The country visit, or, The London cousins


Material Information

The country visit, or, The London cousins
Series Title:
Warne's "now and then" juvenile series
Portion of title:
London cousins
Physical Description:
45, 3 p., 8 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 19 cm.
Baker, Sarah S ( Sarah Schoonmaker ), 1824-1906
Kronheim, Joseph Martin, 1810-1896 ( Printer of plates )
Frederick Warne and Co ( Publisher )
Scribner, Welford & Armstrong ( Publisher )
Frederick Warne and Co.
Scribner, Welford, and Armstrong
Place of Publication:
New York
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Happiness -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nannies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pets -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1880   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1880   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1880
Family stories.   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York


Statement of Responsibility:
by Aunt Friendly ; with full-page illustrations printed in colours by Kronheim.
General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002221469
notis - ALG1692
oclc - 62120019
System ID:

Full Text



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CHILDREN scarcely require to be told.
how to enjoy a country visit; still, it is
possible, by pointing out to t/zhem te chief
objects of interest in rural lfe, to add to
their innocent pleasures in the green felds
and busy farms; and zif an hour's more
amusement may be bestowed upon them by
reading of what the London children saw
and did durin>z their country visit, our
short story will not have been written in
vain. ?


MR. and MRS. TATHAM lived in Lon-
don, in a square which had a really fine
garden (full of flower-beds, lawns, and
trees) in the centre of it. But their children
never cared for this pleasant play-ground.
They declared that London flowers were
not so sweet as those which grew in
country hedges, and that the grass was
not as green as that on which they had
rolled at their Uncle Fletcher's.
It was very silly of the children to be
discontented. They should have tried to
be satisfied with their home, wherever it
had pleased God to place it. London has

6 The Country Visit.

its advantages as well as the country. Their
cousins, the Fletchers, were delighted to
go and stay with them in town: to see the
shops and the bazaars; and to go to pan-
tomimes in winter, or to Kew and the
Zoological Gardens in summer.
But the little Tatham children were
always talking about' Uncle Fletcher's
farm, and longing, almost fretting, to go
The summer was one of great heat--a
scorching sun burned up the grass in the
square and the leaves on the trees and
shrubs. The pavements were hot and
glaring, and there was scarcely a breath
of air. Mrs. Tatham thought it better
that the children should not go out in the
afternoon, under such sunshine as that
which just now poured down on the great
city; therefore she told the Nurse that she
had better give the two youngest-who
were girls-their lesson in plain sewing
at the usual walking-time, and take them

The Country Visii. 7

out later-after five-o'clock tea, when the
sun would be going down.
Mrs. Brown was a very good nurse.
She took the greatest care of the children,
and taught Mary and Amy (the two little
ones) to read and write as well as to sew.
There were six children of the Tatham
family-Tom, who was at school, was
much older than the others; then came
Edith, George, Emma, Mary, and Amy.
Their ages varied from fifteen to six.
The little girls were not at all pleased
at having to do their needlework in the
afternoon, and they were both, conse-
quently, rather cross and fretful.
If we were only in the country!" sighed
Amy,,disconsolately; this horrid London
is so warm, close, and dusty, and, my needle
won't go through this linen, Nursey."
Bring it to me and I will pass the
needle through my emery cushion," said
Brown; "and let me look at your work
too." Amy obeyed.

8 The Country Visit.

"I don't think this work very nice,"
said Nurse; "it is not only very dirty,
but the stitches are too far apart and very
crooked. Don't you think you might'do
better, Miss Amy?"
"Oh, I hate work," said Amy, discon-
But you must learn to do it well,
whether you like it or not, for it is very
useful, and no lady can have clever or
graceful hands who does not use awneedle
well. And, Miss Amy, I could tell you
a secret which would make you try to
S\\(ork well if you knew it."
Oh, what is it, Nurse? I will do my
very best if you will tell me," said Amy,
You must do your work well first,
and then I will tell you," said wise Nurse;
and Amy went back to her seat and tried
very hard, and at last did her work as well
as little Mary, who had patiently tried to
do her best from the first.


T ,


The Country Visit. 9

"And now, Nurse, what is it you have
to tell me ?" asked Amy, anxiously.
We are all going into the country for
a month, your mamma told me this morn-
ing," replied Nurse.
"Oh, I am so-glad !" exclaimed Amy;
"I hope it is to Uncle Fletcher's farm that
we are going. Do you know, Nurse ?"
Yes, it is to Mr. Fletcher's. And I
am glad that you have improved in your
sewing, for your aunt cares a great deal
for needlework, and will be sure to ask to
see yours.
Little Lily can sew already better than
Amy," said Mary, "at least she did when
we were there last; but perhaps now Amy's
work will be best."
I hope so," said Amy, but it is a very
difficult thing to learn sewing. I like all
my other lessons better. I wonder people
care so much about it."
"I have already told you why, Miss
Amy," said Nurse.

Io The Country Visit.

Mary jumped up and put away her work,
saying, "Let us run and tell the others; I
am sure they will be delighted."
And the two children ran off to find
their brothers and sisters.
Edith, Emma, and George were their
mamma's pupils. They had finished their
lessons just about the time that Mary and
"Amy had completed their sewing lesson,
and they had all three instantly hurried off
to Edith's bed-room, where she had left
her pet cat, and a beautiful white kitten,
which threatened to become even a greater
favourite than old Topsy was.
"Is she not a darling?" exclaimed Edith,
catching up the kitten; "what shall we call
her ?"
Snowball," replied George.
"A capital name for her," said Edith;
"that is what we will call her. Emma,
run and get some milk for her."
Emma willingly complied with her sis-
ter's request, and soon returned with a

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The Country Visit. 11

saucer full of warm milk, which she held
up for kittie to drink.
Poor Mamma Topsy stood looking on.
She was glad that her dear kitten should
have nice milk, but by a very meek mew"
she now and then ventured to remind her
young mistress that she would be glad of
a little herself.
While they were still intent on feeding
Snowball, Mary and Amy rushed in, full
of the great news.
"We are going to Uncle Fletcher's!"
cried both in a breath. "We are going
for a whole month!"
Edith dropped the kitten, and Emma
put down the saucer; when Topsy in-
stantly began assisting her kitten to finish
'the milk.
"Who told you?" cried George and
Edith together.
Nurse did," answered Mary.
Oh, I am very, very glad !" exclaimed
Edith. "We are roasting alive here! I

12 The Country Visit.

wonder if mamma will let me take Snow-
ball ?"
We will ask her," said Emma. "Do
you know when we are to go, Mary ?"
No; Nurse did not say."
Let us run and inquire of mamma,"
exclaimed George.
And they ran at once to their mother,
to find out all about the hoped-for country
Mrs. Tatham told them that it was fixed
for the next Monday (the day on which
they asked the question being Thursday),
and she advised them to make their arrange-
ments, and pack up their toys and books
soon, so that they might not be in a hurry
at the last.
Edith proposed that they should each
take a present to their country cousins, and
her mamma was quite willing to assent to
her little girl's request. So that evening
they went out shopping with Mrs. Tatham
to the Soho Bazaar, where they managed

The Country Visit. 13

to procure a gift for each of the Fletchers
out of their own savings.
Mr. Fletcher's farm was in Hereford-
shire, near the beautiful river Wye, and
not far from Ross. It was a large farm,
well stocked with white-faced Hereford-
shire cows, with sheep, oxen, poultry, &c.;
and it had several very large orchards,
from the apples in which they made every
year a great deal of cider.
Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher had five children
-Arthur, who helped his father with the
farm, a fine lad of eighteen; Harry, who
went to school with his cousin, Tom
Tatham; Maria, a useful girl of eleven;
Edward, a very little boy; and Lily, a still
younger girl.
The little Fletchers were very fond of
their London cousins, and were in rap-
tures when they heard that their favourites
were so soon to pay them a visit.
Little Lily, who was a fanciful child,
made herself a crown of flowers on the day

14 The Cozuztry Visit.

they were expected, and a similar wreath
for her Cousin Amy; and then as the hour
of their arrival approached, she went out
and sat on the stile in the meadow, from
which she could see the waggonette that
had been sent to meet the travellers when
it should return.
The sheep, which were very fond of
Lily, came crowding up to her, and one of
them tried to climb uip the stile to her lap.
Sitting thus, she looked very much like
a pretty little shepherdess. Mrs. Jones,
the market woman, who found her there,
thought she resembled Little Bo-peep
Well, Miss Lily, what are you doing
here ?" she said.
"I am waiting till the waggonette re-
turns from the station, Mrs. Jones," said
Lily; "my cousins are coming from Lon-
don to-day to stay with us a whole month,
and papa has driven over to Ross to meet



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The Country Visit. 15

"That will be very pleasant for you,
miss," said the woman; and just as she
spoke they heard the sound of carriage
Lily, crying Here they are!" jumped
down, and ran back very fast to the house,
reaching the hall door just as the waggon-
ette drove up.
The cousins were delighted to meet.
They hugged and kissed each other, and
Aunt Louisa-Mrs. Fletcher-took all the
travellers into the best parlour, welcoming
them heartily, and giving each child a piece
of home-made cake and a glass of cowslip
k(ine before she let her eldest daughter,
Maria, take them up to their rooms to put
off their hats and cloaks.
The farm was a charming old 'place.
The children, when they had dressed and
were ready, came down to tea, which was
served in a large room, through the lattice
windows of which crept white roses and
trails of honeysuckle; while the air which

16 The Country Visit.

came in at it was scented with lime blos-
soms, hay, and mignonette. The table
was covered with rural dainties: such milk
as London children only dream of, real
butter in tiny pats, cream, home-cured
hams, and barn-door fowls.
The children enjoyed their tea very
much, but they were glad when it was
over, because they longed to run out on
the lawn. Here Emma and the little ones
were soon absorbed in watching the bees
returning to their hives for the night, and
in listening to all the wonderful things that
Cousin Maria told them about the ways
and work of those insects, which, she said,
were making golden honey for their break--
fast. Amy listened with wonder to the
story of how the busy bees drew sweet
juices out of the heart of the flowers, and
made them into honey, which they laid up
in beautiful waxen cells; how they loved
and obeyed their queen; and how, when
the hive became too full of bees, they went


.------ -
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The Country Visit. 17

out of it to seek a new home elsewhere,
like human emigrants.
Edith, meantime, had coaxed her Cousin
Willie to take her to see the fowls; and
though he said it was near their time for
going to roost, he was persuaded to go
with her to the poultry-yard; first filling
her basket with barley, that she might feed
them herself. She was delighted with
them, especially with some little chickens,
which the old hen had lately hatched.
Willie told her that the hen was a very
good mother; that she scraped for worms
and insects in the ground for the chicks;
and that if a hawk appeared high in the
air, she would call her little ones to her
and gather them all under her wings.
"And I think," he added, "if the kite
attacked Ir, she would fight him boldly
in defence of her little birdies."
While Willie and Edith were feeding
the chickens, Tom was telling his school
news to his father and mother and his

1.8 The Country Visit.

uncle and aunt, who were pleased to find
that both he and the cousin who went to
school with him had brought home good
reports. Meantime Harry, the schoolboy,
who made a great pet of Amy, told her that
he was going to see his parrot, and asked
her if she would go with him.
Amy was quite willing to do so, for she
had a great fondness for birds.
"It is in the nursery," explained Harry.
"When I am at school Nurse takes'care of
it for me'"
"Does it forget you if you are long
away ?" asked Amy.
"Oh, no; she knows me very well always.
Poll has a capital memory. I wish I could
learn my lessons as well and as fast as she
learns sentences, and that I could recollect
them as she does hers."
Then Harry, Amy, and his dog Fido,
which had been jumping on him ever since
he arrived, ran off to the,nursery.
Nurse was very glad to see them both;

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'I'ftl; PET tl{ROT

The Country Viszt. 19

and when Harry asked how his bird was,
she said "You shall see," with a smile.
Then she took a lump of sugar and held
it up to the bars of Poll's cage. Directly
the parrot saw it, she cried out, "Wel-
come, welcome! Glad to see my dear
You may imagine how surprised Amy
was to be thus welcomed by a bird! But
there was no wonder in it, for the young
Fletchers had been teaching Poll those
words ever since they had heard that their
cousins were coming to see them. They
had rewarded each repetition of her lesson
with a lump of sugar; therefore, when Poll
saw the coveted treat, she repeated the
words by which she hoped to get it, just
as Nurse expected.
"What a wonderful bird!" exclaimed
Amy. "'She must really know the mean-
ing of what she says! "
"Sometimes I think she does," answered
Harry, "for whenever she hears the sound

20 The Country Visit.

of cups and spoons, or the jingle of glasses,
she calls out, 'Polly wants some tea!'"
Yes," said Nurse, she knows how to
ask for her food; and she knows some
people, and will call them by name. She
is a very clever bird. She often calls 'Fido,
Fido!' and when the poor dog runs up to
her cage, she barks at him so like another
dog that he gets quite angry."
"Harry," cried Polly at this moment,
"call the Prince! Where's the Prince of
Wales ?"
"Safe at home, Poll, I hope, with his
little Princesses and Princes," answered
Harry, laughing.
Make me a pudding," responded Poll,
The children laughed, and said they
would try.
The next morning the young visitors to
the farm were awake very early, and were
soon running wildly about the grounds.
Maria Fletcher had a great love for little

The Country Visit. 21

Emma, and hand in hand the pair wan-
dered out into the meadows, which were
at that hour all covered with gossamer dew
that sparkled like diamonds on the grass.
The air was deliciously cool and fresh, and
a lark was singing most sweetly as it rose
from its nest in the grass. From the
meadows they passed into a pretty lane,
leading to the pond, and Emma persuaded
her cousin to walk down to it, and let her
look at the water. The pond was over-
shadowed by large old trees, and being
deep and clear, Emma could look down
into it, and see the minnows darting about.
Maria told her that the cattle drank at it,
and that as good water was as necessary
for animals as for men, her father was
careful to keep it pure and clean. While
they stood by the pond, they saw some little
black birds, with white throats and very
long wings, darting swiftly through the air,
now whirling round and round in rapid
circles and uttering a screaming whistle,

22 T/e Cozmtry Visit.

then darting down and skimming the sur-
face of the water.
What funny little birds !" said Emma.
" How fast they fly and twirl about! They
make me feel giddy. They are never still,
and whirl so fast backwards and forwards."(
They are swifts," said Maria. "They
are generally to be seen here in the early
morning or after sunset. They don't seem'
to like to come out in the heat of the sun."
Where do they go, then, in the middle
of the day?" asked Emma.
Into their holes, which are generally in
the roof of an old house or church steeple.
The swift has, as you see, very short legs
and very long wings, so it cannot alight
on the ground easily. A little passage,
entered by a hole in the wall, leads to its'
nest, which is made of feathers, tiny scraps
of muslin, and other light things, which,
perhaps, it catches in the air. It lays five
little eggs, and when summer is ended it
flies away from England, and goes across

The Country Vzsis. 23

the sea to other and warmer lands. Great
numbers of swifts assemble and fly away
together in August."
"That is very wonderful," said Emma.
As they were walking back to the farm,
the little girls saw a farm boy picking sloes
from the hedge.
Maria spoke to him, and asked him if
they were ripe. He said, "Yes, quite;
would she like some?" She thanked him,
and said she should. Then he gathered
a great many; and Emma held out her
apron for them, and took it back quite full
of purple sloes to the farm breakfast.
While Emma and Maria had been walk-
ing by the pond, the other girls had been
to see the cows milked, and had each been
treated with, a cup of warm sweet milk.
Then their aunt had taken them to the
dairy, where they saw more milk stand-
ing in large pans. Their aunt told them
that the lightest and richest part of it rose
to the top and formed cream, and when

24 The Comuntry Visit.

the milk had stood till this cream ,was
thick enough, the dairymaid skimmed it
off and put it in a churn to make it into
butter. Edith asked if they might see
butter made some day, and her aunt told
her they should that morning, as it was
churning-dlay, and also that the maid should
make them a cream cheese. The dairy-
maid came soon afterwards, put the cream
through a strainer into the churn, and
churned till the butter cane, as it is called.
She told the children that a certain degree
of heat (50 degrees) was necessary to make
butter come, but that it was easy to make
that morning. Then she put it into a press-
ing machine, from which the butter came
out in long coils, "like yellow snakes,"
Edith said. She asked why they pressed
it, and they told her it was done to draw
out all the buttermilk. Then the maid
made the butter up into pretty pats, and
with a wooden stamp marked them with
the figure of a cow. Their aunt told them

The Country Visit. 25

that the cream had been collected and kept
for the butter for three days, and that the
milk they had seen brought in must not be
put into the pans till it was cool. Cheese,
she told them, was made of unskimmed
milk, turned to curd by putting rennet in it.
This formed curds and whey, of which she
promised to give them a cupful in the even-
ing. The curd is strained off, pressed in
vats and salted, and in time becomes cheese.
When the visit to the dairy was over,
Aunt Louisa proposed that they should
all go down to the banks of the Wye and
eat their, dinner under the trees. The
children clapped their hands with delight
at the thought, and ran off to tell their
mother and prepare for this delightful pic-
nic. They were soon ready to start. Aunt
Louisa sent into the village for a little goat-
carriage, in which Edward was delighted
to drive little Amy, who took her doll with
her, to enjoy the air by the river.
The elder boys and girls walked,-the

26 The Country Visit.

schoolboys carrying each a large basket, in
which were packed cold chicken, ham,
bread, butter, cakes, and a large cold' rice
pudding; while Nurse Brown followed
with another basket containing plates,
knives and forks, and bottles of fresh
milk. They soon found a lovely spot,
close by the'river brink, overshadowed
by thick trees, and near which they also
luckily discovered a fresh spring of water.
Here they sat down, and Aunt Louisa
told them about the beautiful' Wye: how
famous it had been in old days, and how
the ancient Britons used to carry their
wickerwork boats, called coracles, on their
backs to the -stream, and then put them in
and sail away in them, going easily over
the rapids, or places where the river ran
downwards over many small rocks. She
told them also that the woods opposite
were part of the old Forest of Dean.
Mamma," said Harry, "now Tom is
with us, will you let us go on the river to-

The Country Visit. 27

day in papa's boat ? Tom is such a good
boatman, you know."
I have no objection," said his mother.
"Tom knows the river well, because he has
been so often here and out with your father;
but pray be careful if you go, Tom, for
many boats are upset in the Wye."
Tom promised to take every care, and
it was settled that, directly after dinner, he
and Harry and Willie should go to the
boat-house and bring the boat down to the
place where they were picnicking. Mean-
time the little ones played at all kinds of
games under the trees-hide and seek,
"gathering nuts away," &c. Mary had
been hiding, and her sisters and cousins
had had some trouble to find her; when
at last they discovered her bending down
near an old, tree -stump, and looking
curiously at the ground.
"Mary," exclaimed Lily, "why didn't
you call 'hoop' more than once ? I thought
we should never find you."

28 The Country Visit.

"I quite forgot," answered Mary.
"Please forgive me. But I was so busy
watching this bee;" and she pointed to
an insect hovering over a small hole in
the earth close to the tree stumpf "It
seems very busy; and I really think it
took a red leaf into that hole just now."
"Oh !" said Lily, "that is the car-
penter or mason-bee. It makes a hole in
the ground to live in, and hangs its house
round with curtains made of flower-leaves,
which it cuts very neatly."
"How wonderful!" said Mary. "I
should like to see that pretty bee-house."
"There is npt time to search for it
now," said Maria, "for I hear George
calling us to dinner; and we could not
take the nest up without destroying it, I
am afraid."
Just then George came up, saying,
breathlessly, "Come to dinner directly,
They all raced off to the spot at once,

The Country Visit. 29

eager to help, and found that something
was still to be done in arranging plates,
&c. George was happy in having to fetch
water from the spring; and Lily, who,
even during their games, had been busy
gathering flowers, adorned the tablecloth
with a bouquet of wild thyme, foxgloves,
briar-roses, and woodbine. Then they all
sat down and did full justice to a capital
As soon as their pleasant meal was
ended, Aunt Louisa produced a basket of
cherries and another of strawberries, which
were received with great applause. Harry
begged every one to keep their cherry-
stones for him, as he meant to plant a
cherry orchard on a little bit of waste land
near the farm.
When the fruit was finished, the elder
boys started across the fields to the boat-
house, where they soon got the boat ready
for their trip.
Tom was the "captain" of the small

30 The Country Visit.

crew, and gave his orders with great
dignity; but it needed two of the farm
men to get the boat off the beach into the
The children by the river were delighted
when the looked-for boat appeared. Aunt
Louisa permitted Maria, Edith, George,
and Emma to go with the boys, being
quite sure of Tom's steadiness and care;
and they had a most delightful row till
they came to Mr. Bannerman's beautiful
place, where they landed. Tom and
Harry knew young Mr. Bannerman, and
were sure of a welcome, so they all landed
and went up to the house. Mrs. Banner-
man made them have a cup of tea an a
piece of cake, and 'then they went wil
her son to see all the treasures of the
Mr. Bannerman, finding that Tom and
Harry were both fond of flowers,' gave
them a dozen of the finest geraniums he
possessed; and the boys, very grateful for

- . ,.---_ I-

* . -

' -./ ... . -"" 1..-..*:--


The Country Visit. 31

the gift, took them down to the boat, re-
When they reached the spot where their
friends were watching for their return, they
found the whole party at tea. Edward,
assisted by the little ones, had made a fire
of the sticks which they had gathered, and
had boiled the kettle upon it. The mari-
ners were quite ready for a second tea, and
joined their friends in demolishing a home-
made cake, and no end of bread and butter.
It was now near sunset, and Aunt Louisa
thought they had better return home.
They were rather tired from being so long
in the open air especially the London
children-and were therefore very glad to
find that Uncle Fletcher had sent the
wag gonette and dog-cart for them, and
that they need not walk home.
Before they parted for the night, Harry
asked Tom and George to help him plant
his new geraniums in his garden the next
day. They readily consented, and told

32 The CountIry Visit.

him to have them called early, as it was
likely (being so tired) they might oversleep
Harry and Willie had had quite a large
piece of ground given to them to cultivate.
Part of it they made into an orchard, and
found the apples very profitable, making
great quantities of cider from them every
year; another part they planted with vege-
tables; quite the outer side was divided into
flower gardens for all the children; and
beyond stretched a piece of waste ground,
in which Willie meant to sow his cherry-
The boys were called next morning at
five o'clock, and were quite ready by that
time to get up and dress, and go to assist
Harry. The early morning was very de-
lightful: everything was so fresh and sweet
and cool. The sun had not been up an
hour yet.
They hurried to the garden, each laden
with two or three pots of geraniums, and

Thie Country Visit. 33

they were soon very busy with Harry plant-
ing them out. Harry dug a deep hole in
the ground, then Tom poured water into
it, and George, with a gentle shake, lifted
each plant, earth and all, out of the pot,
and put it carefully into its new bed. They
had planted all the geraniums, and the
beds looked a blaze of colour before break-
fast. Then they returned to eat, with a
good appetite, their morning meal.
That day they stayed quietly at home, and
played in the fields, and they were allowed
to see the bread made and the beer brewed.
The bread they found was made of flour
mixed with water, and made light by yeast.
When these materials were mixed, the
cook let them each knead the dough, that
is, roll and push it about; and when it was
well mixed, and had risen, as it is called,,
she pinched off a piece of the dough, and
they each made a pretty little loaf, which
Cook let them put into the oven to be
baked for their tea. Beer they found was

34 kTe Country Visit.

made of malt and hops; but how, they
could not quite yet understand. They
also visited the doves and pigeons. The
pigeons were quite tame, and would come
and sit on their hands and eat out of their
mouths. One was a carrier pigeon, and
Harry boasted greatly of the intelligence
of this bird, which would not live with
strangers, but always came back to its
home, however far away it might have
been carried. And he told them how, in
war-time, when a town was besieged, these
birds were often its only postmen. In
Paris, during the Franco-Prussian War,
pigeons brought messages from the be-
sieged to many anxious hearts outside
the walls. Edith was delighted with these
stories, and said she should very much
like to have a carrier pigeon. Willie in-
stantly promised her a pair of little ones
to take home with her.
Haymaking had just begun, and the
children, each armed with a fork, went out

The Country Visit. 35

to help the haymakers. What fun it was
to toss the sweet-scented grass over and
over! George at first did not make hay
well; he scattered it too much. Edith and
Emma made very tidy haycocks. Lily,
Amy, and Mary, with their dolls, lay down
Son them and told stories.
In the evening they went for a long
drive in the waggonette into Ross, where,
Aunt Louisa told them, a very good man
had lived, many years ago, called the
Man of Ross" by the poet Pope. She
said this good man brought water into
the town, and built a market; was a
physician to the sick, and a lawyer for
the quarrelsome; always ready to heal
diseases and to make peace: he was
only happy when every one round him
was prospering. They went to see the
old church, inside which two trees are
growing, which have sprung from some
which the Man of Ross planted; and
for his sake they are let stay in the

36 The Country Visit.

holy place into which their roots have
That evening the boys played at leap-
frog. The girls plaited straw, under the
direction of Maria, who showed them how
to do it. The straw was cut, she told
them, from their own fields after the wheat
Everything is of some use," said Mary,
as she dipped her straw in water; even
the stems of the wheat."
Yes, straw is very useful," said Maria,
"and stubble-fields are fattening-grounds
"for geese."
"We have not seen the pigs yet," ob-
served Edith. But they are not at all
amusing animals, are they?"
"( Oh, yes," answered Maria, they are.
Lily, who pets all animals, will tell you
that our pigs are very fond of her, and
when they see her in the field, they will
run after her, grunting very happily. A
pig is a very intelligent animal."

The Country Visit. 37

"But geese, Lily ?" asked Mary. "Are
you not afraid of geese ?" and she shivered;
for the old gander and all his family had
chased her that morning, running hissing
at her heels.
"Afraid of the geese! I should be a
goose if I were," laughed little Lily.
"Though it is wrong to say that; for
geese are not stupid creatures at all: they
are very sensible."
You remember," suggested George,
they once saved the Roman Capitol."
"Did they? How?" asked Lily, who
did not know much about Roman history.
"The dogs were all asleep one night,"
replied George, "when the Gauls, who
were besieging the city, had slyly mounted,
by a way the Romans did not think they
knew, to the Capitol, and would have got
in and killed the sleeping people, if some
geese, sacred to the Roman Goddess Vesta,
had not cackled so loudly that they brought
a brave Roman to the spot, who called

38 The Country Visit.

for help, and kept the wall himself till it
And," said Maria, "there was an old
blind woman in our village who had a
goose which led her about'like a dog.
This goose used to lead Dame Oliver to
church, and waited in the churchyard till
the service was over, in order to take the
old lady safely home again."
"That was really astonishing; more so
even than the Roman story," said Emma;
"for geese would naturally cackle if they
were disturbed in the night."
"Why did your geese try to bite me to-
day?" asked Mary. "I had not hurt them."
". I don't think they like red; and you
wore a red ribbon sash, which was floating
out behind you," said Harry. "I have
observed that geese don't like red. Many
animals dislike it. If you were foolish
enough to go, with that sash on, into the
field where our bull feeds, he would fly at
you directly."

The Country Visit. 39-

"And without the sash, too," observed
Maria, quietly.
"Well, it would be better not to try him,"
laughed her brother.
The next day a grand cricket match took
place on the lawn, between the farm lads
and the farmer's sons and their guests. It
was well contested, and ended in favour' of
the young gentlemen; but the farmer re-
warded the defeated players for their skill,
which was really great, by giving them a
supper of cold beef and cider. Arthur
and the boys stood round the wicket after
the game was over, discussing the play,
and remarking every fault and every possi-
bility of improvement. They were all very
good-tempered; no sharp words or unkind
hints disturbed the remembrance of the
past pleasure of a successful game.
The time was now come when the
children must return to London, and many
sighs were breathed at the idea of all they
must leave behind; but they were con-

40 The Country Visit.

soled by the hope of seeing their cousins
in town at Christmas. And Edith and
Emma, by setting forth to them the
pleasures they intended them to share,
became suddenly aware of the fact-
already pointed out-that every place has
some peculiar advantage of its own.
Amy alone was not to go back with
the Tatham family. Her health had been
very delicate for some time before the
visit, and she had improved so much
during her stay at the farm, that her aunt
persuaded Mrs. Tatham to let her remain
a few months longer, and go back with
her cousins when they paid their Christ-
mas visit to town..
When summer was gone, when flowers
had faded, leaves fallen off, and walking
become at times difficult, Amy saw that a
country visit was best paid in summer
weather, and that London was not so dis-
agreeable a place as it had appeared to
her in June.




The Country Visit. 41

The days fleeted by, and at length De-
cember began to darken the landscape,
and cover the earth with its white warm
mantle of snow.
Then Maria, Edward, and Amy went
out to feed the robins, which had now
grown quite tame, and would hop close to
them as they scattered the welcome grain.
Poor little things! How they must
wish for the spring," said Amy. I
wonder'they can bear this cold."
"They always seem very happy," said
Edward. I dare say they are quite
contented whether God gives them sun-
shine and sweet fruit, or snow and only
Yes; they teach us to be thankful,"
said Maria, "for all God's mercies."
And Amy remembered those words
long after.
Mr. Fletcher took them all up to
London on the 23rd of December, and
as the carriage drove through the streets,

42 The Country Visit.

and the country children saw the shops
finely decked, they could not restrain ex-
clamations of delight and surprise.
I never saw anything so wonderful!"
cried Lily, whose first visit it was. Look
at that house: it has turkeys and fowls
hanging all over it, from the very top;
and the lovely holly! I never saw any-
thing so pretty. I shall very much like
being in London."
"We don't like London at all," said
Amy; "but I think it does look prettier
than usual to-day."
And she thought of the dull brown
fields and leafless trees, and the small
village by the farm, with no pretty shops,
in Herefordshire.
Mr. and Mrs. Tatham were very glad
to have their little daughter back, and the
cousins were enraptured at meeting again.
The Tathams could not do enough to
return the kindness shown to them in
the summer: they went with the young

The Country Visit. 43

Fletchers to the Soho Bazaar, and spent
all the pocket-money they had saved in
gifts for them. They took them to the
Zoological Gardens, which were a land
of enchantment to Lily, who would have
liked to pet the tigers and lions; and to
the Polytechnic; and, as a great treat,
their Uncle Tatham took them one Sun-
day to Westminster Abbey, where the
organ and choral service delighted them.
They skated on the Serpentine; they
rode on their cousins' ponies in the park;
they visited the Tower and the South
Kensington Museum; every day brought
some new treat: and when they talked
over matters, and compared amusements,
even Edith was compelled to allow that
the pleasures of town and country were
pretty evenly balanced.
But," said Edith, "country air makes
everything sweeter and pleasanter. Look
at Amy; she has grown strong and rosy,
even in the winter, down at the farm."

44 The Country Visit.

"On the whole," said George, "I like
the country best; but we must learn to be
thankful for the good things we have in
London also."
But do you know, Edith," said Maria,
" Uncle Tatham has been talking to papa
about taking a house in our neighbour-
hood. Uncle says it is time he rested
from work, and he thinks that pretty little
country house at Doward would just
suit him; so, perhaps very soon, you will
leave grand old London, only to return
to it for a visit."
"Oh, Mria! how delighted we shall
be to live near you, and to have cows, and
fowls, and pigeons of our very own!" ex-
claimed Edith. "It will be delightful;
but I am afraid it is too good fortune to
come to pass."
It did come to pass nevertheless. Mr.
Tatham retired from business, and took a
nice house near his brother-in-law's.
Here his children grew in health and

The Country Visit. 45

beauty, and in love of all natural objects
and healthy rural labours.
They reared chickens, helped in the
dairy, made hay, and enjoyed the harvest
home, the apple-gathering, blackberrying,
and nutting, and did not complain when
winter deprived them of some of these
pleasures. Works of charity and love re-
mained even then.
And recollecting how often they had
themselves longed for the sweet green
fields, they never forgot to beg their
mamma and papa, every year, to ask their
little London friends on a Country Visit.



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