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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. Monday, 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 waited 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 şide. 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 feeter 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 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
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 fourish 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 Paraof 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 anfitness 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, Aapping 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 flowers — 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
none at all.
Human flower-shrubs, if of chips are strewn about, and on rethey will grow old on earth, should, moving them we find the yellow stalks beside their lovely blossoms, bear some of grass sprouting underneath. Nature kind of fruit that will satisfy earthly does her best to beautify this disarray. appetites; else men will not be sat- The grass springs up most industriousisfied that the moss should gather on ly, especially in sheltered and sunny them.
angles of the buildings, or round the Winter and Spring are now struggling door-steps, - a locality which seems for the mastery in my study; and I yield particularly favorable to its growth; for somewhat to each, and wholly to nei. it is already high enough to bend over ther. The window is open, and there and wave in the wind. I was suris a fire in the stove. The day when prised to observe that some weeds (esthe window is first thrown open should pecially a plant that stains the fingers be an epoch in the year ; but I have with its yellow juice) had lived, and forgotten to record it.
retained their freshness and sap as pereighty springs have visited this old fectly as in summer, through all the house ; and sixty of them found old frosts and snows of last winter. I saw Dr. Ripley here, - not always old, it them, the last green thing, in the auis true, but gradually getting wrinkles tumn; and here they are again, the first and gray hairs, and looking more and in the spring. more the picture of winter. But he was no flower-shrub, but one of those fruit- Thursday, April 27. - I took a walk trees or timber - trees that acquire a into the fields, and round our opposite grace with their old age. Last Spring hill, yesterday noon, but made no very found this house solitary for the first remarkable observation.
The frogs time since it was built; and now again have begun their concerts, though not she peeps into our open windows and as yet with a full choir. I found no finds new faces here. ..
violets nor anemones, nor anything in It is remarkable how much unclean- the likeness of a flower, though I looked ness winter brings with it, or leaves carefully along the shelter of the stone behind it. .... The yard, garden, and walls, and in all spots apparently proavenue, which should be my depart. pitious. I ascended the hill, and had ment, require a great amount of labor. a wide prospect of a swollen river, exThe avenue is strewed with withered tending around me in a semicircle of leaves, the whole crop, apparently, three or four miles, and rendering the of last year,
some of which are now view much finer than in summer, had raked into heaps ; and we intend to there only been foliage. It seemed make a bonfire of them. .... There like the formation of a new world ; for are quantities of decayed branches, islands were everywhere emerging, and which one tempest after another has capes extending forth into the flood; Aung down, black and rotten. In the and these tracts, which were thus won garden are the old cabbages which we from the watery empire, were among did not think worth gathering last au- the greenest in the landscape. The tumn, and the dry bean-vines, and the moment the deluge leaves them, Nawithered stalks of the asparagus-bed; ture asserts them to be her property, in short, all the wrecks of the departed by covering them with verdure ; or year, — its mouldering relics, its dry perhaps the grass had been growing bones. It is a pity that the world can- under the water. On the hill-top where not be made over anew every spring. I stood, the grass had scarcely begun to Then, in the yard, there are the piles sprout; and I observed that even those of firewood, which I ought to have places which looked greenest in the sawed and thrown into the shed long distance were but scantily grass-covsince, but which will cumber the earth, ered when I actually reached them. It I fear, till June, at least. Quantities was hope that painted them so bright.
Last evening we saw a bright light came a frost, which has done great damon the river, betokening that a boat's age to my garden. The beans have party were engaged in spearing fish. suffered very much, although, luckily, It looked like a descended star, - like not more than half that I planted have red Mars, — and, as the water was per- come up. The squashes, both summer fectly smooth, its gleam was reflect- and winter, appear to be almost killed. ed downward into the depths. It is a As to the other vegetables, there is litvery picturesque sight. In the deep tle mischief done, - the potatoes not quiet of the night I suddenly heard the being yet above ground, except two light and lively note of a bird from a or three; and the peas and corn are of neighboring tree, - a real song, such a hardier nature. It is sad that Nature as those which greet the purple dawn, will so sport with us poor mortals, inor mingle with the yellow sunshine. viting us with sunny smiles to confide What could the little bird mean by in her; and then, when we are entirely pouring it forth at midnight? Prob- in her power, striking us to the heart. ably the note gushed out from the midst Our summer commences at the latter of a dream, in which he fancied him- end of June, and terminates somewhere self in Paradise with his mate; and, about the first of August. There are suddenly awaking, he found he was certainly not more than six weeks of on a cold, leafless bough, with a New the whole year when a frost may be England mist penetrating through his deemed anything remarkable. feathers. That was a sad exchange of imagination for reality; but if he Friday, June 23. — Summer has come found his mate beside him, all was at last, — the longest days, with blazwell.
ing sunshine, and fervid heat. YesThis is another misty morning, un- terday glowed like molten brass. Last genial in aspect, but kinder than it night was the most uncomfortably and looks ;
for it paints the hills and val- unsleepably sultry that we have exleys with a richer brush than the sun- perienced since our residence in Conshine could. There is more verdure cord; and to-day it scorches again. I now than when I looked out of the have a sort of enjoyment in these seven window an hour ago. The willow-tree times heated furnaces of midsummer, opposite my study-window is ready to even though they make me droop like put forth its leaves. There are some a thirsty plant. The sunshine can objections to willows. It is not a dry scarcely be too burning for my taste ; and cleanly tree; it impresses me with but I am no enemy to summer-showers. an association of sliminess; and no Could I only have the freedom to be trees, I think, are perfectly satisfactory, perfectly idle now, - no duty to fulfil, which have not a firm and hard texture no mental or physical labor to perof trunk and branches. But the willow form, - I should be as happy as is almost the earliest to put forth its squash, and much in the same mode; leaves, and the last to scatter them on but the necessity of keeping my brain the ground; and during the whole win- at work eats into my comfort, as the ter its yellow twigs give it a sunny as- squash-bugs do into the heart of the pect, which is not without a cheering vines. I keep myself uneasy and proinfluence in a proper point of view. duce little, and almost nothing that is Our old house would lose much were worth producing this willow to be cut down, with its The garden looks well now: the pogolden crown over the roof in winter, tatoes flourish ; the early corn waves and its heap of summer verdure. The in the wind; the squashes, both for present Mr. Ripley planted it, fifty summer and winter use, are more foryears ago, or thereabouts.
ward, I suspect, than those of any of
my neighbors. I am forced, however, Friday, June 2. — Last night there to carry on a continual warfare with the