• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Half Title
 August, 1856
 September, 1856
 October, 1856
 November, 1856
 December, 1856
 January, 1857
 February, 1857
 March, 1857
 April, 1857
 May, 1857
 June, 1857
 July, 1857
 August, 1857






Group Title: Writings of Henry David Thoreau
Title: The writings of Henry David Thoreau
ALL VOLUMES CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00050303/00012
 Material Information
Title: The writings of Henry David Thoreau
Physical Description: 20 v. : ; fronts. (ports., v.1, 6, 7) illus., plates, (1 fold.) fold. map.|20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862
Torrey, Bradford, 1843-1912 ( ed )
Sanborn, F. B ( Franklin Benjamin ), 1831-1917 ( ed )
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: [c1906]
Edition: [Walden ed.]
 Subjects
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00050303
Volume ID: VID00012
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000593509
oclc - 01297983
notis - ADC2380

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Frontispiece
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    List of Illustrations
        Page x
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    August, 1856
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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    September, 1856
        Page 50
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        Plate
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    October, 1856
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    November, 1856
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    December, 1856
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        Plate
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    January, 1857
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    February, 1857
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    March, 1857
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    April, 1857
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    May, 1857
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    June, 1857
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    July, 1857
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Full Text










Walben Cbition

THE WRITINGS OF
HENRY DAVID THOREAU







rTHE W RITIN(S O()


IIENiRY DAVID TIIOREAU


JOI'RNAL

EDITED BY BRADFORD TORREY

I -

Avc ;-sr 16, I1 6S. -A.t- :tr T 7, 1.837


BOSTON AND NEW YORK
IIOUGII'TON MIFFLIN AND COMPANY Y
be) UiBerrebe prreo, Cambriige
1900
































COPYRIGHT 1906 BY HOUGIITON, MIFFLIN & CO.


All rights res rv'd














CONTENTS


CHAPTER I. Augut. 18H36 .-ET. 39) 3
',,nils.uIn offici/irndlI' Ca"-ia The Ha{dide Garden-
A 161t Ilin.klhherry A Sociable Aftvrnmon De-inmdliums
The Prevailing G(oldenr(ms and A-ters The Itiwcr ri-ing
-T ihe Pearly Everlastirin D(t'cmon A IRobber Bee -
ChixineNy Swallow,' N't-' Shipli reck(d ( iras-hl ioppcrs -
Augu-t Fre.heits A Propo-.td Iligh-Water lieordl A Fihi
IHawk and an Eagle .A IIIc Heron A Newv England
Imnd'ape A..strr nmuarqthtillu.x A I.ot Pi, Catching
the P'i, Hattlecsnake-lPlantain ('ardinal-Floher. The
Hatching of a Tortoise A ( 'amiphor Biaroiinter An After-
nllmo Expilitioi C'ranil>err yilg I' irrinriii ( .ryir'us -
A Siucc(.'cful Aftirrxnon The I lairy I ulckl'MIrry Wildni-ss
in Concord The Wlorship of f Stones No R(lmi for 1'assen-
gers I'iburnumt nudum ilerric',.


CHAPTER II. September, 156 i.ET. :i39) 50
Beautiful Fiiuni A.,ter and ( ohldnroxs Wild Pigmtis -
Di,-overi'v, Nlia" lucida -- 'I'Te ( hanriini of the I ,aves -
The Sin of Bathing i'iburnumr nulun Bierric To firattle-
l'ero. cVerm .nt -Itotanizing in irattllrwir 'The (oni'mr ti(t
Iiver .Leather-W\\NI The' Colilwatcr Path ('lCh-tTr-
lictil Mountain- A Saranac I'antther llitori<. Oldh and
.MThern Fall Mountain \\ith Alcott in \Valpole. N. 1]. -
List of Planhts obtainel on thi. Excur.ion (Gathicring Wild
(Gralis on the As-abvt Athrsr, and Mayv(i l- Rtaising
Teasels--.A l)extrous Biarberry-l'ickcr- The Pear ('rop
and the luckleberry Crop (Corydalis in Bloom The (ol-
denrods and Asters A Fine Afternoon Arum Berries -
D)esimilium and Bidiieni s S1 i \Vill ( rapcs A ( anada
I.ynx -- General Hull -- Strong I)rink and Mvowin,







CONTENTS


CH(,PTER III. October, 1856 (AT. 39) 96
M Ikweed Seeds A Small Crop of Cranberries Four Little
Irn h Boys and a Horse Autumnal Tints The Alligator -
Ti e American Lion Mrs. Swisshelm's Cougar Puffball
Al chitecture Homely Things Twittering Sparrows -
Tl e Asters and Goldenrods Chestnuts -An Old Concord
Sl opkeeper Flocks of Sparrows Laurel Glen Harvest-
in;: An Offensive Fungus Fallen Leaves- Fringed Gen-
ti: ns Chickadees Chestnuts The Theme is Nothing
One of Minott's Hunting Stories Flocks of Sparrows
Myrtle-Birds An Inquisitive Bird Milkweed Pods -
V ichusett Gossamer Minott's Guns Minott at a
Ti irkey-Shooting Gambling on Concord Common Fa-
th 'r's Father Beatton, the Storekeeper To Eagleswood,
P( rth Amboy The Cougar A New Viburnum The
P< rsimmon Some Other New Jersey Trees.


CHALPTER IV. November, 1856 (ET. 39) 137
Wild Grapes- New Jersey and New England- The Cat's
W inter Coat A Hungry Yankee Perth Amboy Oysters.


CH. PTER V. December, 1856 (iET. 39) 144
A New England Farmer The Shrub Oak Melvin, the
11 inter Improving the First Snow Whitman's "Leaves
of Grass" A Strong Appetite The Concord Countrymen
Nature's Winter Colors A Cat, a Mouse, and a Cock -
A i Interview with the Shoemaker Studying Botany A
P: ir of Nuthatches Simplicity A Walk along the River -
O:ters' Tracks-The Otter in Concord Snow-covered
Weeds The First Skating The Pickerel-Fishers The
G rand Old Poem called Winter The New England Novem-
hb r- Notes From Bradford's History- Oak Leaves in Decem-
b' r The Hooting of an Owl A Winter Sunset The
1\ murderous Lincoln Bridge Minott's Wood-Lot Our
B -ute Companions Peter, the Pig-Butcher Rake-toothed


vi







CONTENTS


vii


Icicles A Characteristic Winter Evening A Woodcock or
Snipe Shrub Oak Leaves A Cold Ride Lecturing at
Amherst, N. H. A Country Tavern Cracks in the Ground
Walden frozen over An Owl's Hooting The Red of
the Andromeda The Oak Leaves in Winter The Crack-
ing of the Ground The Spicy Seeds of the Lycopus The
Walden Fishermen Snakes' Eggs The Diplomacy of
Savages.


CHAPTER VI. January, 1857 (,ET. 39) 203
Returning to Nature Happiness in Nature A Walk in the
Woods and Fields Skylights Rough and Smooth Dry
Leaves on the Snow Minott's Life Casey, the Guinea
Negro The Cold Friday Running a Line Lecturing -
A Negro's Answer -Solitary Woodland Walking-The
Country Club Travelling A Strain of Music The Ice
Floor Cocoons A Song Sparrow The Tracks of Mice -
The Treatment of Travellers-A Boy's Cave in the Snow-A
Flock of Snow Buntings Minott on the Cold Friday Very
Cold Weather A Song Sparrow in the Yard.


CHAPTER VII. February, 1857 (AEr. 9) 235
Fitchburg in Midwinter Theodore Parker The Infidelity
of Church-Goers A Crazy Hen A Frost-covered Glaze -
Quails in the Barn-yard Perpetual Music Simplicity of
Life -A Hardy Old Man A Puffball A Friendship
ended Willow Hedges Voyaging Arabian Bargaining
A Frozen Caterpillar Concord History The Ruins of
the Lee House -The Lee House Chimney How to catch a
Pig An Old Inscription Daniel Webster's Farming -
The Chimney's Composition A Crust of Manners Mil-
dew on the Ground A Gossamer Veil Listening for the
Bluebird A Mouse's Nest The Minott House The Bird
and the Ear Friendship The Thread of the River -
Curled Cinders from a Burning House Puffballs Clergy-
men.






viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII. March, 1857 (.T. 39) 285
Gusty Weather Rice's Poetic Life A Red Squirrel The
Great Lakes Botanical'Notes The First Green Blush -
A Woodchopper's Rustic Beetle The First Dawn of Spring
Goodwin's Fuel and Emerson's Nuthatches A Talk
with Agassiz Humphrey Buttrick on Guns Croaking
Frogs The First Planting A Talk with the Blacksmith -
The Earliest Voice of the Pools Tortoises The Painted
Tortoise Buff-edged Butterflies Tortoises Plowing -
Croaking Frogs and Hylodes Cannon-Balls.

CHAPTER IX. April, 1857 (/ET. 39) 315
A Genuine Wayfaring Man At Ricketson's A Croaking
Frog Toads The New Bedford Library Bayberry
Tallow New Bedford Fishermen Ricketson's Shanty -
Catching Smelts Civilization and the Fishes To the Mil-
dleborough Ponds A Strange Turtle Carrying Home the
Turtle The New Bedford Climate The Walden Pond
Society Birds up River The White Birch A Nature-
loving Girl A True Merman A Birch-Bark Box Scud-
ding Wind-Clouds A Snake in the River Killing Snakes
Out of Doors Showery Weather Ricketson's Fear of
Lightning Spicy-scented Ants.

CHAPTER X. May, 1857 (XET. 39) 349
The Universal Ring of the Toads A Morning for a Cruise -
A Strange Toad or Frog The Trill of the Toad Some of
Minott's Stories Earthworms Corduroy- At Gilson's
Mill, Littleton -Freedom in Thought--The Bay-Wing's
Song The Strain of a Sparrow Wood Tortoises Birch
Nymphs Yellow Birches The Spicy-scented Ants -
Pines in Pastures Checkerberries The Assabet Stone
Bridge Awe and the Potato-Rot Nervous Invalids -
May Training An Apple-Grafter A Threatening Cloud
A Hummingbird A Thunder-Shower Opportunity
and Enterprise- Uvidaria perfoliata Blue Sky after a
Storm Gowing's Swamp A Large Ants' Nest.







CONTENTS


ix


CHAPTER XI. June, 1857 (lET. 39) 396
The Bobolink's Song A Sprouting Willow The Gentle-
man Traveller The Creak of Crickets Tortoises in Gow-
ing's Swamp Contemporary Plants Seasons and Senti-
ments An Afternoon with Minot Pratt John Thoreau's
Clothes The Indigo-Bird The Boston Natural History
Rooms At Watson's in Plymouth To Clark's Island -
Daniel Webster and the Sea-Serpent General Winslow's
Adventure Lobster-Catching A New-born Colt To
Manomet Down the Cape on Foot Taken for a Peddler
A Ride on a Blackfish Family Prayers An Indian Vil-
lage Yarmouth- Friends Village A Village Street -
Harwich A Cranberry-Patch A Noble Lake Brewster
Eastham and Wellfleet A Mother-Carey's-Chicken -
An Old Wreck A Humane House Highland .Light -
Walking on the Beach Oil on the Water The Telegraph
Station The Wind at Highland Light Fog on Cape Cod
--The Bay Side-Bones of. Blackfish and Whales--Mt.
Ararat A Night in an Attic A "Master Mariner" By
Steamer to Boston A Black Duck's Nest An Owl's'Nest
Farmer's Collection of Eggs A Wasps' Nest.

CHAPTYRr XII. July, 1857 (XT. 39-40) 465
The Hairy Huckleberry Andronmda Polifolia Minott on
Duck-Shooting A Large Pickerel Young Pickerel A
Bumblebee's Nest A Promethea Moth Black Willow
Seeds Tephrosia Springs The Price of Friendship -
A Swarm of Wood Flies Ferns To Boston on Way to
Maine Woods The Freetown Turtle To Portland and
Bangor Looking for an Indian Guide A Camping Outfit
At Moosehead Lake The Northeast Carry A Par-
tridge with Young The Making of a Canoe New Views
Great and Small Dr. Johnson's Willow Sand Cherry.

CHAPTER XIII. August, 1857 (2ET. 40) 500
The Raspberry Air of Maine Old Engravings of Lexington
and Concord A Little Trout Pond.

















ILLUSTRATIONS


HUBBARD'S BRIDGE AND WATER-LILIES (page 23)
Frontispiece
CORAL FUNGUS 50
SHRUB OAK LEAVES 184
BATEMAN'S POND 370
HIGHLAND LIGHT, CAPE COD 442















JOURNAL

VOLUME IX












THE JOURNAL OF


HENRY DAVID THOREAU

VOLUME IX

I

AUGUST, 1856 (1ET. 39)

Aug. 16. 8 A. M. To Cassia Field.
Chenopodium hybridum, a tall rank weed, five feet
at least, dark-green, with a heavy (poisonous?) odor
compared to that of stramonium; great maple(?)-
shaped leaves. How deadly this peculiar heavy odor!
Diplopappus linariifolius, apparently several days.
Ambrosia pollen now begins to yellow my clothes.
Cynoglossum officinale, a long time, mostly gone to
seed, at Bull's Path and north roadside below Lep-
pleman's. Its great radical leaves made me think of
smooth mullein. The flower has a very peculiar,
rather sickening odor; Sophia thought like a warm
apple pie just from the oven (I did not perceive this).
A pretty flower, however. I thoughtlessly put a hand-
ful of the nutlets into my pocket with my handkerchief.
But it took me a long time to pick them out [of] my
handkerchief when I got home, and I pulled out many
threads in the process.
At roadside opposite Leighton's, just this side his








barn, Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot, nearly done,
with terminal whorls and fragrance mixed of balm
and summer savory.' The petioles are not ciliated
like those on Strawberry Hill road.
Am surprised to find the cassia so obvious and abun-
dant. Can see it yellowing the field twenty-five rods
off, from top of hill. It is perhaps the prevailing shrub
over several acres of moist rocky meadow pasture on
the brook; grows in bunches, three to five feet high
(from the ground this year), in the neighborhood of
alders, hardback, elecampane, etc. The lower flowers
are turning white and going to seed, pods already
three inches long,- a few upper not yet opened. It
resounds with the hum of bumblebees. It is branched
above, some of the half-naked (of leaves) racemes
twenty inches long by five or six wide. Leaves alter-
nate, of six or eight pairs of leafets and often an odd
one at base, locust-like. Looked as if they had shut up
in the night. Mrs. Pratt says they do.2 E. Hoar says
she has known it here since she was a child.
The cylioglossum by roadside opposite, and, by side
of tan-yard, the apparently true Mentha viridis, or
spearmint, growing very rankly in a dense bed, some
four feet high, spikes rather dense, one to one and a
half inches long, stem often reddish, leaves nearly
sessile. Say August 1st at least.
Some elecampane with the cassia is six feet high,
and blades of lower leaves twenty inches by seven or
nine.
1 Apparently the same kind in Loring's yard.
2 I observe it myself.


4


JOURNAL


[AUG. 16







1856] THE ROADSIDE GARDEN


What a variety of old garden herbs mints, etc.
- are naturalized along an old settled road, like this
to Boston which the British travelled! And then there
is the site, apparently, of an old garden by the tan-
yard, where the spearmint grows so rankly. I am in-
toxicated with the fragrance. Though I find only one
new plant (the cassia), yet old acquaintances grow
so rankly, and the spearmint intoxicates me so, that
I am bewildered, as it were by a variety of new things.
An infinite novelty. All the roadside is the site of an
old garden where fragrant herbs have become natu-
ralized, hounds-tongue, bergamot, spearmint, ele-
campane, etc. I see even the tiger lily, with its bulbs,
growing by the roadside far from houses (near Leigh-
ton's graveyard). I think I have found many new
plants, and am surprised when I can reckon but one.
A little distance from my ordinary walk and a little
variety in the growth or luxuriance will produce this
illusion. By the discovery of one new plant all bounds
seem to be infinitely removed.
Amphicarpea some time; pods seven eighths of an
inch long. Mimulus ringens four feet high, and chelone
six feet high!
Am frequently surprised to find how imperfectly
water-plants are known. Even good shore botanists
are out of their element on the water. I would suggest
to young botanists to get not only a botany-box but a
boat, and know the water-plants not so much from
the shore as from the water side.
White morning-glory up the Assabet. I find the
dog's-bane (Apocynum androsavmifolium) bark not


5.







nearly so strong as that of the A. cannabinum. Ama-
ranthus hypochondriacus, how long?
Minott says that the meadow-grass will be good
for nothing after the late overflow, when it goes down.
The water has steamed the grass. I see the rue all
turned yellow by it prematurely. Bathing at Merrick's
old place, am surprised to find how swift the current.
Raise the river two feet above summer level and let it
be running off, and you can hardly swim against it.
It has fallen about fifteen inches from the height.
My plants in press are in a sad condition; mildew
has invaded them during the late damp weather,
even those that were nearly dry. I find more and other
plants than I counted on. Very bad weather of late
for pressing plants. Give me the dry heat of July.
Even growing leaves out of doors are spotted with
fungi now, much more than mine in press.

Aug. 17. P. M. Walked with Minot .Pratt be-
hind his house.
Hypericum Canadense well out at 2 P. M. Ludwigia
alternifolia still with red or scarlet calyx-lobes to the
seed, roadside this side II. Shattuck's. Aster miser
some time, turned purple. A. longifolius not long.
Hieracium Canadense. Pratt describes finding one or
two small yellowish plants on the edge of his field
under the hill, like a polygala, but twice as large,
stiff, and points of the flowers turned down [?]; leaf
clover-like, three-foliate. Russell had suggested genista.
He has in his garden the mountain fringe (Adlumia
cirrhosa), which grows in Maine and he thought in


6


JOURNAL


[AUG. 16







A RED HUCKLEBERRY


the western part of this State. Also wood geranium
(G. dissectum (Big.)) from Fitzwilliam, though Gray
seems to think that the Carolinianum has been mis-
taken for it. Rhus copallina already going to seed by
the wall, apparently on what was W. E. C.'s ground.
Saw again the red huckleberry and the white hardhack.
I think this the lay of the land:-


The red huckleberry is as easily distinguished in the
green state as when ripe. It is then red with a white
cheek, often slightly pear-shaped, semitransparent with
a lustre, very finely and indistinctly white-dotted. I do


1856]


7


:~u~


~L~S't~AZI~
c'~L~~w~,


1
*
'*.








not perceive any very marked peculiarity in the bush,
unless that the recent twigs are red. The last year's a
peculiar ochreous color and the red buds in the axils
larger. It might be called Gaylussacia resinosa var.
erythrocarpa.

Aug. 18. P. M. To Beck Stow's.
Now, perhaps, get thoroughwort. The lecheas in
the Great Fields are now turning red, especially the
fine one.
As I go along the hillsides in sprout-lands, amid the
Solidago stricta, looking for the blackberries left after
the rain, the sun warm as ever, but the air cool never-
theless, I hear the steady (not intermittent) shrilling
of apparently the alder cricket, clear, loud, and au-
tumnal, a season sound. Hear it, but see it not. It
reminds me of past autumns and the lapse of time,
suggests a pleasing, thoughtful melancholy, like the
sound of the flail. Such preparation, such an outfit
has our life, and so little brought to pass!
Hear a faint-warbling bird amid birches and pines.
Clear-yellow throat and breast, greenish-yellow head,
conspicuous white bar on wings, white beneath,
forked tail, bluish legs. Can it be pine warbler? The
note, thus faint, is not like it.
See black and white creeper.
Yellow Bethlehem-star yet, and indigo.
Saw yesterday and some days before a monster
aphis some five eighths of an inch long on a huckle-
berry leaf. I mistook it, as before, for a sort of loose-
spun cocoon. It was obovate, indistinctly ribbed, of


8


JOURNAL


[AUG. 17







1856] A SOCIABLE AFTERNOON


long, loose, white, streaming down, but being touched
it recoiled and, taken off the leaf, rolled itself into a
ball. The father of all the aphides. (Enothera pumila
still.

Aug. 19. P. M. To Fair Haven Hill.
Dog-day weather as for clouds,, but less smoky
than before the rains of ten days ago. I see Hyperi-
cum Canadense and mutilum abundantly open at 3 p. M.
Apparently they did not bear the dry, hot weather of
July so well. They are apparently now in prime, but
the Sarothra is not open at this hour. The perforatum
is quite scarce now, and apparently the corymbosum;
the ellipticum quite done. The small hypericums have
a peculiar smart, somewhat lemon-like fragrance, but
bee-like.
The dangle-berries in Hubbard's Grove have a
peculiar, not very pleasant, flavor and a tough skin.
I see white buds on swamp-pink, just formed, also
green checkerberries about grown.
In the radula swamp the sweet scent of clethra;
some peculiarly bright orange toadstools with a wavy
edge. Now for spotted aralia leaves, brown pupils with
yellow iris amid the green.
The whorled polygala is a plant almost universally
dispersed but inconspicuous.
I spent my afternoon among the desmodiums and
lespedezas, sociably. The further end of Fair Haven
Hill-side is a great place for them.
All the lespedezas are apparently more open and
SWhich lasts ten days at least.


9







delicate in the woods, and of a darker green, especially
the violet ones. When not too much crowded, their
leaves are very pretty and perfect.
Ivy berries dry and apparently ripe on the rocks
(Toxicodendron).
Low blueberries, though some are a very little wilted,
are very sweet and good as well as abundant. Huckle-
berries getting to be suspected. What countless va-
rieties of low blackberries! Here, in this open pine
grove, I pluck some large fresh and very sweet ones
when they are mostly gone without. So they are con-
tinued a little longer to us.
Lobelia spicata still.
The wind rises and the pasture thistle down is blown
about.
Lespedezas and desmodiums are now generally in
prime. The latter are an especially interesting fam-
ily, with commonly such delicate, spreading panicles,
the plants themselves in their distribution so scattered
and inobvious, and the open and spreading panicle
of commonly verdigris-green flowers (in drying) make
them to be unobserved when you are near them. The
panicle of flowers often as large or larger than all the
rest of the plant, with their peculiar chain-like seed-
pods, rhomboidal or semiorbicular, or with concave
backs. They love dry hillsides. They are not so abun-
dant, after all, but I feel an agreeable surprise as
often as I come across a new locality for desmodiums.
Rarely find one kind without one or tvo more species
near, their great spreading panicles, yet delicate, open,
and airy, occupying the August air. Like raking masts


10


JOURNAL


[AUG. 19









with countless guys slanted far over the neighboring
plants.
Some of these desmodiums, the paniculatum, Mari-
landicum, nudiflorum, rigidum, and Dillenii, are so
fine and inobvious that a careless observer would look
through their thin flowery panicles without observing
any flower at all. The flowery beds of D. Marilandi-
cum reveal themselves to me like a blue-green mist
or gauze veil spread on the grass. I find them abun-
dant in some places where I am sure there were none
last year. They are outsiders, few and far between,
further removed from man's walks than most plants,
considering that there is such a variety of them. A dry,
thin family of many species, nowhere abundant, yet
widely dispersed, looking out from dry hillsides and
exercising their dry wit on the race of man. The les-
pedezas and D. Canadense, more stiff and wand-like,
nearer to man and his paths. The D. rigidum, Dillenii,
etc., etc., more spreading and open, thin and fleeting
and dispersed like the aborigines. They occupy the
same dry soil, too.
When huckleberries are getting stale on dry hill-
sides, amid the huckleberry bushes and in sprout-lands
and by paths you may observe them. The broad meshes
of their panicles rarely catch the eye. There is some-
thing witch-like about them; though so rare and remote,
yet evidently, from those bur-like pods, expecting to
come in contact with some travelling man or beast
without their knowledge, to be transported to new hill-
sides; lying in wait, as it were, to catch by the hem
of the berry-pickers' garments and so get a lift to new


1856]


DESMODIUMS


11







quarters. They occupy a great deal of room, but are
the less obvious for it. They put their chains about
you, and they cling like savage children to their mother's
back or breast. They escape your observation, as it
were under bare poles. You only notice as far up as
their green sails are set, perchance, or to the cross-
trees, not the tall, tapering, raking spars, whence are
looped the life-lines and halyards. Or it is like that
slanting mast and rigging in navy-yards where masts
are inserted.

Aug, 20. Rain all night and to-day, making it a
little chilly. Though I sit with open window, I should
think it uncomfortably cool with it closed. Some must
have a little fire.

Aug. 21. Rains still all day, and wind rises, and
shakes off much fruit and beats down the corn.
The prevailing solidagos now are, 1st, stricta (the
upland 1 and also meadow one which I seem to have
called puberula);2 2d, the three-ribbed, of apparently
several varieties, which I have called arguta or gigantea
(apparently truly the last); 3d, altissima, though com-
monly only a part of its panicles; 4th, nemoralis, just
beginning generally to bloom. Then there is the odora,
5th, out some time, but not common; and, 6th, the
bicolor, just begun in some places.
The commonest asters now are, 1st, the Radula;
2d, dumosus; 3d, patens; 4th, say puniceus; 5th, cor-
difolius; 6th, macrophyllus; (these two a good while);
1 That is, arguta var. juncea. 2 That is, true strict.


JOURNAL


12


[AUG. 19







TIE RIVER RISING


7th, say Tradescanti; 8th, miser; 9th, longifolius;
(these three quite rare yet); 10th, probably acumina-
tus, some time (not seen); 11th, undulatus; 12th,
lavis; (these two scarcely to be seen yet).
N. B. Water so high I have not seen early meadow
aster lately.

Aug. 22. Fair weather at last.
P. M. Up Assabet.
Owing to the rain of the 8th and before, two days
and two nights, the river rose to within six inches of
the top of Hoar's wall. It had fallen about one half,
when the rain began again on the night of the 20th,
and again continued about two nights and two days,
though so much did not fall as before; but, the river
being high, it is now rising fast. The Assabet is ap-
parently at its height, and rushing very swiftly past
the Hemlocks, where it is narrow and choked with
rocks, I can hardly row against it there. I see much
hay floating, and two or three cocks, quite black, car-
ried round and round in a great eddy by the side of
the stream, which will ere long be released and con-
tinue their voyage down-stream. The water is backing
up the main stream so that there is no current what-
ever in that, as far up as my boat's place, at least.
When I rest on my oars the boat will not after any
waiting drift down-stream. It is within three inches
of the top of Hoar's wall at 7 P. M.
I notice three or four clumps of white maples, at
the swamp up the Assabet, which have turned as red
(dull red) as ever they do, fairly put on their autumnal


1856]


13







hue. But we have had no dry weather and no frost, and
this is apparently a premature ripening of the leaves.
The water stands around and affects them as it does
the weeds and grass, steams them too. They, as
it were, take these for the fall rains, the latter rain, ac-
cept their fates, and put on the suitable dress. This
shows how little frost has to do with such changes,
except as a ripener of the leaves. The trees are so
ready for this change that only a copious rain and
rise of the waters as in the fall produces the same
effect. Also some red maples on hillsides have a
crisped look for the same reason, actually ripening
and drying without turning and without drought or
frost.
I find that much of the faint warbling I hear now-
adays is from apparently the young Maryland yellow-
throats, as it were practicing against another spring,
- half-finished strains. They are also more inquisi-
tive and bold than usual, hopping quite near.
The creak of the mole cricket is heard along the
shore.

Aug. 23. P. M. To Walden.
I see a bed of Antennaria margaritacea, now in its
prime, by the railroad, and very handsome. It has
fallen outward on all sides ray-wise, and rests on the
ground, forming [a] perfectly regular circle, four feet
in diameter and fifteen inches high, with a dark ash-
colored centre, "twenty inches in diameter, composed
of the stems, then a wide circumference, one foot or
more broad, of dense pearly masses of flowers covered


JOURNAL


[AUG. 22


14







1856]. DECODON 15
with bees and butterflies. This is as regular as a wheel.
So fair and pure and abundant.
Elder-berries, now looking purple, are weighing down
the bushes along fences by their abundance. White
goldenrod, not long commonly. Decodon getting stale
at Second Andromeda Pond. Often the end has rooted
itself, and the whole forms a loop four feet long and
twenty or more inches high in the middle, with numer-
ous branches, making it rather troublesome to wade
through. Where the stems bend down and rest on the
water, they swell to several times their usual size and
acquire that thick, soft bark, and put forth numerous
roots; not the extreme point, but a space just short of
it, while that starts up again.
On R. W. E.'s hillside by railroad, burnt over by the
engine in the spring, the erechthites has shot up abun-
dantly, very tall and straight, some six or seven feet high.
Those singular crowded and wrinkled dry galls, red
and cream-color mingled, on white oak shrubs, with
their grubs in them.







1/

On the west side of Emerson's Cliff, I notice many
Gerardia pedicularia out. ;A bee is hovering about







one bush. The flowers are not yet open, and if they
were, perhaps he could not enter. He proceeds at
once, head downwards, to the base of the tube, ex-
tracts the sweet there, and departs. Examining, I
find that every flower has a small hole pierced through
the tube, commonly through calyx and all, opposite
the nectary. This does not hinder its opening. The
Rape of the Flower! The bee knew where the sweet
lay, and was unscrupulous in his mode of obtaining it.
A certain violence tolerated by nature.
Now for high blackberries, though the low are gone.
At the Lincoln bound hollow, Walden, there is a dense
bed of the Rubus hispidus, matting the ground seven
or eight inches deep, and full of the small black fruit,
now in its prime. It is especially abundant where the
vines lie over a stump. Has a peculiar, hardly agree-
able acid.
On this Lespedeza Stuvei, a green locust an inch and
three quarters long.
The scent of decaying fungi in woods is quite offen-
sive now in many places, like carrion even. I see
many red ones eaten more or less in the paths, nibbled
out on the edges.
7 p. M. The river has risen four inches since last
night and now is one inch above the wall, and there
is a little current there. Probably, then, the Assabet
has begun to fall,--if this has not risen higher than
that.
J. Farmer says that he found that the gummed twig
of a chimney swallow's nest, though it burned when
held in a flame, went out immediately when taken out


JOURNAL


[AUG. 23


16








1856] CHIMNEY SWALLOWS' NESTS


of it, and he thinks it owing to a peculiarity in the
gum, rendering the twig partly fire-proof, so that they
cannot be ignited by the sparks in a chimney. I sug-
gested that these swallows had originally built in hollow
trees, but it would be interesting to ascertain whether
they.constructed their nests in the same way and of
the same material then.

Aug. 24. 3 p. M. Up river to Clamshell.
Polygonum tenue abundant and in bloom, on side
of Money-Diggers' Hill, especially at south base, near
apple tree. The choke-cherry by fence beyond spring,
being dead ripe and a little wilted, is at length tolerable
eating, much better than I ever tasted, but the stones
are much in the way.
I was surprised to hear Peter Flood mention it as
an objection to a certain peat meadow that he would
have to dry the peat on the adjacent upland. But he
explained that peat dried thus was apt to crumble,
and so was not so good as that dried gradually and
all alike on damper ground; so an apparent disadvan-
tage is a real advantage, according to this.
It rained a little last night, and the river at 3 p. M.
is at the same height as last night. It is not re-
membered when it was so high at this season. I have
not seen a white lily nor a yellow one in the river for
a fortnight. The river meadows probably will not be
mown this year. I can hardly get under the stone bridge
without striking my boat. Cardinal-flowers, etc., etc.,
are drowned before they are fairly in bloom.
River at same height as yesterday.


17








Aug. 25. P. M. -To Hill by boat.
Silvery cinquefoil now begins to show itself com-
monly again. Perhaps it is owing to the rain, spring-
like, which we have in August.
I paddle directly across the meadow, the river is so
high, and land east of the elm on the third or fourth
row of potatoes. The water makes more show on the
meadows than yesterday, though hardly so high, be-
cause the grass is more flatted down. I easily make
my way amid the thin spires. Almost every stem which
rises above the surface has a grasshopper or caterpillar
upon it. Some have seven or eight grasshoppers,
clinging to their masts, one close and directly above an-
other, like shipwrecked sailors, now the third or fourth
day exposed. Whither shall they jump? It is a quar-
ter of a mile to shore, and countless sharks lie in
wait for them. They are so thick that they are like a
crop'which the grass bears; some stems are bent down
by their weight. This flood affects other inhabitants
of these fields than men; not only the owners of the
grass, but its inhabitants much more. It drives them
to their upper stories, to take refuge in the rigging.
Many that have taken an imprudent leap are seen strug-
gling in the water. How much life is drowned out that
inhabits about the roots of the meadow-grass! How
many a family, perchance, of short-tailed meadow mice
has had to scamper or swim!
The river-meadow cranberries are covered deep.
I can count them as they lie in dense beds a foot under
water, so distinct and white, or just beginning to have
a red cheek. They will probably be spoiled, and this


18


JOURNAL


[AUG. 25








AUGUST FRESHETS


crop will fail. Potatoes, too, in the low land on which
water has stood so long, will rot.
The farmers commonly say that the spring.floods,
being of cold water, do not injure the grass like later
ones when the water is warm, but I suspect it is not
so much owing to the warmth of the water as to the
age and condition, of the grass and whatever else is
exposed to them. They say that if you let the water
rise and stand some time over the roots of trees in
warm weather it will kill them. This, then, may be
the value of these occasional freshets in August: they
steam and kill the shrubs and trees which had crept
into the river meadows, and so keep them open per-
petually, which, perchance, the spring floods alone
might not do. It is commonly supposed that our river
meadows were much drier than now originally, or when
the town was settled. They were probably drier before
the dam was built at Billerica, but if they were much
or at all drier than now originally, I ask what pre-
vented their being converted into maple swamps?
Maples, alders, birches, etc., are creeping into them
quite fast on many sides at present. If they had been
so dry as is supposed they would not have been open
meadows. It seems to be true that high water in mid-
summer, when perchance the trees and shrubs are in
a more tender state, kills them. It "steams" them,
as it does the grass; and maybe the river thus asserts
its rights, and possibly it would still to great extent,
though the meadows should be considerably raised.
Yet, I ask, why do maples, alders, etc., at present bor-
der the stream, though they do not spring up to any


1856]


19







extent in the open meadow ? Is it because the immediate
bank is commonly more firm as well as higher (their
seeds also are more liable to be caught there), and
where it is low they are protected by willows and but-
ton-bushes, which can bear the flood ? Not even willows
and button-bushes prevail in the Great Meadows, -
though many of the former, at least, spring up there,
- except on the most elevated parts or hummocks.
The reason for this cannot be solely in the fact that the
water stands over them there a part of the year, be-
cause they are still more exposed to the water in many
places on the shore of the river where yet they thrive.
Is it then owing to the soft character of the ground
in the meadow and the ice tearing up the meadow so
extensively ? On the immediate bank of the river that
kind of sod and soil is not commonly formed which
the ice lifts up. Why is the black willow so strictly
confined to the bank of the river? What is the use,
in Nature's economy, of these occasional floods in
August? Is it not partly to preserve the meadows
open ?
Mr. Rice says that the brook just beyond his brother
Israel's in Sudbury rises and runs out before the river,
and then you will see the river running up the brook
as fast as the brook ran down before.
Apparently half the pads are now afloat, notwith-
standing the depth of the water, but they are almost
all white lily pads, the others being eaten and decayed.
They have apparently lengthened their stems some-
what. They generally lie with more or less coil, pre-
pared for a rise of the water, and perhaps the length


20


JOURNAL


[AUG. 25








1856] PROPOSED HIGH-WATER RECORD 21
of that coil shows pretty accurately to how great a rise
they are ordinarily subject at this season.
I was suggesting yesterday, as I have often before,
that the town should provide a stone monument to be
placed in the river, so as to be surrounded by water
at its lowest stage, and a dozen feet high, so as to rise
above it at its highest stage; on this feet and inches to
be permanently marked; and it be made some one's
duty to record each high or low stage of the water.
Now, when we have a remarkable freshet, we cannot
tell surely whether it is higher than the one thirty or
sixty years ago or not. It would be not merely in-
teresting, but often practically valuable, to know this.
Reuben Rice was telling me to-night that the great
freshet of two or three years ago came, according to
his brother Israel, within two inches of one that oc-
curred about forty years ago. I asked how he knew.
He said that the former one took place early (Febru-
ary?), and the surface froze so that boys skated on it,
and the ice marked a particular apple tree, girdled
it, so that it is seen to this day. But we wish to speak
more confidently than this allows. It is important
when building a causeway, or a bridge, or a house
even, in some situations, to know exactly how high the
river has ever risen. It would need to be a very large
stone or pile of stones, which the ice could not move
or break. Perhaps one corner of a bridge abutment
would do.
Rice killed a woodchuck to-day that was shearing
off his beans. He was very fat.
I cross the meadows in the face of a thunder-storm








rising very dark in the north. There were several boats
out, but their crews soon retreated homeward before
the approaching storm. It came on rapidly, with vivid
lightning striking the northern earth and heavy thun-
der following. Just before, and in the shadow of,
the cloud, I saw, advancing majestically with wide cir-
cles over the meadowy flood, a fish hawk and, appar-
ently, a black eagle (maybe a young white-head). The
first, with slender curved wings and silvery breast,
four or five hundred feet high, watching the water
while he circled slowly southwesterly. What a vision
that could detect a fish at that distance! The latter,
with broad black wings and broad tail, thus:
hovered only about one hundred feet high;
evidently a different species, and what else but
an eagle? They soon disappeared southwest, cut-
ting off a bend. The thunder-shower passed off to the
southeast.

Aug. 26. Tuesday. More wind and quite cold this
morning, but very bright and sparkling, autumn-like
air, reminding of frosts to be apprehended,1 also tempt-
ing abroad to adventure. The fall cricket -or is it
alder locust?-sings the praises of the day.
So about 9 A. M. up river to Fair Haven Pond.
The flooded meadow, where the grasshoppers cling
to the grass so thickly, is alive with swallows skim-
ming just over the surface amid the grass-tops and
apparently snapping up insects there. Are they catch-
1 We see no effects of frost yet in garden, but hear a rumor of a
little somewhere. First muskmelon gathered.


22


JOURNAL


[AUG. 25








A BLUE HERON


ing the grasshoppers as they cling to bare poles? (I
see the swallows equally thick there at 5 p. M. when
I return also.) River slowly falling. The most con-
spicuous weed rising above the water is the wool-grass,
with its great, rich, seedy heads, which rise from a few
inches to a foot above at present, as I push over the
uncut meadows. I see many white lilies fairly and
freshly in bloom after all this flood, though it looks
like a resurrection. The wind is northwest, apparently
by west, and I sail before it and under Hubbard's
Bridge. The red maples of Potter's Swamp show a
dull-purple blush and sometimes a low scarlet bough,
the effect evidently of the rain ripening them.
Rice told me about their crossing the causeway
from Wayland to Sudbury some sixty years ago in a
freshet which he could just remember, in a half-hogs-
head tub, used for scalding pigs, having nailed some
boards on the bottom to keep it from upsetting. It
was too deep for a team.
We begin to apprehend frosts before the melons
are ripe!
A blue heron sails away from a pine at Holden
Swamp shore and alights on the meadow above. Again
he flies, and alights on the hard Conantum side, where
at length I detect him standing far away stake-like
(his body concealed), eying me and depending on his
stronger vision.
The desmodium flowers are pure purple, rose-purple
in the morning when quite fresh, excepting the two
green spots. The D. rotundifolium also has the two
green (or in its case greenish) spots on its very large


1856]


23








flower. These desmodiums are so fine and inobvious
that it is difficult to detect them. I go through a grove
in vain, but when I get away, find my coat covered
with their pods. They found me, though I did not
them. The round-leafed desmodium has sometimes
seven pods and large flowers still fresh.
The Lespedeza Stuvei is very abundant on Black-
berry Steep, two and a half to three feet high. It has
a looser top and less dense spikes than the hirta. It
gives a pink hue to the hillside. The L. violacea is
smaller and much more violet, the hirta more white.
Galium pilosum still common; and Desmodium acu-
minatum still by rock on Blackberry Steep. This to
be added to the desmodiums of this place.
As I stand there, a young male goldfinch darts away
with a twitter from a spear thistle top close to my side,
and, alighting near, makes frequent returns as near
to me and the thistle as it dares pass, not yet knowing
man well enough to fear him.
I rest and take my lunch on Lee's Cliff, looking to-
ward Baker Farm. What is a New England landscape
this sunny August day? A weather-painted house and
barn, with an orchard by its side, in midst of a sandy
field surrounded by green woods, with a small blue
lake on one side. A sympathy between the color of
the weather-painted house and that of the lake and sky.
I speak not of a country road between. its fences, for
this house lies off one, nor do I commonly approach
them from this side. The weather-painted house.
This is the New England color, homely but fit as that
of a toadstool. What matter though this one has not


24


JOURNAL


[AUG. 26







ASTER MACROPIYLLUS


been inhabited for thirty years ? Methinks I hear the
crow of a cock come up from its barn-yard.
I think I hear the pine warbler's note in the woods
behind me. Hear a plain phebe note from a chicka-
dee. Bluets still. Epilobium down flies abundantly on
hillsides. I gather a bundle of pennyroyal; it grows
largest and rankest high and close under these rocks,
amid the loose stones. I tie my bundle with the purple
bark of the poke-weed.
Sailed across to Bee Tree Hill. This hillside, laid
bare two years ago and partly last winter, is almost
covered with the Aster macrophyllus, now in its prime.
It grows large and rank, two feet high. On one I count
seventeen central flowers withered, one hundred and
thirty in bloom, and half as many buds. As I looked
down from the hilltop over the sprout-land, its rounded
grayish tops amid the bushes I mistook for gray, lichen-
clad rocks, such was its profusion and harmony with
the scenery, like hoary rocky hilltops amid bushes.
There were acres of it, densely planted. Also erech-
thites as abundant and rank in many places there as
if it had been burnt over! So it does not necessarily
imply fire. I thought I was looking down on gray,
lichen-clad rocky summits on which a few bushes thinly
grew. These rocks were asters, single ones a foot
over, many prostrate, and making a gray impression.
Many leaves of shrubs are crisp and withered and
fallen there, though as yet no drought nor frost. Nothing
but rain can have done it.
Aspen leaves are blackened. Stonecrop still. An-
other monster aphis on a huckleberry leaf. Galium


1856]


25









triflorum still. See a great many young oaks and shrub
oaks stripped by caterpillars of different kinds now.
Last Friday (the 22d) afternoon (when I was away),
Father's pig got out again and took to the riverside.
The next day he was heard from, but not found. That
night he was seen on an island in the meadow, in the
midst of the flood, but thereafter for some time no ac-
count of him. J. Farmer advised to go to Ai Hale,
just over the Carlisle line. He has got a dog which,
if you put him on the track of the pig not more than
four hours' old, will pursue and catch him and hold
him by the ear without hurting him till you come up.
That's the best way. Ten men cannot stop him in the
road, but he will go by them. It was generally conceded
that the right kind of dog was all that was wanted, like
Ai Hale's, one that would hold him by the ear, but
not uselessly maim him. One or two said if I only had
such a one's dog, I'd catch him for so much.
Neighbors sympathized as much as in them lay.
It was the town talk; the meetings were held at Wol-
cott & Holden's. Every man told of his losses and
disappointments in this line. One had heard of his
pig last up in Westford, but never saw him again;
another had only caught his pig by his running against
a post so hard as to stun himself for a few moments.
It was thought this one must have been born in the
woods, for he would run and leap like a wolf. Some
advised not to build so very high, but lay the upper
board flat over the pen, for then, when he caught
by his fore feet, his body would swing under to no
purpose. One said you would not catch him to buy


JOURNAL


[AUG. 26


26







CATCHING A PIG


a pig out of a drove. Our pig ran as if he still had the
devil in him. It was generally conceded that a good
dog was the desideratum. But thereupon Lawrence,
the harness-maker, came forward and told his ex-
perience. He once helped hunt a pig in the next town.
He weighed two hundred; had been out some time
(though not in '75), but they learned where he resorted;
but they got a capital dog of the right kind. They had
the dog tied lest he should scare the pig too soon.
They crawled along very carefully near to the hollow
where the pig was till they could hear him. They knew
that if he should hear them and he was wide awake,
he would dash off with a grunt, and that would be the
last of him, but what more could they do? They con-
sulted in a whisper and concluded to let the dog go.
They did so, and directly heard an awful yelp; rushed
up; the pig was gone, and there lay the dog torn all
to pieces! At this there was a universal haw I haw I
and the reputation of dogs fell, and the chance of
catching the pig seemed less.
Two dollars reward was offered to him who would
catch and return him without maiming him. At length,
the 26th, he was heard from. He was caught and tied
in north part of the town. Took to a swamp, as they
say they are inclined. He was chased two hours with a
spaniel dog, which never faced him, nor touched him,
but, as the man said, tuckeredd him out," kept him on
the go and showed where he was. When at a distance
the pig stopped and faced the dog until the pursuers
came up. He was brought home the 27th, all his legs
tied, and put into his new pen. It was a very deep one.


1856]


27







It might have been made deeper, but Father did not
wish to build a wall, and the man who caught him and
got his two dollars for it thought it ought to hold any
decent pig. Father said he did n't wish to keep him
in a well.

Aug. 27. P. M. To Clintonia Swamp and Car-
dinal Ditch.
Unusually cold last night.
Goodyera pubescens, rattlesnake-plantain, is appar-
ently a little past its prime. It is very abundant on
Clintonia Swamp hillside, quite erect, with its white
spike eight to ten inches high on the sloping hillside,
the lower half or more turning brown, but the beau-
tifully reticulated leaves which pave the moist shady
hillside about its base are the chief attraction. These
oval leaves, perfectly smooth like velvet to the touch,
about one inch long, have a broad white midrib and
four to six longitudinal white veins, very prettily and
thickly connected by other conspicuous white veins
transversely and irregularly, all on a dark rich green
ground. Is it not the prettiest leaf that paves the
forest floor? As a cultivated exotic it would attract
great attention for its leaf. Many of the leaves are
eaten. Is it by partridges ? It is a leaf of firm texture,
not apt to be partially eaten by insects or decayed,
and does not soon wilt. So unsoiled and undecayed.
It might be imitated on carpets and rugs. Some old
withered stems of last year still stand.
On dry, open hillsides and fields the Spiranthes
gracilis is very common of late, rising tall and slender,


JOURNAL


[AUG. 26


28







CARDINAL-FLOWERS


with its spiral of white flowers like a screw-thread at
top; sometimes fifteen inches high.
There are, close by the former, the peculiar large
dark blue indigo clintonia berries of irregular form and
dark-spotted, in umbels of four or five on very brittle
stems which break with a snap and on erectish stem-
lets or pedicels.
See no fringed gentian yet. Veronica serpyllifolia
again by Brister's Spring. Krigia yesterday at Lee's
Cliff, apparently again, though it may be uninter-
ruptedly. Tobacco-pipe still. The rhexia greets me
in bright patches on meadow banks. Ludwigia alter-
nifolia still. It is abundant in Cardinal Ditch, twenty
rods from road. Bidens frondosa, how long? Hype-
ricum Canadense and mutilum now pretty generally
open at 4 P. M., thus late in the season, it being more
moist and cooler.
The cardinals in this ditch make a splendid show
now, though they would have been much fresher and finer
a week ago. They nearly fill the ditch for thirty-five
rods perfectly straight, about three feet high. I count
at random ten in one square foot, and as they are two
feet wide by thirty-five rods, there are four or five thou-
sand at least, and maybe more. They look like slender
plumes of soldiers advancing in a dense troop, and a
few white (or rather pale-pink) ones are mingled with
the scarlet. That is the most splendid show of cardinal-
flowers I ever saw. They are mostly gone to seed, i. e.
the greater part of the spike.
Mimulus there still common.
Near the clintonia berries, I found the Polygonatum


1856]


29








pubescens berries on its handsome leafy stem recurved
over the hillside, generally two slaty-blue (but dark-
green beneath the bloom) berries on an axillary pe-
duncle three quarters of an inch long, hanging straight
down; eight or nine such peduncles, dividing to two
short pedicels at end; the berries successively smaller
from below upwards, from three eighths of an inch
[in] diameter to hardly more than one eighth.
There are many wild-looking berries about now.
The Viburnum Lentago begin to show their hand-
some red cheeks, rather elliptic-shaped and mucronated,
one cheek clear red with a purplish bloom, the other
pale green, now. Among the handsomest of berries,
one half inch long by three eighths by two eighths,
being somewhat flattish. Then there are the Vibur-
num dentatum berries, in flattish cymes, dull lead-
colored berries, depressed globular, three sixteenths of
an inch in diameter, with a mucronation, hard, seedy,
dryish, and unpalatable.
The large depressed globular hips of the moss rose
begin to turn scarlet in low ground.

Aug. 28. First watermelon.
P. M. To tortoise eggs, Marlborough road.
Potentilla Norvegica again. I go over linnsea sprout-
lands. The panicled cornel berries are whitening,
but already mostly fallen. As usual the leaves of this
shrub, though it is so wet, are rolled like corn, show-
ing the paler under sides. At this season it would seem
that rain, frost, and drought all produce similar effects.
Now the black cherries in sprout-lands are in their


JOURNAL


[AUG. 27


30







1856] THE HATCHING OF A TORTOISE 31
prime, and the black choke-berries just after huckle-
berries and blueberries. They are both very abundant
this year. The branches droop with cherries. Those
on some trees are very superior to others. The bushes
are weighed down with choke-berries, which no crea-
ture appears to gather. This crop is as abundant
as the huckleberries have been. They have a sweet
and pleasant taste enough, but leave a mass of dry
pulp in the mouth. But it is worth the while to see
their profusion, if only to know what nature can do.
Huckleberries are about given up, low blueberries
more or less shrivelled, low blackberries done, high
blackberries still to be had. Viburnum nudum berries
are beginning; I already see a few shrivelled purple
ones amid the light green. Poke berries also begun.
A goldfinch twitters away from every thistle now,
and soon returns to it when I am past. I see the ground
strewn with the thistle-down they have scattered on
every side.
At Tarbell's andromeda swamp. A probable Bidens
connata or small chrysanthemoides.
I open the painted tortoise nest of June 10th, and
find a young turtle partly out of his shell. He is
roundish and the sternum clear uniform pink. The
marks on the sides are pink. The upper shell is fifteen
sixteenths of an inch plus by thirteen sixteenths. He
is already wonderfully strong and precocious. Though
those eyes never saw the light before, he. watches me
very warily, even at a distance. With what vigor he
crawls out of the hole I have made, over opposing
weeds! He struggles in my fingers with great strength;







has none of the tenderness of infancy. His whole snout
is convex, and curved like a beak. Having attained
the surface, he pauses and warily watches me. In the
meanwhile another has put his head out of his shell,
but I bury the latter up and leave them.
Meanwhile a striped squirrel sits on the wall across
the road under a pine, eying me, with his cheek-pouches
stuffed with nuts and puffed out ludicrously, as if
he had the mumps, while the wall is strewn with the
dry brown husks of hazelnuts he has stripped. A
bird, perhaps a thrasher, in the pine close above him
is hopping restlessly and scolding at him.
June, July, and August, the tortoise eggs are hatch-
ing a few inches beneath the surface in sandy fields.
You tell of active labors, of works of art, and wars the
past summer; meanwhile the tortoise eggs underlie
this turmoil. What events have transpired on the lit
and airy surface three inches above them! Sumner
knocked down; Kansas living an age of suspense.
Think what is a summer to them! How many worthy
men have died and had their funeral sermons preached
since I saw the mother turtle bury her eggs here! They
contained an undeveloped liquid then, they are now
turtles. June, July, and August, the livelong sum-
mer, what are they with their heats and fevers but
sufficient to hatch a tortoise in. Be not in haste; mind
your private affairs. Consider the turtle. A whole
summer June, July, and August is not too good
nor too much to hatch a turtle in. Perchance you have
worried yourself, despaired of the world, meditated
the end of life, and all things seemed rushing to de-


JOURNAL


[AUG. 28


32







1856] THE HATCHING OF A TORTOISE 33
struction; but nature has steadily and serenely ad-
vanced with a turtle's pace. The young turtle spends
its infancy within its shell. It gets experience and
learns the ways of the world through that wall. While
it rests warily on the edge of its hole, rash schemes
are undertaken by men and fail. Has not the tortoise
also learned the true value of time ? You go to India
and back, and the turtle eggs in your field are still
unhatched. French empires rise or fall, but the
turtle is developed only so fast. What's a summer?
Time for a turtle's eggs to hatch. So is the turtle devel-
oped, fitted to endure, for he outlives twenty French
dynasties. One turtle knows several Napoleons. They
have seen no berries, had no cares, yet has not the
great world existed for them as much as for you?
Euphorbia hypericifolia, how long? It has pretty
little white and also rose-colored petals, or, as they
are now called, involucre. Stands six inches
high, regularly curving, with large leaves pret-
tily arranged at an angle with both a horizontal
and perpendicular line. See the great oval masses
of scarlet berries of the arum now in the meadows.
Trillium fruit, long time.
The river being thus high, for ten days or more I
have seen little parcels of shells left by the muskrats.
So they eat them thus early. Peppermint, how long?
Maybe earlier than I have thought, for the mowers clip it.
The bright china-colored blue berries of the Corus
sericea begin to show themselves along the river,, amid
their red-brown leaves, the kinnikinnic of the
Indians.








Aug. 29. Heavy rain in the night and this forenoon.
P. M. To J. Farmer's by river.
The Helianthus decapetalus, apparently a variety,
with eight petals, about three feet high, leaves petioled,
but not wing-petioled, and broader-leaved than that
of August 12th, quite ovate with a tapering point,
with ciliate petioles, thin but quite rough beneath and
above, stem purple and smoothish, Hosmer's bank, op-
posite Azalea Swamp. Fragrant everlasting in prime
and very abundant, whitening Carter's pasture. Rib-
wort still. An apparent white vervain with bluish
flowers, as blue as bluets even or more so, roadside
beyond Farmer's barn.

Aug. 30. Rain again in the night, as well as most
of yesterday, raising the river a second time. They
say there has not been such a year as this for more
than half a century, for winter cold, summer heat,
and rain.
P. M. To Vaccinium Oxycoccus Swamp.
Fair weather, clear and rather cool.
Pratt shows me at his shop a bottle filled with alcohol
and camphor. The alcohol is clear and the camphor
beautifully crystallized at the bottom for nearly an
inch in depth, in the form of small feathers, like a hoar
frost. He has read that this is as good a barometer as
any. It stands quite still, and has not been unstoppled
for a year; yet some days the alcohol will be quite clear,
and even no camphor will be seen, and again it will
be quite full of fine feathery particles, or it will be
partly clear, as to-day.


34


JOURNAL


[AUG. 29








1856] AN AFTERNOON EXPEDITION


Bidens connata abundant at Moore's Swamp, how
long? The aspect of some of what I have called the
swamp Solidago strict there at present makes me
doubt if it be not more than a variety, the leaves are so
broad, smooth (i. e. uncurled or wrinkled), and thick,
and some cauline ones so large, almost speciosa-like,
to say nothing of size of rays.
The Aster puniceus is hardly yet in prime; its great
umbel-shaped tops not yet fully out. Its leaves are
pretty generally whitened with mildew and unsightly.
Even the chelone, where prostrate, has put forth roots
from its stem, near the top.
The sarothra is now apparently in prime on the
Great Fields, and comes near being open now, at 3 P. M.
Bruised, it has the fragrance of sorrel and lemon,
rather pungent or stinging, like a bee. Hypericum
corymbosum lingers still, with perforatum.
I have come out this afternoon a-cranberrying,
chiefly to gather some of the small cranberry, Vac-
cinium Oxycoccus, which Emerson says is the common
cranberry of the north of Europe. This was a small
object, yet not to be postponed, on account of immi-
nent frosts, i. e., if I would know this year the flavor
of the European cranberry as compared with our
larger kind. I thought I should like to have a dish
of this sauce on the table at Thanksgiving of my own
gathering. I could hardly make up my mind to come
this way, it seemed so poor an object to spend the
afternoon on. I kept foreseeing a lame conclusion,
-how I should cross the Great Fields, look into
Beck Stow's, and then retrace my steps no richer than


35








before. In fact, I expected little of this walk, yet it
did pass through the side of my mind that somehow,
on this very account (my small expectation), it would
turn out well, as also the advantage of having some
purpose, however small, to be accomplished, of
letting your deliberate wisdom and foresight in the
house to some extent direct and control your steps.
If you would really take a position outside the street
and daily life of men, you must have deliberately
planned your course, you must have business which
is not your neighbors' business, which they cannot
understand. For only absorbing employment prevails,
succeeds, takes up space, occupies territory, deter-
mines the future of individuals and states, drives
Kansas out of your head, and actually and perma-
nently occupies the only desirable and free Kansas
against all border ruffians. The attitude of resistance
is one of weakness, inasmuch as it only faces an enemy;
it has its back to all that is truly attractive. You shall
have your affairs, I will have mine. You will spend
this afternoon in setting up your neighbor's stove,
and be paid for it; I will spend it in gathering the
few berries of the Vaccinium Oxycoccus which Nature
produces here, before it is too late, and be paid for it
also after another fashion. I have always reaped un-
expected and incalculable advantages from carrying
out at last, however tardily, any little enterprise which
my genius suggested to me long ago as a thing to be
done, some step to be taken, however slight, out of
the usual course.
How many schools I have thought of which I might


36


JOURNAL


[AUG. 30







CRANBERRYING


go to but did not go to! expecting foolishly that some
greater advantage or schooling would come to me!
It is these comparatively cheap and private expedi-
tions that substantiate our existence and batten our
lives, as, where a vine touches the earth in its undu-
lating course, it puts forth roots and thickens its stock.
Our employment generally is tinkering, mending the
old worn-out teapot of society. Our stock in trade
is solder. Better for me, says my genius, to go cran-
berrying this afternoon for the Vaccinium Oxycoccus
in Gowing's Swamp, to get but a pocketful and learn
its peculiar flavor, aye, and the flavor of Gowing's
Swamp and of life in New England, than to go consul
to Liverpool and get I don't know how many thousand
dollars for it, with no such flavor. Many of our days
should be spent, not in vain expectations and lying
on our oars, but in carrying out deliberately and
faithfully the hundred little purposes which every
man's genius must have suggested to him. Let not
your life be wholly without an object, though it be
only to ascertain the flavor of a cranberry, for it
will not be only the quality of an insignificant berry
that you will have tasted, but the flavor of your life
to that extent, and it will be such a sauce as no wealth
can buy.
Both a conscious and an unconscious life are good.
Neither is good exclusively, for both have the same
source. The wisely conscious life springs out of an
unconscious suggestion. I have found my account
in travelling in having prepared beforehand a list of
questions which I would get answered, not trusting


1856]


37







to my interest at the moment, and can then travel
with the most profit. Indeed, it is by obeying the sug-
gestions of a higher light within you that you escape
from yourself and, in the transit, as it were see with
the unworn sides of your eye, travel totally new paths.
What is that pretended life that does not take up a
claim, that does not occupy ground, that cannot build
a causeway to its objects, that sits on a bank looking
over a bog, singing its desires ?
However, it was not with such blasting expectations
as these that I entered the swamp. I saw bags of cran-
berries, just gathered and tied up, on the banks of
Beck Stow's Swamp. They must have been raked
out of the water, now so high, before they should rot.
I left my shoes and stockings on the bank far off and
waded barelegged through rigid andromeda and other
bushes a long way, to the soft open sphagnous centre
of the swamp.
I found these cunning little cranberries lying high
and dry on the firm uneven tops of the sphagnum,
'- their weak vine considerably on one side, sparsely
scattered about the drier edges of the swamp, or some-
times more thickly occupying some little valley a foot
or two over, between two mountains of sphagnum.
They were of two varieties, judging from the fruit.
The one, apparently the ripest, colored most like the
common cranberry but more scarlet, i. e. yellowish-
green, blotched or checked with dark scarlet-red,
commonly pear-shaped; the other, also pear-shaped,
or more bulged out in the middle, thickly and finely
dark-spotted or peppered on yellowish-green or straw-


JOURNAL


[AUG. 30


38








1856]


VACCINIUM OXYCOCCUS


39


colored or pearly ground,- almost exactly like the
smilacina and convallaria berries now, except that
they are a little larger and not so spherical,- and
with a tinge of purple. A singular difference. They
both lay very snug in the moss, often the whole of the
long (an inch and a half or more) peduncle, buried,
their vines very inobvious, projecting only one to three
inches, so that it was not easy to tell what vine they
belonged to, and you were obliged to open the moss
carefully with your fingers to ascertain it; while the
common large cranberry there, with its stiff erect vine,
was commonly lifted above the sphagnum. The grayish
speckled variety was particularly novel and pretty,
though not easy to detect. It lay here and there snugly
sunk in the sphagnum, whose drier parts it exactly
resembled in color, just like some kind of swamp spar-
rows' eggs in their nest. I was obliged with my finger
carefully to trace the slender pedicel through the moss
to its vine, when I would pluck the whole together.
Like jewels worn on, or set in, these sphagnous breasts
of the swamp, swamp pearls, call them. One or
two to a vine and, on an average, three eighths of an
inch in diameter. They are so remote from their vines,
on their long thread-like peduncles, that they remind
you the more forcibly of eggs, and in May I might
mistake them for such. These plants are almost para-
sitic, resting wholly on the sphagnum, in water instead
of air. The sphagnum is a living soil for it. It rests on
and amid this, on an acre of sponges. They are evi-
dently earlier than the common. A few are quite soft
and red-purple.








I waded quite round the swamp for an hour, my
bare feet in the cold water beneath, and it was a relief
to place them on the warmer surface of the sphagnum.
I filled one pocket with each variety, but sometimes,
being confused, crossed hands and put them into the
wrong pocket.
I enjoyed this cranberrying very much, notwith-
standing the wet and cold, and the swamp seemed to
be yielding its crop to me alone, for there are none else
to pluck it or to value it. I told the proprietor once that
they grew here, but he, learning that they were not abun-
dant enough to be gathered for the market, has probably
never thought of them since. I am the only person in
the township who regards them or knows of them, and
I do not regard them in the light of their pecuniary
value. I have no doubt I felt richer wading there with
my two pockets full, treading on wonders at every
step, than any farmer going to market with a hundred
bushels which he has raked, or hired to be raked. I got
further and further away from the town every moment,
and my good genius seemed [to] have smiled on me, lead-
ing me hither, and then the sun suddenly came out clear
and bright, but it did not warm my feet. I would gladly
share my gains, take one, or twenty, into partnership
and get this swamp with them, but I do not know an
individual whom this berry cheers and nourishes as
it does me. When I exhibit it to them I perceive that
they take but a momentary interest in it and commonly
dismiss it from their thoughts with the consideration
that it cannot be profitably cultivated. You could not get
a pint at one haul of a rake, and Slocum would not give


40


JOURNAL


[AUG. 30







1856] A SUCCESSFUL AFTERNOON


you much for them. But I love it the better partly for
that reason even. I fill a basket with them and keep
it several days by my side. If anybody else any
farmer, at least should spend an hour thus wading
about here in this secluded swamp, barelegged, intent
on the sphagnum, filling his pocket only, with no rake
in his hand and no bag or bushel on the bank, he would
be pronounced insane and have a guardian put over
him; but if he'll spend his time skimming and water-
ing his milk and selling his small potatoes for large
ones, or generally in skinning flints, he will probably
be made guardian of somebody else. I have not gar-
nered any rye or oats, but I gathered the wild vine of
the Assabet.'
As I waded there I came across an ant-like heap, and,
breaking it open with my hand, found it to my surprise
to be an ant-hill in the sphagnum, full of ants with
their young or ova. It consisted of particles of sphag-
num like sawdust, was a foot and a half in diameter,
and my feet sunk to water all around it! The ants
were small and of a uniform pale sorrel-color.
I noticed also a few small peculiar-looking huckle-
berries hanging on bushes amid the sphagnum, and,
tasting, perceived that they were hispid, a new kind
to me. Gaylussacia dumosa var. hirtella (perhaps just
after resinosa), though Gray refers it to a "sandy low
soil" and says nothing of the hispid fruit. It grows
from one to two feet high, the leaves minutely resinous-
dotted are not others ? and mucronate, the ra-
cemes long, with leaf-like bracts now turned conspicu-
SVide [3] pages forward.


41








ously red. Has a small black hairy or hispid berry,
shining but insipid and inedible, with a tough, hairy
skin left in the mouth; has very prominent calyx-lobes.
I seemed to have reached a new world, so wild a
place that the very huckleberries grew hairy and were
inedible. I feel as if I were in Rupert's Land, and a
slight cool but agreeable shudder comes over me, as
if equally far away from human society. What's the
need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs, if a half-
hour's walk will carry me into such wildness and
novelty? But why should not as wild plants grow here
as in Berkshire, as in Labrador ? Is Nature so easily
tamed? Is she not as primitive and vigorous here as
anywhere? How does this particular acre of secluded,
unfrequented, useless (?) quaking bog differ from an
acre in Labrador? Has any white man ever settled
on it ? Does any now frequent it ? Not even the Indian
comes here now. I see that there are some square
rods within twenty miles of Boston just as wild and
primitive and unfrequented as a square rod in Lab-
rador, as unaltered by man. Here grows the hairy
huckleberry as it did in Squaw Sachem's day and a
thousand years before, and concerns me perchance
more than it did her. I have no doubt that for a moment
I experience exactly the same sensations as if I were
alone in a bog in Rupert's Land, and it saves me the
trouble of going there; for what in any case makes
the difference between being here and being there but
many such little differences of flavor and roughness put
together? Rupert's Land is recognized as much by
one sense as another. I felt a shock, a thrill, an agree-


42


JOURNAL


[AUG. 30







WILDNESS IN CONCORD


able surprise in one instant, for, no doubt, all the
possible inferences were at once drawn, with a rush,
in my mind, I could be in Rupert's Land and sup-
ping at home within the hour! This beat the rail-
road. I recovered from my surprise without danger to
my sanity, and permanently annexed Rupert's Land.
That wild hairy huckleberry, inedible as it was, was
equal to a domain secured to me and reaching to the
South Sea. That was an unexpected harvest. I hope
you have gathered as much, neighbor, from your corn
and potato fields. I have got in my huckleberries.
I shall be ready for Thanksgiving. It is in vain to
dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is
none such. It is the bog in our brain and bowels,
the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that
dream. I shall never find in the wilds of Labrador
any greater wildness than in some recess in Concord,
i. e. than I import into it. A little more manhood or
virtue will make the surface of the globe anywhere
thrillingly novel and wild. That alone will provide
and pay the fiddler; it will convert the district road
into an untrodden cranberry bog, for it restores all
things to their original primitive flourishing and pro-
mising state.
A cold white horizon sky in the north, forerunner of
the fall of the year. I go to bed and dream of cran-
berry-pickers far in the cold north. With windows
partly closed, with continent concentrated thoughts,
I dream. I get my pew experiences still, not at the
opera listening to the Swedish Nightingale, but at Beck
Stow's Swamp listening to the native wood thrush.


1856]


43







Wading in the cold swamp braces me. I was invigo-
rated, though I tasted not a berry. The frost will soon
come and smite them on the surface of the sphagnum.
Consider how remote and novel that swamp. Be-
neath it is a quaking bed of sphagnum, and in it grow
Andromeda Polifolia, Kalmia glauca, menyanthes (or
buck-bean), Gaylussacia dumosa, Vaccinium Oxycoccus,
-plants which scarcely a citizen of Concord ever sees.
It would be as novel to them to stand there as in a
conservatory, or in Greenland.
Better it is to go a-cranberrying than to go a-huckle-
berrying. For that is cold and bracing, leading your
thoughts beyond the earth, and you do not surfeit on
crude or terrene berries. It feeds your spirit, now in
the season of white twilights, when frosts are appre-
hended, when edible berries are mostly gone.
Those small gray sparrow-egg cranberries lay so
prettily in the recesses of the sphagnum, I could wade
for hours in the cold water gazing at them, with a
swarm of mosquitoes hovering about my bare legs,-
but at each step the friendly sphagnum in which I
sank protected my legs like a buckler, -not a crevice
by which my foes could enter.
I see that all is not garden and cultivated field and
crops, that there are square rods in Middlesex County
as purely primitive and wild as they were a thousand
years ago, which have escaped the plow and the axe
and the scythe and the cranberry-rake, little oases
of wildness in the desert of our civilization, wild as
a square rod on the moon, supposing it to be unin-
habited. I believe almost in the personality of such


[AUG. 30


44


JOURNAL







1856] THE WORSHIP OF STONES 45
planetary matter, feel something akin to reverence for
it, can even. worship it as terrene, titanic matter ex-
tant in my day. We are so different we admire each
other, we healthily attract one another. I love it as a
maiden. These spots are meteoric, aerolitic, and such
matter has in all ages been worshipped. Aye, when
we are lifted out of the slime and film of our habitual
life, we see the whole globe to be an aerolite, and rev-
erence, it as such, and make pilgrimages to it, far off
as it is. How happens it that we reverence the stones
which fall from another planet, and not the stones
which belong to this, another globe, not this, hea-
ven, and not earth? Are not the stones in Hodge's
wall as good as the aerolite at Mecca? Is not our
broad back-door-stone as good as any corner-stone in
heaven?
It would imply the regeneration of mankind, if
they were to become elevated enough to truly worship
stocks and stones. It is the sentiment of fear and
slavery and habit which makes a heathenish idolatry.
Such idolaters abound in all countries, and heathen
cross the seas to reform heathen, dead to bury the
dead, and all go down to the pit together. If I could,
I would worship the parings of my nails. If he who
makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before
is a benefactor, he who discovers two gods where there
was only known the one (and such a one!) before is a
still greater benefactor. I would fain improve every
opportunity to wonder and worship, as a sunflower wel-
comes the light.' The more thrilling, wonderful, divine
I [Channing, p. 89.]







objects I behold in a day, the more expanded and im-
mortal I become. If a stone appeals to me and ele-
vates me, tells me how many miles I have come, how
many remain to travel, and the more, the better,
- reveals the future to me in some measure, it is a
matter of private rejoicing. If it did the same ser-
vice to all, it might well be a matter of public re-
joicing.

Aug. 31. Sunday. P. M. To Hubbard Bath
Swamp by boat.
There sits one by the shore who wishes to go with
me, but I cannot think of it. I must be fancy-free.
There is no such mote in the sky as a man who is not
perfectly transparent to you, who has any opacity.
I would rather attend to him earnestly for half an
hour, on shore or elsewhere, and then dismiss him.
He thinks I could merely take him into my boat and
then not mind him. He does not realize that I should
by the same act take him into my mind, where there
is no room for him, and my bark would surely founder
in such a voyage as I was contemplating. I know very
well that I should never reach that expansion of the
river I have in my mind, with him aboard with his
broad terrene qualities. He would sink my bark (not
to another sea) and never know it. I could better carry
a heaped load of meadow mud and sit on the thole-
pins. There would be more room for me, and I should
reach that expansion of the river nevertheless.
I could better afford to take him into bed with me,
for then I might, perhaps, abandon him in my dreams.


46


JOURNAL


[AUG. 30







1856] NO ROOM FOR PASSENGERS


Ah! you are a heavy fellow, but I am well disposed.
If you could go without going, then you might go.
There's the captain's stateroom, empty to be sure,
and you say you could go in the steerage. I know
very well that only your baggage would be dropped in
the steerage, while you would settle right down into
that other snug recess. Why, I am going, not staying.
I have come on purpose to sail, to paddle away from
such as you, and you have waylaid me at the shore.
You have chosen to make your assault at the moment
of embarkation. Why, if I thought you were steadily
gazing after me a mile off, I could not endure it. It
is because I trust that I shall ere long depart from
your thoughts, and so you from mine, that I am encour-
aged to set sail at all. I make haste to put several
meanders and some hills between us. This Company
is obliged to make a distinction between dead freight
and passengers. I will take almost any amount of
freight for you cheerfully,-anything, my dear sir, but
yourself.
Some are so inconsiderate as to ask to walk or sail
with me regularly every day I have known such -
and think that, because there will be six inches or a
foot between our bodies, we shall not interfere! These
things are settled by fate. The good ship sails -
when she is ready. For freight or passage apply to
-?? Ask my friend where. What is getting into a
man's carriage when it is full, compared with putting
your foot in his mouth and popping right into his mind
without considering whether it is occupied or not ? If I
remember aright, it was only on condition that you were


47







asked, that you were to go with a man one mile or twain.'
Suppose a man asks, not you to go with him, but to go
with you! Often, I would rather undertake to shoulder
a barrel of pork and carry it a mile than take into my
company a man. It would not be so heavy a weight
upon my mind. I could put it down and only feel my
back ache for it.
The birches on Wheeler's meadow have begun to
yellow, apparently owing to the water. The Comus
scricca, with its berries just turning, is generally a dull
purple now, the first conspicuous change, methinks,
along the river; half sunk in water.
Captain Hubbard is out inspecting his river meadow
and his cranberries. Says he never saw the water so
high at this season before. I am surprised that the
river is not more than two inches higher than yester-
day, or than the day before, notwithstanding the last
copious rain; but Hubbard says he has heard that they
have just lowered their dam a foot at Billerica. He
sees that the water has fallen a little in his meadow.
It leaves a scum on the grass and gives it a smell and
taste, which makes the cattle reject it. He gets into
my boat, and we obtain some cranberries from beneath
the water. Some of them are softened and spoiled.
HI. thinks it depends on the warmth of the water how
much they are injured. This is. what calls the farmer
out now, to inspect his. cranberries or his grass.
He talks with his neighbor about it at church.
I am frequently amused when I come across the
proprietor in my walks, and he asks me if I am not
1 [Channing, pp. 119, 120.]


48


JOURNAL


[AUG. 31








1856] VIBURNUM NUDUM BERRIES 49
lost. I commonly approach his territory by the river,
or some other back way, and rarely meet with him.
The other day Conant observed to me, "Well, you
have to come out once in a while to take a survey."
He thinks that I do not visit his neighborhood more
than once in a year, but I go there about once a week,
and formerly much oftener; perhaps as often as he.
H. says he has found coal at the bottom of his
meadow under the mud, three feet deep.
The Viburnum nudum berries are now in prime,
a handsome rose-purple. I brought home a bunch
of fifty-three berries, all of this color, and the next
morning thirty were turned dark purple. In this state
they are soft and just edible, having somewhat of a
cherry flavor, not a large stone.
A painted tortoise shedding its scales.










IT

SEPTEMBER, 1856

(ET. 39)

Sept. 1. P. M. With R. W. E. to Saw Mill and
Solidago odora.
He has just had four of his fir trees next his house
cut, they shaded his windows so. They were set out
by Coolidge, E. thinks twenty-eight years ago. The
largest has thirty-seven annual rings at the base and
measures at one foot from the ground forty-six and a
half inches in circumference; has made, on an average,
about half an inch of wood in every direction.
There is no Bidens cernua, if that is it, by the Turn-
pike. It was apparently killed by the recent high water.
Solidago latifolia not out quite.
We go admiring the pure and delicate tints of fungi
on the surface of the damp swamp there, following up
along the north side of the brook past the right of
the old camp. There are many very beautiful lemon-
yellow ones of various forms, some shaped like buttons,
some becoming finely scalloped on the edge, some club-
shaped and hollow, of the most delicate and rare but
decided tints, contrasting well with the decaying leaves
about them. There are others also pure white, others
a wholesome red, others brown, and some even a light
indigo-blue above and beneath and throughout. When
colors come to be taught in the schools, as they should













































Coral Fungus








BEAUTIFUL FUNGI


be, both the prism (or the rainbow) and these fungi
should be used by way of illustration, and if the pupil
does not learn colors, he may learn fungi, which perhaps
is better. You almost envy the wood frogs and toads
that hop amid such gems,- some pure and bright
enough for a breastpin. Out of every crevice between
the dead leaves oozes some vehicle of color, the unspent
wealth of the year, which Nature is now casting forth,
as if it were only to empty herself.
Cohush berries appear now to be in their prime,
and arum berries, and red choke-berries, which last
further up in this swamp, with their peculiar glossy
red and squarish form, are really very handsome.
A few medeola berries ripe. The very dense clusters
of the smilacina berries, finely purple-dotted on a
pearly ground, are very interesting; also the smaller
and similar clusters of the two-leaved convallaria.
Many of the last and a few of the first are already
turned red, clear semilucent red. They have a plea-
sant sweetish taste.
Cistus flowers well out again in the old camp path,
now nearly all grown up. I notice that the birches have
sprung up in close, straight rows in the old ruts there.
I think it stands about thus with asters and golden-
rods now:-
The early meadow aster is either quite withered or much the
worse for the wear, partly on account of the freshet.
Diplopappus cornifolius, not seen of late.
D. umbellatus, perhaps in prime or approaching it, but not much
seen.
A. patens, apparently now in prime and the most abundant of
the larger asters.


1856]


51






JOURNAL


[SEPT. 1


A. macrophyllus, probably past prime.
A. acuminatus, not seen at all.
A. Radula, rather past prime.
A. dumosus, very common, most so of the small white, and in
prime.
D. linariifolius, hardly noticed.
A. undulatus, hardly one seen yet open, a late aster.
A. corymbosus, in prime, or maybe past.
A. levis, just beginning.'
A. Tradescanti, got to be pretty common, but not yet in prime.
A. puniceus, hardly yet in prime.2
A. longifolius, hardly one seen yet.
A. multiflorus, not one seen yet.3
Solidago stricta, still very abundant, though probably a little
past prime.
S. gigantea, say in prime.
S. nemoralis, not quite in prime, but very abundant.
S. altissima, perhaps in prime.
S. odora, in prime, or maybe a little past.
S. puberula, just beginning, rare in any case.
S. bicolor, not quite in prime, but common.
S. lanceolata, in prime, or past.4
S. latifolia, not yet at all.
S. casia, just begun.
S. speciosa, not at all yet.

Sept. 2. P. M. To Painted-Cup Meadow.
Clear bright days of late, with a peculiar sheen on
the leaves, light reflected from the surface of each
one, for they are grown and worn and washed smooth
at last, no infantile downiness on them. This, say ever
since August 26th, and we have had no true dog-day

SCan this be the same open July 13th ? 2 Vide Sept. 5.
S(Oct. 8th) A. miser (omitted). If I mistake not it began to be
common about Sept. 1st.
4 Vide Sept. 5.









weather since the copious rains began, or three or four
weeks. A sheeny light reflected from the burnished
leaves as so many polished shields, and a steady creak
from the locusts these days. Frank Harding has caught
a dog-day locust which lit on the bottom of my boat, in
which he was sitting, and z-ed there. When you hear
him you have got to the end of the alphabet and may
imagine the &. It has a mark somewhat like a small
writing w on the top of its thorax.
A few pigeons were seen a fortnight ago. I have
noticed none in all walks, but G. Minott, whose mind
runs on them so much, but whose age and infirmi-
ties confine him to his wood-shed on the hillside, saw
a small flock a fortnight ago. I rarely pass at any
season of the year but he asks if I have seen any
pigeons. One man's mind running on pigeons, [he]
will sit thus in the midst of a 'village, many of whose
inhabitants never see nor dream of a pigeon except
in the pot, and where even naturalists do not ob-
serve [them], and he, looking out with expectation
and faith from morning till night, will surely see
them.
I think we may detect that some sort of prepara-
tion and faint expectation preceded every discovery
we have made. We blunder into no discovery but
it will appear that we have prayed and disciplined
ourselves for it. Some years ago I sought for Indian
hemp (Apocynum cannabinum) hereabouts in vain,
and concluded that it did not grow here. A month
or two ago I read again, as many times before, that
its blossoms were very small, scarcely a third as large


1856]


WILD PIGEONS


53








as those of the common species, and for some unac-
countable reason this distinction kept recurring to me,
and I regarded the size of the flowers I saw, though
I did not believe that it grew here; and in a day or
two my eyes fell on [it], aye, in three different places,
and different varieties, of it. Also, a short time ago, I
was satisfied that there was but one kind of sunflower
divaricatuss) indigenous here. Hearing *that one had
found another kind, it occurred to me that I had seen
a taller one than usual lately, but not so distinctly did
I remember this as to name it to him or even fully
remember it myself. (I rather remembered it after-
ward.) But within that hour my genius conducted me
to where I had seen the tall plants, and it was the
other man's new kind. The next day I found a third
kind, miles from there, and, a few days after, a fourth
in another direction.
It commonly chances that I make my most interest-
ing botanical discoveries when I [am] in a thrilled
and expectant mood, perhaps wading in some remote
swamp where I have just found something novel and
feel more than usually remote from the town. Or
some rare plant which for some reason has occupied
a strangely prominent place in my thoughts for some
time will present itself. My expectation ripens to
discovery. I am prepared for strange things.
My father asked John Legross if he took an interest
in politics and did his duty to his country at this crisis.
He said he did. He went into the wood-shed and read
the newspaper Sundays. Such is the dawn of the
literary taste, the first seed of literature that is planted


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 2


54








SALIX LUCIDA


in the new country. His grandson may be the author
of a Bhagvat-Geeta.
I see bright-yellow blossoms on perfectly crimson
Hypericum angulosum in the S. lanceolata path. By
the Indian hemp at the stone bridge, am surprised
to see the Salix lucida, a small tree with very marked
and handsome leaves, on the sand, water's edge, at
the great eddy. The branches of an inch in diameter
are smooth and ash-colored, maple-like; the recent
shoots stout and yellowish-green, very brittle at base.
The leaves are the largest of any willow I have seen,
ovate-oblong or ovate-lanceolate, with a long, narrow,
tapering point cuspidatee), some on vigorous shoots,
two and a half by seven inches wide in the blade,
glandular-serrate, with pedicellate glands at the rounded
base, thick, smooth, and glossy above, smooth and
green beneath, with broad crescent-shaped, glandular-
toothed stipules at base of petioles, five eighths to one
inch long. According to Emerson, "Sir W. J. Hooker
says it is one of the most generally diffused of all the
willows in British North America."
Captain Hubbard said on Sunday that he had plowed
up an Indian gouge, but how little impression that
had made on him compared with the rotting of his
cranberries or the loss of meadow-grass! It seemed to
me that it made an inadequate impression compared
with many trivial events. Suppose he had plowed up
five dollars!
The botanist refers you, for wild [sic] and we presume
wild plants, further inland or westward to so many
miles from Boston, as if Nature or the Indians had


1856]


55








any such preferences. Perchance the ocean seemed
wilder to them than the woods. As if there were pri-
marily and essentially any more wildness in a western
acre than an eastern one!
The S. lucida makes about the eleventh willow that
I have distinguished. When I find a new and rare
plant in Concord I seem to think it has but just sprung
up here,-that it is, and not I am, the newcomer,-
while it has grown here for ages before I was born.
It transports me in imagination to the Saskatchewan.
It grows alike on the bank of the Concord and of the
Mackenzie River, proving them a kindred soil. I see
their broad and glossy leaves reflecting the autumn
light this moment all along those rivers. Through this
leaf I communicate with the Indians who roam the
boundless Northwest. It tastes the same nutriment
in sand of the Assabet and its water as in that of the
Saskatchewan and Jasper Lake, suggesting that a short
time ago the shores of this river were as wild as the
shores of those.
We are dwelling amid these wild plants still, we are
eating the huckleberries which lately only the Indian
ate and dried, we are raising and eating his wild and
nutritive maize, and if we have imported wheat, it is
but our wild rice, which we annually gather with grate-
ful awe, like Chippewas. Potatoes are our ground-
nuts.
Spiranthes cernua, apparently some days at least,
though not yet generally; a cool, late flower, growing
with fringed gentian. I cannot yet even find the leaves
of the latter at the house-leek brook. I had come


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 2


56








1856] THE CHANGING OF THE LEAVES 57

to the Assabet, but could not wade the river, it was
so deep and swift. The very meadow, poke-logan,
was a quarter of a mile long and as deep as the river
before. So I had come round over the bridge.
In Painted-Cup Meadow the ferns are yellowing,
imbrowned, and crisped, as if touched by frost (?), yet
it may be owing to the rains. It is evident that, at
this season, excessive rain will ripen and kill the leaves
as much as a drought does earlier. I think our straw-
berries recently set out have died, partly in consequence.
Perhaps they need some dryness as well as warmth at
this season. Plainly dog-days and rain have had the
most to do as yet with the changing and falling of the
leaves. So trees by water change earliest, sassafrascs
at Cardinal Shore, for example, while those on hill are
not turned red at all. These ferns I see, with here and
there a single maple bough turned scarlet, this quite
rare.
Some of the small early blueberry bushes are a
clear red (Vaccinium Pennsylvanicum), and the linger-
ing clusters of blueberries contrast strangely with the
red leaves of the V. vacillans. Smooth sumachs show
quite red on dry, warm hillsides.
While I am plucking the almost spicy blueberries
amid the crimson leaves there on the springy slope, the
cows gather toward the outlet of their pastures and
low for the herdsman, reminding me that the (lay is
drawing to a close.
Centaurea will apparently be entirely done in a
week.
How deceptive these maps-of western rivers! Me-








thought they were scattered according to the fancy of
tlhe map-maker, were dry channels at best, but it
turns out that the Missouri at Nebraska City is three
times as wide as the Mississippi at Burlington, and
Grasshopper Creek, perhaps, will turn out to be as big
as the Thames or Hudson.
There was an old gentleman here to-day who lived
in Concord when he was young and remembers how
Dr. Ripley talked to him and other little boys from
the pulpit, as they came into church with their hands
full of lilies, saying that those lilies looked so fresh
that they must have been gathered that morning!
Therefore they must have committed the sin of bath-
ing this morning! Why, this is as sacred a river as the
Ganges, sir.
I feel this difference between great poetry and small:
that in the one, the sense outruns and overflows the
words; in the other, the words the sense.

Sept. 3. P. M. To Hubbard's Swamp for Vibur-
num nudum berries.
The river smooth, though full, with the autumn
sheen on it, as on the leaves. I see painted tortoises
with their entire backs covered with perfectly fresh
clean black scales, such as no rubbing nor varnishing
can produce, contrasting advantageously with brown
and muddy ones. One little one floats past on a drift-
ing pad which he partly sinks.
I find one sassafras berry, dark-blue in its crimson
cup, club-shaped. It is chiefly stone, and its taste is
like that of tar (!), methinks, far from palatable.


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 2







1856] VIBURNUM NUDUM BERRIES 59
So many plants, the indigenous and the bewilder-
ing variety of exotics, you see in conservatories and
nurserymen's catalogues, or read of in English books,
and the Royal Society did not make one of them, and
knows no more about them than you! All truly indige-
nous and wild on this earth. I know of no mark that
betrays an introduced plant, as none but the gardener
can tell what flower has strayed from its parterre; but
where the seed will germinate and the plant spring and
grow, there it is at home.
Weeds are uncultivated herbaceous plants which do
not bear handsome flowers.
Polygala sanguine is now as abundant, at least, as
at any time, and perhaps more conspicuous in the
meadows where I look for fringed gentian.
Gathered four or five quarts of Viburnum nudum
berries, now in their prime, attracted more by the
beauty of the cymes than the flavor of the fruit. The
berries, which are of various sizes and forms,-ellip-
tical, oblong, or globular, are in different stages of
maturity on the same cyme, and so of different colors,
- green or white, rose-colored, and dark purple or
black, i. e. three or four very distinct and marked
colors, side by side. If gathered when rose-colored,
they soon turn dark purple and are soft and.edible,
though before bitter. They add a new and variegated
wildness to the swampy sprout-lands. Remarkable'
for passing through so many stages of color before
they arrive at maturity. A singular and pleasing con-
trast, also, do the different kinds of viburnum and
cornel berries present when compared with each other.







The white berries of the panicled cornel, soon and
apparently prematurely dropping from its pretty fingers,
are very bitter. So also are those of the C. sericea.
One carrion-flower berry is turning blue in its dense
spherical cluster. Castile-soap galls are crowding the
more legitimate acorn on the shrub oak.

Sept. 4. P. M. To Miles Swamp, Conantum.
What are those small yellow birds with two white
bars on wings, about the oak at Hubbard's Grove?
Aralia racemosa berries just ripe, at tall helianthus by
bass [ ?] beyond William Wheeler's; not edible. Indian
hemp out of bloom. Butterflies in road a day or two.
The crackling flight of grasshoppers. The grass also
is all alive with them, and they trouble me by getting
into my shoes, which are loose, and obliging me to
empty them occasionally. Measured an archangelica
stem (now of course dry) in Corner Spring Swamp,
eight feet eight inches high, and seven and a quarter
inches in circumference at ground. It is a somewhat
zigzag stem with few joints and a broad umbelliferous
top, so that it makes a great show. One of those plants
that have their fall early. There are many splendid
scarlet arum berries there now in prime,' forming a
dense ovate head on a short peduncle; the individual
berries of various sizes, between pear and mitre and
club form, flattened against each other on a singular
(now purple and white) core, which is hollow. What
rank and venomous luxuriance in this swamp sprout-
land! Viola pedata again. I see where squirrels have
1 And last ten days more at least.


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 3


60








1856] TO BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT


eaten green sweet viburnum berries on the wall, to-
gether with hazelnuts. The former, gathered red,
turn dark purple and shrivelled, like raisins, in the
house, and are edible, but chiefly seed. The fever-
bush is conspicuously flower-budded. Even its spicy
leaves have been cut by the tailor bee, and circular
pieces taken out. He was, perhaps, attracted by its
smoothness and soundness. Large puffballs, sometime.

Sept. 5. Friday. To Brattleboro, Vt.
Will not the prime of goldenrods and asters be just
before the first severe frosts?
As I ride along in the cars, I think that the ferns,
etc., are browned and crisped more than usual at this
season, on account of the very wet weather.
Found on reaching Fitchburg that there was an in-
terval of three and a half hours between this and the
Brattleboro train, and so walked on, on the track,
with shouldered valise. Had observed that the Nashua
River in Shirley was about one mile west of Groton
Junction, if I should ever want to walk there. Ob-
served by railroad, in. Fitchburg, low slippery elm
shrubs with great, rough, one-sided leaves.
Solidago lanccolata past prime, a good deal. Aster
puniceus in prime. About one mile from West Fitch-
burg depot, westward, I saw the panicled elder berries
on the railroad but just beginning to redden, though
it is said to ripen long before this. As I was walking
through Westminster, I remembered that G. B. Emer-
son says that he saw a handsome clump of the Salix
lucida on an island in Meeting-House Pond in this


61








town, and, looking round, I saw a shrub of it by the rail-
road, about one mile west of West Fitchburg depot, and
several times afterward within a mile or two. Also in
the brook behind Mr. Alcott's house in Walpole, N. H.
Took- the cars again in Westminster. The scenery
began to be mountainous and interesting in Royalston
and Athol, but was more so in Erving. In North-
field first observed fields of broom-corn very common,
Sorghum saccharatum, taller than corn. Alcott says
they bend down the heads before they gather them,. to
fit them for brooms. Hereabouts women and children
are already picking hops in the fields, in the shade of
large white sheets, like sails.

Sept. 6. At Brattleboro.
Mr. Charles C. (?) Frost showed me a printed list
of the flowers of B., furnished by him to a newspaper
in B. some years since. He says he finds Aster simplex
and A. ptarmicoides there (according to Oakes the
latter is not found in New England out of.Vermont),
the latter now covered by the high water of the river;
also A. concinnus, of Wood,. perhaps (not in Gray)
videe specimen pressed); also Solidago patula and
serotina, as well as Canadensis and gigantea. Also
finds, he says, Helianthus giganteus (Oakes gives only
H. divaricatus and decapetalus to Vermont), with quite
small flowers, bank of river, behind town-house; and
decapetalus and strumosus. Speaks of the fragrance
of the dicksonia fern and the sensitiveness of the sen-
sitive fern. If you take a tender plant by the stem,
the warmth of your hand will cause the leaves to curl.


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 5


62








1856] BOTANIZING IN BRATTLEBORO 63
Thought my great dish-cover fungus a Coprolus (?)
(so called from growing in dung ?).
Read in Thompson's History of Vermont, which con-
tains very good natural history, including a catalogue
of the Plants of Vermont made by Oakes and, in the
last edition, additional ones found by Frost.
A. M. Walked down the railroad about a mile,
returning partly by river-bank.
The depot is on the site of "Thunderbolt's" house.
He was a Scotch highwayman. Called himself Dr.
Wilson (?) when here. The prevailing polygonum in
B. was a new one to me, P. Pennsylvanicum, but
not roughish on the veins, apparently in prime, with
the aspect of P. Persicaria, sometimes spreading and
stretching four feet along a hillside, but commonly in
rather low ground, roadsides. For the first time dis-
tinguish the Aster cordifolius, a prevailing one in B.
and but just beginning to flower; like an A. undu-
latus with narrow-winged petioles and sharp-toothed
leaves; amid bushes and edges of woods, sometimes
four feet high, panicled.
I see the flowering raspberry still in bloom. This
plant is quite common here. The fruit, now ripe, is
red and quite agreeable, but not abundant. Desmodium
Canadense still. Maple-leaved viburnum very abun-
dant here, a prevailing shrub. Berries apparently
now in prime, or a little earlier than this, ovoid, dull
blue-black. Pluck some rose leaves by Connecticut
videe press), with now smooth, somewhat pear-shaped
hips; not a sweet-briar. Also Cornus circinata berries,
very light blue or bluish-white.








Cirsium discolor, roadside below depot, apparently
in prime, much like lanceolatum, but smaller leaves,
whitish beneath and inner scales unarmed.
Frost said that Dr. Kane left B. the morning of the
day I arrived, and had given him a list of arctic plants
brought home by him, which he showed me, pages
from his Report, in press.
The Solidago Canadensis very common, apparently
in prime; also perfectly smooth ones with glaticous
stems like some of ours. I am in doubt whether the
last, or any that we have in Concord, is the S. sero-
tina or gigantea. Frost says he distinguishes both, but
Oakes does not give the S. serotina to Vermont. I
should say he had but one kind, which varied from
leaves rough above and on the veins beneath, and
stems smooth below and pubescent above, to leaves
quite smooth on both sides and stems very smooth
and glaucous; rays also vary very much in size. Or
are these only varieties of the Canadensis ? ?
I find small grapes a third of an inch in diameter,
many ripe, on the bank of the Connecticut, plea-
santly acid. Clusters three to four or five inches long.
The leaves are sharply toothed and green on both
sides. Is it the Vitis cordifolia ? 1 I see also a vine
with leaves rusty-downy beneath and not conspicuously
toothed, with equally small now green grapes, appar-
ently like ours. Is not this V. Cstivalis? Of the lat-
ter the berries are said to be pleasant, and ripe in
October.2
Apparently it is, but berries already ripe.
2 Vide Oct. 27, 1856.


[SEPT. 6


64


JOURNAL








1856] THE CONNECTICUT RIVER


Eupatorium ageratoides, white snake-root, in rather
low ground or on banks along riverside, apparently
in prime. Apparently Helianthus decapetalus, or cut-
toothed helianthus, the teeth much larger than with
us. Solidago arguta very common, apparently in prime,
with sharp-toothed, more or less elliptic leaves and
slender terminal drooping racemes; size of S. strict.

Sept. 7. Sunday.' At Brattleboro, Vt. A. M. -
Climbed the hill behind Mr. Addison Brown's.
The leaves of the Tiarella cordifolia very abundant
in the woods, but hardly sharp-lobed. Also observed
the leaves of the Hepatica triloba. Was that Sium
lineare in the pool on the hilltop? Oakes allows only
S. latifolium to grow in Vermont. The seeds are ap-
parently ribbed like ours. (Vide press.) Found the
lemna mantling that pool. Mrs. Brown has found it
in flower there. Flowering dogwood on hill.

P. M. Up the bank of the Connecticut to West
River, up that to a brook, and up that nearly to hos-
pital.
The Connecticut, though unusually high (several
feet more than usual), looks low, there being four or
five or six rods of bare gravel on each side, and the
bushes and weeds covered with clayey soil from a
freshet. Not a boat to be seen on it. The Concord
is worth a hundred of it for my purposes. It looks
narrow as well as shallow. No doubt it is dwarfed by
1 [The manuscript volume which begins with this date has on its
first page, "The cold winter and warm February."]


65








the mountain rising directly from it in front, which,
as usual, looking nearer than it is, makes the opposite
shore seem nearer.
The Solidago Canadensis, and the smooth three-
ribbed one, and nemoralis, etc., the helianthus (appar-
ently decapetalus), and Aster or Diplopappus linarii-
folius, Vitis cordifolius (?) (now beginning to be ripe)
are quite common along the bank. On a bank-side
on West River, Urtica Canadensis, apparently in prime
and going to seed, the same that Mr. Whitlow once
recommended as a substitute for hemp. Near by the
phryma, or lopseed, with still a few small rose-white
flowers. I at first thought it a circoea. Plenty of
harebells thereabouts, and, by the brook, Polygonum
Virginianum, three feet high, mostly gone to seed.
Apparently Cornus stolonifera (?). by brook videe
press), with the sericea. Aster macrophyllus much past
prime.

Sept. 8. Brattleboro. Rains.
Frost gives me an aster which he thinks A. concinnus
of Wood; grows in woods and yet longer leaved.
P. M. Clearing up. I went a-botanizing by the
Coldwater Path, for the most part along a steep wooded
hillside on Whetstone Brook and through its interval.
In the last heavy rain, two or three weeks since,
there was a remarkable freshet on this brook, such
as has not been known before, the bridge and road
carried away, the bed of the stream laid bare, a new
channel being made, the interval covered with sand
and gravel, and trees (buttonwood, etc.) brought


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 7


66








LEATHER-WOOD


down; several acres thus buried. Frost escaped from
his house on a raft. I observed a stream of large bare
white rocks four or five rods wide, which at first I
thought had been washed down, but it seems this
was the former bed of the stream, it having worn a
new channel further east.
Witch-hazel out, maybe a day or two, in some places,
but the Browns do not think the fringed gentian out
yet.
There for the first time I see growing indigenously
the Dirca palustris, leather-wood, the largest on the
low interval by the brook. I notice a bush there seven
feet high. In its form it is somewhat like a quince
bush, though less spreading, its leaves broad, like en-
tire sassafras leaves; now beginning to turn yellow.
It has a remarkably strong thick bark and soft white
wood which bends like lead (Gray says it is brittle!),
the different layers separating at the end. I cut a good-
sized switch, which was singularly tough and flexible,
just like a cowhide, and would answer the purpose
of one admirably. The color of the bark is a very
pale brown. I was much interested in this shrub, since
it was the Indian's rope. Frost said that the farmers
of Vermont used it to tie up their fences with. Cer-
tainly there can be no wood equal to it as a withe. He
says it is still strong when dry. I should think it
would be worth the while for the farmers to cultivate
for this purpose. How often in the woods and fields
we want a string or rope and cannot find one. This
is the plant which Nature has made for this purpose.
The Browns gave me some of the flowers, which ap-


1856]


67







pear very early in spring. Gray says that in northern
New England it is called wicopy. Potter, in History
of Manchester, says Indians sewed canoes with it.
Beck says, "The bark has a sweetish taste, and when
chewed excites a burning sensation in the fauces,"
and, according to Emerson, the bark of this family,
"taken into the stomach causes heat and vomiting, or
purging." According to the latter, cordage has been
made from the bark of this family, also paper. Emerson
says of this plant in particular, "The fresh bark pro-
duces a sensation of heat in the stomach, and at last
brings on vomiting. It has such strength that a
man cannot pull apart so much as covers a branch
of half or a third of an inch in diameter. It is used
by millers and others for thongs." Indian cordage.
I feel as if I had discovered a more indigenous
plant than usual, it was so peculiarly useful to the
aborigines.
On that wooded hillside, I find small-flowered as-
ters, A. miser-like, hairy, but very long linear leaves;
possibly the var. hirsuta of A. miser (Oakes gives of
A. miser, only the var. hirsuticaulis to Vermont) or
else a neighboring species, for they seem distinct.
(Vide press.) There is the hobble-bush with its ber-
ries and large roundish leaves, now beginning to turn
a deep dull crimson red. Also mountain maples, with
sharp-lobed leaves and downy beneath, the young
plants numerous. The Ribes cynosbati, or prickly
gooseberry, with its bur-like fruit, drand still hang-
ing here and there. Also the gr jdiemlock, with its
beautiful fruit, like a red waxen )TW-ith a purple (?)


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 8


68








THE COLDWATER PATH


fruit in it. By the edge of a ditch, where it had been
overwhelmed and buried with mud by the later freshet,
the Solidago Muhlenbergii in its prime. (Vide press.)
Near by, on the bank of the ditch, leaves of coltsfoot.
I had cut across the interval, but, taking to the Cold-
water Path again near its southeast end, I found,
at an angle in it near the canal, beech-drops under
a beech, not yet out, and the Equisetum scirpoides,
also radical leaves, very broad, perhaps of a sedge,
some much longer. (Vide press.)
Gathered flowering raspberries in all my walks and
found them a pleasant berry, large, but never abun-
dant. In a wet place on the interval the Veronica
Americana, according to Frost (beccabunga of some),
not in bloom. Along this path observed the Naba-
lus altissimus, flowers in a long panicle of axillary
and terminal branches, small-flowered, now in prime.
Leaves apparently of Oxalis Acetosella. Large round-
ish radical leaves on the moist wooded hillside, which
the Browns thought of the round-leaved violet. Low,
flat-topped, very rough hairy, apparently Aster acu-
minatus. Erigeron annuus, broad, thin, toothed leaves.
Also another, perhaps hirsute A. miser, with toothed
leaves.
I hear that two thousand dollars' worth of huckle-
berries have been sold by the town of Ashby this sea-
son.
Also gathered on this walk the Polypodium Dryop-
teris and Polystichum acrostichoides and a short heavy-
odored (like stramonium) plant with aspect of lilac,
not in bloom. (Vide press.)


1856]


69







Sept. 9. Tuesday. 8 A. M. Ascend the Chester-
field Mountain with Miss Frances and Miss Mary
Brown.
The Connecticut is about twenty rods wide between
Brattleboro and Hinsdale. This mountain, according
to Frost, 1064 feet high. It is the most remarkable
feature here. The village of Brattleboro is peculiar
for the nearness of the primitive wood and the moun-
tain. Within three rods of Brown's house was excellent
botanical ground on the side of a primitive wooded
hillside, and still better along the Coldwater Path.
But, above all, this everlasting mountain is forever
lowering over the village, shortening the day and wear-
ing a misty cap each morning. You look up to its top
at a steep angle from the village streets. A great part
belongs to the Insane Asylum. This town will be
convicted of folly if they ever permit this mountain
to be laid bare. Francis [sic] B. says its Indian name
is Wantastiquet, from the name of West River above.
Very abundant about B. the Gerardia tenuifolia, in
prime, which I at first mistook for the purpurea. The
latter I did not see. High up the mountain the Aster
macrophyllus as well as corymbosus. The (apparently)
Platanthera orbiculata (?) leaves, round and flat on
ground videe press); another by it with larger and more
oblong leaves. Pine-sap. A tuft of five-divided leaves,
fifteen or eighteen inches high, slightly fern-like videe
press). Galium circezans var. lanceolatum. Top of
the mountain covered with wood. Saw Ascutney,
between forty and fifty miles up the river, but not
Monadnock on account of woods.


70


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 9








A SARANAC PANTHER


P. M. To and up a brook north of Brown's house.
A large alternate cornel, four or five inches in diam-
eter, a dark-gray stem. The kidney-shaped leaves
of the Asarum Canadense common there. Panax
quinquefolium, with peculiar flat scarlet fruit in a little
umbel. Clinopodium vulgare, or basil, apparently
flatted down by a freshet, rather past prime; and
spearmint in brook just above. Close behind Brown's,
Liparis liliifolia, or tway-blade, leaves and bulb.
A very interesting sight from the top of the mountain
was that of the cars so nearly under you, apparently
creeping along, you could see so much of their course.
The epigea was very abundant on the hill behind
Brown's and elsewhere in B. The Populus moni-
lifera grows on West River, but I did not see it.
The Erigeron Philadelphicus I saw pressed, with in-
numerable fine rays. Scouring-rush was common along
the Coldwater Path and elsewhere.
The most interesting sight I saw in Brattleboro
was the skin and skull of a panther (Felis concolor)
(cougar, catamount, painter, American lion, puma),
which was killed, according to a written notice attached,
on the 15th of June by the Saranac Club of Brattle-
boro, six young men, on a fishing and hunting excur-
sion. This paper described it as eight feet in extreme
length and weighing one hundred and ten pounds.
The Brattleboro newspaper says its body was "4 feet
11 inches in length, and the tail 2 feet 9 inches; the
anilnal weighed 108 pounds." I was surprised at its great
size and apparent strength. It gave one a new idea of
our American forests and the vigor of nature here. It


1856]


71








was evident that it could level a platoon of men with a
stroke of its paw. I was particularly impressed by the
size of its limbs, the size of its canine teeth, and its great
white claws. I do not see but this affords a sufficient foun-
dation for the stories of the lion heard and its skins seen
near Boston by the first settlers. This creature was very
catlike, though the tail was not tapering, but as large
at the extremity as anywhere, yet not tufted like the
lion's. It had a long neck, a long thin body, like a
lean cat. Its fore feet were about six inches long by
four or five wide, as set up.
I talked with the man who shot him, a Mr. Kellogg,
a lawyer. They were fishing on one of the Saranac
Lakes, their guide being the Harvey Moody whom
Hammond describes, when they heard the noise of
some creature threshing about amid the bushes
on the hillside. The guide suspected that it was a
panther which had caught a deer. He reconnoitred
and found that it was a panther which had got one
fore paw (the left) in one of his great double-spring,
long teethed or hooked bear-traps. He had several
of these traps set (without bait) in the neighborhood.
It fell to Kellogg's lot to advance with the guide and
shoot him. They approached within six or seven rods,
saw that the panther was held firmly, and fired just
as he raised his head to look at them. The ball entered
just above his nose, pierced his brain, and killed him
at once. The guide got the bounty of twenty-five
dollars, but the game fell to his employers. A slice
had been sheared off one side of each ear to secure
this with. It was a male. The guide thought it an old


72


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 9








A SARANAC PANTHER


one, but Kellogg said that, as they were returning with
it, the inhabitants regarded it as common; they only
kicked it aside in the road, remarking that [it] was a
large one.
I talked also with the Mr. Chamberlin who set it up.
He showed me how sharp the edges of the broad
grinders were just behind the canine teeth. They
were zigzag, thus: and shut over the
under, scraping close like shears and, as
he proved, would cut off a straw clean. This animal
looked very thin as set up, and probably in some
states of his body would have weighed much more.
Kellogg said that, freshly killed, the body showed
the nerves much more than as set up. The color, etc.,
agreed very well with the account in Thompson's
History of Vermont, except that there was, now at
least, no yellow about the mouth or chin, but whitish.
It was, in the main, the universal color of this family,
or a little browner. According to Thompson, it is brown-
red on the back, reddish-gray on the sides, whitish or
light-ash on the belly; tail like the back above, except
its- extremity, which is brownish-black, not tufted;
chin, upper lip, and inside of cars, yellowish-white.
Hairs on back, short, brownish tipped with red; on
the belly, longer, lighter, tipped with white; hairs of
face like back with whitish hairs intermingled. Canines
conical, claws pearly-white. Length, nose to tail, four
feet eight inches; tail, two feet six inches; top of head
to point of nose, ten inches; width across forehead,
eight inches. Length of fore legs, one foot two inches;
hind, one foot four inches. Weight usually about one


1856]


73







hundred pounds. The largest he ever knew was
seven feet in extreme length and weighed one hundred
and eighteen pounds. One had been known to leap
up a precipice fifteen feet high with a calf in his mouth.
Vide Lawson, Hunter, and Jefferson in Book of
Facts. Hunter when near the Rocky Mountains says,
"So much were they to be apprehended that no
one ever ventured to go out alone, even on the most
trifling occasion." He makes two kinds.
Emmons makes the extreme length of one of the
largest cougars nine feet four inches, and the greatest
length of the canine tooth of the upper jaw from the
gum nine tenths of an inch. I think that the teeth of
the one I saw were much larger. Says it is cowardly
and "rarely if ever attacks man;" that a hunter met
five in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., and, with his
dog and gun only, killed three that day and the other
two the next. Yet he will follow a man's track a great
distance. Scream at evening heard for miles. Thinks
about 450 its northern range.'

Sept. 10. 10.30 A. M. Took the cars to Bellows
Falls, through Dummerston, Putney, and Westminster.
Looked at the falls and rocks. River higher than
usual at this season, yet could cross all but about
twenty feet on the rocks. Some pot-holes of this form:
real pot-holes, but commonly several curves com-
mingled, thus: or the whole
more rounded. Found, spread-
ing prostrate on the rocks amid the
SVide forward, Oct. 4th and 25th.


74


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 9








1856] HISTORIES, OLD AND MODERN 75
pot-holes, apparently a small willow,1 with shining dark-
red stems and smooth, spatulate, rather obtuse serrate
leaves. (Vide press.) I read that salmon passed these
falls but not shad. When the water is lowest, it is con-
tracted to sixteen feet here, and Peters's, an old history
of Connecticut, says it was so condensed that you could
not thrust a crowbar into it. It did me good to read his
wholesale hearty statements, -strong, living, human
speech, so much better than the emasculated modern
histories, like Bancroft's and the rest, cursed with a
style." I would rather read such histories, though every
sentence were a falsehood, than our dull emasculated
reports which bear the name of histories. The former,
having a human breath and interest behind them, are
nearer to nature and to truth, after all. The histo-
rian is required to feel a human interest in his subject
and to so express it. President Dwight, speaking of
the origin of those pot-holes, says, "The river now is
often fuller than it probably ever was before the coun-
try above was cleared of its forests: the snows in
open ground melting much more suddenly, and form-
ing much greater freshets, than in forested ground."
(Vol. ii, page 92.)
Ascended the Fall Mountain with a heavy valise
on my back, against the advice of the toll-man. But
when I got up so soon and easily I was amused to re-
member his anxiety. It is seven hundred and fifty
feet high, according to Gazetteer. Saw great red oaks
on this hill, particularly tall, straight, and bare of limbs,
1 Prunus depressa.
2 [Channing, p. 272. C. puts "Prescott's" for "Bancroft's."]








for a great distance, amid the woods. Here, as at Brattle-
boro, a fine view of the country immediately beneath
you; but these views lack breadth, a distant horizon.
There is a complete view of the falls from this height.
Saw a pair of middle-sized black hawks hovering
about this cliff, with some white spots, with peculiar
shrill snapping notes like a gull, a new kind to me.
Descending the steep south end of this hill, I saw
an apparent Corydalis glauca, mostly withered, three
feet or more, and more than usually broad and stout
in proportion. '(Vide press.) My shoes were very smooth,
and I got many falls descending, battering my valise.
By the railroad below, the Solanum nigrum, with white
flowers but yet green fruit.
Just after crossing Cold River, bathed in the Con-
necticut, evidently not far from site of the old Kilbourn
fort. Clay-muddy shore. Near the site of the old
Bellows Fort, saw completely purple Polygala verti-
cillata abundant in road.
Rode the last mile into Walpole with a lumberer,
who said that when he commenced operations at
Bellows Falls he thought that there was not more
than one hundred thousand there, but they had already
got out four millions. He imported some of those
masts I had seen go through Concord from Canada
West. They were rafted along Lake Erie (a Mr. Dorr
of Buffalo afterward told me that he did this part
with steamers, merely running an inch chain through
the butt of each log and fastening the ends to a boom,
which surrounded the whole, leaving the small ends
to play) and in small rafts by canal to Albany, and


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 10


76








1856] WITH ALCOTT IN WALPOLE, N. H. 77
thence by railroad via Rutland to Portland, for the
navy; and it cost only one third more to get them
from Canada West than from Bellows Falls. Remem-
bering the difficulty in old times of loading one of these
sticks in New Hampshire for the King's Navy, this
seemed the greatest triumph of the railroad.
In Walpole, the Chenopodium Botrys.

Sept. 11. P. M.- Walked over what Alcott calls
Farm Hill, cast of his house.
Erigeron annuus, four feet high, by roadside; also
Ranunculus Pennsylvanicus, or bristly crowfoot, still
in bloom. Vide press. A fine view of the Connecticut
valley from the hilltop, and of Ascutney Mountain, but
not of Monadnock. Descended a steep side of the hill
by a cow-path, made with great judg-
ment regularly zigzag, thus : well worn
and deep. Visited the grave- yard and
Colonel Benjamin Bellows, the found-
er's, gravestone and more re- cent monu-
ment.
In the evening read an interesting pamphlet ac-
count of the Bellows family of Walpole, prepared by
Dr. Bellows of New York, on occasion of the family
gathering and erection of the monument. A large part
of the inhabitants of Walpole are descendants of Colonel
B. Bellows. The writer quotes from a paper in "the
Cheshire Gazette of April 28, 1826," "understood to
be prepared by our respected townsman, Dr. Morse,"
Dr. B. saying first, "A Mrs. Watson of Germantown,
Pennsylvania, was alive in 1826, who resided in Wal-








pole in 1762, then only 8 years old," but she had a
remarkable memory. He then quotes Morse, who
states that her father came and built a house in Walpole
in 1762. "The roof of the house was covered with
bark, and the gable ends remained open some time,
which enabled them to hear the barking of foxes, the
howling of wolves, and the cries of the panther, while
sitting before the fire. The latter resembled the voice
of a woman in distress, and [seemed]' intended to
decoy people into the woods, where the salutations
of these roving gentry were apt to prove troublesome,
unless prevented by the presence of fire-arms." Ac-
cording to this woman (and Morse), "a shad was
taken near the falls which had a rattlesnake's head
in its stomach."
Dr. B. states that there is a tradition that the founder,
Colonel B., once killed, on Fall Mountain, two bears
and "a very large panther, which last alarmed him
considerably. According to Morse and the woman,
"a large portion of pin money was derived from
the sale of golden thread, ginseng, and snakeroot,
which were procured from their [the ladies']2 own
hands." This should probably be "lands," or the
preposition, "by."
In Alcott's yard, sprung up from his bird's seed,
hemp, like common except fragrant.3
These are the plants I obtained on this excursion: -
Panieled elder berries, Fitchburg.
Aster concinnus (?), Frost, Brattleboro.
1 [This word is probably supplied by Thoreau.]
2 [Thoreau's brackets.] S So is ours.


78


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 11









1856] LIST OF PLANTS OBTAINED

Solidago Canadensis.
A. cordifolius.
Urtica gracilis (?).
Pear-hipped rose.
Vitis cordifolia.
Eupatorium ageratoides.
Helianthus decapetalus.
Solidago arguta.
A. tenuifolius (?), Frost.
Hepatica triloba, leaves.
Tiarella cordifolia, leaves and dried stem.
Slum lineare (?).
Urtica Canadensis.
Phryma Leptostachya.
Campanula rotundifolia.
Polygonum Virginianum.
Cornus stolonifera (?).
Dirca palustris. leaves.
A. miser var. hirsuta (?).
Viburnum lantanoides, leaves.
Acer spicatum, leaves.
Ribes cynosbati, in fruit.
Taxus Canadensis, in fruit.
Solidago Muhlenbergii.
Tussilago Farfara, leaves.
Epiphegus Americana.
Equisetum scirpoides.
Veronica Americana, not in flower.
Nabalus altissimus.
Oxalis Acetosella, leaves.
Viola rotundifolia (??), radical leaves.
Erigeron annuus.
Polypodium Dryopteris, in fruit.
Heavy scented plant.
Gerardia tenuifolia.
Platanthera orbiculata (?), out of bloom.
Tufted and divided leaves on mountain.
Aster, longifolius-like, on Island.


79








Asarum Canadense, leaves.
Panax quinquejolium, in fruit.
Clinopodium vulgare.
Liparis liliifolia, not in flower.
Red-stemmed willow at Bellows Falls.
Solanum nigrum, Walpole.
Purple Polygala verticillata, Walpole.
Ranunculus Pennsylvanicus, Walpole.
Cannabis, a fragrant kind, Walpole.

Also these were given me, pressed by the Browns:-

Dentaria diphylla.
Viburnum lantanoides, in flower.
Trillium erectum.
Epigvea (fairer than ours).
Sanguinaria Canadensis.
Erythronium Americanum.
Arabis lcvigata.
Viola rostrata.
Panax trifolium.
Pulsatilla patens, leaves.
Tussilago Farfara, without leaves.
A. Ribes.
Hepatica triloba.
H. acutiloba, leaves (flowers same ).
Mitella diphylla.

Sept. 12. Return to Concord.

Sept. 13. Saturday. At Concord. After all, I am
struck by the greater luxuriance of the same species
of plants here than up-country, though our soil is
considered leaner. Also I think that no view I have
had of the Connecticut Valley, at Brattleboro or Wal-
pole, is equal to that of the Concord from Nawshaw-


80


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 11








1856] GATHERING WILD GRAPES


tuct. Here is a more interesting horizon, more va-
riety and richness. Our river is much the most fertile
in every sense. Up there it is nothing but river-valley
and hills. Here there is so much more that we have
forgotten that we live in a valley.

8 A. M. Up Assabet.
Gathered quite a parcel, of grapes, quite ripe. Diffi-
cult to break off the large bunches without some
dropping off. Yet the best are more admirable for
fragrance than for flavor. Depositing them in the
bows of the boat, they filled all the air with their
fragrance, as we rowed along against the wind, as if
we were rowing through an endless vineyard in its
maturity.
The Aster Tradescanti now sugars the banks densely,
since I left, a week ago. Nature improves this her
last opportunity to empty her lap of flowers.
Ascended the hill. The barberries are abundant there,
and already handsomely red, though not much more
than half turned. Was surprised at the profusion of
autumnal dandelions in their prime on the top of the
hill, about the oaks. Never saw them thicker in a
meadow. A cool, spring-suggesting yellow. They
reserve their force till this season, though they begin
so early. Cool to the eye, as the creak of the cricket
to the ear.
The Viburnum Lentago, which I left not half turned
red when I went up-country a week ago, are now quite
black-purple and shrivelled like raisins on my table,
and sweet to taste, though chiefly seed.


81








Sept. 14. P. M. To Hubbard's Close and Car-
dinal Ditch.
Now for the Aster Tradescanti along low roads, like
the Turnpike, swarming with butterflies and bees.
Some of them are pink. How ever unexpected are these
later flowers! You thought that Nature had about
wound up her affairs. You had seen what she could
do this year, and had not noticed a few weeds by the
roadside, or mistook them for the remains of summer
flowers now hastening to their fall; you thought you
knew every twig and leaf by the roadside, and no-
thing more was to be looked for there; and now, to
your surprise, these ditches are crowded with millions
of little stars. They suddenly spring up and face you,
with their legions on each side the way, as if they had
lain in ambuscade there. The flowering of the ditches.
Call them travellers' thoughts, numerous though
small, worth a penny at least, which, sown in spring
and summer, in the fall spring up unobserved at
first, successively dusted and washed, mingled with
nettles and beggar-ticks as a highway harvest. A starry
meteoric shower, a milky way, in the flowery kingdom
in whose aisles we travel.' Let the traveller bethink
himself, elevate and expand his thoughts somewhat,
that his successors may oftener hereafter be cheered
by the sight of an Aster Novc-Anglice or spectabilis
here and there, to remind him that a poet or philoso-
pher has passed this way. The gardener with all his
assiduity does not raise such a variety, nor so many suc-
cessive crops on the same space, as Nature in the very
roadside ditches. There they have stood, begrimed


82


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 14








ASTERS AND MAYWEED


with dust and the wash of the road so long, and made
acquaintance with passing sheep and cattle and swine,
gathering a trivial experience, and now at last the
fall rains have come to wash off some of that dust,
and even they exhibit these dense flowery panicles as
the result of all that experience, as pure for an hour
as if they grew by some wild brook-side. Successor to
Mayweed & Co. Is not mayweed, by the way, the
flower furthest advanced into the road rut or mid-
channel, like the kalmiana lily in the river ? The mid-
channel, where the stream of travel flows deep and
strong, unless it is far up the stream toward its foun-
tainhead, no flower invades. Mayweed! what a mis-
nomer! Call it rut-weed rather.
Goodyera pubesccens apparently just done. Fringed
gentian well out (and some withered or frost-bitten ?),
say a week, though there was none to be seen here
August 27th. I see the fruit and flowers of Polygonum
Careyi affected with smut like corn.

Sept. 15. Monday. Sophia says, bringing company
into my sanctum, by way of apology, that I regard the
dust on my furniture like the bloom on fruits, not
to be swept off. Which reminds me that the bloom
on fruits and stems is the only dust which settles on
Nature's furniture.
P. M. To Hubbard's Swamp.
Aster longifolius and puniceus and Spiranthes cer-
nua in prime. Early Solidago stricta 1 done, but some
putting out again in the axils, while dead at top,
That is, arguta.


1856]


83







maybe owing to the rains. Meadow-sweet lingers
yet!
What I must call Bidens cenua, like a small chry-
santhemoides, is bristly hairy, somewhat connate and
apparently regularly toothed. The hypericums gener-
ally appear to be now about done. I see none.

Sept. 16. P. M. To Harris's Mill, Acton, with
Father.
Aster lavis apparently in prime; very handsome its
long, slanting, broad-topped wands by the roadside,
even in dry soil, its rays longer and richer purple than
usual. See a flock of pigeons dash by. From a stout
breast they taper straightly and slenderly to the tail.
They have been catching them a while.
William Monroe is said to have been the first who
raised teasels about here. He was very sly about it,
and fearful lest he should have competitors. At length
he lent his wagon to a neighbor, who discovered some
teasel seed on the bottom, which he carefully saved and
planted, and so competed with Monroe.

Sept. 18. P. M. -By boat to Conantum, barberrying.
Diplopappus linariifolius in prime. River gone down
more than I expected after the great rise, to within
some eighteen inches of low-water mark, but on account
of freshet I have seen no Bidens Beckii nor chrysanthe-
moides nor Polygonum amphibium var. aquaticum in it,
nor elsewhere the myriophyllums this year. The witch-
hazel at Conantum just begun here and there; some
may have been out two or three days. It is apparently


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 15


84








1856] A DEXTROUS BARBERRY-PICKER 85
later with us than the fringed gentian, which I have
supposed was out by September 7th. Yet I saw the
witch-hazel out in Brattleboro September 8th, then ap-
parently for a day or two, while the Browns thought the
gentian was not out. It is still a question, perhaps,
though unquestionably.the gentian is now far more gen-
erally out here than the hazel. Lespedezas, violacea,
hirta, Stuvei, etc.,-at Blackberry Steep, done. Soli-
dago ccasia in prime at Bittern Cliff Wood.
The barberries are not fairly turned, but I gather
them that I may not be anticipated, -a peck of
large ones. I strip off a whole row of racemes at one
sweep, bending the prickles and getting as few leaves
as possible, so getting a handful at once. The racemes
appear unusually long this season, and the berries
large, though not so thick as I have seen them. I con-
sider myself a dextrous barberry-picker, as if I had
been born in the Barberry States. A pair of gloves
would be convenient, for, with all my knack, it will
be some days before I get all the prickles out of my
fingers. I get a full peck from about three bushes.
Scared up the same flock of four apparent summer
ducks, which, what with myself, a belated (in season)
haymaker, and a fisherman above, have hardly a
resting-place left. The fisherman takes it for granted
that I am after ducks or fishes, surely.
I see no traces of frost yet along the river. See no
pontederia fall, for they are covered with water. The
Cornus sericea is most changed and drooping. Smila-
cina berries of both kinds now commonly ripe, but not
so edible as at first, methinks.







Sept. 19. Am surprised to find the Polygonum
Pennsylvanicum abundant, by the roadside near the
bank. First saw it the other day at Brattleboro. This
makes, as I reckon, twenty polygonums that I know,
all but cilinode and Virginianum in Concord. Is not
this a late kind? It grows larger than the Persicaria.
Observed an Aster undulatus behind oak at foot of
hill on Assabet, with lower leaves not heart-shaped,
but thus:
Gathered -- just half a bushel
of barberries on hill in less than two hours, or three
pecks to-day and yesterday in less than three hours.,
It is singular that I have so few, if any, competitors.
I have the pleasure also of bringing them home in my
boat. They will be more valuable this year, since
apples and cranberries are scarce. These barberries
are more than the apple crop to me, for we shall have
them on the table daily all winter, while the two barrels
of apples which we lay up will not amount to so much.
Also, what is the pear crop to the huckleberry crop ?
They make a great ado about their pears, those who
get any, but how many families raise or buy a barrel
of pears all told ? The pear crop is insignificant com-
pared with the huckleberry crop. The one does not
concern me, the other does. I do not taste more than
six pears annually, and I suspect the majority fare
worse than I, but nature heaps the table with berries
for six weeks or more. Indeed the apple crop is not
so important as the huckleberry crop. Probably the
apples consumed in this town do not amount to more
than one barrel a family, but what is this to a month


86


JOURNAL


[SEPT. 19








1856] CORYDALIS STILL IN BLOOM


or more of huckleberrying for every man, woman, and
child, and the birds into the bargain? They are not
unprofitable in a pecuniary sense. I hear that some
of the inhabitants of Ashby have sold two thousand
dollars' worth the past season.

Sept. 20. Melvin says that there are many teal about
the river now.
Rain in afternoon. Rain again in the night, hard.

Sept. 21. P. M. To Cliffs.
Asclepias Cornuti discounting. The seeded para-
chutes which I release soon come to earth, but prob-
ably if they waited for a stronger wind to release them
they would be carried far. Solidago ncmoralis mostly
done. Aster undulatus in prime, in the dry woods
just beyond Hayden's, large slanting, pyramidal pani-
cles of some lilac-tinged, others quite white, flowers,
size of Diplopappus linariifolius. Solidago altissima
past prime. Prinos berries. I hear of late faint chewink
notes in the shrubbery, as if they were meditating
their strains in a subdued tone against another year.
A. dumosus past prime.
Am surprised to see on top of Cliffs, where Wheeler
burned in the spring and had cut rye, by a large
rock, some very large perfectly fresh Corydalis glauca,
still well in bloom as well as gone to seed, two and a
half feet high and five eighths of an inch thick at
base. There are also many large tufts of its glaucous
leaves on the black burnt ground which have not come
to flower, amid the rye stubble. The bumblebees are


87




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