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business,' said I. That's a fact,' said he; if a man can drive two trades under one roof, why should'nt he? It stands to reason, for it saves rent, and fills up odd hours.'
· Well, ma'am,' said one of our inquisitive companions to an oldish lady, after we had taken our seats again, you are going, I suppose, as far as Worcester? Yes. Further, perhaps ?' • Yes. To Northampton ? · Yes.' • To Albany? Yes.' • To Buffalo? Yes.' How much further? Why to Mesopotamia, in Ohio. • Bless me! all alone?' 'Yes to be sure ; it's nothing at all; there are stages, and steam-boats, and canals, and lakes, and rivers all the way, and it is not above fifteen hundred or two thousand miles.'
* And are you not afraid of accidents ?' * Accidents! why there can't be any accidents.' Here she began to fumble in her reticule. •Law me! what a spot of work! if I haven't spilt all my Cologne !
The woods were full of birds making the air resound with their melody. The robin, the thrush, the towhee, the song sparrow, the field sparrow, the indigo bird, and the fly-catcher distinguished themselves by the spirit and briskness of their notes. It is unaccountable how the notion ever got abroad that the American birds were inferior to the European in melody: naturalists who have never visited this country have spoken of the silence of the American forests, and remarked that nature had given the feathered tribes in this quarter a superior brilliancy of plumage, but had denied them the powers of melody. Nothing can be further from the truth than this last. Europe has never exhibited to my observation any thing comparable to the vocal concerts of the American woods. In a bright summer morning, the chorus that bursts upon you from every thicket is really wonderful for the sweetness and variety of its strains. Here the feathered tribes preserve a secure and undisturbed asylum amidst the thick forests which still overspread the land. In Europe, two or three thousand years of occupation have enabled the inhabitants to change the face of nature, to extirpate the forests, plough up the plains, and mark every spot with their habitations. The very mountain tops are shorn and built upon. Here, on the contrary, the ancient forest continues to stand; for even in New England, the oldest, most populous, and highly cultivated part of the Union, immense portions of the mighty woods of old meet your view in every quarter. The land consists of hills and mountains, for it is rare to meet with a square mile of plain, and every mountain and hill-top is covered with trees.
This imparts a peculiar feature to the landscape; the mountains at a distance have seldom that light mellow tint, even under the clearest sky, which the mountain scenery of Italy presents, but look almost black, and print a sharp distinct outline upon the horizon. The White Mountains are the blackest I ever saw, though it is true
that on their eastern sides they exhibit portions of bare rock, which wear a somewhat light hue at a distance; and as they were first discovered from this quarter, hence their misnomer.
As we approached Worcester, the country became sloping toward the west, and exhibited a wide prospect in that direction, bounded upon the horizon by a long ridge of highlands, so darkly blue, and so little broken by undulations, that it might have been mistaken for the ocean. Two isolated mountains, Wachusett and Monadnock, in different points toward the north, accompany the traveller's view for a long distance. Westward the country grows more hilly and picturesque; the hills are loftier and more peaked. We stopped at Leicester, which stands on the top of a hill, an uncommon situation in these parts. Here we found an immense school-house, or academy, built on the model of the Parthenon, and painted as white as snow. 'Tis a pity that so many fine edifices in this country are of wood, when the best building stone in the world is to be found at every step. But it is easier to chop timber than to hammer granite; and your Yankee hates to lose time. • Ask me for anything but time, said Napoleon. We passed Ware valley, a beautiful little dell, four or five miles long and a mile in breadth, skirted by hills of the most graceful shape; their sides chequered and variegated with farms, tracts of black forest, green meadow land, orchards, &c. The southern part of the valley is occupied by the charming little village of Ware; all the houses are painted white and red, and as neat as toys. A little stream winds down the valley, and completes the beauty of the prospect.
Late in the evening we reached the Connecticut, where the river rolls its broad volume of clear waters through the rich flat of the Northampton meadows. A covered wooden bridge here crosses the stream, passing which I found myself in the town of Northampton. Early the next morning I was climbing the steep ascent of Mount Holyoke, which overlooks the town and neighbourhood, and is celebrated for its prospect. This eminence is of no great height for a mountain, but owes all to its happy situation. There is no danger of spoiling the effect of a first sight by catching occasional glimpses as you ascend, for the path upward winds all the way through a wood so thick as to shut out not only the prospect, but the beams of the noon-day sun. At the summit the whole bursts upon you at once. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the meadows under your feet, through which the Connecticut winds its serpentine course.
The rye grounds are of a bright golden colour, the maize fields of the liveliest green, the pastures and orchards present every fresh hue of verdure, like a rich carpet, in which the brightest colours are intermixed and contrasted. The whole surface of the meadows is sprinkled with trees, singly or in groups, and the banks of the river are fringed in the neatest manner with trees and shrubbery. The town of Northampton, with its cluster of white houses, peeps out from a mass of dark foliage beyond, and though two or three miles distant, you imagine that you might fling a stone into it. The lofty height of Saddle Mountain is dimly seen far off in the north-west. Monadnock and other eminences appear in the north and east. The whole country, except the alluvial meadows of the Connecticut, appears one great forest, with a town and small patches of cultivated land here and there.
I left Northampton on foot, and proceeded westward. The farmers use windmills for scarecrows; Don Quixote would not have fought them, as they are too small to pass for giants. He would have been more struck with the appearance of a field newly cleared of wood, which, being full of the stumps of enormous trees, black with fire, might easily be taken for the grave yard of the Anakim. Putting up for the night at the small inn of an obscure village, I found a notable Bostonian there who had come to enjoy trout-fishing. It was as good as drink to hear the bumpkins about the tavern guessing who this magnifico could be; finally they set him down for an itinerant singing-master.
I never was fond of trout-fishing, though books have been written to prove it agreeable. Nor, indeed, do I admire fishing of any sort. Were there a sea-serpent or so to catch now and then, I might lend a hand without minding a wet foot. But to fish for trout-excuse me. Standing for hours mid-leg deep in water for sport, and setting your wits against a little minnow, I know of nothing to which I can compare it except a spectacle which the streets of Paris often exhibit. There you may see, of a cold December evening, a crowd of people standing in a torrent of rain and in the midst of a dirty puddle, just to listen to the scraping of a fiddle. The amusement seems to me somewhat negative.
* Trouts ?' said the landlord, yes, there are trouts here as thick as moschetoes. I'll catch you a basket full in fifteen minutes,big ones too!' Now,' said another fellow, I like the small ones best, because you see, when they are fried, you can take them up by the tail and down with them so.'
I recommenced my journey by day-break toward the Hoosac mountains. The wood-thrushes were filling the groves with the sweetest melody I ever heard. This bird loves the solitude of the forest; you never find him in gardens or cultivated fields, or about houses; but the deepest and darkest recesses of the woods are his favourite abode. Here, amidst the dim twilight which the foliage of a thousand gigantic oaks creates around you, the full-toned, organ-like notes of this bird will strike your ear with impressive power, sweet and solemn. The effect is great and peculiar. "Tis like evening music in a cathedral.
Well, neighbour,' said I to a countryman going to his field, can you tell me what o'clock it is ?-A real Yankee answer.
• Didn't know, but guessed it was pretty early in the morning.' A Yankee will never be positive unless he is sure,—nor even then without absolute need.
Traversing several cross roads among the wild scenery of the Hoosac mountains, I came, late in the afternoon, to the western slope of these heights, which afforded me a fine view of the plain in which the town of Pittsfield is situated, and of the mountains surrounding it. A black thunder-cloud was hanging over the mountain tops, and masses of white fleecy vapour were swimming low in the valleys. Long streams of the most beautiful and vivid forked lightning burst from the cloud : a tremendous clap of thunder shook the earth under my feet, and a deluge of rain followed, which poured down like a cataract for a quarter of an hour, when the clouds broke and passed away, and the sun went down bathed in a flood of golden light. It was a glorious
The most magnificent thing in America is a sunset. An Italian sunset is not to be compared to it: there is a rich, golden, mellow light in the evening sky of Italy, but the clouds of glowing purple which hang like blood-red banners over half the heaven, when the American sun marches down the steep of day, have no equal anywhere on this side of the Atlantic. It is a pageant that no pencil can copy, no canvas reflect. The sky is in a glow of brilliancy that tinges the whole air, and the departed orb seems to be rising again. You may see a pale face or a white page catch the tints of this reddening and fiery blush of the heaven; the great sea of flame that lights up the atmosphere, throws upon all objects a roseate hue, like that of the last rays which fall upon the snowy summit of Mont Blanc.
Lenox, where I stopped for the night, is a model of neatness and rural beauty. This little town stands on the declivity of a hill surrounded by mountains, and the snowy whiteness of its buildings is strikingly set off by the dark foliage of the forests which clothe the mountain sides in all directions. A little valley of cultivation opens a charming prospect to the south. After enjoying this scene for a while, I retraced my steps to the north. Saddle Mountain lifted its broad blue mass before me, towering above the mountains to the right and left: these heights overlook a broad plain chequered with fields, orchards, meadows, and patches of woodland, with the spires of Pittsfield rising in the midst, and a stream meandering through it. The prospect is enchanting. Pittsfield is very neatly built with wide and regular streets. Further on, at the foot of Saddle Mountain, is Lanesborough, another cluster of neat buildings painted of a brilliant white, with red roofs. Nothing in the world looks so neat as a New England village. The road onward to Williamstown lies among mountains covered with a black and shaggy forest, whose steep sides now and then threaten to fall upon your head. A wreath of white cloud began to curl around the dark brow of Saddle Mountain as the sun went down, and left me in the narrow valley where stands the town of Williamstown.
In the morning I set off to ascend the mountain, which though it presents the appearance, at a distance, of a single height, yet consists of a heap of mountains rising one above the other. Out of the deep valleys arose here and there a curling wreath of this blue smoke through the calm bright air of the morning. A rough pathway led up the mountain through the thick overhanging woods. No solitude is so imposing as that of these mountain forests. The fiercest rays of the sun hardly send their light through the dense canopy of leaves: the gigantic trunks and broad spreading branches tell you of the vigour and wildness of primeral nature; the freshness of the virgin soil, on which the vegetation of thousands of years has lain untouched, comes to your senses with its wild odours : you hear nothing but the gush of a mountain rill, or a woodpecker tapping the trunk of an aged tree, or the solemn notes of the wood-thrush. The effect is overpowering. As you ascend the woods grow thicker, but the trees decrease in height: the oak, and maple, and beech, and walnut, give place to pines growing in so dense a mass, that a snake could hardly get through them. A high spur of the mountain toward the west presents a craggy rock clear of trees, and a wide view may be obtained in this direction; from this eminence the body of the mountain opposite is seen towering up so steep and lofty, that it looks like an immense green curtain drawn over the heavens. Down the sides of this declivity are channels furrowed through the soil, and exposing the bare rock of the mountain to view. These were occasioned by a remarkable torrent that fell suddenly upon the mountain some years since, and which the inhabitants describe as the bursting of a cloud!' Westward the heights open and show a distant prospect : the Green and Cattskill mountains lift their lofty peaks on the far horizon; near at hand the country is intersected by valleys, and the bases of the mountains are chequered with bright fields of verdure amid the black mantle of forest which covers the country. Williamstown, with the villages and hamlets around, appear under your feet, as if drawn upon a map.
From Williamstown to the west the road passes through a deep valley, at first covered with woods, but after some miles these are succeeded by fields of rich cultivation. The mountains everywhere present a fresh and verdant appearance: their summits are black with forests; sometimes their sides are cleared of wood for half the distance upward, leaving a dark crown above a broad belt of lively verdure; but generally the forest is so predominant in the landscape, that the mountains resemble solid piles of vegetation. These mountain tops are like sponges sucking up the moist vapours of the air and gathering them into clouds. Were the forests extirpated, the copious rains of this No, 98.