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LUNCH BY THE BROOIZSIDE.   75

But let us return to the little bridge. From the northward comes the brook, winding here and there through meadow and swamp, from its source miles away among the hills and barrens. For the most part of the distance it has loitered through meadows, where it becomes deep and smooth — a beautiful mirror reflecting the upper world in softened shades, where the sky is a tenderer blue, and shrubs and grass and trees are therein pictured with a softening touch of beauty. Hither come the herons to dress their plumes, the swallows to run down their prey, and the dragon-flies all day long court this " amorous looking-glass " in many a wayward clash and turn.

But I must not loiter also. Here, then, betwixt the road and a pole dam, we will rest and re-fresh ourselves with the water at our feet. There are so many native inhabitants of this spot that one will needs be blind not to heed them. With-out stirring ten rods away one might find enough of life to employ him for years in observing it and writing down what he learned. At a venture, within a circle of ten rods in diameter grow fifty different species of plants or vegetable life ; of animal life, including birds and beasts and in-sects of all kinds, there are still more. One may sit on this tiny rustic bridge, and luxuriously hang his legs over the end of it, till his feet almost


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