Imatges de pÓgina

I grieve to say that poor Toby came to a tragic end--not at the hands of a fowler, nor upon the sea, but at the


fireside which he had loved so well. An aged sheep-dog, whose fifteen years of faithful service had earned for him a pensioner's place in our household, had long regarded Toby's appearance in the kitchen with suspicion and dislike. He had been a sporting collie in his best days, and he had about the same amount of respect and regard for a cormorant that a retriever may be supposed to have for a partridge. Some slight difference of opinion between bird and dog as to the possession of a snug corner by the ingle 5 nook resulted one fatal day in a dire catastrophe. In a moment of rage at having his little comforts interfered with by a bird, whose whole race he had been taught to regard as lawful prey, the old dog attacked poor Toby, and killed him on the spot before any one could interfere. Most deeply did we all lament the loss of our amiable pet;

he had been with us three years, and had just acquired the full plumage of an adult bird.

From The Leisure Hour.



I WAS now, in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of barley and rice. The ground I had manured and dug, up for them was not great; for, as I observed, my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck, for I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season; but now my crop promised very well, when on a sudden I found I was in danger of losing it all again by enemies of several sorts, which it was scarcely possible to keep from it; as, first the goats, and wild creatures which I called hares, who, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay in it night and day, as soon as it came up, and eat it so close that it could get no time to shoot up into stalk.

This I saw no remedy for but by making an enclosure about it with a hedge; which I did with a great deal of toil, and the more, because it required speed. However, as my arable 1 land was but small, suited to my crop, I got it totally well fenced in about three weeks' time, and, shooting some of the creatures in the daytime, I set my dog to guard it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark all night long; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn grew very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.

But as the beasts ruined me before while my corn was in the blade, so the birds were as likely to ruin me now when it was in the ear; for going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little crop surrounded with fowls of I know not how many sorts, who stood, as it were, watching till I should be gone. I immediately let fly among them, for I always had my gun with me. I had no sooner shot but there rose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the corn itself.

This touched me sensibly, for I foresaw that in a few days they would devour all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be able to raise a crop at all, and what to do I could not tell; however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible, though I should watch it night and day. In the first place, I went among it to see what damage was already done, and found they had spoiled a good deal of it; but that as it was yet too green for them, the loss was not so great, but that the remainder was likely to be a good crop if it could be saved.

I stayed by it to load my gun, and then coming away, I could easily see the thieves sitting upon all the trees about me, as if they only waited till I was gone away. And the event proved it to be so, for as I walked off, as if I was gone, I was no sooner out of their sight than they dropped down one by one into the corn again. I was so provoked that I could not have patience to stay till more came on, knowing that every grain that they ate now was, as it might be said, a peck-loaf to me in the consequence, but coming up to the hedge I fired again and killed three of them. This was what I wished for. So I took them up, and served them as we serve notorious thieves in England—hanged. them in chains ? for a terror to others. It is impossible to imagine that this should have such an effect as it had; for the fowls would not only not come at the corn, but, in short, they forsook all that part of the island; and I could never see a bird near the place as long as my scarecrows hung there. This I was very glad of, you may be sure; and about the latter end of December, which was our second harvest of the year, I reaped my corn.

I was sadly put to it for a scythe or sickle to cut it downı; and all I could do was to make one, as well as I could, out of one of the broad-swords, or cutlasses, which I saved among the arms out of the ship. However, as my first crop was but small, I had no great difficulty to cut it down. In short, I reaped it my way; for I cut nothing off but the ears, and carried it away in a great basket which I had made, and so rubbed it out with my hands. And at the end of all my harvesting, I found that out of my half-peck of seed I had near two bushels of rice, and about two bushels and a half of barley —that is to say, by my guess, for I had no measure at that time.

However, this was a great encouragement to me, and I foresaw that, in time, it would please God to supply me with bread. And yet here I was perplexed again, for I neither knew how to grind or make meal of my corn, or, indeed, how to clean it

and part it; nor, if made into meal, how to make bread of it; and if how to make it yet I knew not how to bake it. These things being added to my desire of having a good quantity for store, and to secure a constant supply, I resolved not to taste any of this crop, but to preserve it all for seed against the next season; and, in the meantime, to employ all my study and hours of working to accomplish this great work of providing myself with corn and bread.

It might be truly said that now I worked for my bread. I believe few people have thought much upon the strange multitude of little things necessary in the providing, producing, curing, dressing, making, and finishing, this one article of bread,

I, that was reduced to a mere state of nature, found this to my daily discouragement, and was made more sensible of it every hour, even after I had got the first handful of seed-corn, which, as I have said, came up unexpectedly, and indeed to my surprise.

First-I had no plough to turn up the earth-no spade or shovel to dig it. Well, this I conquered by making me a wooden spade, as I observed before. But this did my work but in a wooden manner; and though it cost me a great many days to make it, yet, for want of iron, it not only wore out soon, but made my work the harder, and made it be performed much worse. However, this I bore with, and was content to work it out with patience, and bear with the badness of the performance. When the corn was sown I had no

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