And, strange to think, yon silent star,
So soft and safe amid the spheres—
Could we but see and hear so far—
Is made of thunder, too, and tears._
CONTAINING VALUABLE STATISTICS
And the morning was like unto the evening. Summer was still to be our companion, and, as the evening of our coming to Cohocton had been the most dreamlike of all the ends of our walking days—had, so to say, been most evening-spiritual, so the morning of our Cohocton seemed most morning-spiritual of all our mornings, most filled with strange hope and thrill and glitter. We were afoot earlier than usual. The sun had hardly risen, and the shining mists still wreathed the great hill which overhangs the village. We were for calling it a mountain, but we were told that it lacked fifty feet of being a mountain. You are not a mountain till you grow to a thousand feet. Our mountain was only some nine hundred and fifty feet. Therefore, it was only entitled to be called a hill. I love information—don’t you, dear reader?—though, to us humble walking delegates of the ideal, it was all one. But I know for certain that it was a lane of young maples which made our avenue of light-hearted departure out of the village, though I cannot be sure of the names of all the trees of the thick woods which clothed the hillside beneath which our road lay, a huge endless hillside all dripping and sparkling, and alive with little rills, facing a broad plain, a sea of feathery grass almost unbearably beautiful with soft glittering dew and opal mists, out of which rose spectral elms, like the shadows of gigantic Shanghai roosters. All about was the sound of brooks musically rippling from the hills, and there was a chaste chill in the air, as befitted the time of day, for
Maiden still the morn is, and strange she is, and secret, Her cheeks are cold as cold sea-shells.
It was all so beautiful that an old thought came back to me that I often had as a child, when I used to be taken among mysterious mountains, for Summer holidays: Do people really live in such beautiful places all the year round? Do they live there just like ordinary people in towns, go about ordinary businesses, live ordinary lives? It seemed to me then, as it seems to me still, that such places should be kept sacred, like fairyland, or should, at least, be the background of high and romantic action, like the scenery in operas. To think of a valley so beautiful as that through which we were walking being put to any other use than that of beauty seems preposterous; but do you know what that beautiful valley was doing, while Colin and I were thus poetizing it, adoring its outlines and revelling in its tints? It was just quietly growing potatoes. Yes! we had mostly passed through the apple country. This garden of Eden, this Vale of Enna, was a great potato country. And we learned, too, that its inhabitants were by