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always see a face in the fire. The laborer, looking into it at evening,
pulifies his thoughts of the dross and earthiness which they have
accumulated during the day. But I could no longer sit and look into
the fire, and the pertinent words of a poet recurred to me with new

"Never, bright flame, may be denied to me Thy dear, life imaging,
close sympathy. What but my hopes shot upward e’er so bright?
What but my fortunes sunk so low in night?

Why art thou banished from our hearth and hall, Thou who art
welcomed and beloved by all? Was thy existence then too fanciful
For our life’s common light, who are so dull? Did thy bright gleam
mysterious converse hold With our congenial souls? secrets too
bold? Well, we are safe and strong, for now we sit Beside a hearth
where no dim shadows flit, Where nothing cheers nor saddens, but a
fire Warms feet and hands-nor does to more aspire; By whose
compact utilitarian heap The present may sit down and go to sleep,
Nor fear the ghosts who from the dim past walked, And with us by
the unequal light of the old wood fire talked."


I WEATHERED some merry snow-storms, and spent some cheerful
winter evenings by my fireside, while the snow whirled wildly
without, and even the hooting of the owl was hushed. For many
weeks I met no one in my walks but those who came occasionally to
cut wood and sled it to the village. The elements, however, abetted
me in making a path through the deepest snow in the woods, for
when I had once gone through the wind blew the oak leaves into my
tracks, where they lodged, and by absorbing the rays of the sun
melted the snow, and so not only made a my bed for my feet, but in
the night their dark line was my guide. For human society I was
obliged to conjure up the former occupants of these woods. Within
the memory of many of my townsmen the road near which my house
stands resounded with the laugh and gossip of inhabitants, and the
woods which border it were notched and dotted here and there with
their little gardens and dwellings, though it was then much more shut
in by the forest than now. In some places, within my own
remembrance, the pines would scrape both sides of a chaise at once,
and women and children who were compelled to go this way to
Lincoln alone and on foot did it with fear, and often ran a good part
of the distance. Though mainly but a humble route to neighboring
villages, or for the woodman’s team, it once amused the traveller
more than now by its variety, and lingered longer in his memory.
Where now firm open fields stretch from the village to the woods, it
then ran through a maple swamp on a foundation of logs, the
remnants of which, doubtless, still underlie the present dusty
highway, from the Stratton, now the Alms-House, Farm, to Brister’s

East of my bean-field, across the road, lived Cato Ingraham, slave of
Duncan Ingraham, Esquire, gentleman, of Concord village, who built
his slave a house, and gave him permission to live in Walden
Woods;- Cato, not Uticensis, but Concordiensis. Some say that he
was a Guinea Negro. There are a few who remember his little patch
among the walnuts, which he let row up till he should be old and
need them; but a younger and whiter speculator got them at last. He
too, however, occupies an equally narrow house at present. Cato’s
half-obliterated cellar-hole still remains, though known to few, being
concealed from the traveller by a fringe of pines. It is now filled with
the smooth sumach (Rhus glabra), and one of the earliest species of
goldenrod (Solidago stricta) grows there luxuriantly.

Here, by the very corner of my field, still nearer to town, Zilpha, a
colored woman, had her little house, where she spun linen for the
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