Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The delectable way of life at the Brook Farm

by Nathaniel Hawthone
To Louisa Hawthorne
Brook Farm, West Roxbury
May 3 1841

AS the weather precludes all possibility of ploughing hoeing sowing and other such operations I bethink me that you may have no objections to hear something of my whereabout and whatabout. You are to know then that I took up my abode here on the 12th ultimo in the midst of a snow storm which kept us all idle for a day or two At the first glimpse of fair weather Mr Ripley summoned us into the cow yard and introduced me to an instrument with four prongs commonly entitled a dung fork With this tool I have already assisted to load twenty or thirty carts of manure and shall take part in loading nearly three hundred more.  Besides I have planted potatoes and pease cut straw and hay for the cattle and done various other mighty works.  This very morning I milked three cows and I milk two or three every night and morning.  The weather has been so unfavorable that we have worked comparatively little in the fields but nevertheless I have gained strength, wonderfully grown quite a giant, in fact and can do a day's work without the slightest inconvenience. In short I am transformed into a complete farmer.
This is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw in my life and as secluded as if it were a hundred miles from any city or village. There are woods in which we can ramble all day without meeting anybody or scarcely seeing a house. Our house stands apart from the main road so that we are not troubled even with passengers looking at us. Once in a while we have a transcendental visitor such as Mr Alcott but generally we pass whole days without seeing a single face save those of the brethren. The whole fraternity eat together and such a delectable way of life has never been seen on earth since the days of the early Christians. We get up at half past four, breakfast at half past six, dine at half past twelve and go to bed at nine. The thin frock which you made for me is considered a most splendid article and I should not wonder if it were to become the summer uniform of the Community. I have a thick frock likewise but it is rather deficient in grace though extremely warm and comfortable. I wear a tremendous pair of cowhide boots with soles two inches thick.  Of course when I come to see you I shall wear my farmer's dress.  I would write more but William Allen is going to the village and must have this letter so good by,
Nath Hawthorne

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