the Thoreau Log.
1856
Æt. 39.
1 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . . On the ice at Walden are very beautiful great leaf crystals in great profusion . . . A fisherman says they were much finer in the morning . . . (Journal, 8:76-9).

2 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Probably the coldest morning yet, our thermometer 6º below zero at 8 A. M.; yet there was quite a mist in the air. The neighbors say it was 10º below zero at 7 A. M.

  P.M. As for the fox and rabbit race described yesterday, I find that the rabbit was going the other way, and possibly the fox was a rabbit, for, tracing back the rabbit, I found drat, it bad first been walking with alternate steps, fox-like.

  There were many white rabbits’ tracks in those woods, and many more of the gray rabbit, but the former broke through and made a deep track, except where there was a little crust on the south slope . . .

(Journal, 8:79-81).

3 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Snows again. About two inches have fallen in the night, but it turns to a fine mist. It was a damp snow.

  P. M.—To Hill.

  The snow turned to a fine mist or mizzling, through evhich I see a little blue in the snow, lurking in the ruts. In the river meadows and on the (perhaps moist) sides of the hill, how common and conspicuous the brown spear-heads of the hardhack, above the snow . . .

(Journal, 8:81-3)
4 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden to examine the ice . . . It is snapping cold this night (10 P. M.) . . . (Journal, 8:83-4).

New York, N.Y. John F. Trow writes to Thoreau:

Mr. Thoreau

  Dear Sir

  Inclosed please find $10, for which please to send me 5 lbs of blacklead for electrotyping purposes:—such as Mr. Filmore has sent for occasionally.

Respectfully yours

John F. Trow

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 406; MS, Abernethy collection of American Literature. Middlebury College Special Collections, Middlebury, Vt.)
5 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer -9◦, say some.

  P. M.—Up river to Hubbard’s Bridge.

It has been trying to snow all day, but has not succeeded; as if it were too cold. Though it has been falling all day, there has not been enough to whiten the coat of the traveller. I come to the river, for here it is the best walking. The snow is not so deep over the ice . . .

  The river is last open, methinks, just below a bend, as now at the Bath Place and at Clamshell Hill; and quite a novel sight is the dark water there. How little locomotive now look the boats whose painted sterns I just detect where they are half filled with ice and almost completely buried in snow, so neglected by their improvident owners . . .

(Journal, 8:85-90)
6 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  High wind and howling and driving snowstorm all night, now much drifted. There is a great drift in the front entry and at 1111 crack of every door and on the window-sills. Great drifts on the south of

  Clears up at noon, when no vehicle had passed the house.

  Frank Morton has brought home, and I opened, that pickerel of the 4th . . . P. M.—To Drifting Cut . . . Now, at 4.15, the blue shadows are very distinct on the snow-banks . . . (Journal, 8:90-3).

7 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At breakfast time the thermometer stood at -12◦. Earlier it was probably much lower. Smith’s was at -24º early this morning . . . P. M.—Up river . . . (Journal, 8:93-6).

Thoreau writes in his journal on 18 January:

  Analyzed a nest which I found January 7th in an upright fork of a red maple sapling on the edge of Hubbard’s Swamp Wood, north side, near river, about eight feet from the the ground, the deep grooves made by the twigs on each side. It may be a yellowbird’s (Journal, 8:113).
8 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden.

  The snow is about a foot, or probably a little more, deep on a level, and considerably drifted, but on the pond it is not more than five inches deep on an average, hero, partly turned into snow ice by tile, sinking of the ice, and perhaps partly blown off.

  Many catbird-nests about the pond. In apparently one I see a snake’s slough interwoven . . .

(Journal, 8:96-7)
9 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Smith’s thermometer -16◦; ours -14◦ at breakfast time, -6◦ at 9 A. M.

  3 P.M.—To Beck Stow’s . . . When I return at 4.30, it is at -2◦ . . . (Journal, 8:97-8).

10 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  -2◦ at breakfast time . . . P. M.—Worked on flower-press (Journal, 8:98-101).
11 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . . To-day I burn the first stick of the wood which I bought and did not get from the river . . . (Journal, 8:101-5).
12 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Moderating, though at zero at 9 A. M.

  P. M.—To Andromeda Swamps, measuring snow . . . (Journal, 8:105-8).

13 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunrise—A heavy lodging snow, almost rain, has been falling . . . It turned to rain before noon . . . (Journal, 8:108-10).

Chicago, Ill. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his wife Lidian:

  The worst effect of the bitter cold of the last week, which reached 28 and 29 degrees below zero, where I was, has been to prevent me altogether from ending my book, & sending home the sheets to P. & S.; [Putnam & S?] which will have pestered Henry Thoreau, very likely, with vain expectation, as I begged him to look after them.
(The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5:7)
14 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunrise.—Snows again . . . (Journal, 8:110).

15 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Hemlocks on the crust, slumping in every now and then . . . (Journal, 8:111).

16 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—Down railroad, measuring snow, having had one bright day since the last flake fell; but, as there was a crust which would bear yesterday (as to-day), it cannot have settled much . . . (Journal, 8:111-2).
17 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Henry Shattuck tells me that the quails come almost every day and get some saba beans within two or three rods of his house,—some which he neglected to gather. Probably the deep snow drives them to it . . . (Journal, 8:112).
Before 18 January. 1856.

Rochester, Minn. Calvin Greene writes to Thoreau (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 406-7).

18 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  J. B. Moore says that he has caught twenty pounds of pickerel in Walden in one winter . . . P. M.—To Walden to learn the temperature of the water . . . (Journal, 8:112-6).

Thoreau also writes to Calvin Greene:

Dear Sir,

  I am glad to hear that my “Walden” has interested you – that perchance it holds some truth still as far off as Michigan. I thank you for your note (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 406-7).

19 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To river to get some water asclepias to see what bird’s nests are made of . . .

  Measured again the great elm in front of Charles Davis’s on the Boston road, which he is having cut down . . .

  As I came home through the village at 8.15 P. M., by a bright moonlight, the moon nearly full and not more than 18º from the zenith, the wind northwest, but not strong, and the air pretty cold, I saw the melon-rind arrangement of the clouds on a larger scale and more distinct than ever before . . . I hear that it attracted the attention of those who were abroad at 7 P. M., and now, at 9 P. M., it is scarcely less remarkable . . .

(Journal, 8:116-120)
20 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up river to Hollowell place . . . (Journal, 8:120-4).
21 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Four men, cutting at once, began to fell the big elm (vide 19th) at 10 A. M., went to dinner at 12, and got through at 2.30 . . . I measured it a 3 P. M., just after the top had been cut off . . . (Journal, 8:125-7).
22 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . .

  Miss Minott talks of cutting down the oaks about her house for fuel, because she cannot get her wood sledded home on account of the depth of the snow, though it lies all cut there. James, at R. W. E.’s, [Ralph Waldo Emerson] water his cows at the door, because the brook is frozen . . .

  F. Morton [Frank Morton] hears to-day from Plymouth that three men have just caught in Sandy Pond, in Plymouth, about two hundred pounds of pickerel in two days . . .

(Journal, 8:127-33)
23 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Brown is filling his ice-house . . . Measured, this afternoon, the snow in the same fields which I measured just a week ago, to see how it had settled . . . (Journal, 8:133-4).

24 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Holbrook’s elm measured to-day 11 feet 4 inches in circumference at six feet from ground, the size of one of the branches of the Davis elm (call it the Lee elm for a Lee formerly lived there). . . P. M. – Up Assabet . . . (Journal, 8:134-41).
25 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up river. The hardest day to bear that we have had, for, being 5° at noon and at 4 P.M., there is a strong northwest wind . . . Pierce says it is the first day that he has been unable to work outdoors in the sun . . . (Journal, 8:141-2).

26 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  They have cut and sawed off the butt of the great elm at nine and a half feet from the ground, and I counted the annual rings there with the greatest ease and accuracy . . .

  P. M.—Walked down the river as far as the south bend behind Abner Buttrick’s . . .

Walked as far as Flint’s Bridge with Abel Hunt, where I took to the river . . .

Talking with Miss Mary Emerson this evening, she said, “It was not the fashion to be so original when I was young” . . .

(Journal, 8:142-6)
27 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I have just sawed a wheel an inch and three quarters thick off the end of (apparently) a stick of red oak in my pile . . . P. M.—Walked on the river from the old stone to Derby’s Bridge . . . (Journal, 8:147-8).
28 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Snowed all day, about two inches falling. They say it snowed about the same all yesterday in New York. Cleared up at night (Journal, 8:148).
29 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Measured the snow in the same places measured the 16th and 23rd, having had, except yesterday, fair weather and no thaw . . . Miss Minott has been obliged to have some of her locusts about the house cut down. She remembers when the whole top of the elm north of the road close to Dr. Heywood’s broke off,—when she was a little girl . . .
(Journal, 8:148-50)
30 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—It has just begun to snow,—those little round dry pellets like shot. George Minott says that he was standing with Bowers (?) and Joe Barrett near Dr. Heywood’s barn in the September gale, and saw an elm, twice as big as that which broke off before his house, break off ten feet from the ground . . .

  P. M.—Measured to see what difference there was in the depth of the snow in different adjacent fields as nearly as possible alike and similarly situated . . .

(Journal, 8:150-5).
31 January 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up North Branch . . . (Journal, 8:155-7).

Thoreau also sends a copy of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers to Calvin Greene (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 407).

January 1856. London, England.

Walden is reviewed in the Westminster Review.

1 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Our kitten Min, two-thirds grown, was playing with Sophia’s broom this morning, as she was sweeping the parlor,—when she suddenly went into a fit, dashed round the room, and, the door being opened, rushed up two flights of stairs and leaped from the attic window to the ice and snow by the side of the doorstep,—a descent of a little more than twenty feet,—passed round the house and was lost. But she made her appearance again about noon, at the window, quite well and sound in every joint, even playful and frisky.

  P. M.—Up river.

  What gives to the excrements of the fox that clay color often, even at this season? Left on an eminence.

  I scented a fox’s trail this afternoon (and have done so several times before), where he crossed the river, just three rods distant. Looked sharp, and discovered where it had stepped by a prominence. Yet he could not Have passed since last night, or twelve hours before . . .

(Journal, 8:158-60).
2 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Snowed again last night, perhaps an inch, erasing the old tracks and giving us a blank page again . . . (Journal, 8:160).
3 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up North Branch . . . Returning, saw near Island a shrike glide by, cold and blustering as it was, with a remarkably even and steady sail or gliding motion like a hawk . . . Mr. Emerson, [Ralph Waldo Emerson] who returned last week from lecturing on the Mississippi, having been gone but a month, tells me that he saw boys skating on the Mississippi and on Lake Erie and on the Hudson, and has no doubt they are skating on Lake Superior; and probably at Boston he saw them skating on the Atlantic . . .
(Journal, 8:160-5)
4 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Walden. I go to walk at 3 P.M., thermometer 18°. It has been about this (and 22°) at this hour for a week or two. All the light snow, some five inches above tlic crust, is adrift these days and driving over the fields like steam, or like the foam-streaks on a flooded meadow . . .
(Journal, 8:165-6)
5 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The weather is still clear, cold, and unrelenting. I have walked much on the river this winter, but, ever since it froze over, it has been on a snow-clad river, or pond. They have been been river walks because the snow was shallowest there. Even the meadows, on account of the firmner crust, have been more passable . . .
(Journal, 8:166-7)
6 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . . Goodwin says that he has caught two crows this winter in his traps set in water for mink, and baited with fish . . . (Journal, 8:167-8).

8 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A. M.—To Fair Haven Pond . . . Edward and Isaac Garfield fishing there, and Puffer came along, and afterward Lewis Miner with his gun . . . Mr. Prichard tells me that he remembers a six weeks of more uninterruptedly sever cold than we have just [had] . . . (Journal, 8:169-74).
9 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet. 3.30 P. M., thermometer 30º . . . (Journal, 8:174-5).
Before 10 February 1856. Rochester, Minn.

Calvin Greene writes to Thoreau (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 407).

10 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden. Returning, I saw a fox on the railroad, at the crossing below the shanty site, eight or nine rods from me . . . (Journal, 8:175-7).

Thoreau also writes to Calvin Greene:

Dear Sir,

  I forwarded to you by mail on the 31st of January a copy of my “Week,” post paid, which I trust that you have received. I thank you heartily for the expression of your interest in “Walden” and hope that you will not be disappointed by the “Week.” You ask how the former has been received . It has found an audience of excellent character, and quite numerous, some 2000 copies having been dispersed. I should consider it a greater success to interest one wise and earnest soul, than a million unwise & frivolous.

  You may rely on it that you have the best of me in my books . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 407-8)
11 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Fair Haven Pond by river. Israel Rice says that he does not know that he can remember a winter when we had as much snow as we have had this winter. E. Conant says as much, excepting the year when he was twenty-five, about 1803 . . . (Journal, 8:177).
12 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The thermometer at 8.30 A. M., 42º . . . (Journal, 8:178-9).
13 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The thermometer at 8.30 A. M. is at zero. (At 1 P. M., 8º+.) . . . (Journal, 8:179).
14 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Still colder this morning, -7º at 8.30 A. M. P. M. – To Walden… I can now walk on the crust in every direction at the Andromeda Swamp; can run and stamp without danger of breaking through . . . (Journal, 8:179-82).
16 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . . Wild says it is the warmest day at 12 M. since the 22d of December . . . I hear the eaves running before I come out, and our thermometer at 2 P. M. is 38º . . . (Journal, 8:182-3).
17 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Some three or four inches of snow fallen in the night . . . (Journal, 8:183).
18 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Yesterday’s snow drifting. No cars from above or below till 1 P. M. (Journal, 8:183).

19 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Measure snow again, on account of what fell on 17th. West of railroad, 15+ + 2; east of railroad, 12 1/2- + 2; average of both, 14 + 2 =16 ; Trillium Wood, 18 1/2 +2 = 20 1/2. The great body of the last snow appears to have settled under the east side of the railroad. There are five and one half inches more in the wood than on the 12th . . .
(Journal, 8:183)
20 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet.

  See a broad and distinct otter-trail, made last night or yesterday. It came out to the river through the low woods north of Pinxter Swamp, making a very conspicuous trail . . . (Journal, 8:183-4).

22 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Assabet stone bridge and home on river.

  It is a pleasant and warm afternoon, and the snow is melting. Yet the river is still perfectly closed (as it has been for many weeks), both against Merrick’s and in the Assabet, excepting directly under this upper stone bridge . . .

(Journal, 8:184-5)
23 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A. M.—To Fair Haven Pond, up river . . .

  At 2 P. M. the thermometer is 47º. Whenever it is near 40 there is a speedy softening of the snow.

  I read in the papers that the ocean is frozen,—not to bear or walk on safely,—or has been lately, on the back side of Cape Cod . . .

(Journal, 8:185-6).
24 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Dr. Jarvis tells me that he thinks there was as much snow as this in ’35, when he lived in the Parkman house and drove his sleigh from November 23rd to March 30th excepting one day (Journal, 8:186).
25 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden and Fair Haven.

  The only bare ground is the railroad track, where the snow was shin. The crust still bears, and [I] left the railroad at Androrneda Ponds and went through on crust to Fair Raven. Was surprised to see some little minnows only an inch long in an open place in Well Meadow Brook. As I stood there, saw that they had just felled my bee tree . . .

(Journal, 8:186-8).
26 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Hubbard’s Close. I see at bottom of the mill brook, below Emerson’s, two dead frogs. The brook has part way yet a snowy bridge over it. Were they left by a mink, or killed by cold and ice? . . . (Journal, 8:188).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

Dear Thoreau,—

  I often think of you and nearly as often feel the prompting to write you, and being alone in the Shanty this afternoon I have concluded to obey the prompting. I say alone, but I can fancy you seated opposite on the settee looking very Orphic or something more mystical.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 408-11)
27 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet . . .

  The papers are talking about the prospect of a war between England and America. Neither side sees how its country can avoid a long and fratricidal war without sacrificing its honor. Both nations are ready to take a desperate step, to forget the interests of civilization and Christianity and their commercial prosperity and fly at each other’s throats. When I see an individual thus beside himself, thus desperate, ready to shoot or be shot, like a blackleg who has little to lose, no serene aims to accomplish, I think he is a candidate for bedlam. What asylum is there for nations to go to? . . .

(Journal, 8:188-90).

New York, N.Y. Representatives from the [Anti-Slavery/Abolitionist?] Party send a form letter to Thoreau (MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

28 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Nut Meadow.

  Mother says that the cat lay on her bread one night and caused it to rise finely all around her.

  I go on the crust which we have had since the 13th, i. e . on the solid frozen snow, which settles very gradually in the sun, across the fields and brooks. The very beginning of the river’s breaking up appears to be the oozing of water through cracks in the thinnest places, and standing in shallow puddles there on the ice,—which freeze solid at night. The river and brooks are quite shrunken . The brooks flow far under the hollow ice and snow-crust a foot thick . . .

  Miles is repairing the damage done at his new mill by the dam giving away. He is shovelling out the flume, which was half filled with sand, standing in the water. His sawmill, built of slabs, reminds me of a new country. He has lost a head of water equal to two feet by this accident. Yet he sets his mill -,going to show me how it works. what a smell as of gun-wash when he raised the gate! He calls it the sulphur from the pond. It must be the carburetted hydrogen gas from the bottom of the pond under the ice. It powerfully scents the whole Mill. A powerful smelling-bottle . . .

(Journal, 8:190-4)
29 February 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Minott told me this afternoon of his catching a pickerel in the Mill Brook once—before the pond was drawn off, when the brook had four or five times as much water as now,—which weighed four pounds. Says they stayed in it all winter in those days. This was near his land up the brook. He once also caught there, when fishing for pickerel, a trout which weighed three and a half pounds. He fell within two feet of the water, but [he] succeeded in tossing him higher up. When cutting peat thereabouts, he saw a stinkpot turtle in the water eating . . .
(Journal, 8:194-5 )
1 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A. M.—To Flint’s Pond via Walden, by railroad and the crust . . . Goodwin says that somewhere where he lived they called cherry-birds ‘port-royals.’ Haynes of Sudbury brought some axe-helves which he had been making to Smith’s shop to sell to-day (Journal, 8:196-8).
2 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Has snowed three or four inches—very damp snow—in the night; stops about 9 A. M . . .

  P. M.—Walking up the river by Pritchard’s, was surprised to see, on the snow over the river, a great many seeds and scales of birches, though the snow has so recently fallen, there had been but little wind, and it was already spring… The opening in the river at Merrick’s is now increased to ten feet in width in some places . . .

(Journal, 8:198-9)

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau (Concord Saunterer 19, no. 1 (July 1987):26-7).

Washington, D.C. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau (Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, 368; MS, private owner).

3 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Cambridge (Journal, 8:199).

Thoreau also checks out Junius Moderatus Columella Of husbandry. In twelve books: and his book concerning trees. Tr. into English, David Cusick’s sketches of ancient history of the Six nations, a volume containing New views of the origin of the tribes and natives of America by Benjamin Smith Barton, The Welch Indians by George Burder, and Observations on the Language of the Muhhakeneew Indians by Jonathan Edwards from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 291).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau (Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, 368; MS, private owner). Thoreau replies 5 March.

4 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Carlisle, surveying.

  I had two friends. The one offered me friendship on such terms that I could not accept it, without a sense of degradation. He would not meet me on equal terms, but only be to some extent my patron. He would not come to see me, but was hurt if I did not visit him. He would not readily accept a favor, but would gladly confer one. He treated me with ceremony occasionally, though he could be simple and downright sometimes; and from time to time acted a part, treating me as if I were a distinguished stranger; was on stilts, using made words. Our relation was one long tragedy . . .

(Journal, 8:199).

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

  Our home is two hours (36 miles) from New York . . . in a quiet Quaker neighborhood . . . You would be out of doors nearly all pleasant days, under a pleasant shade, with a pleasant little landscape in view from the open hill just back of our house.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 411-2)
5 March 1856.

Carlisle, Mass. Thoreau surveys a woodlot for George F. Duren (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6).

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Snowed an inch or two in the night.

  Went to Carlisle, surveying . . . (Journal, 8:200).

Thoreau also writes to Daniel Ricketson in reply to his letter of 3 March:

Friend Ricketson,

  I have been out of town, else I should have acknowledged your letters before. Though not in the best mood for writing I will say what I can now. You plainly have a rare, though a cheap, resource in your shanty. Perhaps the time will come when every country-seat will have one—when every country-seat will be one . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 412-4)

Ricketson replies 7 March.

6 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet.

  The snow is softening. Methinks the lichens are a little greener for it. A thaw comes, and then the birches, which were gray on their white ground before, appear prettily clothed in green. I see various kinds of insects out on the snow now. On the rock this side the Leaning Hemlocks, is the, track of an otter . . .

(Journal, 8:200).
7 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Measured snow on account of snow which fell 2d and 4th . . . (Journal, 8:200-1).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau in reply to his letter of 5 March:

To My dear Gabriel,

  Who like the one of old that appeared to Daniel, Zachariah, &c. hath in these latter days appeared unto the least of all Daniels,—Greetings,—
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 414-7)

9 March 1856.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at 2 P. M. 15°, sixteen inches of snow on a level in open fields, hard and dry, ice in Flint’s Pond two feet thick, and the aspect of the earth is that of the middle of January in a severe winter . . . (Journal, 8:201).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

Dear T.

  Your letter as usual was full of wisdom and has done me much good . . . (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 418)

10 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at 7 A. M. 6º below zero. Dr. Bartlett’s, between 6.30 and 7 A. M., was at -13º; Smith’s at -13º or -14º, at 6 A. M.

  P. M.—Up River to Hubbard’s Bridge.

  Thermometer +9º at 3.30 P.M. (the same when I return at five). The snow hard and dry, squeaking under the feet; excellent sleighing. A biting northwest wind compels to cover the ears. It is one of the hardest days of the year to bear . . .

Think of the art of printing, what miracles it has accomplished! Covered the very waste paper which flutters under our feet like leaves and is almost as cheap, a stuff now commonly put to the most trivial uses, with thought and poetry! The woodchopper reads the wisdom of ages recorded on the paper that holds his dinner, then lights his pipe . . .

(Journal, 8:201-4)

Thoreau also writes to Horace Greeley (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 419).

Greeley replies on 12 March.

11 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at 7 A. M. 6º, yet, the fire going out, Sophia’s plants are frozen again. Dr. Bartlett’s was -4º . . .

  P. M.—3.30, thermometer 24º. Cut a hole in the ice in the middle of Walden . . . (Journal, 8:204-5)

12 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The last four cold days have closed the river again against Merrick’s, and probably the few other small places which may have opened in the town, at the mouth of one or two brooks . . . Rufus Hosmer says he has known the ground here to be frozen four feet deep . . .
(Journal, 8:205-6).

Washington, D.C. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau in reply to his letter of 10 March:

My Friend Thoreau,

  I thank you for yours of the 10th. I hope we shall agree to know each other better, and that we shall be able to talk over some matters on which we agree, with others on which we may differ.

  I will say now that money shall not divide us-that is, I am very sure that I shall be willing to pay such sum as you will consider satisfactory. I will not attempt to fix on a price just now . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 419)
13 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond . . . (Journal, 8:206-7).

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

Mr Blake—

  It is high time I sent you a word. I have not heard from Harrisburg since offering to go there, and have not been invited to lecture anywhere else the past winter. So you see I am fast growing rich. This is quite right, for such is my relation to the lecture-goers. I should be surprised and alarmed if there were any great call for me. I confess that I am considerably alarmed even when I hear that an individual wishes to meet me, for my experience teaches me that we shall thus only be made certain of a mutual strangeness . . .

 

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 420-2)
14 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—Up Assabet . . . Tapped several white maples with my knife, but find no sap flowing; but, just above Pinxter Swamp, one red maple limb was moistened by sap trickling along the bark . . . As I return by the old Merrick Bath Place, on the river,—for I still travel everywhere on the middle of the river,—the setting sun falls on the osier row toward the road and attracts my attention . . .
(Journal, 8:207-8).
15 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Put a spout in the red maple of yesterday, and hung a pail beneath to catch the sap. Mr. Chase (of the Town School), who has lived a hundred miles distant in New Hampshire, speaks of the snow-fleas as a spring phenomenon . . . (Journal, 8:208).
16 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7 A. M.—The sap of that red maple has not begun to flow yet . . .

  2 P.M.—The red maple [sap] is now about an inch deep in the quart pail,—nearly all caught since morning . . . Going home, slipped on the ice, throwing the pail over my head to save myself, and spilt all but a pint . . . (Journal, 8:208-9).

17 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Snow going off very gradually under the sun alone. Going begins to be bad; horses slump; hard turning out . . . (Journal, 8:209).
18 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up river.

  It is still quite tight at Hubbard’s Bath Bend and at Clamshell, though I hesitate a little to cross at these places. There are dark spots in the soft, white ice . . . (Journal, 8:209-10).

19 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden.

  pleasured the snow again. West of railroad, 15; east of railroad, 11 4/5, average 13 2/5, Trillium Woods, 16 3/4. The last measurement was on the 7th, when it averaged about sixteen inches in the open land . . .

  The thickness of the ice on Walden in the long cove on the south side, about five rods from shore, where the water is nineteen and a half feet deep, is just twentysix inches, about one foot being snow ice. In the middle it was twenty-four and a quarter on the 11th. It is the same there now, and undoubtedly it was then twentysix in the long cove . . .

(Journal, 8:210-2).
20 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Trillium Wood and to Nut Meadow Brook to tap a maple, see paludina, and get elder and sumach spouts, slumping the deep snow . . . Father read in a paper to-day of seven hundred and forty-odd apple tree buds recently taken out of the crop of a partridge . . . Set a pail before coming here to catch the red maple sap, at Trillium Wood . . .
(Journal, 8:213-6)
21 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  George Brooks, of the North Quarter, tells me that he went a-fishing at Nagog Pond on the 18th and found the ice from thirty to thirty-seven inches thick (the greater part, or all but about a foot, snow ice), the snow having blown on the ice there . . .

  10 A. M.—To my red maple sugar camp. Found that, after a pint and a half had run from a single tube after 3 P. M. yesterday, it had frozen about a half an inch thick, and this morning a quarter of a pint more had run . . .

  I left home about ten and got back before twelve with two and three quarters pints of sap, in addition to the one and three quarters I found collected.

  I put in saleratus and a little milk while boiling, the former to neutralize the acid, and the latter to collect the impurities in a scum. After boiling it till I burned it a little, and my small quantity would not flow when cool, but was as hard as half-done candy, I put it on again, and in a minute it was softened and turned to sugar . . .

  Had a dispute with Father about the use of my making this sugar when I knew it could be done and might have bought sugar cheaper at Holden’s. He said it took me from my studies. I said I made it my study; I felt as if I had been to a university.

(Journal, 8:216-8)
22 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To white maples and up Assabet . . . At the red maple which I first tapped, I see the sap still running and wetting the whole side of the tree . . . (Journal, 8:218-20).
23 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden.

  The sugar maple sap flows, and for aught I know is as early as the red . . . As I was returning on the railroad, at the crossing beyond the shanty, hearing a rustling, I saw a striped squirrel amid the sedge on the bare east bank, twenty feet distant . . .

(Journal, 8:220-4).
24 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer 48º at noon. 9 A. M.—Start to get two quarts of white maple sap and home at 11.30 . . . (Journal, 8:224-6).
25 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden . . . Mr. Bull tells me that his grapes grow faster and ripen sooner on the west than the east side of his house . . . (Journal, 8:226-8).
26 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Cambridge . . . For the most part, the middle of the road from Porter’s to the College is bare and even dusty for twenty or thirty feet in width . . . (Journal, 8:228-9).

Thoreau also checks out Jesuit Relation for 1639, Jesuit Relation for 1642-1643, and Observations on the inhabitants, climate, soil, rivers, productions, animals, and other matters worthy of notice. Made by Mr. John Bartram, in his travels from Pennsilvania to Onondago, Onego, and the Lake Ontario, in Canada by John Bartram from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 291).

27 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Uncle Charles [Charles Dunbar] died this morning, about midnight, aged seventy-six. The frost is now entirely out is some parts of the New Burying-Ground, the sexton tells me . . . Elijah Wood, Senior, about seventy, tells me he does not remember that the river was ever frozen so long, nor that so much snow lay on the ground so long . . .
(Journal, 8:229-30)
28 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Uncle Charles [Charles Dunbar] buried. He was born in February, 1780, the winter of the Great Snow, and he dies in the winter of another great snow,—a life bounded by great snows. Cold, and the earth stiff again, after fifteen days of steady warm and, for the most part, sunny days (without rain), in winch the snow and ice have rapidly melted.

  Sam Barrett tells me that a boy caught a crow in his neighborhood the other day in a trap set for mink . . .

(Journal, 8:230-2).
29 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Another cold day. Scarcely melts at all. Water skimmed over in chamber, with fire . . . (Journal, 8:232).
30 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden and Fair Haven . . . I come out to see the sand and subsoil in the Deep Cut . . . I go to Fair Haven via the Andromeda Swamps . . . (Journal, 8:232-4).
31 March 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Peter’s via Winter Street [?].

  I see the scarlet tops of white maples nearly a, mile off, down tire river, the lusty shoots of last year. Those of the red maple do not show thus. I see many little holes . . . (Journal, 8:234-5).

1 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Down railroad, measuring snow, and to Fair Haven Hill . . . (Journal, 8:236-9).
2 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—To Lee’s Cliff via railroad, Andromeda Ponds, and Well Meadow.

  I go early, while the crust is hard. I hear a few song sparrows tinkle on the alders by the railroad. They skulk and flit along below the level of the ground in the ice-filled ditches; and bluebirds warble . . .

  A woodchuck has been out under the Cliff, and patted the sand, cleared out the entrance to his burrow.

  Muskrat-houses have been very scarce indeed the past winter. If they were not killed off, I cannot but think that their instinct foresaw that the river would not rise. The river has becti at summer level through the winter up to April!

  I returned down the middle of the river to near the Hubbard Bridge without seeing any opening . . .

(Journal, 8:239-43).
3 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  When I awoke this morning I heard the almost forgotten sound of rain on the roof . . .

  P. M.—To Hunt’s Bridge . . . Coming home along the causeway, a robin sings (though faintly) as in May . . .

  People are talking about my Uncle Charles. Minott tells how he heard Tilly Brown once asking him to show him a peculiar (inside?) lock in wrestling. “Now, don’t hurt me, don’t throw me hard.” He struck his antagonist inside his knees with his feet, and so deprived him of his legs. Hosmer remembers his tricks in the barroom, shuffling cards, etc. . . .

(Journal, 8:243-7)
4 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Clamshell, etc.

  The alder scales south of the railroad, beyond the bridge, are loosened . This corresponds to the opening (not merely expansion showing the fuzziness) of the white maple buds.

  There is still but little rain, but the fog of yesterday still rests on the earth. My neighbor says it is the frost coming out of the ground. This, perhaps, is not the best description . . .

(Journal, 8:247-9).
5 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To North River at Tarbell’s . . . I am sitting on the dried grass on the south hillside behind Tarbell’s house, on the way to Brown’s . . . (Journal, 8:249-51).

London, England. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in his notebook:

  April 5th.—On Thursday, at eight o’clock, I went to the Reform Club, to dine with Dr.— [Charles MacKay?] . . .

  In the course of the evening, Jerrold [Douglas Jerrold] spoke with high appreciation of Emerson; and of Longfellow, whose Hiawatha he considered a wonderful performance; and of Lowell, whose Fable for Critics he especially admired. I mentioned Thoreau, and proposed to send his works to Dr.—, who, being connected with the Illustrated News, and otherwise a writer, might be inclined to draw attention to them. Douglas Jerrold asked why he should not have them too. I hesitated a little, but as he pressed me, and would have an answer, I said that I did not feel quite so sure of his kindly judgment on Thoreau’s books; and it so chanced that I used the word “acrid,” for lack of a better, in endeavoring to express my idea of Jerrold’s way of looking at men and books.

(Passages from the English Notebooks, 2:5, 9-10)

See entry 11 April.

6 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7 A. M.—To Willow Bay.

  The meadow has frozen over, skimmed over in the night. The ducks must have had a cold night of it. I thought [I] heard white-bellied swallows over the house before I arose. The hedges resound with the song of the song sparrow. He sits high on a spray singing, while I stand near . . .

  P. M.—To Hubbard’s second grove, by river.

  At Ivy Tree, hear the fine tseep of a sparrow, and detect the fox-colored sparrow on the lower twigs of the willows and from time to time scratching the ground beneath. It is quite tame,-a single one with its ashy head and mottled breast.

  It is a still and warm, overcast afternoon, and I am come to look for ducks on the smooth reflecting water which has suddenly surrounded the village . . .

(Journal, 8:251-6).
7 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Launched my boat, through three rods of ice on the riverside, half of which froze last night . . .

  P. M.—Up river in boat.

  The first boats I have seen are out to-day, after muskrats, etc. Saw one this morning breaking its way far through the meadow, in the ice that had formed in the night. How independent they look who have come forth for a day’s excursion! . . . At the Hubbard Bridge, we hear the incessant note of the phoebe,—pevet, pe-e-vet, pevee’,—its innocent, somewhat impatient call . . .

(Journal, 8:256-8).
8 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  1 P. M.—To boat at Cardinal Shore, and thence to Well Meadow and back to port . . .

  Hear the crack of Goodwin’s piece close by, just as I reach my boat. He has killed another rat. Asks if I am bound up-stream . . .

  About 8.30 P. M., hear geese passing quite low over the river . . .

(Journal, 8:258-62)
9 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7 A. M.—To Trillium Woods…

  8 A. M.—By boat to V. palmata Swamp for white birch sap . . .

  As I walk in the woods where the dry leaves are just laid bare, I see the bright-red berries of the Solomon’s-seal still here and there above the leaves, affording food, no doubt, for some creatures . . .

  When I return to my boat, I see the snow-fleas like powder, in patches on the surface of the smooth water, amid the twigs and leaves… There is no wind, and the water was perfectly smooth, – a Sabbath stillness till 11 A. M . . .

  P. M.—Up railroad . . .

  The thermometer at 5 P. M. is 66º+ . . .

(Journal, 8:262-70)
10 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—I set out to sail, the wind north-west, but it is so strong and I so feeble, that I gave it up . . . I reach my port, and go to Trillium Wood to get yellow birch sap . . .

  The yellow birch sap runs very fast. I set three spouts in a tree one foot in diameter, and hung on a quart pail; then went to look at the golden saxifrage in Hubbard’s Close. When I came back, the pail was running over. this was about 3 P. M. Each spout dropped about as fast as my pulse, but when I left, at 4 P. M., it was not dropping so fast . . .

(Journal, 8:270-2)
11 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8.30 A. M.—To Tarbell’s to get black and canoe birch sap.

  Going up the railroad, I see a male and female rusty grackle alight on an oak near me, the latter apparently a flaxen brown, with a black tail. She looks like a different species of bird. Wilson had heard only a tchuck from the grackle, but this male, who was courting his mate, broke into incipient warbles, like a bubble burst as soon as it came to the surface, it was so aerated. Its air would not be fixed long enough . . .

(Journal, 8:273-8).

Liverpool, England. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes to Ticknor & Fields:

  I wish you would send me two copies of Thoreau’s books—“Life in the Woods,” and the other one, for I wish to give them to two persons here (Thoreau Society Bulletin 119 (Spring 1972):1-4).
12 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  There is still a little snow ice on the north side of our house, two feet abroad, a relic of the 25th of December . . .

  Haze all day, with wind from the west, threatening rain. Haze gets to be very thick and perhaps smoky in the afternoon, concealing distinct forms of clouds, if there are any. Can it have anything to do with fires in woods west and southwest? Yet it is warm.

  5 P. M.—Sail on the meadow.

  There suddenly flits before me and alights on a small apple tree in Mackay’s field, as I go to my boat, a splendid purple finch. Its glowing redness is revealed when it lifts its wing’s, as when the ashes is blown from a coal of fire. Just as the oriole displays its gold . . .

(Journal, 8:278-9).
13 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—Up railroad

  Cold, and froze in the night. The sallow will not open till some time to-day.

  I hear a bay-wing on the railroad fence sing. . .

  P. M.—To Walden and Fair Haven Ponds

  Still cold and windy.

  The early gooseberry leaf-buds in garden have burst,—now like small green frilled horns. Also the amelanchier flower-buds are bursting.

  As I go down the railroad causeway, I see a flock of eight or ten bay-wing sparrows flitting along the fence and alighting on an apple tree. . .

(Journal, 8:279-81).
14 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A raw, overcast morning.

  8 A. M.—Up Assabet.

  See one striped squirrel chasing another round and round the Island, with a faint squeak from time to time and a rustling of the dry leaves. They run quite near to the water.

  Hear the flicker’s cackle on the old aspen, and his tapping sounds afar over the water. Their tapping resounds thus far, with this peculiar ring and distinctness . . .

  P. M.—Sail to Hill by Bedford line.

  Wind southwest and pretty strong; sky overcast; weather cool. Start up a fish hawk from near the swamp white oaks southwest of the Island . . .

(Journal, 8:281-4).
15 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6.30 A. M.—To Hill.

  It is warmer and quite still; somewhat cloudy in the cast. The water quite smooth,—April smooth waters. I hear very distinctly Barrett’s sawmill at my landing. The purple finch is singing on the elms about the house, together with the robins . . .

  By 9 A. M. the wind has risen, the water is ruffled, the sun seems more permanently obscured, and the character of the day is changed . . . Ed. Emerson saw a toad in his garden to-day, and, coming home from his house at 11 P. M., a still and rather warm night, I am surprised to hear the first loud, clear, prolonged ring of a toad, when I am near Charles Davis’s house . . .

(Journal, 8:284-6).
16 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I have not seen a tree sparrow, I think, since December.

  5.30 A. M.—To Pinxter Swamp over Hill.

  A little sunshine at the rising. I, standing by the river, see it first reflected from E. Wood’s windows before I can see the sun. Standing there, I hear that same stertorous note of a frog or two as was heard the 13th, apparently from quite across all this flood, and which I have so often observed before. What kind is it? It seems to come from the edge of the meadow . . .

  P. M.—Round Walden.

  The Stellaria media is abundantly out. I did not look for it early, it was so snowy. It evidently blossomed as soon after the 2d of April—when I may say the [snow] began to go off in earnest as possible. The shepherd’s-purse, too, is well out . . .

(Journal, 8:286-8).
17 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Was awakened in the night by a thunder and lightning shower and hail-storm -the old familiar burst and rumble, as if it had been rumbling somewhere else ever since I heard it last, and had not lost the knack. I heard a thousand hailstones strike and bounce on the roof at once. What a clattering! Yet it did not last long . . .

  P. M.—Start for Conantum in boat, wind southwest. I can hide my oars and sail up there and come back another day. A moist muggy afternoon, rain-threatening, true April weather . . . Meanwhile it grows more and more rain-threatening, – all the air moist and muggy, a great ill-defined cloud darkening all the west, -but I push on till I feel the first drops, knowing that the wind will take me back again . . .

  Now comes the rain with a rush. In haste I put my boat about, raise my sail, and, cowering under my umbrella in the stern, with the steering oar in my hand, begin to move homeward. The rain soon fulls up my sail, and it catches all the little wind. From under the umbrella I look out on the scene . . . Even in the midst of this rain I am struck by the variegated surface of the water, different portions reflecting the light differently, giving what is called a watered appearance. Broad streams of light water stretch away between streams of dark, as if they were different kinds of water unwilling to mingle, though all are equally dimpled by the rain, and you detect no difference in their condition. As if Nature loved variety for its own sake . . .

(Journal, 8:288-92).

Thoreau also writes to Eben Loomis (MS, Loomis-Wilder family papers [?]. Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.).

18 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Lee’s Cliff by boat.

  A strong northwest wind. The waves were highest off Hubbard’s second grove, where they had acquired their greatest impetus and felt the full force of the wind. Their accumulated volume was less beyond on account of the turn in the river. The greatest undulation is at the leeward end of the longest broad reach in the direction of the wind. I was steering there diagonally across the black billows . . .

  Walden is open entirely to-day for the first time, owing to the rain of yesterday and evening. I have observed its breaking up of different years commencing in ’45, and the average date has been April 4th . . .

(Journal, 8:292-4).
19 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Was awakened in the night to a strain of music dying away,—passing travellers singing. My being was so expanded and infinitely and divinely related for a brief season that I saw how unexhausted, how almost wholly unimproved, was man’s capacity for a divine life . . .

  The arbor-vitæ by riverside behind Monroe’s appears to be just now fairly in blossom. I notice acorns sprouted. My birch wine now, after a week or more, has become pretty clear and colorless again, the brown part having settled and now coating the glass.

  Helped Mr. Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson] set out in Sleepy Hollow two over-cup oaks, one beech, and two arbor-vitaes . . .

(Journal, 8:294).
20 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain, rain, rain,—a northeast storm. I see that it is raising the river somewhat . . . (Journal, 8:294-5).
23 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet to white cedars.

  The river risen again, on account of the rain of the last three days, to nearly as high as on the 11th. I can just get over Hosmer’s meadow . . . The white cedar swamp consists of hummocks, now surrounded by water, where you go jumping from one to another. The fans are now dotted with the minute reddish staminate flowers, ready to open. The skunk cabbage leaf has expanded in one open place there; so it is at least as early as the hellebore of yesterday. Returning, when near the Dove Rock saw a musquash crossing in front. He dived without noise in the middle of the river . . .

(Journal, 8:300-2).
24 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To mayflower . . .

  Warren Miles at his new mill tells me that he found a mud turtle of middling size in his brook there last Monday, or the 21st . . .

  A Garfield (I judged from his face) confirmed the story of sheldrakes killed in an open place in the river between the factory and Harrington’s, just after the first great snow-storm (which must have been early in January), when the river was all frozen elsewhere . . .

  Goodwin shot, about 6 P. M., and brought to me a cinereous coot (Fulica Americana) which was flying over the willows at Willow Bay, where the water now runs up . . .

(Journal, 8:302-8)
25 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Minott tells me of David Wheeler of the Virginia Road, who used to keep an account of the comings and goings, etc., of animals . . .

  P. M.—To Hill by boat . . .

  The Great Meadows now, at 3.30 P. M., agitated by the strong easterly wind this clear day, when I look against the wind with the sun behind me, look particularly dark blue . . .

  5 P. M.—Went to see Tommy Wheeler’s bounds.

  Warren Miles had caught three more snapping turtles since yesterday, at his mill, one middling-sized one and two smaller. He said they could come down through his mill without hurt . . .

(Journal, 8:308-11)
26 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Worm-piles about the door-step this morning; how long?

  The white cedar gathered the 23d does not shed pollen in house till to-day, and I doubt if it will in swamp before to-morrow. Monroe’s larch will, apparently, by day after to-morrow . . .

  The tapping of a woodpecker is made a more remarkable and emphatic sound by the hollowness of the trunk, the expanse of water which conducts the sound, and the morning hour at which I commonly hear it . . .

(Journal, 8:311-2).
27 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet.

  I find none of Monroe’s larch buds shedding pollen, but the, anthers look crimson and yellow, and the female flowers are now fully expanded and very pretty . . . (Journal, 8:312-3).

28 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau surveys the “Davis Piece” for Thomas Wheeler (Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying the Tommy Wheeler farm.

  Again, as so many times, I [am] reminded of the advantage to the poet, and philosopher, and naturalist, and whomsoever, of pursuing from time to time some other business than his chosen one,—seeing with the side of the eye. The poet will so get visions which no deliberate abandonment can secure. The philosopher is so forced to recognize principles which long study might not detect. And the naturalist even will stumble upon some new and unexpected flower or animal . . .

(Journal, 8:313-6).

[ see Field Notes of Surveys, p. 106, Concord Free Public Library ]

29 April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Was awakened early this morning by thunder and some rain,—the second thunder-shower of the season,—but it proved a fair day. At mid-forenoon saw a fish hawk flying leisurely over the house northeasterly.

  P. M.—To Cedar Swamp . . .

  It was quite warm when I first came out, but about 3 P. M. I felt a fresh easterly wind, and saw quite a mist in the distance produced by it, a sea-turn . . .

(Journal, 8:316-8).
30 April 1856.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau surveys the “House Lot” for Thomas Wheeler (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 12; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying the Tommy Wheeler farm . . . About 3.30 P. M., when it was quite cloudy as well as raw, and I was measuring along the river just south of the bridge, I was surprised by the great number of swallows . . . (Journal, 8:318-20).

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

Friend Thoreau,

  Immediately on the receipt of your letter, I wrote to Mrs. Greeley its substance. She was then in Dresden, but I wrote to Paris, and she did not receive my letter till the 9th inst. I have now her response, and she is heartily gratified with the prospect that you will come to us and teach our children. She says she thinks it may at least sometimes be best to have instruction communicated by familiar oral conversations while walking in the fields and woods, and that it might not be well to be confined always to the same portion of each day. However, she hopes, as I do, that interest in and love for the children would soon supersede all formal stipulations, and that what is best for them will also be found consistent with what is most agreeable for you . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 422-3; MS, Abernethy collection of American Literature. Middlebury College Special Collections, Middlebury, Vt.)
Late April 1856. Concord, Mass.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  As Linnaeus delighted in finding that seven stamened flower which alone gave him a seventh class, or filled a gap in his system, so I know a man who served as intermediate between two notable acquaintances of mine, not else to be approximated: & W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] served as a companion of H.D.T; & T. of C . . .

  It is curious that Thoreau goes to a house to say with little preface what he has just read or observed, delivers it in lump, is quite inattentive to any comment or thought which any of the company offer on the matter, nay, is merely interrupted by it, &, when he has finished his report, departs with precipitation.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 14:74, 76)
1 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 P. M.—To Hill . . . From the hilltop I look over Wheeler’s maple swamp . . . (Journal, 8:321-2).

London, England. Walden is reviewed with A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers in the Critic.

2 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The tea lee of the yellow-rump warbler in the street, at the end of a cool, rainy day (Journal, 8:322).
3 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A staminate balm-of-Gilead poplar by Peter’s path . . . (Journal, 8:322).

4 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cedar Swamp via Assabet . . . Having fastened my boat at the maple, met, on the bank just above, Luke Dodge, whom I met in a boat fishing up that way once or twice last summer and previous years . . . (Journal, 8:322-4).

6 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Clamshell by river . . . (Journal, 8:324).
7 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To bear-berry on Major Heywood road . . . (Journal, 8:324-8).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau (MS, private owner).

10 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden in rain. R. Rice speaks of having seen myriads of eels formerly, going down the Charles River . . . (Journal, 8:328-9).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau (Concord Saunterer 19, no. 1 (July 1987):29; MS, private owner).

11 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cedar Swamp up Assabet . . . I leave my boat in Hosmer’s poke-logan and walk up the bank . . . (Journal, 8:329-32).
12 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Walked round by Dennis’s and Hollowell place with Alcott [A. Bronson Alcott] . . . (Journal, 8:332-3).

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  I see Thoreau, and Cholmondeley’s [Thomas Cholmondeley] magnificent present of an Oriental library, lately come to hand from England—a gift worthy of a disciple to his master, and a tribute of admiration to Thoreau’s genius from a worthy Englishman.

  Walk with Thoreau by the Cottage and Hollowell Place, and dine with him . . .

  Meet my friends and former neighbors in Emerson’s [Ralph Waldo Emerson] parlour’s—Miss Mary Emerson, Mrs. Browne, Miss Jane Whitney, Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Ripley, Thoreau, Sanborn, and many more, and talk pleasantly on Society—Emerson, Thoreau, Mrs. Emerson, Mrs. Ripley, Sanborn contributing to the entertainment.

(The Journals of Amos Bronson Alcott, 282)
13 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up river to Kalmia glauca Swamp . . . Wheeler says that many a pasture, if you plow it up after it has been lying still ten years, will produce an abundant crop of wormwood, and its seeds must have lain in the ground . . . (Journal, 8:333-5).

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  This morning . . . see Thoreau again. He lends me from the Cholmondeley Collection The Bhagavad Gita, or a Discourse between Krishna and Arjuna on Divine Matters, a Sanskrit Philosophical Poem, Translated, with copious notes, an Introduction on Sanskrit Philosophy, and other matter, by J. Cockburn Thomas, Hertford, England, 1855 (The Journals of Amos Bronson Alcott, 282).
14 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

   . . . Flood tells me he saw cherry-birds on the 12th of April in Monroe’s (Journal, 8:336).
15 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To beeches . . . At Heywood Spring I see a clumsy woodchuck, nor, at 4 P. M., out feeding . . . (Journal, 8:336-8).
16 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rainy day (Journal, 8:338).
17 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To my boat at Cardinal Shore, hence to Lee’s Cliff . . . (Journal, 8:338-42).
18 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Ed Emerson says he saw at Medford yesterday many ground-birds’ nests and eggs under apple trees . . . R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] says that Agassiz tells him he has had turtles six or seven years, which grew so little, compared with others of the same size killed at first, that he thinks they may live four or five hundred years. P. M. – To Kalmia Swamp . . .
(Journal, 8:342-6).
19 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cedar Swamp . . . Returning, stopped at Barrett’s sawmill while it rained a little . . . Said that about as many logs were brought to his mill as ten years ago,—he did not perceive the difference,—but they were not so large, and perhaps they went further for them . . .
(Journal, 8:346-8).

Thoreau gives $1 to help fund a tour of England for A. Bronson Alcott (Ralph Waldo Emerson journals and notebooks. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

20 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Was awaked and put into sounder sleep than ever early this morning by the distant crashing of thunder, and now,—P.M.—To Beck Stow’s . . . Haynes the carpenter calls that large glaucous puff that grows on the Andromeda paniculata, swamp-apple . . . (Journal, 8:349-51).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal on 21 May:

  Yesterday to the Sawmill Brook with Henry. He was in search of yellow violet (pubescens) and menyanthes which he waded into the water for. & which he concluded, on examination, had been out five days. Having found hsi flowers, he drew out of his breast pocket his diary & read the names of all the plants that should bloom on this day, 20 May; whereof he keeps account as a banker when his notes fall due. rubus triflora, guerens, vaccinium, &c. The cypropedium not due ’till tomorrow. Then we diverged to the brook, where was viburnum dentatum, arrowhead. But his attention was drawn to the redstart which flew about with its cheah cheah chevet, & presently to two fine grosbeaks rosebreasted, whose brilliant scarlet “made the rash gazer wipe his eye,”1 & which he brought nearer with his spy glass, & whose fine clear note he compares to that of a “tanager who has got rid of his hoarseness,” then he heard a note which he calls that of the nightwarbler, a bird he has never identified, has been in search of for twelve years; which, always, when he sees, is in the act of diving down into a tree or bush, & which ’tis vain to seek; the only bird that sings indifferently by night & by day. I told him, he must beware of finding & booking him, lest life should have nothing more to show him. He said, “What you seek in vain for half your life, one day you come full upon all the family at dinner. – You seek him like a dream, and as soon as you find him, you become his prey.” He thinks he could tell by the flowers what day of the month it is, within two days. We found saxifraga Pennsylvanica and chrysosplenium oppositifolium, by Everett’s spring, and stellaria & cerastium and arabis rhemboidea & veronica anagallis, which he thinks handsomer than the cultivated veronica, forget me not. Solidago odora, he says, is common in Concord, & penny royal he gathers in quantity as herbs every season. Shad blossom is no longer a pyrus, which is now confined to choke berry. Shad blossom is Amelanchier botryapium & A., Shad blossom because it comes when the shad come.

  Water is the first gardener; he always plants grasses & flowers about his dwelling. There came Henry with music-book under his arm, to press flowers in; with telescope in his pocket, to see the birds, & microscope to count stamens; with a diary, jacknife, & twine, in stout shoes, & strong grey trowsers, ready to brave the shrub oaks & smilax, & to climb the tree for a hawk’s nest. His strong legs when he wades were no insignificant part of his armour. Two Alders we have, and one of them is here on the northern border of its habitat.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 14:90-2)

1 George Herbert, “Virtue”: “Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave, / Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye; / Thy root is ever in its grave, / And thou must die.”

Circa 21 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau receives a letter from Calvin Greene, asking him to send a copy of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers to James Newberry in Rochester, Michigan, which Thoreau does on this day (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 425).

21 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Saw Mill Brook . . . (Journal, 8:351-2).

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

Mr. Blake,

  I have not for a long time been putting such thoughts together as I should like to read to the company you speak of. I have enough of that sort to say, or even read, but not time now to arrange it. Something I have prepared might prove for their entertainment or refreshment perchance, but I would not like to have a hat carried round for it.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 423-4)
22 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Viola Muhlenbergii, which is abundantly out . . . (Journal, 8:352-3).
23 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Heywood Spring . . . After sunset on river . . . (Journal, 8:353-4).
24 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Pratt [Minot Pratt] gave me the wing of a sparrow (?) hawk which he shot some months ago . . . Humphrey Buttrick says that he hears the note of the woodcock from the village in April and early in May . . . Thermometer at 1 P. M., 94º in the shade! . . . (Journal, 8:354-5).

Thoreau also draws a plan of cemetery lots for a Mrs. Whitman (Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in his journal:

  Mr. [Alexander] Ireland . . . is one of the few [English] men (almost none, indeed) who have read Thoreau’s books (The English Notebooks, 351).
25 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  10 A. M.—To Fair Haven Pond with Blake [H. G. O. Blake] and Brown [Theophilus Brown] . . . (Journal, 8:355-6).
27 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Kalmia Swamp with Sanborn [Franklin B. Sanborn] . . . (Journal, 8:356).

Thoreau also writes to John Langdon Sibley:

Dear Sir

  I return herewith the following books to the Library—viz—“Columella of Husbandry” 1. v. “Pennsylvania, Ohio, & Delaware” 1. v. Jesuit Relations for 1639 & 1642 & 3 2. vols.

Yrs

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 425)
28 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rainy.

  To Painted-Cup Meadow.

  Potentilla argentea, maybe several days. Trifolium pratense.

  A seringo or yellow-browed (??) sparrow’s nest about ten or twelve rods southwest of house-leek rock, between two rocks which are several rods apart northwest and southeast; four eggs. The nest of coarse grass stubble, lined with fine grass, and is two thirds at least covered by a jutting sod. Egg, bluish-white ground, thickly blotched with brown, yet most like a small groundbird’s egg . . .

(Journal, 8:356-7).
29 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Ride to Painted-Cup Meadow.

  . . . A cuckoo’s note, loud and hollow, from a wood-side. Found a painted-cup with more yellow than usual in it, and at length Edith found one perfectly yellow. What a flowery place, a vale of Enna, is that meadow . . . Where you find a rare flower, expect to find more rare ones . . .

(Journal, 8:357-8).
30 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Linnaea Wood-lot . . . Return via Clamshell . . . Frank Harding caught five good-sized chivin this cold day from the new stone bridge . . . (Journal, 8:358-9).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his brother William, concerning the death of their brother Bulkeley:

  Mr Thoreau kindly undertook the charge of the funeral and Rev Mr Reynolds [Grindall Reynolds] to whom I had explained what I thought necessary, & whom Lidian visited afterwards lest he should not do justice to Bulkeley’s virtues, officiated (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5:149).
31 May 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Clintonia Swamp (Hubbard’s) Grove . . . Sundown.—To Hill and Island . . . As I return in the dusk, many nighthawks, with their great spotted wings, are circling low over the river, as the swallows were when I went out . . . (Journal, 8:359-60).

Thoreau also writes to John Russell:

Mr Russell

  Dear Sir,

  I shall be very glad to help you collect the Nymphaeaceae &c, and to spend another day with you on our river, & in our fields and woods (Concord Saunterer 15, no. 2 (Summer 1980):1-2; MS, private owner).

Thoreau also writes to Calvin Greene:

Dear Sir,

  I forwarded by mail a copy of my “Week” post paid to James Newberry, Merchant, Rochester, Oakland Co Mich, according to your order, about ten days ago, or on the receipt of your note.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 425-6).

See entry 12 June.

1 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Horse-radish in yard, to-morrow. Picked up an entire sternothærus shell yesterday; without scales. In the upper shell there appear to be six small segments of shell wholly dorsal, seventeen wholly lateral (nine in front), and twenty-two marginal . . .

  P. M.—To Walden.

  Somewhat warmer at. last, after several very cold, as well as windy and rainy, days. Was soothed and cheered by I knew not what at first, but soon detected the now more general creak of crickets. A striped yellow bug . . .

(Journal, 8:361-2)
2 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Carum, i. e. caraway, in garden Saw most hummingbirds when cherries were in bloom,—on them.

  P. M.—With R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] to Perez Blood’s auction . . . 5 P. M.—To Azalea nudiflora, which is in prime . . . (Journal, 8:362-3).

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

  The finest day the high noon of the year, went with Thoreau in a wagon to Perez Blood’s auction; found the myrica flowering; it had already begun to shed its pollen one day, the lowest flowers being effete; found the English hawthorn on Mrs Ripley’s hill, ready to bloom; went up the Asabet, & found the Azalea Nudicaulis in full bloom; a beautiful show, the viola muhlenbergi, the ranunculus recurvatus; sas swamp white oak, (chestnut-like leaves) white maple, red maple, – no chestnut oak on the river – Henry told his story of the Ephemera, the manna of the fishes, which falls like a snow storm one day in the year, only on this river, not on the Concord, high up in the air as he can see, & blundering down to the river, – (the shad-fly,) the true angler’s fly; the fish die of repletion when it comes, the kingfishers wait for their prey.1 Around us the pepeepee of the king bird kind was noisy. He showed the history of the river from the banks, the male & female bank, the pontederia keeps the female bank, on whichever side.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 14:93-4)

1 See entry 6 June 1857.

3 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys a meadow and woodlots for John Hosmer (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying for John Hosmer beyond pail-factory. Hosmer says that seedling white birches do not grow larger than your arm, but cut them down and they spring up again and grow larger . . . (Journal, 8:363-4).
4 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau surveys a meadow and woodlots for John Hosmer (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying for J. Hosmer [John Hosmer] . . . Anthony Wright says that he used to get slippery elm bark from a place southwest of Wetherbee’s Mill, about ten rods south of the brook . . . (Journal, 8:364-5).

5 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Indian Ditch.

  Achillea Millefolium. Black cherry, apparently yesterday. The Muscicapa Cooperi sings pe pe pe’, sitting on the top of a pine, and shows white rump (?), etc., unlike kingbird.

  Return by J. Hosmer Desert.

  Everywhere now in dry pitch pine woods stand the red lady’s-slippers over the red pine leaves on the forest floor, rejoicing in June, with their two broad curving green leaves,—some even in swamps. Uphold their rich, striped red, drooping sack . . .

(Journal, 8:365-7).
6 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Andromeda Ponds . . . J. Hosmer, who is prosecuting Warner for flowing his land, says that the trees are not only broken off when young by weight of ice, but, being rubbed and barked by it, become warty or bulge out there (Journal, 8:367-8).
8 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cedar Swamp . . . When I returned to my boat, about five, the weather being mizzling enough to require an umbrella, with an easterly wind and dark for the hour, my boat being by chance at the same place where it was in ’54, I noticed a great flight of ephemeræ over the water . . . (Journal, 8:368-72).
9 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Corner Spring . . . 6.30 P. M.—Up Assabet . . . (Journal, 8:372-3).

10 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—Getting lily pads opposite Badger’s.

  Already the pads are much eaten before they are grown, and underneath, on the under side of almost every one, are the eggs of various species of insect, some so minute as to escape detection at first . . .

  P. M.—To Dugan Desert.

  Cornus alternifolia a day or two, up railroad; maybe longer elsewhere. Spergularta rubra by railroad, it having been dug up last year, and so delayed.

  The cuckoo of June 5th has deserted lier nest, and I find the fragments of egg-shells in it; probably because I found it . . .

(Journal, 8:373-5).
11 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  The locust in graveyard shows but few blossoms yet. It is very hot this afternoon, and that peculiar stillness of summer noons now reigns in the woods. I observe and appreciate the shade, as it were the shadow of each particular leaf . . .

  Rice tells me he found a turtle dove’s nest on an apple tree near his farm in Sudbury two years ago, with white eggs; so thin a bottom you could see the eggs through.

(Journal, 8:375-7)
12 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Conantum on foot. Sophia has sent me, in a letter from Worcester, part of an orchid in bloom, apparently Platanthera Hookeri (?), or smaller round-leafed orchis, from the Hermitage Wood, so called, northeast of the town . . . (Journal, 8:377).

Thoreau also sends copies of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack River and Walden to California for Calvin Greene (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 426).

13 June 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Worcester. See the common iris in meadow in Acton. Brown [Theophilus Brown] shows me from his window the word “guano” written on the grass in a field near the hospital, say three quarters of a mile distant . . . (Journal, 8:377-8).
Before 14 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  I go for those who have received a retaining fee to this party of freedom, before they came into this world. I would trust Garrison, I would trust Henry Thoreau, that they would make no compromises. I would trust Horace Greeley, I would trust my venerable friend Mr Hoar, that they would be staunch for freedom to the death; but both of these would have a benevolent credulity in the honesty of the other party, that I think unsafe.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 14:95)
14 June 1856. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walk to Hermitage Woods with Sophia and aunts . . . (Journal, 8:378).
15 June 1856. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mrs. Brown [Sarah Ann Brown] reads a letter from John Downs in Philadelphia to Mr. Brown, [Theophilus Brown] in which he remembers his early youth in Shrewsbury and the pout accompanied by her young. A Miss Martha Le Barron describes to me a phosphorescence on the beach at night in Narragansett Bay . . .

  P. M.—To some woods southwest of Worcester . . .

  A night-flowering cereus opens three or four times at a Mrs. Newton’s while I am there . . .

(Journal, 8:378-9)
16 June 1856. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw at the Natural History Rooms a shell labelled Haliotis splendens, apparently same with mine from Ricketson’s [Daniel Ricketson] son, with holes and green reflections. To Purgatory in Sutton: by railroad to Wilkinsonville in the northeast corner of Sutton (thirty cents) and by buggy four of rive miles to Purgatory in the south or southeast part of the town, some twelve miles from Worcester . . .
(Journal, 8:379-80)
17 June 1856. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Go to Blake’s [H. G. O. Blake] . . .

  A. M.—Ride with him and Brown [Theophilus Brown] and Sophia [Sophia Thoreau] round a part of Quinsigamond Pond in Shrewsbury . . .

  P. M.—Went to Rev. Horace James’s reptiles (Orthodox) . . .

  At Natural History Rooms, a great cone from a southern pine and a monstrous nutshell from the East Indies (?) . . .

(Journal, 8:380-1)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Left Newport this morning at five o’clock for Concord, Mass., via Providence and Boston, and arrived at C. about 12 M. The sail up the Providence or Blackstone River was very fine, the morning being clear and the air very refreshing. My object in coming to Concord was to see H. D. Thoreau, but unfortunately I found him on a visit at Worcester, but I was received with great kindness and cordiality by his father and mother, and took tea with them. Mrs. Thoreau, like a true mother, idolizes her son, and gave me a long and interesting account of his character. Mr. Thoreau, a very short old gentleman, is a pleasant person. We took a short walk together after tea, returned to the Middlesex Hotel at ten. Mrs. T. gave me a long and particular account of W. E. Channing, who spent so many years here.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 285)
18 June 1856. Worcester, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Hale says the tiarella grows here, and showed it to me pressed; also Kalmia glauca formerly hobble-bush still, and yellow lady’s slipper near the Quarry (Journal, 8:382).
19 June 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Looked at a collection of the rarer plants made by Higginson and placed at the Natural History Rooms . . . On way to Concord see mountain laurel out in Lancaster . . . (Journal, 8:382).

Concord, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Walked after breakfast with Mr. Thoreau, Senr., by appointment to the cemetery and over the ridge to see Mr. Hosmer, an intelligent farmer. Purchased the life of Mary Ware, and a framed portrait of Charles Sumner, the former for Mrs. Thoreau, and the latter for her daughter, Sophia.

  H. D. Thoreau and his sister S. arrived home this noon from a visit to Worcester. Passed a part of the afternoon on the river with H. D. T. in his little boat,—discussed [William Ellery] Channing part of the time. Took tea and spent the evening at Mr. T’s. (Item) H. D. T. says buy “Margaret.”

(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 285-6)

Ricketson gives Thoreau’s mother a copy of Memoir of Mary L. Ware by Edward B. Hall with the inscription, “To Henry D. Thoreau’s mother, with the kind regards of the their friend, Danl. Ricketson, Concord, June, 19th 1856” (Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-century American Literature, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.).

20 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—To Baker Farm with Ricketson [Daniel Ricketson].

  A very hot day.

  Two Sternothærus odoratus by heap in Sanborn’s garden, one making a hole for its eggs, the rear of its shell partly covered. See a great many of these out to-day on ground . . .

  Walking under an apple tree in the little Baker Farm peach orchard, heard an incessant shrill musical twitter or peeping, as from young birds, over my head, and, looking up, saw a hole in an upright dead bough, some fifteen feet from ground. Climbed up and, finding that the shrill twitter came from it, guessed it to be the nest of a downy woodpecker, which proved to be the case . . .

(Journal, 8:382-4).

Concord, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  6 P. M. Just returned from a sail on the river with Thoreau, having been all day. Bathed twice, visited the Baker farm and the Conantum farmhouse. Just going out to tea with the Thoreaus to Mrs. Brook’s, an abolitionist (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 286).

21 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden.

  Much pine pollen is washed up on the northwest side of the pond. Must it not have come from pines at a distance. Very hot day, as was yesterday,—98° at 2 P. M., 99° at 3, and 128° in sun. Nighthawks numerously squeak at 5 P.M. . . . (Journal, 8:384).

Thoreau also writes to Calvin Greene:

Dear Sir

  On the 12 ult I forwarded the two books to California, observing your directions in every particular, and I trust that Uncle Sam will discharge his duty faithfully. While in Worcester this week I obtained the accompanying daguerreotype—which my friends think is pretty good—though better looking than I . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 426).

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Exceedingly warm at Concord. Thermometer at 93 in the shade north side Mr. Thoreau’s house, 12 M., rose to 97; spent the forenoon with Mr. Thoreau, Senr., walked down by the river and sat under the shade of the willows by the bank; walked to Walden Pond with H. D. T. this P. M.; bathed, and crossed the pond with him in a boat we found upon the shore. Saw the Scarlet Tanager by the aid of Thoreau’s glass, a bird I had never seen before . . . R. W. Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson] called upon me with evening; talked of Channing [William Ellery Channing] and the Kansas affairs. Walked home with him and with Thoreau. This has been extremely warm, thermometer at 99 at 5 P. M. north side shade of Mr. T.’s house.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 286-7)
22 June 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Walden. Ricketson [Daniel Ricketson] says that they say at New Bedford that the song sparrow says, Maids, maids, maids,—hang on your tea-kettle-ettle-ettle-ettle-ettle. R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] imitates the wood thrush by he willy willy—ha willy willy—O willy O . . . (Journal, 8:384).

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  The Concord, or Musketaquid or grass-grown river, as my friend H. D. T. has learned its meaning from the Indians, runs along the edge of the village, which is chiefly on one street, although there are several others. It is a fine stream, and remarkable for its gentle current. With Thoreau I rowed up the river several miles, and had many pleasant views from different points . . .

  Spent the forenoon in H. D. T.’s room, copying titles of books, &c.—called by invitation at R. W. Emerson’s at 4 P. M. with Thoreau—on the way called on Mrs. Brooks, the abolitionist. Walked to Walden Pond with Emerson and his children, and Thoreau; took tea at E’s. Thoreau returned with Ellen and Edith E. while Mr. E., his son Eddy, 12 years of age, and myself stopped and bathed in Walden Pond. Our conversation was principally upon birds and flowers that we met upon the way. Met Mrs. Ripley, Mrs. Goodwin, Miss Ripley and Dr. C. Francis at Mr. E.’s on our return. Returned at 9 with T. to his father’s and to bed at ten.

(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 288-9)
23 June 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To New Bedford with Ricketson [Daniel Ricketson] . . . His son Walton showed me one of four perfectly white eggs taken from a hole in an apple tree eight feet from ground . . . (Journal, 8:384-5).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Left Concord this A.M. with Henry D. Thoreau at 8 1/2 o’clock, and arrived home at 1 1/2 P. M., stopping one hour in Boston, visiting the Natural History rooms with H. D. T. who is a member of the Society . . . My visit to Concord from which I have just returned will long be remembered with pleasure. There I met several cultured and congenial people and particularly enjoyed my walks, rambles and boat excursions with my friend Thoreau.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 289)
24 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Sassacowen Pond and to Long Pond . . .

  Lunched by the spring on the Brady farm in Freetown . . .

  Went off to Nelson’s Island (now Briggs’s) in Long Pond by a long, very narrow bar (fifty rods I paced it), in some places the water over shoes and the sand commonly only three or four feet wide . . . R. [Daniel Ricketson] dreams of residing here.

(Journal, 8:385-6)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at 48 at 5 A. M. Rose early and found Thoreau walking in the garden – assisted him in fitting a press for his plants. Left home about 10 with H. D. T. for Long Pond – on the way spent an hour at Sassaquin or Tobey’s pond, dined under an apple-tree near a spring on the Brady farm, after which bathed upon the south shore of Long Pond, and visited Nelson’s Island, one of the most beautiful and retired spots in this part of the county, made a sketch of the back side of the Brady house, and the barn, in Thoreau’s note-book. Home at 7; went with Billy and the old buggy wagon.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 289-90)
25 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Called at Thomas A. Greene’s in New Bedford, said to be best acquainted with the botany of this vicinity (also acquainted with shells, and somewhat with geology) . . . Brewer, in a communication to Audubon (as I read in his hundred(?)-dollar edition), makes two kinds of song sparrows, and says that Audubon has represented one, the most common about houses . . .
(Journal, 8: 386-7).

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  At home and about this forenoon, Thoreau busy collecting marine plants from the river side. Went to town this P. M. with Thoreau. Called at Thomas A. Greene’s with T. who wished to confer with him about rare plants and those peculiar to this section – afterwards went to the city library and examined Audubon’s Ornithology for a species of the sparrow which we have on our place and which as yet I have been unable to identify with any described in Wilson or Nuttall.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 290)
26 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rode to Sconticut Neck or Point in Fair Haven, five or six miles, and saw, apparently, the F. savanna near their nests (my seringo note), restlessly flitting about me from rock to rock within a rod . . .

  Saw a farmer on the Neck with one of Palmer’s patent wood legs. He went but little lame and said that he did his own mowing and most of his ordinary farm work, though plowing in the present state of his limb, which had not yet healed, wrenched him some . . .

  This Neck, like the New Bedford country generally, is very flat to my eye, even as far inland as Middleborough. When R. [Daniel Ricketson] decided to take another road home from the latter place, because it was less hilly, I said I had not observed a hill in all our ride . . . I had been expecting to find the aletris about New Bedford, and when taking our luncheon on this neck what should I see rising above the luncheon-box, between me and R., but what I knew must be the Aletris farinosa . . .

  Talked with a farmer by name of Slocum, hoeing on the Neck, a rather dull and countrified fellow for our neighborhood, I should have said . . .

  Heard of, and sought out, the hut of Martha Simons, the only pure-blooded Indian left about New Bedford . . . The squaw was not at home when we first called . . . She ere long came in from the seaside, and we called again. We knocked and walked in, and she asked us to sit down . . .

  A conceited old Quaker minister, her neighbor, told me with a sanctified air, “I think that the Indians were human beings; dost thee not think so?” He only convinced me of his doubt and narrowness.

(Journal, 8:387-92)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Made an excursion to the end of Sconticut Neck with my friend Thoreau, in search of marine plants, &c. On our return called to see an old Indian woman by the name of Martha Simonds living alone in a little dwelling of but one room . . . Arrived home from our excursion to Sconticut about 5 (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 290).
27 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Went with R. [Daniel Ricketson] and his boys in the Steamer Eagle’s Wing, with a crowd and band of music, to the northeast of Naushon, “Woods Hole,” some fifteen miles from New Bedford; about two hours going. Talked with a Mr. Congdon, cashier of a bank and a vegetarian . . .

  A Mr. Wall, artist, at New Bedford, told me of a high pine wood or swamp some miles down Naushon with “storks’ nests” (!) in the pines . . .

  Returning, I caught sight of Gay Head and its lighthouse with my glass, between Pasque and Nashawena . . .

(Journal, 8:392-4)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Spent the forenoon in the Shanty with Thoreau, engaged in ornithology principally and the philosophy of life generally. Went to Naushon Island in the afternoon in the steamer ‘Eagle Wing’ and returned at 6 1/2 in company with our friend H. D. Thoreau, Arthur, and Walton (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 290-1).
28 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Lamium amplexicaule still out behind R.’s shanty. I picked up two arrowheads amid oyster and clam shells by a rock at the head of the creek opposite R.’s. One was of peculiar form . . .

  P. M.—I paddled up the Acushnet, about a mile above the paper-mill, as far as the ruined mill, in Walton’s [Walton Ricketson] skiff with Arthur [Arthur Ricketson] . . .

(Journal, 8:394).

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Thoreau and Arthur went up the river botanizing (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 294).

29 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Bathed in the creek, which swarms with terrapins, as the boys called them . . . A man by the riverside told us that he had two young ducks which he let out to seek their food along the riverside at low tide that morning . . . Bathed again near Dogfish Bar . . . I probably found an Indian’s bone at Throgg’s Point, where their bodies have been dug up.
(Journal, 8:394-5)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Walked this P. M. with Thoreau down as far as the Indian burial hill on Coggeshall farm, and after tea rode with him round Tarkiln Hill and home by Nash Road; talked widely and retired at 10 (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 294-5).
30 June 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—To Middleborough ponds in the new town of Lakeville (some three years old) . . .

  Borrowed Roberts’s boat, shaped like a pumpkin-seed, for we wished to paddle on Great Quitticus. We landed and lunched on Haskell’s Island, which contains some twenty-five or thirty acres . . .

  Rode on to the old Pond Meeting-house, whence there is a fine view of Assawampsett . . .

  Two men spoke of loon’s eggs on a rocky isle in Little Quitticus . . .

  As we were returning, a Mr. Sampson was catching perch at the outlet from Long Pond, where it emptied into Assawampsett with a swift current . . .

(Journal, 8:395-7)

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Rode to Middleboro Ponds with Thoreau. Visited Haskell’s Island, so-called, in Great Quitticus Pond, from where we bathed and ate our dinner upon the west shore of the Island, then rode to Assawampsett and visited the old meeting-house now fast falling to decay and abuse, and King Philip’s look-out, so called.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 295).
July 1856. Boston, Mass.

An article on “The Literature of Friendship” in The North American Review mentions Thoreau, along with many other notable literary figures:

But perhaps the worthiest paper on the subject is contained in the “Wednesday” of Thoreau’s “Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,”—a composition which every one enamored of the theme should reperuse and ponder. “Friendship is evanescent in every man’s experience, and remembered like heat-lightning in past summers.” “Of what use is the friendliest disposition, if no hours are given to friendship?”

(The North American Review, vol. 83 issue 172 (July 1856):110-1)
1 July 1856. New Bedford, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Paddled on the Acushnet. Passed through some schools of fishes which were rippling the surface about us in midstream . . . Walton said afterward that they were menhaden (Journal, 8:398).

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Rode to town this morning with Thoreau, visited Arnold’s garden with him. Channing [William Ellery Channing] came up to tea to see Thoreau and spend the evening and night. Thoreau and Channing spent the night in the Shanty. Retired at 10 (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 295).
2 July 1856.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Return to Concord. Looked at the birds in the Natural History Rooms in Boston . . . (Journal, 8:398).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at about 50, 5 A. M. My friend H. D. Thoreau left in the early train this morning for his home at Concord, Mass. Took him to the Tarkiln Hill station. Channing, [William Ellery Channing] who spent the night with us, left about 9 to walk to town. During the visit of my friend Thoreau we have visited the Middleborough Ponds twice, the Island Naushon, Sconticut Neck, etc. His visit has been a very pleasant one to myself and family. He is the best educated man I know, and I value his friendship very much. His health is quite poor at present, and I fear he will hardly reach old age, which from his unconcern in regard to it the more strengthens my fears for his loss.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 295-6)
3 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Assabet River.

  In the main stream, at the Rock, I am surprised to see flags and pads, laying the foundation of an islet in the middle, where I hail thought it deep before. Apparently a hummock lifted by ice sunk there in the spring . . .

(Journal, 8:398-9).
5 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—To Loring’s Pond.

  Pink-colored yarrow. Epilobium coloratum, a day or more. Young partridges (with the old bird), as big as robins . . .

  The large evening-primrose below the foot of our garden does not open till some time between 6.30 and 8 P.M. or sundown. It was not open when I went to bathe, but freshly out in the cool of the evening at sundown, as if enjoying the serenity of the hour.

(Journal, 8:399-401).
6 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Assabet Bath.

  Campanula aparinoides, roadside opposite centaurea, several days. Early low blueberries ripe.

  Crossed the river at bath place. On the sandy bank opposite, saw a wood tortoise voraciously eating sorrel leaves, under my face. In A. Hosmer’s ice-bared meadow south of Turnpike, hear the distressed or anxious peet of a peetweet . . .

(Journal, 8:401).
7 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

   I see a difference now between the alder leaves near Island and edge of meadow westward, on Hill . . .

  P. M.—To Gowing’s Swamp.

  The purple finch still sings over the street. The sagittaria, large form, is out, roadside . . .

(Journal, 8:401-2).
8 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—To Baker Farm by boat . . . Sophia saw this afternoon two great snap-turtles fighting near the new stone bridge . . . Sam Wheeler, who did not know there were snapping turtles here, says he saw opposite to his boarding-house, on the sidewalk, in New York, the other day, a green turtle which weighed seven hundred and twenty pounds . . .
(Journal, 8:402-4).
9 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 10 July:

  Yesterday a heavy rain (Journal, 8:404).
10 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—To Laurel Glen . . .

  5 P. M.—Up Assabet.

  As I was bathing under the swamp white oaks at 6 P. M., I heard a suppressed sound often repeated, like, perhaps, the working of beer through a bung-hole, which I had already suspected to [be] produced by owls. I was uncertain whether it was far or near. Proceeding a dozen rods up-stream on the south side, toward where a catbird was incessantly mewing, I found myself suddenly within a rod of a gray screech owl sitting on an alder bough with horns erect, turning its head from side to side and up and down, and peering at me in that same ludicrously solemn and complacent way . . .

(Journal, 8:404-6)
11 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—To Tarbell Swamp Hill all day with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing].

  Landed at path end, Great Meadows . . .

  Bathed and lunched under the oak at Tarbell’s first shore . . . It is about as cool a place as you can find, where you get the southwest breeze from over the broad meadow, for it draws through the valley behind. While sitting there, saw, some twenty-five rods up-stream, amid the pads on the south side, where we had passed, several apparently young ducks, which soon disappeared again in the meadow-grass . . .

(Journal, 8:406-7).
12 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Down Turnpike to Red Lily Meadow.

  Hear the plaintive note of young bluebirds, a reviving and gleaming of their blue ray. In Moore’s meadow by Turnpike, see the vetch in purple patches weighing down the grass, as if a purple tinge were reflected there . . .

  Red lilies in prime, single upright fiery flowers, their throats how splendidly and variously spotted, hardly two of quite the same hue and not two spotted alike, -leopard-spotted,-averaging a foot or more in height, amid the huckleberry and lambkill, etc., in the moist, meadowy pasture . . .

(Journal, 8:408-9).

Mary Moody Emerson writes to Thoreau:

  Will my young friend visit me tomorrow early as he can? this evening my Sister [Sarah Alden] Ripley sends word she will com, and go to see Mrs. William Emerson, who is in town. I wish for your writings, hoping they will give me a clearer clue to your faith,—its nature, its destination and object. While excited by your original wit and thoughts, I lose sight, perhaps, of the motive and end and infinite responsibility of talent . . .

 

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 427)
13 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Corner Spring.

  Orchis lacera, apparently several days, lower part of spike, willow-row, Hubbard side, opposite Wheildon’s land. See quite a large flock of chattering red-wings, the flight of first broods . . .

(Journal, 8:409-10).
14 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Muhlenbergii Brook . . . Anthony Wright found a lark’s nest with fresh eggs on the 12th in E. Hubbard’s meadow by ash tree . . . While drinking at Assabet Spring in woods, noticed a cherry-stone on the bottom . . . (Journal, 8:411).
15 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Hubbard’s Close and Walden.

  When I crossed the entrance to the pond meadow on a stick, a pout ran ashore and was lodged so that I caught it in the grass, apparently frightened. While I held it, I noticed another, very large one approach the shore very boldly within a few feet of me. Going in to bathe, I caught a pout on the bottom within a couple of rods of the shore. It seemed sick. Then, wading into the shallow entrance of the meadow, I saw a school of a thousand little pouts about three quarters of an inch long without any attending pout, and now have no doubt that the pout I had caught (but let go again) was tending them . . .

(Journal, 8:411-3).
16 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  See several bullfrogs lying fully out on pads at 5 P. M. . . . (Journal, 8:413).
17 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Water Dock Meadow and Linnæa Hillside . . .

  Bathed at Clamshell . . .

  Evening by river to Ed. Hosmer’s . . . Returning after ten, by moonlight, see the bullfrogs lying at full length on the pads where they trump.

(Journal, 8:414-6)

Mary Moody Emerson writes to Thoreau:

Dear Henry:

  I expect to set out to-morrow morning for Goshen,—a place where wit and gaiety never come “that comes to all.” But hope lives, and travels on with the speed of suns and stars; and when there are none but clouds in the sky . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 428)
18 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Wheeler meadow to look at willows.

  Again scare up a woodcock, apparently seated or sheltered in shadow of ferns in the meadow on the cool mud in the hot afternoon . . . (Journal, 8:416-7).

19 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Marlborough Road via railroad and Dugan wood-lot . . .

  As I come by the apple tree on J. P. B.’s land, where I heard the young woodpeckers hiss a month or so ago, I now see that they have flown, for there is a cobweb over the hole.

  Plucked a handful of gooseberries at J. P. B.’s bush . . .

(Journal, 8:417).
20 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Up Assabet . . . (Journal, 8:420).
21 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To A. Wheeler’s grape meadow . . . These hot afternoons I go panting through the close sprout-lands and copses, as now from Cliff Brook to Wheeler meadow, and occasionally come to sandy places a few feet in diameter where the partridges have dusted themselves . . . Mr. Russell [John Russell] writes to-day that he visited the locality of the Magnolia glauca the 18th, on Cape Cod, and saw lingering still a few flowers and flower-buds . . .
(Journal, 8:420-2).
23 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A.M.—Up river for Nuphar Kalmiana with Russell.

  Pasture thistle, not long . . .

  P. M.—To Walden for hydropeltis . . .

  Saw at Hydropeltis Meadow a small bullfrog in the act of swallowing a young but pretty sizable apparently Rana palustris, such as now hop about, an inch and a half long. He took it down head foremost, and as the legs were slowly taken in,—stuffing himself,—for the legs were often straightened out,—I wondered what satisfaction it could be to the larger to have that cold slimy fellow, entire, lying head to tail within him! I sprang to make him disgorge . . .

(Journal, 8:422-4)
24 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  Solidago strieta, Ingraham Path, well out, some days. Chimaphila maculata, three flowers, apparently but few days, while the umbellata is quite done there. Leaves just shooting up . . . (Journal, 8:425-6).

25 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A.M. -Up river to see hypericums out.

  Lycopus Virginicus, with its runners, perhaps some days, in Hosmer Flat Meadow . . .

  The street is now strewn with bark under the buttonwood at the brick house. Has not the hot weather taken the bark off?

  The air begins to be thick and almost smoky.

(Journal, 8:426-7)
26 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M. -Up Assabet.

  The sun’s disk is seen round and red for a long distance above the horizon, through the thick but cloudless atmosphere, threatening heat, -hot, dry weather . . .

  P.M. – To Poorhouse Pasture . . .

  It is very still and sultry this afternoon, at 6 P.M. even. I cannot even sit down in the pasture for want of air, but must keep up and moving, else I should suffocate. Thermometer ninety-seven and ninety-eight to-day . . .

(Journal, 8:427-30).
27 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Lobelia cardinalis, three or four days, with similar white glands (?) on edges of leaves as in L. spicata. Why is not this noticed? Cornus sericea about done . . .

As I was paddling by Dodge’s Brook, a great devil’s needle lit on my paddle, between my hands. It was about three inches long and three and a half in spread of wings, without spots, black and yellow, with green eyes (?). It kept its place within a few inches of my eyes, while I was paddling some twenty-five rods against a strong wind, clinging closely. Perhaps it chose that place for coolness this hot day.

  To-day, as yesterday, it is more comfortable to be walking or paddling at 2 and 3 P.M., when there is wind, but at five the wind goes down and it is very still and suffocating.

  I afterward saw other great devil’s-needles, the forward part of their bodies light-blue and very stout . . .
(Journal, 8:430-1)

28 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At 1.30 a thunder-shower, which was much needed, the corn having rolled and trees suffered.

  3.30 P.M.—To Climbing Fern . . . (Journal, 8:431-2).

29 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rhexia. Probably would be earlier if not mowed down. What I have called Hieracium Gronovii, with three cauline leaves and without veins, has achenia like H. venosum; so I will give it up. Its radical leaves are very hairy beneath, especially along midrib. Another smart rain, with lightning.

  Pratt lave me a chimney swallow’s nest, which he says fell clown Wesson’s chimney with young in it two or three days ago . . .

(Journal, 8:432-4)
30 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Rudbeckia laciniata via Assabet.

  Amaranthus hybridus and albus, both some days at least; first apparently longest.

  This is a perfect dog-day. The atmosphere thick, mildewy, cloudy. It is difficult to dry anything. The sun is obscured, yet we expect no rain. Bad hay weather. The streams are raised by the showers of yesterday and day before . . . All the secrets of the river bottom are revealed. I look down into sunny depths which before were dark. The wonderful clearness of the water, enabling you to explore the river bottom and many of its secrets now, exactly as if the water had been clarified. This is our compensation for a heaven concealed . . .

(Journal, 8:434-5)
31 July 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Decodon Pond.

  Erigeron Canadensis, some time. Alisma mostly gone to seed. Tboroughwort, several days. Pentliorum, a good while. Trichostema has now for some time been springing up in the fields, giving out its aromatic scent when bruised, and I see one ready to open.

  For a morning or two I have noticed dense crowds of little tender whitish parasol toadstools, one inch or more in diameter, and two inches high or more, with simple plaited wheels, about the pump platform; first fruit of this dog-day weather . . .

  As I am going across to Bear Garden Hill, I see much white Polygala sanguinea with the red in A. Wheeler’s meadow (next to Potter’s) . . .

  As I look out through the woods westward there, I see, sleeping and gleaming through the stagnant, misty, glaucous dog-day air, i.e. blue mist, the smooth silvery surface of Fair Haven Pond. There is a singular charm about it in this setting. The surface has a dull, gleaming polish on it, though draped in this glaucous mist . . .

(Journal, 8:435-7)
1 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Ludwigia sphærocarpa . . .

  Since July 30th, inclusive, we have had perfect dog days without interruption. The earth has suddenly [become] invested with a thick musty mist. The sky has become a mere fungus. A thick blue musty veil of mist is drawn before the sun. The sun has not been visible, except for a moment or two once or twice a day, all this time, nor the stars by night. Moisture reigns. You cannot dry a napkin at the window, nor press flowers without their mildewing. You imbibe so much moisture from the atmosphere that you are not so thirsty, nor is bathing so grateful as a week ago. The burning heat is tempered, but as you lose sight of the sky and imbibe the musty, misty air, you exist as a vegetable, a fungus . . .

  The Great Meadows being a little wet,—hardly so much as usual,—I took off my shoes and went barefoot some two miles through the cut-grass, from Peter’s to Sphoerocarpa Pools and backward by river. Very little grass cut there yet. The cut-grass is bad for tender feet, and you must be careful not to let it draw through your hands, for it will cut like a fine saw . . .

(Journal, 8:438-40)
2 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Hill.

  A green bittern comes, noiselessly flapping, with stealthy and inquisitive looking to this side the stream and then that, thirty feet above the water. This antediluvian bird, creature of the night, is a fit emblem of a dead stream like this Musketicook. This especially is the bird of the river. There is a sympathy between its sluggish flight and the sluggish flow of the stream . . .

(Journal, 8:440-1)
3 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Lee’s Cliff by river . . .

  At length from July 30th inclusive the cloud-like wreaths of mist of these dog-days lift somewhat, and the sun shines out more or less, a short time, at 3 P.M.

  The sun coming out when I am off Clamshell, the abundant small dragon-flies of different colors, brightblue and lighter, looped along the floating vallisneria . . .

  Our river is so sluggish and smooth that I can trace a boat that has passed half an hour before, by the bubbles on its surface, which have not burst. I have known thus which stream another party had gone up long before. A swift stream soon blots out such traces . . .

(Journal, 8:441-4)
4 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Carried party a-berrying to Conantum in boat . . .

  Conantuin hillside is now literally black with berries. What a profusion of this kind of food Nature provides, as if to compensate for the scarcity last year! Fortunate that these cows in their pasture do not love them, but pass them by. The blackberries are already softening, and of all kinds there are many, many more than any or all creatures can gather. Theyare literally five or six species deep . . . You go daintily wading through this thicket, picking, perchance, only the biggest of the blackberries—as big as your thumb—and clutching here and there a handful of huckleberries or blueberries, but never, perchance, suspecting the delicious cool blue-bloomed ones under all. This favorable moist weather has expanded some of the huckleberries to the size of bullets. Each patch, each bush, seems fuller and blacker than the last . . .

(Journal, 8:444-5)
5 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A. M.—On river . . .

  Choke-cherries near House-leek Rock begin to be ripe, though still red. They are scarcely edible, but their beauty atones for it. See those handsome racemes of ten or twelve cherries each, dark glossy red, semitransparent. You love them not the less because they are not quite palatable . . .

(Journal, 8:445-8)
6 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Copious and continuous rain in the night, deluging, soaking rain, with thunder and lightning, beating down the crops; and this morning it is cooler and clearer and windier.

  P.M.—To Walden.

  The wind, or motion of the air, makes it much cooler on the railroad causeway or hills, but in the woods it is as close and melting as before . . .

(Journal, 8:448-9)
7 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Hemp, perhaps a week.

  Heard this forenoon what I thought at first to be children playing on pumpkin stems in the next yard, but it turned out to be the new steam-whistle music, what they call the Calliope (!) in the next town . . .

  P. M.—With a berry party, ride to Conantum.

  At Blackberry Steep, apparently an early broadleafed variety of Desmodium paniculatum, two or three days. This and similar plants are common there . . .

(Journal, 8:449-50)
8 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain, lightning, and thunder all day long in torrents. The ground was already saturated on the night of the 5th, and now it fills all gutters and low grounds No sooner has one thunder-shower swept over and the sky begun to light up a little, than another darkens the west. We were told that lightning cleared the air and so cleared itself, but now we lose our faith in that theory, for we have thunder[-shower] after thunder-shower and lightning is become a drug. Nature finds it just as easy to lighten the last time as at first, and we cannot believe that the air was so very impure.

  3.30 P. M.—When I came forth, thinking to empty my boat and go a-meditating along the river,—for the full ditches and drenched grass forbade other routes, except the highway,—and this is one advantage of a boat,—I learned to my chagrin that Father’s pig was gone. He had leaped out of the pen some time breakfast, but his dinner was untouched. Here was an ugly duty not to be shirked,—a wild shoat that weighed but ninety to be tracked, caught, and penned,—an afternoon’s work, at least (if I were lucky enough to accomplish it so soon), prepared for me, quite different from what I had anticipated . . .

(Journal, 8:450-7)
9 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Notwithstanding the very copious rain, with lightning, on the night of August 5th and the deluge which fell yesterday, raising the river still higher, it rained again and again with very vivid lightning, more copiously than ever, last night, and without long intervals all this day. Few, if any, can remember such a succession of thunder-storms merged into one long thunderstorm, lasting almost continuously (the storm does) two nights and two days. We are surprised to see that it can lighten just as vividly, thunder just as loud, rain just as copiously at last as at first.

  P. M.—Up Assabet.

The river is raised about two feet! My boat is nearly even full, though under the willows . . .

(Journal, 8:457-9)
10 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The weather is fair and clear at last. The dog-days lasted since July, 30th.

  P. M.—To Fair Haven Hill and Walden . . .

  I go across lots like a hunting dog. With what tireless energy and abandonment they dash through the brush and up the sides of hills! I meet two white foxhounds, led by an old red one. How full of i t they are! How their tails work! They are not tied to paths; they burst forth . . .

(Journal, 8:459-60)
11 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the river is an inch and a half higher, or within eight inches of the top of Hoar’s wall.

  The other evening, returning down the river, I think I detected the convexity of the earth within a short distance. I saw the western landscape and horizon, reflected in the water fifty rods behind me, all lit up with the reflected sky . . .

  7 P.M.—The river has risen about two inches today, and is now within six inches of the top of Hoar’s wall.

(Journal, 8:461-2)
12 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  11 A.M.—To Hill.

  The Hypericum nautilum is well out at this hour. The river, is now at a standstill, some three feet above its usual level . . .

  An arrowhead in Peter’s Path. How many times I have found an arrowhead by that path, as if that had been an Indian trail! Perchance it was, for some of the paths we travel are much older than we think . . .

(Journal, 8:462-5)
13 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Conantum.

  Beck says of the small circwa (C. alpina), “Many botanists consider this a mere variety of the preceding.” I am not sure but it is more deeply toothed than the large. Its leaves are of the same color with those of the large at Bittern Cliff, but more decidedly toothed . . .

(Journal, 8:466)
14 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond via Saw Mill Brook . . .

  The low wood-paths are strewn with toadstools now, and I begin to perceive their musty scent,—great tumbae, or, as R. W. E. says, tuguria,—crowding one another by the path-side when there was not a fellow in sight; great towers that have fallen and made the plain shake; ponderous wheels that have lost their fellows, broken their axles, abandoned by the toady or swampy teamsters. Some whose eaves have been nibbled apparently by turtles. Ricketson says he saw a turtle eating a toadstool once. Some great dull-yellow towers,—towers of strength, to judge from their mighty columns . . .

(Journal, 8:466-8)
15 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Minot Pratt’s.

  Pratt is collecting his parsnip seed. This the second or third cutting. It takes three cuttings, the central umbellets ripening first. It takes a sharp knife not to shake out the seeds . . . (Journal, 8:468)

16 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A. M.—To Cassia Field.

Chenopodium hybridium, a tall rank weed, five feet at least, dark-green, with a heavy (poisonous?) odor compared to that of stramonium; great maple(?)—shaped leaves. How deadly this peculiar heavy odor! . . .

  What a variety of old garden herbs—mints, etc.—are naturalized along an old settled road, like this to Boston which the British travelled! And then there is the site, apparently, of an old garden by the tarnyard, where the spearmint grows so rankly. I am intoxicated with the fragrance. Though I find only one new plant (the cassia), yet old acquaintances grow so rankly, and the spearmint intoxicates me so, that I am bewildered, as it were by a variety of new things. An infinite novelty. All the roadside is the site of an old garden where fragrant herbs have become naturalized . . .

(Journal, 9:3-6)
17 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Walked with Minot Pratt behind his house . . .

  It is then red with a white check, often slightly pear-shaped, semitransparent with a lustre, very finely and indistinctly white-dotted . . . (Journal, 9:6-8).

18 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Beck Stow’s.

  Now, perhaps, get thoroughwort. The lecheas in the Great Fields are now turning red, especially the fine one.

  As I go along the hillsides in sprout-lands, amid the Solidago stricta, looking for the blackberries left after the rain, the sun warm as ever, but the air cool nevertheless, I hear the steady (not intermittent) shrilling of apparently the alder cricket, clear, loud, and autumnal, a season sound. Hear it, but see it not. It reminds me of past autumns and the lapse of time . . .

(Journal, 9:8-9)
19 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Fair Haven Hill.

  Dog-day weather as for clouds, but less smoky than before the rains of ten days ago . . .

  I spent my afternoon among the desmodiums and lesped’ezas, sociably. The further end of Fair Haven Hill-side is a great place for them.

  All the lespedezas are apparently more open and delicate in the woods, and of a darker green, especially the violet ones . . .

(Journal, 9:9-12)
20 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain all night and to-day, making it a little chilly . . . (Journal, 9:12).
21 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rains still all day, and wind rises, and shakes off much fruit and beats down the corn . . .

  N. B. Water so high I have not. seen early meadow aster lately (Journal, 9:12-13).

22 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Fair weather at last.

  P.M.—Up Assabet.

  Owing to the rain of the 8th and before, two days and two nights, the river rose to within six inches of the top of Hoar’s wall. It had fallen about one half, when the rain began again on the night of the 20th, and again continued about two nights and two days, though so much did not fall as before ; but, the river being high, it is now rising fast. The Assabet is apparently at its height, and rushing very swiftly past the Hemlocks . . .

(Journal, 9:13-4)
23 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Walden.

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

(Journal, 9:14-7)
24 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—Up river to Clamshell.

  Polygonum tenue abundant and in bloom, on side of Money-Diggers’ Hill, especially at south base, near apple tree. The choke-cherry by fence beyond spring, being dead ripe and a little wilted, is at length tolerable eating . . .

  It rained a little last night, and the river at 3 P. M. is at the same height as last night. It is not remembered when it was so high at this season. I have not seen a white lily nor a yellow one in the river for a fortnight . . .

(Journal, 9:17)
25 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Hill by boat.

  Silvery cinquefoil now begins to show itself commonly again. Perhaps it is owing to the rain, springlike, which we have in August.

  I paddle directly across the meadow, the river is so high, and land cast of the elm on the third or fourth row of potatoes. The water makes more show on the meadows than yesterday, though hardly so high . . .

  Mr. Rice says that the brook just beyond his brother Israel’s in Sudbury rises and runs out before the river, and then you will see the river running up the brook as fast as the brook ran down before.

  Apparently half the pads are now afloat, notwithstanding the depth of the water, but they are almost all white lily pads . . .

(Journal, 9:18-22)
26 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  More wired and quite cold this morning, but very bright and sparkling, autumn-like air, reminding of frosts to be apprehended, also tempting abroad to adventure.

  The fall cricket—or is it alder locust?—sings the praises of the day.

  So about 9 A.M. up river to Fair Haven Pond.

  The flooded meadow, where the grasshoppers cling to the grass so thickly, is alive with swallows skimming just over the surface . . .

Sailed across to Bee Tree Hill. This hillside, laid bare two years ago and partly last winter, is almost covered with the Aster macrophyllus, now in its prime. It grows large and rank, two feet high. On one I count seventeen central flowers withered, one hundred and thirty in bloom, and half as many buds. As I looked down from the hilltop over the sprout-land, its rounded grayish tops amid the bushes I mistook for gray, lichen-clad rocks, such was its profusion and harmony with the scenery . . .

(Journal, 9:22-28)
27 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Clintonia Swamp and Cardinal Ditch.

  Unusually cold last night . . .

  The cardinals in this ditch make a splendid show now,though they would have been much fresher and finer a week ago. They nearly fill the ditch for thirty-five rods perfectly straight, about three feet high. I count at random ten in one square foot, and as they are two feet wide by thirty-five rods, there are four or five thousand at least . . .

(Journal, 9:28-30)
28 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  First watermelon.

  P.M.—To tortoise eggs, Marlborough road.

  Potentilla Norvegica again. I go over linnæa sproutlands. The panicled cornel berries are whitening, but already mostly fallen . . .

  I open the painted tortoise nest of June 10th, and find a young turtle partly out of his shell . He is roundish and the sternum clear uniform pink. The marks on the sides are pink. The upper shell is fifteen sixteenths of an inch plus by thirteen sixteenths. He is already wonderfully strong and precocious. Though those eyes never saw the light before, he watches me very warily, even at a distance. With what vigor he crawls out of the hole I have made, over opposing weeds! He struggles in my fingers with great strength . . .

(Journal, 9:30-3)
29 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Heavy rain in the night and this forenoon.

  P. M.—To J. Farmer’s by river.

  The Helianthus decapetalus, apparently a variety, with eight petals, about three feet high, leaves petioled, but not wing-petioled, and broader-leaved than that of August 12th . . .

(Journal, 9:34)
30 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain again in the night, as well as most of yesterday, raising the river a second time. They
say there has not been such a year as this for more than half a century,—for winter cold, summer heat, and rain.

  P.M.—To Vaccinium Oxycoccus Swamp.

  Fair weather, clear and rather cool.

  Pratt shows me at his shop a bottle filled with alcohol and camphor. The alcohol is clear and the camphor beautifully crystallized at the bottom for nearly an inch in depth, in the form of small feathers, like a boar frost. He has read that this is as good a barometer as any . . .

(Journal, 9:34-46)
31 August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Hubbard Bath Swamp by boat.

  There sits one by the shore who wishes to go with me, but I cannot think of it. I must be fancy-free. These is no such mote in the sky as a man who is not perfectly transparent to you,—who has any opacity. I would rather attend to him earnestly for half an hour, on shore or elsewhere, and then dismiss him. He thinks I could merely take him into my boat and then not mind him. He does not realize that I should by the same act take him into my mind, where there is no room for hire, and my bark would surely founder in such a voyage as I was contemplating I know, very well that I should never reach that expansion of the river I have in my mind . . .

  Some are so inconsiderate as to ask to walk or sail with me regularly every day—I have known such—and think that, because there will be six inches or a foot between our bodies, we shall not interfere! These things are settled by fate. The good ship sails—when she is ready. For freight or passage apply to—? ? Ask my friend where. What is getting into a man’s carriage when it is full, compared with putting your foot in his mouth and popping right into his mind without considering whether it is occupied or not? If I remember aright, it was only on condition that you were asked, that you were to go with a man one mile or twain. I Suppose a man asks not you to go with him, but to go with you. Often, I would rather undertake to shoulder a barrel of pork and carry it a mile than take into my company a man. It would not be so heavy a weight . . .

(Journal, 9:46-49)
After August 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes to Franklin Benjamin Sanborn:

Friday eve

  If you chance to be going to Cambridge. . . will . . . you take a small volume to the library. . . It is so rare a book I do not like to trust the expressmen with it . . . (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 429)

1 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—With R.W.E. to Saw Mill and Solidago odora.

  He has just had four of his fir trees next his house cut, they shaded his windows so. They were set out by Coolidge, E. thinks twenty-eight years ago. The largest has thirty-seven annual rings at the base and measures at one foot from the ground forty-six and a half inches in circumference; has made, on an average, about half an inch of wood in every direction . . .

(Journal, 9:50-2)

Thoreau writes to A. Bronson Alcott:

Mr Alcott,

  I remember that in the spring you invited me to visit you. I feel inclined to spend a day or two with you and on your hills at this season, returning perhaps by way of Brattleboro . . .

  I am but poor company, and it will not be worth the while far you to put yourself out on my account; yet front time to time I have some thoughts which would be the better for an airing . . .

  Your fellow traveller

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 429-30)
2 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Painted-Cup Meadow.

  Clear bright days of late, with a peculiar sheen on the leaves,—light reflected from the surface of each one, for they are grown and worn and washed smooth at last, no infantile downiness on them . . .

  I think we may detect that some sort of preparation and faint expectation preceded every discovery we have made. We blunder into no discovery but it will appear that we have prayed and disciplined ourselves for it. Some years ago I sought for Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum) hereabouts in vain, and concluded that it did not grow here. A month or two ago I read again, as many times before, that its blossoms were very small . . .

  It commonly chances that I make my most interesting botanical discoveries when I [am] in a thrilled and expectant mood, perhaps wading in some remote swamp where I have just found something novel and feel more than usually remote from the town. Or some rare plant which for some reason has occupied a strangely prominent place in my thoughts for some time will present itself. My expectation ripens to discovery. I am prepared for strange things . . .

(Journal, 9:52-8)

Thoreau writes to Daniel Ricketson:

Friend Ricketson,

  My father & mother regret that your indisposition is likely to prevent your coming to Concord at present. It is as well that you do not, if you depend on seeing me, far I expect to go to New Hampshire the latter part of the week. I shall be glad to see you afterward, if you are prepared for & can endure my unsocial habits.

  1 would suggest that you have one or two of the teeth-which you can best spare, extracted at once-for the sake of your general no less than particular health. This is the advice of one who has had quite his share of toothache in this world . . .

  From the size of your family I infer that Mrs, Ricketson & your daughters have returned from Franconia. Please remember me to them, & also to Arthur & Walton . . .

  Yrs

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 430-1)
3 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Hubbard’s Swamp for Viburnum nudum berries.

  The river smooth, though full, with the autumn sheen on it, as on the leaves. I see painted tortoises with their entire backs covered with perfectly fresh clean black scales, such as no rubbing nor varnishing can produce, contrasting advantageously with brown arid muddy ones. One little one floats past on a drifting pad which he partly sinks . . .

  Gathered four or five quarts of Viburnum nudum berries, now in their prime, attracted more by the beauty of the cynics than the flavor of the fruit. The berries, which are of various sizes and forms,—elliptical, oblong, or globular,—are in different stages of maturity on the same cynic, and so of different colors,—green or white, rose-colored, and dark purple or black,—i.e. three or four very distinct and marked colors, side by side. If gathered when rose-colored, they soon turn dark purple and are soft and edible, though before bitter. They add a new and variegated wildness to the swampy sprout-lands . . .

(Journal, 58-60)
4 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Miles Swamp, Conantum.

  What are those small yellow birds, with two white bars on wings, about the oak at Hubbard’s Grove? Aralia racemosa berries just ripe, at tall helianthus by bass [?] beyond William Wheeler’s; not edible. Indian hemp out of bloom. Butterflies in road a day or two. The crackling flight of grasshoppers. The grass also is all alive with them, and they trouble me by getting into my shoes, which are loose, and obliging me to empty them . . .

(Journal, 60-1)

Benjamin B. Wiley writes to Thoreau:

Henry D, Thoreau Esq Concord

  Dear Sir

  Having read your “Week on the Concord” which you sent D W Vaughan a short time since, I enclose $1.27 for which will you please send me a copy of the same.

  I have your “Walden” which I have read several times. If you can send me any writings of yours besides the above works I will esteem it a favor and will immediately remit you the amount due

  I consider that the moderate price I pay for excellent writings does not remove my obligation to their author and I most gladly take this occasion to tender you my warmest thanks for the pleasure and improvement you have afforded me

Yours very truly

B. B. Wiley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 431-2)
5 September 1856.

Thoreau leaves Concord, Mass. to visit Charles Frost and Mary Brown in Brattleboro, Vt.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Brattleboro, Vt.

  Will not the prime of goldenrods and asters be just before the first severe frosts?

  As I ride along in the cars, I think that the ferns, etc., are browned and crisped more than usual at this season, on account of the very wet weather.

  Found, on reaching Fitchburg that there was an interval of three and a half hours between this and the Brattleboro train . . .

  Took the cars again in Westminster. The scenery began to be mountainous and interesting in Royalston and Athol, but was more so in Irving. In Northfield first observed fields of broom-corn very common, Sorghum saccharatum, taller than corn. Alcott says they bend down the heads before they gather them, to fit them for brooms . . .

(Journal, 61-2)
6 September 1856. Brattleboro, Vt.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Brattleboro.

  Mrs. Charles C. (?) Frost showed me a painted list of the flowers of B., furnished by him to a newspaper in B. some years since. He saws he finds Aster simplex and A. ptarmicoides there (according to Oakes the latter is not found in New England out of Vermont), the latter now covered by the high water of the river . . .

  A. M.—Walked down the railroad about a mile, returning partly by river-bank.

  The depot is on the site of “Thunderbolt’s” house. He was a Scotch highwayman. Called himself Dr. Wilson (?) when here. The prevailing polygonum in B. was a new one to me . . .

  Frost said that Dr. Kane left B. the morning of the day I arrived, and had given him a list of arctic plants brought home by him, which he showed me . . .

(Journal, 62-5)
7 September 1856. Brattleboro, Vt.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Brattleboro, Vt. A.M.—

  Climbed the hill behind Mr. Addison Brown’s. The leaves of the Tiarella cordifolia very abundant in the woods . . .

  P. M. – Up the bank of the Connecticut to West River, up that to a brook, and up that nearly to hospital.

  The Connecticut, though unusually high (several feet more than usual), looks low, there being four or five or six rods of bare gravel on each side, and the bushes and weeds covered with clayey soil from a freshet. Not a boat to be seen on it. The Concord is worth a hundred of it for my purposes . . .

(Journal, 9:65-6).
8 September 1856. Brattleboro, Vt.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Brattleboro.—Rains.

  Frost gives me an aster which he thinks A. concinnus of Wood; grows in woods and yet longer leaved.

  P.M.—Clearing up. I went a-botanizing by the Coldwater Path, for the most part along a steep wooded hillside on Whetstone Brook and through its interval .

  In the last heavy rain, two or three weeks since, there was a remarkable freshet on this brook, such as has not been known before, the bridge and roach carried away, the bed of the stream laid bare, a new channel being made, the interval covered with sand and gravel, and trees (buttonwood, etc.) brought down; several acres thus buried. Frost escaped from his house on a raft. I observed a stream of large bare white rocks four or five rods wide, which at first I thought had been washed down, but it seems this was the former bed of the stream . . .

  I hear that two thousand dollars’ worth of huckleberries have been sold by the town of Ashby this season . . .

(Journal, 66-9)
9 September 1856. Brattleboro, Vt.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M.—Ascend the Chesterfield Mountain with Miss Frances and Miss Mary Brown.

  The Connecticut is about twenty rods wide between Brattleboro and Hinsdale. This mountain, according to Frost, 1064 feet high. It is the most remarkable feature here. The village of Brattleboro is peculiar for the nearness of the primitive wood and the mountain. Within three rods of Brown’s house was excellent botanical ground on the side of a primitive wooded hillside, and still better along the Coldwater Path. But, above all, this everlasting mountain is forever lowering over the village, shortening the day and wearing a misty cap each morning . . .

  P. M.—To and up a brook north of Brown’s house . . .

  A very interesting sight from the top of the mountain was that of the cars so nearly under you, apparently creeping along, you could see so much of their course . . .

  The most interesting sight I saw in Brattleboro was the skin and skull of a panther (Felis concolor) (cougar, catamount, painter, American lion, puma), which was killed, according to a written notice attached, on the 15th of June by the Saranac Club of Brattleboro, six young men, on a fishing and hunting excursion. This paper described it as eight feet in extreme length and weighing one hundred and ten pounds. The Brattleboro newspaper says its body was “4 feet 11 inches in length, and the tail 2 feet 9 inches; the animal weighed 108 pounds.” I was surprised it its great size and apparent strength. It gave one a new idea of our American forests and the vigor of nature here . . .

(Journal, 9:70-4)
10 September 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  10.30 A. M.—Took the cars to Bellows Falls, through Dummerston, Putney, and Westminster.

  Looked at the falls and rocks. River higher than usual at this season, yet could cross all but about twenty feet on the rocks . . .

  Ascended the Fall Mountain with a heavy valise on my back, against the advice of the toll-man. But when I got up so soon and easily I was amused to remember his anxiety. It is seven hundred and fifty feet high, according to Gazetteer. Saw great red oaks on this hill, particularly tall, straight, and bare of limbs, for a great distance, amid the woods. Here, as at Brattleboro, a fine yiew of the country immediately beneath you; but these views lack breadth, a distant horizon. There is a complete view of the falls from this height.

  Saw a pair of middle-sized black hawks hovering a1 >out this cliff, with some white spots, with peculiar shrill snapping notes like a gull, a new kind to me . . .

  Rode the last mile into Walpole with a lumberer, who said that when he commenced operations at Bellows Falls be thought that there was not more than one hundred thousand there, but they had already got out four millions . Ile imported some of those masts I had seen go through Concord from Canada West. They were rafted along Lake Erie . . .

(Journal, 74-7)
11 September 1856. Walpole, N.H.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Walked over what Alcott calls Farm Hill, east of his house.

  Erigeron annuus, four feet high, by roadside; also Ranaunculus Pennsylvanicus, or bristly crowfoot, still in bloom. Vide press. A fine view of the Connecticut valley from the hilltop, and of Aseutney Mountain, but not of Monadnock . . .

  In Alcott’s yard, sprung up from his bird’s seed, hemp, like common except fragrant . . .

(Journal, 9:77-80)
13 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Concord.—After all I am struck by the greater luxuriance of the same species of plants here than up country though our soil is considered leaner. Also I think that no view I have had of the Connecticut Valley at Brattleboro or Walpole is equal to that of the Concord from Nawshawtuct. Here is a more interesting horizon more variety & richness. Our river is much the most fertile in every sense. Up there it is nothing but river-valley & hills. Here there is so much more that we have forgotten that we live in a valley.

  8 A.M.—Up Assabet.

  Gathered quite
a parcel of grapes, quite ripe. Difficult; to break off the large bunches without some dropping off. Yet the best are more admirable for fragrance than for flavor. Depositing them in the bows of the boat, they filled all the air with their fragrance, as we rowed along against the wind, as if we were rowing through an endless vineyard in its matuity.

The Aster Tradescanti now sugars the banks densely, since I left, a week ago. Nature improves this her last opportunity to empty her lap of flowers . . .

(Journal, 9:80-1)
16 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Harris’s Mill, Acton, with Father.

  Aster lævis apparently in prime; very handsome its long, slanting, broad-topped wands by the roadside, even in dry soil, its rays longer and richer purple than usual . . . (Journal, 9:84)

18 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.-By boat to Conantum, barberrying.

  Diplopappus linariifolius in prime. River gone down more than I expected after the great rise, to within some eighteen inches of low-water mark, but on account a freshet. 1 have seen no Bidens Beckii nor chrysanthemuoides nor Polygonum amphibium var. aquaticum in it, nor elsewhere the myriophyllums this year. The witchhazel at Conantum just begun here and there . . .

(Journal, 9:84-5)
19 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Am surprised to find the Polygonum Pennsylvanicum abundant, by the roadside near the bank. First saw it the other day at Brattleboro. This makes, as I reckon, twenty polygonums that I know, all but cilinode and Virginianum in Concord. Is not this a late kind? It grows larger than the Persicaria. Observed an Aster undulatus behind oak at foot of hill on Assabet, with lower leaves not heart-shaped . . .
(Journal, 9:86-7)
20 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Melvin says that there are many teal about the river now.

  Rain in afternoon. Rain again in the night, hard (Journal, 9:87).

21 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cliffs.

  Asclepias Cornuti discounting. The seeded parachutes which I release soon come to earth, but probably if they waited for a stronger wind to release them they would be carried far . . .

  Scare up turtle cloves in the stubble. Uva-ursi berries quite ripe. Find, for first time in Concord, Solanum nigrum,berries apparently just ripe, by a rock northwest of corydalis. Thus I have within a week found in Concord two of the new plants I found up-country. Such is the advantage of going abroad,—to enable [you] to detect your own plants. I detected them first abroad, because there I was looking for the strange.

  It Is a warm and very hazy dav, with wreaths of mist in horizon . . .

(Journal, 9:87-9)
22 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A rainy day. Tried some pennyroyal tea, but found it too medicinal for my taste. Yet I collect these herbs, biding the time when their use shall be discovered (Journal, 9:89).
23 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rainy day (Journal, 9:89).

Thoreau writes to Daniel Ricketson:

Friend Ricketson,

  I have returned from New Hampshire, and find myself in statu quo. My journey proved one of business purely. As you suspected, I saw Alcott, and I spoke to him of you, and your good will toward him; so now you may consider yourself introduced. He would be glad to hear from you about a conversation in New Bedford . . .

  Excuse my paper. It chances to be the best I have.

Yrs

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 432-3)
24 September 1856.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Saw Mill Brook.

  Not a sign of an artichoke flower yet below Moore’s! May they not be earlier elsewhere? . . . (Journal, 9:89-90)

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

Dear Friend,—

  Yours of the 23rd is received, and I notice what you say in regard to Mr. Alcott’s class; but I fear that I shall hardly prove able to undertake the business of obtaining one for him. It is entirely out of my line and very much averse to my taste, to solicit from any one. People are so ready to ride a “high horse,” as soon as you present anything to them that is left for their consideration or decision . . .

  Please remember me most truly to your family, and to Mr. Emerson and his, when you next meet him.

  Trusting that when the right time comes around we shall meet once more, I remain,

Yours faithfully,
D. Ricketson

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 433-4)
25 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The river has risen again considerably (this I believe the fourth time), owing to the late copious rains. This before the farmers have succeeded in their late attempt to get their meadow-hay after all.

  It had not got down before this last rain but to within some eighteen inches, at least, of the usual level in September.

  P.M.—To Harrington road . . .

(Journal, 9:90)
27 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The bluebird family revisit their box and warble as in spring.

  P.M.—To Clamshell by boat.

Solidago speciosa not quite out!! Viburnum nudum berries are soon gone. I noticed none to speak of in Hubbard’s Swamp, September 15th. Start up a snipe in the meadow. Bathed at Hubbard’s Bath, but found the water very cold. Bathing about over . . .

(Journal, 9:91)
28 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To old mill-site behind Ponkawtasset.

  Poke berries in the sprout-land cast of the red huckleberry still fresh and abundant, perhaps a little past prime. I never saw so many. The plants stand close together, and their drooping racemes three to five inches long, of black or purplish-black berries . . . (Journal, 9:91-2).

29 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Grape Cliff.

  The pea-vine fruit is partly ripe, little black-dotted leans, about three in a pod.

  I can hardly clamber along the grape cliff now without getting my clothes covered with desmodium ticks,—there especially the rotundifolium and paniculatum. Though you were running for your life, they would have time to catch and cling to your clothes,—often the whole row of pods of the D. paniculatum, like a piece of a saw blade with three teeth. You pause at a convenient place and spend a long time picking them off, which it took so short a time to attach. They will even cling to your hand as you go by. They cling like babes to the mother’s breast, by instinct. Instead of being caught and detained ourselves by birdlime, we are compelled to catch these seeds and carry them with us . . .

  Dr. Reynolds told me the other day of a Canada lynx (?) killed in Andover, in a swamp, some years ago, when he was teaching school in Tewksbury; thought to be one of a pair, the other being killed or seen in Derry. Its large track was seen in the snow in Tewksbury and traced to Andover and back . . .

(Journal, 9:92-4)
30 September 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Cattle-Show. An overcast, mizzling, and rainy day.

  Minott tells of a General Hull, who lived somewhere in this county, who, he remembers, called out the whole division once or twice to a muster. He sold the army under him to the English in the last war,—though General Miller of Lincoln besought [him] to let him lead them,—and never was happy after it, had no peace of mind. It was said that his life was in danger here in consequence of his treason . . .

(Journal, 9:94-5)
1 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Very heavy rain in the night; cooler now.

  P.M.—To Walden.

  Examined an Asclepias Cornuti pod, already opening by the wall. As they dry, the pods crack and open by the seam along the convex or outer side of the pods, revealing the seeds, with their silky parachutes . . .

(Journal, 9:96-7)
2 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cliffs via Hubbard’s meadow.

  Succory still, with its cool blue, here and there, and Hieracium Canadense still quite fresh, with its very pretty broad strap-shaped rays . . .

  I am amused to see four little Irish boys only five or six years old getting a horse in a pasture, for their father apparently, who is at work in a neighboring field. They have all in a row got hold of a very long halter and are leading him. All wish to have a hand in it. It is surprising that he obeys such small specimens of humanity . . .

(Journal, 9:97-9)
3 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The white pines are now getting to be pretty generally parti-colored, the lower yellowing needles ready to fall. The sumachs are generally crimson (darker than scarlet), and young trees and bushes by the water and meadows are generally beginning to glow red and yellow. Especially the hillsides about Walden begin to wear these autumnal tints . . .
(Journal, 9:99)

4 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Helianthus tuberosus, apparently several days, in Reynolds’s yard (the butcher’s).

  P. M.—Down river.

  Wind from northeast. Some water milkweed flying. Its pods small, slender, straight, and pointed perfectly upright ; seeds large with much wing . . .

  I hear that a Captain Hurd, of Wayland or Sudbury, estimates the loss of river meadow-hay this season in those two towns on account of the freshet at twelve hundred tons.

(Journal, 9:99-102)
5 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Hill and over the pastures westward.

  Sally Cummings and Mike Murray are out on the Hill collecting apples and nuts. Do they not rather belong to such children of nature than to those who have merely bought them with their money? There are few apples for them this year, however, and it is too early for walnuts (too late for hazelnuts). The grapes are generally gone, and their vines partly bare and yellowed, though without frost. I amuse myself on the hilltop with pulling to pieces and letting fly the now withered and dry pasture thistle tops. They have a much coarser pappus than the milkweeds . . .

  It is well to find your employment and amusement in simple and homely things. These wear best and yield most . . .

(Journal, 9:102-4)
6 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

 I notice the effects of some frost thus morning in garden. Some pumpkin vines drooping and black.

  P.M.—Carried Sophia and Aunt up the Assabet.

The reflections of the bright-tinted maples very perfect. The common notes o£ the chickadee, so rarely heard for a long time . . . (Journal, 9:105).

8 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Smith Chestnut Grove by Turnpike, and Saw Mill.

  At length I discover some white pine cones, a few, on Emerson Heater Piece trees. They are all open, and the seeds, all the sound ones but one, gone. So September is the time to gather them . . .

  Sophia brings home large freshly ripe thimble-berries, with some unripe, a second crop, apparently owing to the abundance of rain for the last six weeks.

(Journal, 9:105-8)
10 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  These are the finest days in the year, Indian summer. This afternoon it was 80°, between three and four, and at 6.30 this evening my chamber is oppressively sultry, and the thermometer on the north side of the house is at 64°. I lie with window wide open under a single sheet most of the night . . .
(Journal, 9:108-9)
11 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cliffs.

  The Indian summer continues. Solidagos now generally show woolly heads along the fences and brooks. E. Hosmer said yesterday that his father remembered when there was but one store in Concord, and that the little office attached to Dr. Heywood’s house, kept by Beatton . . .

  It is perfect Indian summer, a thick haze forming wreaths in the near horizon . The sun is almost shorn of its rays now at mid-afternoon, and there is only a sheeny reflection from the river . . .

(Journal, 9:109-12)
12 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is interesting to see how some of the few flowers which still linger are frequented by bees and other insects. Their resources begin to fail and they are improving their last chance. I have noticed them of late, especially on while goldenrod and pasture thistles, etc.; and to-day, on a small watermelon cut open ten days ago, in the garden . . .
(Journal, 9:112)
14 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A sudden change in the weather after remarkablly warm and pleasant weather. Rained in the
night and finger-cold to-day. Your hands instinctively find their way to your pockets. Leaves are fast falling, and they are already past their brightness, perhaps earlier than usual on account of wet.

  P. M.—To Hubbard’s Close.

  Huckleberries perfectly plump and fresh on the often bare bushes (always (else) red-leaved). The bare gray twigs begin to show, the leaves fast falling. The maples are nearly bare. The leaves of red maples, still bright, strew the ground, often crimson-spotted on a yellow ground . . .

(Journal, 9:112-3)
15 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Up Assabet.

  A smart frost, which even injured plants in house. Ground stiffened in morning; ice seen.

  River lower than for some months. Banks begin to wear almost a Novemberish aspect. The black willow almost completely bare; many quite so. It loses its leaves about same time with the maples . . .

(Journal, 9:113-4)
16 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Ground all white with frost.

  P.M.—To chestnuts, down Turnpike.

  I notice these flowers on the way by the roadside, which survive the frost . . .

  Found amid the sphagnum on the dry bank on the south side of the Turnpike, just below Everett’s meadow, a rare and remarkable fungus, such as I have heard of but never seen before. The whole height six and three quarters inches, two thirds of it being buried in the sphagnum . . .

(Journal, 9:114-7)
17 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Noticed some of the fungus called spunk, very large, on the large white oak in Love Lane, eight or nine feet from the ground on the cast side, on a protuberance where a limb was formerly cut off . . .

  :!s I stood looking at Emerson’s bound under the railroad embankment, I heard a smart tche-day-dayday close to my car, and, looking up, saw four of these birds, which had come to scrape acquaintance Nvith me, hopping amid the alders within three and four feet of me. I had heard them further off at first, and they had followed me along the hedge. They day-day‘d and lisped their faint notes alternately . . .

(Journal, 9:117-9)
18 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain all night and half this day.

  P. M.—A-chestnutting down Turnpike and across to Britton’s, thinking that the rain now added to the frosts would relax the burs which were open and let the nuts drop.

  The sugar maples are now in their glory, all aglow with yellow, red, and green. They are remarkable for the contrast they afford of deep blushing red on one half and green on the other . . .

  I forgot to say that there are sometimes two meats within one chestnut shell, divided transversely, and each covered by its separate brown-ribbed skin1 . . .

(Journal, 9:119-22)

1As if Nature had smuggled the seed of one more tree into this chest.

19 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Conantum.

  The fall, now and for some weeks, is the time for flocks of sparrows of various kinds flitting from bush to bush and tree to tree—and both bushes and trees are thinly leaved or bare—and from one seared meadow to another . . .

  I have often noticed the inquisitiveness of birds, as the other day of a sparrow, whose motions I should not have supposed to have any reference to me, if I had not watched it from first to last. I stood on the edge of a pine and birch wood. It flitted from seven or eight rods distant to a pine within a rod of me, where it hopped about stealthily and chirped awhile . . . I could see nothing peculiar about it. But when I brought my glass to bear on it, I found that it was almost steadily eying me and was all alive with excitement . . .

(Journal, 9:123-7)
20 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Hill, to look for ground squirrel nests.

  The river-banks have now assumed almost their November aspect. The button-bushes are nearly bare. The water is smooth, the sun warm, and the reflections particularly fine and distinct . . .

(Journal, 9:127-9)

Thoreau writes to Thomas Cholmondeley:

Dear Cholmondeley

  I wish to thank you again for those books. They are the nucleus of my library. I wrote to you on the receipt of them last winter, (directing as now) but not having heard from you, do not know in what part of the world this may find you. Several here are enquiring if you have returned to England, as you had just started for the Crimea at the last account. The books have long been shelved in cases o£ my own construction made partly of the driftwood of our river. They are the admiration of all beholders . Alcott and Emerson, besides myself, have been cracking some of the nuts.

  Certainly I shall never pay you for them. Of those new to me the Rig Veda is the most savory that I have yet tasted. As primitive poetry, I think as any extant. Indeed all the Pedantic literature is priceless . . .

  I am sorry that I can give but a poor account of myself. I got “run down” they say, more than a year ago, and have not yet got fairly up again, It has not touched my spirits however, for they are as indifferently tough, as sluggishly resilient, as a dried fungus. I would it were the kind called punk; that they might catch and retain some heavenly spark. I dwell as much aloof from society as ever: find it just as impossible to agree in opinion with the most intelligent of my neighbors; they not having improved one jot, nor I either. I am still immersed in nature, have much of the time a living sense of the breadth of the field on whose verge I dwell . . .

  My father mother and sister send their best wishes, and would he glad to see you in this country again. We are all quite anxious to hear that you are safe and sound : I in particular hope that you are in all respects unscathed by the battle of life, ready for still worthier encounters.

Yours,

H. D. T.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 435-7; MS., Berg, copy in an unknown hand)
21 October 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A very warm Indian summer day—too warm for a thick coat. It is remarkably hazy too, but when I open the door I smell smoke, which may in part account for it. After being out awhile I do not perceive the smoke, only on first opening the door. It is so thick a blue haze . . .

  Father told me about his father the other night,—that he remembers his father used to breakfast before the family at one time, on account of his business, and lie with him. His father used to cat the under crusts of biscuits, and he the upper His father died in 1801, aged forty-seven. When the war came on, he was apprentice or journeyman to a cooper who employed many hands. He called them together, and told them that on account of the war his business was ruined and he had no more work for them . . .

(Journal, 9:129-33)
24 October 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  12 M.—Set out for Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, N, J.

  Spent the afternoon in Worcester. By cars in evening to Allyn’s Point and Steamer Commonwealth to New York (Journal, 9:133)

25 October 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw, at Barnum’s Museum, the stuffed slain of a cougar that was found floating dead in the, Hudson many years ago. The stuffed jaguar there looks rather the largest. Had seen a clergyman in Worcester the previous afternoon (at Higginson’s) who told me of one killed near the head of the Delaware, in New York State, by an acquaintance of his . . .

  Arrived at Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, Saturday, 5 P.M., October 25th.

(Journal, 9:133-4)

On 1 November, Thoreau writes to his sister Sophia:

  I arrived here about 30 miles from N. Y. about 5 pm Saturday, in company with Miss E[lizabeth]. Peabody, who was returning in the same covered Wagon from the Landing to Eagleswood, which last place she has just left for the winter. This is a queer place—There is one large long stone building, which cost some $40000, in which I do not know exactly who or how many work—(one or two familiar faces, & more familiar names have turned up )—a few shops & offices, an old farm house and Mr [Marcus] Spring’s perfectly private residence within 20 rods of the main building. “The City of Perth Amboy” is about as big as Concord, and Eagleswood is 1 1/4 miles S W of it, on the bay side. The central fact here is evidently Mr [Theodore] Weld’s school—recently established—around which various other things revolve. Saturday evening I went to the school room, hall, or what not, to see the children & their teachers & patrons dance. Mr Weld, a kind looking man with a long white beard, danced with them, & Mr [E. J.] Cutler his assistant, lately from Cambridge, who is acquainted [with F. B.] Sanborn, Mr Spring—and others. This Sat. eve-dance is a regular thing, & it is thought something strange if you dont attend. They take it for granted that you want Society!
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 438-40)
26 October 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  An abundance of a viburnum, making thickets in dry woods and ravines and set out about houses, now full of edible fruit like that of V. nudum, and also of leaves . . . (Journal, 9:135-6)

Thoreau lectures on “Moosehunting” at Unionists’ Hall, Eagleswood Community (“Moosehunting“).

On 1 November, Thoreau writes to his sister Sophia:

  On Sunday evening, I read the moose-story to the children to their satisfaction . . . (The Correspondence of Thoreau, 438-40)
27 October 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Began to survey along the shore and through the woods. One of the largest and commonest trees, the tulip, in the moist ravines; its dried tulip-shaped relic of a flower, the broad flat stamens still remaining. Noticed a medicinal odor, somewhat like fever-bush . . . (Journal, 9:136)
31 October 1856.

Benjamin B. Wiley writes a letter to Thoreau:

Dear Sir

  In Worcester I saw Theo Brown who was very glad to hear from you In the evening we went together to see Harry Blake. Both these gentlemen were well. Mr Blake is an enthusiast in matters which the world passes by as of little account. Since I returned here I have taken two morning walks with Chas Newcomb. He suggested that he would like to walk to the White Mountains with me some time and it may yet be done. He walks daily some miles and seems to be in pretty good health. He says he would like to visit Concord, but named no time for that purpose.

  I am anxious to know a little more of Confucius. Can you briefly, so that it will not take too much of your time, write me his views in regard to Creation, Immortality, man’s preexistence if he speaks of it, and generally anything relating to man’s Origin, Purpose, & Destiny . . .

  I suggested brevity in your remarks about the views of those philosophers. This was entirely for your convenience. I shall read appreciatingly and most attentively whatever you find time to write.

Yours truly
B. B. Wiley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 437-8)
1 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes a letter to his sister Sophia:

Dear Sophia,

  I have hardly had time & repose enough to write to you before. I spent the afternoon of Friday (it seems some months ago) in Worcester, but failed to see Blake . . .

  It seems a twelve-month since I was not here—but I hope to get settled deep into my den again ere long. The hardest thing to find here is solitude & Concord. I am at Mr Spring’s house- Both he & she & their family are quite agreeable.

  I want you to write to me immediately—(just left off to talk French with the servant man—) & let Father & Mother put in a word-to them & to aunts—

Love from
Henry

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 438-40; MS, Huntington Library, Harvard University)
2 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Took a walk two miles west of Eagleswood. The Quercus palustris, or pin oak, very common there, much like the scarlet oak. Name said to be derived from the dead stub ends of branches on the trunk beneath, like pins or treenails . . . (Journal, 9:137)

At Unionists’ Hall, Eagleswood Community, Thoreau gives his lecture “Walking, or the Wild” (“Walking, or the Wild“)

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Evening: Thoreau reads his lecture on ‘Walking,’ and interests his company deeply in his treatment of nature. Never had such a walk as this been taken by any one before, and the conversation so flowing and lively and curious—the young people enjoying it particularly (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, ed. Odell Shepard (Boston: Little, Brown, 1938), 287).
8 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau meets Walt Whitman.

On 19 November, Thoreau writes a letter to H.G.O. Blake:

  Alcott has been here three times, and, Saturday before last, I went with him and Greeley, by invitation of the last, to G.’s farm, thirty-six miles north of New York. The next day A. and I heard Beecher preach; and what was more, we visited Whitman the next morning (A. had already seen him), and were much interested and provoked. He is apparently the greatest democrat the world has seen Kings and aristocracy go by the board at once, as they have long deserved to. A remarkably strong though coarse nature, of a sweet disposition, and much prized by his friends. Though peculiar and rough in his exterior, his skin (all over (?)) red, he is essentially a gentleman . . .
(Letters to Harrison Gray Otis Blake, ed. Wendell Glick (New York: Harper & Row, 1982))
Between 10 and 24 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  About the 10th of November, I first noticed long bunches of very small dark-purple or black grapes fallen on the dry leaves in the ravine east of Spring’s house. Quite a large mass of clusters remained hanging on the leafless vine, thirty feet overhead there, till I left, on the 24th November. These grapes were much shrivelled, but they had a very agreeably, spicy acid taste, evidently not acquired till after the frosts. I thought them quite a discovery and ate many from day to day . . .
(Journal, 9:137-9)
16 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau gives his third and final lecture, “What Shall it Profit,” at Unionists’ Hall, Eagleswood Community (“What Shall it Profit“).

On 19 November, Thoreau writes a letter to H.G.O. Blake:

Mr. Blake,—

  I have been here much longer than I expected, but have deferred answering you, because I could not foresee when I shall return. I do not know yet within three or four days. This uncertainty makes it impossible for me to appoint a day to meet you, until it shall be too late to bear from you again. I think, therefore, that I must go straight home. I feel some objection to reading that “What shall it profit” lecture again in Worcester; but if you are quite sure that it will be worth the while (it is a grave consideration), I will even make an independent journey from Concord for that purpose. I have read three of my old lectures (that included) to the Eagleswood people, and, unexpectedly, with rare success-i. e., I was aware that what I was saying was silently taken in by their ears.

  You must excuse me if I write mainly a business letter now, for I am sold for the time,-am merely Thoreau the surveyor here,-and solitude is scarcely obtainable in these parts . . .

(Letters to Harrison Gray Otis Blake, ed. Wendell Glick (New York: Harper & Row, 1982))
19 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

In a letter to H.G.O. Blake, Thoreau writes:

  I shall probably be in Concord next week; so you can direct to me there (Letters to Harrison Gray Otis Blake, ed. Wendell Glick (New York: Harper & Row, 1982)).
25 November 1856. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Get home again this morning (Journal, 9:139)
27 November 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Take a turn down the river.

  A painted tortoise sinking to the bottom, and apparently tree sparrows along the shore (Journal, 9:140).

28 November 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To chestnut wood by Turnpike, to see if I could find my comb, probably lost out of my pocket when I climbed and shook a chestnut tree more than a month ago . . .

  As I stood looking clown the hill over Emerson’s young wood-lot there, perhaps at 3 .30 P.M., the sunlight reflected from the many ascending twigs of bare young chestnuts and birches, very dense and ascendant with a marked parallelism, they reminded me of the lines of gossamer at this season . . .

(Journal, 9:140)
29 November 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Begins to snow this morning and snows slowly and interruptedly with a little fine hail all day . . . (Journal, 9:140)
30 November 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Cliffs vice Hubbard’s Grove.

  Several inches of snow, but a rather soft and mild air still. Now see the empty chalices of the blue-curls and the rich brown-fruited pinweed above the crust. (The very cat was full of spirits this morning, rushing about and frisking on the snow-crust, which bore her alone: When I came home from New Jersey the other day, was struck with the sudden growth and stateliness of our cat Min,—his cheeks puffed out like a regular grimalkin. I suspect it is a new coat of fur against the winter chiefly. The cat is a third bigger than a month ago, like a patriarch wrapped in furs; and a mouse a day, I hear, is nothing to him now.) This as I go through the Depot Field, where the stub ends of corn-stalks rise above the snow . . .

  Sophia, describing the first slight whitening of snow a few weeks ago, said that when she awoke she noticed a certain bluish-white reflection on the wall and, looking out, saw the ground whitened with snow . . .

(Journal, 9:140-3)
1 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—By path around Walden.

  With this little snow of the 29th ult. there is pretty good sledding, for it lies solid.

  I see the old pale-faced farmer out again on his sled now for the five-thousandth time . . .

  Slate-colored snowbirds flit before me in the path, feeding on the seeds on the snow, the countless little brown seeds that begin to be scattered over the snow, so much the more obvious to bird and beast. A hundred kinds of indigenous grain are harvested now, broadcast upon the surface of the snow. Thus at a critical season these seeds are shaken down on to a clean white napkin, unmixed with dirt and rubbish, and off this the little pensioners pick them . . .

(Journal, 9:144-8)
2 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Got in any boat, which before I had got out and turned up on the bank. It made me sweat to wheel it home through the snow, I am so unused to the work of late.

  Then walked up the railroad. The clear strawcolored grass and some weeds contrasting with the snow it rises above. Saw little in this walk . . .

  As for the sensuality in Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” I do not so much wish that it was not written, as that men and women were so pure that they could read it without harm.

(Journal, 9:148-9)
3 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  About as much more snow as fell on the 29th November has fallen in the night upon that, so stilly that we were not aware of it till we looked out. It has not even lodged on the window-sashes, and I am first convinced it has fallen by seeing the old tracks in the road covered . . .

  How I love the simple, reserved countrymen, my neighbors, who mind their own business and let me alone, who never waylaid nor shot at me, to my knowledge, when I crossed their fields, though each one has a gun in his house! For nearly twoscore years I have known, at a distance, these long-suffering men, whom I never spoke to, who never spoke to me, and now feel a certain tenderness for them, as if this long probation were but the prelude to an eternal friendship . . .

(Journal, 9:149-52)
4 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Ceased raining and mizzling, last evening, and cleared off, with a high northwest wind, which shook the house, coming in fitful gusts, but only they who slept on the west sides of houses knew of it.

  7.30 A. M.—Take a run down the riverside.

  Scare up a few sparrows, which take shelter in Keyes’s arbor-vitæ row. The snow has now settled, owing to the rain, and presents no longer a level surface . . .

  2 P.M.—By Clamshell and back over Hubbard’s Bridge . . .

  Sophia says that just before I came home Min caught a mouse and was playing with it in the yard. It had got away from her once or twice, and she had caught it again; and now it was stealing off again, as she lay complacently watching it with her paws tucked under her, when her friend Riordan’s stout but solitary cock stepped up inquisitively, looked down at it with one eye, turning his head, then picked it up by the tail . . .

  My first botany, as I remember, was Bigelow’s “Plants of Boston and Vicinity,” which I began to use about twenty years ago, looking chiefly for the popular names and the short references to the localities of plants . . . I was never in the least interested in plants in the house. But from year to year we look at Nature with new eyes. About half a dozen years ago I found myself again attending to plants with more method, looking out the name of each one and remembering it. I began to bring them home in my hat, a straw one with a scaffold listing to it,—which I called my botanybox . . .

(Journal, 9:152-8)
5 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Clear, cold winter weather. What a contrast between thus week and last, when I talked of setting out apple trees!

  P.M.—Walked over the Hill.

  The Indians have at length got a regular load of wood. It is odd to see a pile of good oak wood beside their thin cotton tents in the snow . . .

  It is a perfectly cloudless and simple winter sky. A white moon, half full, in the pale or dull blue heaven and a whiteness like the reflection of the snow, extending up from the horizon all around a quarter the way up to the zenith. I can imagine that I see it shooting up like an aurora. This at 4 P.M. About the sun it is only whiter than elsewhere, or there is only the faintest possible tinge of yellow there . . .

  My themes shall not be far-fetched. I will tell of homely every-day phenomena and adventures. Friends! Society! It seems to the that I have an abundance of it, there is so much that I rejoice and sympathize with, and men, too, that I never speak to but only know and think of. What you call bareness and poverty is to me simplicity. God could not be unkind to me if he should try . . .

(Journal, 9:158-60)
6 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M.—To Hubbard’s Bridge and Holden Swamp and up river on ice to F. Pond Crossing, just below pond; back on east side of river.

  Skating is fairly begun. The river is generally frozen over, though it will bear quite across in very few places. Much of the ice in the middle is dark and thin, having been formed last night, and when you stamp you sec the water trembling in spots here and there . . .

(Journal, 9:161-5)

Thoreau writes to Harrison Gray Otis Blake:

Mr Blake,

  What is wanting above is merely an engraving of Eagleswood, which I have used. I trust that you got a note from me at Eagleswood about a fortnight ago. I passed thru’ Worcester on the morning of the 25th of November, and spent several hours (from 3.30 to 6.20) in the travellers’ room at the Depot, as in a dream, it now seems. As the first Harlem train unexpectedly connected with the first from Fitchburg, I did not spend the forenoon with you, as I had anticipated, on account of baggage &c- If it had been a seasonable hour I should have seen you, i.e. if you had not been gone to a horse-race. But think of snaking a call at half past three in the morning! . . .

  I am grateful for what I am & have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite-only a sense of existance. Well anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next 1000 years, & exhaust it. How sweet to think of! My extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it-for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 442-4)
7 December 1856.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Take my first skate to Fair Haven Pond.

  It takes my feet a few moments to get used to the skates . I see the track of one skater who has preceded me this morning. This is the first skating. I keep mostly to the smooth ice about a rod wide next the shore commonly . . . (Journal, 9:165-9)

Thoreau writes to H.G.O. Blake:

  That Walt Whitman, of whom I wrote to you, is the most interesting fact to me at present. I have just read his 2nd edition (which he gave me) and it has done me more good than any reading for a long time. Perhaps I remember best the poem of Walt Whitman an American & the Sun Down Poem . There are 2 or 3 pieces in the book which are disagreeable to say the least, simply sensual . . . But even on this side, he has spoken more truth than any American or modern that I know. I have found his poem exhilirating encouraging. As for its sensuality,—& it may turn out to be less sensual than it appeared . . .

  Since I have seen him, I find that I am not disturbed by any brag or egoism in his book. He may turn out the least of a braggart of all, having a better right to be confident.

  He is a great fellow.

(Letters to Harrison Gray Otis Blake edited by Wendell Glick (from Great Short Works of Henry David Thoreau edited, with an introduction, by Wendell Glick (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), 97-8)
8 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thermometer at 8 A.M., 8°above zero. Probably the coldest day yet . . . (Journal, 9:169-70)
9 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Railroad to Lincoln Bridge and back by road.

  There is scarcely a particle of ice in Walden yet, and that close to the edge, apparently, on the west and northwest sides. Yet Fair Haven was so solidly frozen on the 6th that there was fishing on it, and yesterday I met Goodwin bringing a fine lot of pickerel from Flint’s, which was frozen at least four itches thick. This is, no doubt, owing solely to the greater depth of Walden . . .

  From a little east of Wyman’s I look over the pond westward. The sun is near setting, away beyond Fair Haven. A bewitching stillness reigns through all the woodland and over the snow-clad landscape. Indeed, the winter day in the woods or fields has commonly the stillness of twilight. The pond is perfectly smooth and full of light . . .

  When I get as far as my bean-field, the reflected white in the winter horizon of this perfectly cloudless sky is being condensed at the horizon’s edge, and its hue deepening into a dun golden, against which the tops of the trees—pines and elms—are seen with beautiful distinctness, and a slight blush begins to suffuse the eastern horizon, and so the picture of the day is done and set in a gilded frame.

  Such is a winter eve. Now for a merry fire, some old poet’s pages, or else serene philosophy, or even a healthy book of travels, to last far into the night . . .

(Journal, 9:170-4)
10 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A fine, clear, cold winter morning, with a small leaf frost on trees, etc. The thermometer at 7.15 and at 7.30 3°. Going to the post-office at the former hour, I notice those level bars, as it were, of frozen mist against the Walden wood. When I return, the sun is rising and the smokes from the chimneys, which slant farm northwest to southeast, though it
seems quite still, blush like sunset clouds.

  It is remarkable how suggestive the slightest drawing, as a memento of things seen. For a few years past I have been accustomed to stake a rude sketch in my journal of plants, ice, and various natural phenomena, and though the fullest accompanying description may fail to recall my experience, these rude outline drawings do not fail to carry me back to that time and scene. It is as if I saw the same thing again, and I may again attempt to describe it in words if I choose . . .

  It has been a warm, clear, glorious winter day, the air full of that peculiar vapor. How short the afternoons! I hardly get out a couple of miles before the sun is setting. The nights are light on account of the snow, and, there being a moon, there is no distinct interval between the day and night. I see the sun set from the side of Nawshawtuct, and make haste to the post-office with the red sky over my shoulder. When the mail is distributed and I come forth into the street on my return, the apparently full moon has fairly commenced her reign, and I go home by her light . . .

(Journal, 9:174-7)
11 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Minott tells me that his and his sister’s wood-lot together contains about ten acres and has, with a very slight exception at one time, supplied all their fuel for thirty years, and he thinks would constantly continue to do so . . . (Journal, 9:177-8).
12 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wonderful, wonderful is our life and that of our companions! That there should be such
a thing as a brute animal, not human! and that it should attain to a sort of society with our race! Think of cats, for instance. They are neither Chinese nor Tartars. They do not go to school, nor read the Testament; yet how near they come to doing so! how much they are like us who do so! What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats? At length, without having solved any of these problems, we fatten and kill and eat some of our cousins! . . .
(Journal, 9:178-80)

Thoreau writes to Benjamin B. Wiley:

Dear Sir,

  I but recently returned from New Jersey after an absence of a little, over a month, and found your letter awaiting me. I am glad to hear that you have walked with [Charles] Newcomb, though I fear that you will not have many more opportunities to do so. I have no doubt that in his company you would ere long find yourself, if not on those White Mountains you speak of, yet on some equally high, though not laid down in the geographies.

It is refreshing to hear of your earnest purposes with respect to your culture, & I can send you Do better wish, than that they may not be thwarted by the cares and temptations of life. Depend on it, now is the accepted time, & probably you will never find yourself better disposed or freer to attend to your culture than at this moment. When They who inspire us with the idea are ready, shall not we be ready also? . . .

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 446-7)
13 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Hill and round by J. Hosmer woodland and Lee house.

  I see some of those great andromeda puffs still hanging (in the twigs behind Assabet Spring, black and shrivelled bags. The river is generally open again. The snow is mostly gone. In many places it is washed away down to the channels made by the mice, branching galleries . . .

(Journal, 9:180-1)
14 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning it begins to snow, and the ground is whitened again, but in an hour or two it turns to rain . . . (Journal, 9:181)
15 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  has dried up almost all the water in the road. It still blows hard at 2 P.M., but it is not cold.

  3 P.M.—To Walden.

  The high northwest wind of this morning, with what of cold we have, has made some of those peculiar raketoothed icicles on the dead twigs, etc., about the edge of the pond at the east end. To produce this phenomenon is required only open water, a high wind, and sufficiently cold weather to freeze the spray . . .

(Journal, 9:181-3)
16 December 1856. Rome, Italy.

Thomas Cholmondeley writes to Thoreau:

My dear Thoreau,—

  I wish that I was an accomplished young American lady, for then I could write the most elegant and “recherche” letters without any trouble or thought. But now, being an Englishman, even my pleasures are fraught with toil and pain. Why, I have written several letters to you, but always, on reading them over to myself, I was obliged to burn them, because I felt they were bad letters, and insufficient for a passage of the ocean. To begin, then, a new and a good letter, I must acquaint you that I received your former communication, which gave me the sincerest pleasure, since it informed me that the books which I sent came to hand, and were approved of. I had indeed studied your character closely, and knew what you would like. Besides, I had, even from our first acquaintance, a previous memory of you, like the vision of a landscape a man has seen, he cannot tell where . . .

  Farewell, dear Thoreau. Give my best love to your father, mother, and sister, and to old Channing; and convey my respect to Mr. Emerson and Mr. Alcott; and when next you go to Boston, call at my old lodgings, and give my regards to them there. If you write to Morton, don’t forget me there. He is a clever lad, is n’t lie? Also my respect to Mr. Theodore Parker, whose sermons are rather to be heard than read.

Ever yours, and not in haste,
Thos. Cholmondeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 448-55)
17 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Cold, with a piercing northwest wind and bare ground still. The river, which was raised by the rain of the 14th and ran partly over the meadows, is frozen over again, and I go along the edge of the meadow under Clamshell and back by Hubbard’s Bridge.

  At Clamshell, to my surprise, scare up either a woodcock or a snipe. I think the former, for I plainly saw considerable red on the breast, also a light stripe along the neck. It was feeding alone . . .

(Journal, 9:183-6)
18 December 1856. Amherst, N.H.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  12 M. Start for Amherst, N.H.

  A very cold day. Thermometer at 8 A. M. -8° (and I hear of others very much lower at an earlier hour), -2° at 11.45.

  I find the first beyond Littleton, snow enough to whiten the ground and it deepens all the way to Amherst. The steam of the engine hugs the earth very close. Is it because it [is] a very clear, cold day? . . .

  At my lecture, the audience attended to me closely, and I was satisfied; that is all I ask or expect generally. Not one spoke to me afterward, nor needed they. I have no doubt that they liked it, in the main, though few of them would have dared say so, provided they were conscious of it. Generally, if I can only get the ears of an audience, I do not care whether they say they like my lecture or not. I think I know as well as they can tell. At any rate, it is none of my business, and it would be impertinent for me to inquire. The stupidity of most of these country towns, not to include is in its innocence infantile. Lectured in (vestry) of the orthodox church . . .

(Journal, 9:186-8)

Thoreau lectures on “Walking, or the Wild” in Amherst, N.H. The following advertisement appeared in the Amherst Farmer’s Cabinet:

AMHERST LYCEUM!
 Lecture Dec 18th, by HENRY D. THOREAU, Esq., of Concord, Mass.—SUBJECT “Getting a Living.”

(“Walking, or the Wild“)
19 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Knew the road by some yellow birch trees in a swamp and some rails set on end around a white oak in a pasture. These it seems were the objects I had noticed. In Nashua observed, as I thought, some elms in the distance which had been whitewashed. It turned out that they were covered from top to bottom, on one side, with the frozen vapor from a fall on the canal. Walked a little way along the bank of the Merrimack, which was frozen over, and was agreeably reminded of my voyage up it . . .

  Got home at 1.30 P.M.

  P. M.—To Walden.

Walden froze completely over last night. This is very sudden, for on the evening of the, 15th there was not a particle of ice in it . In just three days, then, it has been completely frozen over, and the ice is now from two and a half to three inches thick, a transparent green ice, through which I see the bottom where it is seven or eight feet deep. I detect its thickness by looking at the cracks, which are already very numerous . . .

(Journal, 9:188-92)
20 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain more or less all day (Journal, 9:192).
21 December 1856.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Think what a pitiful kind of life ours is, eating our kindred animals! and in some places one another! Some of us (the Esquimaux), half whose life is spent in the dark, wholly dependent on one or two animals not many degrees removed from themselves . . .

  P. M.—To Walden.

  The pond is open again in the middle, owing to the rain of yesterday. I go across to the cliffs by way of the Andromeda Ponds . . .

(Journal, 9:192-3)

Chicago, Ill. Benjamin B. Wiley writes to Thoreau:

Mr Thoreau

  So much time had elapsed since I wrote you that I feared I should get no reply; I was therefore surprised & delighted as well as encouraged when your letter of 12th reached me. I do not want to encroach on your time but I shall take the liberty of writing to you occasionally, in hopes of drawing out a response, even though it be a criticism, for this would be valuable to me, as I do not want to slumber in false security. Like those knights who loudly sang hymns while they were passing the enchanted isle, I will remember that I am going to tell you some of my outward, though more of my inward life . . .

  On my way back to Providence after my unforgotten Concord visit, I pondered deeply on what you had told me “to follow the faintest aspiration &c.” I perhaps almost resolved to give up my Western plans of trade. Soon after, I walked with Newcomb and I of course fully agree with you in your high estimate of him and when you speak of my few opportunities for repeating these walks, I hope you only refer to my distance-not to his health. He asked me if I knew any active outdoor sphere he was qualified to fill and from what he said I doubt not he would come here did such a place present itself . . .

  I have written much more than I expected to do. I hope I may ere long have a reply from you. Please remember me to Mr Emerson if you meet him. I am

Yours sincerely
B B Wiley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 456-60)
22 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Boston and Cambridge (Journal, 9: 194).
23 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Some savage tribes must share the experience of the lower animals in their relation to man. With what thoughts must the Esquimau manufacture his knife from the rusty hoop of a cask drifted to his shores, not a natural but an artificial product, the work of man’s hands . . .

  P. M.—Surveying for Cyrus Jarvis.

  Snows more or less all day, making an inch or two.

(Journal, 9:194-5)
24 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  More snow in the night and to-day, making nine or ten inches.

  P. M.—To Walden and Baker Farm with Ricketson, it still snowing a little.

  Turned off from railroad and went through Wheeler, or Owl, Wood. The snow is very light, so that sleighs cut through it, and there is but little sleighing. It is verv handsome now on the trees by the main path in Wheeler Wood . . .

  It was very pleasant walking thus before the storm was over, in the soft, subdued light. We are also more domesticated in nature when our vision is confined to near and familiar objects . . .

(Journal, 9:195-7)
25 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Lee’s Cliff.

  A strong wind from the northwest is gathering the snow into picturesque drifts behind the walls. As usual they resemble shells more than anything, sometimes prows of vessels, also the folds of a white napkin or counterpane dropped over a bonneted head. There are no such picturesque snow-drifts as are formed behind loose and open stone walls. Already yesterday it had drifted so much, i.e. so much ground was bare, that there were as many carts as sleighs in the streets . . .

(Journal, 9:197-8)
27 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walden is still open in one place of considerable extent, just off the east cape of long southern bay (Journal, 9:198).
28 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Am surprised to see the F. hyemalis here.

  Walden completely frozen over again last night. Goodwin & Co. are fishing there to-day. Ice about four inches thick, occasionally sunk by the snow beneath the water . . .

  I thrive best on solitude. If I have had a companion only one clay in a week, unless it were one or two I could name, I find that the value of the week to one has been seriously affected. It dissipates my days, and often it takes me another week to get over it . . .

(Journal, 9:198-200)
29 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is softened yet more, and it thaws somewhat. The cockerels crow, and we are reminded of spring.

  P. M.—To Warren Miles’s mill.

  We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day. We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. I am sensible that I am imbibing health when I open my mouth to the wind. Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always . . .

(Journal, 9:200-1)
30 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying the W— farm.

  Parker, the Shaker that was, my assistant, says that the first year he came to live with W—, he worked on the farm, and that when he was digging potatoes on at jog (of about an acre) next to the site of the old Lee house, he found snakes’ eggs in many hills . . . (Journal, 9:201-2)

31 December 1856. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes to Harrison Gray Otis Blake:

Mr. Blake,—

  I think it will not be worth the while for me to come to Worcester to lecture at all this year. It will be better to wait till I am—perhaps unfortunately—more in that line. My writing has not taken the shape of lectures, and therefore I should be obliged to read one of three or four old lectures, the best of which I have read to some of your auditors before. I carried that one which I call “Walking, or the Wild,” to Amherst, N.H., the evening of that cold Thursday, and I am to read another at Fitchburg, February 3. I am simply their hired man. This will probably be the extent of my lecturing hereabouts.

  I must depend on meeting Mr. [David A.] Wasson some other time.

  Perhaps it always costs me more than it comes to to lecture before a promiscuous audience. It is an irreparable injury done to my modesty even,—I become so indurated.

  O solitude! obscurity! meanness! I never triumph so as when I have the least success in my neighbor’s eyes. The lecturer gets fifty dollars a night; but what becomes of his winter? What consolation will it be hereafter to have fifty thousand dollars for living in the world? I should like not to exchange any of my life for money.

  These, you may think, are reasons for not lecturing, when you have no great opportunity. It is even so, perhaps. I could lecture on dry oak leaves; I could, but who could hear me? If I were to try it on any large audience, I fear it would be no gain to them, and a positive loss to me. I should have behaved rudely toward my rustling friends.

  I am surveying instead of lecturing, at present. Let me have a skimming from your “pan of unwrinkled cream.”

H. D. T.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 461)



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