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the rent of the little farm. I was in feeble
health: and a summer's run was decreed for
me, out of the way of school and books. My
life for six months was very like playing at
Farmer's Boy.

That small bed-room where I slept, with its
worm-eaten floor and undraperied lattices, was,
I suspect, not very perfect in its arrangements
for ventilation; but then neither door nor
window shut close, and the free air, redolent
of heath and furze, found its way in, and did
its purifying offices after an imperfect fashion.
The first morning began my new country life
and a very novel life it was. It was Sunday.
The house was quiet; and when I crept down
into the kitchen, I found my friend the
farmer's wife preparing breakfast. On one
side of that family room was a large oaken
table covered with huge basins, and a mighty
loaf; over a turf fire hung an enormous
skillet, full to the brim with simmering milk.
One by one, three or four young men dropped
in, jauntily dressed in the cleanest smock-
frocksthe son of the house had a smart
Sunday coat, with an expansive nosegay of
daffodils and wallflowers. They sat quietly
down at the oak table, and their portions of
milk were distributed to each. Now entered
the farmerof whom I still think with deep
respecta yeoman of simple habits but of
large intelligence. He had been in the household
of the Governor of Pennsylvania before
the War of Independence; and could tell me
of a wonderful man named Franklin, whom
he had known; and of the Torpedo on which
he had seen Governor Walsh make experiments;
and of lightning drawn from the clouds.
The farmer, his wife, and the little boy who
had come to dwell with them, sat down at
a round table nearer the fire. Sunday was a
great day in that household. There was the
cheerful walk to church; the anticipations of
the coming dinner, not loud but earnest;
the promise of the afternoon cricket. Returned
from church, the kitchen had been somewhat
changed in appearance since the morning;
the oak table was moved into the centre, and
covered with a coarse cloth as white as the
May-blossom; the turf fire gave out a fierce
heat, almost unbearable by the urchin who
sat on a low stool, turning, with no mechanical
aid, the spit which rested upon two andirons,
or dogs, and supported in his labour by the
grateful fragrance of the steaming beef. To
that Sunday dinnerthe one dinner of fresh
meat for the weekall sat down; and a happy
meal it was, with no lack even of dainties: for
there was a flowing bowl of cream to make
palatable the hard suet pudding, and a large
vinegar-bottle, with notches in the cork to
besprinkle the cabbage, and a Dutch cheese
and, if I dream not, a taste from a flask
that emerged mysteriously from a corner
cupboard. Then came the cricket and trapball
of Southern England, yawns in the
twilight, a glimmering candle, the chapter in the
Family Bible, and an early bed.

The morning of Monday was a busier
scene. I was roused at six; but the common
breakfast was over. The skillet had been
boiled at five; the farmer was off to sell a
calf; the ploughmen had taken their teams
a-field. The kitchen was solitary. I should
have thought myself alone in that world, but
for a noisy companionship of chickens and
ducklings, that came freely in to pick the
crumbs off the floor. I wandered into the
farm-yard, ankle-deep in muck. In a shed I
found my hostess, not disdaining to milk her
petted cows. Her hand and her eye were
everywherefrom the cow-stall to the dairy,
from the hen's nest to the fatting coop. Are
there any such wives left amongst us ?
Bloomfield has described the milking-time,
pretty much as I saw it in those primitive

"Forth comes the Maid, and like the morning smiles;
  The Mistress, too, and follow'd close by Giles
  A friendly tripod forms their humble seat,
  With pails bright scour'd and delicately sweet.
  Where shadowing elms obstruct the morning ray
  Begins their work, begins the simple lay;
  The full-charg'd udder yields its willing streams
  While Mary sings some lover's amorous dreams;
  And crouching Giles beneath a neighbouring tree
  Tugs o'er his pail, and chants with equal glee;
  Whose hat with tatter'd brim, of nap so bare,
  From the cow's side purloins a coat of hair,
  A mottled ensign of his harmless trade,
  An unambitious, peaceable cockade.
  As unambitious too that cheerful aid
  The Mistress yields beside her rosy Maid:
  With joy she views her plenteous reeking store
  And bears a brimmer to the dairy door;
  Her cows dismiss'd, the luscious mead to roam,
  Till eve again recall them loaded home."

After the milking-time was the breakfast
for the good wife and for "Mary." Twice a
week there was churning to be done; and as
the butter came more quickly in the warmth
of the kitchen, the churn was removed there
in that chilly spring-time. There was no
formal dinner on week-days in that house.
The loaf stood upon the table, with a vast
piece of bacon, an abundant supply of which
rested upon a strong rack below the ceiling.
Some of the men had taken their dinner to
the distant field; another or so came carelessly
in, and cutting a huge slice of the brown
bread and the home-cured, pulled out what
was called a pocket-knife, and despatched
the meal with intense enjoyment. At three, the
ploughmen returned home. That was an hour
of delight to me, for I was privileged to ride
a horse to water in a neighbouring pond. The
afternoon, as far as I remember, was one of
idleness. In the gloaming (why should we
not Anglicise the word?) the young men slid
into the kitchen. The farmer sat reading,
the wife knitting. There was a corner in the
enormous chimney, where I dwelt apart,
watching the turf smoke as it curled up the
vast chasm. There was no assumption of
dignity in the master when a song was called