Another discouragement comes in the worm which saws off the small branches of the Oaks, and leaves the ground strewn with twigs, as after a storm; but that supercilious insect disdains trees the size o ours, and he is still to be anticipated.
Upon some of the dwarf evergreens we have discovered a white scale insect, something like a mealy-bug, which covers the trunks and branches with its white spots, but that seems to yield to the dissuasive effects of soap and water, and disappears after a good scrubbing.
The Hemlocks are to be watched with a new anxiety, since the newspapers tell us of a worm that is destroying the foliage and killing the timber in Potter County, Pennsylvania. This creature infests the trees in great quantities, to the dismay of the lumbermen, who are unable to destroy them. It is hard enough to persuade a Hemlock to grow, any way, but if a beast is lying in wait to devour it, we may as well give up altogether. I am told that there is a book as big as the Bible, published by the Agricultural Department in Washington, about nothing in the world but the insects injurious to forest-trees, which seems enough to discourage the banters, even of a wood that can be covered by a pocket-handkerchief, like our own; but, to crown all, we rashly took a Brobdingnagian in the tree-line to walk in our Lilliput one day - a Brobdingnagian to whom the largest Elm in Hingham is but a walking-stick - and, looking down upon our three-inch Oaks, he complained that there were not trees enough! Lucus a non lucendo - fancy a forest with that deficiency! Having, moreover, discovered that our favorite Beeches were Black Birches, he contrived to impress us with the fact that the best of our forest was the prospect, and that, when the trees were grown, we should not even have that 1 That Brobdingnagian was a terror! Luckily he had not much daylight to see the place in, or we should never have the courage to go on, for wherever we had a good-sized tree he advised that it should be cut down, and if there was a square inch of territory without a seedling he thought it would be a good plan to put in a handful; and he even showed a disposi-tion to discredit our crack story about a yield of forty bushels in the palmy days of our great Pear-tree, Methusaleh, but that may have been because we tried to make him believe they were barrels.
So much for taking a Man-Mountain into Lilliput. I would not have trusted that one alone upon the premises with a pair of scissors, for there is nothing less to be depended on than the cutting mania. Granted that one ultimately accepts the situation, the moment when your tree comes down is always one of anguish. It takes so long to grow, and is so easily destroyed. Our Brobdingnagian took his toll at last, for he pointed out the fact that the flourishing little Elm I have been cherishing to shade the seat in the Box-arbor from the noonday heat, was really injuring the Box and should come down, which it did forthwith, as a tribute to his superior knowledge, - a nice tree, too, that it would take ten years and more to grow again.