網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

squash-bugs, who, were I to let them of the procession of the wild flowers, alone for a day, would perhaps quite as minute, at least, as of the kitchen destroy the prospects of the whole sum- vegetables and pot-herbs. Above all, mer. It is impossible not to feel angry the noting of the appearance of the with these unconscionable insects, who first roses should not be omitted ; nor scruple not to do such excessive mis- of the Arethusa, one of the delicatchief to me, with only the profit of a est, gracefullest, and in every manner meal or two to themselves. For their sweetest of the whole race of flowers. own sakes they ought at least to wait For a fortnight past I have found it in till the squashes are better grown. Why the swampy meadows, growing up to is it, I wonder, that Nature has provid- its chin in leaps of wet moss. Its hue ed such a host of enemies for every is a delicate pink, of various depths of useful esculent, while the weeds are shade, and somewhat in the form of suffered to grow unmolested, and are a Grecian helmet. To describe it is a provided with such tenacity of life, and feat beyond my power. Also the visit such methods of propagation, that the of two friends, who may fitly enough gardener must maintain a continual be mentioned among flowers, ought to struggle or they will hopelessly over- have been described. Mrs. F. Swhelm him? What hidden virtue is and Miss A. S- Also I have negthere in these things, that it is granted lected to mention the birth of a little them to sow themselves with the wind, white dove. and to grapple the earth with this immit- I never observed, until the present igable stubbornness, and to flourish in season, how long and late the twilight spite of obstacles, and never to suffer lingers in these longest days. The blight beneath any sun or shade, but orange hue of the western horizon realways to mock their enemies with the mains till ten o'clock, at least, and how same wicked luxuriance? It is truly a much later I am unable to say. The mystery, and also a symbol. There is night before last, I could distinguish a sort of sacredness about then. Per letters by this lingering gleam between haps, if we could penetrate Nature's nine and ten o'clock. The dawn, I secrets, we should find that what we suppose, shows itself as early as two call weeds are more essential to the o'clock, so that the absolute dominion well-being of the world than the most of night has dwindled to almost nothprecious fruit or grain. This may be ing. There seems to be also a didoubted, however, for there is an un- minished necessity, or, at all events, mistakable analogy between these wick- a much less possibility, of sleep than at ed weeds and the bad habits and sinful other periods of the year. I get scarcely propensities which have overrun the any sound repose just now. It is summoral world ; and we may as well imag- mer, and not winter, that steals away ine that there is good in one as in the mortal life. Well, we get the value of other.

what is taken from us. Our peas are in such forwardness that I should not wonder if we had Saturday, July 1. — We had our first some of them on the table within a dish of green peas (a very small one) week. The beans have come up ill, yesterday. Every day for the last week and I planted a fresh supply only the has been tremendously hot; and our day before yesterday. We have water- garden flourishes like Eden itself, only melons in good advancement, and musk- Adam could hardly have been doomed melons also within three or four days. to contend with such a ferocious banI set out some tomatoes last night, ditti of weeds. also some capers. It is my purpose to plant some more corn at the end of Sunday, July 9. — I know not what the month, or sooner. There ought to to say, and yet cannot be satisfied be a record of the flower-garden, and without marking with a word or two

this anniversary. ..... But life now weather has since been as moist as the swells and heaves beneath me like a thirstiest soul could desire. brim-full ocean ; and the endeavor to comprise any portion of it in words is Wednesday, September 13. - There like trying to dip up the ocean in a was a frost the night before last, acgoblet..... God bless and keep us! cording to George Prescott; but no for there is something more awful in effects of it were visible in our garden. happiness than in sorrow, - the latter Last night, however, there was another, being earthly and finite, the former which has nipped the leaves of the composed of the substance and texture winter-squashes and cucumbers, but of eternity, so that spirits still embodied seems to have done no other damage. may well tremble at it.

This is a beautiful morning, and prom

ises to be one of those heavenly days July 18. — This morning I gathered that render autumn, after all, the most our first summer-squashes. We should delightful season of the year.

We have had them some days earlier, but mean to make a voyage on the river for the loss of two of the vines, either this afternoon. by a disease of the roots or by those infernal bugs. We have had turnips Sunday, September 23. - I have gathand carrots several times. Currants ered the two last of our summer-squashare now ripe, and we are in the full es to-day. They have lasted ever since enjoyment of cherries, which turn out the 18th of July, and have numbered much more delectable than I antici- fifty-eight edible ones, of excellent qualpated. George Hillard and Mrs. Hil- ity. Last Wednesday, I think, I harlard paid us a visit on Saturday last. vested our winter squashes, sixty-three On Monday afternoon he left us, and in number, and mostly of fine size. Our Mrs. Hillard still remains here.

last series of green corn, planted about

the ist of July, was good for eating two Friday, July 28. — We had green or three days ago. We still have beans; corn for dinner yesterday, and shall and our tomatoes, though backward, have some more to-day, not quite full supply us with a dish every day or two. grown, but sufficiently so to be palat- My potato-crop promises well; and, on able. There has been no rain, except the whole, my first independent experione moderate shower, for many weeks ; ment of agriculture is quite and the earth appears to be wasting ful one. away in a slow fever. This weather, I This is a glorious day, — bright, very think, affects the spirits very unfavor- warm, yet with an unspeakable gentleably. There is an irksomeness, a rest- ness both in its warmth and brightlessness, a pervading dissatisfaction, ness. On such days it is impossible together with an absolute incapacity to not to love Nature, for she evidently bend the mind to any serious effort. loves us. At other seasons she does With me, as regards literary produc- not give me this impression, or only tion, the summer has been unprofit- at very rare intervals ; but in these hapable; and I only hope that my forces py, autumnal days, when she has perare recruiting themselves for the au- fected the harvests, and accomplished tumn and winter. For the future, I every necessary thing that she had to shall endeavor to be so diligent nine do, she overflows with a blessed supermonths of the year that I may allow fluity of love. It is good to be alive myself a full and free vacation of the now.

Thank God for breath, — yes, other three.

for mere breath! when it is made up

of such a heavenly breeze as this. It Monday, July 31. — We had our comes to the cheek with a real kiss ; first cucumber yesterday. There were it would linger fondly around us, if it symptoms of rain on Saturday, and the might; but, since it must be gone, it

success

caresses us with its whole kindly heart, without design ; and yet there was perand passes onward, to caress likewise fect harmony among them, and a softthe next thing that it meets. There is ness and a delicacy made up of a thoua pervading blessing diffused over all sand different brightnesses. There is the world. I look out of the window not, I think, so much contrast among and think, “O perfect day! O beauti- these colors as might at first appear. ful world ! O good God !” And such The more you consider them, the more a day is the promise of a blissful eter- they seem to have one element among nity. Our Creator would never have them all, which is the reason that the made such weather, and given us the most brilliant display of them soothes deep heart to enjoy it, above and be the observer, instead of exciting him. yond all thought, if He had not meant And I know not whether it be more a us to be immortal. It opens the gates moral effect or a physical one, operatof heaven, and gives us glimpses faring merely on the eye ; but it is a peninward.

sive gayety, which causes a sigh often, Bless me! this flight has carried me and never a smile. We never fancy, a great way; so now let me come back for instance, that these gayly-clad trees to our old abbey. Our orchard is fast might be changed into young damsels ripening; and the apples and great in holiday attire, and betake themselves thumping pears strew the grass in such to dancing on the plain. If they were abundance that it becomes almost a to undergo such a transformation, they trouble — though a pleasant one- to would surely arrange themselves in gather them. This happy breeze, too, funeral procession, and go sadly along, shakes them down, as if it Aung fruit with their purple and scarlet and goldto us out of the sky; and often, when en garments trailing over the withthe air is perfectly still, I hear the ering grass. When the sunshine falls quiet fall of a great apple. Well, we upon them, they seem to smile ; but it are rich in blessings, though poor in is as if they were heart-broken. But it money.....

is in vain for me to attempt to describe

these autumnal brilliancies, or to conFriday, October 6. - Yesterday after- vey the impression which they make noon I took a solitary walk to Wal

I have tried a thousand times, den Pond. It was a cool, windy day, and always without the slightest selfwith heavy clouds rolling and tumbling satisfaction. Fortunately there is no about the sky, but still a prevalence need of such a record, for Nature of genial autumn sunshine. The fields renews the picture year after are still green, and the great masses even when we shall have passed away of the woods have not yet assumed from the world, we can spiritually cretheir many-colored garments; but here ate these scenes, so that we may disand there are solitary oaks of deep, sub- pense with all efforts to put them into stantial red, or maples of a more bril- words. liant hue, or chestnuts either yellow or Walden Pond was clear and beautiof a tenderer green than in summer. ful as usual. It tempted me to bathe ; Some trees seem to return to their hue and, though the water was thrillingly of May or early June before they put cold, it was like the thrill of a happy on the brighter autumnal tints. In death. Never was there such transsome places, along the borders of low parent water as this. I threw sticks and moist land, a whole range of trees into it, and saw them float suspended were clothed in the perfect gorgeous

on an almost invisible medium. It ness of autumn, of all shades of bril- seemed as if the pure air were beneath liant color, looking like the palette on them, as well as above. It is fit for which Nature was arranging the tints baptisms; but one would not wish it wherewith to paint a picture. These

to be polluted by having sins washed hues appeared to be thrown together into it. None but angels should bathe

on me,

year; and

in it; but blessed babies might be floor. The visitor's nose takes note dipped into its bosom.

of the fragrance of a pipe. And yet, In a small and secluded dell that with all these homely items, the repose opens upon the most beautiful cove of and sanctity of the old wood do not the whole lake, there is a little hamlet seem to be destroyed or profaned. It of huts or shanties, inhabited by the overshadows these poor people, and Irish people who are at work upon the assimilates them somehow or other to railroad. There are three or four of the character of its natural inhabitants. these habitations, the very rudest, I Their presence did not shock me any should imagine, that civilized men ever more than if I had merely discovered made for themselves, - constructed of a squirrel's nest in a tree. To be sure, rough boards, with the protruding ends. it is a torment to see the great, high, Against some of them the earth is ugly embankment of the railroad, which heaped up to the roof, or nearly so; here thrusting itself into the lake, and when the grass has had time to or along its margin, in close vicinity to sprout upon them, they will look like this picturesque little hamlet. I have small natural hillocks, or a species of seldom seen anything more beautiful ant-hills, something in which Nature than the cove on the border of which has a larger share than man. These the huts are situated ; and the more I huts are placed beneath the trees, looked, the lovelier it grew. The trees oaks, walnuts, and white-pines, wher- overshadowed it deeply ; but on one ever the trunks give them space to side there was some brilliant shrubbery stand ; and by thus adapting them- which seemed to light up the whole selves to natural interstices, instead of picture with the effect of a sweet and making new ones, they do not break or melancholy smile. I felt as if spirits disturb the solitude and seclusion of were there, or as if these shrubs had the place. Voices are heard, and the a spiritual life. In short, the impresshouts and laughter of children, who sion was indefinable ; and, after gazing play about like the sunbeams that come and musing a good while, I retraced down through the branches. Women my steps through the Irish hamlet, and are washing in open spaces, and long plodded on along a wood-path. lines of whitened clothes are extended According to my invariable custom, from tree to tree, fluttering and gam- I mistook my way; and, emerging upon bolling in the breeze. A pig, in a the road, I turned my back instead of sty even more extemporary than the my face towards Concord, and walked shanties, is grunting and poking his on very diligently till a guide-board snout through the clefts of his habita- informed me of my mistake. I then tion. The household pots and kettles turned about, and was shortly overare seen at the doors; and a glance taken by an old yeoman in a chaise, within shows the rough benches that who kindly offered me a drive, and serve for chairs, and the bed upon the soon set me down in the village.

THE NORMAN CONQUEST.

power.

THIS "HIS month of October completes Zama, impresses us as having been a

the eighth century since the bat- “ dishonest victory," to borrow the tle of Hastings, perhaps the most im- words with which Milton so emphatiportant action that the modern world cally characterizes Chæronea. But has known, with the single exception 6 cool reflection " leads to other conof the conflict that checked the ad- clusions, and justifies the earthly course vance of the Saracens in Europe in of Providence, against which we are so the eighth century, — if the battle of often disposed to complain. There can Tours can properly be considered an be no doubt, in the mind of any moral event of modern history. The issue man, that the invasion of England by of the battle of Hastings determined Duke William was a wicked proceedthe course of English history; and ing, that it was even worse than when we observe how influential has Walker's invasions of Spanish-Ameribeen the part of England ever since it can countries, and as bad as an unwas fought, and bear in mind that the provoked attack on Cuba by this counEnglish race, great as it is, can scarce- try, such as would have been made ly be said to have got beyond the morn- had the pro-slavery party remained in ing-time of its existence, we find it diffi

But it is not the less true that cult to exaggerate the importance of a much good came from William's acconflict by which its career for eight tion, and that nearly all that is excelhundred years has been deeply and lent in English and American history is permanently colored. There is not a the fruit of that action. The part that great event in English or American England has had in the world's course annals which is not directly traceable for eight centuries, including her stuto what was done in the year 1066 by pendous work of colonization, is secthat buccaneering band which William ond to nothing that has been done by the Bastard led from Normandy to any nation, not even to the doings of England, to enforce a claim that had the Roman republic: and to that part neither a legal nor a moral foundation, Saxon England never could have been and which never could have been es- equal. tablished had Harold's conduct been The race that ruled in England equal to his valor, and had Fortune down to the day of Hastings — call it favored the just cause. The sympa- the Saxon race, if you like the name, thies of every fair-minded reader of the and for convenience' sake story of the Conquest must be with the slow, a sluggish, and a stupid race ; Saxons ; and yet is it impossible to and it never could have made a firstdeny that the event at Hastings was class nation of the insular kingdom. well for the world. It is with Harold There is little in the history of the as it is with Hannibal: our feelings are Saxons that allows us to believe they at war with our judgment as we read were capable of accomplishing anytheir histories. It is not possible to pe- thing that was great. The Danish ruse the noble account that Dr. Arnold invasions, as they are called, were of has left us of the Carthaginian's splen- real use to England, as they prevented did struggle against the Roman aris- that country from reverting to barbartocracy without feeling pained by its ism, which assuredly would have been result. The feelings of men are with its fate had the Anglo-Saxons remained the man, and adverse to the order be- its undisturbed possessors. 6 In the fore which his genius failed. So is it ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries,” with respect to Harold. Hastings, like says Mr. Worsaae, “the Anglo-Saxons

was

a

« 上一頁繼續 »