Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862) Autograph Manuscript Leaf from Cape Cod. Single lined manuscript leaf, c. 1849, inscribed in brown ink on one side with corrections in pencil, of Thoreau's working notes on Cape Cod, based on an 1849 visit to the Cape in which Thoreau and Ellery Channing toured the land on foot; Thoreau adapted these notes first into a series of lectures and later into a complete book, published posthumously in 1865; the manuscript text here varies from the published version, matted and framed, the leaf set into a narrow paper window mount, not directly mounted onto a full sheet, verso still accessible, neat break along an old horizontal fold without loss, 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 in.
[…] the ocean much better than land carriage, on seeing a man driving a wagon in the place street, expressed his surprise at his being able to drive so straight without the assistance of a rudder." A sleigh is never seen at least it's a great novelty, on the Cape the snow being either absorbed by the sand or blown into drifts.
Yet we counted half a dozen 3 large meeting houses and 4 school houses nearly as large, or what looked like meeting houses on this street, though some ^of these^ had a tight board fence about them to preserve the plot within level and hard. These fences even within a foot of many of these houses gave the town a less cheerful & hospitable appearance. However, they told us that on the whole, the sand had made no progress for the last ten years. The cows are no longer permitted to go at large, and every means is taken to stop the sandy tide.
The Harbor of Provincetown, which as well as the greater part of the Bay, and an indefinite expanse of the ocean, we overlooked from our perch, is deservedly famous.
the ocean much better than land travel, on seeing a man driving a wagon in the street, expressed his surprise at his being able to drive so straight without the assistance of a rudder." There was no rattle of carts, and there would have been no rattle if there had been any carts. Some saddle-horses that passed the hotel in the evening merely made the sand fly with a rustling sound like a writer sanding his paper copiously, but there was no sound of their tread. No doubt there are more horses and carts there at present. A sleigh is never seen, or at least is a great novelty on the Cape, the snow being either absorbed by the sand or blown into drifts.
Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the Cape generally do not complain of their "soil," but will tell you that it is good enough for them to dry their fish on.
Notwithstanding all this sand, we counted three meeting-houses, and four school-houses nearly as large, on this street, though some had a tight board fence about them to preserve the plot within level and hard. Similar fences, even within a foot of many of the houses, gave the town a less cheerful and hospitable appearance than it would otherwise have had. They told us that, on the whole, the sand had made no progress for the last ten years, the cows being no longer permitted to go at large, and every means being taken to stop the sandy tide.
[…] The Harbor of Provincetown-which, as well as the greater part of the Bay, and a wide expanse of ocean, we overlooked from our perch-is deservedly famous.
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