Soon the village of Nashua was out of sight, and the woods were
gained again, and we rowed slowly on before sunset, looking for a
solitary place in which to spend the night.
A few evening clouds
began to be reflected in the water and the surface was dimpled
only here and there by a muskrat crossing the stream. We camped
at length near Penichook Brook, on the confines of what is now
Nashville, by a deep ravine, under the skirts of a pine wood,
where the dead pine-leaves were our carpet, and their tawny
boughs stretched overhead. But fire and smoke soon tamed the
scene; the rocks consented to be our walls, and the pines our
roof. A woodside was already the fittest locality for us.
The wilderness is near as well as dear to every man. Even the
oldest villages are indebted to the border of wild wood which
surrounds them, more than to the gardens of men. There is
something indescribably inspiriting and beautiful in the aspect
of the forest skirting and occasionally jutting into the midst of
new towns, which, like the sand-heaps of fresh fox-burrows, have
sprung up in their midst. The very uprightness of the pines and
maples asserts the ancient rectitude and vigor of nature. Our
lives need the relief of such a background, where the pine
flourishes and the jay still screams.
We had found a safe harbor for our boat, and as the sun was
setting carried up our furniture, and soon arranged our house
upon the bank, and while the kettle steamed at the tent door, we
chatted of distant friends and of the sights which we were to
behold, and wondered which way the towns lay from us.
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