The Succession of Forest Trees

The Succession of Forest Trees - T H E S U C C E S S I O N...

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Unformatted text preview: T H E S U C C E S S I O N O F F O R E S T T R E E S 1 E v r m y man isentitled to come to Cattle-Show, even a. transcendentalist ; and for m y part I a m more inter- ested in the men than in the cattle. I wish to see once more thoseoldfamiliarfaces,whose names Ido notknow, which for me represent the l\1iddlesex country, and come as near being indigenous to the soil as a white man can ; the men who are not above their business, whose coats are not too black, whose shoes do not shine very much, who never wear gloves to conceal their hands. It is true, there are some queer specimens of humanity attracted to our festival, but all are welcome . I am pretty sure to meet once more that weak-minded and whimsical fel- low, generally weak-bodied too, who prefers a crooked stick for a cane ; perfectly useless, you would say, only bizarre, fitfor a cabinet, like a petrified snake . A ram's horn would be as convenient, and is yet more curiously twisted.H e brings that much indulged bit of the country with him, from some town's end or other, and intro- duces it to Concord groves, as if he had promised it so much sometime. So some, it seems to me, elect their rulers for their crookedness. But I think that a straight ,tide inakes the best cane, and an upright man the best ruler. Or ",liv choose a man to do plain work who is distinguished for his oddity', However, I do not know ' An Address read to the Middlesex Agricultural Society in Con- cord, September, 1360. T H E S U C C E S S I O N O F F O R E S T T R E E S 185 but you will think thatthey have committed this mistake who invited me to speak to you to-day . In m y capacity of surveyor, I have often talked with some of you, m y employers, at your dinner-tables, after having gone round and round and behind your farming, and ascertained exactly what its limits were. Moreover, taking a surveyor's and a naturalist's liberty, I have been in the habit of going across your lots much oftener than is usual, as many of you, perhaps to your sorrow, are aware. Yet many of you, to m y relief, have seemed not to be aware of it; and, when I came across you in some out-of-the-way nook of your farms, have inquired, with an air of surprise, if I were not lost, since you had never seen me in that part of the town or county before ; when, if the truth were known, and ithad not been for betraying m y secret, I might with more propriety have inquired ifyou were not lost, since I had never seen you there before. I have several times shown the proprietor the shortest way out of his wood-lot. Therefore, itVwould seem that I have some title to speak to you to-day ; and considering what that title is, and the occasion that has called us together, I need offer no apology if I invite your attention, for the few mo- ments that are allotted me, to a purely scientific subject....
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The Succession of Forest Trees - T H E S U C C E S S I O N...

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