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AT A CERTAIN season of our life we are accustomed to consider
every spot as the possible site of a house. I have thus surveyed the
country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live. In
imagination I have bought all the farms in succession, for all were to
be bought, and I knew their price. I walked over each farmerís
premises, tasted his wild apples, discoursed on husbandry with him,
took his farm at his price, at any price, mortgaging it to him in my
mind; even put a higher price on it-took everything but a deed of it-
took his word for his deed, for I dearly love to talk-cultivated it, and
him too to some extent, I trust, and withdrew when I had enjoyed it
long enough, leaving him to carry it on. This experience entitled me
to be regarded as a sort of real-estate broker by my friends.
Wherever I sat, there I might live, and the landscape radiated from
me accordingly. What is a house but a sedes, a seat?- better if a
country seat. I discovered many a site for a house not likely to be
soon improved, which some might have thought too far from the
village, but to my eyes the village was too far from it. Well, there I
might live, I said; and there I did live, for an hour, a summer and a
winter life; saw how I could let the years run off, buffet the winter
through, and see the spring come in. The future inhabitants of this
region, wherever they may place their houses, may be sure that they
have been anticipated.

An afternoon sufficed to lay out the land into orchard, wood-lot, and
pasture, and to decide what fine oaks or pines should be left to stand
before the door, and whence each blasted tree could be seen to the
best advantage; and then I let it lie, fallow, perchance, for a man is
rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let

My imagination carried me so far that I even had the refusal of
several farmsthe refusal was all I wanted-but I never got my fingers
burned by actual possession. The nearest that I came to actual
possession was when I bought the Hollow-ell place, and had begun
to sort my seeds, and collected materials with which to make a
wheelbarrow to carry it on or off with; but before the owner gave me
a deed of it, his wife-every man has such a wife-changed her mind
and wished to keep it, and he offered me ten dollars to release him.
Now, to speak the truth, I had but ten cents in the world, and it
surpassed my arithmetic to tell, if I was that man who had ten cents,
or who had a farm, or ten dollars, or all together. However, I let him
keep the ten dollars and the farm too, for I had carried it far enough;
or rather, to be generous, I sold him the farm for just what I gave for
it, and, as he was not a rich man, made him a present of ten dollars,
and still had my ten cents, and seeds, and materials for a
wheelbarrow left. I found thus that I had been a rich man without
any damage to my poverty. But I retained the landscape, and I have
since annually carried off what it yielded without a wheelbarrow.
With respect to landscapes,

"I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute."

I have frequently seen a poet withdraw, having enjoyed the most
valuable part of a farm, while the crusty farmer supposed that he had
got a few wild apples only. Why, the owner does not know it for
many years when a poet has put his farm in rhyme, the most
admirable kind of invisible fence, has fairly impounded it, milked it,
skimmed it, and got all the cream, and left the farmer only the
skimmed milk.

The real attractions of the Hollowell farm, to me, were: its complete
retirement, being, about two miles from the village, half a mile from
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