The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 168

so
confusedly, in its effort to keep in the valleys, that I no longer knew
in what direction lay the sweet village of B----, where I had determined
to stop for the night. The sun had scarcely shone--strictly
speaking--during the day, which nevertheless, had been unpleasantly
warm. A smoky mist, resembling that of the Indian summer, enveloped all
things, and of course, added to my uncertainty. Not that I cared much
about the matter. If I did not hit upon the village before sunset,
or even before dark, it was more than possible that a little
Dutch farmhouse, or something of that kind, would soon make its
appearance--although, in fact, the neighborhood (perhaps on account of
being more picturesque than fertile) was very sparsely inhabited. At
all events, with my knapsack for a pillow, and my hound as a sentry, a
bivouac in the open air was just the thing which would have amused me.
I sauntered on, therefore, quite at ease--Ponto taking charge of my
gun--until at length, just as I had begun to consider whether the
numerous little glades that led hither and thither, were intended to
be paths at all, I was conducted by one of them into an unquestionable
carriage track. There could be no mistaking it. The traces of light
wheels were evident; and although the tall shrubberies and overgrown
undergrowth met overhead, there was no obstruction whatever below, even
to the passage of a Virginian mountain wagon--the most aspiring vehicle,
I take it, of its kind. The road, however, except in being open through
the wood--if wood be not too weighty a name for such an assemblage of
light trees--and except in the particulars of evident wheel-tracks--bore
no resemblance to any road I had before seen. The tracks of which I
speak were but faintly perceptible--having been impressed upon the firm,
yet pleasantly moist surface of--what looked more like green Genoese
velvet than any thing else. It was grass, clearly--but grass such as we
seldom see out of England--so short, so thick, so even, and so vivid in
color. Not a single impediment lay in the wheel-route--not even a chip
or dead twig. The stones that once obstructed the way had been carefully
placed--not thrown-along the sides of the lane, so as to define its
boundaries at bottom with a kind of half-precise, half-negligent, and
wholly picturesque definition. Clumps of wild flowers grew everywhere,
luxuriantly, in the interspaces.

What to make of all this, of course I knew not. Here was art
undoubtedly--that did not surprise me--all roads, in the ordinary sense,
are works of art; nor can I say that there

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