1 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I have lately been surveying the Walden woods so extensively and minutely that I now see it mapped in my mind’s eye — as, indeed, on paper — as so many men’s wood-lots, and am aware when I walk there that I am at a given moment passing from such a one’s wood-lot to such another’s…” (Journal, 10:233-4).
Thoreau also writes to George Thatcher:
Father seems to have got over the jaundice some weeks since, but to be scarcely the better for all that. The cough he has had so long is at least as bad as ever, and though much stronger than when I wrote before he is not sensibly recovering his former amount of health. On the contrary we cannot help regarding him more & more as a sick man. I do not think it a transient ail — which he can entirely recover from — nor yet an acute disease, but the form in which the infirmities of age have come upon him. He sleeps much in his chair, & commonly goes out once a day in pleasant weather.
The Harpers have been unexpected enough to pay him-but others are owing a good deal yet. He has taken one man's note for $400.00, payable I think in April, & it remains to be seen what it is worth. Mother & Sophia are as well as usual. Aunt returned to Boston some weeks ago. Mr Hoar is still in Concord, attending to Botany, Ecology, &c with a view to make his future residence in foreign parts more truly profitable to him. I have not yet had an opportunity to convey your respects to him — but I shall do so.
I have been more than usually busy surveying the last six weeks running & measuring lines in the woods, reading old deeds & hunting up bounds which have been lost these 20 years. I have written out a long account of my last Maine journey — part of which I shall read to our Lyceum — but I do not know how soon I shall print it. We are having a remarkably open winter, no sleighing as yet, & but little ice.
I am glad to hear that Charles [Thatcher] has a good situation, but I thought that the 3rd mate lived with and as the sailors. If he makes a study of navigation &c, and is bent on being master soon, well & good It is an honorable & brave life, though a hard one, and turns out as good men as most professions. Where there is a good character to be developed, there are few callings better calculated to develop it.
I wish you a happy new year —
Henry D. Thoreau
3 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “The slosh on Walden had so much water in it that it has now frozen perfectly smooth and looks like a semitransparent marble… Going to the Andromeda Ponds, I was greeted by the warm brown-red glow of the Andromeda calyculata toward the sun…” (Journal, 10:234-5).
4 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- The weather still remarkably warm; the ice too soft for skating. I go through by the Andromeda Ponds and down river from Fair Haven… When I get down near to Cardinal Shore, the sun near setting, its light is wonderfully reflected from a narrow edging of yellowish stubble at the edge of the meadow ice and foot of the hill, an edging only two or three feet wide, and the stubble but a few inches high…” (Journal, 10:235-7).
5 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- I see one of those fuzzy winter caterpillars, black at the two ends and brown-red in middle, crawling on a rock by the Hunt’s Bridge causeway. Mr. Hosmer is loading hay in his barn. It is meadow-hay, and I am interested in it chiefly as a botanist…” (Journal, 10:237-8).
6 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- Up railroad to North River… Very little evidence of God or man did I see just then, and life not as rich and inviting an enterprise as it should be, when my attention was caught by a snowflake on my coat-sleeve… This was at mid-afternoon, and it has not quite ceased snowing yet (at 10 P. M.)…” (Journal, 10:238-40).
7 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “9 A. M. -- To Hill… By 10.30 A. M. it begins to blow hard, the snow comes down from the trees in fine showers, finer far than ever falls direct from the sky, completely obscuring the view through the aisles of the wood, and in open fields it is rapidly drifting… P. M. -- I see some tree sparrows feeding on the fine grass seed above the snow, near the road on the hillside below the Dutch house…” (Journal, 10:240-1).
8 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To that small meadow just above the Boaz Brown meadow. Going through the swamp, the snow balled so as to raise me three inches higher than usual” (Journal, 10:241).
9 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Deep Cut…” (Journal, 10:242).
In the evening Thoreau meets Rev. Moses G. Thomas of New Bedford at Emerson's house. (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, V:95)
10 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Goose Pond across Walden…” (Journal, 10:242-3).
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Daniel Riceketon:
Mr Thoreau met your New Bedford Rev. Mr Thomas, at my house, last evening. The naturalist was in the perfect spirits habitual to him, and the minister courteous as ever, &, as it happened, cognisant of the Cape, & of Henry's travels thereon. I am bound to be specially sensible of Henry Ts merits; as he has just now by better surveying quite innocently made 60 rods of woodland for me, & left the adjacent lot, which he was measuring, larger than the deed gave it. Theres a surveyor for you!
(The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, V:95)
11 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain, rain -- washes off almost every vestige of snow” (Journal, 10:243)
Thoreau writes in his journal" “Go to Lynn to lecture, via Cambridge. 4.30 P. M. -- At Jonathan Buffum’s, Lynn. Lecture in John B. Alley’s parlor. Mr. J. Buffum describes to me ancient wolf-traps, made probably by the early settlers in Lynn, perhaps after an Indian model; one some two miles from the shore near Saugus, another more northerly; holes say seven feet deep, about as long, and some three feet wide, stoned up very smoothly, and perhaps converging a little, so that the wolf could not get out. Tradition says that a wolf and a squaw were one morning found in the same hole, staring at each other” (Journal, 10:243).
Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Collections of the New York Historical Society 2nd series, volumes 2 and 3, Jesuit Relations for 1662-1663, and Jesuit Relations for 1663-1664 from Harvard College Library (Emerson the Essayist, 2:197).
Thoreau writes in his journal:
This forenoon I rode to Nahant with Mr. Buffum… On the way we pass Mr. Alonzo Lewis’s cottage. On the top of each of his stone posts is fastened a very perfectly egg-shaped pebble of sienite from Kettle Cove, fifteen to eighteen inches long and of proportionate diameter. I never saw any of that size so perfect. There are some fifteen of them about his house, and on one flatter, circular one he has made a dial, by which I learned the hour (9.30 A.M.)… Called at the shop where lately Samuel Jillson, now of Feltonville, set up birds, - for he is a taxidermist and very skillful… P. M. - Rode with J. Buffum, Parker Pillsbury, and Mr. Mudge, a lawyer and geologist of Lynn, into the northwest part of Lynn, to the Danvers line… Visited Jordan’s or the Lynn Quarry (of sienite) on our return, more southerly…
16 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes to Jones Very:
My Dear Sir,
I received your note inviting me to Salem after my lecture Wednesday evening. My first impulse was to go to you; but I reflected that Mr [Parker] Pillsbury had just invited me to Lynn, thro’ Mr Buffum, promising to be there to meet me, indeed, we had already planned some excursions to Nahant, &c -- and he would be absent on Friday; -- so I felt under obligations to him & the Lynn people to stay with them. Jonathan Buffum & Son, Pillsbury & Mr. [Benjamin?] Mudge -- My reason for not running over to Salem for an hour, or a fraction of the day, was simply that I did not wish to impair my right to come by & by when I may have leisure to take in the whole pleasure & benefit of such a visit -- for I hate to feel in a hurry.
I shall improve or take an opportunity to spend a day -- or part of a clay with you ere long, and I trust that you will be attracted to Concord again, and will find me a better walker than I chanced to be when you were here before.
I have often thought of taking a walk with you in your vicinity. I have a little to tell you, but a great deal more to hear from you. I had a grand time deep in the woods of Maine in July, &c &c. I suppose that I saw the genista tinctoria in the N. W. part of Lynn -- on my way to the boulder & the mill-stone ledge.
Please remember me to Mr. [George P.?] Bradford.
Henry D. Thoreau
17 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Conantum…” (Journal, 10:248).
18 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At the Dugan Desert, I notice, under the overhanging or nearly horizontal small white oaks and shrub oaks about the edge, singular little hollows in the sand, evidently made by drops of rain or melting snow falling from the same part of the twig, a foot or two, on the same spot a long time…” (Journal, 10:249).
19 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “F. hyemalis” (Journal, 10:249).
23 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Saw Mill Brook… I go near enough to Flint’s Pond, about 4 P. M., to hear it thundering… Returning through Britton’s field, I notice the stumps of chestnuts cut a dozen years ago…” (Journal, 10: 249-53).
Thoreau also writes to James Russell Lowell:
I have been so busy surveying of late, that I have scarcely had time to “think” of your proposition, or ascertain what I have for you. The more fatal objection to printing my last Maine-wood experience, is that my Indian guide, whose words & deeds I report very faithfully, -- and they are the most interesting part of the story, -- knows how to read, and takes a newspaper, so that I could not face him again.
The most available paper which I have is an account of an excursion into the Maine woods in '53; the subjects of which are the Moose, the Pine Tree & the Indian. Mr. Emerson could tell you about it, for I remember reading it to his family, after having read it as a lecture to my townsmen. It consists of about one hundred manuscript pages, or a lecture & a half, as I measure. The date could perhaps be omitted, if in the way. On account of other engagements, I could not get it ready for you under a month from this date.
If you think that you would like to have this, and will state the rate of compensation, I will inform you at once whether I will prepare it for you.
Henry D. Thoreau
24 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- Nut Meadow Brook…” (Journal, 10:253-8).
Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “Evening: We are at Thoreau’s, my wife and myself, for an hour. Thoreau has been lately to Lynn and read some papers of his in drawing rooms to a good company there” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 304).
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “Thermometer at 6.30 P.M. at 49°…” (Journal, 10:258-9).
Bronson Alcott writes to Ainsworth R. Spofford: “Last evening I saw Thoreau who is trenchant and masterly as ever. He had been reading some papers in Drawing rooms to a good company lately at Lynn” (The Letters of A. Bronson Alcott, 279).
Athol, Mass. An unidentified person writes to Thoreau: “Dear Sir: Send me a copy [...]” (MS, Thoreau papers. Brown University Library, Providence, R.I.).
26 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Clintonia Swamp down the brook… Melvin would have sworn he heard a bluebird the other day if it had n’t been January…” (Journal, 10:259-62).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Hill and beyond… I notice a pretty large rock on the Lee farm, near the site of the old mill over the Assabet, which is quite white and bare, with the roots of a maple, cut down a few years ago, spreading over it, and a thin dark-green crust or mould, a mere patch of soil as big as a dollar, in one or two places on it…” (Journal, 10:262-4).
Worcester, Mass. T. W. Higginson writes to Thoreau:
Thoreau replies 28 January
28 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Minott has a sharp ear for the note of any migrating bird… Coming through the village at 11 P.M., the sky is completely overcast, and the (perhaps thin) clouds are very distinctly pink or reddish, somewhat as if reflecting a distant fire, but this phenomenon is universal all round and overhead…” (Journal, 10:264-6).
Thoreau also writes to T. W. Higginson in reply to his letter of 27 January:
It would be perfectly practicable to go the Madawaska the way you propose -- As for the route to Quebec, I do not find the “Sugar-loaf Mts” on my maps. The most direct and regular way, as you know, is substantially Montresor’s & Arnold’s, and the younger John Smith’s -- by the Chaudiere; but this is less wild. If your object is rather to see the St. Lawrence River below Quebec, you will probably strike it at the Riviere du Loup. (V. Hodges’ account of his excursion thither via the Allegash. I believe it is the 2nd Report on the Geology of the Public Lands of Maine & Mass., in ’37.) I think that our Indian last summer, when we talked of going to the St. Lawrence named another route, near the Madawaska -- perhaps the St Francis, which would save the long portage which Hodge made.
I do not know whether you think of ascending the St Lawrence in a canoe -- but if you should you might be delayed not only by the current, but by the waves, which frequently run too high for a canoe in such a mighty stream. It would be a grand excursion to go to Quebec by the Chaudiere -- descend the St Lawrence to the Riviere du Loup -- & so return by the Madawaska & St Johns to Frederickton, or further almost all the way down stream -- a very important consideration.
I went to Moosehead in company with a party of four who were going a hunting down the Allegash -- & St Johns, and thence by some other stream over into the Restigouche & down that to the Bay of Chaleur -- to be gone 6 weeks!
Our northern terminus was an island in Heron Lake on the Allegash (V. Colton's R. R. & Township map of Maine.) The Indian proposed that we should return to Bangor by the St Johns & Great Sclroodic Lake -- which we had thought of ourselves -- and he showed us on the map where we should be each night. It was then noon, and the next day night, continuing down the Allegash, we should have been at the Madawaska settlements, having made only one or 2 portages, and thereafter, on the St Johns there would be but one or 2 more falls with short carries, and if there was not too much wind, we could go down that stream 100 miles a day. It is settled all the way below the Madawaska. He knew the route well. He even said that this was easier, and would take but little more time, though much further, than the route we decided on -- i.e. by Webster Stream-the East Branch & Main Penobscot to Oldtown -- but he may have wanted a longer job. We preferred the latter - not only because it was shorter, but because - as he said, it was wilder.
We went about 325 miles with the canoe (including 60 miles of Stage between Bangor & Oldtown) were out 12 nights, & spent about 40 dollars apiece, which was more than was necessary We paid the Indian, who was a very good one, $1.50 per day & 50 cts per week for his canoe. This is enough in ordinary seasons. I had formerly paid $2 00 for an Indian & for white batteau-men
If you go to the Madawaska in a leisurely manner, supposing no delay on account of rain or the violence of the wind, you may reach Mt Kineo by noon, & have the afternoon to explore it. The next day you may get to the head of the Lake before noon, make the portage of 232½ miles over a wooden R R & drop down the Penobscot half a dozen miles. The 3d morning you will perhaps walk half a mile about Pine Stream Falls, while the Indian runs down, cross the head of Chesuncook, & reach the junction of the Caucomgomock & Umbazookskus by noon, and ascend the latter to Umbazookskus Lake that night. If it is lowwater, you may have to walk & carry a little on the Umbazookskus before entering the lake. The 4th morning you will make the carry of 2 miles to Mud Pond (Allegash water) & a very wet carry it is, & reach Chamberlain Lake by noon, & Heron Lake perhaps that night, after a couple of very short carries at the outlet of Chamberlain.
At the end of 2 days more, you will probably be at Madawaska.
Of course the Indian can paddle twice as far in a day as be commonly does.
Perhaps you would like a few more details -- We used (3 of us) exactly 26 lbs of hard bread, 14 lbs of pork, 3 lbs of coffee 12 lbs of sugar (& could have used more) beside a little tea, Ind. meal, & rice & plenty of berries & moosemeat. This was faring very luxuriously. I had not formerly carried coffee-sugar, or rice. But for solid food, I decide that it is not worth the while to carry anything but hard bread & pork, whatever your tastes & habits may be. These wear best -- & you have no time nor dishes in which to cook any thing else. Of course you will take a little Ind. meal to fry fish in - & half a dozen lemons also, if you have sugar -- will be very refreshing -- for the water is warm.
To save time, the sugar, coffee, tea salt &c &c should be in separate water tight bags labelled and tied with a leather string; and all the provisions & blankets should be put into 2 large India rubber bags, if you can find them water tight -- Ours were not.
A 4-quart tin pail makes a good kettle for all purposes, & tin plates are portable & convenient. Dont forget an India rubber knapsack with a large flap-plenty of dish cloths -- old newspapers, strings, & 25 feet of strong cord.
Of India rubber clothing the most you can wear, if any, is a very light coat, and that you cannot work in.
I could be more particular, but perhaps have been too much so already.
Henry D. Thoreau
29 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Great Meadow at Copan… I go through the northerly part of Beck Stow’s, north of the new road…” (Journal, 10:266-7).
30 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- To Gowing’s Swamp… I returned to the thicket and cut a maple about eighteen feet long…” (Journal, 10:267-70).
31 January. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I notice in one place that the last six or more inches of the smooth sumach’s lusty twigs are dead and withered, not having been sufficiently matured, notwithstanding the favorable autumn. Saw one faint tinge of red on red ice pond-hole, six inches over” (Journal, 10:270).
1 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Measured Gowing’s Swamp two and a half rods northeast of the middle of the hole, i. e. in the andromeda and sphagnum near its edge, where I stand in the summer…” (Journal, 10:271-2).
2 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Still rains, after a rainy night with a little snow, forming slosh. As I return from the post-office, I hear the hoarse, robin-like chirp of a song sparrow on Cheney’s ground, and see him perched on the topmost twig of a heap of brush, looking forlorn and drabbled and solitary in the rain” (Journal, 10:273).
3 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum…” (Journal, 10:273).
4 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To C. Miles Swamp…” (Journal, 10:273-4).
A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “Evening. Thoreau here, and talks much on his favorite themes of wild life, on Emerson, and Blake [H. G. O. Blake] of Worcester particularly” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 305).
5 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Boaz’s Meadow…” (Journal, 10:275).
7 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs through Wheeler’s pasture on the hill…” (Journal, 10:275-6).
8 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden and Goose Pond… The ice which J. Brown is now getting for his ice-house from S. Barrett’s is from eight to nine plus inches thick… Mrs. Monroe says that her mother respected my grandfather very much, because he was a religious man…” (Journal, 10:276-9).
9 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - To old Hunt house with Thatcher [George Thatcher]… Saw at Simon Brown’s a sketch, apparently made with pen, on which was written, ‘Concord Jail, near Boston America,’ and on a fresher piece of paper on which the above was pasted, was written, ‘The jail in which General Sir Archld Campbell & — Wilson were confined when taken off Boston in America by a French Privateer’…” (Journal, 10:279-80).
10 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Grows cold toward night, and windy” (Journal, 10:280).
11 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At 3 P. M. it is 11° and windy… P. M. - To Hill” (Journal, 10:280-1).
12 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ledum Pond…” (Journal, 10:281-2).
13 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Ride to Cafferty’s Swamp… Observed a coarse, dense-headed grass in the meadow at Stow’s old swamp lot…” (Journal, 10:282-3).
14 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “About one inch of snow falls” (Journal, 10:283).
18 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I find Walden ice to be nine and a half plus inches thick, having gained three and a half inches since the 8th… At Brister’s further spring, the water which trickles off in various directions between and around little mounds of green grass half frozen… George Minott tells me that he, when young, used often to go to a store by the side of where Bigelow’s tavern was and kept by Ephraim Jones, - the Goodnow store…” (Journal, 10:283-5).
19 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Coldest morning this winter by our thermometer, -3° at 7.30…” (Journal, 10:285).
20 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes to James Russell Lowell:
Dear dear Sir,
I think that I can send you a part of the story to which I referred within a fortnight. I am to read some of my latest Maine wood experiences to my townsmen this week; and in this case I shall not hesitate to call names.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 509)
24 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I see, at Minot Pratt’s, rhodora in bloom in a pitcher with water andromeda. Went through that long swamp northeast of Boaz’s Meadow… On the side of the meadow moraine just north of the boulder field, I see barberry bushes three inches in diameter and ten feet high…” (Journal, 10:285-6).
25 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Ice at Walden eleven inches thick and very soggy, sinking to a level with the water, though there is but a trifling quantity of snow on it…” (Journal, 10:286).
27 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - To Hill…” (Journal, 10:286-7).
28 February. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To White Pond… Rice says he saw a whistler (?) duck to-day” (Journal, 10:287).
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 10:288).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I walk through the Colburn farm pine woods by railroad and thence to rear of John Hosmer’s…” (Journal, 10:288-90).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Thermometer 14° this morning, and this makes decent sleighing of the otherwise soft snow…” (Journal, 10:290-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Went to hear a Chippeway Indian, a Doctor Mung-somebody, - assisted by a Penobscot, who said nothing. He made the audience laugh unintentionally by putting an m after the the word too…” (Journal, 10:291-5).
Thoreau also writes to James Russell Lowell:
I send you this morning, by the Concord & Cambridge expresses, some 80 pages of my Maine Story. There are about 50 pages more of it. I think that it is best divided thus. If, however, this is too long for you, there is a tolerable stopping place after the word “mouse” p. 74, which is about the middle of the whole.
If there is no objection you can print the whole date 1853.
I reserve the right to publish it in another form after it has appeared in your magazine.
Will you please send me the proofs on account of Indian names &c- and also, if you print this, inform me how soon you would like the rest?
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 509)
Henry D. Thoreau
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up river on ice to Fair Haven Pond…” (Journal, 10:296).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walking by the river this afternoon, it being half open and the waves running pretty high, - the black waves, yellowish where they break over ice, - I inhale a fresh, meadowy, spring odor from them which is a little exciting. It is like the fragrance of tea to an old tea-drinker” (Journal, 10:296).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Went to a concert of instrumental music this evening…” (Journal, 10:296-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “About three inches more of snow fell last night… Pretty good sleighing…” (Journal, 10:297).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- I see a Fringilla hyemalis, the first bird, perchance, -- unless one hawk, -- which is an evidence of spring…” (Journal, 10:297-8).
Elizabeth Sewall Alcott, immortalized as Beth in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, dies at age 22 from scarlet fever. Louisa May writes in her journal:
My dear Beth died at three in the morning, after two years of patient pain. Last week she put her work away, saying the needle was "too heavy," and having given us her few possessions, made ready for the parting in her own simple, quiet way. For two days she suffered much, begging for ether, though its effect was gone. Tuesday she lay in Father's arms, and called us round her, smiling contentedly as she said, "All here!" I think she bid us good-by then, as she held our hands and kissed us tenderly. Saturday she slept, and at midnight became unconscious, quietly breathing her life away till three; then, with one last look of her beautiful eyes, she was gone.
(The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, 88-89)
Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:
All day is beautiful for the final rites. 3 P.M. Dr. Huntington comes. He reads, at my wife’s urgent request, the King’s Chapel Burial Service, and prays afterwards. Our friends Mr. and Mrs. Emerson and Ellen, Henry Thoreau, Sanborn, [Franklin B. Sanborn] John Pratt, his sister and mother, and others. We deposit her remains in the receiving tomb till we select our family lot in the cemetery. First carriage, Mr Alcott, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Thoreau, Mr. Sanborn. Second carriage, John Pratt, Dr. Bartlett [Charles Bartlett]. (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 307)
Louisa May Alcott writes in her journal:
On Monday Dr. Huntington read the Chapel service, and we sand her favorite hymn. Mr. Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Sanborn, and John Pratt, carried her out of the old home to the new one at Sleepy Hollow chosen by herself.
(The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, 88-89)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum…” (Journal, 10:298-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To the Hill…” (Journal, 10:299-301).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “7 A. M. - By river… P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill via Hubbard’s Bath…” (Journal, 10:302-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Painted my boat this afternoon… Met Channing [William Ellery Channing] and walked on with him to what we will call Grackle Swamp, admiring the mosses… It is a fine evening, as I stand on the bridge…” (Journal, 10:306-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - By river… P. M. - To Clematis Brook via Lee’s with C. [William Ellery Channing]… Farmer [Jacob Farmer?] told me this morning that he found a baywing’s egg yesterday, dropped in a footpath!…” (Journal, 10:309-16).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp via little River…” (Journal, 10:316).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Launch my boat and row downstream… Leaving our boat just below Barrett’s, [Nathan Barrett] we walk down the shore…” (Journal, 10:316-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Pond, east side… Returning about 5 P. M. across the Depot Field, I scare up from the ground a flock of about twenty birds…” (Journal, 10:319-20).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To bank of Great Meadows by Peter’s… Going across A. Clark’s field behind Garfield’s, I see many fox-colored sparrows flitting past in a straggling manner into the birch and pitch pine woods on the left, and hear a sweet warble there from time to time… There are so many sportsmen out that the ducks have no rest on the Great Meadows, which are not half covered with water…” (Journal, 10:320-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Sail to Bittern Cliff… C. [William Ellery Channing] saw a phœbe, i. e. pewee, the 25th… When returning, we saw, near the outlet of the pond, seven or eight sheldrakes standing still in a line on the edge of the ice, and others swimming close by…” (Journal, 10:321-4).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs…
Israel Rice says that he heard two brown thrashers sing this morning!… I go down the railroad, turning off in the cut… C. [William Ellery Channing] sees a very little ice in it [Walden pond] to-day, probably it gets entirely free tonight…”
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Hear a phœbe early in the morning over the street… P. M. - To Ball’s Hill… While I was looking at the eagle (?), I saw, on the hillside far across the meadow by Holbrook’s clearing, what I at first took for a red flag or handkerchief carried along on a pole, just above the woods. It was a fire in the woods, and I saw the top of the flashing flames above the tree-tops…” (Journal, 10:329-32).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Flint’s Pond… They are burning brush nowadays… C. [William Ellery Channing] says he saw a great many wood turtles on the bank of the Assabet to-day…” (Journal, 10:335-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Paddle up Assabet… At Hemlock Brook, a dozen or more rods from the river, I see on the wet mud a little snapping turtle evidently hatched last year…” (Journal, 10:338-42).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To yew and R. W. E.’s [Ralph Waldo Emerson] Cliff. At Hubbard’s Grove I see a woodchuck… On the far side of Fair Haven Hill I go looking for baywings, turning my glass to each sparrow on a rock or tree…” (Journal, 10:342-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Going down-town this morning, I am surprised by the rich strain of the purple finch from the elms… About 9 A. M., C. [William Ellery Channing] and I paddle down the river… We land at Ball’s Hill and eat our dinners…” (Journal, 10:345-51).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Go to the col pond-hole south of J. P. Brown’s, to hear the croaking frogs… Sophia has brought home the early large-catkinned willow…” (Journal, 10:351-3).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - I go to the meadow at the mouth of the Mill Brook to find the spawn of R. halecina… I hear the hylodes peeping now at evening, being at home, though I have not chanced to hear any during the day” (Journal, 10:355-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Ride to Lee’s Cliff and to Second Division Brook… I hear hylas in full blast 2.30 P. M… Returned by the Dugan Desert and stopped at the mill there to get the aspen flowers… Talked a moment with two little Irish (?) boys, eight or ten years old, that were playing in the brook by the mill…” (Journal, 10:357-60).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Surveying Kettell farm… Polly Houghton comes along and says, half believing it, of my compass, ‘This is what regulates the moon and stars’” (Journal, 10:362).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At 4.30 P. M. to Well Meadow Fields... R. Rice tells me that he has seen the pickerel-spawn hung about in strings on the brush, especially where a tree had fallen in…” (Journal, 10:362-4).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Lee’s Cliff… I notice at the Conantum house, of which only the chimney and frame now stand, a triangular mass of rubbish, more than half a bushel, resting on the great mantel-tree against an angle in the chimney…” (Journal, 10:364-5).
CONCORD, MASS. Thoreau also writes in his journal: “A. M. - Surveying part of William P. Brown’s wood-lot in Acton, west of factory… Returning on the railroad, the noon train down passed us opposite the old maid Hosmer’s house. In the woods just this side, we came upon a partridge standing on the track, between the rails over which the cars had just passed…” (Journal, 10:365-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Hear the first toad in the rather cool rain, 10 A. M… Speaking to J. B. Moore about the partridges being run down, he says that he was told by Lexington people some years ago that they found a duck lying dead under the spire of their old meeting-house (since burned) which stood on the Battle-Ground… P. M. - To the yew…” (Journal, 10:366-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “The yew plucked yesterday blossoms in house today. P. M. - Up Assabet… At Ed. Hoar’s in the evening…” (Journal, 10:367-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To sedge-path Salix humilis… I go to find hylodes spawn. I hear some now peeping at mid-afternoon in Potter’s meadow, just north of his swamp…” (Journal, 10:368-70).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum… I sat a long time by the little pool behind Lee’s, to see the hylodes…” (Journal, 10:370-3).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Via Assabet to Coral Rock…” (Journal, 10:373).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Grove…” (Journal, 10:373-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Spend the day hunting for my boat, which was stolen… At Fair Haven Pond I see, half a mile off, eight large water-fowl, which I thought at first were large ducks, though their necks appeared long… Viola ovata on bank above Lee’s Cliff. Edith Emerson found them there yesterday; also columbines and the early potentilla April 13th!!!… Afterwards, along the wall under the Middle Conantum Cliff, I saw many goldfinches, male and female, the males singing in a very sprightly and varied manner, sitting still on bare trees… P. M. - Down river… Rice tells me of winging a sheldrake once just below Fair Haven Pond, and pursuing it in a boat as it swam down the stream… Hear a toad ring at 9 P. M… R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] saw an anemone on the 18th.”
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Rain-storm begins, with hail” (Journal, 10:379).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “George Melvin says that Joshua Haynes once saw a perch depositing her spawn and the male following behind and devouring it!... Ed. Hoar says he heard a wood thrush the 18th. P. M. - To Easterbrooks’s and Bateman’s Pond…” (Journal, 10:379-80).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Great Meadow…” (Journal, 10:380-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I receive to-day Sanguinaria Canadensis from Brattleboro, well in bloom, - how long? - in a large box full of mayflowers… Saw a Viola blanda in a girl’s hand” (Journal, 10:381-2). See next entry.
after 23 April. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes to Mary Brown Dunton:
I think that they [Mayflowers] amount to more than grow in Concord. The blood-root also, which we have not at all, had not suffered in the least. Part of it is transferred to my sister’s garden. Preserving one splendid vase full, I distributed the rest of the Mayflowers among my neighbors, Mrs. Emerson, Mrs. Ripley, Mr. Hoar and others… They have sweetened the air of a good part of the town ere this… I should be glad to show you my Herbarium, which is very large; and in it you would recognize many specimens which you contributed… Please remember me to Father and Mother, whom I shall not fail to visit whenever I come to Brattleboro, also to the Chesterfield mountain, if you can communicate with it; I suppose it has not budged an inch.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 510)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I go at 8 A. M. to catch frogs to compare with the R. palustris and bullfrog which I have, but I find it too cold for them. Though I walk more than a mile along the river, I do not get sight of one, and only of one or two turtles. Neither do I find any more frogs (though many Emys picta) at 4 P. M., it being still cold… E. Hoar saw the myrtle-bird to-day” (Journal, 10:382-4).
Thoreau also writes to John Langdon Sibley: “I return to the Library the ‘Memoir of the Am. Academy’ vol. 1. Will you please send me the next three volumes of the Relations of the Jesuits, after that for 1664-5, which are in the Library?” (Paul C. Richards Autographs 15, issue 7:19)
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet. Approaching the Island, I hear the phe phe, phe phe, phe phe, phe phe, phe, the sharp whistling note, of a fish hawk, and, looking round, see him just afterward launching away from one of the swamp white oaks southwest of the Island… See a barn swallow. Also see one myrtle-bird, and Goodwin says he heard a stake-driver several days ago” (Journal, 10:384).
Thoreau also writes to Marston Watson:
Your unexpected gift of pear-trees reached me yesterday in good condition, and I spent the afternoon in giving them a good setting out; but I fear that this cold weather may hurt them. However, I am inclined to think they are insured since you have looked on them. It makes ones mouth water to read their names only. From what I hear of the extent of your bounty, if a reasonable part of the trees succeed this transplanting will make a new era for Concord to date from.
Mine must be a lucky star, for day before yesterday I received a box of May-flowers from Brattleboro, and yesterday morning your peartrees, and at evening a humming-bird's nest from Worcester. This looks like fairy housekeeping.
I discovered two new plants in Concord last winter, the Labrador Tea (Ledurn latifolium ), and Yew (Taxis baccata).
By the way, in January I communicated with Dr. Durkee, whose report on glow-worms I sent you, and it appeared, as I expected, that he (and by his account, Agassiz, Gould, Jackson, and others to whom he showed them) did not consider them a distinct species, but a variety of the common, or Lampyris noctiluca, some of which you got in Lincoln. Durkee, at least, has never see the last. I told him that I had no doubt about their being a distinct species. His, however, were luminous throughout every part of the body, as those which you sent me were not, while I had them.
Is nature as full of vigor to your eyes as ever, or do you detect some falling off at last? Is the mystery of the hog's bristle cleared up, and with it that of our life? It is the question, to the exclusion of every other interest.
I am sorry to hear of the burning of your woods, but, thank heaven, your great ponds and your sea cannot be burnt. I love to think of your warm sandy wood-roads, and your breezy island out in the sea. What a prospect you can get every morning from the hill-top east of your house! I think that even the heathen that I am, could say, or sing, or dance morning prayers there of some kind.
Please remember me to Mrs. Watson, and to the rest of your family who are helping the sunshine yonder.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 511-2)
Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out three volumes of the Jesuit Relations from Harvard College Library (Emerson the Essayist, 2:197). See entry 24 April.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A little snow in the night, which is seen against the fences this morning. See a chewink (male) in the Kettell place woods” (Journal, 10:384).
CHICAGO, ILL. Benjamin B. Wiley writes to Thoreau:
H D Thoreau Esq
May I ask you to send me or have sent to me Mr Emerson’s lecture on “Country Life.” I am told he is ready to lend his papers to earnest inquirers. I will pay all postages and return the Ms. as soon as read, though, if Mr Emerson do not object, I might wish to copy it. Neither you nor he must think me impertinent. I am where I would almost give my life for light and hence the request.
Not having your "Wild & Walking" to read, I have been walking in the wild of my own Nature and I am filled with anxious inquiries as to whether I had better remain in this business into which I passively slided. At that time I had many misgivings that it was not a wise step and I have been on the anxious seat ever since. I want labor that I can contemplate with approval and continue to prosecute with delight in sickness, adversity, and old age, should I chance to meet with such. I object to this business that it does not use my faculties, and on the other hand I ask myself if all my trouble is not in me. You dont want to hear my reasons pro and con. You too have been at a parting of the ways and will understand me.
It is true that while here I have been much helped yet it is in spiteof my trade connections which came near spoiling me.
If I now leave, I shall probably have very little money, but I think some "fire in my belly" which will in the long run do something for me, if I live in the freedom of obedience.
If I leave, it will be with the expectation of earnestly choosing some sort of "Country Life," or, if I remain in a city, something that will make me grow. I believe that am I once fairly on deck I should not want to go below again.
I am ready to tread cheerfully any path of Renunciation if Heavenly Wisdom demand it-with equal alacrity would I, in that high behest, go to the Devil by the most approved modern, respectable, orthodox methods. It is difficult to reconcile the Temporal and the Eternal. I must at some time so decide it that I can use all the "fire in my belly" to some purpose
I spent, in December, some weeks on a farm in the interior of the State. I walked some distance over the prairie to look at a farm a man wanted me to buy and when the next night I reached my host's house, I took up "Walden" and came across your translation of Cato's advice to those about buying farms. It was very welcome and I let this farm alone.
I would write you a long letter, but I suppose it would only make you smile benignly-and perhaps me, too, when, a year hence, I remembered it.
Remember me respectfully and lovingly to Mr Emerson
Your grateful friend
B. B. Wiley
Thoreau writes in his journal: “It has been so cold since the 23d that I have not been able to catch a single frog, have hardly seen where one jumped, as I walked through the meadows looking for them, though in some warmer places I heard a low stertorous R. halceina-like note from a few… Snows hard in afternoon and evening…” (Journal, 10:384-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Down river to look at willows… P. M. - To Ledum Swamp… The snow was generally gone about 10 A. M., except in circular patches in the shadow of the still leafless trees” (Journal, 10:385-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Storrow Higginson plucked the uva-ursi fully out the 25th; perhaps two or three days, for it was nearly out, he says, the 18th!!!… Noticed a man killing, on the sidewalk by Minott’s, a little brown snake with blackish marks along each side of back and a pink belly…” (Journal, 10:387).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - I carry the rest of my little fishes, fifteen or twenty, to the cold pool in Hubbard’s ground… I learn that one farmer, seeing me standing a long time still in the midst of a pool (I was watching for hylodes), said that it was his father, who had been drinking some of Pat Haggerty’s rum, and had lost his way home. So, setting out to lead him home, he discovered that it was I… See a white-throated sparrow by Cheney’s wall, the stout, chubby bird. After sundown. By riverside. - The frogs and toads are now fairly awake…” (Journal, 10:387-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “While I am behind Cheney’s this warm and still afternoon, I hear a voice calling to oxen three quarters of a mile distant, and I know it to be Elijah Wood’s… As I sit above the Island, waiting for the Rana palustirs to croak, I see many minnows from three quarters to two inches long, but mostly about one inch…” (Journal, 10:389-93).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Down river. The Salix Babylonica (fertile) behind Dodd’s is more forward than the alba by my boat… At mouth of the Mill Brook, I hear, I should say, the true R. halecina croak, i.e. with the faint bullfrog-like er-er-er intermixed…” (Journal, 10:394-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Ride to Flint’s Pond to look for Uvularia perfoliata… At Hosmer’s medicinal (?) spring, Everett’s farm, Ranunculus repens, abundantly out, apparently several days… E. Hoar brings me a twig of a willow plucked in Newton, which was killed some weeks ago, when it had just begun to bloom…” (Journal, 10:395-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - By boat to Holden Swamp… At Clamshell Shore, I see a clam lying up with open valves… Coming back, I talk with Witherell at William Wheeler’s landing. He comes pushing Wheeler’s square-ended boat down-stream with a fish-spear. Says he caught a snapping turtle in the river May 1st. He sits on the side of my boat by the shore a little while, talking with me…” (Journal, 10:396-400).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “… The aspen leaves at Island to-day appear as big as a ninepence suddenly” (Journal, 10:400-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Trillium Wood… A boy brings me to-day an Attacus Cecropia moth which has come out of a cocoon in his trunk… Minott remembers the Rana palustris, or yellow-legged one, as “the one that stinks so,” as if that scent were peculiar to it… About 9 P. M. I went to the edge of the river to hear the frogs… Many are catching pouts this louring afternoon, in the little meadow by Walden…” (Journal, 10:401-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Plant melons… Cousin Charles says that he drove Grandmother over to Weston the 2d of May; on the 3d it snowed and he rode about there in a sleigh; on the 4th and the 5th, when he returned in a chaise to Concord, it was considered dangerous on account of the drifts. P. M. - To Assabet by Tarbell’s…” (Journal, 10:405-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To stone-heaps… I see a great deal of the oat spawn, generally just flatted out, in that long pokelogan by the Assabet Bath-Place…” (Journal, 10:406-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. To Holden and to Ledum Swamp… See in Ludwigia palustris ditch on Hubbard’s land evidently toad-spawn already hatched, or flatted out…” (Journal, 10:407-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Going down-town in the morning, I hear the warbling vireo, golden robin, catbird, and summer yellowbird… About 8.30 A. M., I go down the river to Ball’s Hill… P. M. - To Walden. R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] is sure that he heard a cuckoo to-day…” (Journal, 10:409-12).
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal on 11 May:
Yesterday with Henry T. at the pond saw the creeper vesey vesey vesey. Yorick is the veery, or Wilson’s Thrush. The lamprey-eel was seen by Wetherell building the pebble nest in the river. The dead sucker so often seen in the river needs a great deal of air & hence perhaps dies when detained below. The trout was seen to kill the pickerel by darting at him & tearing off a fin every time. I hear the account of the man who lives in the wilderness of Maine with respect, but with despair. It needs the doing hand to make the seeing eye, & my imbecile hands leave me always helpless & ignorant, after so many years in the country. The beauty of the spectacle I fully feel, but ’tis strange that more than the miracle of the plant & any animal is the impression of mere mass of broken land & water, say a mountain, precipices, & water-falls, or the ocean side, and stars. These affect us more than anything except men & women. But neither is Henry’s hermit, 45 miles from the nearest house, important, until we know what he is now, what he thinks of it on his return, & after a year. Perhaps he has found it foolish & wasteful to spend a tenth or a twentieth of his active life with a muskrat & fried fishes. I tell him that a man was not made to live in a swamp, but a frog. The charm which Henry T. uses for bird & frog & mink, is patience. They will not come to him, or show him aught, until he becomes a log among the logs, sitting still for hours in the same place; then they come around him & to him, & show themselves at home.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 14:203)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Wishing to get one of the little brook (?) pickerel, of Hubbard’s ditches, in the arethusa meadow, I took a line in my pocket, and, baiting with a worm and cutting a pole there, I caught two directly… Melvin says they get to weigh about two pounds” (Journal, 10:412-3).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Wishing to get one of the little brook (?) pickerel, of Hubbard’s ditches, in the arethusa meadow, I took a line in my pocket, and, baiting with a worm and cutting a pole there, I caught two directly… Melvin says they get to weigh about two pounds” (Journal, 10:412-3).
“P. M. - To Island… I wade through the great Lee farm meadow… As I sat in my boat near the Bath Rock at Island, I saw a red squirrel steal slyly up a red maple, as if he were in search of a bird’s nest (though it is early for most), and I thought I would see what he was at…” (Journal, 10:417-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.30 A. M. - Up railroad… 10 A. M. - To Hill… One tells me he saw to-day the arum flower” (Journal, 10:419-21).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “7.30 A. M. - Ride to the Shawsheen in the northeast of Bedford… Measured two apple trees by the road from the middle of Bedford and Fitch’s mill…” (Journal, 10:421-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Up Assabet.… A hummingbird yesterday came into the next house and was caught. Flew about our parlor to-day and tasted Sophia’s flowers… P. M. - To Uvularia perfoliata at Flint’s Pond… Sat down in the sun in the path through Wright’s wood-lot above Goose Pond, but soon, hearing a slight rustling, I looked round and saw a very large black snake about five feet long on the dry leaves, about a rod off… E. Hoar [Edward Hoar] detected the other day two ovaries under one scale of a Salix rostrata, and, under another, a stamen and another stamen converted into an ovary.” (Journal, 10:422-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ledum Swamp… It rains gently from time to time as I walk, but I see a farmer with his boys, John Hosmer, still working in the rain, bent on finishing his planting… Measured the large apple tree in front of the Charles Miles house… While I was measuring the tree, Puffer came along, and I had a long talk with him, standing under the tree in the cool sprinkling rain till we shivered…” (Journal, 10:427-31).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Set an arbor-vitæ hedge fifteen inches east of our line; about twenty inches high” (Journal, 10:431).
Thoreau also writes to James Russell Lowell:
The proofs, for which I did ask in the note which accompanied the ms, would have been an all sufficient “Bulletin.”
I was led to suppose by Mr Emerson’s account, - and he advised me to send immediately - that you were not always even one month ahead. At any rate it was important to me that the paper be disposed of soon.
I send by express this morning the remainder of the story - of which allow me to ask a sight of the proofs.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 514)
Henry D. Thoreau
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Surveying (by the eye) for Warner the meadow surveyed for John Hosmer in June, ’56… P. M. - To Everett Spring… R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] says that Pratt found yesterday out the trientalis, Trillium cernuum, and Smilacina bifolia…” (Journal, 10:431-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… 3.30 P. M. - To Brister’s Hill. Going long the deep valley in the woods, just before entering the part called Laurel Glen, I heard a noise, and saw a fox running along the shrubby side-hill…” (Journal, 10:432-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Boulder Field… Pratt shows me what I take to be Genista tinctoria from the Boulder Field… E. Hoar saw Silene Pennsylvanica out in Lincoln to-day, in a warm cleft of a rock; also Cerasus pumila between here and Newton” (Journal, 10:439).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Ed. Emerson brings me the egg of a hawk, dirty bluish-white, just found, with three other eggs not much developed, in a nest on the ground… P. M. - By cars to Worcester, on way to New York…” (Journal, 10:439-40).
Worcester, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “In Worcester. 5 A. M. - Walk with Blake, [H. G. O. Blake] Brown, [Theophilus Brown] and Rogers [Seth Rogers] to Quinsigamond Pond, carrying our breakfast. Paddled up the pond northerly three quarters of a mile from the bridge, and lunched in Shrewsbury on the east side…” (Journal, 10:440-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “To New York by railroad… In the evening, looked at the aquarium at Barnum’s…” (Journal, 10:442-3).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Visited the Egyptian Museum… P. M. - To Staten Island. See an abundance of Ranunculus abortivus in the wood-path behind Mr. E.’s [William Emerson] house going to seed and in bloom.…” (Journal, 10:443).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “3 P. M. - Return to Boston” (Journal, 10:443).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At Boston. Cambridge and Concord… Ed. Emerson shows me the egg of a bittern (Ardea minor) form a nest in the midst of the Great Meadows, which four boys found, scaring up the bird, last Monday, the 24th…” (Journal, 10:443-4).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - By boat to Great Meadows to look for the bittern’s nest… E. Hoar [Edward Hoar] finds the Eriophorum vaginatum at Ledum Swamp, with lead-colored scales; how long?” (Journal, 10:445-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Bateman’s Pond via Pratt’s… Farmer [Jacob Farmer] describes an animal which he saw lately near Bateman’s Pond, which he thought would weigh fifty or sixty pounds, color of a she fox at this season, low but very long, and ran some what like a woodchuck…” (Journal, 10:447-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To hen-harrier’s nest and to Ledum’s Swamp. Edward Emerson shows me the nest which he and another discovered… As I stand by the riverside some time after sundown, I see a light white mist rising here and there in wisps from the meadow, far and near…” (Journal, 10:448-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - To Island… P. M. - To Laurel Glen… At 5 P. M., go to see a gray squirrel’s nest in the oak at the Island point…” (Journal, 10:449-51).
The Atlantic Monthly publishes the first of three installments of Thoreau’s “Chesuncook.”
Thoreau writes to H. G. O. Blake:
Mr Blake --
It looks as if it might rain tomorrow; therefore this is to inform you - if you have not left Worcester on account of the rain, that if the weather prevents my starting tomorrow, I intend to start on Thursday morning - i.e. if it is not decidedly rainy - or something more than a shower, and I trust that I shall meet you at Troy as agreed on.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 514-5)
3 June. Mount Monadnock, N.H.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At length, by 3 o’clock, the signs of dawn appear, and soon we hear the robin and the Fringilla hyemalis, - its prolonged jingle, - sitting on the top of a spruce, the chewink, and the wood thrush. Whether you have slept soundly or not, it is not easy to lie abed under these circumstances, and we rose at 3.30, in order to see the sun rise from the top and get our breakfast there. Concealing our blankets under a shelving rock near the camp, we set out…” (Journal, 10:461-77).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At 6 A.M. we began to descend… For last expedition to Monadnock, vide September, 1852…” (Journal, 10:477-80).
CONCORD, MASS. Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Surveying a blueberry and maple swamp belonging to Thomas Brooks in the northeast part of Lincoln, burned over in the fall of ’57… P. M. - Surveying, for Warner, wood bought of John Brown near Concord line…” (Journal, 10:480-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Cornus florida at Island well out, say the 3d… Go to Painted-Cup Meadow via Assabet Bath… Edith Emerson has found, in the field (Merriam’s) just south of the Beck Stow pin grove, Lepidium campestre, which may have been out ten days” (Journal, 10:481-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… As I was wading in this Wyman meadow, looking for bullfrog-spawn, I saw a hole at the bottom, where it was six or eight inches deep, by the side of a mass of mud and weeds which rose just to the surface three or four feet from the shore… I sit in my boat in the twilight by the edge of the river…” (Journal, 10:482-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To marsh hawk’s nest near Hubbard’s Bath…” (Journal, 10:486-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Beck Stow’s…” (Journal, 10:488).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Sophia received the whorled arethusa from Northampton to-day. P. M. - To Assabet Bath and return by stone bridge… See a painted turtle digging her nest in the road at 5.45 P. M… At the west bank, by the bathing-place, I see that several turtles’ holes have already been opened and the eggs destroyed by the skunk or other animal… One E. insculpta is digging there about 7 P. M…” (Journal, 10:488-90).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Assabet Bath… Edward Hoar has seen the triosteum out…” (Journal, 10:490-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rains all day. Much water falls” (Journal, 10:492).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Louring all day. P. M. - To Ledum Swamp…” (Journal, 10:492-3).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Miss Pratt brings me the fertile barberry from northeast the great yellow birch… P. M. - To Gowing’s Swamp…” (Journal, 10:494).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rains steadily again, and we have had no clear weather since the 11th. The river is remarkably high, far higher than before, this year, and is rising…” (Journal, 10:494-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Staple’s Meadow Wood… Edward Emerson, Edward Bartlett, and Storrow Higginson came to ask me the names of some eggs to-night…” (Journal, 10:495-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To hawks’ nest…” (Journal, 10:498).
CONCORD, MASS. Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden to see a bird’s nest, a red-eye’s, in a small white pine; nest not so high as my head; still laying. A boy climbs to the cat owl’s nest and casts down what is left of it, - a few short sticks and some earthy almost turfy foundation, as if it were the accumulation of years… E. Bartlett [Edward Bartlett] has found three bobolinks’ nests…” (Journal, 10:499-500).
NEW BEDFORD, MASS. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau: “[ … ] I see but little of Channing in these days. I often found his peculiarities very oppressive to me. He seems to lack sympathy in his nature, which however he never gave me any reason to expect from him [ … ]” (Concord Saunterer 19, no. 1 (July 1987):35; MS, private owner).
BOSTON, MASS. The Boston Transcript prints a note: “When Mr. Thoreau finished his books, ‘Walden,’ &c., it seems to us that he exhausted what powers he had, and now must of necessity repeat himself” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1990, 328).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Storrow Higginson and other boys have found this forenoon at Flint’s Pond one or more veery-nests on the ground… P. M. - To Bateman’s Pond…” (Journal, 10:500-1).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - By Boat to Holden Swamp…” (Journal, 10:501-2).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Vide at Cambridge, apparently in prime, Silene inflata; also, in a rich grass-field on Sacramento Street, what may be Turritis glabra (?), also in prime, the last three or four feet high. Both pressed. Talked with Mr. Bryant at the Natural History Rooms…” (Journal, 10:502-3).
BOSTON, MASS. Thoreau checks out British oology, being illustrations of British birds by William Chapman Hewitson, volumes 1 and 2 from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly no. 24 (March 1952):26).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Edward Bartlett found what he calls two bobolink’s nests some weeks ago, with each six eggs… He shows me, also one of three eggs found on the 20th in Gourgas’s wood-lot, within a rod of the roadside, in a small slender oak (eighteen feet high), about fourteen feet from the ground, about fifteen rods north of Britton’s corner, in a grove, where two or three small branches left the main stem; eggs somewhat advanced… Observe a painted turtle laying or digging at 5 P. M…” (Journal, 10:503-4).
Thoreau also writes to James Russell Lowell:
When I received the proof of that portion of my story printed in the July number of your magazine, I was surprised to find that the sentence - “It is as immortal as I am, and perchance will go to as high a heaven, there to tower above me still.” - (which comes directly after the words “heals my cuts,” page 230, tenth line from the top,) have been crossed out, and it occurred to me that, after all, it was of some consequence that I should see the proofs; supposing, of course, that my “Stet” &c in the margin would be respected, as I perceive that it was in other cases of comparatively little importance to me. However, I have
just noticed that that sentence was, in a very mean and cowardly manner, omitted. I hardly need to say that this is a liberty which I will not permit to be taken with my MS. The editor has, in this case, no more right to omit a sentiment than to insert one, or put words into my mouth. I do not ask anybody to adopt my opinions, but I do expect that when they ask for them to print, they will print them, or obtain my consent to their alteration or omission . I should not read many books if I thought that they had been thus expurgated. I feel this treatment to be an insult, though not intended as such, for it is to presume that I can be hired to suppress my opinions.
I do not mean to charge you with this omission, for I cannot believe that you knew anything about it, but there must be a responsible editor somewhere, and you, to whom I entrusted my MS. are the only party that I know in this matter. I therefore write to ask if you sanction this omission, and if there are any other sentiments to be omitted in the remainder of my article. If you do not sanction it-or whether you do or not - will you do me the justice to print that sentence, as an omitted one, indicating its place, in the August number?
I am not willing to be associated in any way, unnecessarily, with parties who will confess themselves so bigoted & timid as this implies. I could excuse a man who was afraid of an uplifted fist, but if one habitually manifests fear at the utterance of a sincere thought, I must think that his life is a kind of nightmare continued into broad daylight. It is hard to conceive of one so completely derivative. Is this the avowed character of the Atlantic Monthly? I should like an early reply.
Henry D. Thoreau
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - With some boys to Flint’s Pond, to see the nests mentioned on last [two pages]…” (Journal, 10:505-7).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Aralia hispida at Cliffs… Storrow Higginson gives me a bobolink’s egg…” (Journal, 10:507).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum… 93º at 1 P. M… We bathe at Bittern Cliff…” (Journal, 10:507-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. -- Up Assabet. Land at old mill-site and walk through the Lee Woods looking for bird’s nests…” (Journal, 10:509-10).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To broom…” (Journal, 10:510).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden. Bathing in the cove by railroad…” (Journal, 10:511).
Thoreau also writes to H. G. O. Blake:
Mr. Blake, -
Edward Hoar and I propose to start for the White Mountains in a covered wagon, with one horse, on the morning of Thursday the 1st of July, intending to explore the mountain tops botanically, and camp on them at least several times. Will you take a seat in the wagon with us? Mr. Hoar prefers to hire the horse and wagon himself. Let us hear by express, as soon as you can, whether you will join us here by the earliest train Thursday morning, or Wednesday night. Bring your map of the mountains, and as much provision for the road as you can, - hard bread, sugar, tea, meat, etc., - for we intend to live like gipsies; also, a blanket and some thick clothes for the mountain top.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 516-7)
Thoreau writes to Daniel Ricketson:
Friend Ricketson, -
I am on the point of starting for the White Mountains in a wagon with my neighbor Edward Hoar, and I write to you now rather to apologize for not writing, than to answer worthily your three notes. I thank you heartily for them. You will not care for a little delay in acknowledging them, since you date shows that you can afford to wait. Indeed, my head has been so full of company, &c., that I could not reply to you fitly before, nor can I now.
As for preaching to men these days in the Walden strain, - is it of any consequence to preach to an audience of men who can fail? or who can be revived? There are few beside. Is it any success to interest these parties? If a man has speculated and failed, he will probably do these things again, in spite of you or me.
I confess that it is rare that I rise to sentiment in my relations to men, - ordinarily to a mere patient, or may be wholesome good-will. I can imagine something more, but the truth compels me to regard the ideal and the actual as two things.
Channing has come, and as suddenly gone, and left a short poem, “Near Home,” published (?) or printed by Munroe, which I have hardly had time to glance at. As you may guess, I learn nothing of you from him.
You already foresee my answer to your invitation to make you a summer visit - I am bound for the Mountains. But I trust that you have vanquished, ere this, those dusky demons that seem to lurk around the Head of the River. You know that this warfare is nothing but a kind of nightmare - and it is our thoughts alone which give those unworthies any body or existence.
I made an excursion with Blake, of Worcester, to Monadnoc, a few weeks since. We took our blankets and food, spent two nights on the mountain, and did not go into a house. Alcott has been very busy for a long time repairing an old shell of a house, and I have seen very little of him. I have looked more at the houses which birds build. Watson made us all very generous presents from his nursery in the spring especially did he remember Alcott. Excuse me for not writing any more at present, and remember me to your family.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 517-8)
H. D. Thoreau.
The Atlantic Monthly publishes the second of three installments of Thoreau’s “Chesuncook.”
Thoreau writes to H. G. O. Blake:
July 1st. Last Monday evening Mr. Edward Hoar said that he thought of going to the White Mountains. I remarked casually that I should like to go well enough if I could afford it. Whereupon he declared that if I would go with him, he would hire a horse and wagon, so that the ride would cost me nothing, and we would explore the mountain tops botanically, camping on them many night. The next morning I suggested you and Brown’s accompanying us in another wagon, and we could all camp and cook, gipsy-like, along the way, - or, perhaps, if the horse could draw us, you would like to bear half the expense of the horse and wagon, and take a seat with us. He like either proposition, but said, that if you would take a seat with us, he would prefer to hire the horse and wagon himself. you could contribute something else if you pleased. Supposing that Brown would be confined, I wrote to you accordingly, by express on Tuesday morning, via Boston, stating that we should start to-day, suggesting provision, thick clothes, etc., and asking for an answer; but I have not received one. I have just heard that you may be at Sterling, and now write to say that we shall still be glad if you will join us at Senter Harbor, where we expect to be next Monday morning. In any case, will you please direct a letter to us there at once?
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 518-9)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Start out for White Mountains in a private carriage with Edward Hoar… Spent the noon close by the old Dunstable graveyard, by a small stream north of it… Walked to and along the river and bathed in it… I returned through the grass up the winding channel of our little brook to the camp again… Put up at a tavern in Merrimack, some miles after passing over a pretty high, flat-topped hill in road, whence we saw the mountains (with a steep descent to the interval on right). 7 P. M. - I walked by a path through the wood northeast to the Merrimack…” (Journal, 11:3-5)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Continued along in a slight rain through Bedford, crossing to Manchester, and driving by a brook in Hookset just above Pinnacle. Then through Allenstown and Pembroke, with its long street, to Loudon, leaving Concord on the left…” (Journal, 11:6)
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A. M. - Clears up after a rainy night. Get our breakfast apparently in the northern part of Loudon…
Leaving Loudon Ridge on the right we continued on by Hollow Road - a long way through the forest without houses - through a part of Canterbury into Gilmanton Factory village… We continue along through Gilmanton to Meredith Bridge, passing the Suncook Mountain on our right, a long, barren rocky range overlooking Lake Winnepiseogee… Camped within a mile south of Senter Harbor, in a birch wood on the right near the lake…” (Journal, 11:6-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Continue on through Senter Harbor and ascend Red Hill in Moultonboro…On the top we boil a dipper of tea for our dinner and spend some hours, having carried up water the last half-mile… Stop at Tamworth village for the night…” (Journal, 11:8-11).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “5.35 A. M. - keep on through North Tamworth, and breakfast by shore of one of the Ossipee Lakes… We fished in vain in a small clear pond by the roadside in Madison… Saw the bones of a bear at Wentworth’s house, and camped, rather late, on right-hand side of road just beyond, or a little more than four miles from Jackson…” (Journal, 11:11-14).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Having engaged the services of Wentworth to carry up some of our baggage and to keep our camp, we rode onward to the Glen House, eight miles further, sending back our horse and wagon to his house… Began the ascent by the mountain road at 11.30 A. M… [At three miles] was the foot of the ledge and limit of trees, only their dead trunks standing, probably fir and spruce, about the shanty where we spent the night with the colliers…” (Journal, 11:14-16).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I started before my companions, wishing to secure a clear view from the summit, while they accompanied the collier and his assistant, who were conducting up to the summit for the first time his goats… I got up about half an hour before my party and enjoyed a good view, though it was hazy, but by the time the rest arrived a cloud invested us all, a cool driving mist, which wet you considerably, as you squatted behind a rock… About 8.15 A. M., being still in a dense fog, we started directly for Tuckerman’s Ravine… But following down the edge of the stream, the source of the Ellis River, which was quite a brook within a stone’s throw of its head, we soon found it very bad walking in the scrubby fir and spruce, and therefore, when we had gone about two thirds the way to the lake, decided to camp in the midst of the dwarf firs, clearing away a space with our hatchets…” (Journal, 10:16-29).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walked to the Hermit Lake, some forty rods northeast… I ascended the stream in the afternoon and got out of the ravine at its head, after dining on chiogenes tea, which plant I could gather without moving from my log seat… Returning, I sprained my ankle in jumping down the brook, so that I could not sleep that night, nor walk the next day…” (Journal, 11:29-33).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “In the afternoon, Hoar, Blake, and Brown ascended the slide on the south to the highest rock…” (Journal, 11:33-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Were visited by three men from Glen House, who thought it was well named ‘Tucker’s Ravine,’ because it tuckered a man out to get to it!…” (Journal, 11:36).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “It having cleared up, we shouldered our packs and commenced our descent, by a path about two and a half or three miles to carriage-road, not descending a great deal… In the afternoon we rode along, three of us, northward and northwestward on our way round the mountains, going through Gorham. We camped about a mile and a half west of Gorham, by the roadside, on the bank of Moose River” (Journal, 11:36-8).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “This morning it rained, keeping us in camp till near noon, for we did not wish to lose the view of the mountains as we rode along. We dined at Wood’s tavern in Randolph, just over Randolph Hill, and here had a pretty good view of Madison and Jefferson, which rose from just south the stream there, but a cloud rested on the summits most of the time… We put up at a store just opposite the town hall on Jefferson Hill…” (Journal, 11:38-41).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “This forenoon we rode on through Whitefield to Bethlehem, clouds for the most part concealing the higher mountains…” (Journal, 11:41-4).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Continued the ascent of Lafayette, also called the Great Haystack… Boiled tea for our dinner by the little pond, the head of the Pemigewasset… Rode on and stopped at Morrison’s (once Tilton’s) Inn in West Thornton…” (Journal, 11:44-51).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Continue on through Thornton and Campton… Lodged at tavern in Franklin, west side of river” (Journal, 11:51-4).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Passed by Webster’s [Daniel Webster] place, three miles this side of the village… Spent the noon on the bank of the Contoocook in the northwest corner of Concord, there a stagnant river owing to dams… Reached Weare and put up at a quiet and agreeable house, without any sign or barroom…” (Journal, 11:54).
New York, N.Y. The New-York Daily Tribune prints an article about an excursion to the White Mountains, which coincidentally intersects with Thoreau’s excursion:
That night of fog and rain Mr. Thoreau, the Concord Pan, spent in Tuckerman’s ravine with Judge Hoar, his companion on the Chesuncook tour, now being described in The Atlantic Monthly, two other gentlemen and a guide. I have been assured by one of the party that they woke up in the morning perfectly dry, although they had only a cotton tent for shelter. The water ran down hill under them, through the crevices of their bed of fir and spruce boughs, without dampening the highest stratum. Mr. Thoreau doubtless understands as well as any mountaineer how to make himself comfortable under such circumstances, but we could not help shivering, as we looked down the ravine the next morning and saw the banks of snow that are all but eternal, and the little black pools a mile below, beside which the party camped for four nights.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Keep on through New Boston, the east side of Mount Vernon, Amherst to Hollis, and noon by mill-pond in the woods, on Pennichook Brook, in Hollis, or three miles north of village. At evening go on to Pepperell…” (Journal, 11:54-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Get home at noon…” (Journal, 11:55-62).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “CONCORD. P. M. - To Walden, with E. Bartlett [Edward Bartlett] and E. Emerson. [Edward Emerson] The former wished to show me what he thought an owl’s nest he had found…” (Journal, 11:62-4).
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “C. [William Ellery Channing] and I took refuge from a shower under our boat at Clamshell; staid an hour at least… Left a little too soon, but enjoyed a splendid rainbow for half an hour” (Journal, 11:64).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Neottica gracilis, how long?” (Journal, 11:64).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Edward Bartlett shows me a nest in the Agricultural ground which had four eggs, yet pretty fresh, but the bird has now deserted it…” (Journal, 11:64).
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to H. G. O. Blake: “I have heard not so much as I wished of your mountain journey but both from Henry T. & Edward Hoar that it had its rewards” (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5:116).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Conantum. From wall corner saw a pinkish patch on side-hill west of Baker Farm, which turned out to be epilobium, a rod across…” (Journal, 11:64-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Pine Hill, looking for the Vaccinium Pennsylvanicum berries…” (Journal, 11:65-6).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Flint’s Pond…” (Journal, 11:66-7).
The Atlantic Monthly publishes the third of three installments of Thoreau’s “Chesuncook.”
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet. Landed at the Bath-Place and walked the length of Shad-bush Meadow…” (Journal, 11:68-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… Edward Bartlett and another brought me a green bittern, this year’s bird, apparently full grown but not full plumaged, which they caught near the pool on Heywood’s land behind Sleepy Hollow…” (Journal, 11:68).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Savory-leaved aster” (Journal, 11:69).
Ellen Emerson writes to her father Ralph Waldo Emerson on 6 August: “Mr Theodore Parker and Mr Joe Lyman came here last night to make a call. They knew you were not at home. They are riding a journey in Mr Lyman’s wagon. Mr Thoreau was here too. He came the night before, and borrowed the 5th and 6th volumes of the Pacific Railroad books” (The Letters of Ellen Tucker Emerson, 1:146).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “9.30 A. M. - Up river to Pantry Brook… The best show of lilies is on the west side of the bay, in Cyrus Hosmer’s meadow, above the willow-row. Many of them are not open at 10 o’clock A.M… Landed at Fair Haven Pond to smell the Aster macrophyllus… We ate our dinner on the hill by Rice’s… While bathing at Rice’s landing, I noticed under my arm, amid potamogeton, a little pickerel between two and two and a half and three inches long, with a little silvery minnow about one inch long in his mouth…” (Journal, 11:69-75).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Walk to Boulder Field… Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson] is gone to the Adirondack country with a hunting party. Eddy [Edward Emerson] says he has carried a double-barrel gun, one side for shot, the other for ball…” (Journal, 11:76-9).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… In the upper part of J. Farmer’s lane I find huckleberries which are distinctly pear-shaped, all of them…” (Journal, 11:79-81).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ledum Swamp… Looking north from Hubbard’s Bridge about 4 P. M., the wind being southeasterly, I am struck by the varied lights of the river…” (Journal, 11:82-5).
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Edward Bartlett shows me this morning a nest which he found yesterday. It is saddled on the lowest horizontal branch of an apple tree in Abel Heywood’s orchard, against a small twig, and answers to Nuttall’s description of the goldfinch’s nest, which it probably is… I see a pout this afternoon in the Assabet, lying on the bottom near the shore, evidently diseased… Edith Emerson gives me an Asclepias tuberosa from Naushon, which she thinks is now in its prime there…” (Journal, 11:85-9).
10 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To yew, etc…” (Journal, 11:89-91).
11 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Beck Stow’s… I go along plum path behind Adolphus Clark’s…” (Journal, 11:91-4).
12 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “When I came down-stairs this morning, it raining hard and steadily, I found an Irishman sitting with his coat on his arm in the kitchen, waiting to see me. He wanted to inquire what I thought the weather would be to-day! I sometimes ask my aunt, and she consults the almanac. So we shirk the responsibility. P. M. - To the Miles blueberry swamp and White Pond…” (Journal, 11:94-8).
13 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… As I am paddling up the north side above the Hemlocks, I am attracted by the singular shadows of the white lily pads on the rich-brown muddy bottom… I landed to get the wood pewee nest in the Lee Wood…” (Journal, 11:98-102).
14 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To the one-arched bridge… Suggesting to C. [William Ellery Channing] an Indian name for one of our localities, he thought it had too many syllables for a place so near the middle of town, - as if the more distant and less frequented place might have a longer name, less understood and less alive in its syllables… We walked a little way down the bank this side the Assabet bridge… There is brought me this afternoon Thalictrum Cornuti, of which the club-shaped filaments (and sepals?) and seed-vessels are a bright purple and quite showy…” (Journal, 11:102-4).
15 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Down river to Abner Buttrick’s… I notice the black willows from my boat’s place to Abner Buttrick’s, to see where they grow, distinguishing ten places… I hear one in the outskirts learning to drum every night…” (Journal, 11:105-6).
17 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Minott has only lately been reading Shattuck’s “History of Concord,” and he says that his account is not right by a jugful, that he does not come within half a mile of the truth, not as he has heard tell… C. [William Ellery Channing] saw pigeons to-day. P. M. - To Annursnack via swimming-ford…” (Journal, 11:110-1).
18 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Fair Haven Hill… Having left my note-book at home, I strip off a piece of birch bark for paper… I sit under the oaks at the east end of Hubbard’s Grove, and hear two wood pewees singing close by…” (Journal, 11:111-2).
Thoreau also writes to George William Curtis:
Channing’s poem “Near Home” was printed (if not published) by James Munroe and Co. Boston. C. brought it to me some seven weeks ago with the remark - “Knowing your objection to manuscript, I got it printed” - and I do not know that he presented it to anyone else. I have not been to the city of late, but Emerson told me that he found a small pile of them at Munroe’s, and bought two or three; though Munroe said that he was forbidden to advertise it. Of course this is equivalent to dedicating it “to whom it may concern.” Others also have bought it, for fifty cents; but C. still persists, in his way, in saying that it is not published. Ought not a poem to publish itself?
I am glad if you are not weary of the Maine Woods, partly because I have another and a larger slice to come. As for the presidency, - I cannot speak for my neighbors, but, for my own part, I am politically so benighted (or belighted?) that I do not know what Seward’s qualifications are. I know, however, that no one in whom I could feel much interest would stand any chance of being elected. But the nail which is hard to drive is hard to draw.
Henry D. Thoreau
19 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P.M. - Sail to Baker Farm shore… I see thistle-down, grayish-white, floating low quite across Fair Haven Pond… We have our first green corn to-day, but it is late…” (Journal, 11:113-4).
20 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Edward Hoar has found in his garden two or three specimens of what appears to be the Veronica Buxbaumii, which blossomed at least a month ago… Flannery tells me that at about four o’clock this morning he saw white frost on the grass in the low ground near Holbrook’s meadow… P. M. - To Poplar Hill and the Great Fields…” (Journal, 11:115-6).
21 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - A-berrying to Conantum…” (Journal, 11:116).
22 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - I have spliced my old sail to a new one, and now go out to try it in a sail to Baker Farm…” (Journal, 11:116-8).
23 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Britton’s camp via Hubbard’s Close… Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson] says that he and Agassiz [Louis Agassiz] and Company broke some dozens of ale-bottles, one after another, with their bullets, in the Adirondack country, using them for marks!... Channing, [William Ellery Channing] thinking of walks and life in the country, says, ‘You don’t want to discover anything new, but to discover something old,’ i.e. be reminded that such things still are” (Journal, 11:118-20). See entry 6 August.
24 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Edward Hoar brings Cassia Chamœcrista from Greenport, L.I., which must have been out a good while. P. M. - Sail to Ball’s (?) Hill…” (Journal, 11:120-3).
25 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Lupine Hill and beyond… I gather from Nut Meadow Brook, not far below the road, a potamogeton (perhaps P. Claytoni (heterophyllus of Gray), which Russell said was the one by road at Jenny Dugan’s)…” (Journal, 11:123-5).
26 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Great Meadows… Minott tells me that once, one very dry summer, when but part of these meadows had been cut, Moore and Hosmer got the owners to agree to have them burnt over, in the expectation that it would improve the quality of the grass, and they made quite an affair of it, - had a chowder, cooked by Moore’s boys, etc.; but the consequence was that this wool-grass came in next year more than ever…” (Journal, 11:125-9).
27 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… I see round-leaved cornel fruit on Heywood Peak, now half China-blue and half white, each berry…” (Journal, 11:129).
28 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “When, as I go to the post-office this morning, I see these bright leaves stewing the moist ground on one side of the tree and blown several rods from it into a neighboring yard, I am reminded that I have crossed the summit ridge of the year and have begun to descend the other slope…” (Journal, 11:130).
29 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To J. Farmer’s via Assabet… Before bathing at the Pokelogan, I see and hear a school of large suckers, which have come into this narrow bay and are swiftly dashing about and rising to the surface, with a bubbling sound, as if to snatch something from the surface… J. Farmer shot a sharp-shinned hawk this morning, which was endeavoring to catch one of his chickens. I bring it home and find that it measures seventeen inches in length and thirty in alar extent, and the tail extends four inches beyond the closed wings… R. Rice says that he has found the nest of the pigeon hawk hereabouts. We go to see a bittern nest by Spencer Brook… Returning, rather late afternoon, we saw some forty martins sitting in a row and twittering on the ridge of his old house, apparently preparing to migrate…” (Journal, 11:130-7).
30 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To bayonet rush by river... As I am now returning over Lily Bay, I hear behind me a singular loud stertorous sound which I thought might have been made by a cow out of order, twice sounded…” (Journal, 11:137-8).
31 August. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Flint’s Pond… At the Pout’s Nest, Walden, I find the Scirupus debilis, apparently in prime, generally aslant… At Goose Pond I scare up a small green bittern… Edward Bartlett brings me a nest found three feet from the ground in an arbor-vitæ, in the New Burying-Ground, with one long-since addled egg in it…” (Journal, 11:138-40).
1 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Botrychium Swamp… At the pool by the oaks behind Pratt’s, I see the Myriophyllum ambiguum still, and going to seed, greening the surface of the water… At Botrychium Swamp, Nabalus altissimus… In the evening, by the roadside, near R.W.E.’s [Ralph Waldo Emerson] gate, find a glow-worm of the common kind. Of two men, Dr. Bartlett [Charles Bartlett] and Charles Bowen, neither had ever seen it!” (Journal, 11:141-2).
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes to James Russell Lowell: “I shall be glad to receive payment for my story as soon as convenient - will you be so good as to direct it this way” (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 520).
2 Setember. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Up Assabet…” (Journal, 11:142).
3 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet a-hazelnutting… At Prichard’s shore I see where they have plowed up and cast into the river a pile of elm roots, which interfered with their laying down the adjacent field…” (Journal, 11:142-5).
4 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Much rain, with thunder and lightning…” (Journal, 11:145).
5 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… Went down to the pond-hole behind where I used to live…” (Journal, 11:145-6).
6 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - To Merrick’s shore… P. M. - To Ledum Swamp… Stopped and talked with W- W- and ate a watermelon with him on the grass…” (Journal, 11:146-8).
7 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Assabet Bath… What a contrast to sink your head so as to cover your ears with water, and hear only the confused noise of the rushing river, and then to raise your ears above water and hear the steady creaking of crickets in the aerial universe!… Storrow Higginson brings from Deerfield this evening some eggs to show me, - among others apparently that of the Virginian rail…” (Journal, 11:149-51).
8 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - On river… Gather half my grapes, which for some time have perfumed the house. P. M. - To Owl Swamp…” (Journal, 11:151-2).
9 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Waban Cliff… Rice says he saw two meadow-hens when getting his hay in Sudbury some two months ago, and that they breed there…” (Journal, 11:152-5).
10 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Tower-mustard in bloom again. A musquash-house begun” (Journal, 11:155).
12 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs… Very heavy rain all yesterday afternoon, and to-day it is somewhat cooler and clearer and the wind more northwesterly, and I see the unusual sight of ripples or waves curving up-stream off Cardinal Shore, so that the river might seem to be flowing that way…” (Journal, 11:155-7).
13 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack… A. Hosmer is pleased because from the cupola of his new barn he can see a new round-topped mountain in the northwest… Fringed gentian out well, on easternmost edge of the Painted-Cup Meadows, by wall…” (Journal, 11:157-9).
14 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Half a dozen Bidens chrysanthemoides in river, not long. Picked eleven of those great potato-worms, caterpillars of the sphinx moth, off our privet. The Glyceria obtusa, about eighteen inches high, quite common, in the meadow west of Brooks Clark’s, has turned a dull purple, probably on account of frosts” (Journal, 11:159).
15 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden. I paddle about the pond, for a rarity…” (Journal, 11:159-61).
16 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “When I awake I hear the sound of steady heavy rain… It rained as hard as I remember to have seen it for about five minutes at six o’clock P. M., when I was out, and then suddenly, as it were in an instant, the wind whirled round to the westward, and clear sky appeared there and the storm ended, - which had lasted all day and part of the previous night…” (Journal, 11:161-2).
17 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Ride to Beaver Pond and beyond… Paddle round Beaver Pond in a boat, which I calked with newspaper…” (Journal, 11:162).
18 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Sail to Fair Haven Pond… As I look westward, this fine air - “gassy,” C. [William Ellery Channing] calls it - brings out the grain of the hills… Mr. Warren brings to me three kinds of birds which he has shot on the Great Meadows this afternoon…” (Journal, 11:162-68).
19 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cassandra Ponds… Along the middle and bottom of the hollows is the indistinct trail of wild animals - foxes, etc. - and sportsmen. C. [William Ellery Channing] thinks this might be called Fox Path…” (Journal, 11:168-9).
20 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Miss Pratt shows me a small luminous bug found on the earth floor of their shed (I think a month ago)…” (Journal, 11:170).
21 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Go to Cape Ann… A. M. - Go with Russell to the rooms of the Essex Institute, - if that is the name… P. M. - Walked with Russell to Marblehead above railroad…” (Journal, 11:170-3).
22 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Leave Salem for the Cape on foot… Put up in Gloucester” (Journal, 11:173-6).
23 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “We kept along the road to Rockport, some two miles or more, to a ‘thundering big ledge’ by the road, as a man called it… We then set out to find our way to Gloucester over the hills, and saw the comet very bright in the northwest. After going astray a little in the moonlight, we fell into a road which at length conducted us to the town…” (Journal, 11:176-80).
24 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Saw at the East India Marine Hall a bay lynx killed in Danvers July 21st (I think in 1827); another killed in Lynnfield in March, 1832…” (Journal, 11:180).
25 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Go a-graping up Assabet with some young ladies… Edward Hoar says he found last year Datura Stramonium in their garden… In the evening Mr. Warren brings me a snipe and a pectoral sandpiper… Melvin says he has found the pigeon hawk’s nest here… Goodwin also says the last” (Journal, 11:181).
26 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Another smart frost, making dry walking amid the stiffened grass in the morning…” (Journal, 11:181-2).
27 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - By boat to Fair Haven Pond… The farmers digging potatoes on shore pause a moment to watch my sail and bending mast… The fisherman Haynes thinks that the large flock of peetweet-like birds which I saw on the meadow one fall were what he calls ‘black-backs’…” (Journal, 11:182-3).
28 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Great Fields via Gentian Lane…” (Journal, 11:183-4).
29 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To White Pond… Take perhaps our last bath in White Pond for the year…” (Journal, 11:184-6).
30 September. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I see undoubtedly the little dipper by the edge of the pads this afternoon, and I think I have not seen it before this season…” (Journal, 11:186-8).
1 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Close… Minott tells me of a great rise of the river once in August, when a great many ‘marsh-birds,’ as peeps, killdeer, yellow-legs, etc., came inland, and he saw a flock of them reaching from Flint’s Bridge a mile down-stream over the meadows, and making a great noise…” (Journal, 11:189-91).
2 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Sailed to Baker Farm with a strong northwest wind…” (Journal, 11:191-2).
3 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “One brings me this morning a Carolina rail alive, this year’s bird evidently from its marks… P. M. - Paddle about Walden…” (Journal, 11:192-5).
4 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Going by Dr. Barrett’s, just at the edge of evening, I saw on the sidewalk something bright like fire, as if molten lead were scattered along… P. M. (before the above.) - Paddled up the Assabet… See B- a-fishing notwithstanding the wind…” (Journal, 11:195-7).
5 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “8 A. M. - I go to Hubbard’s Close to see when the fringed gentians open. They begin to open in the sun about 8.30 A. M., or say 9… P. M. - To Easterbrooks Country… The comet makes a great show these nights…” (Journal, 11:197-9).
Thoreau also writes to James Russell Lowell:
James R. Lowell Esq.
I wrote to you more than a month ago respecting what was due to me from the Atlantic monthly, but I have not heard from you. Perhaps you have not received my note. As I count, your magazine is indebted to me for thirty-three pages at six dollars a page - $198.00
I should be glad to know if you receive this, and also when I may expect to be paid.
Henry D. Thoreau
6 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Saw Mill Brook and Flint’s Pond…” (Journal, 11:199-201).
8 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 11:201-2).
9 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I go to the Cliffs…” (Journal, 11:202-3).
10 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack… As I go along the Groton road, I see afar, in the middle of E. Wood’s field, what looks like a stone jug or post, but my glass reveals it a woodchuck, a great, plump gray fellow, and when I am nearly half a mile off, I can still see him nibbling the grass there… I find the fringed gentian abundantly open at 3 and at 4 P. M…” (Journal, 11:203-5).
11 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum…” (Journal, 11:205-6).
12 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… I land at Pinxter Swamp…” (Journal, 11:206-9).
13 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain, all day, more or less, which the cloudy and rather still yesterday threatened. Elm leaves thickly strew the street now and rattle underfoot, - the dark-brown pavement. The elms are at least half bare” (Journal, 11:209).
14 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Sail to Ball’s Hill… Paddling slowly back, we enjoy at length ver perfect reflections in the still water…” (Journal, 11:209-10).
15 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 11:210-3).
16 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Sail up river…” (Journal, 11:213-5).
17 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet…” (Journal, 11:215-7).
18 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Smith’s chestnut grove and Saw Mill Brook… Minott was sitting outside, as usual, and inquired if I saw any game in my walks these days; since, now that he cannot go abroad himself, he likes to hear from the woods…” (Journal, 11:217-24).
19 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “The thermometer says 74º at 1 P. M… P. M. - Ride to Sam Barrett’s mill… Hosmer says that the rill between him and simon Brown generally runs all night and in the fore part of the day, but then dries up, or stops, and runs again at night, or it will run all day in cloudy weather… Standing on Hunt’s Bridge at 5 o’clock, the sun just ready to set, I notice that its light on my note-book is quite rosy or purple, though the sun itself and its halo are merely yellow, and there is no purple in the western sky… Walked along the dam and the broad bank of the canal with Hosmer…” (Journal, 11:224-8).
20 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To White Pond. Another remarkably warm and pleasant day, if not too hot for walking; 74º at 2 P. M… W. W. introduces me to his brother in the road…” (Journal, 11:228-33).
21 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “6 A. M. - Up Assabet… P. M. - Up Assabet, for a new mast, the old being broken in passing under a bridge. Talked with the lame Haynes, the fisherman…” (Journal, 11:233-4).
22 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs and Walden… I see Heavy Haynes fishing in his old gray boat, sinking the stern deep… C. [William Ellery Channing] tells of hearing after dark the other night frequent raucous notes which were new to him, on the ammannia meadow, in the grass… Rice says he saw one within a week…” (Journal, 11:234-40).
23 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ledum Swamp. One tells me that he saw geese go over Wayland the 17th… A man at work on the Ledum Pool, draining it, says that, when they had ditched about six feet deep, or to the bottom, near the edge of this swamp, they came to old flags, and he thought that the whole swamp was once a pond and the flags grew by the edge of it…” (Journal, 11:240-2).
24 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “This, [the rain] as usual, brings the geese, and at 2.30 P. M. I see two flocks go over… P. M. - To Woodis Park over Hill…” (Journal, 11:242-5).
25 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To the Beeches… Returning in an old wood-path from top of Pine Hill to Goose Pond, I see many goldenrods turned purple - all the leaves…” (Journal, 11:245-50).
26 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Minott remembers how he used to chop beech wood… The largest scarlet oak that I remember hereabouts stands by the penthorum pool in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery, and is now in its prime… One shopkeeper has hung out woollen gloves and even thick buckskin mittens by his door, foreseeing what his customers will want as soon as it is finger-cold, and determined to get the start of his fellows” (Journal, 11:250-1).
27 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Sail to Fair Haven Pond…” (Journal, 11:251-6).
28 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet to Cedar Swamp…” (Journal, 11:256-9).
29 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “6.30 A. M. - Very hard frost these mornings… P. M. - To Baker Farm, on foot…” (Journal, 11:259-63).
30 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Rain and wind, bringing down the leaves and destroying the little remaining brilliancy… I see that Prichard’s mountain ash (European) has lately put forth new leaves when all the old have fallen, and they are four or five inches long!…” (Journal, 11:263-4).
31 October. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum… As I sit on the Cliff there, the sun is now getting low, and the woods in Lincoln south and east of me are lit up by its more level rays, and there is brought out a more brilliant redness in the scarlet oaks, scattered so equally over the forest, than you would have believed was in them…” (Journal, 11:264-70).
Thoreau also writes to Daniel Ricketson:
I have not seen anything of your English Australian yet. Edward Hoar, my companion in Maine and at the White Mts., his sister Elizabeth, and a Miss Prichard, another neighbor of ours, went to Europe in the Niagara on the 6th. I told them to look out for you under the Yardley Oaks, but it seems that they will not find you there.
I had a pleasant time in Tuckerman’s Ravine at the White Mts in July, entertaining four beside my self under my little tent through some soaking rains; & more recently I have taken an interesting walk with Channing about Cape Ann. We were obliged to “dipper it” a good way, on account of the scarcity of fresh water, for we got most of our meals by the shore.
C[hanning] is understood to be here for the winter, - but I rarely see him.
I should be pleased to see your face here in the course of the Indian summer, which may still be expected - if any authority can tell us when the phenomenon does occur. We would like to hear the story of your travels - for if you have not been fairly intoxicated with Europe, you have been half-seas-over, & so probably can tell more about it -
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 521-2)
Henry D. Thoreau]
1 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Poplar Hill…” (Journal, 11:271-5).
2 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliff… I go past the Well Meadow Field…” (Journal, 11:276-9).
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Annursnack… Returning, I see at the very northwest end of the White Cedar Swamp a little elder…” (Journal, 11:279-83).
New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:
Dear Thoreau, -
Your truly welcome note of the 31st ult. reached me only this evening. I am sorry our English Australian has not been in Concord. He is quite an original, and appeared to be as familiar with the Concord worthies, as though he had been a fellow townsman of theirs. He is a young man, but has seen a good deal of the world, inside and outside, - has lived some years in and about London, and fellowshipped with all sorts of folks, authors, gypsies, vagrants, &c., his accounts of which are entertaining - talks easy and well, has no vain pretensions, although I found incidentally that he is highly connected - I believe, with the family of the celebrated Lord Lyttleton, of monody memory - wears common cheap clothes, and carries his own baggage, a small leathern bag, is short and rather stout, full beard and of sandy complexion, smokes a pipe a good deal, likes malt liquor and an occasional glass of whiskey or gin, but he is by no means intemperate, only English and cosmopolitan habits. He has a little book in project to be called “Pots of Beer,” the chapters headed Pot First, Pot Second, &c., so on - Conversations and reflections over these inspiring vessels. (P.S. Of wrath?)
I told Channing about him (who, by the way - C. - I found at his old post at the Mercury office, last week), and he said that you would not like his pipe. This puts me to thinking, as Jack Downing would say, and I want to take this opportunity to apologize for having so often offended you by my untimely puffs. I assure you, in future, that I will strive to refrain in your presence, for I am ready to “acknowledge the corn,” and plead guilty, craving pardon for my manifold sins against your purer tastes.
I feel deeply disappointed and somewhat chagrined at my failure in going to Europe, and hope to master sufficient courage to embark again next spring, when I shall probably go from New York, whence like the decensus averni there is no return. You would like to know more about my voyage. I was really “half seas over,” as you intimate, in more senses than one, for my sea-sickness operated on my brain like a potent stimulus, accompanied with the most painful vertigo. I felt somewhat as I conclude a dancing dervish might, after having spun round for some time, that is if they ever do so, or is it only the Shakers that perform these gyrations? But the newspaper I send you will give you an account of my experiences on board ship. The paragraph about the moose is quite Thoreau -ish / -ian - take your choice - and the phrase, tribute to the sea, is, I think, borrowed from your account of your winter voyage to Nantucket, some years ago.
I have published my history of New Bedford in a neat duodecimo of 400 pages, and am prospecting for a volume of poems - also writing some sketches called “Smoke from my Pipe” - in the second chapter of which I introduce a certain philosopher, a friend of mine, who built his own house, earned his own livelihood, and lived alone some years, a genial man, a scholar, &c. Can you guess him out? I think I may also introduce, all of course, in a respectful and quiet way, some other of the Concordian band - but more of this anon, as we authors say, when we roll out our line.
I am quite tempted by your kind invitation to visit Concord during the “Indian summer,” should such a boon come this month. I may go for Boston soon, and may also possibly get as far as Concord for a few days - but whether I do or not, I want you to come down and visit me, I value your acquaintance highly, and I want to see Mr. Emerson and Father Alcott once more. Life is too short, and noble men and women too scarce, for me to lose any opportunity of enjoying the society of such, when I can do so without obtrusion.
With my warm regards to your family and my other Concord friends, and hoping to hear from you again very soon, I remain, yours faithfully,
Please return the newspaper.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 522-4)
Thoreau replies 6 November.
I am amused by your account of your party in the rain under your little tent. I trust your friends were quite contented with your hospitality.
4 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 11:283-7).
5 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Humphrey Buttrick says that he finds old and young of both kinds of small rails, and that they breed here, though he never saw their nests. P. M. - Up Assabet…” (Journal, 11:287-9).
A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:
Again to the village and back. Thoreau comes home with me and stays to supper. Good company always and present in Nature, and the best of her. An out-of-doors man, and with doors opening on all sides of him, slides in slides, to admit her to his intelligence. His senses seem doubled and give him access to secrets not read easily by other men. His observation is wonderful, his sagacity like a bee and beaver, the dog and the deer - the most gifted in this way of any mind I have known, and the peer of the backwoodsman and Indian.
He stays and discusses matters and men for an hour or two, and admirably. I suspect he deals better with matters, somewhat, than with men, but masterly with either, and anything he meddles with or takes seriously in hand. I am proud of him. I should say he inspired love, if indeed the sentiment he awakens did not seem to partake of something yet purer, if that were possible, and as yet nameless from its rarity and excellency. Certainly he is better poised and more nearly self-sufficient than other men.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 309)
6 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Mr. Buttrick, the marketman, says he has been to Boston twenty-seven times since the first of August, and has not got wet till to-day, though he rides in an open wagon…” (Journal, 11:289).
Thoreau also writes to Daniel Ricketson:
I was much pleased with your lively and life-like account of your voyage. You were more than repaid for your trouble, after all. The coast of Nova-Scotia which you sailed along from Windsor westward is particularly interesting to the historian of this country, having been settled earlier than Plymouth. Your “Isle of Haut” is properly “Isle Haute” or the High Island of Champlain’s map. There is another off the coast of Maine. By the way, the American elk, of American authors, (Cervus Canadensis) is a distinct animal from the moose (cervus alces), though the latter is also called elk by many.
You drew a very vivid portrait of the Australian - short & stout, with a pipe in his mouth, and his book inspired by beer, Pot 1st, Pot 2 &c. I suspect that he must be pot-bellied withal. Methinks I see the smoke going up from him as from a cottage on the moor. If he does not quench his genius with his beer, it may burst into a clear flame at last. However, perhaps he intentionally adopts the low style.
What do you mean by that ado about smoking and my “purer tastes”? I should like his pipe as well as his beer, at least. Neither of them is so bad as to be “highly connected,” which you say he is, unfortunately. Did you ever see an English traveller who was not? Even they who swing for their crimes may boast at last that they are highly connected. - No! I expect nothing but pleasure in “smoke from your pipe.”
You & the Australian must have put your heads together when you concocted those titles - with pipes in your mouths over a pot of beer. I suppose that your chapters are Whiff the 1st - Whiff the 2nd &c But of course it is a more modest expression for “Fire from my Genius.”
You must have been very busy since you came back, or before you sailed, to have brought out your History, of whose publication I had not heard. I suppose that I have read it in The Mercury. Yet I am curious to see how it looks in a volume, with your name on the title page.
I am more curious still about the poems. Pray put some sketches into the book - your shanty for frontispiece; Arthur & Walton’s boat, (if you can) running for Cuttyhunk in a tremendous gale, not forgetting “Be honest boys” &c nearby; the Middleboro Ponds with a certain island looming in the distance; the Quaker meetinghouse, and the Brady House, if you like; the villagers catching smelts with dip nets in the twilight, at the head of the River &c &c. Let it be a local and villageous book as much as possible. Let some one make a characteristic selection of mottoes from your shanty walls, and sprinkle them in an irregular manner, at all angles, over the fly leaves and margins, as a man stamps his name in a hurry; and also canes, pipes, and jacknives, of all your patterns, about the frontispiece. I can think of plenty of devices for tail-pieces. Indeed I should like to see a hair-pillow, accurately drawn, for one; a cat with a bell on, for another; the old horse with his age printed in the hollow of his back; half a cocoa-nut shell by a spring; a sheet of blotted paper; a settle occupied by a settler at full length, &c &c &c. Call all the arts to your aid. Dont wait for the Indian Summer, but bring it with you
H. D. T.
P. S . Let me ask a favor. I am trying to write something about the autumnal tints, and I wish to know how much our trees differ from English & European ones in this respect. Will you observe, or learn of me what English or European trees, if any, still retain their leaves in Mr. [James] Arnold’s garden (the gardener will supply the true names) & also if the foliages of any (& what) European or foreign trees there have been brilliant the past month. If you will do this, you will greatly oblige me. I return the newspaper with this.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 524-6)
Ricketson replies 10 November.
7 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Bateman’s Pond… Rounding the Island just after sunset, I see not only the houses nearest the river but our own reflected in the river by the Island…” (Journal, 11:289-94).
8 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Boulder Field. Goodwin, laying wall at Miss Ripley’s, observed to me going by, ‘Well, it seems that ----- thought that he had lived long enough.’ He committed suicide within a week, at his sister’s house in Sudbury… Pratt says he saw a few florets on a Polygala sanguinea within a week… Looking from Pratt’s window at sunset, I saw that purple or rosy light reflected from some old chestnut rails on the hilltop before his house…” (Journal, 11:294-300).
9 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Great Fields and Walden… Garfield shot a hen-hawk just as I came up on the hillside in front of his house…” (Journal, 11:300-6).
Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal: “Thermometer 46º at noon. Some would call it Indian summer, but it does not deserve to be called summer; grows cool in afternoon when I go - To Baker Farm aspen via Cliffs… Returned by Spanish Brook Path…” (Journal, 11:306-9).
New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:
Friend Thoreau, -
Your very pleasant and encouraging letter reached me on Monday (the 8th). Pleasant from the cheerful spirit in which it was written, and encouraging from the appreciation you express for the little portraits of my late travelling experiences I sent you.
This forenoon I made a visit to Arnold’s grounds, walking to and from through the woods and fields most of the way on the route by the upper road by which the wind-mill stands. In company with the gardener, rejoicing in the appropriate and symphonious name of Wellwood Young, whose broad Gaelic accent rendered an attentive ear necessary to catch the names, I made the following list. The Scotch larch, for instance, he said came from Norroway (Norway), the yellow fringes of which were still hanging on the branches.
The following is the list I made in accordance with your request. I give the names without any order, just as we happened to meet the trees. Horse-chestnut, quite full of yellow and green foliage. English walnut, do. Beech, Linden, Hawthorn (nearly perfect in green foliage, only a little decayed at the top, but in a sheltered place), Silver Linden, Copper Beech, Elm, Weeping Ash, Weeping Willow, Scotch Larch, Euanimus Europeus (Gardener’s name), I suppose correct. These are all European or English, I believe.
I give a few others not European, viz: Osage orange (or Maclura), Cornus Florida (handsome) Tulip, three-thorned Acacia, Mexican Cypress.
There were numerous shrubs in full leaf, among them the Guelder Rose. Vines, Bignonia radicans and Bignonia cuminata.
I send a few leaves. The largest green leaf is the American Linden - the smaller, the European copper leaved Beech. One English Elm (green), and two smaller and narrower leaves, the Euanimus Europeus.
I am sorry the list is no fuller, but I think it includes all in these grounds. The location is quite sheltered. I could not ascertain from the gardener what trees exhibited particular brilliancy of foliage last month. I conclude, however, that these I have named were quite fresh up to the last of October.
It is barely possible I may reach Concord on Saturday next and remain over Sunday, but hardly probable as they say.
Channing I understand has been to Concord since I wrote you last, and is now here again. Is he not quite as much a “creature of moods” as old Sudbury Inn? But I am in poor mood for writing, and besides it is nearly dark ( 5 p.m.).
May I not hear from you again soon, and may I not expect a visit also ere long? As this is only a business letter I trust you will excuse its dulness. Hoping I have supplied you (Channing has just come in) with what you wanted, I conclude.
P. S. If I should not go to Concord I will endeavor to get one of my books to you soon.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 526-7)
Thoreau replies 22 November.
11 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Goodwin brings me this forenoon a this year’s loon, which he just killed on the river, - a great northern diver, but a smaller specimen than Silson describes and somewhat differently marked… P. M. - To Island and J. P. Brown’s cold pond…” (Journal, 11:309-15).
12 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I hear from Ricketson to-day… I find that E. Hoar observed the English elms with leaves or leafy still November 2d, near Salisbury… P. M. - To Hill…” (Journal, 11:315-7).
13 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “8.30 A. M. - To Hill… As I stand on the hill at 9 A. M., it looks like snow…” (Journal, 11:317-9).
14 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I walk to Walden and Andromeda Ponds…” (Journal, 11:319-21).
15 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Grackle Swamp…” (Journal, 11:321-2).
16 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s Close…” (Journal, 11:322-9).
17 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up Assabet… Leaving my boat, I walk through the low wood west of Dove Rock, toward the scarlet oak…” (Journal, 11:329-32).
18 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Conantum…” (Journal, 11:332-4).
19 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Mocker-nutting, to Conantum…” (Journal, 11:334-5).
20 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp… Martial Miles tells me of a snapping turtle caught in the river at Waltham, about October 1st, he thinks, which weighed fifty-five pounds…” (Journal, 11:335-8).
21 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hubbard’s place…” (Journal, 11:338-9).
22 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau surveys a woodlot for Heartwell Bigelow (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 5).
Thoreau also writes in his journal: “In surveying Mr. Bigelow’s wood-lot to-day I found at the northeasterly angle what in the deed form the Thayers in ’38 was called ‘an old stump by the wall’…” (Journal, 11:339-40).
Thoreau also writes to Daniel Ricketson:
I thank you for your “History.” Though I have not yet read it again, I have looked far enough to see that I like the homeliness of it; that is the good old-fashioned way of writing as if you actually lived where you wrote. A man’s interest in a single blue-bird, is more than a complete, but dry, list of the fauna & flora of a town. It is also a considerable advantage to be able to say at any time, if R. is not here, here in his book. Alcott, being here and inquiring after you (whom he has been expecting) I lent the book to him almost immediately. He talks of going west the latter part of this week.
Channing is here again, as I am told, but I have not seen him.
I thank you also for the account of the trees. It was to my purpose, and I hope that you got something out of it too. I suppose that the cold weather prevented your coming here. Suppose you try a winter walk or skate - Please remember me to your family
Yrs H. D. T.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 528)
23 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “A northeasterly storm, with occasional sugarings of snow” (Journal, 11:340).
24 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Cliffs and Walden… When I looked out this morning, the landscape presented a very pretty wintry sight, little snow as there was…” (Journal, 11:340-2).
25 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Ministerial Swamp. I go through the Dennis Swamp by railroad… While most keep close to their parlor fires this cold and blustering Thanksgiving afternoon, and think with compassion of those who are abroad, I find the sunny south side of this swamp as warm as their parlors, and warmer to my spirit… I pass through the Ministerial Swamp and ascend the steep hill on the south cut off last winter…” (Journal, 11:342-4).
27 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 11:347-50).
28 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Goodwin cannot be a very bad man, he is so cheery…” (Journal, 11:350-1).
29 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Hill… I see a living shrike caught to-day in the barn of the Middlesex House” (Journal, 11:351).
Amos Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “Evening. I meet at Emerson’s and we discuss Private Life. Present are Henry James and Sam G. Ward from out of town; then Thoreau, W. E. Channing, Sanborn, G. Brooks, Mrs. Brooks, Mad. Emerson, Mrs. Emerson, the Pratts, Miss Thoreau, Miss Ripley, Stacy, and others of our townsfolk” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 310).
30 November. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden with Channing, and Fair Haven Hill… Just before the sun disappeared we saw, just in the edge of the horizon westward from Acton, maybe eight miles off, a very brilliant fire or light, just like a star of the first magnitude or the house burning without smoke, and this, though so far and so brilliant, was undoubtedly only the sun reflected from some gilt weathercock there…” (Journal, 11:352-60).
Thomas G. Cary, George Livermore, and Henry G. Denny send a circular to Thoreau:
At the annual meeting of the Association of the Alumni of Harvard College, held in July last, a committee, appointed at a previous meeting “to take into consideration the state of the college library, and to devise means for its increase, maintenance, and administration,” made their report in print, a copy of which has been sent to you. A committee has lately been appointed to carry the recommendations of this report into effect, in behalf of whom we now ask of you a contribution to aid in supplying the deficiencies that have been made known.
If you should not yet have examined the report, we earnestly ask that it may receive your particular attention, together with the statements appended thereto from the president, the librarians, and other officers of the college, showing such pressing want of means to keep up with the advance of the age, that professors and tutors are obliged to expend a portion of their moderate salaries in the purchase of new and expensive books, which should be found in the library, for their use and for that of the students.
The college has ever maintained the highest rank among the institutions of learning in the United States, and the influence which it has exerted on the intellectual and moral culture not only of this community, but, to a great extent, of the whole country, is very generally acknowledged. In aiding it to maintain this pre-eminence and to continue the exercise of this salutary influence, the library is of the highest importance; yet the provision for its increase is utterly inadequate to supply, from year to year, even a moderate portion of the new works actually needed to meet the reasonable expectation of its friends and of the community.
This state of things seems to call earnestly upon all who have been at any time connected with the college, to make some return for the advantages which they have received from the munificence of its former benefactors, by providing in their turn for the wants that have arisen in the lapse of years and the progress of literature and science; it calls on the community, in the midst of which the college is situated, to sustain one of its noblest ornaments in a manner creditable to itself and to the country, and it calls on the friends of education generally to assist in maintaining at Cambridge the highest standard of scholarship.
Again referring to the printed statements for a more particular account of the wants of the library, we respectfully urge you to aid us in obtaining such a fund for investment as may be necessary for its proper support, feeling sure that only a general misapprehension of its resources has prevented the friends of the college and the community at large from placing it long ago beyond the need of such an appeal. To keep scholarship at Cambridge even with the advance of knowledge in this age, requires, for the annual purchase of new works, the income of a fund of not less than one hundred thousand dollars, and such a fund we hope to obtain.
While the exigencies of the case seem to demand a liberal subscription from those whose means will warrant it, we beg every one to respond to our call in some amount, however small, remembering that a few dollars from each one of the many who have not the ability to give largely, will in the aggregate be an important aid to the library.
We request you, therefore, on the receipt of this communication, or as soon after as may be convenient, to return the annexed paper, with your name and the amount of your donation, (either enclosing the money, or stating the time when we may expect to receive it,) to Henry G. Denny, Secretary and Treasurer of the Committee, 42, Court Street, or to Amos A. Lawrence, Esq., Treasurer of Harvard College, 30, Court Street, Boston. You will also confer a great favor by obtaining, as far as you have the power, further subscriptions, or by promoting bequests from those who are liberally disposed, in aid of the fund.
Should you not have received a copy of the report, please send your post-office address to the secretary of the committee, and one will be forwarded immediately.
We are, Sir, respectfully,
Your obedient servants,
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 529-31)
Thomas G. Cary,
Henry G. Denny.
2 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 11:361).
3 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… I carry hatchet and rake in order to explore the Pout’s Nest for frogs and fish, - the pond not being frozen… R. W. E. [Ralph Waldo Emerson] saw quite a flock of ducks in the pond (Walden) this afternoon” (Journal, 11:361-4).
4 December. Concord, Mass.
Ellen Emerson writes to her brother Edward Emerson: “This morning we all proceeded to Goose Pond… Father [Ralph Waldo Emerson] went to dine with Mr Cholmondeley [Thomas Cholmondeley] and Mr Thoreau” (The Letters of Ellen Tucker Emerson, 1:154).
5 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 11:364-5).
6 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Go out at 9 A. M. to see the glaze…” (Journal, 11:365-6).
Thoreau also writes to Daniel Ricketson:
Thomas Cholmondeley, my English acquaintance, is here, on his way to the West Indies. He wants to see New Bedford, a whaling town. I told him that I would like to introduce him to you there, thinking more of his seeing you than New Bedford. So we propose to come your way tomorrow. Excuse this short notice, for the time is short. If, on any account, it is inconvenient to see us, you will treat us accordingly.
Henry D. Thoreau
Thoreau writes in his journal: “To Boston. At Natural History Rooms… Dr. Bryant calls my seringo (i. e. the faint-noted bird) Savannah sparrow…” (Journal, 11:366-7).
Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Voyages curieux et nouveau de Messieurs Hennepin et de La Borde, ou l'on voit une description trè particuliere d’un grand pays dans l’Amerique, entre le Nouveau Mexique, et la mer Glaciale by Louis Hennepin, Relations de la Louisianne et du Mississippi by Henri de Tonti, and Relation of the Voyages, Discoveries, and Death of Father James Marquette by Jacque Marquette from Harvard College Library (Emerson the Essayist, 2:198; Thoreau’s Reading, 161). See entry 19 December.
New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal: “December 7th, Tuesday. Dull and cloudy. In town this A. M. Saw Channing at the Mercury office, who informed of Thoreau’s intended visit to me with his English friend, Thomas Cholmondeley, of Hodnet, Shropshire. Received a letter from Thoreau on the arrival of the morning mail to this end. At home this P. M., went to the depot at head of the river (Tarkiln Hill) on arrival of evening train from Boston, where I met Thoreau and his friend Cholmondeley. Spent evening in the Shanty with them, talking of the English poets - Gray, Tennyson, Wordsworth, etc. Retired at ten o’clock” (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 309-10).
Boston, Mass. Ticknor & Fields writes to Thoreau:
Henry D. Thoreau Esq Concord Mass.
Referring to our file of letters from 1857 we find a note from you of which the enclosed is a copy.
As our letter to which it is a reply was missent we doubt not but our answer to yours of a few months since has been subjected to the same, or a similar irregularity.
Respectfully yours &c.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 532)
Ticknor & Fields
8 December. New Bedford, Mass.
Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal: “Spent the forenoon in the Shanty with Thoreau and Cholmondeley talking of mankind and his relationships here and hereafter. Walked with C. to the rocky bluff beyond the village to get a view of New Bedford. Smoked after dinner with C. while Thoreau and Walton examined Anna’s collection of plants. Thoreau and Cholmondeley walked” (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 310).
9 December. New Bedford, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “At New Bedford… Asked a sailor at the wharf how he distinguished a whaler…” (Journal, 11:367).
New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal: “My friends Thoreau and Cholmondeley left at 7½ A. M. to take the train at Tarkiln Hill” (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 310).
Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Gleanings in Natural History by Edward Jesse and History of Vermont, natural, civil, and statistical by Zadoch Thomspson from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly 24 (March 1952):26).
11 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 11:367-70).
12 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up river on ice to Fair Haven Hill…” (Journal, 11:370-2).
13 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 11:372-3).
14 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “I see at Derby’s shop a barred owl (Strix nebulosa), taken in the woods west of the factory on the 11th, found (with its wing broke [sic]) by a wood-chopper…” (Journal, 11:373).
15 December. Boston, Mass.
Thoreau gives a presentation to the Boston Society of Natural History (Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History for 1856-59).
Ticknor & Fields writes to Thoreau:
Mr. H. D. Thoreau Concord Mass.
In our last account we credited you capl [cash?] on the balance of copies of Walden, including quite a number of copies then on hand unsold - as the Edition was so nearly out we paid for all at that time. We have never been out of the book but there is very little demand for it so the 16 cops. rqd were in the edition printed. We enclose ck $11 [16? 18?] .25 for 15 cops Concord River sold leaving in our hands 17 cops.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 532-3)
W. D. Ticknor & Co.
18 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… Minott tells how he used to love to walk through swamps where great white pines grew and hear the wind sough in their tops…” (Journal, 11:373-4).
20 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walden is frozen over, except two small spots, less than half an acre in all, in middle” (Journal, 11:374).
22 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden…” (Journal, 11:374-5).
23 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Eddy Bridge…” (Journal, 11:375).
24 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “Those two places in middle of Walden not frozen over yet, though it was quite cold last night!…” (Journal, 11:375).
25 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Up river on ice to Fair Haven Pond and across Walden… The sun getting low now, say at 3.30, I see the ice green, southeast. Goodwin says that he once had a partridge strike a twig or limb in the woods as she flew, so that she fell and he secured her… Now that the sun is setting, all its light seems to glance over the snow-clad pond and strike the rocky shore under the pitch pines a at the northeast end…” (Journal, 11:375-8).
26 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Jenny Dugan’s. I walk over the meadow above railroad bridge, where the withered grass rises above the ice, the river being low… Call at a farmer’s this Sunday afternoon, where I surprise the well-to-do masters of the house lounging in very ragged clothes (for which they think it necessary to apologize, and one of them is busy laying the supper-table (at which he invites me to sit down at last), bringing up cold meat from the cellar and a lump of butter on the end of his knife, and making the tea by the time his mother gets home from church…” (Journal, 11:378-9).
27 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 11:379-80).
28 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - To Walden… Aunt Jane says that she was born on Christmas Day, and they called her a Christmas gift, and she remembers hearing that her Aunt Hannah Orrock was so disconcerted by the event that she threw all the spoons outdoors, when she had washed them, or with the dishwater. Father says that he and his sisters (except Elizabeth) were born in Richmond Street, Boston, between Salem and Hanover Streets, on the spot where a bethel now stands, on the left hand going from Hanover Street…” (Journal, 11:380-1).
29 December. Concord, Mass.
Thoreau writes in his journal: “P. M. - Skate to Israel Rice’s… Heavy Haynes was fishing a quarter of a mile this side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He had caught a pickerel, which the man who weighed it told me (he was apparently a brother of William Wheeler’s, and I saw the fish at the house where it was) weighed four pounds and three ounces…” (Journal, 11:380-3).