Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ



<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next ->
PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau


townsfolk, making the Walden Woods ring with her shrill singing,
for she had a loud and notable voice. At length, in the war of 1812,
her dwelling was set on fire by English soldiers, prisoners on parole,
when she was away, and her cat and dog and hens were all burned
up together. She led a hard life, and somewhat inhumane. One old
frequenter of these woods remembers, that as he passed her house
one noon he heard her muttering to herself over her gurgling pot-"Ye
are all bones, bones!" I have seen bricks amid the oak copse there.

Down the road, on the right hand, on Bristerís Hill, lived Brister
Freeman, "a handy Negro," slave of Squire Cummings once-there
where grow still the apple trees which Brister planted and tended;
large old trees now, but their fruit still wild and ciderish to my taste.
Not long since I read his epitaph in the old Lincoln burying-ground,
a little on one side, near the unmarked graves of some British
grenadiers who fell in the retreat from Concord-where he is styled
"Sippio Brister"- Scipio Africanus he had some title to be called-"a
man of color," as if he were discolored. It also told me, with staring
emphasis, when he died; which was but an indirect way of informing
me that he ever lived. With him dwelt Fenda, his hospitable wife,
who told fortunes, yet pleasantly-large, round, and black, blacker
than any of the children of night, such a dusky orb as never rose on
Concord before or since.

Farther down the hill, on the left, on the old road in the woods, are
marks of some homestead of the Stratton family; whose orchard
once covered all the slope of Bristerís Hill, but was long since killed
out by pitch pines, excepting a few stumps, whose old roots furnish
still the wild stocks of many a thrifty village tree.

Nearer yet to town, you come to Breedís location, on the other side
of the way, just on the edge of the wood; ground famous for the
pranks of a demon not distinctly named in old mythology, who has
acted a prominent and astounding part in our New England life, and
deserves, as much as any mythological character, to have his
biography written one day; who first comes in the guise of a friend
or hired man, and then robs and murders the whole family-New-
England

Rum. But history must not yet tell the tragedies enacted here; let
time intervene in some measure to assuage and lend an azure tint to
them. Here the most indistinct and dubious tradition says that once a
tavern stood; the well the same, which tempered the travellerís
beverage and refreshed his steed. Here then men saluted one another,
and heard and told the news, and went their ways again.

Breedís hut was standing only a dozen years ago, though it had long
been unoccupied. It was about the size of mine. It was set on fire by
mischievous boys, one Election night, if I do not mistake. I lived on
the edge of the village then, and had just lost myself over Davenantís
"Gondibert," that winter that I labored with a lethargy-which, by the
way, I never knew whether to regard as a family complaint, having
an uncle who goes to sleep shaving himself, and is obliged to sprout
potatoes in a cellar Sundays, in order to keep awake and keep the
Sabbath, or as the consequence of my attempt to read Chalmersí
collection of English poetry without skipping. It fairly overcame my
Nervii. I had just sunk my head on this when the bells rung fire, and
in hot haste the engines rolled that way, led by a straggling troop of
men and boys, and I among the foremost, for I had leaped the brook.
We thought it was far south over the woods-we who had run to fires
before-barn, shop, or dwelling-house, or all together. "Itís Bakerís
barn," cried one. "It is the Codman place," affirmed another. And
then fresh sparks went up above the wood, as if the roof fell in, and
we all shouted "Concord to the rescue!" Wagons shot past with
furious speed and crushing loads, bearing, perchance, among the
rest, the agent of the Insurance Company, who was bound to go
however far;
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next ->
PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page


Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com