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have seen today. Thereís nothing like it in old paintings, nothing like
it in foreign lands-unless when we were off the coast of Spain.
Thatís a true Mediterranean sky. I thought, as I have my living to
get, and have not eaten today, that I might go afishing. Thatís the
true industry for poets. It is the only trade I have learned. Come, letís

Hermit. I cannot resist. My brown bread will soon be gone. I will go
with you gladly soon, but I am just concluding a serious meditation.
I think that I am near the end of it. Leave me alone, then, for a while.
But that we may not be delayed, you shall be digging the bait
meanwhile. Angleworms are rarely to be met with in these parts,
where the soil was never fattened with manure; the race is nearly
extinct. The sport of digging the bait is nearly equal to that of
catching the fish, when oneís appetite is not too keen; and this you
may have all to yourself today. I would advise you to set in the spade
down yonder among the groundnuts, where you see the johnswort
waving. I think that I may warrant you one worm to every three sods
you turn up, if you look well in among the roots of the grass, as if
you were weeding. Or, if you choose to go farther, it will not be
unwise, for I have found the increase of fair bait to be very nearly as
the squares of the distances.

Hermit alone. Let me see; where was I? Methinks I was nearly in
this frame of mind; the world lay about at this angle. Shall I go to
heaven or a-fishing? If I should soon bring this meditation to an end,
would another so sweet occasion be likely to offer? I was as near
being resolved into the essence of things as ever I was in my life. I
fear my thoughts will not come back to me. If it would do any good,
I would whistle for them. When they make us an offer, is it wise to
say, We will think of it? My thoughts have left no track, and I cannot
find the path again. What was it that I was thinking of? It was a very
hazy day. I will just try these three sentences of Confut-see; they
may fetch that state about again. I know not whether it was the
dumps or a budding ecstasy. Mem. There never is but one
opportunity of a kind.

Poet. How now, Hermit, is it too soon? I have got just thirteen whole
ones, beside several which are imperfect or undersized; but they will
do for the smaller fry; they do not cover up the hook so much. Those
village worms are quite too large; a shiner may make a meal off one
without finding the skewer.

Hermit. Well, then, letís be off. Shall we to the Concord? Thereís
good sport there if the water be not too high.

Why do precisely these objects which we behold make a world?
Why has man just these species of animals for his neighbors; as if
nothing but a mouse could have filled this crevice? I suspect that
Pilpay & Co. have put animals to their best use, for they are all
beasts of burden, in a sense, made to carry some portion of our

The mice which haunted my house were not the common ones,
which are said to have been introduced into the country, but a wild
native kind not found in the village. I sent one to a distinguished
naturalist, and it interested him much. When I was building, one of
these had its nest underneath the house, and before I had laid the
second floor, and swept out the shavings, would come out regularly
at lunch time and pick up the crumbs at my feet. It probably had
never seen a man before; and it soon became quite familiar, and
would run over my shoes and up my clothes. It could readily ascend
the sides of the room by short impulses, like a squirrel, which it
resembled in its motions. At length, as I leaned with my elbow on
the bench one day, it ran up my clothes, and along my sleeve, and
round and round the paper which held my dinner, while I kept the
latter close, and dodged and played at bopeep with it; and when at
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