The eldest son, Mr. Samuel Webb, who supervises part of the farm occupied by his father, and also carries on one of his own in a neighboring parish, was very cordial and courteous, and drove me to his establishment near Chesterford. Here a steam threshing machine was at work, doing prodigious execution on different kinds of grain. The engine had climbed, a proprii motu, a long ascent; had made its way partly through ploughed land to the rear of the barn, and was rattlingly busy in a fog of dust, doing the labor of a hundred flails. Ricks of wheat and beans, each as large as a comfortable cottage, disappeared in quick succession through the fingers of the chattering, iron-ribbed giant, and came out in thick and rapid streams of yellow grain. Swine seemed to be the speciality to which this son of Mr. Webb is giving some of that attention which his father gave to sheep. There were between 200 and 300 in the barn-yards and pens, of different ages and breeds, all looking in excellent condition.
From Chesterford I went on to Cambridge, where I remained for the most part of two days, on account of a heavy fall of rain, which kept me within doors nearly all the time. I went out, however, for an hour or so to see a Flower Show in the Town Hall. The varieties and specimens made a beautiful, but not very extensive array. There was one flower that not only attracted especial admiration, but invited a pleasant train of thoughts to my own mind. It was one of those old favorites to which the common people of all countries, who speak our mother tongue, love to give an inalienable English name— The Hollyhock. It is one of the flowers of the people, which the pedantic Latinists have left untouched in homely Saxon, because the people would have none of their long-winded and heartless appellations. Having dwelt briefly upon the honor that Divine Providence confers upon human genius and labor, in letting them impress their finger-marks so distinctly upon the features and functions of the earth, and upon the forms of animal life, it may be a profitable recurrence to the same line of thought to notice what that same genius and labor have wrought upon the structure and face of this familiar flower. What was it at first? What is it now in the rural gardens of New England? A shallow, bell-mouthed cup, in most cases purely white, and hung to a tall, coarse stalk, like the yellow jets of a mullein. That is its natural and distinctive characteristic in all countries; at least where it is best known and most common. What is it here, bearing the fingerprints of man’s mind and taste upon it? Its white and thin-sided cup is brim full and running over with flowery exuberance of leaf and tint infinitely variegated. Here it is as solid, as globe-faced, and nearly as large as the dahlia. Place it side by side with the old, single-leafed hollyhock, in a New England farmer’s garden, and his wife would not be able to trace any family relationship between them, even