1911: Autumn Leaves

Albert Bierstadt - Autumn Woods (1886)

From the December 9, 1911 issue of The Outlook:

A number of years ago I was invited to visit a friend who lived at a large and beautiful country-seat on the Hudson. Shortly after my arrival I started, with a number of other guests, to make a tour of the very extensive grounds. We walked for an hour or more, and thoroughly explored the place. Upon my return to the house I discovered that I had lost a gold cuff-stud that I valued for association’s sake. I merely remembered that I wore it when we started out, and did not think of or notice it again until my return, when it was missing. As it was quite dark, it seemed useless to search for it, especially as it was the season of autumn and the ground was covered with dead leaves.

That night I dreamed that I saw a withered grape-vine clinging to a wall, and with a pile of dead leaves at its base. Underneath the leaves, in my dream, I distinctly saw my stud gleaming.

The following morning I asked the friends with whom I had been walking the previous afternoon if they remembered seeing any such wall and vine, as I did not. They replied that they could not recall any-thing answering the description. I did not tell them why I asked, as I felt somewhat ashamed of the dream, but during the morning I made some excuse to go out in the grounds alone. I walked hither and thither, and after a long time I suddenly came upon the wall and vine exactly as they looked in my dream. I had not the slightest recollection of seeing them or passing by them on the previous day. The dead leaves at the base were lying heaped up, as in my dream. I approached cautiously, feeling rather uncomfortable and decidedly silly, and pushed them aside. I had scattered a large number of leaves when a gleam of gold struck my eye, and there lay the stud exactly as in my dream.

Image: Albert Bierstadt: Autumn Woods (1886)

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