overarching bushes, and running one long stream of scarlet with these superb occupants.
It seems amazing how anything so brilliant can mature in such a darkness.
When a ray of sunlight strays in upon it, the bright creature seems to hover on the stalk ready to take flight, like some lost tropic bird.
There is a spot whence I have in ten minutes brought away as many as I could hold in both arms, some bearing fifty blossoms on a single stalk ; and I could not believe that there was such another mass of color in the world.
Nothing cultivated is comparable to them ; and, with all the talent lately lavished on wild-flower painting, I have never seen the peculiar sheen of these petals in the least degree delineated.
It seems some new and separate tint, equally distinct from scarlet and from crimson, a splendor for which there is as yet no name, but only the reality.
It is the signal of autumn, when September exhibits the first Barrel-Gentian by the roadside ; and there is a pretty insect in the meadows—the Mourning-Cloak Moth
it might be called—which gives coincident warning.
The innumerable Asters mark this period with their varied and wide-spread beauty ; the meadows are full of rose-colored Polygala, of the white spiral spikes of the Ladies
'-Tresses, and of the fringed loveliness of the Gentian.
This flower, always unique and beautiful, opening its delicate eyelashes every morning to the sunlight, closing them again each night, has also a thoughtful charm about it as the last of the year's especial darlings.
It lingers long, each remaining blossom growing larger and more deep in color, as with many other flowers ; and after it there is nothing for which to look forward, save the fantastic Witch-Hazel
On the water, meanwhile, the last White Lilies are sinking beneath the surface, and the last gay Pickerel-Weed
is gone, though the rootless plants of the delicate Bladder-Wort, spreading over acres of shallows, still impurple the wide, smooth surface.
Harriet Prescott Spofford
says that some souls are like the Water-Lilies
, fixed, yet floating.
But others are like this graceful purple blossom, floating unfixed, kept in place only by its fellows around it, until perhaps a breeze comes, and, breaking the accidental cohesion, sweeps them all away.
The season reluctantly yields its reign, and over the quiet autumnal landscape everywhere, even after the glory of the trees is past, there are tints and fascinations of minor beauty.
Last October, for instance, in walking, I found myself on a little knoll, looking northward.
Overhead was a bower of climbing Waxwork, with its yellowish pods scarce disclosing their scarlet berries,— a wild Grape-vine, with its fruit withered by the frost into still purple raisins, —and yellow Beech-leaves, detaching themselves with an effort audible to the ear. In the foreground were blue Raspberry-stems, yet bearing greenish leaves,—pale-yellow Witch-Hazel
, almost leafless,— purple Viburnum-berries,— the