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[313] with the steward. I have been studying hard at Kent and Greenleaf ever since I left you, and making myself generally miserable thereby. I have not the health for such study, if I had the taste, which is also wanting. As you may guess, I have taken to farming. The last two weeks have been spent in looking for a farm near Boston. I have not yet fully decided on the spot; and to-morrow I have a farm to visit in Weston and one in Concord, but the situation I like best of those I have seep is one on the Blue Hill.

The spot at length selected was in Ashland, Massachusetts. In his eagerness to become a farmer he attached no importance to the absence of congenial companions. Perhaps his thoughts turned to the solitude of nature with the anticipation of freedom and relief from the painful pressure of social forms. He selected the place he thought best adapted to farming, and began his new enterprise with earnestness. He liked work, and took no exception to its quality. He was ready for whatever was to be done, and found a continual and varied pleasure in preparing and planting his land and harvesting his crops. He engaged a worthy man and his wife to work the farm with him and to keep his house. The following letter gives a picture of his farming life.

Ashland, August 20.

my dear sister,—What with starting a new yoke of oxen, “shee-a-baack!” and ditching my pasture-ground, I have had no time to write before. The oxen are doing finely, and are universally admired; they work very steadily and are up to anything. I have sold five bushels of potatoes, many of which show some signs of the rot which I prophesy will be very prevalent this fall; there never was, I suppose, such a wet summer since the flood. We have had this week new potatoes for the table, corn and beans, and a few tomatoes are ripening. My flowers are doing finely; my heliotrope is magnificent, and portulaccas begin to make a show. I have a gentleman from Cork now living under my roof, who is engaged in draining the pasture; and the monotony was enlivened the other night by an Italian with images to sell, who spent the night in my barn and refreshed the Ashland air with the classic accents of Tuscany. His home was Florence. ‘Ade;, from your affectionate brother.’

During the first years he did not suffer from the isolation of

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