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sty, in their eye.
about with You will prefer offal to romance. A vile butcher will be your real Orlando, and Angelicas you will see no more: nay, the soft touch of woman's hand will furnish you with no other idea but that it would make good butter. Abel the student was rusticated "to sow his wild oats," fell in love with the butter-woman, and made horned cattle his friends, and became as one of them. There is no end to examples all around and about you, to deter you -but I fear you are infatuated. The ignis fatuus of agriculture is leading you a dance into a quagmire. Had you been weary of your letter'd ease, and wished more active employment, consistent with your profession, you might have worked your fingers to the bone with great eclat for bazarsyou might have done any folly of that kind, and been praised and thought the worthier-you might have made reverend baby clothes-you might have cobbled from morning to night, and made infant shoes to defray expenses of building a church-any thing better than putting your own shoes down in the mire and clay at the tail of your plough. I suppose you have been reading The Farmers' Boy, or some such stuff Bloomfield, by-the-by, was a cobbler, and left his trade for poetry, and wrote his agricultural praises, and one of his own lines expresses to a nicety the change,
"And dirt usurps the empire of his shoes." He had better cobbled on; he might have risen to be Emperor of Morocco, Had he stuck to his trade, his trade would have stuck by him-and so I fear did his poetry, for it stuck, though it had Loftus's lift. If the cacoethes scribendi comes upon you, you will write in the Farmers' Magazine, and such works, and get into controversies upon the breeding of pigs and planting of cabbages-a worthy object indeed for all your learning and your acquire
ments. You will waste your genius in inventing rat-traps, and when asked what is your study, will answer with Edgar in Lear,
"To prevent the foul fiend, and kill vermin."
You will write against blockheads, ber well when I was a boy at school, and make no impression. I remema shrewd little fellow that had lived in town all his little life till he came to school, laying a wager he would write in a Farmer's Magazine and be answered. We thought it impossible, as he knew nothing more of the matter, excuse me if I say, than you do. He wrote on the drilling of turnips— describing, with great ambiguity of expression and circumlocution, a new method, which, if it could be at all understood, was the mere momentary vagary of his brain. Away went his paper-it was inserted-more, it was answered-more, it raised a whirlwind of controversy, declarations of experiments, failures, and success. He had a host of abettors and antagonists-and by some the originality of his plan was doubted, and by others claimed as their own. A pretty tribe for your learned pen and learned leisure_but not a moment, there will be always I forgot, leisure you will have nonesomething to be done, to be looked at, or to be mended. You will be worn to a shred, to a skeleton; you will be pinched like a snipe, and your nose be as sharp
methinks I see you, like him, poking it into the ground to try to live upon suction. It will be the death of you. However, farewell, light lie the earth upon you when you die, for it will be the heaviest of burdens upon you as long as you live. Concern not yourself about your epitaph. That shall be the last office of the pen of your loving and truth-telling friend, not only till, but after death,
REPLY TO EUSEBIUS,
I have laughed very heartily, my dear Eusebius, at your fears, real or pretended, respecting my agricultural pursuits. I certainly told you I in tended to turn farmer, and it was a specimen of the presumption of speech. I might, with as much truth, have said I was going to set up as physician, because I had recommended a recipe
for a cold. My farming has been on the smallest scale; yet, small as it has been, I was determined not to reply to your letter, until I could supply you with both the result and detail of my experience. But as, in the interval, you have neither come to me or written to me, nor, as far as I know, acted the cautious friend, by setting unseen
keepers about my ways to ascertain the extent of my lunacy, I conclude your letter to have been the result of one of your own vagaries, which evaporated as the ink dried. Small as the scale of my experiment has been, I am free to confess, my dear Eusebius, that had my scale been extended, I do not believe you to have been guilty of any exaggeration, nor that your picture would have been a caricature. will, in the very commencement, set your mind at rest. My farming, of which you make so black an account, is at an end-" Othello's occupation's gone"-I have in disgust thrown all up-the unpleasant feeling has worn off, and I can now laugh with the best of them, at myself. I made known to you my intention to purchase a few acres ; you said nothing to dissuade me from so doing. I bought, and thinking the next step in life was to acquire some knowledge of agriculture, determined to manage it myself; perhaps I should have said mismanage. I had no conception of the interest taken in these pursuits; my anxiety, at first pleasing, soon became so intense as to be perfectly painful. I will not tire you with an account of all my minute concernsyou have well described them by asserting they would afford no rest. But so had I been given up to other, I may say quite other, pursuits, that though for a time I had with much resolution discarded them practically, they would force themselves upon my mind, when I was striving to fix it upon matters relating to my new occupation.
effect was, that I began to be a cold utilitarian, and to look upon my former studies with something like contempt-then as enemies. This was a lamentable state; I had forsaken the delight of all my days, and resembled Cowley's state, described by him in the "Abeyance of Love,"
"Thousand worse passions then possess'd
The interregnum of my breast.
I felt degraded, for I had lost one ingredient of happiness, and certainly not found another. And I was conscious that I was, in all proper knowledge that should become a man, (i. e. a farmer,) decidedly inferior to the lowest of the grade. I am afraid, had prosperity crowned my little attempt, I should have become penurious
and avaricious. I was like the glassseller in the " Arabian Tale," in building castles, and destroying the means whereof to build them. I will not be wearisome by enumerating all my little disasters, but merely tell you how I managed about my sheep. I had a day-labourer who served me as a hind: he was a faithful and honest fellow, I believe, but a bit of a wag; he had a dry humour about him, not that I, by any means, would say he did not do his best to moisten it; he was about forty years of age, a little man, every feature in his face seemed to have a screw in it, which he could move either way at pleasure; whenever he spoke seriously he always looked straight at a wall, (if one was near him,) or the bole of a tree, or, if no such object presented itself, at his fingers, (and they looked like things grown out of rough ground ;) but whenever there was a sly meaning in what he had to say, he always looked up in your face, let out some of his screws, and tightened others, and nearly half-closed one eye, and all but quite the other, and inclined his head a trifle towards his right shoulder. This would have amused me, but I soon discovered it was his usual mode of telling that something or other went wrong, something out of its usual course, which he meant to show went wrong through my fault. But "revenons a nos moutons"-my first purchase of sheep happened thus: I was recommended to send to the fair of
and told what I ought to give for half-a-score of ewes. Before the fair day, however, as I was walking along the road, near my garden gate, I met a large flock of sheep, and some drovers. I found they were going to the fair. Here, thought I, is an opportunity not to be lost-no trouble of sending to fair-and a manifest saving in having them driven home; I found, too, the price was much under what I was told to give, so I thought myself perfectly safe: sheep were sheep, and the sheep I bought
-and without the aid of my man. When he came up, (as he was sent for to put the sheepin the field,) I said with an air of some importance, never having been the master of so many animals before," Here, Richard. I have bought to-night these sheep.” “Which, sir," said he, " ewes or wethers?" I am ashamed to confess, Eusebius, that
I did not know; it was provoking-I looked like a fool. The man I had bought of, relieved me by pointing out my purchase, and Richard was for a time too busy to notice me. "These are pretty lightfoots," said he then, with his arch look, "where shall I take 'em, sir?" "Why," said I, "you know very well, to the field." "Oh, ay," quoth he, "but may be they won't like the field." I could not in the least tell what he meant, never having heard of consulting their liking. "Well," said he, "I will drive them there, but if they don't like it they won't stop." "What do you mean?" said I. "Why, them sheep be all greyhounds." Shortly after, I met a neighbour, and told him what a purchase I had made-" And where are they?" replied he. "In the field above the house," said I. "No, they are not," says he, " for I have just seen about that number break over hedges, and away with 'em, as fast as they could scamper-if those are yours you had better send after them" and going off-" When you've caught 'em, sell 'em." This was, in deed, a bad beginning. I went for my man-he looked this time in my face as I told my story-and told him to go after them. "Oh! there's not much use in going after them," said he, "at least not without a dog-and away he went on the run. I, like a fool, I am ashamed to confess it, little dreaming he was gone to borrow a sheep dog, let loose my large New foundland, and away I went along the road, as fast as my legs could carry me. About a mile on I found the sheep; that is, I came in sight of them, and pointed them out to the dog. Off went Neptune, and off went the sheep; I saw him plunge into the midst of them he had brought down one, and the rest went farther than ever.
had, indeed, brought down one, and, by the time I came up, had made a good hole in its side. The poor thing was killed sure enough. Now I didn't mind the loss of the sheep, but was in dismay at Richard's up-look, which I knew awaited me. I met it, and was humbled—" Your honour," said he," had better keep a hunter, and a pack of hounds, for them deer's capital sport, and I see your honour's in at the death." After much time, trouble, and cost, the sheep were recovered, and as my friend advised, sold, at a loss. It was amusing enough to Richard the day of the disaster. I re
turned in no very good humour, and finding two large pigs in my garden, made a boy, whom I had just hired, drive them instantly to the pound, and in the evening in came Richard with one of his looks, and asked for money to get the pigs out of the pound. "Out of the pound," said I," I get them out of the pound!-why I've had 'em put in.' "Then your honour," quoth Richard, will be sure to get 'em out." "Not I!" said I, indignantly; "let those get 'em out that own them." The fellow gave a double screw, and slightly curled his thin lips, and, affecting great submission, replied in a low and slow voice, "Them is your honour's own pigs." This took me by surprise, effectually dissipated my bile, I threw myself back in my chair, and laughed out most heartily. Richard put his hand to his mouth, made antics with his knees to suppress his mirth; but it would not do." He gave way to his humour, laughed louder than I, and then as suddenly stoppedasked my pardon, adding-“ Sure your honour knows best; but I think we'd better get 'em out this time, and punish them (with a marked emphasis) next."
My second purchase was still more unfortunate. This time I did not trust to my own judgment, but requested a neighbour farmer, who was going to a fair, to buy me six sheep. "Six sheep!" said Richard, who was present, looking up now at me and now at Farmer L-, "six ewes in lamb this time." He looked again at me, as much as to say, "I doubt yet if measter knows one from t'other." The six ewes were bought—twentyfive shillings a-piece. I had heard that a good shepherd knows every sheep in his large flock. I had the curiosity to study the physiognomy of mine:-in vain, I never could tell one from the other, and judging from the intenseness of my observation, I much doubt the fact. Well, I now had six ewes in lamb. These will produce me atleast a lamb each; that will be twelve -twelve sheep-twice twelve, twentyfour-and so I went on counting, till (upon my fingers) I was master of a tolerable flock. In the morning before breakfast, if any met me and asked where I had been, the answer was, "To look at my sheep"-after breakfast," to look at my sheep"-before dinner," to look at my sheep"-after dinner, the same. I was looking at
my sheep all day, and "wool-gather ing all night." I dreamed of themI was Jason going after the golden fleece—I was a shepherd king. Great things, they say, arise from small beginnings; so it was with me, wonderful speculations arose out of my six ewes in lamb. I did Richard the justice to tell him, one day, that he was as watchful of my six sheep as I was. He gave one of his looks, and said, suddenly dropping his speech into great gravity, "They must be look'd arter, for question if 'twouldn't be best to send 'em to the butcher!" Send my six ewes in lamb to a butcher! Why send them to a butcher? thought I. Not long after, seeing Richard, I said, for something to say, "Well, Richard, have you seen my six sheep this morning? "No, sir," quoth Richard, and then screwing up some, and unscrewing others of his features, "I have seen five, for t'other's mutton, and mutton your honour wont like to eat." One of my sheep was dead. The week following, another. I had now but four sheep out of six.-" Bad work, Richard," said I, "four out of six." "Four sheep and two skins, your honour will please to count them," quoth the scrutinizing Richard. To make the best of it, and be beforehand with my joke to my friend Richard, I said to him, "Well, we have four sheep and two treasures of skins.”—“ No, your honour, excuse me, you're wrong there, four sheep only, the skins were stolen last night." There was no standing this-it was
The day after came the saddest news of all-Richard called me from my bed." "Them as took the skins," said he, “have come for the sheep they're gone." "Gone!" said I, "where?" "Most likely," replied he, "to
Fair." "The fair that's twelve miles off, Richard." "Yes, sir, and them as took 'em must have took 'em in a light cart, for two of 'em never could have gone there a-foot, and be sure they're at the fair at L by this time." Thus of my six ewes in lamb, I had not even a skin. I thought it right to send after them, and accordingly Richard went, and returned the night following with my four sheep. The thief, either finding them not marketable, or from fear or other cause, had abandoned them, and they were found
about a mile from the town. brought 'em back," said he, "but I doubt if two of 'em be worth the fetching!" The following day another died, and within a few days another. My six sheep were now reduced to two. Richard had no confidence in their looks, and said if one would lamb it would be lucky. After a time they did lamb, and here was a circumstance I thought very odd, one lambed a day or two before the other. "Well, Richard," said I, jokingly, "we have now three of 'em!" "Your honour won't have 'em long," was the reply, and ere many hours the lamb died. In a day or two the other ewe lambed
two lambs. One was taken from her, and put to the ewe that had lost her lamb. She smelled at it, and kicked it away. It was then taken back to its own mother, but she would have nothing to do with it, butted at it, and sent it packing. They were all of them put into a small orchard; it was quite curious and sad to see the poor little thing run first to one then to the other, and be rejected by both. Here Richard showed his knowledge. He made a sort of coat of the dead one's skin, and put it on the rejected living-on the "Disown'd." The creature took to it immediately. I had now two sheep and two lambs, for my purchase of six; then one of the sheep and one of the lambs got bad heads, and Richard pronounced their doom, and advised me to send them to the next fair-the lambs by this time were grown up to look as big nearly as their mothersI took his advice, and to the fair he went with them, and brought me back £1, 3s. 8d.; a pretty business this was-keep thrown away-nearly all the purchase-money thrown away-all my looking at the sheep thrown away— nothing left but the remembrance of Richard's looks, sayings, and doings, which I doubt not, you, Eusebius, will think well worth the cost. I need not go on to tell you how the cow got staked, the horse wounded by a pick run into him at hay-making, how the sow devoured her young-these are minor annoyances. There were others much more serious, so that erelong I found my spirits flag; the love of farming, like most forced loves, departed from me, a general ennui came upon me. The " Majorque videri came upon every trouble. I saw nothing in a pleasant light, for, as yet, I could not
return to my former pursuits. The worst of care is, that it makes a man see, as it were, quite through the layer of pleasure and delight, that like a kindly atmosphere envelopes the world, down to the bare skeleton of things, and presents to the intellectual eye nothing but deformity. We become disenchanted, ungifted. As in the fabulous times, when gods mingled in the battles of men, there was a cloud removed from before the eyes of the heroes to enable them to see deities; so is it now removed by care to enable us to see devils. So much, Eusebius, are we deteriorated from the golden age. We are even beyond the iron-we live in an age of mud and ditch-water, which is continually stirred into horrible commotion and restlessness, by the tempests of our own wilful passions.
After that splenetic burst, let me shortly tell you how I came to give up the whole concern. I had no sooner bought my land, than the agitation of the corn-laws began. If successful, my land, I found, would inevitably go out of cultivation, perhaps the best thing that could befall it, while I continued to farm. The agitation would not be successful, said one, because the Premier thinks it madness and folly. "Very well," said I, "but he thinks the people's follies must be given into, and that modern ministers are not to govern, but be governed." "They wont ruin your land," said another" but they
are going to do it,” said I. “There will be a revolution, if they do," said he. There was a man once, said I, condemned contrary to the opinion of his lawyer. They are going to hang me, said the unfortunate. No, they wont, said the lawyer. But they have condemned me, said the unfortunate criminal, and I am to be hanged on Monday. They dare not, said the lawyer. But they will, I tell you, said the condemned. Let me see them do it, said the lawyer; I wish they would, that's all. Some such satisfactory result generally ended these discussions. I was like the man that said, if he had been bred a hatter, men would have come into the world without heads. I determined, therefore, to give up farming, before it gave me up. I determined to dispose of my foolish speculation, and have done so ; yet, I cannot but tell you the last farming conversation between me and Richard. You know what a horrible
season we have had. One day, as it was pouring rain, Richard said there was no help for it, but the-what shall we call it, what ought to have been hay, must be drawn into the yard, it was good for nothing but muck. "It's terribly wet," says he-" and them oats is wet." "Ay, ay," said I, in disgust, "It's all wet, Richard, all wet, wet, wet.' "No, your honour, quoth Richard, with his most exquisite look, "It ain't all wet, the cow's dry!"
My dear Eusebius, ever yours
LECTOR ON LAY QUIBBLING. TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH, ESQ.
ther Leguleius has not contributed to inspire the public with a better taste for that union of imaginative invention and technical accuracy which so often distinguishes the pages of Dickens. I think also I see, though I am not entitled to say, that the very able contributor of Ten Thousand aYear" must have studied in the same school. The greatest compliment, however, which I consider to have been paid to my views, is to be found in your own recent notice of Mr Moyle's State Trials, which, allow me to say, displays a taste for legal dis