Page:Letters of Life.djvu/402

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clivities with the title of "Mrs. Sigourney's broomstick." Notwithstanding all their abuse, it is now a tree of goodly height and size, the centre of a line of some half dozen of the Hippocastanus tribe, remarkable for little else save their reluctance to put forth their flowers at the proper season.

We found a clan of maples on the outer border of our territory when we first took possession of it. There they still maintain a sort of sullen sovereignty, like aborigines who conceive themselves not sufficiently esteemed, but are doggedly determined to live and look as they please.

Among the original settlers was a bevy of sprawling apple trees. Coming from scenes where every growing thing had been trained to symmetry, and made as beautiful as its nature would admit, I was extremely disgusted at their aspect. But when their season of efflorescence came, I was mollified, for they surfeited us with fragrance. One of them, a delicately shaped crab, in its fleecy white tissue, like a bride, called forth unqualified admiration, while its bright red fruit supplied us with pure, delicious jellies.

So, sacrificing my prejudices, I caused the bodies of these despised retainers to be bathed autumnally with a dilution of soap, sulphur, and wood-ashes, enriched and loosened the earth about their roots, and removed some of their most odious excrescences. These friendly offices seemed to me no more than a fit offering, or atone-