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LIX. A return to the hills.

Thoreau always maintained that summer passed into autumn at a certain definite and appreciable instant, as by the turning of a leaf. In like manner those who direct their course in early summer towards the hilly regions of New England are commonly made aware at some precise and definite moment that they have come within the atmosphere of the hills. It is usually after they have left the main railway track, and are switched off upon some little branch road, with stops so frequent that if, at any moment during a pause, you were to see conductor and brakemen in full chase after a woodchuck in a cow pasture, nobody would be astonished. But presently, as you glide slowly along, rejoicing in the more rural look of things, after the heat and hurry of the larger railway-stations, there comes one whiff of fresher air through the open window, and the change is made. You have returned to the hills. Or rather the hills have met you half-way; their great benignant breath has reached you, and already something of the dust of travel is shaken off. Over

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