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2006-07-28 18:41

  If I should attempt to tell how I have desired to spend my life in years past, it would probably surprise those of my readers who are somewhat acquainted with its actual history; it would certainly astonish those who know nothing about it.  I will only hint at some of the enterprises which I have cherished.

  In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too;to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future,which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.  You will pardon some obscurities, for there are more secrets in my trade than in most men's, and yet not voluntarily kept, but inseparable from its very nature.  I would gladly tell all that I know about it, and never paint "No Admittance" on my gate.

  I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove, and am still on their trail.  Many are the travellers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to.  I have met one or two who had heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud,and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves.

  To anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if possible, Nature herself!  How many mornings, summer and winter,before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine!  No doubt, many of my townsmen have met me returning from this enterprise, farmers starting for Boston in the twilight,or woodchoppers going to their work.  It is true, I never assisted the sun materially in his rising, but, doubt not, it was of the last importance only to be present at it.

  So many autumn, ay, and winter days, spent outside the town,trying to hear what was in the wind, to hear and carry it express!

  I well-nigh sunk all my capital in it, and lost my own breath into the bargain, running in the face of it.  If it had concerned either of the political parties, depend upon it, it would have appeared in the Gazette with the earliest intelligence.  At other times watching from the observatory of some cliff or tree, to telegraph any new arrival; or waiting at evening on the hill-tops for the sky to fall,that I might catch something, though I never caught much, and that,manna-wise, would dissolve again in the sun.






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