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When there were several bands of musicians, it sounded as if all the
village was a vast bellows and all the buildings expanded and
collapsed alternately with a din. But sometimes it was a really noble
and inspiring strain that reached these woods, and the trumpet that
sings of fame, and I felt as if I could spit a Mexican with a good
relish-for why should we always stand for trifles?- and looked round
for a woodchuck or a skunk to exercise my chivalry upon. These
martial strains seemed as far away as Palestine, and reminded me of
a march of crusaders in the horizon, with a slight tantivy and
tremulous motion of the elm tree tops which overhang the village.
This was one of the great days; though the sky had from my clearing
only the same everlastingly great look that it wears daily, and I saw
no difference in it.

It was a singular experience that long acquaintance which I
cultivated with beans, what with planting, and hoeing, and
harvesting, and threshing, and picking over and selling them-the last
was the hardest of all-I might add eating, for I did taste. I was
determined to know beans. When they were growing, I used to hoe
from five oíclock in the morning till noon, and commonly spent the
rest of the day about other affairs. Consider the intimate and curious
acquaintance one makes with various kinds of weeds-it will bear
some iteration in the account, for there was no little iteration in the
labor-disturbing their delicate organizations so ruthlessly, and
making such invidious distinctions with his hoe, levelling whole
ranks of one species, and sedulously cultivating another. Thatís
Roman worm-wood-thatís pigweed-thatís sorrel-thatís piper-grass-
have at him, chop him up, turn his roots upward to the sun, donít let
him have a fibre in the shade, if you do heíll turn himself tíother side
up and be as green as a leek in two days. A long war, not with
cranes, but with weeds, those Trojans who had sun and rain and
dews on their side. Daily the beans saw me come to their rescue
armed with a hoe, and thin the ranks of their enemies, filling up the
trenches with weedy dead. Many a lusty crest-waving Hector, that
towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades, fell before my
weapon and rolled in the dust.

Those summer days which some of my contemporaries devoted to
the fine arts in Boston or Rome, and others to contemplation in
India, and others to trade in London or New York, I thus, with the
other farmers of New England, devoted to husbandry. Not that I
wanted beans to eat, for I am by nature a Pythagorean, so far as
beans are concerned, whether they mean porridge or voting, and
exchanged them for rice; but, perchance, as some must work in
fields if only for the sake of tropes and expression, to serve a
parable-maker one day. It was on the whole a rare amusement,
which, continued too long, might have become a dissipation. Though
I gave them no manure, and did not hoe them all once, I hoed them
unusualy well as far as I went, and was paid for it in the end, "there
being in truth," as Evelyn says, "no compost or laetation whatsoever
comparable to this continual motion, repastination, and turning of
the mould with the spade." "The earth," he adds elsewhere,
"especially if fresh, has a certain magnetism in it, by which it attracts
the salt, power, or virtue (call it either) which gives it life, and is the
logic of all the labor and stir we keep about it, to sustain us; all
dungings and other sordid temperings being but the vicars
succedaneous to this improvement." Moreover, this being one of
those "worn-out and exhausted lay fields which enjoy their sabbath,"
had perchance, as Sir Kenelm Digby thinks likely, attracted "vital
spirits" from the air. I harvested twelve bushels of beans.

But to be more particular, for it is complained that Mr. Colman has
reported chiefly the expensive experiments of gentlemen farmers,
my outgoes were,

For a hoe.....................................................$ 0.54
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