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standing in his shop door, his shop was so small, that,
if a traveler should make demonstrations of entering in,
he would have to go out by the back way, and confer
with his customer through a window, about his goods
in the cellar, or, more probably, bespoken, and yet on
the way. I should have gone in, for I felt a real impulse
to trade, if I had not stopped to consider what would
become of him. The day before, we had walked into
a shop, over against an inn where we stopped, the puny
beginning of trade, which would grow at last into a firm
copartnership in the future town or city, indeed, it
was already "Somebody & Co.," I forget who. The
woman came forward from the penetralia of the at
tached house, for " Somebody & Co." was in the burn-



KTAADN 15

ing, and she sold us percussion-caps, canales and smooth,
and knew their prices and qualities, and which the hunt
ers preferred. Here was a little of everything in a small
compass to satisfy the wants and the ambition of the
woods, a stock selected with what pains and care,
and brought home in the wagon-box, or a corner of the
Houlton team ; but there seemed to me, as usual, a pre
ponderance of children's toys, dogs to bark, and cats
to mew, and trumpets to blow, where natives there hardly
are yet. As if a child born into the Maine woods, among
the pine cones and cedar berries, could not do without
such a sugar-man or skipping-jack as the young Roth
schild has.

I think that there was not more than one house on the
road to Molunkus, or for seven miles. At that place we
got over the fence into a new field, planted with potatoes,
where the logs were still burning between the hills ; and,
pulling up the vines, found good-sized potatoes, nearly
ripe, growing like weeds, and turnips mixed with them.
The mode of clearing and planting is to fell the trees,
and burn once what will burn, then cut them up into
suitable lengths, roll into heaps, and burn again; then,
with a hoe, plant potatoes where you can come at the
ground between the stumps and charred logs ; for a first
crop the ashes sufficing for manure, and no hoeing
being necessary the first year. In the fall, cut, roll, and
burn again, and so on, till the land is cleared ; and soon
it is ready for grain, and to be laid down. Let those talk
of poverty and hard times who will in the towns and
cities; cannot the emigrant who can pay his fare to
New York or Boston pay five dollars more to get here,



16 THE MAINE WOODS

I paid three, all told, for my passage from Boston to
Bangor, two hundred and fifty miles, and be as rich
as he pleases, where land virtually costs nothing, and
houses only the labor of building, and he may begin life
as Adam did ? If he will still remember the distinction
of poor and rich, let him bespeak him a narrower house
forthwith.

When we returned to the Mattawamkeag, the Houl-
ton stage had already put up there; and a Province
man was betraying his greenness to the Yankees by his
questions. Why Province money won't pass here at par,
when States' money is good at Fredericton, though
this, perhaps, was sensible enough. From what I saw
then, it appears that the Province man was now the only
real Jonathan, or raw country bumpkin, left so far be
hind by his enterprising neighbors that he did n't know
enough to put a question to them. No people can long
continue provincial in character who have the propen
sity for politics and whittling, and rapid traveling, which
the Yankees have, and who are leaving the mother coun
try behind in the variety of their notions and inventions.
The possession and exercise of practical talent merely
are a sure and rapid means of intellectual culture and
independence.

The last edition of Greenleaf's Map of Maine hung
on the wall here, and, as we had no pocket-map, we re
solved to trace a map of the lake country. So, dipping
a wad of tow into the lamp, we oiled a sheet of paper on
the oiled table-cloth, and, in good faith, traced what we
afterwards ascertained to be a labyrinth of errors, care
fully following the outlines of the imaginary lakes which



KTAADN 17

the map contains. The Map of the Public Lands of
Maine and Massachusetts is the only one I have seen
that at all deserves the name. It was while we were
engaged in this operation that our companions arrived.
They had seen the Indians' fire on the Five Islands,
and so we concluded that all was right.

Early the next morning we had mounted our packs,
and prepared for a tramp up the West Branch, my com
panion having turned his horse out to pasture for a week
or ten days, thinking that a bite of fresh grass and a
taste of running water would do him as much good as
backwoods fare and new country influences his master.
Leaping over a fence, we began to follow an obscure
trail up the northern bank of the Penobscot. There was
now no road further, the river being the only highway,
and but half a dozen log huts, confined to its banks, to
be met with for thirty miles. On either hand, and be
yond, was a wholly uninhabited wilderness, stretching
to Canada. Neither horse nor cow, nor vehicle of any
kind, had ever passed over this ground; the cattle, and
the few bulky articles which the loggers use, being got
up in the winter on the ice, and down again before it
breaks up. The evergreen woods had a decidedly sweet
and bracing fragrance; the air was a sort of diet-drink,
and we walked on buoyantly in Indian file, stretching
our legs. Occasionally there was a small opening on the
bank, made for the purpose of log-rolling, where we got
a sight of the river, always a rocky and rippling
stream. The roar 'of the rapids, the note of a whistler
duck on the river, of the jay and chickadee around us,
and of the pigeon woodpecker in the openings, were the



18 THE MAINE WOODS

sounds that we heard. This was what you might call a
bran-new country; the only roads were of Nature's
making, and the few houses were camps. Here, then,
one could no longer accuse institutions and society, but
must front the true source of evil.

There are three classes of inhabitants who either fre
quent or inhabit the country which we had now entered :
first, the loggers, who, for a part of the year, the winter
and spring, are far the most numerous, but in the sum
mer, except a few explorers for timber, completely de
sert it; second, the few settlers I have named, the only
permanent inhabitants, who live on the verge of it, and
help raise supplies for the former ; third, the hunters,
mostly Indians, who range over it in their season.

At the end of three miles we came to the Mattaseunk
stream and mill, where there was even a rude wooden
railroad running down to the Penobscot, the last rail
road we were to see. We crossed one tract, on the bank
of the river, of more than a hundred acres of heavy tim
ber, which had just been felled and burnt over, and was
still smoking. Our trail lay through the midst of it, and
was well-nigh blotted out. The trees lay at full length,
four or five feet deep, and crossing each other in all di
rections, all black as charcoal, but perfectly sound
within, still good for fuel or for timber; soon they would
be cut into lengths and burnt again. Here were thou
sands of cords, enough to keep the poor of Boston and
New York amply warm for a winter, which only cum
bered the ground and were in the settler's way. And
the whole of that solid and interminable forest is doomed
to be gradually devoured thus by fire, like shavings, and



KTAADN 19

no man be warmed by it. At Crocker's log-hut, at the
mouth of Salmon River, seven miles from the Point,
one of the party commenced distributing a store of
small, cent picture-books among the children, to teach
them to read, and also newspapers, more or less recent,
among the parents, than which nothing can be more
acceptable to a backwoods people. It was really an im
portant item in our outfit, and, at times, the only cur
rency that would circulate. I walked through Salmon
River with my shoes on, it being low water, but not
without wetting my feet. A few miles farther we came
to " Mann Howard's," at the end of an extensive clear
ing, where there were two or three log huts in sight at
once, one on the opposite side of the river, and a few
graves even, surrounded by a wooden paling, where
already the rude forefathers of a hamlet lie, and a
thousand years hence, perchance, some poet will write
his " Elergy in a Country Churchyard." The " Village
Hampdens," the "mute, inglorious Miltons," and
Cromwells, "guiltless of" their "country's blood,"
were yet unborn.

"Perchance in this wild spot there will be laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre."

The next house was Fisk's, ten miles from the Point
at the mouth of the East Branch, opposite to the island
Nicketow, or the Forks, the last of the Indian islands.
I am particular to give the names of the settlers and the
distances, since every log hut in these woods is a public
house, and such information is of no little consequence



20 THE MAINE WOODS

to those who may have occasion to travel this way. Our
course here crossed the Penobscot, and followed the
southern bank. One of the party, who entered the house
in search of some one to set us over, reported a very neat
dwelling, with plenty of books, and a new wife, just im
ported from Boston, wholly new to the woods. We found
the East Branch a large and rapid stream at its mouth
and much deeper than it appeared. Having with some
difficulty discovered the trail again, we kept up the south
side of the West Branch, or main river, passing by some
rapids called Rock-Ebeeme, the roar of which we heard
through the woods, and, shortly after, in the thickest
of the wood, some empty loggers' camps, still new,
which were occupied the previous winter. Though we
saw a few more afterwards, I will make one account
serve for all. These were such houses as the lumberers
of Maine spend the winter in, in the wilderness. There
were the camps and the hovels for the cattle, hardly
distinguishable, except that the latter had no chimney.
These camps were about twenty feet long by fifteen
wide, built of logs, hemlock, cedar, spruce or yellow
birch, one kind alone, or all together, with the bark
on; two or three large ones first, one directly above an
other, and notched together at the ends, to the height
of three or four feet, then of smaller logs resting upon
transverse ones at the ends, each of the last successively
shorter than the other, to form the roof. The chimney
was an oblong square hole in the middle, three or four
feet in diameter, with a fence of logs as high as the ridge.
The interstices were filled with moss, and the roof was
shingled with long and handsome splints of cedar, or



KTAADN 21

spruce, or pine, rifted with a sledge and cleaver. The
fireplace, the most important place of all, was in shape
and size like the chimney, and directly under it, defined
by a log fence or fender on the ground, and a heap of
ashes, a foot or two deep within, with solid benches of
split logs running round it. Here the fire usually melts
the snow, and dries the rain before it can descend to
quench it. The faded beds of arbor- vitse leaves extended
under the eaves on either hand. There was the place
for the water-pail, pork-barrel, and wash-basin, and
generally a dingy pack of cards left on a log. Usually a
good deal of whittling was expended on the latch, which
was made of wood, in the form of an iron one. These
houses are made comfortable by the huge fires, which
can be afforded night and day. Usually the scenery
about them is drear and savage enough ; and the loggers'
camp is as completely in the woods as a fungus at the
foot of a pine in a swamp; no outlook but to the sky
overhead; no more clearing than is made by cutting
down the trees of which it is built, and those which are
necessary for fuel. If only it be well sheltered and con
venient to his work, and near a spring, he wastes no
thought on the prospect. They are very proper forest
houses, the stems of the trees collected together and
piled up around a man to keep out wind and rain,
made of living green logs, hanging with moss and lichen,
and with the curls and fringes of the yellow birch bark,
and dripping with resin, fresh and moist, and redolent
of swampy odors, with that sort of vigor and peren-
nialness even about them that toadstools suggest. 1 The
1 Springer, in his Forest Life (1851), says that they first remove the



22 THE MAINE WOODS

logger's fare consists of tea, molasses, flour, pork (some
times beef), and beans. A great proportion of the beans
raised in Massachusetts find their market here. On
expeditions it is only hard bread and pork, often raw,
slice upon slice, with tea or water, as the case may be.

The primitive wood is always and everywhere damp
and mossy, so that I traveled constantly with the im
pression that I was in a swamp; and only when it was
remarked that this or that tract, judging from the qual
ity of the timber on it, would make a profitable clearing,
was I reminded, that if the sun were let in it would make
a dry field, like the few I had seen, at once. The best
shod for the most part travel with wet feet. If the ground
was so wet and spongy at this, the dryest part of a dry
season, what must it be in the spring ? The woods here
abouts abounded in beech and yellow birch, of which
last there were some very large specimens; also spruce,
cedar, fir, and hemlock; but we saw only the stumps
of the white pine here, some of them of great size, these
having been already culled out, being the only tree
much sought after, even as low down as this. Only a
little spruce and hemlock beside had been logged here.
The Eastern wood which is sold for fuel in Massachu-

leaves and turf from the spot where they intend to build a camp, for
fear of fire; also, that "the spruce-tree is generally selected for camp-
building, it being light, straight, and quite free from sap;" that "the
roof is finally covered with the boughs of the fir, spruce, and hemlock,
so that when the snow falls upon the whole, the warmth of the camp
is preserved in the coldest weather;" and that they make the log seat
before the fire, called the "Deacon's Seat," of a spruce or fir split in
halves, with three or four stout limbs left on one side for legs, which are
not likely to get loose.



KTAADN 23

setts all comes from below Bangor. It was the pine
alone, chiefly the white pine, that had tempted any but
the hunter to precede us on this route.

Waite's farm, thirteen miles from the Point, is an
extensive and elevated clearing, from which we got a
fine view of the river, rippling and gleaming far be
neath us. My companions had formerly had a good
view of Ktaadn and the other mountains here, but
to-day it was so smoky that we could see nothing of
them. We could overlook an immense country of un
interrupted forest, stretching away up the East Branch
toward Canada on the north and northwest, and to
ward the Aroostook valley on the northeast; and im
agine what wild life was stirring in its midst. Here was
quite a field of corn for this region, whose peculiar dry
scent we perceived a third of a mile off, before we saw it.

Eighteen miles from the Point brought us in sight of
McCauslin's, or " Uncle George's," as he was familiarly
called by my companions, to whom he was well known,
where we intended to break our long fast. His house
was in the midst of an extensive clearing or intervale,
at the mouth of the Little Schoodic River, on the op
posite or north bank of the Penobscot. So we collected
on a point of the shore, that we might be seen, and fired
our gun as a signal, which brought out his dogs forth
with, and thereafter their master, who in due time took
us across in his batteau. This clearing was bounded
abruptly, on all sides but the river, by the naked stems
of the forest, as if you were to cut only a few feet square
in the midst of a thousand acres of mowing, and set
down a thimble therein. He had a whole heaven and



24 THE MAINE WOODS

horizon to himself, and the sun seemed to be journey
ing over his clearing only the livelong day. Here we
concluded to spend the night, and wait for the Indians,
as there was no stopping-place so convenient above.
He had seen no Indians pass, and this did not often
happen without his knowledge. He thought that his
dogs sometimes gave notice of the approach of Indians
half an hour before they arrived.

McCauslin was a Kennebec man, of Scotch descent,
who had been a waterman twenty -two years, and had
driven on the lakes and headwaters of the Penobscot
five or six springs in succession, but was now settled
here to raise supplies for the lumberers and for himself.
He entertained us a day or two with true Scotch hospi
tality, and would accept no recompense for it. A man
of a dry wit and shrewdness, and a general intelligence
which I had not looked for in the back woods. In fact,
the deeper you penetrate into the woods, the more in
telligent, and, in one sense, less countrified do you find
the inhabitants; for always the pioneer has been a
traveler, and, to some extent, a man of the world; and,
as the distances with which he is familiar are greater,
so is his information more general and far reaching
than the villager's. If I were to look for a narrow, un
informed, and countrified mind, as opposed to the intel
ligence and refinement which are thought to emanate
from cities, it would be among the rusty inhabitants
of an old-settled country, on farms all run out and
gone to seed with life-everlasting, in the towns about
Boston, even on the high-road in Concord, and not in
the back woods of Maine.



KTAADN 25

Supper was got before our eyes in the ample kitchen,
by a fire which would have roasted an ox; many whole
logs, four feet long, were consumed to boil our tea
kettle, birch, or beech, or maple, the same summer
and winter; and the dishes were soon smoking on the
table, late the arm-chair, against the wall, from which
one of the party was expelled. The arms of the chair
formed the frame on which the table rested ; and, when
the round top was turned up against the wall, it formed
the back of the chair, and was no more in the way than
the wall itself. This, we noticed, was the prevailing
fashion in these log houses, in order to economize in
room. There were piping-hot wheaten cakes, the flour
having been brought up the river in batteaux, no
Indian bread, for the upper part of Maine, it will be re
membered, is a wheat country, and ham, eggs, and
potatoes, and milk and cheese, the produce of the farm;
and also shad and salmon, tea sweetened with molasses,
and sweet cakes, in contradistinction to the hot cakes
not sweetened, the one white, the other yellow, to wind
up with. Such we found was the prevailing fare, or
dinary and extraordinary, along this river. Mountain
cranberries (Vaccinium Vitis-Idced), stewed and sweet
ened, were the common dessert. Everything here was
in profusion, and the best of its kind. Butter was in such
plenty that it was commonly used, before it was salted,
to grease boots with.

In the night we were entertained by the sound of
rain-drops on the cedar splints which covered the roof,
and awaked the next morning with a drop or two in
our eyes. It had set in for a storm, and we made up



26 THE MAINE WOODS

our minds not to forsake such comfortable quarters with
this prospect, but wait for Indians and fair weather. It
rained and drizzled and gleamed by turns, the livelong
day. What we did there, how we killed the time would
perhaps be idle to tell; how many times we buttered
our boots, and how often a drowsy one was seen to sidle
off to the bedroom. When it held up, I strolled up and
down the bank, and gathered the harebell and cedar
berries, which grew there; or else we tried by turns the
long-handled axe on the logs before the door. The axe-
helves here were made to chop standing on the log,
a primitive log of course, and were, therefore, nearly
a foot longer than with us. One while we walked over
the farm and visited his well-filled barns with McCaus-
lin. There were one other man and two women only
here. He kept horses, cows, oxen, and sheep. I think
he said that he was the first to bring a plow and a cow
so far; and he might have added the last, with only
two exceptions. The potato-rot had found him out here,
too, the previous year, and got half or two thirds of his
crop, though the seed was of his own raising. Oats,
grass, and potatoes were his staples; but he raised, also,
a few carrots and turnips, and "a little corn for the
hens," for this was all that he dared risk, for fear that
it would not ripen. Melons, squashes, sweet corn, beans,
tomatoes, and many other vegetables, could not be
ripened there.

The very few settlers along this stream were obvi
ously tempted by the cheapness of the land mainly.
When I asked McCauslin why more settlers did not
come in, he answered, that one reason was, they could



KTAADN 27

not buy the land, it belonged to individuals or compa
nies who were afraid that their wild lands would be set
tled, and so incorporated into towns, and they be taxed
for them; but to settling on the State's land there was
no such hindrance. For his own part, he wanted no
neighbors, he did n't wish to see any road by his
house. Neighbors, even the best, were a trouble and
expense, especially on the score of cattle and fences.
They might live across the river, perhaps, but not on
the same side.

The chickens here were protected by the dogs. As
McCauslin said, " The old one took it up first, and she
taught the pup, and now they had got it into their heads
that it would n't do to have anything of the bird kind
on the premises." A hawk hovering over was not
allowed to alight, but barked off by the dogs circling
underneath; and a pigeon, or a "yellow-hammer," as
they called the pigeon woodpecker, on a dead limb or
stump, was instantly expelled. It was the main business
of their day, and kept them constantly coming and
going. One would rush out of the house on the least
alarm given by the other.

When it rained hardest, we returned to the house,
and took down a tract from the shelf. There was the
"Wandering Jew," cheap edition, and fine print, the
"Criminal Calendar," and "Parish's Geography,"
and flash novels two or three. Under the pressure of
circumstances, we read a little in these. With such aid,
the press is not so feeble an engine, after all. This house,
which was a fair specimen of those on this river, was
built of huge logs, which peeped out everywhere, and



28 THE MAINE WOODS

were chinked with clay and moss. It contained four or
five rooms. There were no sawed boards, or shingles,
or clapboards, about it; and scarcely any tool but the
axe had been used in its construction. The partitions
were made of long clapboard-like splints, of spruce or
cedar, turned to a delicate salmon-color by the smoke.
The roof and sides were covered with the same, instead
of shingles and clapboards, and some of a much thicker
and larger size were used for the floor. These were all
so straight and smooth, that they answered the purpose
admirably, and a careless observer would not have sus
pected that they were not sawed and planed. The chim
ney and hearth were of vast size, and made of stone.
The broom was a few twigs of arbor- vitae tied to a stick ;
and a pole was suspended over the hearth, close to the
ceiling, to dry stockings and clothes on. I noticed that
the floor was full of small, dingy holes, as if made with
a gimlet, but which were, in fact, made by the spikes,
nearly an inch long, which the lumberers wear in their
boots to prevent their slipping on wet logs. Just above
McCauslin's, there is a rocky rapid, where logs jam in
the spring; and many "drivers" are there collected,
who frequent his house for supplies; these were their
tracks which I saw.

At sundown McCauslin pointed away over the forest,

across the river, to signs of fair weather amid the clouds,

some evening redness there. For even there the

points of compass held ; and there was a quarter of the

heavens appropriated to sunrise and another to sunset.

The next morning, the weather proving fair enough
for our purpose, we prepared to start, and, the Indians



KTAADN 29

having failed us, persuaded McCausKn, who was not
unwilling to revisit the scenes of his driving, to accom
pany us in their stead, intending to engage one other
boatman on the way. A strip of cotton cloth for a tent,
a couple of blankets, which would suffice for the whole



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