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to shine the fiercer for his coming eclipse. The whole west, as I look from the sources of the brook to its lazy drifts under the swamps that lie to the south, is hung with a curtain of darkness; and like swift-working golden ropes that lift it towards the zenith, long chains of lightning flash through it, and the growling thunder seems like the rumble of the pulleys.

I thrust away my azalia boughs, and Aling back the shattered blinds, as the sun and the clouds meet; and my room darkens with the coming shadows. For an instant the edges of the thick, creamy masses of cloud are gilded by the shrouded sun, and show gorgeous scollops of gold that toss upon the hem of the storm. But the blazonry fades as the clouds mount, and the brightening lines of the lightning dart up from the lower skirts, and heave the billowy masses into the middle heaven.

The workmen are urging their oxen fast across the meadow; and the loiterers come straggling after, with rakes upon their shoulders. The matronly hen has retreated to the stable door; and the brood of turkeys stand, dressing their feathers, under the open shed.

'The air freshens, and blows now from the face of the coming clouds. I see the great elms in the plain swaying their tops, even before the storm breeze has reached me; and a bit of ripened grain upon a swell of the meadow waves and tosses like a billowy sea.

Presently I hear the rush of the wind, and the cherry and pear trees rustle through all their leaves, and my paper is whisked away by the intruding blast.

There is a quiet of a moment, in which the wind, even, seems weary and faint; and nothing finds utterance save one hoarse tree toad, doling out his lugubrious notes.

Now comes a blinding flash from the clouds; and a quick, sharp clang clatters through the heavens, and bellows loud and long among the hills. Then -- like great grief, spending its pent agony in tears - - come the big drops of rain, pattering on the lawn, and on the leaves, and most musically of all upon

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the roof above me; not now with the light fall of the spring shower, but with strong steppings, like the first, proud tread

of youth.

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[From Rural Hours, a book published in New York, in 1850, and written by Mise COOPER, a daughter of the celebrated novelist. It is in the form of a journal, recording the changes of the seasons in the country, and the little occurrences of a rurul neighborhood. It is a very pleasing work, written in an excellent style, full of fresh pictures, and with a tone as healthy as a mountain breeze. The author is evidently a highlycultivated person, but her book has not been made up from other books; on the contrary, it is the result of original observations gathered on the spot. It is a truly American work, and contains most truthful and animated sketches of all that is peculiar and characteristic in our climate, scenery, forests and rural habits; the whole resting on a basis of sound sense and true moral feeling.)



In those parts of this continent which answer to the mediune climates of Europe, and where Autumn has a decided character of her own, the season is indeed a noble one. Rich in bounty, ripening the blended fruits of two hemispheres, beauty is also her inalienable dower. Clear skies and cheerful breezes are more frequent throughout her course than storms and clouds. Fogs are rare indeed. Mild, balmy airs seem to delight in attending her steps, while the soft haze of the Indian summer is gathered, like a choice veil, about her brows, throwing a charm of its own over every feature. The grain harvest has been given to Summer ; of all its treasures, she preserves alone the fragrant buckwheat and the golden maize. The nobler fruits are all hers—the finer peaches and plums, the choicest apples, pears, and grapes. The homely but precious root harvest belongs to her — winter stores for man and his herds. And now, when the year is drawing to a close, when the blessings of the earth have been gathered and stored, when and plant have borne their fruits, when every field has yielded its produce, why should the sun shine brightly now? What has he more to ripen for us at this late day?

every tree


But now

At this very period, when the annual labors of the husbandman are drawing to a close, when the first light frosts ripen the wild grapes in the woods, and open the husks of the hickory nuts, bringing the latest fruits of the year to maturity, these are the days when, here and there in the groves, you will find a maple tree whose leaves are touched with the gayest colors; those are the heralds which announce the approach of a brilliant pageant; the moment chosen by Autumn to keep the great harvest home of America is at hand. In a few days comes another and a sharper frost, and the whole face of the country is changed; we enjoy, with wonder and delight, a natural spectacle, great and beautiful beyond the reach of any human means.

We are naturally accustomed to associate the idea of verdure with foliage — leaves should surely be green. we gaze in wonder as we behold colors so brilliant and so varied hung upon every tree. Tints that you have admired among the darker tulips and roses, the richer lilies and dahlias of the flower garden : colors that have pleased your eye among the fine silks and wools of a lady's delicate embroidery; dyes that the shopman shows off with complacency among his cashmeres and velvets; hues reserved by the artist for his proudest works,—these we now see fluttering in the leaves of old oaks and tupeloes, liquid ambers, chestnuts, and maples.

We behold the green woods becoming one mass of rich and varied coloring. It would seem as though Autumn, in honor of this high holiday, had collected together all the past glories of the past year, adding them to her own: she borrows the gay colors that have been lying during the summer months among the flowers, in the fruits, upon the plumage of the bird, on the wings of the butterfly, and working them together in broad and glowing masses, she throws them over the forest to grace her triumph; like some great festival of an Italian city, where the people bring rich tapestries and hang them in their streets; where they unlock chests of heirlooms, and bring to light brilliant draperies, which they suspend from their windows and balconies, to gleam in the sunshine.


The hanging woods of a mountainous country are especially beautiful at this season ; the trees throwing out their branchen, one above another, in bright variety of coloring and outlino, every individual of the gay throng having a fancy of his own to humor. The oak loves a deep, rich red, or a warm scarlet, though some of his family are partial to yellow. The chest nuts are all of one shadeless mass of gold color, from the highest to the lowest branch. The bass wood, or linden, is orange. The aspen, with its silvery stem and branches, flutters in a lighter shade, like the wrought gold of the jeweller. The sumach, with its long, pinnated leaf, is of a brilliant scarlet. The pepperidge is almost purple, and some of the ashes approach the same shade during certain seasons. Other ashes, with the birches and beech, hickory and elms, have their own tints of yellow. That beautiful and common vine, the Virginia creeper, is a vivid cherry color. The sweet gum is vermilion. The viburnum tribe and dogwoods are dyed in lake.

As for the maples, they always rank first among the show : there is no other tree which contributes singly so much to the beauty of the season, for it unites more of brilliancy with more of variety than any of its companions : with us it is also more common than any other tree. Here you have a soft maple, vivid scarlet from the highest to the lowest leaf; there is another, a sugar maple, a pure sheet of gold; this is dark crimson like the oak; that is vermilion, another is particolored, pink and yellow, green and red; yonder is one of a deep purplish hue; this is still green, that is mottled in patches, another is shaded; still another blends all these colors on its own branches, in capricious confusion, the different limbs, the separate twigs, the single leaves, varying from each other in distinct colors and shaded tints. And in every dircction a repetition of this magnificent picture meets the eye; in the woods that skirt the dimpled meadows, in the thickets and copses of the fields, in the bushes which fringe the brook, in the trees which line the streets and road sides, in those of the lawns and gardens, brilliant and vivid in the riearest groves, gradually lessening in tone upon the farther woods and successive knolls, until, in the distant background, the hills are a lored by a mingled confusion of tints, which defy the eye to seize them.

Among this brilliant display there are usually some few trees which fade, and wither, and dry into a homely brown, without appearing to feel the general influence; the sycamores, the locusts, for instance, and often the elms also, have little bcauty to attract the eye, seldom aiming at more than a tolerable yellow, though at times they may be brighter.

Imported trees, transplanted originally from the old world, preserve, as a rule, the more sober habits of their ancestral woods. The Lombardy poplar and the weeping willow are only pale yellow; the apple and pear trees, and some of the garden shrubs, lilacs, and syringas, and snowballs, generally wither, without brilliancy, though once in a while they have a fancy for something rather gayer than pale yellow or russet, and are just touched with red or purple.

Some persons occasionally complain that this period of the year, this brilliant change in the foliage, causes melancholy feelings, arousing sad and sorrowful ideas, like the flush on the hectic cheek. But surely its more natural meaning is of a very different import. Here is no sudden blight of youth and beauty; no sweet hopes of life are blasted, no generous aim at usefulness and advancing virtue cut short : the year is drawing to its natural term, the seasons have run their usual course, all their blessings have been enjoyed, all our precious things are cared for; there is nothing of untimeliness, nothing of disappointment in these shorter days and lessening heats of autumn. As well may we mourn over the gorgeous coloring of the clouds, which collect to pay homage to the setting sun, because they proclaim the close of day; as well may we lament the brilliancy of the evening star, and the silvery brightness of the crescent moon, just ascending into the heavens, because they declare the approach of Night and her shadowy train.


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