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snow) may come on; and there is no lack of
tales, about the Christmas hearth, of men
who have gone up to the wild and desolate
Fells and have never been seen more, but
whose voices are yet heard calling on their
dogs, or uttering fierce despairing cries for
help; and so they will call till the end of
time, till their whitened bones have risen

Towards the middle of January, great care
is necessary, as by this time the sheep have
grown weak and lean with lack of food, and
the excess of cold. Yet as the mountain sheep
will not eat turnips, but must be fed with hay,
it is a piece of economy to delay beginning to
feed them as long as possible; and to know
the exact nick of time, requires as much skill
as must have been possessed by Eunice's
father in Miss Austen's delightful novel,
who required his gruel "thin, but not too
thinthick, but not too thick." And so
the Shepherd's Calendar works round to
yeaning time again! It must be a pleasant
employment; reminding one of Wordsworth's

"In that fair clime, the lonely herdsman stretched
On the soft grass, through half the summer's day," &c.

and of shepherd-boys with their reedy pipes,
taught by Pan, and of the Chaldean
shepherds studying the stars; of Poussin's picture
of the Good Shepherd, of the " Shepherds
keeping watch by night! " and I don't know
how many other things, not forgetting some
of Cooper's delightful pieces.

While I was thus rarnbling on in thought,
my host was telling me of the prices of wool
that year, for we had grown quite confidential
by this time. Wool was sold by the stone;
he expected to get ten or twelve shillings a
stone; it took three or four fleeces to make a
stone: before the Australian wool came in,
he had got twenty shillings, ay and more;
but nowand again we sighed over the
degeneracy of the times, till he took up his
pipe (not Pandean) for consolation, and I
bethought me of the long walk home, and
the tired little ones, who must not be worried.
So, with much regret, we took our leave;
the fiddler had just arrived as we were wishing
goodbye; the shadow of the house had
overspread the yard; the boys were more in
number than the sheep that remained to be
shorn; the busy women were dishing up
great smoking rounds of beef; and in addition
to all the provision I had seen in the boilers,
large-mouthed ovens were disgorging berry
pies without end, and rice-puddings stuck full
of almonds and raisins.

As we descended the hill, we passed a little
rustic bridge with a great alder bush near
it. Underneath sat Isabel, as rosy red as
ever, but dimpling up with smiles, while
Tom lay at her feet, and looked up into her
eyes; his faithful sheep-dog sat by him, but
flapped his tail vainly in hope of obtaining
some notice. His master was too much
absorbed for that. Poor Fly! Every dog has
his. day, and yours was not this tenth of


WHO and what was Hobson? I had often
asked myself these questions. Often, when
alone and miserable, had I been comforted by
the selfish reflection that Hobson must have
been worse off than myself. I think it is
Rochefoucauld who says that it is wonderful
with what patience we bear the misfortunes
of our neighbours; and, in the same way, I
found it surprising that no antiquarianno
large-hearted philanthropisthad been found
to inquire into the birth, parentage, career,
and terrible choice of Hobson. As I have
declared, I had often been comforted when
"the waves deepened on my path," with the
serene reflection, that if the bitter cup was
almost a bumper for me, it must have been
filled to the " beaded brim " for my unknown
friend Hobson. And then, when this
reflection soothed my sorrow, when I forgot
my cut finger in the reflection that Hobson's
arm must have been amputated, I have been led
to dwell with interest on the probable career
and fate of this unfortunate gentleman.
Hobson has immortalised himself, I thought, yet
who knows anything of him and his
memorable choice? I have had visions of him,
jammed between two walls; required, with a
halter about his neck, to marry an attractive
bride of seventy-eight; quietly requested to
give up his purse or forfeit his lite; gently
reminded that he must pay his friend's bill,
or renew it for double the original amount;
or indulgently allowed to choose between the
stake and the axe. It is a pity, however, I
thought, that no antiquarian has been found
to amuse himself with Hobson and his choice;
and I felt inclined to give to any gentleman
the liberty to make use of my suggestion of
a work to be entitled  "The Life arid Times
of Hobson, together with some account of his
Choice!"  But, although it is difficult, I
thought, for the inquirer not used to learned
researches, to ferret Hobson from his obscure
corner, and to shake from before his
memorable name the dust of ages, it is not so
difficult to recognise his descendants.
Undoubtedly the Hobsons have spread
themselves all over England. They are a woeful
race, inhabiting the uncomfortable places of
every city, the heroes of endless scrapes, the
forlorn wretches who have never had a

These, in brief, were my thoughts in regard
to Hobson; when one day I chanced to
communicate my deliberations to a friend, who
forthwith explained to me that he knew all
about the hero of my philosophical moments.
It appears that Hobson was by no means an
unfortunate individual; that, on the contrary,
he had a stern way with him of asserting his
will, and that the choice to which his name