a peaked roof, contains my office, one end of which is decorated with bunks and shelves, which serve as sleeping apartments. An I were skilful, I would delineate, in a few rapid strokes of the pen, the inside hereof; but the gift of sketching is denied me, and the mere statement that it contains a drawing-table, a stove, a desk, and the aforesaid shelves, would seem to go as far as words can do in describing. The aforesaid cars are now on an embankment about forty feet high, and the snow stretches away to the north and south. The trees are black and dreary-looking, and the wind goes howling by. Bitter cold it is, too, outside. But I have finished my frugal repast of bread and butter, and do not purpose exposing my cherished nose to the night air again. Mr. Kirby, one of my assistants, is reading the “Autocrat” by my side. . . . . What a great thing a locomotive is,—a sort of Daniel Webster reproduced in iron. I always feel like taking off my hat, when I see one come elbowing up. During the past week I have been renewing my acquaintance with the levers, and getting able to ride the beast again. It gives one a singular consciousness of power to feel the machinery, and to know that the whole thing is under your control; that you can say to it, Thus far, or, Do this, or, Do that,— and it is done. But after all, vague reminiscences come back to me of ancient sleigh-rides, of pretty faces snuggling close to your side, of muffs held up before faces to keep off the wind, and gentle words. A good dash across the Neck would be glorious now. It seems to me the only case where our stiff Puritanic rigidity is overcome,— possibly by the still stiffer rigidity of the weather,—and where people seem “to let themselves out” for fun and frolic generally, in our old home-land. Naught of that in this Western land. The fun and frolic is almost entirely men's fun; and, heavens! how much we would give for one good romp in the old land! There is fun enough, and wit and nonsense enough, out here; but, after all, it is hard and angular, and lacks entirely the refining influence which womankind infuses into man's life. But the weird sisters weave, and Atropos sits ready. Let her sit. I mean to get back before she takes the final suit, and see if I can't find youth and life again in the “auld countree.”
April 18, 1858.Why do you attack me so ferociously about a mild remark, that you Eastern people don't know how to love? You don't.
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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