the Thoreau Log.
Æt. 35.
1 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mr. Frost did not like Mrs. S—’s [Elizabeth Oakes Smith] lecture last night; did not like what she said about the clergy. Said it was too transcendental for him . . .

  9.30 P. M.—To Fair Haven . . .

  McKean has sawed another of the pines under Fair Haven. He says it made eighty-two feet in length of mill-logs, and was so straight that it would have made a first-rate mast eighty feet long. I told him that Nathan Hosmer had told me that he once helped saw down a pine three feet in diameter, that they sawed it clean through and it still stood on the stump, and it took two men to push it over. McKean could understand how this might be done by wedging. He says that he often runs his saw straight through a tree without wedges and without its pinching to within an eighth of an inch of the other side before it breaks . . .

(Journal, 3:171-4)

3 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The ground has been bare for some days, and the weather warm. The river has risen, and now the meadows are frozen so as to bear,—a dark, thin, but rather opaque ice, as if covered with steam,—and I see now travelling, sweeping, coursing over it, in long winrows, fine pellets of snow, like cotton, fine, round, and dry, which I do not detect in the air before they fall . . .
(Journal, 3:174-5).
4 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Fair Haven on the ice partially covered with snow . . . (Journal, 3:175).

5 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sitting on the Cliffs, I see plainly for the first time that the island in Fair Haven is the triangular point of a hill cut off, and forty or fifty rods west, on the mainland, I see the still almost raw and shelving edge of the bank, the raw sand-scar as if sodded over the past summer,—as a man cuts off a piece of pudding on his plate,—as if the intermediate portion of the hill had sunk and left a cranberry meadow . . .
(Journal, 3:175-7).
6 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 7 January:

  Last evening, walked to Lincoln to lecture in a driving snow-storm, but the invisible moon gave light through the thickest of it (Journal, 3:177).
7 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Canada” at the Centre School House for the Concord Lyceum (“An Excursion to Canada“).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon, in the dells of the wood and on the lee side of the woods, where the wind has not disturbed it, the snow still lies on the trees as richly as I ever saw it . . .

  Now from the shanty plain I see the sun descending into the west (Journal, 3:177-9).

8 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I notice that almost every track which I made yesterday in the snow—perhaps ten inches deep—has got a dead leaf in it, though none is to be seen on the snow ground . . .

  Reading from my manuscripts to Miss Emerson this evening and using the word “god,” in one instance, in perchance a merely heathenish sense, she inquired hastily in a tone of dignified anxiety, “Is that god spelt with a little g?” Fortunately it was. (I had brought in the word “god” without any solemnity of voice or connection.) So I went on as if nothing had happened . . .

(Journal, 3:179-80)
9 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The great pine woods have a peculiar appearance this afternoon (Journal, 3:180-1).
10 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 11 January:

  R. W. E. showed my yesterday a letter from H. Greenough, the sculptor, on architecture, which he like very much (Journal, 3:181).
11 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The glory of these afternoons, though the sky may be mostly overcast, is in the ineffably clear blue, or else pale greenish-yellow, patches of sky in the west just before sunset. The whole cope of heaven seen at once is never so elysian. Windows to heaven, the heavenward windows of the earth. The end of the day is truly Hesperian.
(Journal, 3:181-4).

12 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  C. [William Ellery Channing] says that he studied lichens a little while, but he found that if you pursued that must give up man (Journal, 3:184-5).
13 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  James Wood, Jr., told me this afternoon of a white pine in Carlisle which the owner was offered thirty dollars for and refused. He had bought the lot for the sake of the tree, which he left standing.

  Here I am on the Cliffs at half past three or four o’clock. The snow more than a foot deep over all the land . . .

(Journal, 3:185-8)

14 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  What an effect the sight of green grass in the winter has on us! as at the spring by the Corner road . . .

  Standing on the hill on the Baker Farm to-day, the level shrub oak plain under Fair Haven appeared as if Walden and other small ponds, and perhaps Fair Haven, had anciently sunk down in it, and the Cliffs been pushed up, for the level is continued in many cases even over extensive hollows . . .

  The Governor, Bout well (?), lectured before the Lyceum to-night. Quite democratic. He wore no badge of his office. I believe that not even his brass buttons were official, but, perchance, worn with some respect to his station. If he could have divested himself a little more completely in his tone and manner of a sense of the dignity which belonged to his office, it would have been better still.

(Journal, 3:188-90)

15 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  For the first time this winter I notice snow-fleas this afternoon in Walden Wood. Wherever I go they are to be seen, especially in the deepest ruts and foot-tracks. Their number is almost infinite. It is a rather warm and moist afternoon, and feels like rain. I suppose that some peculiarity in the weather has called them forth from the bark of the trees.

  It is good to see Minott’s hens pecking and scratching the ground. What never-failing health they suggest! Even the sick hen is so naturally sick—like a green leaf turning to brown. No wonder men love to have hens about them and hear their creaking note. They are even laying eggs from time to time still—the undespairing race!

  Minott was telling me to-day about his going across lots on snow-shoes. Why do they not use them now? He thinks the snows are not so deep . . .

(Journal, 3:191-4)
16 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Bill Wheeler had two clumps for feet and progressed slowly, by short steps, having frozen his feet once, as I understood . . .

  Channing has great respect for McKean, he stands on so low a level. Says he’s great for conversation. He never says anything, hardly answers a question, but keeps at work; never exaggerates, nor uses an exclamation, and does as he agrees to. He appears to have got his shoulder to the wheel of the universe. But the other day he went greater lengths with me, as he and Barry were sawing down a pine, both kneeling of necessity. I said it was wet work for the knees in the snow. He observed, looking up at me, “We pray without ceasing.

(Journal, 3:194-8)

17 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw a teamster coming up the Boston road this afternoon, sitting on his load, which was bags of corn or salt, apparently, behind two horses and beating his hands for warmth. He finally got off and walked behind, to make his blood circulate faster, and I saw that he was a large man. But when I came near him, I found that he was a monstrous man and dwarfed all whom he stood by, so that I did not know whether he was large or they were small.
(Journal, 3:198-204)
18 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  E. Hosmer tells me that his daughter, walking with Miss Mary Emerson to some meeting or lecture,—perhaps it was Mrs. Smith’s, [Elizabeth Oakes Smith]—the latter was saying that she did not want to go, she did not think it was worth while to be running after such amusements, etc., etc. Where up Miss Hosmer asked, “What do you go for, then?” “None of your business,” was the characteristic reply . . .
(Journal, 3:204-5)
19 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow, which had drifted badly, ceased about 2 o’clock, I went forth by way of Walden road, whither no sleigh or sled had passed this day, the fine dry snow blowing and drifting still . . . From Bare Hill I looked into the west, the sun still fifteen minutes high. The snow blowing far off in the sun, high as a house, looked like the mist that rises from rivers in the morning. I came across lots through the dry white powder from Britton’s camp. Very cold on the causeway and on the hilltops. The low western sky an Indian red, after the sun was gone.

(Journal, 3:205-7)

20 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walked down the Boston road. It was good to look off over the great unspotted fields of snow, the walls and fences almost buried in it and hardly a turf or stake left bare for the starving crows to light on . . .

  I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper in a week, for I now take the weekly Tribune, and for a few days past, it seems to me, I have not dwelt in Concord; the sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say to so much to me. Thou cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day’s devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day. To read of things distant and sounding betrays us into slighting theses which are then apparently near and small. We learn to look abroad for our mind and spirit’s daily nutriment, and what is this dull town to me? what are theses plain fields and the aspects of this earth and these skies? All summer and far into the fall I unconsciously went by the newspapers and the news, and not I find it was because the morning and evening were full of news for me. My walks were full of incidents. I attended not to the affairs of Europe, but to my own affairs in Concord fields . . .

(Journal, 3:207-8)

21 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Heard [Thomas Wentworth] Higginson lecture to-night on Mohammed [Arab founder Mohamedanism]. Why did I not like it better? Can I deny that it was good? Perhaps I am bound to account to myself at least for any lurking dislike for what others admire and I am not prepared to find fault with. Well, I did not like it, then, because it did not make me like it, it did not carry me away captive. He is not simple enough. For the most part the manner overbore, choked off, and stifled, put out of sight and hearing, the matter. I was inclined to forget that he was speaking, conveying ideas; thought there had been an intermission . . .
(Journal, 3:209-14)

22 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I love to look at Ebby Hubbard’s oaks and pines on the hillside from Brister’s Hill. Am thankful that there is one old miser who will not sell nor cut his woods, though it is said that they are wasting. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

  It is a sharp, cutting cold day, stiffening the face. Thermometers have lately sunk to 20° . . .

(Journal, 3:214-9)

23 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is so deep and the cold so intense that the crows are compelled to be very bold in seeking their food, and come very near the houses in the village. One is now walking about and pecking the dung in the street in front of Frank Monroe’s . . .

  P.M.—Deep Cut, going to Fair Haven Hill. No music from the telegraph harp on the causeway, where the wind is strong, but in the Cut this cold day I hear memorable strains . . .

(Journal, 3:219-21)
24 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Down the Flint’s Pond road and return across.

  Where the mountains in the horizon are well wooded and the snow does not lodge, they still look blue. All but a narrow segment of the sky in the northwest and southeast being suddenly overcast by a passing kind of snow-squall, though no snow falls, I look into the clear sky with its floating clouds in the northwest as from night into day, now at 4 P. M. The sun sets about five.

  Walden and White Ponds are a vitreous greenish blue, like patches of the winter sky seen in the west before sundown . . .

  When the cars passed, I being on the pond (Walden), the sun was setting and suffusing the clouds far and near with rosy light. Even the steam from the engine, as its flocks or wreaths rose above the shadow of the woods, became a rosy cloud even fairer than the rest, but it was soon dissipated . . .

  When I come out on the causeway, I beheld a splendid picture in the west. The damask-lined clouds, like rifts from a coal mine, which sparkle beneath, seen diving into the west. When clouds rise in mid-afternoon, you cannot foresee what sunset picture they are preparing for us. A single elm by Hayden’s is relieved against the amber and golden border, deepening into dusky but soon to be red, in the horizon.

(Journal, 3:221-5)
25 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is glorious to be abroad this afternoon. The snow melts on the surface. The warmth of the sun reminds me of summer. The dog runs before us on the railroad causeway and appears to enjoy it as much as ourselves. C. [William Ellery Channing] remarks that most people do not distinguish between a pup and dog, and treat them both alike, though the former may not yet have a tooth in his head.

  When Sophia told R. Rice that Dr. B. said that Foster was an infidel and was injuring the young men, etc., “Did he?” he observed. “Well, he is a great man. He swims in pretty deep water, but it isn’t very extensive.” When she added, “Mr. Frost says that Garrison had to apologize for printing Foster’s sermon,” he said, “Did he? Well, they may set as many back fires as they please; they won’t be of any use; they’ll soon go out.” She said the selectmen were going to ask seven dollars instead of five for the hall. But he said that he would build them a hall, if they would engage to give him five dollars steadily. To be sure, it would riot be quite so handsome as the present, but it should have the same kind of seats.

  The clay in the Deep Cut is melting and streaming down, glistening in the sun. It is I that melts, while the harp sounds on high, and the snow-drifts on the west side look like clouds.

  We turned down the brook at Heywood’s meadow . . .

  The sun reflected from the sandy, gravelly bottom sometimes a bright sunny streak no bigger than your finger, reflected from a ripple as from a prism, and the sunlight, reflected from a hundred points of the surface of the rippling brook, enabled me to realize summer. But the dog partly spoiled the transparency of the water by running in the brook . . .

  Having gone a quarter of a mile beyond the bridge, where C. calls this his Spanish Brook, I looked back from the top of the hill on the south into this deep dell . . .

  Now we are on Fair Haven, still but a snow plain . . .

  We returned down the brook at Heywood’s meadow.

(Journal, 3:225-9)
26 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day I see a few snow-fleas on the Walden road and a slight blueness in the chinks, it being cloudy and melting.

  It is good to break and smell the black birch twigs now. The lichens look rather bright to-day, near the town line, in Heywood’s wood by the pond . . .

  The woodpecker’s work in Emerson’s wood on the Cliff-top, the trees being partly killed by the top, and the grubs having hatched under the bark . . .

  About 2 o’clock, P. M. these days, after a fair forenoon, there is wont to blow up from the northwest a squally cloud, spanning the heavens, but before it reaches the southeast horizon it has lifted above the northwest, and so it leaves the sky clear there for sunset, while it has sunk low and dark in the southeast.

  The men on the freight-train, who go over the whole length of the road, bow to me as to an old acquaintance, they pass me so often and I think they take me for an “employé;” and am I not?

(Journal, 3:229-36)
27 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mill road south of Ministerial Swamp, 3 P. M.

  As I stand under the hill beyond J. Hosmer’s and look over the plains westward toward Acton and see the farmhouses nearly half a mile apart, few and solitary, in these great fields between these stretching woods… I cannot realize that this is that hopeful young America which is famous throughout the world for its activity and enterprise, and this is the most thickly settled and Yankee part of it . . .

(Journal, 3:236-9)
28 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  They showed me Johnny Riordan to-day, with one thickness of ragged cloth over his little shirt for all this cold weather, with shoes with large holes in the toes, into which the snow got, as he said, without an outer garment, to walk a mile to school every day over the bleakest of causeways,—the clothes with countless patches, which hailed from, claimed descent from, were originally identical with, pantaloons of mine, which set as if his mother had fitted them to a tea-kettle first . . .

  3 P. M.—Went round by Tuttle’s road, and so out on to the Walden road . . .

  About Brister’s Spring the ferns, which have been covered with snow, and the grass are still quite green.

(Journal, 3:239-45)
29 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is nearly gone from the railroad causeway . . .

  I have come to see the clay and sand in the Cut. A reddish tinge in the earth, stains . . .

  I observed this afternoon that the ground where they are digging for some scales near the depot was frozen about nine inches where the snow has lain most and sixteen inches where the road was . . .

  Heard C. [William Ellery Channing] lecture to-night. It was a bushel of nuts. Perhaps the most original lecture I ever heard. Ever so unexpected, not to be foretold, and so sententious that you could not look at him and take his thought at the same time. You had to give your undivided attention to the thoughts, for you were not assisted by set phrases or modes of speech intervening. There was no sloping up or down to or from his points. It was all genius, no talent. It required more close attention, more abstraction from surrounding circumstances, than any lecture I have heard. For, well as I know C., he more than any man disappoints my expectation. When I see him in the desk, hear him, I cannot realize that I ever saw him before. He will be strange, unexpected, to his best acquaintance. I cannot associate the lecturer with the companion of my walks. It was from so original and peculiar a point of view, yet just to himself in the main, that I doubt if three in the audience apprehended a tithe that he said. It was so hard to hear that doubtless few made the exertion. A thick succession of mountain passes and no intermediate slopes and plains. Other lectures, even the best, in which so much space is given to the elaborate development of a few ideas, seemed somewhat meagre in comparison. Yet it would be how much more glorious if talent were added to genius, if there [were] a just arrangement and development of the thoughts, and each step were not a leap, but he ran a space to take a yet higher leap!

  Most of the spectators sat in front of the performer but here was one who, by accident, sat all the while on one side, and his report was peculiar and startling.

(Journal, 3:245-50)
30 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Though they are cutting off the woods at Walden, it is not all loss. It makes some new and unexpected prospects . . . (Journal, 3:250-6).

31 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I observed this afternoon, on the Turnpike, that where it drifts over the edge of a brook or a ditch, the snow being damp as it falls, what does not adhere to the sharp edge of the drift falls on dead weeds and shrubs and forms a drapery like a napkin or a white tablecloth hanging down with folds and tassels or fringed border . . .
(Journal, 3:260)

1 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Each thing is attracted to each, and running to coalesce like drops of water. The fingers incline to be webbed and run together. When I hold mine up to the light and bring them near together, such are the laws of light that, just before they touch, a web appears to grow on them and unite them. So of objects seen through imperfections in glass. It depends upon how a man has spent his day, whether he has any right to be in his bed. So spend some hours that you may have a right to sleep in the sunshine.
(Journal, 3:262-7).
2 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sir Francis Head says that in America “the moon looks larger” than in Europe. Here, then,
moonshine is to be expected. Perhaps the sun larger also. Such are the advantages of the New World . . .

  Sir F. Head thinks that the greater cold—equal to thirteen degrees of latitude—in this country is owing to the extensive forests, which prevent the sun and wind from melting the snows, which therefore accumulate on the ground and create a cold stratuaa of air, which, blown to warmer ones by the northwest wind, condenses the least into snow. But, in Concord woods at any rate, the snow (in the winter) melts faster, and beside is not so deep as in the fields. Not so toward spring, on the north sides of lulls and in hollows. At any rate I think he has not allowed enough for the warmth of the woods.

(Journal, 3:268-70).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 3 February:

  I have been to the libraries (yesterday) at Cambridge and Boston (Journal, 3:270).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Linnaeus’ Philosophia botanica by Carl von Linnaeus and Voyages du Baron de La Hontan dans l’Amerique Septentrionale (volumes 1 and 2?) by Louis Armand, Baron de La Hontan from Harvard Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out A natural system of botany by John Lindley and A synopsis of lichenes of New England, the other northern states, and British America and An enumeration of North American lichenes by Edward Tuckerman from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24).

3 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  About 6 P. M. walked to the Cliffs via railroad.

  Snow quite deep. The sun had set without a cloud in the sky,—a rare occurrence, but I missed the clouds, which make the glory of evening . . .

  Venus is now like a little moon in the west, and the lights in the village twinkle like stars. It is perfectly still and not very cold . . .

  The reflector of the cars, as I stand over the Deep Cut, makes a large and dazzling light in this air . . .

  Now through the Spring Woods and up Fair Haven Hill. Here, in the midst of a clearing where the choppers have been leaving the woods in pieces to-day, and the tops of the pine trees are strewn about half buried in snow, only the saw-logs being carried off, it is stiller and milder than by day . . .

  The moonlight now is very splendid in the untouched pine woods above the Cliffs, alternate patches of shade and light . . .

(Journal, 3:270-6)
4 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  11 P. M.—Coming home through the village by this full moonlight, it seems one of the most glorious nights I ever beheld . . .

  Heard Professor Blasius lecture on the tornado this evening. He said that nine vessels were wrecked daily in the world on an average; that Professor Dove of Berlin was the best meteorologist in his opinion, but had not studied the effects of wind in the fields so much as some here . . .

  The audience are never tired of hearing how far the wind carried some man, woman, or child, or family Bible, but they are immediately tired if you undertake to give them a scientific account of it.

(Journal, 3:276-8)

Concord, Mass. Lidian Jackson Emerson writes to her husband Ralph Waldo on 6 February:

  Prof Blasins lectured well as Henry says—and I think also—H. came home with him and talked with him to their great mutual edification till half past ten (The Selected Letters of Lidian Jackson Emerson, 175-6).

[Blasins lectured on “Tornado” for the Concord Lyceum [?] on 4 February]

5 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The oaks bare of leaves on Hubbard’s hillside are now a light gray in the sun, and their boughs, seen against the pines behind, are a very agreeable maze . . . (Journal, 3:278-80).
6 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—Round by C. Miles’s place. It is still thawy . . . (Journal, 3:280-3).
7 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The warmer weather we have had for a few days past was particularly pleasant to the poor whose wood-piles were low, whose clothes were ragged and thin. I think how the little boy must enjoy it whom I saw a week ago with his shoes truncated at the toes. Hard are the times when the infants’ shoes are secondfoot.
(Journal, 3:283-7)
8 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mrs. Buttrick says that she has five cents for making a shirt, and that if she does her best she can make one a day . . .

  Carried a new cloak to Johnny Riordan. I found that the shanty was warmed by the simple social relations of the Irish . . .(Journal, 3:287-9)

9 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At 9 A.M. up river to Fair Haven Pond . . . Met Sudbury Haines on the river before the Cliffs, come a-fishing. Wearing an old coat, much patched, with many colors . . . (Journal, 3:289-93).

10 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Now if there are any who think that I am vainglorious, that I set myself up above others and crow over their low estate, let me tell them that I could tell a pitiful story respecting myself as well as them, if my spirits held out to do it; I could encourage them with a sufficient list of failures, and could flow as humbly as the very gutters themselves; I could enumerate a list of as rank offenses as ever reached the nostrils of heaven ; that I think worse of myself than they can possibly think of me, being better acquainted with the man. I put the best face on the matter. I will tell them this secret, if they will not tell it to anybody else.
(Journal, 3:293-4).
11 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. When the thermometer is down to 20° in the morning, as last month, I think of the poor dogs who have no masters. If a poor dog has no master, everybody will throw a billet of wood at him. It never rains but it pours.

  It now rains,—a drizzling rain mixed with mist, which ever and anon fills the air to the height of fifteen or twenty feet. It makes what they call an old-fashioned mill privilege in the streets, i.e. I suppose, a privilege on a small stream good only for a part of the year.

  Perhaps the best evidence of an amelioration of the climate -at least that the snows are less deep than formerly-is the snow-shoes which still lie about in so many garrets, now useless, though the population of this town has not essentially increased for seventy-five years past, and the travelling within the limits of the town accordingly not much facilitated. No man ever cases them now, yet the old men used them in their youth.

(Journal, 3:294-5).
12 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Living all winter with an open door for light and no visible wood-pile, the forms of old and
young permanently contracted through long shrinking from cold, and their faces pinched by want. I have seen an old crone sitting bareheaded on the hillside, then in the middle of January, while it was raining and the ground was slowly thawing under her, knitting there. Their undeveloped limbs and faculties, buds that cannot expand on account of the severity of the season. There is no greater squalidness in any part of the world! Contrast the physical condition of the Irish with that of the North American Indian, or the South Sea Islander, or any other savage race before they were degraded by contact with the civilized man.
(Journal, 3:295-6).
13 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Talking with Rice this afternoon about the bees which I discovered the other day, [9 February] he told me something about his bee-hunting. He and Pratt go out together once or twice a year. He takes a little tin box with a little refined sugar and water about the consistency of honey, or some honey in the comb, which comes up so high only in the box as to let the lid clear a bee’s back, also some little bottles of paint—red, blue, white, etc.—and a compass properly prepared to line the bees with, the sights perhaps a foot apart

  9 A.M.—to Conantum.

  The rain has diminished the snow and hardened the crust, and made bare ground in many places. A yellow water, a foot or two deep, covers the ice on the meadows, but is not frozen quite hard enough to bear. As the river swells, the ice cracks along both sides over.

(Journal, 3:296-301).

14 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—Walden road to pond, thence to Cliffs . . . Met Joshua Brown returning from the pond (Walden) without having caught a fish. Has had no luck there this winter, he thinks because of the woodcutters falling trees on the ice . . . (Journal, 3:301-4).

15 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Perhaps I am descended from that Northman named “Thorer the Dog-footed.” Thorer Hund—”he was the most powerful man in the North”—to judge from his name belonged to the same family. Thorer is one of the most, if not the most, common name in the chronicles of the Northmen.
(Journal, 3:304).

Plymouth, Mass. Marston Watson writes to Thoreau:

  I am very much obliged to you for your interest in our meetings here, and for your promise to come down some Sunday. I will look for you or for Mr Channing or for Mr [Daniel] Foster on the next Sunday, Feby 22,—Mr. Channing very kindly wrote to me at Mr Emerson’s suggestion saying that he would come any time named. I learn from Mr Alcott he is now in Providence, and so I send my message to him thro’ you—I hope that one of you will be quite sure to come. Could you write me by Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning – ? If he is at Providence I would not consult him, but decide at once to come. Mr Foster I have not written to , but he has been so valiant in the good cause, that a good audience is ready to rec[eive] his word. My regards to him, & say we shall be very glad to hear him on Sunday if you or Mr C. cannot come, & I shall be also glad to have him name some day when he can come . . .

  Our meetings go on finely—Rev. Sam. Johnson, Mr Alcott, Ed. Quincy so far. People were delighted at Mr A. and listened with great enthusiasm. Young Johnson is magnificent, and you may safely go a hundred miles to hear. I hope nothing will prevent one of you from coming, & let me know as early in the wk. as you can. Can’t you [read to] us from your Life in the woods, with Mr Alcott pronounces just eh thing for us—I will meet you at the cars.

(Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 203-4; MS, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass.)

Thoreau replies on 17 February.

16 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Down Turnpike . . . As I walk the bleak Walden road, it blows up over the highest drifts in the west, lit by the westering sun like the spray on a beach before the northwest wind (Journal, 3:304-7).
17 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I see on the Walden road that the wind through the wall is cutting through the drifts, leaving a portion adhering to the stones . . . I saw Patrick Riordan carrying home an armful of fagots from the woods to his shanty, on his shoulder (Journal, 3:307-9).

Thoreau also writes to Marston Watson in reply to his letter of 15 February:

  I have not yet seen Mr. [William Ellery] Channing, though I believe he is in town,—having decided to come to Plymouth myself,—but I will let him know that he is expected. Mr. [Daniel] Foster wishes me to say that he accepts your invitation, and that he would like to come Sunday after next; also that he would like to know before next Sunday whether you will expect him. I will take the Saturday afternoon train. I shall be glad to get a winter view of Plymouth Harbor, and to see where your garden lies under snow.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 276; A. Bronson Alcott: His Life and Philosophy, 1:483 note)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

  Thoreau tells me that Frank Brown is going to Clarke’s Island near Plymouth to pass a year at farming (Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 197).
18 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Fair Haven Hill.

  One discovery in meteorology, one significant observation, is a good deal. I am grateful to the man who introduces order among the clouds. Yet I look up into the heavens so fancy free, I am almost glad not to know any law for the winds.

  I find the partridges among the fallen pine-tops on Fair Haven these afternoons, an hour before sundown, ready to commence budding in the neighboring orchard. The mosses on the rocks look green where the snow has melted. This must be one of the spring signs, when spring comes.

(Journal, 3:309-12).
19 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To White Pond . . . Returning across the river just as the sun was setting behind the Hollowell place, the ice eastward of me a few rods, where the snow was blown off, was as green as bottle glass . . . A fine display of northern lights after 10 P. M . . . (Journal, 3:312-4).
20 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  The last two or three days have been among the coldest in the winter, though not so cold as a few weeks ago. I notice, in the low ground covered with bushes near Flint’s Pond, many little rabbit-paths in the snow, where they have travelled in each other’s tracks, or many times back and forth, six inches wide. This, too, is probably their summer habit. The rock by the pond is remarkable for its umbilicaria (?).

(Journal, 3:314-8).
21 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  ‘As fat as a hen in the forehead,’—a saying which I heard my father use this morning (Journal, 3:318).

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).

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

  Henry Thoreau is here on his way to meet the Leyden Hall Congregation at Plymouth, and reads his ‘Walden paper’ to them, to morrow” (MS, Amos Bronson Alcott papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.)
22 February 1852. Plymouth, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Went to Plymouth to lecture or preach all day . . . (Journal, 3:318-9).

Plymouth, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “Life in the Woods” at Leyden Hall (“Life in the Woods“)

24 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Railroad causeway . . .

  Talked to two men and a boy fishing on Fair Haven, just before sunset. (Heard the dog bark in Baker’s wood as I came down the brook.) They had caught a fine parcel of pickerel and perch. The perch especially were full of spawn. the boy had caught a large bream which had risen to the surface, in his hands. They had none of them ever seen one before in the winter, though they sometimes catch chivins. They had also kicked to death a muskrat that was crossing the southwest end of the pond on the snow. They told me of two otters being killed in Sudbury this winter, beside some coons near here.

(Journal, 3:319-20)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  My Friend Thoreau,—

  Thank you for your remembrance, though the motto you suggest is impracticable, The People’s Course is full for the season; and even if it were not, your name would probably not pass; because it is not merely necessary that each lecturer should continue well the course, but that he shall be known as the very man beforehand. Whatever draws less than fifteen hundred hearers damages the finances of the movement, so low is the admission, and so large the expense. But, Thoreau, you are a better speaker than many, but a far better writer still. Do you wish to swap any of your “wood-notes wild” for dollars? If yea, and you will sell me some articles, shorter, if you please, than the former, I will try to coin them for you. Is it a bargain? Yours,

  Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 276-8)
26 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The east side of Deep Cut nearly dry; sand has ceased flowing; west side just beginning . . .

  Returned across Flint’s Pond and the wood-lot, where some Irishman must have tried his first experiment in chopping, his first winter, where the trees were hacked off two feet from the ground, as if with a hatchet,—standing on every side of the tree by turns, and crossing the carf a hundred ways. The owner can commonly tell when an Irishman has trespassed on his wood-lot . . .

(Journal, 3:320-2)
27 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The main river is not yet open but in very few places, but the North Branch, which is so much more rapid, is open near Tarbells’ and Harrington’s, where I walked to-day (Journal, 3:322-3).
28 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day it snows again, covering the ground. To get the value of the storm we must be out a long time and travel far in it, so that it may fairly penetrate our skin, and we be as it were turned inside out to it, and there be no part in us but is wet or weatherbeaten,—so that we become storm men instead of fairweather men . . .
(Journal, 3:323).
29 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Pine Hill across Walden. The high wind takes off the oak leaves. I see them scrambling up the slopes of the Deep Cut, hurry-scurry over the slippery snow-crust, like a flock of squirrels. The ice on Walden is of a dull white as I look directly down on it, but not half a dozen rods distant on every side it is a light-blue color. . . .
(Journal, 3:323-5).
1 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  After having read various books on various subjects for some months, I take up a report on Farms by a committee of Middlesex Husbandmen, and read of the number of acres of bog that some farmer has redeemed, and the number of rods of stone wall that he has built, and the number of tons of hay he now cuts, or of bushels of corn or potatoes he raises there, and I feel as if I had got my foot down on to the solid and sunny earth, the basis of all philosophy, and poetry, and religion even. I have faith that the man who redeemed some acres of land the past summer redeemed also some parts of his character . . .
(Journal, 3:326-7).
2 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A wealthy farmer who has money to let was here yesterday, who said that fourteen years ago a man came to him to hire two hundred dollars for thirty days. He told him that he should have it if he would give proper security, but the other thinking it exorbitant to require security for so short a term, went away. But he soon returned and gave the security. “And,” said the farmer, “he has punctually paid me twelve dollars a year ever since. I have never said a word to him about the principle.” (Journal, 3:327-9)

3 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Moore’s larch trees beyond Sleepy Hollow cut this winter. They were much decayed. The woodpeckers had stripped many of bark in pursuit of grubs. When the woodpeckers visit your woods in great numbers, you may suspect that it is time
to cut them . . . (Journal, 3:329).
4 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  10 A. M. – Up river on ice to Fair Haven Pond . . .

  I cut my initials on the bee tree. Now, at 11.30 perhaps, the sky begins to be slightly overcast . . .

  It is pleasant to see the reddish-green leaves of the lambkill still hanging with fruit above the snow, for I am now crossing the shrub oak plain to the Cliffs . . .

(Journal, 3:329-35)
5 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—To the beeches. A misty afternoon, but warm, threatening rain. Standing on Walden, whose eastern shore is laid waste, men walking on the hillside a quarter of a mile off are singularly interesting objects, seen through this mist, which has the effect of a mirage . . .
(Journal, 3:335-7)
6 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—To Harrington’s.

  Old Mr. Joe Hosmer chopping wood at his door. He is full of meat. Had a crack with him. I told him I was studying lichens, pointing to his wood. He thought I meant the wood itself. Well, he supposed he’d had more to do with wood than I had. “Now,” said he, “there are two kinds of white oak. Most people wouldn’t notice it. When I’ve been chopping, say along in March, after the sap begins to start, I’ll sometimes come to an oak that will color my axe steel-blue like a sword-blade. Well, that oak is fine-grained and heavier than the common, and I call it blue white oak, for no other blues my axe so. Then there are two kinds of black oak, or yellow-bark. One is the mean black oak, or bastard. Then there’s a kind of red oak smells like urine three or four days old” . . .

  [The rest of the page (a half) cut out.]

  been the track of an otter near the Clamshell Hill, for it looks too large for a mink . . .

  Found three or four parmelias (caperata) in fruit on a white oak on the high river-bank between Tarbell’s and Harrington’s.

(Journal, 3:337-9)
7 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A very pleasant, spring-promising day. Yet I walked up the river on teh ice to Fair Haven Pond. As I cross the snow (2 P. M.) where it lies deepest in hollows, its surface honeycombed by the sun, I hear it suddenly sink under and around me with a crash, and look about for a tree or roof from which it may have fallen . . .

  At 9 o’clock P. M. to the woods by the full moon . . .

  Going through the high field beyond the lone graveyard, I see the track of a boy’s sled before me, and his footsteps shining like silver between me and the moon . . .

  As I look down the railroad, standing on the west brink of the Deep Cut, I seem to see in the manner in which the moon is reflected from the west slope covered with snow, in the sort of misty light as if a fine vapor were rising from it, a promise or sign of spring . . .

(Journal, 3:339-41)
9 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A warm spring rain in the night.

  3 P.M.—Down the railroad.

  Cloudy but springlike. When the frost comes out of the ground, there is a corresponding thawing of the man. The earth is now half bare. These March winds, which make the woods roar and fill the world with life and bustle, appear to wake up the trees out of their winter sleep and excite the sap to flow. I have no doubt they serve sonic such use, as well as to hasten the evaporation of the snow and water.

(Journal, 3:341-3).
10 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Through the Deep Cut to Cliffs.

  The mingled sand and water flowing down the bank, the water inclines ever to separate from the sand, and while the latter is detained by its weight and by friction beneath and on the sides, the water flows in a semicylindrical channel which it makes for itself, still carrying much sand with it . When the flowing drop of sand and water in front meets with new resistance, or the impetus of the water is diminished, perhaps by being absorbed, the drop of sand suddenly swells out laterally and dries, while the water, accumulating, pushes out a new sandy drop on one side and forms a new leafy lobe, and by other streams one is piled upon another . . .

(Journal, 3:343-5).
11 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To White Pond to sound it.

  That dull-gray-barked willow shows the silvery down of its forthcoming catkins. I believe that I saw blackbirds yesterday. The ice in the pond is soft on the surface, but it is still more than a foot thick. Is that slender green weed which I draw up on my sounding-stone where it is forty feet deep and upward Nitella gracrilis (allied to Chara), described in London?

  The woods I walked in in my youth are cut off. Is it not time that I ceased to sing? My groves are invaded. Water that has been so long detained on the hills and uplands by frost is now rapidly finding its level in the ocean. All lakes without outlet are oceans, larger or smaller.

(Journal, 3:345-6).
12 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Railroad to Walden, 3 P. M.

  I see the Populus (apparently tremuloides, not grandidentata) at the end of the railroad causeway, showing the down of its ament. Bigelow makes it flower in April, the grandidentata in May.

  I see the sand flowing in the Cut and hear the harp at the same time. Who shall say that the primitive forces are not still at work? Nature has not lost her pristine vigor, neither has he who sees this. To see the first dust fly is a pleasant sight. I saw it on the east side of till’ Deep Cut.

(Journal, 3:346-50).
14 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain, rain, rain; but even this is fair weather after so much snow. The ice on Walden has now for some days looked like snow, the surface being softened by the sun . . . (Journal, 3:350).
15 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon I throw off my outside coat. A mild spring day. I must hie to the Great Meadows. The air is full of bluebirds. The ground almost entirely bare. The villagers are out in the sun, and every man is happy whose work takes him outdoors. I go by Sleepy Hollow toward the Great Fields . . .

We go out without our coats, saunter along the street, look at the aments of the willow beginning to appear and the swelling buds of the maple and the elm. The Great Meadows are water instead of ice. I see the ice on the bottom in white sheets. And now one great cake rises amid the bushes (behind Peter’s). I see no ducks . . .

(Journal, 3:350-2)
16 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Before sunrise.

  With what infinite and unwearied expectation and proclamation the cocks usher in every dawn, as if there had never been one before! And the dogs bark still, and the thallus of lichens springs, so tenacious of life is nature.

  Spent the day in Cambridge Library. Walden is not yet melted round the edge. It is perhaps, more suddenly warm this spring than usual. Mr. Bull thinks that the pine grosbeaks, which have been unusually numerous the past winter, have killed many branches of his elms by budding them, and that they will die and the wind bring them down, as heretofore. Saw a large flock of geese go over Cambridge and heard the robins in the College Yard . . .

(Journal, 3:352-3)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Methodus qua omnes detectos lichenes by Erik Acharius and Five year’s residence in the Canadas by Edward Allen Talbot, vols. 1 and 2, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading).

17 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I catch myself philosophizing most abstractly when first returning to consciousness in the night or morning. I make the truest observations and distinctions then, when the will is yet wholly asleep and the mind works like a machine without friction. I am conscious of having, in my sleep, transcended the limits of the individual, and made observations and
carried on conversations which in my waking hours I can neither recall nor appreciate. As if in sleep our individual fell into the infinite mind, and at the moment of awakening we found ourselves on the confines of the latter. On awakening we resume our enterprise, take up our bodies and become limited mind again.
(Journal, 3:353-4).

Concord, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Canada” at the Centre School House for the Concord Lyceum (“An Excursion to Canada“).

Thoreau also sends the manuscript of “An Excursion to Canada” to Horace Greeley in New York, N.Y. (Revising Mythologies, 260).

18 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon the woods and walls and the whole face of the country wear once more a wintry aspect, though there is more moisture in the snow and the trunks of the trees are whitened now on a more southerly or southeast side. These slight falls of snow which come and go again so soon when the ground is partly open in the spring, perhaps helping to open and crumble and prepare it for the seed, are called “the poor man’s manure.” They are, no doubt, more serviceable still to those who are rich enough to have some manure spread on their grass ground, which the melting snow helps dissolve and soak in and carry to the roots of the grass. At any rate, it is all the poor man has got, whether it is good or bad . . . The pond is very still very little melted around the shore . . .
(Journal, 3:354-6).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  My Dear Sir:

  I ought to have responded before this to yours of the 5th inst. but have been absent—hurried, &c &c. I have had no time to bestow upon it till to-day.

  I shall get you some money for the articles you send me, though not immediately.

  As to your longer account of a canadian tour, I don’t know. It looks unmanageable. Can’t you cut it into three or four, and omit all that relates to time? The cities are described to death; but I know you are at home with Nature, and that she rarely and slowly changes. Break this up if you can, and I will try to have it swallowed and digested.


  Horace Greeley.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 277)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to John Sartain:

  Dear Sir:

  I enclose herewith two articles from my friend Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, Mass. the pupil of Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose name must be familiar to you. You may never have see his book—“A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers”—but his articles in Graham’s Magazine—“Thomas Carlyle and his Writings,” Mount Katahdin and the Pine Woods of Maine”—though several years back, I think cannot have escaped you. I consider him one of the best of your young writers, and have solicited these pieces from him because I want to make him better known than he is. He has more Ms. on hand, but I shall not send you more unless you ask them. If you use these, I shall expect you to pay him. If you don’t want them, please preserve them and notify me, so that I can make another disposition of them. Yours

  Horace Greeley.

  P.S. If you happen to know where a copy of “The Dial” may be consulted, just look into it at one of Thoreau’ s articles—“A Winter Walk”—I don’t know who could write a better one. Yrs. H. G.

(Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):5-6)

Sartain replies on 24 March.

19 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed as I stood with Channing [William Ellery Channing] on the brink of the rill on Conantum, where, falling a few inches, it produced bubbles, our images, three quarters of an inch long and black as imps, appear to lean toward each other on account of the convexity of the bubble.
(Journal, 3:356-7).
20 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  As to the winter birds,—those which came here in the winter,—I saw first that rusty sparrow-like bird flying in flocks with the smaller sparrows early in the winter and sliding down the grass stems to their seeds, which clucked like a hen, and F. Brown thought to be the young of the purple finch; then I saw, about Thanksgiving time and later in the winter, the pine grosbeaks, large and carmine, a noble bird; then, in midwinter, the snow bunting, the white snowbird, sweeping low like snowflakes from field to field over the walls and fences.

(Journal, 3:357).
21 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Railroad causeway at Heywood’s meadow.

  The ice no sooner melts than you see the now red and yellow pads of the yellow lily beginning to shoot up from the bottom of the pools and ditches, for there they yield to the first impulses of the heat and feel not the chilling blasts of March.

  This evening a little snow falls. The weather about these days is cold and wintry again.

(Journal, 3:357-8).
22 March 1852. Boston, Mass.

Thoreau lectures on “Economy” at “Fisher’s Rooms” (“Economy“).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Remarks on forest scenery and other woodland views by William Gilpin, volumes 1 and 2, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

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

  Thoreau is here, also Blake. [H. G. O. Blake] Evening, Thoreau reads his papers on ‘The Sylvan Life,’ at Fisher’s Rooms to a company of 60 or more persons, to their great delight. He passes the night with me (MS, A. Bronson Alcott papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).
23 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I heard, this forenoon, a pleasant jingling note from the slate-colored snow bird on the oaks in the sun on Minott’s hillside. Apparently they sing with us in the pleasantest days before they go northward. Minott thinks that the farmers formerly used their meadow-hay better, gave it more sun, so that the cattle liked it as well as the English now . . .
(Journal, 3:358).
24 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The night of the 24th, quite a deep snow covered the ground (Journal, 3:358).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Fauna boreali-americana (volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4?) by Sir John Richardson from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  If you break up your ‘Excursion to Canada’ into three or four articles, I have no doubt I could get it published on similar terms (Henry D. Thoreau, 232-3).

Greeley also encloses a letter from John Sartain:

  Dear Sir,—

  I have read the articles of Mr. Thoreau forwarded by you, and will be glad to publish them if our terms are satisfactory. We generally pay for prose composition per printed page, and would allow him three dollars per page. We do not pay more than four dollars for any that we now engage. I did not suppose our maximum rate would have paid you (Mr. Greeley) for your lecture, and therefore requested to know your own terms. Of course, when an article is unusually desirable, we may deviate from rule; I now only mention ordinary arrangement . I was very sorry not to have your article, but shall enjoy the reading of it in Graham, Mr. T. might send us some further contributions, and shall at least receive prompt and courteous decision respecting them.

  Yours truly,
  John Sartain

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 278; Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):5)

Greeley replies on 26 March.

26 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walden not melted about shore (Journal, 3:358).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley replies to John Sartain’s letter of 24 March:

  Dear Sir:

  Yours received. Very well. Please publish Mr. Thoreau’s articles as soon as convenient. I will write him for more


  Horace Greeley

(Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):2-3)
28 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The yellow lily leaves are pushing up in the ditch beyond Hubbard’s Grove (this is not so warm a place as Heywood’s meadow under the causeway) . . .

  Saw dead frogs, and the mud stirred by a living one, in this ditch, and afterward in Conantum Brook a living frog, the first of the season; also a yellow-spotted tortoise by the causeway side in the meadow near Hubbard’s Bridge . . .

  Observed a singular circle round the moon to-night between nine and ten, the moon being about half full . . .

  10.15 P. M.—The geese have just gone over, making a great cackling and awaking people in their beds.

(Journal, 3:358)
29 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Going to the Second Division Brook.

  There is an evident spring in the grass about springs and brooks, as at Tarbell’s. Some mosses now in fruit. Icicles still form under the banks at night on the north side of hills, from the dripping of the melting snow during the day. The leaves of the rattlesnake-plantain continue green but not so distinctly reticulated. Struck Second Division Brook at the old dam. It is as deep as wide, three feet or more, with a very handsome sandy bottom, rapidly flowing and meandering. A very attractive brook, to trout, etc., as well as men. It not only meanders as you look down on it, but the line of its bottom is very serpentine, in this wise, successively
deep and shallow.

(Journal, 3:360-2).
30 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Dug some parsnips this morning . . . The Cliffs remind me of that narrow place in the brook where two meadows nearly meet, with floating grass, though the water is deeper there under the bank than anywhere . . . Having occasion to-day to put up a long ladder against the house, I found, from the trembling of my nerves with the exertion, that I had not exercised that part of my system this winter . . .
(Journal, 3:362-4)
31 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Intended to get up early this morning and commence a series of spring walks, but clouds and drowsiness prevented . . . (Journal, 3:364-8).
1 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To Flint’s Pond cedar woods via railroad, returning by C. Smith’s orchard . . .

  Walden is all white ice, but little melted about the shores . . .

  There is an early willow on sand-bank of the railroad, against the pond, by the fence, grayish below and yellowish above. The railroad men have dug around the sleepers that the sun my thaw the ground and let them down. It is not yet out. Cut across near Baker’s barn . . .

  Is that the red osier (cornel or viburnum) near the grape-vine on the Bare Hill road? . . .

  Sat awhile before sunset on the rocks in Saw Mill Brook . . .

  Saw the freshly (?) broken shells of a tortoise’s eggs—or were they a snake’s?—in Hosmer’s field. I hear a robin singing in the woods south of Hosmer’s, just before sunset . . .

  As I come over the Turnpike, the song sparrow’s jingle comes up from every part of the meadow, as native as the tinkling rills or the blossoms of the spirca, the meadow-sweet, soon to spring . . .

(Journal, 3:369-77)
2 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 A. M.—To the riverside and Merrick’s pasture . . .

  As a fair day is promised, and the waters are falling, decide to go to the Sudbury meadows with C., 9 A. M. Started some woodcocks in a wet place in Hi Wheeler’s stubble-field. Saw six spotted tortoises (Emys gutata), which had crawled to the shore by the side of the Hubbard Bridge causeway . . .

  The Charles Miles Run full and rumbling . . .

  Saw a striped squirrel in the wall near Lee’s. Brigham, the wheelwright, building a boat . . .

  Israel Rice’s dog stood stock-still so long that I took him at a distance for the end of a bench. He looked much like a fox, and his fur was as soft. Rice was very ready to go with us to his boat, which we borrowed, as soon as he had driven his cow into the barn where her calf was, but she preferred to stay out in the yard this pleasant morning. He was very obliging, persisted, without regard to our suggestions that we could help ourselves, in going with us to his boat, showed us after a larger boat and made no remark on the miserableness of it. Thanks and compliments fell off him like water off a rock . . .

  Steered across for the oaks opposite the mouth of the Pantry . . . After coming in sight of Sherman’s Bridge, we moored our boat by sitting on a maple twig on the east side, to take a leisurely view of the meadow . . .

  Landed on Tall’s Island . . .

  We landed near a corn-field in the bay on the west side, below Sherman’s Bridge, in order to ascend Round Hill, it still raining gently or with drops far apart. From the top we see smoke rising from the green pine hill in the southern part of Lincoln . . .

  Return to our boat. We have to go ashore and upset it every half-hour, it leaks so fast, for the leak increases as it sinks in the water in geometrical progression . . .

  We land in a steady rain and walk inland by R. Rice’s barn, regardless of the storm, toward White Pond. Overtaken by an Irishman in search of work. Discovered some new oaks and pine groves and more New England fields. At last the drops fall wider apart, and we pause in a sandy field near the Great Road of the Corner, where it was agreeably retired and sandy, drinking up the rain . . .

  At Hubbard’s Bridge, count eight ducks going over. Had seen one with outstretched neck over the Great Meadows in Sudbury. Looking up, the flakes are black against the sky. And now the ground begins to whiten. Get home at 5.30 P. M.

(Journal, 3:377-86)

Thoreau also writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson:

  Dear Sir,

  I do not see that I can refuse to read another lecture, but what makes me hesitate is the fear that I have not another available which will entertain a large audience, though I have thoughts to offer which I think will be quite as worthy of their attention. However I will try, for the prospect of earning a few dollars is alluring. As far as I can foresee, my subject would be Reality rather transcendentally treated. It lies still in “Walden or Life in the Woods.” Since you are kind enough to undertake the arrangements, I will leave it to you to name an evening of next week—decide on the most suitable room—and advertise if this is not taking you too literally at your word

  If you still think it worth the while to attend to this, will you let me know as soon as may be what evening will be most convenient

  Yrs with thanks

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 278-9)

3 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is a clear day with a cold westerly wind, the snow of yesterday being melted. When the sun shines unobstructedly the landscape is full of light, for it is reflected from the withered fawn-colored grass, as it cannot be from the green grass of summer. (On the back of the hill behind Gourgas’s.)

  The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

  I am going over the hills in the rear of the windmill site and along Peter’s path . . .

  One side of the village street, which runs east and west, appears a month in advance of the other. I go down the street on the wintry side; I return through summer . . .

  The moon appears to be full to-night. About 8.30 P. M. I walked to the Clamshell Hill . . .

(Journal, 3:386-9)

Thoreau also writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson:

  I certainly do not feel prepared to offer myself as a lecturer to the Boston public, and hardly know whether more to dread a small audience or a large one. Nevertheless I will repress this squeamishness, and propose no alterations in your arrangements. I shall be glad to accept of your invitation to tea.

  Henry D. Thoreau.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 280)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  Friend Thoreau, –

  I wish you to write me an article on Ralph Waldo Emerson, his Works and Ways, extending to one hundred pages, or so, of letter sheet like this, to take the form of a review of his writings, but to give some idea of the Poet, the Genius, the Man,—with some idea of the New England scenery and home influence, which have combined to make him what he is. Let it be calm, searching, and impartial; nothing like adulation, but a just summing up of what he is and what he has done. I mean to get this into the “Westminster Review,” but if not acceptable there, I will publish it elsewhere. I will pay you fifty dollars for the article when delivered; in advance, if you desire it . Say the word, and I will send the money at once. It is perfectly convenient to do so. Your “Carlyle” article is my model, but you can give us Emerson better than you did Carlyle. I presume he would allow you to write extracts for this purpose from his lectures not yet published. I would delay the publication of the article to suit his publishing arrangements, should that be requested.


  Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 279-80)

Thoreau replies on 17 April.

4 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Going across Wheeler’s large field beyond Potter’s, saw a large flock of small birds go by… Went round Bear Garden Hill to the bank of the river . . .

  It is refreshing to stand on the face of the Cliff and see the water gliding over the surface of the almost perpendicular rock in a broad thin sheet, pulsing over it . . .

  I see the snow lying thick on the south side of the Peterboro Hills . . .

  I see the old circular shore of Fair Haven, where the tops of the button-bushes, willows, etc., rise above the water. This pond is now open; only a little ice against the Pleasant Meadow . . .

(Journal, 3:389-92)
5 and 6 April 1852. Boston, Mass.

The Boston Daily Advertiser and Daily Evening Transcript run an advertisement:

  Mr. H. D. Thoreau, of Concord, by request of many of the auditors of his first (private) lecture in this city, will read a second lecture on Life in the Woods, on Tuesday Evening, April 6th, at Cochituate Hall, in Phillips Place at 7 p.m.. Admittance 25 cents.
(“Life in the Woods (II)“)
6 April 1852.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Last night a snow-storm, and this morning we find the ground covered again six or eight inches deep – and drifted pretty badly beside. The conductor in the cars, which have been detained more than an hour, says it is a dry snow up-country. Here it is very damp.
(Journal, 3:392).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “Life in the Woods” at Cochituate Hall (“Life in the Woods (II)“).

Thomas Wentworth Higginson later recalls the lecture:

  The scene of the lecture was to be a small hall in a court . . . opening form Tremont street, opposite King’s Chapel, the hall itself being leased by an association of young mechanics, who had a reading-room opening out of it. The appointed day ushered in a furious snow-storm before which the janitor of the building retreated in despair, leaving the court almost blockaded. When Thoreau and I ploughed through, we found a few young mechanics reading newspapers; and when the appointed hour came, there were assembled only Mr. [Amos Bronson] Alcott, Dr. Walter Channing and at most three or four ticket-holders. No one wished to postpone the affair and Mr. Alcott suggested that the thing to be done was to adjourn to the reading-room, where, he doubted not, the young men would be grateful for the new gospel offered; for which he himself undertook to prepare their minds. I can see him now, going from one to another, or collecting them in little groups and expounding to them, with his lofty Socratic mien, the privileges they were to shar. “This is his life, this is his book; he is to print it presently; I think we shall all be glad, shall we not, either to read his book or to hear it?” Some laid down their newspapers, more retained them; the lecture proved to be one of the most introspective chapters from “Walden.” A few went to sleep, the rest rustled their papers; and the most vivid impression which I retain from the whole enterprise is the profound gratitude I felt to one auditor (Dr. Walter Channing), who forced upon me a five-dollar bill towards the expenses of the disastrous entertainment.
(Brains, no. 1 (December 1981):105)

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal and includes a clipping from an unidentified periodical:

  Thoreau is here, and reads his lecture this evening, and passes the night with me.

Mr. Thoreau’s Lecture.—Those of our readers who wish to hear something fresh and invigorating in literature, should not fail to attend this evening at Cochituate Hall. No subject suits Mr. Thoreau better, as a text, than Life in the Woods, and perhaps no man in the world is better qualified form disposition and experience, to treat that subject profitably. Conventionalisms have about as much influence over him, as over a forest tree or the birds in its branches. And as with his freshness of thought he unites a rare maturity of scholarship, he can entertain any one who is not muffled in more than ordinary dullness.

(MS, Amos Bronson Alcott papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.)

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Sylva, or a discourse of forest trees by John Evelyn from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24).

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