Sivut kuvina

be reported at length. Suffice it to say, that the departure of the Arrow was deferred for an hour, and when she sailed the state-room in which Hobert had breathed his last was occupied by a lively little lady and two gayly-dressed children, and on the wall from which the fur hat and the saddle-bags had been removed fluttered a variety of rainbowhued scarfs and ribbons, and in the window where the shadow had been a golden-winged bird was singing in the sunshine.

Some two or three weeks went by, and the farmer who had driven to town when Hobert was about to set out on his long journey, starting so smartly, and making so light of the farewells, drove thither again, and this time his wagon-bed was empty, except for the deep cushion of straw. He drove slow

ly and with downcast looks; and as he returned, a dozen men met him at the entrance of the village, and at sober pace followed to the meeting-house, the door of which stood wide.

A little low talk as they all gathered round, and then four of them lifted from the wagon the long box it contained, and bore it on their shoulders reverently and tenderly within the open gate, through the wide door, along the solemn aisle and close beneath the pulpit, where they placed it very softly, and then stood back with uncovered heads, while a troop of little girls, who waited, with aprons full of flowers, drew near and emptied them on the ground, so that nothing was to be seen but a great heap of flowers; and beneath them was the body of HOBERT WALKER

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But round the borders of the land

Dwell many neighbors, fond of roving;
With curious eye and prying hand
About my fields I see them moving.

Some tread my choicest herbage down, And some of weeds would weave a crown, And bid me wear it, unreproving.

"What trees!" says one; "who ever saw
A grove, like this, of my possessing?
This vale offends my upland's law;
This sheltered garden needs suppressing.
My rocks this grass would never yield,
And how absurd the level field!
What here will grow is past my guessing."

"Behold the slope!" another cries:
"No sign of bog or meadow near it!
A varied surface I despise:

There's not a stagnant pool to cheer it!"

"Why plough at all?" remarked a third. "Heaven help the man!" a fourth I heard, "His farm's a jungle: let him clear it!"

No friendly counsel I disdain:

My fields are free to every comer; Yet that, which one to praise is fain, But makes another's visage glummer.

I bow them out, and welcome in, But while I seek some truth to win Goes by, unused, the golden summer!

Ah! vain the hope to find in each
The wisdom each denies the other;

These mazes of conflicting speech

All theories of culture smother.

I'll raise and reap, with honest hand,
The native harvest of my land;

Do thou the same, my wiser brother!



Usually I discern a fragrant white lily, here and there along the shore, growing, with sweet prudishness, beyond the grasp of mortal arm. But it does not escape me so. I know what is its fitting destiny better than the silly flower knows for itself; so I wade in, heedless of wet trousers, and seize the shy lily by its slender stem. Thus I make prize of five or six, which are as many as usually blossom within my reach in a single morning; some of them partially worm-eaten or blighted, like virgins with an eating sorrow at the heart; others as fair and perfect as Nature's own idea was, when she first imagined this lovely flower. A perfect pond-lily is the most satisfactory of flowers. Besides these, I gather whatever else of beautiful chances to be growing in the moist soil by the riverside, an amphibious tribe, yet with more richness and grace than the wildflowers of the deep and dry woodlands and hedge-rows, — sometimes the white arrow-head, always the blue spires and broad green leaves of the pickerelflower, which contrast and harmonize so well with the white lilies. For the last two or three days, I have found scattered stalks of the cardinal-flower, the gorgeous scarlet of which it is a joy even to remember. The world is made brighter and sunnier by flowers of such a hue. Even perfume, which otherwise is the soul and spirit of a flower, may be spared when it arrays itself in this scarlet glory. It is a flower of thought and feeling, too; it seems to have its roots deep down in the hearts of those who gaze at it. Other bright flowers sometimes impress me as wanting sentiment; but it is not so with this.

ONCORD, Saturday, August 13, 1842. — My life, at this time, is more like that of a boy, externally, than it has been since I was really a boy. It is usually supposed that the cares of life come with matrimony; but I seem to have cast off all care, and live on with as much easy trust in Providence as Adam could possibly have felt before he had learned that there was a world beyond Paradise. My chief anxiety consists in watching the prosperity of my vegetables, in observing how they are affected by the rain or sunshine, in lamenting the blight of one squash and rejoicing at the luxurious growth of another. It is as if the original relation between man and Nature were restored in my case, and that I were to look exclusively to her for the support of my Eve and myself, — to trust to her for food and clothing, and all things needful, with the full assurance that she would not fail me. The fight with the world, the struggle of a man among men, -the agony of the universal effort to wrench the means of living from a host of greedy competitors, all this seems like a dream to me. My business is merely to live and to enjoy; and whatever is essential to life and enjoyment will come as naturally as the dew from heaven. This is, practically at least, my faith. And so I awake in the morning with a boyish thoughtlessness as to how the outgoings of the day are to be provided for, and its incomings rendered certain. After breakfast, I go forth into my garden, and gather whatever the bountiful Mother has made fit for our present sustenance; and of late days she generally gives me two squashes and a cucumber, and promises me green corn and shell-beans very soon. Then I pass down through our orchard to the river-side, and ramble along its margin in search of flowers.

Well, having made up my bunch of flowers, I return home with them. . . . . Then I ascend to my study, and generally read, or perchance scribble

in this journal, and otherwise suffer Time to loiter onward at his own pleasure, till the dinner-hour. In pleasant days, the chief event of the afternoon, and the happiest one of the day, is our walk. . . . . So comes the night; and I look back upon a day spent in what the world would call idleness, and for which I myself can suggest no more appropriate epithet, but which, nevertheless, I cannot feel to have been spent amiss. True, it might be a sin and shame, in such a world as ours, to spend a lifetime in this manner; but for a few summer weeks it is good to live as if this world were heaven. And so it is, and so it shall be, although, in a little while, a flitting shadow of earthly care and toil 'will mingle itself with our realities.

a man

Monday, August 15th.— George Hillard and his wife arrived from Boston in the dusk of Saturday evening, to spend Sunday with us. It was a pleasant sensation, when the coach rumbled up our avenue, and wheeled round at the door; for I felt that I was regarded as a man with a household, having a tangible existence and locality in the world, when friends came to avail themselves of our hospitality. It was a sort of acknowledgment and reception of us into the corps of married people, a sanction by no means essential to our peace and well-being, but yet agreeable enough to receive. So we welcomed them cordially at the door, and ushered them into our parlor, and soon into the supper-room.


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The night flitted over us all, and passed away, and up rose a gray and sullen morning, . . . . and we had a splendid breakfast of flapjacks, or slapjacks, and whortleberries, which I gathered on a neighboring hill, and perch, bream, and pout, which I hooked out of the river the evening before. About nine o'clock, Hillard and I set out for a walk to Walden Pond, calling by the way at Mr. Emerson's, to obtain his guidance or directions, and he accompanied us in his own illustrious person. We turned aside a little from

our way, to visit Mr. — a yeoman, of whose homely and self-acquired wisdom Mr. Emerson has a very high opinion. We found him walking in his fields, a short and stalwart and sturdy personage of middle age, with a face of shrewd and kind expression, and manners of natural courtesy. He had a very free flow of talk, and not much diffidence about his own opinions; for, with a little induction from Mr. Emerson, he began to discourse about the state of the nation, agriculture, and business in general, uttering thoughts that had come to him at the plough, and which had a sort of flavor of the fresh earth about them. I was not impressed with any remarkable originality in his views; but they were sensible and characteristic, and had grown in the soil where we found them; . . . . and he is certainly a man of intellectual and moral substance, a sturdy fact, a reality, something to be felt and touched, whose ideas seem to be dug out of his mind as he digs potatoes, beets, carrots, and turnips out of the ground.

After leaving Mr., we proceeded through wood paths to Walden Pond, picking blackberries of enormous size along the way. The pond itself was beautiful and refreshing to my soul, after such long and exclusive familiarity with our tawny and sluggish river. It lies embosomed among wooded hills, it is not very extensive, but large enough for waves to dance upon its surface, and to look like a piece of blue firmament, earth-encircled. The shore has a narrow, pebbly strand, which it was worth a day's journey to look at, for the sake of the contrast between it and the weedy, oozy margin of the river. Farther within its depths, you perceive a bottom of pure white sand, sparkling through the transparent water, which, methought, was the very purest liquid in the world. After Mr. Emerson left us, Hillard and I bathed in the pond, and it does really seem as if my spirit, as well as corporeal person, were refreshed by that bath. A good deal of mud and river slime had accumulated on my soul;

but these bright waters washed it all away.

We returned home in due season for dinner. . . . To my misfortune, how ever, a box of Mediterranean wine proved to have undergone the acetous fermentation; so that the splendor of the festival suffered some diminution. Nevertheless, we ate our dinner with a good appetite, and afterwards went universally to take our several siestas. Meantime there came a shower, which so besprinkled the grass and shrubbery as to make it rather wet for our aftertea ramble. The chief result of the walk was the bringing home of an immense burden of the trailing clematisvine, now just in blossom, and with which all our flower-stands and vases are this morning decorated. On our return we found Mr. and Mrs. S—, and E. H—, who shortly took their leave, and we sat up late, telling ghoststories. This morning, at seven, our friends left us. We were both pleased with the visit, and so I think were our guests.

Monday, August 22d.—I took a walk through the woods yesterday afternoon, to Mr. Emerson's, with a book which Margaret Fuller had left, after a call on Saturday eve. I missed the nearest way, and wandered into a very secluded portion of the forest; for forest it might justly be called, so dense and sombre was the shade of oaks and pines. Once I wandered into a tract so overgrown with bushes and underbrush that I could scarcely force a passage through. Nothing is more annoying than a walk of this kind, where one is tormented by an innumerable host of petty impediments. It incenses and depresses me at the same time. Always when I flounder into the midst of bushes, which cross and intertwine themselves about my legs, and brush my face, and seize hold of my clothes, with their multitudinous grip, always, in such a difficulty, I feel as if it were almost as well to lie down and die in rage and despair as to go one step farther. is laughable, after I have got out of the


moil, to think how miserably it affected me for the moment; but I had better learn patience betimes, for there are many such bushy tracts in this vicinity, on the margins of meadows, and my walks will often lead me into them. Escaping from the bushes, I soon came to an open space among the woods, a very lovely spot, with the tall old trees standing around as quietly as if no one had intruded there throughout the whole summer. A company of crows were holding their Sabbath on their summits. Apparently they felt themselves injured or insulted by my presence; for, with one consent, they began to Caw! caw! caw! and, launching themselves sullenly on the air, took flight to some securer solitude. Mine, probably, was the first human shape that they had seen all day long, - at least, if they had been stationary in that spot; but perhaps they had winged their way over miles and miles of country, had breakfasted on the summit of Greylock, and dined at the base of Wachusett, and were merely come to sup and sleep among the quiet woods of Concord. But it was my impression at the time, that they had sat still and silent on the tops of the trees all through the Sabbath day, and I felt like one who should unawares disturb an assembly of worshippers. A crow, however, has no real pretensions to religion, in spite of his gravity of mien and black attire. Crows are certainly thieves, and probably infidels. Nevertheless, their voices yesterday were in admirable accordance with the influences of the quiet, sunny, warm, yet autumnal afternoon. They were so far above my head that their loud clamor added to the quiet of the scene, instead of disturbing it. There was no other sound, except the song of the cricket, which is but an audible stillness; for, though it be very loud and heard afar, yet the mind does not take note of it as a sound, so entirely does it mingle and lose its individuality among the other characteristics of coming autumn. Alas for the summer! The grass is still verdant on the hills and in the valleys;

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