We have a few words of explanation to say, in connection with the machinery of our tale. In the first place, we would remark, that the spelling of “burr-oak,” as given in this book, is less our own than an office spelling. We think it should be “bur-oak,” and this for the simple reason, that the name is derived from the fact that the acorn borne by this tree is partially covered with a bur. Old Sam Johnson, however, says that “burr” means the lobe, or lap of the ear; and those who can fancy such a resemblance between this and the covering of our acorn, are at liberty to use the two final consonants. Having commenced stereotyping with this supernumerary, for the sake of uniformity that mode of spelling, wrong as we think it, has been continued through-out the book.
There is nothing imaginary in the fertility of the West. Personal observation has satisfied us that it much surpasses anything that exists in the Atlantic States, unless in exceptions, through the agency of great care and high manuring, or in instances of peculiar natural soil. In these times, men almost fly. We have passed over a thousand miles of territory within the last few days, and have brought the pictures at the two extremes of this journey in close proximity in our mind’s eye. Time may lessen that wonderful fertility, and bring the whole country more on a level; but there it now is, a glorious gift from God, which it is devoutly to be wished may be accepted with due gratitude and with a constant recollection of his unwavering rules of right and wrong, by those who have been selected to enjoy it.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day,
From every opening flower.
Watts’ hymns for children.
We have heard of those who fancied that they beheld a signal instance of the hand of the Creator in the celebrated cataract of Niagara. Such instances of the power of sensible and near objects to influence certain minds, only prove how much easier it is to impress the imaginations of the dull with images that are novel, than with those that are less apparent, though of infinitely greater magnitude. Thus it would seem to be strange indeed, that any human being should find more to wonder at in any one of the phenomena of the earth, than in the earth itself; or should especially stand astonished at the might of Him who created the world, when each night brings into view a firmament studded with other worlds, each equally the work of His hands!