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The hares (Lepus Americanus) were very familiar. One had her form
under my house all winter, separated from me only by the flooring,
and she startled me each morning by her hasty departure when I
began to stir-thump, thump, thump, striking her head against the
floor timbers in her hurry. They used to come round my door at dusk
to nibble the potato parings which I had thrown out, and were so
nearly the color of the round that they could hardly be distinguished
when still. Sometimes in the twilight I alternately lost and recovered
sight of one sitting motionless under my window. When I opened my
door in the evening, off they would go with a squeak and a bounce.
Near at hand they only excited my pity. One evening one sat by my
door two paces from me, at first trembling with fear, yet unwilling to
move; a poor wee thing, lean and bony, with ragged ears and sharp
nose, scant tail and slender paws. It looked as if Nature no longer
contained the breed of nobler bloods, but stood on her last toes. Its
large eyes appeared young and unhealthy, almost dropsical. I took a
step, and lo, away it scud with an elastic spring over the snow-crust,
straightening its body and its limbs into graceful length, and soon put
the forest between me and itself-the wild free venison, assenting its
vigor and the dignity of Nature. Not without reason was its
slenderness. Such then was its nature. (Lepus, levipes, light-foot,
some think.)

What is a country without rabbits and partridges? They are among
the most simple and indigenous animal products; ancient and
venerable families known to antiquity as to modern times; of the
very hue and substance of Nature, nearest allied to leaves and to the
ground-and to one another; it is either winged or it is legged. It is
hardly as if you had seen a wild creature when a rabbit or a partridge
bursts away, only a natural one, as much to be expected as rustling
leaves. The partridge and the rabbit are still sure to thrive, like true
natives of the soil, whatever revolutions occur. If the forest is cut off,
the sprouts and bushes which spring up afford them concealment,
and they become more numerous than ever. That must be a poor
country indeed that does not support a hare. Our woods teem with
them both, and around every swamp may be seen the partridge or
rabbit walk, beset with twiggy fences and horse-hair snares, which
some cow-boy tends.


AFTER A still winter night I awoke with the impression that some
question had been put to me, which I had been endeavoring in vain
to answer in my sleep, as what-how-when-where? But there was
dawning Nature, in whom all creatures live, looking in at my broad
windows with serene and satisfied face, and no question on her lips.
I awoke to an answered question, to Nature and daylight. The snow
lying deep on the earth dotted with young pines, and the very slope
of the hill on which my house is placed, seemed to say, Forward!
Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask.
She has long ago taken her resolution. "O Prince, our eyes
contemplate with admiration and transmit to the soul the wonderful
and varied spectacle of this universe. The night veils without doubt a
part of this glorious creation; but day comes to reveal to us this great
work, which extends from earth even into the plains of the ether."

Then to my morning work. First I take an axe and pail and go in
search of water, if that be not a dream. After a cold and snowy night
it needed a diviningrod to find it. Every winter the liquid and
trembling surface of the pond, which was so sensitive to every
breath, and reflected every light and shadow, becomes solid to the
depth of a foot or a foot and a half, so that it will support the heaviest
teams, and perchance the snow covers it to an equal depth, and it is
not to be distinguished from any level field. Like the marmots in the
surrounding hills, it closes its eyelids and becomes dormant for three
months or more. Standing on the snow-covered plain, as if in a
pasture amid the hills, I cut my way first through a foot of snow, and
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