the boundaries of the old
...Thoreau's Journal: 19-Nov-1851

Old Mr. Joseph Hosmer, who helped me to-day, said that he used to know all about the lots, but since they’ve chopped off so much, and the woods have grown up, he finds himself lost. Thirty or forty years ago, when he went to meeting, he knew every face in the meeting-house, even the boys and girls, they looked so much like their parents; but after ten or twelve years they would have outgrown his knowledge entirely (they would have altered so), but he knew the old folks still, because they held their own and didn’t alter. Just so he could tell the boundaries of the old wood which hadn’t been cut down, but the young wood altered so much in a few years that he couldn’t tell anything about it. When I asked why the old road which went by this swamp was so roundabout, he said he would answer me as Mr. _____ _____ did him in a similar case once,—“Why, if they had made it straight, they wouldn’t have left any room for improvement.”


5thBeliever said...

Not many cute HDT passages, but this is one of them.

michael jameson said...

take heed to this for it is what we lost in favor of our doom!.

Geoff said...

The editors of the 1906 edition blanked out some names for fear of offense, but I wonder why this name is omitted -- it's a pretty harmless comment.