the Thoreau Log.
1853
Æt. 36.
January. New York, N.Y. 1853.

The first of five installments of Thoreau’s “An Excursion to Canada” appears in Putnam’s Monthly Magazine.

Acton, Mass. Thoreau surveys a woodlot for Elijah Davis (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

1 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

About 9 o’clock A. M., I go to Lee’s via Hubbard’s Wood and Holden’s Swamp and the riverside, for the middle is open… C. [William Ellery Channing] thought that these fat, icy branches on the withered grass and herbs had no nucleus, but looking closer I showed him the fine black wiry threads on which they impinged, which made him laugh with surprise… I see now the beauty of the causeway, by the bridge alders below swelling into the road, overtopped by willows and maples… I listen to the booming of the pond as if it were a reasonable creature. I return at last in a rain, and am coated with a glaze, like the fields.

(Journal, 4:436-40)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Took a long walk to see the frost-work… White silvery effects on all masses of copses & trees towards the N. Possibly there never was a richer show of the kind. It lasted long as the sun did not appear, but about noon rain came on… Still remains half past 2 though raining fast. wind to N.N.E. Willows near Hubbards bridge very superb, a long avenue of glorious silvery mane.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University.)

2 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

9 A.M. - Down railroad to Cliffs… We build a fire on the Cliffs. When kicking to pieces a pine stump for the fat knots which alone would burn on this icy day, at the risk of spoiling my boots, having looked in vain for a stone, I thought how convenient would be an Indian stone axe to batter it with… We soon had a roaring fire of fat pine on a shelf of rock, from which we overlooked the icy landscape.

(Journal, 4:440-44)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Again walked this morning to see the coats of ice… Fire on cliffs of fat pine” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

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

Friend Thoreau, -

I have yours of the 29th, and credit you $20. Pay me when and in such sums as may be convenient. I am sorry you and C [George William Curtis] cannot agree so as to have your whole MS. printed. It will be worth nothing elsewhere after having partly appeared in Putnam’s. I think it is a mistake to conceal the authorship of the several articles, making them all (so to speak) editorial; but if that is done, don’t you see that the elimination of very flagrant heresies (like your defiant Pantheism) becomes a necessity? If you had withdrawn your MS., on account of the abominable misprints in the first number, your ground would have been far more tenable.

However, do what you will.

Yours,

Horace Greeley.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 293)

3 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Down railroad to Lincoln Bridge… Walden not yet frozen” (Journal, 4:444-7).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “No ice on Walden, little on the river” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

4 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To what I will call Yellow Birch Swamp, E. [Ebenezer] Hubbard’s, in north part of town… At Pratt’s, the stupendous, boughy, branching elm, like vast thunderbolts stereotyped upon the sky” (Journal, 4:447-9).

Cohasset, Mass. Ellen Sewall writes to her aunt Prudence Ward: “What is Henry’s hobby now? There are no Lyceum Lectures here this winter” (transcript in the Thoreau Society Archives at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods; MS, private owner).

5 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Kibbe Place Swamp” (Journal, 4:449-50).

6 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walden apparently froze over last night. It is but little more than an inch thick, and two or three square rods by Hubbard’s shore are still open… When I lie down on it and examine it closely, I find that the greater part of the bubbles which I had thought were within its own substance are against its under surface, and that they are continually rising up from the bottom, - perfect spheres, apparently, and very beautiful and clear, in which I see my face through this thin ice (perhaps an inch and an eighth), from one eightieth of an inch in diameter, or a mere point, up to one eighth of an inch” (Journal, 4:450-2).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Walden is covered with ice very beautiful with its still reflexes in the ice” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

7 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To Nawshawtuct… About ten minutes before 10 A.M., I hear a very loud sound, and felt a violent jar, which made the house rock and the loose articles on my table rattle, which I knew must be either a powder-mill blown up or an earthquake. No knowing but another and more violent might take place, I immediately ran down-stairs, but I saw from the door a vast expanding column of whitish smoke rising in the west directly over the powder-mills four miles distant. It was unfolding its volumes above, which made it widest there. In three or four minutes it had all risen and spread itself into a lengthening, somewhat copper-colored cloud parallel with the horizon from north to south, and about ten minutes after the explosion it passed over my head, being several miles long from north to south and distinctly dark and smoky toward the north, not nearly so high as the few cirrhi in the sky. I jumped into a man’s wagon and rode toward the mills. In a few minutes more, I saw behind me, far in the east, a faint salmon-colored cloud carrying the news of the explosion to the sea, and perhaps over [the] head of the absent proprietor.

Arrived probably before half past ten. There were perhaps thirty or forty wagons there. The kernel-mill had blown up first, and killed three men who were in it, said to be turning a roller with a chisel. In three seconds after, one of the mixing-houses exploded. The kernel-house was swept away, and fragments, mostly but a foot or two in length, were strewn over the hills and meadows, as if sown, for thirty rods, and the slight snow then on the ground was for the most part melted around. The mixing-house, about ten rods west, was not so completely dispersed, for the most of the machinery remained, a total wreck. The press-house, about twelve rods east, had two thirds [of] its boards off, and a mixing-house next westward from that which blew up had lost some boards on the east side. The boards fell out (i.e. of those buildings which did not blow up), the air within apparently rushing out to fill up the vacuum occasioned by the explosions, and so, the powder being bared to the fiery particles in the air, another building explodes. The powder on the floor of the bared press-house was six inches deep in some places, and the crowd were thoughtlessly going into it. A few windows were broken thirty or forty rods off. Timber six inches square and eighteen feet long were thrown over a hill eighty feet high at least, - a dozen rods; thirty rods was about the limit of fragments. The drying-house in which was a fire, was perhaps twenty-five rods distant and escaped. Every timber and piece of wood which was blown up was as black as if it had been dyed, except where it had broken on falling, other breakages were completely concealed by the color. I mistook what had been iron hoops in the woods for leather straps. Some of the clothes of the men were in the tops of the trees, where undoubtedly their bodies had been and left them. The bodies were naked and black, some limbs and bowels here and there, and a head at some distance from its trunk. The feet were bare; the hair singed to a crisp. I smelt the powder half a mile before I got there. Put the different buildings thirty rods apart, and then but one will blow up at a time.

Brown thinks my red-headed bird of the winter the lesser redpoll.

(Journal, 4:452-6)

8 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “At Walden. - The bubbles which I made under the ice by casting on stones here night before last, or forty-eight hours ago, nearly half a foot in diameter, still remain” (Journal, 4:456-8).

9 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

3 P.M. - To Walden and Cliffs… Where the brickmakers got their sand I measured the tap-root of a pitch pine, five inches in diameter at the surface, which extended straight downward into pure sand… The Andromeda Ponds methinks look redder. I walked through one… I see a dogbane sickle-shaped seed-vessel which has not discounted. I open it and let the seeds fly. As I walked the railroad this springlike day, I heard from time to time the sound of stones and earth falling and rolling down the bank in the cuts… As I climbed the Cliff, I paused in the sun and sat on a dry rock, dreaming… Pulling up the johnswort on the face of the Cliff, I am surprised to see the signs of unceasing growth about the roots… I saw to-day the reflected sunset sky in the river, but the colors in the reflection were different from those in the sky.

(Journal, 4:458-61)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Beautiful gray shade of trees on Thoreau pond over gray ice… The best possible summer by Thoreau’s pond. Pools of melted water on T’s pond” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

10 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Went a-chestnutting this afternoon to Smiths’ wood-lot near the Turnpike. Carried four ladies. I raked. We got six and a half quarts, the ground being quite bare and the leaves not frozen. The fourth remarkably mild day. I found thirty-five chestnuts in a little pile under the end of a stick under the leaves, near - within a foot of - what I should call a gallery of a meadow mouse. These galleries were quite common as I raked. There was no nest nor apparent cavity about his store. Aunt M. [Maria Thoreau] found another with sixteen in it. Many chestnuts are still in the burs on the ground. Aunt found a twig which had apparently fallen prematurely, with eight small burs, all within the compass of its five or six inches, and all but one full of nuts.

(Journal, 4:462)

11 and 12 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys two farms and a woodlot on Westford Road for John Le Grosse (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 18 October 1855:

When I was surveying for [John] Legross, as we went to our work in the morning, we passed by the Dudley family tomb, and Legross remarked to me, all in good faith, “Would n’t you like to see old Daddy Dudley? He lies in there. I’ll get the keys if you’d like. I sometimes go in and look at him.”

(Journal, 7:492-4)

12 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Surveying for John Le Grosse. He says that he saw blackbirds about a week ago. He says that the most snow we have had this winter (it has not been more than one inch deep) has been only a “robin snow,” as it is called, i. e . a snow which does not drive off the robins… J. says they have both red and white huckleberries near his house. Described an “old fort,” about the size and shape of a cellar, which he saw in 1816 perhaps across the river near Heywood’s sawmill. This man is continually drinking cider; thinks it corrects some mistake in him; wishes he had a barrel of it in the woods; if he had known he was to be out so long would have brought a jugful; will dun Captain Hutchinson for a drink on his way home. This, or rum, runs in his head, if not in his throat, all the time. Is interested in juniper berries, gooseberries, currants, etc., whether they will make wine; has recipes for this. Eats the juniper berries raw as he walks. Tobacco is another staff of life with him. Thinks, with others, that he has metals on his farm which the divining-rod might find, but is convertible on this point.

(Journal, 4:462-3)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 15 January: “Saw near Le Grosse’s, the 12th, a shrike. He told me about seeing Uncle Charles [Dunbar] once, come to Barrett’s mill with logs, leap over the yoke that drew them and back again. It amused the boys” (Journal, 4:466).

13 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “A drifting snow-storm last night and to-day, the first of consequence; and the first sleighing this winter” (Journal, 4:463).

14 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Snows all day. P.M. - To Walden and Andromeda Ponds” (Journal, 4:463-6).

15 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

9 A.M. - To woods… Mrs. [Sarah Alden] Ripley, told me this afternoon that [John] Russell had decided that green (and sometimes yellow) dust on the under side of stones in walls was a decaying state of Lepraria chlorina, a lichen, - the yellow another species of Lepraria.

(Journal, 4:466-7)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Unrivalled wood-road perfectly white untrod winding Poorhouse hill, with just one touch of soft yet kindling sunlight on the upper end. Wald beautiful now it is coverd [sic] with snow” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 16 January: “Yesterday the hounds were heard. It was a hunter’s day… I met Melvin with his bag full” (Journal, 4:467).

16 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 467-8).

18 January. Stow, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot for Turner Bryant (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

20 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

P.M. - To Walden… Ah, our indescribable winter sky, pure and continent and clear, between emerald (?) and amber (?), such as summer never sees!” (Journal, 4:468).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 21 January: “I think it was January 20th that I saw that which I think an otter track in path under the Cliffs… It finally turned into my old tracks and went toward the river and Fair Haven Pond” (Journal, 4:474).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Most beauteous sunset, never was there such a lovely sky before, never such beauty on all around” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

21 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To the woods by the Deep Cut at 9 o’clock… As I sat looking out the window the other evening just after dark, I saw the lamp of a freight-train, and, near by, just over the train, a bright star, which looked exactly like the former, as if it belonged to a different part of the same train… As I walk the railroad causeway I am, as the last two months, disturbed by the sound of my steps on the frozen ground… In this stillness and at this distance, I hear the nine-o’clock bell in Bedford five miles off, which I might never hear in the village, but here its music surmounts the village din and has something very sweet and noble and inspiring in it, associated, in fact, with the hooting of owls. Returning, I thought I heard the creaking of a wagon just starting form Hubbard’s door, and rarely musical it sounded.

(Journal, 4:468-74)

22 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Faint lisping of the chickadee, as H. calls it” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

23 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain, carrying off the snow and making slosh of the lower half of it. It is perhaps the wettest walking we ever have” (Journal, 4:474).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “But my brains to-day, are in a truly helpless condition… Still, we must live through theses days, must walk & talk, & mark. Rains hard & blows” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

25 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P.M. - To Flint’s Pond, down railroad… What is that long-leaved green plant in the brook in Hosmer’s meadow on the Turnpike? The buttercup leaves appear everywhere when the ground is bare… As I go up Bare Hill, there being only snow enough there to whiten the ground, the last years’ stems of the blueberry (vacillans) give a pink tinge to the hillside, reminding me of red snow, though they do not semble it. I am surprised to see Flint’s Pond a quarter part open, - the middle. Walden, which froze much later, is nowhere open. But Flint’s feels the wind and is shallow… I found some barberry sprouts where the bushes had been cut down not long since, and they were covered with small withered leaves beset with stiff prickles on their edges, and you could see the thorns, as it were gradually passing into leaves, being, as one stage, the nerves of the leaf alone, - starlike and branched thorns, gradually, as you descended the stem, getting some pulp between them. I suppose it was owing to the shortening them in. I still pick chestnuts. Some larger ones proved to contain double meats… I saw to-day, where a creeping juniper had been burnt, radical leaves of johnswort, thistle, clover, dandelion, etc., as well as sorrel and veronica.

(Journal, 4:474-7)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Walden shore to-day in all its festive dress of sunlight, ice, & snow… A large piece of Flint’s pond is open. Handsome winter berry. [Burnt house?]. H. D. T. came over… Abnormal barberry leaves, thorny on edges. Sorrel, buttercup, Johnswort, clover, & thistle leaves… Gathered some chestnuts to-day. Flint’s pond open for perhaps 20 acres.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

26 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Up river on ice 9 A.M., above Pantry… There is now a fine steam-like snow blowing over the ice, which continually lodges here and there, and forthwith a little drift accumulates. But why does it lodge at such regular intervals? I see this fine drifting snow in the air ten or twelve feet high at a distance… Made a roaring fire on the edge of the meadow at Ware (?) Hill in Sudbury… When we got off at some distance from our fire, returning, we saw a light bluish smoke rising as high as the woods above it, though we had not perceived it before, and thought that no one could have detected us. At the fall on Clematis Brook the forms of the ice were admirable… The coarse spray had frozen as it fell on the rocks, and formed shell-like crusts over them, with irregular but beautifully clear and sparkling surface like egg-shaped diamonds, each being the top of a club-shaped and branched fungus icicle. This spray had improved the least core - as the dead and slender rushes drooping over the water - and formed larger icicles about them, shaped exactly like horns, with the skulls often attached, or roots of horns. On similar slight limbs there were built out from the shore and rocks all sorts of fantastic forms, with broader and flatter bases, from which hung stalactites of ice; and on logs in the water were perfect ice fungi of all sizes, under which the water gurgled, flat underneath and hemispherical.

(Journal, 4:477-82)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Excursion up river. Rustling oak-trees. Fine, films of cloud not produced by heat [saw] to-day quite cold. Crost the deep brook on an icy log. A variety of fine icicles. Clematis brook. Horns inverted, drip freeze as they fall. Stalactites, stalagmites, ferns green, organ-pipes, shields. Mt. Misery. Mts & river, The fire lasted long

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

27 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 4:482).

28 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Saw three ducks sailing in the river behind [Moses?] Prichard’s this afternoon, black with white on wings, though these two or three have been the coldest days of the winter, and the river is generally closed. Observed a new wall, of stones recently dug out of the earth, all yellow and easily detected at a distance, not yet gray with lichens… As I approached Bateman’s Pond, the ice looked blue… I saw an improvement, I suppose by William Brown, on the shore of the pond this afternoon, which really is something to tell of. The exploits of the farmer are not often reported even in the agricultural paper, nor are they handed down by tradition from father to son, praiseworthy and memorable as so many of them are… Here was an extensive swamp, level of course as a floor, which first had been cut, then ditched broadly, then burnt over; then the surface paved off, stumps and all, in great slices; then these piled up every six feet, three or four feet high, like countless larger muskrat-cabins, to dry; then fire put to them; and so the soil was tamed. We witnessed the different stages in different parts of the swamp… I tasted some black shrivelled pyrus berries in a spruce swamp; rather sweet.

(Journal, 4:483-4)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Saw 3 ducks in river, which is open below my house. Spruce in swamps. Remarkable rocks; singular splits in them. The world was not made in a day, & singular clearing behind Brown’s, stump ready to run. Ice sky-blue. Batemans pond, next went across beyond A Melvin’s to the Cliff of Spring. But I was hurried along & could not see things well. It is bad to be hurried & against your will specially. I begin to wonder whether I shall ever write any more verse. Went over the fields of B the milkman. a large, energetic farmer. 2 fishers on Bateman’s.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Channing also writes in his journal on 29 January: “Walked yest with H D T; not very pleasing” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

29 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To Walden. Melvin calls the ducks which I saw yesterday sheldrakes; being small, then wood sheldrakes. He never shot any at this season. Saw a woodcock last month; never before. Killed a goshawk (which was eating a rabbit) and a cat owl lately. Says I hear the cat owl. Has got only three or four minks this year. Never saw an otter track.

(Journal, 4:484-9)

30 January. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The most common and conspicuous green leaf on the ground when the snow is off at this season, as at present, is that of the buttercup… On Cliffs… What I have called the Shrub Oak Plain contains comparatively few shrub oaks” (Journal, 4:485-6).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Grass about Boiling spring, looks mighty green & spring-like. It really lacks two & one half solid months of Spring. On Cliffs… A piece of river open at Hubbard’s bathing-place. Wind cold. Mole[-works?] on the meadow.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

31 January. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Found an Indian adze in the bridle-road at the brook just beyond Daniel Clark, Jr.’s house” (Journal, 4:486).

February. New York, N.Y. 1853.

The second of five installments of Thoreau’s “An Excursion to Canada” appears in Putnam’s Monthly Magazine.

1 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Surveying the Hunt farm… Dr. Bartlett tells me that it was Adam Winthrop, a grandson of the Governor, who sold this farm to Hunt in 1701” (Journal, 4:487).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 11 February: “While surveying the Hunt Farm the other day, behind Simon Brown’s house I heard a remarkable echo. In the course of surveying, being obliged to call aloud to my assistant from every side and almost every part of a farm in succession, and at various hours of a day, I am pretty sure to discover an echo if any exists, and the other day it was encouraging and soothing to hear it” (Journal, 4:491-3).

2 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 4:487).

3 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw three ducks in the river… The shallow and curving part of the river behind Cheney’s being open all this winter, they are confined for the most part to this, in this neighborhood” (Journal, 4:487).

5 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Walden, P.M.” (Journal, 4:488-90).

6 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 4:490).

8 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The warm rains have melted off the surface snow or white ice on Walden, down to the dark ice, the color of the water, only three or four inches thick” (Journal, 4:490).

9 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes to Horace Greeley:

Friend Greeley,

I send you inclosed Putnam’s cheque for 59 dollars, which together with the 20” sent last December - make, nearly enough, principal interest of the $75 which you lent me last July - However I regard that loan as a kindness for which I am still indebted to you both principal and interest. I am sorry that my manuscript should be so mangled, insignificant as it is, but I do not know how I could have helped it fairly, since I was born to be a pantheist - if that be the name of me, and I do the deeds of one.

I suppose that Sartain is quite out of hearing by this time, & it is well that I sent him no more.

Let me know how much I am still indebted to you pecuniarily for trouble taken in disposing of my papers - which I am sorry to think were hardly worth our time.

Yrs with new thanks

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 294)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out A generall historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles by John Smith, Collectiones peregrinationum in Indiam Orientalem et Indiam Occidentalem by Theodore de Bry, and Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l’année M. DC. XL. from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

Thoreau also writes in his journal:

At Cambridge to-day. Dr. [Thaddeus William] Harris think the Indians had no real hemp but their apocynum, and, he thinks, a kind of nettle, and an asclepias, etc. He doubts if the dog was indigenous among them. Finds nothing to convince him in the history of New England. Thinks that the potato which is said to have been carried from Virginia by Raleigh was the ground-nut (which is described, I perceived, in Debry (Heriot ?) among the fruits of Virginia), the potato not being indigenous in North America, and the ground-nut having been called wild potato in New England, the north part of Virginia, and not being found in England. Yet he allows that Raleigh cultivated the potato in Ireland. Saw the grizzly bear near the Haymarket to-day, said (?) to weigh nineteen hundred, - apparently too much… Two sables also, that would not be waked up by day, with their faces in each other’s fur. An American chinchilla, and a silver lioness said to be from California.

(Journal, 4:490-1)

10 February. Boston, Mass. 1853.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “Henry Thoreau is here today” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 267).

Concord, Mass. Thoreau begins to survey land on Lexington Road for John B. Moore (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

11 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau continues to survey land on Lexington Road for John B. Moore (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau also writes in his journal: “While surveying for J. Moore to-day, saw a large wood tortoise stirring in the Mill Brook, and several bodies of frogs without their hind legs” (Journal, 4:491-2).

12 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau continues to survey land on Lexington Road for John B. Moore (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

13 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “In the midst of the snow-storm on Sunday (to-day), I was called to window to see a dense flock of snowbirds on and under the pigweed in the garden” (Journal, 4:493).

18 and 19 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau continues to survey land on Lexington Road for John B. Moore (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

23 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Melvin tells me that he saw shiners while fishing in Walden yesterday. The ice-men worked til midnight night before last at Loring’s Pond, to improve the short cold” (Journal, 4:493-4).

26 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes to Elijah Wood:

Mr Wood,

I mentioned to you that Mr. [Michael] Flannery had given me an order on you for ¾ of his wages. I have agreed with him that that arrangement shall not begin to take effect until the first of March 1854.

yrs

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 294-5)

27 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

A week or two ago I brought home a handsome pitch pine cone which had recently fallen and was closed perfectly tight. It was put into a table drawer. To-day I am agreeably surprised to find that it has there dried and opened with perfect regularity, filing the drawer, and from a solid, narrow, and sharp cone, has become a broad, rounded one.

(Journal, 4:494)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 6 March: “Last Sunday I plucked some alder (apparently speckled) twigs, some (apparently tremuloides) aspen, and some swamp (?) willow and put them in water in a warm room” (Journal, 5:5).

28 February. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes to H. G. O. Blake:

Mr Blake,

I have not answered your letter before because I have been almost constantly in the fields surveying of late. It is long since I have spent so many days so profitably in a pecuniary sense; so unprofitably, it seems to me, in a more important sense. I have earned just a dollar a day for 76 days past; for though I charge at a higher rate for the days which are seen to be spent, yet so many more are spent than appears. This is instead of lecturing, which has not offered to pay for that book which I printed. I have not only cheap hours, but cheap weeks and months, i.e. weeks which are bought at the rate I have named. Not that they are quite lost to me, or make me very melancholy, alas! for I too often take a cheap satisfaction in so spending them, - weeks of pasturing 

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 295-300)

March. New York, N.Y. 1853.

The third of five installments of Thoreau’s “An Excursion to Canada” appears in Putnam’s Monthly Magazine.

3 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 5 March: “The day before [i.e. two days ago] went to the Corner Spring to look at the tufts of green grass” (Journal, 5:3).

4 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 5 March: “Yesterday I got my grape cuttings” (Journal, 5:3).

5 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “F. [Frank] Brown showed me to-day some lesser redpolls which he shot yesterday… The secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Science requests me, as he probably has thousands of others, by a printed circular letter from Washington the other day, to fill the blank against certain questions, among which the most important one was what branch of science I was specially interested in, using the term science in the most comprehensive sense possible” (Journal, 5:3-5). [See 19 December for Thoreau’s reply.]

6 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “This morning, the ground being still covered with snow, there was quite a fog over the river and meadows, which I think owing to a warm atmosphere over the cold snow. P. M. - To Lee’s Hill. Stedman Buttrick calls the ducks which we see in winter, widgeons and wood sheldrakes” (Journal, 5:5-7).

7 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P.M. - to Walden, Goose, and Flint’s Ponds, and chestnut wood by Turnpike… Gathered a few chestnuts… Found the yellow bud of a Nuphar advena in the ditch on the Turnpike on E. [Edmund] Hosmer’s land” (Journal, 5:7-10).

8 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “10 A.M. - Rode to Saxonville with F. [Frank] Brown to look at a small place for sale, via Wayland. Return by Sudbury” (Journal, 5:10-12).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “T. has found Nuphar-bud, no cabbage, no early bird” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

9 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain, dissolving the snow and raising the river… So the relaxed and loosened (?) alder catkins and the extended willow catkins and poplar catkins are the first signs of reviving vegetation which I have witnessed. Minott thinks, and quotes some old worthy as authority for saying, that the bark of the striped squirrel is the, or a, first sign of decided spring weather” (Journal, 5:12).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Twigs of willow young bright yellow” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

10 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P.M. - To Second Division Brook… I see many middling-sized black spiders on the edge of the snow, very active. By John Hosmer’s ditch by the riverside I see the skunk-cabbage springing freshly… Many plants are to some extent evergreen, like the buttercup now beginning to start. Methinks the first obvious evidence of spring is the pushing out of the swamp willow catkins, then the relaxing of the earlier alder catkins, then the pushing up of skunk-cabbage spathes … At Nut Meadow Brook crossing we rest awhile on the rail, gazing into the eddying stream. The ripple-marks on the sandy bottom, where silver spangles shine in the river with lack wrecks of caddis-cases lodged under each shelving sand, the shadows of the invisible dimples reflecting prismatic colors on the bottom, the minnows already stemming the current with restless, wiggling tails, ever and anon darting aside, probably to secure some invisible mote in the water, whose shadows we do not at first detect on the sandy bottom… I am surprised to find on the rail a young tortoise… The early poplars are pushing forward their catkins, though they make not so much display as the willows. Still in some parts of the woods it is good sledding. At Second Division Brook, the fragrance of the senecio, which is decidedly evergreen, which I have bruised, is very permanent and brings round the year again. It is a memorable sweet meadowy fragrance. I find a yellow-spotted tortoise (Emys guttata) in the brook… Minott says that old Sam Nutting, the hunter, - Fox Nutting, Old Fox, he was called, - who died more than forty years ago (he lived in Jacob Baker’s house, Lincoln; came from Weston) and was some seventy years old then, told him that he had killed no only bear about Fair Haven among the walnuts, but moose!

(Journal, 5:12-16)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Cabbage, ranunculus, alder. Little spotted tortoise, minnows shadows tail, wiggles head upstream, insects, snow-spiders, synecio [?] smells like sweet-brier. 2 division brook, populus tremuloides. Much ice & snow in the woods, large spotted turtle. Caltha, tadpoles.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

11 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes to George William Curtis:

Mr. Curtis:

Together with the ms of my Cape Cod adventures Mr [George Palmer] Putnam sends me only the first 70 or 80 (out of 200) pages of the “Canada,” all which having been printed is of course of no use to me. He states that “the remainder of the mss. seems to have been lost at the printers’.” You will not be surprised if I wish to know if it actually is lost, and if reasonable pains have been taken to recover it. Supposing that Mr. P. may not have had an opportunity to consult you respecting its whereabouts - or have thought it of importance enough to inquire after particularly - I write again to you to whom I entrusted it to assure you that it is of more value to me than may appear.

With your leave I will improve this opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of another cheque from Mr. Putnam.

I trust that if we ever have any intercourse hereafter it may be something more cheering than this curt business kind.

Yrs,

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 301)

12 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P.M. - To Cliffs and Fairhaven… Saw the first lark rise from the railroad causeway and sail on quivering wing over the meadow to alight on a heap of dirt. Was that a mink we saw at the Boiling Spring?... Fair Haven Pond is nearly half open… It is a rare lichen day… Looking behind the bark of a dead white pine, I find plenty of small gnats quite lively and ready to issue forth as soon as the sun comes out.

(Journal, 5:16-18)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

1st M. Lark. [meadowlark] Insects under bark of an old pine. Chickadees. Fairhaven half open, Wald closed. Lichens in Iron-spring swamp.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

13 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A.M. - To Cliffs… P.M. No sap flows yet from my hole in the white maple by the bridge. Found on the Great Fields a fragment of Indian soapstone ware, which, judging from its curve and thinness, for a vestige of the rim remains, was a dish of the form and size of a saucer, only three times as thick.

(Journal, 5:18-19)

14 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P.M. - Repairing my boat… Lowell Fay tells me that he overtook with a boat and killed last July a woodchuck which was crossing the river at Hollowell Place. He also says that the blacksmith of Sudbury has two otter skins taken in that town.” (Journal, 5:20).

15 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To-day the weather is severely and remarkably cold. It is not easy to keep warm in my chamber. I have not taken a more blustering walk the past winter than this afternoon. C. [William Ellery Channing] says he has heard a striped squirrel and seen a water-bug (Gyrinus), - it must have been on Saturday (12th) [Channing actually notes, “1st Water-bug” on 14 March.]... In the woods beyond Peters we heard our dog, a large Newfoundland dog, barking at something, and, going forward, were amused to see him barking while he retreated with fear at that black oak with remarkable excrescence, which had been cut off just above it, leaving it like some misshapen idol about the height of a man. Tough we set him on to it, he did not venture within three or four rods. I would not have believed hat he would notice any such strange thing.

(Journal, 5:20-1)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Cold, blowy” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

16 March. New York, N.Y. 1853.

Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir, -

I have yours of the 9th, inclosing Putnam’s check for $59, making $79 in all you have paid me. I am paid in full, and this letter is your receipt in full. I don’t want any pay for my “services,” whatever they may have been. Consider me your friend who wished to serve you, however unsuccessfully. Don’t break with C [George William Curtis] or Putnam.

Yours,

Horace Greeley.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 301-2)

17 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “[William Ellery] Channing says he saw blackbirds yesterday; F. C. [Frank] Brown, that they were getting ice out of Loring’s Pond yesterday. P.M. - Rode to Lexington with Brown” (Journal, 5:21-2).

18 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P.M. - To Conantum… Now, then, spring is beginning again in earnest after this short check… I no sooner step out of the house than I hear the bluebirds in the air, and far and near, everywhere except in the woods, throughout the town you may hear them… Everywhere also, all over the town, within an hour or two have come out little black two-winged gnats with plumed or fuzzy shoulders. When I catch one in my hands, it looks like [a] bit of black silk ravelling. I hear the chuck, chuck of a blackbird in the sky, whom I cannot detect… And there’s the great gull I came to see, already fishing in front of Bittern Cliff… The ice in Fair Haven is more than half melted… Hearing a faint quack, I looked up and saw two apparently dusky ducks winging their swift way northward over the course of the river. [William Ellery] Channing says he saw some large white-breasted ducks to-day, and also a frog. I have seen dead frogs, as if killed while dormant.

(Journal, 5:22-7)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

1st true spring day. Air full of bluebirds songs. Cawing crows. great gull going up the meadows. River pretty high. Ice mostly out of it. First frogs, a large one of the palustris. Little frogs. Duck, crows, blackbird. Robins.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

19 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Observed the leaves of a dock in the water more forward than any vegetation I have noticed” (Journal, 5:27).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 20 March:

Yesterday I forgot to say I painted my boat. Spanish brown and raw oil were the ingredients. I found the painter had sold me the brown in hard lumps as big as peas, which I could not reduce with a stick; so I passed the whole when mixed through an old coffee-mill, which made a very good paint-mill, catching it in an old coffee-pot, whose holes I puttied up, there being a lack of vessels; and then I broke up the coffee-mill and nailed a part over the bows to protect them, the boat is made so flat. I had first filled the seams with some grafting-wax I had, melted.

(Journal, 5:27-31)

20 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

8 A.M. - Via Walden, Goose, Flint’s, and Beaver Ponds and the valley of Stony Brook to the south end of Lincoln. A rather cool and breezy morning, which was followed by milder day. We go listening for early birds, with bread and cheese for our dinners… Saw a bluish-winged beetle or two. In a stubble-field east of Mt. Tabor, started up a pack (though for number, about twenty, it may have been a bevy) of quail, which went off to some young pitch pines, with a whir like a shot, the plump, round birds. The redpolls are still numerous. On the warm, dry cliff, looking south over Beaver Pond, I was surprised to see a large butterfly, black with buff-edged wings, so tender a creature to be out so early, and, when alighted, opening and shutting its wings… Cutting a maple for a bridge over Lily Brook, I was rejoiced to see a sap falling in large, clear drops from the wound.

(Journal, 5:27-31)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Walked with H.D.T. Butterfly dark purple yellow borders to the wings. Black beetle. Four months yest. since I began this book. Good summer walk the other side of [Loring H.?] Austin’s. Bevey [?] quails.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

21 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Morning along the River… P.M. - To Kibbe Place. The Stellaria media is fairly in bloom in Mr. Cheney’s garden… I see the Fringilla hyemalis on the old Carlisle road… I sit down by a wall to see if I can muse again… Came home through the Hunt pasture… J. Farmer saw a phœbe to-day. They build in his cellar. I hear a few peepers from over the meadows at my door in the evening.

(Journal, 5:31-6)

22 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A.M. - To Cliffs… The chill-lill of the blue snowbirds is heard again. A partridge goes off on Fair Haven Hill-side… I detect a few catkins at a distance by their distinct yellowish color… P.M. - To Martial Mile’s Meadow, by boat to Nut Meadow Brook. Launched my new boat… The cranberries now make a show under water, and I always make it a point to taste a few… C. [William Ellery Channing] says he saw a painted tortoise yesterday. Very likely. We started two ducks feeding behind a low spit of meadow… The spear-heads of the skunk-cabbage are now quite conspicuous… At Nut Meadow Brook, water-bugs and skaters are now plenty… C. saw a frog. Hubbard’s field a smooth russet bank lit by the setting sun and the pale skim-milk sky above. I told Stacy the other day that there was another volume of De Quincey’s Essays (wanting to see it in his library). “I know it,” says he, “but I shan’t buy any more of them, for nobody reads them.” I asked what book in his library was most read. He said, “The Wide, Wide World.”

(Journal, 5:36-41)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal:

Many spotted tortoise. Fringilla hyemalis, common Snow-bird arrives this day. Willow catkins almost out, also alder Small water-bugs, also skaters… This spring (H. D. T.) 16 days earlier than the last. Some snow still in cold woods, also ice on Brown’s little pond. Cranberries many. Cabbage more raised.

(William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

23 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5 A.M. - I hear the robin sing before I rise. 6 A.M. - Up the North River… P.M. - To Howard’s meadow. The telegraph harp sounds more commonly, now that westerly winds prevail… The ice went out of Walden this forenoon… The pads at Howard’s meadow are very forward… I go to look for mud turtles in Heywood’s meadow.

(Journal, 5:41-6)

24 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A.M. - By river to Hemlocks… Saw two gray squirrels coursing over the trees on the Rock Island… P.M. - To Second Division Brook. The white pine wood, freshly cut, piled by the side of the Charles Miles road, is agreeable to walk beside… C. [William Ellery Channing] declares that Miss Ripley spent one whole season studying the lichens on a stick of wood they were about to put on the fire… I tied a string round what I take to be the Alnus incana, two or three rods this side of Jenny’s Road, on T. Wheeler’s ditch… A yellow lily bud already yellow at the Tortoise Ditch, Nut Meadow. Those little holes in sandy fields and on the sides of hills, which I see so numerously as soon as the snow is off and the frost out of the ground, are probably made by the skunk in search of bugs and worms, as Rice says.

(Journal, 5:46-50)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 25 March: “I forgot to say yesterday that several little groves of alders on which I had set my eye had been cut down the past winter. One in Trillium Woods was a favorite because it was so dense and regular, its outline rounded as if it were a moss bed; and another more than two miles from this, at Dugan’s, which I went to see yesterday, was then being cut, like the former, to supply charcoal for powder” (Journal, 5:50).

25 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A.M. - To Brister’s Hill… 11 A.M. - To Framingham. A Lincoln man heard a flock of geese, he thinks it was day before yesterday. Measured a white oak in front of Mr. Billing’s new house, about one mile beyond Saxonville, - twelve and one twelfth feet in circumference at four feet from the ground (the smallest place within ten feet from the ground), fourteen feet circumference at ground, and a great spread. Frank’s place is on the Concord River within less than ten miles of Whitehall Pond in Hopkinton, one of [the sources], perhaps the principal source, of the river. I thought that a month hence the stream would not be twenty feet wide there. Mr. Wheeler, auctioneer, of Framingham, told me that the timber of the factory at Saxonville was brought by water to within about one mile of where the mill stands. There is a slight rapid. Brown says that he saw the north end of Long Pond covered with ice the 22d, and that R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] saw the south end entirely open.

(Journal, 5:50-3)

26 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

There is a large specimen of what I take to be the common alder by the poplar at Egg Rock… Saw about 10 A.M. a gaggle of geese, forty-three in number, in a very perfect harrow flying northeasterly… At first I heard faintly, as I stood by Minott’s gate, borne to me from the southwest through the confused sounds of the village, the indistinct honking of geese. I was somewhat surprised to find that Mr. Loring at his house should have heard and seen the same flock… Goodwin was six geese in Walden about eh same time… P.M. - Up Assabet to stone-heaps, in boat… Went forth just after sunset. A storm gathering, an April-like storm. I hear now in the dusk only the song sparrow along the fences and a few hylas at a distance. And now the rattling drops compel me to return.

(Journal, 5:53-5)

27 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P.M. - To Martial Miles’s. The skunk-cabbage in full bloom under the Clamshell Hill… I see but on tortoise (Emys guttata) in Nut Meadow Brook now… Tried to see the faint-croaking frogs at J. P. Brown’s Pond in the woods… Did not see frog spawn in the pool by Hubbard’s Wood.

(Journal, 5:55-8)

28 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

My Aunt Maria asked me to read the life of Dr. [Thomas] Chalmers, which however I did not promise to do. Yesterday, Sunday, she was heard through the partition shouting to my Aunt Jane, who is deaf, “Think of it! He stood half an hour to-day to hear the frogs croak, and he wouldn’t read the life of Chalmers.” 6 A.M. - To Cliffs… P.M. - To Assabet… I saw in Dodd’s yard and flying thence to the alders by the river what I think must be the tree sparrow.

(Journal, 5:28-60)

Boston, Mass. Amos Bronson Alcott writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson on 30 March: “on Monday Thoreau read me parts of ‘The Walden Life’ which you will be pleased to learn is now printing for us, and its publick” (The Letters of A. Bronson Alcott, 165).

29 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A.M. - To Leaning Hemlocks, by boat… From Cheney’s boat-house I hear very distinctly the tapping of a woodpecker at the Island about a quarter of a mile… P.M. - To early willow behind Martial Miles’s… On the railroad I hear the telegraph… Under the south side of Clamshell Hill, in the sun, the air is filled with those black fuzzy gnats and I hear a fine hum from them… Walking along near the edge of the meadow under Lupine Hill, I slumped through the sod into a muskrat’s nest, for the sod was only two inch thick over it, which was enough when it was frozen… A wood tortoise in Nut Meadow Brook… Dugan tells me that three otter were dug out the past winter in Deacon Farrar’s wood-lot, side of the swamp, by Powers and Willis of Sudbury. He has himself seen one in the Second Division woods. He saw two pigeons to-day. Prated [sic] for them; they came near and then flew away. He saw a woodchuck yesterday… Dugan wished to get some guinea-hens to keep off the hawks.

(Journal, 5:60-71)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 4 April: “The other day, when I had been standing perfectly still some ten minutes, looking at a willow which had just blossomed, some rods in the rear of Martial Miles’s house, I felt eyes on my back and, turning round suddenly, saw the heads of two men who had stolen out of the house and were watching me over a rising ground as fixedly as I the willow” (Journal, 5:92).

30 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P.M. - To Cliffs. The gooseberry leaves in the garden are just beginning to show a little green… Seeing one of those little holes (which I have thought were made by beetles or dor-bugs) in Wheeler’s upland rye-field near the Burying-Ground, the mouth walled about like a well with a raised curb with fragments of dried grass and little bits of wood, I resolved to explore it, but after the first shovelful I lost the trace of it, for I had filled it with sand” (Journal, 5:71-75).

31 March. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - To Island by boat… 9 A. M. - To Lincoln, surveying for Mr. [Loring H.] Austin” (Journal, 5:75-8).

1 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To Dugan’s… Saw ten black ducks at Clamshell… The gooseberry in Brown’s pasture shows no green yet, though ours in the garden does… Starlight by river up Assabet… Ascend Nawshawtuct. See a fire in horizon toward Boston.

(Journal, 5:79-83)

2 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5.30 A. M. - Down railroad… Found twenty or thirty of the little brown nuts of the skunk-cabbage deposited on a shelf of the turf under an apple tree by E. [Ebenezer] Hubbard’s close, as I have done before… P. M. to Second Division Brook… Was that Rana fontinalis or pipiens in the pool by E. Wood’s railroad crossing? The first large frog I have seen. C. [William Ellery Channing] says a wasp lit on him. A wood tortoise by river above Derby’s Bridge… Heard the hooting owl in Ministerial Swamp… Cheney’s elm blossomed to-day… Observed the first female willow just coming out, apparently Salix eriocephala, just beyond woods by Abel Hosmer’s field by railroad.

(Journal, 5:83-6)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Bost. & 2 Div. Brook. Wood tortoise Fox-colord Sparrow, owl?” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

3 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs. At Hayden’s I hear hylas on two keys or notes… The female Populus tremuliformis catkins, narrower and at present more red and somewhat less downy than the male, west side of railroad at Deep Cut” (Journal, 5:86-9).

4 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Rain, rain. To Clematis Brook via Lee’s Bridge… I hear the hollow sound of drops falling into the water under Hubbard’s Bridge, and each one makes a conspicuous bubble which is floated down-stream… At Conantum End I saw a red-tailed hawk launch himself away from an oak by the pond at my approach, - a heavy flier, flapping even like the great bittern at first, - heavy forward. After turning Lee’s Cliff I heard, methinks, more birds singing even than in fair weather (Journal, 5:89-93).

5 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:93).

6 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A. M. - To Cliffs… Now, 8.30 A. M., it rains… P. M. - To Second Division Brook. Near Clamshell Hill, I scare up in succession four pairs of good-sized brown or grayish-brown ducks… I see, in J. P. Brown’s field, by Nut Meadow Brook, where a hen has been devoured by a hawk probably… Returning by Harrington’s, saw a pigeon woodpecker flash away… The robins, too, now toward sunset, perched on the old apple trees in Tarbell’s orchard, twirl forth their evening lays unweariedly.

(Journal, 5:93-8)

7 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A. M. - I did not notice any bees on the willows I looked at yesterday, though so many on the cabbage… Saw and heard this morning, on a small elm and the wall by Badger’s, a sparrow (?)... 10 A. M. - Down river in boat to Bedford, with C. [William Ellery Channing] A windy, but clear, sunny day; cold wind from northwest… River has risen from last rains, and we cross the Great Meadows, scaring up many ducks at a great distance… A hawk above Ball’s Hill… Walk in and about Tarbell’s Swamp… Crossed to Bedford side to see where [they] had been digging out (probably) a woodchuck. How handsome the river from those hills! The river southwest of the Great Meadows a sheet of sparkling molten silver, with broad lagoons parted from it by curving lines of low bushes; to the right or northward now, at 2 or 3 P. M., a dark blue, with small smooth, light edgings, firm plating, under the lee of the shore… Approach near to Simon Brown’s ducks, on river… As we stand on Nawshawtuct at 5 P. M., looking over the meadows, I doubt if there is a town more adorned by its river than ours.

(Journal, 5:98-102)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes in his journal: “Cool, clear. Chip sparrow. Down river” (William Ellery Channing notebooks and journals. Houghton Library, Harvard University).

8 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A. M. - To Abel Hosmer’s ring-post… The male Populus grandidentata appears to open very gradually, beginning sooner than I supposed. It shows some of its red anthers long before it opens. There is a female on the left, on Warren’s Path at Deep Cut.

(Journal, 5:103)

9 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To Second Division… On a pitch [pine] on side of J. Hosmer’s river hill, a pine warbler, by ventriloquism sounding farther off than it was, which was seven or eight feet, hopping and flitting from twig to twig, apparently picking the small flies at and about the base of the needles at the extremities of the twigs… Small light-brown lizards, about five inches long, with somewhat darker tails, and some a light line along back, are very active, wiggling off, in J. P. Brown’s ditch, with pollywogs. Beyond the desert, hear the hooting owl, which, as formerly, I at first mistook for the hounding of a dog, - a squealing eee followed by hoo hoo hoo deliberately, and particularly sonorous and ringin. This at 2 P.M… That willow by H.’s Bridge is very brittle at base of stem, but hard to break above… Evening. - Hear the snipe a short time at early starlight

(Journal, 5:103-6)

10 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs…” (Journal, 5:106-8).

Thoreau also writes to H. G. O. Blake:

Mr. Blake, -

Another singular kind of spiritual foot-ball, - really nameless, handleless, homeless, like myself, - a mere arena for thoughts and feelings; definite enough outwardly, indefinite more than enough inwardly. But I do not know why we should be styled “misters” or “masters”; we come so near to being anything or nothing, and seeing that we are mastered, and not wholly sorry to be mastered, by the least phenomenon. It seems to me that we are the mere creatures of thought, - one of the lowest forms of intellectual life, we men, - as the sunfish is of animal life. As yet our thoughts have acquired no definiteness nor solidity; they are purely molluscous, not vertebrate; and the height of our existence is to float upward in an ocean where the sun shines, - appearing only like a vast soup or chowder to the eyes of the immortal navigators. It is wonderful that I can be here, and you there, and that we can correspond, and do many other things, when, in fact, there is so little of us, either or both, anywhere. In a few minutes, I expect, this slight film or dash of vapor that I am will be what is called asleep, - resting! forsooth from what? Hard work? and thought? The hard work of the dandelion down, which floats over the meadow all day; the hard work of a pismire that labors to raise a hillock all day, and even by moonlight. Suddenly I can come forward into the utmost apparent distinctness, and speak with a sort of emphasis to you; and the next moment I am so faint an entity, and make so slight an impression, that nobody can find the traces of me. I try to hunt myself up, and find the [...]

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 302-4)

11 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “9 A. M. - To Haverhill via Cambridge and Boston. Dr. [Thaddeus William] Harris says that that early black-winged, buff-edge butterfly is the Vanessa Antiopa… At Natural History Rooms… J. E. Cabot thought my small hawk might be Cooper’s hawk. Says that Gould, an Englishman, is the best authority on birds” (Journal, 5:108-10).

12 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys the “Little River” and “McHard” lots for James H. Duncan (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

13 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Haverhill…” (Journal, 5:110).

15 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Mouse-car” (Journal, 5:110).

16 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:110).

17 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Visited two houses of refuge about one hundred and sixty years old, two miles or more east of Haverhill village, - the Peaslee houses, substantial brick houses some forty by twenty feet… The Merrimack is yellow and turbid in the spring; will run clear anon… A pleasant hilly country north of Great Pond…” (Journal, 5:111).

19 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Haverhill. - Willow and bass strip freely. Surveying Charles White’s long piece…” (Journal, 5:111).

20 and 21 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

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

20 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw a toad and a small snake” (Journal, 5:111).

21 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Haverhill. - A peach tree in bloom” (Journal, 5:112).

23 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Haverhill. - Martins” (Journal, 5:112).

24 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To and around Creek Pond and back over Parsonage Hill, Haverhill…” (Journal, 5:112-3).

27 April. Haverhill, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Haverhill. - The warbling vireo. Talked with a fisherman at the Burrough [sic], who was cracking and eating walnuts on a post before his hut… He called it Little Concord where I lived” (Journal, 5:113-4).

29 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Return to Concord. At Natural History Rooms in Boston…” (Journal, 5:114).

30 April. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys land for Frances R. Gourgas and the Mill Dam Company (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 7, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau also writes in his journal (Journal, 5:115).

1 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Cliffs… Channing says he has heard the wood thrush, brown thrasher, and stake-driker (?), since I have been gone…” (Journal, 5:116-8).

2 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:118-9).

4 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “8 A. M. - To Walden and Cliffs…” (Journal, 5:119-21).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “If we come out flat-footed, & call our book C. W. [Emerson proposed that Channing prepare a compilation of selected Concordian writings under the title “Country Walking.”] as you propose, & then put in characters like yours, and A’s [Amos Bronson Alcott] & T’s &c, everyone will know (victim & all) who it is” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 209-10).

6 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Nut Meadow Brook and Corner Spring… As I walk through the village at evening, when the air is still damp after the rainy morning, I perceive and am exhilarated by the sweet scent of expanding leaves…” (Journal, 5:121-2).

7 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Forenoon. - Up North River to stone-heaps… A white-throated sparrow (Fringilla Pennsylvanica) died in R. W. E.’s garden this morning… Riding through Lincoln, found the peach bloom now in prime…” (Journal, 5:122-6).

8 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack. A low row of elms just set out by Wheeler from his gate to the old Lee place. The planting of so long a row of trees which are so stately and may endure so long deserves to be recorded…” (Journal, 5:126-30).

9 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

I have devoted most of my day to Mr. Alcott… Saw on Mr. Emerson’s firs several parti-colored warblers… At sundown paddled up the river… Walking to the Cliffs this afternoon, I noticed, on Fair Haven Hill, a season stillness, as I looked over the distant budding forest and heard the buzzing of a fly.

(Journal, 5:130-2)

10 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5 A. M. - Up Railroad…

There is an old pasture behind E. Wood’s incrusted with the clay-like thallus of the bæomyces which is unexpectedly thin…

P. M. - To Saw Mill Brook and Smith’s Hill.

The Nepta Glechoma is out under R. Brown’s poles…

I proceed down the Turnpike…

That sedum (?) by Tuttle’s is now a foot high…

I sit on a rock in Saw Mill Brook…

I leave the woods and begin to ascend Smith’s Hill along the course of the rill…

Return by Mill Brook Ditch Path… The pond, Walden, has risen considerably since the melting.

(Journal, 5:132-42)

11 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5 A. M. - In the morning and evening, when waters are still and smooth, and dimpled by innate currents only, not disturbed by foreign winds and currents of the air, and reflect more light than at noonday. [Sic.] P. M. - To Corner via Hubbard’s Bathing Place… A high blueberry by Potter’s heater piece…” (Journal, 5:143-5).

12 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 A. M. - To Nawshawtuct by river… P.M. - To Black Birch Woods and Yellow Birch Swamp…” (Journal, 5:146-50).

13 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum… At Corner Spring, stood listening to a catbird, sounding a good way off… Heard a stake-driver in Hubbard’s meadow from Corner road…” (Journal, 5:150-2).

14 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

9 A. M. - To Wayland by boat. E. Wood has added a pair of ugly wings to his house, bare of trees and painted white, particularly conspicuous from the river…

Passing Conantum under sail at 10 o’clock, the cows in this pasture are already chewing the cud in the thin shade of the apple trees, a picture of peace, already enjoying the luxury of their green pastures… Suddenly there start up from the riverside at the entrance of Fair Haven Pond, scared by our sail, two great blue herons…

Land at Lee’s Cliff, where the herons have preceded us and are perched on the oaks, conspicuous from afar, and gain we have a fair view of their flight…

Again we embark, now having furled our sail and taken to our oars…

After leaving Rice’s harbor the wind is with us again…

(Journal, 5:152-7)

15 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack…” (Journal, 5:157-60).

16 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “E. Hoar saw the henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) a week ago from Mr. Pritchard’s garden… A man is about town with a wagon-load of the Rhododendron maximum this evening from Gardiner, Maine… At 5 P. M., dark, heavy, wet-looking clouds are seen in the northern horizon, perhaps over the Merrimack Valley, and we say it is going down the river and we shall not get a drop…” (Journal, 5:161-2).

17 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5 A. M. - To Island by boat…

P. M. - To Corner Spring and Fair Haven Cliff…

Returning toward Fair Haven, I perceive at Potter’s fence the first whiff of that ineffable fragrance from the Wheeler meadow…

Sit on Cliffs…

Returning slowly, I sit on the wall of the orchard by the white pine…

Coming home from Spring by Potter’s Path to the Corner road in the dusk, saw a dead-leaf-colored hylodes…

(Journal, 5:162-70).

Thoreau also surveys land for John Raynolds (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

18 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “We have had no storm this spring thus far, but it mizzles to-night…” (Journal, 5:170-1).

19 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Thunder-showers in the night, and it still storms, with holdings-up…” (Journal, 5:171).

Boston, Mass. George William Curtis writes in the [Daily?] Commonwealth:

If every quiet country town in New England had a son, who, with a lore like Shelborne’s, and an eye like Buffon’s, had watched and studied its landscape and history, and then published the result, as Thoreau has done, in a book as redolent of genuine and perceptive sympathy with nature, as a clover-field of honey, New England would seem as poetic and beautiful as Greece.

20 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

6 A. M. - To Island by river…

8 A. M. - To Flint’s Pond… On Pine Hill. - In this clear morning light and a strong wind from the northwest, the mountains in the horizon, seen against some low, thin clouds in the background, look darker and more like earth than usual…

Saw a tanager in Sleepy Hollow…

(Journal, 5:172-6)

21 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet to cress, with Sophia. Land on Island…” (Journal, 5:176-8).

22 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Nobscot with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing]... Left our horse at the Howe tavern. The oldest date on the sign is “D. H. 1716.” An old woman, who had been a servant in the family and said she was ninety-one, said this was the first house built on the spot…” (Journal, 5:178-83).

23 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp…” (Journal, 5:183-8).

24 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

The smooth speedwell is in its prime now, whitening the sides of the back road, above the Swamp Bridge and front of Hubbard’s…

P. M. - Talked, or tried to talk with R. W. E. Lost my time - nay, almost my identity. He, assuming a false opposition where there was no difference of opinion, talked to the wind - told me what I knew - and I lost my time trying to imagine myself somebody else to oppose him…

(Journal, 5:188)

25 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Election day. - Rain yesterday afternoon and to-day. Heard the popping of guns last night and this morning, nevertheless…

Two young men who had borrowed my boat the other day returned from the riverside through Channing’s yard, quietly. It was almost the only way for them. But as they passed out his gate, C. boorishly walked out his house behind them in his shirt-sleeves, and shut his gate behind them as if to shut them out. It was just that sort of behavior which, if he had met with it in Italy, or France, he would have complained of, whose meanness he would have condemned.

(Journal, 5:188-90)

26 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - to Lee’s Cliff…” (Journal, 5:190-2).

27 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 A. M. - To Island… P. M. - To Saw Mill Brook… 8 P. M. - Up Union Turnpike…” (Journal, 5:192-5).

28 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

A rose in the garden.

5 P. M. - To Lupine’s Hill by boat.

The carnival of the year commencing - a warm, moist, hazy air, the water already smooth and uncommonly high, the river overflowing, and yellow lilies all drowned, their stems not long enough to reach the surface. I see the boat-club, or three or four in pink shirts, rowing at a distance…

(Journal, 5:195-8)

29 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hosmer’s Holden place…” (Journal, 5:198-200).

30 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5 A. M. - To Cliffs.

High Blackberry out. As I go by Hayden’s in the still cool morning, the farmer’s door is open - probably his cattle have been attended to - and the odor of the bacon which is being fried for his breakfast fills the air. The dog lies with his paws hanging over the windowsill this agreeably cool morning…

P. M. - To Carlisle Bridge by boat.

A strong but somewhat gusty southerly wind, before which C. [William Ellery Channing] and I sailed all the way from home ot Carlisle Bridge in not far from an hour; the river unusually high for the season…

(Journal, 5:200-3)

31 May. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - A change in the weather…

I am going in search of the Azalea nudiflora. Sophia brought home a single flower without twig or leaf from Mrs. Brook’s last evening. Mrs. Brooks. I find, has a large twig in a vase of water, still pretty fresh, which she says George Melvin gave to her son George. I called at his office. He says that Melvin came in to Mr. Gourgas’s office, where he and others were sitting Saturday evening, with his arms full and gave each a sprig, but he does n’t know where he got it. Somebody, I heard, had seen it at Captain Jarvis’s; so I went there. I found that they had some still pretty fresh in the house. Melvin gave it to them Saturday night, but they did not know where he got it. A young man working at Stedman Buttrick’s said it was a secret; there was only one bush in the town; Melvin knew of it and Stedman knew; when asked, Melvin said he got it in the swamp, or from a bush, etc. The young man thought it grew on the Island across the river on the Wheeler farm. I went on to Melvin’s house, though I did not expect to find him home at this hour, so early in the afternoon. (Saw the wood-sorrel out, a day or two perhaps, by the way.) At length I saw his dog by the door, and knew he was at home.

He was sitting in the shade, bareheaded, at his back door. He had a large pailful of the azaleas recently plucked and in the shade behind his house, which he said he was going to carry to town at evening. He also had a sprig set out. He had been out all forenoon and said he had caught seven pickerel, - perhaps ten [?]. Apparently he had been drinking and was just getting over it. At first he was a little shy about telling me where the azaleas grew, but I saw that I could get it out of him. He dilly-dallied a little; called to his neighbor Farmer, whom he called “Razor,” to know if he could tell me where that flower grew. He called it, by the way, the “red honeysuckle.” This was to prolong the time and make the most of his secret. I felt pretty sure the plant was to be found on Wheeler’s land beyond the river, as the young man had said, for I had remembered how, some weeks before this, when I went up the Assabet after the yellow rocket, I saw Melvin, who had just crossed with his dog, and when I landed to pluck the rocket he appeared out of the woods, said he was after a fish-pole, and asked me the name of my flower. Did n’t think it was very handsome, - “not so handsome as the honeysuckle, is it?” And now I knew it was his “red honeysuckle,” and not the columbine, he meant. Well, I told him he had better tell me where it was; I was a botanist and ought to know. But he thought I couldn’t possibly find it by his directions. I told him that he had better tell me and have the glory of it, for I should surely find it if he didn’t; I’d got a clue to it and shouldn’t give it up. I should go over the river for it. I could smell it a good way, you know. He thought I could smell it half a mile, and he wondered that I had n’t stumbled on it, or Channing. Channing, he said, came close by it once, when it was in flower. He thought he’d surely find it then; but he did n’t, and he said nothing to him.

He told he found it about ten years ago, and he went to it every year. It blossomed at the old election time, and he thought it “the handsomest flower that grows.” Yarrow just out.

In the meanwhile, Farmer, who was hoeing, came up to the wall, and we fell into a talk about Dodge’s Brook, which runs through his farm. A man in Cambridge, he said, had recently written to Mr. Monroe about it, but he did n’t know why. All he knew about the brook was that he had seen it dry and then again, after a week of dry weather in which no rain fell, it would be full again, and either the writer or Monroe said there were only two such brooks in all North America. One of its sources - he thought the principal one was in his land. We all went to it. It was in a meadow, - rather a dry one, once a swamp. He said it never ceased to flow at the head now, since he dug it out, and never froze there. He ran a pole down eight or nine feet into the mud to show me the depth. He had minnows there in a large deep pool, and cast an insect into the water, which they presently rose to and swallowed. Fifteen years ago he dug it out nine feet deep and found spruce logs as big as his leg, which the beavers had gnawed, with the marks of their teeth very distinct upon them; but they soon crumbled away on coming to the air. Melvin, meanwhile, was telling me of a pair of geese be had seen which were breeding in the Bedford Swamp. He had seen them within a day. Last year he got a large brood (11?) of black ducks there

We went down the brook, - Melvin and me and his dog, - and crossed the river in his boat, and he conducted me to where the Azalea nudiflora grew, - it was a little past its prime, perhaps, - and showed me how near Channing came. (“You won’t tell him what I said; will you?” said he.) I offered to pay him for his trouble, but he would n’t take anything. He had just as lief I’d know as not. He thought it first came out last Wednesday, on the 25th.

(Journal, 5:203-8)

1 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 5:209-15).

2 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

3.30 A. M. - When I awake I hear the low universal chirping or twittering of the chip-birds, like the bursting bead on the surface of the uncorked day…

4 A. M. - To Nawshawtuct.

I go to the river in a fog through which I cannot see more than a dozen rods, - three or four times as deep as the houses. As I row down the stream, the dark, dim outlines of the trees on the banks appear…

4 P. M. - To Conantum…

(Journal, 5:215-20)

3 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack…” (Journal, 5:220-1).

4 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “George Minott says he saw many lightning-bugs a warm evening the fore part of this week, after the rains… P. M. - To Hubbard’s Close Swamp…” (Journal, 5:221-2).

5 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5 A. M. - By river to Nawshawtuct… P. M. - To Mason’s pasture…” (Journal, 5:223-5).

6 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4.30 A. M. - To Linnæa Woods… P. M. - To Conantum by boat…” (Journal, 5:225-8).

7 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 5:228-31).

8 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Well Meadow…” (Journal, 5:231-3).

9 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4.30 A. M. - To Nawshawtuct by boat… 8 A. M. - To Orchis Swamp; Well Meadow…” (Journal, 5:233-7).

10 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Another great fog this morning. Haying commencing in front yards.

P. M. - To Mason’s pasture in Carlisle…

as C. [William Ellery Channing] and I go through the town, we hear the cool peep of the robin calling its young, now learning to fly…

(Journal, 5:237-41)

11 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Another fog this morning…” (Journal, 5:241-3).

13 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “9 A. M. - To Orchis Swamp…” (Journal, 5:245-7).

14 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To White Pond…

Went to Harrington’s Bathing-Place. Drank at the Tarbell Spring first…

On the Strawberry Hill on the further side of White Pond, about fifty feet above the pond and a dozen rods from it, found a painted tortoise laying her eggs…

C. says his dog chased a woodchuck yesterday, and it climbed up into an oak and sat on a limb ten or twelve feet high. He killed a young rabbit. Took another bath at the cove in White Pond. We had already bathed in the North River at Harrington’s.

It is about 5 P. M. The pond is perfectly smooth and very beautiful…

With our boat’s prow to the shore, we sat half an hour this evening listening to the bullfrogs…

Went through the woods along the old canal to Haynes’s pasture, form the height of which we looked down on the rich New Hampshire wood we had come out of…

(Journal, 5:247-55)

15 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “A great fog this morning. P. M. - To Trillium Woods… 5 P. M., I hear distinctly the sound of thunder in the northwest, but not a cloud is in sight, only a little thickness or mistiness in that horizon, and we get no shower…” (Journal, 5:255-6).

16 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

4 A. M. - To Nawshawtuct by boat…

Before 4 A. M., or sunrise, the sound of chip-birds and robins and bluebirds, etc., fills the air and is incessant…

At sunrise, however, a slight mist curls along the surface of the water. When the sun falls on it, it looks like a red dust…

Bathed in Assabet at Leaning Hemlocks and examined the stone-heaps, now partly exposed to the air, but found nothing…

P. M. - To Baker Farm by boat…

We sailed all the way back from the Baker Farm, though the wind blew very nearly at right angles with the river much of the way…

At Bittern Cliff, on the south side, the little earth on the rocks is already parched and the shrubs are withering with drought…

(Journal, 5:257-63)

17 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Here have been three ultra-reformers, lecturers on Slavery, Temperance, the Church, etc., in and about our house and Mrs. Brooks’s the last three or four days, - A. D. Foss, once a Baptist minister in Hopkinton, N.H.; Loring Moody, a sort of travelling pattern-working chaplain; and H. C. Wright, who shocks old women with his infidel writings. Though Foss was a stranger to the others, you would have thought them old and familiar cronies…

P.M. - To Walden…

(Journal, 5:263-70)

18 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

4 A. M. - By boat to Nawshawtuct; to Azalea Spring, or Pinxter Spring…

P. M. - To Island by boat…

At the Flower Exhibition, saw the rhododendron plucked yesterday in Fitzwilliam, N. H…

8.30 P. M. - To Cliffs.

Moon not quite full. Going across Depot Field…

(Journal, 5:270-81)

Thoreau also writes to Eben Loomis, belatedly thanking him for sending American ephemeris and nautical almanac, which he has not yet used (Loomis-Wilder family papers. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library).

19 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Flint’s Pond… Returned by Smith’s Hill and the Saw Mill Brook. Got quite a parcel of strawberries on the hill…” (Journal, 5:281-2).

20 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4 A. M. - No fog; sky mostly overcast; drought continues… 10 A. M. - To Assabet Bathing-Place… P. M. - Up North River to Nawshawtuct…” (Journal, 5:283-6).

Circa 21 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

H is military

H seemed stubborn & implacable; always manly & wise, but rarely sweet. One would say that as Webster could never speak without an antagonist, so H. does not feel himself except in opposition. He wants a fallacy to expose, a blunder to pillory, requires a little sense of victory, a roll of the drus, to call his powers into full exercise.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 13:183)

21 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4.30 A. M. - Up river for lilies… P. M. - To Conantum… At sunset to Island…” (Journal, 5:286-90).

22 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 P. M. - To Walden and Fair Haven Hill…” (Journal, 5:290-5).

23 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

5 A. M. - Up Union Turnpike…

1.30 P. M. - to White Pond…

After bathing I paddled to the middle in the leaky boat… Now, at about 5 P. M., only at long intervals is a bullfrog’s trump heard…

I was just roused from my writing by the engine’s whistle, and, looking out, saw shooting through the town two enormous pine sticks stripped of their bark, just from the Northwest and going to Portland Navy-Yard, they say. Before I could call Sophia, they had got round the curve and only showed their ends on their way to the Deep Cut…

(Journal, 5:295-9)

, 5:295-9)

24 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Boated to Clamshell Hill…” (Journal, 5:290-302).

25 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Assabet Bathing-Place…” (Journal, 5:302-3).

26 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 P. M. - To Cliffs. Carrot by railroad… A beautiful sunset about 7.30; just clouds enough in the west (we are on Fair Haven Hill); they arrange themselves about eh western gate…” (Journal, 5:303-6).

27 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4.30 A. M. - To Island by river…” (Journal, 5:306-8).

28 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:308).

29 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:308).

30 June. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Succory on the bank under my window, probably from flowers I have thrown out within a year or two. A rainbow in the west this morning. Hot weather” (Journal, 5:308).

Summer. Cambridge, Mass. 1853.

Louis Agassiz sends a form letter to Thoreau:

Dear Sir, -

Having been engaged for several years in the preparation of a Natural History of the Fishes of the United States, I wish, before beginning the printing of my work, to collect as extensive materials as possible, respecting the geographical distribution of these animals. It has occurred to me, that by means of a circular containing directions for collecting fishes I might obtain the information required. I should, indeed, like to secure separate collections of our fishes from every bay and inlet along the coast, and from every stream, river, creek, lake, and pond upon the mainland, throughout the whole country, and am satisfied that such collections would furnish invaluable information respecting the geographical distribution of our aquatic animals. I would thank you for any assistance and contribution you can furnish from your quarter of the country, and duly acknowledge it in my work; and since I extend my investigations to all the branches of Natural History, any specimens besides fishes, which may be obtained, would be equally acceptable, including geological specimens and fossil remains. In return I would propose exchanges of other specimens if desired, or reciprocate the favor in any other way in my power, and pay the expenses incurred in making collections for me. Specimens from foreign countries are also solicited, especially when their origin is satisfactorily ascertained. Any person into whose hands this circular may come, feeling inclined to correspond with me upon these subjects, is requested to address me under the following direction: -

L. AGASSIZ,

Professor of Zoölogy and Geology in the

Lawrence Scientific School, at

Cambridge, Mass.

[Followed by “Directions for collecting fishes and other objects of natural history.”]

(Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 194-7; MS, Harry Elkins Widener collection. Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Late June or Early July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

Sylvan could go wherever woods & waters were & no man was asked for leave. Once or twice the farmer withstood, but it was to no purpose, - he could as easily prevent the sparrows or tortoises. It was their land before it was his, & their title was precedent. S. knew what was on their land, & they did not; & he sometimes brought them ostentatiously gifts of flowers or fruits or shrubs which they would gladly have paid great prices for, & did not tell them that he took them from their own woods.

Moreover the very time at which he used their land & water (for his boat glided like a trout every where unseen,) was in hours when they were sound asleep. Long before they were awake he went up & down to survey like a sovereign his possessions, & he passed onward, & left them before the farmer came out of doors. Indeed it was the common opinion of the boys that Mr T. made Concord.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 13:187)

July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau surveys the “Burying Ground Street” and two proposed roads, one towards Bedford and one from the Burying Ground to William Pedrick’s house (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, ; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

1 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I am surveying the Bedford road these days, and have no time for my Journal. Saw one of those great pea-green emperor moths, like a bird, fluttering over the top of the woods this forenoon, 10 A. M., near Beck Stow’s. Gathered the early red blackberry in the swamp or meadow this side of Pedrick’s, where I ran a pole down nine feet…” (Journal, 5:309).

2 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The peetweets are quite noisy about he rocks in Merrick’s pasture when I approach…” (Journal, 5:309).

3 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The oven-bird’s nest in Laurel Glen is near the edge of an open pine wood, under a fallen pine twig and a heap of dry oak leaves…” (Journal, 5:310-1).

4 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The cotton-grass at Beck Stow’s… At Lee’s Cliff, under the slippery elm…” (Journal, 5:311-2).

5 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Raspberries, some days.

Such a habit have cows in a pasture of moving forward while feeding that, in surveying on the Great Fields to-day, I was interrupted by a herd of a dozen cows, which successively passed before my line of vision, feeding forward, and I had to watch my opportunity to look between them. Sometimes, however, they were of use, when they passed behind a birch stake and made a favorable background against which to see it.

(Journal, 5:312)

6 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I can sound the swamps and meadows on the line of the new road to Bedford with a pole, as if they were water… I drink at the black and sluggish run which rises in Pedrick’s Swamp and at the clearer and cooler one at Moore’s Swamp, and, as I lie on my stomach, I am surprised at the quantity of decayed wood continually borne past…” (Journal, 5:312-3).

7 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Is that a utricularia which fills the water at the north end of Beck Stow’s? Sarsaparilla berries ripe. Paddled up the river this morning…” (Journal, 5:313).

8 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:313).

10 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “A rough eupatorium budded at Hubbard’s burning… At Cardinal Shore a large Polygonum amphibium…” (Journal, 5:313-4).

11 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Centaurea nigra, some time, Union Turnpike, against E. Wood’s, low ground, and Ludwigia alternifolia, apparently just begun, at entrance to poke-logan near Assabet Bathing-Place…” (Journal, 5:314).

12 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The green-flowered lanceolate-leafed orchis at Azalea Brook will soon flower…” (Journal, 5:315).

13 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Purple bladderwort (Utricularia purpurea), not long, near Hollowell place… On the hard, muddy shore opposite Dennis’s, in the meadow, Hypericum Sarothra in dense fields, also Canadense…” (Journal, 5:315-6).

14 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw something blue, or glaucous, in Beck Stow’s Swamp to-day… A very tall ragged orchis by the Heywood Brook…” (Journal, 5:316).

15 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Near Loring’s ram that coarse mustard-like branched plant…” (Journal, 5:216-7).

16 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rhus copallina behind Bent’s, budded, not quite open. Solidago stricta (?) at Cato’s cellar, a day or two… Is it the Potamogeton heterophyllus in Walden, now in flower and for some time?…” (Journal, 5:317).

17 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Young toads not half an inch long at Walden shore. The smooth sumach resounds with the hum of bees, wasps, etc., at Water-target Pond… A duck at Goose Pond…” (Journal, 5:317).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 23 July: “The young pouts were two and a half inches long in Flint’s Pond the 17th” (Journal, 5:325).

18 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “8.30 A. M. - To Sudbury meadows with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] by boat…” (Journal, 5:317-9).

19 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Clematis has been open a day or two…” (Journal, 5:319).

20 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Nawshawtuct at moonrise with Sophia…” (Journal, 5:319-22).

21 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “2 P. M. - Went, in pursuit of boys who had stolen my boat-seat, to Fair Haven…” (Journal, 5:322-4).

22 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack…” (Journal, 5:324-5).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 23 July: “Bathing yesterday in the Assabet, I saw that many breams, apparently an old one with her young of various sizes, followed my steps and found their food in the water which I had muddied. The old one pulled lustily at a Potamogeton hybridus, drawing it off one side horizontally with her mouth full, and then swallowed what she tore off” (Journal, 5:325).

23 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To P. Hutchinson’s…” (Journal, 5:325).

24 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4.30 A. M. - By boat to Island… P. M. - To Corner Spring and Fair Haven Hill… Pycnanthemum muticum behind Wheeler’s cottages; put it with the earliest of its class” (Journal, 5:325-33).

25 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Le Grosse’s… Those New-Hampshire-like pastures near Asa Melvin’s are covered or dotted with bunches of indigo…” (Journal, 5:333-5).

26 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill…” (Journal, 5:335-7).

27 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “8 A. M. - Rains, still quite soakingly… P. M. - To White Pond in rain…” (Journal, 5:337).

Channing notes in his journal that he bathes in Walden Pond [with Thoreau?] (Channing MS).

28 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “7 A. M. - To Azalea Brook… P.M. - To Clematis Brook via Lee’s with Mr. Conway. [Moncure Daniel Conway] Tells me of a kind of apple tree with very thick leaves near the houses in Virginia called the tea-tree, under which they take tea, even through an ordinary shower, it sheds the rain so well, and there the table constantly stands in warm weather…” (Journal, 5:337-8).

29 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To hibiscus, Beck Stow’s, and Brister’s Hill…

At Veronia Meadow I notice the beds of horsemint now in flower…

Those huckleberries near the hibiscus are remarkably glossy, fresh, and plump in the lowland, but not so sweet as some. Crossed the river there, carrying over my clothes.

The Great Meadows present a very busy scene now…

I broke through Heywood’s thick wood, north of Moore’s land, going toward Beck Stow’s in the Great Fields, and unexpectedly came into a long, narrow, winding, and very retired blueberry swamp which I did not know existed there…

Crossed over to Tuttle’s… Coral-root well out, - Corallorhiza multiflora, - at Brister’s Hill… In the Poorhouse Meadow, the white orchis spike almost entirely out, some days at least…

(Journal, 5:338-44)

Thoreau also writes to James Walter Spooner:

Dear Sir,

I should like to visit Plymouth again, though, as you suspect, not particularly on the day of the celebration. I should like to stand once more on your open beach, and be reminded of that simple sea shore it symbolizes, on which we pilgrims all landed not long since; though most of us have wandered far inland, and perchance lost ourselves, and the savor of our salt, amid the hills and forests of this world. I should like to meet there my Sea-born & Peregrine cousins, and have a social chat with them about the time when we came over; - but at present it may not be. It is not convenient for me to come; but be assured that whenever I may do so, I will remember the spirit of your very kind invitation.

Yrs

Henry D. Thoreau.

(Concord Saunterer 15, no. 1 (Spring 1980):22; MS, Spooner papers. Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass.)

30 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp.

Going through Dennis’s and Hosmer’s meadows, I see a dozen or more men at work. In almost every meadow throughout the town they are thus engaged at present. In every meadow you see far or near the lumbering hay-cart with its mountainous load and rakers and mowers in white shirts…

(Journal, 5:344-9)

31 July. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… The anychia, or forked chickweed, grows larger, with spreading red stems, on the south side of Heywood Peak… Goodyera repens well out at Corallorhiza Hillside…” (Journal, 5:349-51).

1 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:352).

2 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Sundown. - To Nawshawtuct…” (Journal, 5:352-3).

3 August. Framingham, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys a house lot for Sarah Stacy (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: “To north part of Framingham, surveying near Hopestill Brown’s (in Sudbury). He said there was a tame deer in the wood, which he saw in his field the day before. Told me of an otter killing a dog and partly killing another…” (Journal, 5:353).

4 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Symphytum officinale still in bloom in front of C. Stow’s, over the fence…” (Journal, 5:353).

5 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

A man mowing in the Great Meadows killed a great water adder (?) the other day, said to be four feet long and as big as a man’s wrist. It ran at him. They find them sometimes when they go to open their hay. I tried to see it this morning, but some boys had chopped it up and buried it…

Inula out (how long?), roadside just beyond Garfield’s. Spikenard berries near Corner Spring just begin to turn… Pennyroyal in prime on Conantum. Aster corymbosus pretty plainly (a day or two) in the Miles Swamp or arboretum…

(Journal, 5:354-5)

6 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To J. Farmer’s Cliff…” (Journal, 5:355-6).

7 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill via Hubbard’s Grove…” (Journal, 5:356-62).

8 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5 A. M. - Up railroad…” (Journal, 5:362).

9 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To hibiscus and liatris and Beck Stow’s…” (Journal, 5:362-4).

10 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden and Saw Mill Brook…” (Journal, 5:364-7).

11 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5 A. M. - Up North Branch… P. M. - To Conantum… At the Swamp Bridge Brook, flocks of cow troopials now about the cows…” (Journal, 5:367-71).

12 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “9 A. M. - To Conantum by boat, berrying, with three ladies…” (Journal, 5:371-2).

13 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To hibiscus by boat…” (Journal, 5:372-3).

14 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5 A. M. - To Cliffs… P. M. - To Walden, Saw Mill Brook, Flint’s Pond… I find on Heywood Peak two similar desmodiums of apparently the same date…” (Journal, 5:373-5).

15 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To White’s Pond via Dugan’s… Bathed at Clamshell Hill…” (Journal, 5:375-7).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 16 August: “Yesterday also in the Marlborough woods, perceived everywhere that offensive mustiness of decaying fungi” (Journal, 5:377).

16 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Flint’s Pond with Mr. Conway [Moncure Daniel Conway]… The Polygonum orientale, probably some days, by Turnpike Bridge…” (Journal, 5:377).

17 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “That wild black currant by Union Turnpike ripe (in gardens some time)…” (Journal, 5:377).

18 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Great Fields…” (Journal, 5:378-9).

19 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

9 A. M. - To Sudbury by boat with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing]...

On entering Fair Haven with a fair wind, scare up two ducks behind the point of the Island…

The sun comes out now about noon, when we are at Rice’s, and the water sparkles in the clear air, and the pads reflect the sun…

We landed at the first cedar hills above the causeway and ate our dinner and watermelon on them…

Returning, we row all the way…

Entered Fair Haven at sunset…

(Journal, 5:379-85)

20 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Great Meadows… I stand on the south bank, opposite the black willows, looking up the full stream, which with a smooth, almost oily and sheeny surface, comes welling and dimpling onward, peculiarly smooth and bright now at 4 P. M., while the numerous trees seen up the stream…” (Journal, 5:385-6).

21 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - To Island by boat… P. M. - To Jenny Dugan’s and Conantum…” (Journal, 5:386-8).

22 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. --- Up Assabet to Yellow Rocket Shore.  The prevailing flowers now along the river are the mikania, polygonums, trumpet-weed, cardinal, arrow-head, Chelone glabra, and here and there vernonia... ” (Journal, 5:388-90).

23 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:  

"6 A. M. --- To Nawshawtuct....  August has been thus dog-days, rain, oppressive sultry heat, and now beginning fall weather....  P. M. --- Clematis Brook via Conantum....  The Solidago nemoralis now yellows the dry fields with its recurved standard as little more than a foot high, --- marching in the woods to the Holy Land, a countless host of crusaders. That field in the woods near Well Meadow, where I once thought of squatting, is full of them....  I am again struck by the perfect correspondence of a day --- say an August day --- and the year. I think that a perfect parallel may be drawn between the seasons of the day and of the year. Perhaps after middle age man ceases to be interested in the morning and in the spring....  Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines. In August live on berries, not dried meats and pemmican, as if you were on shipboard making your way through a waste ocean, or in a northern desert. Be blown on by all the winds.  Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of Nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons....  Grow green with spring, yellow and ripe with autumn.  Drink of each season's influence as a vial, a true panacea of all remedies mixed for your special use.  The vials of summer never made a man sick, but those which he stored in his cellar.  Drink the wines, not of your bottling, but Nature's bottling; not kept in goat-skins or pig-skins, but the skins of a myriad fair berries.  Let Nature do your bottling and your pickling and preserving.  For all Nature is doing her best each moment to make us well.  She exists for no other end.  Do not resist her.  With the least inclination to be well, we should not be sick.  Men have discovered --- or think they have discovered --- the salutariness of a few wild things only, and not of all nature.  Why, "nature" is but another name for health, and the seasons are but different states of health.  Some men think they are not well in spring, or summer, or autumn, or winter; it is only because they are not well in them....  The pale yellowish-green side-saddle-flower, probably the var.  heterophylla, is common enough in our meadows.  A sweet-william pink at bottom of Wheildon’s field.  I find the pods of the amphicarpaea at last.  It may have blossomed three weeks ago."

(Journal, 5:390-6)

24 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Saw Mill Brook via Trillium Woods… Jerusalem-oak, a worm-seed, by R. W. E.’s heater piece…” (Journal, 5:396-9).

25, 26, and 29 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys farmland for August Tuttle (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 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Surveying Tuttle’s farm from the extreme eastern side of his farm, looking up the valley of the Mill Brook, in which direction it is about two miles to anything that can be called high ground (say at E. Wood’s)…” (Journal, 5:399-400).

26 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The fall dandelion is as conspicuous and abundant now in Tuttle’s meadow as buttercups in the spring. It takes their place. Saw the comet in the west to-night. It made me think of those imperfect white seeds in a watermelon, - an immature, ineffectual meteor” (Journal, 5:399-400).

27 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

“Saturday.  P. M. --- To Walden.  Topping corn now reveals the yellowing pumpkins.  Dangle-berries very large in shady copses now; seem to love wet weather; have lost their bloom.  Aster undulatus.  The decurrent gnaphalium has not long shown yellow.  Perhaps I made it blossom a little too early.  September is at hand; the first month (after the summer heat) with a burr to it, month of early frosts; but December will be tenfold rougher.  January relents for a season at the time of its thaw, and hence that liquid r in its name.”

(Journal, 5:400)

28 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

“Sunday.  P. M. --- To Cliffs.  See many sparrows in flocks with a white feather in tail!  The smooth sumach leaves are fast reddening.  The berries of the dwarf sumach are not a brilliant crimson, but as yet, at least, a dull sort of dusty or mealy crimson.  As they are later, so their leaves are more fresh and green than those of the smooth species.  The acorns show now on the shrub oaks.  A cool, white, autumnal evening.”

(Journal, 5:400)

29 August. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walking down the street in the evening, I detect my neighbor’s ripening grapes by the scent twenty rods off; though they are concealed behind his house, every passer knows of them…” (Journal, 5:400-2).

30 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “11 A. M. - Up river to Fair Haven… Bathed at Hubbard’s Bend… The Solidago odora grows abundantly behind the Minott house in Lincoln. I collected a large bundle of it…” (Journal, 5:402-5).

31 August. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Moore’s Swamp…” (Journal, 5:405-6).

1 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Dugan Desert and Ministerial Swamp…” (Journal, 5:407-12).

2 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Collected and brought home in a pail of water this afternoon the following asters and diplopappi, going by Turnpike and Hubbard’s Close to Saw Mill Brook, and returning by Goose Pond… These twelve placed side by side, Sophia and I decided that, regarding only individual flowers, the handsomest was…” (Journal, 5:412-6).

3 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I saw this afternoon, on the chimney of the old Hunt house, in mortar filling an oblong square cavity apparently made when the chimney was, the date 1703… The soapwort gentian out abundantly in Flint’s Bridge Lane… Saw at the floral show this afternoon some splendid specimens of the sunflower, king of asters, with the disk filled with ligulate flowers” (Journal, 5:416-7).

4 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 A. M. - To Nawshawtuct by river… P. M. - To the Cliffs via Hubbard’s Swamp… Carried a pail this afternoon to collect goldenrods and berries…” (Journal, 5:417-20).

5 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Framingham. Saw, in a meadow in Wayland, at a little distance, what I have no doubt was an island of Aster puniceus, one rod in diameter, - one mass of flowers five feet high” (Journal, 5:420-1).

7 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “R. W. E. brought from Yarmouth this week Chrysopsis falcata in bloom and Vaccinium stamineum, deerberry, or squaw huckleberry…” (Journal, 5:421).

8 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Roses, apparently R. lucida, abundantly out on a warm bank on Great Fields by Moore’s Swamp, with Viola pedata” (Journal, 5:421).

9 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Half a bushel of handsome pears on the ground under the wild pear tree on Pedrick’s land; some ripe, many more on tree. J. Wesson, who is helping me survey to-day, says that, when they dug the cellar of Stacy’s shop, he saw where they cut through (with a spade) birches six inches in diameter, on which the Mill-Dam had been built; also that Nathan Hosmer, Sr., since dead, told him that he had cut meadow-grass between the bakehouse and the Middlesex Hotel. I find myself covered with green and winged lice from the birches.

(Journal, 5:421)

10 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The pontederia and pads have already their fall look by river…” (Journal, 5:421-2).

11 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Cool weather. Sit with windows shut, and many by fires…

P. M. - To Dugan’s…

The present appearance of the solidago in Hosmer’s ditch which may be S. stricta is a stout erect red stem with entire, lanceolate, thick, fleshy, smooth sessile leaves above, gradually increasing in length downward till ten inches long and becoming toothed…

Signs of frost last night in M. Miles’s cleared swamp…

(Journal, 5:422-3)

Thoreau writes in his journal on 12 September: “It occurred to me when I awoke this morning, feeling regret for intemperance of the day before in eating fruit, which had dulled my sensibilities, that man was to be treated as a musical instrument…” (Journal, 5:424).

12 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:424).

13 September. 1853.

Thoreau leaves Boston at 5:00 pm by steamer for Bangor for his second trip to Maine, where he meets his cousin George Thatcher who has already hired an Indian guide, Joe Aitteon, for a trip to Chesuncook Lake (The Maine Woods, 112-213).

16 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “He [Joe Aitteon] said the stone-heaps (though we saw none) were made by chub” (Journal, 5:424).

17 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:425).

18 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “One end of the log hut was a camp, with the usual fir floor and log benches and a clerk’s office. I measured one of the many batteaux lying about, with my two-foot ash rule made here. It was not peculiar in any respect that I noticed” (Journal, 5:425; The Maine Woods, 124-8).

19 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I looked very narrowly at the vegetation as we glided along close to the shore, and now and then made Joe [Aitteon] turn aside for me to pluck a plank, that I might see what was primitive about our Concord River” (Journal, 5:425-6).

20 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “About Hinckley’s camp I saw Fringilla hyemalis…” (Journal, 5:426-7).

21 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Started at 7 A. M., Wednesday… Reached Bangor at dark” (Journal, 5:427).

22 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Behind one house, an Indian had nearly finished one canoe and was just beginning another, outdoors. I looked very narrowly at the process and had already carefully examined and measured our birch. We asked this Indian his name. He answered readily and pleasantly, “My name is Old John Pennyweight”…

Went into a batteau manufactory. Said they made knees of almost everything; that they were about worn out in one trip up river…

(Journal, 5:427-32)

23 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walked down the riverside this forenoon to the hill where they were using a steam-shovel at the new railroad cut, and thence to a hill three quarters of a mile further… I returned across the fields behind the town, and over the highest hill behind Bangor, and up the Kenduskieg, form which I saw the Ebeeme Mountains in the northwest and hills we had come by…” (Journal, 5:432).

24 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw Ktaadn from a hill about two miles northwest of Bangor on the road to Pushtaw… In the afternoon, walked up the Kenduskieg…” (Journal, 5:432).

25 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Dined with Lowell…” (Journal, 5:432).

26 and 27 September. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Monday and Tuesday I was coming to Boston and Concord. Aboard the steamer Boston were several droves of sheep and oxen and a great crowd of passengers” (Journal, 5:433).

28 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “In Concord. The elm leaves are falling. The fringed gentian was out before Sunday; was (some of it) withered then, says Edith Emerson” (Journal, 5:433).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his brother William: “My two plants the deerberry vaccinium stamineum and the golden flower Chrysopsis - [falcata], were eagerly greeted here. Henry Thoreau could hardly suppress his indignation that I should bring him a berry he had not seen” (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:388).

29 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Solidago speciosa out in Hubbard’s Swamp since I went away… The witch-hazel at Lee’s Cliff, in a fair situation, has but begun to blossom…” (Journal, 5:433-4).

30 September. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw a large flock of black ducks flying northwest in the form of a harrow” (Journal, 5:434).

1 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Went a-barberrying by boat to Conantum, carrying Ellen, Edith, and Eddie… Got three pecks of barberries…” (Journal, 5:435).

2 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The gentian in Hubbard’s Close is frost-bitten extensively…” (Journal, 5:435).

3 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Viola lanceolata in Moore’s Swamp” (Journal, 5:435).

4 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:435-6).

5 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The howling of the wind about the house just before a storm to-night sounds extremely like a loon on the pond. How fit!” (Journal, 5:436).

6 and 7 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Windy. Elms bare” (Journal, 5:436).

8 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Found a bird’s nest (?) converted into a mouse’s nest in the primos swamp, while surveying on the new Bedford road to-day, topped with moss, and a hole on one side, like a squirrel-nest” (Journal, 5:436).

9 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Set sail with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] down the river… This wind carried us along glibly, I think six miles an hour, till we stopped in Billerica, just below the first bridge beyond the Carlisle Bridge, - at the Hibiscus Shore…” (Journal, 5:436-7).

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes to Thoreau:

Mr. Thoreau

If you are not engaged to-day I should like to make an excursion with you on the river.

If you are some other day next week.

WEC

(Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 212)

Thoreau drafts a note on Channing’s note: “The undersigned lend to Michael Flannery the following sum of 50 dollars until the 1st of November 1854 to enable him to transport his family to this country, viz.” (MS, Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library). See entry 12 October.

10 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “There are many small birds in flocks on the elms in Cheney’s field, faintly warbling…” (Journal, 5:437).

11 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Sassafras leaves are a rich yellow now and falling fast. They come down in showers on the least touching of the tree. I was obliged to cut a small one while surveying the Bedford road to-day…

Father saw to-day in the end of a red oak stick in his wood-shed, three and a half inches in diameter, which was sawed yesterday, something shining. It is lead, wither the side of a bullet or a large buckshot just a quarter of an inch in diameter…

(Journal, 5:437-8)

12 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes a petition for Michael Flannery: “We the undersigned, contribute the following sums, in order to make up to Michael Flannery the sum of four dollars, being the amount of his premium for spading on the 5 ult., which was received and kept by his employer, Abiel H. Wheeler” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, 355; Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 212; MS, Clifton Waller Barrett collection. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.).

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To-day I have had the experience of borrowing money for a poor Irishman who wishes to get his family to this country. One will never know his neighbors till he has carried a subscription paper among them. Ah! it reveals many and sad facts to stand in this relation to them…” (Journal, 5:438-9).

14 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “A Mr. [William Henry] Farquhar of Maryland came to see me; spent the day and night…” (Journal, 5:439).

15 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:439).

16 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Hunter’s Moon. Walked to White Pond. The Polygonum dumetorum in Tarbell’s Swamp lies thick and twisted…” (Journal, 5:439).

17 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys a house lot on Monument Street for Thomas Ford Hunt (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

18 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - With Sophia boated to Fair Haven, where she made a sketch… Returning late, we see a double shadow of ourselves and boat, one, the true, quite black, the other directly above it and very faint, on the willows and high bank” (Journal, 5:440).

19 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot for Beck Stow (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11).

Thoreau also writes in his journal: “Paddled E. Hoar [Elizabeth Hoar] and Mrs. King up the North Branch… Beck Stow’s, surveying, thinking to step upon a leafy shore from a rail, I got into water more than a foot deep and had to wring my stockings out; but this is anticipating” (Journal, 5:440-1).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 20 October: “While I was wringing my wet stockings (vide last page), sitting by the side of Beck Stow’s, I heard a rush of wings, looked up, and saw three dusky ducks swiftly circling over the small water” (Journal, 5:441-2).

20 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:441-2).

21 October. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 22 October: “Yesterday, towards night, gave Sophia and mother a sail as far as the Battle-Ground. One-eyed John Goodwin, the fisherman, was loading into a hand-cart and conveying home the piles of driftwood which of late he had collected with his boat” (Journal, 5:442-7).

22 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:442-7).

23 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Down railroad to chestnut wood on Pine Hill… I go through Brooks’s Hollow…” (Journal, 5:447-50).

24 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Early on Nawshawtuct…” (Journal, 5:450-1).

25 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “7 A. M. - To Hubbard’s Grove… P. M. - Sailed down river to the pitch pine hill behind Abner Buttrick’s, with a strong northwest wind, and cold. Saw a telltale on Cheney’s shore, close to the water’s edge…” (Journal, 5:451-3).

Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields on 24 February 1862:

Oct. 25th 1853 I received from Munroe & Co. the following note; “We send by express this day a box & bundle containing 250 copies of Concord River, & also 450. in sheets. All of which we trust you will find correct.”

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 637)

26 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs… Went through the dense maple swamp against Potter’s pasture…” (Journal, 5:453-7).

27 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6.30 A. M. - To Island by boat…” (Journal, 5:457-8).

28 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

For a year or two past, my publisher, falsely so called, has been writing from time to time to ask what disposition should be made of the copies of “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers” still on hand, and at last suggesting that he had use for the room they occupied in his cellar. So I had them all sent to me here, and they have arrived to-day by express, filling the man’s wagon…

(Journal, 5:458-60)

30 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Meadow Wood… Along the Depot Brook, the great heads of Aster puniceus stand dry and fuzzy and singularly white…” (Journal, 5:460-2).

31 October. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “7 A. M. - By river to Nawshawtuct… P. M. By boat with Sophia to my grapes laid down in front of Fair Haven… Tansy lingers still by Hubbard’s Bridge…” (Journal, 5:462-7).

1 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6.30 A. M. - To Hubbard’s Bridge to see the gossamer… P. M. - Went after pink azaleas and walnuts by boat… As I paddle under the Leaning Hemlocks, the breeze rustles the boughs, and showers of their fresh winged seeds come wafted down to the water and are carried round and onward in the great eddy there” (Journal, 5:468-72).

2 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden and Flint’s… C. [William Ellery Channing] says he saw succory yesterday, and a loon on the pond the 30th ult… I gather some fine large pignuts by the wall (near the beech trees) on Baker’s land…” (Journal, 5:472-5).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 15 November: “I was the other night elected a curator of our Lyceum, but was obliged to decline, because I did not know where to find good lecturers enough to make a course for the winter” (Journal, 5:505-8).

3 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6.30 A. M. - To Swamp Bridge Brook by river… P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp… The potamogeton seeds in Nut Meadow Brook have partly left the stem…” (Journal, 5:475-8).

4 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Close…” (Journal, 5:478).

5 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard Bathing-Place for shrubs… I heard some pleasant notes form tree sparrows on the willows as I paddled by…” (Journal, 5:479).

6 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “2.30 P. M. - To Lee’s Cliff… I see some gossamer on the causeway this afternoon, though it is very windy… Climbed the wooded hill by Holden’s spruce swamp and got a novel view of the river and Fair Haven Bay through the almost leafless woods…” (Journal, 5:479-83).

7 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6.15 A. M. - To Cliffs… I find the cistus or frostweed, abundantly surrounded with crystals by the Spring Path… P. M. - To Conantum by boat, nutting…” (Journal, 5:483-8).

8 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

10 A. M. - Our first snow, the wind southerly, the air chilly and moist: a very fine snow, looking like a mist toward the woods or horizon, which at 2 o’clock has not whitened the ground. The children greet it with a shout when they come out at recess.

P. M. - To riverside as far down as near Peter’s, to look at the water-line before the snow covers it. By Merrick’s pasture it is mainly a fine, still more or less green, thread-like weed or grass of the river bottom…

Three larks rise from the sere grass on Minott’s Hill before me…

The Stellaria media still blooms in Cheney’s garden, and the shepherd’s[-purse] looks even fresher…

At evening the snow turned to rain, and the sugaring soon disappeared.

(Journal, 5:488-9)

9 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill by boat with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] We rowed against a very powerful wind, sometimes scarcely making any headway…

Landed and walked over Conant’s Indian rye-field, and I picked up two good arrowheads… Went into the woods by Holden Swamp and sat down to hear the wind roar amid the tree-tops…

Hitherto it had only rained a little from time to time, but now it began suddenly in earnest. We hastily rowed across to the firm ground of Fair Haven Hillside, drew up our boat and turned it over in a twinkling on to a clump of alders covered with cat-briars, hardly able to see out to the storm which we heard on our roof, through the thick alder stems, much pleased with the tightness of our roof, which we frequently remarked upon… At length, as it threatened to be an all-night storm, we crawled out again and set sail homeward…

At length we both took to rowing vigorously to keep ourselves warm, and so got home just after candlelight.

(Journal, 5:490-4)

11 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “7 A. M. - To Hubbard’s Bathing-Place… 9 A. M. - to Fair Haven Pond by boat… Sail back…” (Journal, 5:494-6).

12 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “ 8 P. M. - Up river to Hubbard Bathing-Place…” (Journal, 5:496-500).

Lincoln, Mass. and Waltham, Mass. Thoreau surveys a woodlot for the heirs of John Richardson (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

13 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain all day” (Journal, 5:500).

14 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack and Cedar Swamp… 6.30 P. M. - To Baker Farm by boat. It is full moon, and a clear night, with a strong northwest wind; so C. [William Ellery Channing] and I must have a sail by moonlight…” (Journal, 5:500-5).

15 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill and by boat to witch-hazel bush… Goodwin says he killed a mink the other day on a small white pine tree… This evening at sundown, when I was on the water, I heard come booming up the river what I suppose was the sound of cannon fired in Lowell to celebrate the Whig victory, the voting down the new Constitution…” (Journal, 5:505-8).

16 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Nawshawtuct by boat with Sophia, up Assabet…” (Journal, 5:508).

17 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:508-9).

18 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 5:509).

19 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. Up river in boat to Hubbard’s meadow, cranberrying…” (Journal, 5:509-10).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his brother William, concerning their mother’s funeral service: “Messieurs Hoar, Reuben Brown, Deacon Wood, Deacon Ball, Mr John Thoreau, Edmund Hosmer, Mr [Cyrus?] Stow were the bearers. Henry Thoreau saw beforehand to all necessary points & went to Littleton & brought home Bulkeley [Emerson]” (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:401-2).

20 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “7.30 A. M. - To Hubbard’s meadow, cranberrying… Minott said he heard geese going south at daybreak the 17th, before he came out of the house…” (Journal, 5:510-3).

21 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “There are many middle-sized living black dor-bugs in it, as well as bugle-horn shells, as I find on washing out my cranberries in the kitchen to-day. I have got about two and a half bushels of clear cranberries, and added to those of Saturday afternoon makes about three and a half…” (Journal, 5:514-5).

22 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up river by boat…” (Journal, 5:515-6).

Thoreau also writes to Francis H. Underwood:

Dear Sir,

If you will inform me in season at what rate per page, (describing the page) you will pay for accepted articles, - returning the rejected within a reasonable time - and your terms are satisfactory, I will forward something for your Magazine before Dec 5th, and you shall be at liberty to put my name in the list of contributors.

Yours

Henry D. Thoreau.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 306)

23 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - To Swamp Bridge Brook mouth… By 8 o’clock the misty clouds disperse, and it turns out a pleasant, calm, and springlike morning… At 5 P. M. I saw, flying southwest high overhead, a flock of geese, and heard the faint honking of one or two…” (Journal, 5:516-8).

Channing notes in his journal that Thoreau visits him in the evening (Channing MS).

24 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Ice forms on my boat at 5 P. M., and what was mud in the street is fast becoming a rigid roughness… Methinks we have had clear yellow sunsets and afterglows this month, like this to-night (not glowing red ones), with perhaps an inclination to blue and greenish clouds” (Journal, 5:519).

25 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “10 A. M. - To Cliffs…” (Journal, 5:519-20).

26 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 29 November:

On Saturday, the 26th, a dog on whose collar the words “Milton Hill,” or equivalent ones, were engraved ran through the town, having, as the story went, bitten a boy in Lincoln. He bit several dogs in this town and was finally shot. Some of the dogs bitten have been killed, and rumor now says that the boy died yesterday.

(Journal, 5:522)

27 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “It is too cold to-day to use a paddle; the water freezes on the handle and numbs my fingers…” (Journal, 5:520-1).

28 November. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Saw boys skating in Cambridgeport, - the first ice to bear. Settled with J. Munroe & Co., and on a new account placed twelve of my books with him on sale…Saw at the Natural History rooms the skeleton of a moose with horns…

Dr. Harris [Thaddeus William Harris] described to me his finding a species of cicindela at the White Mountains this fall (the same he had found there one species some time age), supposed to be very rare, found at St Peter’s River and at Lake Superior; but he proves it to be common near the White Mountains.

(Journal, 5:521-2)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Observations on the coasts of Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent and Three essays: On picturesque beauty; On picturesque travel; and On sketching landscape: with a poem on landscape painting by William Gilpin and Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France, 1640 [& 1641?] and 1642 & 1643, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Schoolcraft’s Historical and statistical information respecting the history, condition, and prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States, part 3, from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):25; Thoreau’s Reading).

29 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

People are considerably alarmed. Some years ago a boy in Lincoln was bitten by a raccoon and died of hydrophobia. I observed to Minott to-night that I did not think that our doctors knew how to cure this disease, but he said they could cure it, he had seen a man bitten who was cured…

P. M. - To J. P. Brown’s pond-hole.

J. Hosmer showed me a pestle which his son had found this summer while plowing on the plain between his house and the river…

I dug for for frogs at Heart-leaf Pond, but found none…

(Journal, 5:522-7)

30 November. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

8 A. M. - To river, to examine roots…

P. M. - Down river by boat and inland to the green house beyond Blood’s…

Though there were some clouds in the west, there was a bright silver twilight before we reached our boat. C. remarked it descending into the hollows immediately after sunset…

(Journal, 5:527-32)

Concord, Mass. Barzillai Frost writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson: “I have been in this evening to see Mr. Thoreau, in order to learn any facts in regard to Mr. [William Ellery] Channing. He has been out in the boat with Mr. T. this afternoon and appears as usual” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 217n; MS, Channing family papers. Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass.)

1 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “4 P. M. - To Cliffs…” (Journal, 6:3-4)

2 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 6:4-5).

Thoreau also writes to Francis H. Underwood:

Dear Sir, -

I send you herewith a complete article of fifty-seven pages. Putnam’s Magazine pays me four dollars a page, but I will not expect to receive more for this than you pay to anyone else. Of course you will not make any alterations or omissions without consulting me.

Yours,

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 308)

Underwood replies on 5 December.

3 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

3 P. M. - Up river by boat to Clamshell Hill. Saw two tree sparrows on Monroe’s larch by the waterside… I see that muskrats have not only erected cabins, but, since the river rose, have in some places dug galleries a rod into the bank, pushing the sand behind them into the water… One I explored this afternoon was formed in a low shore (Hubbard’s Bathing-Place), at a spot where there were no weeds to make a cabin of…

At J. Hosmer’s tub spring, I dug out a small bullfrog (?) in the sandy mud at the bottom of the tub - it was lively enough to hop - and brought it home…

(Journal, 6:5-9)

4 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Goose Pond apparently froze over last night, all but a few rods, but not thick enough to bear. I see a lizard on the bottom under the ice. No doubt I have sometimes mistaken them for tadpoles. (Flint’s Pond only skimmed a little at the shore, like the river.)

(Journal, 6:9-10)

5 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - Got my boat in. The river frozen over thinly in most places and whitened with snow, which was sprinkled on it this noon.

4 P. M. - To Cliffs…

Fair Haven Pond is skimmed completely over… I rode home from the woods in a hay-rigging, with a boy who had been collecting a load of dry leaves for the hog-pen; this the third or fourth load. Two other boys asked leave to ride, with four large empty box-traps which they were bringing home from the woods. It was too cold and late to follow box-trapping longer. They had caught five rabbits this fall, baiting with an apple. Before I got home the whole atmosphere was suddenly filled with a mellow yellowish light equally diffused, so that it seemed much lighter around me than immediately after the sun sank behind the horizon cloud, fifteen minutes before.

(Journal, 6:10-11)

Boston, Mass. Francis H. Underwood replies to Thoreau’s letter of 2 December:

Dear Sir,

I am extremely sorry to inform you that Mr. Jewett has decided not to commence the Magazine as he proposed. His decision was made too late to think of commencing this year with another publisher. His ill health and already numerous cares are the reasons he gives. The enterprise is therefore postponed - but not indefinitely it is to be hoped. Should the fates be favorable I will give you the earliest information.

Very sincerely yours,

F. H. Underwood

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 308-9)

7 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Trillium Woods and Hubbard’s Close…” (Journal, 6:12-13).

8 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

7 A. M. - How can we spare to be abroad in the morning red, to see the forms of the leafless eastern trees against the dun sky and hear the cocks crow, when a thin low mist hangs over the ice and frost in meadows? I have come along the riverside in Merrick’s pasture to collect for kindling the fat pine roots and knots which the spearers dropped last spring, and which the floods have washed up. Get a heaping bushel-basketful…

At midday (3 P. M.) saw an owl fly from toward the river and alight on Mrs. Richardson’s front-yard fence. Got quite near it, and followed it to a rock on the heap of dirt at Collier’s cellar…

Walden at sunset…

Goose Pond now firmly frozen…

I was amused by R. W. E.’s telling me that he drove his own calf out of the yard, as it was coming in with the cow, not knowing it to be his own, a drove going by at the time.

(Journal, 6:14)

9 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 6:15).

10 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Paddled Cheney’s boat up Assabet…” (Journal, 6:15-16).

11 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Heywood’s Pond and up brook… R. W. E. told me that W. H. Channing conjectured that the landscape looked fairer when we turned our heads, because we beheld it with nerves of the eye unused before…Saw a mink at Clamshell Hill on ice…” (Journal, 6:16-17).

Before 14 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

The other day, Henry Thoreau was speaking to me about my lecture on the Anglo American, & regretting that whatever was written for a lecture, or whatever succeeded with the audience was bad, &c. I said, I am ambitious to write something which all can read, like Robinson Crusoe. And when I have written a paper or a book, I see with regret that it is not solid, with a right materialistic treatment, which delights everybody. Henry objected, of course, & vaunted the better lectures, which only reached a few persons. Well, yesterday, he came here, &, at supper, Edith, understanding that he was to lecture at the Lyceum, sharply asked him, “Whether his lecture would be a nice interesting story, such as she wanted to hear, or whether it was one of those old philosophical things that she did not care about?” Henry instantly turned to her, & bethought himself, & I saw was trying to believe that he had matter that might fit Edith & Edward, who were to sit up & go to the lecture, if it was a good one for them.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 13:270)

[Based on entries in Thoreau's journal, 8 and 11 December are likely dates]

14 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Moosehead Lake” at the Centre School for the Concord Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 212-3).

15 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Fishing through ice began on Flint’s and Fair Haven yesterday. The first fishers succeed best. 9.30 A. M. - Surveying near Strawberry Hill for Smith and Brooks…” (Journal, 6:17-18).

Acton, Mass. Thoreau surveys a woodlot for Simon Hapgood (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

16 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The elms covered with hoar frost, seen in the east against the morning light, are very beautiful… Some creature has killed ten, at least, of H. Wheeler’s doves and left them together in the dove-house. I think it was my short-eared owl, which flew thither” (Journal, 6:19).

17 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “While surveying for Daniel Weston in Lincoln to-day, saw a great many - maybe a hundred - silvery-brown cocoons, wrinkled and flattish, on young alders in a meadow, three or four inches long, fastened to the main stem and branches at same time, with dry alder and fragments of fern leaves attached to and partially concealing them; of some great moth” (Journal, 6:19).

Sometime between 17 and 22 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes to James Russell Lowell on 23 January 1858: “The most available paper which I have is an account of an excursion into the Maine woods in ’53; the subjects of which are the Moose, the Pine Tree & the Indian. Mr. [Ralph Waldo] Emerson could tell you about it, for I remember reading it to his family, after having read it as a lecture to my townsmen” (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 504).

18 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Clears off cold after rain. Cross Fair Haven Pond at sunset… Young Weston said that they found, in redeeming a meadow, heaps of chestnuts under the grass, fifteen rods from the trees, without marks of teeth. Probably it was the work of the meadow mice” (Journal, 6:20).

19 December. 1853.

Thoreau replies to the Association for the Advancement of Science’s letter of around 5 March:

Spencer F. Baird,

Dear Sir,

I wish hereby to convey my thanks to the one who so kindly proposed me as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Science, and also to express my interest in the Association itself. Nevertheless, for the same reason that I should not be able to attend the meetings, unless held in my immediate vicinity, I am compelled to decline the membership.

Yrs, with hearty thanks,

Henry D. Thoreau

(To be returned to S. F. Baird, Washington, with the blanks filled.)

Name Henry D(avid) Thoreau

Occupation (Professional, or otherwise). Literary and Scientific, combined with Land-surveying

Post-office address Henry D. Thoreau Concord, Mass.

Branches of science in which especial interest is felt The Manners & Customs of the Indians of the Algonquin Group previous to contact with the civilized man.

Remarks I may add that I am an observer of nature generally, and the character of my observations, so far as they are scientific, may be inferred from the fact that I am especially attracted by such books of science as White’s Selborne and Humboldt’s “Aspects of Nature.”

With thanks for your “Directions,” received long since I remain

Yrs &c

Henry D. Thoreau.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 309-10)

19 to 21 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot for James P. Brown (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 5; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

22 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Surveying the last three days… P. M. - Got a white spruce for a Christmas-tree for the town out of the spruce opposite J. Farmer’s” (Journal, 6:20-2).

24 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - To the field in Lincoln which I surveyed for Weston the 17th.

Walden almost entirely open again. Skated across Flint’s Pond…

In the town hall this evening, my white spruce tree, one of the small ones in the swamp, hardly a quarter the size of the largest, looked double its size, and its top had been cut off for want of room. It was lit with candles, but the starlit sky is far more splendid to-night than any saloon.

(Journal, 6:22-5)

25 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Skated to Fair Haven and above. At seven this morning the water had already oozed out the sides of the river and flowed over the ice… About 4 P. M. the sun sunk behind a cloud, and the pond began to boom or whoop…” (Journal, 6:25-6).

26 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

This forenoon it snowed pretty hard for some hours, the first snow of any consequence thus far. It is about three inches deep. I go out at 2.30, just as it ceases… I go around Walden via the almshouse… The sight of the pure and trackless road up Brister’s Hill, with branches and trees supporting snowy burdens bending over it on each side, would tempt us to begin life again…

Saw a small flock of tree sparrows in the sprout-lands under Bartlett’s Cliff…

Was overtaken by an Irishman seeking work. I asked him if he could chop wood. He said he was not long in this country; that he could cut one side of a tree well enough, but he had not learned to change hands and cut the other without going around it, - what we call crossing the carf; They get very small wages at this season of the year, almost give up the ghost in the effort to keep soul and body together. He left me on the run to find a new master.

(Journal, 6:26-9)

27 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Pond up meadows and river…” (Journal, 6:29-30).

28 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Joe Brown owned those pigs I saw to root up the old pasture behind Paul Adams’s. N. Stow tells me this morning that he has sold and brought to the butcher’s three loads of pork containing twenty-five hundred pounds each, the least; at eight cents per pound amounting to more than $600…” (Journal, 6:30-1).

29 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

P. M. - Tried my snow shoes. They sink deeper than I expected, and I throw snow upon my back. When I returned, twenty minutes after, my great tracks were not to be seen. It is the worst snow-storm to bear that I remember…

What a contrast between the village street now and last summer!…

(Journal, 6:31-7)

30 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Around Walden…” (Journal, 6:37-8).

31 December. Concord, Mass. 1853.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Down railroad to Walden and circle round to right, through Wheeler’s woods out to railroad again…” (Journal, 6:38-41).




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