thrusting up their heads, as Half past five o'clock. After writing it were, to breathe. The water comes the above, .... I again set to work on over the stone wall, and encroaches Tieck's tale, and worried through sev- several yards on the boundaries of our eral pages ; and then, at half past orchard. [Here the supper-bell rang.) four, threw open one of the western If our boat were in good order, I should windows of my study, and sallied forth now set forth on voyages of discovery, to take the sunshine. I went down and visit nooks on the borders of the through the orchard to the river-side. meadows, which by and by will be a The orchard-path is still deeply cov- mile or two from the water's edge. But ered with snow; and so is the whole she is in very bad condition, full of wavisible universe, except streaks upon ter, and, doubtless, as leaky as a sieve. the hillsides, and spots in the sunny On coming from supper, I found that hollows, where the brown earth peeps little Puss had established herself in through. The river, which a few days the study, probably with intent to pass ago was entirely imprisoned, has now the night here. She now lies on the broken its fetters; but a tract of ice footstool between my feet, purring most extended across from near the foot of obstreperously. The day of my wife's the monument to the abutment of the departure, she came to me, talking with old bridge, and looked so solid that I the greatest earnestness ; but whether supposed it would yet remain for a day it was to condole with me on my loss, or two. Large cakes and masses of or to demand my redoubled care for

[ocr errors]


herself, I could not well make out. As mer is a very foolish mode of spelling), Puss now constitutes a third part of the over our earthly vittles is diffused a family, this mention of her will not ap- sauce of lofty and gentle thoughts, and pear amiss. How Molly employs her- tough meat is mollified with tender self, I know not. Once in a while, I feelings. But oh ! these solitary meals hear a door slam like a thunder-clap; are the dismallest part of my present but she never shows her face, nor experience. When the company rose speaks a word, unless to announce a from table, they all, in my single pervisitor or deliver a letter. This day, son, ascended to the study, and emon my part, will have been spent with- ployed themselves in reading the article out exchanging a syllable with any hu- on Oregon in the Democratic Review. man being, unless something unfore- Then they plodded onward in the rugseen should yet call for the exercise of ged and bewildering depths of Tieck's speech before bedtime.

tale until five o'clock, when, with one

accord, they went out to split wood. dionday, April 10. - I sat till eight This has been a gray day, with now o'clock, meditating upon this world and and then a sprinkling of snow-flakes the next, .... and sometimes dimly through the air. .... To-day no more shaping out scenes of a tale. Then than yesterday have I spoken a worel betook myself to the German phrase to mortal. ..... It is now sunset, and book. Ah! these are but dreary even- I must meditate till dark. ings. The lamp would not brighten my spirits, though it was duly filled. April 11. - I meditated accordingly,

This forenoon was spent in scrib- but without any very wonderful result. bling, by no means to my satisfaction, Then at eight o'clock bothered myself until past eleven, when I went to the till after nine with this eternal tale of village. Nothing in our box at the Tieck. The forenoon was spent in scribpost-office. I read during the custom- bling; but at eleven o'clock my thoughts ary hour, or more, at the Athenæum, ceased to flow, — indeed, their current and returned without saying a word to has been wofully interrupted all along, mortal. I gathered from some conver- so I threw down my pen, and set out sation that I heard, that a son of Adam on the daily journey to the village. Horis to be buried this afternoon from the rible walking! I wasted the customary meeting-house ; but the name of the hour at the Athenæum, and returned deceased escaped me. It is no great home, if home it may now be called. matter, so it be but written in the Book Till dinner-time I labored on Tieck's of Life.

tale, and resumed that agreeable emMy variegated face looks somewhat ployment after the banquet. more human to-day ; though I was un- Just when I was at the point of chokaffectedly ashamed to meet anybody's ing with a huge German word, Molly gaze, and therefore turned my back or announced Mr. Thoreau. He wished my shoulder as much as possible upon to take a row in the boat, for the the world. At dinner, behold an im- last time, perhaps, before he leaves mense joint of roast veal! I would Concord. So we emptied the water willingly have had some assistance in out of her, and set forth on our voythe discussion of this great piece of age. She leaks, but not more than she caif. I am ashamed to eat alone; it did in the autumn. We rowed to the becomes the mere gratification of ani- foot of the hill which borders the North mal appetite, - the tribute which we Branch, and there landed, and climbed are compelled to pay to our grosser the moist and snowy hillside for the nature ; whereas in the company of sake of the prospect. Looking down another it is refined and moralized the river, it might well have been misand spiritualized ; and over our earthly taken for an arm of the sea, so broad victuals (or rather vittles, for the for- is now its swollen tide ; and I could


have fancied that, beyond one other covered hill and valley, is now diminheadland, the mighty ocean would out- ished to one or two solitary specks in spread itself before the eye. On our the visible landscape ; though doubtreturn we boarded a large cake of ice, less there are still heaps of it in the which was floating down the river, and shady places in the woods. There were borne by it directly to our own have been no violent rains to carry it landing - place, with the boat towing off : it has diminished gradually, inch behind.

by inch, and day after day; and I obParting with Mr. Thoreau I spent served, along the roadside, that the half an hour in chopping wood, when green blades of grass had sometimes Molly informed me that Mr. Emerson sprouted on the very edge of the snowwished to see me. He had brought a drift, the moment that the earth was letter of Ellery Channing, written in

uncovered. a style of very pleasant humor. This The pastures and grass-fields have being read and discussed, together with not yet a general effect of green; nor a few other matters, he took his leave, have they that cheerless brown tint since which I have been attending to which they wear in later autumn, when my journalizing duty; and thus this vegetation has entirely ceased. There record is brought down to the present is now a suspicion of verdure, the moment.

faint shadow of it, — but not the warm

reality. Sometimes, in a happy exposApril 25. Spring is advancing, ure, — there is one such tract across sometimes with sunny days, and some- the river, the carefully cultivated mowtimes, as is the case now, with chill, ing-field, in front of an old red homemoist, sullen ones. There is an influ- stead, — such patches of land wear a ence in the season that makes it almost beautiful and tender green, which no impossible for me to bring my mind other season will equal ; because, let down to literary employment; perhaps the grass be green as it may hereafter, because several months' pretty constant it will not be so set off by surrounding work has exhausted that species of en- barrenness.

The trees in our orchard, ergy, — perhaps because in spring it is and elsewhere, have as yet no leaves; more natural to labor actively than to yet to the most careless eye they apthink. But my impulse now is to be pear full of life and vegetable blood. idle altogether,

to lie in the sun, or It seems as if, by one magic touch, wander about and look at the revival they might instantaneously put forth of Nature from her deathlike slum- all their foliage, and the wind, which ber, or to be borne down the current now sighs through their naked branches, of the river in my boat. If I had wings, might all at once find itself impeded by I would gladly fly; yet would prefer to innumerable leaves. This sudden debe wasted along by a breeze, sometimes velopment would be scarcely more wonalighting on a patch of green grass, derful than the gleam of verdure which then gently whirled away to a still often brightens, in a moment, as it sunnier spot. ....0, how blest should were, along the slope of a bank or roadI be were there nothing to do! Then side. It is like a gleam of sunlight. I would watch every inch and hair's Just now it was brown, like the rest of breadth of the progress of the season; the scenery: look again, and there is and not a leaf should put itself forth, an apparition of green grass.

The in the vicinity of our old mansion, with- Spring, no doubt, comes onward with out my noting it. But now, with the fleeter footsteps, because Winter has burden of a continual task upon me, lingered so long that, at best, she can I have not freedom of mind to make hardly retrieve half the allotted term of such observations. I merely see what her reign. is going on in a very general way. The i The river, this season, has encroached snow, which, two or three weeks ago, farther on the land than it has been known to do for twenty years past. “ four-and-twenty" who were baked in It has formed along its course a suc- a pie — that congregate on the tops of cession of lakes, with a current through contiguous trees, and vociferate with the midst. My boat has lain at the bot- all the clamor of a turbulent political tom of the orchard, in very convenient meeting. Politics must certainly be proximity to the house. It has borne the subject of such a tumultuous deme over stone fences; and, a few days bate ; but still there is a melody in ago, Ellery Channing and I passed each individual utterance, and a harthrough two rails into the great north- mony in the general effect. Mr. Thoern road, along which we paddled for reau tells me that these noisy assemsome distance. The trees have a sin- blages consist of three different species gular appearance in the midst of wa- of blackbirds ; but I forget the other ters. The curtailment of their trunks two. Robins have been long among quite destroys the proportions of the us, and swallows have more recently whole tree ; and we become conscious arrived. of a regularity and propriety in the forms of Nature, by the effect of this April 26. Here is another misty abbreviation. The waters are now sub- day, muffling the sun. The lilac shrubs siding, but gradually. Islands become under my study-window are almost in annexed to the mainland, and other leaf. In two or three days more, I may islands emerge from the flood, and will put forth my hand and pluck a green soon, likewise, be connected with the bough. These lilacs appear to be very continent. We have seen on a small aged, and have lost the luxuriant foscale the process of the deluge, and liage of their prime. Old age has a can now witness that of the reappear- singular aspect in lilacs, rose-bushes, ance of the earth.

and other ornamental shrubs. It seems Crows visited us long before the as if such things, as they grow only for snow was off. They seem mostly to beauty, ought to flourish in immortal have departed now, or else to have youth, or at least to die before their betaken themselves to remote depths decrepitude. They are trees of Para. of the woods, which they haunt all dise, and therefore not naturally subject summer long. Ducks came in great to decay; but have lost their birthright numbers, and many sportsmen went by being transplanted hither. There in pursuit of them, along the river ; is a kind of ludicrous unfitness in the but they also have disappeared. Gulls idea of a venerable rose-bush ; and come up from seaward, and soar high there is something analogous to this overhead, flapping their broad wings in human life. Persons who can only in the upper sunshine. They are be graceful and ornamental — who can among the most picturesque birds that give the world nothing but Aowers — I am acquainted with ; indeed, quite should die young, and never be seen the most so, because the manner of with gray hairs and wrinkles, any more their fight makes them almost sta- than the flower-shrubs with mossy bark tionary parts of the landscape. The and scanty foliage, like the lilacs under imagination has time to rest upon

my window.

Not that beauty is not them ; they have not fitted away in worthy of immortality. Nothing else, a moment. You go up among the indeed, is worthy of it ; and thence, clouds, and lay hold of these soaring perhaps, the sense of impropriety when gulls, and repose with them upon the we see it triumphed over by time. Apsustaining atmosphere. The smaller ple-trees, on the other hand, grow old birds, – the birds that build their nests without reproach. Let them live as long in our trees, and sing for us at morn- as they may, and contort themselves in ing-red, - I will not describe. .... But whatever fashion they please, they are I must mention the great companies still respectable, even if they afford us of blackbirds — more than the famous only an apple or two in a season, or

« 上一頁繼續 »