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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 12

A boy at 14 is a mystery. He is not old enough to have judgement of any value; at least his superiors in age look at it in that way as very liable to err in that respect.

In the saw-mill yard at Quaker Village stood a large butternut tree, and in the fall there was a great many nuts on it. This kind of nuts hang on the tree generally until frost comes. This year the frost was late, I had been looking to get our share one half. I noticed young men would come there, and knock them off and crack and eat them until satisfied. I told father how they were being used up in that way; father said, at last. “We will have tomorrow to see if we cannot have some.” The next morning I went up there early, and how it was possible for anyone even if it was a moonlight night? Had gathered every one, scarcely one left!

I went into the house and told father about it. He made no remark at all. As I look at it now, what was the use? It might have been ten days afterwards a young girl was sent to our house with a two quart measure full of butternut meats, very nicely taken from the nuts. Mother made a cake with them in it; also pies that were extremely rich, but as I remember proved to be of healthy living.

Somewhat later father started out with his span of horses lumber box wagon with two double chairs for seats. They were like the kitchen chairs of those days, bottoms of oak prepared and wove very substantial. Two grown people or three children could sit in one of them. Father drove down about three miles where on the bank of the Otter creek there were butternut and walnut trees and we spent the whole day in gathering those nuts; we had for company on this trip my Uncle Robbins and aunt also their daughter Loeazer. It was a fine day. Such perfect happiness comes only a few times in one life. That is: According to Herbert Spencer, who says, “No one can be perfectly happy, until all are happy. At the time such experience comes to the young we neglect to appreciate them, we are anticipating something beyond that will outweigh the present, sometimes we get there, and find more or less reality, but sometimes we find disappointment.”

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

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