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comfortable arm-chairs upon the piazza; the lily gracefully raised its golden chalice, opening curious watering-trough under an apple tree to catch the early sunbeams. on the opposite side of the road; the fields Nearer the wheelway and upon the outer stretching away up the slope ; and, finally, off edges of the public road, where the plowshare towards the East, the thin gray silhouette never disputes their right to the soil, grew of Mount Holyoke — all made a beautiful a perfect tangle of wild-flowers, a “ribbon picture. The sun was still behind Holyoke, border" which no landscape gardener could and its rays reached only a portion of the match in beauty with all the choice plants mountain and the foothills. A point where which the floriculturists can supply. There rose
the sun touched into life every treetop, and the beautiful milkweed, with great balls of pink the still fleeing remnants of vapor gave mo- bloom, overgrown and fantastically wreathed tion, grace, and beauty to every object over about with the tendrils of the wild morningwhich their trembling shadows passed, was glory, whose pinkish white flowers modestly a group of trees which came down or pro- greeted the light, and there Johns-wort, meadow jected below the main line of the forest. Sil- rue, and, queen of all, the purple Eupatorium, vered by the light in which they were bathed, blessed the wayfarer with a smile; and woven they seemed to rush joyously out from the among this mazy tangle in countless and astondimness of the mist, if not with hand-clapping ishing numbers were the delicate and fragile and laughter, yet with rustle of leaves and song spider-webs, later in the day invisible, but now, of bird.
when countless drops of dew were strung like Then I thought of Kingsley somewhere up pearls upon their silken threads, adding to this there in his car. I knew he could tell me all charming wealth of beauty the last touch of about the mysteries of those woods, and I delicacy and refinement. Countless bees were sprung with eagerness into the wagon beside busy among the blossoms, and dainty hummy portly landlord and we were away: ming-birds fearlessly thrust their long and slen
For a few hundred yards we kept the main der tongues into the honeyed depths of the road through the dewy and fragrant meadow, yellow lily as we passed. Turning sharply into which stretched away in soft undulations of a well-worn byway or lane we left the meadowverdure, flicked and bespangled with myriads land and began the ascent of the foothills. of white daisies, to the calm blue river beyond. At the angle of the roads I saw supported In gorgeous raiment, the beautiful orange field- upon the top of a post a small oblong box
with an odd-shaped opening upon the perpendicular side to admit the hand. From its shape, when seen at a distance, it suggested a shrine. In answer to my queries, Mr. Edwards told me that it was a letter-box. There is no post-office in Hockanum, and similar boxes are posted at different points about the place. Whenever the inhabitants go to Hadley or Northampton they consider it their duty to get the Hockanum mail, and on their way home to sort and distribute it to these wayside post-offices. From this point the delivery of the mail becomes very complex and hazardous. Every one who happens along stops to examine the mail and takes along anything “going up his way.”
“There it is,” said my guide at last, with a sweeping and ponderous gesture; and, sure enough, just up there in the edge of the wood was what seemed a veritable gipsy camp. We continued our way through many wrenchings and twistings of the buggy, over stones and unevennesses which threatened momentarily desired for good-fellowship and friendly and to upset us. At last we were at the camp. The healthful criticism. picturesque car was drawn up amid huge frag- At that hour we always related the experiments of trap-rock overarched by lordly chest- ences of the day. Sometimes one of our number nut trees, interspersed with dark and somber would read to us, and while the stars looked pines.
down upon our company, and the lights in Here we found Kingsley,— hospitable, cor- the farmhouses shone out here and there in dial, enthusiastic Kingsley,— who had slept the valley below, and the sheen lay upon the the sleep of the just all through that early river, we welcomed Fra Lippo Lippi, and involmorning entirely unconscious of wood nymphs untarily made room for him upon the chestnut or fog.
log beside us. There stretching out before us lay the beau- One day my wandering footsteps led me to tiful Connecticut, winding its calm and peace- a black, unpainted house standing upon a hillful way towards the sea, with its border of side apart from the highway and somewhat farm-lots distinctly marked in different shades hidden by a gnarly and unkept orchard growth, of green and yellow. At the south was Mount its own somber hue tending to make it invisible Tom, at the north were Sugar-Loaf and Toby, against the dark gray of the mountain beyond. with a ridge of blue hills beyond Northampton There was a small barn a few paces in the binding them together. Old Hadley, Hatfield, rear, with bare earth about the doorway, a few and Northampton, with their white painted chickens and a garden patch, and a somewhat spires pointing heavenward, lay below us. uncared-for and forlorn-looking cow grazing in There was no longer any mystery about the val- the lot. This was the habitation of the "old ley, for the sun had sought out every nook and residenter.” In front of the door stood a wheelcorner, and its hidden secrets stood revealed. barrow loaded with fresh-cut grass from the
The car was a wonder to me at first, with its roadside, with which the cow's poor picking in snug and well-contrived accommodations for the meager home lot was to be eked out; and painting or for engraving on wood, and its care- by it, with bent back and his hands upon his ful provision for the exigencies of life in camp. hips in attitude of rheumatic repose, stood the
I shall always remember the experience of old residenter. He was friendly and courteous those happy days, which brought me much enough, but there was a dullness in his manner nearer to the heart of nature than I had ever which I think I understood, for I knew that he been before, and gave a new and sharper edge had been ambitious in his younger days—had to my desire to convey to others — not as a mere staked all his little wealth in a scheme for interpreter, but at first hand, through the me- making money, and had failed, and was now dium of my craft — some of the impressions poor as well as old. It is a simple story and which it was my pleasure to receive from the the amount of money involved was comparaenvironments of that place. When the com- tively small, but it had been raked together pany was fully gathered about our camp-fire and saved up with much care and hardship at night there was everything that could be and was his all.
I tried to draw him out, but he seemed not Upon the wall in his little lonesome cotinclined to talk much except in answer to my tage was a rude pine shingle with a drawquestions. He told me that he could remem- ing upon it in red chalk. The old man was ber when wild turkeys were plenty about the proud of the notice I took of this rude picmountain, and spoke of the building-bee when ture, and with great pride he told me that the neighbors assembled to aid in the first house- a little grandson did it, and related how builling venture. I asked him if there were “the little fellah sat down and took the chalk many of them there that day, and he replied, and drawed it right out of his head.” To “Quite a bunch on 'em."
his mind this was ample evidence of genius, and he was convinced that the lad's father had of medicine, and said he could cure paralysis. made a mistake in making a farmer of the boy, His own life for the last score of years was the as “he ought to have made picters for a livin'." best proof of his skill in the treatment of heart
I had some difficulty in persuading the old disease and various other ailments, for Dr. man to wear his cap while posing for me. —had told him just twenty years before that He thought his “ best hat” would be “more he could not live the year out, as his heart, his scrumptious," and he shuffled off to bring it, in spine, his liver, and his kidneys were affected, spite of my explanation that I wanted him in not to mention his spleen. his every-day attire. He brought in a very He was a good deal of a moralist; but, judgancient black derby hat with a high crown and ing from some of his reminiscences, he had flat rim, and about three sizes too small for taken up the cause of morality rather late in him. It perched upon the top of his head in life. He was a great temperance reformer and a comical fashion, and to me this attempt to lost no opportunity to drop a good temperlook dressed up in his picture was really ance lesson, and we freely overlooked his occapathetic.
sional visits to the hotel for a glass of “ tonic I have also the pleasure of introducing Aunt bitters" which the precarious state of his health Drusilla, a charming old lady of Hockanum, rendered necessary, and which his strong temwho has seen the snows of more than eighty perance views forbade others to indulge in. winters come and go and has had in her life The tobacco habit was his one acknowledged much of hardship and care. She has always weakness. But he wished he had never touched lived in this farming community, limited in this it; it had been a curse to that valley; for as world's comforts and knowing nothing of its lux- soon as the farmers began to raise it they had uries—rearing children and ending in widow- grown extravagant and reckless with their hood, and yet carrying this weight of years in money, and the weed had sapped the life out calmness and peace. Gentle, refined, and lady- of the soil. He discoursed upon the sharp and like in her manner; tender-hearted, with a ready pithy letters which he was wont to write to tear of sympathy; and yet with light-hearted- such of the local papers as did not find his ness, always ready to laugh when laughter is caustic utterances of truth too strong food for in order—a serene old age. There is one odd them. When I asked him to pose for me he thing about Aunt Drusilla : she is very, very declined, saying he had no money; but when
deaf, and yet she can hear music, while harsher told that I would pay him instead of asking and more discordant sounds are inaudible.
pay he consented, and while he sat and smoked One morning there came toiling slowly up the the despised tobacco he entertained me with steep ascent, with bent back and with one hand bits of savory gossip, each incident related pointupon his hip and the other grasping a stout ing a moral. He quoted with great fluency, stick, the form of an old man. He accosted in support of his theories of religion, politics, us with much civility and examined our sketches morality, and temperance, such great authorwith intelligent interest. He was decidedly ities as Theodore Parker, Henry Ward Beecher, garrulous. He had seen something of the and Wendell Phillips, and drew upon Holy world — had been to the war in the capacity Writ with great volubility. In spite of his of a hospital nurse, and in the same capacity vagaries I enjoyed the Professor, as they call had served in the Northampton lunatic asylum, him, and I hope he will successfully cope with and on account of his superior trustworthi- his physical disabilities for many years to come. ness had been the custodian of the key to One day, as I sat in the old cemetery at Dr. —'s wine cellar.
Hatfield sketching the gravestones, an old He laid claim to a considerable knowledge man with a long white beard came and mowed the scanty and coarse grass which grew among and turn abruptly to the right into the road. the graves. He was a silent and picturesque My heart stood still as Uncle Moses, from his figure swinging his scythe, reminding me of the elevated perch on top of the load, chirruped to dread Reaper “reaping among the wheat.” his horse and went with a rush over the bank. I desired him to pose for me, but he said he The wagon swayed and gave a dangerous lurch was “too busy.” Later in the day he came as it turned into the highway, and for a second with Uncle Moses to gather the harvest which two of the wheels left the ground, the loose “God's acre” had yielded, Uncle Moses fur- hay at the sides and on the top of the load nishing a horse and a hay-rack for the purpose. bounded upwards, and so did Uncle Moses for The headstones, some of which were very old, a second; but they came down in the right
were scattered at irregular intervals about the place, and I drew a long breath of relief when ground, sometimes very near together and Uncle Moses was once more safely outside that sometimes quite widely separated, and it was cemetery. interesting to watch these two old men as they As a result of the happy days passed in the calculated the space through which to drive engravers' camp, and under the helpful influand the possibility of turning around in order ence of mutual sympathy and aims, we decided to get out again. The mower went ahead and to form ourselves into a little clique, or guild, reported the prospect, but always in a guarded with a device or sign manual to mark our manner, as if not wishing to take the responsi- original work; and it seemed a happy thought bility. Uncle Moses, of course, was on the hay when Kingsley proposed the woodpecker. The in the cart, and used his head independently woodpecker was over our heads in a chestnut as to turning this way or that, and with many tree engraving upon the wood his own designs, soothing words to Dolly.
and his presence in camp was looked upon as The cart was successfully worked around a good omen. It was decided hereafter to among the headstones, but the most difficult place his likeness with the initials 0. W. W. feat was to come, for in getting out of the Original Workers on Wood”) on our origiyard it was necessary to plunge down a bank nal cuts, and it is hoped that our work in this