Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Exploring the 19th Century Maine Wilderness

Explore the Maine wilderness of over 150 years ago with Henry David Thoreau in his classic travelogue, The Maine Woods.  Our book trailer elaborates.

MPL Book Trailer #226
The Maine Woods, by Henry David Thoreau

It should come as no surprise that one of my ancestors was a roving reporter who hung around Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.  He even wrote about my relative:

"The very dogs and cats incline to affection in their relation to man.  It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being.  What bond is it relates us to any animal we keep in the house but the bond of affection?  In a degree we grow to love one another."  (Thoreau, Henry David.  Journal, April 29, 1851.)

"Even the cat which lies on a rug all day commences to prowl about the fields at night, resumes her ancient forest habits.  The most tenderly bred grimalkin steals forth at night, -- watches some bird on its perch for an hour in the furrow, [....]  Caressed by children and cherished with a saucer of milk.  Even she can erect her back and expand her tail and spit at her enemies like the wild cat of the woods.  Sweet Sylvia!"  (Thoreau, Henry David.  Journal, April 30, 1851.)

Did I mention that my ancestor's name was Sylvia?  We don't have any sketches or daguerreotypes of her, but we have a modern rendering of what she may have looked like:

Yep.  Pretty Much.
(Click Photos to Bigify)

Seriously, we have a photo of one of Sylvia's descendants:

Champion Max (ca. 1895)
Maine Coon Cat
Boston, MA
Human:  Mrs. C. F. Taylor

We have a daguerreotype of Thoreau:

Henry David Thoreau (1856)
(Photography by Benjamin D. Maxham)

If I could time travel, I'd accompany Thoreau during his adventures in the Maine Wilderness in 1846, 1853, and 1857.  But reading his lively account of his journeys is practically the same thing.  Thoreau reports his experiences and observations in a straightforward, journalistic manner, only occasionally philosophizing (he was, after all, a philosopher).  Wry wit and poignant insights appear throughout.  It is as close as modern humans can come to having seen this largely uninhabited wilderness before the American Civil War.

The Maine Woods is available to checkout from our Evergreen Indiana catalog.  If you love walking in the backwoods, you will thoroughly enjoy this wonderful historical treasure.





Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat


P.S.  Coincidentally, the movie adaptation (2015) of the book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson (1998), is set for release this Labor Day weekend.  Here's the official movie trailer.

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