Until Thoreau arrived to make acquaintance with its hard yet fascinating personality, Cape Cod remained unknown and almost unseen, though often visited and written about by tourists and students of nature. Something in the asceticism, or the directness, or the amazing keenness, of Thoreau's mind brought him into sympatnetic understanding of the thing he saw, and he interpreted the level stretches of shore with absolute fidelity. In these pages the melancholy land looks as "long, lank, and brown" as it looks lying under the gray autumn sky.
clothes on a rock; further, a woman's scarf, a gown, a straw bonnet, the brig's caboose, and one of her masts high and dry, broken into several pieces. In another rocky cove, several rods from the water, and behind rocks twenty feet high, lay a part of one side of the vessel, still hanging together. It was, perhaps, forty feet long, by fourteen wide. I was even more surprised at the power of the waves, exhibited on this shattered fragment, than I had been at the sight of the smaller fragments before. The largest timbers and iron braces were broken superfluously, and I saw that no material could withstand the power of the waves; that iron must go to pieces in such a case, and an iron vessel would be cracked up like an egg-shell on the rocks. Some of these timbers, however, were so rotten that I could almost thrust my umbrella through them. They told us that some were saved on this piece, and also showed where the sea had heaved it into this cove, which was now dry. When I saw where it had come in, and in what
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