the Thoreau Log.
Æt. 34.
1 January 1851. Clinton, Mass.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Cape Cod” at Clinton Hall for the Bigelow Mechanic Institute (Studies in the American Renaissance, 1995, 191-193).

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal on 2 January:

  Saw at Clinton last night a room at the gingham-mills which covers one and seven-eighths acres and contains 578 looms, not to speak of spindles, both throttle and mule. The rooms all together cover three acres (Journal, 2:134-136).
2 January 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw at Clinton last night a room at the gingham-mills which covers one and seven-eighths acres and contains 578 looms, not to speak of spindles, both throttle and mule. The rooms all together cover three acres. They were using between three and four hundred horse-power, and kept an engine of two hundred horsepower, with a wheel twenty-three feet in diameter and a band ready to supply deficiencies, which have not often occurred. Some portion of the machinery—I think it was where the cotton was broken up, lightened up, and mixed before being matted together-revolved eighteen hundred times in a minute. I first saw the pattern room where patterns are made by a handloom. There were two styles of warps ready for the woof or filling. The operator must count the threads of the woof, which in the mill is done by the machinery. It was the ancient art of weaving, the shuttle flying back and forth, putting in the filling. As long as the warp is the same, it is but one “style,” so called.
(Journal, 2:134-136)
4 January 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The longest silence is the most pertinent question most pertinently put. Emphatically silent. The most important question, whose answers concern us more than any, are never put in any other way. It is difficult for two strangers, mutually well disposed, so truly to bear themselves toward each other that a feeling of falseness and hollowness shall not soon spring up between them. The least anxiety to behave truly vitiates the relation. I think of those to whom I am at the moment truly related, with a joy never expressed and never to be expressed, before I fall asleep at night, though I am hardly on speaking terms with them these years. When I think of it, I am truly related to them.
(Journal, 2:137)

Clinton, Mass. The Clinton Saturday Courant reviews Thoreau’s lecture of 1 January:

  The lecture on Wednesday evening last by Mr. Thoreau, was one of those intellectual efforts which serve to wile away an hour very pleasantly, but which leave little or nothing impressed upon the memory of real value. The subject was “Cape Cod.” A description of a walk upon the sea shore, with reflections upon shipwrecks and their effects upon the inhabitants in a certain case, with anecdotes, and a few historical reminiscences, made up the burthen of his story.
(“An Excursion to Cape Cod“)
5 January 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The catkins of the alders are now frozen stiff!! (Journal, 2:137).

7 January 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is sixteen inches deep at least, but [it] is a mild and genial afternoon, as if it were the beginning of a January thaw (Journal, 2:137-9).
8 January 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The light of the setting sun falling on the snow-banks to-day made them glow almost yellow. The hills seen from Fair Haven Pond make a wholly new landscape (Journal, 2:139).
10 January 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Got some excellent frozen-thawed apples off of Annursnack, soft and luscious as a custard and free from worms and rot. Saw a partridge budding, but they did not appear to have pecked the apples. There was a remarkable sunset; a mother-of-pearl sky seen over the Price farm; some small clouds, as well as the edges of large ones, most brilliantly painted with mother-of-pearl tints through and through. I never saw the like before.
(Journal, 2:139-241)
11 January 1851. Clinton, Mass.

The Clinton Saturday Courant reports:

The lecture before the B[igelow]. M[echanic]. Institute last Wednesday evening, by Thomas Drew, Esq., is considered by many as abou the best lecture of the course thus far delivered,—totally obscuring the fine-spun theories of [Ralph Waldo] Emerson and placing ‘Cape Cod’ amongst those ‘trifles, light as air,’ which serve to amuse, but not instruct, the listener.
(“An Excursion to Cape Cod”)
13 January 1851. Bedford, Mass?

W. Cushing writes to Thoreau:

  [MS torn] us.

  Will you please give us an answer—and your subject—if you consent to come—by Mr. Charles Bowers, who is to lecture here tomorrow evening. [MS torn]

  Respectfully yours

  W. Cushing

  Chairman Ex. Comtee

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 653-654; MS, Henry David Thoreau Vertical File Manuscript, #858. Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
14 and 15 January 1851. Portland, Maine.

The Daily Advertiser and the Eastern Argus advertise Thoreau’s lecture of 15 January (“An Excursion to Cape Cod“).

14 January 1851. Cambridge, Mass.

Thoreau checks out Novus orbis, seu Descriptionis Indiae Occidentalis, libri XVII by Joannes de Laet, The North American sylva by François André Michaux, vol. 1, and New Englands rarities discovered: in birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, and plants of that country by John Josselyn from Harvard College Library.

(Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289)
15 January 1851.

Portland, Maine. Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Cape Cod” at the Temple Street Chapel for the Portland Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 193-7).

Portland, Maine. William Willis writes in his journal:

  Lyceum lecture by Henry Thoreau of Concord Mass. did not attend. Said to have been a very poor lecture” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 197).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  The proof of literary genius is the nobil volgar eloquenza,1 or, with large views, the low tone, and humour to show its unaffectedness. Burns & Goethe & Carlyle, with great difference of power, understand it well. Goethe is in this way a great success.

M M E [Mary Moody Emerson] & Henry James are both proficients, & C. K N., [Charles King Newcomb] H. D. T., & W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing]

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:330)

1 “Noble vulgar speech.” See Emerson’s “Literature” (The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5:234).

18 January 1851. Boston, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Concord woods were more to me than my library, or [Ralph Waldo] Emerson even. They were to him than they were to me, and still more to Thoreau than to either of us. Take the forest and skies from their pages, and they, E. and T., have faded and fallen clean out of their pictures.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 237)
22 January 1851. Boston, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Thoreau passed this morning and dined with me. He was on his way to read a paper at Medford this evening—his “Life in the Woods at Walden”; and as refreshing a piece as the Lyceum will get from any lecturer going at present in New England—a whole forest, with forester and all, imported into the citizen’s and villager’s brain. A sylvan man accomplished in the virtues of an aboriginal civility, and quite superior to the urbanities of cities, Thoreau is himself a wood, and its inhabitants. There is more in him of sod and shade and sky lights, of the genuine mold and moistures of the green grey earth, than in any person I know. Self dependent and sagacious as any denizen of the elements, he has the key to every animal’s brain, every flower and shrub; and were an Indian to flower forth, and reveal the secrets hidden in the wilds of his cranium, it would not be more surprising than the speech of this Sylvanus.

  He belongs to the Homeric age, and is older than fields and gardens; as virile and talented as Homer’s heroes, and the elements. He seems alone, of all the men I have known, to be a native New Englander,—as much so as the oak, or granite ledge; and I would rather send him to London or Vienna or Berlin, as a specimen of American genius spontaneous and unmixed, than anyone else. I shall have occasion to use him presently in these portraits. We must grind him into paint to help brown and invigorate Channing’s profile, when we come to it. Here is coloring for half a dozen Socialisms. It stands out in layers and clots, like carbuncles, to give force and homeliness to the otherwise feminine lineaments. This man is the independent of independents—is, indeed, the sole signer of the Declaration, and a Revolution in himself—a more than ’76—having got beyond the signing to the doing it our fully. Concord jail could not keep him safely; Justice Hoar paid his tax, too; and was glad to forget thereafter, till now, his citizenship, and omit his existence, as a resident, in the poll list. Lately he has taken to surveying as well as authorship, and make the compass pay for his book on “The Concord and Merrimac Rivers,” which the public is slow to take off his hands. I went with him to the publishers, Monroe and Co., and learned that only about two hundred of an edition of a thousand were sold. But author and book can well afford to wait.

(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 238-239)
25 January 1851. Portland, Maine.

The Portland Transcript reviews Thoreau’s lecture of 15 January:


  The performance of this gentleman, before the Lyceum, was unique. All who heard him lecture here two years ago [21 March 1849] were doubtless prepared for something eccentric and original, and we are quite sure they were not disappointed! His subject might be termed A Ramble upon Cape Cod,—along its wreck strewn shores—across its desert sands, and among its amphibious inhabitants. All the minute peculiarities of these, were presented in the light of a peculiarly quaint and humorous fancy. Mr. Thoreau is a most acute observer, and he has a singularly graphic style of describing what he has seen. he is an observer of nature, animate and inanimate, but he sees everything form a peculiar point of view, all is bathed in the light of a strong imagination. He takes all things by the angles and sets them before you in the most quaint phrase. He reaches out into the immensity of nature, and startles you by bringing dissimilarities together in which for the first time you perceive resemblances. Again he bewilders you in the mists of transcendentalism, delights you with brilliant imagery, shocks you by his apparent irreverence, and sts you in a roar by his sallies of wit, which springs from ambush upon you. He lies in wait for you, and dodges around about, ever and anon thrusting grotesque images before you. You cannot anticipate him. He is the most erratic of travelers. One moment he is in the clouds, and the next eating hen clams by the sea shore, or whittling kelp, that he “may become better acquainted with it.” You have scarce ceased to smile at his last pun, before you are overwhelmed by a great thought or what, by the manner of its clothing, cleverly made to appear such!  All this, you feel, is not the result of effort. It is the natural out-pouring of the man. He could not speak otherwise if he would. His style is a part of himself, as much as his voice, manner, and the peculiar look which prepares you for something quaint, and adds its effect far more than words. And it is for this reason that we are now attempting to describe the man instead of reporting his lecture. His voice and manner, which are more than half of what he says, we cannot transfer to paper. He must be heard to be enjoyed. In short he is an original, who follows no beaten path, but has struck out one for himself, full of winding bouts and odd corners; perplexing labyrinths, and commanding prospects; now running over mountain summits, lost in the clouds, and anon descending into quiet vales of beauty, meandering in the deep recesses of nature, and leading—nowhither! To men with imagination enough to enjoy an occasional ramble through the domains of thought, wit and fancy, for the ramble’s sake, he is a delightful companion, but to your slow plodder, who clings to the beaten track as his only salvation, he is incomprehensible—an ignis fatuus, luring honest men into forbidden paths.This was well illustrated by the remarks of the audience at the close of the lecture. We were amused at the various comments made. One worthy man, who has more of the practical than the imaginative in his composition, was demanding with a smile forced from him by the tickling fancies of the lecturer, that the committee should “pay him for the time lost in listening to such trash!” A fair philosopher of sixteen thought he possessed “a vein of satire, but spoke of the clergy with too much levity.” A sober young man declared it the “greatest piece of nonsense he ever listened to,” while another thought it trivial, and even prophane! But then, again, there were other who were infinitely amused with his quaint humor, delighted with his graphic descriptions, and his far-reaching flights of imagination. To them it was “a rich treat.”—Then there were those, as there always are, who were ready to quarrel with the lecture because it did not square with their pre-conceived standard of what a lyceum lecture should be. It was very well as almost anything else than a lecture! “If they had come to listen to a story, they would have been delighted,” but as it was given to them as a lecture, they could not enjoy it! We would advise all such, to rid their minds of rigid rules, and be prepared to receive whatever comes, judging it by what it is, rather than by what it is not.

For ourselves, we were content to receive it for what it was—a most original, quaint, humorous, lifelike and entertaining description of Cape Cod and its inhabitants, and we care not whether it comes under the denomination of lecture, sketch, travels, or fish story! Nor do we think it without instruction. We shall certainly never think of Cape Cod without recalling images of rocky shores, and their ghastly dead, its desert beaches, its masculine women, and its verten wreckers. Cape Cod is no longer blank on our mental map. Its natural features and its inhabitants are pictured there, and we have added so much to our knowledge of “men and things.”

. . .

The merry and well preserved old man they met there, his “good for nothing critter” of a wife, with whom he had lived 64 years, her aged daughter, the boy, and the fool; the old man’s rambling and unceasing talk, the scene at the breakfast table, recalling the laughable one between Johnson and Boswell at the inn; the story of the calm, and the scraps of information thrown scatteringly in,—all these were worth telling could we give them in the tone and manner of the lecturer. But as we cannot, we pause.

An Excursion to Cape Cod
27 January 1851. Cambridge, Mass.

Thoreau checks out Chronicles of the first planters of the colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623 to 1636 by Alexander Young from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289; Thoreau’s Reading).

5 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot near the “Hollowell Place” on the Sudbury River for John Hosmer (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8).

9 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The last half of January was warm and thawy. The swift streams were open, and the muskrats were seen swimming and diving and bringing up clams, leaving their shells on the ice. We had now forgotten summer and autumn, but had already begun to anticipate spring. Fishermen improved the warmer weather to fish for pickerel through the ice. Before it was only the autumn landscape with a thin layer of snow upon it; we saw the withered flowers through it; but now we do not think of autumn when we look on this snow. That earth is effectually buried. It is midwinter. Within a few days the cold has set in stronger than ever, though the days are much longer now. Now I travel across the fields on the crust which has frozen since the January thaw, and I can cross the river in most places. It is easier to get about the country than at any other season,—easier than in summer, because the rivers and meadows are frozen and there is no high grass or other crops to be avoided; easier than in December before the crust was frozen.
(Journal, 2:149)
10 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes to Thaddeus William Harris:

Dear Sir,

  I return by the bearer De Laet’s “Novus Orbis” &c. Will you please send me Alfred Hawkins’ “Picture of Quebec” and “Silliman’s Tour of Quebec”?

  If these are not in—then Wytfliet’s “Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Argumentum &c and Lescarbot “Les Muses de la Nouvelle France.”

  Yrs respectly

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 272)
Cambridge, Mass. Thaddeus William Harris apparently sends Hawkins’s picture of Quebec; with historical recollections and Remarks made on a short tour between Hartford and Quebec, in the autumn of 1819 by Benjamin Silliman to Thoreau from Harvard College Library.
(Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289)
13 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Skated to Sudbury. A beautiful, summer-like day. The meadows were frozen just enough to bear. Examined now the fleets of ice-flakes close at hand . . . Again I saw to-day, half a mile off in Sudbury, a sandy spot on the top of a hill, where I prophesied that I should find traces of the Indians. When within a dozen rods, I distinguished the foundation of a lodge, and merely passing over it, I saw many fragments of arrowhead stone. I have frequently distinguished these localities half a mile [off], gone forward, and picked up arrowheads.
(Journal, 2:157-159)
14 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Consider the farmer, who is commonly regarded as the healthiest man. He may be the toughest, but he is not the healthiest. He has lost his elasticity; he can neither run nor jump. Health is the free use and command of all our faculties, and equal development. His is the health of the ox, an overworked buffalo. His joints are stiff. The resemblance is true even in particulars. He is cast away in a pair of cowhide boots, and travels at an ox’s pace. Indeed, in some places he puts his foot into the skin of an ox’s shin. It would do him good to be thoroughly shampooed to make him supple. His health is an insensibility to all influence. But only the healthiest man in the world is sensible to the finest influence; he who is affected by more or less of electricity in the air.
(Journal, 2:160-161)
15 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Fatal is the discovery that our friend is fallible, that he has prejudices. He is, then, only prejudiced in our favor. What is the value of his esteem who does not justly esteem another (Journal, 2:161-162)?
16 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George the Fourth and continue the slaves of prejudice? What is it [to] be born free and equal, and not to live? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outsides of freedom, the means and outmost defenses of freedom. It is our children’s children who may perchance be essentially free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops upon ourselves. In respect to virtue or true manhood, we are essentially provincial, not metropolitan,—mere Jonathans. We are provincial, because we do not find at home our standards; because we do not worship truth but the reflection of truth; because we are absorbed in and narrowed by trade and commerce and agriculture, which are but means and not the end. We are essentially provincial, I say, and so is the English Parliament. Mere country bumpkins they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle. Their natures are subdued to what they work in! The finest manners in the world are awkwardness and fatuity when contrasted with a finer intelligence. They appear but as the fashions of past days,—mere courtliness, small-clothes, and knee-buckles,—have the vice of getting out of date; an attitude merely. The vice of manners is that they are continually deserted by the character; they are cast-off clothes or shells, claiming the respect of the living creature. You are presented with the shells instead of the meat, and it is no excuse generally that, in the case of some fish, the shells are of more worth than the meat. The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wish to see himself. Manners are conscious; character is unconscious.My neighbor does not recover from his formal bow so soon as I do from the pleasure of meeting him.
(Journal, 2:162-163)
17 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys White Pond (Journal, 2:165; A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 12; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 18 February:

  Yesterday the river was over the road by Hubbard’s Bridge. Surveyed White Pond yesterday, February 17th (Journal, 2:164).
20 – 27 February 1851. Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau surveys swampland for Cyrus Stow with the aid of a 1748 deed and a 1799 survey by Thaddeus Davis (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

25 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I saw at Hubbard’s Bridge that all the ice had been blown up-stream from the meadows, and was collected over the channel against the bridge in large cakes (Journal, 2:165-166).
26 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Examined the floating meadow again to-day . . . Saw five red-wings and a song sparrow (?) this afternoon (Journal, 2:167).
27 February 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot on Pine Hill for Cyrus Stow (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau also writes in his journal:

  Saw to-day on Pine Hill behind Mr. Joseph Merriam’s house a Norway pine, the first I have seen in Concord. Mr. Gleason pointed it out to me as a singular pine which he did not know the name of. It was a very handsome tree, about twenty-five feet high. E. Wood [Elijah Wood] thinks that he has lost the surface of two acres of his meadow by the ice. Got fifteen cartloads out of a hummock left on another meadow. Blue-joint was introduced into the first meadow where it did not grow before.
(Journal, 2:167)
March and April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys land on Virginia Road for James McCafferty (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

3 March 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau completes the survey of 27 February (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

7 March 1851. Boston, Mass.

Thoreau’s Harvard University Class Committee sends him a form letter:

Dear Sir:

  It is proposed that a meeting of the Class of 1837 be held at the Revere House, on Wednesday, at 5 P.M., on the 19th of March next.

  There are reasons for a deviation from the usual custom of the Class in assembling during the week of the annual Commencement.

  In Boston and its vicinity are now collected a larger number of the Class than at any time since we left the University. A general desire has been expressed to take advantage of this circumstance, and to endeavor to re-awaken the interest natural to those who have been pleasantly associated together at an early period of life. Nearly fourteen years have elapsed since we left Cambridge, and but few have been in situations to bring them much into contact with any considerable number of their Class.

  There is a manifest advantage in holding a meeting at this season of the year. Upon Commencement week, other engagements are liable to interfere, and the usual heat and fatigue of the days preclude any long duration of the meeting either in the afternoon or evening.

  On the present occasion a dinner is proposed of which the expense will not exceed one dollar to each person.

  It is desirable that a definite answer to this letter should be returned to the Committee previous to the 17th inst. If circumstances should compel the absence of any member, it is expected that he will contribute to the interest of the occasion by writing some account of himself since he left College.

  Very truly,

  Your friends and Classmates,

  William W[hitwell]. Greenough ⎫

  William J[ohnson]. Dale, ⎬ Class Committee

  David Greene Haskins, ⎪

  J[oseph]. H[enry]. Adams, Jr. ⎭

  Annexed is a list of the members of the Class supposed to be in this vicinity.

  [William] Allen, Greenough, [James] Richardson,

  [John] Bacon, Haskins, [Charles Theodore] Russell,

  [Clifford] Belcher, [William] Hawes, Thoreau,

  [Henry Jacob] Bigelow, [Christopher Columbus] Holmes, 2d. [John Francis] Tuckerman,

  [Harvey Erastus] Clap, [Henry] Hubbard, [Henry] Vose,

  [Manlius Stimson] Clarke, [Benjamin Gage] Kimball, [John] Weiss,

  Dale, [John F. W.] Lane, [Giles Henry] Whitney,

  [Charles Henry] Dall, [Charles Wainwright] March, [Daniel] Wight,

  [William] Davis, 1st. [August Goddard] Peabody, Williams, 1st.

  [William Augustus] Davis, 2d. [Amos] Perry, Williams, 3d.

  [Richard Henry] Dana, [Francis] Phelps

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 272-274)
Circa 14 March 1851. Pittsfield, Mass.

Nathaniel Hawthorne visits Herman Melville:

  March weather prevented walks abroad, so the pair spent most of the week in smoking and talking metaphysics in the barn,—Hawthorne usually lounging upon a carpenter’s bench. When he was leaving, he jocosely declared he would write a report of their psychological discussion for publication in a book to be called ‘A Week on a Work-Bench in a Barn,’ the title being a travesty upon that of Thoreau’s then recent book, ‘A Week on the Concord River.’”
(Literary shrines; the haunts of some famous American authors (1895), 191)
23 March 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The ice still remains in Walden, though it will not bear. Mather Howard saw a large meadow near his house which had risen up but was prevented from floating away by the bushes (Journal, 2:172).
27 March 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walden is two-thirds broken up. It will probably be quite open by to-morrow night (Journal, 2:172).
30 March 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Spring is already upon us. I see the tortoises, or rather I hear them drop from the bank into the brooks at my approach. The catkins of the alders have blossomed. The pads are springing at the bottom of the water. The pewee is heard, and the lark.
(Journal, 2:172)
12 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys Factory Village land between Factory Road and Boxboro Road for Thomas Lord (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

16 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 22 April:

  The wind last Wednesday, April 16th, blew down a hundred pines on Fair Haven Hill (Journal, 2:181).
18 to 19 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys land that he breaks up into lots for Cyrus Stow (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

22 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed the crowfoot on the Cliffs in abundance, and the saxifrage (Journal, 2:180-181).
23 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau lectures on “Walking, or The Wild” at the Unitarian Church for the Concord Lyceum.

25 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 26 April:

  Gathered the mayflower and cowslips yesterday, and saw the houstonia, violets, etc. Saw the dandelion in blossom (Journal, 2:181).
26 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The judge whose words seal the fate of a man for the longest time and furthest into eternity is not he who merely pronounces the verdict of the law, but he, whoever he may be, who, from a love of truth and unprejudiced by any custom or enactment of men, utters a true opinion or sentence concerning him. He it is that sentences him.’ More fatal, as affecting his good or ill fame, is the utterance of the least inexpugnable truth concerning him, by the humblest individual, than the sentence of the supremest court in the land.
(Journal, 2:181-182)
27 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  All the morning was given to conversation in E’s [Ralph Waldo Emerson] study. After dinner we walked to Walden, and in the evening came Thoreau and Elizabeth Hoar and stayed till 10 o’clock. There was endlessly varied and miscellaneous discourse, which no man may well report.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 249)
29 April 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau gives Cyrus Stow a receipt of payment of $5 for survey work done 18 to 19 April (Thoreau Society Bulletin, 90 (Winter 1965):2; MS, Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.).

30 April 1851.

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out American Medical Botany, 1817-21 by Jacob Bigelow, volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, and The North American Sylva by François André Michaux, volumes 2 and 3, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289).

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  What is a chamber to which the sun does not rise in the morning? What is a chamber to which the sun does not set at evening? Such are often the chambers of the mind, for the most part.  Even the cat which lies on a rug all day to prowl about the fields at night, resumes her ancient forest habits. The most tenderly bred grimalkin steals forth at night,—watches some bird on its perch for an hour in the furrow, like a gun at rest. She catches no cold; it is her nature. Caressed by children and cherished with a saucer of milk. Even she can erect her back and expand her tail and spit at her enemies like the wild cat of the woods. Sweet Sylvia!What is the singing of birds, or any natural sound, compared with the voice of one we love? To one we love we are related as to nature in the spring. Our dreams are mutually intelligible. We take the census, and find that there is one.
(Journal, 2:184-185)
1 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed the Nuphar advena, yellow water-lily, in blossom; also the Laurus Benzoin, or fever-bush, spice-wood, near William Wheeler’s in Lincoln, resembling the witch-hazel . . . As I looked today from Mt. Tabor in Lincoln to the Waltham hill, I saw the same deceptive slope, the near hill melting into the further inseparably, indistinguishably.
(Journal, 2:186-187)
3 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys for a plan for a road through land owned by James P. Brown, connecting land owned by Luther Hosmer and Thomas Wheeler and is paid $38.50 by the Town of Concord (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

“H. D. Thoreau, for plan of town way laid out near the house of James P. Brown, 4 00” (Concord Mass. Town Reports, 1851-1852, 18).

6 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  How important is a constant intercourse with nature and the contemplation of natural phenomena to the preservation of moral and intellectual health! The discipline of the schools or of business can never impart such serenity to the mind. The philosopher contemplates human affairs as calmly and from as great a remoteness as he does natural phenomena. The ethical philosopher needs the discipline of the natural philosopher. He approaches the study of mankind with great advantages who is accustomed to the study of nature.
(Journal, 2:190-192)
10 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Heard the snipe over the meadows this evening (Journal, 2:193).
12 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  By taking the ether the other day I was convinced how far asunder a man could be separated from his senses. You are told that it will make you unconscious, but no one can imagine what it is to be unconscious—how far removed from the state of consciousness and all that we call “this world”—until he has experienced it. The value of the experiment is that it does give you experience of an interval as between one life and another,—a greater space than you ever travelled. You are a sane mind without organs,—groping for organs,—which if it did not soon recover its old senses would get new ones. You expand like a seed in the ground. You exist in your roots, like a tree in the winter. If you have an inclination to travel, take the ether; you go beyond the furthest star.
(Journal, 2:193-194)
16 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A splendid full moon to-night. Walked from 6.30 to 10 P.M. Lay on a rock near a meadow, which had absorbed and retained much heat, so that I could warm my back on it, it being a cold night. I found that the side of the sand-hill was cold on the surface, but warm two or three inches beneath.
(Journal, 2:194-195)
18 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The log of a canoe birch on Fair Haven, cut down the last winter, more than a foot in diameter at the stump; one foot in diameter at ten feet from the ground (Journal, 2:196-197).
19 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Found the Arum triphyllum and the nodding trillium, or wake-robin, in Conant’s Swamp. An ash also in bloom there, and the sassafras quite striking. Also the fringed polygala by Conantum wood (Journal, 2:201).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 21 May:

  The day before yesterday I found the male sassafras in abundance but no female. The leaves of my new pine on Merriam’s or Pine Hill are of intermediate length between those of the yellow pine and the Norway pine (Journal, 2:206).
20 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 21 May:

  Yesterday I made out the black and white ashes. A double male white ash in Miles’s Swamp, and two black ashes with sessile leaflets. A female white ash near railroad, in Stow’s land. The white ashes by Mr. Pritchard’s have no blossoms, at least as yet.
(Journal, 2:205-206)
21 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day examined the flowers of the Nemopanthes Canadensis,—a genus of a single species, says [Ralph Waldo] Emerson (Journal, 2:206).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Ainsworth R. Spofford on 23 May:

  I received day before yesterday your letter & its envelope of $5.00 for Mr. Thoreau. He begs me to thank you for your care of his interests, and said, that it was the first money he had received from his book.
(New England Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 1 (March 1965):73)
23 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  And wilder still there grows elsewhere, I hear, a native and aboriginal crab-apple, Malus (as Michaux, or, as Emerson has it, Pyrus) coronaria in Southern States, and also angustifolia in the Middle States; whose young leaves “have a bitter and slightly aromatic taste” (Michaux), whose beautiful flowers perfume the air to a great distance. “The apples . . . are small, green, intensely acid, and very odoriferous. Some farmers make cider of them, which is said to be excellent they make very fine sweet-meats also, by the addition of a large quantity of sugar” (Michaux). Celebrated for “the beauty of its flowers, and for the sweetness of its perfume” (Michaux).
(Journal, 2:211-213)
24 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Our most glorious experiences are a kind of regret. Our regret is so sublime that we may mistake it for triumph. It is the painful, plaintively sad surprise of our Genius remembering our past lives and contemplating what is possible. It is remarkable that men commonly never refer to, never hint at, any crowning experiences when the common laws of their being were unsettled and the divine and eternal laws prevailed in them. Their lives are not revolutionary; they never recognize any other than the local and temporal authorities. It is a regret so divine and inspiring, so genuine, based on so true and distinct a contrast, that it surpasses our proudest boasts and the fairest expectations. My most sacred and memorable life is commonly on awaking in the morning. I frequently awake with an atmosphere about me as if my unremembered dreams had been divine, as if my spirit had journeyed to its native place, and, in the act of reentering its native body, had diffused an elysian fragrance around.
(Journal, 2:213-215)
25 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walked to the hills south of Wayland by the road by Deacon Farrar’s. First vista just beyond Merron’s (?), looking west down a valley, with a verdant columned elm at the extremity of the vale and the blue hills and horizon beyond . . . Another glorious vista with a wide horizon at the yellow Dutch house, just over the Wayland line, by the black spruce, heavy and dark as night, which we could see two or three miles as a landmark . . . Came back across lots to the black spruce. Now, at 8.30 o’clock P.M., I hear the dreaming of the frogs.
(Journal, 2:215-218)
27 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I saw an organ-grinder this morning before a rich man’s house, thrilling the street with harmony, loosening the very paving stones and tearing the routine of life to rags and tatters, when the lady of the house shoved up a window and in a semiphilanthropic tone inquired if he wanted anything to eat. But he, very properly it seemed to me, kept on grinding and paid no attention to her question, feeding her ears with the melody unasked for.
(Journal, 2:218)
28 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The buttercups spot the churchyard (Journal, 2:218).
29 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is evident that the virtues of plants are almost completely unknown to us, and we esteem the few with which we are better acquainted unreasonably above the many which are comparatively unknown to us (Journal, 2:219-222).
30 May 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  There was a Concord man once who had a foxhound named Burgoyne. He called him Bugine. A good name. (Journal, 2:223).
31 May 1851. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Pedestrium solatium in apricis locis; nodosa” (Journal, 2:223). [translation: “The solace of walkers in sunny places.—troublesome] (Studies in the American Renaissance, 1995, 200).
Thoreau writes in his journal on 3 June:

  Lectured in Worcester last Saturday (Journal, 2:224).
1 June 1851. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 3 June:

   . . . walked to As- or Hasnebumskit Hill in Paxton the next day [Sunday]. Said to be the highest land in Worcester except Wachusett. Met Mr. [H. G. O.] Blake, [Theophilus] Brown, Chamberlin, Hinsdale, Miss Butman (?), Wyman, Conant.
(Journal, 2:224)
2 June 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal on 3 June:

  Returned to Boston yesterday. Conversed with John Downes, who is connected with the Coast Survey, and is printing tables for astronomical, geodesic, and other uses. He tells me he once saw the common sucker in numbers piling up stones as big as his fist (like the piles which I have seen), taking them up or moving them with their mouths.
(Journal, 2:224)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Voyages à l’ouest des monts Alléghanys dans les états de l’Ohio, du Kentucky et du Tennessee, et retour à Charleston par les hautes-Carolines by François André Michaux from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289).

3 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I examined to-day a large swamp white oak in Hubbard’s meadow, which was blown down by the same storm which destroyed the lighthouse . . . I observed the grass waving to-day for the first time,—the swift Camilla on it (Journal, 2:224-227).
5 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 6 June:

  Gathered last night the strong, rank, penetrating-scented angelica and at night the Circula maculata (Journal, 2:227).
6 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Gathered to-night the Cicuta maculata, American hemlock, the veins of the leaflets ending in the notches and the root fasciculated (Journal, 2:227-228).
7 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  My practicalness is not to be trusted to the last. To be sure, I go upon my legs for the most part, but, being hard-pushed and dogged by a superficial common sense which is bound to near objects by beaten paths, I am off the handle, as the phrase is,—I begin to be transcendental and show where my heart is. I am like those guinea-fowl which Charles Darwin saw at the Cape de Verd Islands. He says, “They avoided us like partridges on a rainy day in September, running with their heads cocked up; and if pursued, they readily took to the wing.” Keep your distance, do not infringe on the interval between us, and I will pick up lime and lay real terrestrial eggs for you, and let you know by cackling when I have done it.

  When I have been asked to speak at a temperance meeting, my answer has been, “I am too transcendental to serve you in your way.” They would fain confine me to the rum-sellers and rum-drinkers, of whom I am not one, and whom I know little about.

(Journal, 2:228-230)
8 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Gathered the first strawberries to-day. Observed on Fair Haven a tall pitch pine, such as some call yellow pine,—very smooth, yellowish, and destitute of branches to a great height (Journal, 2:230-234).
9 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  James Wood, Senior, told me to-day that Asa[?] Melvin’s father told him that he had seen alewives caught (many of them) in the meadow which we were crossing, on the west of Bateman’s Pond, where there is now no stream, and though it is wet you can walk everywhere; also one shad. He thinks that a greater part of the meadow once belonged to the pond.
(Journal, 2:234)
Concord, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Dined with Thoreau. We had a walk afterward by the Hosmer Cottage and back by the rail-track. T. tells me that he read his paper on “Walking” lately at Worcester. He should read this, and the “Walden” also, everywhere in our towns and cities, for the soundness and rectitude of the sentiments. They would have a wholesome influence. I sometimes say of T. that he is the purest of our moralists, and the best republican in the Republic—viz., the republican at home. A little over-confident and somewhat stiffly individual, perhaps,—dropping society clean out of his theory, while practically standing friendly in his own strict sense of friendship—there is about him a nobleness and integrity of bearing that make possible and actual the virtues of Rome and Sparta . . . Plutarch would have made him an immortal, had he known him . . .
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 250)
10 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 11 June:

  Last night a beautiful summer night, not too warm, moon not quite full, after two or three rainy days. Walked to Fair Haven by railroad, returning by Potter’s pasture and Sudbury road . . . I saw by the shadows cast by the inequalities of the clayey sand-bank in the Deep Cut that it was necessary to see objects by moonlight as well as sunlight, to get a complete notion of them.
(Journal, 2:234-235)
Thoreau writes in his journal on 13 June:

  I noticed night before night before last from Fair Haven how valuable was some water by moonlight, like the river and Fair Haven Pond, though far away, reflecting the light with a faint glimmering sheen, as in the spring of the year . . . And I forgot to say that after I reached the road by Potter’s bars,—or further, by Potter’s Brook,—I saw the moon suddenly reflected full from a pool . . . I observed also the same night a halo about my shadow in the moonlight, which I referred to the accidentally lighter color of the surrounding surface; I transferred my shadow to the darkest patches of grass, and saw the halo there equally.
(Journal, 2:248-249)
11 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I hear the nighthawks uttering their squeaking notes high in the air now at nine o’clock P.M., and occasionally—what I do not remember to have heard so late—their booming note (Journal, 2:234-48).
12 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 13 June:

  Walked to Walden last night (moon not quite full) by railroad and upland wood-path, returning by Wayland road . . . A few fireflies in the meadow. Do they shine, though invisibly, by day? Is their candle lighted by day? It is not nightfall till the whip-poorwills begin to sing.

  As I entered the Deep Cut, I was affected by beholding the first faint reflection of genuine and unmixed moonlight on the eastern sand-bank while the horizon, yet red with day, was tingeing the western side.

(Journal, 2:249)
13 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I heard partridges drumming to-night as late as 9 o’clock . . . As I approached the pond down Hubbard’s Path, after coming out of the woods into a warmer air, I saw the shimmering of the moon on its surface, and, in the near, now flooded cove, the water-bugs, darting, circling about, made streaks or curves of light . . . The pond is higher than ever, so as to hinder fishermen, and I could hardly get to the true shore here on account of the bushes. I pushed out in a boat a little and heard the chopping of the waves under its bow. And on the bottom I saw the moving reflections of the shining waves, faint streaks of light revealing the shadows of the waves or the opaqueness of the water. As I climbed the hill again toward my old bean-field, I listened to the ancient, familiar, immortal, dear cricket sound under all others, hearing at first some distinct chirps; but when these ceased I was aware of the general earth-song, which my hearing had not heard, amid which these were only taller flowers in a bed, and I wondered if behind or beneath this there was not some other chant yet more universal.
(Journal, 2:248-54)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 14 June:

  Full moon last night. Set out on a walk to Conantum at 7 P.M. . . . Met a man driving home his cow from pasture and stopping to chat with his neighbor; then a boy, who had set down his pail in the road to stone a bird most perseveringly, whom I heard afterward behind me telling his pail to be quiet in a tone of assumed anger, because it squeaked under his arm. As I proceed along the back road I hear the lark still singing in the meadow, and the bobolink, and the gold robin on the elms, and the swallows twittering about the barns . . . Before Goodwin’s house, at the opening of the Sudbury road, the swallows are diving at a tortoise-shell cat, who curvets and frisks rather awkwardly, as if she did not know whether to be scared or not. And now, having proceeded a little way down this road, the sun having buried himself in the low cloud in the west and hung out his crimson curtains, I hear, while sitting by the wall, the sound of the stake-driver at a distance,—like that made by a man pumping in a neighboring farmyard, watering his cattle, or like chopping wood before his door on a frosty morning, and I can imagine like driving a stake in a meadow . . . Saw a blue flag blossom in the meadow while waiting for the stake-driver . . . When I reach the road, the farmer going home from town invites me to ride in his highset wagon, not thinking why I walk, nor can I shortly explain. He remarks on the coolness of the weather . . . As I rose the hill beyond the bridge, I found myself in a cool, fragrant, dewy, up-country, mountain morning air, a new region . . . The moon was now seen rising over Fair Haven and at the same time reflected in the river, pale and white like a silvery cloud, barred with a cloud, not promising how it will shine anon. Now I meet an acquaintance coming from a remote field in his hay-rigging, with a jag of wood; who reins up to show me how large a woodchuck he has killed, which he found eating his clover. But now he must drive on, for behind comes a boy taking up the whole road with a huge roller drawn by a horse, which goes lumbering and bouncing along, getting out of the way of night,—while the sun has gone the other way,—and making such a noise as if it had the contents of a tinker’s shop in its bowels, and rolls the whole road smooth like a newly sown grain-field. In Conant’s orchard I hear the faint cricket-like song of a sparrow saying its vespers, as if it were a link between the cricket and the bird.
(Journal, 2:254-257)
14 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Evening.—Went to Nawshawtuct by North Branch. Overtaken by a slight shower (Journal, 2:254-261).
15 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Darwin still:—

  Finds runaway sailors on the Chonos Archipelago, who he thought “had kept a very good reckoning of time, “having lost only four days in fifteen months.Near same place, on the islands of the archipelago, he found wild potato, the tallest four feet high, tubers generally small but one two inches in diameter; “resembled in every respect, and had the same smell as English potatoes; but when boiled they shrunk much, and were watery and insipid, without any bitter taste.”

  Speaking of the surf on the coast of Chiloe, “I was assured that, after a heavy gale, the roar can be heard at night even at Castro, a distance of no less than twenty-one sea-miles, across a hilly and wooded country.

(Journal, 2:261-264)
17, 18, 21 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys farmland on Sandy Pond Road for Edmund Hosmer (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

20 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 22 June:

  [J.] Hapgood of Acton got me last Friday to compare the level of his cellar-bottom with his garden, for, as he says, when Robbins & Wetherbee keep the water of Nashoba Brook back so as to flood his garden, it comes into his cellar. I found that part of the garden five inches lower than the cellar-bottom.
(Journal, 2:267)
22 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Is the shrub with yellow blossoms which I found last week near the Lincoln road while surveying for E. Hosmer and thought to be Xylosteum ciliatum, or fly honeysuckle, the same with the yellow diervilla which I find in Laurel Glen to-day? . . . I see that Dugan has trimmed off and peeled the limbs of the willows on the Turnpike to sell at the Acton powder-mill . . . As I walk the railroad causeway, I notice that the fields and meadows have acquired various tinges as the season advances, the sun gradually using all his paints.
(Journal, 2:266-270)
23 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is a pleasant sound to me, the squeaking and the booming of nighthawks flying over high open fields in the woods. They fly like butterflies, not to avoid birds of prey but, apparently, to secure their own insect prey. There is a particular part of the railroad just below the shanty where they may be heard and seen in greatest numbers. But often you must look a long while before you can detect the mote in the sky from which the note proceeds.
(Journal, 2:270)
26 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Visited a menagerie this afternoon (Journal, 2:271).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 1 August:

  I went to a menagerie the other day, advertised by a flaming show-bill as big as a barn-door. The proprietors had taken wonderful pains to collect rare and interesting animals from all parts of the world, and then placed by them a few stupid and ignorant fellows, coachmen or stablers, who knew little or nothing about the animals and were unwilling even to communicate the little they knew.
(Journal, 2:367)
28 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 29 June:

  Yesterday the air was filled with a thick fog-like haze, so that the sun did not once shine with ardor, but everything was so tempered under this thin veil that it was a luxury merely to be outdoors,—you were less out for it . . . I saw some hills on this side the river, looking from Conantum, on which, the grass being of a yellow tinge, though the sun did not shine out on them, they had the appearance of being shone upon peculiarly . . . Riding to survey a wood-lot yesterday, I observed that a dog accompanied the wagon. Having tied the horse at the last house and entered the woods, I saw no more of the dog while there; but when riding back to the village, I saw the dog again running by the wagon, and in answer to my inquiry was told that the horse and wagon were hired and the dog always accompanied the horse. I queried whether it might happen that a dog would accompany the wagon if a strange horse were put into it; whether he would attach to an inanimate object. Methinks the driver, though a stranger, as it were added intellect to the mere animality of the horse, and the dog, not making very nice distinctions, yielded respect to the horse and equipage as if it were human. If the horse were to trot off alone without a wagon or driver, I think it doubtful if the dog would follow; if with the wagon, then the chances of his following would be increased; but if with a driver, though a stranger, I have found by experience that he would follow.
(Journal, 2:275)
29 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  There is a great deal of white clover this year. In many fields where there has been no clover seed sown for many years at least, it is more abundant than the red, and the heads are nearly as large . Also pastures which are close cropped, and where I think there was little or no clover last year, are spotted white with humbler growth. And everywhere, by roadsides, garden borders, etc., even where the sward is trodden hard, the small white heads on short sterns are sprinkled everywhere. As this is the season for the swarming of bees, and this clover is very attractive to them, it is probably the more difficult to secure them; at any rate it is the more important to secure their services now that they can make honey so fast. It is an interesting inquiry why this year is so favorable to the growth of clover!
(Journal, 2:271-277)
30 June 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Haying has commenced. I see the farmers in distant fields cocking their hay now at six o’clock (Journal, 2:277-279).
2 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is a fresh, cool summer morning. From the road at N. Barrett’s, [Nathan Barrett] on my way to P. Blood’s [Perez Blood] at 8.30 A.M., the Great Meadows have a slight bluish misty tinge in part; elsewhere a sort of hoary sheen like a fine downiness, inconceivably fine and silvery far away,—the light reflected from the grass blades, a sea of grass hoary with light, the counterpart of the frost in spring . . . Last night, a sultry night which compelled to leave all windows open, I heard two travellers talking aloud, was roused out of my sleep by their loud, day-like, and somewhat unearthly discourse at perchance one o’clock. From the country, whiling away the night with loud discourse. I heard the words ‘Theodore Parker” and “Wendell Phillips” loudly spoken, and so did half a dozen of my neighbors, who also were awakened. Such is fame . . . I passed a regular country dooryard this forenoon, the unpainted one-story house, long and low with projecting stoop, a deep grass-plot unfenced for yard, hens and chickens scratching amid the chip dirt about the door,—this last the main feature, relics of wood-piles, sites of the wooden towers.
(Journal, 2:280-281)
5 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The vetch-like flower by the Marlborough road, the Tephrosia Virginica, is in blossom, with mixed red and yellowish blossoms . . . As we come over Hubbard’s Bridge between 5 and 6 P.M., the sun getting low, a cool wind blowing up the valley, we sit awhile on the rails which are destined for the new railing. The light on the Indian hill is very soft and glorious, giving the idea of the most wonderful fertility. The most barren hills are gilded like waving grain-fields. What a paradise to sail by! The cliffs and woods up the stream are nearer and have more shadow and actuality about them. This retired bridge is a favorite spot with me. I have witnessed many a fair sunset from it.
(Journal, 282-283)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 6 July:

  There is some advantage in being the humblest, cheapest, least dignified man in the village, so that the very stable boys shall damn you. Methinks I enjoy that advantage to an unusual extent. There is many a coarsely well-meaning fellow, who knows only the skin of me, who addresses me familiarly by my Christian name. I get the whole good of him and lose nothing myself. There is “Sam,” the jailer,—whom I never call Sam, however,—who exclaimed last evening: “Thoreau, are you going up the street pretty soon? Well, just take a couple of these handbills along and drop one in at Hoar’s piazza and one at Holbrook’s, and I’ll do as much for you another time.” I am not above being used, aye abused, sometimes.
(Journal, 2:283)
6 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The red clover heads are now turned black. They no longer impart that rosaccous tinge to the meadows and fertile fields. It is but a short time that their rich bloom lasts. The white is black or withering also. Whiteweed still looks white in the fields. Blue-eyed grass is now rarely seen. The grass in the fields and meadows is not so fresh and fair as it was a fortnight ago. It is dryer and riper and ready for the mowers. Now June is past. June is the month for grass and flowers. Now grass is turning to hay, and flowers to fruits. Already I gather ripe blueberries on the hills. The red-topped grass is in its prime, tingeing the fields with red.
(Journal, 2:283-286)
7 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I have been to-night with Anthony Wright to look through Perez Blood’s telescope a second time. A dozen of Blood’s neighbors were swept along in the stream of our curiosity. One who lived half a mile this side said that Blood had been down that way within a day or two with his terrestrial, or day, glass, looking into the eastern horizon [at] the hills of Billerica, Burlington, and Woburn. I was amused to see what sort of respect this man with a telescope had obtained from his neighbors, something akin to that which savages award to civilized men though in this case the interval between the parties was very slight. Mr. Blood, with his skull-cap on, his short figure, his north European figure, made me think of Tycho Brahe. He did not invite us into his house this cool evening,—men nor women,—nor did he ever before to my knowledge. I am still contended to see the stars with my naked eye. Mr. Wright asked him what his instrument cost. He answered, “Well, that is something I don’t like to tell.” (Stuttering or hesitating in his speech a little as usual.) “It is a very proper question, however.” “Yes,” said I, “and you have given a very proper answer.” Returning, my companion, Wright, the sexton, told me how dusty he found it digging a grave that afternoon,—for one who had been a pupil of mine. For two feet, he said, notwithstanding the rain, he found the soil as dry as ashes.
(Journal, 2:286-292)
8 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. Walked along Clamshell bank after sundown. A cloudy day. The heads of the grass in the pasture behind Dennis’s have a reddish cast, but another grass, with a lighter-colored stem and leaves, on the higher parts of the field gives a yellowish tinge to those parts, as if they reflected a misty sunlight. Even much later in the night these light spots were distinguishable.
(Journal, 2:292-294)
9 July 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  When I got out of the cars at Porter’s, Cambridge, this morning, I was pleased to see the handsome blue flowers of the succory or endive (Cichorium Intybus), which reminded me that within the hour I had been whirled into a new botanical region . . . Visited the Observatory. Bond said they were cataloguing the stars at Washington (?), or trying to . . . Coming out of town,—willingly as usual,—when I saw that reach of Charles River just above the depot, the fair, still water this cloudy evening suggesting the way to eternal peace and beauty, whence it flows, the placid, lake-like fresh water, so unlike the salt brine, affected me not a little… And just then I saw an encampment of Penobscots, their wigwams appearing above the railroad fence, they, too, looking up the river as they sat on the ground, and enjoying the scene. Haunt of waterfowl. This was above the factories,—all that I saw.
(Journal, 2:294-295)

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, new series volume 2, and Observations at the Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, at the Girard College, Philadelphia, volumes 1, 2, and 3, and plates, from the Boston Society of Natural History.

(Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24)
10 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

A gorgeous sunset after rain, with horizontal bars of clouds, red sashes to the western window, barry clouds hanging like a curtain over the window of the west, damask . . . From the hill behind Minott’s I see birds flying against this red sky, the sun having set; one looks like a bat . . . And the nighthawk dashes past in the twilight with mottled (?) wing, within a rod of me.
(Journal, 2:295-297)
11 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. At 7.15 P.M. with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] go forth to see the moon, the glimpses of the moon . . . We go toward Bear Garden Hill . . . So we went through the aspens at the base of the Cliffs, their round leaves reflecting the lingering twilight on the one side, the waxing moonlight on the other . . . Passing now near Well Meadow Head toward Baker’s orchard . . . I hear the sound of Heywood’s Brook falling into Fair Haven Pond, inexpressibly refreshing to my senses . . . And now, at half-past 10 o’clock, I hear the cockerels crow in Hubbard’s barns, and morning is already anticipated.
(Journal, 2:297-302)
12 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 P.M.—Now at least the moon is full, and I walk alone, which is best by night, if not by day always . . . I see a skunk on Bear Garden Hill stealing noiselessly away from me, while the moon shines over the pitch pines, which send long shadows down the hill . . . At the foot of the Cliff hill I hear the sound of the clock striking nine, as distinctly as within a quarter of a mile usually, though there is no wind . . . As I return through the orchard, a foolish robin bursts away from his perch unnaturally, with the habits of man.
(Journal, 2:302-304)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 13 July:

  Observed yesterday, while surveying near [Charles?] Gordon’s, a bittern flying over near Gordon’s, with moderate flight and outstretched neck, its breastbone sticking out sharp like the bone in the throats of some persons, its anatomy exposed.
(Journal, 2:304)
13 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Looking across the river to Conantum from the open plains, I think how the history of the hills would read, since they have been pastured by cows, if every plowing and mowing and sowing and chopping were recorded. I hear, 4 P.M., a pigeon woodpecker on a dead pine near by, uttering a harsh and scolding scream, spying me.
(Journal, 2:304-305)
14 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Passing over the Great fields (where I have been surveying a road) this forenoon, where were some early turnips, the county commissioners plucked and pared them with their knives and ate them. I, too, tried hard to chew a mouthful of raw turnip and realize the life of cows and oxen, for it might be a useful habit in extremities.
(Journal, 2:305)
16 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Set out at 3 P. M. for Nine-Acre Corner Bridge via Hubbard’s Bridge and Conantum, returning via Dashing Brook, rear of Baker’s, and railroad at 6.30 P.M. . . . I see a farmer cradling his rye, John Potter . . . The color of the cows on Fair Haven Hill, how fair a contrast to the hillside! . . . Now, at 4 P.M., I hear the pewee in the woods, and the cuckoo reminds me of some silence among the birds I had not noticed . . . It is pleasant to walk through these elevated fields, terraced upon the side of the hill so that the eye of the walker looks off into the blue cauldron of the air at his own level. Here the haymakers have just gone to tea,—at 5 o’clock, the farmer’s hour, before the afternoon is ended, while he still thinks much work may still be done before night . . . At the Corner Bridge the white lilies are budded . . . Came through the pine plains behind James Baker’s, where late was open pasture, now open pitch pine woods, only here and there the grass has given place to a carpet of pine-needles . . . I pass by Walden’s scalloped shore.
(Journal, 2:306-314)
18 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I first heard the locust sing, so dry and piercing, by the side of the pine woods in the heat of the day (Journal, 2:315-316).
19 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—The weather is warm and dry, and many leaves curl . . . The stump or root fences on the Corner road remind me of fossil remains of mastodons, etc., exhumed and bleached in sun and rain. To-day I met with the first orange flower of autumn.
(Journal, 2:316-320)
20 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday morning. A thunder-shower in the night . . . I meet one [a villager], late in the afternoon, going to the river with his basket on his arm and his pole in hand, not ambitious to catch pickerel this time, but he thinks he may perhaps get a mess of small fish . . .
(Journal, 2:321-232).
Thoreau writes in his journal on 22 July:

  The last Sunday afternoon I smelled the clear pork frying for a farmer’s supper thirty rods off (what a Sunday supper!), the windows being open, and could imagine the clear tea without milk which usually accompanies it (Journal, 2:335).
21 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M. The forenoon is fuller of light. The butterflies on the flowers look like other and frequently larger flowers themselves . . . I thought to walk this forenoon instead of this afternoon, for I have not been in the fields and woods much of late except when surveying, but the least affair of that kind is as if you had [a] black veil drawn over your face which shut out nature, as that eccentric and melancholy minister whom I have heard of . . . There are few sounds but the slight twittering of swallows, and the springy note of the sparrow in the grass or trees, and a lark in the meadow (now at 8 A.M.), and the cricket under all to ally the hour to night . . . I see the track of a bare human foot in the dusty road, the toes and muscles all faithfully imprinted . . . To eat berries on the dry pastures of Conantum, as if they were the food of thought, dry as itself! Berries are now thick enough to pick . . .

  10 A.M.—The white lily has opened . . . I now return through Conant’s leafy woods by the spring, whose floor is sprinkled with sunlight,—low trees which yet effectually shade you . . . 8.30 P.M.—The streets of the village are much more interesting to me at this hour of a summer evening than by day. Neighbors, and also farmers, come a-shopping after their day’s haying, are chatting in the streets, and I hear the sound of many musical instruments and of singing from various houses.

(Journal, 2:322-233)
22 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Before I rise from my couch, I see the ambrosial fog stretched over the river, draping the trees . . . Already, 5.30 A.M., some parts of the river are bare . . . I scare up a woodchuck from some moist place at midday . . . I bathe me in the river. I lie down where it is shallow, amid the weeds over its sandy bottom; but it seems shrunken and parched; I find it difficult to get wet through. I would fain be the channel of a mountain brook. I bathe, and in a few hours I bathe again, not remembering that I was wetted before. When I come to the river, I take off my clothes and carry them over, then bathe and wash off the mud and continue my walk.
(Journal, 2:333-237)
23 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M.—A comfortable breeze blowing . . . A little brook crossing the road (the Corner road), a few inches’ depth of transparent water rippling over yellow sand and pebbles, the pure blood of nature (Journal, 2:337-341).
24 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—The street and fields betray the drought and look more parched than at noon; they look as I feel,—languid and thin and feeling my nerves (Journal, 2:341).
25 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. Started for Clark’s Island at 7 A.M. At 9 A.M. took the Hingham boat and was landed at Hull. There was a pleasure party on board, apparently boys and girls belonging to the South End, going to Hingham. There was a large proportion of ill-dressed and ill-mannered boys of Irish extraction. A sad sight to behold! Little boys of twelve years, prematurely old, sucking cigars! . . . I heard a boy telling the story of Nix’s Mate to some girls, as we passed that spot, how “he said, ‘If I am guilty, this island will remain; but if I am innocent, it will be washed away,’ and now it is all washed away”. . . On the beach at Hull, and afterwards all along the shore to Plymouth, I saw the datura, the variety (red-stemmed), methinks, which some call Tatula instead of Stramonium . . . Saw a public house where I landed at Hull, made like some barns which I have seen, of boards with a cleat nailed over the cracks, without clapboards or paint, evidently very simple and cheap, yet neat and convenient as well as airy . . . Ascended to the top of the hill, where is the old French fort, with the well said to be ninety feet deep, now covered.’ I saw some horses standing on the very top of the ramparts, the highest part of Hull, where there was hardly room to turn round, for the sake of the breeze . . . They told me at Hull that they burned the stem of the kelp chiefly for potash . . . As I walked on the beach (Nantasket), panting with thirst, a man pointed to a white spot on the side of a distant hill (Strawberry Hill he called it) which rose from the gravelly beach, and said that there was a pure and cold and unfailing spring; and I could not help admiring that in this town of Hull, of which I had heard, but now for the first time saw, a single spring should appear to me and should be of so much value… I saw in Cohasset, separated from the sea only by a narrow beach, a very large and handsome but shallow lake, of at least four hundred acres, with five rocky islets in it; which the sea had tossed over the beach in the great storm in the spring, and, after the alewives had passed into it, stopped up its outlet; and now the alewives were dying by thousands, and the inhabitants apprehended a pestilence as the water evaporated. The water was very foul. The rockweed is considered the best for I saw them drying the Irish moss in quantities at Jerusalem Village in Cohasset. It is said to be used for sizing calico. Finding myself on the edge of a thunder-storm, I stopped a few moments at the Rock House in Cohasset, close to the shore. There was scarcely rain enough to wet one, and no wind. I was therefore surprised to hear afterward, through a young man who had just returned from Liverpool, that there was a severe squall at quarantine ground, only seven or eight miles northwest of me, such as he had not experienced for three years, which sunk several boats and caused some vessels to drag their anchors and come near going ashore; proving that the gust which struck the water there must have been of very limited breadth, for I was or might have been overlooking the spot and felt no wind. This rocky shore is called Pleasant Cove on large maps; on the map of Cohasset alone, the name seems to be confined to the cove where I first saw the wreck of the St. John alone.
(Journal, 2:341-348)
26 July 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Cohasset.—Called on Captain Snow, who remembered hearing fishermen say that they ‘fitted out at Thoreau’s;’ remembered him.1 He had commanded a packet between Boston or New York and England. Spoke of the wave which he sometimes met on the Atlantic coming against the wind, and which indicated that the wind was blowing from an opposite quarter at a distance, the undulation travelling faster than the wind.
(Journal, 2:348-349)

New York, N.Y. Isaac Thomas Hecker writes to Thoreau (Paulist Archives, Washington, D.C.).

1Thoreau’s grandfather, Jean Thoreau, kept a sea-outfitting store in Boston.

27 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walked from Cohasset to Duxbury and sailed thence to Clark’s Island. Visited the large tupelo tree (Nyssa multiflora) in Scituate, whose rounded and open on top, like some umbelliferous plant’s, I could see from Mr. Sewal’s, the tree which George Emerson went twenty-five miles to see, called sometimes snag-tree and swamp hornbeam, also pepperidge and gum-tree . . . After taking the road by [Daniel] Webster’s beyond South Marshfield, I walked a long way at noon, hot and thirsty, before I could find a suitable place to sit and eat my dinner,—a place where the shade and the sward pleased me. At length I was obliged to put up with a small shade close to the ruts, where the only stream I had seen for some time crossed the road. Here, also, numerous robins came to cool and wash themselves and to drink. They stood in the water up to their bellies, from time to time wetting their wings and tails and also ducking their heads and sprinkling the water over themselves; then they sat on a fence near by to dry. Then a goldfinch came and did the same, accompanied by the less brilliant female . . . A neighbor of Webster’s told me that he had hard on to sixteen hundred acres and was still buying more,—a farm and factory within the year; cultivated a hundred and fifty acres. I saw twelve acres of potatoes together, the same of rye and wheat, and more methinks of buckwheat. Fifteen or sixteen men, Irish mostly, at ten dollars a month, doing the work of fifty, with a Yankee overseer, long a resident of Marshfield, named Wright . . . Took refuge from the rain at a Mr. Stetson’s in Duxbury. I forgot to say that I passed the Winslow House, now belonging to Webster. This land was granted to the family in 1637. Sailed with tavern-keeper Winsor, who was going out mackereling. Seven men, stripping up their clothes, each bearing an armful of wood and one some new potatoes, walked to the boats, then shoved them out a dozen rods over the mud, then rowed half a mile to the schooner of forty-three tons. They expected [to] be gone about a week, and to begin to fish perhaps the next morning . . . Clark’s Island Sunday night . . . This island contains about eighty-six acres and was once covered with red cedars which were sold at Boston for gate-posts. I saw a few left, one, two feet in diameter at the ground, which was probably standing when the Pilgrims came.
(Journal, 2:349-354)
28 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday morning. Sailed [to] the Gurnet, which down runs seven miles into the bay from Marshfield . . . Went by Saquish. Gathered a basketful of Irish moss bleached on the beach. Saw a field full of pink-blossomed potatoes at the lighthouse, remarkably luxuriant and full of blossoms; also some French barley. Old fort and barracks by lighthouse. Visited lobster house, or huts there, where they use lobsters to catch bait for lobsters. Saw on the shanties signs from ships, as “Justice Story” and “Margueritta.”
(Journal, 2:354-356)
29 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  In the afternoon I sailed to Plymouth, three miles, notwithstanding the drizzling rain, or “drisk,” as Uncle Ned called it. We passed round the head of Plymouth beach, which is three miles long. I did not know till afterward that I had landed where the Pilgrims did and passed over the Rock on Hedge’s Wharf. Returning, we had more wind and tacking to do . . . It being low tide, we landed on a flat which makes out from Clark’s Island, to while away the time, not being able to get quite up yet. I found numerous large holes of the sea clam in this sand (no small clams), and dug them out easily and rapidly with my hands . . . At 10 P.M. it was perfectly fair and bright starlight.
(Journal, 2:356-360)
30 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Now I see him [Uncle Bill] lying in the mud over at the Pines in the horizon, which place he cannot leave if he will, till flood-tide; but he will not, it seems . . . At 10 A.M. sailed to [Daniel] Webster’s past Powder Point in Duxbury. We could see his land from the island. I was steersman and learned the meaning of some nautical phrases,—“luff,” to keep the boat close to the wind till the sails begin to flap; “bear away,” to put the sail more at right angles with the wind; a “close haul,” when the sails are brought and belayed nearly or quite in line with the vessel . . . Talked with Webster’s nearest neighbor, Captain Hewit, whose small farm he surrounds and endeavors in vain to buy. A fair specimen of a retired Yankee sea-captain turned farmer. Proud of the quantity of carrots he had raised on a small patch. It was better husbandry than Webster’s. He told a story of his buying a cargo for his owners at St. Petersburg just as peace was declared in the last war.
(Journal, 2:360-362)
31 July 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Went off early this morning with Uncle Ned to catch bass with the small fish I had found on the sand the night before. Two of his neighbor Albert Watson’s boys were there,—not James, the oldest, but Edward, the sailor, and Mortimer (or Mort),—in their boat. They killed some striped bass (Labrax lineatus) with paddles in a shallow creek in the sand, and caught some lobsters. I remarked that the seashore was singularly clean, for, notwithstanding the spattering of the water and mud and squirting of the clams and wading to and fro the boat, my best black pants retained no stains nor dirt, as they would acquire from walking in the country. I caught a bass with a young—haik? (perchance), trailing thirty feet behind while Uncle Ned paddled . . . At 11 am set sail for Plymouth. We went somewhat out of a direct course, to take advantage of the tide, which was coming in. Saw the site of the first house, which was burned, on Leyden Street. Walked up the same, parallel with the Town Brook. Hill from which Billington Sea was discovered hardly a mile from the shore, on Watson’s grounds. Watson’s Hill, where treaty was made across brook south of Burying Hill . . . Mr. Thomas Russell, who cannot be seventy, at whose house on Leyden Street I took tea and spent the evening, told me that he remembered to have seen Ebenezer Cobb, a native of Plymouth, who died in Kingston in 1801, aged one hundred and seven, who remembered to have had personal knowledge of Peregrine White, saw him an old man riding on horseback (he lived to be eighty-three) . . . Russell told me that he once bought some primitive woodland in Plymouth which was sold at auction—the biggest pitch pines two feet diameter—for eight shillings an acre . . . William S. Russell, the registrar at the court-house, showed the oldest town records, for all are preserved . . . Pilgrim Hall.
(Journal, 2:362-366)
1 August 1851.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Left [Plymouth] at 9 A.M., August 1st. After Kingston came Plympton, Halifax, and Hanson, all level with frequent cedar swamps, especially the last,—also in Weymouth (Journal, 2:367-370).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, volume 4, part 1, and Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee country, the extensive territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek confederacy, and the country of the Chactaws by William Bartram from the Boston Society of Natural History.

(Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24)
4 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  As my eye rested on the blossom of the meadowsweet in a hedge, I heard the note of an autumnal cricket, and was penetrated with the sense of autumn. Was it sound ? or was it form? or was it scent ? or was it flavor? It is now the royal month of August. When I hear this sound, I am as dry as the rye which is everywhere cut and housed, though I am drunk with the season’s wine.
(Journal, 2:370)
5 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7.30 P.M.—Moon half full. I sit beside Hubbard’s Grove . . . It is 8 o’clock. The farmer has driven in his cows, and is cutting an armful of green corn fodder for them. Another is still patching the roof of his barn, making his hammer heard afar in the twilight, as if he took a satisfaction in his elevated work,—sitting astride the ridge,—which he wished to prolong. The robin utters a sort of cackling note, as if he had learned the ways of man. The air is still. I hear the voices of loud-talking boys in the early twilight, it must be a mile off. The swallows go over with a watery twittering . . . It is almost dark. I hear the voices of berry-pickers coming homeward from Bear Garden . . . I hear now from Bear Garden Hill—I rarely walk by moonlight without hearing—the sound of a flute, or a horn, or a human voice. It is a performer I never see by day; should not recognize him if pointed out; but you may hear his performance in every horizon. He plays but one strain and goes to bed early, but I know by the character of that single strain that he is deeply dissatisfied with the manner in which he spends his day . . . I see Fair Haven Pond from the Cliffs, as it were through a slight mist . . . The entrance into Hubbard’s Wood above the spring, coming from the hill, is like the entrance to a cave; but when you are within, there are some streaks of light on the edge of the path.
(Journal, 2:370-375)
6 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  An Italian has just carried a hand-organ through the village. I hear it even at Walden Wood (Journal, 2:375-378).
8 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7.30 P.M.—To Conantum . . . Hubbard’s Brook . . . My neighbors have gone to the vestry to hear “Ned Kendal,” the bugler, to-night, but I am come forth to the hills to hear my bugler in the horizon . . . And now I strike the road at the causeway. It is hard, and I hear the sound of my steps, a sound which should never be heard, for it draws down my thoughts . . . The planks and railing of Hubbard’s Bridge are removed. I walk over on the string-pieces, resting in the middle until the moon comes out of a cloud, that I may see my path, for between the next piers the stringpieces also are removed and there is only a rather narrow plank, let down three or four feet. I essay to cross it, but it springs a little and I mistrust myself, whether I shall not plunge into the river. Some demonic genius seems to be warning me. Attempt not the passage; you will surely be drowned. It is very real that I am thus affected. Yet I am fully aware of the absurdity of minding such suggestions. I put out my foot, but I am checked, as if that power had laid a hand on my breast and chilled me back. Nevertheless, I cross, stooping at first, and gain the other side. (I make the most of it on account of the admonition, but it was nothing to remark on. I returned the same way two hours later and made nothing of it.) . . . On Conantum I sit awhile in the shade of the woods and look out on the moonlit fields . . . Sitting on the doorstep of Conant house at 9 o’clock, I hear a pear drop . . . I hear the nine o’clock bell ringing in Bedford . . . As I recross the string-pieces of the bridge, I see the water-bugs swimming briskly in the moonlight.
(Journal, 2:378-382)
9 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  As I am going to the pond to bathe, I see a black cloud in the northern horizon and hear the muttering of thunder, and make haste. Before I have bathed and dressed, the gusts which precede the tempest are heard roaring in the woods, and the first black, gusty clouds have reached my zenith. Hastening toward town, I meet the rain at the edge of the wood, and take refuge under the thickest leaves, where not a drop reaches me, and, at the end of half an hour, the renewed singing of the birds alone advertises me that the rain has ceased, and it is only the dripping from the leaves which I hear in the woods.
(Journal, 2:382)
10 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  With [Ralph Waldo] Emerson till dinner. Afternoon, walked with Thoreau and bathed in the Lake.

  “The blue-eyed Walden there doth smile

  Most tenderly upon its neighbour pines.”

  Thoreau read me some passages from his paper on “Walking” as I passed the evening with him, and slept at Emerson’s again afterwards.

(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 252)
11 August 1851. Boston, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Thoreau rode with me to Cambridge, and we passed the forenoon in Harvard Library. I looked at the compartment of English Poetry (of the Elizabethan age), but found nothing of worth to bring home. T. dined with me, and took from my library for perusal “Rei Rusticae Auctores Latini Veteres: Cato, Columella, Varro & Palladius,” for which I paid a couple of shillings at the London book-stalls, and am glad to find so good a reader for it.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 252-253)
Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Collections of the New York Historical Society, volume 11, part 1, and Travels into North America by Pehr Kalm, volumes 1, 2, and 3 from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Principles of Zoölogy by Louis Agassiz and Augustus A. Gould and The animal kingdom, arranged in conformity with its organization by Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Cuvier from the Boston Society of Natural History.

(Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24)
12 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. 1.30 A.M.—Full moon. Arose and went to the river and bathed, stepping very carefully not to disturb the household, and still carefully in the street not to disturb the neighbors. I did not walk naturally and freely till I had got over the wall. Then to Hubbard’s Bridge at 2 A.M. There was a whip-poorwill in the road just beyond Goodwin’s, which flew up and lighted on the fence and kept alighting on the fence within a rod of me and circling round me with a slight squeak as if inquisitive about me . . . Sitting on the sleepers of Hubbard’s Bridge, which is being repaired, now, 3 o’clock A.M., I hear a cock crow . . . As I walk along the side of Fair Haven Hill, I see a ripple on the river . . . 4 A .M.—It adds a charm, a dignity, a glory, to the earth to see the light of the moon reflected from her streams . . . Now there has come round the Cliff (on which I sit), which faces the west, all unobserved and mingled with the dusky sky of night, a lighter and more ethereal living blue, whispering of the sun still far, far, away, behind the horizon.
(Journal, 2:383-389)
15 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. Hyperieum Canadense, Canadian St. John’s-wort, distinguished by its red capsules. The petals shine under the microscope, as if they had a golden dew on them.  

  Cnicus pumilus, pasture thistle. How many insects a single one attracts! While you sit by it, bee after bee will visit it, and busy himself probing for honey and loading himself with pollen, regardless of your overshadowing presence. He sees its purple flower from afar, and that use there is in its color.

  Oxalis stricta, upright wood-sorrel, the little yellow ternate-leaved flower in pastures and corn-fields.

  Sagittaria sagittif olia, or arrowhead. It has very little root that I can find to eat.

  Campanula crinoides, var. 2nd, slender bellflower, vine-like like a galium, by brook-side in Depot Field.

  Impatiens, noli-me-tangere, or touch-me-not, with its dangling yellow pitchers or horns of plenty, which I have seen for a month by damp causeway thickets, but the whole plant was so tender and drooped so soon I could not get it home.

  May I love and revere myself above all the gods that men have ever invented. May I never let the vestal fire go out in my recesses.

(Journal, 2:389-390)
16 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is true man can and does live by preying on other animals, but this is a miserable way of sustaining himself, and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race, along with Prometheus and Christ, who shall teach men to live on a more innocent and wholesome diet. Is it not already acknowledged to be a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal?
(Journal, 2:390)
17 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  For a day or two it has been quite cool, a coolness that was felt even when sitting by an open window in a thin coat on the west side of the house in the morning, and you naturally sought the sun at that hour . . . I have been to Tarbell’s Swamp by the Second Division this afternoon, and to the Marlborough road . . . I hear the rain (11 P.M.) distilling upon the ground, wetting the grass and leaves
(Journal, 2:390-397)

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Thoreau has the profoundest passion for the aboriginal in Nature of any man I have known; and had the sentiment of humanity been equally strong and tender he might have written pastorals that Virgil and Theocritus would have envied him the authorship of. As it is, he has come nearer the primitive simplicity of the antique than any of our poets, and touched the fields and forests and streams of Concord with a classic interest that can never fade.

  The lines “Lately, alas, I knew a gentle boy” are suffused with a sweet elegiac tenderness, as if the woods and fields bewailed the loss of their foraging friend and essayed to sing their grief in their murmuring leaves. So the essay on “Friendship” wears a sylvan sympathetic manner, and carries a heart of oak in its bosom—so brave, so self-helpful, so defiant, and yet so sternly kind and wholesome in its counsels. No man lives in so close a companionship and so constant with Nature, or breathes more of the spirit of pure poetry. And in this lies his excellence; for when the heart is divorced from Nature, from the society of living, moving things, poetry has fled, and the love that sings.

(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 253)
18 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It plainly makes men sad to think. Hence pensiveness is akin to sadness. Some dogs, I have noticed, have a propensity to worry cows. They go off by themselves to distant pastures, and ever and anon, like four-legged devils, they worry the cows,—literally full of the devil. They are so full of the devil they know not what to do. I come to interfere between the cows and their tormentors. Ah, I grieve to see the devils escape so easily by their swift limbs, imps of mischief! They are the dog state of those boys who pull down hand-bills in the streets. Their next migration perchance will be into such dogs as these, ignoble fate! The dog, whose office it should be to guard the herd, turned its tormentor. Some courageous cow endeavoring in vain to toss the nimble devil.
(Journal, 2:397-401)
19 August 1851.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Now, at 5 am, the fog, which in the west looks like a wreath of hard-rolled cotton-batting, is rapidly dispersing. The echo of the railroad whistle is heard the horizon round; the gravel train is starting out. The farmers are cradling oats in some places . . .

  P.M.—To Marlborough Road via Clamshell Hill, Jenny Dugan’s, Round Pond, Canoe Birch Road (Deacon Dakin’s), and White Pond . . . Gathered our first watermelon to-day.

(Journal, 2:401-408)
20 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Lee’s Bridge via Hubbard’s Wood, Potter’s field, Conantum, returning by Abel Minott’s house, Clematis Brook, Baker’s pine plain, and railroad. I hear a cricket in the Depot Field, walk a rod or two, and find the note proceeds from near a rock . . . The sites of the shanties that once stood by the railroad in Lincoln when the Irish built it, the still remaining hollow square mounds of earth which formed their embankments, are to me instead of barrows and druidical monuments and other ruins.
(Journal, 2:408-412)
21 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  1 P.M.—Round Flint’s Pond via railroad, my old field, Goose Pond, Wharf Rock, Cedar Hill, Smith’s, and so back (Journal, 412-417).
22 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I found last winter that it was expected by my townsmen that I would give some account of Canada because I had visited it, and because many of them had, and so felt interested in the subject,—visited it as the bullet visits the wall at which it is fired, and from which it rebounds as quickly, and flattened (somewhat damaged, perchance)! Yes, a certain man contracted to take fifteen hundred live Yankees through Canada, at a certain rate and within a certain time. It did not matter to him what the commodity was, if only it would pack well and were delivered to him according to agreement at the right place and time and rightly ticketed, so much in bulk, wet or dry, on deck or in the hold, at the option of the carrier how to stow the cargo and not always right side up. In the meanwhile, it was understood that the freight was not to be willfully and intentionally debarred from seeing the country if it had eyes. It was understood that there would be a country to be seen on either side, though that was a secret advantage which the contractors seemed not to be aware of. I fear that I have not got much to say, not having seen much, for the very rapidity of the motion had a tendency to keep my eyelids closed. What I got by going to Canada was a cold, and not till I get a fever, which I never had, shall I know how to appreciate it.
(Journal, 2:417-419)
23 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. To Walden to bathe at 5.30 A.M. . . . At the commencement of my walk I saw no traces of fog, but after detected fogs over particular meadows and high up some brooks’ valleys, and far in the Deep Cut the wood fog. First muskmelon this morning . . . P.M.—Walk to Annursnack and back over stone bridge . . . Our little river reaches are not to be forgotten. I noticed that seen northward on the Assabet from the Causeway Bridge near the second stone bridge. There was [a] man in a boat in the sun, just disappearing in the distance round a bend, lifting high his arms and dipping his paddle as if he were a vision bound to land of the blessed,—far off, as in picture.
(Journal, 2:419-423)
24 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  In Hubbard’s Swamp, where the blueberries, dangleberries, and especially the pyrus or choke-berries were so abundant last summer, there is now perhaps not one (unless a blueberry) to be found (Journal, 2:423-424).
25 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. What the little regular, rounded, light-blue flower in Heywood Brook which I make Class V, Order 1? Also the small purplish flower growing on the mud in Hubbard’s meadow, perchance C. XIV, with one pistil?
(Journal, 2:425)
26 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The Gerardia pedicularia, bushy gerardia, I find on the White Pond road (Journal, 2:425-426).
27 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The vervain which I examined by the railroad the other day has still a quarter of an inch to the top of its spikes . Hawkweed groundsel (Senecio hieracifolius) (fireweed). Rubus sempervirens, evergreen raspberry, the small low blackberry, is now in fruit. The Medeola Virginica, cucumber-root, the whorl-leaved plant, is now in green fruit. Polygala cruciata, cross-leaved polygala, in the meadow between Trillium Woods and railroad . This is rare and new to me. It has a very sweet, but as it were intermittent, fragrance, as of checkerberry and mayflowers combined. The handsome calyx-leaves.
(Journal, 2:427)
28 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The pretty little blue flower in the Heywood Brook, Class V, Order 1 . . . I find three or four ordinary laborers to-day putting up the necessary outdoor fixtures for the magnetic telegraph from Boston to Burlington . . . Evening.—A new moon visible in the east.
(Journal, 2:427-429)
29 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Though it is early, my neighbor’s hens have strayed far into the fog toward the river. I find a wasp in my window, which already appears to be taking refuge from winter and unspeakable fate . . . A flock of forty-four young turkeys with their old [sic], half a mile from a house on Conantum by the river, the old faintly gobbling, the half-grown young peeping. Turkey-men!
(Journal, 2:429-430)
30 August 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Drosera rotundifolia in [John B.?] Moore’s new field ditch (Journal, 2:430-432).

New York, N.Y. The Literary World publishes “An Ascent of Mount Saddleback,” an article by Evert Augustus Duyckinck that references A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

31 August 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Proserpinaca palustris, spear-leaved proserpinaca, mermaid-weed. (This in Hubbard’s Grove on my way to Conantum.) . . . Tobacco-pipe (Monotropa uniflora) in Spring Swamp Path. I came out of the thick, dark, swampy wood as from night into day. Having forgotten the daylight, I was surprised to see how bright it was . . . Half an hour before sunset I was at Tupelo Cliff, when, looking up from my botanizing (I had been examining the Ranunculus filiformis, the Sium latifolium (? ?), and the obtuse galium on the muddy shore), I saw the seal of evening on the river.
(Journal, 2:432-439)
1 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The fruit of the trilliums is very handsome. I found some a month ago, a singular red, angular-cased pulp, drooping, with the old anthers surrounding it three quarters of an inch in diameter; and now there is another kind, a dense crowded cluster of many ovoid berries turning from green to scarlet or bright brickcolor. Then there is the mottled fruit of the clustered Solomon’s-seal, and also the greenish (with blue meat) fruit of the Convallaria multiflora dangling from the axils of the leaves.
(Journal, 2:440)

Concord, Mass. The town selectmen decide to employ a surveyor to perambulate the Concord borders:

  The Selectmen of Concord at a meeting held for that purpose appointed Aaron A. Kelsey and Henry David Thoreau of said Concord as substitutes for said board in the perambulation of the town lines of said Concord, the acts of whom shall be and stand as the perambulations of said lines as if made by us.

  In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands this first day of September in this year eighteen hundred and fifty one. John S. Keyes, [John Shepard Keyes] A. G. Fay, [Addison G. Fay] Selectmen of Concord.

(Concord Town Archives)

See entry 15 September.

2 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The dense fog came into my chamber early this morning, freighted with light, and woke me . . . A fire in the sitting-room to-day. Walk in the afternoon by Walden road and railroad to Minn’s place, and round it to railroad and home.
(Journal, 2:441-446)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 6 September:

  The other afternoon I met Sam H—– [Hoar?] walking on the railroad between the depot and the back road (Journal, 2:465).
3 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Hubbard’s Swimming-Place and Grove in rain. As I went under the new telegraph-wire, I heard it vibrating like a harp high overhead (Journal, 2:447-452).
4 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M. A clear and pleasant day after the rain. Start for Boon’s Pond in Stow with C. [William Ellery Channing] . . . Hosmer’s man was cutting his millet, and this buckwheat already lay in red piles in the field . . . The lane in front of Tarbell’s house, which is but little worn and appears to lead nowhere, though it has so wide and all-engulfing an opening, suggested that such things might be contrived for effect in laying out grounds . . . What is that slender pink flower that I find in the Marlborough road, – smaller than a snapdragon? . . . We drink in the meadow at Second Division Brook, then sit awhile to watch its yellowish pebbles and the cress (?) in it and other weeds . . . Beyond the powder-mills we watched some fat oxen, elephantine, behemoths,—one Rufus-Hosmer-eyed, with the long lash and projecting eye-ball. Now past the paper-mills, by the westernmost road east of the river, the first new ground we’ve reached . . . And now we leave the road and go through the woods and swamps toward Boon’s Pond, crossing two or three roads and by [John?] Potter’s house in Stow; still on east of river . . . Beyond Potter’s we struck into the extensive wooded plain where the ponds are found in Stow, Sudbury, and Marlborough. Part of it called Boon’s Plain . . . Returned by railroad down the Assabet . . . We sat on the top of those hills looking down on the new brick ice-house.
(Journal, 2:452-462)
5 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  By moonlight at Potter’s Field toward Bear Garden Hill, 8 P.M. . . . Moonlight on Fair Haven Pond seen from the Cliffs (Journal, 2:462-464).
6 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Hapgood’s in Acton direct, returning via Strawberry Hill and Smith’s Road . . . From Strawberry Hill the first, but a very slight, glimpse of Nagog Pond by standing up on the wall . . . A large field of sunflowers for hens now in full bloom at Temple’s, surrounding the house, and now, at 6 o’clock P.M., facing the east.
(Journal, 2:465-467)
7 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Conantum via fields, Hubbard’s Grove, and grain-field, to Tupelo Cliff and Conantum and returning over peak same way. 6 P.M. . . . At Tupelo Cliff I hear the sound of singers on the river, young men and women,—which is unusual here,—returning from their row . . . Lower down I see the moon in the water as bright as in the heavens; only the water-bugs disturb its disk; and now I catch a faint glassy glare from the whole river surface, which before was simply dark . . . I see the northern lights over my shoulder, to remind me of the Esquimaux and that they are still my contemporaries on this globe, that they too are taking their walks on another part of the planet, in pursuit western horizon where the sun has disappeared, and alternating with beautiful blue rays, more blue by far than any other portion of the sky . . . The northern lights now, as I descend from the Conantum house, have become a crescent of light crowned with short, shooting flames,—or the shadows of flames, for sometimes they are dark as well as white.
(Journal, 2:467-480)
8 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Do not the song of birds and the fireflies go with the grass? While the grass is fresh, the earth is in its vigor. The greenness of the grass is the best symptom or evidence of the earth’s youth or health. Perhaps it will be found that when the grass ceases to be fresh and green, or after June, the birds have ceased to sing, and that the fireflies, too, no longer in myriads sparkle in the meadows. Perhaps a history of the year would be a history of the grass, or of a leaf, regarding the grassblades as leaves, for it is equally true that the leaves soon lose their freshness and soundness, and become the prey of insects and of drought. Plants commonly soon cease to grow for the year, unless they may have a fall growth, which is a kind of second spring. In the feelings of the man, too, the year is already past, and he looks forward to the coming winter. His occasional rejuvenescence and faith in the current time is like the aftermath, a scanty crop.
(Journal, 2:480-482)
9 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 A.M.—The moon not quite full. To Conantum via road . . . The fog in the lowlands on the Corner road is never still . . . The moon is getting low. I hear a wagon cross one of the bridges leading into the town . . . On the first top of Conantum. I hear the farmer harnessing his horse and starting for the distant market, but no man harnesses himself, and starts for worthier enterprises . . . The clock strikes four. A few dogs bark. A few more wagons start for market, their faint rattling heard in the distance . . . 5 o’clock.- The light now reveals a thin film of vapor like a gossamer veil cast over the lower hills beneath the Cliffs and stretching to the river, thicker in the ravines, thinnest on the even slopes . . . I went down to Tupelo Cliff to bathe. A great bittern, which I had scared, flew heavily across the stream. The redness had risen at length above the dark cloud, the sun approaching.
(Journal, 2:482-487)
10 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  As I watch the groves on the meadow opposite our house, I see how differently they look at different hours of the day, i. e. in different lights, when the sun shines on them variously . . . 3 P.M.—To the Cliffs and the Grape Cliff beyond . . . As I go up Fair Haven Hill, I see some signs of the approaching fall of the white pine.
(Journal, 2:487-490)
11 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Hubbard’s Meadow Grove.

  The skunk-cabbage’s checkered fruit (spadix), one three inches long; all parts of the flower but the anthers left and enlarged. Bidens cernua, or nodding burrmarigold, like a small sunflower (with rays) in Heywood Brook, i.e. beggar-tick. Bidens connata (?), without rays, in Hubbard’s Meadow. Blue-eyed grass still. Drooping neottia very common. I see some yellow butterflies and others occasionally and singly only. The smilax berries are mostly turned dark. I started a great bittern from the weeds at the swimming-place.

(Journal, 2:490-494)
12 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Not till after 8 A.M. does the fog clear off so much that I see the sun shining in patches on Nawshawtuct… 2 P.M.—To the Three Friends’ Hill beyond Flint’s Pond, via railroad, R. W. E.’s [Ralph Waldo Emerson] wood-path south side Walden, George Heywood’s cleared lot, and Smith’s orchard; return via cast of Flint’s Pond, via Goose Pond and my old home to railroad . . . Found a violet, apparently Viola cucullata, or hood-leaved violet, in bloom in Baker’s Meadow beyond Pine Hill . . . When I got into the Lincoln road, I perceived a singular sweet scent in the air, which I suspected arose from some plant now in a peculiar state owing to the season, but though I smelled everything around, I could not detect it, but the more eagerly I smelled, the further I seemed to be from finding it; but when I gave up the search, again it would be wafted to me… I had already bathed in Walden as I passed, but now I forgot that I had been wetted, and wanted to embrace and mingle myself with the water of Flint’s Pond this warm afternoon, to get wet inwardly and deeply.
(Journal, 2:494-502)
13 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Railroad causeway, before sunrise . . . The Bedford sunrise bell rings sweetly and musically at this hour, when there is no bustle in the village to drown it (Journal, 2:502-503).
14 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Cliffs.

  The dry grass yields a crisped sound to my feet. The white oak which appears to have made part of a hedge fence once, now standing in Hubbard’s fence near the Corner road, where it stretches along horizontally, is (one of its arms, for it has one running each way) two and a half feet thick, with a sprout growing perpendicularly out of it eighteen inches in diameter. The corn-stalks standing in stacks, in long rows along the edges of the corn-fields, remind me of stacks of muskets.

(Journal, 2:503-504)
15 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys the Concord/Acton town line and is paid $18 (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau Papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

“H. D. Thoreau for perambulating town lines and erecting stones at Acton and Bedford lines, 18 00” (Concord Mass. Town Reports, 1851-1852, 18).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Commenced perambulating the town bounds. At 7.30 am rode in company with [A A Kelsey] and Mr. [Tolman] to the bound between Acton and Concord near Paul Dudley’s. Mr. [Tolman] told a story of his wife walking in the fields somewhere, and, to keep the rain off, throwing her gown over her head and holding it in her mouth, and so being poisoned about her mouth from the skirts of her dress having come in contact with poisonous plants. At Dudley’s, which house is handsomely situated, with five large elms in front, we met the selectmen of Acton, [Ivory Keyes] and [Luther Conant]. Here were five of us. It appeared that we weighed, [Tolman] I think about 160, [Conant] 155, [Keyes] about 140, [Kelsey] 130, myself 127. [Tolman] describes the wall about or at Forest Hills Cemetery in Roxbury as being made of stones upon which they were careful to preserve the moss, so that it cannot be distinguished from a very old wall. Found one intermediate bound stone near the powder-mill drying-house on the bank of the river. The workmen there wore shoes without iron tacks. He said that the kernel-house was the most dangerous, the dryinghouse next, the press-house next. One of the powdermill buildings in Concord?
(Journal, 2:504-505)

Thoreau and A. A. Kelsey make a statement on the Acton and Concord boundary lines:

  We the subscribers, in behalf of the towns of Concord and Acton, being legally appointed for the purpose, met and perambulated the line between said towns, which is described as running from a split stone near the house of Paul Dudley S 35 W 1656 rods to a split stone near the powder mills, on which line there are intermediate bound stones by every public road, except the new road leading to the Powder Mill, also one on the back of the river, and another in the woods west of the Factory Village.

  Also it was decided, as soon as convenient, to move the stone on the bank of the river to a point by the road leading to the powder mills, and on a straight line between the nearest bound stones.

  All to the satisfaction of both parties, this fifteenth day of September 1851. A. A. Kelsey, Henry D. Thoreau , (In behalf of Concord); Ivory Keyes, Luther Conant, (Selectmen of Acton).

(Town of Concord Archives)
16 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Met the selectmen of Sudbury, [Moore] and [Haines] . . . [Moore] of Sudbury thinks the river would be still lower now if it were not for the water in the reservoir pond in Hopkinton running into it (Journal, 3:3-4).
17 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Perambulated the Lincoln line. Was it the small rough sunflower which I saw this morning at the brook near Lee’s Bridge? Saw at James Baker’s a buttonwood tree with a swarm of bees now three years in it, but honey and all inaccessible. John W. Farrar tells of sugar maples behind Miles’s in the Corner. Did I see privet in the swamp at the Bedford stone near Giles’s house? Swamp all dry now; could not wash my hands.
(Journal, 3:4)
18 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Perambulated Bedford line (Journal, 3:4).
19 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Perambulated Carlisle line . . . Found the bound-stones on Carlisle by the river all or mostly tipped over by the ice and water, like the pitch pines about Walden Pond . . . Mr. Isaiah Green of Carlisle, who lives nearest to the Kibbe Place, can remember when there were three or four houses around him (he is nearly eighty years old and has always lived there and was born there); now he is quite retired, and the nearest road is scarcely used at all. He spoke of one old field, now grown up, which [we] were going through, as the “hog-pasture,” formerly. He found the meadows so dry that it was thought to be a good time to burn out the moss.
(Journal, 3:4)
20 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journals:

  3 P.M.—To Cliffs via Bear Hill . . . I scare up the great bittern in meadow by the Heywood Brook near the ivy . . . The dogwood, or poison sumach, by Hubbard’s meadow is also turned reddish . . . There is a rod wide of bare shore beneath the Cliff Hill . . . Butter-and-eggs on Fair Haven.
(Journal, 3:5-6)
21 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is remarkably dry weather. The neighbors’ wells are failing. The watering-places for cattle in pastures, though they have been freshly scooped out, are dry. People have to go far for water to drink, and then drink it warm. The river is so low that rocks which are rarely seen show their black heads in mid-channel. I saw one which a year or two ago upset a boat and drowned a girl. You see the nests of the bream on the dry shore . . . I see some cows on the new Wheeler’s Meadow, which a man is trying to drive to certain green parts of the meadow next to the river to feed, the hill being dried up, but they seem disinclined and not to like the coarse grass there, though it is green. And now one cow is steering for the edge of the hill, where is some greenness.
(Journal, 3:6-11)
22 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To the Three Friends’ Hill over Bear Hill.

  Yesterday and to-day the stronger winds of autumn have begun to blow, and the telegraph harp has sounded loudly. I heard it especially in the Deep Cut this afternoon, the tone varying with the tension of different parts of the wire. The sound proceeds from near the posts, where the vibration is apparently more rapid. I put my ear to one of the posts, and it seemed to me as if every pore of the wood was filled with music, labored with the strain,—as if every fiber was affected and being seasoned or timed, rearranged according to a new and more harmonious law.

(Journal, 3:11-13)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 24 September:

  Returning over the causeway from Flint’s Pond the other evening (22d), just at sunset, I observed that while the west was of a bright golden color under a bank of clouds,—the sun just setting,—and not a tinge of red was yet visible there, there was a distinct purple tinge in the nearer atmosphere, so that Annursnack Hill, seen through it, had an exceedingly rich empurpled look.
(Journal, 3:14)
23 September. Concord, Mass. 1851.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Notwithstanding the fog, the fences this morning are covered with so thick a frost that you can write your name anywhere with your nail . . . The sumach are among the reddest leaves at present. The telegraph harp sounds strongly to-day, in the midst of the rain. I put my ear to the trees and I hear it working terribly within, and anon it swells into a clear tone, which seems to concentrate in the core of the tree, for all the sound seems to proceed from the wood . . . I scare up large flocks of sparrows in the garden.
(Journal, 3:13-14)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 24 September:

  Last night was exceedingly dark. I could not see the sidewalk in the street, but only felt it with my feet. I was obliged to whistle to warn travellers of my nearness, and then I would suddenly find myself abreast of them without having seen anything or heard their footsteps. It was cloudy and rainy weather combined with the absence of the moon. So dark a night that, if a farmer who had come in a-shopping had spent but an hour after sunset in some shop, he might find himself a prisoner in the village for the night. Thick darkness.
(Journal, 3:14)
24 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—To Lee’s Bridge via Conantum.

  It is a cool and windy morning, and I have donned a thick coat for a walk. The wind is from the north, so that the telegraph harp does not sound where I cross. This windy autumnal weather is very exciting and bracing, clear and cold, after the rain of yesterday, it having cleared off in the night. I see a small hawk, a pigeon (?) hawk, over the Depot Field, which can hardly fly against the wind. At Hubbard’s Grove the wind roars loudly in the woods. Grapes are ripe and already shrivelled by frost; barberries also. It is cattle-show day at Lowell.

  Yesterday’s wind and rain has strewn the ground with leaves, especially under the apple trees. Rain coming after frost seems to loosen the hold of the leaves, making them rot off. Saw a woodchuck disappearing in his hole. The river washes up-stream before the wind, with white streaks of foam on its dark surface, diagonally to its course, showing the direction of the wind. Its surface, reflecting the sun, is dazzlingly bright. The outlines of the hills are remarkably distinct and firm, and their surfaces bare and hard, not clothed with a thick air. I notice one red tree, a red maple, against the green woodside in Conant’s meadow. It is a far brighter red than the blossoms of any tree in summer and more conspicuous. The huckleberry bushes on Conantum are all turned red . . .

  In Cohush Swamp the sumach leave have turned a very deep red, but have not lost their fragrance. I notice wild apples growing luxuriantly in the midst of the swamp, rising red over the colored, painted leaves of sumach, and reminding me that they were ripened and colored by the same influences,—some green, some yellow, some red, like the leaves.

  Fell in with a man whose breath smelled of spirit which he had drunk. How could I but feel that it was his own spirit that I smelt? Behind Miles’s, Darius Miles’s, that was, I asked an Irishman how many potatoes he could dig in a day, wishing to know how well they yielded. “Well, I don’t keep any account,” he answered; “I scratch away, and let the day’s work praise itself.” . . .

  I perceive from the hill behind Lee’s that much of the river meadows is not cut, though they have been very dry . . .

  At Clematis Brook I perceive that the pods or follicles of the Asclepias Syriaca now point upward . . .

  On Mt. Misery some very rich yellow leaves—clear yellow—of the Populus grandidentata, which still love to way, and tremble in my hands . . .

  Get home at noon.

  At sundown the wind has all gone down.

(Journal, 3:14-19)
25 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To bathe in Hubbard’s meadow, thence to Cliffs. It is beautiful weather, the air wonderfully clear and all objects bright and distinct . . . Examined the hornets’ nest near Hubbard’s Grove, suspended from contiguous huckleberry bushes . . . In these cooler, windier, crystal days the note of the jay sounds a little more native. Standing on the Cliffs, I see them flitting and screaming from pine to pine beneath, displaying their gaudy blue pinions.
(Journal, 3:19-23)
26 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The prudent and seasonable farmers are already plowing against another year (Journal, 3:24).
27 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Here is a cloudy day, and now the fisherman is out. Some tall, many-flowered, bluish-white asters are still abundant by the brook-sides . . .

  2 P.M.—Rowed down the river to Ball’s Hill . . . The river is so low that, off N. Barrett’s shore, some low islands are exposed, covered with a green grass like mildew . . . From Ball’s Hill the Great Meadows, now smoothly shorn, have a quite imposing appearance, so spacious and level . . .

(Journal, 3:24-29)
28 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A considerable part of the last two nights and yesterday, a steady and rather warm rain, such as we have not had for a long time. This morning it is still completely overcast and drizzling a little . . .

  2 P. M.—To Conantum.

  A warm, damp, mistling day, without much wind. The white pines in Hubbard’s Grove have now a pretty distinct parti-colored look,—green and yellow mottled,—reminding me of some plants like the milkweed, expanding with maturity and pushing off their downy seeds . . . Sitting by the spruce swamp in Conant’s Grove, I am reminded that this is a perfect day to visit the swamps, with its damp, mistling, mildewy air, so solemnly still . . .

  Here was a large hornets’ nest, which when I went to take and first knocked on it to see if anybody was at home, out came the whole swarm upon me lively enough. I do not know why they should linger longer than their fellows whom I saw the other day, unless because the swamp is warmer. They were all within and not working, however. I picked up two arrowheads in the field beyond . . . The mist has now thickened into a fine rian, and I retreat.

(Journal, 3:29-34)
29 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Goose Pond via E. Hosmer’s; return by Walden . . .

  Found Hosmer carting out manure from under his barn to make room for the winter. He said he was tired of farming, he was too old. Quoted Webster as saying that he had never eaten the bread of idleness for a single day, and thought that Lord Brougham might have said as much with truth while he was in the opposition, but he did not know that he could say as much of himself. However, he did not wish to be idle, he merely wished to rest. Looked on Walden from the hill with the sawed pine stump on the north side.

(Journal, 3:34-36)
30 September 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Powder-mills, and set an intermediate bound-stone on the new road there. Saw them making hoops for powder-casks, of alder and the sprouts of the white birch, which are red with whitish spots. How interesting it is to observe a particular use discovered in any material! I am pleased to find that the artisan has good reason for preferring one material to another for a particular purpose. I am pleased to learn that a man has detected any use in wood or stone or any material, or, in other words, its relation to man.
(Journal, 3:36)

See entry 15 September.

1 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 P. M.—Just put a fugitive slave, who has taken the name of Henry Williams, into the cars for Canada. He escaped from Stafford County, Virginia, to Boston last October; has been in Shadrach’s place at the Cornhill Coffee-House; had been corresponding through an agent with his master, who is his father, about buying himself, his master asking $600, but he having been able to raise only $500. Heard that there were writs out for two Williamses, fugitives, and was informed by his fellow-servants and employer that Augerhole Burns and others of the police had called for him when he was out. Accordingly, fled to Concord last night on foot, bringing a letter out [Thoreau’s] family from Mr. Lovejoy of Cambridge and another which Garrison had formerly given him on another occasion. He lodged with us, and waited in the house till funds were collected with which to forward him. Intended to dispatch him at noon through to Burlington, but when I went to buy his ticket saw one at the depot who looked and behaved so much like a Boston policeman that I did not venture that time. An intelligent and very well-behaved man, a mulatto . . .

  The slave said he could guide himself by many other stars than the north star, whose rising and setting he knew. They steered for the north star even when it had got round and appeared to them to be in the south. They frequently followed the telegraph where there was no railroad. The slaves bring many superstitions from Africa. The fugitives sometimes superstitiously carry a turf in their hats, thinking that their success depends on it . . .

  Candle-light.—To Conantum. The moon not quite half full . . . At 8 o’clock the fogs have begun, which, with the low half-moon shining on them, look like cobwebs or thin white veils spread over the earth.

(Journal, 3:37-40)
2 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—Some of the white pines on Fair haven Hill have just reached the acme of their fall; others have almost entirely shed their leaves, and they are scattered over the ground and the walls. The same is the state of the pitch pines. At the Cliffs, I find the wasps prolonging their short lives on the sunny rocks, just as they endeavored to do at my house in the woods. It is a little hazy as I look into the west to-day. The shrub oaks on the terraced plain are now almost uniformly of a deep red.
(Journal, 3:40)
3 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 5 October:

  I noticed on Friday, October 3d, that the willows generally were green and unchanged . . . Observed that the woodchuck has two or more holes, a rod or two apart (Journal, 3:43).
4 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Minott was telling me to-day that he used to know a man in Lincoln who had no floor to his barn, but waited till the ground froze, then swept it clean in his barn and threshed his grain on it. He also used to see men threshing their buckwheat in the field where it grew, having just taken off the surface down to a hardpan . . .
(Journal, 3:40-43)
5 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To the high open land between Bateman’s Pond and the lime-kiln. It is a still, cloudy afternoon, rather cool. As I go past Cheney’s boat-house, the river looks lighter than the sky . . . The declining sun, falling on the willows, etc., below Mrs. Ripley’s and on the water, produces a rare, soft light, such as I do not often see, a greenish yellow. The milkweed seeds are in the air. I see one in the river, which a minnow occasionally jostles. Stood near a small rabbit, hardly half grown, by the old Carlisle road . . .

  8 P. M.—To Cliffs. Moon three-quarters full.

(Journal, 3:43-47)
6 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Bedford line to set a stone by the river on Bedford line. The reach of the river between Bedford and Carlisle, seen from a distance in the road to-day, as formerly, has a singularly ethereal, celestial, or elysian look . . .

  George Tatcher, having searched an hour in vain this morning to find a frog, caught a pickerel with a mullein leaf . . .

  7.30 P. M.—To Fair Haven Pond by boat, the moon four fifths full, not a cloud in the sky: paddling all the way . . . Home at ten.

(Journal, 3:47-52)
7 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the fog over the river and the brooks and meadows running into it has risen to the height of forty or fifty feet. 1 P. M.—To river; by boat to Corner Bridge. A very still, warm, bright, clear afternoon. Our [w/ Channing?] boat so small and low that we are close to the water. The muskrats all the way are now building their houses, about two thirds done . . .
(Journal, 3:52-55)
8 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A slight wind now fills the air with elm leaves. The nights have been cool of late, so that a fire has been comfortable, but the last was quite warm.

  2 P. M.—To the Marlborough road. This day is very warm, yet not bright like the last, but hazy. Picked up an Indian gouge on Dennis’s Hill . . . By the side of J. P. Brown’s grain-field I picked up some white oak acorns in the path by the wood-side, which I found to be unexpectedly sweet and palatable, the bitterness being scarcely perceptible . . .

  The farmers are ditching,—redeeming more meadow,—getting corn, collecting their apples, threshing, etc . . . This warm day is a godsend to the wasps. I see them buzzing about the broken windows of deserted buildings, as Jenny Dugan’s,—the yellow-knotted . . . An arrowhead at the desert.

  Spergula arvensis—corn-spurry (some call it tares)—at the acorn tree. Filled my pockets with acorns. Found another gouge on Dennis’s Hill. To have found the Indian gouges and tasted sweet acorns,—is it not enough for one afternoon? The sun set red in haze, visible fifteen minutes before setting, and the moon rose in like manner at the same time. This evening, I am obliged to sit with my door and window open, in a thin coat, which I have not done for three weeks at least. A warm night like this at this season produces its effect on the village. The boys are heard at play in the street now, at 9 o’clock, in greater force and with more noise than usual. My neighbor has got out his flute. There is more fog than usual. The moon is full. The tops of the woods in the horizon seen above the fog look exactly like long, low black clouds, the fog being the color of the sky.

(Journal, 3:56-58)
9 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I heard two screech owls in the night. Boiled a quart of acorns for breakfast, but found them not so palatable as raw, having acquired a bitterish taste, perchance form being boiled with the shells and skins; yet one would soon get accustomed to this. The sound of foxhounds in the woods, heard now, at 9 A. M., in the village, reminds me of mild winter mornings. 2 P. M.—To Conantum . . . From Conantum I see them getting hay from the meadow below the Cliffs . . .

  On Lee’s hillside by the pond, the old leaves of some pitch pines are almost of golden-yellow hue, seen in the sunlight,—a rich autumnal look . . . A large sassafras tree behind Lee’s, two feet diameter at ground. As I return over the bridge, I hear a song sparrow singing on the willows exactly as in spring. I see a large sucker rise to the surface of the river. I hear the crickets singing loudly in the walls as they have not done (so loudly) for some weeks, while the sun is going down shorn of his rays by the haze. There is a thick bed of leaves in the road under Hubbard’s elms… Cut a stout purple can of pokeweed.

(Journal, 3:58-61)
10 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The air this morning is full of bluebirds, and again it is spring . . .

  2 P. M.—To Flint’s Pond. It was the seed-vessel of the Canada snapdragon in the Marlborough road that I mistook for a new flower. This is still in bloom in the Deep Cut . . .

  Going through Britton’s clearing, I find a black snake out enjoying the sun . . . Our Irish washwoman, seeing me playing with the milkweed seeds, said they filled beds with that down in her country . . . Saw a smooth sumach beyond Cyrus Smith’s, very large. The elms in the village have lost many of their leaves, and their shadows by moonlight are not so heavy as last month. Another warm night.

(Journal, 3:61-65)
11 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 12 October:

  Yesterday afternoon, saw by the brook-side above Emerson’s the dwarf primrose in blossom, the Norway cinquefoil and fall dandelions which are now drying up, the houstonia, buttercups, small goldenrods, and various asters, more or less purplish.
(Journal, 3:65)
12 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I see where a field of oats has been cradled, by the railroad,—alternate white and dark green stripes, the width of a swath, running across the field . . . Minott shells his corn by hand. He has got a boxful ready for the mill. He will not winnow it, for he says the chaff (?) makes it lie loose and dry faster. He tells me that Jacob Baker, who raises as fair corn as anybody, gives all the corn of his own raising to his stock, and buys the flat yellow corn of the South for bread; and yet the Northern corn is worth the most per bushel. Minott did not like this kind of farming any better than I. Baker also buys a great quantity of “shorts” below for his cows, to make more milk. He remembers when a Prescott, who lived where E. Hosmer does, used to let his hogs run in the woods in the fall, and they grew quite fat on the acorns, etc., they found, but now there are few nuts, and it is against the law. He tells me of places in the woods which to his eyes are unchanged since he was a boy, as natural as life. He tells me, then, that in some respects he is still a boy. And yet the gray squirrels were ten then to one now. But for the most part, he says, the world is turned upside down.

  P. M.—To Cliffs. I hear Lincoln bell tolling for church . . . A cloudy, misty day with rain more or less steady. This gentle rain is fast loosening the leaves,—I see them filling the air at the least puff,—and it is also flattening down the layer which has already fallen. The pines on Fair Haven have shed nearly all their leaves. Butter-and-eggs still blooms. Barrels of apples lie under the trees. The Smiths have carried their last load of peaches to market. To-day no part of the heavens is so clear and bright as Fair Haven Pond and the river . . .

  Minott calls the stake-driver “belcher-squelcher.” Says he has seen them when making the noise. They go slug-toot, slug-toot, slug-toot. Told me of his hunting gray squirrels with old Colonel Brooks’s hound. How the latter came into the yard one day, and he spoke to him, patted him, went into the house, took down his gun marked London, thought he would go a-squirrel-hunting. Went over among the ledges, away from Brooks’s, for Tige had a dreadful strong voice and could be heard as far as a cannon, and he was plaguy [?] afraid Brooks would hear him. How Tige treed them on the oaks on the plain below the Cliffs. He could tell by his bark when he had treed one; he never told a lie. And so he got six or seven. How Tige told him from a distance that he had got one, but when he came up he could see nothing; but still he knew that Tige never told a lie, and at length he saw his head, in a crotch high up in the top of a very tall oak, and though he didn’t expect to get him, he knocked him over.

(Journal, 3:65-69)
13 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Drizzling, misty showers still, with a little misty sunshine at intervals . . . Mr. Pratt told me that Jonas (?) Melvin found a honey-bees’ nest lately near Beck Stow’s swamp with twenty-five pounds of honey in it, in the top [of] a maple tree which was blown down. There is now a large swarm in the meeting-house chimney, in a flue not used. Many swarms have gone off that have not been heard from.
(Journal, 3:69-70)

14 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Down the railroad before sunrise. A freight-train in the Deep Cut. The sun rising over the woods . . . There was but little wind this morning, yet I heard the telegraph harp (Journal, 3:70-72).
15 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8.30 A.M.—Up the river in a boat to Pelham’s Pond with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing]

  (But first a neighbor sent in a girl to inquire if I knew where worm-seed grew, otherwise called “Jerusalem-oak” (so said the recipe which she brought cut out of a newspaper), for her mistress’s hen had the “gapes.” But I answered that this was a Southern plant and [I] knew not where it was to be had. Referred her to the poultry book. Also the next proprietor commenced stoning and settling down the stone for a new well, an operation which I wished to witness, purely beautiful, simple, and necessary. The stones laid on a wheel, and continually added to above as it is settled down by digging under the wheel. Also Goodwin, with a partridge and a stout mess of large pickerel, applied to me to dispose of a mud turtle which he had found moving the mud in a ditch. Some men will be in the way to see such movements.) . . .

  Cut three white pine boughs opposite Fair Haven, and set there up in the bow of our boat for a sail. It was pleasant [to] hear the water begin to ripple under the prow, telling of our easy progress. We thus without a tack made the south side of Fair Haven, then threw our sails overboard, and the moment after mistook them for green bushes or weeds which had sprung from the bottom unusually far from shore. Then to hear the wind sough in your sail,—that is to be a sailor and hear a land sound. The grayish-whitish mikania, all fuzzy, covers the endless button-bushes, which are now bare of leaves . . .

  In some places in the meadows opposite Bound Rock, the river seemed to have come to an end, it was so narrow suddenly. After getting in sight of Sherman’s Bridge, counted nineteen birches on the right-hand shore in one whirl.

  Now commenced the remarkable meandering of the river, so that we seemed for some [time] to be now running up, then running down parallel with a long, low hill, tacking over the meadow in spite of ourselves. Landed at Sherman’s Bridge. An apple tree, made scrubby by being browsed by cows . . .

  Rowed about twenty-four miles, going and coming. In a straight line it would be fifteen and one half.

(Journal, 3:72-79)
16 – 18 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys for David Loring (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9).

16 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The new moon, seen by day, reminds me of a poet’s cheese. Surveying for Loring to-day. Saw the Indian Ditch, so called. A plant newly leaving out, a shrub; looks somewhat, like shad blossom. To-night the spearers are out again.
(Journal, 3:79)
17 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying for Loring. A severe frost this morning, which puts [us] one remove further from summer (Journal, 3:79)
19 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed to-day on the edge of a wood-lot of Loring’s, where his shrub oaks bounded on a neighbor’s small pitch pines, which grew very close together, that the line of separation was remarkably straight and distinct, neither a shrub oak nor a pine passing its limit, the ground where the pines grew having apparently been cultivated so far, and its edges defined by the plow.
(Journal, 3:79-80)
A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Saw Walden with [Ralph Waldo] Emerson. Also, Thoreau, in the evening (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 255).
20 – 22 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys land on Fair Haven Hill for Reuben Brown (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau Papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

22 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The rain and dampness have given birth to a new crop of mushrooms (Journal, 3:80).
23 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is never too late to learn. I observed to-day the Irishman who helped me survey twisting the branch of a birch for a withe, and before he cut it off; and also, wishing to stick a tall, smooth pole in the ground, cut a notch in the side of it by which to drive it with a hatchet.
(Journal, 3:80)
25 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 26 October:

  Last evening I was reading Laing’s account of the Northmen, and though I did not write in my Journal, I remember feeling a fertile regret, and deriving even an inexpressible satisfaction, as it were, from my ability to feel regret, which made that evening richer than those which had preceded it.
(Journal, 3:82)

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson records in his account book:

  Paid H. D. Thoreau for surveys 1.00 (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books, 1836-72. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).
26 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I awoke this morning to infinite regret. In my dream I had been riding, but the horses bit each other and occasioned endless trouble and anxiety, and it was my employment to hold their heads apart. Next I sailed over the sea in a small vessel such as the Northmen used, as it were to the Bay of Fundy, and thence overland I sailed, still over the shallows about the sources of rivers toward the deeper channel of a stream which emptied into the Gulf beyond . . .
(Journal, 3:80-82)
27 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning I wake and find it snowing and the ground covered with snow; quite unexpectedly, for last night it was rainy but not cold . . . Saw a woodcock feeding, probing the mud with its long bill, under the railroad bridge within two feet of me for a long time . . . The highest arch of the stone bridge is six feet eight inches above the present surface of the water, which I should think was more than a foot higher than it has been this summer, and is four inches below the long stone in the east abutment.
(Journal, 3:82-83)
Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  It would be hard to recall the ramble of last night’s talk with Henry Thoreau. But we stated over again, to sadness almost, the eternal loneliness. I found that though the stuff of Tragedy and of Romances is in a moral union of two superior person, and the confidence of each in the other, for long years, out of sight and in sight, and against all appearances, is at last justified by victorious proof of probity to gods and men, causing a gush of joyful emotion, tears, glory, or what-not,—though there be for heroes this moral union, yet they, too, are still as far off as ever from an intellectual union, and this moral union is for comparatively low and external purposes, like the cooperation of a ship’s crew or of a fire-club. But how insular and pathetically solitary are all the people we know!
(EJ, 8:260)
28 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys land on Walden Street for Cyrus Stow and Jabez Reynolds (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 10-11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

31 October 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The wild apples are now getting palatable. I find a few left on distant trees, which the farmer thinks it not worth his while to gather . . . (Journal, 3:83-84).
1 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  R. W. E. says that Channing calls [name scratched out] “seven feet of sandstone with a spoonful of wit.” . . .

  This on my way to Conantum, 2.30 P.M. It is a bright, clear, warm November day. I feel blessed. I love my life I ward toward all nature . . .

  Minott says that G. M. Barrett told him that Amos Baker told him that during Concord Fight he went over behind the hill to the old Whittaker place (Sam Buttrick’s) and stayed. Yet he was described as the only survivor of Concord Fight. Received a pension for running away? . . .

  The rain of night before last has raised the river at least two feet, and the meadows wear a late-fall look . . .

  Saw a canoe birch by road beyond the Abel Minott house; distinguished it thirty rods off by the chalky whiteness of its limbs . . .

(Journal, 3:85-89)

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  ”You may be sure Kossuth [Lajos Kossuth] is an old woman, he speaks so well.” Said H.D.T. (The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:450).
2 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The muskrat-houses are mostly covered by the rise of the river! . . . Saw a canoe birch beyond Nawshawtuct, growing out of the middle of a white pine stump, which still showed the mark of the axe, sixteen inches in diameter at its bottom or two feet from the ground, or where it had first taken root on the stump.
(Journal, 3:89)
4 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Saw Mill Brook by Turnpike; return by Walden (Journal, 3:89-92).
5 November 1851.

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Henry Thoreau comes and passes the afternoon and evening; also sleeps under my roof. Avery welcome guest, this countryman. I meet nobody whose thoughts are so invigorating as his, and who comes so scented of mountain breezes and springs, so like a luxuriant clod from under forest leaves, moist and mossy with earth-spirits. His company is tonic, never insipid, like ice-water in the dog days to the parched citizen spent in chambers and under brazen ceilings. Welcome then as the gurgle of brooks and drippings of pitchers! Then drink and be cool! Without this admirable glacier how would we stand the summer heats, how find shade under torrid climes? Our milk and meats would sour and taint, our butter melt, and our friendships dissolve into jellies. The world would get valetudinarian and consumptive. But here is a gelid man and valid, sane and salt, and will keep forever – a friend who comes never too often nor stays too long – comes, it may be, a little unwillingly too, and uncommuningly, as streams descend into the urbane vallies below, yet sighing as they descend, leaving their mountain sources behind.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 257-258)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out The Life of Sir Charles Linnaeus by Dietrich Johann Heinrich Stöver, Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France by Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix, volumes 1, 2, and 3, and A general view of the writings of Linnaeus by Richard Pulteney from Harvard College Library.

(Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading)

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Encyclopedia of plants by John Claudius Loudon from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24; Thoreau’s Reading).

6 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I had on my “bad-weather clothes” at Quebec like Olaf Trygvesson, the Northman, when he went to Thing in England (Journal, 3:92).
7 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M.—To Long Pond with W.E.C.

  [Four fifths of a page missing]

  From there we looked over the lower land and westward to the Jenkins house and Wachusett; the latter to-day a very faint blue, almost lost in the atmosphere. Entering Wayland, the sluggish country town, C. remarked that we might take the town if we had a couple of oyster-knives. We marvelled as usual at the queer-looking building which C. thought must be an engine-house, but which a boy told us was occupied as a shoemaker’s shop but was built for a library. C. was much amused here by a bigger schoolboy whom we saw on the common, one of those who stretch themselves on the back seats and can chew up a whole newspaper into a spitball to plaster the wall with when the master’s back is turned; made considerable fun of him, and thought this the event of Wayland. Soon got to a country new to us, in Wayland, opposite to Pelham or Heard’s Pond . . .

  Close by we found Long Pond, in Wayland, Framingham, and Natick, a great body of water with singularly sandy, shelving, caving, undermined banks; and there we ate our luncheon. The mayflower leaves we saw there, and the Viola pedata in blossom. We went down it a mile or two on the east side through the woods on its high bank, and then dined, looking far down to what seemed the Boston outlet (opposite to its natural outlet), where a solitary building stood on the shore . . .

  Returned by the south side of Dudley Pond, which looked fairer than ever, though smaller,—now so still, the afternoon somewhat advanced, Nobscot in the west in a purplish light, and the scalloped peninsula before us . . .

  At Nonesuch Pond, in Natick, we saw a boulder some thirty-two feet square by sixteen high, with a large rock leaning against it,—under which we walked,—forming a triangular frame, through which we beheld the picture of the pond. How many white men and Indians have passed under it! Boulder Pond! Thence across lots by the Weston elm, to the bounds of Lincoln at the railroad. Saw a delicate fringed purple flower, Gentiana crinita, between those Weston hills, in a meadow, and after on higher land.

  C kept up an incessant strain of wit, banter, about my legs, which were so springy and unweariable, declared I had got my double legs on, that they were not cork but steel, that I should let myself to Van Amburgh, should have them sent to the World’s Fair, etc., etc.; wanted to know if I could not carry my father Anchises.

  The sun sets while we are perched on a high rock in the north of Weston. It soon grows finger cold. At Walden are three reflections of the bright full (or nearly) moon, one moon and two sheens further off.

(Journal, 3:92-96)
8 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The dark spruce at Sherman’s; its vicinity the site for a house.

  Ah, those sun-sparkles on Dudley Pond in this November day! What a heaven to live in! . . .

  4 P. M.—I find ice under the north side of woods nearly an inch thick, where the acorns are frozen in, which have dropped from the overhanging oaks and been saved from the squirrels, perchance by the water. W. E. C. says he found a ripe strawberry last week in Berkshire. Saw a frog at the Swamp Bridge on back road.

(Journal, 3:97-98)
9 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The river has fallen more than a foot since I last observed it . . . I hear a cricket singing the requiem of the year under the Clamshell Bank . . .

  James P. Brown’s retired pond, now shallow and more than half dried up, seems far away and rarely visited, known to few, though not far off . . .

(Journal, 3:98-102)
10 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the ground is once more whitened with snow, but it will apparently be gone in an hour or two . . . (Journal, 3:102-104).
11 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—A bright, but cold day, finger-cold. One must next wear gloves, put his hands in winter quarters. There is a cold, silvery light on the white pines as I go through J. P. Brown’s field near Jenny Dugan’s. I am glad of the shelter of the thick pine wood on the Marlborough road, on the plain . . .

  White Pond is prepared for winter. Now that most other trees have lost their leaves, the evergreens are more conspicuous about its shores and on its capes . . .

(Journal, 3:104-107)
12 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walking through Ebby Hubbard’s wood this afternoon, with Minott, who was actually taking a walk for amusement and exercise, he said, on seeing some white pines blown down, that you might know that ground had been cultivated, by the trees being torn up so, for otherwise they would have rooted themselves more strongly . . . Minott has a story for every woodland path. He has hunted in them all. Where we walked last, he had once caught a partridge by the wing!

  7 P. M.—To Conantum.

  A still, cold night. The light of the rising moon in the east . . . To-day I heard for the first time this season the crackling, vibrating sound which resounds from thin ice when a stone is cast upon it . . .

(Journal, 3:107-110)
13 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Fair Haven Hill.

  A cold and dark afternoon, the sun being behind clouds in the west . . .

  The mountains are of an uncommonly dark blue . . .

  I see snow on the Peterboro hills, reflecting the sun . . .

  Just spent a couple of hours (eight to ten) with Miss Mary Emerson at Holbrook’s . . .

(Journal, 3:110-115)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 14 November:

  I met a man yesterday afternoon in the road who behaved as if he was deaf, and I talked with him in the cold in a loud tone for fifteen minutes, but that uncertainty about his ears, and the necessity I felt to talk loudly, took off the fine edge of what I had to say and prevented my saying anything satisfactory.
(Journal, 3:116)
14 – 25 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys the “Ministerial Lot” near Harrington Avenue (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau Papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

14 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. Surveying the Ministerial Lot in the southwestern part of the town. Unexpectedly find Heywood’s Pond frozen over thinly, it being shallow and coldly placed.

  In the evening went to a party. It is a bad place to go to,—thirty or forty people, mostly young women, in a small room, warm and noisy. Was introduced to two young women. The first one was as lively and loquacious as a chickadee; had been accustomed to the society of watering-places, and therefore could get no refreshment out of such a dry fellow as I. The other was said to be pretty-looking, but I rarely look people in their faces, and moreover, I could not hear what she said, there was such a clacking,—could only see the motion of her lips when I looked that way. I could imagine better places for conversation, where there should be a certain degree of silence surrounding you, and less than forty talking at once. Why, this afternoon, even, I did better. There was old Mr. Joseph Hosmer and I ate our luncheon of cracker and cheese together in the woods. I heard all he said, though it was not much, to be sure, and he could hear me. And then he talked out of such a glorious repose, taking a leisurely bite at the cracker and cheese between his words; and so some of him was communicated to me, and some of me to him, I trust.

  These parties, I think, are part of the machinery of modern society, that young people may be brought together to form marriage connections . . .

(Journal, 3:115-116)
15 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Here is a rainy day, which keeps me in the house.

  Asked Therien this afternoon if he had got a new idea this summer. “Good Lord!” says he, “a man that has to work as I do, if he does not forget the ideas he has had, he will do well. Maybe the man you work with is inclined to race; then, by gorry, your mind must be there; you think of weeds” . . .

(Journal, 3:116-118)
16 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Noticed this afternoon that where a pitch pine three inches in diameter had been cut down last winter, it had sent out more than a hundred horizontal plumes about a foot long close together and on every side . . .(Journal, 3:119-122).
17 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  All things tend to flow to him who can make the best use of them, even away from their legal owner. A thief, finding with the property of the Italian naturalist Donati, whom lie had robbed abroad, a collection of rare African seeds, forwarded there to Linnæus from Marseilles. Donati suffered shipwreck and never returned.
(Journal, 3:122)
18 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying these days the Ministerial Lot.

  Now at sundown I hear the hooting of an owl,—hoo hoo hoo, hoorer hoo . . .

  Deacon Brown told me to-day of a tall, raw-boned fellow by the name of Hosmer who used to help draw the seine behind the Jones house, who once, when he had hauled it up without getting a single shad, held up a little perch in sport above his face, to show what he had got. At that moment the perch wiggled and dropped right down his throat head foremost, and nearly suffocated him; and it was only after considerable time, during which the man suffered much, that he was extracted or forced down. He was in a worse predicament than a fish hawk would have been.

  In the woods south of the swamp are many great holes made by digging for foxes.

(Journal, 3:122-124)
19 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Old Mr. Joseph Hosmer, who helped me to-day, said that he used to know all about the lots, but since they ’ve chopped off so much, and the woods have grown up, he finds himself lost . . . When I asked him why the old road which went by this swamp was so roundabout, he said he would answer me as Mr. — — did him in a similar case once,—“Why, if they had made it straight, they wouldn’t have left any room for improvement.”

  Standing by Harrington’s pond-hole in the swamp, which had skimmed over, we saw that there were many holes through the thin black ice, of various sizes, from a few inches to more than a foot in diameter, all of which were perfectly circular. Mr. H. asked me if I could account for it. As we stood considering, we jarred the boggy ground and made a dimple in the water, and this accident, we thought, betrayed the cause of it: i. e. the circular wavelets so wore off the edges of the ice when once a hole was made.

(Journal, 3:124)
20 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Here I have been for six days surveying in the woods, and yet when I get home at evening, somewhat weary at last, and beginning to feel that I have nerves, I find myself more susceptible than usual to the finest influences, as music and poetry. The very air can intoxicate me, or the least sight or sound, as if my finer senses had acquired an appetite by their fast.

  As I was riding by the Ministerial Lot this morning about 8.30 A. M., I observed that the white clouds were disposed raywise in the west and also in the east,—as if the sun’s rays had split and so arranged them? . . . Mr. J. Hosmer tells me that one spring he saw a red squirrel gnaw the bark of a maple and then suck the juice, and this he repeated many times.

  What is the bush where we dined in Poplar Hollow? Hosmer tells of finding a kind of apple, with an apple seed (?) to it, on scabish which had been injured or cut off. Thinks plowed ground more moist than grass ground.

(Journal, 3:125-126)
21 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  y mother says that, visiting once at Captain Pulsifer’s at the North End, two sea-captains’ wives told the girl, when the things were carried out to be replenished, not to turn out their slops, as it would drown their husbands who were at sea.

  Frank Brown showed me to-day the velvet duck (white winged coot) and the surf duck . . .

  Old Mr. Joseph Hosmer, who lives where Hadley did, remembers when there were two or three times as many inhabitants in that part of the town as there are now . . .

(Journal, 3:126-128)
22 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw E. Hosmer this afternoon making a road for himself along a hillside (I being on my way to Saw Mill Brook). He turned over a stone, and I saw under it many crickets and ants still lively, which had gone into winter quarters there apparently . . .

  As I returned through Hosmer’s field, the sun was setting just beneath a black cloud by which it had been obscured, and as it had been a cold and windy afternoon, its light, which fell suddenly on some white pines between me and it, lighting them up like a shimmering fire, and also on the oak leaves and chestnut stems, was quite a circumstance.

(Journal, 3:128-129)
23 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. The trees (counting all three inches in diameter) in Conantum Swamp are:—

  Bass . . . . . . . . . . . 6

  Black ash . . . . . . . . . . 8

  Elm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 (See if all are really elms.)

  Red (?) oak . . . . . . . . 2

  White ash . . . . . . . . . . 2

  Walnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

  Apple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

  Maple . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

  Hornbeam . . . . . . . . . . 2

  Swamp white (?) oak 1

  Dogwood also there is, and cone-bearing willow, and what kind of winterberry with a light-colored bark?

  Another such a sunset to-night as the last, while I was on Conantum.

(Journal, 3:129)
24 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Setting stakes in the swamp (Ministerial) . . . The Irishman who helped me says, when I ask why his countrymen to not learn trades,—do something but the plainest and hardest work,—they are too old to learn trades when they come here.
(Journal, 3:130)
25 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the ground is again covered with snow, deeper than before. In the afternoon walked to the east part of Lincoln. Saw a tree on the turnpike full of hickory-nuts which had an agreeable appearance. Saw also quite a flock of the pine grosbeak, a plump and handsome bird as big as a robin. When returning between hear Hill and the railroad, the sun had set and there was a very clear amber light in the west, and, turning about, we were surprised tit the darkness in the cast, the crescent of night, almost as if the air were thick, a thick snow-storm were gathering, which, as we had faced the west, we were not prepared for; yet the air was clear.
(Journal, 3:130-131)
30 November 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. A rather cold and windy afternoon with some snow not yet melted on the ground. Under the south side of the hill, between Brown’s and Tarbell’s, in a warm nook, disturbed three large squirrels and some partridges, who had all sought out this bare and warm spot. While the squirrels hid themselves in the tree-tops, I sat on an oak stump by an old cellar-hole and mused . . .
(Journal, 3:131-132)
December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys the Concord/Carlisle town line and is paid $42 (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

“H. D. Thoreau, for survey and plan of line between Concord and Carlisle, 42 00” (Concord Mass. Town Reports, 1851-1852:18).

6 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot near Annursnack Hill for Samuel Barrett (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 5; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

8 – 10 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys the “Ministerial Lot” in the southeast of Concord (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Survey at the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

12 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I have been surveying for twenty or thirty days, living coarsely, even as respects my diet,—for I find that will always alter to suit my employment,—indeed, leading quite a trivial life; and to-night, for the first time, I had made a fire in my chamber and endeavored to return to myself. I wished to ally myself to the powers that rule the universe. I wished to dive into some deep stream of thoughtful and devoted life, which meandered through retired and fertile meadows far from towns . . . I wished to live, ah! as far away as a man can think . . .
(Journal, 3:133-136)
13 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  While surveying to-day, saw much mountain laurel for this neighborhood in Mason’s pasture, just over the line in Carlisle . . .

  When I think of the Carlisle man whom I saw to-day and the filthiness of his house, I am reminded that there are all degrees of barbarism, even in this so-called civilized community. Carlisle, too, belongs to the Nineteenth Century.

  Saw Perez Blood in his frock,—a stuttering, sure, unpretending man, who does not speak without thinking, does not guess.

(Journal, 3:136-137)
14 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The boys have been skating for a week, but I have had no time to skate for surveying . . . McKean tells me of hardy horses left to multiply on the Isle of Sable . . . There is a beautifully pure greenish-blue sky under the clouds now in the southwest just before sunset . . . I come from contact with certain acquaintances, whom even I am disposed to look toward as possible friends. It oftenest happens that I come from them wounded. Only they can wound me seriously, and that perhaps without their knowing it.
(Journal, 3:137-139)
17 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The pitch pine woods on the right of the Corner road. A piercing cold afternoon, wading in the snow. R. Rice was going to Sudbury to put his bees into the cellar for fear they would freeze . . . (Journal, 3:139-142).
19 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  In all woods is heard now far and near the sound of the woodchopper’s axe, a twilight sound, now in the night of the year, men having come out for fuel to the forests,—as if men had stolen forth in the arctic night to get fuel to keep their fires a-going . . . Now the sun gets suddenly without a cloud, and with scarcely any redness following, so pure is the atmosphere,—only a faint rosy blush along the horizon.
(Journal, 3:142)
20 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To Fair Haven Hill and plain below.

  Saw a large hawk circling over a pine wood below me, and screaming, apparently that he might discover his prey by their flight. Travelling ever by wider circles. What a symbol of the thoughts, now soaring, now descending, taking larger and larger circles, or smaller and smaller. It flies not directly whither it is bound, but advances by circles, like a courtier of the skies. No such noble progress! How it comes round, as with a wider sweep of thought! But the majesty is in the imagination of the beholder, for the bird is intent on its prey. Circling and ever circling, you cannot divine which way it will incline, till perchance it dives down straight as an arrow to its mark. It rises higher above where I stand, and I see with beautiful distinctness its wings against the sky,—primaries and secondaries, and the rich tracery of the outline of the latter (?), its inner wings, or wing-linings, within the outer,—like a great moth seen against the sky. A will-o’-the-wind. Following its path, as it were through the vortices of the air. The poetry of motion . . .

(Journal, 3:142-146)
21 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The dogwood and its berries in the swamp by the railroad, just above the red house, pendent on long stems which hang short down as if broken, betwixt yellowish (?) and greenish (?), white, ovoid, pearly (?) or waxen (?) berries . . .

  Sunlight on pine-needles winter day. Who ever saw a partridge soar over the fields? To every creature its own nature. They are very wild; but are they scarce? or can you exterminate them for that?

  As I stand by the edge of the swamp (Ministerial), a heavy-winged hawk flies home to it at sundown, just over my head, in silence. I cross some mink or muskrat’s devious path in the snow, with mincing feet and trailing body.

  To-night, as so many nights within the year, the clouds arrange themselves in the east at sunset in long converging bars, according to the simple tactics of the sky.

(Journal, 3:146-148)
22 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Just saw a little Irish boy, come from the distant shanty in the woods over the bleak railroad to school this morning, take his last step from his last snow-drift on to the schoolhouse door-step, floundering still; saw not his face or his profile, only his mien, and imagined, saw clearly in imagination, his old-worthy face behind the sober visor of his cap . . .
(Journal, 3:148-150)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 23 December:

  Yesterday afternoon I walked to the stone bridge over the Assabet, and thence down the river on the ice to the Leaning Hemlocks, and then crossed the other branch to the house . . .

  I was struck by the amount of small interlaced roots—making almost a solid mass—of some red (?) oaks on the bank which the water had undermined, opposite Sam Barrett’s. Observed by a wall beneath Nawshawtuct where many rabbits appeared to have played and nearly half a pint of dung was dropped in one pile on the snow.

(Journal, 3:151)
23 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning, when I woke, I found it snowing, the snow fine and driving almost horizontally, as if it had set in for a long storm, but a little after noon it ceased snowing and began to clear up, and I set forth for a walk . . .

  By half past three the sun is fairly out. I go to the Cliffs . . .

  Now all the clouds grow black, and I give up to-night; but unexpectedly, half an hour later when I look out, having got home, I find that the evening star is shining brightly, and, beneath all, the west horizon is glowing red,—that dun atmosphere instead of clouds reflecting the sun,—and I detect, just above the horizon, the narrowest imaginable white sickle of the new moon.

(Journal, 3:150-153)
24 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It spits snow this afternoon. Saw a flock of snowbirds on the Walden road . . .

  I had looked in vain into the west for nearly half an hour to see a red cloud blushing in the sky. The few clouds were dark, and I had given up all to night, but when I had got home and chanced to look out the window from the supper [table], I perceived that all the west horizon was glowing with a rosy border, and that dun atmosphere had been the cloud this time which made the day’s adieus.

(Journal, 3:153-154)
25 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Via spruce swamp on Conantum to hilltop, returning across river over shrub oak plain to Cliffs . . . I go forth to see the sun set (Journal, 3:154-158).
26 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I observed this afternoon that when Edmund Hosmer came home from sledding wood and unyoked his oxen, they made a business of stretching and scratching themselves with their horns and rubbing against the posts, and licking themselves in those parts which the yokes had prevented their reaching all day. The human way in which they behaved affected me even pathetically. They were too serious to be glad that their day’s work was done; they had not spirits enough left for that. They behaved as a tired woodchopper might. This was to me a new phase in the life of the laboring ox. It is painful to think how they may sometimes be overworked. I saw that even the ox could be weary with toil.
(Journal, 3:158)
27 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunset from Fair Haven Hill . . . Venus—I suppose it is—is now the evening star, and very bright she is immediately after sunset in the early twilight (Journal, 3:158-159).
28 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  All day a drizzling rain, ever and anon holding up with driving mists . . . Went into Tommy Wheeler’s house, where still stands the spinning wheel, and even the loom, home-made. Great pitch pine timbers overhead, fifteen or sixteen inches in diameter, telling of the primitive forest here . . . Some one has cut a hole in the ice at Jenny’s Brook, and set a steel trap under water, and suspended a large piece of meat over it, for a bait for a mink, apparently.
(Journal, 3:160)
29 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The sun just risen. The ground is almost entirely bare. The puddles are not skimmed over. It is warm as an April morning . . . By school-time you see the boys in the streets playing with the sluices, and the whole population is inspired with new life.

  In the afternoon to Saw Mill Brook with W. E. C. Snow all gone from Minott’s hillside. The willow at the red house shines in the sun. The boys have come out under the hill to pitch coppers. Watts sits on his door-step. It is like the first of April. The wind is west. At the turnpike bridge, water stands a foot or two deep over the ice . . .

  The artist is at work in the Deep Cut. The telegraph harp sounds.

(Journal, 3:160-161)
30 December 1851.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell . . . It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum . . .

  I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already half divested it of its branches.

(Journal, 3:161-164)

Lincoln, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Canada” at the Centre School House for the Lincoln Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance, 1995, 201-202).

Cocord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal, probably on 1 January 1852, though the entry is dated 31 December 1851:

  The pine I saw fall yesterday [meaning 30 December] measured to-day one hundred and five feet, and was about ninety-four years old. There was one still larger lying beside it, one hundred and fifteen feet long, ninety-six years old, four feet diameter the longest way.
(Journal, 3:169)
31 December 1851. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I observed this afternoon the old Irishwoman at the shanty in the woods, sitting out on the hillside, bareheaded, in the rain and on the icy though thawing ground, knitting . . .

  This night I heard Mrs. S— [Elizabeth Oakes Smith] lecture on womanhood. The most important fact about the lecture was that a woman said it, and in that respect it was suggestive. Went to see her afterward, but the interview added nothing to the previous impression, rather subtracted . . . I carried her lecture for her in my pocket wrapped in her handkerchief; my pocket exhales cologne to this moment . . .

  Through the drizzling fog, now just before nightfall, I see from the Cliffs the dark cones of pine trees that rise above the level of the tree-tops, and can trace a few elm tree tops where a farmhouse hides beneath.

(Journal, 3:164-170)

Elizabeth Oakes Smith later recalls:

  Mr. Alcott [A. Bronson Alcott] went to Concord with me on the occasion of my lecture. At the close he said, “You have given us a lyric.” Mr. Thoreau, also, that gentle Arcadian of the nineteenth century, gave me his hand gravely, and said with solemn emphasis. “You have spoken!” which the good Alcott interpreted to mean, “You have brought an Oracle!”
(Selections from the Autobiography of Elizabeth Oakes Smith, 140)

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