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The Boy on A Hill Farm by Mary Dean


There is nothing like a wide horizon to give a boy aspirations—nothing like a hill-farm to give him hope—especially the hope of leaving it. In spring, on a day of expectation, when the warm air has not yet brought out the flowers, and carts go past with loads of young trees whose dry roots and branches look like emblems of old hopes still unfulfilled, a boy is working on the top of Ford Hill. The five-inch soil covering the solid rock that forms the New York hill—the first of all, perhaps, to show its head above the pristine waters—has nourished a lofty forest which, battling with everlasting winds, resembles a body of men strong from incessant toil: its elms and beeches are so tough they defy the forester, and are fit only for water-wheel shafts. Working among these adamantine timbers, the boy stops to look across the broad and deep valley. Not at the old hill-quarries opposite, in whose depths snow lies all summer, does he look, nor at the hanging woods above the new piece, nor at the yellow farmhouse and barn; but higher, toward the west, where, on a level with his eye, 'twixt hills like cloud-banks, he sees a white streak, the distant lake. Storms are running down the Deerfield hills. In one of the woody valleys rain-clouds have formed a mirage, another seeming lake, and from its bosom rise to the clear, fine air of the hills the muffled clangor and whistle of the New York Central train, in the boy's mind a glittering image fleeing to splendid cities, and one that he longs to follow.

A boy has no perception whatsoever of the poetry of farm-life: he considers a woodman's work crabbed prose. The idea of making poetry out of any part of it, or out of a herder's work either, is to him stark idiocy. Sheep-washing, for instance, is simply working a whole spring day in very chilly water, and sheep-shearing is a task at which he makes "ridgy" work and endures the horror of seeing the gentle, thin-skinned creatures bleed under his awkward shears. The boy cannot conceive what poetry there is about oxen. From the moment a calf hides in the hay with its mother's help, and makes believe there is no calf born yet, until it becomes an ox, it cannot for an instant be considered poetic by a boy. The calf is a creature that insists, whenever it drinks, on thrusting its head to the bottom of the pail with a splash that deluges the boy with milk: it drinks until it is out of breath, and then withdraws its head with another splash and an explosion of milk-steam from its nostrils—performances which cause the boy's friends to remark wherever he goes, "You smell of sour milk." The boy likes well enough to feed the oxen their full measures of meal; he likes to see them get down on their knees to lick up morsels that roll into corners of the stable-floor; he stretches his hand in before them for little balls of meal they cannot reach with their long tongues, at which they draw back with a thwack against the stanchion, breathing hard and gazing at him with their large black eyes; and when the off ox tries to capture the nigh ox's portion, the boy raps him back to his place. Quite a pastoral friendship exists between the boy and the nigh ox, which, being continually bullied by the off ox, needs the boy's protection, and is therefore placed next him at work. But, for all that, he does not see the romance of such matters.

The yoking of oxen is decidedly not matter for a flying smile to a boy. He lays one end of the yoke's beam on the ground, lifts the other end with his right hand, and, waving one of the ox-bows in his left, cries to the nigh ox, "Come under!" The "nigh" slowly obeys, bending its head low to accommodate the boy's stature, and permitting itself to be fastened by the ox-bow to the yoke. The boy now lifts the free end of the yoke's beam as high as he can and calls the off ox to come under. It also obeys, treading deliberately with its heavy feet, and waiting patiently for the boy's small fingers to fasten the weighty bow with a clumsy bow-key. Then the boy lifts the ponderous cart-neap and attaches it to the ring in the yoke—a labor that causes his heart to "beat like a tabor;" and thus the beasts are wedded to their daily toil. Occasionally, however, the ox will not come under at all, but will require the boy to follow it about the barnyard, dragging the jingling yoke and waving the bow with infinite fatigue; and occasionally the boy makes the mistake (no greater could be made) of yoking the off ox first. The off ox, finding a yoke sans yokefellow dangling at its neck, is much amazed, not being "broke" to that, and takes to whirling round and round and galloping up and down the barnyard in a manner suggestive of nightmare. This is a circumstance that makes a boy hopeful of going somewhere else.

The yoking of oxen, though difficult, is nothing compared with the working of oxen. The boy can direct his plough lightly along its straight furrow, anticipating each movement of his oxen, and he can turn a corner "straight as a bug's leg;" nevertheless, he would like those persons who have a Wordsworthian idea of following the plough along the mountain-side in glory and in joy to witness the struggles of a green hand learning to plough—of a tramp hired man, say, one of the sort that can't milk and don't know "haw" from "gee." This miserable being tires himself out doing nothing. He cannot lay a furrow over sod downward: he has to stop and turn it over with his hands. He leaves patches of turf. He does not touch up his oxen scientifically, the "nigh" on the head, the "off" on the rump: therefore they frequently do not move at all. His plough-point hits the stones, and his plough-handles knock him in the ribs and lay him out. If he is ploughing near the barn, which is the home of the oxen, approaching it, they go like lightning, and he must drop the plough and rush at their heads to keep them from running straight into the barn: leaving it, they creep like snails, and perhaps they take to "pulling"—that is, walking sidewise, with their bodies as far apart as possible; or to "crowding"—leaning against each other over the chain that holds the plough to the yoke, and one of them gets its foot on the chain and proceeds on three feet. If the tramp hired man goes between them to adjust the chain, the oxen squeeze him flat, and one ox steps on his toe. The toe goes Pop! and what anguish! The ox cannot be made to understand that it must step off. No use in saying "Highst!" or anything else. Nothing but kicking the ox in the leg with your free foot will stir it. In addition to these troubles of the ox-driver, the oxen know how to "turn the yoke:" they can twist their heads in the yoke after a fashion that enables them to stand facing the plough and staring at the driver. If they "turn the yoke" while drawing a cart down a side-hill, the cart, with the driver in it, slips about in front of them, and drags them down the gulf face foremost. The noisiest being on earth is a man ploughing with a pair of old bulls. At night, when he comes home to supper, he is scarcely able to whisper, and the parting blow he gives his beasts is no damage to them nor consolation to him. A man ploughing green sward with two old plugs of horses is about as miserable.

Cows, whether the fine old "line-backs" of the hills or scrawny, beefless Alderneys or milkless Durhams, have one merit with a boy. It is not that they enjoy fine weather, a good pasture and a green landscape—have thoughts, notice the sprouting beanfields as they come up to milking, and the new flag-staff on the green: it is that they are good at fighting. In every herd there is a queen who can vanquish all the rest, and a vice-queen who can vanquish all but the queen, and a second vice-queen who can vanquish all but the first two, and so on down to the weakest of the herd, who cannot withstand any of the others. Sometimes there is one that can defeat the queen, but none of the rest; and other complications occur that give diversity to the cow-fights. The boy has comfort superintending these combats. He encourages the cowards and helps the weak by drawing them forward by the horns to attack. When the queen stops the way at the bars, and will not let the rest through, or when she amuses herself running up and down the stanchions driving away the other cows, the boy puts her down and relieves the drove of her tyranny.

The boy oversees some fighting among the fowls of the hill-farm, where they still keep the old hawk-colored breed—a breed that fights to the death—not being over-partial as yet to Shanghais that won't lay and Leghorns that won't sit. On a large farm, where there are several barns and as many sets of hens, the boy cultivates the fighting qualities of the cocks by keeping them around together, and not letting them forget each other. The turkeys—strange birds! so tender in youth a spring rain kills them, so tough in age they roost in the tree-tops in winter, and come down o' mornings covered with frozen sleet and looking as if they enjoyed it—are objects of no interest to the boy; but for the geese he has a kindness, not because they fight each other, but because they fight him. "Can't you let them geese alone?" is the frequent exclamation of the hired man in the stable to the boy in the mow. The boy is always perfectly willing to hunt goose-eggs: he has a battle with the biting, shrieking, wing-flapping goose every time he takes an egg from her nest. When she begins to sit on her empty nest, it is his business to bring back a part of her eggs and place them under her, which leads to a pitched battle. The pea-hen is a different creature: she keeps her nest a secret even from the peacock, never leaving it save on the wing, and approaching it with the greatest circumambulation. Nobody but the boy knows where it is. Should he take up her egg, though he might lay it down exactly as it was before, she would never lay another egg there. This he knows. He is acquainted with many things other people have no idea of. He knows how a roost of poultry looks at morning dusk, when, if you enter the barn, the entire roost turns one eye at you, and then for an unknown cause simultaneously shakes its head. He knows how hens catch mice in the hay-mow—how they gnaw the sucking pigs' tails to the bone (the hired man says they need the meat). He knows how to obtain bumblebees' honey, paying for this information with an ear like a garnet potato, one of the sort that "biles up meller;" and he knows how to find mushrooms. Life for a boy on an upland farm is to labor, to abstain, to sweat and to be grievously cold (see Horace); nevertheless, there comes a soft spring dawn when on the rich spots of the sheep-pasture he finds a bushel of mushrooms, snow-white on their tops and pink underneath, crisp, tender, rising full grown from the moist earth, and lifting bodily away the chips and leaves that overlay them. He brings this treasure home. He inverts the mushroom-cups in a clean frying-pan, fills each one with butter and a pinch of salt, cooks them gently a few minutes—dishes them. Then he dashes more butter and some water from the tea-kettle into the frying-pan—for he is as fond of gravy as "Todgers' boarders"—pours this over the mushrooms, and sits down to a feast that has some poetry about it.

The boy brings a sharp appetite to his few pleasures. All agreeable thoughts float in his mind during his summer nooning doze when he lies on the grass after dinner waiting for the sun to strike the west side of the farmhouse chimneys, which, standing square north and south, serve for sun-dials. And in haymaking, when he is "mowing away" far above the "purline beam" in the barn as fast as a man in the hayrack can toss the hay up to him, and the air is heated like a furnace by the hot haymaking sun on the shingles close above his head, and his shirt is full of timothy-seed, and he is almost dying with exhaustion, suddenly he hears the sound of rain pattering on the roof. The hay in the meadow will be spoiled, but down he slides to enjoy an hour's rest in the cool lower world of the barn-floor. And when the Fourth of July comes, and the farm-boys gather at The Corners and fire off old shot-guns, pistols, an anvil, a cannon and empty thread-spools, then and there is the poetry of the whole harvest-season for the boy. The harvest-moon, bringer of hot days and "bammy" nights to glaze the corn, may be the admiration of many, but is not so to the boy. It is accompanied by a special grievance to him: at the end of days' works that take the tuck out of him to the last fragment he has to go for the cows, and to come home late after everybody else has washed up and is partly through supper. The hunter's moon too, large, mild and beaming though it may be, is a thing of disgust to the boy, for it marks the beginning of the season when, after chores are finished and the men are sitting comfortably around the kitchen fire, he has to split kindlings in the woodhouse for the hired girl, and to fill the four wood-boxes with which the hill farmhouse warms its kitchen, dining-room, nursery and parlor.

The hill-farmer's mind is rich in suggestions of work for a boy. After haying, harvesting and everything else is done, you will find that lad down cellar of a dark morning by the light of a tallow candle cutting bushels and bushels of potatoes for the cows with a "slice"—one of those antique long iron shovels used about a brick-oven. You will find him foddering forty head of cattle before school-time in the morning, rising at four o'clock for the purpose, and going over the work again after school; and if he does not ride to the woods on Saturdays with the choppers, the farmer calls him "dreadful slack." The boy would like to get the work all finished some time, but on a hill-farm there is no hope of being done save the hope of being done with it entirely. There is always plenty of work for the boy. In the vast, dark, lofty, cathedral-like orchard, whose untrimmed, mossy trees bear profusely on their interlacing branches the small fair apples for countless barrels of cider, there is work for him. There is plenty of work at the cider-mill or in boiling down the sweet cider over the bonfire that cheers the damp fall weather.

In fact, his tasks are endless. Perhaps it is raining like suds. The sun for several weeks has reminded the hired man of a drop of hair-oil on a basin of water. The only weather-sign that occurs to any one is the old Indian one: "Cloudy all around, and pouring down in the middle." You might suppose no work could be done in such weather. It is then the farmer starts the boy off with five hundred dollars in his pocket to pay various husbandmen for cattle, and with directions to make a détour on his way back collecting moneys due for other cattle, stopping at the Chittaninny Tavern to meet a man who will have a sum of cash ready for him there. The Chittaninny Tavern is in a cutthroat neighborhood. The man with the cash pays it at the bar in the presence of a crowd of ruffians, the bartender looking over the boy's shoulder, and a loafer follows him out to his horse, shows him a pistol and asks him if he hasn't "one of them things." While the boy dashes homeward through the rain and night, pursued in imagination by the man with the pistol, he makes up his mind that a well-lighted city is the place for him to do business in.

Should the rain lessen, the farmer and the boy set out for town with a herd of cattle. Having disposed of the herd, on their homeward way, toward nightfall, the boy, who has walked, as near as he can guess, four hundred miles around the cattle in the November mud, is dismayed to see the farmer stop at a house by the wayside. There are more cattle to be bought and driven home. The master of the wayside house is in some remote pasture, whither the boy runs to fetch him. After a long bargain with this man the farmer pulls out a roll of bills, pays down a round sum, a fresh creature is brought out to the road, and again they pursue their homeward way. It is a young heifer this time—most difficult of animals to drive. She runs like a deer: in a minute she is far ahead of the boy. She takes the wrong road: the boy makes frightful efforts to overtake her—enters the fields to follow her unseen, and cuts across lots to head her off. She, being a bright creature, is aware of his manœuvres. She watches him over the fences, and contrives to keep beyond his reach, spite of all he can do. To hold her on the homeward route is a miracle: still, the trio of farmer, boy and heifer do manage to reach the home village, where the farmer, who is riding in his carriage, stops at the bank and tells the boy to be "boss and all hands" and go on alone with the heifer. This is terrible. Night is at hand, the demoniac beast is wilder than ever, and the boy knows that, though palpitating with fatigue through all his frame, there are the chores at home yet for him to do. Well, it is then he determines to go on a whaling-voyage or to go and be a stoker for a steam-engine, or a boiler-maker, or a tramp, or anything but a boy on a farm; and so hope grows strong in his heart.

An old hill-farmer must be beloved of Hermes, he so understands the arts of gain. If he wants to buy anything, he takes a sap-bucketful of eggs to the village, and makes a point of bringing back a part of the money. When in town he does not dine at a tavern, but on some crackers and cheese: he says baker's bread tastes like wasps' nests, and city fare in general is light and dry. He saves more picking up horseshoes when the snow melts than many persons do in all their lives. He works all the year round: he thrashes in midwinter with the thermometer below zero. The hard times affect him no more than a fly would a rhinoceros. This is perfectly exasperating to the poor spendthrift, good-for-nothing, lazy part of the community. The tramp hired man is particularly mad about it; he declares the old farmer wants him to work all day for a sheep's head and pluck, and sleep under a cart at night. The tramp hired man entertains inverted financial ideas, and a creed that would probably read, "Strike a man on his right cheek, and if he don't turn his left, boot him;" and the tramp hired man lies en grand—tells lies two days long when he finds a listener.

The old hill-farmer never wastes nor wears out things. He has a coat for butchering-days that belonged to his great-great-grandfather who fought in the Revolution, and he has an ancient tin lantern that he considers valuable. He almost quarrels with the young farmer about his corrugated glass lantern and his large, brilliant, one-paned lantern with the polished concave tin back, and his brass-mounted globe lantern: they have resplendent lanterns on the hills. The old farmer says they will blow up or smash up, whereas his ancient tin lantern is safe. The old man does not see the boy shinning up a post in the horse-barn (there is no staircase—nothing but a few pegs stuck over the horses' heads by which to climb to the hay), the tin lantern swinging on his arm, its door open and candle flaring. Nor does he see the boy attempt to increase the lantern's light by filling it with dry leaves. "What has that darned Irishman been up to now?" says the old farmer, finding it unsoldered on its shelf.

"The mill-streams that turn the clappers of the world arise in solitary places." The old hill-farmers are lovers of their country. Their carefully-saved money and their patriotism sustained our great war. Whoever was a boy on a hill-farm during the war remembers the neighbors stumbling over the stony roads at twilight, when the day's work was done, to hear the daily paper read at the farmhouse on The Corners, eager to know the worst or the best every night. Hugh used to hold the candle, while Mark read in a slow, understanding voice about the marching, fighting, wavering, conquering of those days, now less remembered than the Iliad, when we warmed our hearts at the blaze of war. At every new local name, "Stop!" the old farmer used to say: "let's see where that is. Get the map.—Hugh, hold the light.—There 'tis, by that grease-spot—not the tallow-spot Hugh just dropped—the spot where people have put their fingers around Washington." Such a prodigious trampling of fingers on the map followed our armies to battle! What a memory it is to have in the mind!

The old farmer of the hills, however frugal, fosters some luxuries: one is horses. He has plenty of them, fat and slow from careful usage, and for the most part spotless bays.

Four white feet and a white nose,
Skin him and give his body to the crows,

says the man of the hills. Melvine, a great horse-breeder, one day took sides in a quarrel between a horse and its master, fought the man for abusing his horse—fought him hard and long: 'twas "t'other and which" with them for a while. "I wouldn't have done it," said his neighbor, Squire Greffern: "I wouldn't have fought the man. I'd have reasoned with him kindly. I'd have said, 'See here, now, this horse isn't to blame: he ain't human,' says I, 'and you ought not to abuse him,' says I. And says I, 'You ought to know better than to hurt a horse: it injures him,' says I. 'He has more sense than you have' (getting excited). 'You deserve to be licked yourself, by hoky! Why, Gosh Almighty! get out, or I'll thrash the daylights out of your darned rotten hide!'" So ended the squire's reproof.

The old hill-farmer has an old dog grown from indulgence, like his horses, in the habit of going his own gait. He will trot to church on Sundays, and trot, trot, down the aisle after meeting has begun, or, if he likes, up into the gallery. When two of these obstinate old dogs once met before the pulpit they indulged in a whirlwind of fight. The minister requested the sexton to put them out, but they showed him their teeth and fought until satisfied. Then the minister administered a grave rebuke to the farmers for desecrating the house of God by bringing dogs to church. Whether the dogs understood it or not, one of them never went to church again.

Another luxury of the hill-farmer is unabridged hospitality. He would agree with Doctor Johnson that nothing promotes happiness so much as conversation. Blazing fires—beacons of company—often flame up his best rooms' chimney-stacks, pouring their blue wood-smoke high in the clear air of the hills. Thanksgiving Day in the hills would do for a festival in honor of Jupiter, the patron of friendship, 'tis a day of such hospitality. It is the only day of the year when the boy has enough to eat. Not that there is not plenty all the year round. It is always jam and never satis with the boy, to borrow Tom Hood's joke. In killing-time they put down hecatombs of beef in snow and of ham and sausage in hot lard, and they have stores of cod-fish to be cooked with cream, and of chickens for potpies, which are never made properly, for some mysterious reason, save by a farmer's wife. A fearful fate, though, has been known to befall a farmhouse among the wintry hills when the farmer's wife has put too much sage in the sausage. Too much sage all winter, ah! Nothing short of being "clyed," as the farmer's wife pronounces it, will satisfy a boy who works on the hills; and that he is on Thanksgiving. 'Tis a day of perfect bliss to him, when he sleeps long, and after his morning's work is done goes to skate in his best clothes on a very glary pond where a crowd of other boys are skating. He skates until he is tired and hungry, and comes home late, stopping on the way to climb the fences of the orchards in search of frozen apples, delicious food to his famished lips. When he reaches home the turkey smells away out to the gate, and in the kitchen everything is all cluttered up and "t'other end to," and dinner is nowhere near ready yet. 'Tis a joyous hour for the boy when it is ready, and for the hired man too. The hired man's pleasure is somewhat damped by hearing the hired girl remark that his mouth is like a barn-door with a load of hay in it. "I declare for it if 'taint," says she. He informs her that she is always "bellerin'" about something, and she requests him not to be so "putchy;" nor does that end the matter. Guests like the Melvines of Melvine Farm, the Bligh boys of Bligh's Corners, the Plunkett girls and Deacon Buckingham's hired girl, and Yem Finny and Sam Bab's folks, are the kind to invite to a party. They are the kind to keep up a rumble of talk in the parlor, and in the other rooms a rush of games—Hide the Handkerchief, Hunt the Slipper, and so on: Achilles's troops did not play Whirl the Platter on the sands of Troy with a greater gusto.

Very hospitable people are not particular as to who comes to see them, if only some one comes: therefore, pack-peddlers, stove-peddlers, drovers, the old crazy man and the old crazy woman, and other wanderers, are welcome at the hill farmhouse. These vagabonds come from all directions—up the Red Mill road, down from Windy Row, over from the Huddle and the Hollow, and across from Ranger's Field Centre, sometimes meeting two or three together. The boy is glad to see them, particularly the peddlers, they bring such an uproar of talk with them. The brown Bohemian or Hungarian receives a bombardment of questions at the farmhouse that breaks all bounds to his loquacity: he tells everything he knows of foreign lands, as well as news of what is going on in ten counties round. Two only of the vagrant tribe the boy dislikes, the colporteur and the travelling Spiritualist—two cold, shabby, sniffling beings, each wrapped in a shawl and each driving an old horse afflicted with poll-evil. Whenever the boy goes to put up one of these men's horses he wants to break his wagon and whip, and he does give them a few ferocious shakes in the solitude of the stable. The boy worships the clockmaker, who comes once a year on a Saturday and stays over Sunday, mending all the clocks in the house, the tall, timeworn wooden one up in the boy's bedroom as well as the rest. This fellow has a taste for pugilism. While working at the clocks he holds discussions with the hired folks about Heenan, Sayers, Morrissey, dogs, cocks and horses, and lets out secrets about mills coming off in London and New York next week. This is delightful. But once let the horse-pitchfork man arrive, and there is a regular sitting up at night, a grand debauch of talk on politics, patent-rights, improved agricultural implements and other themes, the whole interspersed with original jokes. The old farmer is obtuse about jokes—

An owl might make him laugh, if only it would wink,

but nothing less could—yet the horse-pitchfork man's jokes penetrate him.

The boy thinks it dull when there is no company at the farmhouse of a winter evening. He then sets a pitcher of cider to warm by the fire, and makes himself as comfortable as he can over a book. The few books he reads are fastened minutely in his memory. He obtains The Perfect Gentleman from the district school library, and thenceforth knows what is proper behavior for an Englishman under all circumstances. He reads The Vestiges of Creation, and in afterlife is amazed to find half the world fighting the ancient theory of evolution. His love of society causes him to plunge into the vortex of the mite society and singing school if he has anything decent to wear. Cheerfully he works in pantaloons whose legs have been cut off and turned hind side before, in order that the thin and faded places may come on the back of his legs and the unfaded ones on his knees; contentedly he sustains them by one suspender twisted from a solitary button in front around to another on his right side: he knows the farmer's wife has no time to take care of his clothes. But when old Mrs. Lyburn, a woman who can no more design a suit of clothes than a theatre-ceiling fresco, is commissioned to make him a coat out of an old goose-green overcoat, and a pair of trousers out of some thick, old light cloth breeches, and when she cuts the legs of those breeches off at top and bottom, leaving them broad enough for a Turk, with pockets like large bags hanging down inside of them, then the boy rebels and refuses to go anywhere. If he goes he takes his road through Stone's Woods, and comes home the back way by the wagon-house. The boy has grit, real grindstone grit: therefore he keeps this up, and sooner or later he has it out with the old farmer about his clothes. "Well, well, don't rare and pitch like a flax-break: we'll see about it," says the old gentleman. The old farmer takes the boy to town and buys him a sleek, shiny black suit—the coat is a long-waisted, long-tailed frock—and he adds a pair of good "stubbid" shoes, having strings made of leather.

"You're stuck, and stuck bad," says the hired man compassionately when he sees the suit. A boy who is as keen as a brier and smart as a whip cannot be expected to wear "humbly" clothes forever. A neat suit made by the village tailor, and a necktie, hat and boots that put him into positively ethereal spirits, are articles that he finally attains. In these clothes he joins the debating society and the choir. Saul Lapham, a friend of his, plays the cornet at the choir-rehearsals. Saul lays down the dignity of a human being to puff out his cheeks, bulge his eyes and grow red in the face blowing a brass horn. Saul is a tyro in the business—can't blow softly, though he tries hard to do so, and completely drowns the singers except when he breaks down, which occurs rather often, to their extreme relief. The little spats and sensations of the choir-rehearsals are entertainment for the sylvan boy. One evening Miss Tway was so "worked up" about failing in a solo she was trying to sing that she fainted twice, the first time with her mouth shut, the second time with it open; and Saul, not knowing what else to do, put a gum-drop into it, which offended Miss Tway, for she thought it was his finger.

The lad is a gallant figure in his new suit galloping on horseback from his highlands down to the village on the flats to attend some rustic diversion. In the tavern ballroom there is a little stage with a curtain hung across it, and on that stage the boy sees the most charming performance he ever beholds. It consists of a regular play, with a ballet between the acts, and a minstrel performance introducing the celebrated scene of a negro teaching another negro to tune the banjo, where the pupil climbs up the back of his chair while endeavoring to ascend the scale; and all ending with a puppet-show, the whole being done by three young fellows. "Why-ee! 'twas wonderful!" says the boy.

Balzac remarks: "People who are very happy are naturally stupid." Perhaps it is because he is not stupid that the boy is unhappy on the many-fountained hills. The longed-for evening soon appears—his last on the farm. He sleeps no moment that night in his soft farmhouse bed under homemade blankets hemmed with woollen thread. He does not know that he will be homesick for his old bedroom—homesick for the Gothic chest, the picture from The Pirate and Three Cutters, and the toilet-table holding nothing but a hairbrush, which, with its half dozen bristles, resembles a Captain Cook club. He will be homesick for the very closet under the roof that makes his clothes smell of hops, wool and dried apples. How glows the morn when he leaves! He goes to success, for he carries power—power as great as Fate.

Mary Dean.