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valley over to Wachusett, with its thunder-storms and battles in the cloud ; the farmers' backyards in Jaffrey, where the family cotton can be seen bleaching on the grass, but no trace of the pigmy family; the dry, soft air all night, the lack of dew in the morning; the want of water,
- a pint being a good deal, – these, and similar things make up some part of such an excursion.”
These excursions were common with Thoreau, but less so with Channing, who therefore, notes down many things that his friend would not think worth recording, except as a part of that calendar of Nature which he set himself to keep, and of which his journals, for more than twenty years, are the record. From these he made up his printed volumes, and there may be read the details that he registered. He had gauges for the height of the river, noted the temperature of springs and ponds, the tints of the morning and evening sky, the flowering and fruit of plants, all the habits of birds and animals, and every aspect of nature from the smallest to the greatest. Much of this is the dryest detail, but everywhere you come upon strokes of beauty, in
a single word-picture, or in a page of idyllic description, like this of the Concord heifer, which might be a poem of Theocritus, or one of the lost bucolics of Moschus:
“One more confiding heifer, the fairest of the herd, did by degrees approach, as if to take some morsel from our hands, while our hearts leaped to our mouths with expectation and delight. She by degrees drew near with her fair limbs progressive, making pretense of browsing; nearer and nearer till there was wafted to us the bovine fragrance, - cream of all the dairies that ever were or will be, — and then she raised her gentle muzzle toward us, and snuffed an honest recognition within hand's reach. I saw it was possible for his herd to inspire with love the herdsman. She was as delicately featured as a hind; her hide was mingled white and fawn color ; on her muzzle's tip there was a white spot not bigger than a daisy; and on her side turned toward me the map of Asia plain to see. Farewell, dear heifer! though thou forgettest me, my prayer to heaven shall be that thou may'st not forget thyself.
" I saw her name was Sumach. And by the kindred spots I knew her mother, more sedate and matronly, with full-grown bag, and on her sides was Asia, great and small, the plains of Tartary, even to the pole, while on her daughter's was Asia Minor. She was not disposed to wanton with the herdsman. As I walked the heifer followed me, and took an apple from my hand, and seemed to care more for the hand than the apple. So innocent a face I have rarely seen on any creature, and I have looked in the face of many heifers; and as she took the apple from my hand, I caught the apple of her eye. There was no sinister expression. She smelled as sweet as the clethra blossom. For horns, though she had them, they were so well disposed in the right place, but neither up nor down, that I do not now remember she had any."
Or take this apostrophe to the “ Queen of Night, the Huntress Diana,” which is not a translation from some Greek worshipper, but the sincere ascription of a New England hunter of the noblest deer:
“My dear, my dewy sister, let thy rain descend on me! I not only love thee, but I love the best of thee, – that is to love thee rarely. I do not love thee every day — commonly I love those who are less than thee; I love thee only on great days. Thy dewy words feed me like the manna of the morning. I am as much thy sister as thy brother; thou art as much my brother as my sister. It is a portion of thee and a portion of me which are of kin. O my sister ! O Diana! thy tracks are on the eastern hill; thou newly didst pass that way. I, the hunter, saw them in the morning dew. My eyes are the hounds that pursued thee. I hear thee; thou canst speak, I cannot; I fear and forget to answer; I am occupied with hearing. I awoke and thought of thee; thou wast present to my mind. How camest thou there? Was I not present to thee, likewise ? ”
In such a lofty mystical strain did this Concord Endymion declare his passion for Nature, in whose green lap he slumbers now on the hill-side which the goddess nightly revisits.
“O sister of the sun, draw near,
PERSONAL TRAITS AND SOCIAL LIFE.
THE face of Thoreau, once seen, could not easily be forgotten, so strong was the mark that genius had set upon it. The portrait of him, which has been commonly engraved, though it bore some resemblance at the time it was taken (by S. W. Rowse, in 1854), was never a very exact likeness. A few years later he began to wear his beard long, and this fine silken muffler for his delicate throat and lungs, was also an ornament to his grave and thoughtful face, concealing its weakest feature, a receding chin. The head engraved for this volume is from a photograph taken, in 1861, at New Bedford, and shows him as he was in his last years. His personal traits were not startling and commanding like, those of Webster, who drew the eyes of all men wherever he appeared, but they were peculiar, and dwelt long in the memory. His features were